Review: The Hard Thing About Hard Things

5 Star, Best Practices in Management, Biography & Memoirs, Capitalism (Good & Bad), Change & Innovation, Complexity & Resilience, Decision-Making & Decision-Support, Economics, Information Operations, Leadership
Amazon Page
Amazon Page

Ben Horowitz

5.0 out of 5 stars ABSORBING – Requires Open Mind, March 16, 2014

I generally read all the reviews before writing my own, in part to see if anyone has already covered the ground the way I like to, with a summary evaluative review. There are only two reviews before mine that I consider world-class, please do read them if you have the time. I refer to the reviews by Mercenary Trader and Scott S. Bell, I salute both of them for providing substance useful to all.

This is not a comprehensive book in that it is a very personal perspective, brings together many specific snapshots, but never addresses “root” in relation to how the team went from great idea to source code to buzz to market share. As I read the book I thought often about a book I read in the 1980′s, still a classic, Tracey Kidder’s The Soul of A New Machine.

I would say this book is an absolutly priceless gem for the “hard knocks” at the CEO level perspective, and should be combined with any of several alternatives on start-ups such as Matt Blumberg’s Startup CEO: A Field Guide to Scaling Up Your Business, + Website, and, forthcoming, Peter Thiel of PayPal’s Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future.

I’ve built two companies, both failures in that I never made the leap from one man with an obession to a movement (OSS.Net, Inc. and Earth Intelligence Network, a 501c3) and what I did not see in this book, or any other book I have found, is the roadmap for getting from a big idea to big marketshare. That book remains to be written, and it could be that it should be written by Marc Andressen and a team. Jim Clark’s Netscape Time: The Making of the Billion-Dollar Start-Up That Took on Microsoft is a fine but dated (1999) start but we need something now tailored to the Internet of Things (what everyone else is thinking about) and free individual access to and ability to leverage all information in all languages all the time (what I have been thinking about since 1986 — visit Phi Beta Iota the Public Intelligence Blog to learn more). I am also reminded of Michael Lewis’s The New New Thing: A Silicon Valley Story.

All this by way of saying that you have no business reading or buying this book if you are expecting a holistic 360 degree soup to nuts outline of how to zero to Mach 2. The greatest value of this book for me was in learning that it is possible to keep flying when you lose power and both wings fall off at the same time.

Continue reading “Review: The Hard Thing About Hard Things”

Handbook Archives on Public Intelligence (1992-2006)

Handbook Elements
Archives 1992-2006
Archives 1992-2006

1997

US

Handbook Admin Cover, Appreciation, Foreword, Contents

1997

US

Handbook Horowitz Appendix G: Open Source OPSEC: Selected References and Information

1997

US

Handbook Horowitz Chapter 6. Open Sources and Operational Security–The Dark Side

1997

US

Handbook OSS Appendices (List of)

1997

US

Handbook OSS Appendix B-3: Glossary of Open Source Acronyms

1997

US

Handbook OSS Appendix E-2: Internet: Intelligence-Oriented List of Useful Internet Sites

1997

US

Handbook PC Magazine Appendix E-3: Internet: Intel Sites from PC Magazine’s Top 100 Web Sites

1997

US

Handbook Stapleton-Gray Appendix E-1 Internet: Self-Guided Tour

1997

US

Handbook Stapleton-Gray Chapter 4. The Internet as a Tool for All-Source Analysis

1997

US

Handbook Steele Appendix A: White Paper on Open Source Intelligence & the Military

1997

US

Handbook Steele Appendix B-1: Talking Points on Private Enterprise Intelligence

1997

US

Handbook Steele Appendix B-2: Complete Paper on Private Enterprise Intelligence

1997

US

Handbook Steele Appendix B-4: Core Open Source References

1997

US

Handbook Steele Appendix C: Access: Theory and Practice of Intel in the Age of Information

1997

US

Handbook Steele Appendix D: Concise Directory of Selected Int’l Open Sources & Services

1997

US

Handbook Steele Chapter 1. Overview of Open Sources & Services

1997

US

Handbook Steele Chapter 2. Access: Intelligence in the Age of Information

1997

US

Handbook Steele Chapter 3. International Open Sources and Services

1997

US

Handbook Steele Chapter 5. Open Sources and Military Capabilities

1997

US

Handbook Steele Chapter 7. Conclusion: Collection and Processing Open Source

1997

US

Handbook USMC & Steele Appendix F-1: Expeditionary Environment R&A Framework & Model

1997

US

Handbook USMC & Steele Appendix F-2: Mission Area Factors Summary

1997

US

Handbook USMC & Steele Appendix H: Expeditionary Factors Study: List of Countries

1997

US

Handbook Wouters Appendix E-4: Internet: How to Find an Interesting Mailinglist

Process Archives on Public Intelligence (1992-2006)

Methods & Process

2006

US

Process CRS Data Mining and Homeland Security

2006

US

Process Turnbull GSA Collaborative Workshop on Information Sharing

2005

US

Process Clapper Interview

2005

US

Process DNI Press Release on Appointment of ADDNI/OS

2005

US

Process DNI Office of the DNI Organization Charts

2005

US

Process Gerecht Need for New Clandestine Service

2005

US

Process Harris ABLE DANGER Summary

2005

US

Process JHU-APL Asymmetric Information

2005

US

Process Kamien et all Needs Analysis for Information Sharing

2005

US

Process Liszkiewiez Reconfiguring the Global System through Mobile Democracy

2005

US

Process Peters On the Soul of Intelligence

2005

US

Process Rushkoff Open Source Democracy

2004

US

Process Steele OSS Proprietary Listing of Capabilities Needed by Open Source Agency

2001

US

Process Chester The Atlantic Command’s Open Source Intelligence Approach & Future

2001

US

Process Dziedzic & Wood Information Technology as Catalyst for Civil-Military Unity of Effort

1999

US

Process Appleby Feedback: The Missing Link in Information Superiority

1997

US

Process Gupta & Pabian Tricks of the Trade: Analytic Tools and Techniques

1997

US

Process Pinchot Beyond Bureaucracy: Intrapreurship

1993

US

Process Bermudez Letter from a Source

1993

FR

Process Bonthous Culture: The Missing Intelligence Variable

1993

US

Process Brodwin & Bernardi Information Overload

1993

US

Process Christian Area Information Servers (WAIS) and Global Change Research

1993

US

Process Halberstadt Power and Communication in the Information Age

1993

US

Process Herring The Role of Intelligence in Formulating Strategy

1993

US

Process Horowitz Understanding Sources: The Real Challenge

1993

JP

Process Ishii Cross-Cultural Communication & Computer-Supported Collaboration

1993

US

Process Magee The Age of Imagination: Coming Soon to a Civilization Near You

1993

US

Process Pedtke Putting Functionality in the Open Source Network

1992

US

Process Andriole IT Support for OSINT Analysis & Production (Slides)

1992

US

Process Andriole IT Support for OSINT Analysis & Production (Text)

1992

US

Process Bodansky & Forest GOP Terrorism Task Force: Research Techniques & Philosophy

1992

US

Process Fedanzo Implementing OSINT Through a Distributed Collection Model

1992

US

Process Kees Advanced Information Processing and Analysis

1992

US

Process McIntyre Competitive Advantage: The Power of Online Systems

1992

US

Process Ogdin Words Are Not Enough

1992

US

Process Sacks Using the Telephone as a Research Tool

1992

US

Process Shepard Analysis in the Year 2002: A Concept of Operations

1992

US

Process Sibbet Commercial Remote Sensing: Open Source Imagery Intelligence

1992

US

Process Tenny Government Information Wants to be Free

1992

US

Process Thompson Ranked Retrieval and Extraction of Open Source Intelligence

1992

US

Process Tow Painting the Future: Some Remarks from INTERVAL

1992

US

Process Whitney-Smith Information Revolutions and the End of History

2003

US

Process DoD Defense Intelligence Meta-Tagging

Commerce Archive on Public Intelligence (1992-2006)

Commerce
Archive 1992-2006
Archive 1992-2006

2004

SE

Commerce Bjore Commercial Intelligence

2003

SE

Commerce Bjore Reinventing Commercial Intelligence

2002

US

Commerce Klavans Identifying Commercial Opportunities from Emerging Science

2000

US

Commerce Technology Intelligence from Patents

2000

US

Commerce Sullivan Business Perspective on Essential Overseas Information

1999

FR

Commerce Baumlin Espionage or Business Intelligence: Nuances of Gray

1999

UK

Commerce Collier Overview of New Horizons in OSINT Sources, Softwares, Services

1999

US

Commerce Miller The Year the Information Industry Hit Bottom

1999

US

Commerce Robinson How Mobil Uses Open Sources & Services

1998

FR

Commerce Baumlin Black, White, Gray, Realities of the Investigative Marketplace

1998

US

Commerce Boyer Assessing US and Other Space Imaging Options for European Needs

1998

GE

Commerce Bruckner Information and Knowledge Management in Intelligence Situations

1998

US

Commerce Burwell Commercial Online Source Validation Methods

1998

UK

Commerce Collier The Pricing of Electronic Information

1998

US

Commerce Dunn Confronting the Future of the Information Industry

1998

Israel

Commerce Feiler Open and Personal: Economic Intelligence in the Middle East

1998

US

Commerce Horowitz Economic Espionage and OSINT: Legal and Security Implications

1998

US

Commerce Stara Valuing Competitive Intelligence

1998

US

Commerce Yankeelov Pushing the Assets of Time and Knowledge

1997

BE

Commerce Borry & Sohl Electronic Sources & Methods: A Belgian Business Perspective

1997

US

Commerce Suggs International Trade & Commerce Intelligence Search Strategies (Slides)

1997

US

Commerce Suggs International Trade & Commerce Intelligence Search Strategies (Text)

1996

US

Commerce Bates Recent and Emerging Trends in Information Brokering

1996

US

Commerce Call Realities & Myths Regarding Financial Research Using Open Sources

1996

US

Commerce Kolb (SCIP) Sales Pitch for the Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals

1996

US

Commerce Sibbit Emerging Business Models for Commercial Remote Sensing

1996

US

Commerce Steele Concise Directory of Selected International Open Sources & Services

1996

US

Commerce Steele Open Source Intelligence Handbook, Chapter 1, Overview

1995

US

Commerce Herring Business Intelligence in Japan and Sweden: Lessons for the US

1995

US

Commerce Herring Intelligence to Enhance American Companies’ Competitiveness

1995

US

Commerce Herring Using the Intelligence Process to Create Competitive Global Advantage

1995

US

Commerce Simon & Blixt Emerging Issues in Competitive Intelligence

1994

US

Commerce Basch Secrets of the Super-Searchers: A Personal and Practical Perspective

1994

Switz

Commerce Bernhardt Tailoring Competitive Intelligence to Executive Needs

1994

UK

Commerce Collier Global Information Industry and a New Information Paradigm

1994

US

Commerce Himelfarb Introduction to Competitive and Business Intelligence

1994

US

Commerce Kelly ASIDIC Perspectives & Its Contributions to National Competitiveness (S)

1994

US

Commerce Kelly ASIDIC Perspectives & Its Contributions to National Competitiveness (T)

1994

US

Commerce Marcinko Association of Information and Dissemination Centers, Case Studies

1994

US

Commerce Shaker Beating the Competition: From Boardroom to War Room

1994

US

Commerce Shaker & Rice From War Room to Board Room

1994

US

Commerce Sharp How to Identify Changes that Threaten Your Business Activity, In Advance

1994

US

Commerce Stanat The Power of Global Business Information

1994

US

Commerce Steele Germany: ACCESS:  Theory and Practice of Competitor Intelligence

1994?

US

Commerce Steele ASIDIC: Intelligence Community as a New Market

1993

US

Commerce Caldwell International Investigative Market (Slides)

1993

US

Commerce Caldwell International Investigative Market (Text)

1993

SE

Commerce Dedijer Europe’s To BI or not to BE: Inventory of a New Business Innovation

1993

US

Commerce Elias An Overview of the Information Industry in 1993

1993

AU

Commerce Fraumann Business is War

1993

US

Commerce Herring Business Intelligence: Some Have It, Some Don’t–How They Do It

1993

US

Commerce Himelfarb Intelligence Requirements for Executives

1993

US

Commerce Monaco & Gerliczy Economic Intelligence and Open Source Information

1993

JP

Commerce Shima Overview of Japanese Media and Information Systems

1993

US

Commerce Splitt The U.S. Information Industry: Changing the 21st Century

1993

US

Commerce Steele Corporate Role in National Competitiveness

1993

US

Commerce Steele The Intelligence Community as a New Market

1992

US

Commerce Hlava Information Industry Corporations (Partial Listing)

1992

US

Commerce Hlava Selected Professional and Trade Associations in Information

1992

US

Commerce Hlava The Information Industry: Impact of Globalization

1992

US

Commerce Meyer Business Intelligence at the Cutting Edge

1992

US

Commerce Nobel From A to Z: What We’ve Done with Open Sources

1992

US

Commerce Shaker & Kardulias Intelligence Support to U.S. Business

1992

US

Commerce Williams OSINT to Create Intelligence in a Commercial Environment