Lessons from Ben Horowitz – By @dennis_engel87

Dennis Engel

By Dennis Engel


Lessons from Ben Horowitz


Hello SCAB – Reader, 

Today I thought I would reflect on an interesting talk that I watched yesterday from Ben Horowitz ( A lot of the interesting things Horowitz mentions in his talk can easily be applied as a creative too. 
So here is my summary of the most important points:
Andreessen Horowitz is a  is a $4 billion venture capital firm, founded in 2009 by Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz. The company is headquartered in Menlo Park, California.

How can large companies innovate?

1. We’re not in the business of good ideas. We are in the business of good ideas that seem like bad ideas. 
– Longer battery life in a cell phone etc.. are not great innovations. They do not create long product cycles, because good ideas that look like good ideas are too obvious. 
This also applies to advertising. If your inside / SMP / strategy is too obvious your are less likely to create a long living, interesting communication circle to reach relevant content for your audience.  
2. You need to know a secret
– as John mentioned in his masterclass about Insides – the easiest way to figure out if you have a big, innovative idea is to asked yourself if this idea is a secret or if it has been done before. 
3. A lot of the most successful companies | advertising can be applied to this principle:
Airbnb was born out of the idea to rent out an air mattress blown up in a room to rent out for some money. 
Does this idea sounds like it would become one of the biggest sharing economies in the world?
– Who thought that a tv spot for Cadbury ( that shows a gorilla drumming to Phil Collins would become part of modern culture and one of the most celebrated advertisings. 
4. Don’t kill your bad ideas
– It’s harder for big companies to innovate, than for smaller businesses. It’s not a lack of innovative ideas. Large companies are just really good in killing bad ideas because they have limited resources and are less likely to take risks.
This is also the disadvantage of our industry and one reason why there is so much sh**ty advertising out there. The best ideas a born due to a combination of brave clients and incredible creative and motivated people. 
5. Creative master-minds are gifted in having the authority to override the innovation-killing process. 
– Mark Zuckerberg bought Instagram for around 1 billion dollar and he didn’t developed it. 
– Larry Page accomplished Android without coming up with the idea. 
– Steve Jobs didn’t come up with the idea of the iPad. 
But they all truly believed in those ideas and kept on developing them. 
6. Putting the old content on a new medium with no changes is NOT innovative.
When the New York Times like many other newspapers moved into the digital sector they even kept the columns of the original newspaper on the website, which wasn’t really a great UX move. 
Buzzfeed understood the secret inside that your costumers don’t longer come to you. You have to go to the costumers. 
Where would Buzzfeed be without it’s amazing job creating world class targeted content, SEO and distribution strategy? They understood the change of content delivery. 
Cheers Dennis 

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