The “three rules of snakes”

In What You Do Is Who You Are: How to Create Your Business Culture, Ben Horowitz shares this anecdote from his years with the Netscape organization. After Jim Barksdale became the new CEO, he introduced his way of thinking this way:

“We have three rules here at Netscape. The first rule is if you see a snake, don’t call committees, don’t call your buddies, don’t form a team, don’t get a meeting together, just kill the snake.

“The second rule is don’t go back and play with the dead snake. Too many people waste too much time on decisions that have already been made.

“And the third rule of snakes is: all opportunities start out looking like snakes.”

According to Horowitz, “Once people realized that killing the snake was much more important than how we killed it, our new culture unleashed a flurry of creative energy.”

Who You Are Is What You Do will be published by HarperBusiness on October 29, 2019.


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