Silicon Valley venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz just announced that it’s hired another special advisor.
It’s Ken Coleman, the former CEO of ITM.
Coleman has had a long career in the Valley, with stops at Hewlett-Packard, Activision, and Silicon Graphics.
He’s met a lot of important people along the way.
For example, 26 years ago, he hired Ben Horowitz into Silicon Graphics.
Or at least, one of Coleman’s reports did. Horowitz says Coleman was his “boss’s boss’s boss’s boss.”
Despite the huge gap in responsibilities, Coleman availed himself as a mentor to Horowitz.
Now, Horowitz has asked Coleman to do the same thing for a new generation of Valley talent.
Horowitz says that’s one way Andreessen Horowitz strives to differentiate itself from the many other Valley VC firms: “through superior mentorship.”
Yesterday, we go the two on the phone for a minute.
We asked a bunch of questions.
The one that got the most interesting answer was “What’s the biggest, most common mistake Startup CEOs make managing?”
One big mistake that startup CEOs make is assumptions about people from different backgrounds.
If you’re an engineer, it’s very easy to assume all your employees are like engineers culturally, and that your human resources design will be the same across the company. Sales guys are very different from engineers.
[Sometimes CEO don’t understand that] this is a people business. What’s important is…getting the people thing right. Hiring the right people. Having an ability to make a change that hurts someone’s feelings.