In a world that spits HTML code more often than the G-code (that’s gangsta code for all of you non-rappers out there), entrepreneur-turned-investor Ben Horowitz is giving Silicon Valley some serious street cred. Horowitz uses rap lyrics as a way to teach tech entrepreneurs about tough business challenges. Why use rap? Horowitz says rap gives him a way to express emotionality in what can sometimes be a stiff business world. Plus, the rhymes are short and catchy, which enables him to boil down a central idea into a few clever phrases. For instance, when asked why he prefers funding founding CEO’s over executives hired into a company, he uses 90’s-emcee Rakim’s lyrics, “You’re just a rent-a-rapper, your rhymes are minute-maid; I’ll be here when it fade to watch you flip like a renegade,” to explain entrepreneurs care more about something they’ve built up themselves.
Techies and executives alike are taking notice of Horowitz’s ability to connect cultures that don’t frequently come in contact with each other. It is no secret most of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs are Caucasian, but Horowitz offers up a different platform for understanding and thriving in the tech-business, one accessible to business leaders of all backgrounds.
Nice job, Mr. Horowitz—your enthusiasm and drive to invent creative avenues to share your knowledge with people from a diversity of experiences is admirable. Keeping that ambition can lead to great innovation, or as my favorite rapper Jay-Z so eloquently states (when rapping about how he stays on top of the game) “[I] treat my last like my first and my first like my last and my thirst the same as – when I came.”