Venture Capital Investor Uses Rap to Teach Business Lessons

Movies & TV

By: Vibe / February 20, 2012

Ben Horowitz, venture capital investor in Silicon Valley, has been using rap lyrics to explain business lessons to techs.

He first discovered the relevance of rap to technical issues after he began incorporating lyrics in business lessons as a chief executive. He actively does this through his blog where he has garnered a following of readers as a result. In addition, he has been able to use his lyric-driven explanations to bring together cultures in the diversity-lacking area of Silicon Valley.  Readers feel as though his posts bridge the gap between cultures. His blog’s relatable content allows them to feel as though they do in fact have a place in Silicon Valley.

Along with Marc Andreessen, co-founder of Netscape, Horowitz began the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, which found success through investing in companies such as Skype and Groupon as well as raised $1.5 million in capital.

Horowitz uses lyrics to reach techs in ways that books cannot. “The hard part is how you feel,” he told the New York Times. “Rap helps me connect emotionally.”

He was able to use Rakim lyrics when he found it difficult to explain why his firm would rather  stick with founding chief executives instead of ones that were just hired. He incorporated the song “Follow the Leader,” where Rakim raps “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 help him express the idea that people who started something genuinely care more while those who didn’t are more profit-driven. 

“Because it’s Rakim, and he’s like the greatest rapper of all time, he could fit into two sentences what it took me three pages to explain,” said Horowitz.

His posts have ultimately led to speaking appearances such as the Congressional Black Caucus where he discussed the Internet’s ability to bring cultures together and the role of American Americans in social media and mobile technology. –Jazmine Gray