Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Can Rap Teach Management?

"Investor Uses Rap to Teach Pithy Lessons In Business" . I must admit, the headline caught my eye. When I read that the investor in question was none other than venture capitalist Ben Horowitz, I knew I had to read the entire article, which ran in the The New York Times on Monday, February 20, 2012.

Horowitz is my favorite VC blogger (ben's blog). He always makes so much sense, gives excellent advice and writes very, very well. So it was quite fascinating to learn that he perceives rap lyrics as purveyors of sound business advice. Horowitz is a co-founder of Andreessen Horowitz.

He claims that rap lyrics help connect emotion with business because most of the songs are about business. The poetry is very direct. Themes in the songs include leadership, collaboration and vulnerability. Horowitz says he uses rap lyrics to make points. (see:   http://bhorowitz.com/2010/04/28/why-we-prefer-founding-ceos/). He also says it's good to connect rap culture with the culture of Silicon Valley. There are very few African American entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley.

Yet, when I mentored entrepreneurs as part of my work running the Small Business Resource Center at Norwalk Community College, I certainly worked with no shortage of African Americans. They were starting mostly low-tech businesses right around the time of the dot-com boom. I hope Horowitz is right and that rap can break through the cultural divide and provide sound business guidance to a very wide audience.

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