Monday’s Headlines: Venture Capitalist Culls Rap Lyrics for Business Lessons

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Silicone Valley venture capital investor Ben Horowitz is know as the classic tech geek, except for the fact that the wildly successful entrepreneur whose venture firm Andreessen Horowitz has made successful bets on Groupon and Skype. He urges his blog readers to look to rap lyrics for business insights, according to a New York Times article. Horowitz told the paper that “The hard part [of business] is how you feel. Rap helps me connect emotionally.”

For example, when he had trouble explaining on his blog why his firm preferred founding chief executives over those hired to run companies, he turned to rapper Rakim to explain: “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.” 

“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,” Horowitz said.

He also uses rap lyrics to communicate with business partners.

One of the entrepreneurs that Andreessen Horowitz financed clashed with a disparaging board member. Mr. Horowitz advised the executive that he was being too deferential and needed to show his strength. He said he sent the executive “Scream on Em,” a rap song by The Game, because of its “super aggressive” lyrics — so aggressive that none can be printed in a family newspaper. “I couldn’t have explained what I was talking about quite right, but he called and said, ‘I’ve been listening to that song every day, and everything is better,’ ” Mr. Horowitz said.

 

Other News:

Lloyds is demanding repayment of bonuses after losses were later discovered. [WSJ]

The British banking software company Mistys -- in merger talks with Swiss rival Temenos --  has been approached by Vista Equity regarding a potential all-cash takeover. [DealBook]

Bank of America Corp. cut Chief Executive Officer Brian T. Moynihan’s compensation for 2011, granting him no cash bonus and freezing his salary. [Bloomberg]

WaMu won bankruptcy court approval for a $7 billion reorganization. [Businessweek]

Hedge fund manager Phil Falcone and his Harbinger Capital Partners were sued by a New York woman who claims she and others were misled about the fund’s decision to put most of the money they invested into LightSquared Inc. [Bloomberg]

Bank of Ireland has insisted it is making "substantial strides" restructuring its operations after full-year losses narrowed in 2011. [Telegraph]

Iceland's Financial Surveillance Authority fired its director following a report into his time as an executive at failed bank Landsbanki. [Reuters]

A lesson from an advisor cyber-victim. [Investment News]

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