High Output Management

Andy’s Grove’s High Output Management was first recommended to me by Aaron Levy when I met him at WWDC14 and has influenced the management styles of tech entrepreneurs like Ben Horowitz, Mark Zuckerberg and many others. The book teaches entrepreneurs the importance of systems design when we’re dealing with a system of human beings in a technology organization. Andy introduces management in the following equation:

A manager’s output = the output of his organization + the output of the neighboring organizations under his influence.

The reason it’s an essential book for product managers is because it provides the principles to manage through an output mindset rather than authority (which PM don’t have). Ultimately the book teaches that the key to survival of a company as well as your own career is by learning how to provide more value. Especially in a globalized world Andy encourages that you ask yourself the following questions when thinking about your career:

  • Are you adding real value or merely passing information along? How do you add more value?
  • Are you plugged into what’s happening around you? Or do you wait for supervisor or others to interpret whatever is happening?
  • Are you trying new ideas, new techniques, and new technologies and not just reading about them? 

The following tribute by Ben Horowitz talks more about the impact Andy Grove has made in Silicon Valley as a result of his writing in High Output Management:

The Man Who Built Silicon Valley: A Tribute to Andy Grove from Andreessen Horowitz on Vimeo.


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Zain Abiddin is an Entrepreneur & Product Manager. He is the founder and Product Manager of Chillik Media, a design led software agency based in San Francisco.

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