Bill Gurley

updated 09 Feb 2023

Bill Gurley is a venture capitalist and general partner at Benchmark, a venture capital firm based in San Francisco. He is well known for his early investments in companies such as Uber, OpenTable, and Stitch Fix. Throughout his career, Gurley has been a thought leader in the technology industry and is highly respected for his insights and opinions on technology trends, startups, and venture capital. He has also been a prolific writer, having contributed articles to various publications and been a frequent speaker at technology conferences and events.


Bill Gurley is an avid twitter user that tweets about business and venture capital and can be found @bgurley.

Bill Gurley's Mental Models

Bill Gurley is known for his use of mental models, which are simplified frameworks that help people understand complex problems and make better decisions. He has talked about the importance of mental models in his writing and speaking, and has recommended several specific mental models that he believes are particularly useful. Here are some of the mental models that Gurley has recommended:

  1. First Principles Thinking: This mental model involves breaking down complex problems into their component parts and understanding the underlying principles and mechanics at play.

  2. Network Effects: This mental model involves understanding how the value of a product or service increases as more people use it.

  3. Metcalfe's Law: This mental model states that the value of a network is proportional to the square of the number of users on the network.

  4. The Power Law: This mental model states that a small number of factors often dominate the outcome in complex systems.

  5. The 80/20 Rule: Also known as the Pareto Principle, this mental model states that roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.

  6. The Law of Large Numbers: This mental model states that as a sample size increases, the average of the sample converges towards the average of the population.

  7. The Economics of Two-Sided Markets: This mental model involves understanding the dynamics of markets where two different groups of people interact, such as a marketplace platform connecting buyers and sellers.

  8. Be Right and Be Contrarian: This mental model tells you that being right isn't enough, you need to be right about something others have wrong in order to have an edge in something.

These are just a few of the mental models that Bill Gurley has recommended. It's important to note that mental models are not universally applicable, and that each one should be used in the appropriate context.

Bill Gurley's Book Recommendations

Bill Gurley is known to be an avid reader and a strong advocate of lifelong learning. He has recommended a number of books over the years that he believes are valuable for entrepreneurs, investors, and anyone interested in technology and business. Here are some of the books that he has recommended:

  1. "The Lean Startup" by Eric Ries
  2. "Zero to One" by Peter Thiel
  3. "The Innovator's Dilemma" by Clayton Christensen
  4. "The Hard Thing About Hard Things" by Ben Horowitz
  5. "Good to Great" by Jim Collins
  6. "The Power of Intentional Leadership" by Fred Kofman
  7. "The Four Steps to the Epiphany" by Steve Blank
  8. "Blink" by Malcolm Gladwell
  9. "Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion" by Robert Cialdini
  10. "The Lean Entrepreneur" by Brant Cooper and Patrick Vlaskovits

Note that these are books that Gurley has recommended in the past, and his opinions and recommendations may have changed over time.

Bill Gurley Interview with Tim Ferris

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