Over the past decade, computing resources that were previously available only to large organizations became available to almost anyone. Using cloud-scale development platforms like Amazon Web Services, developers can write software that runs on hundreds or even thousands of servers, and do so relatively cheaply. But it is still difficult to write software that makes efficient use of this abundant computing…
Today, I am excited to announce that a16z is investing $20M in Improbable; its technology solves the parallelization problem for an important class of problems: anything that can be defined as a set of entities that interact in space. This basically means any problem where you want to build a simulated world…
Beyond gaming, Improbable is useful in any field that models complex systems . Think of simulations as the flip side to “big data.” Data science is useful when you already have large data sets. Simulations are useful when you know how parts of the system work and want to generate data about the system as a whole. MORE
It’s a common reflex in the USA to call Xiaomi and similar companies copycats, on both a hardware and software level, and there’s certainly a lot of design inspiration going on, but dismissing these phones as rip-offs is rather lazy… We now appear to have at least a couple of Chinese companies doing what was supposed not to be possible – low-margin companies using commodity components and a commodity OS, yet achieving differentiation in design, software and services. Looking at China always challenges your assumptions about what’s inevitable in technology. Hardware companies doing good software and UI? Commodity box-shifters learning design? How far might that spread?
This shift in what handsets might look like also has a broader implication: the spread of new types of Android OEM might change Google’s control of Android… The growth of smaller operators pursuing different models, with no existing base of sales and hence nothing to fear from Google ban, may mean more experiments with forks. Xiaomi and its imitators point to a new potential model to differentiate (and note that Xiaomi is not a fork), and Cyanogen (an a16z portfolio company) offers the tools to do it… we may start seeing a lot less uniformity in how Android comes to market, and what it looks like. MORE
Diane Greene — who is on the boards of Google and Intuit — has some golden rules when it comes to serving on boards. No 1: “You don’t want to tell them how to do strategy, whether it’s a big company or a small company,” she says. “That’s not your job. Your job as a director is to ask questions.” Lots of questions. In this segment of the a16z Podcast, a16z’s Marc Andreessen and VMware co-founder and former CEO Diane Greene have a candid conversation about their experiences on boards from the perspective of both company founders and board directors. MORE
Finding, nurturing, and matchmaking great talent is central to what we do at a16z. We’re always on the lookout for the best people in technology, from engineers and product geniuses to executives of all stripes. Since some of the sharpest talent is often overlooked, especially in the boardroom, we want to build the highest caliber and most extensive network of prospective board candidates in the Valley — just as we have with our other talent networks. MORE
Of the 371 board seats that opened up last year (within Fortune 500 companies that is), 39% ended up going to first-time board members. So how did they pull it off? What are some strategies for landing your first board seat — especially if you don’t fit the typical ‘profile’ of the other board members? MORE
Without a file system, modern computers would not operate. At some point, all I/O and most data on a computer finds its way into a file system — making it one of the most indispensable system software components.
File systems have always been designed for a disk-drive-centric storage environment. It’s a fundamental paradigm that has existed since the beginning of computing. But the world is changing. As we confront unprecedented amounts of data, much of it in real-time, there is a shift from disk-centric to memory-centric computing. We can reliably predict, with the cost of system memory decreasing, that memory for both storage and compute will be the exact same thing.
This shift to memory-centric computing requires an entirely new file and storage system. And that’s where Tachyon comes in to play. MORE