After the smartphone, what business has the global scale (in terms of people and profits) that make it attractive for tech companies to turn their attention and capital towards? The answer, argues a16z’s Benedict Evans, is the automotive industry. Sure, cars are mobile — but what do our smartphones have to do with our rides? More than we might expect. MORE
Cars are going to change a lot in the next few decades. Electricity on one hand and software on the other change what a car is, how it gets made and who might own one. They might also change the key players. As is often the case when an industry is going to be turned upside-down, there are actually a number of separate things happening, which feed into each other and accelerate the pace of change…
It’s now pretty easy to look at a car and say “this should be a smartphone” — somehow. It also seems likely that the right way to do that is with software companies, not engineering companies, and that it should be driven by the software-powered device that you replace every two years and not the car that you replace every ten years. MORE
We have the privilege of meeting with thousands of entrepreneurs every year, and in the course of those discussions are presented with all kinds of numbers, measures, and metrics that illustrate the promise and health of a particular company. Sometimes, however, the metrics may not be the best gauge of what’s actually happening in the business, or people may use different definitions of the same metric in a way that makes it hard to understand the health of the business.
So, while some of this may be obvious to many of you who live and breathe these metrics all day long, we compiled a list of the most common or confusing metrics. Where appropriate, we tried to add some notes on why investors focus on those metrics. Ultimately, though, good metrics aren’t about raising money from VCs — they’re about running the business in a way where you know how and why certain things are working (or not), and can address or adjust accordingly. MORE
Google, eBay, even the web itself: In the beginning all of these things appeared as point products, interesting in their way, but small. Of course, they weren’t. “There is this swallow-the-red-pill moment that happens,” Marc Andreessen says, “Where you realize something really, really big is going to happen.” Andreessen joins Optimizely CEO Dan Siroker for a conversation about what’s most exciting in tech today: the spread of optimization tools, privacy trends, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, bitcoin, robotics, and more. All that, and why Donald Trump’s hair could use some A/B testing.
On behalf of the a16z team, I am excited to welcome Alex Rampell as our newest General Partner!
Alex’s knowledge and experience of tech startups is comprehensive and encyclopedic. His interests and areas of expertise include software, security, crypto, payments, e-commerce, advertising, marketplaces, fintech, and more. He also coined the now internationally recognized term of O2O (“online to offline”) in 2010, and is a frequent commentator on the current and future state of monetization.
Alex’s deep experience starting, running, and advising such a wide range of tech startups makes him ideally suited to coach and mentor the next generation of founders as a venture capitalist. MORE
How do you face down cancer? Get told you can’t get life-saving organ transplants, and go about getting them anyway? And in the middle of that mental and physical storm, how do you find the thing that you and only you were meant to do — and start building it? One person with answers is Jim Gilliam, the founder and CEO of NationBuilder, because that is what he had to do … all of it. It’s given Gilliam a clear philosophy on life, and on being a leader. And what he’s learned along the way, he says, is something everyone can tap into. MORE
As more and more of what we do for fun and work happens online, establishing identity becomes ever more critical. Whether it’s for dating or sending money, you want to trust that not only are you interacting with the person you think you are — but that your messages (or money) are in fact reaching the right person … and only them. What makes cryptography so hard to use? Surely there has to be a better way? MORE