The odds of women finding a board seat in the Fortune 500 are slim, but Gerri Elliott devised a plan of attack and found her way.
If you look at the Fortune 500, roughly 200 to 300 board seats open up each year. Now consider the thousands of senior executives across industries jockeying for those seats. The competition is beyond fierce, especially if you have never served on a big public company board before. And it’s especially difficult for women. MORE
Software, and the billions of transistors that power it, has brought about massive change to all kinds of industries, but none more so than the news business. Today, distribution doesn’t come from the back of trucks, but from Facebook, Twitter, and all across the social web. Relationships with readers and viewers have become a two-way conversation. It’s not news that the traditional business model of news has come under extreme pressure, but there is growing evidence that the reach of media outlets — and in many ways the opportunity — has never been greater. In today’s unending news cycle, the latest story, video or graphic is only a tap away from a potential audience of billions around the world. Andreessen Horowitz’s Margit Wennmachers leads a conversation about the road ahead for good journalism and the business of news with Claire Cain Miller from the New York Times, Alexis Madrigal from The Atlantic, and CNET’s Connie Guglielmo.
Jonah Peretti is building BuzzFeed to “inform, inspire and entertain” in a world where news and entertainment is increasingly passed around on social networks and consumed on smartphones. Chris Dixon, who is on the board of BuzzFeed as part of Andreessen Horowitz’s recent investment in the startup, sat down with Peretti to talk about building a media company from scratch. If editorial success is driven by digital word-of-mouth, and mountains of data about what people like to read and watch, what does Peretti do differently? Why do BuzzFeed’s lists work so well? Does video finally make financial sense? And why, even if it’s a traffic monster now, is Peretti not religious about any particular format — including lists. (For more on Dixon’s take on the media business, and BuzzFeed’s “full stack” approach check out this recent post.)
Standing in Cupertino last week, holding an Apple watch in my hand, I was reminded very much of the original iPad launch. Here is an idea for a new thing, and the idea has been implemented very well, but it’s not quite clear if it’s a good idea.
If you wanted a nine inch touch-screen tablet, the iPad executed that idea pretty well, but did you want one? Was it a good idea? If you want a very small computer on your wrist, both Apple and Motorola (and perhaps Samsung, if that’s your taste) have each made one that’s pretty good, but do you want one? MORE
Nir Eyal and Product Hunt’s Ryan Hoover, the authors of “Hooked, How to Build Habit-Forming Products,” discuss the theory and practice of the book as the publish date of a new edition approaches. Nir lays out the four steps integral to any habit-forming product — trigger, action, reward, investment — and Ryan describes how those same steps apply to the fast-growing Product Hunt.
There are great examples of communities helping to grow and solidify online marketplaces. eBay in its early days certainly leveraged the power of community to bring buyers and sellers onto its platform. Today, companies like Etsy, Uber and Airbnb are turning toward community for new ideas and new customers. But how do you build community, and how do you balance the needs of the community and the needs of the business? Or to put it another way, how do you simultaneously give up control and maintain control? Andreessen Horowitz board partner Boris Wertz – who built his own community while running Abe Books – is joined by Tindie’s CEO Emile Petrone and head of engineering Julia Grace to pick apart the notion of community. Can it be engineered? How much leverage do you give your “super-users,” and for some businesses is community even necessary?
Have we as a culture become expert at globalizing industries, but are we failing when it comes to truly world-changing technological breakthroughs? Is competition bad for business? Should you bother with creating the “nth” social network (the answer is no)? Chris Dixon and Blake Masters dig into these themes, plus “power laws” and the importance of secrets from Peter Thiel’s new book with Masters, “Zero to One.” Dixon tries to pry a secret from Masters, but they aren’t called “secrets” for nothing.