“Probably one of the most challenging things to learn while you are out there is how macroeconomics impact markets, and how private funding can change, very, very rapidly. At Opsware and LoudCloud it was incredibly difficult to go from a funding environment where basically there were the highest multiples in the history of anything, to there was no money available – period.” — Ben Horowitz
“To be against disruption is to be pro the status quo. And to be pro the status quo means however the world is today that is as good as it’s ever going to get. The disruption argument is that things can become much better. Products can be much better, businesses can be much better, opportunities for people can be much better.” — Marc Andreessen
The five-year anniversary segment with a16z founders Ben Horowitz and Marc Andreessen picks up with a discussion of Clayton Christensen’s theories around disruption. Why Christensen’s thinking is very much on the mark today, and how his theories help guide the firm in making decisions about what NOT to invest in. Ben offers one of the things he wished he had known as a young CEO, and Marc describes a trait that every great entrepreneur possesses. Part two of two.
“In 2014 we ought to be at the point where everybody can get basic shelter, transportation, education and other services without bankrupting the country.” — Ben Horowitz
“It’s basically prime-time now, and in the next five years, to think about every business, every industry and every field and say, how can we reinvent it?” — Marc Andreessen
Around the firm we use “software eats the world” as a guide for how technology will impact every industry and every person – from education to healthcare and government. As a16z marks its five-year-anniversary, we turned to the fellow who came up with the thesis, Marc Andreessen, to explain how it’s rippling around the globe. And to break down all the implications for building companies and managing people we tapped a16z’s cofounder Ben Horowitz. With both “a” and “z” in the room, this segment takes stock of the technology industry and startup ecosystem – from entrepreneurs to investors, and where it’s all headed next. Part one of two.
Fashion, function or just a fad? Wearable technology is getting huge amounts of attention from companies of every size and stripe. Consumers are slapping on fitness bands, experimenting with smart watches and trying on jewelry that syncs with their smart phones. Christina Mercando, CEO and co-founder of Ringly, which fits in the fashion/jewelry segment of wearables, joins a16z’s Chris Dixon in a discussion about this emerging technology segment. What is working today, and where things are headed in wearables.
I was introduced to Paula Long the CEO of DataGravity about the same time I arrived at a16z (nearly four years ago). Every time a new storage deal was pitched to us, I would call Paula to get her thoughts. Given my own background in storage and systems software, I was blown away at Paula’s depth and knowledge in the space. Not only did she articulate every technical nuance of the project we discussed, she had an uncanny feel for what was likely to happen in the future.
Paula casually rattled off every company doing similar things, price and performance of solid-state storage, file systems, volume managers, device drivers, block interfaces, meta data, NAS, SAN, objects, and security. It was enough to make my head spin, yet she analyzed every situation with a clarity that I had never seen before. I had known Paula as the founder of EqualLogic (her prior storage company acquired by Dell for $1.4 billion in 2008), but her insight and wisdom about everything storage far exceeded that of anyone I had met. When she came to me with her own ideas for a new storage company there was no hesitation. Betting on Paula would result in something really special. MORE
Jim Barksdale in the run-up to the Netscape IPO told potential investors that you can make money in software in two ways: bundling and unbundling. Benedict Evans and Steven Sinofsky revisit that thesis in the context of a mobile app world — how Facebook for example, is unbundling itself, while at the same time Baidu is bundling everything together as fast as it can. How and why Barksdale’s thesis is very much alive and well in the mobile world. All that, and the proper use of “fissiparousness” in a sentence.