Teenage siblings Ima, Asha and Caleb Christian from Atlanta, Georgia join Ben Horowitz for a discussion about the motivation and origins of their new app, Five-O. In the aftermath of the tragedy in Ferguson, Missouri, the young developers built Five-O as a tool to rate and document interactions — good and bad — with the police. Ben and the Five-O team discuss the origins and technical underpinnings of the app. Rapper Nas makes an appearance, offering his own experience with the police, and why efforts like Five-O work towards a solution that both citizens and police should get behind.
“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.
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.
Open source software has permeated practically every nook of the software world. The biggest companies and largest-scale systems all lean heavily on open source code. Yet, with the exception of Red Hat, no one has built a great business on top of open source software. That’s because what companies should be selling isn’t necessarily the software, or even support, says a16z’s Peter Levine, but a service that leverages open source. One example of such a service is DigitalOcean, which has built a cloud environment tailored to the needs of developers. DigitalOcean CEO and cofcounder Ben Uretsky joins Levine from his New York City HQ for a discussion about open source-as-a-service, how companies of all sizes should think about leveraging open source, and whether we’ll start to see a slew of specialized clouds geared toward different verticals.
a16z’s Peter Levine goes deeper into the changing nature of the data center with Yoram Novick, CEO of Maxta, and Florian Leibert, CEO of Mesosphere. Does ARM architecture, the foundation of the chips in practically every mobile phone, have what it takes to displace X86 processors in the data center? Is the private cloud — effectively a company operating its own data center — dead, or will a hybrid public/private cloud model dominate? Given all the upheaval in the data center how do startups fit into the equation, and how are they competing today with legacy technologies and companies?