Messaging app WeChat tells us a lot about mobile and business in China. In a recent deep-dive primer on the WeChat phenomenon, a16z partner Connie Chan analyzed WeChat and the notion of app-within-apps, payments as a gateway drug, platforms vs portals, and what happens when utility is more important than being “social”. Wired senior writer David Pierce also describes the power of conversational messaging as the main interface, further arguing that “A great messaging app could be to the web browser what the browser was to the internet before it.”
So what happens when a messaging app essentially becomes an operating system for our lives? What conditions made the mobile, business, and cultural environment in China so ripe for a phenomenon like WeChat? How does voice change everything? And, let’s face it, what are the tradeoffs users (both consumer and business) as well as developers may have to make when one app does in fact rule an entire ecosystem? Connie and David discuss on this episode of the a16z Podcast. Plus what happens to loneliness, work-life balance, and more.