Mention Patrick Byrne, the founder and CEO of Overstock.com, and you’ll elicit a strong opinion. In 2004, one hedge fund manager labeled Byrne the most hated man on Wall Street — a label he wears proudly.
Byrne started Overstock.com in 1999, and the online retailer has been through a lot of change in the intervening years. At the outset, Byrne didn’t want Overstock to be a technology company trying to get retail right, he wanted to be a retail company that was amplified by technology. Looking back, he says, he had the emphasis wrong — it should have been on technology.
Byrne has been focused on the technology side of things ever since, pushing Overstock further into the cloud, as well as becoming the first major online merchant to accept Bitcoin. Byrne joins this segment of the a16z Podcast to discuss the state of online retail, value investing in tech, and why he believes Bitcoin and the crypto revolution is bigger than the Internet.