We embraced speaking directly to our audience — from the builders of the future to the tech-curious — right as the firm was started in 2009. It started out with blogging about why we invested in a founder/founding team. Initially, we did this because we wanted to share the reputational risk with the entrepreneurs. The tradition back then was that most investors would only “market” their companies publicly at the exit when there was reputational upside, along with the money. Entrepreneurs liked that we stuck our necks out right alongside them, when the outcome was the most uncertain and their reputational risk the highest! It was an easy call for us: they were doing all the hard work. And let’s be real, we didn’t have a long list of successful exits to rest on. So we were in the very same boat!
We expanded from blogging about our thoughts on investments to general partners writing about general tech topics (like AI/enterprise, bio, crypto, fintech, marketplaces, and more) and company building topics, including Ben writing his first book. If we got the same question from entrepreneurs and their teams over and over, time to blog about it! If we found ourselves with a unique point of view, we would share it, as in Software is Eating the World.
Having this direct channel to express our thinking was powerful: Entrepreneurs felt that we “got” them, their tech, and their industries. Big companies found it was useful to learn about the new technologies and trends, as well as how these newfangled modern companies were being built.
Not one of us recalls exactly who came up with the podcast back in 2014… No matter, we started a podcast. It was a lot of experimenting and trying out different things. Then Sonal joined and made it into the powerhouse that it is today. The response was just as powerful and positive as with our posts. In fact, it expanded the audience globally and far beyond the tech community. Just one example is a United States senator contacted us saying he was going to draft legislation based on a podcast he heard and wanted to meet the entrepreneur who promoted the idea. It has worked so well that we now have a growing network of podcasts.
People want to learn about the future. If Software really is Eating the World, there needs to be a place that is dedicated to explaining and tracking it.
So we are doing just that: we are building a new and separate media property about the future that makes sense of technology, innovation, and where things are going — and now, we’re expanding and opening up our platform to do this on a much bigger scale. We want to be the go-to place for understanding and building the future, for anyone who is building, making, or curious about tech.
My talented colleagues at a16z will continue to share their perspectives on various domains, but we don’t have a monopoly on great ideas. So we are inviting outside voices to join the effort: fellow builders, experts, thinkers, up-and-comers, investors, please tell us about your ideas! This, of course, has long been the case with our podcasts, and we’re now opening that approach to everything we do, from op-eds and written pieces to newsletters, videos, and more.
Our lens is rational optimism about technology and the future. We believe that it’s better to be alive after the industrial revolution than in an agrarian society. I say this with conviction as I grew up on a pig farm! Living through a pandemic has not been fun at all, but try doing it without technology.
This means we’re hiring!
I’m thrilled to announce that we have made one very important new hire already, and that is the executive editor: Maggie Leung. Hiring for this particular position was a super tall order. The list of must-haves is long: a proven builder, a critical thinker, a person who can hire and inspire a team, oh, and someone with strong journalistic chops. Maggie checks all these and then some! She joins us from NerdWallet, where she built an entire content operation of 90+ pros, from scratch. Before that, Maggie spent more than 20 years in daily news, including stints at the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and as a senior editor at CNN. Simply put, when you find someone like Maggie, you have to work with them.
And of course Maggie is joining our outstanding editorial team, led by our wonderful managing editor Amelia Salyers, who hired many of the editors, and of course, the super-talented and incomparable Sonal Chokshi, who continues to guide our voice and editorial vision as our editor in chief. Every piece of content you see or hear has been shaped and edited by the editorial team.
We’ll be launching our expanded effort into contributed pieces later this year, with more announcements to come before then, so sign up below to get notified. And of course, please keep checking our jobs page for current openings.