a16z Podcast

a16z Podcast: Building Marketplaces with the Power of Community

Emile Petrone, Julia Grace, and Boris Wertz

Posted September 15, 2014


There are great examples of communities helping to grow and solidify online marketplaces. eBay in its early days certainly leveraged the power of community to bring buyers and sellers onto its platform. Today, companies like Etsy, Uber, and Airbnb are turning toward community for new ideas and new customers. But how do you build community, and how do you balance the needs of the community and the needs of the business? Or to put it another way, how do you simultaneously give up control and maintain control? Andreessen Horowitz board partner Boris Wertz – who built his own community while running Abe Books – is joined by Tindie’s CEO Emile Petrone and head of engineering Julia Grace to pick apart the notion of community. Can it be engineered? How much leverage do you give your “super-users,” and for some businesses is community even necessary?