a16z Podcast

a16z Podcast: For Your Ears Only

Michael Morell, Matt Spence, and Hanne Winarsky

Posted May 16, 2017

When it comes to spycraft — or rather, “tradecraft,” as they say in the biz — what do the movies get right, and what do they get wrong? In this episode of the a16z Podcast, Michael Morell — former Deputy Director and twice-Acting Director of the CIA — talks all things tradecraft and tech with a16z partners Matt Spence and Hanne Tidnam.

What it is that the CIA really does? Is it a) James Bond, b) Maxwell Smart, c) Jason Bourne, or d) none of the above? For starters, it’s not at all about predicting what will happen — it’s figuring out what you need to know now to make the right decisions, asking the right questions, and reducing uncertainty. But that’s a tall order when you’re in the Situation Room advising the President — because there’s no such thing as zero uncertainty. So what makes the difference between a good analyst and a great one? How does technology affect tradecraft? And where do human spies come in?

This podcast was recorded as part of our (now-annual!) podcast road trip, in conjunction with the a16z Tech Policy Summit, in Washington, D.C.