a16z Podcast

a16z Podcast: The Internet Is Your Movement

Jim Gilliam and Ben Horowitz

Posted December 11, 2016

Clearly disruption plays out not just in business but also in politics. Whether it was the Scottish national party, recent election campaigns, or local school boards, people grew and organized communities online all last year through NationBuilder — which provided a software platform for those otherwise underserved from an established technology perspective (hence the disruption theory reference).

Harnessing the energy of communities goes beyond politics though, to all kinds of movements. But what happens when people remain in filter bubbles on the internet — the very internet that NationBuilder CEO Jim Gilliam famously called his “religion”? What happens when that religious fervor or energy can be… “rabid”-like? Especially in a context where money, media, and other traditional institutions might not have the same impact or control they once did?

“The internet can reflect back whatever it is that we want it to — and we need more leaders to step up and say, ‘Look, this is the way that I want it to be’,” argues Gilliam in this episode of the a16z Podcast in conversation with Ben Horowitz (based on a session recorded at our recent a16z Summit event). Movements, it seems, are really about leadership, and the future is not written yet as people create new models of voice and choice.

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The a16z Podcast discusses the most important ideas within technology with the people building it. Each episode aims to put listeners ahead of the curve, covering topics like AI, energy, genomics, space, and more.

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