An Internet news outlet is asking a lot of people I know, and some I don’t, what I’ve been up to lately. Lord knows what they’ll ultimately publish, so I thought I’d just write this instead.
We are in my 14th year of working to build our venture firm, Andreessen Horowitz. The overwhelming credit for a16z’s accomplishments goes to Ben and all our partners, but I do what I can to contribute. We are about to pass 500 employees, we’ve dramatically expanded our investing scope, and we’ve implemented an entirely new operating model on the other side of COVID. I could not be more proud of the firm and our colleagues, and we’re just getting started.
I work extensively with our many portfolio companies and their teams—some where I’m on the board, but many where I’m not but can scrub in at key times, usually either when things are going really right or really wrong. I am stunned daily by the creativity and courage of our founders, and I love working with all of them.
I spend much of the rest of my time helping to evaluate and close new investments. Most of the new investments a16z makes are not led by me, but I often partner with my colleagues to land new deals, and I occasionally lead an investment with a founding team I particularly connect with. I am currently on 12 boards, 9 private and 3 public, and try to always have at least one slot open for the next big thing.
Mainly I try to learn a lot. For example, the political events of 2014-2016 made clear to me that I didn’t understand politics at all, so I deliberately withdrew from political engagement and fundraising and instead read my way back in history and as far to the political left and political right as I could. I’ll list some books I’ve found particularly interesting at the end.
I keep up something of a public presence. I go back and forth on the virtues and faults of a daily social media presence. I write on occasion, and talk to interesting people in public. You may enjoy these recent podcasts:
After a surreal 2020, my family and I almost left California. In fact, we bought property in Las Vegas and almost bought in Manhattan, but decided to stay and double down on California instead. We rationalize our decision as choosing to live in the ruins of a once great civilization—like Rome in maybe 250 AD, we live amidst an enormous flowering of culture and creativity, but the roads are becoming unsafe and nobody is quite sure why.
The single best book I have found on who we are and how we got here:
Together, the best explanation for the current structure of our society and politics:
Four books on the Spanish Civil War, which was the trial run for the hundred years of Western history that followed:
Six books on the deep history of the American right:
Comprehensive biographies of Adolf Hitler:
Six books on the deep history of the American left:
A comprehensive biography and a key chronicle of Vladimir Lenin:
On the French Revolution:
Two books on fascism and anti-fascism:
A brilliant book on the nature of mass movements and collective psychology:
The definitive work on intellectual life under totalitarianism:
The definitive work on practical life under totalitarianism:
Books on the evolution of modern culture and civic religion:
Two more books on who we are and how we got here, one on culture, the other on genetics:
Two of Thomas Sowell’s many brilliant books on how our current politics and culture came to be:
A sobering reexamination of how democratic governments actually make decisions:
On the country and culture the United States is evolving into, not necessarily decline, but something very different:
Three books on the philosophical underpinnings of our time:
Two books on the nature of the public intellectuals who lead our society: