Silicon valley icon Marc Andreessen explores investing, decision making, and the art of solving unsolvable problems.
In this discussion, Andreessen reveals why the Internet has become the conduit for some people to disrupt traditional power structures and for others to enforce them, optimistic and pessimistic scenarios for the future of the Internet, assessing judgment, and the book he turns to for insight.
Andreessen is a co-founder and general partner at the venture-capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, and has invested in companies such as Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Skype, among others. He co-created the highly influential Mosaic internet browser and co-founded Netscape, and has been named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time.
Here are a few highlights from the conversation:
It’s like, the way that power has been exercised in our society through these decades of mass systems has been basically people in conference rooms arguing with each other over control basically of these mass mechanisms.
And part of it is kids now are growing up on the internet in some fundamental way. And so we see kids now from all over the world who walk in and they are far more educated and skilled already to be able to do a startup or create new software or do any of these things than I was at their age, because they’ve learned on the internet.
What happens is you just as you age, you just naturally build up all of this scar tissue and you have all these cautionary lessons in your head all the time.
I used to say this to try to exaggerate to make the point, but now I don’t think I’m exaggerating, which is I no longer think there are any bad ideas.
The reality is the kids that make new things work from scratch, it actually turns out that they actually have been deep in the domain for a long time. In almost every case they’ve been thinking hard about the problem that they’re trying to solve.
…one of the ways to offset that is to quite literally have the mental model for how somebody else would think about the same situation. And in a way that’s not threatening to you.
- The WEIRDest People in the World by Joseph Henrich
- The Machiavellians: Defenders of Freedom by James Burnham
- The Revolt of The Public and the Crisis of Authority in the New Millennium by Martin Gurri
- The Ancient City by Numa Denis Fustel De Coulanges
- Men, Machines, and Modernity by Elting Morison
- The Square and the Tower by Niall Ferguson
- The Organization Man by William H. Whyte
- Orwell’ Revenge by Peter Huber.
- Thinking in Bets by Annie Duke
- 00:00 – Intro
- 02:13 – Why Marc “reads backwards” to understand the world
- 03:57 – Societies reaction to new technology
- 07:51 – How technology influences social hierarchy
- 16:00 – The idea of free information
- 17:48 – Optimistic side for the next ten years
- 23:00 – Pessimistic side for the next ten years
- 26:25 – How to not get burned from past failures
- 29:31 – How to extract the right lessons from an experience
- 34:13 – How do you assess the judgement of founders
- 38:40 – The three types of venture investments
- 42:23 – Decision making process a16z uses to make investments
- 47:44 – How probabilistic thinking can help you make great decisions
- 51:29 – The problem with the education system
- 59:28 – Political policy that encourages innovation?
- 01:06:10 – Mental Model of Elon Musk and others
- 1:12:10 – How to not become complacent
- 1:14:04 – The last book Marc re-read