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1. a16z Podcast: Blockchain vs/and Bitcoin

  • Published: 2015-11-11T04:26:02Z
  • By a16z
a16z Podcast: Blockchain vs/and Bitcoin

Blockchain without bitcoin? It's a debate as old as the cryptocurrency itself (which, to be honest, isn't that old). Given that bitcoin is not just a digital bearer instrument/token but is a network, a distributed ledger, a protocol, the question of separating blockchain from bitcoin isn't a moot one. Especially when you think of it analogously to voice over IP, but for financial services. So what is the financial services industry doing with this "money over IP"? Clearly many large business players are paying attention and trying to get ahead of disruption, by asking themselves exactly what their bitcoin/blockchain strategy is. Adam Ludwin shares what's happening here from his perspective as founder of Chain, an enterprise blockchain platform that partners with financial institutions to help them apply the technology to their markets. In this episode of the a16z Podcast, Ludwin covers what it's like merging the cultures of finance and tech; what's driving the recent bitcoin prices; why he believes in blockchain beyond bitcoin; whether there can be such a thing as private or permissioned blockchains; definitions of newer concepts like 'colored coins' and 'sidechains'; and more. Oh and what are the most interesting native apps, too.

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2. a16z

  • Published: 2015-07-28T18:01:24Z
  • By Noble M
a16z

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3. a16z

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4. a16z Podcast: Making Sense of Big Data, Machine Learning, and Deep Learning

  • Published: 2015-05-01T21:50:55Z
  • By a16z
a16z Podcast: Making Sense of Big Data, Machine Learning, and Deep Learning

"Machine learning is to big data as human learning is to life experience," says Christopher Nguyen, the co-founder and CEO of big data intelligence company Adatao. Sure, but then, what IS big data? (especially as it's become a buzzword that captures so many things)... On this episode of the a16z Podcast, Nguyen puts on his former computer science professor hat to describe 'big data' in relation to 'machine learning' -- as well as what comes next with 'deep learning'. Finally, the former Google exec shares how Hadoop and Spark evolved from the efforts of companies dealing with massive amounts of real-time information; what we need to make machine learning a property of every application (why would we even want to?); and how we can make all this intelligence accessible to everyone.

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5. a16z Podcast: Ben and Marc Explain (Practically) Everything – Part 1

  • Published: 2014-08-25T20:00:31Z
  • By a16z
a16z Podcast: Ben and Marc Explain (Practically) Everything – Part 1

Around the firm we use “software eats the world” as a guide for how technology will impact every industry and every person – from education to healthcare and government. As a16z marks its five-year anniversary, we turned to the fellow who came up with the thesis, Marc Andreessen, to explain how it’s rippling around the globe. And to break down all the implications for building companies and managing people we tapped a16z's cofounder Ben Horowitz. With both “a” and “z” in the room, this segment takes stock of the technology industry and startup ecosystem – from entrepreneurs to investors, and where it’s all headed next. Part one of two.

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6. a16z Podcast: Cryptocurrencies, App Coins, and Investing in Protocols

  • Published: 2017-04-03T21:44:30Z
  • By a16z
a16z Podcast: Cryptocurrencies, App Coins, and Investing in Protocols

Most of us have probably heard of bitcoin and ethereum -- but did you know there were 15 new cryptocurrencies launched this past month alone? How then do we know which protocols to invest in -- not just as a developer or user, but as an investor? Because, let's face it, open source software and services need resources not just to survive but thrive. General partner Chris Dixon talks about this dynamic between open vs closed in this episode of the a16z Podcast in conversation with Sonal Chokshi and with Olaf Carlson-Wee, founder of (a16z investment) Polychain, a new kind of hedge fund that invests directly in cryptocurrencies at the protocol layer. But what does that actually mean? Instead of investing in the companies that are building on top of these protocols, Polychain invests in the protocols themselves -- in much the same way that you could have invested in domain names instead of early internet companies like Amazon in the early days (which most people actually didn't have access to do). Imagine if you could have bought equity in Linux! As people create application-specific tokens for these protocols (also known as “app coins”) to crowdfund and share equity in these networks, it's actually "bringing capitalism into open source" -- and could even one day lead to less centralized platforms and a web owned by users. It's also creating a whole new asset class... but whatever you do, do NOT try this at home!

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7. a16z Podcast: The Why, How, and When of Sales

  • Published: 2016-04-08T23:26:45Z
  • By a16z
a16z Podcast: The Why, How, and When of Sales

The hallmark of many great technical founder/CEOs is that they envision a better way of doing things, and that's why they're building a company that delivers on that better way, often disrupting the way things have always been done before. But this very mindset can backfire when it comes to sales. Why shouldn't they reinvent the sales process?? On this episode of the a16z Podcast -- with a16z's Mark Cranney (head of our sales and market development team), Lars Dalgaard, and Ben Horowitz -- we cover the why, how, and when of sales: why do we even need sales when "a really good product sells itself"; how to organize the sales function depending on what you're building (especially when what you're selling is continually changing); and when to bring on that first sales hire. Finally, how do we wrap our heads around sales culture, competition, and commissions in startups? It doesn't help when everyone in the company -- not just sales reps -- are the ones building the very thing you're selling ... so why the special rewards for sales? It isn't fair! Or is it? All this and more in this episode of the pod.

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8. a16z Podcast: Why Crypto Tokens Matter

  • Published: 2017-09-28T16:43:44Z
  • By a16z
a16z Podcast: Why Crypto Tokens Matter

with Chris Dixon and Fred Ehrsam We’ve already talked about why bitcoin matters. But as the set of cryptocurrencies — and networks and “tokens” enabled by the underlying blockchain — grow (Ethereum being one of the fastest-growing ones), where do we go from here? How do we tease apart the signal from the noise, given all the buzz and critiques out there? In this episode of the a16z Podcast, general partner Chris Dixon and Fred Ehrsam (former Goldman Sachs trader and a co-founder of Coinbase) break down the fundamentals of it all — from incentives, developer communities, and protocols, to new models of governance and the tradeoffs between centralized and decentralized systems (including central planning vs. letting a thousand experiments bloom). And then, given all the hype out there right now around crypto tokens and “ICOs”, how do we tell the difference between what’s promising/legitimate vs. a red flag? How could we value tokens? And what does it mean for incumbents when all the value that was created in the previous paradigm is being commoditized by the new one, and that value creation now has to happen at some new layer? At the end of the day, the key word through it all is incentives. And it’s a testament to the power of getting incentive structures right that someone pseudonymously dropping a 9-page whitepaper onto the internet led to a $70 billion cryptocurrency, a whole ecosystem of companies and users, and the largest supercomputer network in the world. Then again… isn’t that how innovation happens?

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9. a16z Podcast: Banking on the Blockchain

  • Published: 2016-05-10T05:56:36Z
  • By a16z
a16z Podcast: Banking on the Blockchain

Whether you think of it as a distributed ledger, decentralized database, computing infrastructure, open source/ software development platform, cryptocurrency, transaction platform, or financial services marketplace, the bitcoin blockchain is driven by two key features: that it is a peer-to-peer network, and that it unbundles trust. Imagine moving from Googling for things to offering proof-as-a-service instead (which itself begins with rethinking identity). In fact, there's a lot of parallels -- both in evolution and development -- with the blockchain and the internet before it. Only the blockchain doesn't need the web. And that has profound implications for what applications and new businesses are now possible, especially in financial services. But if "the worst place to develop a new business model is from within your existing business model", then how can banks move beyond mere process innovations to offering entirely new services built on the blockchain? Many financial institutions are trying to get ahead of the blockchain disruption by exploring it proactively, but how do they overcome the innovator's dilemma and looking at startups like animals in a zoo? In this episode of the a16z Podcast, William Mougayar, the author of the new book The Business Blockchain: Promise, Practice, and Application of the Next Internet Technology shares how traditional, established industries can overcome the innovator's dilemma in this case; what the future of banks might be; and what new applications, services, and startups are possible due to the features -- really, benefits -- of the blockchain. Because the blockchain, ultimately, is an innovation platform.

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10. a16z Podcast: Getting Network Effects

  • Published: 2016-07-15T22:43:33Z
  • By a16z
a16z Podcast: Getting Network Effects

One of the biggest misconceptions around network effects (which are one of the key dynamics behind many successful and highly defensible software companies) is confusing growth with engagement. So how does one tell the difference between viral growth and network effects? How does one create network effects in different businesses? (Hint: it's not by accident!) How do you know when to hang in there because you see signs of network effects or just drop it and move on to something else? And what are some examples of teasing all of the above apart? In this episode of the a16z Podcast -- based on an event we hosted and slide deck we released all about network effects -- a16z partners Anu Hariharan and Jeff Jordan (who cover all things marketplaces, consumer, and more) share (in conversation with Sonal Chokshi) their observations, insights, and experiences. Because, why reinvent the, er, flywheel?

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11. a16z Podcast: Artificial Intelligence and the 'Space of Possible Minds'

  • Published: 2015-11-15T11:25:37Z
  • By a16z
a16z Podcast: Artificial Intelligence and the 'Space of Possible Minds'

What is A.I. or artificial intelligence but the 'space of possible minds', argues Murray Shanahan, scientific advisor on the movie Ex Machina and Professor of Cognitive Robotics at Imperial College London. In this special episode of the a16z Podcast brought to you on the ground from London, Shanahan -- along with journalist-turned-entrepreneur Azeem Azhar (who also curates The Exponential View newsletter on AI and more) and The Economist Deputy Editor Tom Standage (the author of several tech history books) -- we discuss the past, present, and future of A.I. ... as well as how it fits (or doesn't fit) with machine learning and deep learning. But where are we now in the A.I. evolution? What players do we think will lead, if not win, the current race? And how should we think about issues such as ethics and automation of jobs without descending into obvious extremes? All this and more, including a surprise easter egg in Ex Machina shared by Shanahan, whose work influenced the movie.

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12. a16z Podcast: Software Programs the World

  • Published: 2016-07-11T00:45:35Z
  • By a16z
a16z Podcast: Software Programs the World

"All of a sudden you can program the world" -- it's the continuation of the software eating the world thesis we put out over five years ago, and of the trajectory of past and current technology shifts. So what are those shifts? What tech trends and platforms do we find most interesting on the heels of raising our fifth fund? Are we just building on and extending existing platforms though, or will there be new platforms; and if so, what will they be? Well, distributed systems for one... This episode of the a16z Podcast covers all things distributed systems -- encompassing cloud and SaaS; A.I., machine learning, deep learning; and quantum computing -- to the role of hardware; future interfaces; and data, big and small. Podcast guests Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz (in conversation with Scott Kupor and Sonal Chokshi) also share the one piece of advice from a management and go-to-market perspective that all founders should know. And finally, why simulations matter... and what do we make of our current reality if we are all really living in a simulation as Elon Musk believes?

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13. a16z Podcast: The (Definite) Optimism of Peter Thiel

  • Published: 2014-10-17T20:17:16Z
  • By a16z
a16z Podcast: The (Definite) Optimism of Peter Thiel

What is Silicon Valley’s greatest reigning monopoly? How did PayPal manage to emerge from the dotcom implosion? Can you build a great tech company and keep it private forever? And how did Elon Musk manage to wreck an uninsured, million-dollar car with Peter Thiel in the passenger seat speeding on the way to a VC meeting? Marc Andreessen and Thiel discuss all of it in a wide-ranging conversation that toggles off the topics in Thiel’s new book “Zero to One.”

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15. a16z Podcast: Pricing, Pricing, Pricing

  • Published: 2016-08-14T00:25:32Z
  • By a16z
a16z Podcast: Pricing, Pricing, Pricing

"Raise prices." Regular listeners of our podcast have heard this advice more than once. But why is this so key and yet so hard for many technical founders? And how should startups go about raising prices -- or more specifically, creating value -- for their products? In this episode of the a16z Podcast, former sales VP Mark Cranney (and head of a16z's EBC and go-to-market practice for startups) and former startup founder (and general partner focused on all things infrastructure) Martin Casado talk to managing partner Scott Kupor about pricing for startups ... especially for category-creating businesses. It's not all "pricing, pricing, pricing" though -- there's another important "p" in there too!

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16. a16z

  • Published: 2017-02-09T21:54:31Z
  • By Zom
a16z

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17. a16z Podcast: All About Microservices

  • Published: 2016-08-31T23:24:33Z
  • By a16z
a16z Podcast: All About Microservices

"Incremental change may be good theory, but in practice you have to have a big enough stick to hit everybody with to make everything move at once". So shares Adrian Cockcroft, who helped lead Netflix's migration from datacenter to the cloud -- and from monolithic to microservices architecture -- when their streaming business (the "stick"!) was exploding. So how did they -- and how can other companies -- make such big, bet-the-company kind of moves, without getting mired in fanatical internal debates? Does organizational structure need to change, especially if moving from a more product-, than project-based, approach? What happens to security? And finally, what happens to the role of CIOs; what can/should they do? Most interestingly: How will the entire industry be affected as companies not only adopt, but essentially offer, microservices or narrow cloud APIs? How do the trends of microservices, containers, devops, cloud, as-a-service/ on-demand, serverless -- all moves towards more and more ephemerality -- change the future of computing and even work? Cockcroft (who is now a technology fellow at Battery Ventures) joins this episode of the a16z Podcast, in conversation with Frank Chen and Martin Casado (and Sonal Chokshi) to discuss these shifts and more.

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18. a16z Podcast: Ben and Marc Explain (Practically) Everything – Part 2

  • Published: 2014-08-26T19:40:18Z
  • By a16z
a16z Podcast: Ben and Marc Explain (Practically) Everything – Part 2

The five-year anniversary segment with a16z founders Ben Horowitz and Marc Andreessen picks up with a discussion of Clayton Christensen's theories around disruption. Why Christensen's thinking is very much on the mark today, and how his theories help guide the firm in making decisions about what NOT to invest in. Ben offers one of the things he wished he had known as a young CEO, and Marc describes a trait that every great entrepreneur possesses. Part two of two.

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19. a16z Podcast: Principles and Algorithms for Work and Life

  • Published: 2018-04-21T23:23:00Z
  • By a16z
a16z Podcast: Principles and Algorithms for Work and Life

with Ray Dalio (@raydalio), Alex Rampell (@arampell), and Sonal Chokshi (@smc90) Can one really apply the lessons of history and of the past to the present and the future, as a way to get what they want out of life? By deeply understanding cause-effect relationships -- clearly expressed, shared with others, overlaid with data, back-tested, modified -- you can build a set of principles/algorithms/recipes for dealing with the realities of your life, observes Ray Dalio in this episode of the a16z Podcast (in conversation with a16z general partner Alex Rampell and Sonal Chokshi). Dalio's book Principles: Life and Work originated as an internal company document that was posted online years ago and has been shared widely since; he is the founder, chairman, and co-chief investment officer of Bridgewater Associates -- one of the top five private companies in the U.S., which manages over $150 billion and has made more money for clients than any other hedge fund. "Is this is a duck, how do I deal with ducks; or this is a species I haven't seen before, and how do I deal with that?" In other words, when you see a particular thing coming over and over again, you can know what you're seeing and how to act on it. But what about timing, which is a huge factor when it comes to making various bets and decisions in both work and life? And what if a phenomenon is entirely new and hasn't been seen before (is there such a thing), and also, how do we avoid an overly pattern-matching/ pattern-recognition trap? Having a framework can still help -- even if the phenomena don't have a clear set of rules like chess -- because we can understand why things might be different. Knowing that is important, argues Dalio. The conversation covers everything from the differences between private and public investing, and between startups and big companies -- to how people, teams, organizations, and even nation-states can evolve through principles like "believability-weighted idea meritocracies" and more. But... can adults really change? What are the differences between the two you's, and between closed-minded and open-minded people, and how do they play out across the roles of a "teacher", "student", or "peer" in organizations of varying scale? It's not as obvious as you might think, and knowing how you know -- and what we don't know -- can help.

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