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1. 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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2. a16z

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

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3. 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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4. a16z Podcast: Messaging is the Medium

  • Published: 2015-04-03T19:33:20Z
  • By a16z
a16z Podcast: Messaging is the Medium

The potential to turn messaging into a platform is driving much of the excitement in mobile, says a16z’s Benedict Evans. It's a platform through which other apps flow (and where all the users get aggregated). Take for example Facebook's recent announcements, which put it right where it wants to be on the mobile phone -- in control. So what’s next in messaging? And what will Apple, Google, and other players like WeChat have to say about it?

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5. a16z

a16z

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6. a16z Podcast: The Marketplace Rules

  • Published: 2015-02-18T18:55:16Z
  • By a16z
a16z Podcast: The Marketplace Rules

Online marketplaces are growing much faster than e-commerce overall. Why is that? And what new kinds of marketplaces powered by the internet and mobile are we now seeing? a16z's Jeff Jordan and Anu Hariharan share their observations here and also explain what makes marketplace powered by software and reputation work -- as well as how to manage tensions, trust, and marketplace community reactions around change.

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7. a16z Podcast: Reinventing Insurance

  • Published: 2016-01-29T21:28:59Z
  • By a16z
a16z Podcast: Reinventing Insurance

Your homeowner’s insurance didn’t anticipate Airbnb. Your car insurance certainly didn’t see Lyft and Uber coming. And when your car drives itself, it’s anyone’s guess how the insurance industry will wrap its collective head around that one. a16z’s Frank Chen and Mike Paulus talk insurance on this segment of the pod. Yes, insurance. Insurance may not be the sexiest part of your life (hopefully), but because of the changes in how we move through the world -- literally and figuratively -- insurance is due for a reinvention. What are the possibilities for new and better insurance, and which technologies and trends are driving it.

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8. a16z Podcast: When Humanity Meets A.I.

  • Published: 2016-06-28T17:58:55Z
  • By a16z
a16z Podcast: When Humanity Meets A.I.

with Fei-Fei Li, Frank Chen, and Sonal Chokshi artificial intelligence automation & robotics coding literacy education machine & deep learning announcements autonomous cars computer vision in-residence Who has the advantage in artificial intelligence — big companies, startups, or academia? Perhaps all three, especially as they work together when it comes to fields like this. One thing is clear though: A.I. and deep learning is where it’s at. And that’s why this year’s newly anointed Andreessen Horowitz Distinguished Visiting Professor of Computer Science is Fei-Fei Li [who publishes under Li Fei-Fei], associate professor at Stanford University. Bridging entrepreneurs across academia and industry, we began the a16z Professor-in-Residence program just a couple years ago (most recently with Dan Boneh and beginning with Vijay Pande). Li is the Director of the Stanford Vision Lab, which focuses on connecting computer vision and human vision; is the Director of the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Lab (SAIL), which was founded in the early 1960s; and directs the new SAIL-Toyota Center for AI Research, which brings together researchers in visual computing, machine learning, robotics, human-computer interactions, intelligent systems, decision making, natural language processing, dynamic modeling, and design to develop “human-centered artificial intelligence” for intelligent vehicles. Li also co-created ImageNet, which forms the basis of the Large Scale Visual Recognition Challenge (ILSVRC) that continually demonstrates drastic advances in machine vision accuracy. So why now for A.I.? Is deep learning “it”… or what comes next? And what happens as A.I. moves from what Li calls its “in vitro phase” to its “in vivo phase”? Beyond ethical considerations — or celebrating only “geekiness” and “nerdiness” — Li argues we need to inject a stronger humanistic thinking element to design and develop algorithms and A.I. that can co-habitate with people and in social (including crowded) spaces. All this and more on this episode of the a16z Podcast.

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9. a16z Podcast: Getting Sales Right

  • Published: 2015-03-04T20:37:41Z
  • By a16z
a16z Podcast: Getting Sales Right

It may seem like good apps or services sell themselves. That's what the whole viral thing is all about, right? Wrong, says Daniel Shapero, who helped build LinkedIn's enterprise sales team from a small core group to more than 1,200 people all over the globe. Shapero joins a16z General Partner Peter Levine (an engineer who jumped into sales before taking on his first CEO gig, and who now also teaches a class on the topic at Stanford) to discuss the right way to build a sales organization -- from answering the basic question of why sales?, to hiring, compensation ... and the inevitable culture clash that occurs when salespeople and engineers meet.

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10. 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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11. 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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12. a16z Podcast: Taking the Pulse of VC and Tech -- Dan Primack Interviews Marc Andreessen

  • Published: 2015-06-18T15:51:25Z
  • By a16z
a16z Podcast: Taking the Pulse of VC and Tech -- Dan Primack Interviews Marc Andreessen

In this wide-ranging conversation about 'stuff' that took place at a16z's most recent annual investor meeting (VCs have investors too, in the form of 'limited partners'), Fortune's Dan Primack interviews Marc Andreessen -- and asks the tough questions. About VC and returns, founders and startups, ethical vetoes, Facebook, and more.

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13. a16z Podcast: Data Network Effects

  • Published: 2016-03-08T02:15:44Z
  • By a16z
a16z Podcast: Data Network Effects

If network effects are one of the most important concepts for software-based businesses, then that may be especially true of data network effects -- a network effect that results from data. Particularly given the prevalence of machine learning and deep learning in startups today. But simply having a huge corpus of data does not a network effect make! So how can startups ensure they don't get a lot of data exhaust but get insight out of and add value to that data and the network? How can they make sure that the (arguably inevitable) data aspect of their business isn't just a sideshow or accident? How should founders strike the balance between not overbuilding/ building a data team vs. having enough data for those data scientists to work with in the first place? And finally, what are the ethical considerations of all this? The a16z general partners most focused on bio and fintech -- Vijay Pande and Alex Rampell -- join this episode of the a16z Podcast to share their observations and advice on all things data network effects.

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14. a16z Podcast: Writing a New Language of Storytelling with Virtual Reality

  • Published: 2015-12-18T22:51:20Z
  • By a16z
a16z Podcast: Writing a New Language of Storytelling with Virtual Reality

Chris Milk calls virtual reality the “ultimate empathy machine.” The filmmaker and founder of VR shop Vrse talks with a16z’s Chris Dixon about how virtual reality can connect with people in ways no other medium can. Milk describes the ways virtual reality production veers from the traditional techniques of filmmaking, and why the results can transport people to places and feelings that we’ve never experienced -- except in the real world. The discussion happened as part of a16z’s 2015 Academic Roundtable.

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15. 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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16. 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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17. 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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18. a16z Podcast: Everything You Need to Know About Amazon

  • Published: 2014-09-05T16:58:31Z
  • By a16z
a16z Podcast: Everything You Need to Know About Amazon

Profitless Ponzi scheme, or the greatest company in the world led by an absolute genius? Amazon is a polarizing company. Quarter after quarter, as it grows ever larger gobbling up categories and adding businesses, Amazon manages to produce exactly no profit. It’s as if its founder and CEO Jeff Bezos engineered it that way. He has, and Bezos will continue on the same profitless path, says Benedict Evans in conversation with Ben Horowitz in this segment of the a16z podcast. Benedict and Ben (yeah, we know, two Bens) examine the company Bezos has constructed, and why, for Bezos at least as opposed to nervous investors, it works so well. How one of the world's great founders gets away with building a massive public company his way. Be sure to check out Benedict's post on the topic for all the charts and numbers: http://a16z.com

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19. a16z Podcast: Demystifying Venture Capital

  • Published: 2014-05-02T23:33:40Z
  • By a16z
a16z Podcast: Demystifying Venture Capital

What do venture capitalists actually do all day? And what is the path that leads to a career investing in startups? Hummer Winblad’s Ann Winblad, Cowboy Ventures' Aileen Lee, Aspect Ventures' Theresia Gouw, Intel Capital veteran and UPWARD founder Lisa Lambert, and Andreessen Horowitz’s Margit Wennmachers discuss VC trends, the importance of technical chops, and how to build the next generation of entrepreneurs and investors. And finally, in front of an appreciative crowd attending the UPWARD event at a16z, Ann Winblad reveals the secret to truly kicking ass.

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