a16z Podcast

By Andreessen Horowitz

Listen to a podcast, please open Podcast Republic app. Available on Google Play Store.


Category: Tech News

Open in Apple Podcasts


Open RSS feed


Open Website


Rate for this podcast

Subscribers: 1961
Reviews: 0

Description

The a16z Podcast discusses tech and culture trends, news, and the future – especially as ‘software eats the world’. It features industry experts, business leaders, and other interesting thinkers and voices from around the world. This podcast is produced by Andreessen Horowitz (aka “a16z”), a Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm. Multiple episodes are released every week; visit a16z.com for more details and to sign up for our newsletters and other content as well!

Episode Date
So You Want to Launch a Newsletter: Tips From Writers
00:34:34

This episode, part one in a two-part series on the Creator Economy, explores the process and economics behind creating an independent newsletter. In this candid conversation, host Lauren Murrow talks with four Substack writers—an artist, a technologist, a journalist, and a clinical researcher-turned-psychedelics scholar—about how to find and foster an audience, the calculus behind going paid versus unpaid, the pressure to produce, and financial benchmarks for making a living from newsletter writing.

The pandemic has prompted a reckoning within traditional media  and, in parallel, a surge in the newsletter ecosystem. On Substack, readership and active writers both doubled from January through April. The newsletter hosting platform now has more than 100,000 paying subscribers.

This episode reveals the behind-the-scenes experiences of four newsletter creators, all of whom launched roughly within the past year:

Software engineer Lenny Rachitsky, most recently a growth product manager at Airbnb, whose tech-focused dispatch is called Lenny’s Newsletter.

Artist and writer Edith Zimmerman, creator of the Drawing Links newsletter, which chronicles her life and musings through comic-style illustrations. 

Zach Haigney, an acupuncturist and researcher whose newsletter, The Trip Report, explores the science, policy, and business behind medicinal psychedelics.

And Patrice Peck, a freelance journalist—previously a staff writer at BuzzFeed—whose newsletter, Coronavirus News for Black Folks, highlights the pandemic’s disproportionate impact on the black community.

Listen to the end of the episode to hear more about Patrice, Zach, Edith, and Lenny's top newsletter recommendations:

Patrice’s newsletter recs:

The Intersection by Adriana Lacy

Beauty IRL by Darian Symone Harvin

Carefree Black Girl by Zeba Blay

Maybe Baby by Haley Nahman

 

Zach’s newsletter recs:

Stratechery by Ben Thompson

Sinocism by Bill Bishop

A Media Operator by Jacob Cohen Donnelly

Off the Chain by Anthony Pompliano

The Weekly Dish by Andrew Sullivan

 

Edith’s newsletter recs:

The Browser by Robert Cottrell

The Ruffian by Ian Leslie

Ridgeline by Craig Mod

Dearest by Monica McLaughlin

Why Is This Interesting? by Noah Brier and Colin Nagy

 

Lenny’s newsletter recs:

2PM by Webb Smith 

Li’s Newsletter by Li Jin 

Alex Danco’s Newsletter by Alex Danco

Turner’s Blog by Turner Novak

Next Big Thing by Nikhil Basu Trivedi 

Big Technology by Alex Kantrowitz

The Profile by Polina Marinova

Everything by Nathan Baschez, Dan Shipper, Tiago Forte, and Adam Keesling

Not Boring by Packy McCormick 

 

Illustration: Edith Zimmerman

Sep 17, 2020
Designing a Culture of Reinvention
00:42:58

Since Netflix started in the late 90s as a DVD-by-mail rental service competing with Blockbuster, it has completely reinvented itself... twice – first, when it went from DVD rental to video streaming platform, and then again when it went from licensing to producing original content.

But what does it take to create an organization capable of reinventing itself?

In this episode, originally recorded for the Commonwealth Club of California, Netflix CEO and co-founder Reed Hasting talks about his new book "No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention" with a16z co-founder and fellow author Ben Horowitz, who also wrote a bestselling book about culture last year. 

During the conversation, Reed tells the story of Netflix's evolution and his management philosophy, including the hard lesson he learned about what happens when you optimize for efficiency at the expense of creative talent. He also explains why sometimes a more narrow market focus is better for growth and shares the tactics that have helped Netflix expand globally and translate a culture of innovation across different countries, from Japan to Brazil to America.

Sep 15, 2020
Heroes & Myths in Entrepreneurship -- Guy Raz
00:38:44

"I'm in a movie, but it's the wrong movie."

For better or for worse, we tell the story of entrepreneurs as one of the mythical hero's journey: that's there's a call, a test (multiple tests!), a destination... But nothing truly follows such a clean, linear, storytelling arc. Stories of success and resilience are messy and full of "sleepless nights, anxiety-ridden fears, moments of real despair and failure", observes Guy Raz -- who is the host, co-creator, and editorial director of three NPR programs, including the popular podcast "How I Built This" -- and has a new book (coming out this week) on How I Built This: The Unexpected Paths to Success from the World's Most Inspiring Entrepreneurs.

But in sharing these stories, are we also indulging in "failure porn"? Where do (and don't) debates about optimism vs. pessimism come in; does this really squelch the appetite for building? What happens when "unexpected paths" are actually things like a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic? Editor in chief (and showrunner of the a16z podcasts) Sonal Chokshi probes Raz on these questions and more, while also pulling the threads of how storytelling IS business -- whether it's a company or a community or a product or a movement. So what's the difference between "building buzz" and "engineering word of mouth"? And how do the stories we tell ourselves, and others, actually move things?

Raz is also an entrepreneur with his own production company; has won numerous awards and accolades; co-created a podcast for kids (Wow In The World); and is hosting a music interview show for Spotify, not to mention his NPR shows. So what's his best interview tip? And how does his story also thread into this broader sea of stories, along with the story of the podcasting industry, and even the story (and history) of the Bay Area? This episode is for anyone wanting to figure out how to rewrite their own story... it's really for everyone.

Sep 12, 2020
The Question of Education
00:58:54

Monopoly, oligopoly, cartel. All three of those words can describe the (not so) modern education system today, given the cost structures, economics, and accreditation capture -- in everything from who can and can't start a new university (when was the last time a significant change happened there anyway?!) to where government funding really goes to the student loan and debt crisis.

Yet degrees do matter, just not for the reasons we think. So what are the tradeoffs -- when it comes to the "right" school, making money, and assessing skills objectively -- between what's been called "hard" (B.S.) and "soft" (B.A.) degrees? What's the best book on career advice, and what advice does Marc Andreessen -- who went to a public university, worked on a revolutionary project there, and started a company right after -- have for students (and others contemplating change in their careers)... and especially for those considering dropping out, delaying, or skipping college altogether?

Andreessen shares his thoughts on the purpose, past and present of education (briefly touching on the impact of the pandemic as well) with Dylan Field, CEO of Figma, which is free for students and educators. The Q&A was recorded in August 2020 and originally appeared as a video in their "Back to School?" interview series; it was actually inspired by the question of taking a gap year and questions about whether or not to go back to school this year that came up in their Virtual Campus community of students from across the world.

 

image: Lyndsy Rommel / Flickr

Sep 11, 2020
PPP and Fraud: Willful Deceit or Design Defect?
00:40:20

This episode examines the potential for misuse and fraud among those applying for coronavirus relief—and how fintech and software provide overlooked tools to stop it.  

On March 27th, the government enacted a $2.2 trillion dollar stimulus package called the CARES Act, the largest aid measure in history. The act provides more than $500 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP, a low-interest, forgivable loan program designed to help small businesses and self-employed individuals retain workers and stay afloat during the pandemic. Since March, the Small Business Administration has approved billions of dollars in PPP loans. But it is also estimated that U.S. losses from coronavirus-related fraud and identity theft have reached almost $100 million. According to the New York Times, the Small Business Administration’s fraud hotline has received 42,000 reports about coronavirus-related cheating and misuse; by comparison, last year it had less than 800.

To date, the Department of Justice has charged more than 40 cases of PPP-related schemes, from claiming non-existent employees or non-existent businesses to identity theft, kickback schemes, fake tax documents, and multi-state fraud rings. Most of those cases have alleged fraud of more than a $1 million. But what about the countless others that may be cheating taxpayers out of smaller—but not insignificant—sums? How does the government decide who should get money and who shouldn’t among millions of applications from businesses of all industries and sizes—and what role do banks play? How does the program then distribute that money quickly and accurately—or not, in many cases? And what tools are at our disposal to catch those who cheat the system? 

Host Lauren Murrow is joined by Bharat Ramamurti, the original member of the COVID-19 Congressional Oversight Commission, which is tasked with evaluating the impact of coronavirus relief loans; Naftali Harris, the CEO of SentiLink, a software company that builds technology to detect synthetic fraud; and a16z fintech general partner Alex Rampell.

Sep 04, 2020
Measuring & Managing Community Orgs, Developer Relations and Beyond
00:33:44

Okay, so we know community is important -- whether for developer relations for your product or other types of communities -- but how do we measure the success of community initiatives and even artifacts (like events or schwag), given how indirect and long-cycle so much of it is? How do we know we're even measuring the right things, and is there one key metric or KPI for measuring the health of a community? Where do "meta communities" or where does engaging key community leaders come in?

And when it comes to developer relations specifically, where should devrel sit in an organization (product, sales, engineering)? Who should you hire first? How do you reconcile developer as customer vs. developer as community member? And what's the difference between evangelism and advocacy?

Amir Shevat -- former VP of Product and Developer Experience at Twitch and former Director of Developer Relations at Slack who also previously worked at Google and Microsoft -- drew on his experiences to share insights and answers to these questions, as well as provides an overview of key concepts, followed by a Q&A with Mikeal Rogers, who works on Community Operations at Protocol Labs, and was formerly Community Manager of the Node.js foundation (and has shared insights on the changing culture and community of open source on a previous episode of the a16z Podcast).

This episode is based on a conversation that took place at a portfolio workshop event from a couple years ago organized by former a16z crypto partner Jesse Walden, because crypto gives developers the ability to build on top of and extend any protocol or application in the space, and developer relations and community building is an important part of that being realized. You can find the latest on company building best practices for crypto at a16z Crypto Startup School and see other pieces in our ongoing community series at a16z.com/community.

Aug 30, 2020
Reining in Complexity: Data Science & Future of AI/ML Businesses
00:44:28

There is no spoon. Or rather, “There is no such thing as ‘data’, there’s just frozen models”, argues Peter Wang, the co-founder and CEO of Anaconda — who also created the PyData conferences and grew the early data science community there, while on the frontlines of trying to make Python useful for business analytics. He views both models and data as fluid, more like metaphysics than typical data management… Or perhaps it’s that when it comes to data, those with a physics background just better appreciate the mind-bending complexity and challenges of reining in the natural world, and therefore get the unique challenges of AI/ML development, observes a16z general partner Martin Casado — whose first job after college involved computational physics simulation and high-performance computing in Python at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. (Wang, meanwhile, graduated in physics.)

But this not just a philosophical question — the answer has real implications for the margins, organizational structures, and building of AI/ML businesses. Especially as we’re in a tricky time of transition, where customers don’t even know what they’re asking for, yet are looking for AI/ML help or know it’s the future. So what does this all mean for the software value chain; for open source collaboration and commodification; and for the future of software businesses? After all, it’s not written in stone that “All information systems must be deconstructed into hardware, and software, and data” and that “software must have these margins”… Will there be a new type of company?

 

image: Pawel Loj / Wikimedia Commons

Aug 21, 2020
Online Learning and the Ed Tech Debate
00:48:52

This episode is all about education and technology, a topic that’s especially top of mind this week as students in much of the country return to school—virtually. The intersection of learning and technology has been accelerated by the pandemic, but the debate around education's "disruption," and what that means for educators doing the hands-on work of teaching, has been swirling for years.

In this episode, a16z general partner Connie Chan and host Lauren Murrow are joined by educators and experts Josh Kim, the Director of Online Programs and Strategy at  Dartmouth College (whose most recent book, Learning Innovation and the Future of Higher Education, was published earlier this year), and David Deming, Professor of Education and Economics at the Harvard Kennedy School and the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

We explore the complicated issue of online education from a variety of angles: Can the quality of online learning stack up to an  in-person education? What improvements have we seen over the past decade and what improvements are we likely to see this fall, compared to the COVID scramble last spring? And might this moment be the push we need for educators and technologists—sometimes at odds—to collaborate more closely?

We discuss and debate the research behind online learning, the dual impact of tech and COVID on the future of higher ed, and tech's potential in everything from curriculum to access to structural inequality.

Aug 17, 2020
On Vaccines and Vaccinology, in COVID and Beyond
00:56:44

WHEN are we going to have a COVID-19 vaccine, and how the heck are we going from (what’s been traditionally been up to) 12 years or so of vaccine development compressed into 12 months or so? What will and won’t be compromised here, and where do new technologies -- like mRNA or messenger RNA vaccines -- come in? Where will vaccines likely be distributed first, who will and won't get them initially, both across populations... and nations?

Rajeev Venkayya, president of the Global Vaccine Business Unit at Takeda Pharmaceutical Company and former White House Special Assistant to the President for Biodefense (where, among other things, he was the principal author of the National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza) joins this special deep-dive episode of the a16z Podcast, in conversation with general partner Jorge Conde to discuss all things vaccines. Including where does manufacturing and scale-up come in -- is "plug and play" really here? -- and by the way, why have we traditionally used eggs in growing vaccines?

Where and how can startups and others participate in vaccine development, given how competitive, time-consuming, capital intensive, and risky it is to develop (and sell) them? Can we decouple the question of how we reopen schools with when we have a vaccine? And how do we maintain not just safety and efficacy of vaccines but trust and transparency when it comes to mis/information? We may actually see the emergence of a "Neo Anti-Vaxxer" thanks to the rush... but we may also be entering a renaissance for vaccinology after this pandemic. So what changes, what doesn't?

 

image: Jernej Furman / Flickr

Aug 14, 2020
Turning Open Source Developers Into Superfans
00:45:41
In this episode, we continue our community series with a recent discussion that applies to many kinds of community building. Today’s topic: How do you create a platform that people not only use, but tell their friends about? One that goes beyond just being useful and actually connects deeply with the user? In this discussion, which was recorded at our Crypto Startup School in April 2020, a16z General Partner Chris Dixon talked about building communities — specifically, communities of open-source developers — with GitHub cofounder Tom Preston-Werner. They discussed how to engage early users, how to turn them into your biggest advocates, how to create superfans, and more. Today, GitHub is the leading community for open-source developers and others. They also discuss in-person communities vs. distributed communities, a topic that is very top of mind today.
Aug 10, 2020
Journal Club: Slaying the Sleeper Cells of Aging with CAR T
00:17:58

CAR T therapy is a groundbreaking medicine that uses engineered T cells to attack cancer. But CAR T cells (that is, chimeric antigen receptor T cells) can be programmed to recognize a huge range of target proteins and cell types. So what other types of cells should we train CAR Ts to recognize and destroy to improve human health?

On this episode of the a16z Journal Club, a16z General Partner Jorge Conde, bio deal team partner Andy Tran, and Lauren Richardson discuss new research published in Nature in which the authors engineer CAR T cells to recognize and kill senescent cells. Cellular senescence is a process where cells stop dividing (sort of go to sleep), and in many cases this can be protective, like its role in tumor suppression, but if too many cells become senescent of if they are not removed, they can trigger inflammation and cause disease, like in atherosclerosis and type 2 diabetes. Critically, senescent cells build up as we age and contribute to a whole host of age-related conditions. In this episode we cover how the authors created these senescence killing (aka senolytic) CAR T cells, the diseases that could be treated with senolytic CAR Ts, the hurdles to getting them into the clinic, and how they could potentially be used to treat aging and possibly improve longevity.

Senolytic CAR T cells reverse senescence-associated pathologies in Nature (June 2020) by Corina Amor, Judith Feucht, Josef Leibold, Yu-Jui Ho, Changyu Zhu, Direna Alonso-Curbelo, Jorge Mansilla-Soto, Jacob A. Boyer, Xiang Li, Theodoros Giavridis, Amanda Kulick, Shauna Houlihan, Ellinor Peerschke, Scott L. Friedman, Vladimir Ponomarev, Alessandra Piersigilli, Michel Sadelain & Scott W. Lowe

a16z bio Journal Club (part of the a16z Podcast), curates and covers recent advances from the scientific literature -- what papers we’re reading, and why they matter from our perspective at the intersection of biology & technology. You can find all these episodes at a16z.com/journalclub.

Aug 09, 2020
Working, Making, Creating in Public... and Private
00:47:06

We're living in an unprecedented era of online collaboration, coordination, and creation. All kinds of people are coming together -- whether in an open source project or company, an R&D initiative, a department in a company, a club or special interest group, even a group of friends and family -- around some shared interest or activity. But the word "members" is faceless, and doesn't help us really understand, support (and better design for) these communities.

So in this special book launch episode of the a16z Podcast, Nadia Eghbal -- author of the new book Working in Public: The Making and Maintenance of Open Source Software published by Stripe Press -- shares with a16z editor in chief Sonal Chokshi the latest research and insights from years of studying the health of open source communities (for Ford Foundation), working in developer experience (at GitHub), researching the economics and production of software (at Protocol Labs), and now focusing on writer experience at Substack.

Eghbal offers a new taxonomy of communities -- including newer phenomena such as "stadiums" of open source developers, other creators, and really, influencers -- who are performing their work in massive spaces where the work is public (and not necessarily participatory). So what lessons of open source communities do and don't apply to the passion economy and creator communities? How does the evolution of online communities -- really, social networks -- shift the focus to reputation and status as a service? And what if working in public is also about sharing in private, given the "dark forest theory of the internet", the growing desire for more "high-shared context" groups and spaces (including even podcasts and newsletters)? All this and more in this episode.

Aug 02, 2020
GPT-3: What's Hype, What's Real on the Latest in AI
00:33:05

In this episode -- cross posted from our 16 Minutes show feed -- we cover all the buzz around GPT-3, the pre-trained machine learning model from OpenAI that’s optimized to do a variety of natural-language processing tasks. 

It’s a commercial product, built on research; so what does this mean for both startups AND incumbents… and the future of “AI as a service”? And given that we’re seeing all kinds of (cherrypicked!) examples of output from OpenAI’s beta API being shared — how do we know how good it really is or isn’t? How do we know the difference between “looks like” a toy and “is” a toy when it comes to new innovations? 

And where are we, really, in terms of natural language processing and progress towards artificial general intelligence? Is it intelligent, does that matter, and how do we know (if not with a Turing Test)? Finally, what are the broader questions, considerations, and implications for jobs and more? Frank Chen explains what “it” actually is and isn’t and more in conversation with host Sonal Chokshi. The two help tease apart what’s hype/ what’s real here… as is the theme of 16 Minutes.

Jul 30, 2020
Taking the Pulse on Medical Device Security
00:23:15

Many don’t realize we even need to think about the possibility of security hacks when it comes to things like pacemakers, insulin pumps, and more. But when bits and bytes meet flesh and blood, security becomes literally a life or death concern. So what are the issues and risks we need to be aware of in exposing security vulnerabilities in connected biomedical devices?

This conversation—with Beau Woods, Cyber Safety Innovation Fellow with the Atlantic Council, part of the I Am The Cavalry grassroots security initiative, Founder/CEO of Stratigos Security; Andy Coravos, co-founder and CEO of Elektra Labs, advisor to the Biohacking Village at DEF CON (both of whom were formerly EIRs at the FDA); and a16z's Hanne Tidnam covers how we should begin to think about addressing these security issues in the biomedical device space. What are the frameworks that should guide our conversations, and how and when (and which!) stakeholders should be incentivized to address these challenges? How did the FDA begin to think about security as part of the safety of all medical devices, including software as a medical device, and how we should think about understanding, monitoring, and updating the security of these devices—from philosophical statements to on-the-ground practical fixes and updates?

Jul 22, 2020
Journal Club: A New Path to Antibiotic Resistance
00:17:12

Ever since the discovery of antibiotics, microbiologists have worried about and studied how bacteria acquire resistance to these drugs. Adding to the complexity of this problem is the fact that it is not always clear whether the conditions that drive the evolution of resistance in the lab occur in patients suffering from bacterial infections.

This is where the work of Nathalie Balaban -- Professor at the Hebrew University, and our guest on this episode -- comes in. The article we discuss is based on a foundation of research done in her laboratory, but this study makes the important step into the clinic by using samples from a patient with a life-threatening bacterial (MRSA) infection. By analyzing these patient samples, Dr. Balaban and her team were able to understand the conditions that lead to multi-drug resistance in a hospital setting. The work reveals how the ability of bacteria to enter a state of dormancy, also known as tolerance, can act as a stepping stone to resistance and can interfere with the efficacy of drug combinations. Our conversation covers what tolerance is, the conditions that promote tolerance, how it can lead to resistance and impact drug combination therapies, and lastly, integrating this new understanding into clinical microbiology protocols.

"Effect of tolerance on the evolution of antibiotic resistance under drug combinations" in Science (January 2020) by Jiafeng Liu, Orit Gefen, Irine Ronin, Maskit Bar-Meir, Nathalie Q. Balaban.

a16z bio Journal Club (part of the a16z Podcast), curates and covers recent advances from the scientific literature -- what papers we’re reading, and why they matter from our perspective at the intersection of biology & technology (for bio journal club). You can find all these episodes at a16z.com/journalclub.

Jul 19, 2020
Cybercrime, Incorporated
00:36:20

A dive into the sociological, operational, and tactical realities of this murky underworld, Lusthaus and de la Garza discuss who the players are, what they are motivated by, and specialize in—as well as how basic ideas like trust and anonymity function in a world where no one wants to get caught. How do criminal nicknames function as brand? Which countries tend to specialize in what kinds of crime, and why? And most of all, what changes when you begin to think of the business of cybercrime as an industry?

Jul 18, 2020
How Transparent Pricing Drives Healthcare Change
00:29:31

Dr. Marty Makary—surgical oncologist at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and health policy and innovation expert—has long been a passionate advocate for transparent pricing in the healthcare system. We don’t talk enough (or really at all) about price in healthcare, says Makary (instead, we talk about cost). But shedding a light on prices in healthcare—from not just what those prices are but how prices are set and the value we all receive as consumers of the system overall—can help us measure quality in medicine, and be a driver for real behavioral change in the healthcare system, correcting many of the unintended consequences of a fee-for-service system like surprise billing or unnecessary medical procedures.

In this conversation with a16z General Partner Julie Yoo, Makary and Yoo discuss what price transparency in the healthcare system could really do; how we can "steer" towards the good physicians who are not just highly skilled, but make the right judgment calls based on need and holistic health, not cost; how we might distinguish between high value and low value through medical appropriateness; and how we might gain clinical wisdom from other kinds of scientific discovery beyond randomized controls, especially during the wartime protocol of COVID-19.

Jul 15, 2020
Preserving Digital History: How to Close the Web's 'Memory Hole'
00:47:28
More than 98% of the information on the web is lost within 20 years, and huge gaps exist in our digital and cultural history. Zoran Basich and Alex Pruden of a16z talk to Brewster Kahle and Sam Williams, who are using different approaches to attack this problem. Brewster cofounded the Internet Archive, which is well known for creating the Wayback Machine that crawls a billion URLs every day. Sam cofounded Arweave, a company that uses decentralized crypto networks to store information forever. For both of them, this issue has implications that go far beyond just data storage. It touches on issues of censorship, government manipulation of information, and how historical context is necessary for well-functioning societies. They discuss how decentralized models offer the promise of building a next-generation web that works better for users.
Jul 13, 2020
Alex Honnold on Human Performance (part 2) – Climbing and Entrepreneurship
00:18:20

In part 1 of our series on human performance, we looked at the limits of human potential in climbing and other sports – and how we push those limits through technology and training.

In this episode, recorded at our a16z innovation summit last year, Alex talks with a16z general partner and fellow avid climber Peter Levine about the risk, fear, and preparation for his free solo of El Capitan on Yosemite. While climbing is the topic, the conversation holds many lessons for entrepreneurs, and anyone else who is attempting something that’s never been done before – from how to evaluate risk versus reward, moving into the public spotlight from stealth, removing constraints to innovate on established routes, and knowing where you can fall and where you can’t. The conversation finishes with Alex’s life philosophy of living simply and giving back, including how he donates a third of all his income to the Honnold Foundation to support solar projects in underserved communities.

Jul 11, 2020
Alex Honnold on Human Performance (part 1) – Where's the Limit?
00:23:04

Is there a limit to what humans can do? And if so, how do you know when you've reached it? Welcome to part one of a two-part series on human performance with professional rock climber Alex Honnold. 

Alex redefined the limits of what is possible by free soloing – that is climbing with no ropes or safety gear – a 2000-foot granite rock face in Yosemite, known as El Capitan. That feat  was documented in the award-winning film Free Solo. In this podcast, Alex, a16z general partner Peter Levine (who at age 59 is still an avid ice climber), and Das Rush discuss how technology and training have pushed the limits of what's possible and how to manage the mental preparation of any big endeavor, whether its building a company, reaching a new peak, or maintaining peak performance while aging.

In Part 2, recorded last year as part of our a16z innovation summit, we share a fireside chat with Peter and Alex  about the risk, preparation, and fear around Alex's free solo.  

Photo credit: Shawn Corrigan

 

Jul 11, 2020
Why We Shouldn’t Fear AI in Healthcare
00:06:15

"Why We Shouldn’t Fear the ‘Black Box’ of AI (in Healthcare and Everywhere)" by Vijay Pande. First published in the New York Times, January 2018. 

You can also find and share this article at a16z.com/aidoctor

Jul 07, 2020
When One App Rules Them All: The Case of WeChat and Mobile in China
00:20:21

"When One App Rules Them All: The Case of WeChat and Mobile in China" by Connie Chan. First published August 2015. 

You can also find and share this essay at a16z.com/mobilefirstchina

Jul 07, 2020
Every Company Is a Fintech Company
00:15:12

"Why Every Company Will Be a Fintech Company -- The Next Era of Financial Services and the 'AWS Phase' for Fintech" by Angela Strange.

You can also find and share this essay at a16z.com/fintecheverywhere

 

 

Jul 07, 2020
Read-Alouds, Continued
00:00:51

Today we're continuing a series we started a while ago of read-alouds (for more context on the why and why now check out episode #500 on how we podcast!).

The first was episode #544 in April, It's Time to Build, read out loud by Marc Andreessen; what follows are  three more pieces read out loud by their authors:

  • "Why Every Company Will Become a Fintech Company: The Next Era of Financial Services and the 'AWS Phase' for Fintech" by Angela Strange
  • "When One App Rules Them All: The Case of WeChat and Mobile in China" by Connie Chan, first published August 2015
  • "Why We Shouldn’t Fear the ‘Black Box’ of AI (in Healthcare and Everywhere)" by Vijay Pande, first published in the New York Times January 2018

 

Jul 07, 2020
Journal Club: Revisiting Eroom's Law
00:09:35

Eroom’s Law is Moore’s Law spelled backwards. It’s a term that was coined in a Nature Reviews Drug Discovery article by researchers at Sanford Bernstein and describes the exponential decrease in biopharma research and development efficiency between the 1950s and 2010. Whereas Moore’s describes technologies becoming exponentially faster and cheaper over time, Eroom’s Law describes the trend of drug development becoming exponentially more expensive over time.

The article describing Eroom’s Law was published in 2012, and analyzed data up till 2010. That is perhaps ironic as 2010 appears to be an inflection point in the trend. In Breaking Eroom’s Law, the authors analyze the data since 2010 and show that costs appear to have stabilized over the last ten years. But what has contributed to this critical and exciting trend shift? In our conversation, Jorge and Vijay discuss the three causes cited by the authors of the Breaking Eroom’s Law article, their views on what technologies and policies will continue to push costs down, and their opinion on whether Eroom’s Law is broken for good.

Jul 05, 2020
Preventing Pandemics with Genomic Epidemiology
00:34:56

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the visibility of scientists and the scientific process to the broader public; suddenly, scientists working on virology and infectious disease dynamics have seen their public profiles rapidly expand. One such scientist is the special guest in this episode, Trevor Bedford, Associate Professor at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

An expert in genomic epidemiology, he and his collaborators built Nextstrain, which shares real-time, interactive data visualizations to track the spread of viruses through populations.

a16z bio deal team partner Judy Savitskaya and Lauren Richardson chat with Trevor about how genomic epidemiology can inform public health decisions; viral mutation and spillover from animals into humans; what can be done now to prevent the next big pandemic; and the shift in scientific communication to pre-prints and open science.

Jun 30, 2020
Journal Club: Therapeutic Video Game on Trial
00:17:14

In this episode of the a16z bio journal club, we cover one of the key clinical trials that supported the recent FDA approval of the first prescription video game. The game was developed by Akili Interactive, is called EndeavorRx, and is now a clinically-validated therapy for improving attention in children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). 

But how does a game improve attention? How does a clinical trial evaluate the efficacy of a game? And what are the pros and cons of a video game as compared to traditional pharmacological therapies for ADHD? Bio deal team partner Justin Larkin and Lauren Richardson delve into these questions and more in their discussion of this clinical trial:

A novel digital intervention for actively reducing severity of paediatric ADHD (STARS-ADHD): a randomised controlled trial” in Lancet Digital Health (April 2020) by Scott H Kollins, Denton J DeLoss, Elena Cañadas, Jacqueline Lutz, Robert L Findling, Richard S E Keefe, Jeffery N Epstein, Andrew J Cutler, and Stephen V Faraone.

a16z bio Journal Club (part of the a16z Podcast), curates and covers recent advances from the scientific literature -- what papers we’re reading, and why they matter from our perspective at the intersection of biology & technology (for bio journal club). You can find all these episodes at a16z.com/journalclub.

Jun 28, 2020
Gross Margins, Early to Late: What They Do (and Don't) Tell You
00:36:01

Gross margins are essentially a company's revenue from products and services minus the costs to deliver those products and services to customers, and it's one of the most important financial metrics a startup can track.

And yet, figuring out what goes into the "cost" for delivering products and services is not as simple as it may sound, particularly for high-growth software businesses that might use emerging business models or be leveraging new technology. Why do gross margins matter? When do they matter during a company's growth? And how do you use them to plan for the future?

In this episode, a16z general partners Martin Casado, who invests in early stage enterprise startups and  David George, who leads our growth fund, and Sarah Wang  on the growth investing team share their perspectives on how to think about gross margins in both earlier and later stages at a startup. The conversation ranges from the nuances of and strategy for calculating margins with things like cloud costs, freemium users, or implementation costs to the impact margins can have on valuations. 

Jun 27, 2020
Building Products for Power Users
00:23:08

As more digital natives have entered the workplace, they have brought with them the expectation that their software should both be a joy to use and allow them to be power users. That is, users who configure and control it to better serves their needs. And often, these digital natives aren't just aspiring power users, they are also prosumers, who can and will pay for a premium experience. But first generation SaaS products have often struggled to deliver the experience these users crave.

For today's founders and builders, how do you get the user experience right when a product has to delight your power users, while being something a less savvy user can pick up and learn?

In this episode, a16z general partner David Ulevitch and Superhuman founder Rahul Vohra discuss how to build products that can turn any user into a power user. The conversation touches on themes from David's recent talk on products that adopt developer tools, like the command palette and keyboard shortcuts, to improve usability, and Rahul's talk on how to apply game design principles to product design. They cover how to onboard users to drive virality, when to expand to a second product, and how to use pricing to position a premium product.

Jun 24, 2020
Journal Club: Building a Better Chloroplast
00:20:47

In this episode of the a16z bio Journal Club, bio deal team partner Judy Savitskaya and Lauren Richardson discuss research that aims to enhance the efficiency of photosynthesis and carbon fixation. These two processes are used by plants and other phototrophs (like algae) to convert light energy and carbon dioxide from the air into organic matter. The pathways took millions of years to evolve, but can scientists use advances in biochemistry and synthetic biology to increase their efficiency? 

The two discussed were both published in the journal Science and are both from the lab of Tobias Erb at the Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology. The first article, published in 2016 develops a synthetic pathway for the fixation of carbon dioxide in vitro. The second article, which was published in May, combines this synthetic carbon fixation pathway with the natural photosynthetic pathway isolated from spinach to create an artificial chloroplast.

This combination of natural and synthetic components to improve the efficiency of these pathways has a number of potential applications, including in engineering our crops to grow faster. We discuss these exciting applications, how evolution has restricted the efficiency of carbon fixation and how these engineered solutions get around that problem, and the use of microfluidics for vastly improved experimental design. 

"A synthetic pathway for the fixation of carbon dioxide in vitro" in Science (November 2016), by Thomas Schwander, Lennart Schada von Borzyskowski, Simon Burgener, Niña Socorro Cortina, Tobias J. Erb

"Light-powered CO2 fixation in a chloroplast mimic with natural and synthetic parts" in Science (May 2020), by Tarryn E. Miller, Thomas Beneyton, Thomas Schwander, Christoph Diehl, Mathias Girault, Richard McLean, Tanguy Chotel, Peter Claus, Niña Socorro Cortina, Jean-Christophe Baret, Tobias J. Erb

a16z Journal Club (part of the a16z Podcast), curates and covers recent advances from the scientific literature -- what papers we’re reading, and why they matter from our perspective at the intersection of biology & technology (for bio journal club). You can find all these episodes at a16z.com/journalclub.

Jun 21, 2020
Real Estate in a Pandemic: Renters and Landlords (Part 2)
00:31:17

This episode is the second in a two-part series that examines the pandemic’s impact on real estate. Part 1 focused on prospective home buyers, sellers, and existing homeowners. This episode, Part 2, addresses renters and landlords.

The conversation with host Lauren Murrow features a16z general partner Connie Chan, whose experience as a landlord herself has fueled her interest in residential real estate and technology; Richard Green, the director of USC's Lusk Center for Real Estate, and Adena Hefets, the CEO of Divvy Homes, a company that allows people to build up equity while renting a home, with the option to eventually buy it.

We begin with the pressures on renters—and the uncertainty around federal relief measures—as well as the cascading effects on mom-and-pop landlords. Then we turn to the outlook for prices and volume in the rental market, particularly in large cities like New York and San Francisco. Finally, we discuss the opportunity for tech to solve outdated and inefficient processes for both renters and landlords.

For more a16z content on real estate and proptech, visit a16z.com/realestate.

Jun 17, 2020
Real Estate in a Pandemic: Homeowners and Buyers (Part 1)
00:24:52

This episode is the first in a two-part series that examines the pandemic’s impact on real estate. Part 1 focuses on prospective home buyers, sellers, and existing homeowners. Part 2 (streaming on 6/17) addresses renters and landlords.

How has social distancing shaken up the market to buy? What’s the ripple effect of eviction freezes and a record number of homes in forbearance? And how can tech streamline the inefficient process of renting, buying, and selling a home?

Led by host Lauren Murrow, the conversation features a16z general partner Alex Rampell, who has invested in a number of real estate companies; Malloy Evans, Fannie Mae’s senior vice president and single-family chief credit officer;  and Tushar Garg, CEO of Flyhomes, a company that helps buyers in competitive markets by purchasing their desired house in cash, then selling it to that buyer at the same price.

The discussion starts with the impact on home prices and volume, as well as the rumored exodus from densely populated cities. Then we shift to focus on existing homeowners. Finally, we talk about ways tech can improve the system, from hard tech to fintech.

For more a16z content on real estate and proptech, visit a16z.com/realestate.

Jun 16, 2020
World’s Largest Supercomputer v. Biology’s Toughest Problems
00:32:31

Proteins are molecular machines that must first assemble themselves to function. But how does a protein, which is produced as a linear string of amino acids, assume the complex three-dimensional structure needed to carry out its job? 

That's where Folding at Home comes in. Folding at Home is a sophisticated computer program that simulates the way atoms push and pull on each other, applied to the problem of protein dynamics, aka "folding". These simulations help researchers understand protein function and to design drugs and antibodies to target them. Folding at Home is currently studying key proteins from the virus that causes COVID-19 to help therapeutic development. 

Given the extreme complexity of these simulations, they require an astronomical amount of compute power. Folding at Hold solves this problem with a distributed computing framework: it breaks up the calculations in the smaller pieces that can be run on independent computers. Users of Folding at Home - millions of them today - donate the spare compute power on their PCs to help run these simulations. This aggregate compute power represents the largest super computer in the world: currently 2.4 exaFLOPS!

Folding at Home was launched 20 years ago this summer in the lab of Vijay Pande at Stanford. In this episode, Vijay (now a general partner at a16z) is joined by his former student and current director of Folding at Home, Greg Bowman, an associate professor at Washington University in St. Louis, and Lauren Richardson. We discuss the origins of the Folding at Home project along with its connection to SETI@Home and Napster; also the scientific and technical advances needed to solve the complex protein folding and distributed computing problems; and importantly what does understanding protein dynamics actually achieve? 

Jun 14, 2020
The Return of Home-based Healthcare
00:26:49

The way we deliver healthcare has changed enormously over the last century, shifting from house calls by doctors to your own to institutionalized settings like hospitals and clinics. But now that trend has started to shift again, as some of the care we get in the hospitals and clinics has been "unbundled" back towards home settings for chronically ill patients or seniors. And now, of course, the impact of COVID-19 has created a huge sudden demand for home-based care, as all of us try to figure out how to manage certain healthcare needs at home.

So, is home-based healthcare better? And what do we truly need to deliver the best care to patients, in their own homes? What do we gain and lose in different care delivery settings, and what shifts of mindset and new logistical processes do we need now, to best accomplish unbundling healthcare into the home? In this conversation, Vijay Kedar, CEO and cofounder of Tomorrow Health, a tech platform that delivers the products and services needed for home-based care; Sachin Jain, physician, previous CEO of Caremore and Aspire Health; part of the founding team at CMMI, the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, now incoming CEO of The Scan Group and Healthplan; and a16z General Partner Julie Yoo join a16z's Hanne Tidnam in conversation to talk about where we are today and where we are going in home-based healthcare.

Jun 12, 2020
The Future of Primary Care
00:30:17

Primary care was meant to be the front door to the healthcare system, but in some ways never set up for success to begin with. We need a new operating system for primary care—one with a different, deeper understanding of the patient, the context of their world around them, and the processes we have in place to figure out who sees a doctor and when, to use the system most efficiently.

In this episode of the a16z Podcast, we talk about what the primary care of the future should actually look like; what kind of data about patients we should be collecting, from where, and to tell us what; how you ask the right questions of that data, to use the resources of our  healthcare system most efficiently and for the best care; and what the PCP of the future might look like. Joining us for the conversation are General Partner Julie Yoo, physician entrepreneur Ivor Horn, a primary care pediatrician for more than 20 years, and Jeff Kaditz, CEO and founder of Q.bio, a platform that identifies and monitors each individual’s biggest health risks.

 

Jun 11, 2020
All about Section 230: What It Does and Doesn't Say
00:40:33

 We cover the tricky but important topic of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. The 1996 law has been in the headlines a lot recently, in the context of Twitter, the president’s tweets, and an executive order put out by the White House on “preventing online censorship”. All of this is playing out against the broader, more profound cultural context and events around the death of George Floyd in Minnesota and beyond, and ongoing old-new debates around content moderation on social media. [Please note this episode was first published  May 31.] 

To make sense of only the technology and policy aspects of Section 230 specifically — and where the First Amendment, content moderation, and more come in — a16z host Sonal Chokshi brings on our first-ever outside guest for 16 Minutes, Mike Masnick, founder of the digital-native policy think tank Copia Institute and editor of the longtime news & analysis site Techdirt.com (which also features an online symposium for experts discussing difficult policy topics). Masnick has written extensively about these topics — not just recently but for years — along with others in media recently attempting to explain what’s going on and dissect what the executive order purports to do (some are even tracking different versions as well).

So what’s hype/ what’s real — given this show’s throughline! — around what CDA 230 precisely does and doesn’t do, the role of agencies like the FCC, and more? What are the nuances and exceptions, and how do we tease apart the most common (yet incorrect) rhetorical arguments such as “platform vs. publisher”, “like a utility/ phone company”, “public forum/square” and so on? Finally: how does and doesn’t Section 230 connect to the First Amendment when it comes to companies vs. governments; what does “good faith” really mean and what are possible paths and ways forward among the divisive debates around content moderation? All this and more in this extra-long explainer episode of 16 Minutes, shared here for longtime listeners of the a16z Podcast.

 

image: presidential tweet activity/ Wikimedia Commons

Jun 09, 2020
What We Can't Reveal We Can't Heal
01:01:40

Given recent events around George Floyd and far beyond, this special episode of the a16z Podcast features Shaka Senghor, a leading advocate for criminal justice reform (and bestselling author), and Terry Brown, a former police officer in East Palo Alto (who has since run his own security firms) -- who, incidentally, both grew up in Detroit but ended up on different sides of the law -- in conversation with a16z co-founder Ben Horowitz.

The conversation goes deep and on the ground (please note that the discussion also includes details of violence, in case you have young children listening). 

Jun 04, 2020
SaaS Go-to-Upmarket
00:21:12

For a SaaS company, it's easier to move upmarket than down, and this gives SaaS startups the advantage against incumbents. In this episode,  David Ulevitch and our newest enterprise general partner Kristina Shen look at the SaaS go-to-upmarket with a focus on how to price for the move, including why so many founders underprice, how to think about free versus paid trials, and navigating the transition to larger accounts.  

May 29, 2020
New Fan Engagement Models for Athletes and Influencers
00:19:11
Today’s episode is about a practical application of crypto — namely, the way it can “tokenize” fandom. More broadly, it’s about fan engagement, and the increasingly blurred lines between sports, culture and tech.  We talked to NBA player Spencer Dinwiddie, of the Brooklyn Nets. Spencer created a new platform on the crypto blockchain Ethereum that gives fans the opportunity to invest directly in his revenue-generating potential, through debt securities.  Joining this conversation are a16z managing partner and tech investor Jeff Jordan, who has long followed the evolving relationship between sports and tech. Also joining is Jesse Walden, a former a16z crypto partner and co-founder of Mediachain. He’s also a former music promoter and manager whose focus was on helping artists stay independent.   We discuss the evolution of models for fan engagement; how social media has changed the game; and where technologies like cryptonetworks and blockchains come in.
May 26, 2020
Don't Call it a Brain in a Dish!
00:43:30

Our understanding of the human brain and its disorders has always been limited by our lack of access to living, human, developing brain tissue. For the first time, that's changing. In this episode, Sergiu Pasca, Professor of Behavioral Science at Stanford, talks with a16'z General Partner Vijay Pande and Hanne Tidnam about the wild new tech that's pioneering a whole new approach to understanding the brain: brain organoids.

So what are brain organoids, what are the scientific breakthroughs that lead to their creation, and how can we use them best? The conversation starts with the existing models we have used to learn about the living brain, from genetic studies to autopsies to primates—and what this new model now brings us: the ability to study the human brain, both how it develops and what goes wrong in certain disorders, with human brain tissue "alive" in a dish. We talk about what these organoids can and can’t do; what they’re good for understanding and where that understanding becomes limited; why calling these “brains in a dish” or “mini-brains” isn’t the right terminology at all; and finally, how far can this new tool and model be taken now and in the future, leading us closer towards understanding psychology itself on a molecular level.

Image: Brain organoids derived in the Pasca Lab at Stanford University.

May 24, 2020
Pandemics: Early Detection, Networks, Spreaders
00:34:06

Pandemics are predictable; what's not predictable is the intensity, or the precise timing of arrival. That's where early detection -- not just rapid warning (as with something like Google Flu Trends back in the day), or even delayed warnings (as with CDC flu trackers and such) -- comes in. Because unfortunately, many disease tracking efforts old and new are "like watching the weather forecast a week after you've experienced that weather", observes a16z general partner Jorge Conde.

And this matters for saving lives; for load balancing and allocating resources (ventilators, PPE, supplies); getting back to work; and much more. Even a two-week advantage could have made a huge difference! Which is what sociologist and physician Nicholas Christakis (who directs the Human Nature Lab, part of the Yale Institute for Network Science, and also author of the book Blueprint) learned from the H1N1 pandemic. Specifically, the role of social network "sensors" -- where friends in one's network graph can be like canaries in the proverbial coal mine to help detect pandemics earlier.

In fact, the lab recently released an app called Hunala (which uses information crowdsourced among networks) to determine one's likelihood of contracting flu/ influenza-like or other respiratory illnesses through a personalized daily assessment of risk. Kind of like Waze, but for illnesses not car accidents. So in this episode of the a16z Podcast, the two take that analogy far. They also discuss the role of other mobility data and population flows in China for where and when the pandemic spread; the nuances behind "superspreaders"; how bad is the coronavirus, really; and the near future of "bio-surveillance" -- not just from a personal risk perspective, but from a global public-health perspective... Can we get the holy grail here without sacrificing privacy and agency?

May 23, 2020
Podcasting and the Future of Audio
01:06:51

This podcast (first recorded in 2019, now being rerun) -- is a podcast about podcasting: But it's really all about audio. A lot's changed... and a lot hasn't. 

How do we define "podcasts"; how does the feeds ecosystem currently work; what content and entertainment experiments might change how people not just consume, but create, in the medium? Not to mention monetize, discover, etc... 

Nick Quah, writer and publisher of Hot Pod (also at Vulture) joins a16z general partner Connie Chan -- and editor in chief (and showrunner of the a16z Podcast) Sonal Chokshi -- to talk about all this and more in this hallway-style jam. 

 

The views expressed here are those of the individual AH Capital Management, L.L.C. (“a16z”) personnel quoted and are not the views of a16z or its affiliates.

This content is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be relied upon as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. You should consult your own advisers as to those matters. References to any securities or digital assets are for illustrative purposes only and do not constitute an investment recommendation or offer to provide investment advisory services. Furthermore, this content is not directed at nor intended for use by any investor or prospective investor, and may not under any circumstances be relied upon when making a decision to invest in any fund managed by a16z. (An offering to invest in an a16z fund will be made only by the private placement memorandum, subscription agreement, and other relevant documentation of any such fund which should be read in their entirety.)

Past performance is not indicative of future results. Any charts and graphs provided within are for informational purposes solely and should not be relied upon when making any investment decision. Please see https://a16z.com/disclosures for additional important information.

May 20, 2020
Growth in Turbulent Times
00:36:26

 In normal times, every company operates against some hypothetical growth model—a data-driven framework that describes how your product grows and how you acquire new users. These, of course, are not normal times. In the fallout from the pandemic, most founders and CEOs are in the process of completely revamping their growth models from the bottom up amid new and unpredictable consumer behavior. 

This episode explores how to think about growth in turbulent times, according to two growth experts: a16z general partner Andrew Chen, who previously led the growth team at Uber, and Brian Balfour, formerly the VP of Growth at HubSpot, now the founder and CEO of Reforge, a masterclass in growth strategies (in conversation with host Lauren Murrow).

The discussion spans four sections: first, how to reassess your existing growth model, particularly when, as Brian says, the data is "completely messed"; next, we drill down into strategy and tactics for surviving the current crisis and talk about how founders can pursue growth even in the midst of widespread uncertainty and cutbacks. Third, we look ahead to discuss scenario planning and how leaders can forge a path forward. Finally, we zoom out and assess the big picture: how various categories of company may be impacted long-term, how this crisis compares to 2008 (and what that means for early-stage founders), and the industries and business models that are now prime for growth. 

 

May 15, 2020
Journal Club: Using CRISPR to Prevent Coronavirus and Influenza Infection
00:17:02

In this episode of a16z bio Journal Club, general partner Vijay Pande, bio deal team partner Andy Tran, and bio editor Lauren Richardson discuss a novel CRISPR-Cas-based anti-viral strategy.

The discussion covers the differences between this newly developed prophylactic strategy, traditional vaccines, and anti-viral drugs; how this strategy can be engineered to target a huge range of coronavirus and influenza strains; and the next steps needed to go from paper to practice:

a16z Journal Club (part of the a16z Podcast), curates and covers recent advances from the scientific literature -- what papers we’re reading, and why they matter from our perspective at the intersection of biology & technology (for bio journal club). You can find all these episodes at a16z.com/journalclub.

May 15, 2020
What's Next in Gaming
00:20:32

Video game technology has evolved into a global phenomenon that extends far beyond entertainment. In this episode, John Riccitiello, CEO of the game software development company Unity Technologies, is interviewed by a16z general partner Andrew Chen on the rise of esports and streaming, the potential of cloud gaming, and  far-reaching applications for game technology. This conversation originally took place at our most recent innovation conference, the a16z Summit.

May 07, 2020
Undruggable Drugs
00:28:40

In this episode of the a16z Podcast, we take a deep dive into the world of drug development—specifically "undruggable drugs": a category of protein, protein family or even piece of RNA that’s so difficult to target that many researchers don’t even want to touch it. 

Jay Bradner, President of the Novartis Institute for BioMedical Research, shares with a16z General Partner Jorge Conde and Hanne Tidnam all the new tools, technologies and breakthroughs which are causing the science of therapeutics to explode in some of these areas where it's been incredibly difficult (even impossible) in the past. From molecular glues to cell and gene therapies, Bradner shares the behind-the-scenes science stories of what it really takes to make a new drug that shatters the category of an "undruggable" target. 

May 06, 2020
The Next Generation of Cultural Influencers in Tech
00:13:18

This episode—which originally took place as a live event—is a conversation between Seattle Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner and a16z Cultural Leadership Fund partner Chris Lyons. Wagner is known for his power on the field and his business acumen off it. Last year, he negotiated his own three-year, $54 million contract extension to become the highest-paid middle linebacker in the NFL. In this candid conversation, Wagner and Lyons discuss how to identify standout companies and talent (for better or worse), the growing influence of cultural leaders in tech, and the potential of "shared genius."

May 02, 2020
The Chief Security Officer in (and out of) a Crisis
00:20:36

The Chief Security Officer (CSO/CISO) used to manage on-premise servers, now the information they have to secure has migrated to the cloud. As the responsibility of CSOs has expanded, the role has moved from technical IT to the boardroom. How do the best CSOs prepare for and respond to a crisis, from redteaming to comms? What responsibility should cloud & SaaS vendors, not to mention the government, have in security and data breaches?  And how is the role going to evolve in the next five years? 

At our a16z Innovation Summit last year, we sat down with two security leaders whose career has evolved as the role has – Joe Sullivan, former CSO at Uber and Facebook, now at Cloudflare and Joel de la Garza, current security partner at a16z, formerly CISO at Box. 

Apr 29, 2020
Journal Club: Finding New Antibiotics with Machine Learning, What Coronavirus Structures Tell Us
00:24:22

a16z Journal Club (part of the a16z Podcast), curates and covers recent advances from the scientific literature -- what papers we’re reading, and why they matter from our perspective at the intersection of biology & technology (for bio journal club). This inaugural episode covers 2 different topics, in discussion with Lauren Richardson:

0:26 #1 identifying new antibiotics through a novel machine-learning based approach -- a16z general partner Vijay Pande and bio deal partner Andy Tran discuss the business of pharma; the specific methods/  how it works; and other applications for deep learning in drug discovery and development based on this paper:

  • "A Deep Learning Approach to Antibiotic Discovery" in Cell (February 2020), by Jonathan Stokes, Kevin Yang, Kyle Swanson, Wengong Jin, Andres Cubillos-Ruiz, Nina Donghia, Craig MacNair, Shawn French, Lindsey Carfrae, Zohar Bloom-Ackermann, Victoria Tran, Anush Chiappino-Pepe, Ahmed Badran, Ian Andrews, Emma Chory, George Church, Eric Brown, Tommi Jaakkola, Regina Barzilay, James Collins

11:43 #2 characterizing the novel coronavirus causing the COVID-19 pandemic -- a16z bio deal partner Judy Savitskaya shares what we can learn from the protein structures; the relationship to the 2002-2004 SARS epidemic; and more based on these two research articles: 

You can find these episodes at a16z.com/journalclub.

Apr 26, 2020
Introducing Journal Club
00:01:11

Announcing a16z Journal Club, a new show where we curate and discuss recent research papers with a16z experts and others. 

This new show continues the a16z Podcast mission of not just bringing you conversations about the future (as well as about building companies for this), but of also putting specific trends in context -- whether through news (as with our other show 16 Minutes), or, through journal articles (as with this new show -- which will soon have its own feed as well). 

The first episode, of bio journal club, focuses on why specific scientific advances matter from our perspective at the intersection of biology & technology. It is hosted by one of our a16z bio editors, Lauren Richardson, a former senior editor of open-access journal PLOS Biology with a background in cell and molecular biology and genetics (and with a Ph.D. from the University of Washington and a postdoctoral fellowship at UC Berkeley).

You will hear it next in this feed, and can also find new episodes here as they come out every few weeks and at a16z.com/journalclub

~sonal

Apr 26, 2020
What the Narrow Waist of the Internet Means for Innovation Today
00:40:20

Here is Ali's tweetstorm on the Narrow Waist of Blockchain Computing 

Apr 24, 2020
IT'S TIME TO BUILD
00:12:22

“It's Time to Build” by Marc Andreessen. You can also find and share this essay at a16z.com/build

Apr 21, 2020
Introducing Read Alouds
00:00:34

We wanted to let you know about a special new series of posts occasionally read out loud from us  (you can learn more about the why and why now in episode #500 on how we podcast); we may release these in a separate feed in future, for now, the first episode is next in this feed. Thank you for listening!

You can also check out our other shows and series:

Apr 21, 2020
The Passion Economy: Redefining Work
00:26:20

Patreon cofounder and CTO Sam Yam and a16z consumer tech partner Li Jin join host Lauren Murrow to talk about the Passion Economy: the rise of online platforms that enable people to make a living off their unique interests and skills.

It's a trend that's become increasingly relevant as unemployment spikes and the demand for virtual work grows. Our conversation covers the new forms of work made possible by these online platforms; why creators today are effectively making more money off fewer fans; and what all of this means for the future of entrepreneurship. 

Find more on the Passion Economy and the "100 True Fans" theory at a16z.com/passioneconomy

Apr 18, 2020
When Bad Policy = Bad Business Models = Bad Public Health
00:23:59

with @JorgeCondeBio, @julesyoo, and @omnivorousread

In some ways, the coronavirus feels like it came out of nowhere—a kind of Black Swan event. But at the same time, it's been exposing a lot of the fundamental flaws in our healthcare system that now feel like a perfect storm coming together... and have hurt our ability to address the problem that we should really have seen coming.

In this episode, a16z General Partners Jorge Conde and Julie Yoo talk with Hanne Tidnam about some of those big forces and dynamics in the healthcare system, at the intersection of business, policy, and public health: how in healthcare like perhaps nowhere else, broken policy can lead to broken business models that, in the wrong circumstances, can then lead major failures in public health like the one we’re seeing today; where we’ve seen this before, in the markets of vaccines, antibiotics, and diagnostics; and what should be different next time, so that when a new pandemic hits we aren’t facing another perfect storm.

Apr 16, 2020
Moving to Remote Development (and Work)
00:21:37

From agile project management to asynchronous collaboration, development teams have pioneered many of the tools and best practices for remote work possible. However, new shelter-in-place orders have more organizations moving to remote development — and remote work — often quickly and without a lot of time to plan.

Will remote work be our new reality, even after the pandemic passes? And if so, what are the current technologIes and practices that support organizational communication and alignment for distributed teams, development and otherwise? In this hallway-style podcast, Jason Warner, the CTO of GitHub, and a16z General Partner David Ulevitch cover how working from home is evolving our software as well as how we use it — from communication tools and best practices to interviewing and hiring when you can’t see someone face to face.  

 

Apr 15, 2020
Virtual Oncology
00:36:25

with @vintweeta @pbcancerdoc @sumitshahmd @omnivorousread

Coronavirus is now disrupting the entire health care system, not just because of the burden of dealing with the actual disease itself, but because of everything else that's had to grind to a halt. One of the areas where we really worry about things coming to a total stop like that is, of course, cancer treatment, which can often feel like a race against the clock even under the best conditions.

In this episode, Dr. Bobby Green, MD (Community Oncologist and Chief Medical Officer, Flatiron Health) and Dr. Sumit Shah (Oncologist and Head of Digital Health, Stanford Cancer Center) join a16z's Vineeta Agarwala (physician and general partner) and Hanne Tidnam to talk about what is happening to oncology during the outbreak—how treatment is affected; what kind of clinical decisions oncologists and patients are having to make, and how they're making them; the tech tools that specialists are using, and how they could improve; and what happens to oncology as a whole when it's forced to go virtual.

Apr 10, 2020
The Story of Schizophrenia
00:37:35

with @bobkolker, Stefan McDonough, and @omnivorousread

Descriptions of the mental illness we today call schizophrenia are as old as humankind itself. And more than likely, we are are all familiar with this disease in some way, as it touches 1% of us—millions of lives—and of course, their families. In this episode, we dive into the remarkable story of one such American family, the Galvins: Mimi, Don, and their 12 children, 6 of whom were afflicted with schizophrenia.

In his new book, Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family, Robert Kolker follows the family from the 1950s to today, through, he writes, "the eras of institutionalization and shock therapy, the debates between psycho-therapy versus medication, the needle-in-a-haystack search for genetic markers for the disease, and the profound disagreements about the cause and origin of the illness itself." Because of that, this is really more than just a portrait of one family; it’s a portrait of how we have struggled over the last decades to understand this mysterious and devastating mental illness: the biology of it, the drivers, the behaviors and pathology, the genomics, and of course the search for treatments that might help, from lobotomies to ECT to thorazine.

Also joining Robert Kolker and a16z's Hanne Tidnam in this conversation is Stefan McDonough, Executive Director of Genetics at Pfizer World R&D, one of the genetic researchers who worked closely with the Galvins. The conversation follows the key moments where our understanding of this disease began to shift, especially with new technologies and the advent of the Human Genome Project—and finally where we are today, and where our next big break might come from.

Apr 07, 2020
Navigating the Numbers
00:27:04

For any business, there are three core financial statements – the income or P&L statement, the balance sheet, and the cash flow statement. While these statements can show investors and the board how the business is doing, they can do more than just keep score on your business – they are one of the best tools you have to run it.

In this podcast, a16z General Partner and managing partner Jeff Jordan, who previously ran several businesses and took a company public right after the 2008 financial crisis; David George, who runs the a16z late-stage venture operation; and former CFO Caroline Moon, who leads the a16z financial operations team, break down what the numbers do (and don’t) tell you, both in financial statements and KPIs. They cover the most common mistakes people make when it comes to understanding their numbers; how investors look at a company's P&L; what metrics they use to determine if a business is healthy; and how founders can use the numbers to navigate in times of crisis.

Apr 04, 2020
Gaming and Livestreaming: Connecting While Distancing
00:18:39

Since social distancing measures were first put in place, time spent gaming has gone up—way up. According to a recent report by Verizon, video game usage in the U.S. has risen 75 percent during peak hours. The "stay at home" movement has given way to an upswell of new and returning gamers—as well as new challenges, as online platforms struggle to keep up with the surge.

In this episode, a16z partner Jon Lai joins host Lauren Murrow to talk about how game developers are grappling with skyrocketing numbers, why this may be an inflection point for VR, the surprising transition of professional sports into esports, and why live-streaming is having its moment.

Apr 02, 2020
The Hustlers's Guide to Suing the Man
00:28:44

This is the next cycle (Q1 2020) of Hustlin' Tech, a podcast series (from the a16z Podcast) about technology platforms that create opportunities for people. Recorded right before the coronavirus pandemic, these next 3 episodes touch on many things that are top of mind right now: from the profession of nursing and taking care of the elderly and the professionalization of caregivers; to fighting bureaucracy to get money back (and to now get help delaying utility bills and rent payments that are eligible for an extension or waiver of late fees due to the coronavirus crisis).

Episode #6, “The Hustler’s Guide to Suing the Man” features:

  • Joshua Browder, CEO and founder of DoNotPay, the world's first "robot lawyer" which helps people automatically fight bureaucracy to get money back, whether parking tickets or hidden bank fees; find other hidden money or cancel free trials; sue others or go to small claims court -- and now also helps people delay utility bills and rent payments that are eligible for an extension or waiver of late fees due to the coronavirus crisis.
  • Makiri Duckett, a small business owner who currently operates an adult on-demand delivery service (and therefore gets frequent parking tickets) and is a power user of the platform;

...both interviewed by Ben Horowitz and Shaka Senghor.

You can find the first cycle of this series (Q4 2019) -- including more about the what and the why -- here.

Apr 01, 2020
The Hustler's Guide to Elder Care
00:36:17

This is the next cycle (Q1 2020) of Hustlin' Tech, a podcast series (from the a16z Podcast) about technology platforms that create opportunities for people. Recorded right before the coronavirus pandemic, these next 3 episodes touch on many things that are top of mind right now: from the profession of nursing; to taking care of the elderly; to fighting bureaucracy to get money and time back (and to get help delaying utility bills and rent payments that are eligible for an extension or waiver of late fees due to the coronavirus crisis).

Episode #5, “The Hustler’s Guide to Taking Care of Old Folks” features:

  • Seth Sternberg, CEO and co-founder of Honor, a home care company and national network of local home care agencies that brings high-touch, personalized care to elders while also scaling workforce management; matching special needs, skills, and unique demands; and offering tools that help caregivers with jobs and more.
  • Samantha Ludwig, a care professional who has always had a job thanks to Honor (and who journeyed from abroad as a foreign nurse);

...both interviewed by Ben Horowitz and Shaka Senghor.

You can find the first cycle of this series (Q4 2019) -- including more about the what and the why -- here.

Apr 01, 2020
The Hustler's Guide to Nursing Jobs
00:37:52

This is the next cycle (Q1 2020) of Hustlin' Tech, a podcast series (from the a16z Podcast) about technology platforms that create opportunities for people. Recorded right before the coronavirus pandemic, these next 3 episodes touch on many things that are top of mind right now: from the profession of nursing; to taking care of the elderly; and fighting bureaucracy to get money back -- or to get help delaying utility bills and rent payments that are eligible for an extension or waiver of late fees due to the crisis.

Episode #4, “The Hustler’s Guide to Nursing Jobs” features:

  • Iman Abuzeid, MD, CEO and co-founder of Incredible Health, a hiring platform for nurses in the U.S. used by hospitals and health systems that helps hospitals find nurses faster, offers free continuing education to nurses everywhere, and puts nurses at the center; and
  • Stephanie Anyanwu, RN, who found her nursing job on the platform and also journeyed to the U.S. from abroad

...both interviewed by Ben Horowitz and Shaka Senghor.

You can find the first cycle of this series (Q4 2019) -- including more about the what and the why -- here.

Mar 30, 2020
Hustlin' Tech, Round Two
00:01:26

This is the next cycle of Hustlin' Tech -- a podcast series co-hosted by bestselling authors, a16z co-founder Ben Horowitz; and Shaka Senghor, a leading voice in criminal justice reform.  

 Each episode is a "Hustler's Guide" to a new technology platform that creates opportunity for people. We previously released 3 episodes in this series last quarter, and this quarter are releasing 3 new episodes that follow in this feed, over the next few days. 

These episodes were all recorded right before the coronavirus pandemic. However, given what's going on in the world, they touch on many things that are top of mind right now: from the profession of nursing (including online communities and free continuing education from home); to taking care of the elderly (many of whom live alone or need other in-home assistance); and fighting bureaucracy to get money back -- or to get help delaying utility bills and rent payments that are eligible for an extension or waiver of late fees due to the crisis:

#4 The Hustler's Guide to Nursing Jobs

#5 The Hustler's Guide to Taking Care of Old Folks

#6 The Hustler's Guide to Suing the Man  

You can read more about the what and the why of the entire Hustlin Tech series -- and sign up to be notified about future episodes -- here.

Mar 30, 2020
Security When the Workforce Goes Remote
00:21:53

We are in the midst of a rapid and unprecedented shift to remote work. What does it mean for security when the airgap between work and life is gone? How prepared are organizations? And what should security professionals as well as individual workers be doing to protect themselves and their companies?

In this podcast, a16z security expert Joel de la Garza breaks down the current risks and how to defend against them. But beyond just immediate security needs, he explains what bigger transformations may be happening, most notably a shift from the traditional hub-and-spoke, point to point, security architectures to a more distributed approach to workloads as well as trust.

Mar 27, 2020
The Delivery-Optimized Future of Food
00:18:38

The spike in online ordering and food delivery—a trend that's particularly relevant now—is evidence of how tech is fundamentally changing how and what we eat. Is this the end of the traditional restaurant experience as we know it?

In this conversation between Virtual Kitchen Co. CEO Ken Chong, Snackpass CEO Kevin Tan, a16z general parter Andrew Chen, and host Lauren Murrow, we discuss what's driving this transformation, the infusion of data into the restaurant industry, how take-out and delivery is becoming surprisingly social, and the specter of the "kitchenless home."

Virtual Kitchen Co. is a network of delivery-only kitchens that partners with restaurants to expand their reach without opening additional brick-and-mortar locations. Snackpass is a food-ordering app currently on college campuses in which customers can order ahead at restaurants and skip the line. In this discussion, both CEOs explain what their business models could mean for the future of dining and cooking.

This episode was recorded on-site at the a16z Summit in November 2019.

Mar 25, 2020
Remote Work and Our New Reality
00:19:33
Mar 23, 2020
When Medicine Goes Virtual
00:28:01

We’re at a moment where we are now seeing medicine go virtual faster, and at a scale that it has never done before. In this conversation,  a16z bio general partners Vijay Pande and Julie Yoo, who come from the worlds of bio, technology and care delivery,  talk with Hanne Tidnam all about what exactly virtual care and “telemedicine” is... and what it isn’t; what it works well for, what doesn’t (yet), and where there’s potential; and finally, the current pain points (including regulation), and what we’ll learn from this current moment for the next generation of virtual medicine tools.

Mar 19, 2020
Labs for Diagnostics: Then, Now, and Next
00:35:04

A lot's going on in the world of healthcare right now, and one topic that's especially relevant is how diagnostic labs work. In this episode with Dave King, Executive Chairman of Lab Corp (one of the largest clinical lab networks in the world) and a16z's General Partner Jorge Conde and Hanne Tidnam, we cover the evolution of the modern lab over the past 50 years, especially as new technologies and new tests are added; how tests go from specialized to mainstream and widely available; and who pays for most tests and how reimbursement affects all this. We also discuss where lab information flows—in electronic health records and in the health system at large—and touch on what the lab of the future might be like. 

Mar 17, 2020
How a16z's Crypto Startup School Went Remote
00:13:25
On February 21, Andreessen Horowitz kicked off its very first Crypto Startup School, with 45 students from around the U.S. and three countries, gathering to learn how to build crypto projects. But just two weeks into the seven-week course, community spread of the coronavirus meant the school had to go remote. A16z marketing partner Kim Milosevich and Jesse Walden, former founder of Mediachain who’s helping lead our Crypto Startup School effort, talk about the challenges of virtual collaboration in a new, uncharted world.
Mar 14, 2020
Drowning in Debt, Eager to Share: When Fintech Meets Social
00:23:45

The last financial crisis prompted many consumers to reassess their banking expectations—none more so than millennials and Gen-Z-ers. While revealing one's financial information was once considered taboo, now consumers are more apt than ever to openly discuss money and debt on online platforms. It's a trend that's evident on both ends of the spectrum, whether that’s people divulging their crushing levels of debt on Twitter and Instagram (#debtfreejourney), bragging about their credit scores, or bemoaning their latest stock trades. And the repercussions extend far beyond social media. 

In this hallway-style conversation with fintech general partner Anish Acharya and D'Arcy Coolican, a partner on the consumer tech team, we discuss why the "holy grail" of social plus fintech is both so challenging and, potentially, so rewarding. We cover which products and companies are taking advantage of it (some in rather novel ways), how it's being driven by various subcultures online, and why this shift is happening now.  

Mar 12, 2020
Innovation Through Software Development and IT
00:45:05

One of the recurring themes we talk about a lot on the a16z Podcast is how software changes organizations, and vice versa... More broadly: it’s really about how companies of all kinds innovate with the org structures and tools that they have. 

But we've come a long way from the question of "does IT matter" to answering the question  of what org structures, processes, architectures, and roles DO matter when it comes to companies -- of all sizes  -- innovating through software and more. 

So in this episode (a re-run of a popular episode from a couple years ago), two of the authors of the book Accelerate: The Science of  Lean Software and DevOps, by Nicole Forsgren, Jez Humble, and Jean Kim join Sonal Chokshi to share best practices and large-scale findings about high performing companies (including those who may not even think they’re tech companies). Nicole was co-founder and CEO of Dora, which was acquired by Google in December 2018; she will soon be joining GitHub as VP of Research & Strategy. Jez was CTO at DORA; is currently in Developer Relations at Google Cloud; and is the co-author of the books The DevOps Handbook, Lean Enterprise, and Continuous Delivery.  

 

Mar 06, 2020
The Open Source CIO
00:20:18

In 2014, in "Why There Will Never Be Another Red Hat," Peter Levine argued that Red Hat’s open source business model of commercializing support and services was highly difficult to replicate. Instead, he predicted the future of open source companies would be open source-as-a-service. And today SaaS has emerged as the dominant business model.

In this podcast, recorded as a hallway-style conversation as part of the a16z Innovation Summit last year, Peter chats with Red Hat CIO, Mike Kelly, about what it means to be an open source CIO today – and how even Red Hat is evolving in the open SaaS era. They cover everything from why open hybrid has become the dominant enterprise architecture to how CIOs should think about adopting new technologies to what it takes for an M&A to be successful, beyond the spreadsheets.

Feb 28, 2020
Novel Coronavirus Updates: How Healthcare System, Tests Work; More
00:21:51

This episode covers the following -- since our previous deep-dive on the novel coronavirus outbreak -- including:

  1. practical implications for the U.S. healthcare system given how it works today, and where we might go in the future — with a16z general partner Julie Yoo, given our vantage point in tech; and
  2. how the rt-PCR test works — with a16z bio partner Judy Savitskaya;

…in conversation with Sonal Chokshi.

Sources for updates at top:

Sources for last week's episode:

image: 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), CDC, via Wikimedia Commons

Feb 27, 2020
Metrics and Mindsets for Retention & Engagement
00:33:07

It's "Marketplaces Week" for us at a16z, thanks to our consumer team releasing a new index of the next industry-defining marketplaces, the Marketplace 100.  

But what happens as such marketplaces and other platforms evolve over time, as do their users? This episode is a rerun of a popular conversation from a couple years ago -- featuring general partners Andrew Chen and Jeff Jordan (in conversation with Sonal Chokshi) -- on what comes after user acquisition: retention. 

It's all about engagement. So what are the key metrics? And if different kinds of users join a  platform over time -- what does that mean for engagement, and where do cohort analyses come in?

Feb 20, 2020
Tough Love, Global Diplomacy, and Lessons on Leadership
00:50:47

Susan shares how she learned to leverage the characteristics of her personality early in her career as assistant secretary of state [2:05]

One of the important conversations Susan had with a mentor that changed the trajectory of her career [4:50]

Her parent’s commitment to education, their personal backgrounds, and the legacies they created [8:10]

The result of instilling self-belief into children and mastering “psychological jiu jitsu” [10:22]

What the early lessons of family diplomacy taught her [14:00]

The importance of strategic compartmentalization [16:48]

How to approach crisis during high stakes situations [18:29]

How to practice compassionate leadership while maintaining effectiveness [20:10]

Hacking the concept of “work-life balance” [21:10]

The required characteristics of powerful leaders [28:14]

The hard things about leadership and the idea of being liked [31:20]

The “middle finger story”/the time Susan stood up for herself in an important meeting [33:23]

Susan talks about China’s intelligence collection in the US [39:45]

A call for unity between the private, public, and academic sectors [42:54]

Feb 14, 2020
Building the First CAR T Company
00:28:51

with @OzAzamTmunity1, @JorgeCondeBio, and @omnivorousread

CAR T therapy, the groundbreaking new medicines that uses engineered T-cells to attack cancer, has been so effective in childhood leukemias that we believe it may actually be a cure. But this isn't just one new medicine, it's an entirely new therapeutic tool—and a total paradigm shift from most traditional medicines we've seen before.

In this conversation, Tmunity CEO Usman Azam (previously head of Cell and Gene Therapies at Novartis, where he worked on Novartis’ blood cancer CAR T-cell therapy Kymriah—the first cell-based gene therapy to be approved in the US) discusses with a16z's general partner Jorge Conde and Hanne Tidnam what CAR T therapy really is and how it all works. The conversation begins with the “patient and cell journey” of this treatment and how this medicine is developed, manufactured, delivered to patients; why exactly it's so different traditional medicines; what it will take to make these new medicines work on more kinds of cancer, scale to more patients, and cost less; and finally, what company building lessons can be learned from building the first CAR T company of its kind from the ground up.

This episode was recorded at the annual a16z Summit.

Feb 07, 2020
Rebel Talent
00:33:01

When we think about rebellious behavior in the context of organizations and companies, we tend to think of rebels as trouble-makers, rabble-rousers; in other words, people who make decisions and processes more difficult because they may not follow the established rules or norms. But rebel behavior can also be incredibly positive and constructive—in keeping us from stagnation, encouraging growth and learning, increasing curiosity and creativity.

In this episode of the a16z Podcast, Harvard Business School Professor Francesca Gino, a social scientist who studies organizations, breaks down with a16z's Hanne Tidnam what makes rebels different in how they tend to see and do things—whether that’s cooking, flying planes, or holding board meetings—and what we can all learn from “rebel talent” to make our organizations more productive and innovative.

Feb 04, 2020
All about the Coronavirus
00:19:49

This episode of 16 Minutes on the news from a16z is all about the recent coronavirus outbreak -- or rather, a new type of coronavirus called 2019-nCoV for 2019 novel coronavirus. Since it's an ongoing and fast-developing news cycle, we take a quick snapshot for where we are, what we know, and what we don't know, and discuss the vantage point of where tech comes in. Topics covered include:

  • definition of a virus, categories of coronaviruses
  • origins and spread
  • how this stacks up so far against SARS and MERS
  • speed of sequencing, implications of genomic info
  • speed of information sharing
  • R0 ("r-naught"/"nought") and what it measures
  • different ways to think about how bad a given epidemic is
  • current moves and treatments

Our a16z guest is Judy Savitskaya on the bio team, in conversation with Sonal Chokshi.

Link sources or background readings for this episode:

Other background readings / pieces mentioned in this episode: 

  • "Scientists are moving at record speed to create new coronavirus vaccines--but they may come too late", Jon Cohen, Science (AAAS), January 27
  • "Clinical features of patients infected with 2019 novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China", The Lancet, January 24
  • "Discovery of a novel coronavirus associated with the recent pneumonia outbreak in humans and its potential bat origin", bioRxiv, January 2 *note - preprint, NOT peer reviewed*
  • "The deceptively simple number sparking coronavirus fears", Ed Yong, The Atlantic, January 28 *this appeared AFTER this episode was recorded, so sharing here as additional reading only*

image: CDC

Jan 30, 2020
The Truth about 1000 True Fans + Pricing Our Attention
00:15:32

The idea of "1000 true fans" -- first proposed by Kevin Kelly in 2008 and later updated for Tools of Titans -- argued that to be a successful creator, you don’t need millions of customers or clients, but need only thousands of true fans. Such a true, diehard fan "will buy anything you produce", and as such, creators can make a living from them as long as they: (1) create enough each year to earn profit from each fan, plus it's easier and better to give existing fans more; (2) have a direct relationship with those fans, which the internet (and long tail) now make possible.

But patronage models have been around forever; what's new there? How has the web evolved; and how are media, and audiences/voices finding and subscribing to each other changing as a result? If the 1000-true-fans concept is also more broadly "useful to anyone making things, or making things happen" -- then what nuances do people often miss about it? For instance: That there are also regular fans in the next concentric circle around true fans, and that the most obscure node is only one click away from the most popular node.

Finally -- when you combine this big idea with another idea Kelly proposed in his most recent book The Inevitable (covered previously on this episode) on inverting attention economies so audiences monetize their attention vs. the other way around, how do we connect the dots between them and some novel thought experiments? In this hallway-style episode of the a16z Podcast, which Sonal Chokshi recorded with Kevin in our pop-up podcast booth at our most recent a16z Summit, we discuss all this and more. Because on average, we all currently surrender our attention (whether to TV, books, or whatever) for about $3 an hour. Whoa?!

Jan 27, 2020
Writers Writing, Readers Reading, Creators Creating
00:40:25

We've been financing good writing with bad advertising -- and "attention monsters" (to quote Craig Mod) for way too long. So what happens when the technology for creators finally falls into place? We're finally starting to see shift in power away from publications as the sole gatekeepers of talent, towards individual writers. Especially when the best possible predictor of the value of a piece of writing is, well, the writer. The publication's brand is no longer the guarantee of quality, or the only entity we should be paying and be loyal to, when a new ecosystem is forming around the direct relationship between consumers, content creators, and the tools and business models to facilitate all this.

So where do readers come in... how do they find signal in the noisy world of drive-by billboard advertising, "attention-monster" feeds, and the death of Google Reader? Particularly as machine learning-based translation, summarization, and other mediums beyond text increasingly enter our information diets, for better and for worse?

This episode of the a16z Podcast features Robert Cottrell, formerly of The Economist and Financial Times and now editor of The Browser (which selects 5 pieces of writing worth reading delivered daily); Chris Best, formerly CTO of Kik and now co-founder and CEO of Substack (a full-stack platform for independent writers to publish newsletters, podcasts, and more); and Andrew Chen, formerly independent blogger/ newsletter publisher, now also an a16z general partner investing in consumer -- all in conversation with Sonal Chokshi. The discussion is all about writing and reading... but we're not just seeing this phenomenon in newsletters and podcasting, but also in people setting up e-commerce shops, video streaming, and more. Is it possible that the stars, the incentives, are finally aligning between creators and consumers? What happens next, what happens when you get more than -- and even less than -- "1000 true fans"?

 

image: Thad Zajdowicz/ Flickr

Jan 27, 2020
What's Next for the Internet?
00:41:13

How can we evolve the web for a better future? Has the web become a mature platform — or are we still in the early days of knowing what it can do and what role it might have in our lives? Just as “social/local/mobile” once did, what are the new trends — like crypto and blockchain networks and commerce everywhere — that might converge into new products and experiences?

Chris Dixon (general partner at a16z and co-lead of the a16z crypto fund) discusses all things internet with Jonah Peretti (founder and CEO of BuzzFeed). Their conversation ranges from the early days of the web to the way innovation happens (what Chris calls “outside-in vs inside-out”) to the promise of a community-owned and operated internet, and more.

Together they explore the possibilities that could co-evolve and converge are we enter into the next era of the web, and they share how we might not be quite as far removed from the “wild west days” of the internet as we imagined.

Jan 19, 2020
Controlling AI
00:26:01

AI can do a lot of specific tasks as well as, or even better than, humans can — for example, it can more accurately classify images, more efficiently process mail, and more logically manipulate a Go board. While we have made a lot of advances in task-specific AI, how far are we from artificial general intelligence (AGI), that is AI that matches general human intelligence and capabilities?

In this podcast, a16z operating partner Frank Chen interviews Stuart Russell, the Founder of the Center for Human-Compatible Artificial Intelligence (CHAI) at UC Berkeley. They outline the conceptual breakthroughs, like natural language understanding, still required for AGI. But more importantly, they explain how and why we should design AI systems to ensure that we can control AI, and eventually AGI, when it’s smarter than we are. The conversation starts by explaining what Hollywood's Skynet gets wrong and ends with why AI is better as "the perfect Butler, than the genie in the lamp."

Jan 16, 2020
Food, Drugs, and Tech—100 Years of Public Health
00:44:55


The federal agency known as the FDA, or the Food and Drug Administration, was born over 100 years ago—at the turn of the industrial revolution, in a time of enormous upheaval and change, and rapidly emerging technology. The same could be said to be just as true today. From CRISPR to synthetic biology to using artificial intelligence in medicine, our healthcare system is undergoing massive amounts of innovation and change. 

Covering everything from gene-editing your dog to tracking the next foodborne outbreak, this wide-ranging conversation between Principal Commissioner of the FDA Amy Abernethy and Vijay Pande, GP on the Bio Fund at a16z, discusses how the agency is evolving to keep pace with the scientific breakthroughs coming, while staying true to its core mission of assessing safety and effectiveness for consumers in the world of food and medicine. 

Highlights:

What the FDA looks like today and the key steps of the FDA process to getting a drug/product to market [2:20

How to manage a culture when mitigating risk is a top priority while aiming to innovate for the future [5:22

Creative problem-solving in times of crisis, such as the Opioid crisis [9:58

Preparing for and preventing drug shortages at scale [13:30

How advances in bioengineering are transforming healthcare [16:00

How the FDA is thinking about n=1 therapies and its applications in the future [18:54

The future of healthcare privacy [26:10

The ways the clinical trial process are shifting [29:26

Innovations in Bioengineering as they relate to regulating food in the future [36:02

How the FDA handles foodborne illnesses and its plans to innovate food safety [39:12

Discussion about the next 100 years of the FDA [41:25]

Jan 14, 2020
On Pharma Trends and Big Company Innovation
00:59:18

How does the world’s largest producer of medicines in terms of volume balance the science and  the business of innovation? How does an enterprise at such vast scale make decisions about what to build vs. buy, especially given the fast pace of science today? How does it balance attitudes between “not invented here” and “not invented yet”? 

Vas Narasimhan, CEO of Novartis, sat down with a16z bio general partners Jorge Conde and Vijay Pande, and editor in chief Sonal Chokshi, during the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference around this time last year, to discuss the latest trends in therapeutics; go to market and why both big companies and bio startups need to get market value signals (not just approvals!) from payers earlier in the process; clinical trials, talent, leadership, and more in this rerun of the a16z Podcast.

Jan 11, 2020
Personal Genomics: Where Are We, Really?
00:19:56

This is a turn of the decade (and January-themed) look backward/ look forward into personal genomics, given recent and past retrospective and prospective pieces in the media on the promise, and perils, of the ability to sequence one's DNA: What did it, and does it, mean for personalized medicine, criminal investigations, privacy, and more? 

General partner Jorge Conde, who has a long history in the space, covers everything from where genealogy databases and large datasets come in to fetal testing, multi-omics, and other themes spanning the past, present, and future of personal genomics in conversation with Sonal Chokshi for episode #18 our news show 16 Minutes, where we cover recent headlines, the a16z way, from our vantage point in tech -- and especially what's hype/ what's real. While we typically cover multiple headlines, this is one of our special deep-dive episodes on a single topic. (You catch up on other such deep dives, on the opioid crisis and other evergreen episodes, at a16z.com/16Minutes). And if you haven't already, be sure to subscribe to the separate feed for "16 Minutes" to continue getting new episodes.

 

Jan 06, 2020
Why We Should Be Optimistic About the Future
00:44:30

Many skeptics thought the internet would never reach mass adoption, but today it’s shaping global culture, is integral to our lives -- and it's just the beginning. 

In this conversation from our 2019 innovation summit, Kevin Kelly (Founding Executive Editor, WIRED magazine) and Marc Andreessen sit down to discuss the evolution of technology, key trends, and why they're the most optimistic people in the room.

***

The views expressed here are those of the individual AH Capital Management, L.L.C. (“a16z”) personnel quoted and are not the views of a16z or its affiliates. Certain information contained in here has been obtained from third-party sources, including from portfolio companies of funds managed by a16z. While taken from sources believed to be reliable, a16z has not independently verified such information and makes no representations about the enduring accuracy of the information or its appropriateness for a given situation.

This content is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be relied upon as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. You should consult your own advisers as to those matters. References to any securities or digital assets are for illustrative purposes only, and do not constitute an investment recommendation or offer to provide investment advisory services. Furthermore, this content is not directed at nor intended for use by any investors or prospective investors, and may not under any circumstances be relied upon when making a decision to invest in any fund managed by a16z. (An offering to invest in an a16z fund will be made only by the private placement memorandum, subscription agreement, and other relevant documentation of any such fund and should be read in their entirety.) Any investments or portfolio companies mentioned, referred to, or described are not representative of all investments in vehicles managed by a16z, and there can be no assurance that the investments will be profitable or that other investments made in the future will have similar characteristics or results. A list of investments made by funds managed by Andreessen Horowitz (excluding investments for which the issuer has not provided permission for a16z to disclose publicly as well as unannounced investments in publicly traded digital assets) is available at https://a16z.com/investments/.

Charts and graphs provided within are for informational purposes solely and should not be relied upon when making any investment decision. Past performance is not indicative of future results. The content speaks only as of the date indicated. Any projections, estimates, forecasts, targets, prospects, and/or opinions expressed in these materials are subject to change without notice and may differ or be contrary to opinions expressed by others. Please see https://a16z.com/disclosures for additional important information.

Jan 02, 2020
What to Know about CFIUS
00:46:03

When innovation and capital go global, so do restrictions on trade, foreign investment, and more. Over the past couple years, U.S. policymakers have expanded the scope of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS) through the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act (FIRRMA) of 2018 which was recently updated through proposed reforms this September 2019.

So what does this all mean for tech founders taking investments from, or doing joint ventures with, foreign entities -- or just doing business globally in general? What does and doesn't CFIUS cover, and how might one structure partnerships strategically as a result? In this episode, a16z general partner Katie Haun interviews Michael Leiter (of law firm Skadden Arps) who specializes in CFIUS as well as matters involving U.S. national security and cybersecurity, cross-border transactions, aerospace and defense mergers and acquisitions, and government relations and investigations.

The Q&A took place in September 2019 as part of an event hosted by Andreessen Horowitz.

 

The views expressed here are those of the individual AH Capital Management, L.L.C. (“a16z”) personnel quoted and are not the views of a16z or its affiliates. Certain information contained in here has been obtained from third-party sources, including from portfolio companies of funds managed by a16z. While taken from sources believed to be reliable, a16z has not independently verified such information and makes no representations about the enduring accuracy of the information or its appropriateness for a given situation.

This content is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be relied upon as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. You should consult your own advisers as to those matters. References to any securities or digital assets are for illustrative purposes only, and do not constitute an investment recommendation or offer to provide investment advisory services. Furthermore, this content is not directed at nor intended for use by any investors or prospective investors, and may not under any circumstances be relied upon when making a decision to invest in any fund managed by a16z. (An offering to invest in an a16z fund will be made only by the private placement memorandum, subscription agreement, and other relevant documentation of any such fund and should be read in their entirety.) Any investments or portfolio companies mentioned, referred to, or described are not representative of all investments in vehicles managed by a16z, and there can be no assurance that the investments will be profitable or that other investments made in the future will have similar characteristics or results. A list of investments made by funds managed by Andreessen Horowitz (excluding investments for which the issuer has not provided permission for a16z to disclose publicly as well as unannounced investments in publicly traded digital assets) is available at https://a16z.com/investments/.

Charts and graphs provided within are for informational purposes solely and should not be relied upon when making any investment decision. Past performance is not indicative of future results. The content speaks only as of the date indicated. Any projections, estimates, forecasts, targets, prospects, and/or opinions expressed in these materials are subject to change without notice and may differ or be contrary to opinions expressed by others. Please see https://a16z.com/disclosures for additional important information.

Dec 23, 2019
Are ISAs the Solution to Student Debt?
00:27:52

A bold proposal: You go to college for free, then pay back the school after graduation—but only if you get a job in your field of study and make a high enough salary to afford it. It's called an income share agreement, and Austen Allred, the CEO and cofounder of Lambda School, thinks it's the future of education.

Student debt currently stands at more than 1.5 trillion dollars, which makes it the second-highest consumer debt category behind mortgage debt. The crisis has saddled much of a generation, with far reaching effects. Income share agreements, or ISAs, have been put forth as an alternative to the current system. Put simply, an ISA is an agreement between a school and a student for the student to pay a defined percentage of income to the school, for a particular period of time, up to a certain cap. It's a seemingly simple conceit with complex design considerations, and it's spurring debate across media and politics.

In this episode, Lambda School CEO Austen Allred, a16z general partner D'Arcy Coolican, and a16z editorial partner Lauren Murrow delve into the greater implications ISAs may have for education and the economy. The discussion covers both the promise and the challenges of ISAs—why they've been relatively slow to gain traction, why they've failed in the past, and why some in the political sphere are still skeptical.

Dec 19, 2019
Shonda Rhimes on How to Create Stories (and Products) People Want
00:34:59

Hollywood and Silicon Valley seem so different, but are more alike than we think. What challenges do tech startup founders and other creative founders -- like showrunners and executive producers -- similarly face? Both have to deeply understand and respect their audiences; learn how to scale themselves beyond one person; and even figure out how and when to use data... or follow their intuitions.

In the end, it’s all about creating a story (product!) that sticks.

In this conversation with Andreessen Horowitz cofounder and general partner Marc Andreessen, Shonda Rhimes -- executive producer, writer, creator of hit 100+ episode shows hows like Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, and founder of the media company Shondaland -- shares the mindsets that drive her to pitch ideas, think about new mediums, and what happens when make believe veers too close to reality.

Rhimes is the recipient of several industry awards and accolades, including a Golden Globe for Outstanding Television Drama, the Peabody Award, Time 100 most influential people, Fortune's “50 Most Powerful Women in Business", and lifetime achievement awards from the Directors Guild of America, the Writers Guild of America, and the Producers Guild of America. She has been inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Broadcasting Hall of Fame and to the Television Academy of Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame. She is also the creative director of Dove’s #RealBeauty campaign and authored NYT bestseller Year of Yes.

The conversation originally took place at our most recent annual innovation Summit -- which features a16z speakers and invited experts from various organizations discussing innovation at companies large and small, as well as tech trends spanning bio, consumer, crypto, fintech, and more.

Dec 17, 2019
The Journey from 0 to 1, from Mosaic to Netscape
00:44:08

As part of a new series where we will share select a16z partner appearances on other podcasts with our audience here, this episode is cross-posted from the new show Starting Greatness -- featuring interviews with startup builders before they were successful -- hosted by Mike Maples junior.

In the conversation, a16z co-founder Marc Andreessen shares some rare, behind-the-scenes details of his story from 0 to 1 -- from the University of Illinois and Mosaic to Netscape -- and along the journey, really, to product-market fit... 

Dec 17, 2019
Direct Listings, Myths and Facts
00:44:20

We’ve covered a lot of the strategic financing milestones for startups seeking to build a sustainable and enduring business -- from mindsets for startup fundraising to when and how to build a finance functionwith a CFO to what it takes to do an initial public offering (IPO) and stories from the inside out. There’s also a lot that goes on behind the scenes en route to IPO, including how they’re priced and what the "pop" means.

Yet another route to the public markets is the direct listing, recently reinvented for tech companies (with Spotify and Slack so far). We explained the process and tradeoffs in this early primer by Jamie McGurk, so this episode of the a16z Podcast brings together two experts from the frontlines: the architect of the direct listings in their current form, Barry McCarthy, current CFO of Spotify (and former CFO of Netflix); and Stacey Cunningham, president of the NYSE where they were listed -- in conversation with Sonal Chokshi to share more about the what, the how, and the why from an insider perspective.

What's the bigger picture here, including secular shifts in the public and private markets? Zooming in closer, what are all the details and nuances involved in true pricing, investor days, forward guidance, and other market mechanisms for "radical transparency"? What did it take behind the scenes to make this all happen, and what's still happening? And finally, what are some of the common myths and misconceptions around direct listings (and IPOs) as methods for going public? Turns out, there's a lot that goes into making markets... and market making.

 

The views expressed here are those of the individual AH Capital Management, L.L.C. (“a16z”) personnel quoted and are not the views of a16z or its affiliates. Certain information contained in here has been obtained from third-party sources, including from portfolio companies of funds managed by a16z. While taken from sources believed to be reliable, a16z has not independently verified such information and makes no representations about the enduring accuracy of the information or its appropriateness for a given situation.

This content is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be relied upon as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. You should consult your own advisers as to those matters. References to any securities or digital assets are for illustrative purposes only, and do not constitute an investment recommendation or offer to provide investment advisory services. Furthermore, this content is not directed at nor intended for use by any investors or prospective investors, and may not under any circumstances be relied upon when making a decision to invest in any fund managed by a16z. (An offering to invest in an a16z fund will be made only by the private placement memorandum, subscription agreement, and other relevant documentation of any such fund and should be read in their entirety.) Any investments or portfolio companies mentioned, referred to, or described are not representative of all investments in vehicles managed by a16z, and there can be no assurance that the investments will be profitable or that other investments made in the future will have similar characteristics or results. A list of investments made by funds managed by Andreessen Horowitz (excluding investments for which the issuer has not provided permission for a16z to disclose publicly as well as unannounced investments in publicly traded digital assets) is available at https://a16z.com/investments/.

Charts and graphs provided within are for informational purposes solely and should not be relied upon when making any investment decision. Past performance is not indicative of future results. The content speaks only as of the date indicated. Any projections, estimates, forecasts, targets, prospects, and/or opinions expressed in these materials are subject to change without notice and may differ or be contrary to opinions expressed by others. Please see https://a16z.com/disclosures for additional important information.

Dec 11, 2019
The Stories and Code of Culture Change
00:59:03

There are some common tropes that can kill your company culture -- whether it's that corporate values can be weaponized; "fake it til you make it"; the "reality distortion fields" of visionaries vs. liars; and so on. All of this just reveals the confusing, sometimes blurry line between the yellow zones and red zones of behavior, because the very things that are strengths can also become weaknesses (and vice versa!). The fact is, in any complex adaptive system (which is what a company is), even the seemingly smallest behaviors will move the culture where the loudest proclamations do not.

That's why so much of culture -- whether building and setting it or fixing and changing it -- comes down to the difference between actions and words, to the tacit vs. the explicit, to the difference between what you do vs. what you say (and what employees see vs. what they hear). So in this episode of the a16z Podcast, based on a conversation that recently took place at the Computer History Museum in Silicon Valley, Sonal Chokshi interviews Ben Horowitz about his new book, What You Do Is Who You Are, probing on all the tricky nuances of the themes covered in it -- and also how to practically apply principles from it to the tech industry and beyond.

Are mistakes of omission more important than mistakes of commission, when it comes to ethical lines? What can employees, not just leaders, do when it comes to culture? Where does the idea of "culture fit" come in? What happens when startups go from being the pirates to being the navy? Drawing on examples of culture as code from a thousand years ago to today -- spanning empires, wars, revolutions, prisons, and even hip-hop -- Horowitz shares the power of song and story. Including even violent, "shocking" ones that reset cultures... because they make you ask, WHY?!

100% of the proceeds from the book will go to anti-recidivism, and to making Haiti great again

Dec 07, 2019
Of Container Ships, Supply Chains, and Retail
00:33:58

This podcast rerun -- first recorded over two and a half years ago, now being rerun as one of our evergreen classics on the tails of the world's largest designated shopping days (Black Friday, Singles Day in China, Prime Day online, and so on) -- is ALL about the container ship. Also known as "The Box", with author Marc Levinson (in conversation with Sonal Chokshi and Hanne Tidnam). But this episode is really about connecting the dots between logistics, transportation, infrastructure, and much more.

What do we make of the so-called "death of retail", especially when seen through the retail history of the once-largest retailer in the world? How are supply chains changing today? One thing's for sure: the shipping container made the world much smaller... and the world much economy bigger.

 

image: Kevin Talec / Flickr

Dec 03, 2019
Nursing Today, From the Bedside and Beyond
00:32:44

"Constant attention by a good nurse may be just as important as a major operation by a surgeon”, diplomat Dag Hammarskjöld once observed -- and that may be more true today than ever before. For most of us, nurses are essentially the face of the healthcare system: the person you’ll see the most of while you’re in it, who will monitor your vitals, administer medications, hold your hand when you’re in pain or scared, answer all the questions you forgot to ask the doctor.

So in this episode, we take a look at the role of that unsung hero of healthcare -- the nurse -- at an industry level. Iman Abuzeid, CEO and co-founder of Incredible Health (a hiring platform for nurses), and a16z general partners Julie Yoo and Jeff Jordan discuss with Hanne Tidnam how the scope of the job is changing today and why; what’s driving the looming nursing shortage crisis, and ways we can help solve it; what it’s like to build a new marketplace platform in healthcare; and how best to introduce innovation into the healthcare system overall.

Nov 28, 2019
How We Podcast
00:47:40

"Hi everyone, welcome to the a16z Podcast..." ... and welcome to our 500th episode, where, for the first time, we reveal behind-the-scenes details and the backstory of how we built this show, and the broader editorial operation. [You can also listen to episode 499, with head of marketing Margit Wennmachers, on building the a16z brand, here.]

We've talked a lot about the podcasting industry, and even done podcasts about podcasting, so for this special episode, editor-in-chief and showrunner Sonal Chokshi reveals the how, what, and why in conversation with a16z general partner (and guest-host for this special episode) podcasting fan Connie Chan. We also answer some frequently asked questions that we often get (and recently got via Twitter), such as:

  • how we program podcasts
  • what's the process, from ideas to publishing
  • do we edit them and how!
  • do guests prep, do we have a script
  • technical stack

...and much more. In fact, much of the conversation goes beyond the a16z Podcast and towards Sonal's broader principles of 'editorial content marketing', which hopefully helps those thinking about their own content operations and podcasts, too. Including where podcasting may be going.

Finally, we share some unexpected moments, and lessons learned along the way; our positions on "tics", swear-words, and talking too fast; failed experiments, and new directions. But most importantly, we share some of the people behind the scenes who help make the a16z Podcast what it was, is, and can be... with thanks most of all to *you*, our wonderful fans!

Nov 27, 2019
Brand Building Ideas… and People
00:34:59

Many technical founders, academics, and other experts often believe that great products -- or great ideas! -- sell themselves, without any extra effort or marketing. But in reality, they often need PR (public relations).

The irony is, most of the work involved in PR is actually invisible to the public -- when it works, that is -- and therefore hard for those from the outside to see let alone understand. So how does such brand-building really work? In this 10-year anniversary episode of the a16z Podcast (and our 499th episode), a16z operating partner Margit Wennmachers shares the case study of her work at The Outcast Agency (which she co-founded) and of building the a16z brand (where she heads marketing and was the first and one of the earliest hires).

What's the backstory there? What's the backstory behind some of the most popular media stories and op-eds -- like "software is eating the world" -- and what can it teach us about how PR and brand-building works in practice? Because -- like many software companies -- the product is so abstract, and not something you can physically touch, what kind of subtle decisions and tactics big and small does it take? Answering some frequently asked questions (in conversation with editor in chief Sonal Chokshi) that we often get around how things work, Wennmachers reveals (just some;) of the details behind the scenes. Given that technology is all about disintermediating "brokers" in the middle, will tech one day replace PR? And finally, what's the hidden Silicon Valley network mafia that NO one talks about?

Nov 20, 2019
Come for the Games, Stay for the Party
00:22:33

The games industry is in the midst of a tectonic shift. Powered by platform convergence, games-as-a-service, and user-generated content, modern video games—what we call next-generation games—are unlike anything we've seen before. In the past decade, gaming has grown from a niche hobby into a global, culture-defining phenomenon.

Not only are the games themselves becoming increasingly immersive, the way we develop and discover them has fundamentally changed. In contrast to the hits-driven business model of the past, now games are shaped in real time by player feedback. And thanks to the rise of influencer gamers, the experience of finding new games has become organic and social.

In this episode, a16z general partner Andrew Chen, deal partner Jon Lai, and host Lauren Murrow discuss how gaming is dominating not only the entertainment industry, but also pop culture at large. (Why can't we quit you, Untitled Goose Game?!) Andrew and Jon share how they think about emerging technologies in the space, as well as the features they look for in next-gen games and game developers.

Nov 02, 2019
AI in B2B
00:24:10

Consumer software may have adopted and incorporated AI ahead of enterprise software, where the data is more proprietary, and the market is a few thousand companies not hundreds of millions of smartphone users. But recently AI has found its way into B2B, and it is rapidly transforming how we work and the software we use, across all industries and organizational functions. 

In this episode, Das Rush interviews Oleg Rogynskyy, founder of People.ai, an AI platform for sales and marketers, and Peter Lauten from the a16z Enterprise investing team about what the rise AI in B2B means for enterprises, workers, and startups. They explain why AI provides a strong first mover advantage to enterprises that adopt it early; how it can automate lower level tasks, maximize our focus, and, ultimately, make our work more meaningful; and for startups, they provide a playbook for seizing the next AI opportunity.

Oct 24, 2019
Free Software and Open Source Business
00:35:04

Today, despite the critical importance of open source to software, it’s still seen by some as blasphemous to make money as an open source business. In this podcast, Armon Dadgar, Cofounder and CTO of HashiCorp; Ali Ghodsi, CEO of Databricks; and a16z General Partner Peter Levine explain why it's necessary to turn some open source projects into businesses.

They also cover the most important questions for open source leaders to answer: How do you keep community engaged while building a business? What new opportunities does SaaS (software-as-a-service) present? And if you are a SaaS business, how should you approach cloud service companies, like Amazon Web Services (AWS)?

Oct 21, 2019
Of Emojis and Innovation
00:38:37

This podcast (first recorded in 2015, now being rerun as one of our evergreen classics/ favorites) -- is ALL about emoji. But it's really about how innovation really comes about: through the tension between open standards vs. closed/ proprietary systems; the politics of time and place; and the economics of creativity, from making to funding.

So yes, this podcast is all about emoji. But it's also about where emoji fits in the taxonomy of social communication, and why that matters -- from making emotions machine-readable to being able to add "limbic" visual expression to our world of text. And if emoji is a language, why can't we translate it; why so ambiguous?? How do emojis work, both technically underneath the hood... and in the (committee) Room Where It Happens?

Joining this episode are former VP of Data at Kickstarter Fred Benenson (and the man behind 'Emoji Dick'); and former New York Times reporter and current Unicode Emoji subcommittee vice-chair, Jennifer 8. Lee (and one of the women behind the dumpling emoji) -- in conversation with Sonal Chokshi.

image: Yiying Lu (@yiyinglu)

Oct 15, 2019
The Environment, Capitalism, Technology
00:46:59

It used to be that the only way for humanity to grow -- and progress -- was through destroying the environment. Sure, the Industrial Revolution brought about the growth of our economies, our population, our prosperity; but it also led to our extracting more resources from the planet, more pollution, and some nightmarish human conditions as well. But is this interplay between the two -- of human growth vs. environment, of protection vs. destruction -- really a zero-sum game? Even if it were true in history, is it true today? How about for developing economies around the world today -- do they have to go through an extractive phase first before entering a protective one... or can they skip that phase altogether through better technology (the way they leapt to mobile)?

And if capitalism is not responsible for environmental degradation, than who or what is? Where does technology come in, and where doesn't it -- if you believe we already have the answers to saving the environment? Marc Andreessen and Sonal Chokshi interview MIT economist Andrew McAfee about all this and more, given his new book, More from Less: The Surprising Story of How We Learned to Prosper Using Fewer Resources -- and What Happens Next.

So what does happen next? From nuclear power to dematerialization to Tesla and the next cleantech revolution (or not), this episode of the a16z Podcast brings a different perspective to an important discussion around taking care of our planet... and also ensuring human progress through the spread of human capital and technology.

Oct 04, 2019
16 Minutes on the News #10: Amazon Healthcare, Oculus VR/AR, Google Quantum Supremacy?
00:22:32

Our news podcast, 16 Minutes -- where we quickly cover the top headlines of the week, the a16z way (why are these topics in the news; what's real, what's hype from our vantage point of tech trends) -- is now only available as its own show feed, separately from the main a16z Podcast... so be sure to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts if you want our weekly news & tech take!

This is the tenth episode of the show, and this week we cover a variety of topics with the following a16z experts:

  • Amazon Care healthcare news this week that they're now providing a virtual medical clinic for employees, initially in Seattle, using telemedicine and in-home visits; what does their delivering healthcare actually mean for both incumbents and startups... and the future of medicine? -- with Julie Yoo and Jorge Conde
  • Oculus Connect 6, Facebook's annual developer event, where there were a number of announcements about devices, content, and more that could be key to the evolution of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) -- with Chris Dixon
  • Google quantum supremacy claim, as shared in a paper with/via NASA; what's fact, what's fiction about it; what does it actually mean (or not mean) for cryptography and other applications; and where are we, really, in quantum computing? -- with Vijay Pande

...hosted by Sonal Chokshi.

---

The views expressed here are those of the individual AH Capital Management, L.L.C. (“a16z”) personnel quoted and are not the views of a16z or its affiliates. Certain information contained in here has been obtained from third-party sources, including from portfolio companies of funds managed by a16z. While taken from sources believed to be reliable, a16z has not independently verified such information and makes no representations about the enduring accuracy of the information or its appropriateness for a given situation.

This content is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be relied upon as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. You should consult your own advisers as to those matters. References to any securities or digital assets are for illustrative purposes only, and do not constitute an investment recommendation or offer to provide investment advisory services. Furthermore, this content is not directed at nor intended for use by any investors or prospective investors, and may not under any circumstances be relied upon when making a decision to invest in any fund managed by a16z. (An offering to invest in an a16z fund will be made only by the private placement memorandum, subscription agreement, and other relevant documentation of any such fund and should be read in their entirety.) Any investments or portfolio companies mentioned, referred to, or described are not representative of all investments in vehicles managed by a16z, and there can be no assurance that the investments will be profitable or that other investments made in the future will have similar characteristics or results. A list of investments made by funds managed by Andreessen Horowitz (excluding investments for which the issuer has not provided permission for a16z to disclose publicly as well as unannounced investments in publicly traded digital assets) is available at https://a16z.com/investments/.

Charts and graphs provided within are for informational purposes solely and should not be relied upon when making any investment decision. Past performance is not indicative of future results. The content speaks only as of the date indicated. Any projections, estimates, forecasts, targets, prospects, and/or opinions expressed in these materials are subject to change without notice and may differ or be contrary to opinions expressed by others. Please see https://a16z.com/disclosures for additional important information.

Sep 30, 2019
New Business Models for Gaming, Collaboration, Creativity
00:42:05

The combination of cloud, social, and mobile took gaming beyond a small base of just console- and PC-gamers to a massive player base. But the underlying business model -- the concept of "free-to-play", built on top of games-as-a-service -- may have been the real innovation that led us to the global gaming phenomenons we have today.

Unfortunately, observes gaming veteran Kevin Chou -- who's seen it all when it comes to tech platform shifts and gaming as a longtime gamer, founding CEO of Kabam, and now founder and CEO of Forte -- there is "a dark side" to free-to-play: Game developers have to balance the gamers who aren't paying with those who are, and especially those who are paying a helluva lot more (the whales) in order to make money and keep the game going. This balance becomes incredibly challenging over time; it is, quite frankly, a lopsided economy. The players will leave: The incentives between game publishers and players are simply not aligned.

Yet what if we could re-align those incentives -- really, the economic relationships -- between game publishers/developers; players and guilds and clans; those who create on top of games (like on Roblox and Minecraft); those who trade and otherwise transact both inside and outside games (it's already happening in secondary markets and gold farms). We could do this in a more balanced way, thanks to blockchain technology and cryptoeconomic business models -- leading to thriving gaming economies with better monetization and deeper engagement, as well as new forms of collaboration, community, and creativity.

But smart contracts, cryptoeconomies, security, etc. is hard for gamers who just want to focus on designing the best game, so how do we get here? Chou shares his thoughts in this episode of the a16z Podcast with Sonal Chokshi and general partner Chris Dixon. In gaming (and in fact, with other tech trends too), innovation happens when there's a combination of new devices, new technology platforms, and new delivery mechanisms... but it's the business-model innovations, argues Dixon, that tend to create the most startup opportunities.

image: battle scene from Eve Online, a game with an economy (via Forte.io)

---

The views expressed here are those of the individual AH Capital Management, L.L.C. (“a16z”) personnel quoted and are not the views of a16z or its affiliates. Certain information contained in here has been obtained from third-party sources, including from portfolio companies of funds managed by a16z. While taken from sources believed to be reliable, a16z has not independently verified such information and makes no representations about the enduring accuracy of the information or its appropriateness for a given situation.

This content is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be relied upon as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. You should consult your own advisers as to those matters. References to any securities or digital assets are for illustrative purposes only, and do not constitute an investment recommendation or offer to provide investment advisory services. Furthermore, this content is not directed at nor intended for use by any investors or prospective investors, and may not under any circumstances be relied upon when making a decision to invest in any fund managed by a16z. (An offering to invest in an a16z fund will be made only by the private placement memorandum, subscription agreement, and other relevant documentation of any such fund and should be read in their entirety.) Any investments or portfolio companies mentioned, referred to, or described are not representative of all investments in vehicles managed by a16z, and there can be no assurance that the investments will be profitable or that other investments made in the future will have similar characteristics or results. A list of investments made by funds managed by Andreessen Horowitz (excluding investments for which the issuer has not provided permission for a16z to disclose publicly as well as unannounced investments in publicly traded digital assets) is available at https://a16z.com/investments/.

Charts and graphs provided within are for informational purposes solely and should not be relied upon when making any investment decision. Past performance is not indicative of future results. The content speaks only as of the date indicated. Any projections, estimates, forecasts, targets, prospects, and/or opinions expressed in these materials are subject to change without notice and may differ or be contrary to opinions expressed by others. Please see https://a16z.com/disclosures for additional important information.

Sep 28, 2019
16 Minutes on the News #9: All the Recent Phone Hacks
00:19:51

This is episode #9 of our news show, 16 Minutes, where we quickly cover recent headlines of the week, the a16z way -- why they’re in the news; why they matter from our vantage point in tech -- and share our experts’ views on the trends involved.

This week we do a short but deep dive to tease apart the FUD from the facts on all the phone hacks of late (also, arguably, one of the worst years on record for certain device manufacturers) -- given the following news:

  • Just this week, the FBI’s Cyber Division released a notification to private industry on “Cyber Criminals Use Social Engineering and Technical Attacks to Circumvent Multi-Factor Authentication”;
  • Last week, a telecom security firm reported a vulnerability called “Simjacker” where SMS containing spyware-like code "takes over" a phone's SIM card in order to retrieve and perform sensitive commands, regardless of platform or device;
  • Over the past month, Google and Apple have been going back and forth over a post the former released, “A very deep dive into iOS Exploit chains found in the wild”, where a small collection of hacked websites were using iPhone zero-day vulnerabilities to target China's Uyghur Muslim community (though Google is not the one who revealed the specific websites, Apple did confirm it in their response a week later) -- what do we make of this exchange; of the fact that zero-day hacks are now more expensive on Android than on Apple; and of Apple's ethos when it comes to a third-party ecosystem for security?

Finally, how should we think about phone authentication overall when it comes to security, and what can we do to secure ourselves? Our a16z experts -- general partner Martin Casado and former chief security officer/ operating partner for security Joel de la Garza -- share their thoughts on all this and more with host Sonal Chokshi, in this episode of 16 Minutes.

---

The views expressed here are those of the individual AH Capital Management, L.L.C. (“a16z”) personnel quoted and are not the views of a16z or its affiliates. Certain information contained in here has been obtained from third-party sources, including from portfolio companies of funds managed by a16z. While taken from sources believed to be reliable, a16z has not independently verified such information and makes no representations about the enduring accuracy of the information or its appropriateness for a given situation.

This content is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be relied upon as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. You should consult your own advisers as to those matters. References to any securities or digital assets are for illustrative purposes only, and do not constitute an investment recommendation or offer to provide investment advisory services. Furthermore, this content is not directed at nor intended for use by any investors or prospective investors, and may not under any circumstances be relied upon when making a decision to invest in any fund managed by a16z. (An offering to invest in an a16z fund will be made only by the private placement memorandum, subscription agreement, and other relevant documentation of any such fund and should be read in their entirety.) Any investments or portfolio companies mentioned, referred to, or described are not representative of all investments in vehicles managed by a16z, and there can be no assurance that the investments will be profitable or that other investments made in the future will have similar characteristics or results. A list of investments made by funds managed by Andreessen Horowitz (excluding investments for which the issuer has not provided permission for a16z to disclose publicly as well as unannounced investments in publicly traded digital assets) is available at a16z.com/investments.

Charts and graphs provided within are for informational purposes solely and should not be relied upon when making any investment decision. Past performance is not indicative of future results. The content speaks only as of the date indicated. Any projections, estimates, forecasts, targets, prospects, and/or opinions expressed in these materials are subject to change without notice and may differ or be contrary to opinions expressed by others. Please see a16z.com/disclosures for additional important information.

Sep 23, 2019
a16z Podcast: The Biology of Pain
00:36:53
What is the nature of physical pain? Why do we even experience it? Is there one type, or many? Do people experience pain differently? What is happening in our brains and our bodies when we experience pain? What is the biological link between pain and addiction? In this episode Clifford Woolf, Professor of Neurobiology at Harvard Medical School and a renowned expert on understanding pain, shares with with a16z's Hanne Tidnam all we know about the biology of pain. Technology is enabling a new, deeper, and much more complex understanding of pain—which pathways and neurons are activated in the brain when, what patterns might represent which experiences of pain. We now understand that the notion of pain as a simple switch that can be switched on or off (you have pain/you don't have pain) and measured by categories like mild, moderate, or severe is just incorrect. Woolf describes the 4 different broad types of pain we in fact experience, what the purpose of each is, and what it means now that we can phenotype them and begin to understand them as distinct. Now that we have this deeper and much more complex understanding of pain, what does it mean for how we can treat pain in the future, and where we can intervene?
Sep 17, 2019
16 Minutes on the News #8: Apple Camera, Services; Wearables - Where are We
00:19:59
with @benedictevans @vijaypande and @smc90 This is episode #8 of our news show, 16 Minutes, where we quickly cover recent headlines of the week, the a16z way -- why they're in the news; why they matter from our vantage point in tech -- and share our experts' views on these trends. This week we cover, with the following a16z experts: * Apple's latest event announcing new products and services across mobile, TV, and gaming; where is (and isn't) innovation happening, and what's next -- with a16z's Benedict Evans; * wearables and health trackers such as Fitbit supplying services to the government of Singapore, and what it means for the hype vs. reality of the current trends of wearables (and "the quantified self"); going beyond counting steps to clinical applications and detecting comorbid conditions; strong vs. weak technologies and how to pay beyond fee-for-service to fee-for-value; and where does this all fit in a sensor-ified future? -- with a16z bio general partner Vijay Pande; ...hosted by Sonal Chokshi. The views expressed here are those of the individual AH Capital Management, L.L.C. (“a16z”) personnel quoted and are not the views of a16z or its affiliates. Certain information contained in here has been obtained from third-party sources, including from portfolio companies of funds managed by a16z. While taken from sources believed to be reliable, a16z has not independently verified such information and makes no representations about the enduring accuracy of the information or its appropriateness for a given situation. This content is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be relied upon as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. You should consult your own advisers as to those matters. References to any securities or digital assets are for illustrative purposes only, and do not constitute an investment recommendation or offer to provide investment advisory services. Furthermore, this content is not directed at nor intended for use by any investors or prospective investors, and may not under any circumstances be relied upon when making a decision to invest in any fund managed by a16z. (An offering to invest in an a16z fund will be made only by the private placement memorandum, subscription agreement, and other relevant documentation of any such fund and should be read in their entirety.) Any investments or portfolio companies mentioned, referred to, or described are not representative of all investments in vehicles managed by a16z, and there can be no assurance that the investments will be profitable or that other investments made in the future will have similar characteristics or results. A list of investments made by funds managed by Andreessen Horowitz (excluding investments for which the issuer has not provided permission for a16z to disclose publicly as well as unannounced investments in publicly traded digital assets) is available at https://a16z.com/investments/. Charts and graphs provided within are for informational purposes solely and should not be relied upon when making any investment decision. Past performance is not indicative of future results. The content speaks only as of the date indicated. Any projections, estimates, forecasts, targets, prospects, and/or opinions expressed in these materials are subject to change without notice and may differ or be contrary to opinions expressed by others. Please see https://a16z.com/disclosures for additional important information.
Sep 16, 2019
a16z Podcast: How to Pay for Healthcare Based on Health
00:36:31
There's been a lot of talk about the need for our healthcare system to shift away from volume and fee-for-service, where you pay by appointment, procedure, etc, to value-based care, where you pay for both quality and outcomes—essentially, good health. But there's also been a real dearth of seeing how that might work in action, or concrete models for how to implement it at scale. In this episode, CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield North Carolina Patrick Conway dives deep into how exactly we can make the move towards this kind of healthcare a reality, in conversation with a16z's General Partner Jorge Conde, Venkat Mocherla and Hanne Tidnam. Conway—also a pediatrician, and formerly Deputy Administrator at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and Director of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI)—gets into what value-based care really means; different ideas for how payors can implement the shift away from fee-for-service and volume-based care towards outcomes; as well as the critical role social determinants (food insecurity, transportation, and more) play in our health—and how tech can be a driver of change. And finally, Conway shares thoughtful analysis from an insider’s point of view from the Hill on how to actually effect change in policy and regulation in healthcare to move the entire system in this direction.
Sep 06, 2019
The Hustler's Guide to the Hair Business
00:40:47
with @bhorowitz @shakasenghor @diishanimira @therealritabee Hustlin’ Tech is a new show (part of the a16z Podcast) that introduces the technology platforms -- and mindsets -- for everybody and anybody who has the desire, the talent, and the hustle to do great things. Read more about it here.  Episode #3, "The Hustler's Guide to the Hair Business" features Diishan Imira, CEO and co-founder of Mayvenn, a technology company re-shaping salon retail distribution; Sherita (SherriAnn) Cole, who uses Mayvenn for her hair stylist business -- both interviewed by Ben Horowitz and Shaka Senghor. "Can you fit in this box? You always have to fit in a box, and for the first time in a life, it's like I didn't have to fit in anyone's box, and I could create my own box -- maybe it's not a box, maybe it’s a star shape." music: Chris Lyons
Sep 06, 2019
The Hustler's Guide to Getting Paid
00:30:14
with @bhorowitz @shakasenghor ram @earnin & vaughn ferguson Hustlin’ Tech is a new show (part of the a16z Podcast) that introduces the technology platforms — and mindsets — for everybody and anybody who has the desire, the talent, and the hustle to do great things. Read more about it here. Episode #2, “The Hustler’s Guide to Getting Paid” (early, but actually, on time) features Ram Palianappan, CEO and founder of Earnin, which allows workers to access their pay instantly with no fees or interest; Vaughn Ferguson, who uses Earnin to avoid overdraft fees or payday loans -- both interviewed by Ben Horowitz and Shaka Senghor. "Just knowing that more people are really using these things that are out there, to their advantage and not their detriment." music: Chris Lyons
Sep 06, 2019
The Hustler's Guide to Preschool
00:37:14
with @bhorowitz @shakasenghor @8ennett & sherie james Hustlin’ Tech is a new show (part of the a16z Podcast) that introduces the technology platforms -- and mindsets -- for everybody and anybody who has the desire, the talent, and the hustle to do great things. Read more about it here.  Episode #1, "The Hustler's Guide to Preschool" features Chris Bennett, CEO and co-founder of Wonderschool, a network of modern early education programs that helps both parents and teachers to start and manage early childhood education centers; Sherie James, who uses Wonderschool to operate her own in-home preschool and daycare -- both interviewed by Ben Horowitz and Shaka Senghor, live at the 25th Anniversary Essence Festival Global Economic Black Forum in New Orleans. music: Chris Lyons
Sep 06, 2019
Introducing Hustlin' Tech
00:00:38
We're excited to introduce a new podcast series hosted by a16z co-founder Ben Horowitz and Shaka Senghor, a leading voice in criminal justice reform and bestselling author. The series is called “Hustlin’ Tech” and so far, there are three episodes to follow, which you can find in this feed: #1 The Hustler’s Guide to Preschool #2 The Hustler’s Guide to Getting Paid #3 The Hustler’s Guide to the Hair Business You can read more about the what and the why of this new series -- and sign up to be notified about future episodes -- at: a16z.com/hustlin
Sep 06, 2019
a16z Podcast: Making Culture, Making Influence -- Dapper Dan!
01:08:09
"You cannot be IN it... and not be OF it." Dapper Dan a.k.a. Daniel Day shares his remarkable history and story of defining an era of fashion and cultural influence in this special episode of the a16z Podcast — based on his conversation in San Francisco (also available as video here) with a16z co-founder Ben Horowitz around his memoir, Made in Harlem. Dapper Dan pioneered high-end streetwear in the early 1980s, remixing luxury brand logos into his own designs for gangsters, athletes, and musicians — dressing cultural icons from Salt-N-Pepa and Eric B. & Rakim to Beyoncé and Jay-Z along the way. Going on to define an era, Dapper Dan’s work has been featured in exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, the Met, The Smithsonian, and more. But he began as a hungry, fast learner in Harlem who became a gambler; spent a brief stint in a foreign jail where he nourished himself with reading; and then studied the market to build his fashion business, trendsetting the concepts of logomania and later, influencer marketing. Today, Dapper Dan has a unique partnership with Gucci and reopened his boutique in 2017. From “the struggle” when not given the privileges and opportunities that others have to the struggle of building and then losing and then reinventing oneself again and again, this special episode offers inspiration for all kinds of makers — including the power of “studying the game”; the power of listening to your customers (not in the cliché way!); and the power of cultural influence… and voice. photo credits: Alain McLaughlin
Sep 02, 2019
a16z Podcast: From the Internet's Past to the Future of Crypto
00:27:00
What can we learn from the history of the internet for the future of crypto? In this episode of the a16z Podcast, general partner Katie Haun interviews a16z co-founder Marc Andreessen -- and co-founder of Netscape, which helped popularize and mainstream the internet for many -- and who also penned "Why Software is Eating the World" (in the Wall Street Journal in 2011) and "Why Bitcoin Matters" (in the New York Times in 2014). This episode is based on a fireside chat between Katie and Marc at our inaugural Crypto Regulatory Summit, which brings together leading crypto experts and builders, other technologists, academics, industry executives, and government officials -- along with forward-thinking regulators -- to foster collaboration and the exchange of ideas around this important emerging industry. Why is crypto an important evolution (or revolution) of the internet? What can entrepreneurs, corporations, and policymakers learn from the beginnings of the browser, e-commerce, and other examples about how emerging technologies move forward?
Aug 29, 2019
a16z Podcast: What to Know about FedRAMP
00:34:05
with @ldhawke and @stevesi The government wants to get onto the cloud! But how do they assess the levels of risk in adopting specific cloud products, and which "cloud service providers" (aka "CSPs") to work with? That's where FedRAMP -- the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program -- comes in. And enterprise SaaS companies need to pay attention, since it will be a requirement for selling to the U.S. government, which is one of the biggest buyers of tech. Not just that, but even state governments and private/public companies may seek FedRAMP certification because they either work with the federal government or are just seeking standards. How similar or different is FedRAMP to other types of certification, authorization, and compliance (such as ISO, SOC-2, GDPR, even HIPAA); and what does it mean for a startup to go through organizationally, culturally? Is it like a check-the-box policy thing, is it like getting a driver's license... or what? One thing's for sure: It's an opportunity for enterprise SaaS startups, and the government is trying to help companies through the process. What are the steps to certification? What are some acronyms and terms to be aware of? When and how should you bring a consultant, advisor, or third-party auditor into the process? How long does it take, really? And how does it affect your sales team? Most importantly, what is the best strategy for moving forward? (Hint: start with a customer). Lisa Hawke, VP of Security and Compliance at Everlaw, an a16z company, shares her expertise and their experience in navigating all this, as well as the resources below, in this episode of the a16z Podcast hosted by board partner Steven Sinofsky. (The two were also previously on another episode sharing everything startups need to know about GDPR.) For links mentioned in this episode and other resources, see: https://a16z.com/2019/08/28/fedramp-why-what-how-for-startups/
Aug 28, 2019
16 Minutes on the News #7: Apple Card, BEC Scams Federal Indictment
00:17:54
with @illscience and @smc90 This is episode #7 of our news show, 16 Minutes, where we quickly cover recent headlines of the week, the a16z way -- why they're in the news; why they matter from our vantage point in tech -- and share our experts' views on these trends. This week we cover, with the following a16z experts: * Apple releasing a credit card, and what it means beyond the card features itself, what it means for consumer credit (and recession risks), and the financial ecosystem overall -- with new a16z fintech general partner Anish Acharya; * BEC frauds and scams indictment and the FBI bringing a massive federal grand jury indictment, one of the biggest of its kind, and what it means and how to prevent this type of cyber fraud -- with a16z operating partner for security Joel de la Garza; ...hosted by Sonal Chokshi. --- The views expressed here are those of the individual AH Capital Management, L.L.C. (“a16z”) personnel quoted and are not the views of a16z or its affiliates. Certain information contained in here has been obtained from third-party sources, including from portfolio companies of funds managed by a16z. While taken from sources believed to be reliable, a16z has not independently verified such information and makes no representations about the enduring accuracy of the information or its appropriateness for a given situation. This content is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be relied upon as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. You should consult your own advisers as to those matters. References to any securities or digital assets are for illustrative purposes only, and do not constitute an investment recommendation or offer to provide investment advisory services. Furthermore, this content is not directed at nor intended for use by any investors or prospective investors, and may not under any circumstances be relied upon when making a decision to invest in any fund managed by a16z. (An offering to invest in an a16z fund will be made only by the private placement memorandum, subscription agreement, and other relevant documentation of any such fund and should be read in their entirety.) Any investments or portfolio companies mentioned, referred to, or described are not representative of all investments in vehicles managed by a16z, and there can be no assurance that the investments will be profitable or that other investments made in the future will have similar characteristics or results. A list of investments made by funds managed by Andreessen Horowitz (excluding investments for which the issuer has not provided permission for a16z to disclose publicly as well as unannounced investments in publicly traded digital assets) is available at https://a16z.com/investments/. Charts and graphs provided within are for informational purposes solely and should not be relied upon when making any investment decision. Past performance is not indicative of future results. The content speaks only as of the date indicated. Any projections, estimates, forecasts, targets, prospects, and/or opinions expressed in these materials are subject to change without notice and may differ or be contrary to opinions expressed by others. Please see https://a16z.com/disclosures for additional important information.
Aug 25, 2019
a16z Podcast: Software has eaten the world...and healthcare is next
00:46:45
Back in 2011, a16z cofounder Marc Andreessen first made the bold claim that software would eat the world. In this episode (originally recorded as part of an event at a16z), Andreesseen and a16z general partner on the bio fund Jorge Conde (@JorgeCondeBio) take a look back at that thesis, and think about where we are now, nearly a decade later—how software has delivered on that promise… and most of all, where it is yet to come. In the wide-ranging conversation, the two partners discuss everything from the translatable learnings of software’s transformation of the music and automotive industries, to how software will now eat healthcare (including what exactly changed in the fields of bio and computer science to make Marc eat his own words!). *** The views expressed here are those of the individual AH Capital Management, L.L.C. (“a16z”) personnel quoted and are not the views of a16z or its affiliates. Certain information contained in here has been obtained from third-party sources, including from portfolio companies of funds managed by a16z. While taken from sources believed to be reliable, a16z has not independently verified such information and makes no representations about the enduring accuracy of the information or its appropriateness for a given situation. This content is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be relied upon as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. You should consult your own advisers as to those matters. References to any securities or digital assets are for illustrative purposes only, and do not constitute an investment recommendation or offer to provide investment advisory services. Furthermore, this content is not directed at nor intended for use by any investors or prospective investors, and may not under any circumstances be relied upon when making a decision to invest in any fund managed by a16z. (An offering to invest in an a16z fund will be made only by the private placement memorandum, subscription agreement, and other relevant documentation of any such fund and should be read in their entirety.) Any investments or portfolio companies mentioned, referred to, or described are not representative of all investments in vehicles managed by a16z, and there can be no assurance that the investments will be profitable or that other investments made in the future will have similar characteristics or results. A list of investments made by funds managed by Andreessen Horowitz (excluding investments for which the issuer has not provided permission for a16z to disclose publicly as well as unannounced investments in publicly traded digital assets) is available at https://a16z.com/investments/. Charts and graphs provided within are for informational purposes solely and should not be relied upon when making any investment decision. Past performance is not indicative of future results. The content speaks only as of the date indicated. Any projections, estimates, forecasts, targets, prospects, and/or opinions expressed in these materials are subject to change without notice and may differ or be contrary to opinions expressed by others. Please see https://a16z.com/disclosures for additional important information.
Aug 15, 2019
16 Minutes on the News #6: Health Claims, Corporate Breaches
00:17:13
with @julesyoo @smc90 This is episode #6 of our new show, 16 Minutes, where we quickly cover recent headlines of the week, the a16z way -- why they're in the news; why they matter from our vantage point in tech -- and share our experts' views on these trends as well. This week we cover, with the following a16z experts: * health claims, insurance & big tech, and healthcare data liquidity -- with a16z bio partner Julie Yoo; * Capital One data breach, cloud security, and corporate hacks -- with a16z operating partner for security Joel de la Garza; ...hosted by Sonal Chokshi.
Aug 12, 2019
16 Minutes on the News #5: Fed Real-time Payments, Death of Retail
00:16:44
with @astrange @jeff_jordan and @smc90 This is episode #5 of our new show, 16 Minutes, where we quickly cover recent headlines of the week, the a16z way -- why they're in the news; why they matter from our vantage point in tech -- and share our experts' views on these trends as well. This week we cover, with the following a16z experts: * Federal Reserve real-time payment and settlement service FedNow, the U.S. payments rail, and fintech -- with a16z general partner Angela Strange; * Barney's bankruptcy, the "death of retail", and ecommerce -- with a16z general partner Jeff Jordan; ...hosted by Sonal Chokshi.
Aug 11, 2019
16 Minutes on the News: The Opioid Crisis
00:18:19
with @jorgecondebio @vijaypande and @smc90 This is episode #4 of our new show, 16 Minutes, where we quickly cover recent headlines of the week, the a16z way -- why they're in the news; why they matter from our vantage point in tech -- and share our experts' views on these trends as well. This week we do a short but deep dive on the opioid crisis, given recent data around where and who was behind the manufacturing and distribution of specific opioids: * How do opioids work, why these drugs? * Who's to blame? * What are other directions for managing pain -- and where could tech come in, even with the broader social, cultural, and structural context involved? Our a16z experts in this episode are a16z bio general partners Jorge Conde and Vijay Pande, in conversation with host Sonal Chokshi.
Aug 04, 2019
16 Minutes on the News: Fortnite, Esports, Gaming, and Entertainment
00:18:14
with @andrewchen @dcoolican and @smc90 This is episode #3 of our new show, 16 Minutes, where we quickly cover recent headlines of the week, the a16z way -- why they're in the news; why they matter from our vantage point in tech -- and share our experts' views on these trends as well. This week we do a short but deep dive on esports, given recent news of the inaugural Fortnite World Cup champion, and how this all fits into the broader trends in gaming, social networks, and the future of entertainment. Our a16z experts in this episode are general partner Andrew Chen and investing team partner D'Arcy Coolican, both of the consumer vertical, in conversation with host Sonal Chokshi.
Aug 04, 2019
16 Minutes on the News: Mobile Malware, Drug Pricing
00:19:36
with @martin_casado @jorgeconde @jayrughani @smc90 This is the second episode of our new show, 16 Minutes, where we quickly cover recent headlines of the week, the a16z way -- why they're in the news; why they matter from our vantage point in tech -- and share our experts' views on these trends as well. This week we cover: * . mobile malware and a recent report of a new kind in the wild and security in a post-perimeter world -- with a16z general partner Martin Casado; * drug pricing given recent proposals on the table, sharing a lay of the land for why drug pricing is so damn hard, what is a medicine, and where tech comes in -- with a16z bio general partner Jorge Conde and market dev partner Jay Rughani; ...hosted by Sonal Chokshi. --- The views expressed here are those of the individual AH Capital Management, L.L.C. (“a16z”) personnel quoted and are not the views of a16z or its affiliates. Certain information contained in here has been obtained from third-party sources, including from portfolio companies of funds managed by a16z. While taken from sources believed to be reliable, a16z has not independently verified such information and makes no representations about the enduring accuracy of the information or its appropriateness for a given situation.  This content is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be relied upon as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. You should consult your own advisers as to those matters. References to any securities or digital assets are for illustrative purposes only, and do not constitute an investment recommendation or offer to provide investment advisory services. Furthermore, this content is not directed at nor intended for use by any investors or prospective investors, and may not under any circumstances be relied upon when making a decision to invest in any fund managed by a16z. (An offering to invest in an a16z fund will be made only by the private placement memorandum, subscription agreement, and other relevant documentation of any such fund and should be read in their entirety.) Any investments or portfolio companies mentioned, referred to, or described are not representative of all investments in vehicles managed by a16z, and there can be no assurance that the investments will be profitable or that other investments made in the future will have similar characteristics or results. A list of investments made by funds managed by Andreessen Horowitz (excluding investments for which the issuer has not provided permission for a16z to disclose publicly as well as unannounced investments in publicly traded digital assets) is available at https://a16z.com/investments/. Charts and graphs provided within are for informational purposes solely and should not be relied upon when making any investment decision. Past performance is not indicative of future results. The content speaks only as of the date indicated. Any projections, estimates, forecasts, targets, prospects, and/or opinions expressed in these materials are subject to change without notice and may differ or be contrary to opinions expressed by others. Please see https://a16z.com/disclosures for additional important information.
Jul 28, 2019
a16z Podcast: The Search for the Secret Metal that Powers All Our Devices
00:32:37
with Kurt House (@kurtzhouse), John Thompson, Connie Chan (@conniechan) and Hanne Tidnam (@omnivorousread) The exploration for and mining of certain metals has driven huge epochs of human civilization, from copper and iron to gold and diamonds. In this conversation, Kurt House, CEO and co-founder of KoBold Metals; John Thompson, professor of earth and geosciences at Cornell and longtime advisor to the mining industry; and a16z General Partner on the consumer team, Connie Chan, talk with a16z's Hanne Tidnam all about why it is that cobalt is suddenly one of the most important metals on the planet. Because this metal makes today's best batteries, we have gone from little to enormous demand—with that demand expected to only increase. This conversation covers the way technology is transforming how we find cobalt, and the mining industry as a whole. Along the way we touch on the science behind why exactly it is that cobalt is so damn good in batteries; what we know about what makes cobalt as a metal 'tick', where it's currently mined, and where it's most likely to be found; what data and knowledge used to drive mining; and what the new data sources, technologies, and techniques are today, from geophysical/ geochemical data, to agricultural information, to old boxes collected over centuries in the basements and attics of mining cos…. all of this to satisfy the incredible spike of demand for this material, as we enter a new age of battery metals.
Jul 23, 2019
16 Minutes on the News: Neuraslink & Brain Interfaces, TikTok, FaceApp, iHeartRadio
00:20:10
Introducing our new podcast, 16 Minutes, a short news podcast where we cover the top headlines of the week, the a16z podcast way -- why are these topics in the news; what's real, what's hype from our vantage point; and what are our experts' quick takes on these trends? This week we cover: Neuralink's recent news/ event/ whitepaper and the trend of brain-computer interfaces (with a16z bio general partner Vijay Pande) TikTok video influencers and AI-driven media and commerce (with general partner, consumer, Connie Chan) FaceApp and privacy beyond national security (with operating partner, security, Joel de la Garza) iHeart Radio and direct listings (with operating partner, corporate development, Jamie McGurk) ...hosted by Sonal Chokshi. --- The views expressed here are those of the individual AH Capital Management, L.L.C. (“a16z”) personnel quoted and are not the views of a16z or its affiliates. Certain information contained in here has been obtained from third-party sources, including from portfolio companies of funds managed by a16z. While taken from sources believed to be reliable, a16z has not independently verified such information and makes no representations about the enduring accuracy of the information or its appropriateness for a given situation.  This content is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be relied upon as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. You should consult your own advisers as to those matters. References to any securities or digital assets are for illustrative purposes only, and do not constitute an investment recommendation or offer to provide investment advisory services. Furthermore, this content is not directed at nor intended for use by any investors or prospective investors, and may not under any circumstances be relied upon when making a decision to invest in any fund managed by a16z. (An offering to invest in an a16z fund will be made only by the private placement memorandum, subscription agreement, and other relevant documentation of any such fund and should be read in their entirety.) Any investments or portfolio companies mentioned, referred to, or described are not representative of all investments in vehicles managed by a16z, and there can be no assurance that the investments will be profitable or that other investments made in the future will have similar characteristics or results. A list of investments made by funds managed by Andreessen Horowitz (excluding investments for which the issuer has not provided permission for a16z to disclose publicly as well as unannounced investments in publicly traded digital assets) is available at https://a16z.com/investments/. Charts and graphs provided within are for informational purposes solely and should not be relied upon when making any investment decision. Past performance is not indicative of future results. The content speaks only as of the date indicated. Any projections, estimates, forecasts, targets, prospects, and/or opinions expressed in these materials are subject to change without notice and may differ or be contrary to opinions expressed by others. Please see https://a16z.com/disclosures for additional important information.
Jul 21, 2019
a16z Podcast: How To Get The Most From Your Board
00:21:12
In this final of a 3-part series (which originally aired as YouTube videos) on working with venture investors, a16z Managing Partner Scott Kupor shares best practices for working with your board as it grows from just you, your co-founders and first investor all the way through the time when you are recruiting independent board members in preparation for going public. Want to learn more? Read Scott's book "Secrets of Sand Hill Road: Venture Capital and How to Get It" (https://a16z.com/book/secrets-of-sand-hill-road/). **** The views expressed here are those of the individual AH Capital Management, L.L.C. (“a16z”) personnel quoted and are not the views of a16z or its affiliates. Certain information contained in here has been obtained from third-party sources, including from portfolio companies of funds managed by a16z. While taken from sources believed to be reliable, a16z has not independently verified such information and makes no representations about the enduring accuracy of the information or its appropriateness for a given situation. This content is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be relied upon as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. You should consult your own advisers as to those matters. References to any securities or digital assets are for illustrative purposes only, and do not constitute an investment recommendation or offer to provide investment advisory services. Furthermore, this content is not directed at nor intended for use by any investors or prospective investors, and may not under any circumstances be relied upon when making a decision to invest in any fund managed by a16z. (An offering to invest in an a16z fund will be made only by the private placement memorandum, subscription agreement, and other relevant documentation of any such fund and should be read in their entirety.) Any investments or portfolio companies mentioned, referred to, or described are not representative of all investments in vehicles managed by a16z, and there can be no assurance that the investments will be profitable or that other investments made in the future will have similar characteristics or results. A list of investments made by funds managed by Andreessen Horowitz (excluding investments and certain publicly traded cryptocurrencies/ digital assets for which the issuer has not provided permission for a16z to disclose publicly) is available at https://a16z.com/investments/. Charts and graphs provided within are for informational purposes solely and should not be relied upon when making any investment decision. Past performance is not indicative of future results. The content speaks only as of the date indicated. Any projections, estimates, forecasts, targets, prospects, and/or opinions expressed in these materials are subject to change without notice and may differ or be contrary to opinions expressed by others. Please see https://a16z.com/disclosures for additional important information.
Jul 19, 2019
a16z Podcast: How To Raise Money From A Venture Investor
00:33:07
So you've decided raising venture capital is the best fundraising strategy for your startup. Now what? In this second of a 3-part series, a16z Managing Partner Scott Kupor shares actionable fundraising advice based on his experience of seeing thousands of startup pitches and working on all of a16z's investments. Want to learn more? Read Scott's book "Secrets of Sand Hill Road: Venture Capital and How to Get It" (https://a16z.com/book/secrets-of-sand-hill-road/). **** The views expressed here are those of the individual AH Capital Management, L.L.C. (“a16z”) personnel quoted and are not the views of a16z or its affiliates. Certain information contained in here has been obtained from third-party sources, including from portfolio companies of funds managed by a16z. While taken from sources believed to be reliable, a16z has not independently verified such information and makes no representations about the enduring accuracy of the information or its appropriateness for a given situation. This content is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be relied upon as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. You should consult your own advisers as to those matters. References to any securities or digital assets are for illustrative purposes only, and do not constitute an investment recommendation or offer to provide investment advisory services. Furthermore, this content is not directed at nor intended for use by any investors or prospective investors, and may not under any circumstances be relied upon when making a decision to invest in any fund managed by a16z. (An offering to invest in an a16z fund will be made only by the private placement memorandum, subscription agreement, and other relevant documentation of any such fund and should be read in their entirety.) Any investments or portfolio companies mentioned, referred to, or described are not representative of all investments in vehicles managed by a16z, and there can be no assurance that the investments will be profitable or that other investments made in the future will have similar characteristics or results. A list of investments made by funds managed by Andreessen Horowitz (excluding investments and certain publicly traded cryptocurrencies/ digital assets for which the issuer has not provided permission for a16z to disclose publicly) is available at https://a16z.com/investments/. Charts and graphs provided within are for informational purposes solely and should not be relied upon when making any investment decision. Past performance is not indicative of future results. The content speaks only as of the date indicated. Any projections, estimates, forecasts, targets, prospects, and/or opinions expressed in these materials are subject to change without notice and may differ or be contrary to opinions expressed by others. Please see https://a16z.com/disclosures for additional important information.
Jul 18, 2019
a16z Podcast: How To Understand And Choose A Venture Investor
00:26:42
Incentives matter. So understanding the incentives of venture capitalists will help you decide if raising money from a venture investor makes sense for your business. In this first of a 3-part series, which originally aired as YouTube videos, a16z Managing Partner Scott Kupor talks with Frank Chen about how venture capital works: how the money flows, what Limited Partners (the organizations that invest in venture capitalists) are looking for, what differentiates the top investors, and what all of this means for an entrepreneur raising money. Want to learn more? Read Scott's book "Secrets of Sand Hill Road: Venture Capital and How to Get It" (https://a16z.com/book/secrets-of-sand-hill-road/). Stay tuned for parts 2 and 3. --- The views expressed here are those of the individual AH Capital Management, L.L.C. (“a16z”) personnel quoted and are not the views of a16z or its affiliates. Certain information contained in here has been obtained from third-party sources, including from portfolio companies of funds managed by a16z. While taken from sources believed to be reliable, a16z has not independently verified such information and makes no representations about the enduring accuracy of the information or its appropriateness for a given situation. This content is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be relied upon as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. You should consult your own advisers as to those matters. References to any securities or digital assets are for illustrative purposes only, and do not constitute an investment recommendation or offer to provide investment advisory services. Furthermore, this content is not directed at nor intended for use by any investors or prospective investors, and may not under any circumstances be relied upon when making a decision to invest in any fund managed by a16z. (An offering to invest in an a16z fund will be made only by the private placement memorandum, subscription agreement, and other relevant documentation of any such fund and should be read in their entirety.) Any investments or portfolio companies mentioned, referred to, or described are not representative of all investments in vehicles managed by a16z, and there can be no assurance that the investments will be profitable or that other investments made in the future will have similar characteristics or results. A list of investments made by funds managed by Andreessen Horowitz (excluding investments and certain publicly traded cryptocurrencies/ digital assets for which the issuer has not provided permission for a16z to disclose publicly) is available at https://a16z.com/investments/. Charts and graphs provided within are for informational purposes solely and should not be relied upon when making any investment decision. Past performance is not indicative of future results. The content speaks only as of the date indicated. Any projections, estimates, forecasts, targets, prospects, and/or opinions expressed in these materials are subject to change without notice and may differ or be contrary to opinions expressed by others. Please see https://a16z.com/disclosures for additional important information.
Jul 17, 2019
a16z Podcast: Beyond Software, to Talent and Culture
00:38:51
with Marc Andreessen (@pmarca), Ben Horowitz (@bhorowitz), and Tyler Cowen (@tylercowen) Continuing our 10-year anniversary series since the founding of Andreessen Horowitz (aka "a16z"), we’re resurfacing some of our previous episodes featuring Andreessen Horowitz founders Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz. This episode was actually recorded in 2018 at our annual innovation Summit, and features economist Tyler Cowen interviewing Ben and Marc about everything from their partnership and how it works to talent, tech trends, and software eating culture. You can find other episodes in this series at a16z.com/10.
Jul 04, 2019
a16z Podcast: Beyond Zero Sum, Again
00:42:08
with Marc Andreessen (@pmarca), Ben Horowitz (@bhorowitz), and Steven Johnson (@stevenbjohnson) Continuing our 10-year anniversary series since the founding of Andreessen Horowitz (aka "a16z"), we’re resurfacing some of our previous episodes featuring Andreessen Horowitz founders Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz. This episode was actually recorded in 2017 at our annual innovation Summit, and features technology writer Steven Johnson interviewing Ben and Marc about everything from their relationship to creative inspirations. You can find other episodes in this series at a16z.com/10.
Jul 04, 2019
a16z Podcast: Beyond Software Eating the World
00:41:31
with Marc Andreessen (@pmarca), Ben Horowitz (@bhorowitz), Scott Kupor (@skupor), and Sonal Chokshi (@smc90) Continuing our 10-year anniversary series since the founding of Andreessen Horowitz (aka "a16z"), we’re resurfacing some of our previous episodes featuring Andreessen Horowitz founders Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz. This episode was actually recorded in 2016 -- on the 5-year anniversary of Marc’s Wall Street Journal op-ed on “Why software is eating the world” -- and features Sonal Chokshi and Scott Kupor interviewing Ben and Marc about what’s changed since, and how software is programming the world... in everything from simulations to distributed systems to other key computing shifts. You can find other episodes in this series at a16z.com/10.
Jul 04, 2019
a16z Podcast: Beyond Disruption Theory
00:17:22
with Marc Andreessen (@pmarca), Ben Horowitz (@bhorowitz), and Michael Copeland Continuing our 10-year anniversary series since the founding of Andreessen Horowitz (aka "a16z"), we’re resurfacing some of our previous episodes featuring Andreessen Horowitz founders Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz. This episode was actually recorded in 2014, on the 5-year anniversary of the firm, and features Michael Copeland interviewing Ben and Marc about disruption theory, as well as key traits of entrepreneurs. You can find other episodes in this series at a16z.com/10.
Jul 04, 2019
a16z Podcast: Entrepreneurs, Then and Now
00:44:53
with Marc Andreessen (@pmarca), Ben Horowitz (@bhorowitz), and Stewart Butterfield (@stewart) A lot in technology -- and venture -- happens in decades. New cycles of technology come and go, including some secular shifts; a new generation of founders matures; and so much more changes. So when Andreessen Horowitz (dubbed with the numeronym "a16z") was founded a decade ago as of this month, the tech landscape looked very different between then and now: Not only had the global economy just seen a recession, but trends like mobile and cloud and even social were just taking off. Now, 10 years later, what's changed -- not just in tech, but in profiles of entrepreneurs? And what's changed in the firm itself, given that Marc and Ben -- the Andreessen and the Horowitz -- were yet again entrepreneurs in founding the firm too? As another repeat entrepreneur from then to now, guest host Stewart Butterfield, CEO of Slack, interviews the a16z co-founders in this special episode of the a16z Podcast to commemorate our 10th anniversary. * * * The views expressed here are those of the individual AH Capital Management, L.L.C. (“a16z”) personnel quoted and are not the views of a16z or its affiliates. Certain information contained in here has been obtained from third-party sources, including from portfolio companies of funds managed by a16z. While taken from sources believed to be reliable, a16z has not independently verified such information and makes no representations about the enduring accuracy of the information or its appropriateness for a given situation. This content is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be relied upon as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. You should consult your own advisers as to those matters. References to any securities or digital assets are for illustrative purposes only, and do not constitute an investment recommendation or offer to provide investment advisory services. Furthermore, this content is not directed at nor intended for use by any investors or prospective investors, and may not under any circumstances be relied upon when making a decision to invest in any fund managed by a16z. (An offering to invest in an a16z fund will be made only by the private placement memorandum, subscription agreement, and other relevant documentation of any such fund and should be read in their entirety.) Any investments or portfolio companies mentioned, referred to, or described are not representative of all investments in vehicles managed by a16z, and there can be no assurance that the investments will be profitable or that other investments made in the future will have similar characteristics or results. A list of investments made by funds managed by Andreessen Horowitz (excluding investments for which the issuer has not provided permission for a16z to disclose publicly as well as unannounced investments in publicly traded digital assets) is available at https://a16z.com/investments/. Charts and graphs provided within are for informational purposes solely and should not be relied upon when making any investment decision. Past performance is not indicative of future results. The content speaks only as of the date indicated. Any projections, estimates, forecasts, targets, prospects, and/or opinions expressed in these materials are subject to change without notice and may differ or be contrary to opinions expressed by others. Please see https://a16z.com/disclosures for additional important information.
Jun 28, 2019
a16z Podcast: Damage-free Genome Editing -- Next in CRISPR
00:15:26
Two recent scientific journal papers show what's possible when CRISPR moves from cutting DNA tool to a full-fledged platform -- expanding its toolkit for medicine across R&D, therapeutics, and diagnostics: "Transposon-encoded CRISPR-Cas systems direct RNA-guided DNA integration" in Nature -- by Sanne Klompe, Phuc Vo, Tyler Halpin-Healy, and Samuel Sternberg (of Columbia University) "RNA-guided DNA insertion with CRISPR-associated transposases" in Science -- by Jonathan Strecker, Alim Ladha, Zachary Gardner, Jonathan Schmid-burgk, Kira Makarova, Eugene Koonin, and Feng Zhang (of the Broad Institute) What do these two papers -- both about techniques for getting rid of the need to cut the genome to edit it -- make possible going forward, given the ongoing shift of biology becoming more like engineering? Where are we in the wave of the genome engineering "developer community" building on top of CRISPR with a constantly growing suite of programmable functionalities? a16z bio general partner Jorge Conde and bio deal team partner Andy Tran chat with Hanne Tidnam about these trends -- and these two papers -- in this short internal hallway-style conversation, part of our new a16z Journal Club series. This podcast is also part of our new a16z bio newsletter, which you can sign up for at a16z.com/subscribe
Jun 26, 2019
a16z Podcast: Stories from the Frontlines of Synthetic Fraud
00:34:31
Synthetic fraud—yes, it's a thing: a new evolution of consumer fraud that’s been emerging in financial services, to the tune of $1-$2B a year. In this episode of the a16z Podcast, Naftali Harris, co-founder and CEO of Sentilink, which builds technology to detect and stop synthetic fraud, talks with a16z's Hanne Tidnam and operating partner for information security Joel de la Garza all about what this new kind of fraud is. Where did this new form of fraud come from, and why is it on the rise? Who are true victims here (hint: it's not the Joneses... or maybe it is!). And what is the fundamental security issue really at the heart of it all? The conversation covers the fascinating life cycle of this long con: how these “synthetic” identities get made, incubated, and finally busted out… and some of the wildest stories (and art of storytelling!) behind the strangest fraud rings we've seen. *** The views expressed here are those of the individual AH Capital Management, L.L.C. (“a16z”) personnel quoted and are not the views of a16z or its affiliates. Certain information contained in here has been obtained from third-party sources, including from portfolio companies of funds managed by a16z. While taken from sources believed to be reliable, a16z has not independently verified such information and makes no representations about the enduring accuracy of the information or its appropriateness for a given situation. This content is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be relied upon as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. You should consult your own advisers as to those matters. References to any securities or digital assets are for illustrative purposes only, and do not constitute an investment recommendation or offer to provide investment advisory services. Furthermore, this content is not directed at nor intended for use by any investors or prospective investors, and may not under any circumstances be relied upon when making a decision to invest in any fund managed by a16z. (An offering to invest in an a16z fund will be made only by the private placement memorandum, subscription agreement, and other relevant documentation of any such fund and should be read in their entirety.) Any investments or portfolio companies mentioned, referred to, or described are not representative of all investments in vehicles managed by a16z, and there can be no assurance that the investments will be profitable or that other investments made in the future will have similar characteristics or results. A list of investments made by funds managed by Andreessen Horowitz (excluding investments and certain publicly traded cryptocurrencies/ digital assets for which the issuer has not provided permission for a16z to disclose publicly) is available at https://a16z.com/investments/. Charts and graphs provided within are for informational purposes solely and should not be relied upon when making any investment decision. Past performance is not indicative of future results. The content speaks only as of the date indicated. Any projections, estimates, forecasts, targets, prospects, and/or opinions expressed in these materials are subject to change without notice and may differ or be contrary to opinions expressed by others. Please see https://a16z.com/disclosures for additional important information. Where did this new form of fraud come from, and why is it on the rise? Who are true victims here (hint: it's not the Joneses... or maybe it is!). And what is the fundamental security issue really at the heart of it all? The conversation covers the fascinating life cycle of this long con: how these “synthetic” identities get made, incubated, and finally busted out… and some of the wildest stories (and art of storytelling!) behind the strangest fraud rings we've seen.
Jun 25, 2019
a16z Podcast: The History and Future of Machine Learning
00:41:27
How have we gotten to where were are with machine learning? Where are we going? a16z Operating Partner Frank Chen and Carnegie Mellon professor Tom Mitchell first stroll down memory lane, visiting the major landmarks: the symbolic approach of the 1970s, the "principled probabalistic methods" of the 1980s, and today's deep learning phase. Then they go on to explore the frontiers of research. Along the way, they cover: - How planning systems from the 1970s and early 1980s were stymied by the "banana in the tailpipe" problem - How the relatively slow neurons in our visual cortex work together to deliver very speedy and accurate recognition - How fMRI scans of the brain reveal common neural patterns across people when they are exposed to common nouns like chair, car, knife, and so on - How the computer science community is working with social scientists (psychologists, economists, and philosophers) on building measures for fairness and transparency for machine learning models - How we want our self-driving cars to have reasonable answers to the Trolley Problem, but no one sitting for their DMV exam is ever asked how they would respond - How there were inflated expectations (and great social fears) for AI in the 1980s, and how the US concerns about Japan compare to our concerns about China today - Whether this is the best time ever for AI and ML research and what continues to fascinate and motivate Tom after decades in the field --- The views expressed here are those of the individual AH Capital Management, L.L.C. (“a16z”) personnel quoted and are not the views of a16z or its affiliates. Certain information contained in here has been obtained from third-party sources, including from portfolio companies of funds managed by a16z. While taken from sources believed to be reliable, a16z has not independently verified such information and makes no representations about the enduring accuracy of the information or its appropriateness for a given situation. This content is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be relied upon as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. You should consult your own advisers as to those matters. References to any securities or digital assets are for illustrative purposes only, and do not constitute an investment recommendation or offer to provide investment advisory services. Furthermore, this content is not directed at nor intended for use by any investors or prospective investors, and may not under any circumstances be relied upon when making a decision to invest in any fund managed by a16z. (An offering to invest in an a16z fund will be made only by the private placement memorandum, subscription agreement, and other relevant documentation of any such fund and should be read in their entirety.) Any investments or portfolio companies mentioned, referred to, or described are not representative of all investments in vehicles managed by a16z, and there can be no assurance that the investments will be profitable or that other investments made in the future will have similar characteristics or results. A list of investments made by funds managed by Andreessen Horowitz (excluding investments and certain publicly traded cryptocurrencies/ digital assets for which the issuer has not provided permission for a16z to disclose publicly) is available at https://a16z.com/investments/. Charts and graphs provided within are for informational purposes solely and should not be relied upon when making any investment decision. Past performance is not indicative of future results. The content speaks only as of the date indicated. Any projections, estimates, forecasts, targets, prospects, and/or opinions expressed in these materials are subject to change without notice and may differ or be contrary to opinions expressed by others. Please see https://a16z.com/disclosures for additional important information.
Jun 19, 2019
a16z Podcast: The Politics of Technology
00:31:24
with Tony Blair (@InstituteGC), Scott Kupor (@skupor), and Sonal Chokshi (@smc90) If the current pace of tech change is the 21st-century equivalent of the 19th-century Industrial Revolution — with its tremendous economic growth and lifestyle change — it means that even though it’s fundamentally empowering and enabling, there’s also lots of fears and misconceptions as well. That’s why, argues former U.K. prime minister Tony Blair (who now has an eponymous Institute for Global Change), we need to make sure that the changemakers — i.e., technologists, entrepreneurs, and quite frankly, any company that wields power — are in a structured dialogue with politicians. After all, the politician’s task, observes Blair, is “to be able to articulate to the people those changes and fit them into a policy framework that makes sense”. The concern is that if politicians don't understand new technologies, then "they'll fear it; and if they fear it, they'll try and stop it" -- and that's how we end up with pessimism and bad policy. Yet bad regulations often come from even the very best of intentions: Take for example the case of Dodd-Frank in the U.S., or more recently, GDPR in Europe -- which, ironically (but not surprisingly) served to entrench incumbent and large company interests over those of small-and-medium-sized businesses and startups. And would we have ever had the world wide web today if we hadn't had an environment of so-called "permissionless innovation", where government didn't decide up front how to regulate the internet? Could companies instead be more inclusive of stakeholders, not just shareholders, with better ESG (environment, social, governance)? Finally, how do we ensure a spirit of optimism and focusing on leading vs. lagging indicators about the future, while still being sensitive to short-term displacements, as with farmers during the Industrial Revolution? This hallway-style style episode of the a16z Podcast features Blair in conversation with Sonal Chokshi and a16z managing partner Scott Kupor -- who has a new book, just out, on Secrets of Sand Hill Road: Venture Capital and How to Get It, and also often engages with government legislators on behalf of startups. They delve into mindsets for engaging policymakers; touch briefly on topics such as autonomous cars, crypto, and education; and consider the question of how government itself and politicians too will need to change. One thing's for sure: The discussion today is global, beyond both sides of the Atlantic, given the flow of capital, people, and ideas across borders. So how do we make sure globalization works for the many... and not just for the few.  image credit: Benedict Macon-Cooney --- The views expressed here are those of the individual personnel quoted and are not the views of a16z or its affiliates. This content is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be relied upon as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. Furthermore, this content is not directed at nor intended for use by any investors or prospective investors and may not under any circumstances be relied upon when making a decision to invest in any a16z funds. PLEASE SEE MORE HERE: https://a16z.com/disclosures/
Jun 15, 2019
a16z Podcast: AI and Your Doctor, Today and Tomorrow
00:44:34
with Eric Topol (@EricTopol) and Vijay Pande (@vijaypande) Artificial intelligence is coming to the doctor’s office. In this episode, Dr. Eric Topol, cardiologist and chair of innovative medicine at Scripps Research, and a16z’s general partner on the Bio Fund Vijay Pande, have a conversation around Topol’s new book, Deep Medicine: How Artificial Intelligence Can Make Healthcare Human Again. What is the impact AI will have on how your doctor engages with you? On the nature of the doctor's visit as a whole? How will AI impact not just doctor-patient interactions, but diagnosis, prevention, prediction, medical education, and everything in between? Topol and Pande discuss how AI’s capabilities for deep phenotyping will shift our thinking from population health to understanding the medical health essence of you, how the industry might respond and the challenges in integrating and introducing the technology into today’s system—and ultimately, what that the doctor’s visit of the future might look like.
Jun 13, 2019
a16z Podcast: 10+1 Lessons from Serial Entrepreneur Justin Kan
00:48:40
Want actionable advice from a founder who has built multiple tech companies and has invested the time to be open, introspective, and transparent about lessons learned? In this episode (which originally aired as a YouTube video), a16z General Partner Andrew Chen (@@andrewchen) talks with Justin Kan (@justinkan). Justin is a repeat entrepreneur who co-founded Kiko Software (a Web 2.0 calendar that pre-dated Google Calendar by 4 years); Justin.tv (a lifecasting platform); Twitch.tv (a live streaming platform for esports, music, and other creatives now part of Amazon); Socialcam; and now Atrium, a software-powered law firm for startups. Justin reflects on his journey and shares 10 + 1 lessons he’s learned: - The paradox of choice: choosing a focus - Tradeoffs between B2B versus B2C companies - Market risk vs execution risk - Fundraising strategy: go big or stay lean? - Managing the stress of being a startup CEO (again!) - Seeking out mentors, coaches, and peers for help - Intentionally designing a culture to avoid the pitfalls of “culture eating strategy” - Things he’s still doing in his latest startup—and things he’s doing very differently - Managing higher expectations - What he’s reading and listening to - Bonus: advice he’d give his 20-year old self ***** The views expressed here are those of the individual AH Capital Management, L.L.C. (“a16z”) personnel quoted and are not the views of a16z or its affiliates. Certain information contained in here has been obtained from third-party sources, including from portfolio companies of funds managed by a16z. While taken from sources believed to be reliable, a16z has not independently verified such information and makes no representations about the enduring accuracy of the information or its appropriateness for a given situation. This content is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be relied upon as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. You should consult your own advisers as to those matters. References to any securities or digital assets are for illustrative purposes only, and do not constitute an investment recommendation or offer to provide investment advisory services. Furthermore, this content is not directed at nor intended for use by any investors or prospective investors, and may not under any circumstances be relied upon when making a decision to invest in any fund managed by a16z. (An offering to invest in an a16z fund will be made only by the private placement memorandum, subscription agreement, and other relevant documentation of any such fund and should be read in their entirety.) Any investments or portfolio companies mentioned, referred to, or described are not representative of all investments in vehicles managed by a16z, and there can be no assurance that the investments will be profitable or that other investments made in the future will have similar characteristics or results. A list of investments made by funds managed by Andreessen Horowitz (excluding investments and certain publicly traded cryptocurrencies/ digital assets for which the issuer has not provided permission for a16z to disclose publicly) is available at https://a16z.com/investments/. Charts and graphs provided within are for informational purposes solely and should not be relied upon when making any investment decision. Past performance is not indicative of future results. The content speaks only as of the date indicated. Any projections, estimates, forecasts, targets, prospects, and/or opinions expressed in these materials are subject to change without notice and may differ or be contrary to opinions expressed by others. Please see https://a16z.com/disclosures for additional important information.
Jun 10, 2019
a16z Podcast: Deep Learning for the Life Sciences
00:31:45
with Vijay Pande (@vijaypande) and Barath Ramsundar Deep learning has arrived in the life sciences: every week, it seems, a new published study comes out... with code on top. In this episode, a16z General Partner Vijay Pande and Barath Ramsundar talk about how AI/ML is unlocking the field in a new way, in a conversation around their book, Deep Learning for the Life Sciences: Applying Deep Learning to Genomics, Microscopy, Drug Discovery, and More (also co-authored with Peter Eastman and Patrick Walters. So -- why now? ML is old, bio is certainly old. What is it about deep learning's evolution that is allowing it to finally making a major impact in the life sciences? What is the practical toolkit you need, the right kinds of problems to attack, and the right questions to ask? How is the hacker ethos coming to the world of biology? And what might “open source biology” look like in the future?
Jun 06, 2019
a16z Podcast: The Power of Restorative Justice
00:36:06
with Van Jones (@VanJones68), Shaka Senghor (@ShakaSeghnor), and Chris Lyons (@clyons) True redemption can be hard to come by in our justice system today. And yet, we need it more than ever before. In this episode (based on an event hosted by Andreessen Horowitz's Cultural Leadership Fund), CNN news commentator and author Van Jones and Shaka Senghor, author of the New York Times bestseller Writing my Wrongs and director's fellow of the MIT Media Lab, discuss the U.S. prison system; the human potential for redemption; and how we begin to go about normalizing restorative justice in our society. The conversation, introduced by a16z partner Chris Lyons, followed screening of an episode of Van Jones' new series, The Redemption Project. The eight-part series looks at the families of victims of a life-altering crime as they come together to meet their offender; this episode featured the meeting between a police officer along with the man who shot him as a young boy of 17 years, decades earlier. The episode also includes two spoken word performances before and after the conversation, from two formerly incarcerated artists: first, Kevin Gentry, with "My Heart"; and second, Missy Hart, with "Bloom: A Trilogy." Both are contributors to The Beat Within, a publication and organization that serves youth across California country juvenile halls and encourages literacy, self-expression, and community.
Jun 03, 2019
a16z Podcast: The Economics of Expensive Medicines
00:33:23
with Andrew Lo (@AndrewWLo) and Jorge Conde (@JorgeCondeBio) The advent of new gene and cell therapies are beginning to approach that holy grail of medicine—that of a possible cure. But they are also more expensive than any medicines ever sold before. In this episode, MIT economist Andrew Lo and a16z General Partner on the Bio Fund Jorge Conde discuss how exactly we place an economic value on a cure; the questions we still need to figure out, like who should pay for what and how; and how we need to start thinking about handling the coming influx of highly priced medicines like these into our healthcare system. If we think about these payments as a kind of 'mortgage for a cure,' what happens when your gene therapy mortgage defaults? How would payment plans like these move between insurance plans? Lo and Conde also discuss the broader context in our healthcare system, the economics and risk of drug discovery and development overall – and finally, how our markets might just function more like biological systems than anything else.
May 30, 2019
a16z Podcast: Collectively Driving Change
00:38:41
with Laurene Powell Jobs (@LaurenePowell) and Ben Horowitz (@bhorowitz) Laurene Powell Jobs is, among many other things, founder and President of the Emerson Collective -- the social impact firm she founded to drive change and reform through philanthropy, investing, and policy solutions. In this episode of the a16z Podcast, Ben Horowitz interviews Powell Jobs on everything from what made her who she was, growing up in the working class rural hills of New Jersey, to how the Emerson Collective does what it does (and why it's a collective, for that matter). What motivates the investments the Emerson Collective makes—and what do they all share in common, across such a broad range of areas, from education to immigration to media? This conversation originally took place at our annual innovation a16z Summit in November 2018 — which features a16z speakers and invited experts from various organizations discussing innovation at companies small and large.
May 27, 2019
a16z Podcast: What Time Is It? From Technical to Product to Sales CEO
00:46:00
with David Ulevitch (@davidu) and Sonal Chokshi (@smc90) Since the startup (and founder) journey doesn't go neatly linear from technical to product to sales, tightening one knob (whether engineering or marketing or pricing & packaging) creates slack in one of the other knobs, which demands turning to yet another knob. So how do you know what knob to focus on and when? How do you build the right team for the right play and at the right time? It all depends on "What time is it": where are you on the journey, and where do you want to go... In this episode of the a16z Podcast, general partner David Ulevitch (in conversation with Sonal Chokshi) shares hard-earned lessons on these top-of-mind questions for founders; as well as advice on other tricky topics, such as pricing and packaging, balancing between product visionary vs. product manager, how to manage your own time (and psychology!) as your company grows, and more. Much of this is based on his own up-and-down, inside-outside, big-small-big-small, long journey as CEO (and CTO) for the company he co-founded, OpenDNS. The company was later acquired by Cisco after it pivoted from consumer to enterprise. Speaking of, what are the latest shifts and nuances in selling and buying enterprise products, beyond the phrase "consumerization of enterprise"? Or beyond the cliché of "design thinking" -- how does one go beyond user experience and beyond things like fun gifs (which are pronounced, ahem, "jifs") to focusing on the whole customer experience, and earning the right to be complicated? All this and more in this episode... plus the magic 5 words that will help any CEO (and anyone, really). --- The views expressed here are those of the individual AH Capital Management, L.L.C. (“a16z”) personnel quoted and are not the views of a16z or its affiliates. Certain information contained in here has been obtained from third-party sources, including from portfolio companies of funds managed by a16z. While taken from sources believed to be reliable, a16z has not independently verified such information and makes no representations about the enduring accuracy of the information or its appropriateness for a given situation. This content is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be relied upon as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. You should consult your own advisers as to those matters. References to any securities or digital assets are for illustrative purposes only, and do not constitute an investment recommendation or offer to provide investment advisory services. Furthermore, this content is not directed at nor intended for use by any investors or prospective investors, and may not under any circumstances be relied upon when making a decision to invest in any fund managed by a16z. (An offering to invest in an a16z fund will be made only by the private placement memorandum, subscription agreement, and other relevant documentation of any such fund and should be read in their entirety.) Any investments or portfolio companies mentioned, referred to, or described are not representative of all investments in vehicles managed by a16z, and there can be no assurance that the investments will be profitable or that other investments made in the future will have similar characteristics or results. A list of investments made by funds managed by Andreessen Horowitz (excluding investments and certain publicly traded cryptocurrencies/ digital assets for which the issuer has not provided permission for a16z to disclose publicly) is available at https://a16z.com/investments/. Past performance is not indicative of future results. The content speaks only as of the date indicated. Any projections, estimates, forecasts, targets, prospects, and/or opinions expressed in these materials are subject to change without notice and may differ or be contrary to opinions expressed by others. Please see https://a16z.com/disclosures for additional important information.
May 20, 2019
a16z Podcast: Five Open Problems Toward Building a Blockchain Computer
00:52:35
Do you sometimes wish you had been born in a different decade so you could have worked on the fundamental building blocks of modern computing? How fun, challenging, and fulfilling would it have been to work on semiconductors in the 1950s or Unix in the 1960s (both at Bell Labs) or personal computers at the Homebrew Computer Club in the 1970s or on the Internet browser at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (and later Mountain View, CA) in the 1990s? Good news: it’s not too late. There’s a new computing platform being built today by a vibrant and rapidly growing cryptocurrency community. You might have noticed some of your coworkers and friends leaving big stable tech companies to join crypto startups. In this episode, which originally appeared on YouTube, a16z crypto partner Ali Yahya (@ali01) talks with Frank Chen (@withfries2) about five challenging problems the community is trying to solve right now to enable a new computing platform and a new set of killer apps: *Scaling decentralized computing *Scaling decentralized storage *Scaling decentralized networks *Establishing trusted identities and reputation *Establishing trusted governance models If you’re a software engineer, product manager, UX designer, investor, or tech enthusiast who thrives on the particular challenges of building a new computing platform, this is the perfect time to join the crypto community. ***** The views expressed here are those of the individual AH Capital Management, L.L.C. (“a16z”) personnel quoted and are not the views of a16z or its affiliates. Certain information contained in here has been obtained from third-party sources, including from portfolio companies of funds managed by a16z. While taken from sources believed to be reliable, a16z has not independently verified such information and makes no representations about the enduring accuracy of the information or its appropriateness for a given situation. This content is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be relied upon as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. You should consult your own advisers as to those matters. References to any securities or digital assets are for illustrative purposes only, and do not constitute an investment recommendation or offer to provide investment advisory services. Furthermore, this content is not directed at nor intended for use by any investors or prospective investors, and may not under any circumstances be relied upon when making a decision to invest in any fund managed by a16z. (An offering to invest in an a16z fund will be made only by the private placement memorandum, subscription agreement, and other relevant documentation of any such fund and should be read in their entirety.) Any investments or portfolio companies mentioned, referred to, or described are not representative of all investments in vehicles managed by a16z, and there can be no assurance that the investments will be profitable or that other investments made in the future will have similar characteristics or results. A list of investments made by funds managed by Andreessen Horowitz (excluding investments and certain publicly traded cryptocurrencies/ digital assets for which the issuer has not provided permission for a16z to disclose publicly) is available at https://a16z.com/investments/. Charts and graphs provided within are for informational purposes solely and should not be relied upon when making any investment decision. Past performance is not indicative of future results. The content speaks only as of the date indicated. Any projections, estimates, forecasts, targets, prospects, and/or opinions expressed in these materials are subject to change without notice and may differ or be contrary to opinions expressed by others. Please see https://a16z.com/disclosures for additional important information.
May 13, 2019
a16z Podcast: A Guide to Making Data-Based Decisions in Health, Parenting... and Life
00:41:16
with Emily Oster (@ProfEmilyOster) and Hanne Tidnam (@omnivorousread) Are chia seeds actually that good for you? Will Vitamin E keep you healthy? Will breastfeeding your baby make them smarter, or skinnier? There’s maybe no other arena where understanding what the evidence truly tells us is harder than in health… and parenting. And yet we make decisions based on what we hear about in studies like the ones listed above every day. In this episode, Brown University economics professor Emily Oster, author of Expecting Better and the recently released Cribsheet: A Data-driven Guide to Better, More Relaxed Parenting, from Birth to Preschool, and a16z's Hanne Tidnam dive into what lies beneath those studies, and talk about how to make smarter decisions based on them (or not).  Oster walks us through the science and the data behind the studies we hear about – especially those hot-button parenting issues that are murkiest of all, from screen time to sleep training. How we can tell what’s real and what’s not? Oster shows us the research about how these guidelines and advice that we are "supposed" to follow get formalized and accepted inside and outside of healthcare settings -- from obstetrics practices to pediatrics to diet and lifestyle; how they can (or can’t) be changed; and finally, how the course of science itself can be influenced by how these studies are done.
May 11, 2019
a16z Podcast: Innovating in Bets
00:46:22
with @annieduke, @pmarca, and @smc90 Every organization, whether small or big, early or late stage -- and every individual, whether for themselves or others -- makes countless decisions every day, under conditions of uncertainty. The question is, are we allowing that uncertainty to bubble to the surface, and if so, how much and when? Where does consensus, transparency, forecasting, backcasting, pre-mortems, and heck, even regret, usefully come in?Going beyond the typical discussion of focusing on process vs. outcomes and probabilistic thinking, this episode of the a16z Podcast features Thinking in Bets author Annie Duke -- one of the top poker players in the world (and World Series of Poker champ), former psychology PhD, and founder of national decision education movement How I Decide -- in conversation with Marc Andreessen and Sonal Chokshi. The episode covers everything from the role of narrative -- hagiography or takedown? -- to fighting (or embracing) evolution. How do we go from the bottom of the summit to the top of the summit to the entire landscape... and up, down, and opposite?The first step to understanding what really slows innovation down is understanding good decision-making -- because we have conflicting interests, and are sometimes even competing against future versions of ourselves (or of our organizations). And there's a set of possible futures that result from not making a decision as well. So why feel both pessimistic AND optimistic about all this??
May 08, 2019
a16z Podcast: Seven Trends in Blockchain Computing
00:50:35
In a followup to one of our most popular podcast episodes which originally aired in April 2017 (https://a16z.com/2017/04/03/cryptocurrencies-protocols-appcoins/), a16z Crypto Fund General Partner Chris Dixon returns to talk with Olaf Carlson-Wee of Polychain Capital in a free-wheeling conversation about the seven major trends they see happening in blockchain computing now as we shift from basic protocol design to pragmatic product launches: - Improving developer productivity - Scaling out versus scaling up - On-chain governance - Proof of Stake Networks, and especially their resilience to attacks - 2017: year of of fund raising, 2019: year of launches - Autonomous and re-mixable code - Killer apps: distributed finance and beyond This conversation was originally recorded for our YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/a16zvideos The views expressed here are those of the individual AH Capital Management, L.L.C. (“a16z”) personnel quoted and are not the views of a16z or its affiliates.This content is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be relied upon as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. You should consult your own advisers as to those matters. References to any securities or digital assets are for illustrative purposes only and do not constitute an investment recommendation or offer to provide investment advisory services. Furthermore, this content is not directed at nor intended for use by any investor or prospective investor, and may not under any circumstances be relied upon when making a decision to invest in any fund managed by a16z. (An offering to invest in an a16z fund will be made only by the private placement memorandum, subscription agreement, and other relevant documentation of any such fund which should be read in their entirety.)Past performance is not indicative of future results. Charts and graphs provided within are for informational purposes solely and should not be relied upon when making any investment decision. Please see a16z.com/disclosures for additional important information.
May 07, 2019
a16z Podcast: The Future Of Decision-Making—3 Startup Opportunities
00:29:42
As companies digitize, they change the way they make decisions: decisions are made lower in the organization, based on data, and increasingly automated. This creates opportunities for startups creating new ways to collect and analyze data to support this new style of decision making. In this episode (which originally aired as a YouTube video), Jad Naous (@jadtnaous) ‏and Frank Chen (@withfries2) discuss this change and the startup opportunities these changes create. The views expressed here are those of the individual AH Capital Management, L.L.C. (“a16z”) personnel quoted and are not the views of a16z or its affiliates.This content is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be relied upon as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. You should consult your own advisers as to those matters. References to any securities or digital assets are for illustrative purposes only and do not constitute an investment recommendation or offer to provide investment advisory services. Furthermore, this content is not directed at nor intended for use by any investor or prospective investor, and may not under any circumstances be relied upon when making a decision to invest in any fund managed by a16z. (An offering to invest in an a16z fund will be made only by the private placement memorandum, subscription agreement, and other relevant documentation of any such fund which should be read in their entirety.)Past performance is not indicative of future results. Charts and graphs provided within are for informational purposes solely and should not be relied upon when making any investment decision. Please see a16z.com/disclosures for additional important information.
Apr 29, 2019
a16z Podcast: So You Wanna Build a Software Company in Healthcare?
00:36:49
with Jorge Conde (@JorgeCondeBio), Julie Yoo (@julesyoo), and Hanne Tidnam (@omnivorousread) Building a software company in healthcare is hard -- and comes along with unique challenges no other entrepreneurs face. In this conversation, a16z bio general partner -- and previous founder of genomics company Knome -- Jorge Conde; and a16z bio partner and former founder Julie Yoo (of patient provider matching system, Kyruus) share their mistakes and hard earned lessons learned with a16z partner Hanne Tidnam. Why is this so damn hard? How should founders think about this space differently? What are the specific things that healthcare founders can do -- when, where, and why? You'll wish you only knew this when you started your own company!
Apr 25, 2019
a16z Podcast: Inside Apple Software Design
01:36:41
Join longtime Apple software engineer Ken Kocienda in conversation with a16z Deal and Research operating partner Frank Chen for an insider’s account of how Apple designed software in the golden age of Steve Jobs, spanning products like the first release of Safari on MacOS to the first few releases of the iPhone and iOS (very first codename: "Purple"). Ken vividly shares about the creative process, how teams were organized, what it was like demo'ing to Steve Jobs, and many other fun stories. This episode originally aired as a YouTube video, and throughout, we repeatedly probe the question: is Apple's obsession with secrecy during the product development process a feature or a bug?
Apr 19, 2019
a16z Podcast: Fintech for Startups and Incumbents
00:50:21
In this episode of the a16z Podcast -- which originally aired as a video on YouTube -- general partner Alex Rampell (and former fintech entrepreneur as the CEO and co-founder of TrialPay) talks with operating partner Frank Chen about the quickly changing fintech landscape and, even more importantly, why the landscape is changing now. Should the incumbents be nervous? About what, exactly? And most importantly, what should big companies do about all of this change? But the conversation from both sides of the table begins from the perspective of the hungry and fast fintech startup sharing lessons learned, and then moves to more concrete advice for the execs in the hot seat at established companies. --- The views expressed here are those of the individual AH Capital Management, L.L.C. (“a16z”) personnel quoted and are not the views of a16z or its affiliates. This content is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be relied upon as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. You should consult your own advisers as to those matters. References to any securities or digital assets are for illustrative purposes only and do not constitute an investment recommendation or offer to provide investment advisory services. Furthermore, this content is not directed at nor intended for use by any investor or prospective investor, and may not under any circumstances be relied upon when making a decision to invest in any fund managed by a16z. (An offering to invest in an a16z fund will be made only by the private placement memorandum, subscription agreement, and other relevant documentation of any such fund which should be read in their entirety.) Past performance is not indicative of future results. Any charts and graphs provided within are for informational purposes solely and should not be relied upon when making any investment decision. Please see https://a16z.com/disclosures for additional important information.
Apr 04, 2019
a16z Podcast: A Podcast About Podcasting
01:07:24
with Nick Quah (@nwquah), Connie Chan (@conniechan), and Sonal Chokshi (@smc90) It's a podcast about podcasting! About the state of the industry, that is. Because a lot has changed since we recorded "a podcast about podcasts" about four years ago: podcasts, and interest in podcasting -- listening, making, building -- is growing. But by how much, exactly? (since various stats are constantly floating around and often out of context); and what do we even know (given that no one really knows what a download is)?And in fact, how do we define "podcasts": Should the definition include audio books... why not music, too, then? So much of the podcasting ecosystem -- from editing tools to the notion of a "CD phase" to music companies like Spotify doing more audio deals -- stems from the legacy of the music industry. But other analogies -- like that of the web and of blogging! -- may be more useful for understanding the podcasting ecosystem, too. Heck, we even throw in an analogy of container ships (yes, the ocean kind!) to help out there.If we really think medium-native -- and borrow from other mediums and entertainment models, like TV and streaming and even terrestrial radio -- what may or may not apply to podcasting as experiments evolve? In this hallway-style jam of an episode, Nick Quah (writer and publisher of Hot Pod) joins a16z general partner Connie Chan (who covers consumer startups among other things) in conversation with Sonal Chokshi (who is also showrunner of the a16z Podcast) to talk about all this and more. We also discuss the obvious and the not-so-obvious aspects of monetization, discovery, search, platforms... and where are we in the cycles of industry fragmentation vs. consolidation, bundling vs. unbundling, more? And where might opportunities for entrepreneurs, toolmakers, and creators lie? --- The views expressed here are those of the individual AH Capital Management, L.L.C. (“a16z”) personnel quoted and are not the views of a16z or its affiliates.This content is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be relied upon as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. You should consult your own advisers as to those matters. References to any securities or digital assets are for illustrative purposes only and do not constitute an investment recommendation or offer to provide investment advisory services. Furthermore, this content is not directed at nor intended for use by any investor or prospective investor, and may not under any circumstances be relied upon when making a decision to invest in any fund managed by a16z. (An offering to invest in an a16z fund will be made only by the private placement memorandum, subscription agreement, and other relevant documentation of any such fund which should be read in their entirety.)Past performance is not indicative of future results. Any charts and graphs provided within are for informational purposes solely and should not be relied upon when making any investment decision. Please see https://a16z.com/disclosures for additional important information.
Apr 03, 2019
a16z Podcast: How Many Taps in the Apple (Plus) Tree?
00:28:48
with Benedict Evans (@benedictevans) and Steven Sinofsky (@stevesi) What does Apple's recent event — in which a range of new services was announced, from Apple News Plus to Apple TV Plus to the Apple card — mean for the company's overall strategy and tactics? In this another of a16z's 'hallway conversations', Benedict Evens and Steven Sinofsky discuss the build up, announcements, and postmortem of the recent Apple event, and consider what it all means in terms of a big company's evolution into services. How many different places is Apple now putting a tap into the tree, with new subscriptions available? What’s the positioning underlying all those different services, from a new credit card to new magazines and content, all bundled up together? The views expressed here are those of the individual AH Capital Management, L.L.C. (“a16z”) personnel quoted and are not the views of a16z or its affiliates.This content is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be relied upon as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. You should consult your own advisers as to those matters. References to any securities or digital assets are for illustrative purposes only and do not constitute an investment recommendation or offer to provide investment advisory services. Furthermore, this content is not directed at nor intended for use by any investor or prospective investor, and may not under any circumstances be relied upon when making a decision to invest in any fund managed by a16z. (An offering to invest in an a16z fund will be made only by the private placement memorandum, subscription agreement, and other relevant documentation of any such fund which should be read in their entirety.)Past performance is not indicative of future results. Charts and graphs provided within are for informational purposes solely and should not be relied upon when making any investment decision. Please see https://a16z.com/disclosures for additional important information.
Mar 30, 2019
a16z Podcast: Incenting Innovation Inside, Loonshots to Moonshots
00:47:41
with Safi Bahcall (@safibahcall), Vijay Pande (@vijaypande), and Sonal Chokshi (@smc90) A "moonshot" is a destination (like going to the moon, quite literally) -- but nurturing "loonshots" (which often involves a number of stumbles along the way) is how we get there. This goes beyond the trite mantra of failing fast! It is about not having "false fails" or not killing the seemingly small ideas that could lead to outsized yet unexpected outcomes, observes Safi Bahcall (physicist, ex-startup founder, and CEO of a public biotech company), author of the new book, Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries.So in this episode of the a16z Podcast -- in conversation with a16z bio general partner Vijay Pande and Sonal Chokshi -- Bahcall shares why concepts like "disruptive innovation" cause him gas; why doing market projections can sometimes be crap; and why most management books that focus on culture are b.s.Because CEOs and culture, argues Bahcall, do not control organizational behavior... but hidden incentives, "phase transitions", and specific control parameters do. So how can organizations -- of any size, big or small -- be in two states at the same time: both fluid and stable, soft and solid, with high entropy yet bound energy, and both artists and soldiers? The answer may be in a more scientific, less "squishy" framework for management at the intersection of physics and economics. Big empires always miss the small but important new ideas... can this be why?
Mar 25, 2019
a16z Podcast: For the Billions of Creatives Out There
01:06:05
with Brian Koppelman (@briankoppelman), Marc Andreessen (@pmarca), and Sonal Chokshi (@smc90) The writer-showrunner is a relatively new phenomenon in TV, as opposed to film, which is still a director-driven enterprise. But what does it mean, as both a creative and a leader, to “showrun” something, whether a TV show… or a startup? Turns out, there are a lot of parallels with the rise of the showrunner and the rise of founder-CEOs, all working (or partnering) within legacy systems. But in the day to day details, really “owning” and showunning something — while also having others participate in it and help bring it to life — involves doing the work, both inside and out. This special, almost-crossover episode of the a16z Podcast features Billions co-showrunner Brian Koppelman — who also co-wrote movies such as Rounders and Ocean’s 13 with his longtime creative partner David Levien — in conversation with Marc Andreessen (and Sonal Chokshi). The discussion covers everything from managing up — when it comes to executives or investors sharing their “notes” aka “feedback” on your work — to managing down, with one’s team; to managing one’s partners (or co-founders)… and especially managing yourself. How to tame those irrational emotions, that ego? Ultimately, though, it’s all about unlocking creativity, whether in writing, coding, or other art forms. Because something surprising happened: Instead of TV going the way of music à la Napster with the advent of the internet, we’re seeing the exact opposite — a new era of “visual literature”, a “Golden Age” of television and art. Are artists apprenticing from other artists virtually, learning and figuring out the craft (with some help from the internet, mobile, TV)? And if we really are seeing “the creative explosion of all time”, what does it take to explode our own creativity in our work, to better run the shows of our lives? All this and more in this episode of the a16z Podcast… as well as some Billions behind-the-scenes (and light spoilers, alerted within!) towards the end.
Mar 16, 2019
a16z Podcast: Lessons Learned from Chinese Education Startups
00:31:16
When people talk about trends in education technology, they often focus on how to disrupt higher education in the U.S., whether it's about breaking free of the "signaling" factor of elite educations or how to shift education out of its "cottage industry" mindset to achieve greater scale. However, in China, the transformation of education is already well underway, with a fast-growing ecosystem built around lifelong learning. In fact, one of the largest demographic groups paying for education in China is actually not college students -- it's college graduates, aged 26 through 35.In this episode -- which originally aired as a video on our YouTube channel -- a16z general partner Connie Chan talks with operating partner Frank Chen about the lifelong learning ecosystem in China; what it means for startups there; and lessons for entrepreneurs everywhere... or will these techniques even work outside of China?
Mar 12, 2019
a16z Podcast: What's in the Water at the George Church Lab?
00:40:40
with George Church (@geochurch) and Jorge Conde (@JorgeCondeBio) Renowned scientist George Church is known for his groundbreaking work and methods used for the first genome sequence, and for his work in genome editing, writing & recoding -- in fact, Church’s innovations have become an essential building block for most of the DNA sequencing methods and companies we see today. In this conversation, a16z bio general partner Jorge Conde -- who also founded a company with Church out of the George Church Lab -- take us on a wild journey into the scientist’s mind and work, starting with what the leading pioneer in the space makes of where we are today with CRISPR (especially given recent news about CRISPR babies in China), to the broader implications of all of this on a cultural level, and finally to what it really takes to go from science fiction, to lab, to reality.
Feb 26, 2019
a16z Podcast: Capitalizing on an Autonomous Vehicle Future
00:48:33
with Peter Ludwig, Qasar Younis (@qasar), and Sonal Chokshi (@smc90) When people talk about autonomous vehicles, we hear everything from "we're much closer than you think" to "we're much further than you think". So where are we, really, in the widespread reality of autonomous vehicles today? It depends, of course, on how you define autonomy -- which is where a handy recap and update of the SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) levels of autonomy comes in. But still, given everything out there from self-driving shuttles to Teslas, it's really hard to tell just where we are and where the nuances of, say, Level 2-plus vs. Level 3 might come in. This episode of the a16z Podcast takes a quick pulse on where we are in the state of autonomy in 2019 when it comes to autonomous cars, shuttles, robots -- basically any "autonomous" and/or "self-driving" vehicle out there -- as well as the analogy of mobile for understanding the space: where it works, where it breaks down. But did even the mobile industry itself really have a clear iPhone "moment"? When did mobile devices that seemed so limited -- or seemed like just "toys" -- suddenly (or not so suddenly) go to an apps layer that we use every single day? How do we build "the rails" and "the trains" at the same time in this case? And perhaps most importantly, where will the spoils of this new wave of innovation go -- to Silicon Valley or Detroit? Or outside the U.S.? Who are the players? How do regulatory -- and quite frankly, nationalistic -- concerns come into play here? And finally, how does one balance the desire to embrace innovation in an open and fast, yet still very thoughtful and safe way? The answers, according to Applied Intuition co-founder and CEO Qasar Younis and CTO Peter Ludwig (in conversation with Sonal Chokshi), have to do with commodities and capitalism, with science and science fiction, with simulation and software as infrastructure, and more... And really, how we define autonomy now, and in the future.
Feb 24, 2019
a16z Podcast: Gaming Goes Mainstream
00:34:19
Bobby Kotick is the CEO of Activision Blizzard (a merger he engineered); it's one of only two video gaming companies in the Fortune 500, and the largest game network in the world. The company is responsible for some of the most iconic entertainment franchises, including Call of Duty, Candy Crush, Overwatch, and World of Warcraft -- as well as its own professional esports league. So in this episode of the a16z Podcast, Marc Andreessen interviews Kotick on everything from the evolution of video games in the 1980s to gaming trends more broadly. What changes as gaming goes from "just for nerds" to "just for kids" and spreads more broadly into entertainment and cultural phenomena (esports, Fortnite, Pokemon Go, etc.)... both online and offline? The conversation originally took place at our annual innovation a16z Summit in November 2018 -- which features a16z speakers and invited experts from various organizations discussing innovation at companies small and large. You can also see other podcasts and videos from this event here: https://a16z.com/tag/summit-2018/
Feb 17, 2019
a16z Podcast: Who's Down with CPG, DTC? (And Micro-Brands Too?)
00:47:50
with Ryan Caldbeck (@ryan_caldbeck), Jeff Jordan (@jeff_jordan), and Sonal Chokshi (@smc90) It's clear that all kinds of commerce companies and consumer products have been disrupted -- or enabled -- by tech. Yet for certain categories, like consumer packaged goods (CPG), it seems like tech hasn't changed things very much. How is the rise of so-called "micro-brands" (or emerging brands) playing out here? And, how is it possible that "real" -- different -- innovation isn't really happening in the CPG industry, despite the tremendous legacy of brand, talent, and more in the space? How are CPG companies tackling grocery, which represents the perfect end-capsule and case study of challenges -- and opportunities -- in going from offline to online, from online to offline, and more? As for grocery itself, stores themselves (in the U.S. at least) haven't changed very much due to tech, either... is it a last-mile delivery thing; could we also possibly move to distribution-only centers in the future? Finally, while the holy grail of performance marketing and personalization remains elusive for the industry -- let’s face it, most brands are still guessing in the dark (and forget trying to customize offerings!) -- even going direct-to-consumer (DTC) hasn't been shining as much of a light here as one might expect. Or so argue the guests in this episode of the a16z Podcast, featuring Ryan Caldbeck of CircleUp, along with a16z general general partner Jeff Jordan, in conversation with Sonal Chokshi. Cuz this episode is all about CPG, DTC; micro-brands, yah you know, all kinds of commerce.
Feb 16, 2019
a16z Podcast: To All the Robots I've Loved Before
00:27:35
with Kate Darling (@grok_) and Hanne Tidnam (@omnivorousread) We already know that we have an innate tendency to anthropomorphize robots. But beyond just projecting human qualities onto them, as we begin to share more and more spaces, social and private, what kind of relationships will we develop with them? And how will those relationships in turn change us? In this Valentine’s Day special, Kate Darling, Researcher at MIT Labs, talks with a16z's Hanne Tidnam all about our emotional relations with robots. From our lighter sides -- affection, love, empathy, and support -- to our darker sides, what will these new kinds of relationships enhance or de-sensitize in us? Why does it matter that we develop these often intense attachments to these machines that range from tool to companion -- and what do these relationships teach us about ourselves, our tendencies and our behaviors? What kinds of models from the past can we look towards to help us navigate the ethics and accountability that come along with these increasingly sophisticated relationships with robots?
Feb 14, 2019
a16z Podcast: Cryptonetworks as Emerging Economies (Done Right?)
00:45:23
with Chris Burniske (@cburniske), Joel Monegro (@jmonegro), Denis Nazarov (@Iiterature), and Jesse Walden (@jessewldn) When designing cryptonetworks -- really, emerging economies -- how do we avoid some of the monetary and fiscal policy failings of "real-world" economies? Like not separating currency and capital, which accelerated and spread economic growth through the former... but also concentrated the latter into the hands of a few? Yet how can we empower users to access capital while also managing risk? If the promise of cryptonetworks is to better align incentives and value capture, then we can't make the same mistakes as we did in traditional economies. We also have the chance to do novel things not possible in the physical world, through software. So this episode of the a16z Podcast -- featuring voices from Placeholder VC and a16z Crypto -- goes deep into the nuances and mechanisms of cryptonetworks, tokens, and decentralized applications at every layer of the "stack". Chris Burniske (who has written a lot about financial modeling-influenced frameworks for analyzing crypto) and Joel Monegro (who has written about "fat protocols", and once managed the Digital Economy Department at the Ministry of Industry and Commerce of the Dominican Republic) of Placeholder VC discuss and debate all of the above -- and more! -- with a16z crypto's Denis Nazarov and Jesse Walden (co-founders of Mediachain, which was acquired by Spotify). Throughout the history of information technology, we've gone from hardware to software, and software to data. So what's next, what's the layer above data? The answer is governance -- which gives more people a way to participate in decision making around a given network -- but the answer for how to implement the best governance isn't so clear. --- The views expressed herein are those of the individual personnel quoted herein. This presentation is provided solely for informational purposes and should not be relied upon when making any investment decision. References to any securities or digital assets are for illustrative purposes only and do not constitute a recommendation to invest in any instrument nor do they constitute an offer to provide investment advisory services. This content should not be relied upon as legal, business, investment or tax advice. You should consult your own advisers as to legal, business, tax and other related matters concerning any investment. Furthermore, this content is not directed at nor intended for use by any investor or prospective investor, and may not under any circumstances be relied upon when making a decision to invest in any fund. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Please seehttps://a16zcrypto.com/disclosures for additional important information.
Feb 12, 2019
a16z Podcast: Voting, Security, and Governance in Blockchains and Cryptonetworks
00:38:46
with Phil Daian (@phildaian) and Ali Yahya (@ali01) Whether in corporations, boardrooms, or political elections, voting is something we see in all kinds of social systems... including blockchains. It's the natural human tendency for how to organize decisions, and in distributed systems without centralized middlemen, it's the only clear Schelling point we can come up with. But too many people design voting mechanisms in distributed systems in isolation -- sometimes naively "porting over" assumptions from the real world or from simple cryptoeconomic models without thinking through the economic adversaries present in a larger, more rational (vs. "honest") game-theoretic system. So how are blockchain systems different from real-world paper and electronic voting systems? How can such systems be gamed, and what are the implications for cryptoeconomic security... as well as the governance of distributed organizations? This hallway-style episode of the a16z Podcast covers all this and more. Recorded as part of our NYC roadtrip, it features Cornell Tech PhD student and software engineer Phil Daian, who researches applied cryptography and smart contracts -- and who also wrote about "On-chain Vote Buying and the Rise of Dark DAOs" in 2018 (with Tyler Kell, Ian Miers, and his advisor Ari Juels). Daian is joined by a16z crypto partner Ali Yahya (previously a software engineer and machine learning researcher at GoogleX and Google Brain), who also recently presented on crypto as the evolution -- and future -- of trust. --- The views expressed herein are those of the individual personnel quoted herein. This presentation is provided solely for informational purposes and should not be relied upon when making any investment decision. References to any securities or digital assets are for illustrative purposes only and do not constitute a recommendation to invest in any instrument nor do they constitute an offer to provide investment advisory services. This presentation should not be relied upon as legal, business, investment or tax advice. You should consult your own advisers as to legal, business, tax and other related matters concerning any investment. Furthermore, this content is not directed at nor intended for use by any investor or prospective investor, and may not under any circumstances be relied upon when making a decision to invest in any fund. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Please see https://a16zcrypto.com/disclosures for additional important information.
Feb 10, 2019
a16z Podcast: Product-Market SALES Fit (What Comes First?)
00:50:53
with Jyoti Bansal (@jyotibansalsf), Peter Levine, Satish Talluri (@satishtalluri), and Sonal Chokshi (@smc90) One of the toughest challenges for founders -- and especially technical founders who are used to focusing so much on product features over sales -- is striking "product-market fit". The concept can be defined many ways, but the simple definition shared in this episode is: it's when you understand the business value of your product. And that comes down to users, which is where the concept of "product-market-sales fit" comes in, observes Jyoti Bansal, founding CEO of AppDynamics (which was acquired by Cisco for $3.7B the night before it was to IPO). Bansal shares this and other key milestones and frameworks for company building in conversation with a16z general partner Peter Levine; enterprise deal team partner Satish Talluri (who was a director of product and growth operations there); and Sonal Chokshi. So in that shift from product-market fit to product-market-SALES fit, how much should you optimize your go-to-market for product... and even the other way around? What does this mean for product design and product management? When should companies offer services? As for pricing, how do you know you're not leaving value on the table? Again, it comes down to product-market fit: If your business case is strong, you will not be leaving money on the table, argues Bansal in this special podcast series on founder stories and lessons learned in enterprise go-to-market.
Feb 03, 2019
a16z Podcast: Stories and Lessons in Enterprise Sales
00:27:23
with Mark Leslie (@mleslie45) and Peter Levine What does it actually take to win at enterprise sales? In this episode, Mark Leslie, former CEO and chairman and founding team member of Veritas Software, and a lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and a16z general partner Peter Levine -- who worked together at Veritas -- share stories from the field all about sales and entrepreneurship in the enterprise. The wide-ranging conversation covers everything from what makes a good salesperson; to how to actually close that deal; to how to build a company that best incentivizes your sales reps. This episode is based on a conversation that originally took place at an event held at Andreessen Horowitz for veterans participating in the BreakLine education and hiring program for shifting veterans into careers in the tech industry.
Jan 30, 2019
a16z Podcast: Finding Go-to-Market Fit in the Enterprise
00:37:39
with Peter Levine, Bob Tinker, and Hanne Tidnam (@omnivorousread) For consumer companies, often when the holy grail of product-market fit is achieved, the company takes off: magic happens, growth unlocks. Enterprise B2B companies face a different challenge. Sometimes, despite achieving product-market fit (and knowing when you've achieved it) and winning your first cohorts of renewing customers -- growth remains a challenge. Industry analyst maps are riddled with the logos of enterprise B2B companies who built outstanding products, won outstanding initial sets of customers... and then ultimately failed to scale. In this episode of the a16z Podcast, Bob Tinker, author of the book Survival to Thrival and founding CEO of MobileIron, and a16z general partner Peter Levine, talk with Hanne Tidnam all about how to find the right go-to-market fit for the enterprise startup. How do founders avoid that moment of reckoning after product-market fit, but before growth? When should an enterprise startup accelerate sales investments?  -- the "Goldilocks problem" (not too early, not too late!) -- and pick the right sales team and go-to-market model for their product and their customers? And if you're stuck in that moment where growth stalls, what are the right tools to get out of it? What are the important metrics to know both where you are, and when you're out of the woods?
Jan 30, 2019
a16z Podcast: Connecting Hearts, Bodies, and Networks to Cure Cancer
00:36:10
Veterinary oncology can inform human oncology, and vice versa -- providing a better model for looking at drug performance, interrelationships, and more. Especially when you add in data (there's no "doggy HIPAA!") and networks to get a "living laboratory at scale". Or so argues Amy Abernethy (Chief Medical and Chief Scientific Officer at Flatiron Health and advisor to One Health), who was recently named the new Principal Deputy Commissioner of the FDA, pending ethics clearance; and Christina Lopes, CEO and co-founder of One Health; in conversation with a16z bio general partner Jorge Conde. Dogs -- as a species, as pets, as companions, as family members -- evolved alongside humans, so are actually more similar to us... not just genetically and in terms of the biologic pathways that may cause cancer, but also in exposure to similar environmental factors as well. But what does this all mean when it comes to thinking about real-world evidence in science, human clinical trials, and more broadly, building a bio company? How can product designers -- of all kinds -- backwards-architect their product roadmap for data network effects? And how can bio founders keep both a big-picture roadmap in mind while also focusing on specific milestones, and while working across unconnected disciplines as well? We cover all this and more in this special episode of the a16z Podcast, recorded during the recent J.P.M. healthcare conference in San Francisco.
Jan 26, 2019
a16z Podcast: The Business of Cybercrime
00:36:22
with Joel de la Garza, Jonathan Lusthaus, and Hanne Tidnam (@omnivorousread) The idea of the cybercriminal as lone wolf or hobby hacker is no longer much of a reality. Instead, the business of cybercrime looks a lot more just like that -- a large, global technology business, with many of the associated structures, challenges, and even casts of characters that legitimate businesses have. In this conversation, a16z's Joel de la Garza, a16z operating partner for information security (formerly CSO of Box and head Citigroup's Cyber Intelligence Center), and Hanne Tidnam, discuss with Jonathan Lusthaus -- Director of the Human Cybercriminal Project at the University of Oxford -- the evolution of the industry of cybercrime from single perpetrator into a sprawling and sophisticated international industry as discussed in his new book, Industry of Anonymity: Inside the Business of Cybercrime. A dive into the sociological, operational, and tactical realities of this murky underworld, Lusthaus and de la Garza discuss what the current industry has evolved into -- who the players are, what they are motivated by, and specialize in -- as well as how basic ideas like trust and anonymity function in a world where no one wants to get caught. How do criminal nicknames function as brand? Which countries tend to specialize in what kinds of crime, and why? And most of all, what changes when you begin to think of the business of cybercrime as an industry?
Jan 17, 2019
a16z Podcast: Pulse Check on Consumer Tech Trends 2019, CES and Beyond
00:42:09
with Benedict Evans (@benedictevans) and Steven Sinofsky (@stevesi) Every year, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) puts the latest and greatest developments in consumer technology on display in Vegas. But beyond the excitement and the hype, what's really here -- or not here -- to stay? Will televisions roll up into tiny boxes? Will Alexa find her way into electric carving knives? Which of these new gadgets will stand the test of time?  In this episode of the a16z podcast, Benedict Evans and Steven Sinofsky share their take not only on what this year’s show had to offer, but the broader trends at play. From the evolution of the smart home and voice interfaces to the cycle of bundling and unbundling and the future of TV and entertainment, the discussion is a pulse check on where we're at. --- The content provided here is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute an offer or solicitation to purchase any investment solution or a recommendation to buy or sell a security; nor it is to be taken as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. In fact, none of the information in this or other content on a16z.com should be relied on in any manner as advice. Please see https://a16z.com/disclosures/ for further information. This podcast may contain forward-looking statements relating to the objectives, opportunities, and the future performance of the U.S. market generally as well as specific publicly traded companies. Forward-looking statements may be identified by the use of such words as; “believe,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “should,” “planned,” “estimated,” “potential” and other similar terms. Examples of forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, estimates with respect to financial condition, results of operations, and success or lack of success of any particular investment strategy. All are subject to various factors, including, but not limited to general and local economic conditions, changing levels of competition within certain industries and markets, changes in interest rates, changes in legislation or regulation, and other economic, competitive, governmental, regulatory and technological factors affecting a portfolio’s operations that could cause actual results to differ materially from projected results. Such statements are forward-looking in nature and involve a number of known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors, and accordingly, actual results may differ materially from those reflected or contemplated in such forward-looking statements. Prospective investors are cautioned not to place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements or examples. None of AH Capital Management, L.L.C. or any of its affiliates, principals, employees nor any other individual or entity assumes any obligation to update any forward-looking statements as a result of new information, subsequent events or any other circumstances. All statements made herein speak only as of the date that they were made.
Jan 17, 2019
a16z Podcast: Dark Data in Healthcare
00:36:07
with Susannah Fox (@susannahfox), Anil Sethi (@anilsethiusa / @ciitizencorp), Vijay Pande (@vijaypande), and Sonal Chokshi (@smc90) The problem of "dark data" in healthcare isn't just a feel-good empowerment thing, but a structural issue that leads to miscommunication and extra friction, different players in the entire healthcare system not being able to collaborate with each other, and just major missed opportunities all round. And yes, it also leads to lack of empowerment for patients, not to mention doctors too (who often have less than 30 minutes on site to do their jobs). But we already know all that. What's not clear is WHY and HOW is this the case, when the very point of HIPAA -- the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (of 1996!) -- is to make data portable, not private. That is, IF patients know to ask for it... and can easily get it. So what if we could have a sort of permissioned "permissionless innovation" for healthcare data, not only bringing all that dark data to light, but more importantly -- borrowing from the history of internet innovation -- letting all sorts of expected and unexpected uses be built on top as a result? What happens when data and entities can talk to each other (à la APIs) through patients at the center of the circle of data? From the Dr. Google problem (or opportunity!) to clinical trials and even the opioid crisis, we -- Susannah Fox (former CTO of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services); Anil Sethi (CEO and founder of Ciitizen); and a16z bio general partner Vijay Pande; in conversation with Sonal Chokshi -- explore all this and more in this episode of the a16z Podcast. Let there be light!
Jan 16, 2019
a16z Podcast: The Science and Business of Innovative Medicines
00:59:02
with Vas Narasimhan (@vasnarasimhan), Jorge Conde (@jorgecondebio), Vijay Pande (@vijaypande), and Sonal Chokshi (@smc90) On average, only 1 out of 20 medicines works when we actually bring them into the human body, and these rates of success haven't moved much in the pharma industry overall in the past 15 years, despite much scientific progress. Because if you really think about it, it's incredible that we find any human medicine that works at all, given that human beings are the product of billions of years of evolution, and represent an incredibly complex system we do not fully understand. Yet the business of the pharma industry -- and Novartis in particular, which covers everything from generics to innovative medicines -- is not that different from other large enterprises when it comes to managing R&D and pipelines of ideas, talent, and sales. So in this conversation, a16z bio general partners Jorge Conde and Vijay Pande with Sonal Chokshi interview Vas Narasimhan, CEO of Novartis. How does the world's largest producer of medicines in terms of volume -- 70. billion. doses. a. year. -- balance the science and the business of innovation? How does an enterprise at such vast scale make decisions about what to build vs. buy, especially given the fast pace of science today? How does it balance attitudes between "not invented here" and "not invented yet"? Narasimhan also takes us through the latest trends in therapeutics, such as cell and gene therapies (like CAR-T for cancer and more); RNA-based modalities; and others -- a sweeping tour from small molecules to large molecules to proteins and other modalities for making medicines. But where does tech come into all this, and where are we, really, on science becoming engineering? Why do both big companies and bio startups now need to get market value signals (not just approvals!) from payers earlier in the process of making therapeutics? And beyond all that, how could clinical trials be reinvented? Finally, what should all scientific (and all technical) leaders know when it comes to leadership? All this and more in this episode of the a16z Podcast, recorded recently on the road while at the J.P.M. health conference in San Francisco.
Jan 14, 2019
a16z Podcast: All About Synthetic Biology
00:35:37
with James J. Collins, Vijay Pande (@vijaypande), and Hanne Tidnam (@omnivorousread) The idea of 'designing biology' -- once science fiction -- has over the last 20 years become just... science. In this episode, a16z bio general partner Vijay Pande with Hanne Tidnam talk all about the field of synthetic biology with James J. Collins, professor of bioengineering at MIT. Collins, whose work in synthetic biology and systems biology pioneered the field, has also launched a number of companies and received numerous awards and honors (including a MacArthur "Genius" Award, an NIH Director's Pioneer Award, and Sanofi-Institut Pasteur Award). This wide-ranging conversation about the birth of synthetic biology covers everything from the founding story of the discipline to what "engineering and designing" biology really looks like in action -- when instead of engineering electrons, you are engineering toggle switches for genes -- to the disciplinary differences (and synergies) between how biologists and engineers see the world. What are the engineering and design principles, techniques, approaches that work best when applied to science? How does building a company in this new space look different, in terms of platforms and products? And how is this new field changing education in science, all the way down to kits that allow you to play with the machinery of a cell... at home... and even in middle school?
Jan 11, 2019
a16z Podcast: What’s Next for Marketplace Startups (Hint: Services)
00:41:23
The past and future of marketplace startups -- where are we? Ever since eBay popularized an internet meeting place for buyers and sellers of, well, just about everything, we’ve been waiting for 100 other at-scale marketplaces for everything else, including services. So in this hallway-style episode of the a16z Podcast (originally recorded as a video) Li Jin -- co-author with Andrew Chen of this post -- chats with a16z Deal & Research team operating partner about why there aren’t 100 thriving marketplaces for services yet... And what’s changing to make this next wave of marketplace startups super exciting.
Jan 09, 2019
a16z Podcast: Talent, Tech Trends, and Culture -- with Ben, Marc, and Tyler Cowen
00:38:20
with Marc Andreessen (@pmarca), Ben Horowitz (@bhorowitz), and Tyler Cowen (@tylercowen) This episode of the a16z Podcast features the rare combination of a16z co-founders Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz in conversation, together, with economist Tyler Cowen (chair of economics at George Mason University and chairman and general director of the Mercatus Center there, and host of his own podcast.) The conversation originally took place at our most recent annual innovation Summit -- which features a16z speakers and invited experts from various organizations discussing innovation at companies large and small, as well as tech trends spanning bio, consumer, crypto, fintech, and more. This discussion covers Ben and Marc's marriage, er, partnership; the evolution of VC and "talent as a network"; and where are we right now on industries being affected by tech (such as retail) and tech trends (such as VR/AR and wearables) -- and where are we going next? Finally, is software eating culture... or is it the other way around?
Dec 29, 2018
a16z Podcast: How the Internet Happened
00:46:12
In his book (and podcast), Brian McCullough chronicles the history and evolution of the internet -- from college kids in a basement and the dot-com boom, to the applications built on top of it and the entrepreneurs behind them. General partner Chris Dixon chats with McCullough about How the Internet Happened -- and more broadly, about how tech adoption and innovation happens. --- The content provided here is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute an offer or solicitation to purchase any investment solution or a recommendation to buy or sell a security; nor it is to be taken as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. In fact, none of the information in this or other content on a16zcrypto.com should be relied on in any manner as advice. Please see https://a16zcrypto.com/disclosures/ for further information.
Dec 24, 2018
a16z Podcast: All About Stablecoins
00:49:59
with Andy Milenius (@realzandy), Jesse Walden (@jessewldn), and Sonal Chokshi (@smc90) The history, evolution, and use of money revolves around the important concept of debt: It’s what allows us to “time travel” and build toward the future — growing livelihoods, businesses, and the overall economy as a result. When it comes to crypto, however, this concept plays a key role as a way to potentially stabilize the volatility of cryptocurrencies, and more importantly, provide a more stable medium of exchange so key applications can be built on top of blockchains. That’s where stablecoins (cryptocurrencies pegged to a more stable asset, such as fiat dollars) come in. Because they’re deployed on top of blockchains, they retain the advantages of cryptocurrencies — digital, global, easily transferable, decentralized. And because open source networks are more transparent and auditable, these systems are far less opaque than, say, the huge house of cards that collapsed in the case of the 2008 financial crisis. But beyond bringing more people into a better financial system, why do stablecoins like Dai — and Maker, one of the oldest decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) on the Ethereum blockchain — matter to the crypto developer community? To banks? To anyone who thinks about the future of innovation… or even the future of the firm, and the future of work? How do (and don’t) DAOs and these kinds of smart contracts change everything we know about management and software development? This episode of the a16z Podcast explores the answers to these questions and more, with Maker CTO Andy Milenius in conversation with Sonal Chokshi and a16z crypto partner Jesse Walden. Here are just two quotes from our jam session: Blockchains are an "open-access, permissionless, choose-your-own adventure story"; and smart contracts are an mp3-like "compression format" for scaling trust. Let the music begin! --- Please note that the a16z crypto fund is a separate legal entity managed by CNK Capital Management, L.L.C. (“CNK”), a registered investor advisor with the Securities and Exchange Commission. a16z crypto is legally independent and operationally separate from the Andreessen Horowitz family of fund and AH Capital Management, L.L.C. (“AHCM”). In any case, the content provided here is for informational purposes only, and does NOT constitute an offer or solicitation to purchase any investment solution or a recommendation to buy or sell a security; nor it is to be taken as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. In fact, none of the information in this or other content on a16zcrypto.com should be relied on in any manner as advice. You should consult your own advisers as to legal, business, tax and other related matters concerning any investment. Furthermore, the content is not directed to any investor or potential investor, and may not be used or relied upon in evaluating the merits of any investment and must not be taken as a basis for any investment decision. No investment in any fund advised by CNK or AHCM may be made prior to receipt of definitive offering documentation and due diligence materials. Finally, views expressed are those of the individual a16z crypto personnel quoted therein and are not the views of CNK, AHCM, or their respective affiliates.
Dec 21, 2018
a16z Podcast: The Infrastructure of Total Health
00:48:57
with Bernard J. Tyson (@bernardjtyson) and Ben Horowitz (@bhorowitz) Bernard J. Tyson is the chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente, a $73 billion non-profit health organization that provides healthcare and coverage with more than 22,000 physicians caring for more than 12.2 million members across 9 states. In  this conversion with a16z co-founder and general partner Ben Horowitz -- which originally took place at a16z's annual innovation summit, which focuses on building the future and included an entire theme focused on bio and healthcare -- Tyson shares his thoughts on the state of healthcare today and where it might be going. How does an end-to-end healthcare system (like Kaiser's) work in terms of assuming risk and responsibilities, while also maximizing value and lifetime care over a “head in the bed”? What's the impact of -- and challenges in adopting -- technology in healthcare today? And finally, how does one strike a balance between affordability, quality, and lifetime care... and between innovating and addressing immediate needs? All this and more in this episode.
Dec 21, 2018
a16z Podcast: Building Crypto, from Vision to Reality
00:32:48
with Brian Armstrong (@brian_armstrong), Chris Dixon (@cdixon), and Sonal Chokshi (@smc90) Where are we, really, right now -- in terms of what we can/ can't do with crypto today? And what will it take to get from vision to mainstream reality? This episode of the a16z Podcast covers all this and more. It's based on a conversation that took place between Coinbase CEO and cofounder Brian Armstrong and a16z crypto general partner Chris Dixon, interviewed by a16z editor in chief Sonal Chokshi, at our at our annual Summit in November 2018 -- following a series of presentations that covered everything from early adoption, myths, and the global need for crypto; to crypto as seen through the lens of trust; to key terms and concepts that enable entirely new use cases on top of crypto. But what are the missing pieces needed to get us there? Is crypto is too much like a religion... and if so, how does one build a company, culture, community in such an intense environment? Where does the history of open source come in? And finally, what are some of the most interesting applications and trends in the space? --- Please note that the a16z crypto fund is a separate legal entity managed by CNK Capital Management, L.L.C. (“CNK”), a registered investor advisor with the Securities and Exchange Commission. a16z crypto is legally independent and operationally separate from the Andreessen Horowitz family of fund and AH Capital Management, L.L.C. (“AHCM”). In any case, the content provided here is for informational purposes only, and does NOT constitute an offer or solicitation to purchase any investment solution or a recommendation to buy or sell a security; nor it is to be taken as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. In fact, none of the information in this or other content on a16zcrypto.com should be relied on in any manner as advice. You should consult your own advisers as to legal, business, tax and other related matters concerning any investment. Furthermore, the content is not directed to any investor or potential investor, and may not be used or relied upon in evaluating the merits of any investment and must not be taken as a basis for any investment decision. No investment in any fund advised by CNK or AHCM may be made prior to receipt of definitive offering documentation and due diligence materials. Finally, views expressed are those of the individual a16z crypto personnel quoted therein and are not the views of CNK, AHCM, or their respective affiliates. Please see https://a16zcrypto.com/disclosures/ for further information.
Dec 18, 2018
a16z Podcast: On Marrying Entertainment and Technology
00:44:30
with Jeffrey Katzenberg, Meg Whitman (@MegWhitman), and Marc Andreessen (@pmarca) In this episode of the a16z Podcast, based on a discussion that took place at our annual a16z Summit, Marc Andreessen interviews Jeffrey Katzenberg -- formerly CEO and co-founder of DreamWorks SKG (and chairman of Walt Disney Studios during some of its biggest hits), now co-founder of tech holding company WndrCo -- and Meg Whitman -- former President and CEO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and now CEO of Quibi ("quick bites"), focused on short-form mobile video. Both Katzenberg and Whitman have known each other for years, but they resided in two different worlds -- entertainment and software -- which are now merging, not only through their current venture but more broadly, given fundamental shifts in the entertainment and media landscape. In this conversation, Andreessen probes them on where Hollywood comes in (or doesn't); the intersection of software and new media, including how content creation changes as platforms evolve; and what’s next for entertainment. Along they also touch on their unique working relationship, and leadership lessons learned...
Dec 05, 2018
a16z Podcast: The IQ and EQ of Robots
00:35:02
with Boris Sofman (@bsofman), Dave Touretzky (@DaveTouretzky), and Hanne Tidnam (@omnivorousread) We're just now beginning to truly see the the first 'real' robots in the home, from Roombas to toys to companions to... well, much more. How are humans beginning to forge relationships with these robotic devices (/entities!) -- and how will those relationships develop? What do we learn as we begin to forge relationships and interact with robotic toys like Cosmo and Vector -- about robots, and about ourselves? And what do these learnings teach us about the possibility of adding a "personality wrapper" to new technologies? In this episode of the a16z Podcast, CEO and cofounder of Anki Boris Sofman, and Research Professor of Computer Science at CMU Dave Touretzky, discuss with a16z's Hanne Tidnam where we are in the human-robotic future, the history of robotics that has brought us here, and the next big breakthroughs -- in hardware, software, perception, navigation, and manipulation -- that will bring in the next waves of innovation for robots.
Nov 21, 2018
a16z Podcast: Ancient Dreams of Technology, Gods & Robots
00:37:51
with Adrienne Mayor (@amayor) and Hanne Tidnam (@omnivorousread) Is it possible that ancient Greeks and Romans dreamed of technological innovations like robots and artificial intelligence millennia before those technologies became realities? In this episode of the a16z Podcast, Adrienne Mayor, historian of science and author of the just released Gods & Robots: Myths, Machines, and Ancient Dreams of Technology, discusses with Hanne Tidnam the earliest myths around ideas of technology and even artificial life from the ancient world -- from the first imagined robot to walk the earth, to actual historical technological wonders of the ancient world such as mechanical flying doves or a giant miles-long parade of 10-foot-tall automatons. What do these early imaginings of technological invention tell us about human nature? And what can we take from understanding the deep roots of this mythology for the era of technology, today? Mayor is the 2018-19 Berggruen Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford, and author of The Amazons: Lives and Legends; Fossil Legends of the First Americans; and The Poison King, which was a National Book Award finalist.
Nov 19, 2018
a16z Podcast: M&A and Innovation, Inside Out
00:42:29
with Stephanie Cohen and Martin Casado (@martin_casado) As chief strategy officer of Goldman Sachs (and former global head of financial sponsors M&A), Stephanie Cohen has seen it all when it comes to the ins and outs of M&A. And what it means to innovate from within, especially at a large company. Given Cohen's unique vantage point and nearly 20-year tenure at Goldman Sachs, Casado -- himself a veteran of both an acquisition (Nicira) and big company innovation (VMware) -- interviews Cohen in this episode of the a16z Podcast, on the ways that big companies navigate innovation... both inside and outside. How do they make the decision to build vs. buy? How does one diversify perspectives? And so on.  This episode is based on a fireside chat that originally took place at our annual a16z Summit event in November 2018.
Nov 17, 2018
a16z Podcast: Automation + Work, Human + Machine
00:28:37
with Prasad Akella, Paul Daughtery (@pauldaugh) and Frank Chen (@withfries2) What is different on that factory floor from Henry Ford to today? In this conversation, Prasad Akella, Founder and CEO of Drishti; Paul Daugherty, Chief Technology and Innovation Officer of Accenture, and author of the recently published Human + Machine: Reimagining Work in the Age of AI; and a16z operating partner Frank Chen, talk about how the introduction of automation from Henry Ford to now co-bots and AI all change the work we do in manufacturing and beyond. What are the skills that we’ll need in the future? What kinds of new information is available, and what new needs -- for dynamic adaptive processes, for example? What are the new tool chains and core (organizational and technical) habits of ML/AI-centric companies of the future?
Nov 05, 2018
a16z Podcast: Eyeballs on the Game
00:26:03
with Jeff Jordan (@Jeff_Jordan), Yogi Roth (@YogiRoth), Zack Weiner and Hanne Tidnam (@omnivorousread) For decades, the increasing value of sports teams, rights, licenses and more have been fueled by sports media. But dollars follow eyeballs, and eyeballs -- at least on the traditional broadcast -- are going elsewhere. "If you don't know where you are going, you'll end up someplace else,” Yogi Berra once said. So where exactly are those eyeballs going, and what does that mean for the sports media industry, now that each and every one of us is an individual media platform? a16z General Partner Jeff Jordan, Yogi Roth, Pac-12 college football analyst and former athlete and coach, and Zack Weiner, co-founder and president of sports media platform Overtime -- in conversation with a16z's Hanne Tidnam -- talk all about the evolution of sports media and content, and what it means for how we will consume sports in the future. How will the way we watch sports fundamentally change? How this begin to affect the game itself? How are athletes thinking about brand in this new world of sports content?
Oct 19, 2018
a16z Podcast: From Research to Startup, There and Back Again
00:55:05
The period from 2000-2016 was one of the best of times and worst of times for tech and the Valley (dotcom, financial crisis, Google IPO, Facebook founded, unprecedented growth, and so on), and John Hennessy -- current chairman of Alphabet, also on the boards of Cisco and other organizations -- was the president of Stanford University during that entire time. Given this vantage point, what are his views on Silicon Valley (will there ever be another one, and if so where?); the "Stanford model" (for transferring IP, and talent, into the world); and of course, on education (and especially access)? Hennessy also co-founded startups, including one based on pioneering microprocessor architecture used in 99% of devices today (for which he and his collaborator won the prestigious Turing Award)... so what did it take to go from research/idea to industry/implementation? General partners Marc Andreessen and Martin Casado, who also founded startups while inside universities (Netscape, Nicira) and led them to successful exits (IPO, acquisition by VMWare), also join this episode of the a16z podcast with Sonal Chokshi to share their perspectives. But beyond those instances, how has the overall relationship and "divide" between academia and industry shifted, especially as the tech industry itself has changed... and perhaps talent has, too? Finally, in his new book, Leading Matters, Hennessy shares some of the leadership principles he's learned -- and instilling through the Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program -- offering nuanced takes on topics like humility (needs ambition), empathy (without contravening fairness and reason), and others. What does it take to build not just tech, but a successful organization? image credit: Jitze Couperus / Flickr
Oct 08, 2018
a16z Podcast: How to Manage a PR Agency
00:39:15
with Shannon (Stubo) Brayton (@sstubo), Margit Wennmachers (@wennmachers), and Sonal Chokshi (@smc90) One of the company building topics that’s surprisingly mystifying is PR -- and only surprising since so much of the strategy and tactics behind public relations are actually hidden from public view. We've tried demystifying the topic in an ongoing series, covering everything from "the why, how, and when" of PR" and leaders building a personal brand to crisis communications. But the most frequently asked question startup founders, especially technical ones, have is how to manage a PR agency -- from when to bring one in and the mechanics of onboarding and engaging with them; to key acronyms to know in the process of doing so (what's an AoR? RFP? GA?); to what are the ideal configurations for the who-what-where of in-house vs. agency PR. So this episode of the a16z Podcast provides perspectives from both sides of the table (in-house vs. agency, big company vs. startup) for what it takes, featuring PR legends and veterans Shannon (Stubo) Brayton, chief marketing officer at LinkedIn (formerly at OpenTable and formerly vice president of corporate communications at eBay) and Margit Wennmachers, operating partner at Andreessen Horowitz who heads up the marketing function (and who co-founded and later sold The Outcast Agency), in conversation with Sonal Chokshi. It's not dictation -- whether from company to agency, or agency to reporter, or PR to internal stakeholders -- there's a lot of strategic thinking involved even with seemingly incidental things. And... it's a leap of faith.
Sep 27, 2018
a16z Podcast: New Upstarts in an Old Industry
00:33:12
with Michael Ovitz (@michaelovitz), Ben Horowitz (@bhorowitz), and Hanne Tidnam (@omnivorousread) When Michael Ovitz co-founded the Hollywood talent agency Creative Artists Agency (CAA), he turned a number of the entertainment industry's well-entrenched traditions on their head. The origin story of a16z (not coincidentally!) is not that dissimilar. So in this episode of the a16z Podcast, Ovitz and a16z co-founder Ben Horowitz talk with Hanne Tidnam about Ovitz' just-released book, Who is Michael Ovitz? -- and about how CAA transformed the power equation in Hollywood. The conversation covers everything from the history of the entertainment business -- the days of vaudeville and the Jack Warners and William Foxes and Jurassic Parks -- to what strategies guided the differentiation of the new kids on the block. There's lessons for other founders here, too, about culture, negotiation, and more.
Sep 25, 2018
a16z Podcast: Technological Trends, Capital, and Internet 'Disruption'
00:54:24
with Fred Wilson (@fredwilson) and Chris Dixon (@cdixon) There's all sorts of interesting tech trends happening right now, including AI, VR/AR, self-driving cars and drones (as well as interesting stuff happening in verticals like healthcare and finance) -- and there's a lot also happening in seemingly more "mature" tech revolutions, such as mobile and cloud. But where are we now, really, with these shifts... and how does that inform how we think about the next couple decades? And does a framework like Carlota Perez's -- as outlined in Technological Revolutions and Financial Capital: The Dynamics of Bubbles and Golden Ages and summarized by venture capitalist and longtime internet investor Fred Wilson (of Union Square Ventures) -- fully apply when it comes to software? Because, argues Chris Dixon (general partner on a16z crypto), software "has so much more plasticity, ability to adapt, ability to evolve" that unlike hardware, "the core itself will also dramatically change... not just the apps around it". The total economic value that will be unlocked with the software revolution, observes Wilson, should be orders of magnitude bigger than what we saw with manufacturing for sure. But just how much internet innovation is actually powering true disruption (i.e., is more than just a sustaining innovation, to use Clayton Christensen's terminology)? How do new business models change everything? Dixon and Wilson consider all this and more in this hallway-style episode of the a16z Podcast, where we recorded the two having a think-aloud conversation about everything from the history of the internet and startups, the evolution of capital and infrastructure, to the advent of crypto. How do they they both define "decentralized", what do they think of dApps, and where do NFTs and "crypto goods" come in?? One thing's for sure: It's the most interesting time they've both ever seen in over 30 years of internet work, life, and play. Please note that the a16z crypto fund is a separate legal entity managed by CNK Capital Management, L.L.C. (“CNK”), a registered investor advisor with the Securities and Exchange Commission. a16z crypto is legally independent and operationally separate from the Andreessen Horowitz family of fund and AH Capital Management, L.L.C. (“AHCM”).  In any case, the content provided here is for informational purposes only, and does NOT constitute an offer or solicitation to purchase any investment solution or a recommendation to buy or sell a security; nor it is to be taken as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. In fact, none of the information in this or other content on a16zcrypto.com should be relied on in any manner as advice. You should consult your own advisers as to legal, business, tax and other related matters concerning any investment.
Sep 24, 2018
a16z Podcast: Tesla and the Nature of Disruption
00:43:56
with Benedict Evans (@BenedictEvans) and Steven Sinofsky (@SteveSi) In another of our hallway conversation episodes, Benedict Evans and Steven Sinofsky talk all about Tesla — and more broadly, the nature of disruption overall. How disruptive is Tesla really, and what exactly are they disrupting — from the dashboard to car makers to vendors to energy source to autonomy overall? The tech industry is littered with leading innovators... who nonetheless failed to be the dominant leader in the end. So the question should be, is this new thing fundamentally difficult for the incumbent to do, and how does it relate to market dominance? Which of these things are important in order for Tesla to be the new BMW or the new GM? Looking back at other examples historically (Microsoft, GM's Saturn Brand, and of course the iPhone), what kind of disruption matters most for market dominance? And what is the long view of how software is eating transportation?
Sep 17, 2018
a16z Podcast: What's at the Core of the Latest Apple Announcement?
00:28:16
with Benedict Evans (@BenedictEvans) and Steven Sinofksy (@StevenSi) In this hallway-style conversation episode of the a16z Podcast, Benedict Evans and a16z board partner Steven Sinofsky discuss Apple’s September 2018 keynote event and share their thoughts on the new innovations -- and lessons -- that really matter. With something that’s gone from toy to phone to fashion item -- and just pivoted to a health monitor that can literally save lives -- where are we now? How closely aligned is health to the overall value proposition, and what are some of the characteristics of how Apple innovates as a company as a whole... from components and building blocks to how it all comes together? image: Integrated Change/ Flickr(CC 2.0)
Sep 14, 2018
a16z Podcast: Seeing into the Future -- Making Decisions, Telling Stories
00:46:02
with Steven Johnson (@stevenbjohnson), Chris Dixon (@cdixon), and Sonal Chokshi (@smc90) There's a lot of research and writing out there on "thinking fast" -- the short-term, gut, instinctual decisions we make, biases we have, and heuristics we use -- but what about for "thinking slow" -- the long-term decisions we make that both take longer to deliberate and have longer spans of impact on our lives... and the world? Because we're not only talking about decisions like who to marry (or whether to move) here; we're also talking about decisions that impact future generations in ways we as a species never considered (or could consider) before. But... why bother, if these decisions are so complex, with competing value systems, countless interacting variables, and unforeseeable second- and third-order effects? We can't predict the future, so why try? Well, while there's no crystal ball that allows you to see clearly into the future, we can certainly try to ensure better outcomes than merely flipping a coin, argues author Steven B. Johnson in his new book, Farsighted: How We Make the Decisions That Matter Most. Especially because the hardest choices are the most consequential, he observes, yet we know so little about how to get them right. So in this episode of the a16z Podcast, Johnson shares with a16z crypto general partner Chris Dixon and a16z's Sonal Chokshi specific strategies -- beyond good old-fashioned pro/con lists and post-mortems -- for modeling the deliberative tactics of expert decision-makers (and not just oil-company scenario planners, but also storytellers). The decisions we're talking about here aren't just about individual lives and businesses -- whether launching a new product feature or deciding where to innovate next -- they're also about even bigger and bolder things like how to fix the internet, or what message to send aliens with outcomes spanning centuries far into the future. But that's where the power of story comes in again. * * * The content provided here is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute an offer or solicitation to purchase any investment solution or a recommendation to buy or sell a security; nor it is to be taken as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. In fact, none of the information in this or other content on a16zcrypto.com should be relied on in any manner as advice. Please see https://a16zcrypto.com/disclosures/ for further information.
Sep 08, 2018
a16z Podcast: The Case Study of Dollar General and Surviving (Thriving!) Retail
00:21:36
with Jeff Jordan (@Jeff_Jordan), Cal Turner Jr., and Hanne Tidnam (@omnivorousread) The "death of retail" in the face of e-commerce and tech disruption is a very real phenomenon, but what about the flip side of that story -- that is, retail thriving despite all odds? Enter Dollar General, a multi-billion-dollar success story of the U.S. chain with 14,000 brick-and-mortar dollar stores. So in this episode of the a16z Podcast, general partner Jeff Jordan -- who was formerly an SVP for The Disney Stores (and has written much about declining malls, competing with Amazon, and the tipping point for ecommerce, among other things) -- with Hanne Tidnam interviews Cal Turner, Jr., the CEO of Dollar General and author of the new book, My Father's Business: The Small-Town Values That Built Dollar General into a Billion-Dollar Company. How did Dollar General go from the Great Depression to nearly filing for bankruptcy to IPO and entering the Fortune 500? It turns out, the journey -- not unlike startups and successful big companies -- is a case study in focus, focus, focus... whether it was pricing (natch) or inventory or a focus on customers or simply (but not so simply!) focusing on one's "true north".
Sep 04, 2018
a16z Podcast: When Organic Growth Goes Enterprise
00:29:06
with Martin Casado (@martin_casado), Andrew Chen (@andrewchen), Russ Heddleston (@rheddleston), and Hanne Tidnam (@omnivorousread) What happens when the bottoms up, organic growth usually associated with consumer companies starts to go.... enterprise? Part of our continuing podcast series (you can listen to part one on user acquisition and part two on engagement/retention) on growth, this episode explores the increasing trend of enterprise growth shifting to be more "bottoms up" -- with a16z general partners Martin Casado and Andrew Chen, and DocSend CEO and co-founder Russ Heddleston, in conversation with Hanne Tidnam. So what exactly does more bottoms up growth for enterprise look like? And then how does organic growth map into the direct sales model we traditionally see in enterprise? How does it affect company building overall? What changes in how we evaluate growth, what do we look at... and how can those two different models work best together?
Aug 25, 2018
a16z Podcast: Crypto and the Evolution of Open Source
00:37:19
with Devon Zuegel (@devonzuegel), Denis Nazarov (@iiterature), and Jesse Walden (@jessewldn) The open source movement enabled so much in computing, including the collaborative building of libraries -- that is, building blocks of code that developers could combine together to build applications. But as these applications grew to massive scale, those libraries ended up being somewhat asymmetrical for "nights-and-weekend" developers (compared to say, the disproportionate resources of a large company with billions of users and big data). Blockchains, however -- enabled by cryptotokens that align incentives among stakeholders -- shift open source development from libraries, to the creation of shared, open, permissionless services. Instead of being siloed and repetitively produced as if from the industrial factory era, any smart contract developed on Ethereum becomes a shared service that can interact with any other service... incentivizing developers to improve on existing services, build on top of them, and enable combinatorial innovation at greater scale than ever before. But if decentralized networks are to win the third era of the internet, how will we resolve challenges such as single-purpose services (another form of consolidation), community conflicts, and other issues? In this video, freelance software engineer (and blockchain app developer) and writer (and urban watcher) Devon Zuegel guest-interviews a16z crypto partners Denis Nazarov and Jesse Walden, the co-founders of Mediachain Labs (which was acquired by Spotify in 2017). They draw on their past experiences leading open source development of a decentralized media attribution protocol for connecting creators to their audience, and what the implications of "services vs. libraries" could be for creatives now. And what about identity, stablecoins and crypto finance, and more? Finally, they extend their previous analogy of cities and network effects and how it fits the idea of libraries vs. services in crypto. * * * Please note that the a16z crypto fund is a separate legal entity managed by CNK Capital Management, L.L.C. (“CNK”), a registered investor advisor with the Securities and Exchange Commission. a16z crypto is legally independent and operationally separate from the Andreessen Horowitz family of fund and AH Capital Management, L.L.C. (“AHCM”).  In any case, the content provided here is for informational purposes only, and does NOT constitute an offer or solicitation to purchase any investment solution or a recommendation to buy or sell a security; nor it is to be taken as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. In fact, none of the information in this or other content on a16zcrypto.com should be relied on in any manner as advice. You should consult your own advisers as to legal, business, tax and other related matters concerning any investment. Furthermore, the content is not directed to any investor or potential investor, and may not be used or relied upon in evaluating the merits of any investment and must not be taken as a basis for any investment decision. No investment in any fund advised by CNK or AHCM may be made prior to receipt of definitive offering documentation and due diligence materials. Finally, views expressed are those of the individual a16z crypto personnel quoted therein and are not the views of CNK, AHCM, or their respective affiliates.  Please see https://a16zcrypto.com/disclosures/ and https://a16zcrypto.com/disclaimers for further information.
Aug 20, 2018
a16z Podcast: The Basics of Growth 2 -- Engagement & Retention
00:32:59
with Andrew Chen (@andrewchen), Jeff Jordan (@jeff_jordan), and Sonal Chokshi (@smc90) Once you have users, how do you keep them engaged, retain them, and even "resurrect" or re-engage them? That's the focus of this episode of the a16z Podcast, which continues our series on the basics of growth from user acquisition to engagement and retention -- covering, as always, key metrics and how to think about them. Especially as many products and platforms evolve over time, so do the users, some of whom may even use the product in different ways... so what does that mean for engagement, and how can startups analyze their users? "Show me the cohorts!" may be the new "show me the money"...  Featuring a16z general partners Andrew Chen and Jeff Jordan, in conversation with Sonal Chokshi, the discussion also covers everything from how network effects come in to play (is there really a magic number or "aha" moment for a product?) to who are the power users (and the power user curve for measuring, finding, and retaining them). Because at the end of the day, you don't want a leaky bucket that you're constantly trying to fill up. That doesn't work, and definitely won't scale.
Aug 09, 2018
a16z Podcast: The Basics of Growth 1 -- User Acquisition
00:20:50
with Andrew Chen (@andrewchen), Jeff Jordan (@jeff_jordan), and Sonal Chokshi (@smc90) Growth is one of the most top of mind questions for entrepreneurs building startups of all kinds (and especially consumer ones) -- but how does one go beyond a mindset of "growth hacking" to thinking about growth more systemically and holistically? What are the key metrics to know; why; and how? This episode of the a16z Podcast -- one of two in a series -- focuses on the user acquisition aspect of growth, followed by engagement and retention in the next episode. Featuring a16z general partners Andrew Chen and Jeff Jordan, in conversation with Sonal Chokshi, the discussion also covers the nuances of paid vs. organic marketing (and the perils of blended CAC); the role of network effects; where does customer lifetime value (LTV) come in; and much more. Because at the end of the day, businesses don't grow themselves...
Aug 09, 2018
a16z Podcast: Earned Secrets
00:16:20
with Ben Horowitz (@bhorowitz) and Sharon Chang (@sychang) What does it really take to start a startup (or work at one)? In this episode of the a16z Podcast -- based on a Q&A with Ben Horowitz as part of an event hosted by a16z's Technical Talent and People Practices team for a16z portfolio company summer interns 2018 -- Ben shares quick thoughts and advice geared towards those early in their tech careers. The conversation covers everything from how to know what kind of company to join early (or when to strike out on one's own); the major platform shifts we should anticipate going forward; and founding (as well as exit) stories, like Microsoft’s acquisition of Github. What was the moral of that story for him, and for the industry?... this short a16z Bytes episode shares a glimpse into (some of) those "earned secrets".
Aug 03, 2018
a16z Podcast: Cryptonetworks and Cities -- Analogies
00:37:34
with Denis Nazarov (@iiterature), Jesse Walden (@jessewldn), Ali Yahya (@ali01), and Devon Zuegel (@devonzuegel) Cryptonetworks are often compared to firms, people, or even coral reefs -- but, observes a16z crypto partner Ali Yahya, they might be much more similar to cities. Where does that analogy fit, and where does it break down? And what can we learn from how cities both emerge from the bottom up and are motivated by a top down vision/design  and apply to open source networks such as those in crypto? In this episode of the a16z Podcast -- guest hosted by freelance software engineer (and blockchain app developer) and writer (and urban watcher) Devon Zuegel -- a16z crypto partners Denis Nazarov, Jesse Walden, and Yahya share their thoughts on "rough consensus"; shared myths and beliefs; modularity vs. monolithic design; and the rivers and riverbeds that people build cities and code around. At the end of the day, it's all about mass coordination at scale... but what are the incentives for building the infrastructure and ecosystem, for running experiments but also determining governance as well? *** Please note that the a16z crypto fund is a separate legal entity managed by CNK Capital Management, L.L.C. (“CNK”), a registered investor advisor with the Securities and Exchange Commission. a16z crypto is legally independent and operationally separate from the Andreessen Horowitz family of fund and AH Capital Management, L.L.C. (“AHCM”).  In any case, the content provided here is for informational purposes only, and does NOT constitute an offer or solicitation to purchase any investment solution or a recommendation to buy or sell a security; nor it is to be taken as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. In fact, none of the information in this or other content on a16zcrypto.com should be relied on in any manner as advice. You should consult your own advisers as to legal, business, tax and other related matters concerning any investment. Furthermore, the content is not directed to any investor or potential investor, and may not be used or relied upon in evaluating the merits of any investment and must not be taken as a basis for any investment decision. No investment in any fund advised by CNK or AHCM may be made prior to receipt of definitive offering documentation and due diligence materials. Finally, views expressed are those of the individual a16z crypto personnel quoted therein and are not the views of CNK, AHCM, or their respective affiliates.  Please see https://a16zcrypto.com/disclosures/ and https://a16zcrypto.com/disclaimers/ for further information.
Aug 01, 2018
a16z Podcast: Cryptonetworks and Decentralization -- Building Blocks
00:46:05
with Chris Dixon (@cdixon), Ali Yahya (@ali01), and Devon Zuegel (@devonzuegel) “Show me the incentive and I'll show you the outcomes.” At the end of the day, observes a16z crypto general partner Chris Dixon, Satoshi's whitepaper [the original bitcoin paper outlining a peer-to-peer decentralized network and blockchain sans centralized third parties] is nine pages of incentives. It's the kind of incentive design that you can use to build many other things on the internet (which itself is driven by very simple core protocols and could even upgrade itself as a result). But only with the right incentives (and alignment of those incentives among different entities), of course. Which is where cryptonetworks come in -- especially since they don't rely on hardware buildout (as with earlier generations of internet deployment), but rather on software (which is essentially just logic, the kind of building block you can use to build countless other things). The breadth of possibilities is endless. This means that platforms and networks (and operating systems, for that matter) can spend less time, energy, money, and frankly, suffering due to fighting -- thanks to distorted business models that lead them to extract value from users and compete among complements (vs. substitutes/better alternatives). The internet-native business models baked into crypto, however, could lead to greater competition and better options for users. But what are the missing building blocks, that can help make such networks more iterated games vs. one-off prisoner's dilemmas? And what will it take for these networks to truly reach web-scale, as it's still just the beginning? Because decentralization is the means to an end -- not the end in and itself -- observes a16z crypto partner Ali Yahya, so what do we need to build next to get there? In this episode of the a16z Podcast (guest hosted by freelance software engineer and writer Devon Zuegel), Dixon and Yahya share their thoughts on where we've been, and where we're going with the internet. Please note that the a16z crypto fund is a separate legal entity managed by CNK Capital Management, L.L.C. (“CNK”), a registered investor advisor with the Securities and Exchange Commission. a16z crypto is legally independent and operationally separate from the Andreessen Horowitz family of fund and AH Capital Management, L.L.C. (“AHCM”).  In any case, the content provided here is for informational purposes only, and does NOT constitute an offer or solicitation to purchase any investment solution or a recommendation to buy or sell a security; nor it is to be taken as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. In fact, none of the information in this or other content on a16zcrypto.com should be relied on in any manner as advice. You should consult your own advisers as to legal, business, tax and other related matters concerning any investment. Furthermore, the content is not directed to any investor or potential investor, and may not be used or relied upon in evaluating the merits of any investment and must not be taken as a basis for any investment decision. No investment in any fund advised by CNK or AHCM may be made prior to receipt of definitive offering documentation and due diligence materials. Finally, views expressed are those of the individual a16z crypto personnel quoted therein and are not the views of CNK, AHCM, or their respective affiliates.  Please see https://a16zcrypto.com/disclosures/ and https://a16zcrypto.com/disclaimers/ for further information.
Aug 01, 2018
a16z Podcast: High Growth in Companies (and Tech)
00:34:25
with Elad Gil (@eladgil) and Chris Dixon (@cdixon) There's a lot of knowledge out there -- and networks of talent (especially in Silicon Valley) -- on what to do in the early stages of a company, going from 0 to 1, and even in going from 1 to 100... but what about beyond that? It's not as simply linear as merely doubling or tripling resources and org structures; it's actually much more complex on many levels, communication to coordination. Because with great scale comes great complexity... and many, many more places for things to break down. So how should founders/CEOs of growing tech startups think about everything from hiring (including key executives) to product management (what is it, really, beyond common myths/misconceptions around the role?) to thinking about late-stage financing, M&A, and other key aspects of building a company? This episode of the a16z Podcast shares both specific answers to -- and general mindsets for thinking about -- these questions. Chris Dixon, general partner on a16z crypto, interviews Elad Gil, investor/advisor to numerous tech companies; co-founder of Color Genomics; formerly of Google and also co-founder and CEO of Mixer Labs (acquired by Twitter, where he also became a VP). He's the author of the new book, The High Growth Handbook, on scaling companies from 10 to 10,000 people. But the two also explore the growth -- and evolution -- of market and tech trends, including the continuation of mobile/cloud; machine learning (and silicon); crypto; and finally, longevity -- both in the near term and further out in the future. Should people -- and even companies for that matter -- really live longer?
Jul 20, 2018
a16z Podcast: The Regulatory Landscape for Crypto
00:33:09
with Katie Haun (@katie_haun), Robin Weisnman (@robinweisman), and Sonal Chokshi (@smc90) What’s going on, regulation-wise, in crypto? How should people who want to join a company or build something new in the space think about the regulatory environment? What to make of all the headlines, or the "alphabet soup" of agencies potentially involved in regulating crypto? This episode of the a16z Podcast shares principles -- as well as key players/acronyms to know -- for sorting the signal from the noise in the regulatory landscape for crypto. The experts in conversation with a16z editorial partner Sonal Chokshi include: Robin Weisman, who helped found and is a lobbyist for Coin Center, a nonprofit policy research and advocacy group for cryptocurrencies; and was formerly a director of government relations at Nasdaq; and Kathryn (Katie) Haun, who teaches crypto at Stanford Business School; is on the boards of Coinbase and HackerOne; is a former federal prosecutor with the U.S. Department of Justice, where she led their first digital currency task force and prosecuted a number of cases in the space; and was recently announced as general partner.  The discussion is based on a panel that originally took place at the “Intro to Crypto” event that Andreessen Horowitz and #Angels put on in April 2018. You can see other talks from this event -- including a video on the building blocks of crypto; as well as sessions on the big picture of decentralization to building companies in crypto, from people to code -- here. This panel also presented the below slide, which is referenced in (but is not necessary to follow) this episode: https://a16z.files.wordpress.com/2018/07/regulatorylandscape-acronyms-introtocrypto_a16z.png photo credit: Erin Brethauer
Jul 17, 2018
a16z Podcast: Building Companies in Crypto, from People to Code
00:27:55
with Tina Bhatnagar (@tinab), Preethi Kasireddy (@iam_preethi), Lily Liu (@calilyliu), and Kim Milosevich (@kimbatronic) Whether it’s sharing the decision-making behind joining a crypto company to the perspectives of a passionate early adopter (or relative latecomer), this episode of the a16z Podcast -- based on a panel from the “Intro to Crypto” event that Andreessen Horowitz and #Angels put on in April 2018 -- covers what it takes to build companies in crypto, from people to code. You can find other sessions from the event, covering the building blocks of crypto to decentralization to the regulatory landscape, here. Why crypto? What was the biggest surprise in the space? Do the same skills from other domains apply? This discussion, moderated by Kim Milosevich, explores these questions with Coinbase VP of Operations Tina Bhatnagar; CEO and founder of TruStory Preethi Kasireddy; and Lily Liu, co-founder at Earn.com. photo credit: Erin Brethauer
Jul 17, 2018
a16z Podcast: Decentralization and Crypto, the Big Picture
00:41:36
with Chris Dixon (@cdixon), Elizabeth Stark (@starkness), and Jessica Verrilli (@jess) Why does decentralization matter? This episode of the a16z Podcast -- based on a discussion that first took as part of an “Intro to Crypto” event that Andreessen Horowitz and #Angels put on in April 2018 -- explores the whys and the hows, from the history of the internet to the culture of crypto communities today. Chris Dixon (now of a16z crypto) and Elizabeth Stark (CEO and co-founder of Lightning Labs) share their thoughts with moderator Jessica Verrilli (a founding partner of #Angels, former vice president of corp dev and strategy at Twitter, and now general partner at Google Ventures). You can see other talks from this event -- including a video on the building blocks of crypto; a podcast on the regulatory landscape; and thoughts on building companies in crypto, from people to code -- here. The content provided here is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute an offer or solicitation to purchase any investment solution or a recommendation to buy or sell a security; nor it is to be taken as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. In fact, none of the information in this or other content on a16zcrypto.com should be relied on in any manner as advice. Please see https://a16zcrypto.com/disclosures/ for further information. photo credit: Erin Brethauer
Jul 16, 2018
a16z Podcast: The Scientific Revolution of Ancient DNA
00:31:36
with Jorge Conde (@jorgecondebio), David Reich, and Hanne Tidnam (@omnivorousread) Trying to reconstruct the deep past of ancient humans out of present-day people has until now been like trying to reconstruct a bomb explosion in a room from bits of shrapnel, says David Reich, Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School and author of the new book, Who We Are and How We Got Here: Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Human Past. But technological advances and new tools available only in the last few years have suddenly revolutionized this field, opening up an entirely new window into the past as well as our present humanity. This conversation, with a16z bio general parter Jorge Conde, and Hanne Tidnam, dives into this new scientific revolution of the study of the ancient genome. Beginning with the so-called "black hole" of Mitochondrial Eve to the most revelatory discoveries from new knowledge and scientific tools, this episode of the a16z Podcast delves into the ways archaic humans and ancient DNA tell us not just about our biology, but about ourselves. image: Ben Casey, Wikimedia Commons
Jul 13, 2018
a16z Podcast: On Mentors and Mentees
00:32:43
with Ken Coleman, Ben Horowitz (@bhorowitz), and Michel Feaster (@michelfeaster) Everyone talks about the importance of mentorship in our professional development, whether it's networking to broaden career opportunities or learning from someone more experienced. But how does one break into an industry without established contacts or prior exposure? Are things different if mentors/mentees come from different backgrounds? If you're already more established in your career, how can you help up-and-comers... and actually, how could mentees help mentors, too? This episode of the a16z Podcast aims to answer these questions, and more. It's based on a networking event held by Andreessen Horowitz in May 2018 and featuring a Q&A moderated by Usermind CEO and co-founder Michel Feaster in conversation with a16z co-founder and general partner Ben Horowitz (also HER mentor); and Ken Coleman (also HIS mentor). Beginning with their personal journeys and ending with advice for others, they talk about their entry points into the tech world to how mentorship continues to play a role in their careers... both as mentors, and mentees. photo credit: Chris Lyons
Jul 12, 2018
a16z Podcast: Beyond Zero-Sum Thinking in the Game of Tech... and Life
00:42:04
with Marc Andreessen (@pmarca), Ben Horowitz (@bhorowitz), and Steven Johnson (@stevenbjohnson) The rise of zero-sum thinking -- which has come snapping back recently -- slows and even halts progress, observes Marc Andreessen. Because you're then dividing up a smaller piece, adds Ben Horowitz, instead of growing the pie altogether. This is true not just in economics, politics, and tech, but also in business relationships (and life), too. And speaking of such relationships, how does the partnership between Ben and Marc work, more than two decades later, how has it changed through different types of organizations -- and is there anything startup co-founders (and other colleagues) can take away from it? Where do they find the creative inspiration, information, and influences for new ideas? And then, more broadly, how do they think about tech change... including jobs, automation, AI in general? This episode of the a16z Podcast covers these questions and much more. It's based on a fireside chat that took place at our annual a16z Summit event in November 2017 (which brings together large companies, finance investors, academics, and startups to talk all things innovation), and is moderated by author Steven B. Johnson -- who has written numerous magazine articles, 11 books so far (including Where Good Ideas Come From), and also hosted the PBS series “How We Got to Now”. Incidentally, those are the de facto themes for this conversation, which arcs from past to present to future -- taking us from blinking cursors to dashboards to screens and beyond.
Jul 06, 2018
a16z Podcast: All Things Compensation
00:39:09
Compensation is a topic near and dear to everyone’s heart… but what does “compensation” fully mean — and what does it include, what doesn’t it include? How do entrepreneurs compete for talent in an intensely competitive environment, while balancing their startup’s affordability considerations? This wide-ranging episode of the a16z Podcast (based on an event held for entrepreneurs at Andreessen Horowitz earlier this year) covers all things compensation — from philosophical questions such as how to get to alignment around your company’s compensation philosophy to details such as the tradeoffs between RSUs vs. stock options. The discussion includes Steve Cadigan, talent advisor and cofounder at ISDI Digital University; Thanh Nguyen, Executive Director at Connery Consulting; Greg Loehmann, principal at Compensia; and a16z partner Shannon Schiltz, who heads up a16z’s human resources, tech talent, and people practices operation.
Jun 21, 2018
a16z Podcast: Construction Under Tech -- The Build
00:36:55
with Martin Fischer (@fischermartin), Saurabh Ladha (@ladhasaurabh), Chris Rippingham, and Hanne Tidnam (@omnivorousread) Continuing our series on how tech is changing construction -- one of the industries most resistant to change (and facing declining productivity) -- this episode of the a16z Podcast looks at what happens when you go from planning to actually putting boots on the ground. How can tech translate rich data sets into the just-right types, amounts, and levels of information for each different piece of the incredibly complex, dynamic, time-and-space problem that is a building site? Martin Fischer, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford; Saurabh Ladha, cofounder and CEO of Doxel, which uses AI to real-time measure progress and inspect quality on construction projects; and Christopher Rippingham, who leads technology and innovation leadership for nation-wide commercial contractor and manager DPR Construction discuss with a16z's Hanne Tidnam how AI is introducing something fundamentally -- no, foundationally -- different for the construction industry: the feedback loop.
Jun 14, 2018
a16z Podcast: Construction Under Tech -- Info Flows
00:32:56
with Greg Lynn (@greglynnform), Gina Neff (@ginasue), Tracy Young (@Tracy_Young), and Hanne Tidnam (@omnivorousread) Construction has been one of the industries most resistant to innovation and change over the last decades -- productivity has actually decreased there while it has risen in other industries around it. So how are new technologies (finally!) beginning to transform the most brick-and-mortar of all the (literally!) brick-and-mortar industries? This episode of the a16z Podcast -- with Tracy Young, co-founder and CEO of PlanGrid; Greg Lynn, architect, professor at UCLA, and co-founder of Piaggio Fast Forward; and Gina Neff, sociologist at Oxford University (in conversation with Hanne Tidnam) -- considers the problems, and progress, in the construction industry. Information flows in particular are one area where tech is already making meaningful inroads into the construction process... will coordination follow?
Jun 13, 2018
a16z Podcast: The End (and Beginning) of Programming
00:19:22
There are over 20 million programmers out there -- and double that, if you count everyone else coding in other ways -- but where are the next 100 million developers? How do we get to a billion developers? The answer, observes a16z general partner Peter Levine in conversation with GitHub co-founder and former CEO Chris Wanstrath (based on a Q&A recorded at our last a16z Summit event) lies in changing the very definition of a "programmer" and "programming". It might even mean the end of code, argues Levine (who apparently loves arguing the end of things!), and the beginning of a future where data isn't just "the new oil", but one where we all become our own "oil wells". With everyone is manipulating data -- the new programming, in a sense -- expertise can be scaled (especially with new tools) so everyone gets the answers and solutions they need. So what does this mean for open source developers? CIOs and organizations that have lots of different data streams, as well as domain experts? This episode of the a16z Podcast covers all this and more, including touching briefly on what's ahead...
Jun 08, 2018
a16z Podcast: The Hard Things about Security
00:33:55
Here's the hard thing about security: the more authentication factors you have, the more secure things are... but in practice, people won't use too many factors, because they want ease of use. There's clearly a tension between security and usability, not to mention between security and privacy (good security doesn't always come with great privacy -- what if you're a journalist or dissenter under a repressive regime??). And finally, there's a tension between the convenience and inconvenience of hardware given the expected convenience (but also dangerous connectivity) of software and mobile everywhere. So how to resolve all this? CEO and founder Stina Ehrensvärd found the answer to these paradoxes with her company Yubico, makers of the "ubi"quitous (ahem, no pun intended!) hardware authentication security key used by the top internet companies. They're also the pioneering contributor to the FIDO open authentication standards -- arguably as important as what the SSL protocol did back then between web servers and browsers, only now we're in a world where payments talk to browsers, and machines talk to machines. But how does open source fit into all this? How does one build trust as a newcomer? And how does one go from founder passion and founder-market fit to product-market fit, especially while straddling two cultures of innovation? Ehrensvärd shares hard-earned lessons learned on going from big vision to practical reality, from managing communication to design and more in this founder/maker story episode of the a16z Podcast (in conversation with general partner Martin Casado and Sonal Chokshi). It's not just luck, it's making your own luck... especially when it comes to seizing opportunities and help in unexpected ways and places.
Jun 06, 2018
a16z Podcast: Autonomy in Service
00:28:47
with Gregory Allen (@Gregory_C_Allen), Gayle Lemmon (@gaylelemmon), Ryan Tseng, and Hanne Tidnam (@omnivorousread) We now live in a world where connecting the dots between intel and modeling threats has become infinitely more complex: not only is the surface area to protect larger than ever, but the entry points and issues are more diverse than ever. This conversation, with Gregory Allen, a Fellow at the Center for a New American Security and co-author of the Belfer Center report on AI and National Security; Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, Chief Marketing Officer of Shield AI and the author of The Dressmaker of Khair Khana and Ashley's War; Ryan Tseng, CEO and Co-founder of Shield AI; and a16z’s Hanne Tidnam, considers AI and automation in the context of national security. Given the nature of today's conflict situations — which are over the last few decades increasingly in urban environments, in counterinsurgency operations, and often in ‘boots on the ground’ environments where it is very difficult for service to distinguish between civilians and combatants — how can new autonomous technologies actually improve how we protect the lives of servicemen and women on the ground? How might they enhance critical human decision making moment to moment, to save more lives? And more broadly, how is AI shifting national security power dynamics around the globe?
May 25, 2018
a16z Podcast: When Journalism Goes Global
00:23:46
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists is the organization responsible for the compilation and release of the first the Panama Papers, a series of 11.5 million documents that detailed the offshore dealings of governments and individuals the world over, soon followed by the Paradise Papers. In this podcast, a16z general partner John O'Farrell interviews ICIJ director Gerard Ryle discuss how journalists manage, sort through and coordinate so much information and data to pull out a series of tightly coordinated exposés around the globe for investigative journalism on this scale.  With so many moving parts, how does the ICIJ manage to keep high-stakes news stories under wraps until their slated day of release? What kinds of technologies are available to investigative journalists -- tools that might aid in information gathering and data security? And what does the modern media and tech landscape portend for the future of investigative journalism?
May 23, 2018
a16z Podcast: B2B2C
00:29:32
When it comes to B2B2C business models -- which combine both business to business (B2B) and business to consumer (B2C) -- who really "owns" the customer? That question might not matter as much in more symbiotic, mutually beneficial marketplaces and other platform contexts, but can be a problem in other contexts or if not done right. For example, if it gives entrepreneurs the illusion that they don't have to work to acquire customers, invest in direct sales, or provides a (false) sense of optionality for a second product/ business that "will work later someday". General partners Alex Rampell (who among other things co-founded TrialPay and Affirm) and Martin Casado (who was formerly CTO and cofounder of Nicira, and then SVP and GM of VMWare's networking and security business unit) draw on their backgrounds on both the consumer and enterprise side of B2B2C to share lessons learned in this episode of the 16z Podcast (in conversation with Sonal Chokshi). In enterprise settings, expanding the sale is one of the biggest drivers of growth, and there are broader ecosystem partners and considerations at play. But more broadly, we discuss how one could think about "channel" -- a.k.a. the route to market for distributing product to customers -- as well as if, when, and how to build more than one product in a startup.
May 18, 2018
a16z Podcast: Network Effects, Origin Stories, and the Evolution of Tech
01:05:12
“The rules of the game are different in tech,” argues — and has long argued, despite his views not being accepted at first — W. Brian Arthur, technologist-turned-economist who first truly described the phenomenon of “positive feedbacks” in the economy or “increasing returns” (vs. diminishing returns) in the new world of business… a.k.a. network effects. A longtime observer of Silicon Valley and the tech industry, he’s seen how a few early entrepreneurs first got it, fewer investors embrace it, entire companies be built around it, and still yet others miss it… even today. If an inferior product/technology/way of doing things can sometimes “lock in” the market, does that make network effects more about luck, or strategy? It’s not really locked in though, since over and over again the next big thing comes along. So what does that mean for companies and industries that want to make the new technology shift? And where does competitive advantage even come from when everyone has access to the same building blocks (open source, APIs, etc.) of innovation? Because Arthur — former Stanford professor, visiting researcher at PARC, and external professor at Santa Fe Institute who is also known as one of the fathers of complexity theory in economics — has written about the nature of technology and how it evolves, observing that new technology doesn’t come out of nowhere, but instead, is the result of “combinatorial” innovation. Does this then mean there’s no such thing as a dramatic breakthrough?! In this hour-long episode of the a16z Podcast, we (Sonal Chokshi with Marc Andreessen) explore many of these questions with Arthur. His answers take us from “the halls of production” to the “casino of technology”; from the “prehistory” to the history of tech; from the invisible underground autonomy economy to the “internet of conversations”; from externally available information to externalized intelligence; and finally, from Silicon Valley to Singapore to China to India and back to Silicon Valley again. Who’s going to win; what are the chances of winning? We don’t know, because it’s a very different game… Do you still want to play?
May 17, 2018
a16z Podcast: The Oral History Of TrialPay — Obstacles and Opportunities in Payments
00:46:22
In this hallway-style conversation (originally recorded as a video), a16z general partner Alex Rampell and Terry Angelos, SVP of Commerce Solutions at Visa, discuss the trials and tribulations of their time as co-founders of TrialPay, an e-commerce payment and promotions platform. The story begins with their serendipitous initial meeting twelve years ago; tracks the obstacles overcome, rise, and eventual acquisition of TrialPay (by Visa in 2015); and ends with reflections on the future landscape and potential of payments. How can a third party increase profits for all parties involved? And how can a payments startup make a splash in an industry dominated by a few well-known incumbents?
May 10, 2018
a16z Podcast: Shifting Risk Mindsets, From Tech to Bio
00:27:10
What challenges do first-time founders or tech founders encounter when building companies in the bio space, and how do they differ from traditional tech companies? In this hallway-style conversation episode of the a16z Podcast (originally recorded as a video), a16z bio team general partners Vijay Pande and Jorge Conde, with Jeff Low discuss the mindset shifts involved in building bio (particularly therapeutics) companies. They cover everything from different paths to market and different partnerships (including pharma) to different timelines and milestones for validating the product and business itself. But how do we get to a common language that bridges the worlds of tech and bio?
May 10, 2018
a16z Podcast: The Case Against Education, From Signaling to Rainbow's End
00:44:50
with Bryan Caplan (@bryan_caplan), Marc Andreessen (@pmarca), and Sonal Chokshi (@smc90) Signaling and credential inflation -- not learning -- can explain why education pays in the labor market, and why we shouldn't invest (any more) in it, argues Bryan Caplan, economics professor at George Mason University and author of the book The Case Against Education: Why the Education System is a Waste of Time and Money. But is it really... a waste of time and money? Doesn't education have other benefits at least, like "learning to learn"; or sorting personality traits for employers at least; or helping developing economies even? And isn't it interesting that all the people (not just Caplan, but many in Silicon Valley and elsewhere) who argue against education are in fact, ahem, educationally credentialed themselves? This episode of the a16z Podcast, hosted by Marc Andreessen with Sonal Chokshi, takes on Caplan's "cynical idealist" take to probe both the cynical (problems, realities) and idealist (implications, solutions) aspects of education, no matter one's politics. And finally, where does tech (and a bit of sci-fi) come in??
May 09, 2018
a16z Podcast: Breaking Into Bio
00:41:55
with Atul Butte (@atulbutte), Daphne Koller (@daphnekoller), and Vijay Pande (@vijaypande) Whether you’re an academic seeking to move out of research and into industry, or simply interested in working at a bio startup, this episode of the a16z Podcast is for you. It covers everything from how to build a brand in the space when you don’t have one to how the bio and how the healthcare startup ecosystem is different from traditional tech (or traditional pharma), to how to choose the right co-founder -- or even identify what problems to solve and build a company around. The discussion (which is based on a recent event at Andreessen Horowitz) features Atul Butte, Distinguished Professor and Director of the Institute for Computational Health Sciences at UCSF; and Daphne Koller, founder and CEO of insitro (former professor at Stanford, co-founder of Coursera); in conversation with a16z bio team general partner Vijay Pande. Together, they provide practical how-to's -- for those coming from machine and deep learning backgrounds, but also for anyone, really -- for how to break into the bio space.
May 02, 2018
a16z Podcast: Principles and Algorithms for Work and Life
00:49:48
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.
Apr 21, 2018
a16z Podcast: On Recent Consolidation in the Healthcare Industry
00:08:13
Many of the healthcare headlines lately have been about consolidation in the industry: Walmart and Humana; Aetna and CVS; Amazon, JP Morgan, and Berkshire Hathaway. But what does it all mean for patients, and startups -- Will it decrease costs? What opportunities may arise as a result? In this quick hallway-style conversation, originally recorded as a video, some of the partners on the a16z bio team (Jorge Conde and Vijay Pande in conversation with Jeffrey Low) discuss what's going on as we see more and more vertical integration across the healthcare value chain.
Apr 16, 2018
a16z Podcast: Players and Paths for Healthcare Startups
00:07:00
The creation of each new biotechnology enables a tool, a therapy, or a diagnostic: a molecule, a protein, an app, a platform. And the process underneath isn't just complex in the science and engineering of it, but in the go to market. So who are the stakeholders in this process? In this podcast (which was originally recorded as a video), a16z bio fund general partners Jorge Conde and Vijay Pande give a quick hallway-conversation style overview on the stakeholders -- as well as what the process is from inception to approval to market; how do go-to-market models differ; and what should founders know at the beginning of each path.
Apr 16, 2018
a16z Podcast: When (and How) Biology Becomes Engineering
00:22:21
Hypothesis, test, revise -- that's science. Engineering, however, doesn't quite go that way: You have parts you know and understand (like legos), and then you use those parts to design and build something (like bridges). But the key is that when science -- time-consuming, unpredictable, slow, expensive -- becomes more like engineering -- faster, more methodical/repeatable, cheaper -- you can do new things... or do them in better ways. This means engineering disciplines like mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, computer science, and materials science can carry over to biology. But the question is HOW does this happen, and how can entrepreneurs apply principles from one discipline to another? How does it affect a healthcare startup's go to market, and how might a shift like this affect the healthcare industry as a whole? Vijay Pande and Jorge Conde (general partners on our bio fund) reflect on all this and more in this hallway-style conversation episode of the a16z Podcast, which was originally recorded as a video.
Apr 16, 2018
a16z Podcast: What to Know about GDPR
00:35:50
with Lisa Hawke (@ldhawke) and Steven Sinofsky (@stevesi) Given concern around data breaches, the EU Parliament finally passed GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) after four years of preparation and debate; it goes into enforcement on May 25, 2018. Though it originated in Europe, GDPR is a form of long-arm jurisdiction that affects many U.S. companies -- including most software startups, because data collection and user privacy touch so much of what they do. With EU regulators focusing most on transparency, GDPR affects everything from user interface design to engineering to legal contracts and more. That's why it's really about "privacy by design", argues former environmental scientist and lawyer Lisa Hawke, who spent most of her career in regulatory compliance in the oil industry and is now Vice President of Security and Compliance at a16z portfolio company Everlaw (she also serves as Vice Chair for Women in Security and Privacy). And it's also why, observes a16z board partner Steven Sinofsky, everyone -- from founders to product managers to engineers and others -- should think about privacy and data regulations (like GDPR, HIPAA, etc.) as a culture... not just as "compliance".  The two break down the basics all about GDPR in this episode of the a16z Podcast -- the why, the what, the how, the who -- including the easy things startups can immediately do, and on their own. In fact, GDPR may give startups an edge over bigger companies and open up opportunities, argue Hawke and Sinofsky; even with fewer resources, startups have more organizational flexibility, if they're willing to put in the work.  for links mentioned in this episode (and other resources), please go to: https://a16z.com/2018/04/12/gdpr-why-what-how-for-startups/
Apr 12, 2018
a16z Podcast: Feedback Loops -- Company Culture, Change, and DevOps
00:44:27
with Nicole Forsgren (@nicolefv), Jez Humble (@jezhumble) and Sonal Chokshi (@smc90) From the old claim that "IT doesn't matter" and question of whether tech truly drives organizational performance, we've been consumed with figuring out how to measure -- and predict -- the output and outcomes, the performance and productivity of software. It's not useful to talk about what happens in one isolated team or successful company; we need to be able to make it happen at any company -- of any size, industry vertical, or architecture/tech stack. But can we break the false dichotomy of performance vs. speed; is it possible to have it all?  This episode of the a16z Podcast boldly goes where no man has gone before -- trying to answer those elusive questions -- by drawing on one of the largest, large-scale studies of software and organizational performance out there, as presented in the new book, Accelerate: The Science of Lean Software and DevOps -- Building and Scaling High Performing Technology Organizations by Nicole Forsgren, Jez Humble, and Gene Kim. Forsgren (co-founder and CEO at DevOps Research and Assessment - DORA; PhD in Management Information Systems; formerly at IBM) and Humble (co-founder and CTO at DORA; formerly at 18F; and co-author of The DevOps Handbook, Lean Enterprise, and Continuous Delivery) share the latest findings about what drives performance in companies of all kinds. But what is DevOps, really? And beyond the definitions and history, where does DevOps fit into the broader history and landscape of other tech movements (such as lean manufacturing, agile development, lean startups, microservices)? Finally, what kinds of companies are truly receptive to change, beyond so-called organizational "maturity" scores? And for pete's sake, can we figure out how to measure software productivity already?? All this and more in this episode!
Mar 28, 2018
a16z Podcast: From Teaching Leadership to Being a Leader
00:22:21
Few operators become VCs, and even fewer go back to leading companies... so how does these perspectives change how one leads? Obviously, it's a lot easier to think of a solution than execute on one... but then how does a leader empower one's team to do the right thing without micromanaging or without being frustrated when they're not getting what they wanted? (Hint: it has to do with providing context). In this episode of the a16z Podcast, Andy Rachleff (president and CEO of Wealthfront and alum of Benchmark) shares his thoughts on leadership, as well as his own journey as an entrepreneur in a particular vertical, in conversation with Bethany Coates, founder and CEO of BreakLine, which helps vets transition into tech. (The discussion took place during one of BreakLine's programs, co-designed and hosted at a16z). And since both are/were also teachers at Stanford's Graduate School of Business (where Rachleff still lectures, and where Coates served as Assistant Dean for their Global Innovation Programs) -- how does teaching make one a more authentic leader, given all the styles of leadership out there? All this and more in this episode.
Mar 26, 2018
a16z Podcast: Improv'ing Leadership
00:23:26
Leadership is not just about management, but about passion, a bit of humor, and resilience. General partner Peter Levine and Dick Costolo (entrepreneur, former CEO of Twitter, and erstwhile comedian) share their thoughts on the topic in this episode of the a16z Podcast -- based on a conversation recorded as part of the BreakLine program (hosted at Andreessen Horowitz) preparing military veterans transitioning into tech careers. Among other things, Costolo shares what running Twitter was like pre-IPO and after, as well as what it’s like to suddenly find yourself thrust onto the world stage; the role of improv and imagery in leadership; and the difference between preventing mistakes from happening... and correcting them as quickly as you can when they do happen.
Mar 23, 2018
a16z Podcast: On Morals and Meaning in Products, Business, and Life
00:24:03
Focusing only on the technical, "crunchy, wonky stuff" behind policies or products sometimes misses the humanity at the center of why we're doing the thing in the first place. Because systems -- whether algorithms and artificial intelligence, or capitalism and other such "operating systems" -- need to work for people, not the other way around. Or so observes economist and author Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) -- a public policy think tank focused on free enterprise (and where he recently announced he will be passing on the baton after a decade of leadership). So how does this philosophy of human dignity and human potential apply to automation and jobs, to education, to entrepreneurship? And not just in the "conventional" entrepreneurial sense of building companies and products -- but in changing one's life? The answer, argues Brooks in this quick, hallway-style episode of the a16z Podcast with Sonal Chokshi (recorded in one of our earlier Washington, D.C. roadshows) -- has to be rooted in the philosophy of human meaning. And that involves truly needing each other... so no one is left behind given technological progress and innovation. image credit: Maria Eklind/ Flickr
Mar 21, 2018
a16z Podcast: How to Live Longer and Better
00:17:54
with Kristen Fortney (@kpfortney), Jeff Kaditz (@jeffkaditz), David Sinclair (@davidasinclair), and Hanne Tidnam (@omnivorousread) Even without a mythical fountain of youth, scientific advances have already dramatically increased how long humans live. But those advances to date have also largely been due to lower mortality rates, less infectious disease, and better nutrition. So when will modern medicine increase not just our healthspan, but our lifespan -- slowing down and possibly even reversing aging? What tools will it take? And what else, beyond the biology and technology involved, would change -- in our healthcare system and society as a whole? In this episode of the a16z Podcast -- recorded at a16z's November 2017 Summit -- Kristen Fortney, CEO and cofounder of BioAge Labs; Jeff Kaditz, CEO and cofounder of Q.Bio; David Sinclair, Co-Director of the Paul F. Glenn Center for the Biology of Aging at Harvard Medical School; and Michael Snyder, Professor and Department Chair of Genetics at Stanford University (as well as co-founder of and advisor to Q.Bio), in conversation with Hanne Tidnam, break down the science from the science fiction around the topics of longevity, health, and aging. image credit: Garry Knight/ Flickr
Mar 16, 2018
a16z Podcast: The API Economy -- The Why, What, and How
00:30:51
with Cristina Cordova (@cjc), Augusto Marietti (@sonicaghi), Laura Behrens Wu (@laurabehrenswu), and Sonal Chokshi (@smc90) APIs (application programming interfaces), observe the guests in this episode of the a16z Podcast, can be described as everything from Lego building blocks to Tetris to front doors to even veins in the human body. Because the defining property of APIs is that they're ways to send and receive information between different parts, that is, communicate between software applications (which often map onto different organizational functions/services in a company too). APIs therefore give companies access to data and competencies they wouldn't otherwise have -- or better yet, that they no longer need -- by letting even non-tech and small companies combine these building blocks to get exactly what they want. Which means companies today -- including non-tech companies and small companies -- can focus on their core competency instead, access bigger data, and get superpowers to scale and compete with the Amazons of the world. But what does all this mean for design -- after all, APIs are interfaces between software, not people -- and for other stakeholders (finance, ops, etc.) beyond developers? Who do you sell to? How are APIs changing not only the (inter)face of business today, but how entire companies are being formed from -- or around -- them? This conversation considers all this and more, featuring: Cristina Cordova, who leads partnerships for Stripe, which builds infrastructure for the movement of money including payments processing; Augusto Marietti, CEO and co-founder of Kong, which helps companies manage secure APIs and microservices; Laura Behrens Wu, CEO and co-founder of Shippo, which powers multi-carrier shipping for all kinds of commerce; in conversation with Sonal Chokshi.
Mar 13, 2018
a16z Podcast: Containing the Monolith -- From Microservices to DevOps
00:18:17
What happens when monolithic architectures are broken down into containers and microservices (or when things are broken down into smaller units, not just in infrastructure but perhaps even in company structure too)? From building more dynamic websites to monitoring the enterprise cloud to elastically scaling applications, where are developers in the enterprise going now and next? This episode of the a16z Podcast, based on a panel by and for developers recorded at the a16z Summit in November 2017 and moderated by general partner Martin Casado, features Matt Billmann, CEO and co-founder of Netlify; Florian Leibert, CEO and co-founder of Mesophere; and Karthik Rau, CEO and co-founder of SignalFX.
Mar 08, 2018
a16z Podcast: Space -- the Near Frontier
00:14:43
When most people think of space, they think of outer space: Mars, billionaires with rockets, and the “final frontier”. But space innovation is actually playing out right now -- in an immediate and more accessible way, thanks to techonologies getting smaller, faster, and cheaper -- through micro satellites that do everything from map terrain, to telecommunications that can provide connectivity even in remote areas. This episode of the a16z Podcast -- based on an November 2017 a16z Summit conversation moderated by general partner Martin Casado with Dan Berkenstock, founding CEO of Skybox Imaging; John Gedmark, CEO and co-founder of Astranis; and Steve Smith, former astronaut from NASA -- covers how this trend of small satellites is developing, as well as what existing applications it will change to what new business opportunities it presents.
Mar 04, 2018
a16z Podcast: The State of Security
00:17:32
with Joel de la Garza, Stina Ehrensvärd, Niels Provos, and Martin Casado Given the heated discussions around security and the c-word (“cyber”), it’s hard to figure out what the actual state of the industry is. And clearly it’s not just an academic exercise — it is a matter of both business survival and personal safety. As cyber, physical, and national security become one and the same, how does that make us rethink how businesses address the problem, from software to hardware? And where do consumers come in? This episode of the a16z Podcast — based on a conversation recorded at our Summit event in November 2017 — features Stina Ehrensvärd, founder and CEO, of Yubico; Joel de la Garza, CISO of Box; and Niels Provos, distinguished engineer at Google, moderated by a16z general partner Martin Casado.
Feb 28, 2018
a16z Podcast: Creating a Category, from Pricing to Positioning
00:31:51
with Martin Casado (@martin_casado), Michel Feaster (@michelfeaster) and Sonal Chokshi (@smc90) The purpose of category creation, argue the guests in this episode of the podcast, isn't just about making a dent in the way companies work and changing what people do every day... it's about setting the price. And with that, comes creating the concept in people's heads, defining the value, and setting the rules of the game. But when you're going for a big change, you have to play by the current rules of the game, too. And to make things even more complicated, theories about how "IT is dead" -- or the conviction that companies and departments beyond IT will become empowered through software -- are still very much in transition. Somehow we don't talk about that enough. That means startups need to do everything in two phases: for the now, and for the later and towards two constituencies: both direct lines of businesses and IT. So what does that mean for startups trying to navigate a complex enterprise, including internal debates around build vs. buy? How do you move beyond a few internal champions only? And just how long can a company cash out on founder charisma? In fact, all of these things can give entrepreneurs very confusing, mixed signals about whether or not they have product-market fit yet. So what patterns reveal that it's working? In this episode of the a16z Podcast, general partner Martin Casado -- who helped create the category of "software-defined networking" in the enterprise through Nicira and then VMware (and has also written about the mixed messages involved in going to market when no market exists) -- and Michel Feaster, CEO and co-founder of Usermind, and who previously (as VP of products at Apptio) also defined the category and discipline of "technology business management" -- share their insights, in conversation with Sonal Chokshi. It's a long game, but if you can tease apart the signals, and nail some key moves early... you can win.
Feb 24, 2018
a16z Podcast: The Self-Flying Camera
00:23:03
with Adam Bry (@adampbry), Chris Dixon (@cdixon), and Hanne Tidnam (@omnivorousread) Now that we've finally reached the age of the truly autonomous commercial small drone -- and in this case, a self-flying camera -- what happens when you take the pilot out of the loop? And what becomes possible that wasn't possible before? That's what this episode of the a16z Podcast covers, with Adam Bry, co-founder and CEO of Skydio, and a16z general partner Chris Dixon, in conversation with Hanne Tidnam. Beginning with the evolution of the technology that got us here and then going deep under the hood into the tech that makes this possible from propellers to perception, the conversation also covers what it's like to use a drone that follows you around seamlessly; how autonomous drones are different from autonomous cars; and finally, how our relationship and interactions with computers of all kinds will change as they become increasingly powered by AI.
Feb 22, 2018
a16z Podcast: The Internet of Taste, Streaming Content to Culture
00:42:43
Once upon a time it was inconceivable that a company in Silicon Valley could make content that was any good; the running joke, shares Marc Andreessen, "was like, what are we gonna do -- we're gonna film a router instruction manual? It was just an absurd idea!" It was also inconceivable at one point (before downloading, let alone before streaming), that an internet company could really do video on the internet. "But Reed talked about it to me like he was telling me the sky is blue," reflects Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos, "and it stuck with me because nobody ever changed the world without telling someone they were gonna do it first, and I bet it sounded crazy." Now, with over 117 million subscribers in 190 countries and investments over $7B in original content, Netflix is arguably catalyzing the most dramatic period of change in the television and video industry since the arrival of color TV (and maybe even before that). But how did the company know where to go next, and when, and how? How did they make decisions about the risk/reward tradeoffs, whether it was purchasing a five-part (Marvel universe) franchise at once or betting not just on proven but as yet unknown talent (Stranger Things)? And how did Sarandos (and Netflix for that matter) get there, coming from the very edges of the entertainment industry? This episode of the a16z Podcast covers all this and more, including the business of creativity, changing company cultures, and even the changing culture of taste as content travels across both time and place. The conversation is based on a Q&A from our annual Summit events, which bring together large companies, finance investors, academics, and startups to talk all things innovation.
Feb 18, 2018
a16z Podcast: The Business of Continual Change
00:26:43
Every large company -- especially ones that have been around for a long time -- goes through multiple cycles of change. But how do you know where to go next, and when, and how? The management literature is full of case studies, research, and of course, advice... but what if you borrowed from the principles of scientific and social progress instead? In fact, that's what Charles Koch, chairman and CEO of Koch Industries (one of the largest private companies in the U.S., with over $100B in revenue as estimated by Forbes), did in thinking about how to evolve their business. They systematically grew their capabilities from oil and chemicals; to polymers, fibers, and related consumer products; and then into forest products, glass, steel; and now, electronics and software. But this kind of "continual transformation" (and even stated company values) observes Marc Andreessen, sounds obvious; "every company must do that, every company must seek to be the partner of choice to all of its constituents, every company must seek to continually improve". So how did it all work in practice, from strategy and management to incentives and compensation? And is this a new kind of conglomerate business model? This episode of the a16z Podcast covers these questions and more, touching briefly on policy and also sharing a bonus reading list at end. The conversation is based on a Q&A from our annual Summit events, which bring together large companies, finance investors, academics, and startups to talk all things innovation.
Feb 18, 2018
a16z Podcast: How Technology Is Changing Investing
00:16:41
As people begin to gain access to information that was previously left to only trained specialists, a new set of asset classes are being created -- and they are changing the way we think about everything from banking to customizing portfolios and more. But if investing (and most decision making, in fact) is about navigating uncertainty, what can new tools and models do -- and not do -- for investors both big and small? Recorded at a16z's Summit event in November 2017, John Fawcett, CEO of Quantopian and Joshua Levin, co-founder and chief strategy officer of OpenInvest discuss, in conversation with a16z's Angela Strange, new models of investing for both retail and institutional investors... thanks to new technologies.
Feb 17, 2018
a16z Podcast: Data, Insight, and the Customer Experience
00:16:34
In 2017 The Economist declared data to be the world's most valuable resource. And yet “data insight” is one of those phrases that, while important, is now so ubiquitous it’s been numbed of meaning. So how do you actually get the most meaningful insights from your data, and what does that look like as you also think about crafting the best customer experience? When and what is the best way to use this information... without getting to the dystopian future depicted in, for instance, Minority Report? This episode of the a16z Podcast (based on a discussion that took place at a16z's annual summit event in November 2017) features Suhail Doshi, co-founder and CEO of Mixpanel; Gil Elbaz, founder and CEO of Factual; and Jeff Glueck, CEO of Foursquare; moderated by Lauren Berson. It covers everything from using data to understand context and one's customer base to what personalization really means and how data can impact the physical world.
Feb 13, 2018
a16z Podcast: The Evolution of Payments
00:19:48
The battle between every startup and incumbent comes down to whether the startup gets distribution before the incumbent gets innovation, oft observes a16z general partner Alex Rampell. But how does this play out when most of the players, big and small, think the innovation has already happened in a particular space? What if there are unmanifested and untapped opportunities in a space? This episode of the a16z Podcast explores these questions through the case study of Stripe. Based on a conversation that took place with Rampell and Stripe co-founder John Collison at our most recent Summit event, the episode covers how the classic battle between startups and incumbents has played out in the payments space; how the broader payments processing landscape has evolved over the past four decades; and what might happen to the established market cap of the "old guard". Stripe is an interesting case study since the company, which was founded in 2010, entered the payments processing scene when the (pervasive) sense was that payments were "done"... and yet at the same time, its co-founder Patrick Collison believed their customers "did not exist yet". So what happened? And how does go-to-market change as a startup evolves, and its mix of customers too changes?
Feb 11, 2018
a16z Podcast: When Is VR's iPhone Moment?
00:23:32
There was a lot of hype about VR ad then it seemed to go pretty quiet. So where are we right now? Bigscreen founder Darshan Shankar and a16z general partner Chris Dixon take the pulse on VR, AR, and mixed reality -- especially where it's going the next 24 months -- in this episode of the a16z Podcast. The conversation surveys some of the key platforms and devices -- from ARKit to the various headsets from various players -- to where we are in hardware, software, functionality, immersive experience, and perhaps most importantly, content. Are these destined to be just fun gadgets, or will they become new tools that demand continuous use and engagement? When will VR finally have its "iPhone moment"?
Feb 06, 2018
a16z Podcast: All about Bike Sharing
00:30:33
with Lee Kleinman (@LeeForDallas), Joshua Schank (@joshuaschank), Andrew Savage, and Hanne Tidnam (@omnivorousread) There's a new wave of bike-sharing in town. But this wave looks a little different than previous waves -- from docked rows of government-funded bikes to dockless fleets of bicycles where users can find and unlock bikes through GPS from anywhere, with an app. What can we learn from previous (unsuccessful and successful) waves, what are the challenges in making bike sharing a real, viable transport option? What does bike sharing data reveal about human travel patterns? And how might dockless bike-sharing change, maybe even reshape, cities of the future? This episode of the a16z Podcast -- including city of Dallas councilmember Lee Kleinman, chairman of their Mobility Solutions, Infrastructure, and Sustainability Committee; Joshua Shank, CIO at the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority; and Andrew Savage, vice president of strategic development at LimeBike; in conversation with a16z's Hanne Tidnam -- looks at the trend of dockless bike sharing in cities.  image credit: Joe Wolf/ Flickr
Feb 03, 2018
a16z Podcast: Self-Driving Cars — Where Are We, Really?
00:17:58
As cars become more like iPhones and less like just, well, cars — everything changes, from data to mapping to interfaces to security and more. How so? Where are we anyway, given all the hype around when self-driving cars will appear everywhere? And where are new opportunities in the space? This episode of the a16z Podcast, based on a panel discussion from the most recent a16z Summit, features a16z research and deal team head Frank Chen in conversation with various companies doing different things in the autonomous space. Guests include: Taggart Matthiesen, head of product at Lyft, which is developing autonomous car technology; James Wu, CEO and co-founder of DeepMap, which focuses on full-stack HD mapping for autonomy; and Qasar Younis, CEO of Applied Intuition, which provides advance simulation software for autonomy.
Jan 31, 2018
a16z Podcast: Beyond CES: Connected Home Devices, Voice, and More
00:33:00
In this hallway conversation of the a16z Podcast, Benedict Evans and Steven Sinofsky discuss CES 2018 and share insight on what they took from this year's show. How much can you discern each company's "big picture" strategy out of the slew of new products, press releases, and announcements that flood the floor? How do you sort the wheat from the chaff? And beyond the event of CES itself, Evans and Sinofsky analyze the experimentation we're beginning to see in connected consumer electronics for the home. When it comes to the smart home, it seems as though more is better -- more devices, more connectivity, and a single network to rule them all -- but that isn't the case. How (and when) will these devices and appliances -- some of which you only buy new every 10-20 years -- all connect into one system, and what will that platform look like? Which devices will we actually need to be "smart", and what will be today's equivalent of the electric carving knife? Where will new kinds of UI come in; when will a simple GO button be the better option? All this and more in this episode.
Jan 22, 2018
a16z Podcast: Mental Models for Understanding Crypto Tokens
00:34:50
This episode of the a16z Podcast goes deep on various trends in cryptocurrencies -- from mental models for understanding tokens and what may give them long-term value; to the role of stablecoins in the ecosystem; to scaling, on-chain and off-chain protocols, forks, and more. The discussion features general partner Chris Dixon in conversation with Nick Tomaino, the founder of early-stage crypto venture fund 1confirmation, editor of The Control, and former business development at Coinbase. (He is also an investor in Basecoin, Cosmos, Ethereum, and MakerDAO.) You can also check out past episodes in this series, covering everything from investing in cryptocurrencies and protocols to accelerating research and practical applications to why crypto tokens matter -- as well as a video covering the building blocks of all things crypto -- at a16z.com/crypto.
Jan 22, 2018
a16z Podcast: Reinventing Food
00:19:50
It's surprising that how (and what) we eat has actually changed very little over the ages, despite how much we’ve advanced as a species. Now, however -- driven by globalization, environmental factors, and other considerations -- the way we move, taste, and make our food is moving forward too. From countering the limits of seasonality and global transport to re-thinking our species’ dependence on meat to optimizing nutrition to distilling the essence of taste, this discussion with Bryan Crowley, President of Soylent; 
Ooshma Garg, founder and CEO of Gobble; 
David Lee, COO and CFO of Impossible Foods
; and James Rogers, cofounder and CEO of Apeel Sciences -- and moderated by a16z Partner Kim Milosevich -- is all about the future of food... including how we define what “food”really is.
Jan 13, 2018
a16z Podcast: Revisiting the Gene
00:15:22
The complete sequencing of the human genome is one of the most powerful examples of technology and science in action: We've gone from needing $3 billion and over 13 years to read a single human genome to today, to where we can do that same amount of work for about $1,000 in roughly 2 days -- and the price will only continue to drop. But beyond pricing, what does understanding the gene -- and moving from the sequencing layer to the applications layer -- mean to us; what new questions arise now that we can sequence DNA quickly, reliably, and cheaply? This conversation -- with co-founder and CEO of Jungla Carlos Araya and co-founder and CEO of Freenome Gabe Otte, moderated by a16z General Partner Jorge Conde (based on a discussion that took place at a16z’s annual Summit in November 2017) -- takes a step back and considers all these questions. Every time a human genome sequence is completed, there are on the order of 3,000,000 new variants identified. So how do we think about interpreting all that data? Actionability? And how do we derive meaning from all this, for applications in the clinical space?
Jan 10, 2018
a16z Podcast: Community and Culture, Online
00:20:25
We’re so used to thinking of “community” as our friends, families, and neighbors. But what a community is, and who it is made of, has changed thanks to the internet, and without our noticing it. What happens when online communities -- really, new subcultures -- form primarily around interests, not just personal relationships? Featuring VP of Product at Reddit Alex Le, CEO of Rabbit Michael Temkin, and CEO and co-founder of HVMN Geoffrey Woo -- in conversation with a16z general partner Chris Dixon -- this episode of the a16z Podcast is based on a discussion that took place at a16z’s annual Summit in November 2017. As communities of strangers and activities connect online and offline in new and different ways, what else changes?
Jan 06, 2018
a16z Podcast: Fintech for the People
00:18:11
New fintech companies are democratizing access to financial services in different ways, whether it's making food stamps more efficient, no longer waiting two weeks for a paycheck, or enabling anyone with a smartphone in developing countries to create small businesses. But what these all have in common -- besides a more inclusive approach to finance -- is also changing, in some way, the fundamental way our financial system works. Featuring CEO of Propel Jimmy Chen, CEO of Branch Matt Flannery, and CEO of Earnin Ram Palaniappan, in conversation with a16z partner Angela Strange, this episode of the a16z Podcast is based on a discussion that took place at a16z's annual Summit in November 2017. Financial innovation can come in unexpected ways from unexpected places -- but what does that mean for established players? For the future of fintech overall?
Dec 19, 2017
a16z Podcast: Trends in Cryptocurrencies
00:22:37
The internet, believe it or not, was just the beginning. Yes, it spawned an incredible number of uses (some unexpected), from marketplaces and commerce to publishing and social networks... but that’s all been built with old models of funding and coordination. Now, as we enter a new phase of blockchain-enabled innovation -- decentralized, distributed, crowdfunded -- we’re finally bringing capitalism to open source: Smart people can come together in new ways, to build new things. In this brief discussion from a16z Summit November 2017, founder and CEO at Protocol Labs Juan Benet and founder and CEO of Polychain Capital Olaf-Carlson Wee -- both of whom have appeared on the a16z Podcast for more in-depth conversations -- chat with general partner Chris Dixon to summarize the big picture on crypto, going beyond the buzz around ICOs to the golden age of protocols.
Dec 19, 2017
a16z Podcast: The $200 PC in the Enterprise
00:32:57
What capabilities do enterprise companies really want from their computers? Twenty years ago, those capabilities might've been bundled into a mainframe. Ten years ago, it might've been the PC. Today, as more and more businesses rely on devices that need only browsers/ internet connectivity, what will the "$200 box" sitting at an employee workstation look like? In this hallway-style episode of the a16z Podcast, Benedict Evans and Steven Sinofsky discuss how tech devices evolve for the enterprise -- and more broadly, what happens when the S-curve levels out??
Dec 19, 2017
a16z Podcast: Of Governors and Mayors, and Tech Policy
00:11:59
Many of the big tech policy issues of the day play out more so at the state and local level, not just federal level. The decisions that cities and states make every day -- from autonomous vehicles to bike sharing -- may therefore end up setting the stage for broader government policies around new tech. But where do "politics" come in for these policy decisions? Many tech policies are in fact bi-partisan or even non-partisan, argue Governor Doug Ducey (R-Arizona) and Mayor of South Bend Pete Buttigieg (D-Indiana), in conversation with a16z policy team head Ted Ullyot. This "byte-sized" episode of the a16z Podcast is based on a conversation recorded November 2017 at our annual Summit event, focused on innovation. How can places and people be more receptive to innovation and innovators?
Dec 15, 2017
a16z Podcast: Taking the Pulse on Bio
00:28:37
This conversation between the members of a16z's bio team -- including general partners Jorge Conde and Vijay Pande; Malinka Walaliyadde; and Jeffrey Low (the interviewer) -- takes a quick pulse on where we are with when bio becomes more like engineering. Especially given the announcement of our second bio fund, this episode of the a16z Podcast covers everything from the broader trends at play to some specific areas of interest... as well as what types of entrepreneurs may bring us forward into the new Century of Biology.
Dec 14, 2017
a16z Podcast: Scaling Healthcare
00:19:12
No matter how grand a vision for a particular industry, disruption in practice is hard. This is especially true in industries like healthcare, which have long been resistant to software-driven change. But sometimes you can innovate within the bounds of the industry, using those very constraints to move it forward -- whether it’s understanding and working with the early adopters in healthcare to focusing on the bottomline. This conversation -- recorded at our recent a16z Summit in November 2017 -- between co-founder and CEO of Omada Health, Sean Duffy and CEO of Accolade, Rajeev Singh (moderated by a16z bio fund partner Jeff Low), considers how such innovation affects go-to-market strategies and pricing to measuring savings and the entire ecosystem of healthcare spend. As this generation of digital health tech companies begin to change the healthcare business -- and scale -- what effect are they having on the rising cost of heathcare overall, and the bottom line?
Dec 13, 2017
a16z Podcast: Market Shifts
00:34:15
NASDAQ CEO Adena Friedman runs one of the world's largest financial services companies, including the NASDAQ stock exchange that's home to more than 3,500 listed companies. They were also the creator of the world's first electronic stock market. Yet how does the company adapt to technology trends today, such as the blockchain? How does it deal with other headwinds in its business, from fewer listed companies to trends in passive vs. active investing? Based on a conversation that was recorded at our annual a16z Summit in November 2017, this podcast features general partner Jeff Jordan interviewing Friedman about these changes... as well as broader themes in the way markets work. They also discuss the IPO process (which Jordan has also shared his experiences and advice on) -- from what companies should be thinking about to where technology could help.
Dec 10, 2017
a16z Podcast: On Data and Data Scientists in the Age of AI
00:09:42
Data, data, everywhere, nor any drop to drink. Or so would say Coleridge, if he were a big company CEO trying to use A.I. today -- because even when you have a ton of data, there's not always enough signal to get anything meaningful from AI. Why? Because, "like they say, it's 'garbage in, garbage out' -- what matters is what you have in between," reminds Databricks co-founder (and director of the RISElab at U.C. Berkeley) Ion Stoica. And even then it's still not just about data operations, emphasizes SigOpt co-founder Scott Clark; your data scientists need to really understand "What's actually right for my business and what am I actually aiming for?" And then get there as efficiently as possible. But beyond defining their goals, how do companies get over the "cold start" problem when it comes to doing more with AI in practice, asks a16z operating partner Frank Chen (who also released a microsite on getting started with AI earlier this year)? The guests on this short "a16z Bytes" episode of the a16z Podcast -- based on a conversation that took place at our recent annual Summit event -- share practical advice about this and more.
Dec 05, 2017
a16z Podcast: AI, from 'Toy' Problems to Practical Application
00:34:20
When you have “a really hot, frothy space” like AI, even the most basic questions — like what is it good for, how do you make sure your data is in shape, and so on — aren’t answered. This is just as true for the companies eager to adopt the technology and get into the space, as it is for those building companies around that space, observes Joe Spisak, Head of Partnerships at Amazon Web Services. “People treat it like magic,” adds a16z general partner Martin Casado. This magical realism is especially true of AI, because by definition — i.e., machines learning — there is a bit of a “black box” between what you put in and what you get out of it. Which may be fine… Except when you have to completely change the data being fed into that black box, or you’re shooting for a completely different target to come out of it. That’s why, observes Scott Clark, CEO and co-founder of SigOpt, “an untuned, sophisticated system will underperform a tuned simple system” almost every time. So what does this mean for organizations going from so-called “toy” problems in R&D to real business results tied to KPIs and ROI? In this episode of the a16z Podcast, Casado, Clark, and Spisak (in conversation with Sonal Chokshi) share their thoughts on what’s happening and what’s needed for AI in practice, given their vantage points working with both large companies and AI startups. What does it mean for data scientists and domain experts? For differentiation and advantage? Because even though we finally have widely available building blocks for AI, we need the scaffolding too… and only then can we build something powerful on top of it.
Dec 02, 2017
a16z Podcast: The Rise of the CCO
00:25:22
There's a new C-level role in town: the CCO, or Chief Customer Officer. This episode (based on a previous event) is all about the rise of this new role, why it's so important -- and what the actual scope and function of the role should be. a16z's Matt Levy, partner on the exec talent team, discusses with (CCOs all) Allison Pickens of Gainsight; Krista Anderson-Copperman from Okta; and Hatima Shafique from Databricks why it is that the Chief Customer Officer is becoming more prevalent across a number of different kinds of companies; what the strategic value of a CCO is (and how it's actually very different from a VP of Customer Success!); and finally, the career pathing of the Chief Customer Officer.
Nov 18, 2017
a16z Podcast: How Founders Hire a VP of Product
00:29:56
Hiring a VP of Product -- especially as the founder of the company -- can almost feel like handing over your baby to someone else to hold, observes a16z executive talent team partner Caroline Horn, who hosted an event on this topic earlier this year (which this podcast is based on). Featuring Vijay Balasubramaniyan, founder/CEO of Pindrop; Shishir Mehrotra, founder and CEO of Coda; Gokul Rajaram, Production Engineering Lead at Square; and Alan Schaaf, founder/CEO of Imgur -- and moderated by general partner Martin Casado -- the discussion covers everything from what the VP of Product role really is to how to hire and integrate it into your company. Because if you're going to be handing your "baby" over... how can you avoid common pitfalls? And know that you pick the right person for the job?
Nov 10, 2017
a16z Podcast: Putting AI in Medicine, in Practice
00:29:39
with Brandon Ballinger (@bballinger), Mintu Turakhia (@leftbundle), Vijay Pande (@vijaypande), and Hanne Tidnam (@omnivorousread) There’s been a lot of talk about technology -- and AI, deep learning, and machine learning specifically -- finally reaching the healthcare sector. But AI in medicine isn’t actually new; it’s actually been there since the 1960s. And yet we didn’t see it effect a true change, or even become a real part our doctor’s offices -- let alone routine healthcare services. So: what's different now? And what does AI in medicine look like, practically speaking, whether it's ensuring the best data, versioning software for healthcare, or other aspects? In this episode of the a16z Podcast, Brandon Ballinger, CEO of Cardiogram; Mintu Turakhia, cardiologist at Stanford and Director of the Center for Digital Health; and general partner and head of a16z bio fund Vijay Pande in conversation with Hanne Tidnam discuss where will we start to see AI in healthcare first -- diagnosis, treatment, or system management -- to what it will take for it to succeed. Will we perhaps see a "levels" of AI framework for doctors as we have for autonomous cars?
Nov 03, 2017
a16z Podcast: The Why Behind the Weird
00:27:49
Author and professor at George Mason University, Peter Leeson describes himself as not just an economist but as a "collector of curiosa." In his latest book, WTF?! An Economic Tour of the Weird, Leeson looks at just that -- the strangest beliefs, superstitions and rituals humankind has engaged in -- and using economics, uncovers the incentives and rational behavior that makes them, well, make a whole lot more sense. In this Halloween Special, Leeson and a16z's Hanne Tidnam dive into the weirdest historical mysteries -- everything from ecclesiastic courts that put rats and rodents on trial, to judicial ordeals that determined guilt or innocence by boiling the accused's hands in cauldrons of hot water, to the economics and laws that governed pirate ships. All these practices, Leeson argues, use superstitions and beliefs like tools: a kind of technology -- in the broadest possible terms.
Oct 31, 2017
a16z Podcast: Revenge of the Algorithms (Over Data)... Go! No?
00:40:07
with Frank Chen, Steven Sinofsky, and Sonal Chokshi There are many reasons why we’re in an “A.I. spring” after multiple “A.I. winters” — but how then do we tease apart what’s real vs. what’s hype when it comes to the (legitimate!) excitement about artificial intelligence and machine learning? Especially when it comes to the latest results of computers beating games, which not only captures our imaginations but has always played a critical role in advancing machine intelligence (whether it’s AI winning Texas Hold’em poker or beating the world human champ in the ancient Chinese game of Go). But on learning that Google DeepMind’s AlphaGo can master the game of Go without human knowledge — or more precisely: “based solely on reinforcement learning, without human data, guidance, or domain knowledge beyond game rules” — some people leap too far towards claims of artificial generalized intelligence. So where can we then generalize the findings of such work — unsupervised learning, self-play, etc. — to other specific domains? What does it mean for entrepreneurs building companies (and what investors look for)? And what does it mean for how we, as humans, learn… or rather, how computers can also learn from how we learn? Deal and research operating team head Frank Chen and a16z board partner Steven Sinofsky ponder all this and more, in conversation with Sonal Chokshi, in this episode of the a16z Podcast. We ended last time with the triumph of data over algorithms and begin this time with the triumph of algorithms over data … is this the end of big data?
Oct 23, 2017
a16z Podcast: Platforming the Future
00:34:06
with Tim O'Reilly and Benedict Evans In this hallway-style podcast conversation, O'Reilly Media founder Tim O'Reilly and a16z partner Benedict Evans discuss how we make sense of the most recent wave of new technologies --- technologies that are perhaps more transformative than any we've seen before -- and how we think about the capabilities they might have that we haven't yet even considered. O'Reilly has seen more than one wave of new tech make an impact over the last three decades in Silicon Valley. But this time, O'Reilly argues in his new book, WTF? What's the Future and Why it's Up to Us, is different, partly because of the combinatorial inventions now possible. But we are also in the midst of so much foundational change happening so fast, that we as a society have some very large questions -- and answers -- to consider. What, for example, is the relationship between big tech platforms and the broader ecosystem they're in? What strategic choices (and responsibilities?) do they make on behalf of those ecosystems? Why and how do some platforms compete with their own ecosystems? And finally, how are algorithms optimizing for economic culture and markets, and how aware are we?
Oct 13, 2017
a16z Podcast: A New Lab Rises
00:29:16
with Ion Stoica, Peter Levine, and Sonal Chokshi We’ve already talked quite a bit about the Algorithms, Machines, and People lab at U.C. Berkeley (AMPLab) — all about making sense of big data — so what happens when the entire world moves towards artificial intelligence — and the need to make intelligent decisions on that