Marc Andreessen: why optimism - always a winning strategy

Marc Andreessen his words are not climbing. Tall, bald, energetic venture capitalist, who invented the first popular Internet browser, co-founded Netscape, made his fortune by investing early on to Twitter and Facebook, has since become the chief resident philosopher Silicon Valley. He omnipresent tweeted , where his machinegun queue bold statements on various topics raised an army of adherents (and involved in some very big battles). In a controversial point for the IT industry Andreessen - chief captain technology industry and its special counsel relentless vision for the future. I>

I liked the moment when you first met with Mark Zuckerberg and he said, like "What was the Netscape abbr >? »

He did not know.

He was in high school, when you founded Netscape. Is the work in an industry where everything is changing so rapidly that in ten years completely overwritten collective memory? B>

I think it's fantastic. For example, right now as if there are two of Silicon Valley. The first consists of the people who were here during the crash of 2000, and the second - from those who have not seen, and the psychology of their radically different. Those who survived the collapse of 2000, if scar tissue is formed, because then everything went hawking was shitty.

You came to Silicon Valley in 1994. What was it? B>

Here all extinct. Complete silence. After a giant boom in PC 80s when aktivnichali and Apple, and Intel, and Microsoft in Seattle. And then on the US economic recession hit - in 1988, 1989 - and this against the background of a decade of rapid rise of Japan. In Silicon Valley was such a short bright flash, but Japan was going to pick up all by itself. And then the US economy went downhill. You take the paper, and there is only endless suffering and adversity. Technology in the United States are dead; economic growth has stopped. All American children - loafers generation X - no ambition, never will achieve nothing.

What did you do? B>

I just went to college. I went on my way. I came here in 1994, and the Silicon Valley was lethargic. In high school, I generally thought will have to teach Japanese to work in the technology industry. My main feeling was that I missed everything, everything is over. The movement was in the 80s, and I have come too late. But in general, I can most optimistic person among all the people I know. I mean, I'm incredibly optimistic. I optimistic possibly to the point of error, especially with regard to new ideas. My typical tendency when meeting with a new idea is not to ask, "Will it work it?", And ask, "And what if it works?».

I work a lot to keep this setup because it is very easy to slip into a different mode. I remember, when eBay began making progress abbr>, I thought, "Oh nafig. Damn flea market? How many people have shit in the garage? Who needs it? "But it was irrelevant questions. Children from eBay and early investors say, "Forget about going to work or not. What happens if you work? ". If the project is shot, you - the world's first global trading platform, you have the flow of goods of all kinds, you discover the true market value of the goods.

But you do not think that everything will work. B>

No. But there are people that are programmed to be skeptical, but there are people that are programmed to be optimistic. And I can say, at least for the last 20 years that if you are on the side of the optimists, usually you're right.

On the other hand, if there were more skeptics in 1999, people could keep their retirement savings. Is not this the importance of skepticism in the technology industry? B>

I do not know that it gives you. I will say this. If you can point to periods of time in the last hundred years, when things calm down and nothing changes, then maybe it is. But it is unlikely that such a time ever comes. The skeptics are wrong constantly.

Today Silicon Valley plays a cultural role, which could play a Wall Street in the '80s. B>

It has its pluses and minuses. But entrepreneurs will tell you that it is better - not necessarily easier - to develop the company during a recession, because less churning around, easier to recruit people, less competition. Businessmen say that during the boom hard to develop the business, because all around thrilled and too much money is for too many marginal companies.

Today, the technology industry has a few large companies: Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple. Which of today's start-ups, in your opinion, will join them? B>

All our startups.

You have investments in many companies. B>

And you have an equally strong love all their children.

One of the things that you really like, at least on Twitter, it's pessimistic forecasts dig old people like Paul Krugman, where they are compared with the Internet fax machine of the new generation and so on. B>

This is part of the overall feel of the IT business. So strange, but in fact it is a fundamental part of American culture. You read the Tocqueville abbr>, right? In the heart of American culture is hidden paradox: in theory, we love change, but when the changes actually manifest themselves, they are met with hostility. We love the change in general, but do not love them in particular. Absolutely about every thing anyone here ever did, there were always people who say: "This is garbage. It will never work. This is stupid ».

Media definitely more skeptical of technology than you. B>

There's a-kind cultural criticism, individual manifestations. Obviously, I disagree with many of them, but I am sure that you select the correct set of very fact: whether the technology will take all the jobs? Unequal distribution of income, this whole discussion about the damaging effects of technology.

I noticed that you did not like Jill Lepore essay on the topic the devastating impact of technology in The New Yorker.

There is not so much analysis as primal scream. But the argument that most drives me crazy, often met three years ago - that innovation is over. "The Great Stagnation." There is such an economist in Chicago, Robert Gordon, he says: "Everything is new now - is nonsense. How can you compare this to the industrial revolution? Will be no more growth. " Honestly, I'd rather take the criticism that too much technology is changing the world than the one that they are insignificant.

If we talk about personnel replenishment of Silicon Valley, you can probably use the online education. But I have a question, who better to cope with such training? This self-taught, people who can work independently. Studies show that the representatives of poor in the minority. B>

It's too early to judge, because we are at the initial stage of development of this technology. It's like criticizing DOS 1.0 and say that it will never turn into Windows. We are still at the experimental prototype stage. We can not use the old approach to education in the world. We can not build so many campuses. We did not have enough space, not enough money, not enough teachers. If you can go to Harvard, go to Harvard. But is not the question. The question is how to begin the life of 14-year-old boy from Indonesia: subsistence farming or a course of education at Stanford qualities that allow him to choose a career.

There are thing that people really underestimate: it is the economic impact of the entertainment industry to education. Right now, with the mass of online courses, the number of students is small - and you just filmed a professor in the audience. But let us project the situation in the future. Imagine that after ten years of basic education in mathematics (Math 101) taught online, he is respected, fully accredited and recognized certificate is issued. What if we expected a million students each semester? And what if they each pay $ 100? If we know that we can get to $ 100 million in revenue from this course per semester? What budget we allocate for training courses?

You can hire James Cameron. B>

You literally can hire James Cameron for the production of an introductory course in mathematics. Or, for example, to study the War of the Roman Empire in the virtual reality, pacing around the battlefield or flying over it. And below occur fighting, and the program shows you the maneuvers that took place in reality. Or how about recreating the original productions of Shakespeare in the theater "Globe»?

We can talk a little bit about robots, one of your favorite themes? B>


People decades worried that automation would ruin the economy. B>

Nobody likes to talk about the old. Former farm labor was absolutely horrible. I mean, farmers get up at six in the morning and worked 14 hours a day. Work at the plant - the people there died. Miners - they are trying to protect their jobs miner. This is terrible, terrible job. New works better. They just - better. This is happening all over China, and now even in Indonesia and Vietnam. Whenever Foxconn opens plant, literally hundreds of thousands of people served profiles in hopes to get a job. In developing countries, people are willing to do anything, just to get on a modern production, because the alternative is much worse. So in fact thanks to technological advances work gets better.

But suppose that invented a machine that cleans hotel rooms. We can handle numbers efficiently, hotels reduce costs. But all the maids now without work. Your thesis is that they must be retrained for another career? B>

We return to the libertarian things - I believe in the system of social protection. I think that at the individual level, these changes are real and they are important. I grew up in a rural area of ​​Wisconsin in the 70s. I grew up in the agricultural, industrial countries. We lived like that. So I believe in the system of social protection at the individual level.

From an economic point of view, the situation you described - an example to maintain a balance in the number of working hours (lump-of-labor fallacy), because housekeeping - not only work in hotels. If you go into a modern hotel in a major city, you will see that there are many employees of other professions. All these people who work in the spa, fitness clubs, wine bars, guides. All of this new profession. If you went to a hotel one hundred years ago, any of these professions do not exist. So there is a cycle of development. You climb the stairs to the well-being, generating more tax revenue - and the money goes back into the system of social protection.

Here I disagree. You assume that the money will automatically flow into the system of social protection, it will respond to the growth and returns the resources back. This requires a conscious change in legislation, which many did not agree. B>

I'm not one of these people. Our country has a very advanced system of benefits.

Let's look at the situation from the other side of the hotel. Suppose that we have abandoned modernization. We have a magic machine that cleans the rooms, but we do not use it, because we want to leave the maids jobs. Well, in the old days, you need to leave work at the hotel guys who incite stove. Us that refuse to heating systems and bring them back? Until the fridge was a whole layer of workers who stabbed and brought ice. Should we go back to the storage of food on ice, which prick and delivered by hand? If you think your enemy machine, then you should go back and put everything in its place, right? If we follow this logic, then you need to go back to the very origins, that is to subsistence farming. And it is better to make clothes with their own hands.

Let's talk about the nature of work. Keynes said that when everything is automated, we will not have material needs and the need for labor. All food will be delivered or synthesized ...

We are working on it. But we are not talking about the fact that there will be no need for labor. Keynes wrote in the 20s and 30s, when a serious problem for the man was to get food or heat your home. But it is a misconception that human needs are limited, and as soon as you satisfy them all, then nothing more is needed. We have food and clothing, and all us enough. We do not need the spa, do not need a psychologist, do not need a video game, do not need a space tourism, does not need artificial organs, implants are not necessary for corneal blind people do not need thousands of other things that we have discovered.

There is another view of Milton Friedman, which I adhere to. Friedman believed in a mistaken view of Keynes for the same reason that I: human needs and the needs are endless. We will never be satisfied. Go to Keynes and tell him that every parent of the middle class in the United States wants to record a child on violin lessons.

Last night you published tweet , which caused a great response: "It's hard to be a billionaire, because no one will say that your stupid ideas are really stupid. " It was autobiographical? I mean, you're concerned about? B>

I'm not a billionaire! That's why I was so entertaining! All immediately thought I was talking about myself.

But you are in such a position that if I worked for you, you would be afraid to call your stupid ideas stupid. B>

My tweet - about billionaires who do not understand what is happening to them. They learn the latest. Because they do not feel like changing the situation. They just feel something like "I'm the one who was before, I'm on my way, I'm doing all right." And very rarely do they really stop and think, "Everything is better treat me than ten years ago." By the way, the phenomenon is not limited to billionaires. The same applies to the president, senators, mayors, all the powers.

So how do you, Marc Andreessen, you can be sure that you hear honest fidbek? B>

Every morning I wake up and dozens of people tweeted me explain in detail why I'm an idiot, that is actually very useful.

They once convinced you? B>

They definitely keep me in shape, and we'll see whether they can convince me. I mean, I love to argue.

Oh really? B>

For me, the important advantage of Twitter is that there are more people with whom you can bet.

Judging by your tweets, you sleep about three hours a day. B>

I would say, with breaks.

Do you have a bed in the office, where you can relax during the day? B>

Now for the first time in my life I have an office with a door, so that for the first time in my office has a sofa. So I'm fine nap yesterday afternoon, actually.

What makes a venture capitalist for the entire day? I was sure that you visit the dozens of meetings a week, but what conclusion can I do when I read your tweets 24 hours a day? B>

In reality, our firm [Andreessen Horowitz] takes about 15 decisions per year.

This is a nice life. B>

Yeah. The result of our work lies in investment income. We are trustees for investors. They entrusted the big money is to us and not to others. The task of the company - to make investments and obtain a profit from them. And we are doing about 15 major investment in a year. So it's important decisions. At the end of the day for which we bear the greatest responsibility? Those same 15 decisions and their consequences. Many times I have been working with the founder and CEO of our portfolio. In fact, I am in constant contact with them.

Going back to the free time. I know that you love the TV series "Deadwood." It's still your favorite TV series? B>

Yes. The favorite of all time so far.

In fact, there may be a better choice for a venture capitalist, because there the action takes place during the gold rush, when the foundations of society. Do you think you could become a prospector era of the Wild West? B>

Oh, I'm sure I could. Deadwood is located in the Dakotas, but it is obvious that California is also suitable for him. So yes, without a doubt ... All my life I've admired the concept of the frontier.

Where I can see now the spirit of the frontier, it is in motion around the prolongation of life. I think many techies annoying that we have not yet conquered death. B>


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