a16z Podcast

Andreessen Horowitz

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!

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When Gross Margins Matter
When Gross Margins MatterThe Founder to Investor JourneyInside Apple Software DesignTesla and the Nature of DisruptionDesigning a Culture of ReinventionThe Basics of Growth Marketing: Engagement & RetentionThe Basics of Growth Marketing: User AcquisitionThe Great Data DebatePrinciples for Work and LifeHow the Internet HappenedTechnologies & Threads Through the Fabric of Our LivesInnovating and Deciding, for Companies and People
original episode notes and transcript here: https://future.a16z.com/podcasts/innovating-in-bets/Longtime podcast showrunner (2014-2022), primary host, and editor Sonal Chokshi shares three best-of episodes as she shifts gears and the show goes on hiatus until relaunched with a new host. The second of these three special rerun episodes is a conversation that originally took place spring/summer 2019, pre-pandemic (ah, that we could remember that time!) – between a16z co-founder Marc Andreessen and Sonal interviewing author, consultant/advisor, and former pro poker player Annie Duke, on one of her first few appearances with us. It’s a conversation quite unlike her other conversations, and one in a series of special joint interviews Marc and Sonal did. So there's a lot of high-speed talking, but the three cover a broad range of topics relevant to both businesses and individuals: on skill vs luck, on outcomes vs process, on asking the right questions, on how to communicate in probabilities within an organization or team, and, on how NOT making a decision is also a decision and why that matters. Be sure to also check out this feed for the followup conversation with Annie, Jeff Jordan, and Sonal on the specifics of HOW to Decide as well -- the practical and organizational implementations. (Because the a16z Podcast became an early go-to for book authors to release their books, Annie agreed to share her next book with us first.) But overall, these evergreen episodes are really all about INNOVATION, which is another signature theme in defining the identity of the a16z Podcast…
Feb 20 2022
48 mins
Geo-engineering and the Power of NarrativeM&A, Before and After: What Founders Need to Know
Welcome to the a16z podcast. Today we’re talking about the mindsets and frameworks founders should know about when navigating the mergers and acquisitions or M&A process, both before and after – including how to think about the pricing dynamics, factors that go into the decision-making process, and what to expect from the integration once the deal is done.A16z editorial partner Zoran Basich recently talked to two a16z experts here to give us their big-picture view of the most important things to know – for founders seeking to acquire companies and how they might think about it, or those considering selling a company, or just those deciding to merge with an acquirer.Blake Kim is a partner on our Enterprise Network team and a former investment banker who works with companies on strategic partnerships; he also recently co-wrote a post on Future outlining all the different exit options and considerations for companies. And general partner Martin Casado discusses common M&A issues and shares his experiences both as observer and participant – including the challenges of integration, which he saw from the inside with Nicira, which he cofounded and was acquired by VMware for $1.26 billion in 2012, and where he remained for years to lead its networking and security business unit.As a reminder, none of the following should be taken as investment advice. Please see a16z.com/disclosures for more important information.They start the discussion by outlining the frameworks for understanding M&A dynamics, including the “kingmaking dynamic” and the difference between “selling your company” and “getting acquired.”
Jan 26 2022
25 mins
How 'Hyperscalers' are Innovating — and Competing — in the Data Center
Innovation in the data center has been constrained by the traditional model of suppliers providing fixed-function chips that limit how much the biggest data center operators can differentiate. But programmable chips have emerged that allow these companies to not only increase performance, but innovate throughout the pipeline, from operating system to networking interface to user application.This is a major trend among "hyperscalers," which are some of the world’s most well known companies running massive data centers with tens of thousands of servers. We’re talking about companies like Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, Google, Apple, Alibaba, Tencent.To talk about the trends in data centers and how software may be “eating the world of the data center,” we talked this summer to two experts. Martin Casado is an a16z general partner focused on enterprise investing. Before that he was a pioneer in the software-defined networking movement and the cofounder of Nicira, which was acquired by VMWare. (Martin has written frequently on infrastructure and data-center issues and has appeared on many a16z podcasts on these topics.)He’s joined by Nick McKeown, a Stanford professor of computer science who has founded multiple companies (and was Martin’s cofounder at Nicira) and has worked with hyperscalers to innovate within their data centers. After this podcast was recorded, Nick was appointed Senior Vice President and General Manager of a new Intel organization, the Network and Edge Group. We begin with Nick, talking about the sheer scale of data-center traffic.
Dec 10 2021
24 mins
Kickstarting Network EffectsNFTs, Explained
Given all the activity and interest recently around crypto and web3, as well as in upcoming holidays and art events, we’re re-running our episode all about NFTs (from March 2021) -- where we covered everything you need or want to know about NFTs. You can also find a curated list of resources to learn all about NFTs at future.com/nftcanon. That list, and this episode, has something for everyone -- from artists and creators and other builders to big companies and institutions or just anyone seeking to understand or even explain to others NFTs.Here, we’ve cut through the noise around NFTs to share the signal, covering everything from: what NFTs are and the underlying crypto big picture, before we dig into specifically what forms they take;common myths and misconceptions -- from confusing overlaps with other concepts to addressing commentary like it’s “just a JPG” or that it’s just hypeto the question of energy use, also covering briefly how NFTs workproviding a quick overview of the players/ ecosystemand throughout, covering various applications too.Joining host Sonal Chokshi are Jesse Walden, now of Variant Fund, and formerly co-founder of Mediachain Labs, which was acquired by Spotify; and Linda Xie, now of Scalar Capital, and formerly an early product manager at Coinbase. As a reminder, NONE of the following should be taken as investment advice, for more important information please see a16z.com/disclosures.[If you’re also interested in DAOs (which we touch on briefly in this episode), we just recently published a list of readings -- in the vein of our famous crypto canon resource, then NFT canon, and now DAO canon -- all about DAOs. It’s for anyone seeking to understand, build, and otherwise get involved with these “decentralized autonomous organizations” -- which represent the future of community, coordination, work, and much more… so we’ve curated resources on this list for people at different levels of interest, from dipping one’s toes in to going deep. You can find that at future.com/daocanon.]This episode was originally released in March 2021: https://future.a16z.com/podcasts/nfts-explainer/
Nov 25 2021
56 mins
Play-to-Earn Gaming and How Work is Evolving in Web3
In today's episode we’re talking about an emerging model of gaming called play to earn, in which players can make actual money based on how much time and effort they put into a game. Play to earn is also part of broader trends — the changing relationship between players and platforms, new incentives for participants in blockchain-based networks, and the new internet era that is coming to be known as a web3. The top play-to-earn game is called Axie Infinity, operated by a Vietnam-based company called Sky Mavis. Players of the game acquire unique digital pets called Axies, and battle other teams of Axies. These NFT Axies can be created and sold using the game’s in-game currency, SLP, which can be traded for traditional currency. Think of it as Pokemon on the blockchain, with a social network built-in, and an actual economy, and even companies built around the game that help players onboard and loan them money to get started playing. The game has made more than $3 billion in total sales since launching in March 2018, with much of its early growth in the Philippines. (As a reminder, none of the following should be taken as investment advice, please see a16z.com/disclosures for more important information.) Our guests today are Jeff Zirlin, the cofounder of Sky Mavis; Gabby Dizon, the cofounder of Yield Guild Games, a play to earn gaming guild that gives players the resources to start playing; and a16z crypto general partner Arianna Simpson. They talk to a16z's Zoran Basich about the tech trends that enabled the emergence of play to earn, why and where it caught on first, and the role of community, as well as the challenges, which include onboarding and scalability, and the economic sustainability of this model. The panel also discusses what the play-to-earn movement say about the future of work.
Nov 11 2021
23 mins
On container ships, supply chains, and the physical worldCrypto Security and the New Web3 Mindsets for Users