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Andreessen Horowitz Marc Andreessen

New Yorker profile

11 May, 2015

Andreessen and Andreessen Horowitz are profiled in an article in the New Yorker titled, Tomorrow’s Advance Man.

Entrepreneurs want to raise money from us, so the natural thing when we say ‘What if you did this?’ is to tell us what we want to hear. But we don’t want to hear what we want to hear. It’s a delight when they look at you with contempt—You idiot—and then walk you through the idea maze and explain why your idea won’t work. At the same time, we’re not funding Mother Teresa. We’re funding imperial, will-to-power people who want to crush their competition. Companies can only have a big impact on the world if they get big…Deal flow is everything. If you’re in a second-tier firm, you never get a chance at that great company.

Breakthrough ideas look crazy, nuts. It’s hard to think this way—I see it in other people’s body language, and I can feel it in my own, where I sometimes feel like I don’t even care if it’s going to work, I can’t take more change. O.K., Google, O.K., Twitter—but Airbnb? People staying in each other’s houses without there being a lot of axe murders?

Chris Dixon argues that we’re in the magical-products business—that we fool ourselves into thinking we’re building companies, but it doesn’t matter if we don’t have the magical products. Over twenty years, our returns are going to come down to two or three or four investments, and the rest of this [gestures at the building and staff] is the cost of getting the chance at those investments. There’s a sense in which all of this is math—you just don’t know which Tuesday Mark Zuckerberg is going to walk in.