Marc Andreessen on Big Breakthrough Ideas and Courageous Entrepreneurs | Summary and Q&A

March 8, 2014
Stanford Graduate School of Business
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Marc Andreessen on Big Breakthrough Ideas and Courageous Entrepreneurs


In a discussion with aspiring entrepreneurs, a successful venture capitalist shares insights on tech trends, entrepreneurial DNA, and leadership experiences.

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Key Insights

  • 👶 Technology is currently in the deployment phase, where the actual implementation and utilization of new technologies occur.
  • 👁️‍🗨️ The historical pattern of technological revolutions involves a bubble during the installation phase, followed by a transition to the deployment phase.
  • 💡 Courageous and genius entrepreneurs are vital for success, as they have the determination and innovative ideas to bring about significant change.
  • 🪡 The news industry needs to rethink its approach and embrace competition to thrive in the modern market.


[SOUND] Thank you very much for taking the time to come in and speak to us. Many of us, are aspiring entrepreneurs, so we'd really quite like to be like you. And, many others, would also like to pitch to you. >> [LAUGH] >> Actually sitting here makes me, gives me a sense of how intimidating that must be, so, I won't, I won't wish it for much longer... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: What is the current outlook on the tech industry?

The tech industry is not in a bubble and is in the deployment phase, where new technologies are being implemented and making a significant impact. This is evident from the companies that have high revenue and user count.

Q: How are MBA professionals valued in the tech sector?

MBA professionals can play a significant role in scaling companies through their expertise in sales and marketing. They are often sought after to partner with technical founders and bring a business perspective to the company.

Q: How do you assess the potential of entrepreneurs and their ideas?

We look for individuals with a combination of courage and genius. Courage is the determination to not give up in the face of adversity, while genius is the ability to come up with innovative and radical ideas. We also value entrepreneurs who have gone through the idea maze and can articulate their thought process.

Q: What is the role of venture capitalists in the news business?

Venture capitalists play a limited role in the news business, as the focus is more on understanding the industry rather than making investments. However, the speaker believes that the news industry needs to adapt to the changing landscape and build businesses that thrive in a competitive market.


This video features a conversation with Marc Andreessen, a prominent venture capitalist and co-founder of Andreessen Horowitz. The discussion covers various topics including tech trends, entrepreneurial DNA, leadership experiences, and the role of MBAs in the tech sector. Andreessen provides insights on the tech industry's historical patterns, the importance of courage and genius in founders, and the disruptive model his firm has implemented in venture capital. He also addresses allegations of conflict of interest and dealing with activist investors.

Questions & Answers

Q: What are Marc Andreessen's views on tech trends and venture capital?

Andreessen believes that tech is not in a bubble despite some claims otherwise. He argues that the industry has entered a mature deployment phase and cites economist Carlotta Perez's book on technological revolutions to support this viewpoint. Andreessen highlights the growth of tech companies' revenue and user count as reasons for their current valuations.

Q: How does Andreessen assess entrepreneurial DNA?

Andreessen emphasizes the importance of courage and genius in entrepreneurs. He values individuals who show determination and resilience in the face of adversity. While courage can be learned, he believes that a combination of both courage and genius is necessary for success.

Q: What are the key takeaways from Andreessen's discussion on leadership and his experiences?

Andreessen shares his experiences during the challenging times of his second company, Loud Cloud. He highlights the importance of perseverance and navigating through difficult situations, emphasizing that failure is not desirable. He also discusses his long-standing partnership with Ben Horowitz and how their complementary skills and deep trust have contributed to their success.

Q: How does Andreessen's firm, Andreessen Horowitz, differentiate itself in the venture capital industry?

Andreessen Horowitz focuses on investing in technical founder CEOs and has built a team of full-time professionals to provide value-added services to their portfolio companies. They prioritize building deep relationships with industry leaders to facilitate connections in areas such as sales, marketing, and talent recruitment. The firm aims to optimize for technical founder CEOs and tailors their culture and support to suit their needs.

Q: How does Andreessen identify the founders his firm will invest in?

Andreessen Horowitz receives thousands of startup pitches each year but can only invest in a fraction of them. They look for founders who demonstrate both courage and genius. Courage refers to their determination and refusal to give up, while genius encompasses their exceptional skills and vision. The firm also assesses the fundability of the startup by top VCs.

Q: What is Andreessen's response to allegations of conflict of interest made by activist investors like Carl Icahn?

Andreessen views such allegations as validation that the tech industry is still in a bust phase rather than a bubble. He believes that time will resolve the low multiples and high cash balances in the industry, and activists will return to focusing on other sectors.

Q: How does Andreessen spend his day as a venture capitalist?

Andreessen describes his Mondays as partner meeting days, where the entire day is dedicated to discussions with his team. These meetings can last up to 12 hours and cover a wide range of topics, including investment decisions and portfolio company updates.


In this video, Marc Andreessen shares valuable insights into the tech industry and venture capital. He highlights the maturity of the industry and the importance of founder CEOs with a combination of courage and genius. Andreessen Horowitz's disruptive model, focused on supporting technical founders, differentiates them in the venture capital landscape. Andreessen's experience with facing challenges and maintaining a strong partnership with Ben Horowitz demonstrates the importance of perseverance and trust. Finally, Andreessen addresses allegations of conflict of interest and expresses confidence in the industry's long-term prospects.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The speaker discusses tech and venture capital trends, highlighting that tech is not currently in a bubble and that the true growth phase of technology is happening now.

  • He mentions the historical pattern of technological revolutions, where a bubble occurs during the installation phase and leads to the deployment phase, where the true potential of technologies is realized.

  • The discussion also focuses on the importance of courageous and genius entrepreneurs who are determined to succeed and have radical ideas.

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