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16 Minutes News by a16z

Author: Andreessen Horowitz

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16 Minutes on the News is 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?

About 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 -- and now shows -- 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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Playing out against the backdrop of a global pandemic (including recent massive surges in regions around the world) is the news that came out a week ago that a candidate "malaria vaccine becomes first to achieve WHO-specified 75% efficacy goal”. While the findings are still in preprint with The Lancet, the resulting buzz and phrases quoted included everything from “unprecedented”, “groundbreaking work”, and “very exciting” to “high expectations”, “highly effective”, and “a hugely significant extra weapon”... A "weapon" in the war against malaria that is -- a disease that is estimated to cause over 400,000 deaths each year globally, and predominantly in children under the age of five.So in this special 2x explainer episode of 16 Minutes (also running on the a16z Podcast), we -- Rajeev Venkayya of Takeda Pharmaceuticals, a16z bio general partner Jorge Conde, and Sonal Chokshi -- dig into what's hype/ what's real about this news, beyond the headlines and beyond the buzz. What does the data tell us, what does the current study phase mean, and what's left to get to widespread, real-world use? How does this candidate vaccine (R21 from Jenner Institute/ Oxford University) compare to the other malaria vaccine (RTS,S from GlaxoSmithKline)? How do, and don't, advances in and around COVID vaccines play here? And why has it been so hard to develop vaccines for this particular disease?Because we also cover (as is the premise of the show) where we are on the long arc of innovation... and this is an innovation story that's been nearly a century in the making. 
In this week’s episode of 16 Minutes, our show where we cover tech trends in the news — and also cover themes from company developer and innovation events! — we focus on the latest coming out of Apple’s event this week. The company announced a bunch of things, ranging from new device colors and form factors to podcast services, but in this episode we asked regular guest Steven Sinofsky (an a16z board partner and former Microsoft Windows president who has appeared on past event episodes including covering CES and Apple’s M1 chip) to weigh in. He shares what he thinks all these moves say about the evergreen “consumer vs. professional” question, to what the company’s new devices (namely tablets, personal computers, and TVs) tell us about the long arc of innovation.
We have two brief segments in today’s episode: News and analysis of the Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine pause, and the widespread hack of Microsoft Exchange Servers across the country (and the dramatic and unusual steps the FBI took in response).Johnson & Johnson: Federal health officials last week revealed that six women who received the vaccine had developed rare and severe blood clots in their brain, in one case fatally. Even more recently, a panel of expert advisors to the Centers for Disease Control determined that they needed more time to assess the risk of the drug, which was approved by the FDA under Emergency Use Authorization, or EUA.Our experts are General Partner Jorge Conde, who previously appeared on a episode on J&J efficacy rates, and General Partner Vineeta Agarwala, who is also a practicing clinician at Stanford Hospital, and recently joined us on "16 Minutes" with Dr. Bob Wachter of UCSF to analyze the vaccine rollout in the U.S. They address the clinical facts about the six J&J cases (and contrast it to the social media conversations and headlines), the incidence rate, and what the J&J vaccine shares with the Astra Zeneca vaccine, which has been halted or limited in Europe and elsewhere over similar blood clot concerns.FBI and Microsoft Exchange Servers: The Department of Justice recently announced that the FBI, after getting court authorization, had removed malicious code from hundreds of computers running on-premises versions of Microsoft Exchange Server software used to provide email services. In March, Microsoft had announced the initial hack and released detection tools and patches to help owners of the compromised computers, but the latest government announcement revealed that the FBI had taken the step of removing the malicious code, in this case web shells that enable remote administration, from computers that had not mitigated the risk. Microsoft has associated the hackers with state-sponsored actors in China.Our expert is a16z's Joel de la Garza, who explains what’s behind this unusual action and figure out where it fits into larger trends of enterprise security and even national security.###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. In addition, this content may include third-party advertisements; a16z has not reviewed such advertisements and does not endorse any advertising content contained therein.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. 
This deep-dive -- one of our occasional 2-4X explainer episodes on 16 Minutes; (past such episodes have covered everything from Section 230 and Tiktok to GPT-3 and the opioid crisis) -- teases apart what's hype/ what's real -- and the what, where, how, why, who, and other questions top of mind around all things NFTs:what NFTs (non-fungible tokens) are -- as well as the properties of crypto that enable them, just to set some big-picture context;what forms they take, and what is and ISN’T an NFT -- including where “social tokens” and the creator economy do and don’t come in;common myths and misconceptions -- from ‘just a jpg’ to the frequent question of energy use & NFTs;how they work -- as well as the broader ecosystem around NFTs, and different players;various applications, now and next -- touching briefly on how to think about NFTs, whether you’re an artist/ creator, developer, or institution.Editor in chief Sonal Chokshi interviews friends of a16z crypto Linda Xie, co-founder of Scalar Capital and former Product Manager at Coinbase; and Jesse Walden, founder at Variant Fund and former co-founder of Mediachain Labs (which was acquired by Spotify, where he was then an R&D lead).Posted on both the a16z Podcast show and 16 Minutes, this episode is for everyone!transcript available at: https://a16z.com/2021/03/27/nfts-explainer-faqs-hype-reality-innovation-crypto-creator-economyThe 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. In addition, this content may include third-party advertisements; a16z has not reviewed such advertisements and does not endorse any advertising content contained therein.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. 
Today on our news analysis show 16 Minutes — since this show is all about teasing apart what’s hype/ what’s real and where we are on the long arc of innovation — we're taking a quick pulse-check with the experts on just where we are with the COVID vaccine rollout in the U.S. Our experts today are Dr. Bob Wachter, the Chair of the Department of Medicine at UCSF — he has come to additional prominence during the pandemic as a regular public resource, providing daily updates & reports on Twitter throughout the crisis. He’s also currently guest-hosting the “In the Bubble” podcast. We also have Dr. Vineeta Agarwala, a general partner in a16z bio who is also a practicing clinician at Stanford Hospital. You can catch our ongoing coverage of all things vaccines at a16z.com/vaccines.But in this episode we cover where we really are right now with the vaccine rollout — is it working or not, given all the buzz and mixed messages we’ve been hearing on social and in the media? We cover everything from distribution, in practice (that is, from the clinical/ on-the-ground perspective); to other dynamics (such as new strains), to demand for the vaccines (including vaccine hesitancy, and it's not just about anti-vaxxers); to the data (which is where we start). On Friday the CDC reported that about 77 million people in the U.S. have currently received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine, with about 42 million who have been fully vaccinated. 
In today's episode of our news analysis show 16 Minutes, our topic is the ongoing buzz and the mixed news around the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which was the third vaccine for COVID approved under Emergency Use Authorization by the FDA just a few weeks ago. Johnson & Johnson reported it as “the first single shot vaccine” and as having 85% efficacy in preventing severe disease across regions studied; meanwhile, STAT headlines reported 66% efficacy overall and 72% in the U.S. in preventing moderate to severe disease, calling it “a weapon but not a knockout punch.” And then we have various experts saying everything from “disappointing” to pointing out the dangers of comparing this vaccine to other vaccines such as Pfizer’s and Moderna’s, both of which we’ve talked about on this show. You can find all our ongoing vaccines coverage at a16z.com/vaccines.  In this episode — since 16 Minutes is about teasing apart what’s hype/ what’s real in the news and where we are on the long arc of innovation — we asked the a16z bio team for their frameworks. Joining us are General Partner Jorge Conde, who has been in all our vaccine episodes and previously led strategy and product for a  pharmaceuticals company, and bio editorial partner Lauren Richardson, who was previously an editor at PLOS Biology and hosts our sister show Journal Club on Bio Eats World. She also holds a Ph.D in pharmacology.
In this week’s episode of 16 Minutes, our show where we talk about tech trends in the news, what’s hype/ what’s real, and where we are on the long arc of innovation, the topic is semiconductors – specifically, the ongoing global shortage that began last summer and has intensified in recent weeks. So much so, that the U.S. president signed an executive order just last week to address concerns around the shortage, calling for reviews of supply chains for critical sectors of the economy.Our expert is a16z Operating Partner Frank Chen, who led our research arm and has also joined past episodes about semiconductors on this show including one with Steven Sinofsky and Sonal in which they analyzed the ARM and Envidia news.Frank joins a16z's Zoran Basich to cover the bigger picture of the chip shortage including geopolitics, the pandemic, and several other factors — all in almost exactly 16 minutes! 
In this week’s episode of 16 Minutes — where we talk about tech trends in the news, what’s hype/ what’s real, and where we are on the long arc of innovation — the topic is NFTs ("non-fungible tokens"); specifically, the news that Christie’s has become the first major auction house to offer a purely digital artwork tied to an NFT or “non-fungible token." We’ll go more into NFTs (as well as whether this is really a big deal or not) in this episode, but here’s the news context: The work of art being auctioned is a digital collage by the digital artist Beeple; it’s called Everydays: The First 5,000 Days. The Christie’s auction begins today and runs through March 11. It's news because Christie's, a 250-year-old auction house, is an established presence in the traditional art marketplace, and it’s the first time NFTs (which have been much-buzzed-about in the crypto world for several months) are being formally embraced by the traditional art world. For quick context, NFTs are digital tokens on the Ethereum blockchain, which allow art and other digital assets and collectibles to be verified as unique, hence the term non-fungible (as compared to other, more fungible tokens). They reflect the properties of crypto and blockchains more broadly, such as the ability to track provenance and attribute funds to creators via smart contracts. (For more discussion of NFTs and related themes, check out our previous podcasts Crypto for Creators: From Art Galleries to 'Tokenized' Collectibles and The New Fan Club: Creators, Fans, and the Power of Markets (& Crypto). Zoran Basich of a16z talked to NFT expert Kayvon Tehranian, CEO and founder of Foundation Labs, a marketplace for digital art and collectibles, to help us dig into the Christie's news and broader trend — all in less than 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. In addition, this content may include third-party advertisements; a16z has not reviewed such advertisements and does not endorse any advertising content contained therein. 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.
We have two brief segments — taking up less than 16 Minutes! — in this week’s episode of "16 Minutes," where we talk about tech trends in the news, what’s hype/what’s real, and where we are on the long arc of innovation. Both segments touch on trends in gaming/ online worlds and entertainment — both now and "next."  First, Steam China: Steam — the cloud library and marketplace for buying, selling, and storing games that was launched by Valve in 2003 and is now the largest distribution platform for PC gaming — just released an official Chinese version. Next, Meta Human Creator: Epic Games’ 3D graphics platform Unreal Engine revealed an early peek at a new content creation tool that aims to make creating digital humans easier. So what does this all mean? We talked to a16z partner Jonathan Lai, a former product manager at Riot Games, who joins 16 Minutes co-host Zoran Basich for both segments to share a quick take on these news items and the trends overall.
Amazon just announced this week that its founder and CEO Jeff Bezos "will transition to the role of Executive Chair in the third quarter of 2021 and [CEO of Amazon Web Services] Andy Jassy will become Chief Executive Officer at that time". So in this episode of 16 Minutes -- our show where we talk about tech trends in the headlines, what's hype/ what's real, and where we are on the long arc of innovation -- we talk not just about this news, but what it signals regarding cloud computing as well as CEO transitions in general. How does/ doesn’t it fit into other patterns of tech succession -- like recent moves at Netflix (where Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos was named co-CEO alongside Reed Hastings); Microsoft (Satya Nadella); Intel (Pat Geisinger); Cisco and more? Is Amazon -- with its ability to straddle both enterprise and consumer so strongly -- an outlier, and perhaps more of a conglomerate? And are there certain inflection points or phases for when companies of all sizes should think about succession planning/ such leadership transitions? Sonal Chokshi and Zoran Basich chat with a16z general partner Martin Casado -- who was previously cofounder and CTO at Nicira (which was acquired by VMware, where he became GM of the Networking and Security Business Unit) -- so Casado knows a thing or two about such transitions... not to mention his own past debates and discussions of whether or not to bring on an external CEO. ---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. In addition, this content may include third-party advertisements; a16z has not reviewed such advertisements and does not endorse any advertising content contained therein.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.
In this special “3x”-long episode of our (otherwise shortform) news analysis show 16 Minutes -- past such 2-3X explainer episodes have covered section 230, Tiktok, GPT-3, the opioid crisis, more -- we cover the SolarWinds hack, one of the largest (if not the largest!) publicly known hacks of all time... and the ripple effects are only now starting to be revealed. Just this week, the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency shared (as reported in the Wall Street Journal) that approximately 30% of both private-sector and government victims linked to the hack had no direct connection to SolarWinds. So who was compromised, do they even know, can they even know?!Because this hack is a supply-chain compromise involving various third-party software and services all connected together in a "chain of chains", the knock-on effects of it will be revealed (or not!) for years to come. So what do companies -- whether large enterprise, mid-sized startup, or small business -- do? What actually happened, and when does the timeline really begin? While first publicly revealed in December 2020 -- we first covered the news in episode #49 here when it first broke, and there have been countless headlines since (about early known government agency victims, company investigations, other tool investigations, debates over who and how and so on) -- the hack actually began not just a few months but years earlier, involving early tests, legit domains, and a very long game.We help cut through the headline fatigue of it all, tease apart what's hype/ what's real, and do an "anatomy of a hack" step-by-step teardown -- the who, what, where, when, how; from the chess moves to technical details -- in an in-depth yet accessible way with Sonal Chokshi in conversation with a16z expert and former CSO Joel de la Garza and outside expert Steven Adair, founder and president of Volexity. The information security firm (which specializes in incident response, digital forensics/ memory analysis, network monitoring, and more) not only posted guidance for responding to such attacks, but also an analysis based on working three separate incidents involving the SolarWinds hackers. But how did they know it was the same group? And why was it not quite the perfect crime?image: Heliophysics Systems Observatory spacecraft characterize, in the highest cadence, the constant stream of particles exploding from the sun affect Earth, the planets, and beyond via NASA Goddard Space Flight Center / Flickr
We've got segments on artificial intelligence and IPO innovation in today's episode of 16 Minutes, where we take a look at the news and what it means for the long arc of innovation.In the first segment (0:00): Take the surrealistic images of Salvador Dali and cross them with Pixar's animated film Wall-E and you've got ... Dall-E! It's a new neural network that creates images based on text inputs, and the worlds of A.I. and machine learning recently got their first glimpse.Last summer, research lab OpenAI released an API for the machine learning model GPT-3, which caused a stir with the way it could produce text that was hard to distinguish from human writing (16 Minutes showrunner Sonal Choksi and a16z Operating Partner Frank Chen discussed it in a recent 16 Minutes Podcast, "GPT-3: Beyond the Hype," breaking down what it does and doesn't mean for startups, incumbents, and the idea of "AI as a service").Now OpenAI has unveiled Dall-E, which processes language to create new images (not new text, as GPT-3 does). Dall-E does this using a neural network called CLIP (Contrastive Language-Image Pre-training), which classifies a wide variety of images culled from the internet while "filling in the blanks" using zero-shot reasoning, enabling Dall-E to produce surprising images by inferring information it wasn't trained in.We called on Frank again to explain where Dall-E (and the broader topic of machine learning) sits on the path toward artificial general intelligence (AGI), how Dall-E's transformer-type architecture is able to infer information, what its limitations might be, and what uses we might see as this technology develops. -- with Zoran BasichIn the second segment (12:58), we had a quick chat with a16z operating partner Scott Kupor about the recent decision by the SEC to allow the issuance of new shares via direct listings on the New York Stock Exchange. Previously direct listings were limited to the sale of existing shares. Recent first-day IPO "pops" have sparked much discussion about the fairness or unfairness of the process and whether the current path we have for companies going public is broken or just needs some tinkering around the edges.Scott breaks down how the new rule will affect companies, as well as institutional and retail investors, and what this means in the long arc of IPO innovation. -- with Zoran Basich---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. In addition, this content may include third-party advertisements; a16z has not reviewed such advertisements and does not endorse any advertising content contained thereinThis 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.
All about section 230 of the Communications Decency Act -- what does and doesn't it say? How does this law play out against broader questions and debates around platforms, content moderation, and free speech? This conversation between Mike Masnick (founder and editor in chief of Techdirt) and a16z editor in chief Sonal Chokshi was originally published May 2020, in the context of previous protests and presidential tweets (and an executive order then to prevent “online censorship”)-- but is exactly as relevant today... perhaps now more than ever.https://a16z.com/2020/05/31/16mins-section-230-communications-decency-act-content-moderation-free-speech-internet-past-present-future/image: presidential tweet activity/ Wikimedia Commons
We're covering two trends in this week’s episode of "16 Minutes," where we talk about the news, tech trends, and the long arc of innovation:  #1 FinCEN, the Treasury Department's financial crimes enforcement arm, proposed a new rule targeting cryptocurrency holders’ ability to transact using self-hosted wallets. These are software applications for storing crypto that allow people to transact on the blockchain directly, rather than going through financial institutions. The rule would require banks and other financial businesses to keep records, and verify the identities not only of their customers but also — notably — their customers’ counterparties, or people with whom the customer transacts, in certain cases. (Full disclosure: a16z has publicly opposed this plan, and has said it plans to join others in the industry in challenging the rule in court. You can read more about our position here.) a16z General Partner Katie Haun and Operating Partner Anthony Albanese explain the rule and what impact it could have on crypto innovation. #2 Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JP Morgan Chase shut down their joint healthcare venture. Haven was touted as a potential game-changer for employee-funded health care plans and health costs in general, due to the combined resources of its three corporate sponsors, but it was disbanded after three years. We turn to a16z bio General Partner Julie Yoo for a quick check-in on what opportunities this project actually highlighted (including for startups). — with Zoran Basich
We're back to covering multiple items on our show 16 Minutes -- which covers the news, occasional explainers, and teases apart what's hype/ what's real -- as well as where we are on the long arc of innovation:#1 Hackers spied on U.S. Treasury emails and other federal agencies through malware installed (indirectly via a third-party provider) over a year ago, but the hack was just revealed this weekend and confirmed in a statement from the National Security Council yesterday. It could be one of the largest (publicly disclosed) hacks of late, so former CSO and a16z operating partner for security Joel de la Garza shares the breaking news and developing story as well as where this fits in overall security trends -- with Sonal Chokshi.#2 The first of several planned Eth2 upgrades to Ethereum recently went live: the Beacon Chain. Given that DeFi (decentralized finance) and other decentralized applications are often in the headlines, and that Ethereum has experienced growing pains in the past, a16z crypto partner Ali Yahya breaks down what this is and why the news matters in the big picture -- with Zoran Basich.---Views expressed in “posts” (including podcasts, videos, and social media) are those of the individual a16z personnel quoted therein and are not the views of AH Capital Management, L.L.C. (“a16z”) or its respective affiliates. AH Capital Management is an investment adviser registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Registration as an investment adviser does not imply any special skill or training. The posts are not directed to any investors or potential investors, and do not constitute an offer to sell -- or a solicitation of an offer to buy -- any securities, and may not be used or relied upon in evaluating the merits of any investment.The contents in here -- and available on any associated distribution platforms and any public a16z online social media accounts, platforms, and sites (collectively, “content distribution outlets”) -- should not be construed as or relied upon in any manner as investment, legal, tax, or other advice. You should consult your own advisers as to legal, business, tax, and other related matters concerning any investment. 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. Any charts provided here or on a16z content distribution outlets are for informational purposes only, and should not be relied upon when making any investment decision. 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. In addition, posts may include third-party advertisements; a16z has not reviewed such advertisements and does not endorse any advertising content contained therein. All content speaks only as of the date indicated. Under no circumstances should any posts or other information provided on this website -- or on associated content distribution outlets -- be construed as an offer soliciting the purchase or sale of any security or interest in any pooled investment vehicle sponsored, discussed, or mentioned by a16z personnel. Nor should it be construed as an offer to provide investment advisory services; an offer to invest in an a16z-managed pooled investment vehicle will be made separately and only by means of the confidential offering documents of the specific pooled investment vehicles -- which should be read in their entirety, and only to those who, among other requirements, meet certain qualifications under federal securities laws. 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In this episode of our show 16 Minutes -- where we talk about the headlines, and where we are on the long arc of tech trends -- we cover the news around Google DeepMind's AlphaFold system for predicting the 3-D structure of proteins outperforming 100 teams across 20 countries in the 14th Community Wide Assessment on the CASP (Critical Assessment of Structure Prediction) challenge. The challenge, which takes place every other year (over several months) tracks progress, key metrics, and state-of-the-art on predictive techniques for protein folding.This isn’t just an academic challenge; it matters because proteins define and power ALL life functions, and as the saying goes, “structure is function”: Figuring out the shapes that proteins assemble into is important in helping determine their functions and therefore potential applications (drug discovery, among other things). However, the astronomical number of possible structures for proteins -- and difficulty of figuring out these out (whether experimentally or computationally) from their amino-acid sequences alone -- has made it one of the grand challenges in biology. Some of the older techniques are described as "kind of like making a finger puppet to cast a shadow, and then trying to figure out what your fingers were like from the shadow"...So is this grand protein folding problem really solved? Will it really revolutionize drug discovery? What's hype/ what's real when it comes to the buzz here; what are other applications; and what are the implications for open science, molecular biologists, computer scientists; big companies, startups? General partner Vijay Pande -- formerly professor of chemistry and structural biology and computer science, among other things at Stanford -- also founded the Folding@home project (which pioneered using distributed computing to solve the protein folding problem) and chats with Sonal Chokshi about whether this is a breakthrough or not. What is it, and where are we, really... ImageNet moment? E-MC2? Internet 1.0? Woodstock?!other sources "‘It will change everything’: DeepMind’s AI makes gigantic leap in solving protein structures", Ewen Callaway, Nature, 30 November 2020"‘The game has changed.’ AI triumphs at solving protein structures", Robert Service, Science magazine, 30 November 2020"DeepMind’s protein-folding AI has solved a 50-year-old grand challenge of biology", Will Heaven, Technology Review, 30 November 2020images/ source: median accuracy in free-modeling category over the past 14 years; two protein targets and AlphaFold predicted structures compared against experimental result, both from the free modeling category / DeepMind
[simplecast-embed src="https://16minutes.simplecast.com/episodes/16mins-transparency-in-coverage-rules-cms-hhs-healthcare-pricing-cost-patients-payers-hospitals-comparison-competition?dark=true"]The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued the latest in a series of “historic" rules a few weeks ago; the controversial rules -- which have been in the works for a while, but are now final -- are intended to increase price transparency in (what's been described by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ secretary as) a "shadowy system where prices are hidden". Specifically, the two rules will require hospitals, group health plans, and health insurance issuers to disclose price and cost-sharing information to participants, beneficiaries, and enrollees up front; give patients accurate estimates of the costs that they are responsible for, including making previously unavailable price information accessible to them and other stakeholders; and doing so in a standardized, machine-readable way that allows for easy comparisons (and therefore more choice and competition).So in this episode of 16 Minutes, a16z bio experts Justin Larkin and general partner Julie Yoo (who also interviewed Dr. Marty Makary, author of The Price We Pay, on a previous episode) join Sonal Chokshi to discuss the specifics of, and the impact of, the rules on consumers and on various industry players. As is the premise of the show, they also break down the gap between what's hype/ what's real when it comes to mandates and implementation; while the rules go into effect January 2021, the deadlines roll out through 2024.What are the tensions (and paradoxes!) between hospitals and insurers, between efficient markets and top-down policy, between price vs. cost, between planned vs. surprise costs, between shoppable and non-shoppable services, between price and quality, price and value? Where do incentives align (or not)? And what are the challenges, and opportunities, for builders?
We cover the latest coming out of Apple’s event last week, where they announced the first new lineups of devices based on Apple Silicon M1 chips, which officially came out today. And since there’s already plenty of analysis on performance, benchmarks, and more, we cover the big picture: Apple’s moving away from Intel chips, and to their own chips (that run on the Arm instruction set); what does it all mean?And given our penchant on this show for orienting where we are on the long arc of innovation, a16z board partner and former Microsoft Windows president Steven Sinofsky joins this episode (in conversation with host Sonal Chokshi) to take both a look backwards, and forwards, from this point in time: Beginning first with a quick history of Apple chips spanning decades, and then going into the implications for consumers, developers, future device form factors, and the industry as a whole. Is it the end of a long story... or the beginning?links and references:"The 2020 Mac Mini Unleashed: Putting Apple Silicon M1 to the Test", Andrei Frumusanu, AnandTech, 17 November 2020"Apple Announces the Apple Silicon M1: Ditching x86 - What to Expect, Based on A14", Andrei Frumusanu, AnandTech, 10 November 2020Apple M1 chip [specs and graphics] 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. In addition, this content may include third-party advertisements; a16z has not reviewed such advertisements and does not endorse any advertising content contained therein.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.
A vaccine for COVID seems to be (almost) here... or is it? What's hype/ what's real beyond the headlines (and beyond the press release), when it comes to the announcement earlier this week from Pfizer and BioNTech that their vaccine candidate was found to be more than 90% effective in preventing COVID-19? Of course, this was just the first interim efficacy analysis -- so how close or far are we? What's the significance of the readout and case numbers? How do we put this (and related approaches, like Moderna's) in context of all the other (458!) programs in development? And how much should/ shouldn't we read into this news?After all, it's "difficult to evaluate science via press release", as some say. So in this episode of 16 Minutes with a16z bio general partners Vineeta Agarwala and Jorge Conde in conversation with Sonal Chokshi, we break it all down: the math, the science, and the practical considerations -- from "vaccine efficacy" vs. efficiency, from cold chains to distribution, from patients to the system... as well as from the past, to present future of, vaccines.references and readings cited in this episode:BioCentury.com/coronavirus, COVID-19 therapies and vaccines: Clinical; COVID-19 therapies and vaccines: Preclinical; COVID-19 Clinical Trial Dashboard, November 2020"Vaccine Efficacy 101: A biostatistician's primer", Natalie E. Dean, Twitter, September 2020"Understanding COVID-19 vaccine efficacy", Marc Lipsitch and Natalie E. Dean, Science, November 2020"Covid-19 vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech is strongly effective, early data from large trial indicate", Matthew Herper (with Helen Branswell), STAT, November 2020"A Framework for Equitable Allocation of Vaccine for the Novel Coronavirus", National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, October 2020 [report highlights pdf] [full report web preview]"I was part of a trial for Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine. It’s a miracle for genetic medicine.", Walter Isaacson, Washington Post, November 2020"On Vaccines and Vaccinology, in COVID and Beyond", with Rajeev Venkayya & Jorge Conde, a16z Podcast, August 2020
Gaming Is Among Us

Gaming Is Among Us

2020-10-2515:151

Aliens are among us. Well, the online multiplayer game Among Us is -- a murder mystery set in space, where the group must figure out who the alien imposter is (a variation of party games like Werewolf or Mafia) -- has seemingly suddenly become very popular. And not just because a major politician livestream-played it earlier this week, which is what makes this news.So on this episode of 16 Minutes on the News -- our show where we talk about what's in the headlines; tease apart what's hype/ what's real; and where we are on the long arc of innovation with related tech trends -- we cover:Who, how, and why now? Especially since the game, from indie game company InnerSloth, has been around since 2018 -- what if it's NOT just "the pandemic effect" (where people are seeking new ways to connect);What are the underlying trends involved -- from social to streaming -- but digging in on the twists, and nuances, of both;What are the implications for startups and big companies when it comes to the gaming market, beyond this game?All this and more, in less than 16 minutes, with a16z consumer team partner Jonathan Lai (formerly at Tencent games, Riot Games) in conversation with host Sonal Chokshi.headlines & sources for stats/quotes cited in this episode:"Everything to know about the game everyone is obsessing over", CNET [stats, roadmap]"Everyone's playing Among Us", New York Times [quote from Kotaku's Nathan Grayson]
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Cliff Russell

love your show :0)

Jan 12th
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