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a16z Podcast

a16z Podcast

Author: Andreessen Horowitz

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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!
366 Episodes
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This episode features Q&As with two artists who are exploring crypto-powered auction sites and marketplaces – this is part of our ongoing series on the creator economy. The big picture is that emerging "tokenization" models, especially non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, are creating new ways for collectors and investors to buy, sell, and trade digital art. More broadly, these innovations open the door to the tokenization of any products or collectibles that can be captured and owned digitally.  Marketplaces powered by NFTs open up new revenue streams for creators, because anytime digital work is resold or their tokens traded on these platforms, no matter how many times, the creator gets a percentage of those secondary sales. It's all transparent and governed by code on the blockchain, and it’s a big shift in creator economies. Our first guest is one of the biggest names in crypto art, and one of the most mysterious. Murat Pak is the artist and industrial designer who created the AI-powered image sharing site Archillect. Pak has made it a policy to separate their personal identity from their online work, and prefers to keep their quote-unquote real identity hidden, so we conducted this interview by email and converted Pak’s answers to audio using text-to-speech software. As Pak has expressed in other interviews, it's really the work that matters. And we do know a lot about the work, Pak has sold more than 60 pieces of digital art this year on the auction site SuperRare, for more than $350,000. And that’s just one of the several platforms on which Pak’s work is sold.  In this Q&A, Pak talks with a16z's Zoran Basich about NFTs. These "non-fungible tokens" are unique assets that are not interchangeable. Dollar bills are fungible — each dollar bill is worth exactly the same as every other one. But works of art, for example, or any collectible, can be non-fungible — their value varies based on the market for that particular asset. With crypto, these assets carry digital ownership rights that can be easily exchanged. We start by discussing the whole concept of digital art, and why anyone would pay for something that (seemingly) can be easily copied. Our second interview is with Signe Pierce, a visual, digital, and performance artist whose work has appeared in major galleries in Paris, Los Angeles, and New York. She’s currently featuring her artwork on the creator marketplace Foundation. On that site, in addition to auction-style NFT markets, the price of tokens associated with individual works of art is something like you’d see on a stock market – the pricing is real-time, and dynamic and fluctuates according to demand by buyers, who might be investors, collectors, or fans. Signe discusses why she went from working exclusively with galleries to trying crypto marketplaces, how this move affects her work and her business, and how crypto could change the way she engages with her fans. She also offers advice for creators interested in getting into the world of crypto. She starts off by talking about how social media popularity several years ago opened her eyes to the idea of new monetization models for creators.
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 last week from Pfizer and BioNTech that their vaccine candidate was found to be more than 90% effective in preventing COVID-19 -- and relatedly, the most recent news around Moderna's vaccine candidate? 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 all this in context of all the other (458!) programs in development? And how much should/ shouldn’t we read into the news, given the buzzy excitement and penchant for evaluating "science via press release"? a16z bio general partners Vineeta Agarwala and Jorge Conde recently broke it all down in conversation with Sonal Chokshi on our show 16 Minutes: 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 why mRNA matters in the present future of vaccines.
True cloud-native games—those exclusive to and solely playable within the cloud—are poised to revolutionize gameplay and unlock new avenues of hyper-personalized storytelling and socializing. It's a vision that, though steadily advancing, is still in its early stages. Just one year ago this week, Google launched its cloud gaming service, Stadia, which shares the space with competitors including Microsoft's xCloud, Playstation Now, and Nvidia’s GeForce. In this episode, Jade Raymond, VP of Stadia Games and Entertainment, Jonathan Lai, formerly of Riot Games and Tencent, and host Lauren Murrow talk about the challenges in building cloud-native games, their potential to upend prevailing business models and pricing, and, most importantly, the spontaneous, social, super-shareable experiences that true cloud streaming  will reveal. Through the rise of user-generated content, AI, and the cloud, they believe we're inching ever closer to the Metaverse. 
The Great Data Debate

The Great Data Debate

2020-11-1326:25

Lakes v. warehouses, analytics v. AI/ML, SQL v. everything else... As the technical capabilities of data lakes and data warehouses converge, are the separate tools and teams that run AI/ML and analytics converging as well?In this podcast, originally recorded as part of Fivetran's Modern Data Stack conference, five leaders in data infrastructure debate that question: a16z general partner and pioneer of software defined networking Martin Casado, former CEO of Snowflake Bob Muglia; Michelle Ufford, founder and CEO of Noteable; Tristan Handy, founder of Fishtown Analytics and leader of the open source project dbt; and Fivetran founder George Fraser.The conversation covers the future of data lakes, the new use cases for the modern data stack, data mesh and whether decentralization of teams and tools is the future, and how low we actually need to go with latency. And while the topic of debate is the modern data stack, the themes and differing perspectives strike at the heart of an even bigger: how does technology evolve in complex enterprise environments? 
How to moderate good, productive discussions and navigate tricky conversations is top of mind -- whether doing a panel, conducting a live event, presenting a talk (or hosting a podcast), managing (and even just participating in!) a meeting. Especially in a world where remote and virtual work is increasingly become the norm for many knowledge workers, one in which we're increasingly communicating through little "Hollywood Squares, Brady Bunch"-like boxes.So how to translate physical and nonverbal presence in such virtual environments, or voice-only modes? How to manage unruly discussions? Do parasocial vs. social interactions change things? And beyond these broader contexts, how do the things inside us -- whether agendas, tics, anxiety -- manifest outwardly, and can we better control them?In this episode of the a16z Podcast, Matt Abrahams -- lecturer at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business (where he also has a podcast, "Think Fast Talk Smart"); principal and co-founder of Bold Echo (a company that helps people with presentation and communication skills); and author of Speaking Up Without Freaking Out -- shares frameworks and best practices, in conversation with Sonal Chokshi. The discussion offers many concrete tips for moderation and communication for anyone, across all kinds of mediums and modes. image: Paul Hudson / Flickr
"The most profound technologies are those that disappear. They weave themselves into the fabric of everyday life until they're indistinguishable from it." That quote from computer scientist Mark Weiser is from a 1991 paper where he outlined the vision of ubiquitous computing; in it, he also referenced "seamlessness"... We just can't get away from textile metaphors: we catch airline "shuttles", we "weave" through traffic, we follow comment "threads” -- the metaphors are as ubiquitous and abundant and threaded throughout our lives as the textiles (and computing) all around us.In fact, argues author and columnist Virginia Postrel, the story of textiles IS the story of technology and science (across all kinds of fields, from biology to chemistry); of commerce (as well as management, measurement, machines); but most of all, of civilization (vs. just culture) itself. That's what her new book, The Fabric of Civilization: How Textiles Made the World is all about. But it's really a story and history of innovation, and of human ingenuity... which is also the theme of the a16z Podcast -- and of this special, inaugural book launch episode with the author in conversation with showrunner Sonal Chokshi.The discussion both dives deep and lightly dips into a wide range of topics: fabrics, from the genetics of cotton to the supply chain of silk (including pre-Industrial Revolution factories, early payment and incentive alignment, "maestre" and notions of expertise); knowledge, from the storage and transmission of it to sharing tacit and explicit code (including manuals, notation, measures); and math as the science of patterns, origins of mathematics (including early education and getting paid for it). The touch on the NASA space program, knitting and AI, and the environmental impact of dyes. Throughout, they discuss the what and the why -- the warp and weft of this episode! -- of HOW innovation happens, from incremental improvements to sudden leaps, also taking a closer look at the demographics and images involved. And finally, they cover the evolution and meaning of kente cloth (as well as other patterns) in Ghana and beyond... Because the story of textiles -- and of technology -- is not just a story of one culture or time or place: it is a universally human story, woven from countless threads and wires.links & other articles mentioned in this episode:YouTube & Instagram from the author, featuring cited images among othersThe Computer for the 21st Century, Mark Weiser, Scientific American, 1991Every topological surface can be knit: a proof, Sarah-Marie Belcastro, Journal of Mathematics and the Arts, 2009How an AI took over the an adult knitting community, Alexis Madrigal, The Atlantic, 2018Portrait of a Man, Portrait of a Woman, Maarten van Heemskerck, Rijks Museum, 1529In Ghana, pandemic inspires new fabrics, Kent Mensah, Christian Science Monitor 2020Welcome to the new world civilization, Virginia Postrel, Reason, 2020images: composite of knitting by © sarah-marie belcastro (courtesy Virginia Postrel) + magnetic core memory wires & beads, magnified 60x (photo from Virginia Postrel) -- combined by Sonal Chokshi for the a16z Podcast
Data, data, data – it’s long been a buzzword in the industry, whether big data, streaming data, data analytics, data science, even AI & machine learning — but data alone is not enough: it takes an entire system of tools and technology to extract value from data. A multibillion dollar industry has emerged around data tools and technologies. And with so much excitement and innovation in the space: how exactly do all these tools fit together? This podcast – a hallway style conversation between Ali Ghodsi, CEO and Founder of Databricks, and a16z general partner Martin Casado – explores the evolution of data architectures, including some quick history, where they’re going, and a surprising use case for streaming data, as well as Ali’s take on how he’d architect the picks and shovels that handle data end-to-end today.
Gen Z—those born between 1995 and 2010—now makes up 35 percent of the population and represent $143 billion dollars in spending power. This episode is all about how brands can better understand, collaborate with, and resonate with this hugely influential segment of consumers. Our guest, Tiffany Zhong, is the 24-year-old CEO of Zebra IQ, a company that helps brands interpret the wants of Gen Z consumers and helps Gen Z creators turn their content into businesses. In its recent Gen Z Trends Report, her company highlights important cultural trends and Gen Z behaviors based on a trove of proprietary research. In this conversation, Tiffany and a16z general partner Connie Chan discuss the key differences between Gen Z and millennials, the growing power of short-form video on platforms like TikTok and YouTube, our changing perception of luxury, and how Gen Z is shifting the paradigm around money, education, and work.The pair breaks down how brands can partner with Gen Z influencers in a way that’s compelling, not cringeworthy, and why when it comes to memes and the art of emoji, you’re probably doing it wrong.
We've already talked a lot about podcasting, both evolution of the industry as well as the form, but where are we going with the future of audio, more broadly? Can we borrow from the present and future of video (e.g., TikTok) to see what's next in audio (more layers, more interactivity)? Can we borrow from the past of audio (i.e., radio) to see what's next for audio experiences (more blending of music, talk, podcasting)? Where do all these mediums converge and where do they diverge -- when it comes to user experience, product design, recommendations, discovery?Gustav Söderström, chief R&D officer (who oversees the product, design, data, and engineering teams) at Spotify -- the world's most popular audio streaming subscription service -- joins this episode of the a16z Podcast for a deep dive on all things audio with a16z general partner Connie Chan and editor in chief Sonal Chokshi. They cover the past, present, and future of audio -- going high level into the big trends and also dipping down into the trenches -- especially given the increased blending of talk/ podcasting, music, more. What are the challenges to designing for different mediums, on both front end and back end (including machine learning and different graphs), when listeners want everything in one place when and where they want it... yet their contexts shift?But the conversation more broadly is really more about what happens when we give creators (of all kinds!) tools -- not just for expression but for fan engagement and monetization too. We also discuss the themes of super apps and full-stack approaches when it comes to innovating on top of a protocol, as well as how innovation happens in practice: How do mediums -- and organizations -- evolve, prioritize, "disrupt themselves"? All this and more in this episode.---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.
It seems like investors are especially obsessed with the psychology of decision making -- high stakes, after all -- but all kinds of decisions, whether in life or business -- like dating, product management, what to eat or watch on Netflix -- are an "investment portfolio" of decisions... even if you sometimes feel like you're making one big decision at a time (like, say, marriage or what product to develop next or who to hire).Obviously, not all decisions are equal; in fact, sometimes we don't even have to spend any time deciding. So how do we know which decisions to apply a robust decision process too, which ones not to? What are the strategies, mindsets, tools to help us decide? How can we operationalize a good decision process and decision hygiene into our teams and organizations? After all, we're tribal creatures -- our opinions are infectious (for better and for worse) -- so how do we convey vs. convince, and not necessarily agree but inform to decide? Especially given common pitfalls (resulting, hindsight bias, etc.), and "the paradox of experience", including even (and more so) winning vs. losing.Decision expert (and leading poker player) Annie Duke comes back on the a16z Podcast -- after our first conversation with her for Thinking in Bets, which focused mainly on WHY our decision making gets so frustrated -- to talk about her new book, which picks up where the last left off, on HOW to Decide: Simple Tools for Better Choices. In conversation with a16z managing partner Jeff Jordan (and former CEO of OpenTable and former GM of eBay among other things) -- so, from all sides of investing, operating, life -- Annie shares tips for decision makers of all kinds making decisions under uncertainty... really, all of us. 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.
Millennials and Gen Z have been hard-hit by the one-two punch of the 2008 and 2020 financial crises. That experience has radically shaped their approach to finances and their mindset around credit and debt. This episode explores how fintech founders are now designing products tailored to the financial challenges of younger consumers, from managing and avoiding student loans to building credit to saving and budgeting apps. Historically, students have largely been overlooked by traditional banks. Due to a combination of economic forces, predatory lending practices, and uninformed decisions, millennials have more outstanding student loans—and owe more money—than any prior generation. According to a poll conducted this month by the data intelligence company Morning Consult, just 46 percent of millennials believe their student debt was worth attending college. Amira Yahyaoui wants to change that. She’s the founder and CEO of Mos, a platform that allows students to apply for every government college financial aid program with a single application. In this episode, Amira joins host Lauren Murrow and a16z fintech partners Anish Acharya and Seema Amble to discuss how fintech can cut through bureaucracy, downsize student debt, and optimize—and ultimately automate—consumers’ financial futures from an early age.
Welcome to the second episode of Bio Eats World, a brand new podcast all about how biology is technology. Bio is breaking out of the lab and clinic and into our daily lives -- on the verge of revolutionizing our world in ways we are only just beginning to imagine.Many diseases are caused by proteins that have gone haywire in some fashion. There could be too much of the protein, it could be mutated, or it could be present in the wrong place or time. So how do you get rid of these problematic proteins? In this episode of Journal Club (now on Bio Eats World), Stanford professor Carolyn Bertozzi and host Lauren Richardson discuss the article “Lysosome-targeting chimaeras for degradation of extracellular proteins” by Steven Banik, Kayvon Pedram, Simon Wisnovsky, Green Ahn, Nicholas Riley, and Carolyn Bertozzi, published in Nature (2020).Dr. Bertozzi and  her lab developed a class of drugs — or modality — that tosses the disease-related proteins into the cellular trash can. While there are other drugs that work through targeted protein degradation, these drugs called LYTACs are able to attack a set of critical proteins, some of which have never been touched by any kind of drug before. The conversation covers how they engineered these new drugs, their benefits, and how they can be further optimized and specialized in the future.
Welcome to the first episode of Bio Eats World, a brand new podcast all about how biology is technology. Bio is breaking out of the lab and clinic and into our daily lives -- on the verge of revolutionizing our world in ways we are only just beginning to imagine.In this episode, we talk all about the science of aging. Once a fringe field, aging research is now entering a new phase with the first clinical trials of aging-related drugs. As the entire field shifts into this moment of translation, what have we learned? What are the basic approaches to developing aging-related drugs? How is studying aging helping us understand diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s -- and increasing the amount of time we are healthy -- today? In this conversation, Laura Deming, founder of The Longevity Fund; Kristen Fortney, co-founder of BioAge, a clinical-stage company focused on finding drugs to extend healthspan; Vijay Pande, general partner at a16z; and host Hanne Winarsky discuss the entire arc of aging science from one genetic tweak in a tiny worm to changing a whole paradigm of healthcare delivery.Be sure to subscribe to 'Bio Eats World' if you want to keep getting it (and please feel free to rate it as well). To learn more about the expanding a16z Podcast network, please visit a16z.com/podnetwork.
With the U.S. tech partnership for TikTok being finalized, what happens if source code is excluded (and more specifically, the For You Page algorithm), given China’s revised export controls? But more broadly -- well beyond the specifics and politics of this deal -- what does the success of TikTok tell us about “creativity network effects”, where every additional creator makes the rest of the community more creative? How did "seeing like an algorithm" and the new age of algorithm-friendly product design enable the short video-sharing platform to grab massive marketshare in cultures and markets never experienced firsthand by the engineers and designers in China, beating out other dominant players and apps in the United States?In this episode of 16 Minutes -- our show where we discuss what's in the news, tease apart what's hype/ what's real, and  where we are on the long arc of innovation  with specific tech trends with top experts -- Eugene Wei (former head of product at Hulu, Flipboard, and video at Oculus) joins us. We also touch on the future of entertainment, education, and the power and future of video.full transcript here: https://a16z.com/2020/09/18/16mins-tiktok-seeing-like-an-algorithm-friendly-design-creativity-network-effects-video/---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’s episode, part two in our two-part series on the Creator Economy, focuses on the new potential revenue streams and fan-engagement models opened up by emerging decentralized technology. It's a new type of fan club, driven by crypto networks and aiming to give creators more power in the commercial sphere. Zoran Basich of a16z talked to two guests deeply immersed in these topics. Kayvon Tehranian is the founder and CEO of Foundation Labs, a platform for buying and selling limited edition goods. Think of it as a crypto marketplace that creates new revenue streams for creators, and financial incentives for buyers. Before that he was head of product at cryptocurrencies marketplace Dharma Labs, and he has long worked on making crypto more accessible to the mainstream. Jesse Walden is a former a16z partner who recently launched his own fund, Variant, which focuses on what he calls the ownership economy enabled by crypto. He also previously cofounded the startup Mediachain, which was acquired by Spotify, and is a former music promoter and manager whose focus was on helping artists stay independent. Kayvon and Jesse explain how the emerging crypto models differ from previous attempts to create new revenue streams for artists, and about the role of speculation and hype in creator markets. They also debate whether these new markets will largely be driven by financial motives, or whether cultural factors will be equally powerful in determining the growth of creator markets. And they offer advice to creators interested in exploring this new world, including important practical guidance on expectations and timelines.
This episode, part one in a two-part series on the Creator Economy, explores the process and economics behind creating an independent newsletter. In this candid conversation, host Lauren Murrow talks with four Substack writers—an artist, a technologist, a journalist, and a clinical researcher-turned-psychedelics scholar—about how to find and foster an audience, the calculus behind going paid versus unpaid, the pressure to produce, and financial benchmarks for making a living from newsletter writing.The pandemic has prompted a reckoning within traditional media  and, in parallel, a surge in the newsletter ecosystem. On Substack, readership and active writers both doubled from January through April. The newsletter hosting platform now has more than 100,000 paying subscribers.This episode reveals the behind-the-scenes experiences of four newsletter creators, all of whom launched roughly within the past year:Software engineer Lenny Rachitsky, most recently a growth product manager at Airbnb, whose tech-focused dispatch is called Lenny’s Newsletter.Artist and writer Edith Zimmerman, creator of the Drawing Links newsletter, which chronicles her life and musings through comic-style illustrations. Zach Haigney, an acupuncturist and researcher whose newsletter, The Trip Report, explores the science, policy, and business behind medicinal psychedelics.And Patrice Peck, a freelance journalist—previously a staff writer at BuzzFeed—whose newsletter, Coronavirus News for Black Folks, highlights the pandemic’s disproportionate impact on the black community.Listen to the end of the episode to hear more about Patrice, Zach, Edith, and Lenny's top newsletter recommendations:Patrice’s newsletter recs:The Intersection by Adriana LacyBeauty IRL by Darian Symone HarvinCarefree Black Girl by Zeba BlayMaybe Baby by Haley Nahman Zach’s newsletter recs:Stratechery by Ben ThompsonSinocism by Bill BishopA Media Operator by Jacob Cohen DonnellyOff the Chain by Anthony PomplianoThe Weekly Dish by Andrew Sullivan Edith’s newsletter recs:The Browser by Robert CottrellThe Ruffian by Ian LeslieRidgeline by Craig ModDearest by Monica McLaughlinWhy Is This Interesting? by Noah Brier and Colin Nagy Lenny’s newsletter recs:2PM by Webb Smith Li’s Newsletter by Li Jin Alex Danco’s Newsletter by Alex DancoTurner’s Blog by Turner NovakNext Big Thing by Nikhil Basu Trivedi Big Technology by Alex KantrowitzThe Profile by Polina MarinovaEverything by Nathan Baschez, Dan Shipper, Tiago Forte, and Adam KeeslingNot Boring by Packy McCormick  Illustration: Edith Zimmerman
Since Netflix started in the late 90s as a DVD-by-mail rental service competing with Blockbuster, it has completely reinvented itself... twice – first, when it went from DVD rental to video streaming platform, and then again when it went from licensing to producing original content.But what does it take to create an organization capable of reinventing itself?In this episode, originally recorded for the Commonwealth Club of California, Netflix CEO and co-founder Reed Hasting talks about his new book "No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention" with a16z co-founder and fellow author Ben Horowitz, who also wrote a bestselling book about culture last year. During the conversation, Reed tells the story of Netflix's evolution and his management philosophy, including the hard lesson he learned about what happens when you optimize for efficiency at the expense of creative talent. He also explains why sometimes a more narrow market focus is better for growth and shares the tactics that have helped Netflix expand globally and translate a culture of innovation across different countries, from Japan to Brazil to America.
"I'm in a movie, but it's the wrong movie."For better or for worse, we tell the story of entrepreneurs as one of the mythical hero's journey: that's there's a call, a test (multiple tests!), a destination... But nothing truly follows such a clean, linear, storytelling arc. Stories of success and resilience are messy and full of "sleepless nights, anxiety-ridden fears, moments of real despair and failure", observes Guy Raz -- who is the host, co-creator, and editorial director of three NPR programs, including the popular podcast "How I Built This" -- and has a new book (coming out this week) on How I Built This: The Unexpected Paths to Success from the World's Most Inspiring Entrepreneurs.But in sharing these stories, are we also indulging in "failure porn"? Where do (and don't) debates about optimism vs. pessimism come in; does this really squelch the appetite for building? What happens when "unexpected paths" are actually things like a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic? Editor in chief (and showrunner of the a16z podcasts) Sonal Chokshi probes Raz on these questions and more, while also pulling the threads of how storytelling IS business -- whether it's a company or a community or a product or a movement. So what's the difference between "building buzz" and "engineering word of mouth"? And how do the stories we tell ourselves, and others, actually move things?Raz is also an entrepreneur with his own production company; has won numerous awards and accolades; co-created a podcast for kids (Wow In The World); and is hosting a music interview show for Spotify, not to mention his NPR shows. So what's his best interview tip? And how does his story also thread into this broader sea of stories, along with the story of the podcasting industry, and even the story (and history) of the Bay Area? This episode is for anyone wanting to figure out how to rewrite their own story... it's really for everyone.
Monopoly, oligopoly, cartel. All three of those words can describe the (not so) modern education system today, given the cost structures, economics, and accreditation capture -- in everything from who can and can't start a new university (when was the last time a significant change happened there anyway?!) to where government funding really goes to the student loan and debt crisis.Yet degrees do matter, just not for the reasons we think. So what are the tradeoffs -- when it comes to the "right" school, making money, and assessing skills objectively -- between what's been called "hard" (B.S.) and "soft" (B.A.) degrees? What's the best book on career advice, and what advice does Marc Andreessen -- who went to a public university, worked on a revolutionary project there, and started a company right after -- have for students (and others contemplating change in their careers)... and especially for those considering dropping out, delaying, or skipping college altogether?Andreessen shares his thoughts on the purpose, past and present of education (briefly touching on the impact of the pandemic as well) with Dylan Field, CEO of Figma, which is free for students and educators. The Q&A was recorded in August 2020 and originally appeared as a video in their "Back to School?" interview series; it was actually inspired by the question of taking a gap year and questions about whether or not to go back to school this year that came up in their Virtual Campus community of students from across the world. image: Lyndsy Rommel / Flickr
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Comments (16)

Kevin Schreder

With everything going on in the markets today, I would be interested in understanding how a cryptocurrency, driven by a private entity or open source, could influence the public markets, interest rates, and the dispersion of money. Depending on the economic ups and downs, wouldn't there need to be a governing entity, such as the federal reserve?

Apr 25th
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Al Yaz

a very powerful and thought provoking episode. thank you. Buy American.

Feb 19th
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Sara Jackson

This was a great episode! A lot of fun history to learn about.

Oct 20th
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AJF Nonprofit Podcast

That's why we in America need Yang2020.com.

Jun 16th
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Connie Kwan

very informative. one of the best episodes!

May 30th
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CJ

They really need to check out Castbox, we are working on a lot of the features they talked about, and some of the features are even available in other regions already. There will be lots of new monetization opportunities on Castbox for creators, keep an eye out in the near future!

Apr 7th
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Cliffy B.

Even tho i had to slow down all the SPEED TAlKING this was enjoyable. Peeps be waaayyy Vata

Apr 4th
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Luke H

A lot.of this does not reflect UK market

Mar 23rd
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Pieter Haegeman

Let your guests speak and your audience make connections for themselves. The interviewers incessant hmms and rights are just distracting from the quality of your guests. Please think about the difference between showing your guests youre listening in the moment and letting your listeners still be able to experience the conversation for themselves.

Mar 17th
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CJ

Really wish I could hear more from the CEO of Activision, he has some great stories!

Feb 22nd
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Michael Bergman

Great podcast, please don't interrupt the subject so much next time.

Dec 26th
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Marcin K

this is actually a really interesting talk...

Sep 18th
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Melanie Matsuo

why are there only men in this interview? are there no women that have an opinion on hiring a vp of product???

Jul 13th
Reply (1)

Indrajit Rajtilak

- Idea meritocracy and believability weighted decision making - mission first people second - everything has precedent, understanding differences is important for good decision making - having 15 low correlated investments is great investing strategy - being early and being wrong are the same thing - ego barrier and blindspot - teacher vs peer vs student - Shaper : visualization to actualization - Simultaneous open mindedness and assertiveness - Open mindedness: having opinions but knowing that you might be wrong, and testing it

Apr 27th
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