Marc Andreessen Postmortem
By Russ Roberts
This week’s interview with Marc Andreessen was one of my favorite episodes in a while.I know an episode is a good one when afterward I’m eager to share things I’ve learned with friends and family and this one had a bunch of interesting thought-provoking insights that stayed with me and that I wanted to share.
I wish the sound quality had been better. Marc was on his cell phone which at first sounded fine but I realized later wasn’t the best. My sound engineer, Rich Goyette, did a great job improving it but it still was not up to our usual standards. Plus Marc talks as fast as Richard Epstein so that 60 minutes has about 90 minutes of material…
A commenter named David wondered why we didn’t talk about Mt Gox when discussing BitCoin. There was no particular reason–I just didn’t think about it. You have to understand that when you’re hosting, there are a million things going through your head, whether to interrupt, whether to change the topic, whether to ask a follow-up question, and so on. You’re looking at the clock worrying whether you have too many questions, not enough, and so on. I didn’t expect to get that deeply into bitcoin but we did, which was fascinating. I have a lot more questions on just the mechanics of bitcoin. I felt we barely scratched the surface. Don’t worry, I expect we’ll come back to it.
I really enjoyed his insights into venture capital. What a crazy business. How weird it must be to worry about missing out on the next big thing when the next big thing only makes sense to the people with the idea. Almost no one else sees it. The fear of missing the next Google may explain Andreessen’s enthusiasm for bitcoin. He’s assuming it’s the next big thing when almost no one else agrees. He’s either going to make a lot of money or lose a lot. His 2×2 matrix is a great way to think about abnormal returns and the whole idea of risk-taking and entrepreneurship.
The other big takeaway for me is his point that software is eating the world. It’s just a matter of time but a lot of traditional industries are going to change in the next 5-10 years. It seems likely that Uber will be using drones soon–you’ll use your cell phone to order a driverless taxi. I wouldn’t pay a lot for that New York City taxi medallion. Wonder if the price is falling…
I hope Marc will come on again sooner than later. Coming on Monday–Yuval Levin on Burke and Paine, talking about his book. The Great Debate.