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The idea maze for AI startups

An “idea maze” is a map of all the key decisions and tradeoffs that startups in a given space need to make: A good founder is capable of anticipating which turns lead to treasure and which lead to certain death. A bad founder is just running to the […]

Come for the tool, stay for the network

A popular strategy for bootstrapping networks is what I like to call “come for the tool, stay for the network.” The idea is to initially attract users with a single-player tool and then, over time, get them to participate in a network. The tool helps get to initial […]

Stack Exchange

Today we are announcing that A16Z is leading a $40M investment in Stack Exchange, along with earlier investors USV, Bezos Expeditions, Spark, and Index. Stack Exchange is a network of 133 sites (and growing) where people can ask and answer questions about topics related to engineering, science, hobbies, […]

Skydio

I’m excited to announce today that Andreessen Horowitz is leading a $3M financing of Skydio, a startup developing artificial intelligence systems for drones. The Skydio team is awesomely qualified. They worked on drone vision systems at MIT and then co-founded a drone project at Google[x] called Project Wing. […]

Soylent

I was chatting with John Borthwick a few years ago and he said something that struck me. He said he was interested in companies that appear to be focused on selling X but are really online communities that happen to make money selling X. This helps explain why […]

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VC investment vs Gartner hype cycle

Here is total VC investment over time: And here’s the Gartner hype cycle: One reading of this is that the advent of the internet was the technology trigger, the dot-com crash was the trough of disillusionment, and 2004-present is the slope of enlightenment (with a mini-crash in 2008 due to the […]

How We Got To Now

I really enjoyed Steven Johnson’s How We Got To Now. I read a lot of history and science books, but this book stood out because 1) the anecdotes were entertaining and relevant, and 2) it got the process of innovation right. I’ll just pick one story here that I liked. Frederic Tudor was […]

Flow

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in 1996 on the concept of Flow: [Flow] is being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you’re using […]

The thin edge of the wedge for virtual reality

Pius Uzamere argues that virtual reality will succeed first in business applications instead of gaming: The most interesting virtual reality software startups this year won’t really be “virtual reality” companies at all; they’ll be startups making amazing tools that just happen to use VR to bring them to life. This […]