cdixon

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Exponential curves feel gradual and then sudden

“How did you go bankrupt?”
“Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly.”
― Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises

The core growth process in the technology business is a mutually reinforcing, multi-step, positive feedback loop between platforms and applications. This leads to exponential growth curves (Peter Thiel calls them power law curves) […]

Improbable: enabling the development of large-scale simulated worlds

Over the past decade, computing resources that were previously available only to large organizations became available to almost anyone. Using cloud-scale development platforms like Amazon Web Services, developers can write software that runs on hundreds or even thousands of servers, and do so relatively cheaply. But it is still difficult to […]

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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 […]