The a16z Podcast

This showed up in my SoundCloud stream over the weekend. I finally got around to listening to it this morning.

The iOS vs Android debate certainly does seem like old news, but what happens next is a super interesting topic. The first part of this podcast is about iOS vs Android, but the second half gets into more interesting territory.

I like that Andreessen is giving Benedict the opportunity to build an audience on multiple platforms. I am not sure if this is Benedict’s podcast or if we will see others, like Marc, Ben, Chris, and the other Andreessen partners on this podcast. But regardless, this is yet another great information source coming out of the VC business.

The idea of a VC podcast is not new. Bijan and Nabeel at Spark have been doing this for a couple years. You can listen to a bunch of their podcasts here.

#mobile#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. WA

    Commute food. Thanks.

  2. awaldstein

    Raises the point to me as I see more podcasts popping up whether presentation video which is done so often and so poorly is still too difficult and complex to do even for people, like the VCs, that have the resources to do it well if they choose.

    1. Matt A. Myers

      I have a feeling that podcast services from a decade ago were just too ahead of their time. I knew of a few services back then, and other services that supported podcasting. Many many more self-publishers out there now with much better technology at their fingertips than 10 years ago.

    2. fredwilson

      it is super simple to record from your laptop to soundcloud. you don’t need anything else. if you want to buy a nice USB microphone, that would help but it is not necessary

      1. Elia Freedman

        Making it sound good with consistent volumes seems to be a problem. The podcasts I’ve listen to are all over the place. If the levels aren’t right they are really hard to listen to and I stop.

        1. Matt A. Myers

          I imagine it just takes proper tools to equalize. It’d be cool to hear how people would read their own writing, though I imagine for most it doesn’t currently bring them enough additional value.

          1. Donna Brewington White

            I recently listened to The Book of Business Awesome where the author (Scott Stratten) narrated. Definitely an enhanced experience.

          2. Matt A. Myers

            I think books it makes much more sense for. Assuming it’s going to be a popular book then the amount of listeners will be higher as well.

    3. LE

      like the VCs, that have the resources to do it wellLet’s hypothesize that VC’s (like CEO’s) are big thinkers and not detail oriented (in general). And further have skills in a very defined area.It’s not their strong suit to know little details they are not “jacks of all trade” they are “masters of one or two”. Likewise they might not even be particular creative. So they aren not going to realize the difference between a good creative and a mediocre creative and so if they don’t have the right people on the project it’s going to turn out totally “meh”. [1] At least at this level. If they had to put something together that was going to be viewed by what they thought was an important audience they probably would hire higher level people and the product would turn out much better.In order to know who is good you have to have some sense of what that good is yourself. [1] I know practically nothing about wine so I’m not in a good position to determine who does. Now if you gave me a shit load of money and I knew it was important to have a good wine person I could solve the problem. But if I didn’t think it was important and/or didn’t have enough money I would just trust that the local wine store guy (in my area) was “good enough”. And yet I would have no clue as to his level of expertise in wines. At all.[1] When I was in the printing business it would amaze me the number of people that would show up and give us work that we were totally unqualified to do. They had money but they didn’t know what we were even capable of at our equipment level. Now if the company was large enough of course they would know enough to hire a good ad agency and that ad agency who was well paid had their own sources and expertise that would totally exclude someone like us. But we made money off many people who didn’t.

    4. William Mougayar

      I thought it was difficult, but it’s not. 2 weeks ago, I watched Scoble pull his iPhone on the spot, and start a podcast interview (using SoundCloud) with 2 entrepreneurs in Toronto, then as soon as he was finished, he posted it, and SoundCloud pushed it automatically to his social channels. It was effortless.

      1. awaldstein

        True–honestly there is nothing quite like the written word for relaying information.

  3. jason wright

    “firefox….playing an eccentric business model…”my ears pricked up at that. is eccentric another way of saying contrarian?

    1. fredwilson


    2. Matt A. Myers

      That’s a good observation. I’ve never thought about eccentricity that way, though it’s certainly people who don’t “fit with” the status quo. Neat.

  4. John Revay

    I have listened to several of the Bijan and Nabeel water cooler pod casts over time, and I saw the link 16z one in Ben’s email on Sunday night – I will listen on the way into work today.Separately & on a light note – I have often very much enjoyed the funny videos that Brad & the Foundry group does – they are very well done.Re: Ben Evans moving 8 hrs in time zones…I hate having to wait to get his email until late in the day on Sunday.

  5. Bruce Warila

    Podcasts are great for commuters. Otherwise, podcasts are the slowwwwww way to consume information. I prefer the transcript.

    1. Matt A. Myers

      I feel it really depends on the type of content and how deeply you want to absorb it. If there’s an interesting enough point or conclusion I hear someone say then I’ll take the time to go back and listen to how they structured it – and really listen to understand it. The same can be said with skimming something, though unless I know early on – based on the title or interest in topic or if the first paragraph strongly pulls me in, then I’ll still just skim a text article too.

      1. CJ

        I’m the opposite, I learn much better by reading than listening. I prefer emails to phone calls or voicemails and all of those to meetings. I just need to SEE it to GET it and that means it should be in text in a book or on a screen.

        1. Matt A. Myers

          For certain things I agree. Sometimes it’s nice and perhaps even beneficial to use multiple channels for absorbing/consuming deep information though.

    2. jason wright

      i want to see and hear it.for me the better consumption format would be the audio podcast of the text document. better than the ‘graphic equalizer’ across the bottom of the audio play would be the full text in view with a visual guide charting the progress of the audio output as it moves through the text. this gives me the chance to move precisely back and forth through the text to where i want to be. At the moment i’m a bit blind as to where the interesting points i’ve mentally noted are if i want to have another listen.

    3. Elia Freedman

      They also allow me to exercise without feeling guilty that I should be working.

      1. LE

        They also allow me to exercise without feeling guiltyYou should never feel guilty that you are either sleeping or exercising.

        1. Elia Freedman

          Easier said than done. So I listen to business podcasts and call it my thinking time each day, which gives me the freedom to exercise. The games we play, huh?

      2. Bruce Warila

        my favorite bit of advice: “health before wealth”

        1. Elia Freedman

          I like that. I turned 40 this year, have lost 35 pounds, and recommitted to both exercise and a better diet. It helps me work better, too. Far more energy than I’ve had in years.

        2. Richard

          “Freedom before Servitude”

    4. Aaron Klein

      Could not agree more. Video and audio that are the equivalent of the written word are utterly inefficient and I never have time to do them.Add some interesting visuals or a demo to video, and I’m sold on investing the time. πŸ™‚

    5. ShanaC

      True, but they are a fun way of learning about the world. (I often listen to thisamericanlife on weekends)

  6. pointsnfigures

    AVC used to use Voicebunny. Does that work with WordPress?

    1. fredwilson

      i couldn’t afford voicebunnyi was getting it for free but when i took them off the front page, they had to charge me because the value of the free promotion went away

      1. Richard

        Love that soundcloud continues to play while I am in a another (mobile) tab. Know if this is a Safari feature or a soundcloud hack?

      2. LE

        i couldn’t afford voicebunnyHah. I think what you mean to say is that you don’t think it’s worth the cost vs. the benefit. Of course you can afford it.I wonder then if voicebunny could make a convincing argument as to why it would be worth it for you to use it at the cost that they charge.Or if an adjustment needs to be made to their pricing model for cases like AVC.comSeems to me that they are leaving money on the table. Since I’m sure that there is a price that would make sense for you to use it other than “free”.

        1. PhilipSugar

          Afford is an interesting word. Fred and I once had a good discussion about it when he was talking about angel investing. He pointed out he could only afford to make $25k – $50k investments. I think my quote was people confuse afford for how much they can spend.Afford can be defined in two different ways:1. To have enough money to pay for: For many people this is the definition. If I can swing a $700/month car payment I can afford a super luxury car.2. What is rational amount for something in your perception for the value.So while one might have the money to buy a Ferrari, one could also say they couldn’t afford it.

          1. LE

            He pointed out he could only afford to make $25k – $50k investments.I suspect that part of that might be what I will call the “schmuck” factor.It probably feels much better to only have thrown 50k at something that fails than $100k.Likewise, and this is obvious, you can make 4 – 25k investments or 1 100k investment and since it’s a numbers game what is the better strategy in terms of something working in the end?But I think the “schmuck” factor does play a big role.

          2. pointsnfigures

            no, In angel investing it’s measuring risk/reward. Usually, first check isn’t the only check you write.

          3. PhilipSugar

            I don’t want to speak for Fred, but I think in the Angel game you have a very few winners. So you have to figure out what is right for your portfolio, then split in half to reserve money for follow ons, then split into 10 to 20 investments figuring you are looking for the big homerun. I do agree with your point that you need to spend money to make money. First learned that lesson the lawn mowing business. Why “save” money on cheap equipment, go for the best, it lasts longer and saves time. You can tell a lot about the person working on your house by their tools.

          4. LE

            Why “save” money on cheap equipment, go for the best, it lasts longer and saves time.One of the reasons we have so much cheap shit today is that the masses of people aren’t able to think like that. They masses buy on price. And people selling quality often don’t have the resources or sales skills to show people why their product/service is worth more money. [1] And even if they do the buyer more often than not will go (unless they see really compelling evidence to the contrary) with the cheaper product (the greed reflex). And take their chances.[1] I almost got hurt really bad by a rc model helicopter that I bought last year. Prices have fallen dramatically. One that I bought maybe 6 or 7 years ago and was a few thousand can now be had for a few hundred (or even less depending on the model).Anyway I had one that all the sudden went out of control and I had to duck or it would have hit me for sure. (Some guy lost his head fortunately the one I had wasn’t that powerful..)Anyway I do a post mortem on it (like a crash investigation) and take apart the servos. What I find is a chipped plastic gear. The one from a few years ago had a brass gear. So the newer one failed almost immediately after a particular typical maneuver. (I actually wrote the to CPSC and predictably got no response).

        2. Aaron Klein

          Actually, the greatest indicator of someone with wealth is that they “can’t afford” things.

          1. PhilipSugar

            We think alike.

          2. LE

            How so? That sounds like the theme which says that people make money by being very judicious about how they spend money. I’ve never been one to subscribe to that. It’s like a Ben Franklin thing.When a business fails (or a businessperson fails) the stories always come out about the money they wasted. Because it’s what people want to hear it’s the “mr big shot fell hard” meme. When in fact that wasn’t really what caused the downfall at all.You know all the “lavish spending” stories that you read after the fact when someone goes belly up. I know a guy who was the recipient of one of those stories growing up. Totally spoiled his kids and had the nicest house in the neighborhood. Then he lost the “big” contract and went belly up. Sure he might have had a bit more money in the bank had he not lived such a lavish lifestyle. But the truth is he lost the contract. And that’s that.I know another guy (and several other guys) who are the same way. And they didn’t “lose the contract” and are doing fine this many years later.There are for sure advantages to spending money in certain circumstances. My dad never joined the country club. Had he he might have done bigger business deals. I hypothesize this because I know about all the deals that he did just as a result of being a member of a local health club for 40 years. (He likes to socialize). So I can presume that had he been in an environment with bigger fish things might have been better than they were. And yet it would seem like lavish and a waste to pay for a country club and play golf to many people.

          3. Aaron Klein

            Money compounds when you save it. It stops doing so when you spend it. The wealthiest people I know have the mindset of β€œI can’t afford that” because that statement is relative to their goals and desires. I can afford a Corvette right now β€” but I’d be encumbering a bunch of my income that I want to save or spend on other things β€” so I can’t afford it.

          4. LE

            Well “afford” definitely relates to more than whether you simply posses the money to make the purchase or not.The problem usually is when people go extreme in either direction and start to derive pleasure (and I have definitely seen this) from not spending money. So they have flipped the reward system. They feel good being frugal. Every time they don’t spend money it gives they a boost as if they are doing the right thing. And somehow that makes them a better person.There is nothing at all wrong with spending money to gain some pleasure or benefit. And in fact it’s unfortunate if you (not “you” but a reader of this comment) have “enough money” that you aren’t able to enjoy some of the things that money can buy.Let’s say you have “more than enough money” but yet you continue to fly coach. Because somehow you think that spending that money is wasteful. So you get a bump each time you don’t spend the money on first class. And you look down on the person who does and maybe you even think that you are better than they are. (Or the person with the expensive house). But you don’t recognize that you probably do spend money on the things that the first class person doesn’t. It’s all about what floats your boat then right?I don’t spend money on clothes. It’s doesn’t give me any enjoyment to do so. But I definitely understand the entertainment value and enjoyment of people that do. So I don’t pat myself on the back saying “wow I am frugal” I just realize that I am different. (Along with my point I spend a great deal of money on computers probably more than the clothes buyer does..)

          5. Donna Brewington White

            This is good.

          6. Matt A. Myers

            Anything you spend money on should take a portion of your mental focus and energy, if you’re a responsible person.

        3. ShanaC

          Truthfully, for the number one usecase (screen readability for the blind) a well marked up webpage is better πŸ™‚

        4. Matt A. Myers

          Maybe Fred and Voicebunny are currently in a game of poker. πŸ™‚

        5. Donna Brewington White

          What if it is outside the budgeted amount? Then is it fair to say “can’t afford”?

          1. LE

            I don’t think so. That is an digital situation and to me business and business like decisions are analog. As such there are general guidelines that you go by but you also have to make exceptions. I’m not a fan of making decisions based on arbitrary numbers or justifying a decision because “we got it for $x price”.Unless of course you are using it as a negotiating technique and in that case it is valid to use “budget” to try and get a price reduced.

  7. scottythebody

    Don’t forget your family’s old school podcast! when was that? A decade or so ago?

  8. Richard

    Are google and apple really smartphone competitors? Apple sells smart phones and sells apps to the billion or so wealthiest individuals in the world. Google ” rents ” a search engine to all mobile phone users and sells apps to the android market.The number that is rarely reported is the market share (which is often erroneously uses interchangeably with sales share) of iPhones vs Android for the wealthiest 100 million on the US and the wealthiest 300 million globally.To the extent that they are competitors in the app market, the important metric is earnings. Not earning per user, just earnings. Neither company reports this number. Though revenue numbers suggest that apple is in a one horse race?

    1. DanielHorowitz

      I think this is one of the main points of the podcast. They are both winners in a very big market. They compete a little bit, but not as much as it seems. Apple is a hardware company, while Google is an AI company.

  9. DanielHorowitz

    The podcast is excellent throughout. I like the bit near the end (~21:30) where he says we are in a pre-pagerank phase and the app store looks a lot like yahoo 20 years ago.What are your thoughts on App search/discovery?

    1. Richard

      I don’t buy it. There is a great app search discovery tool. It is called google and it sits within the apple’s safari browser.

      1. DanielHorowitz

        Google search is ok for finding something I already know exists, but I don’t think it is particularly helpful in helping me discover new apps that I might be interested in. This is probably best informed by other social signals.EDIT: The future may very well be Google, AI is their specialty, but I wish they incorporated more social signal. (Maybe people just aren’t ready for it…)

    2. JasonBoisture

      When you can tell your phone what you want to do and/or who you want to connect with, and the phone seamlessly downloads the most appropriate app based on your settings and contacts, creates any required login for you, identifies your contacts within the app’s network and instantly delivers the new app’s interface β€” that may be the future of app search/discovery.In the end, users really only care about what an app can do, if their friends are on it and if the UI is clean and intuitive. They don’t care about the name of the app. They don’t care about who made it. They don’t have time to slog through app reviews, and they half trust them anyway.If something as sterile as Google search can be personalized with cookies and search histories and other cues, I’ve got to believe app discovery on a phone can be even more so.

      1. Matt A. Myers

        There’s a reason this has happened that is because it eliminates chaos, and chaos allows a revenue stream to exist to allow those with money to pay for additional exposure.

      2. DanielHorowitz

        I suppose it is just early days. The experience is sure to become more automated/seamless. One of the missing components is social signal. If my friends and family (and people I follow on twitter) are using an app I might want to as well.

  10. Dave Pinsen

    Why didn’t USV hire Benedict first?

  11. ShanaC

    Funnily, this past week or so I’ve had a number of people recommend soundcloud to me as a podcasting listening platform

    1. Matt A. Myers

      Surely Fred’s post today is a multi-channel marketing effort! πŸ˜‰

  12. BillMcNeely

    Enjoyed this very much on the way to the office

  13. pointsnfigures

    they need to get the mike closer to Benedict.

  14. GD Ram Ramkumar

    Great to see informative tech podcasts come online. We carry these and more on Swell ( app on iOS. Swell makes it easy to discover and listen to podcasts. The Android version is in beta and we look forward to getting it out to the community to use. Thanks.