Audio Of The Week: Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz

I listened to this 40min interview of Marc and Ben earlier this week.

I enjoyed it. Marc and Ben are smart and witty and know how to work off each other.

I got a few really good laughs too, which is always a bonus with these things.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. LE

    First tape chuckle ‘how did you meet’: ‘He interviewed me’. [1][1] Same way MacKenzie and Jeff met.

    1. sigmaalgebra

      Jeff Bezos? Uh, he built a relatively large Web site, right?To me, divorce is a total train wreck for Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, birthdays, the wedding anniversary, Easter, Halloween, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, etc., and that’s at least 11 train wrecks a year for having just one kid and more for more kids. And miss out on parties when the kids do well on academics, athletics, art, science, business, politics, etc. And a party when Mom/Dad have some big successes, e.g., business, new pregnancy or birth, new house, car, boat, deck, basement ping pong table, backyard grill, great new recipe, maybe Chinese, French, Italian, …. Miss out on family vacations, trips to museums, concerts, etc. Just for Christmas, miss out on selecting the tree and having dinner, decorating the tree and having dinner, shopping for presents and having dinner, wrapping the presents and having dinner, Christmas eve, caroling, family pictures, and having dinner, Christmas Day, opening the presents, Christmas breakfast and lunch, fixing and having Christmas dinner, each time lose a baby tooth, first hair cut, daughters in Easter dresses, kids in Halloween costumes, church membership, …. Miss out on seeing the kids have first dates, proms, graduations, engagements, grandchildren. Add those up and have a train wreck, miss out on great times, on average something over once each two weeks, 26+ times a year.So, lose out on love of spouse, love of God, and membership in a group, e.g., at least the church, the family, the best group of all. That is, in the terms of E. Fromm, miss out on all three of the only known, good responses to anxiety.Just what the heck is it that two people can be (A) smart and determined enough to get into Princeton but (B) dumb enough not to understand family or even Fromm? Either (A) or (B) is common enough, but both together in one couple should be astoundingly rare, should be but maybe actually is not. At Princeton are supposed to get a liberal education and be well-read, right? And they never read Fromm’s The Art of Loving?I know; I know; lots of people believe that they have lots and lots, are busy, busy, busy, with such really much more important interests that family, love of spouse, love of God, membership in good groups get pushed aside. Yup. E.g., they could “chase tail”, get drunk, and try to police the world. E.g., they could marry a rich husband, want to be an autonomous, independent, powerful, self-sufficient woman, believe in big government socialism as the solution of all the problems, play in politics, and act like an eighth grade “mean girl” and “pretty little liar” and with great satisfaction to just anything from anyone else say “No, no, no, no, no.” and smile and be really happy.In college, some people pushed on me Paul Tillich. I was offended. Tillich talked about a person’s “ultimate concern”. I thought he was at best doing sloppy thinking and writing. My guess was that people should think more carefully about lots of relevant aspects of reality.But with some experience with people, I began to see that Tillich’s idea was significantly correct: A lot of people do have what could appropriately be called an ultimate concern. That can be from what they are afraid of, interested in, like a LOT, obsessed about, etc.So if want to combine Fromm and Tillich, then get that there are just three good ultimate concerns, love of family, love of God, and membership in groups. And Bezos and his wife didn’t get that? Lots of people don’t get that. The fraction of couples that get that is small. Darwin is on the case.Maybe Bill Gates and his wife have understood the importance of family.

      1. LE

        Human emotions are like the wings on an airplane (or a sail). The surface area is so large it can move a large object and with people can move anyone or any situation. Independent of intelligence or really any other factor. Reason for addiction and problems (but also gains in the world; always a biological upside).If you’ve ever been with the wrong person and gotten divorced (or split in a relationship) you will understand that it’s way more than ‘what is good for the family’.Many people stay in a bad relationship because of money (or a bad job for that matter). If you don’t have money in the picture then there is less of a reason to either suffer or not be happy.Gates or Bezos has an entirely different problem than the average person and even a typical ‘rich’ person. If you are just an ordinary ‘rich’ person you can probably figure out a way to get into a new relationship where the person you are trying to date isn’t doing it for what might be known as ‘the wrong reason’. If you are large and public that will never be the case. You can’t hide from who you are.

        1. sigmaalgebra

          From all I can tell, Darwin REALLY likes good families, and the best source of good families is good families.

      2. Susan Rubinsky

        Divorce is one of the best things that happened in my life. Gave me freedom to be me and pursue my goals without disdain and ostracism. My son is/was better off growing up too — he got to experience his Mom working in a tech startup, starting her own business, and also got to see what real happiness and love looks like. Divorce was the best gift ever.

        1. sigmaalgebra

          Sad, sad story. You have my sympathy.> “disdain and ostracism”:WOW!Part of Fromm is that a relationship should have “knowledge, caring, respect, and responsiveness” — my short paraphrase.(1) Knowledge: Telling the other about own thoughts and feelings. It’s a form of intimacy between the ears in addition to the rest.(2) Caring. Supposed to care about each other.(3) Respect. Suppose to respect each other.(4) Responsiveness. Supposed to respond to each other.”disdain and ostracism” conflict with at least the last three, caring, respect, and responsiveness. It appears that if you had concerns, then he didn’t care, respect, or respond. And for knowledge, maybe he didn’t tell you what he heck he had in mind.If one of his hands was mean to his other one, then he could end up with just one hand with that hand alone, and that’s bad. Similarly if he is mean to his significant other, then he can lose that and be alone.For three of the girls I knew where the relationship didn’t work, the common cause was that they came from parenting were there was no good relationship between mother and father. At first glace, and all I could see early on when I was 14-24, all the girls looked fine, pretty, healthy, etc. But, in fact:(A) The mother had at least some opportunities to be married but preferred to be single and adopt and adopted two girls. She clearly worked really hard to be a good mother. But her daughter that I knew had some sad expectations, unreasonable fears, and little on (1)-(4).If I had known what I know now, then I could have taught her enough to make a success for us. But I didn’t understand what she needed to be taught.Instead, I thought that our opportunity was obvious — be less lonely, have more affection, have some romance, get one more person to really care about us, introduce her to my family all of whom would really like her and care about her, spend a lot of time with my family, meet a lot of nice people at the youth group of my church, plan a good life together and then do it. I basically needed to use some methods of clinical psychological counseling to get her to describe her fears and show her there was nothing to be afraid of and then to explain and show her how good our little teenage relationship could be — always 100% safe for her, A+ grades on all of (1)-(4), good for both of us, and with a great chance for some of the greatest happiness, up in the top 1%, of humans in the US. We blew it — big mistake, huge.(B) The father did provide okay financial support for the mother and daughter but was in the house for only an hour or two at a time only once each few months, and the mother lived on beer and cigarettes underweight and depressed. The girl’s idea of marriage was that she didn’t have to work, would have a few kids, and otherwise concentrate on beer and cigarettes. She basically accepted that life didn’t amount to much.(C) The family looked terrific. I thought that the father was a great guy, and so did a lot of people in the community. He was one of the hardest working people I ever met: He inherited 88 acres in NW Indiana and built his house and farm houses, and raised chickens, eventually 40,000 at a time, had three daughters, and got all three through college. learned that the mother was a magnificent actress and in front of anyone outside of her immediate family put on a perfect church lady and devoted wife and mother act. Actually she got a grade of flat F on (1)-(4). Worse than that, she bitterly hated her role in life and her husband. She regarded motherhood as “giving up the best years of her life and her career just to do low grade, menial scut work to raise HIS children”. All the daughters looked good to suitors and had good husbands — smart, hard working, successful enough, gentle, loving, sincere, etc. But all the marriages were from poor down to disasters. The acting of the girls/wives/women was really good, and the husbands didn’t see through it to the nasty stuff that was real until too late.There’s an explanation that growing up has a lot of learning that is not appreciated: E.g., by age 18 may know about 80,000 words. So that’s ballpark80,000 / ( 18 * 365 ) = 12words a day! Well, there’s also a lot of learning about family. Then some months of dating and then a few years of marriage might not be enough to correct a lot of that learning and get both of them paddling their little canoe through rough waters in the same direction and a good direction.Yes, as LE has noticed, there are a LOT of emotions involved.I’m optimistic, believe that just explaining some simple things to some teenagers, really just E. Fromm, The Art of Loving with some more details and examples, should work really well.What I needed to know when I was 14 I could have learned in a few hours and implemented with a little coaching. E.g.:(i) Realize that a lot of girls are afraid, have been told by lots of women and other girls that lots of boys are just out to use the girl, will go as far as they can, and will attack, force, hit, and/or hurt the girl. Well, for far too many boys. that’s true. In middle school boys were too often told that with a girl find, fool, f, and f.Nonsense. For a boy, a good girl is, for some very serious reasons, the most wondrous part of life. What boys have been told is similar to, when see a flower, step on it; when see a kitten, strangle it; when see a bird, shoot it; when see a statue, deface it; when see a painting, slash it. Ugly, destructive stuff.Instead, lots of boys are plenty eager to be really good to kittens, puppies, girls, princesses, women, and angels, would without hesitation risk their life to protect her.(ii) Assure the girl that you will NEVER attack, force, or hit her, that you will never knowingly hurt her, that you will risk your life to protect her, that she is safe with you, 100% safe, from you, from anyone else, and even from herself. That in your relationship there will be nothing wrong, nothing dangerous, that you want to earn and keep her trust, that you want the relationship to be good for both of you — less lonely, more affection, caring, lots of time with his family, meeting people at church, etc,, pursuing a long list of fun activities most of which will have them do, learn, and accomplish things. And explain (1)-(4).(iii) Work to have her know she is safe giving knowledge of herself to you. Handle that knowledge securely as a state secret and as carefully as needed by a kitten.(iv) Continually work to understand what she is thinking and feeling. Track her emotions you see in her facial expressions, tone of voice, what she does/does not say or do, and then respond to any issues. Learn about reflective listening.When I was 14, (i)-(iv) would have made the difference. Not tough to read, understand, or do.Again, how two people smart, hard working, and determined enough to be from Princeton, with the greatest wealth of any couple on the planet, could so easily make a mess out of marriage is beyond me. Instead of a good marriage she wants to write her novels that sell a few thousand copies at a time? Instead of a good marriage, he wants to chase tail? They don’t mind messing up Thanksgiving, all the birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, the wedding anniversary, their activities, accomplishments, memories, and traditions that they should like a lot, can’t get anywhere else, don’t want to lose, and should bind them together? They want to turn the marriage vows into lies? Their kids can use a LOT of help as they form families. Jeff and Mc want to be disasters as grandparents? Their kids learn by example that it’s okay to lie in a marriage and that a marriage might not outlast even a good car and can be traded in just as easily for a new model — recipe for disaster.

  2. awaldstein

    A good one. I like the entire A16 podcast series. (One issued today on Biotech was truly fascinating.)Dedicate my hour workout plus transportation time to podcasts. Mostly politics with some tech and movie /art geek stuff.Essential time blocks along with meditation and writing.

  3. Pointsandfigures

    I like their hair styles for some reason.