During Marc Andreessen’s 30-minute talk in front of a live audience this week, the venture capitalist and CEO of Andreessen-Horowitz shared his thoughts on the future state of technology.
While most of fans and media were in a tizzy over Andreessen's declaration that there is no tech bubble, he spoke about a few other things, including regulation, education, innovation, and the fiscal cliff, worth noting.
1. Gridlock in Washington is good.
"I’m pro-gridlock," Andreessen deadpanned, when asked for his thoughts on the upcoming fiscal cliff. Andreessen said that he was against government regulation in business, and prefers it when the free market can operate with independence. Andreessen said he hopes that Congress will "fight up until the last minute," because disagreement in Washington usually leads to less future regulation.
2. Online education will be just as good as Harvard soon.
Andreessen predicted that within five to 10 years, most college students will enroll in online universities. With online programs improving in quality over the past few years, he said, students will soon be able to obtain a Harvard or Stanford-caliber degree at a fraction of the cost. The reason, he said, is because college is a privatized sector that's ripe for innovation from start-ups. Government and union-regulated public education, however, is "avoided like the plague" in Silicon Valley, Andreessen said.
3. The public market hates tech companies.
While some tech compaines find immense success in the private sector, Andreessen said that they could flounder if they entered the public market. Andreessen, who sits on the board of Facebook, said that public tech company stocks are traded at astonishingly low rates. The reason, in his opinion, was that the public is still hesitant to invest in Internet technologies after the Dot-Com bust more than a decade ago. "It's a story of broken trust," Andreessen said. "The level of cynicism and psychological scarring in the entrepreneurial and investment community is strong."
4. There is no new Steve Jobs.
When asked who might replace Steve Jobs as the godfather of innovation and business, Andreessen quickly said that no one could. Calling Jobs a "once in a lifetime figure," Andreessen said that his passion for perfection and customer satisfaction will influence Silicon Valley entrepreneurs for years to come.
5. Open-ended systems are the future.
When developing a new technology platform, always make sure that it’s open-ended. Andreessen said that open-ended platforms, like Apple and Android devices, thrive in the marketplace because they let third-party developers create apps and external hardware for it. This creates greater user interest and commerce. Closed systems, which only allow for developments within the company, are always outperformed, he said.