Zero to IPO: Marc Andreessen

Is there even such a thing as a new idea? It's really rare. So usually if something looks like a new idea, it's just because you don't know the lineage of all the failed attempts that came before. So there's a pre-history to basically everything.

One of my theories is there may be a fixed number of new ideas the world could absorb every year. It's kind of like path dependency. I'll give you my favorite example. There was a company called Autoped. And they made an electric scooter in 1910. It looks exactly like somebody using an electric Lime scooter [founded 2017]

What did you think about Artificial Intelligence in the early 90s? I thought it had failed. AI had been a pipe dream for 50 years. When people try and fail to do something for 50 years, there are two possible conclusions you can draw. 1) That was a bad idea. 2) It’s right around the corner. Which is a more logical expectation to have? And I think we all fall into that.

You fancy better-educated founders call them pivots. In the old days, we used to call them fuck ups

I think the thing that's least understood about the best founders is their level of depth. The cliché of the founder is, it's a kid with a crazy idea and blah blah blah. No, it's somebody who has thought about this stuff for 5 years, 10 years, 15 years. It may not be visible but they're actually super deep on it. They've been coming at whatever the thing is for a long time, maybe in different ways.

Somebody said, "Never be worried about telling somebody your idea. If your idea is any good, you're going to have to beat people into accepting it."

A big part of distribution is psychology. Are people ready for this thing? How do you convince somebody they want something that they didn't even know existed yesterday?

We are always talking to our entrepreneurs about cracking the code on the economics of distribution. It is as important as getting the product right. Because the world is a very big place. People are already very busy. They don't have any room left by default.

You can never do two things excellently at the same thing. So whatever you're going to do, make sure that is the one thing you're going to do.

The misunderstood genius. It's the whole Edison versus Tesla thing. Nicola Tesla had all these great ideas and everybody was too dim to see them. The problem with that is, it's not just the person. it's not just the idea. It's the ability to build the team. It's never a solo thing. Can you put together a team? Can you recruit resources around you? Can you recruit a team of co-founders around you? Can you recruit a team of executives, a team of engineers? And then can you attract resources? Can you attract investment capital? Can you go get customers, can you go get articles written about you in the press? Can you go do all these things that you need to do to be able to make the thing work?

The advantage of going into an existing market is people are already spending a lot of money on it.

The advantage of going after something brand new is there's no competition.

Big companies have a special advantage in the world. They get to pursue the good ideas that look like good ideas. As a consequence, what's left are the good ideas that look like bad ideas. That's the sweet spot for the entrepreneur.

Full podcast here: Zero To IPO: Download the Future