tv Studio 1.0 Bloomberg December 6, 2014 12:30pm-1:01pm EST
>> he's behind one of the greatest innovations of our time. marc andreessen invented the world's first popular web browser and co-founded netscape, bringing the internet into our lives and changing our world forever. two decades later, he sits on the boards of facebook, hp, and, until recently, ebay. his venture capital firm andreessen-horowitz backs some of the hottest companies, like twitter, airbnb, and pinterest. i sit down with marc andreessen at salesforce's dreamforce conference in this special edition of "studio 1.0." >> i wanted to start with a word
of congratulations, because 20 years ago, netscape, which you co-founded, launched. can we get some applause for that? [applause] ushering in the web as we know it. how does that feel? >> it is fantastic. it is so extraordinary. we had a little bit of a glimmer that something might happen, that it might matter, that this internet thing might work out ok. and it turned out it has. >> you have been incredibly productive since. you started a little venture capital firm, andreessen-horowitz. you have also tweeted 33,000 times. >> in? >> in one year. >> thank you. >> which is more than all three founders of twitter combined. >> yes. that is true. >> since twitter started, by the way. >> i really think the stock in the company should be rebalanced. [laughter] >> we are going to reference some of your tweets throughout this conversation, and i wanted to start with this one, given the anniversary of netscape.
"this is true, when i came to silicon valley in 1994, i thought i had missed all the opportunity, fun, and excitement. it felt post-apocalyptic." when did you realize you were wrong? >> it really took the internet taking off. silicon valley had been on fire in the late 1970's and 1980's with the pc, and with software, with companies like oracle taking off, and microsoft, adobe, and apple, and all these local companies. and then the valley crashed really hard in the late 1980's. what i learned is, the talent, the latent talent, the number of people in the valley who were talented and qualified and skilled, who had been through the pc revolution, who had been through the early days of software, there was no real thing for them to do. the minute there was something to do, they all stood up and said, i want to be a part of that. for me it was a lesson in how the valley and technology industry more broadly is self renewing, self revitalizing. >> so for someone who comes to silicon valley today, have they missed all the excitement?
20 years later? >> this is my big learning. there is no way. it feels today like 20 years of progress with the internet. it feels like we are starting to get the payoff from all the hard work we have done over the last two decades. >> ebay and hp recently decided to split up. you said they made those decisions independently. symantec is doing it as well. why is this happening? >> i think, my view is, there will be more fundamental structural industry change in the next five years than there has been in the last 20 years. i think that every technology company that is more than 20 years old will almost certainly break up. will almost certainly break up, like literally split apart. >> define every. >> i think, basically, every. it will take time. but i think you can go down the list. >> you mentioned oracle. >> there are two big reasons. right? two big reasons. one, they are super cheap. this is something that is widely misunderstood, which is this conventional view that there are these tech bubbles. even google and apple are trading at low pe's. like single-digit, low double-digit pes, price to earning ratios. the really big ones like oracle and others are trading at single digit price-earnings.
if you are one of these big sort of technology conglomerates and you are in all in these different types of business, you have competition from all these new startups. >> would apple, google, amazon, microsoft fall into the category of "every?" >> obviously, some of the new companies, including salesforce, google, facebook, and others, are growing very fast. i think a lot of companies will get larger in this period. if they are more than 20 years old, they would benefit from breaking up. many of them will be forced to do it. if they don't do it voluntarily. >> it is not a sign of defeat? it's not a sign that innovation is dead or lost? >> it is a sign of change, evolution. the industry is changing. it is a sign that the technology is changing. it is a sign that there is the opportunity to do more and better if you are smaller and more nimble. the real test for technology companies is, how do they make sure that they stay on the leading edge, that they constantly have a product pipeline that will result in any more attractive products? >> from a leadership perspective, we saw marc benioff.
we've seen larry ellison stepped down from the sea suite -- the c suite. is there a changing of the guard happening? >> i think nothing changed at oracle. [laughter] i think that might have had to do with the number of papers that larry has to sign. the number of meetings he has to go to. but he does still have -- product development still works for larry. it will be similar for quite a while. >> how do you see the digital payments and mobile payments race playing out? >> what we see from our standpoint is, it is by far the most innovative and radical thing. it's the thing that will have a big impact over 20 years. apple pay is the thing that will have an impact on the next three years. and the combination of those two is going to cause enormous change. ♪
environment where money is easy to raise in higher valuations. that will not last. in all caps. when the market turns, and it will turn, we will find out who has been swimming without trunks on. many high burn rate companies will vaporize. there are exceptions to all this. if you're reading this, you are almost certainly not one. and a single word, worry. what are you worried about? >> generally, for 10 years, off a very low base, it has gotten easier to raise money. as a consequence, you get used to being able to raise money. you get used to be able to raise money at a higher valuation. maybe you cannot raise anymore in the u.s., but if you fly to europe, you can raise it. if you fly to asia, you can raise it. then you find yourself in antarctica looking for investors further out on the fringe. it gets harder and harder. basically, if you are a high burn company and you can't raise financing, you literally go bankrupt.
or you have to do a down round, which could be very damaging to a company's moral. >> why stop short of using the word bubble? >> we don't think it is a bubble. first of all, every bubble in human history that has been called a bubble by historians always had widespread participation. you always had a frenzy. you had the shoeshine boys or the taxi drivers hyper enthusiastic about putting every spare penny in the stocks. there is none of that today. valuations are running hot. but i do not think there is some mass mis-pricing here. i think it has more to do with cash burn. how much money you are raising and spending. >> how does this play out in your portfolio? obviously, you have companies you think are the exception. you are an investor in airbnb, which has a $10 billion valuation. pinterest, a $5 billion valuation. how are you balancing making those investments and practicing what you tweet, scaling back or being careful? >> to be clear, all of our companies are the exception. [laughter] just to be clear. one of the reasons i said what i said publicly is that this is the same conversation i have with all our ceo's. like i said, it is a cautionary
conversation. it is not a conversation that says stop spending, have smaller goals. or anything like that. it is a conversation that says, be aware. learn from history. have an appropriate sense of risk. have good discipline. airbnb is an example that is a commercial success. the business is growing fast. it is really big. it is going to be gigantic. there are other companies where it is a little bit of a balance. the other thing i will highlight, and we harangue them about this, extravagance is a little bit over the top. when you are burning $50 million a quarter as a startup, maybe not having bruno mars play at a concert. [laughter] maybe we can have regular water and not coconut water. [laughter] >> they all have coconut water now. >> we all love the coconut water. coconut water is a basic human right in san francisco. [laughter] maybe the masseuse can come in on just wednesdays and fridays, maybe not five days a week. it has gotten to be a bit much. there is a high correlation between building a fancy headquarters and falling off the cliff. and collapsing as a business.
the alternate model is the amazon model, the jeff bezos model. if you want a desk, it is a recycled door on two sawhorses. go crazy. we are much more on the side of, let's get out the sawhorse desks. let's tamp down on the spending. >> you had a spirited back-and-forth with the activist investor, carl icahn. last week, you called him evil captain kirk. he said some things. i wonder though, do some of these activist investors actually have the same concerns you do? >> i think they are a result, not a cause. they are a consequence of companies being very cheap on the stock market. they are a consequence of companies needing to restructure. or needing to react to market changes. the activist is a little bit of a sideshow to the core question of, how is the company being run. >> is there a disconnect between wall street and silicon valley? is there a fundamental misunderstanding? >> i think in the long run -- i do not think in the long run
there is a misunderstanding. >> i'm curious about your thoughts on payments. it is an area that is wide open. now you have apple pay, google wallet, paypal, bitcoin. how do you see the digital payments and mobile payments race playing out? >> this is another really big thing. the system has not changed in 20 years. this is another area where there will be more change in the next five years than there were in the previous 20. there are two big drivers. one is apple pay. and the other is bitcoin. apple pay is the thing that is freaking out all the financial services companies. right now, apple showing up to the party and saying we will now be in the center of payments. it has caused a collective heart attack. there are payments companies that are aligned with apple that are like, "yeah, we figured it out." there are payment companies that are not, that are having a stroke in real time trying to figure out the implications of apple pay. everybody assumes that google will respond to apple pay with a google pay that will work the same way with android. >> google wallet has not worked out. why didn't it, and how optimistic are you that apple can get it right?
>> this is what is interesting about apple pay. apple pay is viewed by the payments industry as revolutionary, but it is the most consistent with the existing payment system of any of these new systems. it does not require -- what is surprising is how many things don't change with apple pay. you put in your credit card. >> are you saying it's not that innovative? >> it's innovative but in a way that's consistent with the status quo. [laughter] it is very clever. it's very -- i acknowledge the disconnect in what i just said. it's very clever. it is cleverly done. if everyone has a way to pay and all the merchants take it, then it is all great. but until you have universal acceptance on both sides, nobody uses it. it is a network effects problem. apple pay is calibrated to skip through that to be in line with the status quo of payments. credit card companies -- it plugs into the existing system. it inserts apple in the middle of the existing system, which is why they are all so freaked out.
bitcoin is the exact inverse of that. bitcoin is truly radical. crypto currency more broadly is truly revolutionary. a fundamental breakthrough in computer science. a different way to do transaction processing. potentially a replacement for a very large amount of the status quo. bitcoin is by far and away the most innovative and radical thing. it will have the most impact over the next 20 years. apple pay is the thing that will have the impact in the next three years. the combination of those two will cause enormous change. >> you have been a big supporter of bitcoin. the price has plummeted. >> and come right back up. >> do you allow for the fact that you could be wrong about bitcoin? >> absolutely. look, bitcoin for us is very much -- the saving grace about the venture -- we are venture capitalists. i think like a venture capitalist. the nature of venture capitalists is we make 10 bets. we assume that five will go straight to zero. frankly, i do not think anybody knows one way or the other. but if it does work, it could be profound and revolutionary and
gigantic. that said, underneath that, the thing i am quite condfident about is that the crypto currency concept will become really vitally important. i think it will be in the form of bitcoin. but even if it is not, it will be something else. i think netflix could have a billion subscribers in the early 2020's. i do not think there is any reason why it cannot be gigantic. ♪
>> a lot has been made about the power of the sharing economy, in companies like uber and lyft. which i know you are an investor in. you recently tweeted, "perhaps the single, biggest key enabler for the sharing gig 1099 economy in the u.s. is the affordable care act." a.k.a. obamacare. i know you have been a republican donor, and some republicans want obamacare repealed. what would you say to them? >> if your health care is not tied to your employer, you can switch jobs anytime you want. it turns out, even if you hate obamacare as a government takeover of the health care
system, you should still love it because it makes possible for people to pursue their own dreams as opposed to getting tied to one job. >> there has been a conversation in san francisco going on about inequality and responsibility in -- of the tech community. you mentioned tech companies that are part of the stanford hospital project. mark benioff has been adamant that tech companies need to do more. what do you think? >> i think that is basically -- that is basically right. i think that is basically true. a lot of the new startups are brand-new. but a big part of this is what the big companies do. and the sort of maturation of companies when they go from being startups to being big companies, they got to step up on their responsibilities. i think that is a big deal. >> what about inclusion and diversity, something else that you and laura have been giving to? why is inclusion important in silicon valley? >> i believe tech is inherently inclusionary. tech wants to bring people in. tech wants to include as many people as possible. the reason i am so confident about that is because of the incredible coverage that --
incredible people in silicon valley from the incredible number of countries. the challenge is, we are still underrepresented when it comes to women, and then in the u.s. when it comes to african-americans and latinos. >> should women ask for raises if they think they deserve one? [laughter] >> yes. they should. yes. [applause] i don't care what anybody says, i think women should ask for raises. i'm a fan. i think these are solvable problems. in particular, i think these are solvable problems in two different ways. one is pipeline. there are not -- women are only 15% of computer science graduates in the u.s. which is just simply too low. we have to get more women into computer science. the other is access, network. the three organizations that we are funding are working on both sides of that. both the pipeline part and the access part. i think if we really bear down on both sides of that, we can move the needle pretty fast. >> i want to talk about the next five years to 10 years in silicon valley. i want to ask you a couple of "future of" questions.
i wanted to start with television, because i know you love watching television. and i work in television. so i'm selfishly interested in what you have to say. what is the future of television? >> you will now be able to subscribe to hbo without being a cable customer. which, for those of us -- there we go. see? [applause] i always maintain -- i always maintained that people wanted that. everyone in hollywood told me it would never happen. i think the media industry is going to grow a lot over the next ten years. i think video is going to grow tremendously. i think television in the form of everything from live television all the way through to nonfiction content, news, so forth, documentaries, fiction, drama, comedy, it will grow a lot. the reason i am so confident is that the number of people who can receive streaming video in the world is like two billion people, on its way to 5 billion people by the end of the decade. right? so i think in the future, if you
want to watch something, you go straight to it. you just google it and go straight to it. or you go to youtube and go straight to it. or, new bundles. if you were ever going to buy netflix stock, i would never recommend buying it, but on a day it's dropped 25% it might be worthing thinking about. i think netflix could have a billion subscribers by sometime in the early 2020's. like, i don't think there is any reason why it cannot be absolutely gigantic. and then amazon will be very big, i think, and hulu. the new aggregators, the new bundlers, will be large. >> what is the future of apple under tim cook? will apple be a big player in television? >> it looks promising. it looks extremely promising. you know, the iphone 6 is a huge hit. and is going to be extremely successful. apple is gaining strength. you can kind of feel it. is a company gaining strategic strength or losing it? you can just feel that apple is gaining strength. i think they will do extraordinarily well. the interesting thing about apple tv is that apple keeps refusing to build the tv. everybody keeps predicting there will be an apple tv you put on your wall.
and they don't build it. i believe that why they don't build the tv goes back to the power of the smartphone, which is a smart phone upgrade cycle is two years. i think what apple figured out is the upgrade cycle for tv's is five years or 10 years. the tv, effectively, is fated. the tv will become a dumb peripheral for the smartphone. you will use chromecast and beam to the tv. the tv will be the dumb recipient of the content. i think they think that is a low margin business that other people can pursue. >> what is the future of elon musk? >> obviously he will build the iron man suit. [laughter] i think it is obvious. obviously, in the suit, he will fly to mars. [laughter] so he has some work to do between here and there. there is basic inventions he still has to master. there are three guys, three founders who are really revolutionizing. we are a lucky industry. we have all these people who are incredibly well-known known and
built these amazing companies. marc is certainly one of those. peter thiel, elon musk, and larry page -- you talk to them and listen to what they say or read the stuff they write, and their ambitions and aspirations are another step up from the rest of us. and so the audacity -- look at elon's career -- to start an electric car company. people now forget that the one thing you knew in 2005 is you should never start a new car company in the u.s. the other kind of company you knew you should never start would be a rocket ship company. and he is just getting started. he is in his mid-40's. he has another, who knows. here on earth, he has another 30 years. [applause] >> if peter thiel can discover the cure for immortality. you said on twitter, your startup is not the next whatsapp.
what is great is that you actually write back to people. somebody wrote to you, and you wrote back, what is something new? what is something new? >> we are trying our best to find it. peter thiel talks about this. the point peter makes, and i agree with that, is there never is one. there will never be another microsoft. there will never be another google. there was just the one. it is the same thing -- people look to whatsapp. we have founders come in all the time -- there will not be another whatsapp. there will be new things. what do we know about the new things? they will be viewed as completely crazy. the one thing we know is that nobody will think it's the next big thing. it will be out on the fringe. it will be considered bizarre. it will be software as a service in 1999. everybody is going to be like, there is no way. like, it could never possibly work. 10-years later that is the thing. >> the marc andreessen, everybody. ♪
>> david einhorn, dan loeb, larry fink and more -- these iconic investors gather once a year to rub elbows and share strategies at the robin hood investors conference. billionaire activist carl icahn is perhaps the busiest of them all, stirring up conflict to shake out value at apple, ebay, dell, and herbal life, to name a few. at this conference, icahn also addressed warren buffett, took jabs at silicon valley, and discussed the unintended consequences of the fed's monetary policy. carl, let's start with interest rates. in this low-interest-rate environment, how do you see this? what implications does it mean for the economy?