Marc Andreessen arrived in Silicon Valley 28 years ago, fresh from the University of Illinois, where he and a colleague developed NCSA Mosaic, the graphic web browser that opened the world’s eyes to the potential of the internet. As an entrepreneur, Andreessen launched Netscape, whose IPO was the bellwether event of the first internet boom, and Opsware, an early cloud and software-as-a-service (SaaS) company. He then cofounded Andreessen Horowitz with Ben Horowitz, building it into one of the world’s premiere venture capital firms.
Andreessen’s experience gives him a unique perspective on how new technologies develop, disrupt, and create opportunities for business. It’s a perspective that is of particular interest at a time like this, when so much is unclear about the future of technology. Andreessen recently joined McKinsey senior partner Tracy Francis and the Quarterly editorial director Rick Tetzeli for a wide-ranging discussion. An edited version of the conversation follows.
Rick Tetzeli: This seems like a confusing moment in terms of technology. It’s been 15 years since the introduction of the iPhone, which defined a new era. But it’s unclear what’s coming next. Do you think we are in a transition? And if so, what should companies be doing when things seem this undefined?