Saturday, April 28, 2012

Marc Andreessen: Software will eat the world

I recently came across a couple of articles about Marc Andreessen's 5 big ideas on Wired and Forbes.  Here are his 5 big ideas starting from his Netscape days:
1. Everyone will have the web
2. The browser will be the operating system
3. Web business will live in the cloud
4. Everything will be social
5. Software will eat the world
If you have not known Marc's career as entrepreneurs for past 15 years before his VC career, these may sound like his current investment strategy.  All of them are still applicable today.  We are still in the middle of browser based development, HTML5 and javascript-based technologies.  We are yet to see the peak of SaaS. Social is literally changing the world as we speak.

Although all these seem so much relevant even today, these were the ideas that he had as basis for launching his own companies.  He was ahead of the market with Loudcloud and Ning, both of which he launched after leaving Netscape.

Marc Andreessen had on-stage interview at event last year;
Marc talked about software eating the world starting at 11:50 minutes.

I agree with Marc's point.  Software is already eating the world, starting with retail business.  Netflix is eating (some might say already ate) Blockbuster.  Amazon is eating Barnes and Noble and BestBuy.  Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are educating internet users of what's possible with seamlessly connected and always on-line communication network.  End users are bringing in their own mobile devices at work to fill the gap between enterprise software and iPhone apps that can be downloaded for next to nothing.

Largely three factors driving this disruption:

1. Explosion of internet-connected mobile device
2. Cost of launching a new service is dramatically lower now than 10 years ago
3. Consumers leading the technology, not enterprise

Combination of these three factors are making the next 4-5 years very critical time for all businesses.  It will be existential threat to those incumbents that cannot adopt the new changes while it will be great opportunities for new players to quickly scale up the market share.

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