Andreessen Horowitz announces its own news medium – digital


On February 19, 1996, America saw Marc Andreessen sitting barefoot on a throne. The then 24-year-old entrepreneur laughed from the cover picture of TimeMagazine. He built the Netscape browser and made the Internet accessible to the masses. Time staged him as a prototype of the digital millionaire.

Today Andreessen no longer needs the media. He and his business partner Ben Horowitz are something like the super capitalists of the high-tech era from California. Your Andreessen Horowitz venture capital fund is known for making bets that pay off. His early investments in Skype, Instagram and Airbnb are considered strokes of genius, holding interests in hundreds of technology companies. Its name is abbreviated to the number of letters between the first and the last: a16z.

Combo for the media
Andreesen and Horowitz

Ben Horowitz (left) and Marc Andreessen invested in important tech companies early on; their fund is called a16z.

(Photo: Bloomberg (2))

The new project by Andreessen Horowitz shows that people increasingly want to remain undisturbed in Silicon Valley: a separate news medium that spreads the a16z view of the world. Not skepticism, but “rational optimism” about technology should prevail there, according to the announcement. A16z bought Maggie Leung, former editor of CNN, as editor-in-chief. The major investor already maintains a network of blogs and podcasts, and now he wants to become the leading medium for his entire industry.

Many in the industry feel vindicated in their belief that the media is out to get them

The frustration of critical media runs deep for some in the Valley. For a long time one could rely on benevolent reporting from Andreessens Time-Cover picture to the intoxicating reporting on Steve Jobs’ staged product presentations. Now reporters take a closer look and find: disinformation, monopoly structures, mass surveillance. The debate about the social consequences of digital technology is raging.

Investor Balaji Srinivasan set the tone for the counter-propaganda last year: journalists would report in a distorted manner anyway. His announcement: “go direct” – the messages of the industry should get across to the people without critical research or context. Inquiries from Times-Journalists should be ignored. It reminds some of Donald Trump: people simply don’t talk to reporters anymore. Ben Horowitz from a16z declined an interview request from SZ, and so are many reporters in Silicon Valley.

Maggie Leung is to become editor-in-chief of a16z’s new news medium, she was previously an editor at CNN and the Washington Post.

(Photo: Nerdwallet)

It also fits that Marc Andreessen blocked many reporters on the Clubhouse audio chat platform, such as Taylor Lorenz from the New York Times criticized. As a result, the journalists are locked out when Andreessen chats with Mark Zuckerberg, for example. A16z has put twelve million dollars in Clubhouse.

How unforgiving parts of the industry and the Times face each other showed up at the weekend. The newspaper published an article by its reporter, Cade Metz, on the “Slate Star Codex” blog, which is popular among the elite of investors. Metz insinuated with rather poor evidence that the author and reader of the blog were close to reactionary thinking. He had also threatened the blogger, who was writing under a pseudonym, to publish his real name. Then he switched off his blog. Now many in the industry feel vindicated in their belief that the media are out to get them. You’d better send it directly.

At a16z you start with that. In the future, digital capitalism will make its own news.

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