16 VC Things in mind
When the Valley speaks, one should listen. Hush, then, for the 16 Things to look out for in tech in 2015 from none other than Silicon blueblood VC outfit Andreeson Horowitz (software is eating the world), writes Steve Mullins. By the way, don’t even start to get the wrong idea. The firm is at pains to point out that it doesn’t invest in themes but in ‘special founders with breakthrough ideas’ (what, no disruption?) So, no investments based on a pre-existing thesis about a category. OK, we get it, but what are those 16 Things?
How does ‘sensorification’ of the enterprise sound? To us it’s somewhat iffy. If you haven’t heard of this – we hadn’t – it’s somehow something to do with smartphone behaviours like pinch, zoom, swipe and tap migrating to companies. This translates into shortcuts for the ‘enterprise user interface’, enabling employees to concentrate on the creative things in their work lives, apparently.
Moving on to the full-stack start-up. This means building a complete, end-to-end product/service to bypass incumbents and other competitors (sounds a lot like disruption by any other name). A good example here would be… Uber. Though technically we’d argue that Uber does not offer a complete, end-to-end service. It’s an aggregator. It doesn’t have its own fleet of cars. The VC firm doesn’t know this because it’s not an investor in Uber (actually, co-founder Marc Andreeson is). But Andreeson Horowitz has invested in Uber rival Lyft, though please bear in mind that the company doesn’t invest in themes…
And finally – we don’t have time in our lives for 16 Things in one fell swoop – what might Andreeson Horowitz have to say about that latest buzz concept the Internet of Things? If we want to be facetious – of course we do – it all seems to be about pimping up microwave ovens. You see, they haven’t really changed much since the 1970s but now you can add cameras, electronic scales, bar-code readers and the like, and the thing would go ahead and query a database in the cloud – naturally - then it would know the time and intensity required to cook that item of food perfectly. Plus, the oven eventually learns how you like your food done. “We tend to focus on the glorified outcomes but the mundane ones are equally if not more powerful,” says Scott Weiss, an Andreeson Horowitz partner. It’s so true.
But, in case you’re wondering about this Thing thing, Andreeson Horowitz has a thing about things. Hence the book – the one about practical wisdom on start-ups – from company co-founder Ben Horowitz entitled The Hard Thing about Hard Things. Here’s a link to it on Amazon if you’re into that kind of thing.