Marc Andreessen Facts
1) Marc Lowell Andreessen, an American entrepreneur, was born on Friday, July 9, 1971 in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
Marc is a multi-millionaire who was responsible for coming up with Mosaic (Web browser).
He is the co-founder of Netscape, Silicon Valley venture capital firm and Ning (platform for creating social media websites).
2) 1994 was a special year for Marc Andreessen.
In 1994, the first international conference on the World Wide Web was held in Geneva, Switzerland.
During the conference, Marc Andreessen was not only presented with “Most Important Service Concept” award but he was also one of the inductees intothe World Wide Web (WWW) Hall of Fame.
He was one of the six inductees along with Tim Berners-Lee, Eric Bina, Kevin Hughes, Rob Hartill and Lou Montulli.
3) Andreessen was born to Patricia and Lowell Andreessen.
His parents belonged to a working class and they were employed at a local seed company.
4) Do you know where the first meeting between the co-founders of Mosaic, Marc Andreessen and Eric Bina, took place? The two met at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA).
While Marc was at the University of Illinois, he started working at NCSA.
Eric Bina was already a full time employee of NCSA when Marc joined.
Together they worked and eventually came up with a Mosaic Web browser.
5) Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz are referred to as “Super Angel Investors”.
This is due to their successful investments in 45 startups.
6) Marc Andreessen married his wife Laura Arrillaga in the year 2006.
Laura Arrillaga is the daughter of John Arrillaga, a Silicon Valley real estate billionaire.
Laura herself is the founder of donor network “Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund”.
Laura and Marc have a lot in common such as yoga, watching movies, writing, reading and of course laughing which they do as much as possible.
7) Marc Andreessen was one of those famous faces who supported Democratic Party representative Barack Obama during the presidential elections of the year 2008.
However, during the recent 2012 presidential elections, Marc pledged his support to Republican candidate Mitt Romney instead of President Barack Obama.
8) Do you know why Marc Andreessen selected Computer Science as his majors while studying at the University of Illinois in Champaign? The only reason was that he was not doing well in his already selected Bachelor in Electrical Engineering degree.
He lost interest in electrical engineering and hence lost the will to study further.
Therefore, he took computer science as his major.
However even after this change, Marc used to skip classes and even fell asleep during lectures.
9) Marc Andreessen, during his youth years, was given a number of nicknames.
The list included the likes of “Boy Wonder”, “Golden Geek”, “Internet Evangelist”, “Visionary” and “Geek”.
Even as a kid, he had no interest in sports or other outdoor activities and preferred playing and experimenting with his computer.
Marc’s parent got him his first computer when he was in 7thclass.
Due to his experimentation and love for computer, he eventually began designing video games in his free time.
10) The man who makes millions today started on a low scale.
His first job was at his university’s supercomputer center NCSA (National Center for Supercomputing Applications).
It is a little known fact that he was paid only $6.85 for working an hour.
11) Marc Andreessen is a huge fan of the famous AMC’s TV drama Mad Men.
Inspired by the drama, Marc owns a Victrola, which was featured on Mad Men.
He bought this Victrola at an auction by paying $ 1,000 and he has placed it in his office.
Not only that, his office has a collection of Vintage Bourbon, the whisky.
This collection is also inspired by Mad Men.
12) Andreessen Horowitz, a firm founded by Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz, is one successful venture capital.
The web address or the URL of firm is A16Z.com.
It is interesting to note that A16Z is a code for Andreessen Horowitz with A and Z representing the first and last alphabets.
16 represents the number of alphabets that are between A and Z.
13) While working on Mosaic, both Eric and Marc used to spend hours in front of computers making every possible effort to produce the desired product.
During that time, Eric used to eat Skittles all the time along with Mountain Dew.
14) Marc Andreessen’s mother in law was a famous philanthropist Frances Marion Cook Arrillaga who devoted her time and money to numerous charitable causes.
She passed away after suffering from lung cancer for 18 months.
15) Wife of Marc Andreessen, Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen has a New York Times bestselling book “Giving 2.0: Transform Your Giving and Our World” and has a website www.giving2.com with the same name.
She teaches at Stanford Graduate School of Business.
She teaches courses such as Strategic Philanthropy, Philanthropy and Social Innovation, Business Strategy and Public Policy.
16) Marc Andreessen admits that the strategy he uses for his firm is influenced by ex-Hollywood agent Michael Ovitz’s Creative Arts Agency.
By applying the strategy, Marc seeks to make Andreessen Horowitz a “unified high-service organization” and not just another firm which is running after money.
17) Andreessen Horowitz sure does give extreme importance to recruiting process of companies under its portfolio.
No wonder the firm has six in-house recruiters under its belt.
This certainly is a huge investment on the part of Andreessen Horowitz.
18) What does Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and the venture capitalists at Andreessen Horowitz have in common? They all have made a pledge that during their lifetime, they will be donating at least 50% of their incomes to charitable causes.
19) Marc Andreessen is also a famous blogger.
His day isn’t complete without visiting the following blogs: AVC,Felix Salmon: Portfolio Market Movers, Grasping Reality with Both Hands, Infectious Greed, Kevin Maney: Portfolio Technology Observer, Kids Prefer Cheese, Marginal Revolution, Naked Capitalism, Silicon Alley Insider and TechCrunch.
He goes through these blogs on a daily basis.
20) According to Marc Andreessen, the biggest challenge in being a venture capitalist is not making money but it is certainly finding time for the companies under your portfolio.
As Andreessen said,“Being a VC you are constrained far more by time than money”.
21) After graduating in 1993, Andreessen began working at Enterprise Integration Technologies, where he met Jim Clark.
Clark was fond of the Mosaic browser and urged Andreessen to begin a software company.
22) Andreessen worked hard at forming a public image of his new company.
This was something he was known to do, as with Mosaic he had distributed its services for free through downloads and trials.
Andreessen gained many supporters through his marketing techniques.
23) The new company’s browser was named Netscape.
Microsoft began to notice the work of Netscape and wanted to have a say in the Web world.
It bought the code for Mosaic from the University of Illinois and reproduced it into Internet Explorer.
The explorer and Netscape had many conflicts, which became known as the ‘Browser Wars’.
24) In 1999, after dwindling off in comparison to Internet Explorer, America Online bought Netscape for US$ 4.2 billion.
Andreessen became an AOL’s Chief Technology Officer.
He was also named one of the top 100 innovators of the world under 35, by the MIT Technology Review in 1999.
25) Eventually, Andreessen left Netscape and collaborated with Ben Horowitz, Tim Howes and In Sik Rhee to form a new company, Loudcloud.
This was a web hosting company, which went public in 2001.
In 2003, it changed its name to Opsware, which was then sold to HP in 2007 for US$ 1.6 billion.
26) Andreessen and Horowitz remained partners after their company was sold in 2007, and in 2009, they began a new firm, called Andreessen Horowitz.
The Silicon Valley based VC firm would invest in entrepreneurs and companies that were part of the technology industry.
The company began with US$ 300 million, and by 2012, the company had grown to US$ 2.7 billion! Some businesses that Andreessen and Horowitz invested in were Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter, all successful websites today.
27) In 2009, Andreessen and Horowitz decided to invest in Skype, an online voice over application.
Along with another investor group, they invested US$ 2.75 billion into Skype, which at the time was considered quite a risk.
However, only two years later, the risk paid off when Microsoft bought Skype for US$ 8.5 billion.
Andreessen knew where to put his money, and invested in US$ 80 million in Twitterin 2011.
The firm became one of the first of its kind to have stock in all four of the major social media companies at the time, namely Facebook, Groupon, Twitter and Zynga.
28) It is no surprise that Andreessen is looked up to as a consultant and advisor.
He has held important positions in important companies, giving him the experience and expertise required to make sound investment and technological decisions.
Andreessen does not only help fund the companies he has invested in, but also give them useful advice about how to proceed with the company.
29) Andreessen has been involved in politics, and during the 2008 US elections, he was a supporter and funder of the Democrat Barak Obama.
During the 2012 elections however, he chose to support the Republican candidate, Mitt Romney, who lost to Obama.
30) He has quite a spirit and never gives up trying new ideas.
After Netscape and Loudcloud, Andreessen co-founded a third company, Ning.
In 2011, Andreessen sold the company to Glam Media for US$ 150 million and became a part of the company’s board of directors.
31) In 1994, Andreessen formed the Mosaic Communications Corp. with Jim Clark.
The company’s main aim was to create something that was better than Mosaic, a web browser that exceeded the limitations of the previously successful Mosaic web browser.
The team worked long and hard hours, sometimes working straight for two days, motivated by the passion to create something new and innovative.
32) The University of Illinois at the time owned all copyrights of the original Mosaic web browser as it had been created on the University campus and had been funded with the University’s money.
Therefore, they did not like the choice of Andreessen’s new company name, and the Mosaic Communications became Netscape Communications, launching its web browser, Netscape Navigator.
33) The original Mosaic browser had been shared with users for free.
With Netscape, the company decided to make the browser free for students and teachers, and all others would have to pay a US$ 39 premium for the browser.
What happened instead was the browser was available readily online, and free trial versions were also available.
The trial periods were never really enforced, and users were able to use the web browser for free.
34) Netscape was a strong browser in its early days, but Microsoft’s Internet Explorer began to nudge its way in as a more successful competitor.
Other reasons for Netscape’s downfall include poor management, as many of the executives believed the browser to be superior and did not need to find ways to improve and advance the browser as other technologies developed.
Internet Explorer on the other hand was constantly adapting to the new trends and had many more features than Netscape, leading to Netscape’s ultimate demise.
35) Netscape never became a completely free web browser, and would charge its users an annual fee.
Internet Explorer on the other hand was free from the beginning of its development, and continued to be free for users.
This was in part due to Microsoft’s strong establishment and financial background; they had the resources to provide a free web browser.
36) Andreessen can be very unpredictable with his decisions, but makes them based on current trends and potential opportunities.
With his firm, Andreessen Horowitz, they were initially only supposed to fund startups, but also began to take board seats with the companies, such as with Skype and Kno.
Andreessen is said to currently be a part of eight boards, offering important advice to the companies.
37) Although Andreessen and Horowitz invest in a company and may take a board seat with a few of them, they do not want to overtake the company altogether.
They feel more at ease with the company and its proceedings if the main founder remains the CEO.
Andreessen believes that a company has a higher guarantee for success when the founder retains a C-level position with the company.
38) Andreessen’s latest creation, Ning, allows companies and individual screate their own social networks.
Andreessen says that this will make it useful for brands and companies to have a more condensed user base, and users will find it easier to directly interact with the company via their Ning network.
39) The first 2013 Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering has been awarded to five tech leaders.
Marc Andreessen is one of the five masterminds to have been awarded the prize, for his development work with the Mosaic browser.
Robert Kahn, Vinton Cerf and Louis Pouzin, along with mastermind Tim Berners-Lee also shares the US$ 1.5 million prize with Andreessen.
40) Andreessen was very appreciative of the prize, and immediately wrote about it on his blog.
He plans to donate his part of the prize to charities, which support engineering.
Andreessen is not one to take all the credit, and acknowledged his fellow partner, Eric Bina who worked with him diligently on the production of Mosaic.
41) In the same blog entry, Andreessen reflected on how the internet has advanced in only a matter of 20 years.
He also stated that he has strong hopes for the future of the internet and believes that the best is yet to come.
He is excited about the opportunities that lie ahead, and is looking forward to what the future of engineers will come up with next.
42) The chairperson of the company, Ray Lane, has lately removed many members of the HP board.
Fortunately, for Marc Andreessen and his unwavering sense of direction, he has been able to uphold his position as an HP board member.
43) Marc Andreessen is not one to be afraid of being bold and saying what comes to mind.
He has on many occasions, criticized companies and trends, and at the same time, has shared his possibly controversial views about the e-commerce market overtaking the regular market.
44) When we hear Andreessen speak, we should really keep an open ear.
Many of his ideas and decisions have had successful impacts on companies, and his advice should be followed, especially for budding entrepreneurs.
His most recent claim was regarding e-commerce markets and how they will eventually take over the traditional retail markets many are still keen on today.
He stated that eventually there will be no need for the traditional retail store, and people will prefer to buy things online from the ease of their home.
45) Andreessen shares happiness in others successes, such as with Marissa Mayer, who recently became the new CEO of Yahoo.
Andreessen believes that it is a great step for Mayer’s, but also stated that it will be a “big challenge” for her.
46) Innovation through trial and error is an important aspect that Andreessen has incorporated into his firm and the many businesses he has invested in.
He believes that by taking risks and trying new ideas is the only way one can learn anything useful.
Staying ‘safe’ and not investing in creative ideas will only dwarf a company’s success.
47) Andreessen has a very simple philosophy – If you are not happy, you need to find something different to do.
If you are not happy with the ideas you are creating, or the work you are doing, look for a change – it is possible that you are focusing your energies in the wrong direction.
Andreessen adds that he never wastes time being upset or depressed, and tries not to let emotions cloud his work or decisions.
48) Although Andreessen donates to charities at times, he follows his ideology that he is currently working on advancing ‘for profit’ organizations.
When he retires and no longer wishes to fund those organizations, he will begin by focusing on the ‘nonprofit’ organizations.
49) Andreessen sees a very successful and profitable future for online businesses.
He believes that much of the economic activity will be moving online, with more and more companies beginning to charge for online services.
In return, more people will be willing to pay for these services, creating a strong economic hub online.
50) He is always coming up with innovative techniques for companies.
However, Andreessen has also come up with a technique, called the Anti-To-do list, which helps him recognize his own accomplishments.
He says this helps keep him motivated, no matter how small the accomplishment is.
The method involves writing down any accomplishment throughout the day, and at the end of the day, he reads the list, which gives him satisfaction and motivates him for the next day.