Sunday, December 11, 2016

"Marc Andreessen Has a Pretty Creepy Relationship With Zuck" (FB)

Following up on last week's "Facebook's Investors Criticize Marc Andreessen for Conflict of Interest" the Register's propeller-beanies chip in their two cents (pence) worth.
From The Register, Dec 10:

Pension funds sue Valley brohood, alleging conflicts of interest
Silicon Valley is very big on virtual reality right now. But imagine a VR “game” where you can control a company remotely, but without any of the fiduciary duty that the law places on a company executive, or an investor?

You don’t need nerd goggles to play this game. For it’s very similar to the relationship that’s emerged between Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook, and his Valley bromate and mentor, Marc Andreessen, a Facebook board member, in an obscure shareholder lawsuit brought by pension funds and individual investors.

Older readers may remember Andreessen as the man who cofounded, then watched AOL destroy, Netscape. Years later, thanks to social media and a full-court press, Andreessen was reborn as a kind of public intellectual – as the New Yorker put it: “An evangelist for the church of technology, afire to reorder life as we know it.”

The lawsuit alleges that Andreessen privately coached and protected Zuckerberg while publicly playing the part of an independent board member. Zuck essentially wanted to be able to sell most of his Facebook stock while retaining voting control of his social media giant. By doing so, he would dilute investors' influence on the business.

To tackle this awkward situation, the board set up a committee to represent shareholders; that panel included Andreessen, who was – the lawsuit claims – feeding information back to Zuck to give him an edge in his negotiations.

It’s also emerged from the lawsuit’s discovery process that Zuckerberg wanted to get into politics and take a US government role for two years, again without having to give up control of Facebook. This was a bit much for one board member, Erskine Bowles, who was skeptical of the whole scheme.

Despite this opposition, Andreessen and Zuckerberg prevailed nonetheless, with the proposed changes approved by a shareholder vote. The lawsuit seeks to challenge that result, claiming that the process was flawed with a clear conflict of interest between Zuck and Andreessen.
The Google Glass Collective ... Andreessen is on the left
The clue to understanding Andreessen's boutique VC firm Andreessen Horowitz (which pretentiously styles itself as "a16z") is that it’s an old trick in new clothes. In the New Yorker’s must-read profile last year, Andreessen emerges as a man-child with a brutally determinist point of view, one lacking in human psychological insight. The firm’s unique business twist is the older men’s relationship with their younger, naive clients.
...a16z is fundamentally a consulting firm that its clients can never fire. Grandly, it calls this a “services model.”...
See also:
Nov. 29
Marc Andreessen Speaks: "Flying cars are closer than you think"
And speaks, and speaks...
You know how he is....

May, 2015 
Marc Andreessen In the New Yorker:
13,000+ words.
Oct. 2014 
New York Magazine's Million Word Interview With Mark Andreessen
It's not really a million words but man-o-mandingo the guy likes to talk.