Sunday, March 12, 2017

Remember 21.Co, The Andreessen Horowitz Investee In Search Of A Business?

And do you remember our "Marc Andreessen is tweeting again" post last month?
Here's the rest of the story.
First up, Poynter, Feb. 27:
Marc Andreessen is still an optimist about the future of news, three years post-tweetstorm
“I think I am more convinced that consolidation needs to happen (across broadcast TV, cable TV, newspaper, magazine, radio, wire service, Internet).”

21 is a startup that initially got attention for developing hardware and software to optimize bitcoin mining. But earlier this month, it (pivoted? expanded? diversified?) into providing a sort of paid email service. (This shift was, of course, predicted by the prophets of old.) With 21, you set a price at which people can send you an email and actually get a reply. (The sender is only charged if you respond.)

Last week, Marc Andreessen announced that he was now active on the service and that for $20, you could ask him anything. (He’s donating all payments to Black Girls Code.) Andreessen is, of course, the cofounder of the influential venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz (an investor in 21, natch); back in the earlier days of the web, he was leader of the team that developed Mosaic, the first significant graphical web browser, and through Netscape the web’s early barefoot king.

As it happened, I had a question I wanted to ask Andreessen, as well as twenty bucks. About three years ago, he put forth one of his then-characteristic tweetstorms, this one about the state of the news business. Those tweets have since been deleted, but they were captured in blogpost form on the Andreessen Horowitz website — “The Future of the News Business: A Monumental Twitter Stream All in One Place.” Give it a read for yourself, but it was most notable for its outsized optimism:
I am more bullish about the future of the news industry over the next 20 years than almost anyone I know. You are going to see it grow 10X to 100X from where it is today. That is my starting point for any discussion about the future of journalism.
While there are very many things in Andreessen’s tweetstorm I’d agree with (and I think he does a good job of highlighting some of the right players leading the way), I confess I’ve always thought that there was a little too much Valley exuberance in his vision...MORE
Okay. You can use to ask Mr. Andreessen a question. What else can you do with

From Quartz:

For $600 in bitcoin, you can spam all the partners at Andreessen Horowitz
It’s a perfect storm of Silicon Valley buzzwords: Get your hustle on by pitching Andreessen Horowitz’s big-name partners using bitcoin, and create the future of money while you’re at it.
That’s the offer from the bitcoin startup 21, founded by Andreessen Horowitz partner Balaji Srinivasan.

Srinivasan, at one time tipped to lead the US Food and Drug Administration, wrote about the rationale for the company’s “21 Lists” feature on Medium: “Almost every business eventually involves building lists of prospects and then contacting them,” he wrote. “Enterprise sales, recruiting, and fundraising are three activities in particular that fit this description. Corporations spend huge amounts of time and money in this broad area, but the whole process is still highly inefficient.”
Enter 21, which offers users a selection of carefully selected lists, including ones populated with venture capitalists, CEOs, angel investors, and tech founders. Each person on the lists has a verified account on 21, and they’ve opted to receive emails—and can send them, also.
Here are a selection of 21’s prices per list:
  • Andreessen Horowitz partners: $600 for 32 partners and top execs, like its head of marketing
  • CEOs: $1,000 for 77 CEOs, mainly at biotech, bitcoin, and blockchain companies
  • VCs: $1,100 for 39 VCs, including man of the moment Jeremy Liew, who invested in Snapchat early
Users can email everyone on a list for one price, and they only pay if they get a response. Those receiving money can choose to keep the bitcoins or automatically donate them to one of three charities....MORE
I blame FT Alphaville's Izabella Kaminska for introducing* me to, scrambling what remained of my brains and thus, indirectly, for my calling Larry Summers names in this 2015 post.

As Far As Whores Go, Larry Summers Seems To Have Become.... 

...the Whore of Babble-on.

Seriously, what does this crap even mean:
“The 21 chip adds a whole new dimension to bitcoin’s potential utility. At first we will be struck by the presence of a technology like embedded mining; eventually we may be struck by its absence...."
Long time readers may remember Larry from such hit posts as:
Mr. Summers has joined Andreessen-Horowitz's Balaji Srinivasan at overfunded ($116 mil) bitcoin startup 21 Inc.
You can read a lot about Mr. Srinivasan in "The Silicon Valley Secessionist Clarifies His Batshit Insane Plan" or, for just a soupçon, we have on offer, "Climateer Line of the Day: Uh Oh Andreessen Edition": 

...Bitcoins are like “tulips you can send anywhere in the world in arbitrary quantities”.
-Andreessen Horowitz partner Balaji Srinivasan

Mr.Srinivasan may not be aware that, since ca. 1637 or so, tulips have not had the best connotation in the world of finance...

*Anyhoo, here's Izabella on 21 Inc. in 2015:
Sept. 23
21 (grams of digital coke)
May 19 
21 Inc and the plan to kill the free internet