"When a16z began, it didn’t have even an ersatz track record to promote. So Andreessen and Horowitz consulted on tactics with their friend Michael Ovitz, who co-founded the Hollywood talent agency Creative Artists Agency, in 1974. Ovitz told me that he’d advised them to distinguish themselves by treating the entrepreneur as a client: “Take the long view of your platform, rather than a transactional one. Call everyone a partner, offer services the others don’t, and help people who aren’t your clients. Disrupt to differentiate by becoming a dream-execution machine.”
Believing that founders make the best C.E.O.s—look at Intel, Apple, Oracle, Google, Facebook—Andreessen and Horowitz recruited only general partners who’d been founders or run companies. Then they began constructing the illusion of authority, taking offices on Sand Hill Road and filling them with paintings by Robert Rauschenberg and Sol LeWitt—another page from the book of Ovitz, who commissioned a Roy Lichtenstein painting for C.A.A.’s lobby that was so large the firm had to leave it behind when it moved. They were studiously punctual (partners are fined ten dollars for each minute they’re late to a pitch), used glassware rather than plastic, and said no quickly and explained why (unless the reason was doubts about the entrepreneur) in a handwritten note."
The article is filled with great anecdotes of Andreessen's experiences in shaping some of the most influential tech companies in the world. The article describes him as "an evangelist for the church of technology, afire to reorder life as we know it. He believes that tech products will soon erase such primitive behaviors as paying cash (Bitcoin), eating cooked food (Soylent), and enduring a world unimproved by virtual reality (Oculus VR). He believes that Silicon Valley is mission control for mankind, which is therefore on a steep trajectory toward perfection."
"If you have a crackerjack idea, one of your stops on Sand Hill Road will be Andreessen Horowitz, often referred to by its alphanumeric URL, a16z. (There are sixteen letters between the “a” in Andreessen and the “z” in Horowitz.) Since the firm was launched, six years ago, it has vaulted into the top echelon of venture concerns. Competing V.C.s, disturbed by its speed and its power and the lavish prices it paid for deals, gave it another nickname: AHo. Each year, three thousand startups approach a16z with a “warm intro” from someone the firm knows. A16z invests in fifteen. Of those, at least ten will fold, three or four will prosper, and one might soar to be worth more than a billion dollars—a “unicorn,” in the local parlance. With great luck, once a decade that unicorn will become a Google or a Facebook and return the V.C.’s money a thousand times over: the storied 1,000x. There are eight hundred and three V.C. firms in the U.S., and last year they spent forty-eight billion dollars chasing that dream."
Read the entire New Yorker article, Tomorrow's Advance Man