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Silicon Valley

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Marc Andreessen has been going crazy on Twitter lately after a long time away.

His latest outburst is a humorous take on people's reaction to Silicon Valley since 1993.

Andreessen, for those that don't know, is a board member at Facebook, HP, eBay, and a lot of other places. He's co-founder of venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. He also created the Netscape browser, which helped kickstart the dot com boom.

He's wildly optimistic about technology. And he's making fun of everyone that is a worrywort or skeptic with these tweets.

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Steve Ballmer Churchill Club

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is fully aware that Microsoft must transform itself.

His motto comes from a Woody Allen movie, he told interviewer Reid Hoffman, the LinkedIn cofounder, at an event held by the Churchill Club in Silicon Valley Wednesday night.

"A relationship, I think, is like a shark. You know? It has to constantly move forward or it dies."

He says the same holds true with tech companies: "Tech companies move forward or die."

He also named Microsoft's biggest risks:

  • You're not successful—"you never get there";
  • You do get there and screw up;
  • You don't have the talent to get there.

Ballmer said it wasn't enough to have great talent, either: "You have to have a real point of view of how to innovate in areas where you are not strong."

He added: "Tech is a place where you have to reinvent yourself."

But the pace is accelerated now, he said. When Ballmer started at Microsoft, the company had to reinvent itself every 10 years. Now it's more like every five years.

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Silicon Valley commuter bus route

Taking the bus isn't usually considered a luxury. But Silicon Valley companies like Apple, Google, Facebook, eBay, and Electronic Arts transport their employees to and from work, no matter where they live in San Francisco, on Wi-Fi equipped private buses with cushy, leather seats. 

San Francisco-based design firm Stamen Design tracked those companies' bus routes to figure out where their employees live and how many people rely on those private corporate buses, Geoffrey Fowler of the Wall Street Journal reports.

Stamen mapped out the routes to better understand the connection between San Francisco and Silicon Valley.

"Historically, workers have lived in residential suburbs while commuting to work in the city," the Stamen blog states. "For Silicon Valley, however, the situation is reversed: many of the largest technology companies are based in suburbs, but look to recruit younger knowledge workers who are more likely to dwell in the city."

That understanding of Silicon Valley's topsy-turvy urban geography is itself a bit outdated. When Google pioneered the buses a decade ago, a few hundred employees rode them. Since then, companies like, Twitter, and Zynga, as well as countless startups have sprung up in San Francisco. What started out as a nice productivity-boosting perk has become an essential weapon for companies based 30 to 40 miles away from San Francisco to court employees.

Regardless, the buses remain popular and essential. Since the routes aren't marked, Stamen utilized Foursquare, the location check-in service, and Field Papers, an online mapping tool, to find the locations for some of the bus stops. Members of the Stamen team also took turns camping out at one of the known Google bus stops on 18th Street in San Francisco. The company even hired bike messengers to follow and track the buses. 

Stamen's research estimated that the buses transport roughly 7,500 tech employees a day, Monday through Friday, and concluded that the unmarked buses ferry a third as many commuters as ride on Caltrain, a commuter train that travels between San Francisco and San Jose. 

Stamen founder Eric Rodenbeck told Fowler that he expected the majority of traffic to come from the Mission District, a young, hip neighborhood in San Francisco, and was surprised to see how much traffic came from other parts of the city. 

"That's a conversation about citywide change," he told Fowler. "Is the city a place where valuable work can happen, or is it just a bedroom for Silicon Valley?"

If you live in the Bay Area, you can visit the "Seeking Silicon Valley" exhibit at the Zero1 Biennial in San Jose until December 8. You can also check out more information about the study on Stamen's blog


Silicon Valley commuter bus route 


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Marc Andreessen was on Charlie Rose this week, and he dropped this super smart nugget on the tech industry:

The core idea we have, the core theory we have, is that the fundamental output of a technology company is innovation and that's very different than a lot of businesses, right? The fundamental output of a car company is cars. Or the fundamental output of a bank is loans. The fundamental output of a tech company is innovation, so, the value of what you've actually built so far, and are shipping today is a small percentage of the value of what you're going to ship in the future if you're good at innovation. So the challenge tech companies have is they can never rest on their laurels with today's product, they always have to be thinking in terms of the next five years of what comes next and if they're good at running internally and are indeed a machine that produces innovation, they tend to do quite well over time. It's when things go wrong internally and they stop innovating, which happens alot, that the wheels at some point tend to come off.

This quote is great insight to the difference between Silicon Valley and the rest of the world.

The reason Instagram was worth $1 billion without any revenue is because people in the Valley look at the company and think, "the value of what it's going to ship in the future is huge." People outside the Valley see a money-losing photo app and think it's worthless.

As for the other part, it helps to explain why companies like AOL, Yahoo, and Microsoft have gone sideways for years now.

It also explains why Google is working on glasses and self-driving cars. It's trying to produce the next generation of innovation. It might make its money from search, but as Andreessen points out, it's really in the business of innovation.

Watch the full interview >

Disclosure: Marc Andreessen is an investor in Business Insider.

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Kevin Hartz, Xoom

Everyone knows who the most famous and influential people in Silicon Valley are: Mark ZuckerbergMarc Andreessen. Ron Conway, Jack Dorsey, etc.

But who are the people that can introduce you to them? Who are the connectors, the master networkers, the people who can open doors? 

Keith Rabois wants to be your mentor

Who he is: Keith got his start at PayPal. He's worked at LinkedIn and Slide, too. Now he's the COO of Square. He's on Yelp's board.

Who does he know: Everyone in the startup world. Facebookers. Yelp. PayPal veterans everywhere.

What he wants: If he loves it, Keith wants invest in your early stage startup and play a big role in mentoring you through its management.

How to reach him: Send him an @reply on Twitter.

David Lee is the workhorse running Ron Conway's firm

Who he is: Lee runs Ron Conway's firm, SV Angel, the most power angel investing firm in the world.  

Who does he know: Everyone in Silicon Valley. 

What he wants: Lee wants to invest a small amount of money in your startup's seed round. He's not going to babysit, though.

How he can help: SV Angel is a stamp of approval for mid-stage startup investors and big companies looking to buy startups.

How to reach him: Ask him a question on Quora.

Seth Goldstein is bi-coastal.

Who is he?: Turntable cofounder and serial entrepreneur. He was USV partner Fred Wilson's first associate.

Who does he know: He's connected to the startup scene on both coasts.

What he wants: Appeal to his sense of community. He helped create Pier 38 in San Francisco, sat on the Interactive Advertising Bureau's board, and is working on a project to foster startups in Egypt.

How can he help? Goldstein can help connect you with other angels and get into social situations with the entire community.

How to reach him: Follow him on Twitter @seth

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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