3 Answers and a Question with Marc Andreessen

March 21, 2017 Pivotal Software

A new series where we get answers from the movers and shakers in software about topics in their field, and then ask a question to our audience. This week, we feature Marc Andreessen, Co-Founder and General Partner of Andreessen Horowitz, the venture capital firm based in Menlo Park, CA.

On February 23rd, Marc Andreessen — entrepreneur, investor, engineer, maker of big bets, protector of the realm, first of his name — returned to Twitter after a few months’ absence and said he would answer questions via 21.co for a small price. All proceeds go to Black Girls Code, a fantastic organization that aims to increase the number of women of color in STEM fields.

We at Pivotal decided to use this chance to ask Andreessen three questions we hear constantly from customers of ours, all centered around how big enterprises can act more like startups.

What are some of the first steps a large enterprise should take in order to ship and iterate on code the way startups do?

I’m conflicted on this because we are investors in the company, but I think Github is the most powerful lever to use to change this. Good luck!!

Why are microservices and cloud-native technology important for every business to adopt (and not just startups)?

In my view, because the companies that do can then innovate much more quickly than the companies that don’t.

What’s the number one mistake you see big companies making when they try to “act like a startup”?

Great question! Without a doubt, it’s that they get the incentives wrong. Big company incentives are usually oriented around (a) quarterly/annual financial targets and (b) getting promoted in a competitive political environment. Whereas small company incentives, done right, are the opposite — (a) 5–10 year equity appreciation, and (b) helping the entire company succeed. This is a very tricky problem for big companies to try to address, with lots of unintended consequences.

This left us with a prompt we wanted to pose to our readers…

What advice do you have to share for big companies that want to iterate on their software at startup speed?

Share your advice in a response to this post!

If you are at a large enterprise and want your organization to act more like a startup, check out some of the work we do at Pivotal, and then get in touch.

3 Answers and a Question with Marc Andreessen was originally published in Built to Adapt on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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