Sunday, December 11, 2016

Tools for Titans #2 : Marc Andreessen

Marc Andreessen is the living legend who co-founded Netscape. Due to his godlike status, it is almost impossible to disagree with some of his points. Here are some which I think deserves further discussion :

a) Don't Fetishize Failure 

I am really glad Marc said this. Failure is failure. It's a fuck-up which destroys the value of investors who placed their trust in you.

The Singapore Tech Community is guilty of this sin. In a country where some kids will  commit suicide if they have Bs in their PSLE scores, I was truly disgusted when so many people rushed forward to pat an accelerator on its back when it closed down for good.

b) "Nerds at Night" Test

This is a really great idea. The value of the person is not judged by what his day job consists of but what he does at night. What you do at night goes beyond what you do for a living. It's something you are passionate about and tells us more about your potential.

When I was an IT Professional by day, I was a dividend investor and studied finance at night.

c) Study the Opposites

This idea is particularly fun. Marc studies value investors like Warren Buffett but reminds himself that he will always be a different creature. The example he cited is See's Candies which is a Warren Buffett portfolio mainstay. While See's Candies is a great value investment, a bet on it is a bet against change. Marc wants to know what a high tech candy company would look like because he is betting for change.

This one of my favourite ideas so far.

In my view, the smartest guys in law school are going to make a lot of money because they are, in essence, betting against change and for the status quo. We IT-inclined JDs need to think differently and rethink the legal sector because we are betting for change - and betting against the smartest kids in our class.

A daunting prospect.


  1. Hi Chris,

    I'm heartened to hear about the "Nerds at Night" Test.

    While I'm a researcher by day, I'm a qualifications hoarder, Coursera spammer, and an investing enthusiast by night.

    Hope I'll turn out decently a couple of years down the road!

  2. The problem with this exercise I am going through is that sooner or later, some of the people I feature will start to contradict others.

    Hope "Nerds at Night" will not be one of these ideas.