Marc Andreessen co-authored the first Internet browser – Mosaic. He then co-founded Netscape. Now his name is on the door of one of the legendary VC firms – a16z. And he might be among the most famous persons to hail from Cedar Falls, Iowa. Now he believes the last year of remote work might have more impact on society than the Internet itself. That’s a big statement from someone who in a sense invented the Internet. Or at least he invented the tools that enabled us to experience the Internet as everyday consumers.
Andreessen in his post on a16z’s new content play, Future, first acknowledges the incredibly positive impact technology had on our world of Covid-19. He points to the remarkably fast development of a vaccine by Moderna using a technology platform to invent the vaccine.
He then moves to how technology and the Internet showed up big time. The acknowledgment that Telemedicine could unlock the health care system to millions of people. The ability of the service world – think banks, research firms, consulting practices – to hardly miss a beat by simply launching Zoom or Slack and working in sweats and lounge pants. Or how small businesses figured out how to pivot – taking advantage of eCommerce platforms, online ordering, and pick-up and even, dare we say, the delivery giants.
Or how higher education figured out how to move students through a year of education – albeit with plenty of hiccups – but with learnings that should disrupt that world for years to come. And how the Internet and streaming services help keep us sane during the days of lockdown and boredom.
Death of the ‘Geographic Lottery’
Of course, Andreessen acknowledges the enormous human toll the pandemic has taken. Even as he extolls the positives it has produced. Still, he makes a compelling argument that the greatest impact from the shift to remote work is still to come.
Here’s what he said:
This is (doing great work from anywhere), I believe, a permanent civilizational shift. It is perhaps the most important thing that’s happened in my lifetime, a consequence of the internet that’s maybe even more important than the internet. Permanently divorcing physical location from economic opportunity gives us a real shot at radically expanding the number of good jobs in the world while also dramatically improving the quality of life for millions, or billions, of people.
We may, at long last, shatter the geographic lottery, opening up opportunities to countless people who weren’t lucky enough to be born in the right place. And people are leaping at the opportunities this shift is already creating, moving both homes and jobs at furious rates. It will take years to understand where this leads, but I am extremely optimistic.
We all have our opinions of the silver linings we can extract from a year lived like non-other. Was it a newfound discipline to work deliberately from a couch? Or was it a new “go to market” approach for your SaaS company? Was it a product feature you finally began using on an App you’ve been paying for and not using for a while?
Maybe it was more time with a twenty-something child or with an aging parent – albeit masked. Or the plant-based cooking recipes that have changed your diet forever. Or the profound series you streamed with your partner that altered the course of your relationship.
What’s cool is we’ll be talking about all the silver linings that the world of local is experiencing at our upcoming Localogy 2021 LIVE event on September 20-21 in Hollywood, California. We’ve got a session planned with C-level leaders in the local space to share their “ah-ha” moments. What are yours? We know what a famous person from Iowa thinks.