- Billionaire tech investor Marc Andreessen recently appeared on the Lex Fridman podcast.
- The pair discussed a wide range of topics including the rise of AI and the history of Silicon Valley.
- Andreessen gave a set of traits that he thinks the best founders in Silicon Valley share.
Billionaire tech investor Marc Andreessen says the best startup founders in Silicon Valley share a few important traits.
In a new episode of the Lex Fridman podcast posted last week, Andreessen and Fridman spoke on a wide range of topics that Andreessen has spoken about in the past, including the benefits and risks of artificial intelligence, political and military history, and Andreessen’s career in Silicon Valley as a founder and investor.
Andreessen has been giving a series of interviews after publishing an essay earlier this month on why he believes AI will be a net benefit for the world, despite the concern other tech executives have expressed.
Toward the end of the podcast, Fridman asked the Mosaic and Netscape co-founder and current general partner at Andreessen Horowitz what advice he would give young startup founders in Silicon Valley, and what he sees as common traits of the most successful founders.
“The great thing about the really great founders is they don’t take any advice,” Andreessen said. “So if you find yourself listening to advice, maybe you shouldn’t do it.”
Overall, he said he believes the best founders are “some combination” of super-smart, super-energetic, and super-courageous.
“The first two are traits, and the third one is a choice, I think,” he continued. “Courage is a choice. Well, because courage is a question of pain tolerance, right? So how many times are you willing to get punched in the face before you quit?”
Startup founders face an immense amount of rejection, Andreessen said, from potential employees not taking the chance to work for you, to investors not agreeing with your idea. The best founders are capable of dealing with lots of rejection, he said.
“So you have to pretend that you’re having a great time when you’re dying inside, right? You’re just in misery,” he continued.
He said startup founders could probably, on average, be more financially successful if they just got a “real job” in a big company. “But some people just have an irrational need to do something new and build something for themselves,” he said. “And some people just can’t tolerate having bosses.”
The best founders are also often the ones with an idea for a product that happen to start a company, Andreessen said, rather than someone who just wants to start their own company and struggles to come up with an idea.
In the past, he has also advised that young people make their passion into a hobby, and focus on making money by finding a way to contribute to the most active areas in the economy. He has also cautioned against young people working remotely, warning that it could lead to them becoming “cut off from everything.”
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