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The New Yorker: Does Tech Need a New Narrative?

Former Executive Director Mark Lutter was quoted in a New Yorker article on tech and building new cities.

See the original article in the New Yorker here.

In 2009, Marc Andreessen—a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and angel investor best known for cofounding Netscape, in 1994, at the age of twenty-two—announced that he would be starting a venture-capital firm. “I’m crossing over into the dark side,” he said, jokingly, to the PBS talk-show host Charlie Rose. Andreessen explained that he would be starting the firm with a longtime colleague, Ben Horowitz, and that Andreessen Horowitz would be “by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs.” Over the next decade, the firm would help fund Facebook, Skype, Lyft, Pinterest, Airbnb, Slack, Stripe, and Coinbase. Its assets would be worth more than sixteen billion dollars, and it would be regarded as one of the premier V.C. firms in Silicon Valley.

The firm, modelled after Michael Ovitz’s Creative Artists Agency, had a new approach to venture capital. Partners at Andreessen Horowitz, all of whom were considered area specialists, supported entrepreneurs as if they were Hollywood talent, pitching in with research and recruiting. The company also had a new angle on the media. Andreessen had been booked on “Charlie Rose” thanks to Margit Wennmachers, the co-founder of an influential Silicon Valley P.R. shop called OutCast; Wennmachers soon joined Andreessen Horowitz as a partner. At the time, most startups saw marketing and publicity as an afterthought. Similarly, at most media outlets, tech coverage tended toward dry business reporting, product-release announcements, and reviews of new gadgets. But Wennmachers made P.R. a priority for Andreessen Horowitz and the companies it funded. At her brightly decorated home, she hosted exclusive, off-the-record parties during which tech journalists could mingle with startup executives and founders over food and cocktails. Where venture capitalists had traditionally avoided publicity, Wennmachers encouraged Andreessen and Horowitz to invite media attention.

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