a16z Podcast: From Jobs to Flying Cars by a16z
In this lively conversation -- from our recent annual tech and policy summit in Washington, D.C. -- Axios' Dan Primack interviews a16z co-founder Marc Andreessen about the two major narratives dominating discussions about the tech industry right now: the industry is building stupid stuff; and tech is “evil” (or at least has an outsized impact, is destroying jobs). Part of the problem, Andreessen argues, is that we don't have enough technological innovation: With higher productivity growth, we'd have higher economic growth and more opportunity. But without enough opportunity, we're all at risk on all sides of the ideological spectrum. And actually, both the "tech is stupid" and "tech is evil" narratives are true... in different sectors [hint: those afflicted by Baumol’s cost disease]. So what then are the roles for policymakers and and entrepreneurs in addressing these issues, including jobs? Ultimately, Andreessen argues, success in Silicon Valley isn't really about good idea vs. bad idea at all … and i...
Every day we hear about a technological advancement. No matter the industry – retail, healthcare, finance, communications, education – the use cases for technological integration are inescapable. Technology has been feeding the fear, the threat of a robotic job take-over for as long as I can remember. But as Marc Andreesen discusses with Dan Primack in the lightening fast podcast above, this fear is scoff-worthy.
He asks us to look at the current pace of technology innovation and its impact on the economy through the lens of Four Big Questions:
1. Would we expect the productivity growth (generate more output with less input) to be running at generational highs or generational lows?
2. Would we expect the rate of creation of new companies in the economy to be experiencing generational highs or generational lows?
True or False: The rate of the introduction of new companies in the economy has been falling for forty years and is showing no sign of resuming.
3. Would you expect the rate of the destruction of jobs to be at a generational high or generational low?
Andreesen answers his own question here:
4. Would you expect the time in which a person spends at a job (before turning over) to be at a generational high or generational low?
He then explains, "If we had higher productivity growth, we would have higher economic growth. If we had higher economic growth, we would have higher job creation. We would have more opportunity for people."
At the end of this discussion, Andreesen and Primack pivot our focus to historical events wherein we merely adapted with innovation. We didn't give in to the anticipation or discomfort technology brought. Instead, we accommodated the change, learned how to deal with it.
What are we doing to accommodate the rapid digital transformation? How are we keeping up and staying productive? Is your organization's culture built for continued learning?
Self-assessment: "The thing you have to understand is that the capacities you actually develop to the full come out as the result of an interplay between you and life's challenges --and the challenges keep changing."
Personal Renewal, McKinsey & Company
Collaboration and staying engaged are obvious ways to flex these capabilities and keep a team agile. This is the true future of work (it's not an desolate office). For a team to share ideas effectively, strong leadership is in order. Access otherwise untapped strategies by simplifying and personalizing communication practices, both digitally and IRL.
The time is ripe to spark conversation around a work future we can all design – one that moves away from siloed structures and focuses on a more creative approach to ideation.
Productivity depends on it.