a16z monthly newsletter - good things come in threes

Andreessen Horowitz

a16z monthly newsletter - good things come in threes
by Vijay Pande in The New York Times
The unseeable space between where data goes in and answers come out is often referred to as a “black box” in artificial intelligence, and there’s particular concern about this in health care. But these fears about the implications of a black box are misplaced: AI is no less transparent than the way in which doctors have always worked -- and in many cases it represents an improvement, augmenting what hospitals can do for patients and the entire health care system. After all, the black box in artificial intelligence isn’t a new problem due to new tech: Human intelligence itself is, and always has been, a black box.
read this op-ed 

with Jimmy Chen, Matt Flannery, Adena Friedman, Jeff Jordan, Ram Palaniappan, Alex Rampell, and Angela Strange 
Traditional banking services have fallen flat for many -- whether because “unbanked,” or because the state of those services makes it even more expensive to be poor. Why are so many low-income populations -- both in the U.S. and around the world -- left behind? What happens when new companies democratize access to financial services in different ways? What are some of the other fundamental innovations across broad categories of financial services? And finally, how are established players adapting to the tech trends and headwinds in their businesses? 
with Chris Dixon, Alex Rampell, and Nick Tomaino
On the surface, the story of cryptocurrencies has been a story about new financial opportunities -- whether it’s betting on bitcoin, or banking on the blockchain. But the building blocks of this story go back to the history of currency, the evolution of the internet and distributed networks, and towards the advent of Ethereum. As these threads come together, how are they being woven together into new opportunities? And speaking of cryptocurrencies, what are the latest trends and issues in scaling, decentralized apps, protocols, and more? 
watch this video on decrypting crypto, from bitcoin to blockchain to ICOs
listen to this podcast on mental models for understanding crypto tokens

recent/past pieces, ICYMI:
CES, China, trade: on hot topics in the news, from the archives
with Benedict Evans, Connie Chan, Sonal Chokshi, Russ Roberts, Steven Sinofsky, Noah Smith
CES, the consumer electronics trade show that draws huge crowds every January in Las Vegas, encompasses and touches nearly everything we do every day -- whether it's electronics for our homes, our bodies, or our cars. 
read this field report on real advances, real progress, and real questions
listen to this podcast on big co strategies, smart home, voice, more    

China is always in the headlines, but understanding China -- from competition and the work ethic there to product ideas inspired by superapps there -- requires going beyond the headlines and deeper into the nuances:
read this article on mindsets for thinking about innovation in China 
watch this talk on mobile-first product ideas from China

Trade is always top of mind, from the politics and economics of it to how people and economies adjust to it. But how does the concept of “trade” fit with “innovation”, exactly? How does technology make us rethink the relationship between trade, capital, labor, productivity and economic growth?
listen to this episode with guest economists debating trade, tech, and innovation
by Martin Casado in Forbes
In hindsight, successful tech company narratives go something like this: Founder built thing X. Y bought it. Then all of a sudden Z started using it. Next thing you know, the world of computing was changed forever… history was made! But the reality is far less linear or smooth, especially in “pre-chasm” markets where the market might not be ready or even exist yet. So how do you know you “need more time” -- as opposed to, say, not having product-market fit? While there’s no simple answer, there are some common mixed messages and guideposts that can help founders seeking early validation that their startup is on to something:
read this article 
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This is the back-from-hiatus monthly edition of the a16z newsletter, which features posts, podcasts, and resources from Andreessen Horowitz. (The weekly what-we're-reading edition is still on hold; in meantime, you can catch some of those recs here.) Catch up on past newslettersupdate your preferences, or unsubscribe.
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Andreessen Horowitz · 2865 Sand Hill Road, Suite 101 · Menlo Park, CA 94025 · USA