AMC 2012: Amazon selling cars? What could be next in e-commerce?
AMC 2012 is wrapping up today on the left coast with the remaining attendees heading off on a field trip to the Facebook campus, a nice follow-up to last night’s inside peek @ Twitter. Blood orange vodka cocktails and tasty treats were enjoyed by all in Twitter’s spacious and funky former furniture warehouse/new space. I especially enjoyed the huge outdoor terrace (hey, Matt, why don’t we have one of those?) where I proved to be a ringer (sorry, Jesse!) at the beanbag toss.
In today’s half-day of presentations, two stand-outs were VC genius Ben Horowitz, co-founder of Andreessen Horowitz, and Dr. Jeffrey Cole, Director of the Center for the Digital Future at USC’s Annenberg School (www.digitalcenter.org)
Asked why this time period in technological development is special, Horowitz says it’s the presence of three platforms: cloud computing, mobile and social, all of which he calls transformational platforms. He described what he says his firm calls “software eating the world,” which is to say that it’s the software people behind the success of many industries, e.g. Amazon eating bookstores and Pixar eating animated films. Technology has a history of transforming the media business, Horowitz says, only now the change is happening faster.
Describing the experience of being a CEO and starting a company, he calls it an energizing mix of “euphoria and terror.” (He writes more about this on his blog at www.bhorowitz.com.) It takes courage, he says, and he wants to be in a position to encourage others and to, as described in a quote by an Oakland Raider’s coach: “coach people on what they can do and not on what they can’t do.” In building his company, he used Michael Ovitz’s talent agency CAA as a model, in which each employee was a specialist in a different area.