Marc Lowell Andreessen is an American entrepreneur, venture capitalist, software engineer, and multi-millionaire best known as co-author of Mosaic, the first widely-used web browser, and co-founder of Netscape Communications Corporation. He founded and later sold the software company Opsware to Hewlett-Packard. He is also a co-founder of Ning, a company that provides a platform for social-networking websites. He sits on the board of directors of Facebook, eBay, and HP, among others. Andreessen is a frequent keynote speaker and guest at Silicon Valley conferences. He is one of only six inductees in the World Wide Web Hall of Fame announced at the first international conference on the World Wide Web in 1994. – Wikipedia introduction to Marc Andreesen
There are people, and there are great people. And then there are revolutionaries. Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, the Google duo… All of them fall under the last category. But if you search up their advice about how to succeed, you’d probably find Gates’ quote doing rounds on Facebook. And like the Sasser worm spreading on Windows PCs, his quote of quitting college and becoming great is infecting a new generation. Here’s my advice to them. Gates also made the company which made Internet Explorer and the Zune player. Take his words with a grain of salt, people. There’s more to it than meets the eye.
Now take Marc Andreessen. His Wikipedia entry puts him on the same footing as Tim Berners Lee, inventor of the modern web. He’s seen good programmers come, bad programmers go, dealt with accountants and naughty secretaries and what not in his life in and beyond Netscape. While not a frequent visitor to his blog, when someone points an entry out to me, the most prominent backer of Rockmelt does get a spot in my “authors to read, if only for a while” list.
The post gave me pause. Joking matters aside, people pursuing their undergrad or masters degrees do require some sound advice from a revolutionary if they are to become great themselves. And Andreessen does not forget his social responsibility here, delivering more than his share of good advice. Applying it to entrepreneurs, though, is another thing all together. Taking the plunge for entrepreneurs is something fraught with risks and what-ifs. However, when you’re young, twenty something and a daredevil to boot, you tend to act like a certain Corellian smuggler in Star Wars.
But one does not go into a fight of the information age with anything less than a remote controlled drone. Plunging unprepared into a startup is like setting up Windows without an antivirus. You crash as soon as your luck dies out. Andreessen, from his long experience of working with successful people, lists those qualities with elegance almost unseen in technical blog writers.
One of the most important things he says is to seize any opportunity coming your way. I start with this because daredevils or not, most people hesitate a lot before making a decision. Opportunities are rarer than you think, and wasting precious time deciding might see her move away from your door to knock on someone else’s. This is especially true for entrepreneurs, whose entire careers, if successful, are built upon that one lucky break they got.