a16z Podcast

Cloud Wars, Company Wars, and Innovating Through Change

Episode Summary

How do you transform and innovate as your company grows and matures, even as the underlying technology platforms shift? Michael Dell of Dell Technologies joins a16z's Martin Casado, Marc Andreessen, and Sonal Choksi to discuss.

Episode Notes

In this episode from October 2021, Michael Dell, founder and CEO of Dell Technologies and one of the longest serving founder-CEOs in the technology industry, joins a16z general partner Martin Casado, a16z co-founder Marc Andreessen, and host Sonal Choksi on the occasion of Michael’s book, Play Nice to Win: A CEO’s Journey from Founder to Leader. 

There are lots of challenges in being public while trying to innovate, and limits to being a private company as well; but it's rare to see a company go public then private then back to public again. As is the case with Dell Technologies, one of the largest tech companies -- which went private 2012-2013 and then also pulled off one of the most epic mergers of all time with Dell + EMC + VMWare 2015-2016 (and which we wrote about here at the time).

Is there a method to the madness? How does one not just start, but keep, and transform, their company and business? Michael, Marc, Martin and Sonal debate these questions, as well as the impact of the cloud wars, how innovation happens when a company is private and when its public (something Michael knows well, having taken Dell public to private to back to public again), whether you can actually play nice to win as a leader, and more.