a16z Podcast

From Research to Startup, There and Back Again

Episode Summary

From 2000 to 2016, it was the best of times and the worst of times for Silicon Valley -- and John Hennessy, as president of Stanford University during that time, was a key player in the Valley's ecosystem. Hennessy is joined by a16z's Marc Andreessen and Martin Casado to discuss going from academia to startups, leadership, and more.

Episode Notes

In this episode from December 2018, Hennessy, currently the chairman of Alphabet as well as Turing Award-winning computer scientist, joins a16z co-founder Marc Andreessen, a16z general partner Martin Casado, and host Sonal Choksi for a wide-ranging conversation about moving from academia to startups, the history of Silicon Valley, the “Stanford model”, how to build enduring organizations, and more.

Hennessy also co-founded startups, including one based on pioneering microprocessor architecture used in 99% of devices today (for which he and his collaborator won the prestigious Turing Award)... so what did it take to go from research/idea to industry/implementation? And  how has the overall relationship and "divide" between academia and industry shifted, especially as the tech industry itself has changed? Finally, in his book, Leading Matters, Hennessy shares some of the leadership principles he's learned, offering nuanced takes on topics like humility (needs ambition), empathy (without contravening fairness and reason), and others. What does it take to build not just tech, but a successful organization?