Commentary

Andreessen Horowitz's 'Future' Site Won't Threaten Tech Publishers

Andreessen Horowitz, the venture capital firm that was an early investor in Facebook, Airbnb and Slack, this week unveiled a digital publication called Futureafter months of planning and adding editorial staff. With its goal of providing "informed optimism" about technology and the future, it won't threaten publishers that cover the tech industry.
Future is an outgrowth of the firm's efforts to write blogs about its investments in startups before expanding into more general topics about budding technologies, Margit Wennmachers, a partner at Andreessen Horowitz, explained in a blog post. As part of its media experiments, the firm also launched a podcast in 2014.
Its editorial viewpoint was best represented in an opinion column written by firm co-founder Marc Andreessen for The Wall Street Journal. Titled "Why Software Is Eating the World," it argued that a newer group of tech companies, including Facebook, Groupon, Skype, Twitter, Zynga and Foursquare, weren't doomed to repeat the dot-com bust.
Before starting his venture capital firm in 2009, Andreessen was best known as a co-founder of Netscape, the maker of one of the first web browsers. Andreeseen Horowitz's more recent investments include Clubhouse, the social audio app whose biggest competitor is likely to be Facebook.
As part of the launch of Future, Andreessen Horowitz in January hired Maggie Leung as an executive editor. She previously worked at personal finance startup Nerdwallet and was an editor at CNN.
When Andreessen Horowitz announced its plan to create a media property, there was some speculation that it could become a well-funded rival to news outlets whose coverage had become more hostile to tech companies. With Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google facing antitrust scrutiny worldwide, those negative headlines are likely to persist.
Publishers that cover the tech industry don't have much reason to fear Future, whose content feels more like a corporate blog massaged by a PR team. The publication may love technology, but that doesn't guarantee anyone will read it.
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