SAN DIEGO, Calif. — Top algorithm engineers at Google are drawing down tens of millions in stock, pushing up engineering salaries across Silicon Valley, according to Marc Andreessen, a legendary web enterprenur turned venture capitalist at Andreessen Horowitz.
Andreessen gave his views on the economics of startups, the app market, wearables, ARM servers, and massive open online courses (MOOCs) during an hourlong fireside chat at Qualcomm's Uplinq here this week. Here are a few outtakes from his rapid-fire, passionate musings.
On engineering salaries in Silicon Valley:
Engineers are now starting to get paid for their true value, which arguably has not been case for a long time, but it is now, and Google is at heart of this. Google discovered an algorithm change can generate another $100 million in revenue. So now companies are more willing to have superstars, and there are engineers at Goggle making tens of millions of dollars.
The vast majority of engineers are not getting paid that way. [But] average compensation is also rising behind what I call this Kobe Bryant effect.
On advice to the entrepreneur and investor:
It's really easy in this industry to think too small. Yahoo was initially run on a server on the Stanford campus, and they had to start a company because Stanford kicked them off the server. It became a $200 million company.
It's easy to dismiss these crazy ideas out of the gate, even if you are right in the middle of it. You almost want to have a personality defect where you assume everything you see will be gigantic. So I'd say be even more open minded that the idea that looks crazy will be the next big thing.
I'm a believer education online will be overwhelmingly better than in the classroom. Some of it has to do with the technology, and some with the economics.
Suppose 1 million people will sign up for Math 101, and each pays $200. You have this giant $200 million production budget. You could hire Stephen Speilberg to produce university courses. Imagine the best 3D effects and the best teachers in the world -- and amazing trailers. When everyone has a high-def screen and broadband connection, at some point they want to learn through it.
Jon Fortt of CNBC interviewed Marc Andreessen at Uplinq.