A good place to work

When things go well, it doesn’t matter if your company is a good company. But when things go wrong, it can be the difference between life and death. Things always go wrong. Ben Horowitz explains why being a good company is an end in itself.

The top cloud VCs: 7 stars + 5 up and comers

Infrastructure is the underpinning of the web, and as the cloud continues to attract VC funding and more infrastructure pros join the investment community, it’s worth knowing which people and which firms are the best prepared to understand your deal. Our list should help.

How Marc Andreessen makes Silicon Valley magic

At just 2.5 years old, Andreessen Horowitz, the VC firm founded by Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz, has become a tech industry institution with holdings in Facebook, Twitter, and more. GigaOM talked with Andreessen to get his thoughts on Silicon Valley and the larger tech landscape.

Today in Social

RockMelt, the social browser, raised another $30 million from blue-chip investors. I’m not sure why. Last fall, I wrote a piece on how browsers don’t matter as much as they once did, mostly from a supply-side perspective. My argument was that at one point browsers rivaled operating systems in their role in establishing technology platforms and APIs, but that nowadays platform players mostly built their ecosystems around sites, apps, and the web itself. VC Ben Horowitz, who’s a RockMelt investor, tries to make a case for browsers from the user perspective. Although I’m also a fan of feed-based UIs, I don’t see that RockMelt is fundamentally integrating them or search or doing cloud-based synchronization better than other applications. Likewise for the potential of integrating daily deals, as another RockMelt backer, Marc Andreessen, suggests. He also alludes to phone calling, and I suppose a unified communications hub could live in a browser. Though like all the other functions mentioned, it would take more than mere integration to be a powerful differentiator.

Fat vs. Lean Startups: What Works on the Web Is Different

The idea of the “lean startup,” where young companies make use of readily available tools and quick iteration to figure out their business without spending much money, might be trendy, but VC Ben Horowitz is not a fan. Today he debated lean startup proponent Fred Wilson.

Andreessen: Big Money to Be Made in Web Infrastructure

Marc Andreessen, the prominent founder of Netscape Communications, and his longtime business partner, Ben Horowitz, are teaming up again — this time to spearhead a new $300 million venture fund, called Andreessen-Horowitz, that will invest in companies of all shapes and sizes — from very early stage businesses that require a few hundred thousand dollars to late-stage companies that might require tens of millions. Marc had announced his intent to start the fund on “The Charlie Rose” show. (Watch the video.)

Marc and Ben have a simple objective for their new fund: use their nimbleness — the fund will have just two general partners — to invest in companies that meet their view of the world. “We are going to focus on products that we understand, which is essentially classic computer technologies,” Andreessen said. We met last week to discuss his new fund; I decided to focus our conversation about the web infrastructure. “There are a lot of changes in the (web and IT) ecosystem,” he said. “lots of interesting opportunities in the (web’s) backend.” Read More about Andreessen: Big Money to Be Made in Web Infrastructure