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.

Bill Gates: Open source champ?

Was Bill Gates, chairman and co-founder of Microsoft, the power behind the proprietary Windows-and-Office juggernaut, really an open source champion? A new Wired article lays Microsoft’s wider embrace of open source technologies — including Node.js and Hadoop — squarely at Gates’ feet.

Silicon Graphics Being Sold To Rackable For Peanuts

Earlier this month, Jim Clark, the 65-year-old maverick entrepreneur well known for starting companies such as Netscape and Healtheon, tied the knot with 28-year-old Australian supermodel Kristy Hinze. The odd coupling mirrors today’s strange agreed-upon wedding of Clark’s first major company, Silicon Graphics (s SGI) and the little-known server-making upstart Rackable Systems (s RACK). SGI filed for bankruptcy and was agreed to be sold to Rackable for $25 million.
As a beat reporter, I covered SGI pretty closely. I remember the company’s foray into the “Information Superhighway” and how its coolest-looking machines helped create Steven Spielberg’s “Jurassic Park.” SGI was cool, in an Apple (s AAPL) sort of a way. It had some of the smartest engineers and had a feeling of counterculture, which has slowly vanished from the Valley. I remember writing about the company giving up on its own version of UNIX and adopting Windows NT (s MSFT).
A series of management blunders and teutonic tectonic shifts in the technology landscape turned this once proud bastion of engineering into a historical footnote. And, as of today, even that is no more.

Native Client: An OS in Your Browser

Earlier this week, I wrote about the launch of Google’s (s goog) Native Client, and how the company hoped that the new software would help web-based apps run faster and more securely. After the post appeared, I got an email from Google, asking me if I wanted to find out a bit more about Native Client, and suggesting that they could help “clarify some misunderstandings” in the piece I wrote. Since I hate to think that there’s something I might have missed or described poorly in a post, I agreed.

What resulted was a phone call with three Google engineers: Linus Upson, an engineering director; Brad Chen, the engineering manager for Native Client (who wrote this post on the Google blog); and Henry Bridge, a product manager for Native Client. Read More about Native Client: An OS in Your Browser

What Netscape’s Founder Thinks About the New Google Browser

Marc Andreessen, whose first startup, Netscape Communications, introduced the consumer web to millions thanks to its Netscape browser, seems to be suitably impressed by Google’s recently released Chrome browser. He waxed eloquent about Chrome during an onstage conversation with Portfolio magazine contributing editor Kevin Maney at The Churchill Club in Palo Alto, Calif. “Any desktop application that has not been implemented in the browser is now going to be implemented in the browser,” Andreessen said. It was an idea he had espoused over a decade ago.

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New Dog, Old Tricks: Quattrone Back in Banking

“Like a long drink of water after a drought” was how one tech executive described to me the news that former IPO kingpin Frank Quattrone is getting back into the i-banking business.

Quattrone earlier this week announced he’s launching the Qatalyst Group, described in lush terms in a press release as a tech-focused “merchant banking boutique.”

A merchant bank is really just a tonier name for an i-bank, which I find sorta funny, given Quattrone’s long-celebrated pride in his working-class, South Philly roots. (The banker’s mustache and “loud” sweaters were the totems Quattrone maintained to differentiate himself from his stuffier peers back in the day.)

So is this a new Frank? Maybe. He still sports the mustache — but my, if he’s not looking svelte! And the man clearly believes in sticking with formulas that work, which in his case was threesomes. dc16989-a.jpeg For a time it was expected that Quattrone’s longtime partners, George Boutros and Bill Brady, would join him in a new venture, but they’re staying put at Credit Suisse. Instead his partners in Qatalyst are corporate lawyer Adrian Dollard (pictured here, on the left) and Jonathan Turner, a tech M&A expert (to Quattrone’s right).

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3 Bites of Wisdom from Barksdale

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My friend, and founder, Amy Lang, has about as well-rounded a portfolio of experience as any startup-type could hope for. Having begun her career in recruiting at Arthur Andersen, Amy was a pre-IPO staffer at Netscape, then worked at Oracle, and later went to Yahoo! where she refined her expertise in marketing.
What’s nice about her case is that it confirms a concept Found|READ has promoted since its inception: The lessons Amy learned at these anchor tech companies have valuable application far beyond Silicon Valley — especially those she gleaned from that silver-tongued Mississipian, Jim Barksdale, the former CEO of Netscape. Read More about 3 Bites of Wisdom from Barksdale