Andrew Chen — Metaverse, Metrics, and Meerkats (#550)

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“Between the early adopters and the early majority you have this chasm where all the nerds will love you but the mainstream market has no clue what it is that you do.”

— Andrew Chen

Andrew Chen (@andrewchen) is a general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, where he invests in consumer technology, including social, marketplace, entertainment, and gaming experiences. Today, Andrew serves on the boards of All Day Kitchens, Clubhouse, Envoy, Hipcamp, Maven, Reforge, Sandbox VR, Singularity 6, Sleeper, Snackpass, and Substack.

Andrew is a prolific writer and leading voice on mobile, metrics, and user growth. For the past decade, he’s covered the topic on AndrewChen.com. He is the author of The Cold Start Problem, a book exploring how new startups are launched. He is also a board member and instructor at Reforge, which offers selective, growth-focused programs for experienced professionals in marketing, product, data, and engineering.

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The transcript of this episode can be found here. Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

#550: Andrew Chen — Metaverse, Metrics, and Meerkats

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What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

SCROLL BELOW FOR LINKS AND SHOW NOTES…

Want to hear an episode about what it takes to start and scale a podcast? Listen to my conversation with Chris Hutchins, in which we discussed how I built The Tim Ferriss Show to 700+ million downloads, advice for starting small and remaining sustainable, backup systems, finding useful technology at a reasonable price, the rewards of podcast monetization versus its costs, getting guests to trust the process, the key to becoming a better interviewer, understanding your audience, and much more.

#538: How I Built The Tim Ferriss Show to 700+ Million Downloads — An Immersive Explanation of All Aspects and Key Decisions (Featuring Chris Hutchins)
  • Connect with Andrew Chen:

Website | Twitter

SHOW NOTES

  • How did My Life in Advertising by Claude C. Hopkins (written around the turn of the last century) come to be such an influential book for Andrew, and why do its lessons hold up today? [06:37]
  • Who is Geoffrey Moore, and what was it like for Andrew to share an office with him as a 25-year-old newcomer to Silicon Valley back in 2007? [11:38]
  • Who is Sean Ellis? [13:57]
  • What prompted Andrew to start writing, and how did it lead to his first meeting with Marc Andreessen? [16:51]
  • How did Andrew adapt to the attention his writing was getting in the early days to build an even larger audience? [20:26]
  • How long do Andrew’s pieces tend to be, and how does he ensure he’s expressing opinions that his readers will find compelling? [24:30]
  • What does Andrew do to stay focused when he’s writing? [26:46]
  • To what does the title of Andrew’s book The Cold Start Problem refer, and why did he write it? [28:36]
  • Lessons learned from consulting during the early days of Uber. [37:30]
  • An Andrew’s-eye-view of the Twitch origin story, and how the decision was made to focus on gaming. [43:20]
  • How a truly innovative company can create the market that perpetuates its existence. [51:15]
  • Who or what in the heck is a Roblox, and what does it signify for the future of gaming and related technologies? [55:15]
  • What does Andrew think the much-hyped but mostly theoretical metaverse will look like in three to five years? [1:02:02]
  • Decentralized warlocks, open-source ecosystems, and real-world upheavals driven by digital demands. [1:07:47]
  • What questions does Andrew ask entrepreneurs in order to gauge how they think about growth? [1:12:30]
  • How does Andrew suggest startups, companies, or people go about picking the right metrics? [1:16:45]
  • Common mistakes Andrew sees founders making when they’re trying to improve a startup’s growth. [1:21:46]
  • And now for something completely different: here’s the part of the interview where Andrew talks about meerkats and sardines. [1:26:14]
  • The network effects of work in cities where people are choosing to live — and leave — these days. [1:31:32]
  • The startup investment trend Andrew is following keenly, and what novices need to remember about distributing available resources to maximize their chances of coming out ahead. [1:33:58]
  • Thoughts on the current climate of the creator economy: where I fit in, and where I see things headed with the seemingly inevitable mainstream acceptance of Web3, NFTs, and blockchain technologies. [1:43:49]
  • What is Reforge? [1:55:53]
  • Parting thoughts. [1:58:39]

MORE ANDREW CHEN QUOTES FROM THE INTERVIEW

“Between the early adopters and the early majority you have this chasm where all the nerds will love you but the mainstream market has no clue what it is that you do.”
— Andrew Chen

“I’m self-parenting. You know you have too low of an attention span when you have to embrace all of this tooling to manage your time.”
— Andrew Chen

“When I came to the Bay Area, that was one of my express goals: ‘I am going to meet all the PayPal people, and I’m going to try and figure out what it is that they know that I don’t.'”
— Andrew Chen

“How many of the privacy issues that people talk about and the targeting and all the stuff that’s been happening is really because we decided to go with banner ads instead of having people pay each other online?”
— Andrew Chen

“The nice part about working as a startup investor is we’re funding all these companies that will eventually announce their products in two or three years, and so I feel like I have a little glimpse of what it is that the founders want to do.”
— Andrew Chen

“This is just an incredible opportunity for anybody that wants to make a new virtual world, new game experience, or new game studio right now, because you can go and take all these ideas and try to combine them in new, fresh ways that sort of blend together economic game play with visual, classic game design in ways that the world has never seen.”
— Andrew Chen

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2 Replies to “Andrew Chen — Metaverse, Metrics, and Meerkats (#550)”

  1. Hi Tim, this episode
    with Andrew Chen surrounding the metaverse, startup investing, and growth secrets in relation to branding was extremely interesting to listen to. Bret Kugelmass recently spoke about why people are afraid of nuclear energy and I think this would be another great topic for you to cover on your podcast. His Open100 Project is also incredibly thoughtful, an open source framework to help countries build small nuclear reactors and how the cultural shift around nuclear power might happen. Bret highlights that at this point, low carbon is not enough. We need to actively reverse the damage by capturing existing carbon in the atmosphere.

  2. Hi Tim,

    Love all of the Andreessen Horowitz guests. I would really like an update on how you would approach your real-world MBA if you were to do it again using everything you know now, but in today’s society.

    Thanks!