16 Minutes on the News is a short news podcast where we cover the top headlines of the week, the a16z podcast way -- why are these topics in the news; what's real, what's hype from our vantage point; and what are our experts' quick takes on these trends?
About the a16z Podcast: Discusses tech and culture trends, news, and the future -- especially as ‘software eats the world’. It features industry experts, business leaders, and other interesting thinkers and voices from around the world. This podcast is produced by Andreessen Horowitz (aka “a16z”), a Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm. Multiple episodes -- and now shows -- are released every week; visit a16z.com for more details and to sign up for our newsletters and other content as well!
Parasite, the Malaria (Tech & Science) Edition
with @rvenkayya @jorgecondebio @smc90
As with all of the episodes on this show about tech & science trends in the news, and where they are on the long arc of innovation -- this one is actually a story of human ingenuity over 100 years in the making, with the ultimate breakthrough in a malaria vaccine just last year. How is fighting a parasite vs a virus different?
Crypto at Congress: 'Watershed' Moment for Regulation and Web3
Welcome to 16 Minutes, our podcast where we discuss tech trends in the news and their impact on the long arc of innovation. Today’s topic is crypto regulation, and specifically, two recent federal government hearings in the news that were focused on crypto and therefore the related trend of web3. In contrast to the model of web2 — typified by very broadly used but also very centralized platforms run by corporations — web3 refers to the idea of a new internet enabled by crypto that is owned by builders and users.
The first hearing that took place was at the House Committee on Financial Services, featuring six crypto company CEOs and resulting in a five-hour session that prompted headlines like “Congress Gets a Crash Course on Cryptocurrency.”
Then, just last week, the U.S. Senate’s Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee held its own hearing, this time focused on stablecoins, which are privately issued cryptocurrencies that are pegged to a stable asset such as the U.S. dollar, and are used in decentralized financial services.
We’ve covered crypto regulatory issues on 16 Minutes before with a16z experts, including an episode with former federal prosecutor Katie Haun and former New York Stock Exchange regulatory chief Anthony Albanese. That discussion, which you can find in this feed under episode #50, was about a proposal by the Treasury Department’s financial crimes enforcement arm that included provisions for digital asset reporting.
(As a reminder, none of the following should be taken as investment advice, please see a16z.com/disclosures for more important information.)
All of these hearings are also connected to the broader question of innovation, and keeping the U.S. competitive on a global stage.
So with that context, our guest today is a16z global head of policy Tomicah Tillemann, who before joining a16z served as senior advisor to two secretaries of state. He reports on the hearings and their significance, and gives a quick pulse-check on where we are with crypto regulation right now.
Inside the GameStop Drama; The U.S. Constitution, Auctioned
Welcome to 16 Minutes, our show on the a16z podcast network where we talk about tech trends that are dominating news headlines, industry buzz, and where we are on the long arc of innovation.
Today’s episode actually features a look back at the GameStop saga — the stock market drama that some headlines described as a “David-and-Goliath battle” that quote “upended Wall Street.”
For quick basic context, here’s what happened: A group of Reddit users mass-purchased and drove up prices of stock in the video game retailer GameStop, forcing short sellers including hedge funds and institutional investors to back out in a short squeeze, pushing prices even higher. But beyond the news, this also portended other, broader trends including redefining the power of retail investors, the phenomenon of meme stocks, and more.
So in this episode — which is from a conversation that originally took place live on Clubhouse (and which, by the way, can also be found on the a16z Live feed) — a16z co-founder Marc Andreessen talks to Ken Griffin, founder and CEO of the hedge fund Citadel, which was a key player in GameStop as both a market maker and investor. You’ll also hear a16z general partner and fintech expert Alex Rampell join later in the conversation.
Griffin also just purchased (in a Sotheby’s auction a little over 2 weeks ago) one of the original copies of the U.S. Constitution, an auction in which a decentralized autonomous organization called ConstitutionDAO also bid on buying it. Marc and Ken touch briefly on this at the very end.
Steam Halts Web3 Games; FDA Approves Prostate Cancer AI
Welcome to 16 Minutes, our show where we talk about tech trends in the news. We have two segments today:
1) The announcement recently that Valve Software, which operates the massive gaming platform Steam, added a rule against games that use blockchain technologies or that allow users to exchange cryptocurrencies or NFTs – this rule appeared on its “What you shouldn’t publish on Steam” onboarding list for developers. We go beyond the players to the trends at play here, putting the news in context — as is the premise of this show — because it not only immediately impacts gaming developers and gamers using the platform, but has implications for gaming business models and the arc of innovation in gaming as part of the web3 movement. Our expert guests are a16z partner Jonathan Lai and a16z partner Eddy Lazzarin.
2) The FDA’s announcement last month that it authorized marketing of the “first artificial intelligence (AI)-based software designed to identify an area of interest on the prostate biopsy image with the highest likelihood of harboring cancer so it can be reviewed further by the pathologist if the area of concern has not been identified on initial review.” The FDA reviewed the technology from Paige Prostate through its De Novo regulatory pathway. We have three expert guests: Eli Van Allen, associate professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and chief of the Division of Population Sciences at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; a16z bio general partner Vineeta Agarwala; and a16z bio partner Jay Rughani.
mRNA for Flu Vaccine? AI Protein-Folding Goes Open Source
In today’s episode we have two short segments, both on bioscience topics:
[0:00] Moderna has started clinical trials for a flu vaccine, called mRNA-1010, that is based on the same mRNA technology that Moderna and Pfizer used for their COVID vaccines, and that several other companies including Sanofi and Glaxo all are actively working on for the influenza use case. Our experts are general partners Vineeta Agarwala and Jorge Conde of the a16z bio team, who have joined us on many of our vaccine-related episodes, which you can find at a16z.com/vaccines. They discuss what comes next for the clinical trials of this mRNA-based flu vaccines, why companies aren't planning to use the faster and more-targeted mRNA technology for COVID's Delta variant, and how mRNA vaccines will change not only our approach to flu shots but to other respiratory viruses.
[9:53] Google’s DeepMind AlphaFold, in partnership with the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, is publicly sharing its entire protein structure database -- with predicted protein structure models for ~20,000 proteins expressed by the human genome -- meaning that all its data will be freely and openly available to the scientific community. (We previously discussed DeepMind's AlphaFold protein-folding AI on this show in episode #48.) General partner Vijay Pande of the a16z bio team helps us answer the question: Why does it matter that a huge database of very accurate predicted protein structures is now freely available?
Opioid Crisis - How, Who, and Tech
with @jorgecondebio @vijaypande @smc90
Given recent news of drug company settlements, policy moves, and more, this episode is a rerun of one of our early explainers on the opioid crisis -- how do opioids work; who's to blame; and where does (and doesn't) tech come in?
Fantastic news resource // smart and deep
Please keep it up! Excellent way to keep up with news. Great achievement. Sonol is a total QUEEN!
Episode 69. Stop breathing into the mic
Super annoying that the host mic is not set up properly with too much noise when speaking. Also annoying to hear his breathing while the guest is speaking.
Outside of the mainstream, good production
This is a good show. Keep it up!