Softball: Marc Andreessen Talks Tech At Fortune Brainstorm

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Fortune’s Adam Lashinsky is interviewing Marc Andreessen in an evening session of the Fortune Brainstorm in Pasadena, CA. Unfortunately Lashinsky didn’t ask any hard questions (um, Ning worth $750 million?). But among the softballs were a few interesting responses.

Lashinsky starts the talk off on venture capital, of course, given Andreessen and Ben Horowitz’s new $300 million venture fund called Andreessen Horowitz.

Andreessen, rehashing old material, says the goal is to be one of the few venture capitalists who are able to survive. He says that only a handful of startups do well enough to really make the returns for a VC, and he says his connections and reputation are solid enough to attract those startups to his fund. His focus: consumer Internet, business Internet (cloud computing, “software as a service”), mobile software and services, software-powered consumer electronics, infrastructure and applications software, networking, storage, databases, and other back-end systems.

On the economy in general: “We had a big breakdown in how western capitalism works,” Andreessen says, adding that “there needs to be a tremendous amount of deleveraging.” But it’s also an opportunity for entrepreneurs to disrupt some of the affected industries. Insurance, finance, etc. are very hard industries to enter, he says, and you have to compete with government subsidized entities. He seems to think the bailouts were a terrible idea.

Lashinsky does ask one solid question at the end – Would you invest your new venture fund in Ning at a $750 million valuation, he asks? Andreessen says he loves Ning and would have taken a hard look at it.

I’m not sure if that actually qualifies as an answer.

That was quite possibly the worst interview of Marc I’ve ever seen.

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