Outspoken venture capitalist Marc Andreessen took the stage at Code Conference on Tuesday and reflected on the disconnect between the technology community and the rest of the United States.
“Silicon Valley is extremely left-wing, extremely liberal,” he said, claiming that the technology industry’s libertarian stereotype is largely inaccurate. He estimated that “99.99 percent of Silicon Valley last year voted for Hillary Clinton.” (Ten percent of San Francisco voters went with Trump.)
Andreessen, who at one point tweeted “I’m with her,” criticized his community for turning a blind eye at the middle of the country. “It’s really hard for a lot of people in Silicon Valley to even articulate the other side,” he said.
Andreessen was joined on stage by Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn and a partner at Greylock Partners. Hoffman spoke of how social media could help inform people throughout the world.
“We’re trying to help you get to truth,” he said. “Part of the social responsibility for these growing strengths of tech platforms is to make that happen.” (Hoffman recently invested in Change.org, a petitions site for social change.)
When asked by Kara Swisher if he would seek a government position, he adamantly denied it. Hoffman will “definitely not run for office.”
The noted investors also talked about what types of startups they are looking at these days.
Andreessen spoke passionately about self-driving cars, and he discredited the notion that this would be bad for the economy.
While he acknowledged that some jobs will be eliminated, he believes that one of the benefits of self-driving cars is that suburbs will extend even farther from major cities, because people will be comfortable with longer commutes. This would in turn result in more construction and new local economies.
He’s also been analyzing “healthcare, education, construction, elder care, child care and government.” He claims that “those are the sectors of the economy that technology is having almost no impact on.”
Hoffman is focused on different types of startups and is particularly enthusiastic about “businesses with network effects.” He said that Airbnb and on-demand trucking startup Convoy are examples of these types of companies.
He also takes an interest in robotics. It’s “one of the areas that everyone knows is super important,” said Hoffman. But because it will lead to job changes, he hopes to “make it work out in a way that’s more humane.”