October 31, 2008

Marc Andreesen

By: David Donadio

In case you missed his interview in Portfolio, Netscape founder Marc Andreesen once again counsels the New York Times to kill its print product altogether:

Shut off the print edition right now. You’ve got to play offense. You’ve got to do what Intel did in ’85 when it was getting killed by the Japanese in memory chips, which was its dominant business. And it famously killed the business—shut it off and focused on its much smaller business, microprocessors, because that was going to be the market of the future. And the minute Intel got out of playing defense and into playing offense, its future was secure. The newspaper companies have to do exactly the same thing.

The financial markets have discounted forward to the terminal conclusion for newspapers, which is basically bankruptcy. So at this point, if you’re one of these major newspapers and you shut off the printing press, your stock price would probably go up, despite the fact that you would lose 90 percent of your revenue. Then you play offense. And guess what? You’re an internet company.

(Hat tip: Romenesko). I’ve started reading Andreesen’s blog. There’s some great stuff on there, including Warren Buffett’s long-time pal Charlie Munger on the psychology of entrepreneurial misjudgment.

To my surprise, Andreesen has also written what may be the most balanced, thoughtful and level-headed endorsement I’ve yet read of Barack Obama.

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