Fixing a Broken World
by Keri Brenner
Marc Andreessen and his co-founders at Loudcloud knew they were on to something even before they built their first e-business software power grid.
|Prime Mover: Marc Andreessen|
|Title: Chairman and co-founder, Loudcloud|
|Idea: Provides new e-businesses with technical start-up package|
|Claim to fame: Joined Jim Clark to found Netscape|
|More claim to fame: Former CTO of AOL|
|Loudcloud founded: September 1999|
|Current number of employees: 370|
|Headquarters: Sunnyvale, Calif.|
It was when they first pitched the product — a type of quick-start package for new e-businesses — at a San Francisco start-up.
"[The start-up manager] said, 'This is interesting; we'll think about it,'" recalls Andreessen. He and his group thanked the manager and left, encouraged that the company at least thought it was a good idea.
But later that evening, the start-up manager called Loudcloud co-founder Ben Horowitz on his cell phone.
"They said, 'OK, we're ready to buy it,' " says Andreessen, laughing. "We said, 'Oh my God, we're not ready. We've only got five employees, we don't have the service, we're not ready yet, we don't have what to sell you.' "
But the start-up manager insisted he wanted to buy Loudcloud's product — and immediately. So Andreessen and Horowitz assembled a small team, cranked them all into gear, closed the deal and delivered the first customized Web site infrastructure package to the start-up.
From there on out, it was Internet time, squared, in terms of growth for Loudcloud, which Andreessen established in September 1999 in Sunnyvale, Calif. A year later, the company has 370 employees, an army of investors and Andreessen's face gracing the August 2000 cover of Wired magazine.
Add another feather to young Andreessen's cap. At 29, he has already been co-founder, with mentor Jim Clark, of the enormously successful Netscape Communications Inc., and principal architect of the Netscape Navigator, one of the most popular Web browsers. He went on to become chief technical officer of America Online Inc., before leaving to found his own company.
"There's something very, very exciting about having a clean sheet of paper and being able to say, 'The world is broken and here's how it should work ...and then let's build a business around that,' " says Andreessen. "I like being in an environment where the change is happening at a high rate of speed."
Tune into PBS' Nightly Business Report Thursday night to see Donald Van de Mark's interview with Marc Andreessen. Prime Movers airs every Thursday on the Nightly Business Report. Check your local listing for times.
Prime Mover archive
Managing at Netscape Speed
Jim Clark's Midas Touch
Jim Clark Talks Teams
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