Andreessen on The Rest is History.

Interviewing is basically a series of filters: ie. you can only talk about (a) what they know, and (b) what they are willing to talk about, and (c) what's interesting. When the people involved are unfamiliar with each other, the conversation is driven by the jostling between the various factions in that Venn diagram.

To that end, these two podcasts felt like a moderator was needed because everyone seemed to be speaking past each other. For example, it started off with the historians lobbing a softball question regarding the Turner Thesis and whether this still applied. As they reviewed Silicon Valley history, they were probing for State involvement regarding the growth of Cal Tech (from Throop's bike repair) and Stanford (from horse and fish), but since Andreessen isn't Mariana Mazzucatto, what they were probing for just wasn't going to be surfaced.

Further along the fault lines of the podcast, someone recently posted an updated timeline of Lara Croft, which encapsulates twenty years of computer graphics development. She's blocky in the beginning-- like pile of polygons blocky -- and now thanks to mass graphics computing she has become quite realistic. Unfortunately, since everything is now mediated by the Internet, Rule 34 applies and there are online crude fanfic movies of Lara Croft doing unspeakable things.

So, one way to think about this is to flip the podcasts' original question around: any outlet is going to be a frontier of some kind, right? What matters seems to be the `fecundity' of the underlying growth.

This `fecundity' is the horrible hand-wavey side of the discussion. Take Thiel's Bits vs Atoms critique, that electronics and networks were the more accessible frontier, but maybe in some alternate reality all bits were owned by Ma Bell while transportation was the new Wild West. Would we have a mirror-image world where instead of new iPhones and broken bridges, we would have amazing transport and bakelite landlines?

Or is it that without bits, the world stagnates? Like when we built domes out of brick, not because we could, but because we forgot how to make concrete. This seems an unresolvable line of enquiry, but perhaps fun to hash out, perspective-wise?

Another faultline was the positioning around Identity and the Internet. As the podcast points out, we get car rides, food, and dates all on the strength of a password or SMS. If most of what we want to do is mediated by a phone or laptop, then control of that device or accounts implies control of our Identity. It's just that while the Lara Crofts are getting better, we ourselves are not getting more real.

That's too Orwellian, so the second podcast is a rickety jalopy wildly careening to avoid plummeting into that gorge.

All of these are just part and parcel of interviews, ie. everyone is going to talk to their interests, and not necessarily in an even-handed fashion.