PALO ALTO — Thursday night in a Crowne Plaza hotel, with an Elks Club banquet roaring next door, Netscape cofounder, Ning king, and Facebook board member Marc Andreessen sat down with Portfolio writer Kevin Maney for a Churchill Club interview. This wasn't exactly what Andreessen had planned. Back in May, he wrote on his blog that he planned to stop speaking in public: "Used to be, if you wanted to get a message out into the market, you would give a talk at a conference, a reporter would write down some of what you said and mangle the rest, and you'd call it a day.... Mid-year resolution #1: No more public speaking. Mid-year resolution #2: More blogging." Two weeks later, he stopped blogging. Here follows a thoroughly mangled version of his comments. Marc, you have no one to blame but yourself.On Microsoft:
Microsoft can build software, when they choose to.
On investing in startups:
I usually put in $25,000 to $100,000 per company. My philosophy is to put in a small enough amount of money that I won't get mad at the founder if I lose it.
Translation: Marc Andreessen is so rich that he can lose $100,000 and feel nothing. On the failure of Friendster:
Friendster was very restrictive on what users did. You were supposed to connect because you know each other in real life, not, as [founder Jonathan] Abrams said, 'because you both like Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.' But sometimes you want to put your chocolate in her peanut butter.
I don't want to become the crazy anti-New York Times guy. You have to do what Intel did in 1985. The Japanese chipmakers were killing Intel in the memory-chip market. It got out of memory chips and focused on the much-smaller microprocessor market. I would turn off the printing presses.
On his mentor and Netscape cofounder, Jim Clark:
I could tell you a lot of stories about his life [in Florida], but I won't. He's dating a 26-year-old Australian swimsuit model. I just ran into an entrepreneur who said, "I just ran into Jim Clark at a resort town in Italy. Jim was in a hot tub carved into the side of a mountain." I said, "Yes! That was Jim Clark."
On the iPhone's price:
Give it a year, it will be down to $99. Give it another year, it will be free.
On his motives for giving away his money:
My wife teaches philanthropy at Stanford Business School. I would be in big trouble if I weren't hugely committed to it.
On his relationship with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer:
He's my Facebook friend. He's my Facebook 'friend.' [makes air-quotes gesture] I'll stop there.