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.
Yes, he really said that. On his deathwatch for the New York Times:
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.