Insights on Tech and Business From Code Conference 2017

Marc Andreessen is hopeful about the job-creating potential of self-driving vehicles and Steve Ballmer shares his greatest Microsoft regret.
Insights on Tech and Business From Code Conference 2017
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Code Conference 2017 began May 30 and will run through June 1 at the Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. Some of tech's most prominent figures are in attendance sharing their insights on what's happening today -- and what's next. We've summarized some of the interesting tidbits below and will update this page as more speakers take the stage.

Big-name VC says self-driving cars will lead to job boom

Marc Andreessen, one of Silicon Valley's most high-profile venture capitalists, said we shouldn't be concerned that self-driving vehicles will lead to a loss of jobs. Just the opposite, the co-founder of VC firm Andreessen Horowitz argued at Code Conference 2017.

Related: Study: $5,000 Is the Self-Driving Car Sweet Spot

He compared it to the rise of the automobile industry, which people at the time worried would put those who worked with horses and carriages out of work. It did, but the prevalence of cars led to a boom in manufacturing as well as paved roads and a boost to businesses such as hotels and restaurants.

“It’s a recurring panic," he said. "This happens every 25 or 50 years, people get all amped up about ‘machines are going to take all the jobs’ and it never happens.”

Not only could self-driving tech lead to fewer traffic deaths and a boost in productivity when people don't have to drive anymore, it could also cause a boom in exurbs, which go beyond suburbs.

Microsoft's former CEO's big regret

Steve Ballmer, the former CEO of Microsoft, said that he was too slow to recognize the need for the giant to get into hardware.

“I wish we’d built the capability to be a world-class hardware company, because one of the new expressions of software is essentially the hardware,” he said. Microsoft purchased phone maker Nokia under his leadership, which ended up a failure.

Related: The Craziest Patents by Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Google and More

Meanwhile, Ballmer also discussed Jack Dorsey, CEO and co-founder of both Square and Twitter. Ballmer said Dorsey will eventually have to choose one company to lead.

“Being a CEO is a hard job, I can speak to that,” Ballmer said. “Being a CEO of two things, I can’t even imagine."

He also added that Microsoft didn't try to buy Twitter.

Netflix's CEO says net neutrality no longer a 'primary battle' for the company

The FCC recently voted to take the first steps to undo the Obama administration's net neutrality rules, which were designed to prevent internet service providers from favoring certain websites over others. While this poses a large threat to up-and-coming internet-based businesses, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said fighting the rule changes is not a priority for his company.

“It’s not our primary battle at this point,” he said. “I think Trump’s FCC is going to unwind the rules no matter what anybody says."

He added, “We had to carry the water when we were growing up and we were small, and now other companies need to be on that leading edge.”

Meanwhile, he said Netflix and Facebook aren't competing for the same content.

Hillary Clinton says Democrats need better content marketing

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton discussed the many reasons she believes she lost the presidential election to Donald Trump, including the media, fake news and Russian hacking. But another thing she pointed to was the failure of the Democratic party to convey its story to voters.

“We are not good historically at building institutions and we’ve got to get a lot better, and that includes content,” Clinton said. “We have a great story to tell. I found when I started the campaign that I had to say in practically every one of my speeches, ‘Barack Obama saved the economy and he doesn’t get the credit he deserves.’ I had to say that because people had been told differently.”

Interesting insights from a prominent VC's annual report

Every year, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers partner Mary Meeker presents a report on the state of the internet. Here are some highlights from this year’s findings:

  • Nearly one in five businesses are worried about being locked in with a cloud provider, up from 7 percent in 2012.

  • People are picky about which companies they're willing to share health data with. A 2016 survey revealed they're more open to sharing with Google, Microsoft, Samsung and Apple than Amazon, Facebook and IBM.

  • The day when we will be able to talk with our machines is fast approaching. Meeker's report revealed that Google can understand human language with 95 percent accuracy.

Edition: June 2017

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