Marc Andreessen's (a16z) Best Career Advice

The college you go to doesn't matter much as long as you get an in-demand stem degree (like computer science or electrical engineering). But the college you go to matters a lot if you get a liberal arts degree. You need to go to a top school if you major in liberal arts.

Marc Andreessen's (a16z) Best Career Advice

The easiest way to become successful is to develop a talent stack. A talent stack is a list of normal skills that when combined together make you extraordinary. These are the top skills to learn:

  1. Technical skill: Coding, engineering, or other STEM.
  2. Communication: Public speaking or writing. Study human nature, psychology, and philosophy.
  3. Management: Learn to manage people.
  4. Sales: Learn how to sell. Learn persuasion.
  5. Finance: Learn personal finance and investing.
  6. International: Travel the world.

Learn to write and code online. Writing and coding are the two best skills to develop and then show online (blog, GitHub) because you don't have to go to college for them. In contrast, you can't practice heart surgery without a degree and you can't easily display your surgery skills online.

The college you go to doesn't matter much as long as you get an in-demand stem degree (like computer science or electrical engineering).

But the college you go to matters a lot if you get a liberal arts degree. You need to go to a top school if you major in liberal arts.

Always look for and quickly accept opportunities. You should be biased towards taking opportunities – they are rare. But opportunities have risk and you need to be able to quckly analyze the risk. Most people don't know how to analyze risk and default to rejecting opportunities.

Pick an industry where the founders of the industry—the founders of the important companies in the industry—are still alive and actively involved.

Pick a high-growth industry because a rising tide lifts all boats.

Never worry about being a small fish in a big pond. Being a big fish in a small pond sucks—you will hit the ceiling on what you can achieve quickly, and nobody will care. Optimize at all times for being in the most dynamic and exciting pond you can find. That is where the great opportunities can be found.

  • Apply this rule when selecting which company to go to. Go to the company where all the action is happening.
  • Work at a smaller, high-growth company rather than big company. You will learn more.
  • Also apply this rule when selecting which city to live in. Go to the city where all the action is happening.
  • New York City, for instance, is the financial capital of the US, but Miami could become the crypto capital of the US. Which is better for someone in finance to live? You decide.

Sources:

  1. Pmarca Guide to Career Planning Part 1: Opportunity
  2. Pmarca Guide to Career Planning Part 2: Skills and Education
  3. Pmarca Guide to Career Planning Part 3: Where to Go and Why
  4. Marc Andreessen interview with Dylan Field, CEO of Figma