Tech and Entertainment in the Era of Mass Customization | a16z Podcast with Marc Andreessen and Reed Hastings


At the recent first-ever summit event with Andreessen Horowitz held in Silicon Valley, founding partner Marc Andreessen talked to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings the future of tech and entertainment in an era of mass customization.

From a16z:

Imagine, for a moment, an alternative universe: One where Netflix got disrupted by some other streaming-content company that made its DVD rental business irrelevant. But that’s just a counterfactual of what could have happened. What actually happened is that Netflix cannibalized (or rather, “hybridized”) its own core business to make room for a more strategic one given where the tech was going…

Given how rare it is for companies to successfully disrupt themselves like this, Reed Hastings, CEO and co-founder of Netflix, shares how they did it in this episode of the a16z Podcast (based on a conversation with Marc Andreessen that took place at our inaugural summit event). But please don’t say “only the paranoid survive” — Hastings believes business leaders need more sophisticated metaphors “to anticipate the paths, and all the judgment it takes, of deciding which competitive path to most explore”. It also turns out that sourcing, managing, and supporting creative ideas and creators is not unlike the questions VCs ask themselves — like trying to figure out just how much experience entrepreneurs need (especially if first-timers, like the directors of “Stranger Things” were).

And finally, is there a “Netflix brand” or genre of content — and if so, just how far can you stretch it so the same brand can produce something like “Orange Is the New Black” one day and then “Fuller House” the next day? Or are we entering an “era of mass customization” where we only see content suited to our interests — dark and dystopian if that’s your thing, sunny and funny if not? How is the industry ecosystem evolving; where do telcos, Silicon Valley, Hollywood fit in? All this and more in this episode.

Sports Business Innovation Continues to Expand at CES 2017

Sports Business Innovation presented by Turner Sports is a convergence of leading executives and personalities representing some of the most forward-thinking minds in the industry. Discussion topics center on how technology is being utilized to progressively alter the sports business landscape, sparking innovation that dynamically enhances the fan experience.

Top Three Topics:

  • The evolution of sports leagues, properties and content creation and delivery to meet the ever-changing consumption habits of today’s sports fan
  • Data and the use of analytics to fuel the evolution of sports both on and off the field
  • New and creative ways to leverage technology and how it is being used to alter the sports industry

Thursday, January 05

9–9:45 AM

The New Era of League Innovation

9:45–10:30 AM

Life Off the Court

10:30–11:15 AM

Evolution of Consumer Engagement

11:15 AM-12 PM


Friday, January 06

9:30–10:15 AM

Targeting and Engaging the Next Generation of Fans

10:15–11 AM

Data Analytics and Sports Performance

11–11:45 AM

Future of Sports Content

11:45 AM-12:30 PM

Going Deeper with the Consumer

12:30–1:15 PM

Tech Investing in Sports

Saturday, January 07

10–10:45 AM

Technology in Sports and Fan Accessibility

10:45–11:30 AM

Venue of the Future

11:30 AM-12:15 PM

Disruption and Innovation in Sport

Learn more at

contributed by Kelly Wilson, Akif Malik and Ryan Johnson

NBA on TNT to Broadcast from CES 2017

TNT’s Inside the NBA studio team — host Ernie Johnson and analysts Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal — will anchor a special live NBA on TNT telecast from CES including pre-game, halftime and post-game coverage surrounding the network’s NBA coverage throughout the evening on Thursday, January 5th.

Inside the NBA is a 13-time Sports Emmy Award winning studio show featuring a dynamic combination of basketball analysis, entertainment and social commentary.  Appointment viewing for the hardcore basketball fan and casual sports fan alike, Inside the NBA’s presentation often transcends sports and blends into the pop culture domain including moments from the show that regularly tend to “go viral.”

story contributed by Kelly Wilson, Akif Malik and Ryan Johnson


ELEAGUE Showcases eSports at CES 2017

ELEAGUE, the professional esports organization formed in partnership between Turner and WME | IMG, will present a showcase at CES including a preview of the first-ever “ELEAGUE Major,” a championship esports event featuring Valve’s Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) competitive video game.  The ELEAGUE Major will be held in Atlanta, January 22-29.  In its first season, ELEAGUE featured the popular CS:GO game with live event coverage available on Twitch and a weekly showcase televised on TBS.  The first season of ELEAGUE generated nearly 900 million gross minutes of video consumption across TBS and Twitch. ELEAGUE continues to deliver world class coverage of live esports competitions — including the expansion of its portfolio to include new titles in 2016 — and much more planned for the year ahead.

WHEN: Thursday, 1:30-2:30pm

WHERE: Sands Expo

Related: Gamers Ask and Dell form ELEAGUE eSports Partnership

story contributed by Kelly Wilson, Akif Malik, Ryan Johnson

La French Tech Ups the Ante in Vegas, Takes CES 2017 by Storm with Largest International Contingent of Startups

La French Tech is going “all in” in Las Vegas at CES 2017, with a record number of companies participating at the mega tech show. More than 260 French enterprises, ranging from established market leaders to newly minted unicorns and disruptive startups, will showcase their innovations. The contingent will reach into every corner of industry on display at CES and feature an especially dominating presence at CES’ startup haven, Eureka Park, where the number of French-based firms is the largest of any international delegation.

Read the full press release.

Story contributed by Kelly Wilson, Akif Malik and Ryan Johnson

Polar Unveils Connected Sports Shirt With Built-In Heart-Rate Monitor

Polar, a company known for a range of sports training computers, such as activity-trackers and Wi-Fi scales, has announced a new connected sports shirt with built-in health-tracking smarts. The Polar Team Pro Shirt builds on the company’s existing athlete-focused heart-rate monitoring hardware, which includes the Polar Team Pro chest strap and serves to give coaches real-time data on their athletes’ performance, including effort expended and speed of recovery.

Polar says the shirt will be made available in light grey only, from March 2017, though the company has not yet revealed a price.

Hexoskin has been one of the pioneers in this space since 2014 and has multiple connected garments:

story contributed by Kelly Wilson, Akif Malik and Ryan Johnson