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Marc Andreessen is wrong

It’s not often I get the chance to disagree with luminaries. So here goes. Marc Andreessen, board member at Facebook, eBay, HP, others and venture capitalist extraordinaire, wrote in the WSJ last month “Why software is eating the world”.

It is an apology for software – effectively providing a long list of industries that are shifting from mechanical or even human control to being controlled by software (and well worth reading); and justifying his investments in software companies.

He’s not wrong in what he says, but his article misses the point. Software isn’t eating the world: information owns the world. It is merely a coincidence that software is all we have to discover and manipulate that information. This makes software useful and software companies valuable.

But they have no intrinsic value in themselves; the value is all in the information. If we discover or develop a better way to manipulate data, the software and the software companies will become irrelevant. Overnight (conceptually speaking). But the information will march on.

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