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February 13, 2016 Comments (0) Views: 719 Journal, Upworthy

Really Marc Andreessen?

Though I have always thought and found Marc Andreessen to be a smart venture capitalist with an amazingly successful career – someone who has been on the fore front on predicting what’s coming in the next 5-10-15 years. His recent comments on India and colonialism truly surprised me. How can an intelligent individual like him be so ignorant and irresponsible to make such a statement given that he is probably surrounded by Indians and South Asians in the valley.

So for people who might not know @Marc Andreessen? 

Andreessen is an entrepreneur, investor, and software engineer. He is the coauthor of Mosaic, the first widely used Web browser; he was the co-founder of Netscape; and co-founder and general partner of Silicon Valley venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. He currently sits on the board of several well known companies including Airbnb and Facebook. 

What did Andreessen say and about what?

Andreessen, took to Twitter to defend the company’s (Facebook’s) Free Basics service, which offers users some free Internet services. the rants were towards recent decision by Indian regulators banning the service in India  for violating the concept of net neutrality. The decision that resulted in a huge setback for Facebook who has been promoting the service for months and has spent millions on it.

The discussion started off with Andreessen calling the ban “morally wrong.” and then going on tweeting stating – “Anti-colonialism has been economically catastrophic for the Indian people for decades. Why stop now?”

What is Free Basics by Facebook?

Internet.org is Facebook’s umbrella initiative to bring Internet access to the unconnected. Part of that is the Free Basics program, which Facebook has launched in around three dozen emerging countries.  The service has been criticized outside India, too, with Facebook accused of infringing the principle of net neutrality – the concept that all websites and data on the Internet be treated equally.

Critics and Internet activists argue that allowing free access to a select few apps and Web services disadvantages small content providers and start-ups that don’t participate.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) announced that it has prohibited a practice known as zero-rating, or the offering of select applications or Internet services at “no cost”. First under the name Internet.org, then as Free Basics from Internet.org, Facebook has been offering a zero-rated service in developing portions of India through smartphone carriers since last February. However, some argue that Free Basics, is not really “free Internet”; it includes low-data versions of Facebook and other services from independent developers that must be submitted to Facebook for review. And a company like Facebook, critics argue, may have a vested interest in introducing the developing world to the Internet through its own front door. And hence all the debate.

Just My Opinion:

Mr. Andreessen  –  We completely understand that maybe the regulators or critics (in India and so many other countries who are opposing it) are still not understanding what really the Free Basics service is. To be more optimistic on the topic maybe as Facebook analyzes and explores into deeper dimensions around this initiative it will evolve and eventually figure it out as to how it can reach a win-win state for itself and the users (stakeholders).

The big question will still remain that – were YOU not thinking straight or were you just being a dumb moment that you made such an uncalled for comment just to realize the blunder and retract/apologize profusely after that. My vote any day would be the “latter”.

Anyway, good to know that with all the backlash Marc did issue official statements – at least a step in the right direction:

“I apologize for any offense caused by my earlier tweet about Indian history and politics. I admire India and the Indian people enormously,” he wrote on Twitter Wednesday.

“India is an amazing country with amazing people. Indian companies and people have had profoundly positive effect on the Internet and world!” Andreessen added, before vowing to withdraw from any future discussions of their economy.

I do have to acknowledge Facebook’s and Mark Zuckerberg’s quick reaction to all this where Facebook quickly issued a statement saying: “We strongly reject the sentiments expressed by Marc Andreessen last night regarding India.”

Mark Zuckerberg founder of Facebook also issued a statement – “I found the comments deeply upsetting, and they do not represent the way Facebook or I think at all,”  – Kudos for that!!!

In a series of apologetic tweets, Marc Andreessen, who is accustomed to ranting on Twitter to nearly half a million devoted followers, apologized “without reservation” for an earlier, now deleted tweet.

1 > Last night on Twitter, I made an ill-informed and ill-advised comment about Indian politics and economics.
— Marc Andreessen (@pmarca) February 10, 2016

2 > To be clear, I am 100% opposed to colonialism, and 100% in favor of independence and freedom, in any country, including India.
— Marc Andreessen (@pmarca) February 10, 2016

3 > I am a huge admirer of the nation of India and the Indian people, who have been nothing but kind and generous to me for many years.
— Marc Andreessen (@pmarca) February 10, 2016

4 > I apologize for any offense my comment caused, and withdraw it in full and without reservation.
— Marc Andreessen (@pmarca) February 10, 2016

5 > I will leave all future commentary on all of these topics to people with more knowledge and experience than me.
— Marc Andreessen (@pmarca) February 10, 2016

And so I tag #ReallyMarcAndreessen?

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