@andrewchen

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Personal updates: Moving to LA, a new role at a16z, and more!

Dear readers,

This blog is officially back! I’m excited to restart my writing here, after a long hiatus. It took more than three years to write my book, The Cold Start Problem and all my energy went into that. But as of last December, it’s finally out in the world, and I want to thank all of you for making it a success. I’ll be sharing more about what I learned in my journey in writing and publishing the book in a future essay — and all my random life hacks for clearing out a few hours every week to put it together.

In the meantime, I have some big life (and work) updates:

1) LA Tech Week 2022
First, putting this up front, so the link doesn’t get lost — join me at LA Tech Week 2022 in mid-August! I’ll be co-hosting a number of events, along with my a16z colleague Katia Ameri. Just register on the site to see all the events. I’m involved in the organization of the conference (more on this in a second) and will be hosting a number of events related to gaming, the metaverse, consumer apps, etc. I’ll be tweeting the events I’ll be attending as the dates approach, and would love to see y’all there.

2) I’ve moved to LA (well, specifically, Venice Calfornia!)
Related is the the actual personal news: I’ve moved to LA after nearly 15 years in San Francisco. Big change for me. This is the result of a very random series of events where the COVID lockdown convinced me to spontaneously try #vanlife, where on a whim I purchased and lived out of a sprinter van for months at a time. This became my life in the back half of 2020, where I drove from California to Nevada, Utah, and Arizona, working full-time on the week days and exploring national parks on the weekends. Surprisingly, it worked well! Throughout, and particularly during the colder months, I used LA as my home base between longer trips.

Although I had visited many times before, I hadn’t actually tried to actually live there, so I started to try different neighborhoods, and began to Airbnb all throughout the city — Malibu, Silver Lake, WeHo, Santa Monica, and otherwise — before eventually deciding to settle down in one spot. Today, I call Venice, CA my home. It’s walkable, hip, artsy, and has pockets of amazing beauty. If you visit, make sure you check out Abbott Kinney Blvd, the Venice Canals, the walk streets, and Gjelina’s! And don’t worry, my SF friends and coworkers — I’ll be back to the Bay Area often, maybe every month or two. (I’m keeping my place there)

Since arriving in LA, I’ve been working with the startup/VC community to help boost the already vibrant tech ecosystem here. We’re committed to have a major presence here — a16z recently signed an office in Santa Monica (opening soon, it’s a whole building with multiple floors etc) and already has several dozen employees here, as part of our move to the cloud. I’ve set up numerous Whatsapp groups, including for the several hundred investors based here, and also maintain several rotating dinner series for games industry founders and executives.

3) A new role at a16z: GAMES FUND ONE
Earlier this year, we launched GAMES FUND ONE, a16z’s first investment fund focused on investing in the metaverse, AR/VR, games studios, social platforms for gamers, and so on. Check out the launch video!

I’ve been dabbling in the industry, backing a number of top startups spun out of Riot Games, Epic, and otherwise. But as part of this launch, I joined the fund full-time, where I’ll be focused on the convergence of consumer apps and games along with my colleagues Jon and James who will cover content and infrastructure, respectively. Of course, I maintain a number of my board seats and a broad portfolio for consumer startups that I’ll continue to support, but am excited to focus my new investments within Games.

I’ll be writing more about why I’m excited for games (and the “metaverse,” whatever that is!) to define the next generation of consumer tech.

More on that soon.

Finally, I just want to thank everyone who has been a subscriber to this blog (and newsletter) over the past few years. I started writing it in 2007 upon arriving to SF as a mid-20s noob aspiring founder, and over a decade later, it taught me that writing is one of my favorite activities. And I’ve met so many great people from doing it, too. I’m glad to be back!

best,
Andrew

(Btw, for LA history fans, check out this fun video from Lost LA on the history of Venice CA and why it shares a name with an Italian city. It has some great old photos and tidbits)

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