I caught up with Marc Andreessen in an exclusive interview ahead of his talk at Wired's "Disruptive by Design" conferenceand he's betting big on social and mobile.
He couldn't comment about Facebook and its pending IPO because he's an investor and on the board, but he said that the social approach can be -- and must be -- applied to a range of industries, and that companies that wire social deeply into what they're doing are better protected from disruption.
Andreessen tells me that now he's particularly interested in social commerce, saying he's very excited about Pinterest in particular. That gives a hint at that sharing startup's future business model.
Despite the billion dollar valuation Instagramdrew, Andreessen says he does not think we're in another Internet bubble - which is why he continues to invest. He also dropped some heavy hints that Facebook had a detailed plan when it purchased Instagram, saying companies "always have a detailed model of what they'll do with an acquisition" and that "people underestimate the technology behind these things."
The issue, Andreessen says, is that the real growth potential is in the private markets, not in the public ones. The problem is that in the last ten years there's been additional regulatory load put on companies that makes it harder for them to raise money and go public. But Andreessen is optimistic that the Jobs Act will help change that, saying it should help them raise money, which will in term help them become more successful. He didn't mince words, saying "we need more reform like that."
He says he's "quite bullish" on the American economy, pointing out that we're in year 15 of a flat stock market. He told me "I'm not a hedge fund manager, but if I was I think I'd be feeling pretty good." He predicts that consumer electronics makers will move back to the United States, and that growing the domestic manufacturing business is nothing but a good thing.
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