How top investor Marc Andreessen stays open-minded: Imaginary arguments with a tiny Peter Thiel on his shoulder

Marc Andreessen, co-founder and general partner of Andreessen Horowitz
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

For famous venture capitalist Marc Andreessen, staying open-minded is so important that he's willing to endure some funny looks from other people.

In a talk with students at Stanford Graduate School of Business, Andreessen reportedly said he has a unique trick to keep himself objective and consider other points of view: Imagining famous tech figures on his shoulders like the apparitions of devils and angels that appear in movies.

"I have a little simulation of Peter Thiel," Andreessen joked to Stanford students, referring to the PayPal co-founder and technology investor. "He lives on my shoulder right here. I argue with him all day long."

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Andreessen said he also imagines arguing with Tesla's Elon Musk or Alphabet's Larry Page. By staying "ruthlessly open-minded," Andreessen said he avoids missing out on opportunities because he's convinced himself they don't work.

"You want to kind of construct a model of how they think and be able to be very objective and fair — where you can think things through from their standpoint," Andreessen said. "Then you have your own view on things. Then you try to run through in your head what you know of them and say, OK, here are the conclusions that they would reach. If you put enough time into that, you start to be able to have these conversations with yourself."

For the full interview, see the article here.