For a long time, businesses have operated on a simple model – one headquarters with numerous branch offices across the country or the world. The advent of modern technology such as teleconferencing platforms (like Zoom and Microsoft Teams) and the “cloud” have brought with it the promise of a different future – one where remote working is the new norm. And goes without saying, COVID 19 only accelerated that change.
The pandemic accelerated this development as employees from across the globe resorted to working from home, and it seemed to have worked pretty well. So well that renowned VC firm Andreessen Horowitz is impressed enough with the concept to effectively discard their physical headquarters and move the same to “the cloud.”
You read that right – going forward, the headquarters of Andreessen Horowitz (going by popular monicker “a16z”) will be a digital one, while it continues to create and work with physical offices across the globe. Currently, its centralized headquarters are in Silicon Valley (Menlo Park, to be more precise).
Speaking of physical offices, a16z will be opening three new offices in Miami Beach, New York, and Santa Monica, which will exist alongside a16z’s current Menlo Park and San Francisco locations. It has already signed a lease for five years for 8000 square feet for its Miami Beach office. Miami Mayor Francis Suarez hailed the development as “enormous news.”
“It turns out that running a technology company remotely works pretty darned well. It’s not perfect, but mitigating the cultural issues associated with remote work turns out to be easier than mitigating the employee satisfaction issues associated with forcing everyone into the office 5 days/week,” said Ben Horowitz, founding partner of a16z, in a blog post. The same added that concentrating businesses into one or cut off “great opportunities from anyone who can contribute.”
This development means that a16z will shift to an entirely new model of operating, one which prioritizes remote and hybrid modes of working. Here, its employees will work primarily virtually, while the company’s physical presence will be utilized to develop its culture, help entrepreneurs, and build relationships. The post described it as follows: “Specifically, the firm is now virtual, but can materialize physically on command.”
Should Andreessen Horowitz successfully move to a digital headquarters, this will mark a shift on an unprecedented scale and pave the way for other companies to follow in its footsteps. It will also usher in a time when remote working is not just a temporary measure to deal with a pandemic but rather the norm for companies and employees across the globe.
Remote working and a hybrid approach have already been adopted by numerous companies across the globe over the past two years. This, according to the blog post, is “profoundly weakening the Silicon Valley network effect.” Considering that this “network effect” was one of the primary reasons behind the emergence of companies from Silicon Valley, it is understandable that a business should seek other avenues if the effect is weakening with the changing times.