Marc Andreessen, co-founder of Netscape and venture capital firm, Andeessen Horowitz gives us insight to youthful visionary leaders and innovators in his new book Zoom.  Highlights from the Foreword are mentioned here.

Don’t look to the past to dictate the future.  That is a key trait for anyone transforming business today.  Building a business is crazy hard.  Things always go horribly wrong.  And most companies fail.  Only a very few win big.  In venture capital, for instance, just 10 to 15 companies funded a year are responsible for 97% of the returns.  We glorify the ones that create new products and industries, but startups are really more like sausage factories.  People love eating sausage, but no one wants to watch the sausage get made.  Even the most glorious startups suffer crisis after crisis after crisis.

Companies that succeed  do so because of someone at the helm with an irrepressible vision – a leader (or leaders) with principles, courage, and maniacal drive.

That’s imperative.  Without that kind of conviction and commitment, innovative businesses would never survive long enough to make their mark.  The visionaries fostering a new future are constantly questioned by the many who prefer to live in the status quo.  That’s why throughout history the greatest innovations were never widely understood at the time they were introduced.

We are in a world or rapidly accelerating technological change.  Mobile is under-hyped.  Social is underestimated.  The enterprise is being reinvented.  The world is being transformed.  But the nature of innovation is that it’s hard to predict.

It would have been impossible for Facebook to exist 15 years ago.  We therefore cannot prejudge anything; the best way to move the world ahead is only to trust the process of innovation – and to feed it.

The most significant value of any company is not its current products or services, but its legacy as an innovation factory for years to come.  Encouraging the overall spirit of questioning, inventing, and doing good – more than emulating the details – is what will lead to the creation of miraculous things we haven’t though of yet, and it is what will make the future a marvelous place.

Get In Over Your Head

Almost everyone in business has to make an uncertain move at some point – a step that seems high-risk, but potentially high-reward.  Then there are those who make a career out of such leaps of faith.  Risk is scary and uncertain, but it’s also where inspiration can come to you, and it’s where, if your skill matches your ambition, you

can succeed.  Outside your comfort zone, you’ll question what you find and think of fresh ways to approach the status quo.  Several modern leaders have made it a habit to get into ventures that seem overwhelmingly challenging.  Their example is emboldening.  Pursue your wildest-dream ideas, and you might find that it pays off a lot more than playing it safe.