Models Will Run the World

The Wall Street Journal

By Steven A. Cohen and Matthew W. Granade

August 19, 2018

Marc Andreessen’s essay “Why Software is Eating the World” appeared in this newspaper Aug. 20, 2011. Mr. Andreessen’s analysis was prescient. The companies he identified— Netflix, Amazon, Spotify—did eat their industries. Newer software companies—Didi, Airbnb, Stripe—are also at the table, digging in.

Today most industry-leading companies are software companies, and not all started out as such. Aptiv and Domino’s Pizza, for instance, are longstanding leaders in their sectors that have adopted software to maintain or extend their competitive dominance.

Investors in innovative companies are now asking what comes next. We believe a new, more powerful, business model has evolved from its software predecessor. These companies structure their business processes to put continuously learning models, built on “closed loop” data, at the center of what they do. When built right, they create a reinforcing cycle: Their products get better, allowing them to collect more data, which allows them to build better models, making their products better, and onward. These are model-driven businesses. They are being created inside incumbents and startups across a range of industries.

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