The ‘Conflict Crunch’ – Carl Icahn Vs. Marc Andreessen

The gloves are really off in the Silicon Valley vs. Wall Street war. As I suspected a few weeks ago this battle will be epic. The social web has guaranteed it.

The battle is digsuised as an issue of ‘conflict’ and ‘ethics’ , but it’s about money. Ebay is just in the middle of it.

Icahn is playing a game. He is a serious financial bully. The bigger he gets, the easier it seems to get (lawyers and media are paid, not earned). This bull market has made him a legend.

Carl is bullying $EBAY at the moment. It’s working so far, because the price of the stock is up. That’s the game.

Carl has also called out Marc Andreessen. Marc has lawyers and the web at his disposal as well. His latest response is a beauty:

Let’s be honest…Goldman Sachs and every banker in the world has thought about, asked nicely and likely threatened $EBAY to break up Paypal the last 6 years. Carl just came over the top.

Ebay says it won’t happen.

With respect to conflicts, the timing is right to shine some light on the Valley. The Valley really does think long-term (some nice digs on Wall Street from Reid Hoffman). Wall Street does not. It has been an odd balance for the most part until this bull market/boom.

But, the combination of technology, liquidity and mobility has created what I think is a ‘conflict crunch’.

Everybody is invested in everything.

At some point we will all have a reason not to fund the next ‘big thing’ because the next big thing starts out as an idea that competes with something you or the vc, or syndicate you are looking at or already funded 6 months or 6 years ago.

An ‘achilles heel’ of the technology and liquidity boom might be upon us.


  1. Semil Shah says:

    The ending here is epic. You should keep writing about these last two paragraphs. Great post.

  2. @mikeriddell62 says:

    Two things – firstly, ego versus ego will be a great spectacle. I hope they fall on each others swords.

    Secondly, liquidity won’t necessarily be provided by money as we know it. I’m not talking about Bitcoin either but what it has shown us is how an alternative to money can catch on if the experience of using it produces feelings never before experienced.

    Here in Manchester we are developing a global currency that can be issued through community centres/hubs in exchange for time given to good causes. The only limit to the amount that is issued is the time time given by residents willing to make their communities stronger. Linked to a profile page and e-commerce platform that enables peer to peer transactions and merchants to connect with millions of pro-sumers using either $cash or credits or any combination thereof (so only the balance is paid in $cash) will provide real liquidity and begin to incentivise productivity from assets and resources once regarded as redundant. I include unemployed people in that description as well as unsold seats at the game and spare capacity on networks etc.

    So Paypal? Not sure it matters in the longer run when the world and his wife want to see business become more ethical. What Bitcoin has told us is that there is demand for an alternative payments ecosystem. What Manchester’s heritage has told us is that there is also demand for an ethical alternative to Amazon, Facebook/Linked In and the entire financial ecosytem.

    So Carl and Marc can slog it out to the death. Do keep us posted please.

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