Sonal Chokshi Podcast Image

Sonal Chokshi

Producer of a16z Podcast
editrix! traveler btw worlds, space, time; reader, kindred spirit💌art+tech. ex Xerox PARC, Senior Editor WIRED; Editor in Chief @a16z & showrunner a16z Podcast. Sonal Chokshi is Editor in Chief at Andreessen Horowitz, aka "a16z", which she joined in early 2014. Among other things, this includes building the editorial operation and producing and hosting the popular a16z Podcast, which she grew in listenership more than 100X; it is consistently included in best-of lists and listed as one of the top podcasts in tech. She also assigned and edited hits such as "When One App Rules Them All" on the case study of WeChat in China, which was selected in the New York Times 2015 as one of the best long-form essays (for "brilliantly marrying psychology, intellect and technology"); edited a huge special package on 16 Things/trends from a16z; led production of the Crypto Canon, 16 metrics, Dell-EMC analysis, and others; launched the a16z newsletters; and much more. Before joining a16z, Sonal was a Senior Editor at WIRED, where she built up the previously flailing expert opinion/ideas section into one of the leading sections there. She was one of the first mainstream editors to feature then-emerging trends such as e-sports, ethereum, the 'sharing economy', and others. Besides editing a who's-who of top experts from various fields, Sonal also discovered key budding or unknown talents, many of whom have gone on to become even bigger successes. Her work at WIRED also started or shaped important conversations around the future of the internet, influenced tech policy, and more. Prior to that, Sonal directed content and community at Xerox PARC, where she went deep on domains such as automation, bioinformatics, bitcoin, cleantech, flexible electronics, microfluidics, natural language, networking, optoelectronics, ubiquitous computing, and many more. Before that, Sonal was doing graduate work in developmental/cognitive psychology at Columbia University's school of education, where she also worked as a researcher on NSF grants around teacher professional development and early numeracy. She studied English & Psychology at UCLA.
Recent episodes featuring Sonal Chokshi
Brand Building Ideas… and People
Many technical founders, academics, and other experts often believe that great products -- or great ideas! -- sell themselves, without any extra effort or marketing. But in reality, they often need PR (public relations).The irony is, most of the work involved in PR is actually invisible to the public -- when it works, that is -- and therefore hard for those from the outside to see let alone understand. So how does such brand-building really work? In this 10-year anniversary episode of the a16z Podcast (and our 499th episode), a16z operating partner Margit Wennmachers shares the case study of her work at The Outcast Agency (which she co-founded) and of building the a16z brand (where she heads marketing and was the first and one of the earliest hires).What's the backstory there? What's the backstory behind some of the most popular media stories and op-eds -- like "software is eating the world" -- and what can it teach us about how PR and brand-building works in practice? Because -- like many software companies -- the product is so abstract, and not something you can physically touch, what kind of subtle decisions and tactics big and small does it take? Answering some frequently asked questions (in conversation with editor in chief Sonal Chokshi) that we often get around how things work, Wennmachers reveals (just some;) of the details behind the scenes. Given that technology is all about disintermediating "brokers" in the middle, will tech one day replace PR? And finally, what's the hidden Silicon Valley network mafia that NO one talks about?
Come for the Games, Stay for the Party
The games industry is in the midst of a tectonic shift. Powered by platform convergence, games-as-a-service, and user-generated content, modern video games—what we call next-generation games—are unlike anything we've seen before. In the past decade, gaming has grown from a niche hobby into a global, culture-defining phenomenon.Not only are the games themselves becoming increasingly immersive, the way we develop and discover them has fundamentally changed. In contrast to the hits-driven business model of the past, now games are shaped in real time by player feedback. And thanks to the rise of influencer gamers, the experience of finding new games has become organic and social.In this episode, a16z general partner Andrew Chen, deal partner Jon Lai, and host Lauren Murrow discuss how gaming is dominating not only the entertainment industry, but also pop culture at large. (Why can't we quit you, Untitled Goose Game?!) Andrew and Jon share how they think about emerging technologies in the space, as well as the features they look for in next-gen games and game developers.
AI in B2B
Consumer software may have adopted and incorporated AI ahead of enterprise software, where the data is more proprietary, and the market is a few thousand companies not hundreds of millions of smartphone users. But recently AI has found its way into B2B, and it is rapidly transforming how we work and the software we use, across all industries and organizational functions. In this episode, Das Rush interviews Oleg Rogynskyy, founder of, an AI platform for sales and marketers, and Peter Lauten from the a16z Enterprise investing team about what the rise AI in B2B means for enterprises, workers, and startups. They explain why AI provides a strong first mover advantage to enterprises that adopt it early; how it can automate lower level tasks, maximize our focus, and, ultimately, make our work more meaningful; and for startups, they provide a playbook for seizing the next AI opportunity.
Free Software and Open Source Business
Today, despite the critical importance of open source to software, it’s still seen by some as blasphemous to make money as an open source business. In this podcast, Armon Dadgar, Cofounder and CTO of HashiCorp; Ali Ghodsi, CEO of Databricks; and a16z General Partner Peter Levine explain why it's necessary to turn some open source projects into businesses.They also cover the most important questions for open source leaders to answer: How do you keep community engaged while building a business? What new opportunities does SaaS (software-as-a-service) present? And if you are a SaaS business, how should you approach cloud service companies, like Amazon Web Services (AWS)?
Of Emojis and Innovation
This podcast (first recorded in 2015, now being rerun as one of our evergreen classics/ favorites) -- is ALL about emoji. But it's really about how innovation really comes about: through the tension between open standards vs. closed/ proprietary systems; the politics of time and place; and the economics of creativity, from making to funding.So yes, this podcast is all about emoji. But it's also about where emoji fits in the taxonomy of social communication, and why that matters -- from making emotions machine-readable to being able to add "limbic" visual expression to our world of text. And if emoji is a language, why can't we translate it; why so ambiguous?? How do emojis work, both technically underneath the hood... and in the (committee) Room Where It Happens?Joining this episode are former VP of Data at Kickstarter Fred Benenson (and the man behind 'Emoji Dick'); and former New York Times reporter and current Unicode Emoji subcommittee vice-chair, Jennifer 8. Lee (and one of the women behind the dumpling emoji) -- in conversation with Sonal Chokshi.image: Yiying Lu (@yiyinglu)
Share Profile
Are you Sonal? Verify and edit this page to your liking.

Join Podchaser to...

  • Rate podcasts and episodes
  • Follow podcasts and creators
  • Create podcast and episode lists
  • & much more
Episode Count
Podcast Count
Total Airtime
1 week, 2 days