Acquired

Acquired

By Ben Gilbert and David Rosenthal

Every company has a story. Learn the playbooks that built the world’s greatest companies — and how you can apply them as a founder, operator, or investor.

Episodes

Special: Ho Nam from Altos Ventures — A Different Approach to VC

What do you get when you combine Berkshire Hathaway's approach with early-stage venture capital? Altos Ventures. We're joined by Altos's wonderful Ho Nam to discuss their highly unusual approach to VC, which has resulted in them becoming significant shareholders in great companies like Roblox, Coupang, Woowa Brothers and Krafton (makers of PUBG). This episode is an absolute must-listen for anyone in our industry — Ho is one of the best and most under-the-radar thinkers in Silicon Valley, and has many lessons to offer us all! If you love Acquired and want more, join our LP Community for access to over 50 LP-only episodes, monthly Zoom calls, and live access for big events like our Book Clubs. We can't wait to see you there. Join here at: https://acquired.fm/lp/ Sponsors: Thanks to MITIMCo for being our presenting sponsor for this special episode. They are truly some of the best and most well-known investors in the LP community, and their investment performance supports MIT's cutting-edge research, and world-class education. If you or someone you know is starting a fund or recently launched, or if you are interested in learning about the MITIMCo team, you can email them at partnership@mitimco.org and learn more at https://mitimco.org/emerging-managers/. Just tell them that you heard about MITIMCo on Acquired. MITIMCo is looking to expand their global investment team! If you want to work with Nate and their team (with their unique structure), you can learn more here: https://mitimco.org/global-investor/. Thank you as well to Masterworks and to Perkins Coie. You can learn more about them at: http://bit.ly/acquiredmasterworks (use code “Acquired” to skip the waitlist) http://bit.ly/acquiredperkins Topics covered: Altos's 13-year+ journey with Roblox, and how they deployed over $400m into the company out of an $86m fund Altos's heritage in Jack McDonald's Investments class at Stanford GSB, and the influence of Jack, Phil Fisher and Warren & Charlie How Altos successfully "value invests" in venture capital, and reconciling cashflow potential with growth "Good fundraisers" vs. "bad fundraisers" and correlation with returns Altos's unique fund structure and how they're architected to stay with companies longer than a typical venture capital firm Ho's Twitter presence and how (and why) he went from de minimus followers to one of the top FinTwit accounts in a few months Links: Ho's amazing Twitter presence: https://twitter.com/honam Ho's "Foxes and Hedgehogs" post: https://altos.vc/blog/foxes-and-hedgehogs Ho's "How do you know?" post: https://altos.vc/blog/howdoyouknow Ho's "Venture Lotto" post: https://www.altos.vc/blog/venture-lotto Sam Walton's Made in America: https://www.amazon.com/Sam-Walton-Made-America/dp/0553562835
21/06/211h 49m

Berkshire Hathaway Part III

It's time. We wrap our Berkshire Hathaway trilogy with Warren and Charlie entering a new era: the age of the internet. Can they and Berkshire adapt to this brave new world? We find out. And, after 9+ hours, we render our final judgments on Berkshire and Warren's career. Is "Never bet against America" still the right longterm approach? Or is there another, even bigger Snowball out there that Warren may be missing? If you love Acquired and want more, join our LP Community for access to over 50 LP-only episodes, monthly Zoom calls, and live access for big events like our recent Book Club event with Brad Stone. We can't wait to see you there. Join here at: https://acquired.fm/lp/ Sponsors:  Thanks to Tiny for being our presenting sponsor for all of Acquired Season 8. Tiny is building the "Berkshire Hathaway of the internet" — something they're so dedicated to, they even make and sell bronze busts of Warren & Charlie online! if you own a wonderful internet business that you want to sell, or know someone who does, you should get in touch with them. Just like Berkshire, they commit to quick, simple diligence, a 30-day or less process, and will leave your business to do its thing for the long term. You can learn more about Tiny here: http://bit.ly/acquiredtiny and find their Berkshire Nerds store here: http://bit.ly/acquiredbrknerds Thank you as well to Vouch and to Capchase. You can learn more about them at: https://bit.ly/acquired-vouch http://bit.ly/acquiredcapchase The Berkshire Hathaway Playbook: (also available on our website at https://www.acquired.fm/episodes/berkshire-hathaway-part-iii ) 1. The Berkshire Hathaway "Culture" Berkshire Hathaway really only has three key cultural tenants that stretch across its huge array of operating businesses and investments: Don't put Berkshire's reputation at risk (i.e., don't be Salomon Brothers). Don't take money out of the business (i.e., re-invest and avoid or defer paying tax whenever possible). Funnel all excess cash back to Omaha for re-allocation (i.e., if you can't find a good use for excess cash, give it back to Warren). 2. You need different strategies at different company scales and points in time. Berkshire's greatest longterm strength has been its ability to adapt and employ different strategies as it and the world has changed. From the transition from cigar butts to wonderful businesses as we saw in our last episode, to diluting the equity portfolio with fixed income assets from Gen Re before the internet bubble crash, to focusing on preferred equity during the financial crisis and ultimately making a non-controlling stake Apple the largest asset in the whole Berkshire portfolio, Warren and Charlie have demonstrated remarkable flexibility during their investing careers. 3. There are huge advantages to a company structure where one person makes all decisions. Warren's ability to make $10 billion+ decisions on his own and within an hour (usually with input from Charlie) is truly unique in the global history of business, and allows Berkshire the flexibility to capitalize on opportunities that no one else can act upon, like the financial crisis. At the same time this setup obviously carries risk — not so much in Warren making bad decisions (cough, airlines), but in missing other opportunities simply due to lack of diversity in thought. Which leads us to our last playbook theme... 4. Never Bet Against The Internet. (aka the "Rosenthal doctrine") Andrew Marks of TQ Ventures perhaps sums up Warren's career best: he's the greatest "status quo investor" that's ever lived, as embodied in his "never bet against America" philosophy. As long as the future looks mostly like the present, nobody is better than Warren at handicapping probabilities and picking winners. But that's no longer the world we live in today. As Doug Leone laid out in our Sequoia Part II episode, we now live in a world of accelerating change: what works today is unlikely to keep working tomorrow. And where is that dynamic baked into the very fabric of existence? The Internet. Never bet against it. Links: Bill Gates 1996 Wired interview: https://youtu.be/VFFlO7yBIBM?t=1056 Jeff Bezos's 2008 AWS == electricity talk at YC Startup School: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6nKfFHuouzA Charlie's 2021 Shareholder Meeting "slip-up": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gyqElEG6Uo Carve Outs: Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits: https://www.amazon.com/Common-Stocks-Uncommon-Profits-Writings/dp/0471445509 Xbox Game Pass: http://xbox.com/gamepass Goodfellas: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0099685/ The Goodfellas soundtrack: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/0xVpgEngjrg6FOw5vEFHRp Episode Sources: https://archive.fortune.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/1999/11/22/269071/index.htm https://berkshirehathaway.com/2020ar/2020ar.pdf https://companiesmarketcap.com/berkshire-hathaway/marketcap/ https://cunninghamjeff.medium.com/don-keough-mel-gibson-and-the-buffett-gang-abcb8b06e9b3 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ajit_Jain https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bear_Stearns https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berkshire_Hathaway https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Keough https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Howard_Graham_Buffett https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_assets_owned_by_Berkshire_Hathaway https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marmon_Group https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Coke https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roberto_Goizueta https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ted_Weschler https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Giving_Pledge https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Todd_Combs https://finance.yahoo.com/news/bank-america-become-one-warren-141016560.html https://fortune.com/2011/09/12/meet-ted-weschler-buffett-auction-winner-berkshires-new-hire/ https://fs.blog/2009/11/the-crisis-the-decline-of-berkshire-hathaways-stock-from-triple-a-status/ https://givingpledge.org/About.aspx https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/warren-buffett-invested-3-billion-general-electric-ge-2008-crisis-2020-6-1029327040 https://omaha.com/business/ajit-jain-s-role-at-berkshire-expands-new-ceo-at-reinsurer-gen-re-will-report/article_e2c6283e-d64a-57aa-85bf-c6f540f41231.html https://omaha.com/business/berkshire-hathaways-bnsf-railway-seems-to-pull-its-own-weight/article_59b29e97-aa57-5826-9c1f-8e2cf85180cd.html https://rationalwalk.com/revisiting-berkshire-hathaways-acquisition-of-bnsf/ https://rationalwalk.com/revisiting-berkshires-wrigley-investments-brka-brkb/ https://realmoney.thestreet.com/investing/kass-apple-is-the-most-consequential-investment-that-warren-buffett-ever-made-15220462 https://sabercapitalmgt.com/warren-buffett-1997-email-exchange-on-microsoft/ https://sabercapitalmgt.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/BuffettRaikesemails.pdf https://seekingalpha.com/article/4175060-time-for-berkshire-and-mclane-to-part-ways https://static.fmgsuite.com/media/documents/1bae1ba7-c2f2-4af5-ac1f-c0429dc7e5f0.pdf https://theoraclesclassroom.com/blog/berkshire-hathaway-intrinsic-value-calculation-q3-2020/ https://waitbutwhy.com/2015/01/artificial-intelligence-revolution-1.html https://www.ajc.com/business/keough-affable-but-tough-coke-leader/3mJH6FkDAXijjEscdeEQMK/ https://www.amazon.com/Complete-Financial-History-Berkshire-Hathaway/dp/0857199129 https://www.amazon.com/Poor-Charlies-Almanack-Charles-Expanded/dp/1578645018 https://www.amazon.com/Snowball-Warren-Buffett-Business-Life/dp/0553805096 https://www.berkshirehathaway.com/2008ar/2008ar.pdf https://www.berkshirehathaway.com/2020ar/2020ar.pdf https://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2017/02/27/buffett-apple-airline-wagers-highlight-emergence-deputies/nV0z0YHUmR8SjYi1XZ6eLK/story.html https://www.cnbc.com/2019/12/31/this-decade-saw-warren-buffett-finally-exit-ibm-jump-big-into-apple.html https://www.cnbc.com/2019/12/31/this-decade-saw-warren-buffett-finally-exit-ibm-jump-big-into-apple.html https://www.cnbc.com/2020/02/24/warren-buffett-says-apple-is-probably-the-best-business-i-know-in-the-world.html https://www.economist.com/leaders/2021/05/08/warren-buffett-should-step-aside-for-his-chosen-successor https://www.einpresswire.com/article/251597070/donald-r-keough-1926-2015 https://www.fool.com/investing/2018/02/18/the-3-biggest-mistakes-warren-buffett-made-with-ib.aspx https://www.fool.com/investing/2019/11/19/heres-how-much-warren-buffett-has-made-on-coca-col.aspx https://www.fool.com/investing/2019/12/29/heres-how-much-money-warren-buffett-has-made-in-ge.aspx https://www.forbes.com/sites/joewalsh/2021/05/01/buffett-doesnt-regret-selling-airline-stocks-last-year---and-he-still-doesnt-want-to-invest-in-them/?sh=48cbba1e6dfa https://www.goldmansachs.com/our-firm/history/moments/2008-buffett-investment.html https://www.himcap.com/#Management https://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/021615/what-difference-between-berkshire-hathaways-class-and-class-b-shares.asp https://www.macrotrends.net/stocks/charts/BRK.A/berkshire-hathaway/stock-price-historyhttps://www.cnbc.com/2019/02/25/warren-buffett-says-berkshire-stock-managers-weschler-and-combs-have-trailed-the-sp-500.html https://www.nytimes.com/1995/02/15/business/worldbusiness/IHT-buffett-quietly-amasses-10-stake-in-amex.html https://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/28/business/28gum-web.html https://www.reuters.com/article/us-berkshire-buffett-precisioncastparts/warren-buffetts-10-billion-mistake-precision-castparts-idUSKCN2AR0MZ https://www.theguardian.com/business/2011/apr/30/warren-buffett-big-mistake-david-sokol-lubrizol https://www.wsj.com/articles/BL-DLB-32821 https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702303341904575576373008860754 https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702303467004575574630162624198 https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052748703740004574513191915147218 https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052748703977004575393180048272028 https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424053111904353504576569102534356770 https://www.wsj.com/articles/warren-buffett-recounts-his-role-in-2008-financial-crisis-1536314400 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gyqElEG6Uo https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6nKfFHuouzA https://youtu.be/QSGz4Y8CP2I https://youtu.be/VFFlO7yBIBM?t=1056 https://youtu.be/VFFlO7yBIBM?t=1056 https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/109694/0000898430-96-001695.txt  
07/06/212h 54m

Special: Amazon Unbound (with Brad Stone)

Brad Stone joins us to discuss the making of the modern Amazon, and how it's morphed from the "flywheel company" of The Everything Store into a set of interlocking and self-reinforcing businesses that extended both wider and deeper into the global economy than anyone ever imagined. (except perhaps Jeff Bezos) Is Amazon the Standard Oil of our time, or maybe something much, much bigger? Tune in as we dive in! If you love Acquired and want more, join our LP Community for access to over 50 LP-only episodes, monthly Zoom calls, and live access for big events including upcoming Book Clubs like these! We can't wait to see you there. Join here at: https://acquired.fm/lp/ Sponsors: Thanks to Kevel for being our presenting sponsor for this special episode. Kevel provides API infrastructure to quickly build custom ad platforms for sponsored listings, internal promotions, native ads, and more — customers include Yelp, Rappi, OfferUp, Mozilla, Strava, and many other large apps and platforms. In true Acquired fashion, Kevel and CEO James Avery have put together a fun page showcasing the company's "history & facts", which you can find here: http://bit.ly/acquiredkevel ! Thank you as well to Masterworks and to Perkins Coie. You can learn more about them at: http://bit.ly/acquiredmasterworks (use code “Acquired” to skip the waitlist) http://bit.ly/acquiredperkins Topics covered: When and why Brad decided The Everything Store needed a sequel The process of writing the book and access he got at Amazon, including S-Team executives like Dave Clark The evolution of Amazon's core strategy from the flywheel into a set of "interlocking and self-reinforcing businesses", and how Brad landed on that as the key theme for the book Amazon's culture and the evolution from "Jeff-bots", and its embodiment in S-team members and company leaders beyond Amazon's investments in Video and why Bezos was ahead of the pack in realizing its strategic importance (including the rumored as-of-recording MGM deal) Amazon's secretive "Campfire" event and why Amazon does it despite its very un-Amazon price tag Brad's take on the future of three major Amazon business lines: Video, International and Marketplace / 3rd Party Sellers Amazon and Bezos's intense focus on competitors, despite the "theater" of their mantra to only focus on customers The Bezos "lapses of judgment" in 2018-19 and what it was like reporting on all the craziness around it Tracking down the "voice of Alexa" Nina Rolle, and Bezos's relationship with Elon! Links: Amazon Unbound (on Amazon, natch): https://www.amazon.com/Amazon-Unbound-Invention-Global-Empire/dp/1982132612/
27/05/211h 16m

Berkshire Hathaway Part II

In Part II of our Berkshire Hathaway Trilogy (!), we pick up the story with Warren wandering in the woods of Omaha, searching for his life's next chapter after retiring from the professional investing business at the top of his game at age 39. How does he emerge from those woods anew, transforming from Ben Graham's cigar-butt cocoon into the butterfly collector of Berkshire's wonderful businesses? (Spoiler: Charlie Munger.) And how did one rotten-to-the-core business nearly bring it all down — everything he'd ever worked for — in the span of one terrible week? Tune in! If you love Acquired and want more, join our LP Community for access to over 50 LP-only episodes, monthly Zoom calls, and live access for big events like our upcoming Book Club event with Brad Stone. We can't wait to see you there. Join here at: https://acquired.fm/lp/ Sponsors: Thanks to Tiny for being our presenting sponsor for all of Acquired Season 8. Tiny is building the "Berkshire Hathaway of the internet" — something they're so dedicated to, they even make and sell bronze busts of Warren & Charlie online! if you own a wonderful internet business that you want to sell, or know someone who does, you should get in touch with them. Just like Berkshire, they commit to quick, simple diligence, a 30-day or less process, and will leave your business to do its thing for the long term. You can learn more about Tiny here: http://bit.ly/acquiredtiny and find their Berkshire Nerds store here: http://bit.ly/acquiredbrknerds Thank you as well to Vouch and to Capchase. You can learn more about them at: https://bit.ly/acquired-vouch http://bit.ly/acquiredcapchase The Charlie Munger Playbook: (also available on our website at https://www.acquired.fm/episodes/berkshire-hathaway-part-ii ) 1. Change your mind. Evolve. Reinvent. Without Charlie's influence, Warren may have stuck to chasing cigar butts his entire career, and missed out on wonderful businesses like See's Candy, The Washington Post, Capital Cities, Geico (for the longterm) and Coca-Cola. Charlie's life experience taught him that the world can change on a dime, and what worked in the past won't necessarily work in the future. To succeed over the longterm you have to be a constant learning machine — which sounds obvious, but the difficult part is being willing to question your own deeply held assumptions and beliefs, and then discard them when they no longer fit reality. 2. Focus on getting a few simple things right — and the rest takes care of itself. Adapting his beloved grandfather's motto ("Concentrate on the task immediately in front of you, and control your spending."), Charlie learned early on that there are only a few bedrock sort of things in life that never change — and that if you just focus on getting those right, you'll do well. Find a great spouse who makes you better in life; buy wonderful businesses at fair prices; never get into a position where you're over-extended; be philanthropic when you can; have fun along the way. It's hard to argue much else matters. Reflecting back on his and Warren's success, Charlie says, "It isn't that we were so good at doing things that were difficult. We were good at avoiding things that were difficult — finding things that are easy." 3. Risk ≠ volatility. Risk = chance of going out of business. The Efficient Market Hypothesists of the 1970s-80s proposed that all investing risk could be reduced to "beta", or volatility relative to the market. This led to the 1980s' explosion of debt, derivatives and other "weapons of mass financial destruction" which people believed "riskless" because their volatility was hedged. Charlie and Warren recognized before anyone else that to the contrary, these instruments greatly ratcheted risk in the system! Operating with so much leverage, a single small but unexpected event could topple the whole house of cards. Unfortunately Warren and Charlie didn't listen to their own advice when entering the Salomon Brothers saga... 4. Never wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty and the pig likes it. Some people (and companies or even whole industries) are addicted to "getting dirty" — deceiving, betraying, evading, cheating, belittling, and generally pursuing their own self-interest above all else. It can be tempting to engage with such people, because they often have or promise great financial rewards. But you can't win in the long run. As the saying goes — you'll both get dirty, and the pig will like it. Unfortunately again, Warren and Charlie didn't always listen to their own advice... Links: Chuck Rickershauser's corporate flow chart: (left half) (right half) Carve Outs: The Sopranos: https://www.hbo.com/the-sopranos Macklemore on Armchair Expert: https://armchairexpertpod.com/pods/macklemore Episode Sources: http://www.studioz7.com/stamps.html https://cmqinvesting.substack.com/p/damn-right-behind-the-scenes-with https://cmqinvesting.substack.com/p/damn-right-behind-the-scenes-with https://dealbook.nytimes.com/2014/03/12/with-deal-for-tv-station-buffett-shrinks-ties-to-graham-family/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ajit_Jain https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berkshire_Hathaway https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Monday_(1987) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Chip_Stamps https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlie_Munger https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugene_Meyer_(financier) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fritz_Beebe https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harvey_Seeley_Mudd https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Gutfreund https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_J._Byrne https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Meriwether https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katharine_Graham https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liar's_Poker https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Lewis https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nebraska_Furniture_Mart https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phil_Graham https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salomon_Brothers https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/See's_Candies https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Charles_Munger https://fortune.com/1997/10/27/warren-buffett-salomon/ https://fundooprofessor.wordpress.com/2012/12/06/httpsdl-dropbox-comu28494399bloglinksfloats_and_moats-pdf/ https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/warren-buffett-berkshire-hathaway-dream-business-is-sees-candies-2019-7-1029916323 https://moiglobal.com/tom-murphy-2018/ https://moneyisboring.com/2019/10/03/a-case-study-of-why-warren-buffett-bought-disney-in-1966/ https://seekingalpha.com/article/4175060-time-for-berkshire-and-mclane-to-part-ways https://static.fmgsuite.com/media/documents/1bae1ba7-c2f2-4af5-ac1f-c0429dc7e5f0.pdf https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0471446912/ https://www.amazon.com/Liars-Poker-Norton-Paperback-Michael-ebook/dp/B003E20ZRY https://www.amazon.com/Poor-Charlies-Almanack-Charles-Expanded/dp/1578645018 https://www.amazon.com/Snowball-Warren-Buffett-Business-Life/dp/0553805096 https://www.berkshirehathaway.com/1999ar/FortuneMagazine.pdf https://www.fool.com/investing/2019/12/29/heres-how-much-money-warren-buffett-has-made-in-ge.aspx https://www.fool.com/investing/best-warren-buffett-quotes.aspx https://www.gurufocus.com/news/1344156/why-warren-buffetts-blue-chip-stamps-deal-was-so-revolutionary- https://www.multpl.com/s-p-500-pe-ratio/table/by-month https://www.sees.com/timeline/ https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/warren-buffett-to-step-down-from-washington-post-co-board/2011/01/20/ABWJ9NR_story.html https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jMuX_-hE7SQ https://youtu.be/QSGz4Y8CP2I
12/05/212h 59m

Special: 2021 China Tech Trends (with Tech Buzz China)

We team up with two of the very best English-language analysts covering China tech today, Rui Ma and Ying Lu from the Tech Buzz China podcast, to talk about the big trends happening on the ground in China right now. We've had Rui and Ying's episodes on repeat in our own podcast players for many years as we researched our Meituan, PDD, Tencent and Alibaba episodes, and we're so excited to have them finally join us live. We had a blast and learned much more about what's actually happening in the world's largest market than the relative trickle of news Western audiences normally receive. Tune in! LP Book Club Announcement! The Acquired LP Book Club is officially returning! We are super excited to have Brad Stone join us on May 21st to discuss his sequel to the Everything Store, Amazon Unbound. We'll be interviewing Brad on Zoom with Acquired LPs “live in the audience”, and Q+A to follow. You can join and become an LP here: https://acquired.fm/lp/ Sponsors: Thanks to Kevel for being our presenting sponsor for this special episode. Kevel provides API infrastructure to quickly build custom ad platforms for sponsored listings, internal promotions, native ads, and more — customers include Yelp, Rappi, OfferUp, Mozilla, Strava, and many other large apps and platforms. In true Acquired fashion, Kevel and CEO James Avery have put together a fun page showcasing the company's "history & facts", which you can find here: http://bit.ly/acquiredkevel ! Thank you as well to Masterworks and to Perkins Coie. You can learn more about them at: http://bit.ly/acquiredmasterworks (use code “Acquired” to skip the waitlist) http://bit.ly/acquiredperkins Topics and trends covered: How Rui and Ying stay on top of trends in China tech remotely from the US The rise of “tech company like” CPG and other consumer brands in China and extremely fast product development and iteration: e.g., Genki Forest, Perfect Diary and Shein Community group buying and the reinvention of commerce in rural China (along with an eye-opening discussion of what qualifies as “rural” in China... which is very different from the West!) Autonomous and electric vehicle design and production in China (which is the world's largest car market), and the government's push for China to become a global leader in both The current state of anti-trust in China and why investors and operators on the ground in China are optimistic about recent developments Links: Tech Buzz China: https://www.techbuzzchina.com TBC's fantastic Insider community for investors and operators: https://www.techbuzzchina.com/insider
05/05/211h 17m

Berkshire Hathaway Part I

It's time. After 150+ episodes on great companies, we tackle the granddaddy of them all — Berkshire Hathaway. One episode alone isn't nearly enough to do Warren and Poor Charlie justice, so today we present Part I: Warren's story. How did a folksy, middle-class kid from Omaha become the single greatest capitalist of all-time? Why, like Jordan, did he retire (twice!) at the top of his game, only to reinvent himself and come back stronger than ever? As always, we dive in. Let's dance. If you love Acquired and want more, join our LP Community for access to over 50 LP-only episodes, monthly Zoom calls, and live access for big events like emergency pods and book club discussions with authors. We can't wait to see you there. Join here at: https://acquired.fm/lp/ Sponsors:  Thanks to Tiny for being our presenting sponsor for all of Acquired Season 8. Tiny is building the "Berkshire Hathaway of the internet" — something they're so dedicated to, they even make and sell bronze busts of Warren & Charlie online! if you own a wonderful internet business that you want to sell, or know someone who does, you should get in touch with them. Just like Berkshire, they commit to quick, simple diligence, a 30-day or less process, and will leave your business to do its thing for the long term. You can learn more about Tiny here: http://bit.ly/acquiredtiny and find their Berkshire Nerds store here: http://bit.ly/acquiredbrknerds Thank you as well to Vouch and to Capchase. You can learn more about them at: https://bit.ly/acquired-vouch http://bit.ly/acquiredcapchase The Warren Buffett Playbook: (also available on our website at https://www.acquired.fm/episodes/berkshire-hathaway-part-i ) 1. Money can create more money. (aka "Compounding") Very early in life, Warren figured out something most people never truly grasp: money can be used to generate more money. It's sounds simple, but once you fully internalize this concept, you'll never see the world the same again. A given sum no longer represents what you could buy with it — a coffee, a phone, a car, a house, etc — but rather what it could grow to become over time. At the extreme, people like Warren are "cursed", seeing prices for goods not as whatever the sticker says, but 5x, 10x, 20x higher — because that's what the opportunity cost of parting with the capital represents. If you own an asset that's compounding at a high rate with no obvious reason it will stop... dear lord do not interrupt it!! Most people are tempted to meddle: lock in gains, cover other losses, actively trade, or otherwise "manage" their investments. In the long run these actions are almost assuredly all value-destructive behaviors if you own truly great businesses. 2. Align incentives: be a doctor, not a prescriptionist. Warren likened stockbrokers — who got paid based on volume of trades placed, not investment performance — to "prescriptionist" doctors who were paid by their number and type of pills prescribed, versus actual patient outcomes. Once Warren created his investment partnerships (and then later transformed Berkshire Hathaway into something similar), he not only unlocked hugely better outcomes for his"patients", but allowed created a path to pursue his own dream and become fabulously wealthy in the process. 3. You can't expect to control other people's emotions around money (or anything else). However with the right "ground rules", you can mitigate the impact of others on your business and decision making — and even use them to your advantage. Warren's early partnerships had a few ground rules and norms: partners will not know what securities are held, trading in/out is allowed only 1 day / year, and Warren will consistently set low expectations (leaving himself ample room to over-deliver). These set the stage for nearly complete freedom for Warren to operate as he saw fit — to the immense gain of his limited partners. 4. Sins of omission (selling or passing) nearly always cost more than sins of commission (buying). Warren is almost without doubt the greatest investor of all time. However even he made three incredibly stupid "unforced errors" early in his career that cost hundreds of billions in future gains: selling GEICO, selling American Express, and passing on the opportunity to invest in Intel with Arthur Rock. That said, Warren's fourth great mistake (and in his estimation his greatest) was certainly a sin of commission: buying Berkshire Hathaway itself. Warren estimates this single blunder totaled $200B+ in opportunity cost over his lifetime. Carve Outs: Ben: Year One of Not Boring: https://www.notboring.co/p/a-not-boring-adventure-one-year-in David: Balaji Srinivasan on The Tim Ferriss Show: https://tim.blog/2021/03/24/balaji-srinivasan/ Episode Sources: https://berkshirehathaway.com/reports.html https://einvestingforbeginners.com/warren-buffetts-ground-rules/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alice_Schroeder https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Graham https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berkshire_Hathaway https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Howard_Buffett https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_public_corporations_by_market_capitalization#2021 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oliver_Chace https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Noyce https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salad_Oil_scandal https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_Slater https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seabury_Stanton https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_Pacific_Railroad https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valley_Falls_Company https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wall_Street_Crash_of_1929 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_J._Ruane https://fundooprofessor.wordpress.com/2012/07/09/flirting-with-floats-part-i/ https://fundooprofessor.wordpress.com/2012/07/16/flirting-with-floats-part-ii/ https://fundooprofessor.wordpress.com/2012/12/06/httpsdl-dropbox-comu28494399bloglinksfloats_and_moats-pdf/ https://medium.com/@madmedic11671/how-salad-oil-almost-crashed-the-u-s-economy-c3ed3c2cb797 https://minesafetydisclosures.com/blog/2017/4/16/berkshire-hathaway-brkb https://novelinvestor.com/happy-hour-wild-ride-geico/ https://qz.com/emails/quartz-obsession/1269094/ https://static.fmgsuite.com/media/documents/1bae1ba7-c2f2-4af5-ac1f-c0429dc7e5f0.pdf https://www.amazon.com/Buffett-American-Capitalist-Roger-Lowenstein/dp/0812979273 https://www.amazon.com/Poor-Charlies-Almanack-Charles-Expanded/dp/1578645018 https://www.amazon.com/Snowball-Warren-Buffett-Business-Life/dp/0553805096 https://www.berkshirehathaway.com/letters/1995.html https://www.cnbc.com/2019/01/31/warren-buffett-on-his-successful-relationship-with-charlie-munger.html https://www.hbomax.com/feature/urn:hbo:feature:GWEW13AjEq0vCwwEAAAAH https://www.nationalindemnity.com/About_History.aspx https://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/04/business/04buffett.html https://www.tilsonfunds.com/BRK.pdf https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fjXZbW8ALRA&t=463s https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FsDYatBvwYI&t=127s https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oFEwN7j0IWw https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZNqLWe5o2Q&t=171s https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJzu_xItNkY https://www2.census.gov/prod2/popscan/p60-001.pdf https://yale.app.box.com/s/8lb7yqca5tmfcjbjhhuw5xft7i1ddttj
21/04/213h 11m

Special: "Why Now" for Digital Health (with Levels founder Josh Clemente)

We dive into the fast-changing world of direct-to-consumer digital health, with perhaps the best person in the world: Levels founder Josh Clemente. (Shoutout to Ben Grynol and Michael Mizrahi from our LP community for introducing us!) Levels is on a mission to make consumers everywhere aware of their metabolic health by enabling anyone to track blood glucose levels with a continuous glucose monitor. Josh has had an incredible career, working as an early engineer at SpaceX and later at Hyperloop One before founding Levels out of a very real personal need. Join our conversation as we cover everything from Josh's time at SpaceX to why the market has changed for consumer digital health, and what the future holds for Levels. If you love Acquired and want more, join our LP Community for access to over 50 LP-only episodes, monthly Zoom calls, and live access for big events like emergency pods and book club discussions with authors. We can't wait to see you there. Join here at: https://acquired.fm/lp/ Sponsors: Thanks to Kevel for being our presenting sponsor for this special episode. Kevel provides API infrastructure to quickly build custom ad platforms for sponsored listings, internal promotions, native ads, and more — customers include Yelp, Rappi, OfferUp, Mozilla, Strava, and many other large apps and platforms. In true Acquired fashion, Kevel and CEO James Avery have put together a fun page showcasing the company's "history & facts", which you can find here: http://bit.ly/acquiredkevel ! Thank you as well to Masterworks and to Perkins Coie. You can learn more about them at: http://bit.ly/acquiredmasterworks (use code “Acquired” to skip the waitlist) http://bit.ly/acquiredperkins The Levels / Digital Health Playbook: (also available on our website at https://www.acquired.fm/episodes/special-why-now-for-digital-health-with-levels-founder-josh-clemente ) High risk, high return - having a mentality of "we have nothing to lose" can create the high risk tolerance necessary to achieving high returns. SpaceX had a "we have nothing to lose" mentality for all of its early days. Elon always reminded SpaceX employees that everyone had to personally have to succeed, or "2,000 people including you will lose their jobs." Internet-based prescription workflows have unlocked a key business model innovation for direct-to-consumer digital health. The unlocking of therapeutic devices and drugs for direct to consumer cases, as pioneered by Hims/Hers, Roman, etc, has created a new age for digital health. This paradigm has shift has allowed businesses to reach patients directly without spending years (and millions of dollars) negotiating agreements with payers to get a coveted "billing code" from insurance. Often the best startup opportunities come from personal experience. The story of how Josh came to found Levels illustrates the power of being patient zero of the problem you want to solve. Josh didn't start out looking for a company to start, but by self-experiments simply because he had a problem and was curious. In new categories, starting as a premium product and moving down market as costs come down is often the best strategy. Tesla's "master plan" illustrates this perfectly: start absurdly expensive & impractical (Roadster), then still expensive but more practical (Model S/X), then mass-market viability (Model 3/Y). Data, data, data. If you listened to our Meituan episode, you'll remember us discussing the power of Meituan's review data. Similarly, Levels moat lies in its data. Amazingly Levels already owns the world's largest collective dataset of non-diabetic glucose monitoring data, and the company is still in beta! As they amass more and more data, they'll be able to generate more personalized insights and health/lifestyle recommendations for customers. Links: Levels: https://www.levelshealth.com
06/04/211h 25m

Rec Room Part II (with CEO Nick Fajt)

Last Acquired left the plucky Rec Room crew in our 2018 "Part I" episode, they were a seed stage startup making a VR game that users loved but grew slowly and barely monetized. Fast forward to today, and they're now a multi-platform social "place" with millions of active users, 500%+ YoY growth and hosting a robust creator economy that's rivaled only by their oft-compared metaverse cousin Roblox in dynamics and efficiency. And oh yeah, they're now a $1B+ company after a new $100m fundraise from existing investors Sequoia and Index, which they're announcing today. We figured it was high time to revisit Nick & crew for a Part II...   If you love Acquired and want more, join our LP Community for access to over 50 LP-only episodes, monthly Zoom calls, and live access for big events like emergency pods and book club discussions with authors. We can't wait to see you there. Join here at: https://acquired.fm/lp/   Sponsors:  Thanks to Tiny for being our presenting sponsor for all of Acquired Season 8. Tiny is building the "Berkshire Hathaway of the internet" — if you own a wonderful internet business that you want to sell, or know someone who does, you should get in touch with them. Unlike traditional buyers, they commit to quick, simple diligence, a 30-day or less process, and will leave your business to do its thing for the long term. You can learn more about Tiny here: http://bit.ly/acquiredtiny Thank you as well to Vouch and to Capchase. You can learn more about them at: https://bit.ly/acquired-vouch http://bit.ly/acquiredcapchase   The Rec Room Playbook: (also available on our website at https://www.acquired.fm/episodes/rec-room-part-ii-with-ceo-nick-fajt ) 1. It's ok not to have a grand plan from the beginning. As Nick says, company founding stories tend to get romanticized in retrospect. (Guilty as charged here at Acquired!) As a founder it can feel like there's so much pressure on you to "have it all figured out" from day one. But the reality of most great company beginnings is nothing so grand: often it's just founders who have an inkling about something interesting and the combination of courage + right life circumstances to jump into the unknown and learn as they go. Things change quickly in new or evolving markets, and if you're too wedded to a master plan you're likely to miss more opportunities than you seize. 2. Don't let early (or even just recent) success blind you if potential headwinds are on the horizon. Rec Room experienced "explosive" growth during the 2017 holiday season with the launch of Playstation VR. However this was a classic "wiggle of false hope" (in Paul Graham parlance), not real product-market fit. It would have been easy to ignore the very real warning signs (e.g., that VR adoption as a whole was slowing) and plow full steam ahead. Instead the team realized they probably needed to step back from the temporary momentum and diversify out of solely focusing on VR to find new avenues for growth. 3. Build your company into a robust organism. Startups constantly face existential risks: what if the market shifts? What if we make wrong strategic decisions? How can you architect your business as a system so that "you" (either you personally or the company management as a whole) doesn't need to always be right in order to succeed? For Rec Room this has meant investing deeply into UGC and letting creators lead growth. Any room or piece of content might be no more likely to breakout than another — but in aggregate across now millions of creators, Rec Room is almost guaranteed a constant stream of "hits". 4. UGC is a flywheel that's difficult to start, but creates incredible business dynamics once spinning. Like any flywheel, UGC requires a ton of effort to get moving in the beginning. (E.g., why should people bother to create? What tools do they need? How do you get the incentives right?) But once momentum takes over, it can become an incredible virtuous cycle where users' creativity inspires more users both to consume and create themselves, which compounds faster and faster over time. Furthermore, once a UGC flywheel is spinning, the underlying platform's unit economics get pretty fast: costs to produce content go down (or to zero), cost to acquire users go down (or to zero), and retention, engagement and monetization all spike up. In previous eras Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitch rode to this dynamic to incredible success. Today Roblox, Rec Room, TikTok and others are following the same playbook. 5. When operating a "metaverse", the best business dynamics result from having everything on a single platform (vs. siloing users based on devices/geos/etc) Having all users able to interact on one platform not only maximizes liquidity across the creator-consumer marketplace, but affords the company more power across brand (e.g. Rec Room is the sole brand, not "Rec Room on xbox/steam/VR/etc") and central economic control.   Links: Our "Part I" episode with Nick on Rec Room's seed round: https://www.acquired.fm/episodes/season-2-episode-2raising-a-seed-round-with-against-gravity-ceo-nick-fajt Rec Room! https://recroom.com   Carve Outs: Invent and Wander: https://www.amazon.com/Invent-Wander-Collected-Writings-Introduction-ebook/dp/B08BCCT6MW/ Resonant Arc on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFzWAEPDGiY34bGpwM_DWmA How The Economic Machine Works by Ray Dalio: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PHe0bXAIuk0
24/03/211h 53m

Meituan

We dive into the history behind Meituan, the juggernaut Chinese "super-app" which dominates China's services economy, offering consumers everything from food delivery, restaurant reviews, travel booking, bike-sharing, movie ticketing, and countless other entertainment and lifestyle services all at the touch of a button. Already China's 3rd largest tech company by market cap (behind just Tencent and Alibaba), Meituan did $15 billion in net revenue in FY2019 and continues to grow rapidly. What makes it so special, and how were they able to become the market leader in such a competitive space? This story is packed with lessons that apply equally beyond China tech to high-growth company building and investing everywhere. If you love Acquired and want more, join our LP Community for access to over 50 LP-only episodes, monthly Zoom calls, and live access for big events like emergency pods and book club discussions with authors. We can't wait to see you there. Join here at: https://acquired.fm/lp/ Sponsors: Thanks to Tiny for being our presenting sponsor for all of Acquired Season 8. Tiny is building the "Berkshire Hathaway of the internet" — if you own a wonderful internet business that you want to sell, or know someone who does, you should get in touch with them. Unlike traditional buyers, they commit to quick, simple diligence, a 30-day or less process, and will leave your business to do its thing for the long term. You can learn more about Tiny here: http://bit.ly/acquiredtiny Thank you as well to Vouch and to Capchase. You can learn more about them at: https://bit.ly/acquired-vouch http://bit.ly/acquiredcapchase The Meituan Playbook: (also available on our website at https://www.acquired.fm/episodes/meituan ) 1. Adding product offerings (post initial product-market fit) isn't losing focus. It's smart business. A huge part of Meituan's success and longterm defensibility versus its literally thousands of past competitors is its ability to cross-sell customers across many different product lines. Meituan can afford to spend much more on acquiring and retaining a new user who'll end up purchasing food delivery, groceries, hotels, travel and more through the platform vs. standalone competitors in each vertical. Most western companies woefully misunderstand this dynamic. (Amazon being a notable exception) Meituan enjoys an average of 26 transactions per user per year (vs e.g. Airbnb users which book an average of 0.5 transactions/year). With each additional offering, Meituan increases the number of revenue streams it can amortize its CAC over, while also offering superior experiences to customers. Key to making this strategy work is having the discipline to follow the same playbook as any startup: launch new initiatives quickly, test and improve based on real customer feedback, don't let perfect be the enemy of shipped, and kill what's not working and move on. Meituan and Amazon's new initiatives often lack polish — but they either quickly bring in $billions of revenue, or they die and the company goes on to the next one. Again with few exceptions, western tech companies completely misunderstand how to execute this playbook effectively. 2. When you spot a market that's both large and growing fast — ride that wave!! Chinese e-commerce was a 20% saturation industry in 2017 and still growing nicely. However real world services was only 5% online, and poised to grow even faster. Staying nimble to capitalize on this online to offline (or "O2O") trend allowed Meituan to accelerate while Alibaba was caught flat-footed. Today Meituan (along with its fellow Tencent portfolio company Pinduoduo) represents probably the biggest threat Alibaba has faced in its entire history. 3. Many still don't realize what a powerful moat (trusted) reviews provide in online platforms. Once it merged with Dianping, review data became Meituan's biggest competitive advantage vs other food delivery (and other product line) competitors. A deep database of reviews creates an incredible barrier to entry: any competitor can standup a set of listings, but without trusted reviews those listings are just "flat". This same dynamic helped Airbnb successfully defend against European clones early in its life. 4. Old news, but always worth repeating: the days of China simply cloning American tech companies are long gone. Today it's China, not the US, that's leading innovation on mobile and the internet more broadly across many categories. Ironically, Meituan's founder Wang Xing started his career as perhaps China's top Web 2.0 company cloner, and Meituan itself began as a Groupon knockoff. But to say the the tables have turned today is a massiveunderstatement, haha. 5. Meituan capitalized on the secular trend of China's growing middle class and mobile-first economy. Meituan's growth followed the growth of China's middle class. They were able to capitalize on the emergence of Tier 2 and 3 cities that provided newly addressable populations. Meituan was smart to pay attention to these non-Tier 1 cities from the very beginning. Founder Wang Xing realized that smaller cities where people were beginning to access the internet via mobile phones and internet cafes were a good fit for their initial group-discount platform. Links: Meituan's English language walkthrough video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wxgQVjDviQ The Tech Buzz China podcast: https://www.techbuzzchina.com GGV's Evolving for the Next Billion podcast: https://nextbn.ggvc.com/podcasts/ Bernard Leong's Analyse Asia: https://analyse.asia Carve Outs: Extraterrestrial: https://www.amazon.com/Extraterrestrial-First-Intelligent-Beyond-Earth-ebook/dp/B081TTY4NX/ John Luttig's newsletter: https://luttig.substack.com Episode Sources: Episode 258: Meituan Dianping with Liza Lin - Analyse Asia http://meituan.todayir.com/attachment/20180907112826231236667_en.pdf http://meituan.todayir.com/attachment/2020041708160280279238680_en.pdf http://www.yawenlei.com/uploads/4/4/3/4/44340649/asr_lei.pdf http://www.yourtechstory.com/2019/04/06/wang-xing-chinese-billionaire-businessman-founder-meituan/ https://about.meituan.com/en https://analyse.asia/2018/07/28/episode-258-meituan-dianping-with-liza-lin/ https://archive.org/details/aisuperpowerschi0000leek/page/22/mode/2up https://chinatechinvestor.simplecast.com/episodes/43-alibaba-has-a-meituan-problem-can-they-solve-it-with-11-billion-nTvmG0A5 https://cn.reuters.com/article/instant-article/idUKTRE7433HI20110504 https://daxueconsulting.com/o2o-food-delivery-market-in-china/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ele.me https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meituan https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wang_Xing https://medium.com/@Loisinbeijing/online-food-delivery-market-in-china-and-why-ele-me-is-losing-the-food-delivery-wars-17ef912d8f53 https://money.cnn.com/2018/09/20/technology/meituan-dianping-ipo/index.html https://nextbn.ggvc.com/opinions/meituan-dianpings-path-towards-profitability/ https://nextbn.ggvc.com/podcast/s1-ep-5-tao-zhang-of-dianping-on-merging-with-meituan-groupon/ https://secure.fundsupermart.com/fsm/article/view/rcms202620/meituan-dianping-the-unicorn-that-might-one-day-become-china-s-next-ten-bagger https://secure.fundsupermart.com/fsm/article/view/rcms204700/meituan-dianping-the-undisputed-king-of-china-s-45-billion-dollar-online-food-delivery-industry https://seekingalpha.com/instablog/49925729-dongtalk/5288005-three-campaigns-of-meituan-dianping-in-2018 https://techcrunch.com/2015/01/19/meituan-700m/?_ga=2.56564267.1010056541.1614018328-150822071.1609868284 https://techcrunch.com/2015/06/30/baidu-offline-to-online-20-billion-cny/?_ga=2.59578797.1010056541.1614018328-150822071.1609868284 https://techcrunch.com/2015/10/08/meituan-and-dianping-chinas-top-group-deals-sites-merge-in-multi-billion-dollar-deal/ https://thehustle.co/01272021-bytedance-valuation/#:~:text=ByteDance is currently valued at,%24800B) https://venturebeat.com/2008/05/26/chinese-local-review-site-dianping-a-lot-more-than-a-yelp-for-china/ https://web.archive.org/web/20170615042020/http://www.fox14tv.com/story/35003690/meituan-dianping-becomes-the-first-worldwide-on-demand-delivery-platform-to-process-more-than-10-million-orders-and-deliveries-per-day https://www.caixinglobal.com/2017-02-22/video-of-brawling-deliverymen-sets-chinese-internet-abuzz-101057682.html https://www.forbes.com/global/2011/0509/companies-wang-xing-china-groupon-friendster-cloner.html?sh=517b2d5955a6 https://www.ft.com/content/05686da9-60f8-4a3a-a5c5-95155bd01ffe https://www.marketwatch.com/story/alibaba-raises-11-billion-in-hong-kong-secondary-listing-2019-11-20 https://www.statista.com/statistics/1155778/china-number-of-wechat-mini-program-daily-active-users/ https://www.techbuzzchina.com/episodes/ep-10-meituan-the-super-app-that-won-against-a-thousand-clones https://www.techbuzzchina.com/episodes/ep-25-the-o2o-local-services-war-alibaba-vs-meituan-part-1-eleme https://www.techbuzzchina.com/episodes/ep-26-the-o2o-local-services-war-alibaba-vs-meituan-part-2-koubei https://www.techinasia.com/5000-group-buy-sites-in-china-but-no-ones-making-money https://www.techinasia.com/china-online-food-ordering-startup-eleme-raises-80-million-dollars https://www.techinasia.com/chinas-successful-founders-afraid-copycat https://www.theworldofchinese.com/2017/08/wheel-life-china-the-fast-and-the-furious/ https://www.wsj.com/articles/BL-MBB-58175 https://www.wsj.com/articles/chinas-dianping-valued-at-4-billion-1427962959 https://www.wsj.com/articles/chinas-meituan-dianping-files-for-ipo-reveals-loss-of-nearly-3-billion-in-2017-1529895226 https://www.wsj.com/articles/chinas-meituan-dianping-raises-3-3-billion-in-biggest-startup-round-ever-1453211614?mod=article_inline https://www.wsj.com/articles/chinese-app-meituan-raises-4-2-billion-in-ipo-1536819691 https://www.wsj.com/articles/chinese-startups-meituan-com-and-dianping-near-multibillion-dollar-merger-1444188561 https://www.wsj.com/articles/investors-gain-billions-from-chinese-tech-ipo-1538041120 https://www.wsj.com/articles/investors-including-tencent-priceline-pump-4-billion-into-online-lifestyle-platform-1508413127 https://www.wsj.com/articles/offering-discounts-and-delivery-meituan-wants-to-become-chinas-next-internet-giant-1529578801 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wxgQVjDviQ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ruyCPdUz1J0 https://youtu.be/IgDeiGpmXaQ https://youtu.be/z9NI-UAZDvw
10/03/212h 20m

The New York Times Company

For the entire 20th Century, you’d be hard pressed to find a better business than an American newspaper — Warren Buffett famously described them as “franchises” — and no American newspaper stood taller than the New York Times. Controlled by a single family bound by a legal oath “to maintain the editorial independence and integrity of The New York Times and to continue it as an independent newspaper, entirely fearless, free of ulterior influence and unselfishly devoted to the public welfare”, the Times served as the paper of record for generations of Americans and people around the world. But no good thing lasts forever, and the dawn of the 21st Century saw both the Times and this once-mighty industry devastated by the dual disruptive forces of the internet and the 2008 financial crisis. And yet by 2021, The Times, essentially alone of its former peers, has reemerged from the American newspaper wreckage and transformed itself into a thriving digital business with an order of magnitude more subscribers than its print heyday. Curious how it all happened? We dive into 170 years of history to find out! If you love Acquired and want more, join our LP Community for access to over 50 LP-only episodes, monthly Zoom calls, and live access for big events like emergency pods and book club discussions with authors. We can't wait to see you there. Join here at: https://acquired.fm/lp/   Sponsors: Thanks to Tiny for being our presenting sponsor for all of Acquired Season 8. Tiny is building the "Berkshire Hathaway of the internet" — if you own a wonderful internet business that you want to sell, or know someone who does, you should get in touch with them. Unlike traditional buyers, they commit to quick, simple diligence, a 30-day or less process, and will leave your business to do its thing for the long term. You can learn more about Tiny here: http://bit.ly/acquiredtiny Thank you as well to Vouch and to Capchase. You can learn more about them at: https://bit.ly/acquired-vouch http://bit.ly/acquiredcapchase   The New York Times Company Playbook:(also available on our website at https://www.acquired.fm/episodes/the-new-york-times-company ) 1. When you find yourself sitting in front of a big approaching demand wave... ride it!! The New York (Daily) Times was founded during the newspaper boom of the 1850s, and similarly Adolph Ochs took over the local Chattanooga paper at the start of that city’s mining boom. The NYT made huge investments in its reporting during the two World Wars as the public’s appetite for news exploded, while its rivals missed the ball worrying over preserving advertising space. Likewise NYT launched The Daily (which would become the biggest podcast in the world) immediately following Trump’s inauguration in early 2017. Arguably NYT’s biggest business mistake was missing the cable wave -- which Rupert Murdoch leveraged brilliantly to build Fox News into the most valuable news media franchise in the world. 2. Where there’s an entrepreneurial will, there’s an entrepreneurial way. Adolph Ochs bought the Chattanooga Times with $250 and sellers’ notes, and then acquired The New York Times out of bankruptcy with no personal money down and $100k of real estate debt. And turned them both into successes on a level no one (even himself at times) believed possible. 3. Recurring Acquired theme: the media business is still the second-best business of all time, behind technology. Media’s ability to generate dual revenue streams (advertising and subscription) from the same content product generates enormous leverage on investment, AND most of those costs are fixed vs. variable (especially in a digital environment). 4. This is why “content is king” has always been true in the media industry. NYT’s version of this strategy has always been to invest more in high-quality journalism than any of its peers. It was true in 1896 when Ochs took over, true during the World Wars and the Pentagon Papers, and perhaps has never been more true than today when NYT employs 1,700 journalists around the world and pays them an average of >2x the rest of the industry. 5. That said, distribution is critical as well. To build a world-class media organization you must be great at both content AND distribution. In the old media landscape, NYT built great distribution through its printing and delivery operations, as well as savvy investments like the Index which led to libraries and researchers across the country relying on the Times as the “paper of record”. However in today’s media landscape, the task of building great distribution falls on the newsroom and journalists themselves. The job is no longer finished once you hit publish -- reporters and editors must own the responsibility of getting their work in front of readers via social media and shareable story elements.   Links: The 2014 NYT Innovation Report: https://archive.org/details/pdfy-59s-4-I2qSvG6MnA/mode/2up Mine Safety Disclosures’ NYT presentation: https://minesafetydisclosures.com/blog/newyorktimes   Carve Outs: Ben: Titan by Ron Chernow: https://www.amazon.com/Titan-Life-John-Rockefeller-Sr-ebook/dp/B000XUDGHG Iteratively: https://iterative.ly David: Sabaa Tahir’s Ember in the Ashes series: https://www.amazon.com/Ember-Ashes-3-Book/dp/B074VDZB17   Episode Sources: http://www.internethistorypodcast.com/2015/10/martin-nisenholtz-on-bringing-the-new-york-times-online/ https://archive.nytimes.com/www.nytimes.com/books/99/09/19/daily/092299tifft-book-review.html?module=inline https://archive.nytimes.com/www.nytimes.com/learning/general/onthisday/bday/0312.html https://archive.org/details/pdfy-59s-4-I2qSvG6MnA/mode/2up https://archives.cjr.org/cover_story/sulzberger_at_the_barricades.php https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adolph_Ochs https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Hays_Sulzberger https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Fort_Sumter https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Ellsberg https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dotdash https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edwin_D._Morgan https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Jones_(publisher) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Jarvis_Raymond https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iphigene_Ochs_Sulzberger https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_assets_owned_by_The_New_York_Times_Company#Television_stations https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_The_New_York_Times_employees https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Nisenholtz https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_New_York_Times https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_New_York_Times_Building https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_New_York_Times_Company https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellow_journalism https://fintel.io/so/us/nyt https://media.foxcorporation.com/wp-content/uploads/prod/2019/09/18223214/Fox-Annual-Report-2019_Mid.pdf https://minesafetydisclosures.com/blog/newyorktimes https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2015/08/new-york-times-heirs.html https://nymag.com/news/features/40647/index4.html https://nymag.com/news/media/51015/ https://nytco-assets.nytimes.com/2021/02/Press-Release-12.27.2020-Final-for-posting.pdf https://stratechery.com/2020/an-interview-with-buzzfeed-ceo-jonah-peretti/?utm_source=Memberful&utm_campaign=f14650dd37-daily_update_2020_11_24&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_d4c7fece27-f14650dd37-110888309 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0058Z4NOQ/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1 https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0316836311/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 https://www.arcgis.com/apps/Cascade/index.html?appid=86354f1b322a4ec2a548e58ac3e83d49 https://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2012/05/11/new-york-times-sells-its-remaining-stake-boston-red-sox/ey4kwU4m6Xn2PYfcblrMcL/story.html https://www.enwoven.com/collections/view/1277/timeline https://www.fool.com/earnings/call-transcripts/2021/02/04/new-york-times-co-nyt-q4-2020-earnings-call-transc/ https://www.forbes.com/sites/jonathanberr/2020/09/30/failing-new-york-times-stock-is-on-a-tear/?sh=57459cfd6247 https://www.library.illinois.edu/hpnl/tutorials/antebellum-newspapers-city/ https://www.macrotrends.net/stocks/charts/NYT/new-york-times/revenuehttps://www.presscouncil.org.au/uploads/52321/ufiles/The_New_York_Times_Innovation_Report_-_March_2014.pdf https://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2014/05/15/312850571/a-complicated-first-a-black-editor-takes-the-helm-at-the-gray-lady https://www.nytco.com/company/history/our-history/ https://www.nytco.com/person/a-g-sulzberger/ https://www.nytco.com/person/joseph-kahn/ https://www.nytco.com/person/kathleen-kingsbury/ https://www.nytco.com/person/meredith-kopit-levien/ https://www.nytimes.com/2004/04/25/weekinreview/the-public-editor-paper-of-record-no-way-no-reason-no-thanks.html https://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/20/business/media/20times.html https://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/02/opinion/nocera-how-punch-protected-the-times.html https://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/17/business/media/new-york-times-reinstates-managing-editor-role-appoints-joseph-kahn.html https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/22/reader-center/ag-sulzberger-publisher-reader-questions.html https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/20/insider/times-womens-section-female-reporters.html https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/28/business/media/ben-smith-buzzfeed-new-york-times.html https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/01/business/media/ben-smith-journalism-news-publishers-local.html https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/opinion/editorialboard.htmlhttps://www.nytco.com/person/dean-baquet/ https://www.quora.com/Why-is-The-New-York-Times-called-the-gray-lady https://www.scribd.com/doc/224608514/The-Full-New-York-Times-Innovation-Report?campaign=SkimbitLtd&ad_group=1025X1162200X86792d9062cfc602c27b4a78b6a20b8f&keyword=660149026&source=hp_affiliate&medium=affiliate https://www.statista.com/statistics/315041/new-york-times-company-digital-subscribers/ https://www.wsj.com/articles/american-history-and-the-new-york-times-11602093219 https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB123660214438270341 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WVH0Yz0OMT0
18/02/213h 4m

Special: Sequoia Capital's Investment Playbook (with Alfred Lin)

We cover Sequoia Capital a lot on this show. Not only across our now four(!) dedicated episodes, but across a stunning nearly 50% of recent season companies where Sequoia was a primary or only investor — the most of any venture firm by an enormous margin. Today in this very special episode, we dive into the principles that have led to the firm's 49 years of unparalleled success in venture, and the playbook behind how they identify markets and companies that create outcomes worthy of the firm's namesake tree. If you love Acquired and want more, join our LP Community for access to over 50 LP-only episodes, monthly Zoom calls, and live access for big events like emergency pods and book club discussions with authors. We can't wait to see you there. Join here at: https://acquired.fm/lp/ Sponsors: Thanks to MITIMCo for being our presenting sponsor for this special episode. They are truly some of the best and most well-known investors in the LP communit, and their investment performance supports MIT's cutting-edge research, and world-class education. If you or someone you know is starting a fund or recently launched, get in touch with them at: http://bit.ly/acquiredmitimco , and tell them that you heard about MITIMCo on Acquired. Thank you as well to Masterworks and to Perkins Coie. You can learn more about them at: http://bit.ly/acquiredmasterworks (use code “Acquired” to skip the waitlist) http://bit.ly/acquiredperkins The Sequoia Capital Playbook: (also available on our website at https://www.acquired.fm/episodes/special-sequoia-capitals-investment-playbook-with-alfred-lin ) 1. Bring a prepared mind. Founders (as they should) typically think more about solving a problem in the world, and less about the market context around what they're doing. Sequoia has always focused on the market — which allows them to bring a prepared mind to conversations with founders both pre and post investment. Great partnerships and great investments lie at the intersection of these two perspectives. Focusing on the market takes many forms at Sequoia. It includes building and maintaining market landscapes, constantly looking for white spaces, and convening quarterly "blue sky" sessions within the firm. 2. The two questions that matter are "Why now?" and "Who cares?". Early-stage is different from other forms of investing. As Don would say, it's predicated on investing in markets undergoing significant change: today's solutions are wrong for tomorrow. A good answer to "why now" upends the Warren Buffet quote about reputations of businesses with bad economics surviving intact. For example, DoorDash and Instacart had great “why now's” (ability to access a whole new class of labor through mobile devices), whereas Webvan (also a Sequoia investment) did not. Similarly, the key to evaluating market size in the context of early-stage venture is to focus on the opportunity size tomorrow, not today. "Who cares" is a great lens to predict and distill this: if this new solution were widely known and available who (how many people/customers, what segments, with what buying power) will care (how much will it improve their lives or businesses)? 3. The goal is not buying low and selling high. The goal is compounding capital. In a compounding environment, gains from the next few years will always dwarf all cumulative gains from years prior. The goal is to invest in companies that are able to become compounders, help them do so, and enjoy the returns as long as possible. Identifying compounding (and whether it will continue) is hard to get right. The question Sequoia asks is whether the future for a given market, company or investment looks brighter than today. When the answer is yes: 💎🙌 4. Venture is a humbling business. You can make money even if you get the investment thesis wrong, lose money even if you get the investment thesis right, and you realize your losses many years before your gains. (Alfred has been at Sequoia for over 10 years and only just had his first two IPOs: Airbnb and DoorDash.) To succeed in venture over the long run you need all three of high IQ, high EQ, and hustle. (We would also add high patience to the list!) What you don't need are specific qualifications: Michael Moritz was a journalist, Roelof Botha was an actuary, Don and Doug were sales guys and Alfred was a COO. Greatness can come from anywhere. There will always be too much capital chasing too few good deals. It's true today, it was true when Alfred started 10 years ago, and it was true when Michael Moritz started 20 years before that. But the winning companies will always generate outsized returns by using that capital to their unfair advantage. Your job as a VC is very simple, but devilishly hard: invest in those companies. Links: Our two-part Sequoia history: Part I: https://www.acquired.fm/episodes/sequoia-capital-part-1 Part II: https://www.acquired.fm/episodes/sequoia-capital-part-ii-with-doug-leone Don Valentine's talk at Stanford GSB: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nKN-abRJMEw&t=2555s Our conversation about Sequoia's Black Swan Memo with Roelof Botha: https://www.acquired.fm/episodes/sequoias-black-swan-memo
01/02/2154m 54s

Bitcoin

We had to do it. After 12 years and 3,000,000x appreciation, we kick off Season 8 with the best investment of all-time and our biggest episode ever: Bitcoin. From the first bitcoin transaction of 10k for two Papa John's pizzas (worth about $350m today!!) to $40k+ BTC and maybe the moon beyond, we cover the whole crazy, improbable journey of how a single 8-page PDF document changed the world of money — and perhaps the world itself — forever. If you love Acquired and want more, join our LP Community for access to over 50 LP-only episodes, monthly Zoom calls, and live access for big events like emergency pods and book club discussions with authors. We can't wait to see you there. Join here at: https://acquired.fm/lp/ Sponsors: Thanks to Tiny for being our presenting sponsor for all of Acquired Season 8. Tiny is building the "Berkshire Hathaway of the internet" — if you own a wonderful internet business that you want to sell, or know someone who does, you should get in touch with them. Unlike traditional buyers, they commit to quick, simple diligence, a 30-day or less process, and will leave your business to do its thing for the long term. You can learn more about Tiny here: http://bit.ly/acquiredtiny Thank you as well to Vouch and to Capchase. You can learn more about them at: https://bit.ly/acquired-vouch http://bit.ly/acquiredcapchase The Bitcoin Playbook: (also available on our website at https://www.acquired.fm/episodes/bitcoin ) 1. Technological paradigm shifts are ideal opportunities for attacking incumbents. The traditional finance system worked fantastically well for 500 years, but it wasn't built for the internet. The fact that sharing your bank account or credit card number is required in order to transact, but there's no really robust way to protect against fraud when doing so, provided the perfect seam for a new entrant. Bitcoin and its creators saw this shortcoming and created a new form of money that worked like email. 2. In the early days of a network-effect system, usage matters more than use-cases. Because the value of a network grows as a function of Metcalfe's Law (value = # of engaged participants squared), in the early days simply growing the number of engaged participants matters more than the specifics of what those participants are actually doing. As the network's value grows, it will become attractive to successively more groups of users and use cases. Bitcoin started as the domain of researchers and fringe libertarians, then illicit transactions (Silk Road), then speculation (the ICO boom) before finally reaching adoption by the mainstream investment community. Each wave built enough monetary value in the network to make it attractive to the next set of users. Similarly Facebook went from sharing photos of attractive undergrads to how billions communicate, and Airbnb went from ratty airbeds to ~10x larger than any hotel chain, all within a few short years. 3. Distributing network value out to its participants creates large incentives for adoption. Rewarding miners with bitcoin itself created a huge incentive for participants to join and stay in the Bitcoin network. Although this dynamic got a bad rap during the ICO bubble when it was overused and overpromised by grifters and scammers, it remains a powerful strategy and will likely be used more going forward. Perhaps most excitingly, this incentive unlocks massive new potential for open-source software development: people who work on open-source software (or provide other functions) can now receive direct value for their contributions, without being employed in any traditional sense. 4. Just HODL, baby. (aka let your winners run) You can get rich quickly by getting in early on a winning investment. But you can only get really rich by holding a compounding asset for an extended period of time. Sequoia learned this lesson painfully with its Apple investment in the 1970's: selling its entire position for just a ~$6m profit within a few years. Similarly, anyone who bought 1,000 bitcoin for $10 a piece in 2012 could have sold them for $1m four years later in 2016. But four years on from that, they're now worth $35 million. If you continue to believe Bitcoin has a bright longterm future (which, to be fair, you may not!), what could they be worth in 2024? 5. We're only just realizing the implications of digital scarcity. For its entire existence before Bitcoin, computing and the internet was all about turning scarcity into abundance. (via infinitely replicable + easily distributable software and other digital goods) For the first time in history, Bitcoin and its underlying blockchain have introduced the opposite: scarce, non-replicable digital assets. Native digital currency (Bitcoin) and smart contracts (Ethereum) are the first big outcomes of this advancement, but there may be many more seismic shifts to come. Links: Satoshi's Whitepaper: https://www.bitcoin.com/bitcoin.pdf Matt Huang's "Bitcoin for the Open-Minded Skeptic": https://www.paradigm.xyz/Bitcoin_For_The_Open_Minded_Skeptic.pdf Nellie Bowles's "Everyone Is Getting Hilariously Rich and You’re Not": https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/13/style/bitcoin-millionaires.html Square’s $50m investment in BTC: https://images.ctfassets.net/2d5q1td6cyxq/5sXNrlEh2mEnTvvhgtYOm2/737bcfdc15e2a1c3cbd9b9451710ce54/Square_Inc._Bitcoin_Investment_Whitepaper.pdf Episode Sources: Full list of episode sources available here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/16QCDNm2qzG3Bn5h1j1KXisxL_JGT7egDx7czX9ThHLY/edit?usp=sharing 
19/01/213h 12m

Special: Acquired x Indie Hackers

As regular listeners know, we typically cover some of the biggest companies who often receive the most media attention (see Airbnb and DoorDash). But today's episode is a little different. In our conversation with Courtland Allen of Indie Hackers, the largest community of startup founders, we dive into the stories of underdogs. What happens when there are millions of people doing small business entrepreneurship? How does anyone having access to the globally addressable market of 3 billion internet users open the door for the niche-est of products? We tell the story of Courtland’s own “Indie Hacker” journey, how he came to found Indie Hackers itself, and the lessons learned along the way.   If you want more more Acquired and the tools + resources to become the best founder, operator or investor you can be, join our LP Program for access to our LP Show, the LP community on Slack and Zoom, and our live Book Club discussions with top authors. Join here at: https://acquired.fm/lp/   Sponsors:  This episode is supported by Teamistry, a great new podcast from Atlassian that tells the stories of teams who work together in new and unexpected ways to achieve remarkable things. It's one of our best new podcast discoveries in 2020 and we think Acquired listeners are going to love it. Our thanks to Teamistry for their support, and you can listen here: https://link.chtbl.com/teamistry?sid=podcast.acquired Thank you as well to Kevel and to Capchase. You can learn more about them at: https://www.kevel.co https://www.capchase.com   Playbook Themes from this Episode: (also available on our website at https://www.acquired.fm/episodes/special-acquired-x-indie-hackers ) 1. As long as you don't quit your journey, you're still in the act of succeeding. Indie Hackers was Courtland's seventh company. Before it, Courtland had started six other companies, each with a few thousand dollars in revenue but never as big as he wanted it to be. Looking back, Courtland has realized that everyone has a certain number of companies they need to start before they succeed: for some, that number may be one, for others, 36. For him, that number was 7. So his advice? All you have to do is not quit before you get to that number. 2. The journey is as important as the destination. While Courtland was working on some of his earlier companies, he was miserable. A few of those working years felt like a complete blur. But sometime before he started Indie Hackers, he realized that in order to keep going until you succeed (see playbook #1), you must structure your life so that it's easy for you to not quit. In other words, you have to make the journey fun — almost like the emotional counterpart to Paul Graham’s famous “default alive” concept. With this reframe, Courtland began to enjoy the journey — enjoying the new people he met and the new things he learned. This mindset helped him level up as a person. Instead of worrying and asking "am I there yet?" he was able to enjoy the building journey. 3. Stories are always paramount. As we discuss so often on Acquired, stories can be an incredibly powerful force, and their value is one of the core theses/value propositions of Indie Hackers. One insight Courtland came to from Hacker News was that people didn't want to just read comments about people who didn't succeed. They wanted high quality, verified stories that were trustable in some way. Indie Hackers sends a survey out to users 6 months after they join the community. One of the questions the survey asks is, "would you have started your company if not for Indie Hackers?" 15-20% say they would not have started without some story or interaction on Indie Hackers! 4. Don't try to create budgets — sell to people that already have them. Courtland originally tried to monetize Indie Hackers via advertising, and shared advertisement opportunities with the Indie Hacker community. But he soon realized that these smaller businesses weren't exactly the best customers to sell to. Eventually, he transitioned to selling to enterprises, and was pleasantly surprised by how much easier it was to sell. The sales process simplified is: educate, then win. If you're selling to someone with a budget, you essentially bypass the education step. 5. Utilizing platforms, like everything in business, has tradeoffs. There are no hard or fast rules in business. Everything has tradeoffs. Platforms may help with distribution but make it harder to build a brand and also create risks and dependencies. For Courtland, it was important for Indie Hackers to have its own brand. Additionally, he already had a distribution strategy (Hacker News). Hence, it made sense for Indie Hackers to be its own site, as there were many risks but few benefits to using some other platform like Medium. 6. Trust and mission alignment are critical in acquisitions. Acquisition terms are about much more than just the purchase price. Sometimes, other considerations are more advantageous than cash (e.g. equity), and there are creative ways to align their incentives. For Courtland, it was crucial that he retain freedom over his time and control over the direction of Indie Hackers. Hence, it was — and still remains — key that Patrick and Courtland's relationship have a high degree of trust. 7. Acquisitions can enable established brands to take bigger risks. “Intra-preneurship” can be difficult because the initiative is constrained by internal processes and standards as well as external expectations. Hence, you can often take bigger risks through an acquisition. Google video versus YouTube is a great example of this. 8. There is an infinite number of "indie hacker" opportunities. There is no end to the number of niche problems that can be identified and served. Big businesses and platforms create massive opportunities to go for the long tail. New businesses can build on top of these platforms or build for these platforms, creating tools to help people use them. For example, there are thriving tools business ecosystems today for Stripe, Shopify, WordPress, and still many more use cases yet to be addressed.   Links: Indie Hackers: https://www.indiehackers.com
17/12/201h 49m

Airbnb

Over 13 years after its founding, one of the defining startup companies of the past decade finally makes its public debut — and boy was it a big one. But for all the hype (and all the legitimately great things Airbnb has accomplished), this is a company that looks very different today than in the past. Even before COVID, Airbnb's once-exponential bookings growth had declined to linear levels while the company's costs continued to balloon at accelerating rates. What’s going on here? Are public investors smart to bet on a permanent shift in travel behavior coming out of the pandemic? Or is this a case of unrealistic expectations? As always, we dive in.   If you want more more Acquired and the tools + resources to become the best founder, operator or investor you can be, join our LP Program for access to our LP Show, the LP community on Slack and Zoom, and our live Book Club discussions with top authors. Join here at: https://acquired.fm/lp/   Sponsors: Thanks to Tiny for being our presenting sponsor for all of Acquired Season 7. Tiny is building the "Berkshire Hathaway of the internet" — if you own a wonderful internet business that you want to sell, or know someone who does, you should get in touch with them. Unlike traditional buyers, they commit to quick, simple diligence, a 30-day or less process, and will leave your business to do its thing for the long term. You can learn more about Tiny here: http://tinycapital.com Thank you as well to Bamboo Growth and to Perkins Coie. You can learn more about them at: https://growwithbamboo.com https://www.perkinscoie.com/   Playbook Themes from this Episode: (also available on our website at https://www.acquired.fm/episodes/airbnb ) 1. If you can create value for all sides in a market ("expand the efficient frontier"), you really can’t help but be successful. Born out of the 2008 financial crisis, Airbnb was able to fundamentally change the nature of the travel market and provide guests with more quality for less money, while also enabling hosts to earn meaningful extra income during a very difficult economic period. This led to incredible market adoption of the service, at times almost despite the company's own actions and activities. 2. When you create a market, you have an opportunity to set the terms. By virtue of creating a whole new class of supply that had never participated in the travel market before, Airbnb was able to enact much more platform-favorable payment terms versus the hotel industry. Unlike Booking.com and the OTAs, guests pay Airbnb at the time of booking, and Airbnb keeps that cash (including fees) until after check-in — which could occur weeks or even months later. This created an enormously beneficial cashflow dynamic for Airbnb that allowed them to grow while burning much less cash than otherwise would have been required. 3. When you don't fly low to the ground, you aren't forced to operate at the lowest level of detail. Unlike DoorDash which needed to create an enormously efficient operational machine just in order to survive, Airbnb's capital-light business model, low operational intensity and favorable cashflow dynamics meant they've never had to operate in a particularly cost-disciplined or product-focused manner. While the core business has been insulated from competition due to its global network effects, the company has missed or poorly executed on Amazon-like opportunities to expand into adjacent markets and services that could have continued to drive new growth. 4. Relying solely direct/organic traffic is both a gift and a curse. Undeniably, direct/organic customer acquisition is a wonderful goal for any business to strive for. Who wouldn't want to acquire customers without paying for them? However, if you don't also build the muscle for profitable and reliable growth through paid channels, you can be left vulnerable vulnerable when organic growth slows, as it inevitably will.   Carve Outs: David — San Francisco Ballet's Nutcracker: https://www.sfballet.org/productions/nutcracker-online/ Ben — Star Wars Lofi HipHop: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/5iu1sp3UBb1rjf8KNKETtJ?si=WxPdJcRpSnelHN9qh0xYSw     Sources:  http://www.critbuns.com/index.html http://www.paulgraham.com/airbnb.html https://avc.com/2011/03/airbnb/ https://diff.substack.com/p/understanding-airbnb https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airbnb https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Chesky https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CouchSurfing https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Gebbia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_Airbnb https://gadgets.ndtv.com/internet/features/airbnb-ipo-ceo-brian-chesky-nasdaq-december-debut-stock-market-2328441 https://growthhackers.com/growth-studies/airbnb https://hbr.org/2019/04/research-when-airbnb-listings-in-a-city-increase-so-do-rent-prices https://medium.com/traveltechmedia/airbnb-vs-booking-holdings-51e79b8cc489 https://news.airbnb.com/brian-cheskys-open-letter-to-the-airbnb-community-about-building-a-21st-century-company/ https://news.airbnb.com/designing-the-future-of-airbnb/ https://nextviewventures.com/blog/airbnb-s-1-part-1-so-how-profitable-is-this-thing-really/ https://thegeneralist.substack.com/p/airbnb-the-disaster-artist https://twitter.com/danprimack/status/1337101820007768064 https://www.amazon.com/Upstarts-Airbnb-Battle-Silicon-Valley/dp/0316388416/ https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-12-09/airbnb-s-3-1-billion-ipo-hinges-on-hosts-who-make-rentals-feel-like-home https://www.cnbc.com/2019/12/10/airbnb-gitlab-considering-direct-listings-and-bankers-coming-around.html https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/14/airbnb-raises-another-1-billion-in-debt.html https://www.cnbc.com/2020/12/09/airbnb-sells-shares-at-68-in-ipo-pricing-above-range.html https://www.epi.org/publication/the-economic-costs-and-benefits-of-airbnb-no-reason-for-local-policymakers-to-let-airbnb-bypass-tax-or-regulatory-obligations/ https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidjeans/2020/11/16/airbnb-cofounders-own-nearly-42-of-covid-dented-business-ipo-filing-shows/ https://www.linkedin.com/in/brianchesky/ https://www.npr.org/2017/10/19/543035808/airbnb-joe-gebbia https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/20/technology/airbnb-employees-ipo-payouts.html https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/17/technology/airbnb-coronavirus-layoffs-.html https://www.phocuswire.com/booking-holdings-expedia-group-marketing-spend-2019 https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1559720/000119312520294801/d81668ds1.htm https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1559720/000119312520306257/d81668ds1a.htm https://www.theinformation.com/articles/10-questions-airbnbs-ipo-investors-should-ask https://www.theinformation.com/articles/airbnbs-biggest-ipo-winners?utm_content=article-5102&utm_campaign=article_email&utm_source=sg&utm_medium=email https://www.theinformation.com/video/313?utm_campaign=Live_Video_QA_Call_P&utm_content=565410&utm_medium=email&utm_source=cio&utm_term=197334 https://www.wsj.com/articles/airbnb-expected-to-price-ipo-above-56-to-60-a-share-range-11607527468?mod=hp_lead_pos5 https://www.wsj.com/articles/airbnb-operating-chief-to-step-down-join-board-11574439482?mod=article_inline https://www.wsj.com/articles/airbnb-paying-more-than-10-interest-on-1-billion-financing-announced-monday-11586297484?mod=rsswn https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=efNyRmTLbjQ https://www.linkedin.com/in/blecharczyk/ https://www.linkedin.com/in/jgebbia/ https://news.airbnb.com/brian-cheskys-open-letter-to-the-airbnb-community-about-building-a-21st-century-company/  
11/12/202h 37m

DoorDash

Live from the scene of its blockbuster IPO, we recount the crazy, roller coaster journey of this "Palo Alto delivery company". From Sand Hill darling during their Series A and B fundraises to all but left-for-dead during the great unicorn massacre of 2015/16, DoorDash has clawed their way back from the brink and emerged as America's dominant meal delivery service, and its only unit-economic positive standalone logistics player. Is this the dawn of the next great Amazon-like story, or is the company simply benefiting from temporary tailwinds due to the pandemic? As always, we dive DEEP to find out. If you want more more Acquired and the tools + resources to become the best founder, operator or investor you can be, join our LP Program for access to our LP Show, the LP community on Slack and Zoom, and our live Book Club discussions with top authors. Join here at: https://acquired.fm/lp/   Sponsors:  Thanks to Tiny for being our presenting sponsor for all of Acquired Season 7. Tiny is building the "Berkshire Hathaway of the internet" — if you own a wonderful internet business that you want to sell, or know someone who does, you should get in touch with them. Unlike traditional buyers, they commit to quick, simple diligence, a 30-day or less process, and will leave your business to do its thing for the long term. You can learn more about Tiny here: http://tinycapital.com Thank you as well to Bamboo Growth and to Perkins Coie. You can learn more about them at: https://growwithbamboo.com https://www.perkinscoie.com/   Playbook Themes from this Episode: (also available on our website at https://www.acquired.fm/episodes/doordash ) 1. Sometimes winner-take-all markets DO tip. The end-state that Uber (and its global peers) spent the past decade chasing — that eventually it would outrun its competitors, tip entire markets in their favor, add multiple product lines and turn massively cashflow positive — has thus far proved elusive, leading many to believe that any such undertaking is a false dream. But, since 2018 China's Meituan appears to be doing just that, all while operating in an even more competitive environment than Uber. DoorDash may now be on a similar trajectory in the US. That said, it's almost impossible to predict in advance how much time and capital it will take to get there, let alone any one company's odds of success. DoorDash benefitted immensely from their competitors' relative difficulties accessing capital post-2016, and was willing to sacrifice enormous dilution to outlast them. If you're going to play the winner-take-all game, you need to be willing to go all-in when others blink. 2. If you're going to fly low to the ground, you also need to operate at the lowest level of detail. Flying low to the ground (i.e., sacrificing higher margins in order to share more value back to your customers and suppliers) is a great recipe for success in highly competitive markets like e-commerce and on-demand services. However when you do so, you need to be maniacal about squeezing every last drop of efficiency out of your platform: every 1% improvement in margins could mean a 20%, 30% or even 50% profitability increase and the difference between life (for you) and death (for your competitors). DoorDash clearly gets this and has embedded this ethos in everything they do at the company. 3. Focus on what you can control. DoorDash had the capital markets turn against them HARD early on in the company's life. It would have been easy to lose focus, sell or give up, as did many of their competitors. To Tony and the entire company's credit, they kept moving forward and made decisions each step of the way that kept the company alive — even when those decisions came at a high cost. As a result they outlasted nearly all competition and were in a position to IPO at one of the highest market caps of all-time, all as an only 7 year old company. 4. "Why now" matters. DoorDash had one of the best "why now" answers of all-time: mass-market smartphone adoption (not just high-end) made 3 things true that were never possible before: 1. average consumers could order online conveniently, 2. couriers could plug into the network via their own devices, and 3. restaurants (most of whom didn't have wifi or desk staff) could accept orders online. Before 2013 a business like this would simply have been impossible to build.   Carve Outs: David: Hades on the Nintendo Switch: https://www.nintendo.com/games/detail/hades-switch/ Ben: Watchmen on HBO: https://www.hbo.com/watchmen Succession on HBO: https://www.hbo.com/succession Palm Springs: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt9484998/   Sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DoorDash https://startupclass.samaltman.com/courses/lec08/ https://techcrunch.com/2013/09/30/door-dash-raises-2-4m/ https://medium.com/@DoorDash/the-doordash-story-b370c2bb1e5f https://vator.tv/news/2019-01-04-when-doordash-was-young-the-early-years https://medium.com/@DoorDash/the-red-shirts-are-in-boston-838b0ddf63de https://medium.com/@DoorDash/doordash-raises-40m-led-by-kleiner-perkins-caufield-byers-9be34d3480c1 https://medium.com/@DoorDash/with-doordash-the-colonel-now-delivers-609fe6e8d263 https://www.tmz.com/2015/11/11/in-n-out-lawsuit/ https://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-biz-doordash-restaurant-food-delivery-lawsuit-20180109-story.html https://medium.com/@DoorDash/2015-the-year-in-doordash-delivery-b40bd22738b9 https://medium.com/@DoorDash/127-million-more-ways-to-move-doordash-forward-e22d86739a56 https://www.wsj.com/articles/food-delivery-startup-doordash-is-raising-more-than-110-million-1455639655 https://www.wsj.com/articles/BL-DGB-44622 https://fortune.com/2018/08/16/doordash-raises-250m-at-4b-valuation/ https://qz.com/1549084/doordash-overtook-uber-eats-in-us-online-food-delivery-second-measure-finds/ https://fortune.com/2019/03/11/doordash-tops-grubhub-on-demand-food/ https://www.inquirer.com/news/virus-doordash-grubhand-profits-competition-sales-20200427.html https://www.theverge.com/2020/6/10/21287128/grubhub-just-eat-takeaway-merger-uber-deal-antitrust https://themargins.substack.com/p/doordash-and-pizza-arbitrage https://www.meritechcapital.com/blog/doordash-ipo-s-1-breakdown https://www.firehose.vc/p/firehose-181-dashing-to-ipo- https://medium.com/@DoorDash/live-más-on-demand-doordash-taco-bell-is-here-e94956306f9e https://blog.doordash.com/fueling-the-last-mile-3ae0a6b45ea0 https://www.wsj.com/articles/airbnb-doordash-aim-for-higher-than-expected-valuations-ahead-of-debuts-11606689243 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9KRJEAoqQ8 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VNfipjK3Gro https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1792789/000119312520292381/d752207ds1.htm https://thegeneralist.substack.com/p/doordash-the-value-of-speed https://www.linkedin.com/in/evanmoore/ https://www.linkedin.com/in/xutony/ https://www.linkedin.com/in/stanleytang/ https://www.linkedin.com/in/fangsterr/ https://medium.com/@DoorDash/doordash-raises-17-3-million-from-sequoia-capital-dc0d7aca1012 https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly9mZWVkcy5ucHIub3JnLzUxMDMxMy9wb2RjYXN0LnhtbA/episode/MTc1NzVjMWQtYTFjNy00ZWJiLThmZTctYWE0MDc2NDFlYjg3 https://www.wsj.com/articles/doordash-poised-to-tap-torrid-ipo-market-11607442406 https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/postmates/company_financials https://blog.doordash.com/accelerating-our-unprecedented-growth-e5c9eb343ce8 https://nextbn.ggvc.com/opinions/meituan-dianpings-path-towards-profitability/ https://www.meritechcapital.com/blog/doordash-ipo-s-1-breakdown https://tanay.substack.com/p/doordash-and-profitable-food-delivery https://www.firehose.vc/p/firehose-181-dashing-to-ipo- https://themargins.substack.com/p/doordash-and-societal-arbitrage https://twitter.com/micapital2/status/1328491576109068289 https://twitter.com/Jer_Diamond/status/1329187739762184192 https://medium.com/@JeremyDiamond/feeding-the-rebels-6d748b8cfc58 https://thegeneralist.substack.com/p/doordash-the-value-of-speed https://www.ft.com/content/53e32708-59ea-11ea-a528-dd0f971febbc https://twitter.com/michaelxbloch/status/1335608288008941570 https://www.wsj.com/video/series/in-the-elevator-with/in-the-elevator-with-the-ceo-shaking-up-the-bra-industry/2BA23DB1-114C-489B-BA1A-A7346DE99136 https://www.vox.com/2019/1/9/18174556/doordash-tony-xu-christopher-payne-food-delivery-shopping-recode-decode-kara-swisher-podcast https://theflywheel.substack.com/p/doordash-flywheel-teardown https://www.wsj.com/articles/doordash-ipo-filing-shows-a-profitable-quarter-11605276373  
10/12/202h 58m

Slack + Salesforce Emergency Pod with Packy McCormick of Not Boring

Acquired is live on the scene covering Salesforce's blockbuster $27.7B acquisition of Slack, with the help of the internet's #1 Slack bull (and top internet analyst in his own right), Packy McCormick of Not Boring. We dissect the deal itself, Slack's relatively short life as a public company, the impact of Microsoft and Teams, and most importantly what this means for enterprise SaaS startups broadly. And oh yeah — we have a ton of fun too. :) Note: you can find our full June 2019 episode on Slack's history and their DPO here: https://www.acquired.fm/episodes/the-slack-dpo If you want more more Acquired and the tools + resources to become the best founder, operator or investor you can be, join our LP Program for access to our LP Show, the LP community on Slack and Zoom, and our live Book Club discussions with top authors. Join here at: https://acquired.fm/lp/   Sponsors: Thanks to Tiny for being our presenting sponsor for all of Acquired Season 7. Tiny is building the "Berkshire Hathaway of the internet" — if you own a wonderful internet business that you want to sell, or know someone who does, you should get in touch with them. Unlike traditional buyers, they commit to quick, simple diligence, a 30-day or less process, and will leave your business to do its thing for the long term. You can learn more about Tiny here: http://tinycapital.com Thank you as well to Bamboo Growth and to Perkins Coie. You can learn more about them at: https://growwithbamboo.com https://www.perkinscoie.com/   Playbook Themes from this Episode: (also available on our website at https://www.acquired.fm/episodes/slack-salesforce-emergency-pod-with-packy-mccormick-of-not-boring ) 1. Distribution is still key when it comes to selling enterprise products at the highest levels. SaaS startups can (and do!) land deals with big companies all the time now through the bottoms-up motion of individual teams adopting the product and paying by credit card. And they also can (and do!) expand those deals into large, enterprise-wide contracts. But the massive power of Microsoft, Salesforce, and to a lesser-degree Oracle and Google's salesforces + bundling distribution abilities enables deals to happen at a scale that most independent companies find difficult to match. 2. Enterprise products are like icebergs — 90% of the work is below the surface. This is true both at the tactical level (integrations, permissions, security, etc) and the strategic: providing seamless connective tissue between work apps inside and across organizations is what makes Microsoft so powerful as an enterprise player — not necessarily because their products are better. This is why Slack Connect was such an important initiative for Slack, and why Microsoft trained the full firepower of its Teams marketing against it, while mostly ignoring Zoom even though Zoom is much more directly competitive on the product feature front. 3. Telling your story well always matters, no matter how big you get. Perhaps the biggest reason Slack "failed" as a public company was its inability to effectively communicate what it did that was special, why that was important, and why it was defensible enough to withstand the assault from Teams. Arguably, great answers existed to all of those questions — and the company kept posting impressive numbers to back them up — but Wall Street never bought the story Slack sold. 4. Enterprise collaboration is moving deeper into work apps themselves. Today's native SaaS tools like Figma, Coda, Notion and others are embedding collaboration and chat natively into apps themselves — which reduces the primacy of a centralized platform like Slack, Teams or Discord. While on the one hand this is a threat to dedicated collaboration platforms, it also presents a massive opportunity: if they (or someone else) can decouple the core "collaboration layer" service from their own dedicated apps and also embed it directly into those work apps via APIs, it exponentially increases the surface area of workplace productivity that they can address. 5. The "Outsiders playbook" of growing through acquisition once your original product approaches market saturation works just as well in tech as it did in other sectors like media and industrials. As Will Thorndike outlined in The Outsiders, many of the best CEO capital allocators of all-time utilized the grow-through-acquisition strategy very effectively. Salesforce (and other big tech companies like Facebook) are clearly adopting the same approach.   Links: Not Boring: https://notboring.substack.com Packy on Twitter: https://twitter.com/packyM Packy's bull thesis on Slack from November 2020: https://notboring.substack.com/p/slack-the-bulls-are-typing
02/12/201h 24m

Virgin Galactic

Live from the 2020 ASCEND Space Conference, Acquired covers the full story behind the most "out there" technology story of the past few years: Virgin Galactic. How did this space tourism company grow out of the winning X Prize team, and catch the eyes and fancy of billionaires like Paul Allen, Sir Richard Branson, and, most recently, company chairman Chamath Palihapitiya who took it public via the first "modern" technology SPAC transaction in history? Tune in to find out!! If you want more more Acquired and the tools + resources to become the best founder, operator or investor you can be, join our LP Program for access to our LP Show, the LP community on Slack and Zoom, and our live Book Club discussions with top authors. Join here at: https://acquired.fm/lp/   Sponsors:  Thanks to Tiny for being our presenting sponsor for all of Acquired Season 7. Tiny is building the "Berkshire Hathaway of the internet" — if you own a wonderful internet business that you want to sell, or know someone who does, you should get in touch with them. Unlike traditional buyers, they commit to quick, simple diligence, a 30-day or less process, and will leave your business to do its thing for the long term. You can learn more about Tiny here: http://tinycapital.com Thank you as well to Bamboo Growth and to Perkins Coie. You can learn more about them at: https://growwithbamboo.com https://www.perkinscoie.com/   Playbook Themes from this Episode: (also available on our website at https://www.acquired.fm/episodes/virgin-galactic ) 1. Prizes can be a great way to generate leverage on innovation. If done right, the X Prize and other industry prizes like it (e.g., Netflix Prize, DARPA Challenge, etc) can bring an order of magnitude more talent to bear on a challenge than what the same dollars alone could hire. The challenge is to create a prize that inspires and draws in a large enough pool of contributors. The aerospace industry’s “cool” factor may be what allowed the X Prize to succeed and explain why prizes aren't employed as often in other sectors. 2. When trying new things, most people want to go second — but those willing to go first get the best returns.Being first into new markets carries high risk (including/especially reputational), but often also offers asymmetric upside. Investing in a new frontier when others think it’s crazy is a recipe for success — if you’re both contrarian and right. Chamath took a huge turn from the traditional VC playbook when he created his first SPAC in 2017, years before they went mainstream. He and his investors have generated over $1B in profits from that vehicle (which is now merged with Virgin Galactic), and have since used those proceeds to launch five more. 3. The best time to invest was yesterday, the next best time is today. Great investors don’t miss the chance to invest in big markets because they’ve passed on it before. Sir Richard Branson passed on investing in the X Prize twice before partnering with Burt Rutan's winning team to build Virgin Galactic. 4. Whenever a market's prices aren't being set by supply and demand, there's probably an opportunity to disrupt that market. The traditional IPO pricing process is managed by third parties (investment banks) that represent both sides of the transaction, and also have their own economic interests at play. It's the equivalent of a real estate agent representing both the buyer and seller. As a result, many technology IPOs have left hundreds of millions or billions of dollars on the table. SPACs and direct listings are now solving that problem. Any other market with this dynamic should represent fertile ground for entrepreneurs.   Links: Virgin Galactic's "One Small Step" reservation program: https://www.virgingalactic.com/smallstep/ The November 2020 launch delay: https://www.virgingalactic.com/articles/virgin-galactic-adjusts-test-flight-schedule-in-response-to-new-state-government-covid-19-restrictions/   Sources: Black Sky Documentary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cikmdTVFPig How to Make a Spaceship: https://www.amazon.com/How-Make-Spaceship-Renegades-Spaceflight/dp/1101980494/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr= http://d18rn0p25nwr6d.cloudfront.net/CIK-0001706946/362d3eae-199a-4995-ab78-232a09ced07d.pdf http://www.agent4stars.com/virgin-galactic-passenger-list/ https://abcnews.go.com/Business/story?id=8191703 https://abcnews.go.com/Business/virgin-galactic-resume-selling-tickets-space-reports-skyrocketing/story?id=69229936 https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virgin_Galactic https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burt_Rutan https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Branson https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scaled_Composites https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Spaceship_Company https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virgin_Galactic https://investors.virgingalactic.com/news/news-details/2020/Virgin-Galactic-Adjusts-Test-Flight-Schedule-in-Response-to-New-State-Government-COVID-19-Restrictions/default.aspx https://investors.virgingalactic.com/news/news-details/2020/Virgin-Galactic-Announces-Third-Quarter-2020-Financial-Results/default.aspx https://open.spotify.com/episode/63gIP0UcvBUyhuf0qz1Rza https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly9mZWVkcy5mZWVkYnVybmVyLmNvbS9wcm8tcmF0YQ/episode/OTc4MDliM2MtYTI1NS0xMWU5LWJhZjMtMmYxYWQyZTM2ZmM0 https://sifted.eu/articles/fund-fintech-secret-ian-osborne/ https://techcrunch.com/2020/09/16/cant-stop-wont-stop-social-capital-hedosophia-just-filed-for-its-fourth-spac-says-new-report/ https://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news/aerospace/2007-08-28/northrop-grumman-seals-scaled-composites-deal https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-11-05/virgin-galactic-sees-new-ticket-sales-after-branson-s-space-trip https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20121005005907/en/Virgin-Galactic-Acquires-Full-Ownership-Spaceship-Company#.VFvXsPnF98E https://www.forbes.com/sites/daviddawkins/2020/09/06/inside-virgin-orbit-richard-bransons-small-satellite-bid-to-match-musk-and-bezos-in-the-billionaire-space-race/?sh=1d880f577ab9 https://www.listennotes.com/podcasts/industry-focus/cg-virgin-galactic-prepares-wOHokI4mM06/ https://www.marketwatch.com/story/abu-dhabis-aabar-boosts-virgin-galactic-stake-2011-10-19 https://www.renaissancecapital.com/IPO-Center/News/65718/The-Space-SPAC-Everything-You-Need-to-Know-about-Virgin-Galactic https://www.renaissancecapital.com/IPO-Center/News/72123/Palihapitiya-and-Osbornes-fifth-SPAC-Social-Capital-Hedosophia-Holdings-V-p https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1706946/000114420417044783/v473766_s1.htm https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1706946/000119312519215509/d785777ds4.htm https://www.space.com/31993-stephen-hawking-virgin-galactic-spaceshiptwo-unity.html https://www.spacedaily.com/upi/2004/0831-091100-us-spacerace2-cashprize.html https://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/oct/09/virgin-galactic-space-tourism-richard-branson-george-whitesides https://www.theverge.com/2018/10/13/17967954/virgin-galactic-richard-branson-saudi-arabia-jamal-khashoggi https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/talkingtech/2018/05/29/amazons-jeff-bezos-says-we-need-leave-earth-survive/651715002/?fbclid=IwAR0E2z5cBtry3Zy0sNRs9jRFKjE_b-T7N-kN0TQO7MDbWJO-baZKw4ZMZGU https://www.wsj.com/articles/richard-bransons-virgin-orbit-seeks-1-billion-valuation-in-fundraising-11602403201?cx_testId=3&cx_testVariant=cx_2&cx_artPos=1#cxrecs_s https://www.wsj.com/articles/richard-bransons-virgin-raises-480-million-with-spac-11601642288
23/11/201h 45m

Special: Superhuman Part II - Designing Software to Feel like a Game (with Rahul Vohra)

Superstar past guest and Superhuman CEO Rahul Vorha joins us for a deep dive on how Superhuman applies concepts from game design to building productivity software. We're not talking points and badges — we mean hardcore, Unreal Engine-style technical innovations and Fortnite-level understanding of fun and mastery. It's a topic where Rahul has serious cred: before Superhuman and Rapportive, he worked as a game designer on RuneScape, the pioneering browser-based MMORPG. This is a topic every founder, engineer, product and even sales person should listen to. Tune in! You can listen to Part I of our Superhuman story with Rahul here: https://www.acquired.fm/episodes/superhuman If you want more more Acquired and the tools + resources to become the best founder, operator or investor you can be, join our LP Program for access to our LP Show, the LP community on Slack and Zoom, and our new live Book Club discussions with top authors. Join here at: https://acquired.fm/lp/ Sponsors: This episode is supported by Teamistry, a great new podcast from Atlassian that tells the stories of teams who work together in new and unexpected ways to achieve remarkable things. It's one of our best new podcast discoveries in 2020 and we think Acquired listeners are going to love it. Our thanks to Teamistry for their support, and you can listen here: https://link.chtbl.com/teamistry?sid=podcast.acquired Thank you as well to Lemon.io. You can learn more about Lemon at: https://lemon.io/acquired/ Playbook Themes from this Episode: Also available on our website at https://www.acquired.fm/episodes/special-superhuman-part-ii-designing-software-to-feel-like-a-game-with-rahul-vohra ) 1. Game Design not Gamification. Good games nurture intrinsic motivation in players, in part because they’re fun. “Gamification” instead uses external motivators like badges, levels, and points to goad users into interacting with the product. Game design combines goals and objectives, intentional emotional design, and the psychological phenomenon of flow. It forces the designer to consider, what is fun? To which Rahul’s answer is “pleasant surprise”. Great game design creates intrinsic motivation: “doing things because they are inherently interesting and satisfying.” Adding extrinsic motivation like points or rewards can actually erode the desire to do a task. Rahul’s Advice for product designers: “Pull back from user wants and user needs. Instead, design for fun.” 2. It's more important to consider how your product makes customers feel than what it functionally does for them. When designing any product, interaction, or experience, identifying the exact desired user emotions can be incredibly powerful. How do you do this? Find opportunities where the product naturally delights, surprises, or gives users a sense of accomplishment - and find light-touch ways to amplify it. Example: Inbox 0. Superhuman found that reaching Inbox 0 is one of the most emotionally resonant moments in someone’s interaction with their email. To amplify that moment, Superhuman uses beautiful imagery as a reward to trigger specific emotions when a user empties their inbox. 3. Democratizing powerful tools that were previously reserved for an elite class is a recipe success. Superhuman moved mountains to create that “10x better” experience before launching. Even when starved for resources, it can pay off in a big way for a startup to expend massive engineering effort to build a better foundation than the competition. The team at Superhuman faced a challenge: How can we deliver the same speed and power that developers have in code editors to ordinary people in their email inboxes? To solve it, they spent 2 years re-writing large parts of Chrome to make everything faster. Now the Superhuman browser app is faster than any standalone email app experience and provides sub-100 ms results. The result: users don’t have time to break flow state. 4. Storytelling is everything. Don Valentine used to say “Money flows as a function of the story.” Storytelling matters across all dimensions of a startup: pitching investors, recruiting talent, selling products, building a cult-like following. On the podcast, Rahul ties rich detail and visuals to his core points. When racing Lamborghinis: “you see the landscape rip by, you hear the scream of the engine, you taste burning rubber.” When pitching his co-founder on joining: “I could see as the gears turned in his mind as he’s munching this pizza, increasingly slowly until his mouth ground to a halt.” When describing engineers coding in flow state: “our fingers dance across a keyboard like we’re playing a piano.”
12/11/2053m 41s

Twitter (with Dick Costolo)

A week before the 2020 US Presidential election, former Twitter CEO Dick Costolo joins us to tell the story of a company that has impacted all of our lives (political and otherwise) like none other. While it's easy to forget now, a very viable alternate history exists where it's Twitter, not Facebook, who owns Instagram, and Vine, not TikTok, that's the global platform for mobile video. We dive into it all on this episode — and of course while we had Dick, we also had to discuss his controversial recent deleted tweet. If you want more more Acquired and the tools + resources to become the best founder, operator or investor you can be, join our LP Program for access to our LP Show, the LP community on Slack and Zoom, and our live Book Club discussions with top authors. Join here at: https://acquired.fm/lp/ New! We're codifying our own Playbook notes and takeaways from each episode, and posting them here in the show notes and on our website. You can read them below or at: https://www.acquired.fm/episodes/twitter-with-dick-costolo Sponsors: Thanks to Tiny for being our presenting sponsor for all of Acquired Season 7. Tiny is building the "Berkshire Hathaway of the internet" — if you own a wonderful internet business that you want to sell, or know someone who does, you should get in touch with them. Unlike traditional buyers, they commit to quick, simple diligence, a 30-day or less process, and will leave your business to do its thing for the long term. You can learn more about Tiny here: http://tinycapital.com Thank you as well to Bamboo Growth and to Perkins Coie. You can learn more about them at: https://growwithbamboo.com https://www.perkinscoie.com/ Playbook Themes from this Episode: Sometimes early advantages matter. A lot. In a network economy industry (like social media), it's almost impossible to chase down someone with an established lead. The only way you can hope to compete is by changing the game. And even that is a long shot. Once Facebook — and then Instagram within Facebook — had established a meaningful active user lead over Twitter, there was no "down the middle" play Twitter could run to catch up. Twitter recognized this and attempted all sorts of orthogonal strategies: video (Vine), live (Periscope), music (Twitter Music), syndication (Moments), exclusive content (the NFL deal). In each case either Facebook was able to copy and co-opt the innovation, or the attempt simply failed. Sometimes reach matters. A lot. If you're operating in a network economy, your service MUST deliver a first-class experience on every platform that matters. Vine launched on iOS and immediately went to #1 in the App Store. But they didn't get a good Android experience out fast enough, which fractured the social graph that users could share across. Instagram was able to respond aggressively with a first-class video experience across both iOS and Android before Vine could stop the bleeding — and the rest is history. Network Resiliency. Some network graphs are more inherently defensible than others. How easy it is to "rehydrate" your network somewhere else should drive how closely you guard it. Facebook, LinkedIn and WhatsApp all have relatively low defensible networks — if you were to exfiltrate their graphs, you could recreate their value quickly. This is why all of those companies / products significantly restrict connection exporting, and also why they were able to bootstrap quickly in the early days by importing users' address books. By contrast, the Twitter graph is about interest, not social connections. Even if you exfiltrated all its connections, it'd be very difficult to recreate Twitter (people have tried). This dynamic made it more difficult for Twitter to scale quickly, but also has made it more resilient over time. The core Twitter product is just as robust — if not more — today than it was in 2010... the same can't be said for the blue Facebook product, which has bled out to Instagram, WhatsApp, TikTok, Snap, iMessage, etc. Balancing forest fires and forestry management. As a leader of a rapidly growing organization, you face two types of challenges: "forest fires" (this crazy thing just happened and we need to respond), and "forestry management" (this set of crazy things will keep happening until we figure out a solution that scales). You need a different mental state to approach each, and balancing between the two is incredibly difficult when you're see-sawing back and forth every day. Links: Ashish Goel at Stanford: https://web.stanford.edu/~ashishg/twitter.html Dick and Adam's new firm, 01 Advisors: https://01a.com/ Carve Outs: Vote! https://www.vote.org
28/10/201h 22m

Special: Invest Like the Best on Acquired

On this special episode of Acquired, we're joined by a master interviewer himself, Patrick O'Shaughnessy from Invest Like the Best. We turn the tables and cover the most fascinating story he's never told on ILTB... his own! What is O’Shaughnessy Asset Management, and how are they bringing "AWS-level" innovation to the sleepy wealth management industry? How did he go from Notre Dame philosophy major to quant researcher to (arguably) technology CEO and now also an early-stage venture investor... all while simultaneously building one of the world's top new business media empires? Acquired is here to explore it all. If you want more more Acquired and the tools + resources to become the best founder, operator or investor you can be, join our LP Program for access to our LP Show, the LP community on Slack and Zoom, and our new live Book Club discussions with top authors. Join here at: https://acquired.fm/lp/   Sponsor: This episode is supported by Teamistry, a great podcast from Atlassian that tells the stories of teams who work together in new and unexpected ways to achieve remarkable things. It's one of our best new podcast discoveries in 2020 and we honestly think Acquired listeners are going to love it. (business + history + space!) Click the link below to listen, and our thanks to Teamistry for their support. https://link.chtbl.com/teamistry?sid=podcast.acquired   Playbook Special! Patrick’s Favorite Themes from 5 Years of ILTB: Chetan Puttagunta (#1): Go slow to go fast — http://investorfieldguide.com/chetan/ Chetan Puttagunta (#2): Open source isn’t about saving on R&D, it’s about building differentiated distribution among developers — http://investorfieldguide.com/chetan-puttagunta-and-jeremiah-lowin-open-source-crash-course-invest-like-the-best-ep-188/ Bill Gurley: Healthy marketplace opportunities have increasing marginal value to demand from incremental supply penetration — http://investorfieldguide.com/gurley/ Matthew Ball: The key to unlocking the Metaverse isn’t about building Ready Player One, it’s about creating interoperable systems that will move value and information between experiences — http://investorfieldguide.com/matt-ball-the-future-of-media-movies-the-metaverse-and-more-invest-like-the-best-ep-185/ Charlie Songhurst: The best place to look for talent is in less-competitive markets — http://investorfieldguide.com/songhurst/ Katrina Lake: The past of e-commerce was about price, convenience and selection; the future is about personalization and curation — http://investorfieldguide.com/katrina-lake-the-next-wave-of-e-commerce-invest-like-the-best-ep-187/ Daniel Ek: Company scaling as “seeing around corners” — http://investorfieldguide.com/ek/ Kat Cole: Inversion as a tool to deal with difficult people — http://investorfieldguide.com/kat-cole-how-to-operate-lessons-in-brand-distribution-and-leadership-invest-like-the-best-ep-184/ Sarah Tavel: Hierarchy as a framework — http://investorfieldguide.com/tavel/ Josh Wolfe: The “directional arrow of progress” and the simple power of extrapolating trend lines — http://investorfieldguide.com/wolfe2/   Links: Invest Like the Best: http://investorfieldguide.com/podcast/ Founder's Field Guide: http://investorfieldguide.com/founders-field-guide/ OSAM and Canvas: https://www.osam.com
07/10/201h 44m

The NBA

On the eve of the 2020 NBA Finals, we dive DEEP into the history and business model of the league behind the world's 2nd largest and fastest growing major sport. How did the NBA grow from merely an excuse to monetize hockey arena off-nights into a global powerhouse with more reach and influence and reach than any other American sport? Tune in!! If you want more more Acquired and the tools + resources to become the best founder, operator or investor you can be, join our LP Program for access to our LP Show, the LP community on Slack and Zoom, and our new live Book Club discussions with top authors. Join here at: https://acquired.fm/lp/   New! We're codifying our own Playbook notes and takeaways from each episode, and posting them here in the show notes and on our website. You can read them below or at: https://www.acquired.fm/episodes/the-nba   Sponsors:  Thanks to Tiny for being our presenting sponsor for all of Acquired Season 7. Tiny is building the "Berkshire Hathaway of the internet" — if you own a wonderful internet business that you want to sell, or know someone who does, you should get in touch with them. Unlike traditional buyers, they commit to quick, simple diligence, a 30-day or less process, and will leave your business to do its thing for the long term. You can learn more about Tiny here: http://tinycapital.com Thank you as well to Bamboo Growth and to Perkins Coie. You can learn more about them at: https://growwithbamboo.com https://www.perkinscoie.com/   Playbook Themes from this Episode: 1. Distribution. Great product-market fit is necessary but not sufficient for outsized success; you also need great distribution. Basketball had great product-market fit from the beginning — it was an indoor sport that could be played in any weather, didn't require lots of specialized equipment or setup, was relatively safe and provided a great player and spectator experience. However basketball's rapid dissemination was helped enormously by its origin within the missionary context of the YMCA organization, which quickly spread the new game to its branches around North America and the world (including and especially China) — all 50 years before the NBA's founding. 2. Hobbies. A corollary to Paul Graham's idea that great markets start as toys: finding the right business model to professionalize an amateur or "hobby" market with a large or rabid fan base can yield massive business opportunities. Basketball was hugely popular for decades before the NBA came along. College and independent professional teams (like the Harlem Globetrotters and New York Rens) proved people would pay to watch great talent; the NBA simply provided the right league structure and real estate to serve that demand at scale. Other examples: personal computers and Apple, electric cars and Tesla, video game streaming and Twitch, bitcoin and Coinbase, etc. 3. Influence = Power. The NBA's strategy to "make the players the stars" has succeeded tremendously, and stands in stark contrast to the other major American sports leagues. NBA players both individually and as a whole have an order of magnitude more social followers than other major American athletes and, relatedly, have also accumulated an order of magnitude more wealth: 7 current and former NBA players have ~half billion wealth or more, compared to only 1 from all other American team sports. Nike's Jordan deal + creation of the Air Jordan brand wrote the blueprint for the modern influencer endorsement (pre-Oprah!), and is perhaps the most successful non-acquisition deal of all-time. Social influence is a compounding network economy: because NBA players have more followers, they win over more fans (and especially young fans) and aspiring athletes than other sports leagues, which leads to new players and stars getting more influence, which repeats the cycle and widens the lead over other sports. 4. Internationalization. The world is a big place. Much more potential talent and customers exist outside any country's borders than inside. The wider you cast your net, the greater rewards you can reap. Starting with the Dream Team in 1992, the NBA embarked on a deliberate campaign to internationalize its image, both with players and fans. The result is this past season 1 billion people watched the NBA (the vast minority of whom were Americans), and 25% of NBA rosters (and probably 50%+ of its young stars) are international. No other major American sport is anywhere close. Regular Acquired mega-theme reminder: China is ALWAYS bigger and more important than you think it is. 600m people in China watch basketball and 300m people play basketball. That's an entire Unites States' worth of developing players, and two US's worth of fans. Whether the future value of those players and fans accrues to the NBA or the CBA (Chinese Basketball Association) will shape everything about the game going forward. 5. Cinematic Universes. The best media properties create and support whole ecosystems around the core product and across mediums. Non-game content like All-Star Weekend and the Slam Dunk Contest, as well as short-form and behind-the-scenes access like SportsCenter highlights, Inside the NBA, etc. provide the NBA with additional compelling (and monetizable) content, all while building the game's reach and deepening fan relationships. Unsurprisingly, this echoes the core of the Disney flywheel. Technology only amplifies this dynamic: social media, over-the-top distribution and direct fan relationships provide more opportunities for the best properties to increase their share of customers' attention. 6. Younger customers = More Future Cashflows. 57% of US 13-17 year-olds list the NBA as their favorite sports league, compared to 13% for the NFL and 4% for MLB. Assuming those numbers hold for this cohort (and younger), the impact on relative future cash flows (and valuations) for the respective sports is enormous. 7. Beachfront property. That said, valuations in any market aren't just driven by the discounted sum of future cashflows; scarcity also matters. Nowhere is this better exhibited than NBA team valuations. Average NBA team valuations have risen 600% in the past decade. Part of this is due to the League's incredible growth. But perhaps as much or more is simply because lots of people want to buy NBA franchises (see e.g., Ballmer) but there are only 30 properties, and ~0-2 are available for purchase at any given time.   Links: Our old LA Clippers episode: https://www.acquired.fm/episodes/episode-36-the-la-clippers The Last Dance: https://www.netflix.com/title/80203144 Allen Iverson Players' Tribune piece: https://www.theplayerstribune.com/en-us/articles/life-and-times-of-allen-iverson   Carve Outs: David: Phil Libin and Mmhmm on Joe Sweeny's Just Raised podcast: https://overcast.fm/+hJ7uJqHMA Ben: Meow Wolf + documentary https://meowwolf.com/explore/origin-story   Sources: Bill Simmons' Book of Basketball: https://www.amazon.com/Book-Basketball-NBA-According-Sports/dp/0345520106 http://investorfieldguide.com/hinkie/ https://bleacherreport.com/articles/1039092-nba-revenue-sharing-small-market-teams-to-benefit-from-new-sharing-structure https://bleacherreport.com/articles/1554991-ranking-each-decade-of-nba-basketball-from-the-1960s-to-today https://cbabreakdown.com/salary-cap-overview https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/ABA–NBA_merger https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ABA–NBA_merger https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basketball https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Russell https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celtics–Lakers_rivalry https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Stern https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eligibility_for_the_NBA_draft https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harlem_Globetrotters https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kareem_Abdul-Jabbar https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_NBA_team_owners https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Jordan https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Basketball_Association https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Basketball_Players_Association https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NBA_2K https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NBA_Collective_Bargaining_Agreement https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NBA_dress_code https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NBA_salary_cap https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_Renaissance https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacers–Pistons_brawl https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilt_Chamberlain https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women's_National_Basketball_Association https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yao_Ming https://fansided.com/2018/08/11/nba-reaches-30-million-instagram-followers/ https://globalsportmatters.com/business/2019/03/05/nba-realizing-the-power-of-new-markets-for-talent-and-revenue/ https://globalsportmatters.com/business/2019/03/07/tv-is-biggest-driver-in-global-sport-league-revenue/ https://news.cgtn.com/news/2019-07-29/Tencent-NBA-extend-partnership-for-five-more-years-in-1-5-bln-deal-IJ0UB34uxq/index.html https://opendorse.com/blog/the-top-100-athletes-on-social-media-2019/ https://sabr.org/research/article/mlbs-annual-salary-leaders-since-1874/ https://scholarship.law.marquette.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1632&context=sportslaw https://techcrunch.com/2019/10/08/chinese-firms-tencent-vivo-and-cctv-suspend-ties-with-the-nba-over-hong-kong-tweet/ https://thehustle.co/dont-even-go-there/ https://web.archive.org/web/20110811000133/http://articles.latimes.com/2010/apr/27/sports/la-sp-crowe-20100427 https://www.biography.com/scholar/james-a-naismith https://www.celebritynetworth.com/articles/sports-news/the-25-richest-athletes-in-the-world-2020/ https://www.davemanuel.com/investor-dictionary/basketball-related-income/ https://www.forbes.com/sites/aliciajessop/2012/06/14/the-surge-of-the-nbas-international-viewership-and-popularity/#39a5149a79ef https://www.forbes.com/sites/kurtbadenhausen/2019/10/09/the-nbas-soaring-franchise-value-growth-at-stake-with-china-feud/#7c83a48c4257 https://www.forbes.com/sites/kurtbadenhausen/2020/02/11/nba-team-values-2020-lakers-and-warriors-join-knicks-in-rarefied-4-billion-club/#7fa5ff532032 https://www.forbes.com/sites/kurtbadenhausen/2020/05/03/michael-jordans-1-billion-nike-endorsement-is-the-biggest-bargain-in-sports/#456253056136 https://www.forbes.com/sites/kurtbadenhausen/2020/07/31/the-worlds-most-valuable-sports-teams-2020/#4c40b5d3c749 https://www.groovewallet.com/richest-athletes/ https://www.investopedia.com/articles/investing/070715/nbas-business-model.asp https://www.marketplace.org/2020/06/18/the-nba-hopes-to-recoup-revenue-in-the-bubble-at-disney-world/ https://www.nba.com/david-stern-looking-back-index https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-sports/how-david-sterns-nba-dress-code-changed-mens-fashion-104719/ https://www.sbnation.com/2014/10/5/6916597/nba-new-tv-deal-espn-turner-24-billion https://www.si.com/longform/2018/nba-international-oral-history/index.html https://www.si.com/nba/2019/06/27/yao-ming-nba-rockets-chinese-basketball-association-adam-silver https://www.spglobal.com/marketintelligence/en/news-insights/latest-news-headlines/nba-could-see-400m-revenue-decline-in-china-this-season-57153753 https://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/Journal/Issues/2017/07/17/Research-and-Ratings/Social.aspx https://www.sportscasting.com/does-the-nba-own-the-wnba/ https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/02/from-mao-zedong-to-jeremy-lin-why-basketball-is-chinas-biggest-sport/253427/ https://www.theplayerstribune.com/en-us/articles/life-and-times-of-allen-iverson https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nba/2019/10/09/nba-china-hong-kong-whats-at-stake/3912447002/ https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/sports/1983/03/15/nba-red-ink-and-a-bleak-future/198bd65f-4062-4372-95e4-388b22c77666/ https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/made-by-history/wp/2017/12/26/how-the-nba-went-global/?noredirect=on https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/made-by-history/wp/2017/12/26/how-the-nba-went-global/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.fd1f9bd476e5 https://www.wsj.com/articles/yao-ming-the-7-foot-6-man-caught-between-the-nba-and-china-11570727998 https://www.yardbarker.com/nba/articles/nba_owners_from_oldest_to_youngest/s1__29844068#slide_30
30/09/202h 44m

Special: Acquired x My First Million

Acquired teams up with the My First Million podcast for a “best of both worlds” crossover episode. First we go deep, “Acquired style”, on the wild story of MFM host Shaan Puri’s bought, sold, and then bought-again OG social networking site Bebo, and then we turn the tables and brainstorm startup ideas and investing themes “MFM style”. This episode was frankly a blast to do. We hope you have as much fun listening as we did recording!   Sponsor: Thanks to Quaestor for sponsoring this special episode. Quaestor is an investor relations platform for startups that gives every company and their investors the same level of tools and transparency as large public companies, regardless of their size and without a dedicated team of IR professionals. You can learn more and sign up for early access at: https://quaestor.com Links: My First Million‘s website: https://thehustle.co/my-first-million-podcast/
09/09/201h 31m

Epic Games

We go deep behind the "epic" story of a plucky game developer from Cary, North Carolina (by way of Potomac, Maryland) which, after bootstrapping for its first 22 years, has quietly morphed into an $18b juggernaut that may become the most important technology company for the next evolution of the internet. And oh yeah, its founder, CEO and controlling shareholder? He cares more about land conservation than he does about money, he's beholden to no one and has the firepower of China's biggest internet giant behind him, and he's willing to stare down Apple, Google and anyone else who doesn't support his vision of an open and equal-opportunity internet future in a fight to the death. You'll want to buckle your seats for this one!! If you want more more Acquired and the tools + resources to become the best founder, operator or investor you can be, join our LP Program for access to our LP Show, the LP community on Slack and Zoom, and our new Book Club live sessions with authors like Hamilton Helmer of 7 Powers and Will Thorndike of The Outsiders. Join here at: https://acquired.fm/lp/    New! We're codifying our own Playbook notes and takeaways from each episode, and posting them here in the show notes and on our website. You can read them below or at: www.acquired.fm/episodes/epic-games   Sponsors: Thanks to Tiny for being our presenting sponsor for all of Acquired Season 7. Tiny is building the "Berkshire Hathaway of the internet" — if you own a wonderful internet business that you want to sell, or know someone who does, you should get in touch with them. Unlike traditional buyers, they commit to quick, simple diligence, a 30-day or less process, and will leave your business to do its thing for the long term. You can learn more about Tiny here: http://tinycapital.com Thank you as well to Bamboo Growth and to Perkins Coie. You can learn more about them at: https://growwithbamboo.com https://www.perkinscoie.com/   Playbook: Good companies find gold in a rush. Great companies sell jeans and pickaxes to everyone who pans. The best companies sell jeans, pickaxes AND find more gold than anyone else. Epic's two-part business model of the Unreal Engine plus Fortnite (and other games and experiences) is like AWS plus Amazon's consumer facing businesses: not only do they create and sell the infrastructure that powers a whole industry, but as their own "first and best" customers they can use its features most effectively and inform their own future roadmap of what to build. "Games as a Service" (embodied by titles like Fortnite, Roblox, Minecraft, League of Legends and Honor of Kings, etc) is a revolution that's unlocking value on the same order of magnitude that SaaS did for software. Much like SaaS apps, GaaS experiences can be built by small teams with a creative insight, in a capital-light fashion on open, best-in-class infrastructure that's cheap to rent (Unreal Engine or Unity). They can be designed to address initially small or niche-seeming use cases and desires (e.g. Battle Royale), but then adapt and scale elastically when they strike a rich vein. And perhaps most importantly they monetize via ongoing subscription and virtual economy revenue that aligns with actual user engagement, vs one-time upfront fees on boxed software. Zero (or low) marginal cost businesses are special opportunities. Anytime you can sell something for a significant price that costs you little/nothing to create incremental copies of — e.g. Fortnite skins — you have the potentially to do very, very well. People sometimes forget, but this dynamic also existed before the internet: the media business (both content and distribution) was perhaps the best and most consistent industry of the 20th century from a Return on Capital perspective. There's a reason Warren Buffet called Tom Murphy and Dan Burke of Capital Cities the best capital allocation team of all-time — they were playing on a field tilted in their advantage. That said, the internet has brought this dynamic to MANY more sectors of the economy, and its next iteration (the metaverse) will extend it to even more. Capital scarcity creates a forcing function for disciplined and effective capital allocation. Capital abundance often leads to undisciplined and ineffective capital allocation. Epic created immense value during its 22 years as a bootstrapped company. While its first $330m capital raise from Tencent in 2012 has ultimately led to even more value creation, the first ~4-5 years post-investment saw the company almost lose its way with multiple long, costly and undisciplined game projects for which actual market demand was unclear. When the company ultimately re-captured its mojo with Fortnite, it was by going back to its roots with a fast-follow project built by a small team in response to clear market demand — with a unique twist that made it special. Retaining "control" — over your distribution, your margins, your product decisions and ultimately your company — allows you to build the biggest possible platform in the long run. The old saying that "you can't build a really big company on someone else's platform" is usually true. Multiple times along its journey, Epic and Tim chose to go the harder, longer, and riskier "independent" route vs. relying on publishers, retailers or (now) app stores. Iteration is the in-practice implementation of compounding. Iteration is a standard dogma in startups and engineering (e.g. "agile", etc.), and compounding is a standard dogma in (value) investing. In practice they're two sides of the same coin: the small iterations that Epic does year in and year out — on both the Unreal Engine and Fortnite + other GaaS experiences — compound to create extraordinary value. Or put another way, within operating businesses like Epic, dollars don't just compound on their own. Retained earnings need to be re-deployed every day to build that next feature or service that future developers (and non-developers!) can build on top of.   Links: MTV Cribs, "Tim Sweeney Edition": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lRGUKMKadJ8 Carve Outs: Ben's "3 part carve out": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bErPsq5kPzE - original video demo of Unreal Engine for filmmaking https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gUnxzVOs3rk - Feb 2020, video on "The Volume" https://ascmag.com/articles/the-mandalorian David Asimov's Foundation Series: https://www.amazon.com/Complete-Asimovs-Foundation-Foundations-Prelude/dp/B01EFDEMS8   Sources: (also available on Journal at https://usejournal.com/app/space/journal:space:project/7efa6d43-a601-4784-8e36-1edda2b1b451 ) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cliff_Bleszinski https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epic_Games https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Unreal_Engine_games#Unreal_Engine_4 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Sweeney_(game_developer) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ZZT https://forums.unrealengine.com/community/general-discussion/40293-does-epic-make-more-money-from-games-or-game-engines https://gamasutra.com/view/feature/132426/from_the_past_to_the_future_tim_.php https://kotaku.com/the-quiet-tinkerer-who-makes-games-beautiful-finally-ge-5865951 https://open.spotify.com/episode/0c8KkHc3lrHgGVyRVCo5B3 (Wizard & the Bruiser episode on Epic) https://overcast.fm/+aLde2gbYE https://overcast.fm/+JNncEontw https://techcrunch.com/2018/12/27/epic-fortnite-3-billion-profit/ https://twitter.com/sarahjeong/status/1298031302357082112?s=10 https://variety.com/2018/gaming/news/fortnite-epic-games-billion-dollar-decision-1202884194/ https://venturebeat.com/2018/04/26/superdata-fortnite-is-now-the-biggest-free-to-play-console-game-ever/ https://web.archive.org/web/20010519154729/http://www.gamespot.com/features/makeunreal/ https://www.appannie.com/en/apps/ios/top/united-states/games/iphone/ https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-08-19/epic-games-fortnite-battle-with-apple-and-google-can-be-traced-to-nintendo-tax https://www.businessinsider.com/apple-made-360-million-from-fortnite- in-app-purchases-2020-8 https://www.cnbc.com/2018/06/12/epic-games-company-behind-fortnite-was-founded-by-a-college-kid.html https://www.cnbc.com/2018/12/14/the-reason-epic-landed-a-15-billion-valuation-is-not-fortnite-success.html https://www.cnbc.com/2020/01/07/apple-app-store-had-estimated-gross-sales-of-50-billion-in-2019.html https://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/132426/from_the_past_to_the_f uture_tim_.php?print=1 https://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2013-03-22-tencent-paid-usd330m-for-48-percent-share-in-epic-games https://www.gamespot.com/articles/chinese-internet-company-owns-40-percent-of-epic-games/1100-6405749/ https://www.gamesradar.com/the-epic-tradition/ https://www.ign.com/articles/1999/02/04/epic-sets-up-shop https://www.matthewball.vc/all/epicgamesprimermaster https://www.newsobserver.com/news/business/article238221784.html https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/25/technology/fortnite-creator-tim-sweeney-apple-google.html?referringSource=articleShare https://www.pcgamesn.com/steam-revenue-cut-tim-sweeney https://www.polygon.com/2012/10/1/3438196/better-with-age-a-history-of-epic-games https://www.polygon.com/2013/11/21/5128872/epic-classics-ships-last-copy-of-zzt https://www.polygon.com/a/epic-4-0 https://www.polygon.com/a/epic-4-0/the-four-lives-of-epic-games https://www.theverge.com/2020/1/2/21046920/fortnite-revenue-drop-superdata-nielsen-2019-earnings https://www.theverge.com/2020/8/17/21369460/apple-fortnite-app-store-services-business-model-epic-games https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-man-behind-fortnite-11560571201
02/09/202h 24m

Eventbrite (with Julia & Kevin Hartz)

We're joined by two very special guests, Eventbrite CEO Julia Hartz and her cofounder, spouse and Eventbrite Chairman Kevin Hartz, to tell their story of building Eventbrite together (along with their lives and family) from the PayPal diaspora to bootstrapped business, unicorn status, IPO and now starting all over again in the wake of COVID with both a tragedy and a huge new opportunity in front of them as public company. If you want more more Acquired and the tools + resources to become the best founder, operator or investor you can be, join our LP Program for access to our LP Show (including the episode with Kevin on SPACs), the LP community on Slack and Zoom, and our new Book Club live sessions with authors like Hamilton Helmer of 7 Powers and Will Thorndike of The Outsiders. Join here at: https://acquired.fm/lp/   New! We're codifying our own Playbook notes and takeaways from each episode, and posting them here in the show notes and on our website. You can read them below or at: www.acquired.fm/episodes/eventbrite   Sponsors: Thanks to Tiny for being our presenting sponsor for all of Acquired Season 7. Tiny is building the "Berkshire Hathaway of the internet" — if you own a wonderful internet business that you want to sell, or know someone who does, you should get in touch with them. Unlike traditional buyers, they commit to quick, simple diligence, a 30-day or less process, and will leave your business to do its thing for the long term. You can learn more about Tiny here: http://tinycapital.com Thank you as well to Bamboo Growth and to Perkins Coie. You can learn more about them at: https://growwithbamboo.com https://www.perkinscoie.com/   Playbook Seeing the next technology wave before others do is rare. It provides a roadmap for what to build and invest in if you're willing to bet on that knowledge. Kevin worked at Silicon Graphics in the mid 90's. This led him to realize that internet services like PayPal, YouTube, and many others would be possible long before others (similar to Don Valentine realizing computers would penetrate every industry from his time at Fairchild). PayPal and its subsequent "mafia" was successful in part because of rapid experimentation. They observed what got used by customers and then doubled down. PayPal's "core" use case on eBay started as an experiment. International money transfer (Xoom) and event ticketing (Eventbrite) also initially started as experiments on the PayPal API before the eBay acquisition — and went on to become large companies. Julia, Kevin, and their cofounder Renaud had a prototype of Eventbrite running and serving customers even before starting the company — which gave them the confidence to do what seemed crazy on paper, but was actually "de-risked": start a company as an engaged couple, have a remote technical cofounder, bootstrap for 2 years after being turned down by VCs, etc. When a company is experiencing explosive growth, they often need to leave other huge opportunities on the table. PayPal knew international remittances could be huge, but didn't build it internally because of the need to focus on eBay merchants. The TAM for bringing an offline behavior offline is often WAY bigger than anything you can calculate beforehand. The range and size of what were previously niche or impossible use cases will often expand dramatically with easy-to-use online tools. This is especially true in long-tail use cases that can only be aggregated by self-serve internet-based software. One early encouraging sign for Eventbrite was its use to host speed dating events in New York. Before Eventbrite, it was nearly impossible to organize, promote, and charge for something like that. Now, organizers could suddenly become entrepreneurs and make real money hosting events like this. Most VCs ignored or were confused by this data (~"Call us when you attack Ticketmaster."), but they missed that it unlocked a massive new market which previously operated only through word-of-mouth and cash transactions (if at all). All three major dislocations of the 21st century — the tech bubble bursting in 2001, the financial crisis in 2008, and now COVID in 2020 — have only accelerated offline behaviors to online. COVID is unlocking a new wave of online event entrepreneurs for Eventbrite in the same way the financial crisis unlocked a wave of in-person event entrepreneurs in 2008-10. Starting with just one niche can be incredibly powerful; often your customers will then lead you to more. Before the speed-dating in New York (which was fully inbound), Eventbrite was used to organize tech meetups in the then-smaller tech community in SF. It was even used for the first TechCrunch Disrupt! Too much capital (and too little accountability) can hurt a company much more than help it. Capital covers up problems, distracts focus from customers, and leads to poor resource allocation. Kevin: "The periods where we had raised the most money privately were the hardest and most difficult for me, because we were really fighting this gravity of overspending and creating inefficiency. And it took us away from our roots as a capital-efficient, highly-effective perpetual motion machine [that we'd had as a bootstrapped company]." Being a public company not only instills more capital allocation discipline, but can ALSO afford a degree of financial flexibility that just isn't possible as a private company. Within weeks of COVID hitting, Eventbrite dramatically shrunk the size and scope of the company AND raised $375m in new capital from new and longterm shareholders. Both actions would have been difficult to impossible as a private company with a static valuation (and associated anti-dilution, ratchet terms, etc) that no longer reflected the reality of the current situation.
25/08/201h 30m

Pinduoduo

We kick off Season 7 with a bang: Pinduoduo, the incredible five year-old Chinese mashup of "Costco and Disneyland" (as self-described in their IPO prospectus) which recently became the fastest company ever to pass $100B market capitalization. What makes PDD so special, and how were they able to enter a market that everyone considered "already won" and disrupt massive entrenched competitors Alibaba and JD.com? This story is chock-full of lessons that apply not only to China tech, but to high-growth company building and investing everywhere. ‍ Want more Acquired, including access to the LP Show, LP Calls and the Book Club? Join the Limited Partner program at: https://glow.fm/acquired/ ‍ Links: Photo of 26 year-old Colin at lunch with Warren Buffett: https://thelowdown.momentum.asia/cv-of-pinduoduos-founder/ PDD users on mini-programs vs other Chinese e-commerce players: https://miro.medium.com/max/1080/0*39fpSP_JqhDaPhQ2.png Carve Outs How to Make a Spaceship https://www.amazon.com/How-Make-Spaceship-Renegades-Spaceflight/dp/1594206724 Creativity, Inc. https://www.amazon.com/Creativity-Inc-Overcoming-Unseen-Inspiration/dp/0812993012/ Sponsors: Thanks to Tiny for being our presenting sponsor for all of Acquired Season 7. Tiny is building the "Berkshire Hathaway of the internet" — if you own a wonderful internet business that you want to sell, or know someone who does, you should get in touch with them. Unlike traditional buyers, they commit to quick, simple diligence, a 30-day or less process, and will leave your business to do its thing for the long term. You can learn more about Tiny here: http://tinycapital.com Thank you as well to Bamboo Growth and to Perkins Coie. You can learn more about them at: https://growwithbamboo.com and https://www.perkinscoie.com/ ‍ Sources: http://investor.pinduoduo.com/static-files/468b2c9f-9112-410d-84b3-2b22e07c7ee0 http://investor.pinduoduo.com/static-files/5539839d-0a1c-4d40-9bb7-bdb490e2370c https://analyse.asia/2018/08/09/episode-260-pinduoduo-their-upcoming-ipo-in-china-with-matthew-brennan/ https://analyse.asia/2020/06/28/pinduoduo-on-social-ecommerce-agriculture-with-xinyi-lim/ https://blog.ycombinator.com/pinduoduo-and-the-rise-of-social-e-commerce https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinduoduo#cite_note-8 https://hans.vc/pinduoduo/ https://medium.com/@clarkboyd/pinduoduo-everything-you-need-to-know-about-pdd-chinas-third-biggest-ecommerce-site-38ac42086e47 https://overcast.fm/+HWy7CWz34 https://overcast.fm/+I8dmHF4NU https://overcast.fm/+PLdRNCiCg https://overcast.fm/+TmYdC1VPQ https://overcast.fm/+TmYfSO3sc https://targetchina.com.au/article/how-pinduoduo-successfully-gained-market-share-through-social-commerce/ https://techcrunch.com/2018/07/26/the-incredible-rise-of-pinduoduo/ https://technode.com/2020/05/12/pinduoduo-growth-story-needs-a-new-chapter/ https://trendslates.substack.com/p/amazons-335bn-in-gmv-amazon-testing https://twitter.com/bgurley/status/1255172025053663232 https://www.businessinsider.com/fabulous-life-colin-huang-pinduoduo-2020-7 https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/22/what-is-pinduoduo-chinese-ecommerce-rival-to-alibaba.html https://www.fool.com/investing/2020/07/02/why-pinduoduo-stock-popped-today.aspx https://www.fool.com/investing/2020/07/07/4-tough-tasks-for-pinduoduos-new-ceo.aspx https://www.forbes.com/real-time-billionaires/#721870433d78 https://www.scmp.com/tech/e-commerce/article/3081078/pinduoduo-doubles-down-rural-china-five-year-us71-billion-e https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1737806/000104746918005204/a2236308z424b4.htm https://www.sec.gov/ix?doc=/Archives/edgar/data/1737806/000110465920051022/pdd-20191231x20f.htm https://www.techbuzzchina.com/episodes/ep-17-pinduoduo-from-zero-to-23b-in-three-years https://www.theinformation.com/articles/chinas-pinduoduo-is-nipping-at-alibabas-heels https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BidaQ22vWvM https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SqxtfOMMVFg https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjLhCK8sUcw https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zbskb0KMBUU&t=4s
16/07/201h 51m

LP Show Preview: Consumer Investing Master Class with Sarah Tavel, General Partner at Benchmark

On this preview of our most recent LP Show episode, Benchmark General Partner Sarah Tavel joins us for a master class on consumer investing. We start with why invest in consumer at all (given the inherent risks of its "hit-driven nature"), then deep dive on marketplace investing and wrap up with social, gaming and consumer transactional businesses. Big thank you to Sarah for sharing her immense knowledge on this topic, and to her partner (and fellow Acquired "master class lecturer" on enterprise investing) Chetan Puttagunta for introducing us and for making it happen!   This episode is a preview of the hour-long LP-only show. You can sign up to become an LP and get access to the full episode (and much more) at: https://glow.fm/acquired/   Links to Sarah's blog posts: "Hierarchy of Marketplaces" posts: https://medium.com/@sarahtavel/the-hierarchy-of-marketplaces-introduction-and-level-1-983995aa218e "Hierarchy of Engagement" post: https://medium.com/@sarahtavel/the-hierarchy-of-engagement-expanded-648329d60804 Rocks, Sand, and Water Framework for Consumer Attention: https://medium.com/@sarahtavel/the-opportunity-and-risks-for-consumer-startups-in-a-social-distancing-world-a-framework-for-15f65e2fbdff
07/07/2014m 50s

Oprah (Harpo Studios)

We close out Season 6 with the story of perhaps the single most successful media entrepreneur of all-time: Oprah Winfrey, and her juggernaut conglomerate Harpo Studios. Born to a poor single mother in the segregated 1950's deep south, Oprah's rise from terrible adversity to wealthiest Black woman in the world ranks among the very greatest American success stories. And oh yeah — along the way she single-handedly created the entire influencer economy, rewrote the blueprint of a modern power broker, and set the world record for most cars given away at one time (276). Sit back, listen and get ready to live your best life.   Want more Acquired, including access to the LP Show, LP Calls and the full Acquired Book Club? Join the Acquired Limited Partner program at: https://glow.fm/acquired/ Survey link!: http://acquired.fm/survey   Carveouts: David: The Dark Tower series by Stephen King https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07959YG1R? Ben: Reply All "Long Distance" https://gimletmedia.com/shows/reply-all/6nh3wk Sponsor: Thanks to Silicon Valley Bank for being our banner sponsor for Acquired Season 6. You can learn more about SVB here: https://www.svb.com/next Thank you as well to Wilson Sonsini - You can learn more about WSGR at: https://www.wsgr.com/ Sources: http://blackeconomics.co.uk/wp/oprahs-empire/ http://www.oprah.com/entertainment/the-oprah-winfrey-show-by-the-numbers-oprah-show-statistics/all http://www.oprah.com/oprahshow/The-Oprah-Shows-Most-Shocking-Moments_1 https://diverseeducation.com/article/1205/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oprah_Winfrey https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oprah_Winfrey_Network https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WW_International https://finance.yahoo.com/news/why-oprah-regrets-famous-wagon-233648610.html https://freakonomics.com/2008/08/06/so-much-for-one-person-one-vote/ https://hbr.org/podcast/2018/01/black-business-leaders-series-oprahs-path-to-authentic-leadership https://stmuhistorymedia.org/from-rags-to-riches-the-story-of-oprah-winfrey/ https://www.amazon.com/Oprah-Biography-Kitty-Kelley/dp/0307394875 https://www.amazon.com/Ride-Lifetime-Lessons-Learned-Company/dp/0399592091 https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-1998-09-25-9809260006-story.html https://www.cnn.com/ampstories/entertainment/how-oprah-winfrey-built-her-business-empire https://www.forbes.com/profile/oprah-winfrey/#c52ce3e5745f https://www.forbes.com/sites/jennifereum/2014/09/29/how-oprah-went-from-talk-show-host-to-first-african-american-woman-billionaire/#7f21cfb76163 https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/oprah-gives-away-nearly-300-new-cars https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/news/you-get-a-car-oprah-winfrey-giveaway-studio-audience-gift-tax-members-guests-pay-show-a8208051.html https://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/tv-radio/an-anxious-america-gets-set-for-life-after-oprah-2285528.html https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-2001-feb-21-ca-27886-story.html https://www.npr.org/podcasts/500692140/making-beyonc https://www.nytimes.com/1993/02/12/news/jackson-interview-high-in-ratings.html https://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/23/business/media/23carr.html https://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/11/business/media/end-of-oprahs-show-tightens-races-for-tv-ratings.html https://www.pbs.org/newshour/nation/the-oprah-phenomenon-by-the-numbers https://www.robertfeder.com/2016/06/15/legendary-tv-exec-dennis-swanson-retires/ https://www.telegraph.co.uk/tv/2017/05/13/oprah-winfrey-untold-story/ https://www.thebalancesmb.com/oprah-winfrey-entrepreneur-1200951 https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2018/jan/12/oprah-winfrey-unlikely-to-run-for-us-president-but-could-win-if-she-did https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/oprahs-last-show-averaged-8957-million-fewer-viewers-than-mash-finale/2011/06/08/AGD5AUMH_story.html https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cooRceBiE8E
25/06/202h 8m

SpaceX

On the eve of SpaceX's historic scheduled launch of its first human spaceflight mission — both the first ever by a private company, and the first to take place on American soil in nearly a decade — we tell the incredible story of its rise from ragtag rocket jocks to the most disruptive and advanced force in aerospace today. While much of the Musk spotlight has shone on Tesla in recent years, is SpaceX actually the company that will have the greatest impact on our world's future, and perhaps even other worlds beyond? All of a sudden that idea seems a little less crazy... Want more Acquired? Join thousands of other founders, CEOs, VCs, product people and engineers learning in the Limited Partner Program: https://glow.fm/acquired/ Links: The Tesla episode: https://www.acquired.fm/episodes/season-3-episode-1tesla The Ascend Conference: https://www.ascend.events Carveouts: David: The Last Dance: http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/28973557/the-last-dance-updates-untold-story-michael-jordan-chicago-bulls Ben: Michael Mauboussin on the Success Equation: https://youtu.be/1JLfqBsX5Lc Sponsor: Thanks to Silicon Valley Bank for being our banner sponsor for Acquired Season 6. You can learn more about SVB here: https://www.svb.com/next Thank you as well to Wilson Sonsini — you can learn more about WSGR at: https://www.wsgr.com/ Sources: Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance: https://www.amazon.com/Elon-Musk-SpaceX-Fantastic-Future/dp/006230125X https://timelines.issarice.com/wiki/Timeline_of_SpaceX https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2017/03/spacex-historic-falcon-9-re-flight-ses-10/ https://www.reddit.com/r/spacex/wiki/economics https://www.space.com/40547-spacex-rocket-evolution.html https://waitbutwhy.com/2015/08/how-and-why-spacex-will-colonize-mars.html https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SpaceX https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elon_Musk https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_D._Griffin https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Cantrell https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Mueller https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gwynne_Shotwell https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commercial_Orbital_Transportation_Services https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Act_Agreement https://www.spacex.com/mission/ https://venturebeat.com/2008/08/06/private-rocket-company-spacex-gets-20m-from-the-founders-fund/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Falcon_9_and_Falcon_Heavy_launches https://www.space.com/40547-spacex-rocket-evolution.html https://www.businessinsider.com/spacex-starlink-spacecraft-pictures-elon-musk-2018-2 https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/09/inside-the-eight-desperate-weeks-that-saved-spacex-from-ruin/ https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/22/science/spacex-nasa-launch.html https://graphics.reuters.com/SPACE-EXPLORATION-SPACEX/010091Q82NF/index.html https://www.cnbc.com/2019/05/31/elon-musk-spacex-is-now-worth-more-than-tesla.html https://www.teslarati.com/spacex-wins-launch-contract-egyptian-telecom-company/ https://www.teslarati.com/spacex-falcon-heavy-booster-overboard/ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sYocHwhfFDc https://oig.nasa.gov/docs/IG-18-016.pdf https://everydayastronaut.com/will-the-falcon-9-actually-be-reusable-or-just-refurbish-able-like-the-space-shuttle/
26/05/202h 39m

Adapting Episode 3: Intel

Want more Acquired? Join thousands of other founders, CEOs, VCs, product people and engineers learning in the Acquired Limited Partner Program: https://glow.fm/acquired/ When you think of Intel today, you probably think of the microprocessor company. Maybe you also think about about 'Intel Inside' and their famous jingle. You might even think "big, stable, boring public company". But for the first two decades of Intel's life, absolutely none of those things were true. Today we tell the incredible story of how the company that started it all in Silicon Valley clawed back from a crisis that brought them to the brink of death, and of one man who rose as the ultimate survivor to become their leader and a legend even in his own time: the late, great Andy Grove. Note: This episode originally aired as part of Podapalooza, a podcast festival organized by our friends at Glow to benefit COVID relief. Find out more and support the cause at https://www.plza.org Sponsor: Thanks to Silicon Valley Bank for being our banner sponsor for Adapting and Acquired Season 6. You can learn more about SVB here: https://www.svb.com/impact Thank you as well to Wilson Sonsini - You can learn more about WSGR at: https://www.wsgr.com/ Sources: Only the Paranoid Survive:  https://www.amazon.com/Only-Paranoid-Survive-Exploit-Challenge-ebook/dp/B0036S4B2G Swimming Across: https://www.amazon.com/Swimming-Across-Andrew-S-Grove-ebook/dp/B07CJRM4DX/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Grove https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gordon_Moore https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Noyce https://www.businessinsider.com/alan-patricof-greycroft-ipo-market-2011-1 https://anthonysmoak.com/2016/03/27/andy-grove-and-intels-move-from-memory-to-microprocessors/ http://archive.computerhistory.org/resources/text/Oral_History/Intel_386_Business_Strategy/102701962.05.01.pdf https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_80386 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Shockley https://www.inc.com/ilan-mochari/remembering-andy-grove-intel.html
12/05/201h 18m

Special Episode: Jason Calacanis

Want an edge in your business like Jason? Join thousands of other founders, CEOs, VCs, product people and engineers learning in the Acquired Limited Partner program at: http://glow.fm/acquired We're joined by the one and only Jason Calacanis for this very special episode, wherein we chronicle Jason's journey from a kid porter in the barrooms of Brooklyn to building the largest independent media business in tech, becoming the "3rd or 4th greatest seed investor of all-time" (and the original Sequoia Scout), launching one of the top accelerators in the world, and constructing a one-man empire that may just disrupt the entire capital stack in our industry. We dive into how it all ties together, and where the money and power is shifting in the ever changing sands of Silicon Valley... For the second half of this extended conversation, join the Acquired LP program at https://glow.fm/acquired/ Sponsor: Thanks to Silicon Valley Bank for being our banner sponsor for Adapting and Acquired Season 6. You can learn more about SVB here: https://www.svb.com/impact Thank you as well to Wilson Sonsini - You can learn more about WSGR at: https://www.wsgr.com/
29/04/201h 31m

Podapalooza Announcement: Intel

Missing Acquired? We are too. But the world's not done adapting just yet, and neither are we. So get ready for (in the immortal words of Sammy Hagar) the best of both worlds: an Acquired + Adapting crossover lollapalooza... at Podapalooza 2020! We'll be covering the mother of all adaptations, Intel's abandonment of the memory business in favor of microprocessors in the mid-1980's. What is Podapalooza? It's a charity podcast festival that our friends over at Glow are putting on next weekend, April 25-26, and we're really excited to be part of it. Dozens of the best podcasters on the internet (e.g., Patrick at Invest Like the Best, Levar Burton, Cory Doctorow, J.D. Vance, etc.) are creating exclusive content for the festival, with all proceeds going to COVID-19 relief. As Glow puts it, Podapalooza is the 2020 version of Live-Aid: podcast hosts instead of rockers, pajamas at home instead of big hair on stage, but still the same purpose of supporting relief for the most important cause of this moment. We think it's a really great idea -- we've already bought our tickets and hope you do too. You can sign up at: https://www.podapalooza.org
15/04/205m 26s

Adapting Episode 2: Sequoia’s Black Swan Memo (with Roelof Botha)

On March 5th 2020, Sequoia Capital published a Medium post entitled ‘Coronavirus: The Black Swan of 2020’. The memo minces no words, admonishing founders & CEOs to “question every assumption about your business”, and portends that “as Darwin surmised, those who [will] survive ‘are not the strongest or the most intelligent, but the most adaptable to change.’” We’re joined by longtime Sequoia partner and head of the firm’s US business Roelof Botha to discuss on what Sequoia saw leading up to the memo and why they decided to publish it, how they and their portfolio companies are adapting to the new world it warned of, and what lasting changes might come to Sequoia itself from this moment. For anyone facing hard decisions and/or looking for ways to think about opportunity, this is not one to miss. Want more Adapting/Acquired? You can join the Acquired Limited Partner program at: https://glow.fm/acquired/ Links: The Black Swan Memo: https://medium.com/sequoia-capital/coronavirus-the-black-swan-of-2020-7c72bdeb9753  The COVID-19 Decision Matrix: https://medium.com/sequoia-capital/the-matrix-for-covid-19-c25bd5195f46    Sponsor: Thanks to Silicon Valley Bank for being our banner sponsor for Adapting and Acquired Season 6. You can learn more about SVB here: https://www.svb.com/next Thank you as well to Wilson Sonsini - You can learn more about WSGR at: https://www.wsgr.com/
31/03/2036m 56s

Adapting Episode 1: Canlis

The world has changed. Acquired is changing too: we’re taking a pause from our normal episodes. The world doesn’t need stories of M&A and IPOs right now. But it does still need stories of great companies and great leaders. So we’re taking everything that we’ve put into Acquired - our format, our infrastructure, and the way we can reach all of you - and launching Adapting. Adapting is a series all about doing just that -- changing to fit what the world needs right now, not what it needed last week. Our first episode starts on the front lines of change: the local restaurant industry. Mark Canlis joins us to discuss how the world-renowned Canlis restaurant in Seattle is adapting by simultaneously closing their 70 year old dining room service, and launching three brand new, no-contact concept restaurants in just one week to keep their staff employed and the city fed: "Pretty quickly we realized that it would be just as risky to do nothing as it would to do something really radical. And if we were gonna live into our values, every once and awhile that’s really going to cost you something." This conversation is an incredible inspiration to us all, and a reminder of the vast power of the human spirit during challenging times.  Want more Adapting/Acquired? You can join the Acquired Limited Partner program at: https://glow.fm/acquired/ Sponsor: •Thanks to Silicon Valley Bank for being our banner sponsor for Adapting and Acquired Season 6. You can learn more about SVB here: https://www.svb.com/next •Thank you as well to Wilson Sonsini - You can learn more about WSGR at: https://www.wsgr.com/
20/03/2043m 14s

The Top 10 Acquisitions of All-Time

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://glow.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile) 5 years and 100+ episodes into Acquired, there’s been one question we get asked more than any other: what are the best acquisitions of all-time, and what can we learn from them? We thought it was time to formalize our answers. So here it is, the Acquired Greatest Hits album. :) We also put together an accompanying blog post, which goes into greater detail on the numbers and methodology behind out rankings. You can find it here: https://www.acquired.fm/episodes/acquired-top-ten-the-best-acquisitions-of-all-time Feel free to share with your friends or on social media! Sponsor: Thanks to Silicon Valley Bank for being our banner sponsor for Acquired Season 6. You can learn more about SVB here: https://www.svb.com/next Thank you as well to Wilson Sonsini - You can learn more about WSGR at: https://www.wsgr.com/
17/03/201h 44m

Announcement: Acquired worldwide Zoom Meetup *this Thursday*

In the absence of our SXSW live show, and with everything going on in the markets and in the world, we're hosting a virtual meetup / happy hour to bring the Acquired community together: When: Thursday, March 12, at 5:30pm PDT Where: https://zoom.us/j/4636176531  What to bring: yourselves and your webcams! Can't wait to see you all then. Hope everyone is staying safe and healthy out there, -Ben & David
11/03/201m 14s

LP Show Preview: Remote Work, No-Code, and Products that Sell Themselves (w/ Zapier CEO Wade Foster)

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://glow.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile) We're joined by Wade Foster, cofounder & CEO of Zapier, a company that basically hasn’t raised capital, doesn’t have an office, doesn’t have salespeople, and whose product consists solely of connecting other people’s products. And yet today they are doing well over $50M in profitable ARR, have hundreds of employees and thousands of hyper-passionate customers, and are one of the most interesting private SaaS companies in the world. We’re super excited for Wade to join us and dive into the full story of this came to be! This episode is a preview of the hour-long LP-only show.
05/03/2015m 35s

Sequoia Capital Part II (with Doug Leone)

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://glow.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile) The wait is over. Acquired returns with a very special Part II of the Sequoia Capital story, joined by the very best person in the world to help us tell it - Doug Leone. Since 1996, Doug has served as Sequoia’s Global Managing Partner, in charge of overseeing the firm’s incredible expansion from a single, $150m early-stage fund focused on Northern California to the multi-billion dollar global powerhouse it is today. Doug is incredibly candid and insightful about all that has gone into building the modern Sequoia: from winning Google and missing Facebook, to the enormous (and enormously successful) bet on decentralized expansion in China and India, to the firm’s “proudest moment” at the depth of the dot com bust. This episode is an absolute must-listen for anyone in the tech, startup and venture ecosystems today. Thank you to Doug and all of the Sequoia team for joining us to make it happen!   Note: You can listen to Part I of our Sequoia story, which dives deep into the history and background of the firm, here: https://www.acquired.fm/episodes/sequoia-capital-part-1   Sponsor: Thanks to Silicon Valley Bank for being our banner sponsor for Acquired Season 6. You can learn more about SVB here: https://www.svb.com/next Thank you as well to Wilson Sonsini - You can learn more about WSGR at: https://www.wsgr.com/   Sources: https://www.brunswickgroup.com/sequoia-capital-doug-leone-silicon-valley-i11786/ https://www.sequoiacap.com/people/doug-leone/ https://www.sequoiacap.com/newsletter/2018-06-20-doug-leone https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Er4QcNdjVU https://www.linkedin.com/in/douglas-leone-a2714/ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4cl8X02Xd1I https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KrJgwKiEpaI
18/02/201h 1m

WhatsApp

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://glow.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile) We kick off Season 6 with a long-awaited Acquired Classic: Facebook’s $22B purchase of WhatsApp in 2014, which still ranks as the largest acquisition of a private VC-backed startup in history. Yet despite that enormous pricetag and all its associated fanfare, as we sit here 5+ years later WhatsApp actually generates LESS revenue than the meager ~$20m it was bringing in at the time of acquisition. Was this this worst acquisition of all-time, or a brilliant strategic chess move by Mark Zuckerberg & co? Tune in as we render Acquired’s judgement!  Note: Unfortunately David’s audio quality in this episode was impacted by a technical glitch which we didn’t discover until after recording. Our editors worked super hard to fix in post-production, but it’s still not totally perfect. We hope you’ll give it a listen regardless, and we’re working on getting a transcript made ASAP, which we’ll post to the website when it’s ready. Thanks for bearing with us, -Ben & David   Carve Outs: Ben: Computer glasses: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=computer+glasses David: Reebok Floatrides: https://www.amazon.com/Reebok-Forever-Floatride-Energy-Black/dp/B07NYBRQ96/   Sponsor: Thanks to Silicon Valley Bank for being our banner sponsor for Acquired Season 6. You can learn more about SVB here: https://www.svb.com/next Thank you as well to Wilson Sonsini - You can learn more about WSGR at: https://www.wsgr.com/    Sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WhatsApp https://www.forbes.com/sites/parmyolson/2014/02/19/exclusive-inside-story-how-jan-koum-built-whatsapp-into-facebooks-new-19-billion-baby/#64c1c94b2fa1 https://www.forbes.com/sites/parmyolson/2014/03/04/inside-the-facebook-whatsapp-megadeal-the-courtship-the-secret-meetings-the-19-billion-poker-game/#63d8b5c4350f https://www.wired.com/2015/09/whatsapp-serves-900-million-users-50-engineers/ https://youtu.be/v6PbymjXsto https://youtu.be/X4YsJt4rIOI https://overcast.fm/+WorS9-a74 https://youtu.be/-2CAWS7M_0w https://youtu.be/X4YsJt4rIOI https://www.wired.co.uk/article/whats-app-owner-founder-jan-koum-facebook  https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/ryanmac/whatsapp-brian-acton-delete-facebook-stanford-lecture  https://www.forbes.com/sites/parmyolson/2018/09/26/exclusive-whatsapp-cofounder-brian-acton-gives-the-inside-story-on-deletefacebook-and-why-he-left-850-million-behind/#7475a0213f20  https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2017-06-28/tencent-rules-china-the-problem-is-the-rest-of-the-world   https://techcrunch.com/2013/07/16/whatsapp-free/ http://allthingsd.com/tag/jan-koum/ http://allthingsd.com/20130510/whatsapp-ceo-jan-koum-hates-advertising-and-the-tech-rumor-mill-full-dive-video/  https://techcrunch.com/2018/01/31/whatsapp-hits-1-5-billion-monthly-users-19b-not-so-bad/ https://blog.whatsapp.com/10000633/Building-for-People-and-Now-Businesses https://techcrunch.com/2017/09/05/whatsapp-business-app/  https://techcrunch.com/2014/02/21/whatsapp/ https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/whatsapp-founder-plans-to-leave-after-broad-clashes-with-parent-facebook/2018/04/30/49448dd2-4ca9-11e8-84a0-458a1aa9ac0a_story.html https://www.wsj.com/articles/whatsapp-backs-off-controversial-plan-to-sell-ads-11579207682 https://www.wsj.com/articles/behind-the-messy-expensive-split-between-facebook-and-whatsapps-founders-1528208641?mod=article_inline  https://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2014/06/05/whatsapp-co-founder-stresses-independence-from-facebook/?mod=article_inline https://bgr.com/2020/01/17/whatsapp-ads-2020-facebook-canceled-plans-to-bring-ads-to-status-bar/ https://www.vox.com/2018/5/8/17329524/whatsapp-new-ceo-facebook-cofounder-jan-koum-departs https://www.linkedin.com/in/chdaniels/ https://www.linkedin.com/in/jkoum/
29/01/201h 46m

The Lean Startup and the Long-Term Stock Exchange (with Eric Ries)

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://glow.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)  You can hear a preview of our most recent LP show, an interview with Webflow cofounder and CEO Vlad Magdalin, at the end of this episode. To get access to the rest of that conversation and many more with top founders, operators and investors, click the link to subscribe and become an Acquired LP.   Season 5, Episode 10: The Lean Startup and the Long-Term Stock Exchange (with Eric Ries) Acquired closes out Season 5 and 2019 with a radical look into both the past and future decades of startup company building, investing and - yes, exiting - in conversation with legendary Lean Startup author Eric Ries. Nine years on from pioneering the now-canonical concepts of product-market fit, minimum viable products, and pivots during the aftermath of the financial crisis, Eric’s new venture at the Long-Term Stock Exchange represents an equally ambitious attempt to rewrite the orthodoxy of how companies and their investors manage liquidity, governance and alignment around longterm value creation. Like Lean Startup a decade before it, can LTSE help address some of the endemic problems in this generation’s startup ecosystem — excessive capital raising, stay-private-longer, dual-class founder hegemony, extreme illiquidity and quarterly earnings myopia? Tune in to find out! Sponsor: Thanks to Silicon Valley Bank for sponsoring all of Acquired Season 5. You can get in touch with Lewis Hower, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here: http://bit.ly/2SCsbbs
30/12/191h 19m

Convoy (with CEO Dan Lewis)

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://glow.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile) Coming to you live from the University of Washington, Ben and David are joined by hundreds of awesome Seattle listeners (and a few non-Seattle listeners!) to cover the meteoric rise of trucking industry disruptor and hometown hero Convoy. How did Dan and Convoy go from nervously conducting market research at truck stops on I-5 to one of the largest logistics companies and fastest-growing startups in the world in just four short years, raising over $650m (not a typo) along the way? Tune in to find out! Special thank you to the Paul Allen School of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Washington and to Pioneer Square Labs for generously sponsoring the show venue.    Carveouts:  Mystery: https://mystery.sh  Sponsor:  Thanks to Silicon Valley Bank for sponsoring all of Acquired Season 5. You can get in touch with Minh Le, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here: http://bit.ly/2txmq4e
19/12/191h 34m

TikTok

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://glow.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile) We take Acquired to the Old Town Road to cover the amazing story behind the biggest global sensation of 2019 — and the highest valued private startup in the world — TikTok. How did a mid-30 year old UX architect at enterprise software giant SAP wind up creating Gen Z’s favorite social app that’s now rivaling Instagram in global MAU? Why is a 2017 merger of two Chinese companies being branded a US national security threat and retroactively placed under review by CFIUS? And perhaps most importantly, why is TikTok such an important product & technology innovation that all of us should be learning from? Tune in for all the answers!   Carve Outs: Ben: Track 34 on Ghosts IV by Nine Inch Nails: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XF_ceFugJjQ  David: Nintendo Switch Lite https://www.nintendo.com/switch/lite/ and Knives Out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGqiHJTsRkQ    Sponsor: Thanks to Silicon Valley Bank for sponsoring all of Acquired Season 5. You can get in touch with Dan Hardman, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here: http://bit.ly/35yIrNH   Sources: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/18/technology/tiktok-alex-zhu-interview.html  https://www.reuters.com/article/us-bytedance-tiktok-exclusive/exclusive-chinas-bytedance-moves-to-ringfence-its-tiktok-app-amid-u-s-probe-sources-idUSKBN1Y10OH  https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/10/10/arts/TIK-TOK.html?action=click&module=RelatedLinks&pgtype=Article https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/19/style/high-school-tiktok-clubs.html?action=click&module=RelatedLinks&pgtype=Article https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/03/technology/tiktok-facebook-youtube.html?action=click&module=RelatedLinks&pgtype=Article https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/02/business/china-toutiao-censorship.html https://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/17/business/media/a-social-network-frequented-by-children-tests-the-limits-of-online-regulation.html https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wTyg2E44pBA https://www.linkedin.com/in/keepsilence/ https://www.vox.com/culture/2018/12/10/18129126/tiktok-app-musically-meme-cringe https://www.theverge.com/tldr/2018/1/26/16937712/karma-is-a-bitch-riverdale-kreayshawn-meme https://www.theverge.com/2018/8/2/17644260/musically-rebrand-tiktok-bytedance-douyin https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-features/tiktok-video-app-growth-867587/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Musical.ly https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ByteDance  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TikTok https://www.businessinsider.com/what-is-musically-2016-5  https://supchina.com/2017/09/13/can-pop-music-connect-teens-china-world-musical-ly-co-founder-louis-yang-wants-find/  https://supchina.com/podcast/ep-28-the-worlds-most-valuable-startup-bytedance-maker-of-tiktok-toutiao/ https://supchina.com/podcast/ep-55-kuaishou-the-anti-douyin-tiktok/ https://supchina.com/podcast/ep-56-not-just-tiktok-a-short-history-of-chinese-short-video-abroad/  https://supchina.com/2019/09/25/the-difference-between-tiktok-and-douyin/  https://pandaily.com/toutiaos-buy-1b-purchase-musical-ly/  https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-internet-livestreaming-idUSKBN17E0EV  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wTyg2E44pBA  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ey15v81pwII  https://www.scmp.com/tech/big-tech/article/3038639/alex-zhus-journey-failed-startup-tiktok-chief  https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/ryanmac/zuckerberg-musically-tiktok-china-facebook  https://techcrunch.com/2019/11/12/instagram-reels/  https://www.techinasia.com/douyin-rise-in-china  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ptKqFafZgCk  https://technode.com/2017/05/17/kwai-kuaishou-chinas-biggest-social-video-sharing-app/  https://technode.com/2018/05/10/how-douyin-became-the-most-popular-app-in-the-world/  https://blog.ycombinator.com/the-hidden-forces-behind-toutiao-chinas-content-king/  https://www.techinasia.com/douyin-rise-in-china  https://www.oberlo.com/blog/tiktok-statistics  https://wallaroomedia.com/blog/social-media/tiktok-statistics/  http://money.com/money/5497929/how-tiktok-makes-money-tiktok-owner/ https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/104b-goliath-the-unknown-35-year-old-behind-the-world-s-most-valuable-startup-20181001-p5072r.html https://medium.com/@mattprd/how-tiktok-is-changing-the-world-and-youre-missing-it-fa283338649a https://www.reuters.com/article/us-bytedance-musically/chinas-bytedance-scrubs-musical-ly-brand-in-favor-of-tiktok-idUSKBN1KN0BW https://www.fool.com/investing/2019/10/25/is-snap-getting-too-cozy-with-bytedances-tiktok.aspx https://www.eugenewei.com/blog/2019/2/19/status-as-a-service https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/09/30/how-tiktok-holds-our-attention https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/10/style/what-is-tik-tok.html
09/12/191h 36m

Disney, Plus

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://glow.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile) Attend the Seattle Live Show with Dan Lewis, Co-Founder and CEO of Convoy! http://acquired.fm/liveshow   The Flywheel is strong with this one. We dive deep into the origins of one of the boldest business strategy decisions of our time: Disney CEO Bob Iger’s attempt to buck the Innovator’s Dilemma - and forego billions of dollars in cashflow from Netflix and pay TV providers - in order to establish a direct distribution relationship with its customers for the first time in the company’s history. Is this the force awakening within the house that Walt built, or a phantom menace that will drag Disney to the dark side of unprofitability? Tune in to find out!   Links: https://www.thewaltdisneycompany.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/2018-Annual-Report.pdf https://www.thewaltdisneycompany.com/wp-content/uploads/q4-fy17-earnings-transcript.pdf https://www.thewaltdisneycompany.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/q4-fy19-earnings.pdf The Disney flywheel: https://kottke.org/15/06/walt-disneys-corporate-strategy-chart    Sources:  The Ride of a Lifetime by Bob Iger: https://www.amazon.com/Ride-Lifetime-Lessons-Learned-Company-ebook/dp/B07PF6XTD8 https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/22/style/disney-bob-iger-book.html https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_Iger https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/features/bob-iger-bets-company-hollywood-s-future-streaming-1247663  https://www.wsj.com/articles/can-kevin-mayer-deliver-the-future-of-disney-11573272027  https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2019-11-07/inside-disney-bob-iger-on-star-wars-pixar-and-more  https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/bob-iger-the-ride-of-a-lifetime/id1264843400?i=1000451721143    Carveouts:  David: The Ride of a Lifetime Ben: The Imagineering Story on Disney+: https://www.disneyplus.com/series/the-imagineering-story/6ryoXv1e1rWW   Sponsor:  Thanks to Silicon Valley Bank for sponsoring all of Acquired Season 5. You can get in touch with Dan Hardman, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here: http://bit.ly/35yIrNH
25/11/192h 12m

Seattle Live Show Announcement: Convoy!

We're loading up the Acquired live experience and trucking north (for David at least) for our first independent live show in Seattle! Hot on the heels of the company's recent $400m fundraise at a $2.7B valuation, we'll be joined by Convoy CEO Dan Lewis to dive deep into the origins of this massive transportation logistics disruptor.  Register to attend here: http://acquired.fm/liveshow Date: December 17th, 2019 Time: 5:00-8:00pm (subject to change) Location: TBD, Seattle Hope to see many of you there! -Ben & David
18/11/192m 18s

LP Show Preview: Chetan Puttagunta, General Partner at Benchmark

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://glow.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile) On this episode of the Limited Partner bonus show, we are joined by Chetan Puttagunta, General Partner on Benchmark, talking his investment philosophies, enterprise technology trends, and the uniqueness of Benchmark. How is this firm with only five partners and no associates so repeatably successful? Chetan shares the story of his very first investment, MongoDB, and lessons learned from his other investments and board positions in Elastic, Sketch, Duffel, Mulesoft, and many others. Chetan also helps us understand how he balances staying open-minded enough to let founders shape his vision of the future (and not the other way around), while staying educated on areas where he thinks the future is bright. This episode is a preview of the hour-long LP-only show.
11/11/198m 45s

The WeWork “Acquisition” (with Dan Primack)

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://glow.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)   It’s an IPO, it’s a bailout, it’s an... acquisition? We’re joined by the one and only Dan Primack from Axios to recount the epic saga of the We Company in all its tragic glory. How did this business somehow go from chopping up commercial real estate to elevating global consciousness to rewarding its ousted CEO with a $1.7B “platinum parachute”, all while the company can’t afford severance for thousands of soon-to-be laid-off employees? Where did it all go wrong? And most importantly, who gets the Gulfstream G650??   Sponsor:  Thanks to Silicon Valley Bank for sponsoring all of Acquired Season 5. You can get in touch with Claire Lee, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here: http://bit.ly/2pPSyy2 and read 2019’s Startup Outlook report here: https://www.svb.com/startup-outlook-report-2019 and take this year’s survey here: http://bit.ly/2BFneEK 
25/10/191h 34m

Season 5, Episode 5: Atari (with Nolan Bushnell)

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://glow.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)   We’re joined by the legendary Nolan Bushnell, founder not only of Atari, but also the only person ever to hire Steve Jobs, the recipient of Sequoia Capital’s first-ever investment, and the creator of Chuck E. Cheese, the canonical GPS navigation arrow, and a little project that would go on to become Pixar. We cover it all in this special episode!   Links: Spacewar!, the first video game: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spacewar!  The meaning of Atari: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/atari Nolan’s current project, St. Noire: https://www.amazon.com/St-Noire-Hosted-Cinematic-Exclusive/dp/B07P693BG1   Sponsor: Thanks to Silicon Valley Bank for sponsoring all of Acquired Season 5. You can get in touch with Al Guerrero, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here: https://bit.ly/2AjQZtJ and read his Medium posts on eSports here: https://medium.com/@alguerrero1111/why-venture-capital-is-flooding-into-esports-teams-ba179d9fc428 and mobile gaming here https://medium.com/@alguerrero1111/mobile-gaming-founders-blazing-new-trails-3ac12be54e36 
15/10/191h 35m

Sequoia Capital (Part 1)

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://glow.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)   Acquired dives into the history behind storied venture firm Sequoia Capital and its legendary founder, Don Valentine. Part 1 tells Don’s story, starting from humble beginnings born to uneducated parents in Yonkers, NY, through shaping the fabric of Silicon Valley first as head of Sales & Marketing at both Fairchild and National Semiconductor, and then for generations to come via his pioneering concept of “company building” at Sequoia Capital. No matter where you sit in the ecosystem today, Don and the companies he helped build laid the foundation for nearly everything technology has become over the past 60 years.   Links: Silicon Valley’s “Traitorous Eight”: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traitorous_eight Don Valentine’s lecture at Stanford GSB: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nKN-abRJMEw&t=2555s Berkeley’s oral history with Don: http://digitalassets.lib.berkeley.edu/roho/ucb/text/valentine_donald.pdf   Carve Outs: Ben: The Business Roundtable on The Daily: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/21/podcasts/the-daily/business-roundtable-corporate-responsibility.html David: Amazon Music on 25 years of “Ready to Die”: https://youtu.be/Dsna1nIZzB4   Sponsor: Thanks to Silicon Valley Bank for sponsoring Acquired Season 5. You can learn more about SVB here: https://www.svb.com/next   Sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traitorous_eight https://www.sfgate.com/technology/article/Silicon-Valley-Shockley-racist-semiconductor-lab-13164228.php https://signallake.com/innovation/Valentine101409.pdf http://digitalassets.lib.berkeley.edu/roho/ucb/text/valentine_donald.pdf https://www.amazon.com/dp/0875849385/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_tai_ZB8IDb7NNAFAH https://www.amazon.com/Troublemakers-Silicon-Valleys-Coming-Age-ebook/dp/B06ZZ1YDTX/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr= https://www.scaruffi.com/svhistory/arun3.html http://www.ianhathaway.org/blog/2019/7/31/vc-an-american-history https://www.axios.com/sequoia-capital-shakes-up-leadership-1513300220-7d255e34-f4bf-4178-af62-ec68023726e3.html https://www.slideshare.net/lebret/a-history-of-venture-capital-lebret-vers-11 https://www.hbs.edu/faculty/Pages/item.aspx?num=47240 https://www.inc.com/magazine/19850501/7289_pagen_5.html https://www.amazon.com/VC-American-History-Tom-Nicholas-ebook/dp/B07QV2YM3X/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr= https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nKN-abRJMEw&t=2555s
26/09/191h 45m

San Francisco Meetup Announcement!

Special announcement: we're hosting a meetup in San Francisco! It's been too long and and we can't wait to see many of you. It will be Wednesday, September 25 2019, exact time and location TBD but likely starting at 6pm. You can register at https://www.acquired.fm/meetup  The event is free, but space will be limited so please only register if you know you can make it.  Hope to see many of you there! -Ben and David 
13/09/192m 27s

Google Maps

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://glow.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)   Ben and David cover the series of three 2004 Google acquisitions that formed the core of Google Maps as we know and love it today: Where 2 Technologies, Keyhole and ZipDash. From nearly zero adoption between the three companies at the time of acquisition to well over 1 billion users today, does Google Maps merit admission to the hallowed Acquired A+ pantheon? Tune in to find out!   Links: Bret Taylor on “Satellite Mode”: https://twitter.com/btaylor/status/1099370126678253569?lang=en  Justin O’Beirne’s great pieces on Apple vs Google maps: https://www.justinobeirne.com    Carve Outs: Ben: Marc Andreessen on The Moment with Brian Koppelman: https://overcast.fm/+BgXAjz54o David: The Expanse books: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B077L6GJWW/    Sponsor: Thanks to Silicon Valley Bank for sponsoring Acquired Season 5. You can learn more about SVB here: https://www.svb.com/next and get in touch with Matt Trotter here: https://www.svb.com/profile/matt-trotter
26/08/191h 35m

DoorDash + Caviar Quick Take + SXSW live show voting!

Vote for an Acquired SXSW live show at www.acquired.fm/sxsw !   We’re joined by former Caviar executive Nick Adler for a quick-take on the big news last week in the battle for US food delivery supremacy, DoorDash’s acquisition of Caviar (which was previously owned by Square). With Uber and Lyft newly public and transportation relatively settled (for the moment), the front lines of the global startup capital wars appear to be shifting to this massive and fast-growing industry. How does it all work and what does this latest chess move portend for the future? Tune in to find out!   Links: Sign up for The Athletic and listen to their podcasts at: https://theathletic.com/podcasts/    Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://glow.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)
12/08/1936m 42s

The Shopify IPO

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://glow.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)    Ben and David head north of the border to Ottawa, Canada to cover perhaps one of the greatest IPO success stories of the past 5 years, Shopify. From humble beginnings as a “lifestyle business” hawking hipster snowboard gear online to now routinely mentioned in the same breath as Amazon, the tale of Shopify and its incredible CEO Tobi Lütke’s ascent is not one to miss!   Links: https://www.snowdevil.ca https://www.jadedpixel.com Citron’s “research” report: https://citronresearch.com/citron-exposes-the-dark-side-of-shopify/   Carve Outs: Ben: Moment smartphone camera lenses: https://www.shopmoment.com David: Quoteapro engineering and head of product roles — DM @david in the Acquired Slack ; Bill Gurley on Invest like the Best: http://investorfieldguide.com/gurley/   Sponsor: Thanks to Silicon Valley Bank for sponsoring Acquired Season 5. You can learn more about SVB at: https://www.svb.com/next   Editor's note: Shopify actually powered $41b of sales, not $14b, in 2018, as discussed toward the end of the episode. $14b was the fourth-quarter number. While this changes the analysis of value captured at the end of the episode (Shopify only captures 2.5% of merchant sales as their own revenue, not 7%, which is admittedly very different), it doesn’t change overall sentiment on the company discussed in the episode.
06/08/191h 24m

Huawei

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://glow.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)    For our first episode of Season 5, Acquired returns to Shenzhen to cover another Chinese technology giant, this one slightly... different from our past subjects: Huawei. From a backwater importer of PBX switches to the world’s second largest handset manufacturer and near-undisputed leader in 5G infrastructure technology, Huawei’s ascent over the past 30 years has been nothing short of spectacular, equaled only by the spectacular fireworks of recent events surrounding the company. What’s the story behind this global telecom giant, and what does its future portend for global tech and US - China relations? We dive in.   Links Ren Zhengfei on Bloomberg TV: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-05-26/billionaire-huawei-founder-defiant-in-face-of-existential-threat Who owns Huawei? https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3372669   Carve Outs Ben: Billions: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4270492/ David: Dune by Frank Herbert: https://www.amazon.com/Dune-Frank-Herbert-ebook/dp/B00B7NPRY8/ref=nodl   Sponsor Thanks to Silicon Valley Bank for sponsoring Acquired Season 5. You can get in touch with Andy Tsao, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here: https://www.svb.com/profile/andy-tsao
22/07/191h 2m

Superhuman (with CEO Rahul Vohra)

Please take the 2019 Acquired Survey. It takes 5-10 minutes, helps us immensely, and you may win a pair of new AirPods or a free 1-year subscription to the LP show! http://acquired.fm/survey   We wrap up Season 4 with a very special (and accidental!) episode, a conversation with the CEO of Superhuman, the red hot email productivity app which just announced their $33m Series B led by Andreessen Horowitz. While originally intended as an LP episode, we felt Superhuman would provide the perfect bookend to our “modern enterprise productivity trilogy” following our Zoom and Slack episodes. We hope you enjoy the conversation with Rahul as much as we did, and we’ll see you later this summer for Season 5!   Links New York Times article announcing the fundraise: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/27/technology/superhuman-email.html  Rahul’s Medium post on acquisitions: https://medium.com/swlh/rip-mailbox-or-founders-how-to-stop-worrying-and-love-being-acquired-261da4f6d566 Rahul on finding product-market fit on First Round Review: https://firstround.com/review/how-superhuman-built-an-engine-to-find-product-market-fit/   Sponsor Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring Acquired Season 4. You can get in touch with Ned Prusse, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, at https://www.perkinscoie.com/en/professionals/ned-a-prusse.html   Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://glow.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)
27/06/191h 16m

The Slack DPO

Please take the 2019 Acquired Survey. It takes 5-10 minutes, helps us immensely, and you may win a pair of new AirPods or a free 1-year subscription to the LP show! http://acquired.fm/survey   It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s an... enterprise software company? We give the full Acquired treatment to newly-public Slack, one of the most extreme and successful pivots of all-time. From a log cabin in Canada to a never-ending game and back again, Slack’s journey has more twists and turns than a Hobbit’s tale. Tune in for one APLUSS story you don’t want to miss!   Links Kara Swisher’s Flipcam interview with Glitch: https://www.wsj.com/video/tiny-speck-stewart-butterfield-speaks/C51EAD27-FE8E-46AE-B785-6ECF1A9798B0.html Marc Andreessen on “all will still end well...” https://twitter.com/patphelan/status/1142733251691405312 The Glitch public domain archive: https://www.glitchthegame.com Naming Slack: https://twitter.com/stewart/status/780906639301812225?s=21   Carve Outs Ben: The Expanse on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/The-Expanse-Season-1/dp/B018BZ3SCM David: Give to any non-profit on Alma: https://alma.app/blog/1-4-million-reasons-to-love-alma-search    Sponsor Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring Acquired Season 4. You can get in touch with Ned Prusse, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, at https://www.perkinscoie.com/en/professionals/ned-a-prusse.html   Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://glow.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)
25/06/191h 55m

The Zoom IPO (with Santi Subotovsky)

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://glow.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)   Zoom board member (and general partner at Emergence Capital) Santi Subotovsky joins us to tell the true underdog story behind the hottest IPO of 2019. Together we trace founder Eric Yuan’s incredible journey from immigrant software developer, who didn’t speak any English upon arriving in Silicon Valley in 1997, to Glassdoor’s #1 rated CEO in America in 2018. In an age where border walls have replaced open doors in Washington, and burn rates and privacy scandals have sidelined Silicon Valley’s pretense of making the world a better place, there is no better reminder than Zoom of everything that can be great about our country and our industry.   Links Walt Mossberg’s review of Zoom in 2012: http://allthingsd.com/20120821/a-chance-to-call-15-friends-to-video-chat-in-high-def/   Carve Outs Ben: General Magic https://www.generalmagicthemovie.com David: Dissect Season 4 https://dissectpodcast.com/subscribe-to-the-podcast/   Sponsor Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring Acquired Season 4. You can get in touch with Allison Handy, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, at https://www.perkinscoie.com/en/professionals/allison-c-handy.html
19/06/191h 16m

The Electronic Arts IPO (with Trip Hawkins)

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://glow.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)   Acquired looks back at a monumental IPO from a *much* different era: Electronic Arts. We’re joined by EA’s founder Trip Hawkins to tell the incredible story of how he built the company that made video games mainstream. Starting from his high school years as both a geek and a jock, to then working for Steve Jobs as one of Apple Computer’s first employees and later completely changing the world of sports with John Madden Football, Trip always had a clear vision for what EA could become and what magic could happen at the intersection of technology and the liberal arts.   Sponsor Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring Acquired Season 4. You can get in touch with Allison Handy, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, at https://www.perkinscoie.com/en/professionals/allison-c-handy.html
27/05/191h 57m

The Uber IPO

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://glow.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)   Welcome to the big one. On the day of its IPO, we tell the story of Uber. It’s a story whose roots stretch back 130 years, but whose impact reverberates perhaps more powerfully on our current world than any other. A story that, in all of its greatness and in all of its ugliness, may just be the story of our time.   Links Austin Geidt’s incredible journey: https://youtu.be/-NjaqDMYNVs Travis’s self-introduction as “the Wolf from Pulp Fiction”: https://youtu.be/VMvdvP02f-Y Travis interview on TWiST: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=550X5OZVk7Y    Sponsor Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring Acquired Season 4. You can get in touch with Allison Handy, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, at https://www.perkinscoie.com/en/professionals/allison-c-handy.html
11/05/192h 20m

The Uber IPO

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://glow.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)   Welcome to the big one. On the day of its IPO, we tell the story of Uber. It’s a story whose roots stretch back 130 years, but whose impact reverberates perhaps more powerfully on our current world than any other. A story that, in all of its greatness and in all of its ugliness, may just be the story of our time.   Links Austin Geidt’s incredible journey: https://youtu.be/-NjaqDMYNVs Travis’s self-introduction as “the Wolf from Pulp Fiction”: https://youtu.be/VMvdvP02f-Y Travis interview on TWiST: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=550X5OZVk7Y    Sponsor Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring Acquired Season 4. You can get in touch with Allison Handy, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, at https://www.perkinscoie.com/en/professionals/allison-c-handy.html
11/05/192h 20m

The Pinterest IPO

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://glow.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)   In the second episode of our APLUSS(Z!) IPO saga, we dive into the history behind the planet’s largest non-social social network, Pinterest. From The Pirates of Silicon Valley to the bloggers of Salt Lake City, the creation story behind this “productivity tool for planning your dreams” is far from your typical unicorn journey. Once labelled as the “next Facebook” by investors and press, ten years later both Pinterest-the-product and Pinterest-the-company are in fact anything but. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing… tune in to find out!    Links Pinterest’s S-1: https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1506293/000119312519083544/d674330ds1.htm Fun photos of the Pinterest early days from Leslie Kincaid: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/azy9xtxtq5l6r3y/AAC68OhprmVbauZreHPyLbn5a?dl=0 Pinterest financial summary on Seeking Alpha: https://seekingalpha.com/article/4255230-know-pinterest-ipo   Carve Outs Ben: Eugene Wei on the Invest Like The Best Podcast: http://investorfieldguide.com/wei/ David: A-Rod interviews George Springer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QOqgxmG4yc8   Sponsor Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring Acquired Season 4. You can get in touch with Kara Tatman, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, at https://www.perkinscoie.com/en/professionals/kara-e-tatman.html
24/04/191h 37m

The Lyft IPO

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://glow.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)   Call it the playoffs. Call it the Olympics. Call it March Madness. No matter which sports analogy you borrow, it falls short of capturing what Lyft's IPO yesterday kicked off in the tech world. A generational changing of the guard from the FAANG to the APLUSS (Airbnb, Pinterest, Lyft, Uber, Slack, Stripe). A breaking of the liquidity dam that's kept capital, technology and talent locked up in a small number of Silicon Valley winners for longer than ever in history. And most importantly, a public market avenue for investing in the largest single market created since the advent of the internet. Acquired is live on the scene recounting and analyzing the history of Lyft (and ridesharing broadly) in every exquisite detail!   Links: Lyft’s S-1: https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1759509/000119312519059849/d633517ds1.htm Donate to Homobiles: http://bit.ly/2TM40nAÂ   Carve Outs: Ben: Bill Gurley on "Runnin' Down a Dream" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xmYekD6-PZ8 David: "Cricket Fever" on Netflix: https://www.netflix.com/title/80222770   Sponsor: Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring Acquired Season 4. You can get in touch with Kara Tatman, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, at https://www.perkinscoie.com/en/professionals/kara-e-tatman.html
30/03/192h 16m

LP sneak peek: How to build a successful SaaS company (with Jake Saper, Partner at Emergence Capital)

Hey Acquired listeners, our latest LP guest conversation was so good, we wanted to share some of it with everyone. We dove deep into the gritty details of SaaS investing and company building with the best in the business, Jake Saper from Emergence Capital. Emergence has been around since the beginning of SaaS and — uniquely for a venture firm — is entirely focused on early-stage investing within it. They were early investors in major successes like Salesforce, Veeva, SuccessFactors, Box and Yammer, and more recently Gusto, Zoom and many more. This episode is a must-listen for anyone investing in, operating in or thinking about modern SaaS companies! If you liked this conversation and want to hear more, you can join the Acquired Limited Partner program at https://glow.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile) You can also sign up for Emergence's regular email newsletter on SaaS topics at: eepurl.com/c1IPvf
06/03/1915m 29s

Season 4, Episode 3: Instagram Revisited (with Emily White)

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)   We enter the wayback machine and revisit the subject of Acquired’s second ever episode, Facebook’s bombshell 2012 acquisition of Instagram — this time with the help of then-Facebook executive Emily White, who moved over post-acquisition to become Instagram’s first business head. Together with Kevin and Mike, Emily helped build Instagram's business model, which today accounts for nearly 1/4 of all of Facebook’s revenue. Is this still Acquired’s canonical A+ with an extra 3.5 years of hindsight? Spoiler alert: yes.    Carve Outs: Ben: Sam Harris on the Joe Rogan Experience: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RJ5_hAEsLkU David: Boom Town by Sam Anderson: https://www.amazon.com/Boom-Town-Fantastical-Basketball-World-class-ebook/dp/B077RHYC4G   Sponsor: Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring Acquired Season 4. You can get in touch with Brian Eiting, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, at https://www.perkinscoie.com/en/professionals/brian-j-eiting.html
26/02/191h 10m

Spotify + Gimlet/Anchor Quick Take + Worldwide Meetup Details!

Worldwide Meetup Details! Join us on February 21, 2019 at 530pm PT (830pm ET) at https://zoom.us/j/196930784 for our first worldwide meetup! Ben and David will be live on video hanging out and taking questions on both Slack and Zoom.   Spotify + Gimlet/Anchor Quick Take! We continue to experiment on Acquired, this time with a quick-take on Spotify’s bombshell dual-acquisition of Anchor and Gimlet Media. While we may give these deals the full Acquired treatment in the future, we wanted to share our quick thoughts with you all sooner rather than later while the Acquired research department (aka Ben & David’s free time) works through the current episode backlog. Let us know if you like this format and we’ll do more in the future!   Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! (Apropos ;)  >https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)
19/02/1940m 30s

Season 4, Episode 2: ARM & SoftBank

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)   We dive into the crazy, little-known story of how this small, former PC-maker in Cambridge, England dethroned Intel, saved Apple from bankruptcy, became the blueprint for the largest investment fund in history, and of course now powers just about every device you use today. From Issac Newton to the Apple Newton, the Vision Fund and beyond, ARM has had an impact on the technology industry that cannot be overstated!   Meetup! To celebrate passing 1m downloads, we’re hosting a worldwide meetup! Join us on February 21, 2019 at 530pm PT (830pm ET) on Zoom and Slack for our first worldwide meetup. Ben and David will be live on video hanging out and taking questions on both Slack and Zoom. Check Slack and our website for details and the Zoom link as we get closer!   Links: The Nokia 6110: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nokia_6110 Fast Company on SoftBank and how the ARM acquisition happened: https://www.fastcompany.com/90285552/the-most-powerful-person-in-silicon-valley   Sponsor: Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring Acquired Season 4. You can get in touch with Matt Kirmayer, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, at https://www.perkinscoie.com/en/professionals/matt-kirmayer.html
03/02/191h 22m

Season 4, Episode 1: ESPN

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! >https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile) Booyah! Acquired, the worldwide leader in acquisitions and IPOs, kicks off Season 4 with a classic: ESPN. How did a failed former TV weatherman end up building the world’s most valuable media company on top of a dump (quite literally) in Bristol, Connecticut? We follow the incredible entrepreneurial journey from Getty Oil diversification strategy to Berkshire Hathaway home run to Disney crown jewel. This Is Awesome, Baby!! Links: ESPN’s first moments on air: https://www.espnfrontrow.com/2018/12/espn-remembers-lee-leonard/ The Outsiders Book: https://www.amazon.com/Outsiders-Unconventional-Radically-Rational-Blueprint-ebook/dp/B009G1T74O/ Carve Outs: Ben: Numbers Geek with Steve Ballmer: The Basketball Box Score Mystery https://www.geekwire.com/2019/numbers-geek-steve-ballmer-basketball-box-score-mystery/ David: Fast Company on Masa, “The most powerful person in Silicon Valley” https://www.fastcompany.com/90285552/the-most-powerful-person-in-silicon-valley Sponsor: Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring Acquired Season 4. You can get in touch with Matt Kirmayer, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, at https://www.perkinscoie.com/en/professionals/matt-kirmayer.html
21/01/191h 22m

Season 4 Trailer (and 2019 predictions!)

Get ready for Acquired Season 4: the Attack of the IPOs! We'll be live on the scene this season as some of the tech world's biggest unicorns make their long-awaited public debuts (or at least we all hope). We get in the spirit for the coming season, and share our 2019 predictions in an excerpt from our last Limited Partner episode of 2018. Happy New Year to all!Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)
14/01/1921m 59s

Season 4 Trailer (and 2019 predictions!)

Get ready for Acquired Season 4: the Attack of the IPOs! We'll be live on the scene this season as some of the tech world's biggest unicorns make their long-awaited public debuts (or at least we all hope). We get in the spirit for the coming season, and share our 2019 predictions in an excerpt from our last Limited Partner episode of 2018. Happy New Year to all!  ----------------- Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)
14/01/1921m 59s

Season 3, Episode 10: Tencent

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)We close out Season 3 and our China mini-series with a monster episode on Tencent, the Shenzhen-based social networking and entertainment powerhouse. We dive deep into the story of Pony Ma and his cofounders’ incredible journey from making software for pagers(!) to QQ, WeChat, League of Legends, Fortnite, Snapchat and even Tesla. This is one finale you don’t want to miss!Carve Outs:Ben: President Obama’s OG podcast! https://bit.ly/2BqXxHJDavid: Kara Swisher’s interview with the Google Walkout organizers: https://bit.ly/2RwuskZDavid (bonus!): Allen Iverson in the Players’ Tribune: https://bit.ly/2EkrRHQSponsor:Thanks to our great partners Silicon Valley Bank for sponsoring all of Acquired Season 3! You can get in touch with SVB here: https://www.svb.com
17/12/181h 49m

Season 3, Episode 10: Tencent

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)   We close out Season 3 and our China mini-series with a monster episode on Tencent, the Shenzhen-based social networking and entertainment powerhouse. We dive deep into the story of Pony Ma and his cofounders’ incredible journey from making software for pagers(!) to QQ, WeChat, League of Legends, Fortnite, Snapchat and even Tesla. This is one finale you don’t want to miss!   Carve Outs: Ben: President Obama’s OG podcast! https://bit.ly/2BqXxHJ David: Kara Swisher’s interview with the Google Walkout organizers: https://bit.ly/2RwuskZ David (bonus!): Allen Iverson on the Players’ Tribune: https://bit.ly/2EkrRHQ   Sponsor: Thanks to our great partners Silicon Valley Bank for sponsoring all of Acquired Season 3! You can get in touch with SVB here: https://www.svb.com
17/12/181h 49m

LP Show Preview: Product-Market Fit

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! (works best on mobile)We often get asked, “what type of content is on the Limited Partner Bonus Shows?” Well, we figure an episode is worth a thousand words (er, something like that), so we’re releasing one of our LP bonus shows in the main feed.On this episode, we dive into the most elusive aspect of early-stage investing and company building: finding product-market fit.We’ll be back next week with our regularly scheduled programming: the Season 3 finale on Tencent!
10/12/181h 4m

LP Show Preview: Product-Market Fit

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! (works best on mobile) https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ We often get asked, “what type of content is on the Limited Partner Bonus Shows?” Well, we figure an episode is worth a thousand words (er, something like that), so we’re releasing one of our LP bonus shows in the main feed. On this episode, we dive into the most elusive aspect of early-stage investing and company building: finding product-market fit. We’ll be back next week with our regularly scheduled programming: the Season 3 finale on Tencent!
10/12/181h 4m

Season 3, Episode 9 Netflix (Part 2)

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/(works best on mobile)We complete our two-part Netflix special with the company’s bold transition to streaming, including of course the most (in)famous spin-out in business history. Rising from the ashes of Qwikster, we chronicle Netflix’s rebirth as a media company and long journey back to the top of the FAANG mountaintop!Links:Netflix’s Qwikster apology video: https://youtu.be/c8Tn8n5CIPkSNL parody of the apology video: https://bit.ly/2PWEyyZEvolution of Netflix home page: https://read.bi/2KvHdteThe Chaos Monkey: https://bit.ly/1qkqDxZ Benedict Evans’ chart of FAANG stocks: https://bit.ly/2r3D72ACarve Outs:Ben: Kevin Rose interviews Matthew Walker on sleep: https://bit.ly/2LpIl5vDavid: Justin O’Beirne on Apple’s new Maps: https://bit.ly/2zrQ76ZSponsor:Thanks to Silicon Valley Bank for sponsoring all of Acquired Season 3. You can get in touch with Al Guerrero, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here: https://bit.ly/2AjQZtJ, and read his Medium post here: https://bit.ly/2zpibb3
25/11/181h 24m

Season 3, Episode 9: Netflix (Part 2)

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/(works best on mobile)   We complete our two-part Netflix special with the company’s bold transition to streaming, including of course the most (in)famous spin-out in business history. Rising from the ashes of Qwikster, we chronicle Netflix’s rebirth as a media company and long journey back to the top of the FAANG mountaintop!   Links: Netflix’s Qwikster apology video: https://youtu.be/c8Tn8n5CIPk SNL parody of the apology video: https://bit.ly/2PWEyyZ Evolution of Netflix home page: https://read.bi/2KvHdte The Chaos Monkey: https://bit.ly/1qkqDxZ  Benedict Evans’ chart of FAANG stocks: https://bit.ly/2r3D72A   Carve Outs: Ben: Kevin Rose interviews Matthew Walker on sleep: https://bit.ly/2LpIl5v David: Justin O’Beirne on Apple’s new Maps: https://bit.ly/2zrQ76Z   Sponsor: Thanks to Silicon Valley Bank for sponsoring all of Acquired Season 3. You can get in touch with Al Guerrero, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here: https://bit.ly/2AjQZtJ , and read his Medium post here: https://bit.ly/2zpibb3
25/11/181h 24m

Season 3, Episode 8: Netflix (Part 1)

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! (works best on mobile)In a world ravaged by late fees and lack of rewinding, two men from a sleepy California beach town make a stand against tyranny, daringly dethrone an evil empire and… oh who are we kidding, they just copied Amazon’s business plan for books and applied it to movie rentals. But as always there is much more to the story than that! We dive into the fascinating, true, and oft-untold history of Netflix in our first two-part special on Acquired. Part 1 covers Netflix’s original DVD rental business from founding to 2009, and next time on Part 2 we’ll cover the (rocky) transition to streaming from 2010 to present. Buckle up for a wild ride!Links:Netflix’s original logoCarve Outs:Ben: The Good Place on… Netflix!David: The Broken Earth Series by N. K. JemisinSponsor:Thanks to Silicon Valley Bank for sponsoring all of Acquired Season 3. As mentioned from sponsor guest Theron McCullough, you can take SVB’s Startup Outlook Survey here.
12/11/181h 26m

Season 3, Episode 8: Netflix (Part 1)

Join the Acquired Limited Parter program! (works best on mobile)   In a world ravaged by late fees and lack of rewinding, one man two men from a sleepy California beach town make a stand against tyranny, daringly dethrone an evil empire and… oh who are we kidding, they just copied Amazon’s business plan for books and applied it to movie rentals. But as always there is much more to the story than that! We dive into the fascinating, true, and oft-untold history of Netflix in our first two-part special on Acquired. Part 1 covers Netflix’s original DVD rental business from founding to 2009, and next time on Part 2 we’ll cover the (rocky) transition to streaming from 2010 to present. Buckle up for a wild ride!   Links: Netflix’s original logo   Carve Outs: Ben: The Good Place on… Netflix! David: The Broken Earth Series by N. K. Jemisin   Sponsor: Thanks to Silicon Valley Bank for sponsoring all of Acquired Season 3. You can get in touch with Theron McCollough, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.
12/11/181h 26m

Season 3, Episode 7: Venmo (SF live show with Andrew Kortina)

Ben & David are joined by special guest and Venmo cofounder Andrew Kortina for our first-ever SF live show! In front of a packed house we chronicle the journey of how two freshman-year roommates from Penn turned a healthy obsession with Craigslist and a fake podcast into an app that facilitated $17B of payments last quarter alone, producing not one but two landmark acquisitions along the way!Note: the audio quality is a little rough due to some A/V issues at the live show. We apologize! Links:Fin Promo Code, good for $100 of credit and a waived subscription fee (normally $20): http://fin.com/acquired  Carve Outs:Kortina: The Myth Of Sisyphus by Albert CamusDavid: Startup by Jerry KaplanBen: Halide on the new iPhone XS camera and computational photography Sponsor:Thanks to Silicon Valley Bank for sponsoring all of Acquired Season 3. You can get in touch with Reetika Grewal, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.
29/10/181h 8m

Acquired Season 3 Episode 7: Venmo (live with Andrew Kortina)

Our latest experiment! Become an Acquired Limited Partner and get access to LP-only bonus content: http://kimberlite.fm/acquired ———— Ben & David are joined by special guest and Venmo cofounder Andrew Kortina for our first-ever SF live show! In front of a packed house we chronicle the journey of how two freshman-year roommates from Penn turned a healthy obsession with Craigslist and a fake podcast into an app that facilitated $17B of payments last quarter alone, producing not one but two landmark acquisitions along the way! Note: the audio quality is a little rough due to some A/V issues at the live show. We apologize!   Links: Fin Promo Code, good for $100 of credit and a waived subscription fee (normally $20): http://fin.com/acquired    Carve Outs: Kortina: The Myth Of Sisyphus by Albert Camus David: Startup by Jerry Kaplan Ben: Halide on the new iPhone XS camera and computational photography   Sponsor: Thanks to Silicon Valley Bank for sponsoring all of Acquired Season 3. You can get in touch with Reetika Grewal, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.
29/10/181h 8m

SF Live Show Announcement: Venmo!

Join Ben and David for Acquired's first-ever SF live show! We'll be covering Venmo's acquisition by Braintree (and then PayPal), with special guest Andrew Kortina, co-founder of Venmo. We can’t wait to see many of you there!Register: http://acquired.fm/liveshowWhen: Wednesday October 24, 2018 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM PDTWhere: SVB @ WeWork Golden Gate25 Taylor StreetSan Francisco, CA 9410
08/10/184m 46s

SF Live Show Announcement: Venmo!

Join Ben and David for Acquired's first-ever SF live show! We'll be covering Venmo's acquisition by Braintree (and then PayPal), with special guest Andrew Kortina, co-founder of Venmo. We can’t wait to see many of you there! Register: http://acquired.fm/liveshow When: Wednesday October 24, 2018  6:00 PM – 9:00 PM PDT Where: SVB @ WeWork Golden Gate 25 Taylor Street San Francisco, CA 94102
08/10/184m 47s

Season 3, Episode 6: Behance (with Scott Belsky)

Ben and David are joined by Adobe’s Chief Product Officer, Behance founder, Benchmark partner, author, and product luminary, Scott Belsky, to tell the story of Adobe Systems’ 2012 acquisition of Behance. We dive into the role it played in of one of the greatest (and least well-known) pivots of all time: Adobe’s transition from packaged software to services, which over the past 6 years has generated an astounding $100B+ in market cap and nearly 10x growth in Adobe’s share price!Announcement: We're super excited to announce our first SF live show on October 24th, 2018! We have an amazing story and guest lined up who we can’t wait to share with you all. :) Tickets are very limited due to space constraints: please register early at http://acquired.fm/liveshowLinks:Scott’s great new book, The Messy Middle, out today! Sponsor:Thanks to Silicon Valley Bank for sponsoring all of Acquired Season 3. You can get in touch with Adam Millsom, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.
02/10/181h 11m

Season 3, Episode 6: Behance (with Scott Belsky)

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile) Ben and David are joined by Adobe’s Chief Product Officer, Behance founder, Benchmark partner, author, and product luminary, Scott Belsky, to tell the story of Adobe Systems’ 2012 acquisition of Behance. We dive into the role it played in of one of the greatest (and least well-known) pivots of all time: Adobe’s transition from packaged software to services, which over the past 6 years has generated an astounding $100B+ in market cap and nearly 10x growth in Adobe’s share price!   Announcement: We're super excited to announce our first SF live show on October 24th, 2018! We have an amazing story and guest lined up who we can’t wait to share with you all. :) Tickets are very limited due to space constraints: please register early at http://acquired.fm/liveshow   Links: Scott’s great new book, The Messy Middle, out today!    Sponsor: Thanks to Silicon Valley Bank for sponsoring all of Acquired Season 3. You can get in touch with Adam Millsom, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.
02/10/181h 11m

Season 3, Episode 5: Alibaba

We continue our China Tech series with perhaps the most incredible entrepreneurial journey in history: Alibaba and its indefatigable founder, Jack Ma. How did an unknown 30 year-old English teacher from a second tier Chinese city build the world’s 7th largest company by market cap (and the largest in China) in just 20 short years? This is one story you don’t want to miss.Links:Alibaba: The House that Jack Ma BuiltJack Ma’s famous speech in the Hangzhou apartmentJack Ma on not competing with AmazonCarve Outs:Ben: Mike Maples on the Origins podcastDavid: Romance of the Three KingdomsSponsor:Thanks to Silicon Valley Bank for sponsoring all of Acquired Season 3. You can get in touch with Eric Zhou, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.
24/09/181h 33m

Season 3, Episode 5: Alibaba

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile) We continue our China Tech series with perhaps the most incredible entrepreneurial journey in history: Alibaba and its indefatigable founder, Jack Ma. How did an unknown 30 year-old English teacher from a second tier Chinese city build the world’s 7th largest company by market cap (and the largest in China) in just 20 short years? This is one story you don’t want to miss.   Links: Alibaba: The House that Jack Ma Built Jack Ma’s famous speech in the Hangzhou apartment Jack Ma on not competing with Amazon   Carve Outs: Ben: Mike Maples on the Origins podcast David: Romance of the Three Kingdoms   Sponsor: Thanks to Silicon Valley Bank for sponsoring all of Acquired Season 3. You can get in touch with Eric Zhou, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.
24/09/181h 33m

Season 3, Episode 4: Recode (with Kara Swisher)

In this special episode Ben & David head to Recode’s SF office and sit down in the red chair with the one & only Kara Swisher! Kara tells the story of Recode, from the beginnings of her partnership with Walt Mossberg in the late 90’s at WSJ to the launch of the D Conference and the All Things D blog, to starting Recode and ultimately being acquired by Vox Media in 2015. Kara is someone we’ve long looked up to at Acquired, and it was really special to have her join us on the show. We hope you enjoy the conversation as much as we did!Links:Kara on the Ezra Klein ShowKara interviewing Stewart Butterfield, CEO of… Glitch?Sponsor:Thanks to Silicon Valley Bank for sponsoring all of Acquired Season 3. You can get in touch with Jeremy Shure, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here. Credit: Kara Swisher / Recode Credit: Eric Johnson / Recode
11/09/181h 23m

Season 3, Episode 4: Recode (with Kara Swisher)

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile) In this special episode Ben & David head to Recode’s SF office and sit down in the red chair with the one & only Kara Swisher! Kara tells the story of Recode, from the beginnings of her partnership with Walt Mossberg in the late 90’s at WSJ to the launch of the D Conference and the All Things D blog, to starting Recode and ultimately being acquired by Vox Media in 2015. Kara is someone we’ve long looked up to at Acquired, and it was really special to have her join us on the show. We hope you enjoy the conversation as much as we did!   Links: Kara interviewing Stewart Butterfield, CEO of… Glitch?   Sponsor: Thanks to Silicon Valley Bank for sponsoring all of Acquired Season 3. You can get in touch with Jeremy Shure, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.
11/09/181h 23m

Season 3, Episode 3: The Sonos IPO

Ben and David are (almost) live on the scene covering the plucky Southern California “camera company”… uh wait, wrong episode… we mean *speaker* company’s IPO! Continuing the long Acquired tradition of analyzing companies at the intersection of music, tech and business, we discuss the past, present and future of Sonos in world where speakers actually now… speak!Links:Sonos own corporate historyCarve Outs:Ben: Andy Rachleff on the Invest like the Best podcastDavid: Brotopia by Emily ChangSponsor:Thanks to Silicon Valley Bank for sponsoring all of Acquired Season 3. You can get in touch with Rob Freelen, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.
20/08/181h 34m

Season 3, Episode 3: The Sonos IPO

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile) Ben and David are (almost) live on the scene covering the plucky Southern California “camera company”… uh wait, wrong episode… we mean *speaker* company’s IPO! Continuing the long Acquired tradition of analyzing companies at the intersection of music, tech and business, we discuss the past, present and future of Sonos in world where speakers actually now… speak!  Links: Sonos own corporate history Carve Outs: Ben: Andy Rachleff on the Invest like the Best podcast David: Brotopia by Emily Chang Sponsor: Thanks to Silicon Valley Bank for sponsoring all of Acquired Season 3. You can get in touch with Rob Freelen, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.
20/08/181h 34m

Season 3, Episode 2: The Xiaomi IPO

Acquired kicks off our China tech mini-series by teaming up with the best in the business: Hans and Zara from GGV’s 996 Podcast! Together we cover the largest technology IPO in the world since fellow China tech giant Alibaba in 2014: Xiaomi, where Hans has been an investor and board member from the very beginning. This episode is chock full of history and insight on both Xiaomi and what’s happening in China tech more broadly, and why we all should be paying attention. No matter where you live, this is definitely not one to miss!Sponsor:Thanks to Silicon Valley Bank for sponsoring all of Acquired Season 3. You can get in touch with Steven Pipp, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.
06/08/181h 13m

Season 3, Episode 2: The Xiaomi IPO

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile) Acquired kicks off our China tech mini-series by teaming up with the best in the business: Hans and Zara from GGV’s 996 Podcast! Together we cover the largest technology IPO in the world since fellow China tech giant Alibaba in 2014: Xiaomi, where Hans has been an investor and board member from the very beginning. This episode is chock full of history and insight on both Xiaomi and what’s happening in China tech more broadly, and why we all should be paying attention. No matter where you live, this is definitely not one to miss!   Sponsor: Thanks to Silicon Valley Bank for sponsoring all of Acquired Season 3. You can get in touch with Steven Pipp, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.
06/08/181h 13m

Season 3, Episode 1: Tesla

Acquired kicks off Season 3 with a gangbuster two-hour extravaganza on America’s most successful automotive startup since The Ford Motor Company: Tesla. We cover everything, from founding to its 2010 IPO to all that’s happened since, including the question on the minds of superhero fans everywhere: who came first, Elon Musk or Tony Stark? (Spoiler: Elon)Carve Outs:Ben: The Dissect podcastDavid: Harry Potter and the Sacred Text podcastSponsor:Thanks to Silicon Valley Bank for sponsoring Acquired Season 3. You can get in touch with Jordan Kanis, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.
17/07/181h 59m

Season 3, Episode 1: Tesla

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile) Acquired kicks off Season 3 with a gangbuster two-hour extravaganza on America’s most successful automotive startup since The Ford Motor Company: Tesla. We cover everything, from founding to its 2010 IPO to all that’s happened since, including the question on the minds of superhero fans everywhere: who came first, Elon Musk or Tony Stark? (Spoiler: Elon)   Carve Outs: Ben: The Dissect podcast David: Harry Potter and the Sacred Text podcast   Sponsor: Thanks to Silicon Valley Bank for sponsoring Acquired Season 3. You can get in touch with Jordan Kanis, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.
17/07/181h 59m

Acquired Season 3 Trailer

Get ready for Season 3 with a quick overview for newcomers, our latest mini-series announcement and more!
09/07/189m 38s

Season 3 Trailer

09/07/189m 40s

Season 2, Episode 10: The Rover-DogVacay Merger (with Rover CEO Aaron Easterly)

Please click here to take the 2018 Acquired Survey. It takes 5-10 minutes, helps us immensely, and you may win a pair of AirPods or equivalent Android-friendly listening accessory (woo!)Acquired wraps up Season 2 with our first “elusive” private-private merger: Rover.com and its 2017 combination with rival pet care marketplace DogVacay. We’re joined by Rover CEO Aaron Easterly to dive into the full history of how the crazy idea of “Airbnb for dogs” not only became a billion-dollar company, but also brought our heroes together for the first time and led to the founding of Acquired!Links:The original Rover pitch from Startup WeekendSponsor:Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring Acquired Season 2. You can get in touch with Gina Eiben, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.
18/06/181h 7m

Season 2, Episode 10: The Rover-DogVacay Merger (with Rover CEO Aaron Easterly)

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile) Please click here to take the 2018 Acquired Survey. It takes 5-10 minutes, helps us immensely, and you may win a pair of AirPods or equivalent Android-friendly listening accessory (woo!) Acquired wraps up Season 2 with our first “elusive” private-private merger: Rover.com and its 2017 combination with rival pet care marketplace DogVacay. We’re joined by Rover CEO Aaron Easterly to dive into the full history of how the crazy idea of “Airbnb for dogs” not only became a billion-dollar company, but also brought our heroes together for the first time and led to the founding of Acquired!   Links: The original Rover pitch from Startup Weekend   Sponsor: Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring Acquired Season 2. You can get in touch with Gina Eiben, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.
18/06/181h 7m

Season 2, Episode 9: GitHub

We’re live on the scene the day following the biggest announcement in the open source software world since well, open source software: Microsoft acquiring GitHub for $7.5B in stock. How did we get here? What does it mean for software developers going forward? And most importantly, why is there a creepy half-cat / half-octopus plastered all over everything? As always, Acquired has the answers. Carve Outs:Ben: The Idea Maze by Chris DixonDavid: Invisible Asymptotes by Eugene Wei Sponsor:Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring Acquired Season 2. You can get in touch with Lee Schindler, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.
06/06/181h 23m

Season 2, Episode 9: GitHub

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile) We’re live on the scene the day following the biggest announcement in the open source software world since well, open source software: Microsoft acquiring GitHub for $7.5B in stock. How did we get here? What does it mean for software developers going forward? And most importantly, why is there a creepy half-cat / half-octopus plastered all over everything? As always, Acquired has the answers.  Carve Outs: Ben: The Idea Maze by Chris Dixon David: Invisible Asymptotes by Eugene Wei  Sponsor: Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring Acquired Season 2. You can get in touch with Lee Schindler, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.
06/06/181h 23m

Season 2, Episode 8: T-Mobile / Sprint

If you thought the telecom business was boring, think again! Acquired brings you an episode packed with more drama than an entire season of Game of Thrones. Starting with a death in the family, we follow a tale of fortunes lost and rebuilt, bitter battles between rivals who once worked for each other, and at the center of it all, a lesson in the power of stable cashflow businesses. This is one call you don’t want to drop!Links:Seattle Times’ infographic on Bellevue’s wireless company historyJohn Legere at CES 2013Carve Outs:Ben: Andrew Chen on the Intercom podcastDavid: The 996 Podcast from Zara & Hans at GGV CapitalSponsor:Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring Acquired Season 2. You can get in touch with Gina Eiben, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.
21/05/181h 21m

Season 2, Episode 8: T-Mobile / Sprint

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile) If you thought the telecom business was boring, think again! Acquired brings you an episode packed with more drama than an entire season of Game of Thrones. Starting with a death in the family, we follow a tale of fortunes lost and rebuilt, bitter battles between rivals who once worked for each other, and at the center of it all, a lesson in the power of stable cashflow businesses. This is one call you don’t want to drop!   Links: Seattle Times’ infographic on Bellevue’s wireless company history John Legere at CES 2013   Carve Outs: Ben: Andrew Chen on the Intercom podcast David: The 996 Podcast from Zara & Hans at GGV Capital   Sponsor: Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring Acquired Season 2. You can get in touch with Gina Eiben, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.
21/05/181h 21m

Season 2, Episode 7: PowerPoint

Acquired returns with a classic, delving into Microsoft’s first acquisition ever: Forethought Inc, the makers of PowerPoint. Hate it or love it, you can’t deny the combined companies’ impact: by the early 90’s PowerPoint had transformed the way businesses, educators and governments communicate, ensuring job security for pointy-haired Dilbert bosses everywhere! Links: * Robert Gaskins’ definitive history of building PowerPoint: Sweating Bullets * The Improbable Origins of PowerPoint by David C. Brock (director of the Center for Software History at the Computer History Museum) Carve Outs: * Ben: Mindfulness in Plain English and discussion on Hacker News * David: The Birds have landed… Sponsor: * Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring Acquired Season 2. You can get in touch with Gina Eiben, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here. Full Transcript below: (disclaimer: may contain unintentionally confusing, inaccurate and/or amusing transcription errors)
04/05/181h 14m

Season 2, Episode 7: PowerPoint

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile) Acquired returns with a classic, delving into Microsoft’s first acquisition ever: Forethought Inc, the makers of PowerPoint. Hate it or love it, you can’t deny the combined companies’ impact: by the early 90’s PowerPoint had transformed the way businesses, educators and governments communicate, ensuring job security for pointy-haired Dilbert bosses everywhere.   Links: Robert Gaskins’ definitive history of building PowerPoint: Sweating Bullets Absolute Powerpoint by Ian Parker   Carve Outs: Ben: Mindfulness in Plain English and discussion on Hacker News David: The Birds have landed…   Sponsor: Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring Acquired Season 2. You can get in touch with Gina Eiben, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.
04/05/181h 14m

Season 2, Episode 6: Spotify’s Direct Listing

Acquired wraps up a big few weeks of coverage with not an IPO or an M&A or a fundraising round, but what’s still the largest tech exit in recent memory: Spotify’s $30B direct public listing. We dive into what it all means and how we got here: from Napster to iTunes to Facebook (and even some Justin Timberlake thrown in for good measure). Acquired FM is on the scene and spinning all the hits from this new wave music industry titan!Note: We incorrectly described Spotify CEO Daniel Ek’s ownership stake in Spotify as 25%+; that is actually his voting control. His economic ownership is 9.3%, and cofounder Martin Lorentzon’s is 12.4%. We apologize for the error!Links:Internet History Podcast on the Napster Story with Jordan RitterSean Parker’s email to Daniel EkCarve Outs:Ben: Black Panther (and soundtrack on Spotify!)David: “Silicon Ballet” panel at San Francisco Ballet on Saturday, April 28Sponsor:Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring Acquired Season 2. You can get in touch with Lee Schindler, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.
06/04/181h 44m

Season 2, Episode 6: Spotify’s Direct Listing

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile) Acquired wraps up a big few weeks of coverage with not an IPO or an M&A or a fundraising round, but what’s still the largest tech exit in recent memory: Spotify’s $30B direct public listing. We dive into what it all means and how we got here: from Napster to iTunes to Facebook (and even some Justin Timberlake thrown in for good measure). Acquired FM is on the scene and spinning all the hits from this new wave music industry titan!    Note: We incorrectly described Spotify CEO Daniel Ek’s ownership stake in Spotify as 25%+; that is actually his voting control. His economic ownership is 9.3%, and cofounder Martin Lorentzon’s is 12.4%. We apologize for the error!   Links: Internet History Podcast on the Napster Story with Jordan Ritter Sean Parker’s email to Daniel Ek   Carve Outs: Ben: Black Panther (and soundtrack on Spotify!) David: “Silicon Ballet” panel at San Francisco Ballet on Saturday, April 28   Sponsor: Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring Acquired Season 2. You can get in touch with Lee Schindler, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.
06/04/181h 44m

Season 2, Episode 5: The Dropbox IPO

Acquired is live on the scene following Dropbox’s public market debut. From playing a central role in the early days of Y Combinator, to having Steve Jobs famously label the company a “feature not a product”, to pivoting from consumers to enterprise to developers and back again, the silicon valley history runs deep with this one. What twists and turns lie ahead for Dropbox as a public company? We speculate!Links:Dropbox’s Y Combinator applicationOriginal Dropbox demo videoCarve Outs:Ben: Raytracing comes to DirectXDavid: Lazy Game ReviewsSponsor:Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring Acquired Season 2. You can get in touch with Lee Schindler, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.
26/03/181h 37m

Season 2, Episode 5: The Dropbox IPO

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile) Acquired is live on the scene following Dropbox’s public market debut. From playing a central role in the early days of Y Combinator, to having Steve Jobs famously label the company a “feature not a product”, to pivoting from consumers to enterprise to developers and back again, the silicon valley history runs deep with this one. What twists and turns lie ahead for Dropbox as a public company? We speculate!   Links: Dropbox’s Y Combinator application Original Dropbox demo video   Carve Outs: Ben: Raytracing comes to DirectX David: Lazy Game Reviews   Sponsor: Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring Acquired Season 2. You can get in touch with Lee Schindler, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.
26/03/181h 37m

Season 2, Episode 4: SoftBank, Fortress and the Vision Fund

Acquired dives into the topic on the minds and lips of just about every VC and founder these days: SoftBank’s $93B+ Vision Fund, and its seemingly-overnight rewriting of the rules of venture capital and startup fundraising. Where did this new 800lbs gorilla come from, what are its goals, and what does it mean for the future of silicon valley and the global tech ecosystem? The answer, it turns out, starts with an acquisition, and unfolds into a story no one has yet told and few yet understand. Luckily our heroes are on the case!Links:Masayoshi Son on Charlie RoseCarve Outs:Ben: eBoys: The First Inside Account of Venture Capitalists at WorkDavid: Liu Cixin’s Remembrance of Earth’s Past trilogy (starting with The Three-Body Problem)Bonus: shout out to Brian McCullough’s new podcast the Ride Home, in partnership with TechMeme!Sponsor:Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring Acquired Season 2. You can get in touch with Lee Schindler, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.
23/03/181h 28m

Season 2, Episode 4: SoftBank, Fortress and the Vision Fund

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile) Acquired dives into the topic on the minds and lips of just about every VC and founder these days: SoftBank’s $93B+ Vision Fund, and its seemingly-overnight rewriting of the rules of venture capital and startup fundraising. Where did this new 800lbs gorilla come from, what are its goals, and what does it mean for the future of silicon valley and the global tech ecosystem? The answer, it turns out, starts with an acquisition, and unfolds into a story no one has yet told and few yet understand. Luckily our heroes are on the case!   Links: Masayoshi Son on Charlie Rose   Carve Outs: Ben: eBoys: The First Inside Account of Venture Capitalists at Work David: Liu Cixin’s Remembrance of Earth’s Past trilogy (starting with The Three-Body Problem) Bonus: shout out to Brian McCullough’s new podcast the Ride Home, in partnership with TechMeme!   Sponsor: Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring Acquired Season 2. You can get in touch with Lee Schindler, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.
23/03/181h 28m

Season 2, Episode 3: Nest

Acquired brings it all back home—to the smart home that is—with Google’s 2014 acquisition of Nest for $3.2B. From Nest cofounder Tony Fadell’s first job at General Magic (alongside future Android founder Andy Rubin) to his days as “father of the iPod” under Steve Jobs at Apple, the Silicon Valley history runs deep with this one. But did that make the acquisition a good move for Google in the coming battle with Amazon’s “Lady A” for control over consumers’ homes? We dive in! Links:Tony Fadell in the Academy of AchievementSteve Jobs deleting Tony Fadell from his FavoritesCarve Outs:Ben: Do by Friday podcastDavid: A Kingdom from Dust By Mark Arax in The California Sunday MagazineSponsor:Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring Acquired Season 2. You can get in touch with Gina Eiben, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.
20/02/181h 32m

Season 2, Episode 3: Nest

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile) Acquired brings it all back home—to the smart home that is—with Google’s 2014 acquisition of Nest for $3.2B. From Nest cofounder Tony Fadell’s first job at General Magic (alongside future Android founder Andy Rubin) to his days as “father of the iPod” under Steve Jobs at Apple, the Silicon Valley history runs deep with this one. But did that make the acquisition a good move for Google in the coming battle with Amazon’s “Lady A” for control over consumers’ homes? We dive in!  Links: Tony Fadell in the Academy of Achievement Steve Jobs deleting Tony Fadell from his Favorites Carve Outs: Ben: Do by Friday podcast David: A Kingdom from Dust By Mark Arax in The California Sunday Magazine Sponsor: Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring Acquired Season 2. You can get in touch with Gina Eiben, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.
20/02/181h 32m

Season 2, Episode 2: Raising a Seed Round with Against Gravity CEO Nick Fajt

We launch mini-series on Acquired with a subject near & dear to our heroes’ hearts: startup fundraising! This has been one of our most-requested new topics, and we’re excited to kick things off with makers of the popular Rec Room social VR app, Against Gravity, which raised one of Seattle’s hottest venture rounds in recent history: a $4m seed led by Sequoia Capital in 2016. CEO Nick Fajt joins to tell the story from company inception to building and shipping the initial product, fundraising as a first-time CEO, what they’ve been able to accomplish with the capital and their vision for the future. We had a blast touching on many classic Acquired themes for the first time “in-action” with a young, growing company, and hope you all enjoy the discussion as much as we did. Let us know what you think in the Slack!Carve Outs:Ben: Ready Player OneDavid: Seveneves Nick: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the WildSponsor:Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring this Acquired Season 2. You can get in touch with Gina Eiben, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.
07/02/181h 14m

Season 2, Episode 2: Raising a Seed Round with Against Gravity CEO Nick Fajt

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile) We launch mini-series on Acquired with a subject near & dear to our heroes’ hearts: startup fundraising! This has been one of our most-requested new topics, and we’re excited to kick things off with makers of the popular Rec Room social VR app, Against Gravity, which raised one of Seattle’s hottest venture rounds in recent history: a $4m seed led by Sequoia Capital in 2016. CEO Nick Fajt joins to tell the story from company inception to building and shipping the initial product, fundraising as a first-time CEO, what they’ve been able to accomplish with the capital and their vision for the future. We had a blast touching on many classic Acquired themes for the first time “in-action” with a young, growing company, and hope you all enjoy the discussion as much as we did. Let us know what you think in the Slack! Carve Outs: Ben: Ready Player One David: Seveneves  Nick: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Sponsor: Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring this Acquired Season 2. You can get in touch with Gina Eiben, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.
07/02/181h 14m

Season 2, Episode 1: Zappos (with Alfred Lin)

Former Zappos Chairman & COO (and current Partner at Sequoia Capital) Alfred Lin joins our heroes to kick off Season 2 with a classic: Amazon’s 2009 acquisition of the internet’s quirkiest online retailer for $1.2B in stock. How did three Harvard undergrads go from delivering pizza to their dorm to delivering happiness to the world — and become in the process one of the few companies ever to compete successfully head-to-head against Amazon in commerce? Tune in to find out!  Note: Unfortunately the quality of David and Alfred’s audio tracks in this episode were significantly impacted by a processor issue on David’s computer, which we didn’t discover until after recording. We’ve worked hard to fix in post-production, but it’s still far from perfect. Still, the content from Alfred is so good, we felt we had to put this episode out there even though the audio quality isn’t up to par. We hope you’ll give it a listen regardless, and we’re working on getting a transcript made ASAP as well.  -Ben & David Carve Outs: * Ben: Andrew Mason on Recode Decode  * David: Justin O’Beirne on Google Maps’ Moat * Alfred: Walter Isaacson’s biographies of Albert Einstein and Benjamin Franklin Sponsor: * Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring this podcast. You can get in touch with Jason Day, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here. Full Transcript below: (disclaimer: may contain unintentionally confusing, inaccurate and/or amusing transcription errors)
23/01/181h 12m

Season 2, Episode 1: Zappos (with Alfred Lin)

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile) Former Zappos Chairman & COO (and current Partner at Sequoia Capital) Alfred Lin joins our heroes to kick off Season 2 with a classic: Amazon’s 2009 acquisition of the internet’s quirkiest online retailer for $1.2B in stock. How did three Harvard undergrads go from delivering pizza to their dorm to delivering happiness to the world — and become in the process one of the few companies ever to compete successfully head-to-head against Amazon in commerce? Tune in to find out!    Note: Unfortunately the quality of David and Alfred’s audio tracks in this episode were significantly impacted by a processor issue on David’s computer, which we didn’t discover until after recording. We’ve worked hard to fix in post-production, but it’s still far from perfect. Still, the content from Alfred is so good, we felt we had to put this episode out there even though the audio quality isn’t up to par. We hope you’ll give it a listen regardless, and we’re working on getting a transcript made ASAP as well.  -Ben & David    Carve Outs: Ben: Andrew Mason on Recode Decode  David: Justin O’Beirne on Google Maps’ Moat Alfred: Walter Isaacson’s biographies of Albert Einstein and Benjamin Franklin   Sponsor: Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring this podcast. You can get in touch with Jason Day, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.
23/01/181h 12m

Announcement: San Francisco Happy Hour

Join us on Tuesday, January 16th at 5:30 in San Francisco for the Acquired Listener Happy Hour! Find out more and RSVP here: http://bit.ly/acquiredhh
08/01/18

Announcement: San Francisco Happy Hour

Join us on Tuesday, January 16th 2018 at 5:30 in San Francisco for the Acquired Listener Happy Hour!
08/01/1857s

Episode 51: 2017 Holiday Special

Acquired cozies up to the fire and looks back on the year in tech. How wildly off were we on last year’s predictions? What does the next year have in store? Most importantly, what price will Bitcoin be trading at in December 2018??? Pour yourself a glass of your favorite holiday beverage and kick back with us.SF Acquired Meetup!Mark your calendars: we’ll be hosting an Acquired Meetup in SF the evening of January 18, 2018. More details coming soon—check Slack or Acquired.fm. LinksJosh Elman on shared experiencesPatrick McKenzie on distribution2017 Carve Outs of the Year:BooksHis Dark Materials trilogy by Philip PullmanShoe Dog by Phil KnightWooden on Leadership by John Wooden and Steve JamisonArticles“The Great AI Awakening” New York Times Magazine“Founder Friendly” AVC blogPodcasts“The Ezra Klein Show” featuring Yuval Noah Harari“The Bill Simmons Show” featuring Jimmy IovineMusicBruce Springsteen and The E Street Band live at the Hammersmith Odeon London in 1975A Moment Apart by OdeszaMoviesCreedBlade Runner 2049The Last JediAppsYouTubeHQSponsor:Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring this podcast. You can get in touch with Jason Day, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.
18/12/171h 16m

Episode 51: 2017 Holiday Special

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile) Acquired cozies up to the fire and looks back on the year in tech. How wildly off were we on last year’s predictions? What does the next year have in store? Most importantly, what price will Bitcoin be trading at in December 2018??? Pour yourself a glass of your favorite holiday beverage and kick back with us.   SF Acquired Meetup! Mark your calendars: we’ll be hosting an Acquired Meetup in SF the evening of January 18, 2018. More details coming soon—check Slack or Acquired.fm.    Links Josh Elman on shared experiences Patrick McKenzie on distribution   2017 Carve Outs of the Year: Books His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman Shoe Dog by Phil Knight Wooden on Leadership by John Wooden and Steve Jamison Articles “The Great AI Awakening” New York Times Magazine “Founder Friendly” AVC blog Podcasts “The Ezra Klein Show” featuring Yuval Noah Harari “The Bill Simmons Show” featuring Jimmy Iovine Music Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band live at the Hammersmith Odeon London in 1975 A Moment Apart by Odesza Movies Creed Blade Runner 2049 The Last Jedi Apps YouTube HQ   Sponsor: Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring this podcast. You can get in touch with Jason Day, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.
18/12/171h 16m

Episode 50: Apple - Beats

Acquired crosses the half-century mark with an instant classic: Apple’s 2014 purchase of Beats, its largest acquisition ever. If you knew Beats as just another headphone company, think again—the history on this one will keep your heads ringin’.SF Acquired Meetup!Mark your calendars: we’ll be hosting an Acquired Meetup in SF the evening of January 18, 2018. More details to come soon. Carve Outs:Ben: HQDavid: Wooden on Leadership Sponsor:Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring this podcast. You can get in touch with Nick Ferrer, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.
11/12/171h 15m

Episode 50: Apple - Beats

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile) Acquired crosses the half-century mark with an instant classic: Apple’s 2014 purchase of Beats, its largest acquisition ever. If you knew Beats as just another headphone company, think again—the history on this one will keep your heads ringin’. SF Acquired Meetup! * Mark your calendars: we’ll be hosting an Acquired Meetup in SF the evening of January 18, 2018. More details to come soon. Carve Outs: * Ben: HQ * David: Wooden on Leadership Sponsor: * Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring this podcast. You can get in touch with Nick Ferrer, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.
11/12/171h 15m

Episode 49: The Stitch Fix IPO

Ben and David dive into the most talked-about tech IPO of 4Q 2017: Stitch Fix. After downsizing the offering and pricing below the range, does this signal a warning that public markets won’t value high-flying silicon valley “disruptors” as high as VCs hope? Or is this a textbook example of a great return for a disciplined management team and well-run company? Most importantly, what happens next? Tune in for our heroes’ take. Carve Outs:Ben: The iPhone XDavid: Coach Wooden and Me: Our 50-Year Friendship On and Off the CourtSponsor:Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring this podcast. You can get in touch with Jason Day, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.
04/12/171h 11m

Episode 49: The Stitch Fix IPO

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile) Ben and David dive into the most talked-about tech IPO of 4Q 2017: Stitch Fix. After downsizing the offering and pricing below the range, does this signal a warning that public markets won’t value high-flying silicon valley “disruptors” as high as VCs hope? Or is this a textbook example of a great return for a disciplined management team and well-run company? Most importantly, what happens next? Tune in for our heroes’ take.  Carve Outs: Ben: The iPhone X David: Coach Wooden and Me: Our 50-Year Friendship On and Off the Court Sponsor: Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring this podcast. You can get in touch with Jason Day, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.
04/12/171h 11m

Episode 48: Qualcomm - Broadcom

Ben & David cover the proposed largest tech M&A deal of all time, and in the process dive into the evolving dynamics of the industry that started everything in Silicon Valley—silicon. Just when VCs thought innovation was dead in semiconductors, a new wave of startups and large companies are redrawing the lines of competition in an industry dominated for a half-century by the “Wintel” duopoly of Intel and Microsoft.Topics Covered Include:Innovation and disruption in the semiconductor industry over the past two yearsIntel’s acquisition of NervanaGraphcore and other ML-focused semiconductor startupsCDMA and the telephone network effectQualcomm’s early cell phone handsets Vertical integration + commoditization in smartphone chipsets The Carve Out:Ben: The de-watering of Niagara FallsDavid: Big Daddy’s AntiquesBonus: The Mystery ShowSponsor:Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring this podcast. You can get in touch with Nick Ferrer, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.
20/11/1751m 32s

Episode 48: Qualcomm - Broadcom

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile) Ben & David cover the proposed largest tech M&A deal of all time, and in the process dive into the evolving dynamics of the industry that started everything in Silicon Valley—silicon. Just when VCs thought innovation was dead in semiconductors, a new wave of startups and large companies are redrawing the lines of competition in an industry dominated for a half-century by the “Wintel” duopoly of Intel and Microsoft. Topics Covered Include: Innovation and disruption in the semiconductor industry over the past two years Intel’s acquisition of Nervana Graphcore and other ML-focused semiconductor startups CDMA and the telephone network effect Qualcomm’s early cell phone handsets  Vertical integration + commoditization in smartphone chipsets  The Carve Out: Ben: The de-watering of Niagara Falls David: Big Daddy’s Antiques Bonus: The Mystery Show Sponsor: Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring this podcast. You can get in touch with Nick Ferrer, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.
20/11/1751m 33s

Episode 47: The Atlassian IPO

Ben & David venture to the land down under (and reunite in-person!) to tell the story of the granddaddy of all bootstrapped tech success stories, collaboration software company Atlassian. How did two plucky college grads from Sydney, Australia go from just trying to escape working for the man to becoming two of the top 10 wealthiest people in the entire country, all without raising a dollar of venture capital? We dive in. Topics Covered Include:How Atlassian founders Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar met in college at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, and their decision to bootstrap a startup as an alternative to finding a “real job” after graduationAtlassian’s “no sales” model, and the resultant efficiency of their sales & marketing spend relative to other SAAS companies Organic product growth and acquisitions over the years, starting with Jira and later adding Confluence, BitBucket, HipChat / Stride, Jira Service Desk and TrelloRapid revenue growth and the decision to continue as a bootstrapped company, only raising secondary capital prior to going publicThe IPO in November 2015 and subsequent stock performance (spoiler: it’s been good)The Carve Out:Ben: Phil Knight’s memoir, Shoe DogDavid: Bruce Springsteen memoir, Born to RunSponsor:Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring this podcast. You can get in touch with Jason Day, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.
07/11/171h 5m

Episode 47: The Atlassian IPO

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile) Ben & David venture to the land down under (and reunite in-person!) to tell the story of the granddaddy of all bootstrapped tech success stories, collaboration software company Atlassian. How did two plucky college grads from Sydney, Australia go from just trying to escape working for the man to becoming two of the top 10 wealthiest people in the entire country, all without raising a dollar of venture capital? We dive in.  Topics Covered Include: How Atlassian founders Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar met in college at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, and their decision to bootstrap a startup as an alternative to finding a “real job” after graduation Atlassian’s “no sales” model, and the resultant efficiency of their sales & marketing spend relative to other SAAS companies  Organic product growth and acquisitions over the years, starting with Jira and later adding Confluence, BitBucket, HipChat / Stride, Jira Service Desk and Trello Rapid revenue growth and the decision to continue as a bootstrapped company, only raising secondary capital prior to going public The IPO in November 2015 and subsequent stock performance (spoiler: it’s been good) The Carve Out: Ben: Phil Knight’s memoir, Shoe Dog David: Bruce Springsteen memoir, Born to Run Sponsor: Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring this podcast. You can get in touch with Jason Day, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.
07/11/171h 5m

Episode 46: Blue Bottle Coffee

Today our heroes cover a deal that might have more impact on life in Silicon Valley than AI, wearables and AR/VR combined… Nestle’s acquisition of Blue Bottle Coffee. Will hipster entrepreneurs and the VCs who love/need them continue to line up around the block for their minimalist coffee experience of choice, now that it’s owned by the Nesquik Bunny? Is this the beginning of Blue Bottle pod machines filling the empty counter space left by Juicero’s demise in VC offices throughout South Park? We investigate.  Topics Covered Include: * The rise of “Third Wave” coffee * Blue Bottle founder James Freeman’s “classical” (music) influences  * Venture capital and the coffee business  * Achieving liquidity when companies and founders’ don’t want to go public, and don’t want to sell their stakes  * Nestle’s position in single-serve coffee market and potential brand impact of Blue Bottle The Carve Out: * Ben: There Never Was a Real Tulip Fever * David: the small joys of the iPhone SE Sponsor: * Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring this podcast. You can get in touch with Jeff Beuche, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here. Full Transcript below: (disclaimer: may contain unintentionally confusing, inaccurate and/or amusing transcription errors)
08/10/171h 2m

Episode 46: Blue Bottle Coffee

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile) Today our heroes cover a deal that might have more impact on life in Silicon Valley than AI, wearables and AR/VR combined… Nestle’s acquisition of Blue Bottle Coffee. Will hipster entrepreneurs and the VCs who love/need them continue to line up around the block for their minimalist coffee experience of choice, now that it’s owned by the Nesquik Bunny? Is this the beginning of Blue Bottle pod machines filling the empty counter space left by Juicero’s demise in VC offices throughout South Park? We investigate.    Topics Covered Include: The rise of “Third Wave” coffee Blue Bottle founder James Freeman’s “classical” (music) influences  Venture capital and the coffee business  Achieving liquidity when companies and founders’ don’t want to go public, and don’t want to sell their stakes  Nestle’s position in single-serve coffee market and potential brand impact of Blue Bottle   The Carve Out: Ben: There Never Was a Real Tulip Fever David: iPhone SE   Sponsor: Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring this podcast. You can get in touch with Jeff Beuche, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.
08/10/171h 2m

Episode 45: HTC, Google and the Future of Mobile

Acquired is back and live on the scene! After months of speculation, Google announces today their acquisition (err, "Cooperation Agreement”) of a large portion of HTC’s hardware division. What does this mean for the future of mobile? Can Google transform itself into a vertically integrated device company and compete directly with Apple? Most importantly, when will we see more Beats Android handsets??? (We hope never)Topics Covered Include:The origins of HTC as a Taiwanese OEM, dating back to the Compaq iPAQ and Palm Treo 650!HTC’s long history with Google, starting as the manufacturer of the first Android phone, the HTC Dream / T-Mobile G1HTC’s ownership of Beats, for a hot minuteGoogle’s own winding history in hardware, with its Motorola acquisition in 2011 and divestiture in 2014Google & HTC’s joint work on the Pixel smartphones in 2016And much analysis and speculation on what this means for Google, Apple, Samsung, vertical vs horizontal business models and more!The Carve Out:Ben: Odesza’s new album A Moment ApartDavid: Bruce Springsteen on Fresh AirSponsor:Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring this podcast. You can get in touch with Jeff Beuche, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.
21/09/171h 19m

Episode 45: HTC, Google and the Future of Mobile

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)   Acquired is back and live on the scene! After months of speculation, Google announces today their acquisition (err, "Cooperation Agreement”) of a large portion of HTC’s hardware division. What does this mean for the future of mobile? Can Google transform itself into a vertically integrated device company and compete directly with Apple? Most importantly, when will we see more Beats Android handsets??? (We hope never)   Topics Covered Include: The origins of HTC as a Taiwanese OEM, dating back to the Compaq iPAQ and Palm Treo 650! HTC’s long history with Google, starting as the manufacturer of the first Android phone, the HTC Dream / T-Mobile G1 HTC’s ownership of Beats, for a hot minute Google’s own winding history in hardware, with its Motorola acquisition in 2011 and divestiture in 2014 Google & HTC’s joint work on the Pixel smartphones in 2016 And much analysis and speculation on what this means for Google, Apple, Samsung, vertical vs horizontal business models and more!   The Carve Out: Ben: Odesza’s new album A Moment Apart David: Bruce Springsteen on Fresh Air   Sponsor: Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring this podcast. You can get in touch with Jeff Beuche, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.
21/09/171h 19m

Episode 44: AOL - Time Warner (with the Internet History Podcast)

On this extra-long episode of Acquired, Brian McCullough from the Internet History Podcast returns to discuss perhaps the most (in)famous merger of all time: AOL - Time Warner. Who doesn’t remember the soothing sounds of 56k modems and the timeless phrase, “You’ve Got Mail”? Join us all as we unpack how one of the biggest ISP’s of the 90’s tried to take over the world… and failed. Topics Covered Include: * AOL’s status in the 90’s / early 00’s * Explaining just what it is that AOL did at the height of their popularity * How AOL pioneered a number of internet paradigms * AOL’s persistent money troubles and bailouts from other companies * Steve Case foreseeing the coming era of broadband, inspiring AOL to pursue working with a cable company * Ebay vs. Time Warner in a down-to-the-wire war for a merger with AOL * Why the money dried up for AOL after their merger with Time Warner * AOL and its value in the post-Time-Warner era * Speculating about what would have happened had AOL and others stayed independent businesses * And much discussion on how to grade this one… The Carve Out: * Ben: Give and Take by Adam Grant  * David: Season of the Witch by David Talbot  * Brian: A Mind at Play: How Claude Shannon Invented the Information Age by Rob Goodman  Sponsor: * Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring this podcast. You can get in touch with Jeff Beuche, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here. Full Transcript below: (disclaimer: may contain unintentionally confusing, inaccurate and/or amusing transcription errors)
18/09/171h 41m

Episode 44: AOL - Time Warner (with the Internet History Podcast)

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)   On this extra-long episode of Acquired, Brian McCullough from the Internet History Podcast returns to discuss perhaps the most (in)famous merger of all time: AOL - Time Warner. Who doesn’t remember the soothing sounds of 56k modems and the timeless phrase, “You’ve Got Mail”? Join us all as we unpack how one of the biggest ISP’s of the 90’s tried to take over the world… and fell far short.   Topics Covered Include: AOL’s status in the 90’s / early 00’s Explaining just what it is that AOL did at the height of their popularity How AOL pioneered a number of internet paradigms AOL’s persistent money troubles and bailouts from other companies Steve Case foreseeing the coming era of broadband, inspiring AOL to pursue working with a cable company Ebay vs. Time Warner in a down-to-the-wire war for a merger with AOL Why the money dried up for AOL after their merger with Time Warner AOL and its value in the post-Time-Warner era Speculating about what would have happened had AOL and others stayed independent businesses And much discussion on how to grade this one…   The Carve Out: Ben: Give and Take by Adam Grant  David: Season of the Witch by David Talbot  Brian: A Mind at Play: How Claude Shannon Invented the Information Age by Rob Goodman    Sponsor: Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring this podcast. You can get in touch with Jeff Beuche, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.
18/09/171h 41m

Episode 43: The Square IPO

Unicorns and ratchets and lawsuits, oh my! Our heroes dive into the history of Jack Dorsey’s famous “other” company, Square. Was the Square IPO a canary in the coal mine signaling doom & gloom for the so-called unicorn companies of the early 2010’s, or a mispriced and misunderstood diamond in the rough? Acquired weighs in. Topics Covered Include: * Square’s deep origins in the early 90’s in St. Louis, MO with the initial meeting of its co-founders, Jack Dorsey & Jim McKelvey * McKelvey’s side glass blowing business and the “inspiration” for Square that came much later in the late 2000’s * The complicated involvement of Washington University (in St. Louis) professor Robert Morley, who had worked for years developing payment card reading technology * The company’s early meeting with Scott Forstall at Apple, and its “significant” impact on the its name and design * The real disruptive innovation of Square and its business model (hint: not just building a mobile card reader) * Square’s massive payments deal with Starbucks in 2012 and its impact on the company * The evolution of Square’s business from a simple card reader to cloud-based Point of Sale (PoS) system and entire suite of merchant tools & business management services * The drama leading up to Square’s IPO (including at Jack Dorsey’s “other” company, Twitter), dynamics and narratives affecting its pricing, the effect of IPO “ratchets”, and the company’s performance over the ~2 years since The Carve Out: * David: Bob Iger on Nick Bilton’s Inside the Hive podcast * Ben: The World After Capital on GitBooks Sponsor: * Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring this podcast. You can get in touch with Buddy Arnheim, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here. Full Transcript below: (disclaimer: may contain unintentionally confusing, inaccurate and/or amusing transcription errors)
16/08/171h 15m

Episode 43: The Square IPO

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile) Unicorns and ratchets and lawsuits, oh my! Our heroes dive into the history of Jack Dorsey’s famous “other” company, Square. Was the Square IPO a canary in the coal mine signaling doom & gloom for the so-called unicorn companies of the early 2010’s, or a mispriced and misunderstood diamond in the rough? Acquired weighs in.   Topics Covered Include: Square’s deep origins in the early 90’s in St. Louis, MO with the initial meeting of its co-founders, Jack Dorsey & Jim McKelvey McKelvey’s side glass blowing business and the “inspiration” for Square that came much later in the late 2000’s The complicated involvement of Washington University (in St. Louis) professor Robert Morley, who had worked for years developing payment card reading technology The company’s early meeting with Scott Forstall at Apple, and its “significant” impact on the its name and design The real disruptive innovation of Square and its business model (hint: not just building a mobile card reader) Square’s massive payments deal with Starbucks in 2012 and its impact on the company The evolution of Square’s business from a simple card reader to cloud-based Point of Sale (PoS) system and entire suite of merchant tools & business management services The drama leading up to Square’s IPO (including at Jack Dorsey’s “other” company, Twitter), dynamics and narratives affecting its pricing, the effect of IPO “ratchets”, and the company’s performance over the ~2 years since   The Carve Out: David: Bob Iger on Nick Bilton’s Inside the Hive podcast Ben: The World After Capital on GitBooks   Sponsor: Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring this podcast. You can get in touch with Buddy Arnheim, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.
16/08/171h 15m

Episode 42: Opsware (with special guest Michel Feaster)

Acquired dives into the legendary acquisition of Ben Horowitz & Marc Andreessen’s “second act” software company Opsware, from a perspective never before heard—HP’s side of the story! Our heroes are joined by Michel Feaster, who led both the acquisition for HP and then the Opsware product as part of the integrated company afterward under Ben Horowitz. Today the tables have turned: Michel is the Co-Founder and CEO of Seattle-based startup Usermind, and Ben Horowitz sits on her board on behalf of A16Z. This episode is not one to miss! Topics covered include: * Opsware’s early history and origins as Loudcloud, the “second act” of internet wunderkind Marc Andreessen and Netscape product manager Ben Horowitz * Ben’s first person telling of the Loudcloud/Opsware history in The Hard Thing about Hard Things, as well as the great Wired "period piece” covering Loudcloud’s launch in August 2000 * The importance of timing, and Loudcloud’s too-early vision of—essentially—AWS before AWS (including eerie parallels between the metaphor Andreessen used to describe Loudcloud during the company’s first press briefing, and Jeff Bezos’s description of AWS at YC nearly a decade later) * Creation of the “Opsware” tool inside of Loudcloud to automate deploying and configuring servers within Loudcloud’s data centers * Loudcloud's meteoric rise, crash following the burst of the internet bubble, and hard pivot as a public company into Opsware—now an enterprise software company selling datacenter tools  * Michel’s role in HP’s evaluation of the company as an acquisition target, and process leading to its $1.6B acquisition in July 2007 * Integration of the company into HP’s culture and sales channel * The creation of Ben & Marc’s “third act”, the VC firm Andreessen Horowitz, and what it’s like for Michel now having Ben as an investor on her board at Usermind  The Carve Out: * Ben: StarStaX star trail photography software * David: Jimmy Iovine on the Bill Simmons Podcast Sponsor: * Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring this episode. You can get in touch with Buddy Arnheim (as heard on this episode) directly here. Full Transcript below: (disclaimer: may contain unintentionally confusing, inaccurate and/or amusing transcription errors)
05/08/171h 13m

Episode 42: Opsware (with special guest Michel Feaster)

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)   Acquired dives into the legendary acquisition of Ben Horowitz & Marc Andreessen’s “second act” software company Opsware, from a perspective never before heard—HP’s side of the story! Our heroes are joined by Michel Feaster, who led both the acquisition for HP and then the Opsware product as part of the integrated company afterward under Ben Horowitz. Today the tables have turned: Michel is the Co-Founder and CEO of Seattle-based startup Usermind, and Ben Horowitz sits on her board on behalf of A16Z. This episode is not one to miss!   Topics covered include: Opsware’s early history and origins as Loudcloud, the “second act” of internet wunderkind Marc Andreessen and Netscape product manager Ben Horowitz Ben’s first person telling of the Loudcloud/Opsware history in The Hard Thing about Hard Things, as well as the great Wired "period piece” covering Loudcloud’s launch in August 2000 The importance of timing, and Loudcloud’s too-early vision of—essentially—AWS before AWS (including eerie parallels between the metaphor Andreessen used to describe Loudcloud during the company’s first press briefing, and Jeff Bezos’s description of AWS at YC nearly a decade later) Creation of the “Opsware” tool inside of Loudcloud to automate deploying and configuring servers within Loudcloud’s data centers Loudcloud's meteoric rise, crash following the burst of the internet bubble, and hard pivot as a public company into Opsware—now an enterprise software company selling datacenter tools  Michel’s role in HP’s evaluation of the company as an acquisition target, and process leading to its $1.6B acquisition in July 2007 Integration of the company into HP’s culture and sales channel The creation of Ben & Marc’s “third act”, the VC firm Andreessen Horowitz, and what it’s like for Michel now having Ben as an investor on her board at Usermind    The Carve Out: Ben: StarStaX star trail photography software David: Jimmy Iovine on the Bill Simmons Podcast
05/08/171h 13m

Episode 41: Booking.com with Jetsetter & Room 77 CEO Drew Patterson

Acquired trains its lens on the “second or third best acquisition of all-time”, Priceline’s 2005 purchase of Booking.com. Our heroes are joined by friend-of-the-show and former Jetsetter & Room 77 CEO Drew Patterson to help understand how this little-known startup from The Netherlands grew into the largest travel company in the world, with nearly $8B in annual revenue. Was this deal even better than Instagram??? We debate, hotly.  Topics covered include: * The biggest startup you’ve never heard of (in the US), Booking.com , and its parent company Priceline (yes, the William Shatner Priceline) * Booking’s founding in Amsterdam in late 1996: by recent college graduate Geert-Jan Bruinsma * Skift.com’s Definitive Oral History of Online Travel * The travel industry's GDS's (“Global Distribution Systems”) and the development of Sabre  * How Bruinsma raised the initial money for Booking: by emailing anyone he know who had an email address  * OTAs ("Online Travel Agencies”) and how they operate; the "merchant model" versus the “agency model" * The role of search in online travel  * Bill Gurley on Conversion: The Most Important Internet Metric of All * Expedia’s early flirtation with Booking, and decision not to acquire the company * Priceline head of M&A Glenn Fogel’s vision for how powerful the agency model for OTAs could become in Europe * Priceline and Glenn's 2004 acquisition of Active Hotels in the UK, followed by the 2005 acquisition of Booking for $133M and the combination of the two businesses into Booking.com  * Booking’s incredible growth in the decade since the acquisition, from less than 20M room-nights to over 500M, and $7.8B in revenue in 2016 The Carve Out: * Ben: Scott Forstall talking about the original iPhone at the Computer History Museum * David: The Big Sick * Drew: Bloomberg’s Money Stuff by Matt Levine Sponsor: * Thanks to Silicon Valley Bank for sponsoring this episode. If you'd like to learn more or start a banking relationship, you can get in touch with Shai Goldman here. Full Transcript below: (disclaimer: may contain unintentionally confusing, inaccurate and/or amusing transcription errors
26/07/171h 14m

Episode 41: Booking.com with Jetsetter & Room 77 CEO Drew Patterson

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)   Acquired trains its lens on the “second or third best acquisition of all-time”, Priceline’s 2005 purchase of Booking.com. Our heroes are joined by friend-of-the-show and former Jetsetter & Room 77 CEO Drew Patterson to help understand how this little-known startup from The Netherlands grew into the largest travel company in the world, with nearly $8B in annual revenue. Was this deal even better than Instagram??? We debate, hotly.    Topics covered include: The biggest startup you’ve never heard of (in the US), Booking.com, and its parent company Priceline (yes, the William Shatner Priceline) Booking’s founding in Amsterdam in late 1996: by recent college graduate Geert-Jan Bruinsma Skift.com’s Definitive Oral History of Online Travel  The travel industry's GDS's (“Global Distribution Systems”) and the development of Sabre  How Bruinsma raised the initial money for Booking: by emailing anyone he know who had an email address  OTAs ("Online Travel Agencies”) and how they operate; the "merchant model" versus the “agency model" The role of search in online travel  Bill Gurley on Conversion: The Most Important Internet Metric of All Expedia’s early flirtation with Booking, and decision not to acquire the company Priceline head of M&A Glenn Fogel’s vision for how powerful the agency model for OTAs could become in Europe Priceline and Glenn's 2004 acquisition of Active Hotels in the UK, followed by the 2005 acquisition of Booking for $133M and the combination of the two businesses into Booking.com  Booking’s incredible growth in the decade since the acquisition, from less than 20M room-nights to over 500M, and $7.8B in revenue in 2016   The Carve Out: Ben: Scott Forstall talking about the original iPhone at the Computer History Museum David: The Big Sick Drew: Bloomberg’s Money Stuff by Matt Levine   Sponsor: Thanks to Silicon Valley Bank for sponsoring this episode. If you'd like to learn more or start a banking relationship, you can get in touch with Shai Goldman here.
26/07/171h 14m

Episode 40: Activision Blizzard

Ben & David cover the creation of the gaming world’s equivalent of the 70’s rock supergroup: the 2008 merger of Blizzard and Activision. We tell the story from the Blizzard perspective, tracing the history of one of the most innovative companies in the business from humble beginnings at the hands of UCLA undergrads, to surviving multiple acquisition rollups (including at one point being owned by the French national water company), to joining ultimately with Activision to form the largest gaming company in the world, all while inventing multiple game genres that define the industry as we know it today.   Click here to take the 2017 Acquired Survey. It takes 5-10 minutes, and you may win a pair of AirPods (woo!)   Topics covered include: * Blizzard’s founding in 1991 as "Silicon & Synapse” by recent UCLA grads Allen Adham, Frank Pearce, and Mike Morhaime * The team’s first projects making ports for other games, including Battle Chess on the Commodore 64 * Early success on the Super Nintendo with Rock & Roll Racing and The Lost Vikings * Origin of the Real-Time Strategy game genre (“RTS”) and Blizzard’s fist mega-hit, Warcraft  * Blizzard’s crazy corporate ownership changes over the years * Development of further legendary game franchises like Diablo and Starcraft, along with sequels to Warcraft and the rise of the rise of player modding * Emergence of the Multiplayer Online Battle Arena genre (“MOBA”) from the Warcraft III modding community, and its growth into one of the biggest sectors in the games and esports industries today * Blizzard’s role in developing the concept of online gaming, from early hacks to play against friends to World of Warcraft and Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (“MMORPG’s”) * The 2008 merger with storied gaming company Activision  * Growth and success since the merger, including the launch of new game franchises Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm and Overwatch The Carve Out: * Ben: Dick Costolo on Vanity Fair’s Inside the Hive podcast * David: Nellie and Joe's 100% Natural Key Lime Juice (tip: buy in bulk from Walmart/Jet) Sponsor: * Thanks to Silicon Valley Bank for sponsoring this episode. If you'd like to learn more or start a banking relationship, you can get in touch with Shai Goldman here. Full Transcript below: (disclaimer: may contain unintentionally confusing, inaccurate and/or amusing transcription errors)
13/07/171h 13m

Episode 40: Activision Blizzard

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)   Ben & David cover the creation of the gaming world’s equivalent of the 70’s rock supergroup: the 2008 merger of Blizzard and Activision. We tell the story from the Blizzard perspective, tracing the history of one of the most innovative companies in the business from humble beginnings at the hands of UCLA undergrads, to surviving multiple acquisition rollups (including at one point being owned by the French national water company), to joining ultimately with Activision to form the largest gaming company in the world, all while inventing multiple game genres that define the industry as we know it today.     Click here to take the 2017 Acquired Survey. It takes 5-10 minutes, and you may win a pair of AirPods (woo!)     Topics covered include: Blizzard’s founding in 1991 as "Silicon & Synapse” by recent UCLA grads Allen Adham, Frank Pearce, and Mike Morhaime The team’s first projects making ports for other games, including Battle Chess on the Commodore 64 Early success on the Super Nintendo with Rock & Roll Racing and The Lost Vikings Origin of the Real-Time Strategy game genre (“RTS”) and Blizzard’s fist mega-hit, Warcraft  Blizzard’s crazy corporate ownership changes over the years Development of further legendary game franchises like Diablo and Starcraft, along with sequels to Warcraft and the rise of the rise of player modding Emergence of the Multiplayer Online Battle Arena genre (“MOBA”) from the Warcraft III modding community, and its growth into one of the biggest sectors in the games and esports industries today Blizzard’s role in developing the concept of online gaming, from early hacks to play against friends to World of Warcraft and Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (“MMORPG’s”) The 2008 merger with storied gaming company Activision  Growth and success since the merger, including the launch of new game franchises Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm and Overwatch   The Carve Out: Ben: Dick Costolo on Vanity Fair’s Inside the Hive podcast David: Nellie and Joe's 100% Natural Key Lime Juice (tip: buy in bulk from Walmart/Jet)   Sponsor: Thanks to Silicon Valley Bank for sponsoring this episode. If you'd like to learn more or start a banking relationship, you can get in touch with Shai Goldman here.
13/07/171h 13m

Episode 39: Whole Foods Market

Ben and David are once again live on the scene, this time covering the biggest disruption in grocery since… well, sliced bread: Amazon’s $13.7B purchase of Whole Foods Market. We place this deal in context by diving deep into the long, intertwining history of grocery, tech and Amazon, from the infamous dotcom flameout Webvan (domain name now owned by Amazon) to its much more successful progeny Kiva Systems (acquired by Amazon in 2012) to current Silicon Valley unicorn Instacart (founded by former Amazon logistics engineer Apoorva Mehta). One thing is clear: for Amazon and Jeff Bezos, realizing the longterm vision of the Everything Store truly means building the everything store. Topics covered include: * The origins of Whole Foods Market as “Saferway” in the late 70’s Austin, TX hippie scene, founded by CEO John Mackey (“the Steve Jobs of grocery stores”) and his then-girlfriend Renee Lawson Hardy * Whole Foods’ expansion through acquisition throughout the 80’s and 90’s * The company’s recent struggles with competition, leading to sales declines and attracting activist shareholder interest from Jana Partners  * Amazon’s acquisition of the company on June 16, 2017 for $13.7 billion, a 27 percent premium to the stock's previous day closing price * In depth history and analysis of the four keys to understanding this deal: Webvan, Kiva Systems, AmazonFresh and Instacart  Followups: * Walmart/Jet buys Bonobos for $310M The Carve Out: * Ben: Mark Zuckerberg’s 2005 CS50 guest lecture * David: Exponent on Podcasting and Centralization Sponsor: * Thanks to Silicon Valley Bank for sponsoring this episode. If you'd like to learn more or start a banking relationship, you can get in touch with Dan Allred here. Full Transcript below: (disclaimer: may contain unintentionally confusing, inaccurate and/or amusing transcription errors)
21/06/171h 11m

Acquired Episode 39: Whole Foods Market

Ben and David are once again live on the scene, this time covering the biggest disruption in grocery since… well, sliced bread: Amazon’s $13.7B purchase of Whole Foods Market. We place this deal in context by diving deep into the long, intertwining history of grocery, tech and Amazon, from the infamous dotcom flameout Webvan (domain name now owned by Amazon) to its much more successful progeny Kiva Systems (acquired by Amazon in 2012) to current Silicon Valley unicorn Instacart (founded by former Amazon logistics engineer Apoorva Mehta). One thing is clear: for Amazon and Jeff Bezos, realizing the longterm vision of the Everything Store truly means building the everything store. Topics covered include: The origins of Whole Foods Market as “Saferway” in the late 70’s Austin, TX hippie scene, founded by CEO John Mackey (“the Steve Jobs of grocery stores”) and his then-girlfriend Renee Lawson Hardy Whole Foods’ expansion through acquisition throughout the 80’s and 90’s The company’s recent struggles with competition, leading to sales declines and attracting activist shareholder interest from Jana Partners  Amazon’s acquisition of the company on June 16, 2017 for $13.7 billion, a 27 percent premium to the stock's previous day closing price In depth history and analysis of the four keys to understanding this deal: Webvan, Kiva Systems, AmazonFresh and Instacart  Followups: Walmart/Jet buys Bonobos for $310M The Carve Out: Ben: Mark Zuckerberg’s 2005 CS50 guest lecture David: Exponent on Podcasting and Centralization Sponsor: Thanks to Silicon Valley Bank for sponsoring this episode. If you'd like to learn more or start a banking relationship, you can get in touch with Dan Allred here.
21/06/171h 11m

"About Acquired" on the Anchor Podcast of the Day

Ben and David are guests on Anchor's Podcast of the Day, discussing Acquired's origin story, show structure, and how the show gets made. If you're new to the show and looking for a primer, this is a great place to jump in!
11/06/1720m 15s

"About Acquired" on the Anchor Podcast of the Day

Ben and David are guests on Anchor's Podcast of the Day, discussing Acquired's origin story, show structure, and how the show gets made. If you're new to the show and looking for a primer, this is a great place to jump in!
11/06/1720m 15s

Episode 38: SoundJam (iTunes)

Ben & David revisit the birth of the digital music revolution and Steve Jobs’ “digital hub” strategy, with Apple's 2000 acquisition of the Mac music player SoundJam MP, which would go on to become iTunes. We relive the 90’s with brushed metal interfaces, music visualizers and of course, software sold in (physical) boxes. Topics covered include: * The heady early days of the “digital music revolution”: Napster,  WinAmp, and the Diamond Rio * Former Apple engineer Bill Kincaid’s first exposure to the concept of digital music, via NPR on the way to an auto racing track * Bill’s decision to build SoundJam, recruiting fellow former Apple engineer Jeff Robbin as a cofounder, and later adding Dave Heller to the team * Why you used to need a publisher to sell software… and the celebrity author of the SoundJam user manual: David Pogue! * SoundJam’s release in 1998 and enthusiastic adoption by Mac owners who enjoyed pirating playing digital music  * SoundJam's (and later iTunes’s) most famous UI element: brushed metal * The Apple acquisition of SoundJam in 2000 instead of competitor Panic Software’s Audion, and the wonderful history as told by Panic's founders years later   * Steve Jobs' launch of iTunes at the Macworld keynote in January 2001 * Launch of the iPod later that year in October 2001  * The SoundJam team’s long subsequent tenure at Apple and leadership roles to this day Followups: * Another Echo from Amazon: Echo Show * Facebook streaming 20 MLB games this season * Snap Inc’s first quarter as a public company is in the books The Carve Out: * Ben: The Internet History Podcast on The Napster Story, with Jordan Ritter * David: Israel Thanks to this episode's sponsor, Silicon Valley Bank. You can learn more about SVB, or reach out to Marshall Hawks directly (who's voice you'll recognize on the show) here.  Full Transcript below: (disclaimer: may contain unintentionally confusing, inaccurate and/or amusing transcription errors)
31/05/171h 15m

Acquired Episode 38: SoundJam (iTunes)

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)     Ben & David revisit the birth of the digital music revolution and Steve Jobs' "digital hub" strategy, with Apple's 2000 acquisition of the Mac music player SoundJam MP, which would go on to become iTunes. We relive the 90's with brushed metal interfaces, music visualizers and of course, software sold in (physical) boxes.     Thanks to this episode's sponsor, Silicon Valley Bank. You can learn more about SVB, or reach out to Marshall Hawks directly (who's voice you'll recognize on the show) here: https://www.svb.com/profile/Marshall-Hawks/
31/05/171h 15m

Episode 37: BAMTech, Disney and "the Biggest Media Company You've Never Heard Of”

Ben and David continue Acquired’s “tech and sports” mini-series with Disney’s 2016 acquisition of a minority stake (with the right to purchase a majority stake at a later date) in BAMTech, the internet streaming company originally founded as part of Major League Baseball in the early 2000’s. However the importance of this story goes deeper than just sports, with major ramifications for nearly every major technology company from Amazon to YouTube. Even if you’re not not sure if baseball’s played on a diamond or a gridiron, tune in as we swing for the fences in predicting the future of TV!  Topics covered include: * What is BAMTech, and why is it, according to The Verge, "the future of television”? * BAMTech’s origins as part of Major League Baseball's Advanced Media division ("MLBAM)”) * MLBAM’s founding CEO Bob Bowman’s decidedly “non-tech” background, and growth into one of the most important tech leaders of the past 15 years * Initial technology struggles and learnings from early streaming efforts (including a botched audio package of Ichiro Suzuki’s games with the Mariners for fans in Japan) * Landing on a streaming model that works with the launch of MLB.tv in 2002/2003—three years before YouTube is founded!  * Improvement of the MLB.tv service and MLBAM’s streaming expertise over the next ten years through the rise of mobile, and simultaneous growth of MLBAM’s revenues to over $1B annually * MLBAM’s initial deals to expand its streaming services beyond baseball, starting with ESPN in 2010, then WWE, the PGA, HBO and the NHL * The importance of media rights, and MLBAM’s transition from a simple tech/infrastructure provider to a full-fledged media company  * The decision to initiate a spin-off process for BAMTech from MLB in August 2015, and Disney’s $1B investment into the newly created spin-out company in August 2016 * Disney’s subsequent announcement that they’ll be working with BAMTech to create a direct-to-consumer ESPN streaming service * BAMTech’s $300M deal with Riot Games in December 2016 for the media rights to League of Legends eSports content  * Bob Bowman’s announcement in February 2017 that he’ll be stepping back to from a day to day role, and hiring of former Amazon VP of Video Michael Paull as BAMTech’s new CEO Followups & Hot Takes: * Facebook’s struggles with Instant Articles * Microsoft killing Wunderlist (David is VERY sad) * Instagram continues its torrid growth, passes 700M MAU * Amazon’s new Look  * The Cloudera IPO * Confirmation the ride sharing wars are far from over: Didi raises $5.5B in the largest private funding round ever The Carve Out: * Ben: NYT’s 4th Down Bot * David: Wait But Why on Elon Musk’s “Wizard Hat" Full Transcript below: (disclaimer: may contain unintentionally confusing, inaccurate and/or amusing transcription errors)
10/05/171h 14m

Episode 37: BAMTech, Disney and "the Biggest Media Company You've Never Heard Of”

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)   Ben and David continue Acquired’s “tech and sports” mini-series with Disney’s 2016 acquisition of a minority stake (with the right to purchase a majority stake at a later date) in BAMTech, the internet streaming company originally founded as part of Major League Baseball in the early 2000’s. However the importance of this story goes deeper than just sports, with major ramifications for nearly every major technology company from Amazon to YouTube. Even if you’re not not sure if baseball’s played on a diamond or a gridiron, tune in as we swing for the fences in predicting the future of TV!    Topics covered include: What is BAMTech, and why is it, according to The Verge, "the future of television”? BAMTech’s origins as part of Major League Baseball's Advanced Media division ("MLBAM)”) MLBAM’s founding CEO Bob Bowman’s decidedly “non-tech” background, and growth into one of the most important tech leaders of the past 15 years Initial technology struggles and learnings from early streaming efforts (including a botched audio package of Ichiro Suzuki’s games with the Mariners for fans in Japan) Landing on a streaming model that works with the launch of MLB.tv in 2002/2003—three years before YouTube is founded!  Improvement of the MLB.tv service and MLBAM’s streaming expertise over the next ten years through the rise of mobile, and simultaneous growth of MLBAM’s revenues to over $1B annually MLBAM’s initial deals to expand its streaming services beyond baseball, starting with ESPN in 2010, then WWE, the PGA, HBO and the NHL The importance of media rights, and MLBAM’s transition from a simple tech/infrastructure provider to a full-fledged media company  The decision to initiate a spin-off process for BAMTech from MLB in August 2015, and Disney’s $1B investment into the newly created spin-out company in August 2016 Disney’s subsequent announcement that they’ll be working with BAMTech to create a direct-to-consumer ESPN streaming service BAMTech’s $300M deal with Riot Games in December 2016 for the media rights to League of Legends eSports content  Bob Bowman’s announcement in February 2017 that he’ll be stepping back to from a day to day role, and hiring of former Amazon VP of Video Michael Paull as BAMTech’s new CEO   Followups & Hot Takes: Facebook’s struggles with Instant Articles Microsoft killing Wunderlist (David is VERY sad) Instagram continues its torrid growth, passes 700M MAU Amazon’s new Look  The Cloudera IPO Confirmation the ride sharing wars are far from over: Didi raises $5.5B in the largest private funding round ever   The Carve Out: Ben: NYT’s 4th Down Bot David: Wait But Why on Elon Musk’s “Wizard Hat"
10/05/171h 14m

Episode 36: The LA Clippers

In honor of the start of NBA playoffs, Ben & David venture off the beaten path to explore one of Steve Ballmer’s most famous acquisitions, his 2014 purchase of the Los Angeles Clippers NBA franchise. Was this landmark purchase a steal or a turnover for the former Microsoft CEO? We speculate wildly! Topics covered include: * The Clippers’ founding in 1970 as the NBA expansion team the Buffalo Braves * Early ownership changes and the move west to San Diego in 1981 * Acquisition in 1981 by LA lawyer and real estate developer Donald Sterling for $12.5M * Sterling's relocation of the Clippers to LA in 1984 against NBA rules * Struggles over the next 25 years as the "worst franchise in professional sports” according to ESPN  * Turnaround beginning in early 2010s led by Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, and Chris Paul * The bombshell in April 2014, reported by TMZ, of a taped conversation between Sterling and his mistress where Sterling makes hugely offensive and racist comments, directed in particular toward former Lakers point guard Magic Johnson * Fallout from the comments, resulting in a lifetime ban from NBA for Sterling, and a forced sale of the team to former Microsoft CEO,  Steve Ballmer for $2B * Impact of the landmark sale price on NBA and other sports franchise valuations  * Clippers performance post-sale, and  prospects for the future  * The opportunity for technology and business model innovation in the NBA, and professional sports in general Followups: * Instagram Stories passes 200 million users per day (including correction on the definition of DAU) * The Last Jedi trailer! * Clarifying Starbucks’ same store sales performance post-IPO  The Carve Out: * Ben: Bill Gurley on This Week in Startups * David: Pop, Race & the '60s podcast and Just Around Midnight by Jack Hamilton   Full Transcript below: (disclaimer: may contain unintentionally confusing, inaccurate and/or amusing transcription errors)
24/04/171h 5m

Episode 36: The LA Clippers

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)   In honor of start of NBA playoffs, Ben & David venture off the beaten path to explore one of Steve Ballmer’s most famous acquisitions, his 2014 purchase of the Los Angeles Clippers NBA franchise. Was this landmark purchase a steal or a turnover for the former Microsoft CEO? We speculate wildly!   Topics covered include: The Clippers’ founding in 1970 as the NBA expansion team the Buffalo Braves Early ownership changes and the move west to San Diego in 1981 Acquisition in 1981 by LA lawyer and real estate developer Donald Sterling for $12.5M Sterling's relocation of the Clippers to LA in 1984 against NBA rules Struggles over the next 25 years as the "worst franchise in professional sports” according to ESPN  Turnaround beginning in early 2010s led by Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, and Chris Paul The bombshell in April 2014, reported by TMZ, of a taped conversation between Sterling and his mistress where Sterling makes hugely offensive and racist comments, directed in particular toward former Lakers point guard Magic Johnson Fallout from the comments, resulting in a lifetime ban from NBA for Sterling, and a forced sale of the team to former Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer for $2B Impact of the landmark sale price on NBA and other sports franchise valuations  Clippers performance post-sale, and  prospects for the future  The opportunity for technology and business model innovation in the NBA, and professional sports in general   Followups: Instagram Stories passes 200 million users per day (including correction on the definition of DAU) The Last Jedi trailer! Clarifying Starbucks’ same store sales performance post-IPO    The Carve Out: Ben: Bill Gurley on This Week in Startups David: Pop, Race & the '60s podcast and Just Around Midnight by Jack Hamilton
24/04/171h 5m

Episode 35: Oculus

Ben & David transcend the barriers of “real” reality, and dive into Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg’s geek-eutpoia vision of the future of gaming, social, and maybe even the entire internet: strapping goofy-looking goggles to your face. Is VR for real this time or are we living through another Virtual Boy moment? Tune in to find out! Topics covered include: * Oculus’s origins in 2010 as a twinkle in the eye of the then-17 year old VR wunderkind, Palmer Luckey, who started by prototyping VR headsets in his parents’ garage in Southern California  * Palmer’s time interning at USC's Institute for Creative Technologies , and chronicling of his own VR efforts in the Meant to be Seen 3D  internet forums * Legendary game developer John Carmack’s own interest in virtual reality, his intersection with Palmer on the MTBS3D forums, and how he acquired and popularized one of Palmer's first early prototypes of the Oculus Rift (which was literally held together with duct tape !) by demonstrating it onstage at E3 2012  * How former Scaleform cofounders Brendan Iribe and Michael Antonov teamed up with Palmer after E3 to create the company Oculus VR * The newly-formed Oculus’s wildly successful August 2012 Kickstarter campaign, including video endorsements from both Carmack and Valve founder Gabe Newell * Oculus’s subsequent venture capital fundraisings, and catching the attention of Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg  * Facebook’s acquisition of the company in March 2014 for $2.3B * The Zenimax lawsuit filed against Oculus and Facebook following the acquisition  * Valve (home of the most incredible company handbook of all-time) and Gabe Newell’s subsequent pivot from supporting Oculus to launching their own competing VR efforts with the Vive  * Team changes at Oculus post-acquisition  Followups: * SNAP: still a public company Hot Takes: * Intel’s $15B acquisition of Mobileye (with reference to Ben Thompson’s analysis of the deal and Smiling Curves) The Carve Out: * Ben: Kara Swisher interviews the Pod Save America team at SXSW * David: Adam Gopnik asks Are Liberals on the Wrong Side of History? Full Transcript below: (disclaimer: may contain unintentionally confusing, inaccurate and/or amusing transcription errors)
11/04/171h 17m

Episode 35: Oculus

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)   Ben & David transcend the barriers of “real” reality, and dive into Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg’s geek-eutpoia vision of the future of gaming, social, and maybe even the entire internet: strapping goofy-looking goggles to your face. Is VR for real this time or are we living through another Virtual Boy moment? Tune in to find out!   Topics covered include: Oculus’s origins in 2010 as a twinkle in the eye of the then-17 year old VR wunderkind, Palmer Luckey, who started by prototyping VR headsets in his parents’ garage in Southern California  Palmer’s time interning at USC's Institute for Creative Technologies, and chronicling of his own VR efforts in the Meant to be Seen 3D internet forums Legendary game developer John Carmack’s own interest in virtual reality, his intersection with Palmer on the MTBS3D forums, and how he acquired and popularized one of Palmer's first early prototypes of the Oculus Rift (which was literally held together with duct tape!) by demonstrating it onstage at E3 2012  How former Scaleform cofounders Brendan Iribe and Michael Antonov teamed up with Palmer after E3 to create the company Oculus VR The newly-formed Oculus’s wildly successful August 2012 Kickstarter campaign, including video endorsements from both Carmack and Valve founder Gabe Newell Oculus’s subsequent venture capital fundraisings, and catching the attention of Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg  Facebook’s acquisition of the company in March 2014 for $2.3B The Zenimax lawsuit filed against Oculus and Facebook following the acquisition  Valve (home of the most incredible company handbook of all-time) and Gabe Newell’s subsequent pivot from supporting Oculus to launching their own competing VR efforts with the Vive  Team changes at Oculus post-acquisition    Followups: SNAP: still a public company   Hot Takes: Intel’s $15B acquisition of Mobileye (with reference to Ben Thompson’s analysis of the deal and Smiling Curves)   The Carve Out: Ben: Kara Swisher interviews the Pod Save America team at SXSW David: Adam Gopnik asks Are Liberals on the Wrong Side of History?
11/04/171h 17m

Episode 34: Starbucks IPO with Dan Levitan

Ben & David "pour over" the 1992 IPO of the legendary Seattle coffee company with the help of Dan Levitan, who served as lead investment banker on the IPO and who would later co-found the venture capital firm Maveron with Starbucks’ CEO Howard Schultz.  Topics covered include: * The original Starbucks’ founding as a coffee bean roaster, started by three disciples of the legendary coffee roaster Alfred Peet * Howard Schultz’s introduction to Starbucks, his joining the team as director of marketing, and inspiration behind his “third place” coffee shop vision * Howard’s departure from the original Starbucks, founding of Il Giornale, and subsequent of acquisition the Seattle Starbucks stores * Starbucks’ incredible growth following the acquisition and expansion beyond Seattle * The state of raising private capital in the 1980’s/90’s, and the decision to go public (link to the S-1) * Howard’s ambitious goals for the roadshow and investor participation, and subsequent stock performance after the IPO * The narrative and evolution of Starbucks as a technology company, or a consumer company that leverages technology very effectively The Carve Out: * Ben: Dan Primack’s new daily newsletter, Pro Rata * David: The Wizard and the Bruiser podcast  * Dan: The Man in the Glass Full Transcript below: (disclaimer: may contain unintentionally confusing, inaccurate and/or amusing transcription errors)
03/04/171h 19m

Episode 34: The Starbucks IPO with Dan Levitan

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile) Ben & David "pour over" the 1992 IPO of the legendary Seattle coffee company with the help of Dan Levitan, who served as lead investment banker on the IPO and who would later co-found the venture capital firm Maveron with Starbucks’ CEO Howard Schultz.  Topics covered include: The original Starbucks’ founding as a coffee bean roaster, started by three disciples of the legendary coffee roaster Alfred Peet Howard Schultz’s introduction to Starbucks, his joining the team as director of marketing, and inspiration behind his “third place” coffee shop vision Howard’s departure from the original Starbucks, founding of Il Giornale, and subsequent of acquisition the Seattle Starbucks stores Starbucks’ incredible growth following the acquisition and expansion beyond Seattle The state of raising private capital in the 1980’s/90’s, and the decision to go public (link to the S-1) Howard’s ambitious goals for the roadshow and investor participation, and subsequent stock performance after the IPO The narrative and evolution of Starbucks as a technology company, or a consumer company that leverages technology very effectively The Carve Out: Ben: Dan Primack’s new daily newsletter, Pro Rata David: The Wizard and the Bruiser podcast  Dan: The Man in the Glass
03/04/171h 19m

Episode 33: Overture (with the Internet History Podcast!)

Ben & David dive deep into the early days of internet search, with the help of the best in the internet history business: Brian McCullough from the Internet History Podcast! We are huge fans of IHP at Acquired, so this was a real treat to collaborate with Brian and the great work he does over there. In this episode we cover the story of how a small incubator in Southern California spawned perhaps the greatest tech business model of all-time, Yahoo!’s fumbling of that golden opportunity, and Google’s recovery of that fumble to cross into the end zone of tech history behind the biggest moat ever constructed on the internet.  Topics covered include: * Overture’s origins as part of the Idealab incubator run by famed early internet entrepreneur Bill Gross * Invention of the paid search business model… initially by returning ADS ONLY in response to search queries * The eventual marrying of Overture’s paid search (ads) with organic search results via syndication on other properties like Yahoo! * Revenue from Overture’s ad partnership saving Yahoo!’s business after the internet bubble burst  * Yahoo!’s eventual acquisition of Overture for $1.4B in 2003  * But… the really interesting story here: Overture’s 'inspiration' of Google’s business model and the creation of "the greatest advertising machine in the history of the world" * The original (pre-Overture) Google business model: selling a box!  * Google’s differentiation vs Overture: focusing on the long tail, ad quality scores, and an advertiser-friendly auction structure * Google’s first major search syndication victory over Overture: AOL * Yahoo!’s failed attempt to buy Google for $3B in 2002, leading it to settle for acquiring Overture instead the following year * “Project Panama” at Yahoo!, and its impact on the tech and internet history * Overture's (and later Yahoo!’s) lawsuit against Google for stealing the paid search business model— "the O.G. version of Snapchat and Instagram” * Paul Graham’s take on "What Happened to Yahoo?” * Perhaps the most important technology to come out of this whole episode: Hadoop * The power of incentive alignment in marketplaces— and creating the widest and deepest moats on the internet The Carve Out: * Ben: The famous University of Washington's “Love Lab” Dr. John Gottman: “The Secret to Love is Just Kindness” * David: Berlin * Brian: The Dark Valley: A Panorama of the 1930s Full Transcript below: (disclaimer: may contain unintentionally confusing, inaccurate and/or amusing transcription errors)
13/03/171h 27m

Episode 33: Overture (with the Internet History Podcast!)

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)   Episode 33: Overture (with the Internet History Podcast!)    Ben & David dive deep into the early days of internet search, with the help of the best in the internet history business: Brian McCullough from the Internet History Podcast! We are huge fans of IHP at Acquired, so this was a real treat to collaborate with Brian and the great work he does over there. In this episode we cover the story of how a small incubator in Southern California spawned perhaps the greatest tech business model of all-time, Yahoo!’s fumbling of that golden opportunity, and Google’s recovery of that fumble to cross into the end zone of tech history behind the biggest moat ever constructed on the internet.    Topics covered include: Overture’s origins as part of the Idealab incubator run by famed early internet entrepreneur Bill Gross Invention of the paid search business model… initially by returning ADS ONLY in response to search queries The eventual marrying of Overture’s paid search (ads) with organic search results via syndication on other properties like Yahoo! Revenue from Overture’s ad partnership saving Yahoo!’s business after the internet bubble burst  Yahoo!’s eventual acquisition of Overture for $1.4B in 2003  But… the really interesting story here: Overture’s 'inspiration' of Google’s business model and the creation of "the greatest advertising machine in the history of the world" The original (pre-Overture) Google business model: selling a box!  Google’s differentiation vs Overture: focusing on the long tail, ad quality scores, and an advertiser-friendly auction structure Google’s first major search syndication victory over Overture: AOL Yahoo!’s failed attempt to buy Google for $3B in 2002, leading it to settle for acquiring Overture instead the following year “Project Panama” at Yahoo!, and its impact on the tech and internet history Overture's (and later Yahoo!’s) lawsuit against Google for stealing the paid search business model— "the O.G. version of Snapchat and Instagram” Paul Graham’s take on "What Happened to Yahoo?” Perhaps the most important technology to come out of this whole episode: Hadoop The power of incentive alignment in marketplaces— and creating the widest and deepest moats on the internet   The Carve Out: Ben: The famous University of Washington's “Love Lab” Dr. John Gottman: “The Secret to Love is Just Kindness” David: Berlin Brian: The Dark Valley: A Panorama of the 1930s
13/03/171h 27m

Episode 32: The Snap Inc. IPO

SNAP! Acquired is live on the scene reporting from the "Super Bowl" of 2017 tech events: Snap Inc's hugely anticipated (and just plain huge) IPO. What does the future hold for this plucky “camera company”? Will Snap's IPO endure as tech's most important picture-frame since the 2012 debut of Facebook, or is it destined to fade as just another snapshot? We debate!  Topics covered include: * Reference to our previous Acquired episode on Snap covering Facebook’s failed attempt to acquire the company in 2013, which goes deep on Snap’s origins and early history * Snap’s busy years since: launching Discover, Lenses, Geofilters, new Chat, Memories, an ads API, acquiring Bitmoji, and, of course, debuting Spectacles * The incredible document that is Snap's S-1 filing (read starting from the “BUSINESS” section on p.93) * Snap Inc’s “unique” voting structure * Evan Spiegel’s “CEO Award” bonus for successfully completing an IPO: an extra 3.0% of the company worth more than $600M * Snap’s IPO pricing, first day of trading “pop”, and momentum carried into day two  * Introducing a new show section (for IPOs): Narratives!  o Snap is a “camera company" o Snap's opportunity is winning television ad dollars o Snap is a cult of the “product genius” o Snap has a growth problem… and its name is Instagram (Stories) o Snap has a cost problem: the (first?) gross margin negative IPO o Wall Street to Evan: “we trust you… for now" * Chris Sacca’s biggest email fail of 2012 * …And of course all the classics from the Acquired canon: waves, moats, flywheels, network effects, starting small and more!  The Carve Out: * Ben: The Bill Simmons Podcast with Ben Thompson * David: The Art of War, also Evan Spiegel’s Carve Out for 2013 :)  Full Transcript below: (disclaimer: may contain unintentionally confusing, inaccurate and/or amusing transcription errors)
04/03/171h 23m

Episode 32: The Snap Inc. IPO

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)   Snap! Acquired is live on the scene reporting from the "Super Bowl" of 2017 tech events: Snap Inc's hugely anticipated (and just plain huge) IPO. What does the future hold for this plucky “camera company”? Will Snap's IPO endure as tech's most important picture-frame since the 2012 debut of Facebook, or is it destined to fade as just another snapshot? We debate!    Topics covered include: Reference to our previous Acquired episode on Snap covering Facebook’s failed attempt to acquire the company in 2013, which goes deep on Snap’s origins and early history Snap’s busy years since: launching Discover, Lenses, Geofilters, new Chat, Memories, an ads API, acquiring Bitmoji, and, of course, debuting Spectacles The incredible document that is Snap's S-1 filing (read starting from the “BUSINESS” section on p.93) Snap Inc’s “unique” voting structure Evan Spiegel’s “CEO Award” bonus for successfully completing an IPO: an extra 3.0% of the company worth more than $600M Snap’s IPO pricing, first day of trading “pop”, and momentum carried into day two  Introducing a new show section (for IPOs): Narratives!  Snap is a “camera company" Snap's opportunity is winning television ad dollars Snap is a cult of the “product genius” Snap has a growth problem… and its name is Instagram (Stories) Snap has a cost problem: the (first?) gross margin negative IPO Wall Street to Evan: “we trust you… for now" Chris Sacca’s biggest email fail of 2012 …And of course all the classics from the Acquired canon: waves, moats, flywheels, network effects, starting small and more!    The Carve Out: Ben: The Bill Simmons Podcast with Ben Thompson David: The Art of War, also Evan Spiegel’s Carve Out for 2013 :) 
04/03/171h 23m

Episode 31: The Uber - Didi Chuxing Merger with Brad Stone, author of The Upstarts & The Everything Store

Brad Stone, Senior Executive Editor of Global Technology at Bloomberg and author of The Upstarts and The Everything Store, joins Ben & David to dive deep into the Uber-Didi saga, a wild story with far-reaching implications that still aren’t fully appreciated by most of the Western tech community. Brad has been the foremost US chronicler of Didi through his reporting at Bloomberg and work on The Upstarts, and shares fascinating insights about its founder & CEO Cheng Wei, how the tech landscape is evolving in China, and lessons & themes that other technology communities around the world can learn from their rapid rise.  Topics covered include: * The global surge in 2012 of entrepreneurs starting ridesharing companies, nowhere moreso than China  * Didi CEO Cheng Wei and investor Wang Gang’s backgrounds at Alibaba, first entrepreneurial effort in Momo, and Momo’s pivot to Didi Dache * The culling of the ridesharing herd in China down to Didi Dache and Kuaidi Dache through brutal competition and involvement of the “big three” Chinese internet companies  * Rise of the Chinese messaging apps and associated mobile payments, and their impact on ridesharing * The 2015 merger between Didi and Kuaidi, brokered in part by Russian VC Yuri Milner * Uber’s decision to enter the Chinese market, and early success with investment and support from Baidu * The first meeting between Uber CEO Travis Kalanick and Cheng Wei in 2015—which does not go well * Subsequent “scorched earth” competition between Didi and Uber throughout 2015-16 * Negotiating an armistice: Uber’s agreement to sell its Chinese operations to Didi in late 2016 * End of the war, or just the beginning? January 2017: Didi invests $100M in Brazilian Uber competitor 99 * Sustainable growth, and building moats versus scorching earth Followups: * Stay tuned for real-time coverage of the Snap IPO coming here on Acquired!  The Carve Out: * Ben: Taming the Mammoth on Wait But Why * David: Conversations with Tyler Podcast by Tyler Cowen, co-author of the Marginal Revolution blog * Brad: Yuval Noah Harari (author of Sapiens)’s new book, Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow Full Transcript below: (disclaimer: may contain unintentionally confusing, inaccurate and/or amusing transcription errors)
01/03/171h 9m

Episode 31: The Uber - Didi Chuxing Merger with Brad Stone, author of The Upstarts & The Everything Store

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)   Topics covered include: The global surge in 2012 of entrepreneurs starting ridesharing companies, nowhere moreso than China  Didi CEO Cheng Wei and investor Wang Gang’s backgrounds at Alibaba, first entrepreneurial effort in Momo, and Momo’s pivot to Didi Dache The culling of the ridesharing herd in China down to Didi Dache and Kuaidi Dache through brutal competition and involvement of the “big three” Chinese internet companies  Rise of the Chinese messaging apps and associated mobile payments, and their impact on ridesharing The 2015 merger between Didi and Kuaidi, brokered in part by Russian VC Yuri Milner Uber’s decision to enter the Chinese market, and early success with investment and support from Baidu The first meeting between Uber CEO Travis Kalanick and Cheng Wei in 2015—which does not go well Subsequent “scorched earth” competition between Didi and Uber throughout 2015-16 Negotiating an armistice: Uber’s agreement to sell its Chinese operations to Didi in late 2016 End of the war, or just the beginning? January 2017: Didi invests $100M in Brazilian Uber competitor 99 Sustainable growth, and building moats versus scorching earth   Followups: Stay tuned for real-time coverage of the Snap IPO coming here on Acquired!    The Carve Out: Ben: Taming the Mammoth on Wait But Why David: Conversations with Tyler Podcast by Tyler Cowen, co-author of the Marginal Revolution blog Brad: Yuval Noah Harari (author of Sapiens)’s new book, Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow
01/03/171h 9m

Episode 30: P.A. Semi + AuthenTec

Ben & David venture into the semiconductor world, analyzing two hallmark Apple acquisitions: P.A. Semi and AuthenTec, both of which would go on to form the basis of core Apple product features in the “A” series of processors and TouchID sensors. Was Cupertino smart to bring these components in-house? Is there more value realized in the whole of Apple’s products than the sum of its parts? We investigate! (Spoiler alert: um, yeah. :) Topics covered include: * P.A. Semi’s original moniker ("Palo Alto Semiconductor”) and its celebrity founder (in the semiconductor world) Dan Dobberpuhl * History of the back and forth tradeoffs between Intel’s powerful x86 chips and low power alternatives like ARM processors  * Dobberpuhl’s technology breakthroughs throughout his career that enabled true low-power + high-performance chips * The initial target markets for P.A. Semi’s chips (surprise: NOT mobile phones) * P.A. Semi’s first foray into a potential deal with Apple, dashed by Cupertino’s surprise switch to Intel processors in 2005 * The rise of mobile finally creating the huge market need for low-power / high-performance, Apple’s acquisition of P.A., and launch of the first Apple-designed chip, the “A4”, with the original iPad in 2010 * Geekbench: the single-core performance of Apple’s latest generation of smartphone processors (A10 Fusion) has basically caught up with Intel’s laptop CPUs * AuthenTec’s beginnings in the late 90’s as a spinoff from the defense contractor Harris Corporation (named by Wired Magazine as the #2 threat to internet privacy in the US), based in Melbourne, Florida * Early versions of the technology that became TouchID, the sensors for which were many times larger than today’s iPhones themselves! * AuthenTec “not very Apple-like” website on Archive.org (and screenshot) * AuthenTec’s deal that almost was to put their technology and sensors into Samsung’s flagship phones  * Apple’s acquisition of AuthenTec for $356 million in July 2012, and the rapid introduction of TouchID in the iPhone 5S one year later in September 2013 Followups: * Merging of Alaska & Virgin America loyalty programs (woo!) * Walmart announces major reorg following the Jet acquisition * Snap Inc. IPO drama is mounting! (we can’t wait to cover this one) The Carve Out: * Ben: Rands in Repose: The Situation * David: Daily Rituals: How Artists Work   Full Transcript below: (disclaimer: may contain unintentionally confusing, inaccurate and/or amusing transcription errors)
24/01/171h 7m

Episode 30: P.A. Semi + AuthenTec

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)   Topics covered include: P.A. Semi’s original moniker ("Palo Alto Semiconductor”) and its celebrity founder (in the semiconductor world) Dan Dobberpuhl History of the back and forth tradeoffs between Intel’s powerful x86 chips and low power alternatives like ARM processors  Dobberpuhl’s technology breakthroughs throughout his career that enabled true low-power + high-performance chips The initial target markets for P.A. Semi’s chips (surprise: NOT mobile phones) P.A. Semi’s first foray into a potential deal with Apple, dashed by Cupertino’s surprise switch to Intel processors in 2005 The rise of mobile finally creating the huge market need for low-power / high-performance, Apple’s acquisition of P.A., and launch of the first Apple-designed chip, the “A4”, with the original iPad in 2010 Geekbench: the single-core performance of Apple’s latest generation of smartphone processors (A10 Fusion) has basically caught up with Intel’s laptop CPUs AuthenTec’s beginnings in the late 90’s as a spinoff from the defense contractor Harris Corporation (named by Wired Magazine as the #2 threat to internet privacy in the US), based in Melbourne, Florida Early versions of the technology that became TouchID, the sensors for which were many times larger than today’s iPhones themselves! AuthenTec “not very Apple-like” website on Archive.org (and screenshot) AuthenTec’s deal that almost was to put their technology and sensors into Samsung’s flagship phones  Apple’s acquisition of AuthenTec for $356 million in July 2012, and the rapid introduction of TouchID in the iPhone 5S one year later in September 2013   Followups: Merging of Alaska & Virgin America loyalty programs (woo!) Walmart announces major reorg following the Jet acquisition Snap Inc. IPO drama is mounting! (we can’t wait to cover this one)   The Carve Out: Ben: Rands in Repose: The Situation David: Daily Rituals: How Artists Work
24/01/171h 7m

Episode 29: Special—2016 Review and 2017 Predictions

Ben & David wrap up 2016 with a review of the top tech themes we discussed on the show this year, and look forward to which themes we think will be relevant in the coming year. Can our hosts predict the future? Tune-in in 2018 to find out!  Note: we apologize for the less-than-amazing audio quality on this one. We’re still working on tuning our remote recording setup! Topics covered include: * Our top tech themes of 2016, including the first annual Acquired "Theme of the Year”: Aggregation Theory (surprise, surprise) * Themes we think will be most relevant as we head into 2017 * Extended Carve Outs! The Carve Out(s): * Books: Ben: On Writing Well ; David: The Creative Habit and the Asimov Robot/Empire/Foundation series * Article: Ben: Wait But Why: Religion for the Nonreligious ; David: The New York Times: The Perfect Weapon: How Russian Cyberpower Invaded the U.S. * Podcasts: Both: The Ezra Klein Show * Music: Ben: Justin Bieber ; David: Stevie Nicks * TV/Movies: Ben: Westworld ; David: Rouge One * Apps: Ben: ReachNow ; David: Amazon Music  Full Transcript below: (disclaimer: may contain unintentionally confusing, inaccurate and/or amusing transcription errors)
11/01/171h 11m

Episode 29: Special—2016 Review and 2017 Predictions

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)   Ben & David wrap up 2016 with a review of the top tech themes we discussed on the show this year, and look forward to which themes we think will be relevant in the coming year. Can our hosts predict the future? Tune-in in 2018 to find out!    Note: we apologize for the less-than-amazing audio quality on this one. We’re still working on tuning our remote recording setup!   Topics covered include: Our top tech themes of 2016, including the first annual Acquired "Theme of the Year”: Aggregation Theory (surprise, surprise) Themes we think will be most relevant as we head into 2017 Extended Carve Outs!   The Carve Out(s): Books:  Ben: On Writing Well David: The Creative Habit and the Asimov Robot/Empire/Foundation series Article:  Ben: Wait But Why: Religion for the Nonreligious David: The New York Times: The Perfect Weapon: How Russian Cyberpower Invaded the U.S. Podcasts:  Both: The Ezra Klein Show Music:  Ben: Justin Bieber David: Stevie Nicks TV/Movies:  Ben: Westworld David: Rouge One Apps:  Ben: ReachNow David: Amazon Music
11/01/171h 11m

Episode 28: The Amazon IPO with original Amazon Board Member Tom Alberg

Ben & David welcome very special guest Tom Alberg, board member and first lead investor in Amazon.com, to cover the IPO of "earth’s most customer-centric company". From longterm thinking to flywheels to riding big waves, this episode is chock full of lessons and stories from the journey of building one of tech’s most iconic franchises. We hope you enjoy listening as much as we did recording it!  Topics covered include: * Tom’s “prolific” bio from the Amazon S-1 * Jeff Bezos’s journey from a Vice President at the New York hedge fund D. E. Shaw to founding Amazon in a Bellevue, WA garage in the summer of 1994 * Jeff’s longterm thinking as evident in the early days of Amazon, and his approach that "failure is ok, but not trying things is not ok”  * Raising the seed money for Amazon before product launch, how Tom met Jeff and decided to invest despite the “high” valuation * Tom's (and Jeff’s) focus on the power of targeting large and growing markets  * Amazon’s actual overnight success after launching the website: according to Tom at the time, "By the second or third week… It was clear there was a trend here.” * How Amazon’s venture round, led by John Doerr of Kleiner Perkins, came together in the spring of 1996  * Amazon’s torrid growth through 1996, Jeff’s mantra of “get big fast” to win the land grab of online book selling, and the board’s decision to prepare for a public offering in the spring of 1997  * How Frank Quattrone and Bill Gurley, then of Deutsche Bank, won the lead position for the Amazon IPO, beating out more storied firms such as Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley  * Development of the flywheel concept within Amazon, as an outgrowth of maniacal focus on creating superior customer experience * Amazon's public offering on May 15, 1997 at $18 per share (effectively $1.50 relative to today’s stock price after splits), raising $54M at a market capitalization of $438M — and subsequently trading down during the first few months following the IPO   * Amazon and Jeff’s management of investor perceptions of the company, and ability to sell the longterm vision over short term profits — “you get the investors you ask for”  * The creation of the first annual letter to Amazon shareholders  included in the company’s 1997 annual report (and republished every year since), and then-CFO Joy Covey’s role and contributions to it  * Raising convertible debt just before the peak of the dotcom bubble and subsequent ability to survive the burst, and the impact of the downturn on Amazon culture The Carve Out: * Ben: the band The Album Leaf * David: Cormac McCarthy (author of All the Pretty Horses, No Country for Old Men, etc)’s contribution to W. Brian Arthur’s landmark paper about the economics of the internet, “Increasing Returns and the New World of Business” * Tom: Michael Lewis’s latest book The Undoing Project, chronicling the Nobel Prize winning partnership between Daniel Kahneman & Amos Tversky in developing the field of behavioral economics Full Transcript below: (disclaimer: may contain unintentionally confusing, inaccurate and/or amusing transcription errors)
31/12/161h 6m

Episode 28: The Amazon IPO with original Amazon Board Member Tom Alberg

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)   Ben & David welcome very special guest Tom Alberg, board member and first lead investor in Amazon.com, to cover the IPO of "earth’s most customer-centric company". From longterm thinking to flywheels to riding big waves, this episode is chock full of lessons and stories from the journey of building one of tech’s most iconic franchises. We hope you enjoy listening as much as we did recording it!    Topics covered include: Tom’s “prolific” bio from the Amazon S-1 Jeff Bezos’s journey from a Vice President at the New York hedge fund D. E. Shaw to founding Amazon in a Bellevue, WA garage in the summer of 1994 Jeff’s longterm thinking as evident in the early days of Amazon, and his approach that "failure is ok, but not trying things is not ok”  Raising the seed money for Amazon before product launch, how Tom met Jeff and decided to invest despite the “high” valuation Tom's (and Jeff’s) focus on the power of targeting large and growing markets  Amazon’s actual overnight success after launching the website: according to Tom at the time, "By the second or third week… It was clear there was a trend here.” How Amazon’s venture round, led by John Doerr of Kleiner Perkins, came together in the spring of 1996  Amazon’s torrid growth through 1996, Jeff’s mantra of “get big fast” to win the land grab of online book selling, and the board’s decision to prepare for a public offering in the spring of 1997  How Frank Quattrone and Bill Gurley, then of Deutsche Bank, won the lead position for the Amazon IPO, beating out more storied firms such as Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley  Development of the flywheel concept within Amazon, as an outgrowth of maniacal focus on creating superior customer experience Amazon's public offering on May 15, 1997 at $18 per share (effectively $1.50 relative to today’s stock price after splits), raising $54M at a market capitalization of $438M — and subsequently trading down during the first few months following the IPO   Amazon and Jeff’s management of investor perceptions of the company, and ability to sell the longterm vision over short term profits — “you get the investors you ask for”  The creation of the first annual letter to Amazon shareholders included in the company’s 1997 annual report (and republished every year since), and then-CFO Joy Covey’s role and contributions to it  Raising convertible debt just before the peak of the dotcom bubble and subsequent ability to survive the burst, and the impact of the downturn on Amazon culture   The Carve Out: Ben: the band The Album Leaf David: Cormac McCarthy (author of All the Pretty Horses, No Country for Old Men, etc)’s contribution to W. Brian Arthur’s landmark paper about the economics of the internet, “Increasing Returns and the New World of Business” Tom: Michael Lewis’s latest book The Undoing Project, chronicling the Nobel Prize winning partnership between Daniel Kahneman & Amos Tversky in developing the field of behavioral economics
31/12/161h 6m

Episode 27: Special—A Conversation with Microsoft's Head of Strategic Investments Brian Schultz

Ben & David chat with Brian Schultz, the Managing Director of Strategic Investments & Corporate Development at Microsoft, about Microsoft’s approach to M&A, investing, and partnering with startups — and his journey from acquirer to acquiree and back again!  Topics covered include: * Brian’s history working across “both sides of the aisle” as both a startup founder and corporate development leader at a big company, how perspective from each informs the other, and the importance of learning “customer empathy”  * How Microsoft approaches M&A from an organizational perspective, and the importance of fit with the company’s product roadmap  * How Brian approaches strategic investments at Microsoft, and the evolution over time of the Microsoft (and large technology companies as a whole) perspective on investing in other companies * Balancing the tension between partnering and investing, and what criteria Brian thinks about when evaluating companies  * Microsoft’s investment in Facebook in 2007 (at a then-crazy-seeming $15B valuation), and more recently Foursquare, Mesosphere, CloudFlare and others * The current state of the tech M&A landscape, and the emergence of private equity as tech company acquirers  * Potentially changing corporate and foreign tax structures and how they impact acquirers’ thinking around deals (or not!)  * How Microsoft tracks and evaluates success of acquisitions over time, and lessons learned from successes and failures  * The increasing number of operating companies (technology and otherwise) looking to invest in startups, and how that landscape has evolved over time  Followups: * Snap Inc.’s rumored IPO filing — and bonus discussion of how VC’s and other investors think about “exiting” their investments in companies that have gone public Hot Takes: * Amazon Go! The Carve Out: * Ben: OK Go - The One Moment  * David: UC Berkeley Oral History with Sequoia Capital founder Don Valentine * Brian: Om Malik’s recent piece in the New Yorker:  Full Transcript below: (disclaimer: may contain unintentionally confusing, inaccurate and/or amusing transcription errors)
16/12/161h 10m

Episode 27: Special—A Conversation with Microsoft's Head of Strategic Investments Brian Schultz

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)   Topics covered include: Brian’s history working across “both sides of the aisle” as both a startup founder and corporate development leader at a big company, how perspective from each informs the other, and the importance of learning “customer empathy”  How Microsoft approaches M&A from an organizational perspective, and the importance of fit with the company’s product roadmap  How Brian approaches strategic investments at Microsoft, and the evolution over time of the Microsoft (and large technology companies as a whole) perspective on investing in other companies Balancing the tension between partnering and investing, and what criteria Brian thinks about when evaluating companies  Microsoft’s investment in Facebook in 2007 (at a then-crazy-seeming $15B valuation), and more recently Foursquare, Mesosphere, CloudFlare and others The current state of the tech M&A landscape, and the emergence of private equity as tech company acquirers  Potentially changing corporate and foreign tax structures and how they impact acquirers’ thinking around deals (or not!)  How Microsoft tracks and evaluates success of acquisitions over time, and lessons learned from successes and failures  The increasing number of operating companies (technology and otherwise) looking to invest in startups, and how that landscape has evolved over time    Followups: Snap Inc.’s rumored IPO filing — and bonus discussion of how VC’s and other investors think about “exiting” their investments in companies that have gone public   Hot Takes: Amazon Go!   The Carve Out: Ben: OK Go - The One Moment  David: UC Berkeley Oral History with Sequoia Capital founder Don Valentine Brian: Om Malik’s recent piece in the New Yorker: Silicon Valley Has an Empathy Vacuum
16/12/161h 10m

Episode 26: Marvel

Ben and David complete the Disney acquisition trilogy, covering the "house that Mickey built"'s 2009 acquisition of Marvel Entertainment. Will our own superheroes save the day for shareholders, or perish at the hands of villainous corporate raiders? Tune in to find out! Topics covered include: * Marvel’s corporate origins as "Timely Publications”, created in 1939 by pulp magazine publisher Martin Goodman in NYC, with the publication of Marvel Comics #1 * Creation of enduring characters such as Captain America, the Fantastic 4, Spider Man, The X-Men, Iron Man, Thor, The Hulk and more * Adoption in 1961 of the "Marvel Comics” brand, and writer-editor Stan Lee’s transition of the company towards focusing on edgier characters and stories targeted at older audiences  * Marvel’s first sale in 1968 to the Perfect Film and Chemical Corporation (later Cadence Industries) * The company’s “turbulent” corporate history through the 1980’s and associated mergers, acquisitions and lawsuits * Marvel’s reinvention as a film-focused media company in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s with the launch of Marvel Studios * Disney’s ultimate acquisition of the company for $4.2 billion in August 2009, during the depth of the great recession  * Marvel's—and in particular Marvel Studios’—performance since the acquisition  Followups: * People like Spectacles!  Hot Takes: * Shoutout to Hightower & VTS merging The Carve Out: * Ben: Westworld * David: Overdrive Full Transcript below: (disclaimer: may contain unintentionally confusing, inaccurate and/or amusing transcription errors)
05/12/161h 18m

Episode 26: Marvel

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)   Topics covered include: Marvel’s corporate origins as "Timely Publications”, created in 1939 by pulp magazine publisher Martin Goodman in NYC, with the publication of Marvel Comics #1 Creation of enduring characters such as Captain America, the Fantastic 4, Spider Man, The X-Men, Iron Man, Thor, The Hulk and more Adoption in 1961 of the "Marvel Comics” brand, and writer-editor Stan Lee’s transition of the company towards focusing on edgier characters and stories targeted at older audiences  Marvel’s first sale in 1968 to the Perfect Film and Chemical Corporation (later Cadence Industries) The company’s “turbulent” corporate history through the 1980’s and associated mergers, acquisitions and lawsuits Marvel’s reinvention as a film-focused media company in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s with the launch of Marvel Studios Disney’s ultimate acquisition of the company for $4.2 billion in August 2009, during the depth of the great recession  Marvel's—and in particular Marvel Studios’—performance since the acquisition    Followups: People like Spectacles!    Hot Takes: Shoutout to Hightower & VTS merging   The Carve Out: Ben: Westworld David: Overdrive 
05/12/161h 18m

Episode 25: The Facebook IPO

Hey Acquired listeners. A note about this show: we recorded this episode the night before the 2016 Election Day in the US. At the time, the biggest change we saw coming was adding a new type of content to Acquired in analyzing IPO’s, which we introduce in this episode. Two days later, we woke up to a very different world than the one we were expecting. Reflecting on what’s happened, and the past few months of our show, we wanted to say two things: First, we want to apologize for our cavalier attitude toward this election cycle, and our glossing over the clearly very real problems and deep divide in America that it represented. In the Skype episode, David pretty glibly compared the AT&T - Time Warner merger to "Make America Great Again", arguing that any reactionary force is “on the wrong side of history” and cannot be relevant in a changing world. That was wrong, the sentiment behind it was wrong, and it was insensitive to the very real pain a lot of people are feeling out there on both sides.  Second, looking back on this particular episode about the Facebook IPO, we think it actually might present a relevant parable for our country right now and--we hope--some important lessons for the technology industry going forward. For all the wonderful aspects of the tech industry that we celebrate on this show, there is no doubt that it also bears a great deal of responsibility for the current divide in America, and especially in its contribution to wealth inequality. Likewise, for all the wonderful aspects to the Facebook IPO story, as told in this episode, there is a very dark side as well: Facebook shareholders, investment banks and institutional investors raked in billions of dollars at the expense of individual retail investors who lost their shirts.  At the same time, Facebook’s perseverance through their “broken IPO", and their determination in overcoming with incredible speed the massive, existential challenge to their business model posed by mobile, is something we think *can be* an inspiration to us all on how to move forward even when that seems hard. We hope you’ll listen to this episode with that in mind and think about how you, we, and the technology industry as a whole can do better in serving everyone in this country and in the world.  Thanks for being on this journey with us. We’re sorry for our shortcomings, and we’re going to keep working hard to do better.  -Ben & David Topics covered include: * Introducing a new content vertical for Acquired: analyzing IPO’s!  * Facebook turning down early acquisition offers, including including the famous $1B overture from Yahoo in 2006 * The Wikipedia entry on the Facebook IPO referencing it as a “cultural touchstone” * Trading of pre-IPO Facebook stock on SecondMarket and SharesPost * The infamous 2011 Facebook - Goldman Sachs deal attempting to circumvent then-active SEC regulations on number of permissible shareholders in a private company, and Goldman’s eventual loss of “lead left” status to Morgan Stanley for the ultimate Facebook IPO * Facebook’s S-1 filing on February 1, 2012 * The company’s "small problem" at the time (read: gaping chest wound) with mobile * Acquiring Instagram for $1B while on file to go public in April 2012 * Facebook’s $16B IPO finally taking place on Friday May 18, 2012, priced at $38 per share giving FB an initial market cap of $104B * NASDAQ’s “technical glitch” (read: egregious f*&# up) preventing the stock from trading when it supposed to and resulting in $500M of investor losses * Facebook’s stock tanking following a flat first day of trading, losing 25% of its value during the first month and over 50% 4 months later, leading some to label it “The Biggest IPO Flop Ever" * Later revelations that Facebook had unprecedentedly lowered revenue guidance during its IPO roadshow due to continuing challenges with mobile, resulting in an information asymmetry between its underwriting investment banks and their institutional investor clients versus the investing public at large  * How, from the ashes of its “broken IPO”, Facebook amazingly rose to fix its mobile problem at lighting speed, going from mobile comprising zero percent of ad revenue to 23% in one quarter, and over 50% one year later * Zuckerberg's belief that the difficult IPO process and "terrible first year” as a public company "made our company a lot stronger”… and silicon valley’s bizarre, antithetical and counter-productive take away to “stay private longer” Followups: * The scoop on Microsoft’s use of foreign cash to buy Skype, thanks to longtime listener and friend Nick Seguin Hot Takes: * Twitter shutting down (or selling?) Vine The Carve Out: * Ben: Amazon employee #1 Shel Kaphan on the great Internet History Podcast * David: Connectography: Mapping the Future of Global Civilization by Parag Khanna Full Transcript below: (disclaimer: may contain unintentionally confusing, inaccurate and/or amusing transcription errors)
11/11/161h 20m

Episode 25: The Facebook IPO

Hey Acquired listeners. A note about this show: we recorded this episode the night before the 2016 Election Day in the US. At the time, the biggest change we saw coming was adding a new type of content to Acquired in analyzing IPO’s, which we introduce in this episode. Two days later, we woke up to a very different world than the one we were expecting. Reflecting on what’s happened, and the past few months of our show, we wanted to say two things: First, we want to apologize for our cavalier attitude toward this election cycle, and our glossing over the clearly very real problems and deep divide in America that it represented. In the Skype episode, David pretty glibly compared the AT&T - Time Warner merger to "Make America Great Again", arguing that any reactionary force is “on the wrong side of history” and cannot be relevant in a changing world. That was wrong, the sentiment behind it was wrong, and it was insensitive to the very real pain a lot of people are feeling out there on both sides. Second, looking back on this particular episode about the Facebook IPO, we think it actually might present a relevant parable for our country right now and--we hope--some important lessons for the technology industry going forward. For all the wonderful aspects of the tech industry that we celebrate on this show, there is no doubt that it also bears a great deal of responsibility for the current divide in America, and especially in its contribution to wealth inequality. Likewise, for all the wonderful aspects to the Facebook IPO story, as told in this episode, there is a very dark side as well: Facebook shareholders, investment banks and institutional investors raked in billions of dollars at the expense of individual retail investors who lost their shirts. At the same time, Facebook’s perseverance through their “broken IPO", and their determination in overcoming with incredible speed the massive, existential challenge to their business model posed by mobile, is something we think *can be* an inspiration to us all on how to move forward even when that seems hard. We hope you’ll listen to this episode with that in mind and think about how you, we, and the technology industry as a whole can do better in serving everyone in this country and in the world. Thanks for being on this journey with us. We’re sorry for our shortcomings, and we’re going to keep working hard to do better.  -Ben & David   Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)    Topics covered include: Introducing a new content vertical for Acquired: analyzing IPO’s!  Facebook turning down early acquisition offers, including including the famous $1B overture from Yahoo in 2006 The Wikipedia entry on the Facebook IPO referencing it as a “cultural touchstone” Trading of pre-IPO Facebook stock on SecondMarket and SharesPost The infamous 2011 Facebook - Goldman Sachs deal attempting to circumvent then-active SEC regulations on number of permissible shareholders in a private company, and Goldman’s eventual loss of “lead left” status to Morgan Stanley for the ultimate Facebook IPO Facebook’s S-1 filing on February 1, 2012 The company’s "small problem" at the time (read: gaping chest wound) with mobile Acquiring Instagram for $1B while on file to go public in April 2012 Facebook’s $16B IPO finally taking place on Friday May 18, 2012, priced at $38 per share giving FB an initial market cap of $104B NASDAQ’s “technical glitch” (read: egregious f*&# up</span></a>) <a href= "https://techcrunch.com/2013/03/25/ip-oh-my-gosh-all-that-money-just-disappeared/"> <span class="s4">preventing the stock from trading when it supposed to and resulting in $500M of investor losses</span></a></span></li> <li class="li1"><span class="s1">Facebook’s stock tanking following a flat first day of trading, losing 25% of its value during the first month and over 50% 4 months later, leading some to label it “<a href= "http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/05/facebook-one-year-later-what-really-happened-in-the-biggest-ipo-flop-ever/275987/"><span class="s2">The Biggest IPO Flop Ever</span></a>"</span></li> <li class="li1"><span class="s1">Later revelations that Facebook had <a href= "http://venturebeat.com/2012/05/23/facebook-revised-revenue-estimates/"> <span class="s2">unprecedentedly lowered revenue guidance during its IPO roadshow due to continuing challenges with mobile</span></a>, resulting in an information asymmetry between its underwriting investment banks and their institutional investor clients versus the investing public at large </span></li> <li class="li1"><span class="s1">How, from the ashes of its “broken IPO”, Facebook amazingly rose to fix its mobile problem at lighting speed, going from mobile comprising zero percent of ad revenue to 23% in one quarter, and over 50% one year later</span></li> <li class="li1"><span class="s1">Zuckerberg's belief that the difficult IPO process and "terrible first year” as a public company "<a href= "https://techcrunch.com/2013/09/11/zuckerberg-says-he-was-too-afraid-of-taking-facebook-public/"><span class="s2">made our company a lot stronger</span></a>”… and silicon valley’s bizarre, antithetical and counter-productive take away to “<a href= "http://abovethecrowd.com/2016/04/21/on-the-road-to-recap/"><span class="s2">stay private longer</span></a>”</span></li> </ul> <p class="p1"><span class= "s1"><strong>Followups:</strong></span></p> <ul class="ul1"> <li class="li4"><span class="s8"><a href= "http://nickseguin.tumblr.com/post/5608679473/on-msft%20"><span class="s4"> The scoop on Microsoft’s use of foreign cash to buy Skype</span></a></span><span class="s7">, thanks to longtime listener and friend Nick Seguin</span></li> </ul> <p class="p1"><span class="s1"><strong>Hot Takes:</strong></span></p> <ul class="ul1"> <li class="li1"><span class="s1">Twitter shutting down (<a href= "https://techcrunch.com/2016/11/07/revive-vine/"><span class= "s2">or selling?</span></a>) Vine</span></li> </ul> <p class="p1"><span class="s1"><strong>The Carve Out:</strong></span></p> <ul class="ul1"> <li class="li4"><span class="s7">Ben: Amazon employee #1 <a href= "http://www.internethistorypodcast.com/2015/02/amazon-technical-co-founder-and-employee-1-shel-kaphan/"><span class="s4">Shel Kaphan on the great Internet History Podcast</span></a></span></li> <li class="li4"><span class="s7">David: <a href= "https://www.amazon.com/Connectography-Mapping-Future-Global-Civilization-ebook/dp/B015VABIRC"> <span class="s4">Connectography: Mapping the Future of Global Civilization</span></a> by Parag Khanna</span></li> </ul>
11/11/161h 20m

Episode 24: Skype

An acquisition so wild and crazy, they had to do it again. And again. Ben & David cover tech’s perhaps most-traded asset, Skype (which also happens to be a fantastic business). How do we even know which deal to grade? Tune in to find out…  Topics covered include: * Community spotlight: Slack community member Swyx’s financial data research startup Sentieo!  * Skype founders Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis’s meeting in the 1990’s at Swedish telecom company Tele2 * Zennström & Friis’s introduction to talented Estonian developers Jaan Tallinn, Ahti Heinla, and Priit Kasesalu as part of Tele2’s efforts to jump into the dot com “portal mania”  * Skype’s origins in the technology powering Zennström, Friis and the Estonians’ first startup endeavor together: the peer-to-peer file sharing platform Kazaa * The “complicated” legal, technological and ownership situation for Kazaa and Skype  * Skype’s “unique” corporate culture, including a swimming pool in the board room and shots for initiating new employees  * The first Skype acquisition: eBay’s 2005 deal to acquire the company for $2.6B, just two years after launch * Culture clash between eBay and Skype management, and further legal drama regarding Skype technology ownership post-acquisition * The second Skype acquisition: eBay’s 2009 decision to spin the company out to a private investor consortium including Silver Lake and the newly-formed Andreessen Horowitz  * The third (and final?) Skype acquisition: Microsoft’s $8.5B purchase of the company in 2011 * Skype as a “crossover” product with viable market opportunities both in consumer and enterprise * Bill Gurley’s “Keys to the 10X Revenue Club” and the power of Skype’s organic customer acquisition model Followups: * The Google iPhone… err, Pixel!  Hot Takes: * AT&T’s $85B mega-acquisition of Time Warner… making America great again, or rebuilding the T-1000?  * The New York Times acquiring The Wirecutter The Carve Out: * Ben: Sam Altman’s Manifest Destiny * David: SOMA the Musical starring our very own Acquired listener, the brilliant and talented Jake Saper!  Full Transcript below: (disclaimer: may contain unintentionally confusing, inaccurate and/or amusing transcription errors)
02/11/161h 18m

Episode 24: Skype

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)   An acquisition so wild and crazy, they had to do it again. And again. Ben & David cover tech’s perhaps most-traded asset, Skype (which also happens to be a fantastic business). How do we even know which deal to grade? Tune in to find out…    Topics covered include: Community spotlight: Slack community member Swyx’s financial data research startup Sentieo!  Skype founders Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis’s meeting in the 1990’s at Swedish telecom company Tele2 Zennström & Friis’s introduction to talented Estonian developers Jaan Tallinn, Ahti Heinla, and Priit Kasesalu as part of Tele2’s efforts to jump into the dot com “portal mania”  Skype’s origins in the technology powering Zennström, Friis and the Estonians’ first startup endeavor together: the peer-to-peer file sharing platform Kazaa The “complicated” legal, technological and ownership situation for Kazaa and Skype  Skype’s “unique” corporate culture, including a swimming pool in the board room and shots for initiating new employees  The first Skype acquisition: eBay’s 2005 deal to acquire the company for $2.6B, just two years after launch Culture clash between eBay and Skype management, and further legal drama regarding Skype technology ownership post-acquisition The second Skype acquisition: eBay’s 2009 decision to spin the company out to a private investor consortium including Silver Lake and the newly-formed Andreessen Horowitz  The third (and final?) Skype acquisition: Microsoft’s $8.5B purchase of the company in 2011 Skype as a “crossover” product with viable market opportunities both in consumer and enterprise Bill Gurley’s “Keys to the 10X Revenue Club” and the power of Skype’s organic customer acquisition model   Followups: The Google iPhone… err, Pixel!    Hot Takes: AT&T’s $85B mega-acquisition of Time Warner… making America great again, or rebuilding the T-1000?  The New York Times acquiring The Wirecutter   The Carve Out: Ben: Sam Altman’s Manifest Destiny David: SOMA the Musical starring our very own Acquired listener, the brilliant and talented Jake Saper! 
02/11/161h 18m

Episode 23: NeXT (Live show at the GeekWire Summit)

Ben & David broadcast live from the 2016 GeekWire Summit covering one of the all-time greats, Apple’s 1996 acquisition of NeXT. This episode has it all: the Steve Jobs hero story, Apple, I.M. Pei, Ross Perot, Aaron Sorkin, Nobel Laureates and… Gil Amelio? Does NeXT rank atop the best acquisitions ever? Our own heroes cast their votes.  Topics covered include: * 1980’s era Apple, entering the age of the “workstation”, with John Sculley as CEO and Steve Jobs leading the newly formed SuperMicro division working on building the “BigMac"  * Jobs’ exile to "Siberia”, and chance meeting with Nobel Laureate Paul Berg that sowed the seeds of NeXT * Jobs’ resignation from Apple on September 13, 1985 to start NeXT, taking with him SuperMicro division employees Joanna Hoffman, Bud Tribble, George Crow, Rich Page, Susan Barnes, Susan Kare, and Dan'l Lewin * Apple’s subsequent lawsuit against Jobs and, Steve’s classic quote in response: "It is hard to think that a $2 billion company with 4,300-plus people couldn't compete with six people in blue jeans." * NeXT’s “anti lean startup” approach, spending $100k on brand identity and moving into I.M. Pei designed offices * Ross Perot’s $20M investment in NeXT * The first NeXT computer (fun unboxing video) product launch, dubbed " The NeXT Introduction” on October 12, 1988 (one of the three scenes in the Aaron Sorkin Steve Jobs movie) * The NeXTSTEP operating system as the first “modern” OS (including Object-oriented programming), and like the Mac equally descended from Xerox PARC * Major technologies developed on NeXT computers, including the first web browser and Doom  * NeXT’s exit from the hardware business and transition to a software-only model with OPENSTEP * Apple’s failed internal projects to develop a modern OS, culminating in the acquisition of NeXT in December 1996 * Steve Jobs’ return to Apple, public lack of faith in the then-current board and management, and maneuvering to return to the CEO role * The transformation of NeXTSTEP/OPENSTEP into OS X, and ultimately iOS, watchOS, tvOS, etc.  The Carve Out: * Ben: Stewart Butterfield (Cofounder/CEO of Slack) on the The Ezra Klein Show * David: DJI and the Rise of the Robomasters Full Transcript below: (disclaimer: may contain unintentionally confusing, inaccurate and/or amusing transcription errors)
23/10/161h 2m

Episode 23: NeXT (Live show at the GeekWire Summit)

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)   Ben & David broadcast live from the 2016 GeekWire Summit covering one of the all-time greats, Apple’s 1996 acquisition of NeXT. This episode has it all: the Steve Jobs hero story, Apple, I.M. Pei, Ross Perot, Aaron Sorkin, Nobel Laureates and… Gil Amelio? Does NeXT rank atop the best acquisitions ever? Our own heroes cast their votes.    Topics covered include: 1980’s era Apple, entering the age of the “workstation”, with John Sculley as CEO and Steve Jobs leading the newly formed SuperMicro division working on building the “BigMac"  Jobs’ exile to "Siberia”, and chance meeting with Nobel Laureate Paul Berg that sowed the seeds of NeXT Jobs’ resignation from Apple on September 13, 1985 to start NeXT, taking with him SuperMicro division employees Joanna Hoffman, Bud Tribble, George Crow, Rich Page, Susan Barnes, Susan Kare, and Dan'l Lewin Apple’s subsequent lawsuit against Jobs and, Steve’s classic quote in response: "It is hard to think that a $2 billion company with 4,300-plus people couldn't compete with six people in blue jeans." NeXT’s “anti lean startup” approach, spending $100k on brand identity and moving into I.M. Pei designed offices Ross Perot’s $20M investment in NeXT The first NeXT computer (fun unboxing video) product launch, dubbed "The NeXT Introduction” on October 12, 1988 (one of the three scenes in the Aaron Sorkin Steve Jobs movie) The NeXTSTEP operating system as the first “modern” OS (including Object-oriented programming), and like the Mac equally descended from Xerox PARC Major technologies developed on NeXT computers, including the first web browser and Doom  NeXT’s exit from the hardware business and transition to a software-only model with OPENSTEP Apple’s failed internal projects to develop a modern OS, culminating in the acquisition of NeXT in December 1996 Steve Jobs’ return to Apple, public lack of faith in the then-current board and management, and maneuvering to return to the CEO role The transformation of NeXTSTEP/OPENSTEP into OS X, and ultimately iOS, watchOS, tvOS, etc.    The Carve Out: Ben: Stewart Butterfield (Cofounder/CEO of Slack) on the The Ezra Klein Show David: DJI and the Rise of the Robomasters 
23/10/161h 2m

Episode 22: Zillow + Trulia with Zillow Group CFO Kathleen Philips

CFO of Zillow Group Kathleen Philips joins Ben and David to cover the show’s first true “merger” versus “acquisition" (only took 22 episodes!), Zillow’s 2015 combination with Trulia to form Zillow Group.  Note: our audio glitches unfortunately continued on this episode, and quality is rough. We recommend listening on speakers vs headphones if you’re able. We apologize and will be back to normal quality next time! Topics covered include: * Zillow and Trulia’s beginnings during the “Web 2.0” era in the mid-2000’s  * Zillow, Trulia and other online players’ place within the massive US real estate market * The lengthy “dance" between Zillow and Trulia and earlier aborted merger talks between the two * The difficulty of "true mergers” among private companies and why the path is easier for public companies  * Public company shareholders’ influence and role in M&A transactions  * Details of the blazingly fast negotiations (27 days start to finish!) per disclosures in the SEC filings (scroll down to "Background of the Mergers”) * Structuring the deal and incentivizing Trulia and Zillow mangers to stay and continue growing as separate brands * Trulia cofounder Sami Inkinen’s whereabouts during the merger negotiations  * The experience going through a lengthy FTC review of the merger, and defining what the relevant “market” is the FTC should be considering * Introducing our new acquisition category: a “time machine acquisition” ;) (h/t Kathleen) * Zillow Group’s overall approach to acquisitions, folding into its broader HR strategy  * Zillow founder Rich Barton’s startup thesis of searching for "What piece of marketplace information do people crave and don’t have?" Followups: * Snap Inc. Spectacles!  Hot Takes: * Twitter-Disney rumors, according to “people familiar with matter”!  * AppLovin’s journey from bootstrapped startup to $1.4B exit The Carve Out: * Ben: The Marvel Symphonic Universe * David: Shoe Dog by Phil Knight * Kathleen:  Full Transcript below: (disclaimer: may contain unintentionally confusing, inaccurate and/or amusing transcription errors)
14/10/161h 10m

Episode 22: Zillow + Trulia (with Zillow Group CFO Kathleen Philips)

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)   CFO of Zillow Group Kathleen Philips joins Ben and David to cover the show’s first true “merger” versus “acquisition" (only took 22 episodes!), Zillow’s 2015 combination with Trulia to form Zillow Group.    Note: our audio glitches unfortunately continued on this episode, and quality is rough. We recommend listening on speakers vs headphones if you’re able. We apologize and will be back to normal quality next time!   Topics covered include: Zillow and Trulia’s beginnings during the “Web 2.0” era in the mid-2000’s  Zillow, Trulia and other online players’ place within the massive US real estate market The lengthy “dance" between Zillow and Trulia and earlier aborted merger talks between the two The difficulty of "true mergers” among private companies and why the path is easier for public companies  Public company shareholders’ influence and role in M&A transactions  Details of the blazingly fast negotiations (27 days start to finish!) per disclosures in the SEC filings (scroll down to "Background of the Mergers”) Structuring the deal and incentivizing Trulia and Zillow mangers to stay and continue growing as separate brands Trulia cofounder Sami Inkinen’s whereabouts during the merger negotiations  The experience going through a lengthy FTC review of the merger, and defining what the relevant “market” is the FTC should be considering Introducing our new acquisition category: a “timeline acquisition” ;) (h/t Kathleen) Zillow Group’s overall approach to acquisitions, folding into its broader HR strategy  Zillow founder Rich Barton’s startup thesis of searching for "What piece of marketplace information do people crave and don’t have?"   Followups: Snap Inc. Spectacles!    Hot Takes: Twitter-Disney rumors, according to “people familiar with matter”!  AppLovin’s journey from bootstrapped startup to $1.4B exit   The Carve Out: Ben: The Marvel Symphonic Universe David: Shoe Dog by Phil Knight Kathleen: The Struts
14/10/161h 10m

Episode 21: Inside the M&A Press with Bloomberg's Alex Sherman

Ben and David go inside the M&A press with Bloomberg’s technology M&A reporter and host of the Deal of the Week Podcast, Alex Sherman. If you’ve ever wondered how stories about big deals get broken or what “according to people familiar with the matter” really means, tune in for the behind-the-scenes scoop!  Note: A technical glitch with our recording setup created occasional short silences between Alex’s comments and Ben & David’s. It shouldn’t impact listenability, but we apologize for the awkward pauses! Topics covered include: * Bloomberg’s own fascinating “history & facts” and origins following the acquisition of storied Wall Street firm Salomon Brothers  * Bloomberg’s core as a highly profitable technology business (selling terminals to Wall Street firms), with a large media empire built on top of it * The tradable value of breaking M&A news & information to Bloomberg’s terminal customers, and competing on speed * How “sources" work — and industry standard that sources be directly within the companies involved in a deal * The coded language of M&A reporting and gleaning where information is coming from based on a story’s structure and phrasing * The lifecycle of a story—steps from sourcing to writing to release, and reasons (or lack thereof) for why stories run when they do * Internal & external PR resources companies use for M&A  * How Alex prioritizes his time researching and creating stories, and who he’s meeting with to hear about what deals are in the works  * The difference between ‘news' and ‘analysis', and why news dominates the majority of stories versus deeper analysis * Media and social media business models, their evolution in the messenger world, and speculation on Twitter’s future * How entrepreneurs can think about interacting with the press and building relationships with the right reporters for their stage and space * Apple’s ‘unique’ approach to press relations  Followups: * Instagram announces 500k+ active advertisers, up from 200k in February 2016 * Amazon stock price surpasses $800/share Hot Takes: * Ford acquires Chariot  * The Yahoo! data breach and potential impact on their acquisition by Verizon  The Carve Out: * Ben: Phil of Drones’ Burning Man 2016 recap video * David: Algorithms to Live By by Brian Christian & Tom Griffiths  * Alex: Clinton’s Samantha Bee Problem, by Ross Douthat in the NYT Opinion Pages Full Transcript below: (disclaimer: may contain unintentionally confusing, inaccurate and/or amusing transcription errors)
27/09/161h 18m

Episode 21: Inside the M&A Press with Bloomberg's Alex Sherman

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)   Ben and David go inside the M&A press with Bloomberg’s technology M&A reporter and host of the Deal of the Week Podcast, Alex Sherman. If you’ve ever wondered how stories about big deals get broken or what “according to people familiar with the matter” really means, tune in for the behind-the-scenes scoop!    Note: A technical glitch with our recording setup created occasional short silences between Alex’s comments and Ben & David’s. It shouldn’t impact listenability, but we apologize for the awkward pauses!   Topics covered include: Bloomberg’s own fascinating “history & facts” and origins following the acquisition of storied Wall Street firm Salomon Brothers  Bloomberg’s core as a highly profitable technology business (selling terminals to Wall Street firms), with a large media empire built on top of it The tradable value of breaking M&A news & information to Bloomberg’s terminal customers, and competing on speed How “sources" work — and industry standard that sources be directly within the companies involved in a deal The coded language of M&A reporting and gleaning where information is coming from based on a story’s structure and phrasing The lifecycle of a story—steps from sourcing to writing to release, and reasons (or lack thereof) for why stories run when they do Internal & external PR resources companies use for M&A  How Alex prioritizes his time researching and creating stories, and who he’s meeting with to hear about what deals are in the works  The difference between ‘news' and ‘analysis', and why news dominates the majority of stories versus deeper analysis Media and social media business models, their evolution in the messenger world, and speculation on Twitter’s future How entrepreneurs can think about interacting with the press and building relationships with the right reporters for their stage and space Apple’s ‘unique’ approach to press relations    Followups: Instagram announces 500k+ active advertisers, up from 200k in February 2016 Amazon stock price surpasses $800/share   Hot Takes: Ford acquires Chariot  The Yahoo! data breach and potential impact on their acquisition by Verizon    The Carve Out: Ben: Phil of Drones’ Burning Man 2016 recap video David: Algorithms to Live By by Brian Christian & Tom Griffiths  Alex: Clinton’s Samantha Bee Problem, by Ross Douthat in the NYT Opinion Pages
27/09/161h 18m

Episode 20: Android

Ben & David examine Google’s 2005 purchase of Android for a rumored $50M, undeniably one of the best technology acquisitions of all time. But will it top the list of these tough graders? Tune in to find out. Topics covered include: * Welcome new listeners! We quickly review the show format for newbies.  * Community spotlight: Patagonia on a Budget from community member Matt Morgante (@mattm on Slack) * Andy Rubin’s career trajectory and what made him “born to start Android" * The undeniable “cool factor” of the Danger Sidekick in the early/mid-2000’s, including fans such as Larry Page, Sergey Brin  and… Turtle from Entourage  * Android’s original ambition to build an operating system for…  digital cameras * WebTV founder Steve Perlman is pretty much the best friend ever  * Google’s own perspective on Android as their “best deal ever" * The Android team’s reaction to Steve Jobs unveiling the iPhone in January 2007, and redesigning the initial launch hardware * Announcing Android and—equally importantly—the Open Handset Alliance (“OHA”) * The much-talked-about "mobile holy wars", between Android’s “open” platform and Apple’s “closed” platform * The less-talked-about US carrier wars with the iPhone + AT&T in one camp, and everyone else in the Google / OHA camp (including “Droid Does”) * A quirk of history: HTC at one point acquires a majority share in Beats, resulting a short-lived period of Beats-branded Android phones  (still available on Amazon!) * The real battleground for Google in the mobile platform wars: the economics of “default search” (briefly known thanks to the Oracle/Java lawsuit against Google)  * Google’s detour into smartphone hardware with the acquisition (and subsequent divestiture) of Motorola * The “fork-ability” of Android via the Android Open Source Project (versus “Google Android”), and the rise of Xiaomi, Cyanogen, Kindle Fire and other platforms * The ecosystem economics of the Android business for Google * “Defensive” versus “offensive” acquisitions, and protecting Google’s core search business * Could (or would) Google have built an Android-like platform without acquiring Android the company (or having Andy Rubin)? * Framing the technology world’s shift to mobile within (surprise) Ben Thompson’s Aggregation Theory * The current “moving up the stack” of the competitive playing field as the mobile landscape matures * Grading: Android versus Instagram? Followups: * Waze launches Carpool in the Bay Area. Much consternation ensues on the Uber board. Hot Takes: * The iPhone 7 (and AirPods) announcement The Carve Out: * Ben: Business Adventures by John Brooks, Bill Gates’ favorite business book * David: Ezra Edelman's fantastic 5-part ESPN documentary on O.J. Simpson, O.J.: Made in America Full Transcript below: (disclaimer: may contain unintentionally confusing, inaccurate and/or amusing transcription errors)
16/09/161h 13m

Episode 20: Android

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)   Ben & David examine Google’s 2005 purchase of Android for a rumored $50M, undeniably one of the best technology acquisitions of all time. But will it top the list of these tough graders? Tune in to find out.   Topics covered include: Welcome new listeners! We quickly review the show format for newbies.  Community spotlight: Patagonia on a Budget from community member Matt Morgante (@mattm on Slack) Andy Rubin’s career trajectory and what made him “born to start Android" The undeniable “cool factor” of the Danger Sidekick in the early/mid-2000’s, including fans such as Larry Page, Sergey Brin and… Turtle from Entourage  Android’s original ambition to build an operating system for… digital cameras WebTV founder Steve Perlman is pretty much the best friend ever  Google’s own perspective on Android as their “best deal ever" The Android team’s reaction to Steve Jobs unveiling the iPhone in January 2007, and redesigning the initial launch hardware  Announcing Android and—equally importantly—the Open Handset Alliance (“OHA”) The much-talked-about "mobile holy wars", between Android’s “open” platform and Apple’s “closed” platform  The less-talked-about US carrier wars with the iPhone + AT&T in one camp, and everyone else in the Google / OHA camp (including “Droid Does”) A quirk of history: HTC at one point acquires a majority share in Beats, resulting a short-lived period of Beats-branded Android phones (still available on Amazon!) The real battleground for Google in the mobile platform wars: the economics of “default search” (briefly known thanks to the Oracle/Java lawsuit against Google)  Google’s detour into smartphone hardware with the acquisition (and subsequent divestiture) of Motorola  The “fork-ability” of Android via the Android Open Source Project (versus “Google Android”), and the rise of Xiaomi, Cyanogen, Kindle Fire and other platforms The ecosystem economics of the Android business for Google  “Defensive” versus “offensive” acquisitions, and protecting Google’s core search business  Could (or would) Google have built an Android-like platform without acquiring Android the company (or having Andy Rubin)? Framing the technology world’s shift to mobile within (surprise) Ben Thompson’s Aggregation Theory The current “moving up the stack” of the competitive playing field as the mobile landscape matures  Grading: Android versus Instagram?   Followups: Waze launches Carpool in the Bay Area. Much consternation ensues on the Uber board.   Hot Takes: The iPhone 7 (and AirPods) announcement    The Carve Out: Ben: Business Adventures by John Brooks, Bill Gates’ favorite business book David: Ezra Edelman's fantastic 5-part ESPN documentary on O.J. Simpson, O.J.: Made in America
16/09/161h 13m

Episode 19: Jet

Ben & David break down Jet.com’s meteoric rise, culminating in Walmart’s blockbuster $3B+ acquisition of the company just two years after its founding. Will we look back on this deal as an ‘Instagram-like’ bargain or a ‘Pets.com'-sized blunder? And most importantly, can *anyone* compete with Amazon going forward? We speculate wildly. Topics covered include: * Community spotlight: Nowdue, a super fast invoicing platform for teams on Slack. Invoice like it’s the future! This looks very cool.  * Jet’s deep origins in Founder & CEO Marc Lore’s first two companies,  The Pit and Quidsi (aka, diapers.com)  * Lore’s chance run-in with Jeff Bezos at a school picnic in Seattle  in the early 2000’s * Amazon's dramatic acquisition of Quidsi in 2010, including Bezos’ admonition to Amazon corp dev to keep Quidsi from being bought by Walmart under any circumstances (covered well in The Everything Store ) * Lore’s less-than-favorable opinion of Amazon's culture * Lore's vision of Jet as an ‘online Costco’ that can directly with Amazon on price by selling goods to a “huge middle-class of people" at effectively zero margin, and make profit on membership fees * Jet’s huge, pre-launch fundraising rounds, and subsequent massively promoted public launch in July 2015 * Jet’s pivot in October 2015 to drop the membership model (their only profit engine), and subsequent massive growth (but also accompanying massive losses)  * 'Admitting defeat” to Amazon in July 2016? Immediately followed by the blockbuster $3B+ Walmart acquisition announcement * Is e-commerce really a winner-take-all business and will Amazon just take over the world? Featuring liberal citations (again) of Ben Thompson's Aggregation Theory and the importance of customer experience.  * Is there any path for Walmart & Jet to compete effectively with Amazon? Is Marc Lore Walmart’s only hope? * Fantastic interview with Tim Cook discussing (among other things) the massive amount of growth still left in the internet Followups: * Lucasfilm: Star Wars Rouge One trailer drops! Featuring a strong female protagonist!  New section: Hot Takes! (thank you @cteitzel on Slack for the idea) * Verizon/AOL acquires Yahoo! * Lyft reportedly turns down acquisition offer from GM * Microsoft acquires Beam * Randstad acquires Monster.com  The Carve Out * Ben: Michael Mauboussin’s Talk at Google and Reflections on the Ten Attributes of Great Investors after thirty years of honing his craft * David: Strava, the fantastic social fitness-tracking app Full Transcript below: (disclaimer: may contain unintentionally confusing, inaccurate and/or amusing transcription errors)
29/08/161h 5m

Episode 19: Jet

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)   Ben & David break down Jet.com’s meteoric rise, culminating in Walmart’s blockbuster $3B+ acquisition of the company just two years after its founding. Will we look back on this deal as an ‘Instagram-like’ bargain or a ‘Pets.com'-sized blunder? And most importantly, can *anyone* compete with Amazon going forward? We speculate wildly.   Topics covered include: Community spotlight: Nowdue, a super fast invoicing platform for teams on Slack. Invoice like it’s the future! This looks very cool.  Jet’s deep origins in Founder & CEO Marc Lore’s first two companies, The Pit and Quidsi (aka, diapers.com)  Lore’s chance run-in with Jeff Bezos at a school picnic in Seattle in the early 2000’s Amazon's dramatic acquisition of Quidsi in 2010, including Bezos’ admonition to Amazon corp dev to keep Quidsi from being bought by Walmart under any circumstances (covered well in The Everything Store) Lore’s less-than-favorable opinion of Amazon's culture Lore's vision of Jet as an ‘online Costco’ that can directly with Amazon on price by selling goods to a “huge middle-class of people" at effectively zero margin, and make profit on membership fees Jet’s huge, pre-launch fundraising rounds, and subsequent massively promoted public launch in July 2015 Jet’s pivot in October 2015 to drop the membership model (their only profit engine), and subsequent massive growth (but also accompanying massive losses)  'Admitting defeat” to Amazon in July 2016? Immediately followed by the blockbuster $3B+ Walmart acquisition announcement Is e-commerce really a winner-take-all business and will Amazon just take over the world? Featuring liberal citations (again) of Ben Thompson's Aggregation Theory and the importance of customer experience.  Is there any path for Walmart & Jet to compete effectively with Amazon? Is Marc Lore Walmart’s only hope? Fantastic interview with Tim Cook discussing (among other things) the massive amount of growth still left in the internet    Followups: Lucasfilm: Star Wars Rouge One trailer drops! Featuring a strong female protagonist!    New section: Hot Takes! (thank you @cteitzel on Slack for the idea) Verizon/AOL acquires Yahoo! Lyft reportedly turns down acquisition offer from GM Microsoft acquires Beam Randstad acquires Monster.com    The Carve Out Ben: Michael Mauboussin’s Talk at Google and Reflections on the Ten Attributes of Great Investors after thirty years of honing his craft David: Strava, the fantastic social fitness-tracking app
29/08/161h 5m

Episode 18: Special—An Acquirer’s View into M&A with Taylor Barada, head of Corp Dev at Adobe

Ben & David are joined by special guest Taylor Barada, VP and Head of Corporate Development & Strategic Partnerships at Adobe, to discuss how large tech acquirers approach buying companies. This episode is full of great insights for startups & entrepreneurs who might find themselves navigating the M&A process, as well as anyone curious about the craft of dealmaking and the strategic approach of large acquirers.  Topics covered include: * How conversations begin between startups and acquirers * The importance of building a relationship with acquirers over time and "investing in lines, not dots” (just like raising VC) * The often under-appreciated role of culture fit between acquirers and acquisition targets * How entrepreneurs should evaluate acquirers throughout the M&A process * Two examples of successful acquisitions Taylor completed at Yahoo in Citizen Sports and IntoNow * The M&A process at large technology acquirers, from initial conversations to LOI, due diligence and the definitive merger agreement * The relative roles of Corp Dev, business/product owners and executive sponsors in the M&A process * Common mistakes startups (and VC’s) often make in the M&A process * Different “categories” of M&A that acquirers think about, and the relative risks & opportunities of “core" acquisitions vs transformative new businesses * What percentage of deals Adobe looks at actually happen, and the importance of being willing to say no * M&A as a tool for strategy, and the different M&A cultures & approaches at different companies * Tech themes Taylor and Adobe think about as part of their M&A strategy * Evaluating the longterm success of deals and the importance of the M&A integration function Followups: * Ben & David’s quick take on Instagram Stories!  The Carve Out: * Ben: Why the Concorde failed by Vox * David: Simone Biles, the greatest gymnast of all time * Taylor: Mindset by Carol Dweck, Shoe Dog by Phil Knight, Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant Full Transcript below: (disclaimer: may contain unintentionally confusing, inaccurate and/or amusing transcription errors)
22/08/161h 3m

Episode 18: Special—An Acquirer’s View into M&A with Taylor Barada, head of Corp Dev at Adobe

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)   Ben & David are joined by special guest Taylor Barada, VP and Head of Corporate Development & Strategic Partnerships at Adobe, to discuss how large tech acquirers approach buying companies. This episode is full of great insights for startups & entrepreneurs who might find themselves navigating the M&A process, as well as anyone curious about the craft of dealmaking and the strategic approach of large acquirers.    Topics covered include: How conversations begin between startups and acquirers The importance of building a relationship with acquirers over time and "investing in lines, not dots” (just like raising VC) The often under-appreciated role of culture fit between acquirers and acquisition targets  How entrepreneurs should evaluate acquirers throughout the M&A process  Two examples of successful acquisitions Taylor completed at Yahoo in Citizen Sports and IntoNow The M&A process at large technology acquirers, from initial conversations to LOI, due diligence and the definitive merger agreement  The relative roles of Corp Dev, business/product owners and executive sponsors in the M&A process Common mistakes startups (and VC’s) often make in the M&A process Different “categories” of M&A that acquirers think about, and the relative risks & opportunities of “core" acquisitions vs transformative new businesses  What percentage of deals Adobe looks at actually happen, and the importance of being willing to say no M&A as a tool for strategy, and the different M&A cultures & approaches at different companies  Tech themes Taylor and Adobe think about as part of their M&A strategy Evaluating the longterm success of deals and the importance of the M&A integration function    Followups: Ben & David’s quick take on Instagram Stories!    The Carve Out Ben: Why the Concorde failed by Vox David: Simone Biles, the greatest gymnast of all time Taylor: Mindset by Carol Dweck, Shoe Dog by Phil Knight, Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant
22/08/161h 3m

Episode 17: Waze

Ben and David navigate the mobile platform wars of 2012-13, avoiding speed traps en route to Waze’s destination as a $1B+ acquisition by Google. Topics covered include: * Community Showcase: the Nexcast podcasting platform from listener Brian Sanders, along with their podcast chronicling the team’s journey building the company  * Waze’s origin in cofounder & CTO Ehud Shabtai’s desire to hack his portable GPS navigation unit * Waze CEO Noam Bardin’s retrospective blog post on the Waze journey * Waze’s Palo Alto office and the bizarre Silicon Valley phenomenon of tech companies being located in retail storefronts * Apple’s ill-fated launch of Apple Maps as part of iOS 6 at WWDC 2012, Apple’s subsequent apology letter, and Scott Forstall’s ultimate ouster from the company * The climax of the mobile platform wars… which it turns out Apple and Google both won * Apple, Facebook, and Google all vying to acquire Waze throughout 2013 * Google’s renewed design ethos under Larry Page * Ben and David spontaneously agree (surprise) to create on a new category of acquisition for the show * The increasing strategic value of data and data assets as technology enters the age of machine learning * The coming mega trend of autonomous vehicles, and the role Israeli startups are playing in it (including the globalization of startups & innovation) * The disruptive power of network and data-based business models * Emergence of native as *the* definitive advertising medium on mobile, including ability to close the advertising loop via location-based products and services The Carve Out * Ben: Weezer’s “Summer Elaine and Drunk Dori” on Song Exploder  * David: Simon Sinek’s “Start with Why” TED Talk Followups: * None this week… coverage of Instagram Stories to come next time! Full Transcript below: (disclaimer: may contain unintentionally confusing, inaccurate and/or amusing transcription errors)
03/08/161h 0m

Acquired Episode 17: Waze

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)   Topics covered include: Community Showcase: the Nexcast podcasting platform from listener Brian Sanders, along with their podcast chronicling the team’s journey building the company  Waze’s origin in cofounder & CTO Ehud Shabtai’s desire to hack his portable GPS navigation unit Waze CEO Noam Bardin’s retrospective blog post on the Waze journey  Waze’s Palo Alto office and the bizarre Silicon Valley phenomenon of tech companies being located in retail storefronts  Apple’s ill-fated launch of Apple Maps as part of iOS 6 at WWDC 2012, Apple’s subsequent apology letter, and Scott Forstall’s ultimate ouster from the company  The climax of the mobile platform wars… which it turns out Apple and Google both won Apple, Facebook, and Google all vying to acquire Waze throughout 2013 Google’s renewed design ethos under Larry Page Ben and David spontaneously agree (surprise) to create on a new category of acquisition for the show  The increasing strategic value of data and data assets as technology enters the age of machine learning  The coming mega trend of autonomous vehicles, and the role Israeli startups are playing in it (including the globalization of startups & innovation) The disruptive power of network and data-based business models Emergence of native as *the* definitive advertising medium on mobile, including ability to close the advertising loop via location-based products and services    The Carve Out Ben: Weezer’s “Summer Elaine and Drunk Dori” on Song Exploder  David: Simon Sinek’s “Start with Why” TED Talk   Followups: None this week… coverage of Instagram Stories to come next time!
03/08/161h 0m

Episode 16: Midroll + Stitcher (acquired by Scripps)

The meta show: Ben and David turn their gaze inward and examine the podcasting industry through E. W. Scripps’ recent acquisitions of the Midroll podcast advertising network and Stitcher podcast client. Featuring discussion of our own product process and metrics at Acquired.  Announcements: * We’re pivoting! (not really) Our new show description: A Podcast About Technology Acquisitions That Actually Went Well * But we are launching a new feature! Since so many of you, our listeners, are also tech and startup folks and/or other builders, we wanted to create a space to feature cool products, companies and side projects you’re working on. Thus we’re adding a "Community Showcase” section to the show. If you’d like to be included just send us a Slack message or email, and we’ll choose one submission to feature on each show. This episode we’re highlighting BESTR, from community member David Resnick (aka @the_rezonator in Slack), which is an online platform to share lists of great things. Check it out and let David know what you think.  Topics covered include: * Top Google search results for “acquired podcast" * Midroll’s origins in the comedy podcast Comedy Bang Bang (now an tv show on IFC) and exit last year to Scripps * The structural challenges inherent to podcasting as a medium and the gap between audience size/engagement and industry revenues * Opportunities for independent podcasters and our own audience and business metrics at Acquired * Stitcher’s long corporate history as a venture backed company, first acquisition by French music company Deezer, and now second acquisition from Deezer by Scripps * Problems with Stitcher as a product and industry reaction to the acquisition including John Gruber's response, Ben Thompson’s article on Stratechery, and Ben & James Allworth's discussion on their excellent podcast Exponent * Handicapping Stitcher+Midroll’s chances for success within Scripps, and opportunities for new startups & innovation in the podcasting space * Pioneer Square Labs’ own past efforts in the podcasting space and their process for evaluating potential new company ideas * Shoutout to Pocket Casts and our listeners down under Followups: * Twitch: bringing tipping onto the platform with the launch of Cheering + Bits (H/t Slack community member jamesk) * Facebook Instant Articles: pour one out for Facebook Paper  (developed by the Push Pop Press team) * LinkedIn: the hotly anticipated SEC filing detailing all the negotiation drama is now live (scroll down to "Background of the Merger” on p.31) The Carve Out * Ben: Mark Titus, AKA @ClubTrillion is joining the Ringer * David: OKR’s and regular goal setting, including great “how to" from Full Transcript below: (disclaimer: may contain unintentionally confusing, inaccurate and/or just-plain-hilarious transcription errors)
12/07/1655m 33s

Acquired Episode 16: Midroll + Stitcher (acquired by Scripps)

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)   The meta show: Ben and David turn their gaze inward and examine the podcasting industry through E. W. Scripps’ recent acquisitions of the Midroll podcast advertising network and Stitcher podcast client. Featuring discussion of our own product process and metrics at Acquired.    Announcements: We’re pivoting! (not really) Our new show description: A Podcast About Technology Acquisitions That Actually Went Well But we are launching a new feature! Since so many of you, our listeners, are also tech and startup folks and/or other builders, we wanted to create a space to feature cool products, companies and side projects you’re working on. Thus we’re adding a "Community Showcase” section to the show. If you’d like to be included just send us a Slack message or email, and we’ll choose one submission to feature on each show. This episode we’re highlighting BESTR, from community member David Resnick (aka @the_rezonator in Slack), which is an online platform to share lists of great things. Check it out and let David know what you think.    Topics covered include: Top Google search results for “acquired podcast" Midroll’s origins in the comedy podcast Comedy Bang Bang (now an tv show on IFC) and exit last year to Scripps  The structural challenges inherent to podcasting as a medium and the gap between audience size/engagement and industry revenues Opportunities for independent podcasters and our own audience and business metrics at Acquired  Stitcher’s long corporate history as a venture backed company, first acquisition by French music company Deezer, and now second acquisition from Deezer by Scripps Problems with Stitcher as a product and industry reaction to the acquisition including John Gruber's response, Ben Thompson’s article on Stratechery, and Ben & James Allworth's discussion on their excellent podcast Exponent Handicapping Stitcher+Midroll’s chances for success within Scripps, and opportunities for new startups & innovation in the podcasting space Pioneer Square Labs’ own past efforts in the podcasting space and their process for evaluating potential new company ideas  Shoutout to Pocket Casts and our listeners down under    Followups: Twitch: bringing tipping onto the platform with the launch of Cheering + Bits (H/t Slack community member jamesk) Facebook Instant Articles: pour one out for Facebook Paper (developed by the Push Pop Press team) LinkedIn: the hotly anticipated SEC filing detailing all the negotiation drama is now live (scroll down to "Background of the Merger” on p.31)   The Carve Out Ben: Mark Titus, AKA @ClubTrillion is joining the Ringer David: OKR’s and regular goal setting, including great “how to" from GV partner Rick Klau
12/07/1655m 34s

Episode 15: ExactTarget (acquired by Salesforce) with Scott Dorsey

Ben and David return to make their first foray into enterprise software, covering Salesforce’s $2.5B acquisition of ExactTarget in 2013 with the help of special guest and ExactTarget cofounder & CEO, Scott Dorsey.  Technical note: due to an issue we didn’t catch during recording, audio quality is significantly lower than usual for this episode (especially David’s voice). We apologize but hope you’ll give it a chance anyway— Scott offers great wisdom & insights, and the ExactTarget success story is a inspiring one underdog entrepreneurs, especially (but not limited to!) anyone located in the Midwest or elsewhere outside of traditional "Silicon Valley-style” tech hubs. Topics covered include: * The decision to start ExactTarget post-internet bubble and in Indianapolis, with zero software experience between Scott and cofounders Chris Baggott & Peter McCormick * Raising initial money from friends & family, followed by early investment and mentoring from Indianapolis venture pioneer Bob Compton * Building and scaling a great sales organization within a technology company * The importance of focusing early on a clearly defined target market (SMBs in the case of ExactTarget), and then “stair-stepping” up as the product and business scale grow over time * ExactTarget’s unsuccessful first IPO filing during the financial crisis * Building a "capital-efficient” early stage company, and the value of raising growth capital at the right time to step on the accelerator * The value of “secondary” investments allowing founders, employees & early investors to “stay hungry” by achieving some liquidity along the way * When and how to expand internationally and the importance of strategic resellers * ExactTarget’s second successful IPO filing and life as a public company with quarterly financial reporting to Wall Street * How the acquisition process played out with Salesforce and other bidders (including reference to ExactTarget’s incredible SEC filing  detailing the entire negotiation—scroll down to "Background and Reasons for the ExactTarget Board’s Recommendation”, starting at the bottom of page 13) * Approaching the difficult task of integrating a major acquisition involving thousands of people * The fun story of ExactTarget’s winning Microsoft as a large customer—including actual sledgehammers * Scott’s new Indianapolis-based venture studio, High Alpha * Plus as always the "hard hitting" analysis across acquisition category, what would have happened otherwise, tech themes—and final grading The Carve Out * Ben: The Talk Show live at WWDC 2016 with Phil Schiller & Craig Federighi * David: The Score Takes Care of Itself by legendary 49ers coach Bill Walsh, originally recommended by Jack Dorsey [no relation to Scott :) ] at YC Startup School '13 * Scott: 2016 Scipps National Spelling Bee, including one of the finalists’ favorite words: indefatigable Followups: * Instagram’s incredible user numbers announcement: 500M monthly active users / 300M daily active users Full Transcript below: (disclaimer: may contain unintentionally confusing, inaccurate and/or just-plain-hilarious transcription errors)
05/07/161h 9m

Acquired Episode 15: ExactTarget (acquired by Salesforce) with Scott Dorsey

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)   Ben and David return to make their first foray into enterprise software, covering Salesforce’s $2.5B acquisition of ExactTarget in 2013 with the help of special guest and ExactTarget cofounder & CEO, Scott Dorsey.    Technical note: due to an issue we didn’t catch during recording, audio quality is significantly lower than usual for this episode (especially David’s voice). We apologize but hope you’ll give it a chance anyway— Scott offers great wisdom & insights, and the ExactTarget success story is a inspiring one underdog entrepreneurs, especially (but not limited to!) anyone located in the Midwest or elsewhere outside of traditional "Silicon Valley-style” tech hubs.   Topics covered include: The decision to start ExactTarget post-internet bubble and in Indianapolis, with zero software experience between Scott and cofounders Chris Baggott & Peter McCormick Raising initial money from friends & family, followed by early investment and mentoring from Indianapolis venture pioneer Bob Compton Building and scaling a great sales organization within a technology company The importance of focusing early on a clearly defined target market (SMBs in the case of ExactTarget), and then “stair-stepping” up as the product and business scale grow over time ExactTarget’s unsuccessful first IPO filing during the financial crisis Building a "capital-efficient” early stage company, and the value of raising growth capital at the right time to step on the accelerator The value of “secondary” investments allowing founders, employees & early investors to “stay hungry” by achieving some liquidity along the way When and how to expand internationally and the importance of strategic resellers ExactTarget’s second successful IPO filing and life as a public company with quarterly financial reporting to Wall Street How the acquisition process played out with Salesforce and other bidders (including reference to ExactTarget’s incredible SEC filing detailing the entire negotiation—scroll down to "Background and Reasons for the ExactTarget Board’s Recommendation”, starting at the bottom of page 13) Approaching the difficult task of integrating a major acquisition involving thousands of people The fun story of ExactTarget’s winning Microsoft as a large customer—including actual sledgehammers Scott’s new Indianapolis-based venture studio, High Alpha Plus as always the "hard hitting" analysis across acquisition category, what would have happened otherwise, tech themes—and final grading   The Carve Out Ben: The Talk Show live at WWDC 2016 with Phil Schiller & Craig Federighi David: The Score Takes Care of Itself by legendary 49ers coach Bill Walsh, originally recommended by Jack Dorsey [no relation to Scott :) ] at YC Startup School '13 Scott: 2016 Scipps National Spelling Bee, including one of the finalists’ favorite words: indefatigable   Followups: Instagram’s incredible user numbers announcement: 500M monthly active users / 300M daily active users
05/07/161h 9m

Episode 14: LinkedIn

Ben and David cover the 3-day-old acquisition of LinkedIn by Microsoft for $26.2 billion. They cover LinkedIn’s founding story by Reid Hoffman, break down their core businesses, analyze recent stock behavior, and speculate on the future of the company inside Microsoft. The big question - were they worth the price tag? Items Mentioned On The Show: * Adweek: Snapchat Launches a Colossal Expansion of Its Advertising, Ushering in a New Era for the App * The Facebook Effect - David Kirkpatrick * LinkedIn’s Series B pitch deck  * LinkedIn’s S-1 * Microsoft and Apple Double Down - Stratechery * NYT Dealbook on stock based compensation at LinkedIn * Josh Elman - When people get confused about “BS metrics” * Fred Wilson: The Dentist Office Software Story The Carve Out: * Jeff Bezos at Code 2016 * Elon Musk at Code 2016 Full Transcript below: (disclaimer: may contain unintentionally confusing, inaccurate and/or just-plain-hilarious transcription errors)
16/06/161h 1m

Episode 14: LinkedIn

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile) Ben and David cover the 3-day-old acquisition of LinkedIn by Microsoft for $26.2 billion. They cover LinkedIn’s founding story by Reid Hoffman, break down their core businesses, analyze recent stock behavior, and speculate on the future of the company inside Microsoft. The big question - were they worth the price tag? Items Mentioned On The Show: Adweek: Snapchat Launches a Colossal Expansion of Its Advertising, Ushering in a New Era for the App The Facebook Effect - David Kirkpatrick LinkedIn’s Series B pitch deck  LinkedIn’s S-1 Microsoft and Apple Double Down - Stratechery NYT Dealbook on stock based compensation at LinkedIn Josh Elman - When people get confused about “BS metrics” Fred Wilson: The Dentist Office Software Story The Carve Out: Jeff Bezos at Code 2016 Elon Musk at Code 2016
16/06/161h 1m

Episode 13: Push Pop Press (Facebook Instant Articles) with Todd Bishop

Ben and David are joined by Todd Bishop, technology reporter and co-founder of GeekWire, to discuss Facebook's 2011 acquisition of Push Pop Press. Highlights include: * The founding story of Push Pop Press by Kimon Tsinteris and Mike Matas. * The evolution of Facebook Creative Labs, Facebook Paper, and eventually, Facebook Instant Articles. * Facebook's role in the changing media landscape today. * GeekWire's experiments with Facebook Instant Articles, Google Accelerated Mobile Pages, and live video. The Carve Out * The Startup Podcast Season 3 * The Future of Technology is in Your Ear (Link to product) * The Risk Not Taken Full Transcript below: (disclaimer: may contain unintentionally confusing, inaccurate and/or just-plain-hilarious transcription errors)
06/06/1656m 37s

Episode 13: Push Pop Press (Facebook Instant Articles) with Todd Bishop

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile) Ben and David are joined by Todd Bishop, technology reporter and co-founder of GeekWire, to discuss Facebook's 2011 acquisition of Push Pop Press. Highlights include: The founding story of Push Pop Press by Kimon Tsinteris and Mike Matas. The evolution of Facebook Creative Labs, Facebook Paper, and eventually, Facebook Instant Articles. Facebook's role in the changing media landscape today. GeekWire's experiments with Facebook Instant Articles, Google Accelerated Mobile Pages, and live video. The Carve Out The Startup Podcast Season 3 The Future of Technology is in Your Ear (Link to product) The Risk Not Taken
06/06/1656m 37s

Episode 12: Snapchat (?!)

Ben and David tackle their first failed acquisition: Facebook's 2013 offer to buy Snapchat. They cover the fascinating story of Snapchat's creation and growth, their blossoming business model, how it would be different inside of Facebook, and what the future holds. Items mentioned in the show: The Inside Story Of Snapchat: The World's Hottest App Or A $3 Billion Disappearing Act? Inside Evan Spiegel's very private Snapchat Story Join the Acquired Slack Community at http://acquired.fm Full Transcript below: (disclaimer: may contain unintentionally confusing, inaccurate and/or just-plain-hilarious transcription errors)
23/05/1656m 0s

Episode 12: Snapchat

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile) Ben and David tackle their first failed acquisition: Facebook's 2013 offer to buy Snapchat. They cover the fascinating story of Snapchat's creation and growth, their blossoming business model, how it would be different inside of Facebook, and what the future holds. Items mentioned in the show: The Inside Story Of Snapchat: The World's Hottest App Or A $3 Billion Disappearing Act? Inside Evan Spiegel's very private Snapchat Story
23/05/1656m 0s

Episode 11: PayPal

Ben and David return to technology acquisitions by examining a classic: eBay's 2002 purchase of PayPal.  Items mentioned in the show:  How the 'PayPal Mafia' redefined success in Silicon Valley  - Tech Republic Instagram Will Be a $3 Billion Business This Year: Analyst President Obama and Bill Simmons: The GQ Interview "The Carve Out": Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder The Bill Simmons Podcast - Chris Sacca   Full Transcript below: (disclaimer: may contain unintentionally confusing, inaccurate and/or just-plain-hilarious transcription errors)
09/05/1652m 4s

Episode 11: PayPal

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile) Ben and David return to technology acquisitions by examining a classic: eBay's 2002 purchase of PayPal.  Items mentioned in the show:  How the 'PayPal Mafia' redefined success in Silicon Valley  - Tech Republic Instagram Will Be a $3 Billion Business This Year: Analyst President Obama and Bill Simmons: The GQ Interview "The Carve Out": Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder -  The Bill Simmons Podcast - Chris Sacca
09/05/1652m 5s