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Acquired

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.

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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/

2hr 37mins

11 Dec 2020

Rank #1

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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

2hr 12mins

25 Nov 2019

Rank #2

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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.

1hr 59mins

17 Jul 2018

Rank #3

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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.

1hr 15mins

16 Aug 2017

Rank #4

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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

2hr 20mins

11 May 2019

Rank #5

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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

52mins

9 May 2016

Rank #6

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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

1hr 6mins

31 Dec 2016

Rank #7

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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

1hr 18mins

5 Dec 2016

Rank #8

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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 

1hr 34mins

25 Oct 2019

Rank #9

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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.

1hr 11mins

21 Jun 2017

Rank #10

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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?

1hr 17mins

11 Apr 2017

Rank #11

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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

1hr 1min

16 Jun 2016

Rank #12

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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) 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

1hr 20mins

11 Nov 2016

Rank #13

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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.

1hr 26mins

12 Nov 2018

Rank #14

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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"

1hr 14mins

10 May 2017

Rank #15

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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

1hr 45mins

26 Sep 2019

Rank #16

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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 :) 

1hr 23mins

4 Mar 2017

Rank #17

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Acquired Episode 10: Virgin America

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile) Ben and David deviate entirely from the stated purpose of the show, tackling this non-technology acquisition that is so recent, we have no idea if it went well yet. But, the April 2016 acquisition of Virgin America by Alaska Airlines was so fascinating, we had to do it!  Items mentioned in the show:  Louis C.K. - Everything is Amazing and Nobody is Happy Alaska Acquires Virgin America Investor Deck “Measuring The Moat” Paper - Michael J. Mauboussin Business Adventures - Twelve Classic Tales from the World of Wall Street "The Carve Out": Michael Mauboussin: "The Success Equation:Untangling Skill and Luck" | Talks at Google

48mins

27 Apr 2016

Rank #18

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Episode 7: YouTube

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile) Ben and David test the widely-held belief that YouTube was one of the most successful tech acquisitions of all time. In today's world of next-generation video platforms, mobile video, streaming, and chord-cutting, was it actually a great purchase by Google? As discussed in the show, here is Sequoia's original YouTube investment memo - a rarely-shared gold mine for anyone interested in startup investing.

44mins

3 Feb 2016

Rank #19

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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

2hr 16mins

30 Mar 2019

Rank #20