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Rank #126 in Technology category

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Acquired

Updated 3 days ago

Rank #126 in Technology category

Business
Technology
Investing
News
Tech News
Read more

Every company has a story.Acquired goes behind the scenes of the biggest tech IPOs and acquisitions of all time.

Read more

Every company has a story.Acquired goes behind the scenes of the biggest tech IPOs and acquisitions of all time.

iTunes Ratings

409 Ratings
Average Ratings
388
10
6
1
4

Top in many ways!

By Breed Hastings - Aug 04 2019
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Great insights, smart and fun presentation. Highly recommend for deep takes on tech.

Amazing storytelling!

By Mihai Tiuca - Jul 30 2019
Read more
I love how this podcast goes into tech history in a fun light way that makes it easy to listen to

iTunes Ratings

409 Ratings
Average Ratings
388
10
6
1
4

Top in many ways!

By Breed Hastings - Aug 04 2019
Read more
Great insights, smart and fun presentation. Highly recommend for deep takes on tech.

Amazing storytelling!

By Mihai Tiuca - Jul 30 2019
Read more
I love how this podcast goes into tech history in a fun light way that makes it easy to listen to
Cover image of Acquired

Acquired

Updated 3 days ago

Rank #126 in Technology category

Read more

Every company has a story.Acquired goes behind the scenes of the biggest tech IPOs and acquisitions of all time.

Rank #1: Episode 32: The Snap Inc. IPO

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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:   The Carve Out:
Mar 04 2017
1 hour 23 mins
Play

Rank #2: Season 3, Episode 1: Tesla

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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:

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.
Jul 17 2018
1 hour 59 mins
Play

Rank #3: The Uber IPO

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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

Sponsor

May 11 2019
2 hours 20 mins
Play

Rank #4: Episode 43: The Square IPO

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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:

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.
Aug 16 2017
1 hour 15 mins
Play

Rank #5: Episode 25: The Facebook IPO

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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

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Topics covered include:

Followups:

Hot Takes:

The Carve Out:

Nov 11 2016
1 hour 20 mins
Play

Rank #6: Season 2, Episode 4: SoftBank, Fortress and the Vision Fund

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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:

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.
Mar 23 2018
1 hour 28 mins
Play

Rank #7: Acquired Episode 39: Whole Foods Market

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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:

Followups:

The Carve Out:

Sponsor:

Jun 21 2017
1 hour 11 mins
Play

Rank #8: Episode 7: YouTube

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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.

Feb 03 2016
44 mins
Play

Rank #9: Episode 47: The Atlassian IPO

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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:

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.
Nov 07 2017
1 hour 5 mins
Play

Rank #10: Acquired Episode 10: Virgin America

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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

Apr 27 2016
48 mins
Play

Rank #11: Episode 35: Oculus

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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:   Hot Takes:   The Carve Out:
Apr 11 2017
1 hour 17 mins
Play

Rank #12: Episode 22: Zillow + Trulia (with Zillow Group CFO Kathleen Philips)

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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:   Hot Takes:   The Carve Out:
Oct 14 2016
1 hour 10 mins
Play

Rank #13: Episode 42: Opsware (with special guest Michel Feaster)

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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:
Aug 05 2017
1 hour 13 mins
Play

Rank #14: Season 3, Episode 8: Netflix (Part 1)

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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:

Carve Outs:

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.
Nov 12 2018
1 hour 26 mins
Play

Rank #15: The Lyft IPO

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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:

Carve Outs:

Sponsor:

Mar 30 2019
2 hours 16 mins
Play

Rank #16: Episode 31: The Uber - Didi Chuxing Merger with Brad Stone, author of The Upstarts & The Everything Store

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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:
Mar 01 2017
1 hour 9 mins
Play

Rank #17: Episode 11: PayPal

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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

May 09 2016
52 mins
Play

Rank #18: Episode 12: Snapchat

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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

May 23 2016
56 mins
Play

Rank #19: Episode 46: Blue Bottle Coffee

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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:

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.
Oct 08 2017
1 hour 2 mins
Play

Rank #20: Episode 28: The Amazon IPO with original Amazon Board Member Tom Alberg

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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:
Dec 31 2016
1 hour 6 mins
Play

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