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Rank #18 in Technology category

Business
Technology
Investing

Acquired

Updated 4 days ago

Rank #18 in Technology category

Business
Technology
Investing
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

439 Ratings
Average Ratings
416
12
6
1
4

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

By Chapman212 - Oct 26 2019
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This is my favorite podcast in the VC space and 2nd place isn’t close.

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.

iTunes Ratings

439 Ratings
Average Ratings
416
12
6
1
4

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

By Chapman212 - Oct 26 2019
Read more
This is my favorite podcast in the VC space and 2nd place isn’t close.

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.
Cover image of Acquired

Acquired

Updated 4 days ago

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

Rank #1: 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

1hr 28mins

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Rank #2: 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

1hr 6mins

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Rank #3: 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

1hr 59mins

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Rank #4: Episode 24: Skype

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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:   Followups:   Hot Takes:   The Carve Out:

Nov 02 2016

1hr 18mins

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Rank #5: Episode 3: Twitch

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Ben and David discuss Amazon's acquisition of Twitch in 2014. Unlike previous episodes, this recent acquisition still has a lot of open questions, and Amazon hasn't publicly reported growth of Twitch since the purchase. Ben and David talk about Justin Kan's original product with Justin.tv, and the transformation into the Twitch that Emmett Shear is running today.

Nov 16 2015

46mins

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Rank #6: 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

2hr 20mins

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Rank #7: Episode 37: BAMTech, Disney and "the Biggest Media Company You've Never Heard Of”

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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:   The Carve Out:

May 10 2017

1hr 14mins

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Rank #8: Episode 19: Jet

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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:   Followups:   New section: Hot Takes! (thank you @cteitzel on Slack for the idea)   The Carve Out

Aug 29 2016

1hr 5mins

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Rank #9: 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

44mins

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Rank #10: 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

1hr 26mins

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Rank #11: Episode 40: Activision Blizzard

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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:   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.

Jul 13 2017

1hr 13mins

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Rank #12: Episode 14: LinkedIn

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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:

The Carve Out:

Jun 16 2016

1hr 1min

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Rank #13: 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

1hr 17mins

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Rank #14: Season 4, Episode 2: ARM & SoftBank

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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:

Sponsor:

Feb 03 2019

1hr 22mins

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Rank #15: 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

1hr 11mins

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Rank #16: Season 2, Episode 3: Nest

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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:

Carve Outs:

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.

Feb 20 2018

1hr 32mins

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Rank #17: Episode 27: Special—A Conversation with Microsoft's Head of Strategic Investments Brian Schultz

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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:   The Carve Out:

Dec 16 2016

1hr 10mins

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Rank #18: The Shopify IPO

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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:

Carve Outs:

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.

Aug 06 2019

1hr 24mins

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Rank #19: Episode 23: NeXT (Live show at the GeekWire Summit)

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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:   The Carve Out:

Oct 23 2016

1hr 2mins

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Rank #20: Episode 6: Lucasfilm

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Riding closely on the tails of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Ben and David cover Disney's 2012 acquisition of Lucasfilm. In the episode, they mention Walt Disney's original flywheel diagram, seen below.

Jan 19 2016

33mins

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