DiscoverAcquired
Acquired
Claim Ownership

Acquired

Author: Ben Gilbert and David Rosenthal

Subscribed: 9,168Played: 99,333
Share

Description

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.
132 Episodes
Reverse
Berkshire Hathaway Part II

Berkshire Hathaway Part II

2021-05-1202:59:37

In Part II of our Berkshire Hathaway Trilogy (!), we pick up the story with Warren wandering in the woods of Omaha, searching for his life's next chapter after retiring from the professional investing business at the top of his game at age 39. How does he emerge from those woods anew, transforming from Ben Graham's cigar-butt cocoon into the butterfly collector of Berkshire's wonderful businesses? (Spoiler: Charlie Munger.) And how did one rotten-to-the-core business nearly bring it all down — everything he'd ever worked for — in the span of one terrible week? Tune in! If you love Acquired and want more, join our LP Community for access to over 50 LP-only episodes, monthly Zoom calls, and live access for big events like our upcoming Book Club event with Brad Stone. We can't wait to see you there. Join here at: https://acquired.fm/lp/ Sponsors: Thanks to Tiny for being our presenting sponsor for all of Acquired Season 8. Tiny is building the "Berkshire Hathaway of the internet" — something they're so dedicated to, they even make and sell bronze busts of Warren & Charlie online! if you own a wonderful internet business that you want to sell, or know someone who does, you should get in touch with them. Just like Berkshire, they commit to quick, simple diligence, a 30-day or less process, and will leave your business to do its thing for the long term. You can learn more about Tiny here: http://bit.ly/acquiredtiny and find their Berkshire Nerds store here: http://bit.ly/acquiredbrknerds Thank you as well to Vouch and to Capchase. You can learn more about them at: https://bit.ly/acquired-vouch http://bit.ly/acquiredcapchase The Charlie Munger Playbook: (also available on our website at https://www.acquired.fm/episodes/berkshire-hathaway-part-ii ) 1. Change your mind. Evolve. Reinvent. Without Charlie's influence, Warren may have stuck to chasing cigar butts his entire career, and missed out on wonderful businesses like See's Candy, The Washington Post, Capital Cities, Geico (for the longterm) and Coca-Cola. Charlie's life experience taught him that the world can change on a dime, and what worked in the past won't necessarily work in the future. To succeed over the longterm you have to be a constant learning machine — which sounds obvious, but the difficult part is being willing to question your own deeply held assumptions and beliefs, and then discard them when they no longer fit reality. 2. Focus on getting a few simple things right — and the rest takes care of itself. Adapting his beloved grandfather's motto ("Concentrate on the task immediately in front of you, and control your spending."), Charlie learned early on that there are only a few bedrock sort of things in life that never change — and that if you just focus on getting those right, you'll do well. Find a great spouse who makes you better in life; buy wonderful businesses at fair prices; never get into a position where you're over-extended; be philanthropic when you can; have fun along the way. It's hard to argue much else matters. Reflecting back on his and Warren's success, Charlie says, "It isn't that we were so good at doing things that were difficult. We were good at avoiding things that were difficult — finding things that are easy." 3. Risk ≠ volatility. Risk = chance of going out of business. The Efficient Market Hypothesists of the 1970s-80s proposed that all investing risk could be reduced to "beta", or volatility relative to the market. This led to the 1980s' explosion of debt, derivatives and other "weapons of mass financial destruction" which people believed "riskless" because their volatility was hedged. Charlie and Warren recognized before anyone else that to the contrary, these instruments greatly ratcheted risk in the system! Operating with so much leverage, a single small but unexpected event could topple the whole house of cards. Unfortunately Warren and Charlie didn't listen to their own advice when entering the Salomon Brothers saga... 4. Never wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty and the pig likes it. Some people (and companies or even whole industries) are addicted to "getting dirty" — deceiving, betraying, evading, cheating, belittling, and generally pursuing their own self-interest above all else. It can be tempting to engage with such people, because they often have or promise great financial rewards. But you can't win in the long run. As the saying goes — you'll both get dirty, and the pig will like it. Unfortunately again, Warren and Charlie didn't always listen to their own advice... Links: Chuck Rickershauser's corporate flow chart: (left half) (right half) Carve Outs: The Sopranos: https://www.hbo.com/the-sopranos Macklemore on Armchair Expert: https://armchairexpertpod.com/pods/macklemore Episode Sources: http://www.studioz7.com/stamps.html https://cmqinvesting.substack.com/p/damn-right-behind-the-scenes-with https://cmqinvesting.substack.com/p/damn-right-behind-the-scenes-with https://dealbook.nytimes.com/2014/03/12/with-deal-for-tv-station-buffett-shrinks-ties-to-graham-family/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ajit_Jain https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berkshire_Hathaway https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Monday_(1987) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Chip_Stamps https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlie_Munger https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugene_Meyer_(financier) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fritz_Beebe https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harvey_Seeley_Mudd https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Gutfreund https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_J._Byrne https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Meriwether https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katharine_Graham https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liar's_Poker https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Lewis https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nebraska_Furniture_Mart https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phil_Graham https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salomon_Brothers https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/See's_Candies https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Charles_Munger https://fortune.com/1997/10/27/warren-buffett-salomon/ https://fundooprofessor.wordpress.com/2012/12/06/httpsdl-dropbox-comu28494399bloglinksfloats_and_moats-pdf/ https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/warren-buffett-berkshire-hathaway-dream-business-is-sees-candies-2019-7-1029916323 https://moiglobal.com/tom-murphy-2018/ https://moneyisboring.com/2019/10/03/a-case-study-of-why-warren-buffett-bought-disney-in-1966/ https://seekingalpha.com/article/4175060-time-for-berkshire-and-mclane-to-part-ways https://static.fmgsuite.com/media/documents/1bae1ba7-c2f2-4af5-ac1f-c0429dc7e5f0.pdf https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0471446912/ https://www.amazon.com/Liars-Poker-Norton-Paperback-Michael-ebook/dp/B003E20ZRY https://www.amazon.com/Poor-Charlies-Almanack-Charles-Expanded/dp/1578645018 https://www.amazon.com/Snowball-Warren-Buffett-Business-Life/dp/0553805096 https://www.berkshirehathaway.com/1999ar/FortuneMagazine.pdf https://www.fool.com/investing/2019/12/29/heres-how-much-money-warren-buffett-has-made-in-ge.aspx https://www.fool.com/investing/best-warren-buffett-quotes.aspx https://www.gurufocus.com/news/1344156/why-warren-buffetts-blue-chip-stamps-deal-was-so-revolutionary- https://www.multpl.com/s-p-500-pe-ratio/table/by-month https://www.sees.com/timeline/ https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/warren-buffett-to-step-down-from-washington-post-co-board/2011/01/20/ABWJ9NR_story.html https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jMuX_-hE7SQ https://youtu.be/QSGz4Y8CP2I
We team up with two of the very best English-language analysts covering China tech today, Rui Ma and Ying Lu from the Tech Buzz China podcast, to talk about the big trends happening on the ground in China right now. We've had Rui and Ying's episodes on repeat in our own podcast players for many years as we researched our Meituan, PDD, Tencent and Alibaba episodes, and we're so excited to have them finally join us live. We had a blast and learned much more about what's actually happening in the world's largest market than the relative trickle of news Western audiences normally receive. Tune in! LP Book Club Announcement! The Acquired LP Book Club is officially returning! We are super excited to have Brad Stone join us on May 21st to discuss his sequel to the Everything Store, Amazon Unbound. We'll be interviewing Brad on Zoom with Acquired LPs “live in the audience”, and Q+A to follow. You can join and become an LP here: https://acquired.fm/lp/ Sponsors: Thanks to Kevel for being our presenting sponsor for this special episode. Kevel provides API infrastructure to quickly build custom ad platforms for sponsored listings, internal promotions, native ads, and more — customers include Yelp, Rappi, OfferUp, Mozilla, Strava, and many other large apps and platforms. In true Acquired fashion, Kevel and CEO James Avery have put together a fun page showcasing the company's "history & facts", which you can find here: http://bit.ly/acquiredkevel ! Thank you as well to Masterworks and to Perkins Coie. You can learn more about them at: http://bit.ly/acquiredmasterworks (use code “Acquired” to skip the waitlist) http://bit.ly/acquiredperkins Topics and trends covered: How Rui and Ying stay on top of trends in China tech remotely from the US The rise of “tech company like” CPG and other consumer brands in China and extremely fast product development and iteration: e.g., Genki Forest, Perfect Diary and Shein Community group buying and the reinvention of commerce in rural China (along with an eye-opening discussion of what qualifies as “rural” in China... which is very different from the West!) Autonomous and electric vehicle design and production in China (which is the world's largest car market), and the government's push for China to become a global leader in both The current state of anti-trust in China and why investors and operators on the ground in China are optimistic about recent developments Links: Tech Buzz China: https://www.techbuzzchina.com TBC's fantastic Insider community for investors and operators: https://www.techbuzzchina.com/insider
Berkshire Hathaway Part I

Berkshire Hathaway Part I

2021-04-2103:11:104

It's time. After 150+ episodes on great companies, we tackle the granddaddy of them all — Berkshire Hathaway. One episode alone isn't nearly enough to do Warren and Poor Charlie justice, so today we present Part I: Warren's story. How did a folksy, middle-class kid from Omaha become the single greatest capitalist of all-time? Why, like Jordan, did he retire (twice!) at the top of his game, only to reinvent himself and come back stronger than ever? As always, we dive in. Let's dance. If you love Acquired and want more, join our LP Community for access to over 50 LP-only episodes, monthly Zoom calls, and live access for big events like emergency pods and book club discussions with authors. We can't wait to see you there. Join here at: https://acquired.fm/lp/ Sponsors:  Thanks to Tiny for being our presenting sponsor for all of Acquired Season 8. Tiny is building the "Berkshire Hathaway of the internet" — something they're so dedicated to, they even make and sell bronze busts of Warren & Charlie online! if you own a wonderful internet business that you want to sell, or know someone who does, you should get in touch with them. Just like Berkshire, they commit to quick, simple diligence, a 30-day or less process, and will leave your business to do its thing for the long term. You can learn more about Tiny here: http://bit.ly/acquiredtiny and find their Berkshire Nerds store here: http://bit.ly/acquiredbrknerds Thank you as well to Vouch and to Capchase. You can learn more about them at: https://bit.ly/acquired-vouch http://bit.ly/acquiredcapchase The Warren Buffett Playbook: (also available on our website at https://www.acquired.fm/episodes/berkshire-hathaway-part-i ) 1. Money can create more money. (aka "Compounding") Very early in life, Warren figured out something most people never truly grasp: money can be used to generate more money. It's sounds simple, but once you fully internalize this concept, you'll never see the world the same again. A given sum no longer represents what you could buy with it — a coffee, a phone, a car, a house, etc — but rather what it could grow to become over time. At the extreme, people like Warren are "cursed", seeing prices for goods not as whatever the sticker says, but 5x, 10x, 20x higher — because that's what the opportunity cost of parting with the capital represents. If you own an asset that's compounding at a high rate with no obvious reason it will stop... dear lord do not interrupt it!! Most people are tempted to meddle: lock in gains, cover other losses, actively trade, or otherwise "manage" their investments. In the long run these actions are almost assuredly all value-destructive behaviors if you own truly great businesses. 2. Align incentives: be a doctor, not a prescriptionist. Warren likened stockbrokers — who got paid based on volume of trades placed, not investment performance — to "prescriptionist" doctors who were paid by their number and type of pills prescribed, versus actual patient outcomes. Once Warren created his investment partnerships (and then later transformed Berkshire Hathaway into something similar), he not only unlocked hugely better outcomes for his"patients", but allowed created a path to pursue his own dream and become fabulously wealthy in the process. 3. You can't expect to control other people's emotions around money (or anything else). However with the right "ground rules", you can mitigate the impact of others on your business and decision making — and even use them to your advantage. Warren's early partnerships had a few ground rules and norms: partners will not know what securities are held, trading in/out is allowed only 1 day / year, and Warren will consistently set low expectations (leaving himself ample room to over-deliver). These set the stage for nearly complete freedom for Warren to operate as he saw fit — to the immense gain of his limited partners. 4. Sins of omission (selling or passing) nearly always cost more than sins of commission (buying). Warren is almost without doubt the greatest investor of all time. However even he made three incredibly stupid "unforced errors" early in his career that cost hundreds of billions in future gains: selling GEICO, selling American Express, and passing on the opportunity to invest in Intel with Arthur Rock. That said, Warren's fourth great mistake (and in his estimation his greatest) was certainly a sin of commission: buying Berkshire Hathaway itself. Warren estimates this single blunder totaled $200B+ in opportunity cost over his lifetime. Carve Outs: Ben: Year One of Not Boring: https://www.notboring.co/p/a-not-boring-adventure-one-year-in David: Balaji Srinivasan on The Tim Ferriss Show: https://tim.blog/2021/03/24/balaji-srinivasan/ Episode Sources: https://berkshirehathaway.com/reports.html https://einvestingforbeginners.com/warren-buffetts-ground-rules/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alice_Schroeder https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Graham https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berkshire_Hathaway https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Howard_Buffett https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_public_corporations_by_market_capitalization#2021 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oliver_Chace https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Noyce https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salad_Oil_scandal https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_Slater https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seabury_Stanton https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_Pacific_Railroad https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valley_Falls_Company https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wall_Street_Crash_of_1929 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_J._Ruane https://fundooprofessor.wordpress.com/2012/07/09/flirting-with-floats-part-i/ https://fundooprofessor.wordpress.com/2012/07/16/flirting-with-floats-part-ii/ https://fundooprofessor.wordpress.com/2012/12/06/httpsdl-dropbox-comu28494399bloglinksfloats_and_moats-pdf/ https://medium.com/@madmedic11671/how-salad-oil-almost-crashed-the-u-s-economy-c3ed3c2cb797 https://minesafetydisclosures.com/blog/2017/4/16/berkshire-hathaway-brkb https://novelinvestor.com/happy-hour-wild-ride-geico/ https://qz.com/emails/quartz-obsession/1269094/ https://static.fmgsuite.com/media/documents/1bae1ba7-c2f2-4af5-ac1f-c0429dc7e5f0.pdf https://www.amazon.com/Buffett-American-Capitalist-Roger-Lowenstein/dp/0812979273 https://www.amazon.com/Poor-Charlies-Almanack-Charles-Expanded/dp/1578645018 https://www.amazon.com/Snowball-Warren-Buffett-Business-Life/dp/0553805096 https://www.berkshirehathaway.com/letters/1995.html https://www.cnbc.com/2019/01/31/warren-buffett-on-his-successful-relationship-with-charlie-munger.html https://www.hbomax.com/feature/urn:hbo:feature:GWEW13AjEq0vCwwEAAAAH https://www.nationalindemnity.com/About_History.aspx https://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/04/business/04buffett.html https://www.tilsonfunds.com/BRK.pdf https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fjXZbW8ALRA&t=463s https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FsDYatBvwYI&t=127s https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oFEwN7j0IWw https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZNqLWe5o2Q&t=171s https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJzu_xItNkY https://www2.census.gov/prod2/popscan/p60-001.pdf https://yale.app.box.com/s/8lb7yqca5tmfcjbjhhuw5xft7i1ddttj
Last Acquired left the plucky Rec Room crew in our 2018 "Part I" episode, they were a seed stage startup making a VR game that users loved but grew slowly and barely monetized. Fast forward to today, and they're now a multi-platform social "place" with millions of active users, 500%+ YoY growth and hosting a robust creator economy that's rivaled only by their oft-compared metaverse cousin Roblox in dynamics and efficiency. And oh yeah, they're now a $1B+ company after a new $100m fundraise from existing investors Sequoia and Index, which they're announcing today. We figured it was high time to revisit Nick & crew for a Part II...   If you love Acquired and want more, join our LP Community for access to over 50 LP-only episodes, monthly Zoom calls, and live access for big events like emergency pods and book club discussions with authors. We can't wait to see you there. Join here at: https://acquired.fm/lp/   Sponsors:  Thanks to Tiny for being our presenting sponsor for all of Acquired Season 8. Tiny is building the "Berkshire Hathaway of the internet" — if you own a wonderful internet business that you want to sell, or know someone who does, you should get in touch with them. Unlike traditional buyers, they commit to quick, simple diligence, a 30-day or less process, and will leave your business to do its thing for the long term. You can learn more about Tiny here: http://bit.ly/acquiredtiny Thank you as well to Vouch and to Capchase. You can learn more about them at: https://bit.ly/acquired-vouch http://bit.ly/acquiredcapchase   The Rec Room Playbook: (also available on our website at https://www.acquired.fm/episodes/rec-room-part-ii-with-ceo-nick-fajt ) 1. It's ok not to have a grand plan from the beginning. As Nick says, company founding stories tend to get romanticized in retrospect. (Guilty as charged here at Acquired!) As a founder it can feel like there's so much pressure on you to "have it all figured out" from day one. But the reality of most great company beginnings is nothing so grand: often it's just founders who have an inkling about something interesting and the combination of courage + right life circumstances to jump into the unknown and learn as they go. Things change quickly in new or evolving markets, and if you're too wedded to a master plan you're likely to miss more opportunities than you seize. 2. Don't let early (or even just recent) success blind you if potential headwinds are on the horizon. Rec Room experienced "explosive" growth during the 2017 holiday season with the launch of Playstation VR. However this was a classic "wiggle of false hope" (in Paul Graham parlance), not real product-market fit. It would have been easy to ignore the very real warning signs (e.g., that VR adoption as a whole was slowing) and plow full steam ahead. Instead the team realized they probably needed to step back from the temporary momentum and diversify out of solely focusing on VR to find new avenues for growth. 3. Build your company into a robust organism. Startups constantly face existential risks: what if the market shifts? What if we make wrong strategic decisions? How can you architect your business as a system so that "you" (either you personally or the company management as a whole) doesn't need to always be right in order to succeed? For Rec Room this has meant investing deeply into UGC and letting creators lead growth. Any room or piece of content might be no more likely to breakout than another — but in aggregate across now millions of creators, Rec Room is almost guaranteed a constant stream of "hits". 4. UGC is a flywheel that's difficult to start, but creates incredible business dynamics once spinning. Like any flywheel, UGC requires a ton of effort to get moving in the beginning. (E.g., why should people bother to create? What tools do they need? How do you get the incentives right?) But once momentum takes over, it can become an incredible virtuous cycle where users' creativity inspires more users both to consume and create themselves, which compounds faster and faster over time. Furthermore, once a UGC flywheel is spinning, the underlying platform's unit economics get pretty fast: costs to produce content go down (or to zero), cost to acquire users go down (or to zero), and retention, engagement and monetization all spike up. In previous eras Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitch rode to this dynamic to incredible success. Today Roblox, Rec Room, TikTok and others are following the same playbook. 5. When operating a "metaverse", the best business dynamics result from having everything on a single platform (vs. siloing users based on devices/geos/etc) Having all users able to interact on one platform not only maximizes liquidity across the creator-consumer marketplace, but affords the company more power across brand (e.g. Rec Room is the sole brand, not "Rec Room on xbox/steam/VR/etc") and central economic control.   Links: Our "Part I" episode with Nick on Rec Room's seed round: https://www.acquired.fm/episodes/season-2-episode-2raising-a-seed-round-with-against-gravity-ceo-nick-fajt Rec Room! https://recroom.com   Carve Outs: Invent and Wander: https://www.amazon.com/Invent-Wander-Collected-Writings-Introduction-ebook/dp/B08BCCT6MW/ Resonant Arc on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFzWAEPDGiY34bGpwM_DWmA How The Economic Machine Works by Ray Dalio: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PHe0bXAIuk0
Meituan

Meituan

2021-03-1002:20:183

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

The New York Times Company

2021-02-1803:04:33

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

Bitcoin

2021-01-1903:12:1110

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

Airbnb

2020-12-1102:37:142

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/  
DoorDash

DoorDash

2020-12-1002:58:276

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

Virgin Galactic

2020-11-2301:45:11

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

Twitter (with Dick Costolo)

2020-10-2801:22:392

A week before the 2020 US Presidential election, former Twitter CEO Dick Costolo joins us to tell the story of a company that has impacted all of our lives (political and otherwise) like none other. While it's easy to forget now, a very viable alternate history exists where it's Twitter, not Facebook, who owns Instagram, and Vine, not TikTok, that's the global platform for mobile video. We dive into it all on this episode — and of course while we had Dick, we also had to discuss his controversial recent deleted tweet. If you want more more Acquired and the tools + resources to become the best founder, operator or investor you can be, join our LP Program for access to our LP Show, the LP community on Slack and Zoom, and our live Book Club discussions with top authors. Join here at: https://acquired.fm/lp/ New! We're codifying our own Playbook notes and takeaways from each episode, and posting them here in the show notes and on our website. You can read them below or at: https://www.acquired.fm/episodes/twitter-with-dick-costolo Sponsors: Thanks to Tiny for being our presenting sponsor for all of Acquired Season 7. Tiny is building the "Berkshire Hathaway of the internet" — if you own a wonderful internet business that you want to sell, or know someone who does, you should get in touch with them. Unlike traditional buyers, they commit to quick, simple diligence, a 30-day or less process, and will leave your business to do its thing for the long term. You can learn more about Tiny here: http://tinycapital.com Thank you as well to Bamboo Growth and to Perkins Coie. You can learn more about them at: https://growwithbamboo.com https://www.perkinscoie.com/ Playbook Themes from this Episode: Sometimes early advantages matter. A lot. In a network economy industry (like social media), it's almost impossible to chase down someone with an established lead. The only way you can hope to compete is by changing the game. And even that is a long shot. Once Facebook — and then Instagram within Facebook — had established a meaningful active user lead over Twitter, there was no "down the middle" play Twitter could run to catch up. Twitter recognized this and attempted all sorts of orthogonal strategies: video (Vine), live (Periscope), music (Twitter Music), syndication (Moments), exclusive content (the NFL deal). In each case either Facebook was able to copy and co-opt the innovation, or the attempt simply failed. Sometimes reach matters. A lot. If you're operating in a network economy, your service MUST deliver a first-class experience on every platform that matters. Vine launched on iOS and immediately went to #1 in the App Store. But they didn't get a good Android experience out fast enough, which fractured the social graph that users could share across. Instagram was able to respond aggressively with a first-class video experience across both iOS and Android before Vine could stop the bleeding — and the rest is history. Network Resiliency. Some network graphs are more inherently defensible than others. How easy it is to "rehydrate" your network somewhere else should drive how closely you guard it. Facebook, LinkedIn and WhatsApp all have relatively low defensible networks — if you were to exfiltrate their graphs, you could recreate their value quickly. This is why all of those companies / products significantly restrict connection exporting, and also why they were able to bootstrap quickly in the early days by importing users' address books. By contrast, the Twitter graph is about interest, not social connections. Even if you exfiltrated all its connections, it'd be very difficult to recreate Twitter (people have tried). This dynamic made it more difficult for Twitter to scale quickly, but also has made it more resilient over time. The core Twitter product is just as robust — if not more — today than it was in 2010... the same can't be said for the blue Facebook product, which has bled out to Instagram, WhatsApp, TikTok, Snap, iMessage, etc. Balancing forest fires and forestry management. As a leader of a rapidly growing organization, you face two types of challenges: "forest fires" (this crazy thing just happened and we need to respond), and "forestry management" (this set of crazy things will keep happening until we figure out a solution that scales). You need a different mental state to approach each, and balancing between the two is incredibly difficult when you're see-sawing back and forth every day. Links: Ashish Goel at Stanford: https://web.stanford.edu/~ashishg/twitter.html Dick and Adam's new firm, 01 Advisors: https://01a.com/ Carve Outs: Vote! https://www.vote.org
On this special episode of Acquired, we're joined by a master interviewer himself, Patrick O'Shaughnessy from Invest Like the Best. We turn the tables and cover the most fascinating story he's never told on ILTB... his own! What is O’Shaughnessy Asset Management, and how are they bringing "AWS-level" innovation to the sleepy wealth management industry? How did he go from Notre Dame philosophy major to quant researcher to (arguably) technology CEO and now also an early-stage venture investor... all while simultaneously building one of the world's top new business media empires? Acquired is here to explore it all. If you want more more Acquired and the tools + resources to become the best founder, operator or investor you can be, join our LP Program for access to our LP Show, the LP community on Slack and Zoom, and our new live Book Club discussions with top authors. Join here at: https://acquired.fm/lp/   Sponsor: This episode is supported by Teamistry, a great podcast from Atlassian that tells the stories of teams who work together in new and unexpected ways to achieve remarkable things. It's one of our best new podcast discoveries in 2020 and we honestly think Acquired listeners are going to love it. (business + history + space!) Click the link below to listen, and our thanks to Teamistry for their support. https://link.chtbl.com/teamistry?sid=podcast.acquired   Playbook Special! Patrick’s Favorite Themes from 5 Years of ILTB: Chetan Puttagunta (#1): Go slow to go fast — http://investorfieldguide.com/chetan/ Chetan Puttagunta (#2): Open source isn’t about saving on R&D, it’s about building differentiated distribution among developers — http://investorfieldguide.com/chetan-puttagunta-and-jeremiah-lowin-open-source-crash-course-invest-like-the-best-ep-188/ Bill Gurley: Healthy marketplace opportunities have increasing marginal value to demand from incremental supply penetration — http://investorfieldguide.com/gurley/ Matthew Ball: The key to unlocking the Metaverse isn’t about building Ready Player One, it’s about creating interoperable systems that will move value and information between experiences — http://investorfieldguide.com/matt-ball-the-future-of-media-movies-the-metaverse-and-more-invest-like-the-best-ep-185/ Charlie Songhurst: The best place to look for talent is in less-competitive markets — http://investorfieldguide.com/songhurst/ Katrina Lake: The past of e-commerce was about price, convenience and selection; the future is about personalization and curation — http://investorfieldguide.com/katrina-lake-the-next-wave-of-e-commerce-invest-like-the-best-ep-187/ Daniel Ek: Company scaling as “seeing around corners” — http://investorfieldguide.com/ek/ Kat Cole: Inversion as a tool to deal with difficult people — http://investorfieldguide.com/kat-cole-how-to-operate-lessons-in-brand-distribution-and-leadership-invest-like-the-best-ep-184/ Sarah Tavel: Hierarchy as a framework — http://investorfieldguide.com/tavel/ Josh Wolfe: The “directional arrow of progress” and the simple power of extrapolating trend lines — http://investorfieldguide.com/wolfe2/   Links: Invest Like the Best: http://investorfieldguide.com/podcast/ Founder's Field Guide: http://investorfieldguide.com/founders-field-guide/ OSAM and Canvas: https://www.osam.com
The NBA

The NBA

2020-09-3002:43:472

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

Epic Games

2020-09-0202:24:527

We go deep behind the "epic" story of a plucky game developer from Cary, North Carolina (by way of Potomac, Maryland) which, after bootstrapping for its first 22 years, has quietly morphed into an $18b juggernaut that may become the most important technology company for the next evolution of the internet. And oh yeah, its founder, CEO and controlling shareholder? He cares more about land conservation than he does about money, he's beholden to no one and has the firepower of China's biggest internet giant behind him, and he's willing to stare down Apple, Google and anyone else who doesn't support his vision of an open and equal-opportunity internet future in a fight to the death. You'll want to buckle your seats for this one!! If you want more more Acquired and the tools + resources to become the best founder, operator or investor you can be, join our LP Program for access to our LP Show, the LP community on Slack and Zoom, and our new Book Club live sessions with authors like Hamilton Helmer of 7 Powers and Will Thorndike of The Outsiders. Join here at: https://acquired.fm/lp/    New! We're codifying our own Playbook notes and takeaways from each episode, and posting them here in the show notes and on our website. You can read them below or at: www.acquired.fm/episodes/epic-games   Sponsors: Thanks to Tiny for being our presenting sponsor for all of Acquired Season 7. Tiny is building the "Berkshire Hathaway of the internet" — if you own a wonderful internet business that you want to sell, or know someone who does, you should get in touch with them. Unlike traditional buyers, they commit to quick, simple diligence, a 30-day or less process, and will leave your business to do its thing for the long term. You can learn more about Tiny here: http://tinycapital.com Thank you as well to Bamboo Growth and to Perkins Coie. You can learn more about them at: https://growwithbamboo.com https://www.perkinscoie.com/   Playbook: Good companies find gold in a rush. Great companies sell jeans and pickaxes to everyone who pans. The best companies sell jeans, pickaxes AND find more gold than anyone else. Epic's two-part business model of the Unreal Engine plus Fortnite (and other games and experiences) is like AWS plus Amazon's consumer facing businesses: not only do they create and sell the infrastructure that powers a whole industry, but as their own "first and best" customers they can use its features most effectively and inform their own future roadmap of what to build. "Games as a Service" (embodied by titles like Fortnite, Roblox, Minecraft, League of Legends and Honor of Kings, etc) is a revolution that's unlocking value on the same order of magnitude that SaaS did for software. Much like SaaS apps, GaaS experiences can be built by small teams with a creative insight, in a capital-light fashion on open, best-in-class infrastructure that's cheap to rent (Unreal Engine or Unity). They can be designed to address initially small or niche-seeming use cases and desires (e.g. Battle Royale), but then adapt and scale elastically when they strike a rich vein. And perhaps most importantly they monetize via ongoing subscription and virtual economy revenue that aligns with actual user engagement, vs one-time upfront fees on boxed software. Zero (or low) marginal cost businesses are special opportunities. Anytime you can sell something for a significant price that costs you little/nothing to create incremental copies of — e.g. Fortnite skins — you have the potentially to do very, very well. People sometimes forget, but this dynamic also existed before the internet: the media business (both content and distribution) was perhaps the best and most consistent industry of the 20th century from a Return on Capital perspective. There's a reason Warren Buffet called Tom Murphy and Dan Burke of Capital Cities the best capital allocation team of all-time — they were playing on a field tilted in their advantage. That said, the internet has brought this dynamic to MANY more sectors of the economy, and its next iteration (the metaverse) will extend it to even more. Capital scarcity creates a forcing function for disciplined and effective capital allocation. Capital abundance often leads to undisciplined and ineffective capital allocation. Epic created immense value during its 22 years as a bootstrapped company. While its first $330m capital raise from Tencent in 2012 has ultimately led to even more value creation, the first ~4-5 years post-investment saw the company almost lose its way with multiple long, costly and undisciplined game projects for which actual market demand was unclear. When the company ultimately re-captured its mojo with Fortnite, it was by going back to its roots with a fast-follow project built by a small team in response to clear market demand — with a unique twist that made it special. Retaining "control" — over your distribution, your margins, your product decisions and ultimately your company — allows you to build the biggest possible platform in the long run. The old saying that "you can't build a really big company on someone else's platform" is usually true. Multiple times along its journey, Epic and Tim chose to go the harder, longer, and riskier "independent" route vs. relying on publishers, retailers or (now) app stores. Iteration is the in-practice implementation of compounding. Iteration is a standard dogma in startups and engineering (e.g. "agile", etc.), and compounding is a standard dogma in (value) investing. In practice they're two sides of the same coin: the small iterations that Epic does year in and year out — on both the Unreal Engine and Fortnite + other GaaS experiences — compound to create extraordinary value. Or put another way, within operating businesses like Epic, dollars don't just compound on their own. Retained earnings need to be re-deployed every day to build that next feature or service that future developers (and non-developers!) can build on top of.   Links: MTV Cribs, "Tim Sweeney Edition": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lRGUKMKadJ8 Carve Outs: Ben's "3 part carve out": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bErPsq5kPzE - original video demo of Unreal Engine for filmmaking https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gUnxzVOs3rk - Feb 2020, video on "The Volume" https://ascmag.com/articles/the-mandalorian David Asimov's Foundation Series: https://www.amazon.com/Complete-Asimovs-Foundation-Foundations-Prelude/dp/B01EFDEMS8   Sources: (also available on Journal at https://usejournal.com/app/space/journal:space:project/7efa6d43-a601-4784-8e36-1edda2b1b451 ) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cliff_Bleszinski https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epic_Games https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Unreal_Engine_games#Unreal_Engine_4 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Sweeney_(game_developer) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ZZT https://forums.unrealengine.com/community/general-discussion/40293-does-epic-make-more-money-from-games-or-game-engines https://gamasutra.com/view/feature/132426/from_the_past_to_the_future_tim_.php https://kotaku.com/the-quiet-tinkerer-who-makes-games-beautiful-finally-ge-5865951 https://open.spotify.com/episode/0c8KkHc3lrHgGVyRVCo5B3 (Wizard & the Bruiser episode on Epic) https://overcast.fm/+aLde2gbYE https://overcast.fm/+JNncEontw https://techcrunch.com/2018/12/27/epic-fortnite-3-billion-profit/ https://twitter.com/sarahjeong/status/1298031302357082112?s=10 https://variety.com/2018/gaming/news/fortnite-epic-games-billion-dollar-decision-1202884194/ https://venturebeat.com/2018/04/26/superdata-fortnite-is-now-the-biggest-free-to-play-console-game-ever/ https://web.archive.org/web/20010519154729/http://www.gamespot.com/features/makeunreal/ https://www.appannie.com/en/apps/ios/top/united-states/games/iphone/ https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-08-19/epic-games-fortnite-battle-with-apple-and-google-can-be-traced-to-nintendo-tax https://www.businessinsider.com/apple-made-360-million-from-fortnite- in-app-purchases-2020-8 https://www.cnbc.com/2018/06/12/epic-games-company-behind-fortnite-was-founded-by-a-college-kid.html https://www.cnbc.com/2018/12/14/the-reason-epic-landed-a-15-billion-valuation-is-not-fortnite-success.html https://www.cnbc.com/2020/01/07/apple-app-store-had-estimated-gross-sales-of-50-billion-in-2019.html https://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/132426/from_the_past_to_the_f uture_tim_.php?print=1 https://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2013-03-22-tencent-paid-usd330m-for-48-percent-share-in-epic-games https://www.gamespot.com/articles/chinese-internet-company-owns-40-percent-of-epic-games/1100-6405749/ https://www.gamesradar.com/the-epic-tradition/ https://www.ign.com/articles/1999/02/04/epic-sets-up-shop https://www.matthewball.vc/all/epicgamesprimermaster https://www.newsobserver.com/news/business/article238221784.html https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/25/technology/fortnite-creator-tim-sweeney-apple-google.html?referringSource=articleShare https://www.pcgamesn.com/steam-revenue-cut-tim-sweeney https://www.polygon.com/2012/10/1/3438196/better-with-age-a-history-of-epic-games https://www.polygon.com/2013/11/21/5128872/epic-classics-ships-last-copy-of-zzt https://www.polygon.com/a/epic-4-0 https://www.polygon.com/a/epic-4-0/the-four-lives-of-epic-games https://www.theverge.com/2020/1/2/21046920/fortnite-revenue-drop-superdata-nielsen-2019-earnings https://www.theverge.com/2020/8/17/21369460/apple-fortnite-app-store-services-business-model-epic-games https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-man-behind-fortnite-11560571201
We're joined by two very special guests, Eventbrite CEO Julia Hartz and her cofounder, spouse and Eventbrite Chairman Kevin Hartz, to tell their story of building Eventbrite together (along with their lives and family) from the PayPal diaspora to bootstrapped business, unicorn status, IPO and now starting all over again in the wake of COVID with both a tragedy and a huge new opportunity in front of them as public company. If you want more more Acquired and the tools + resources to become the best founder, operator or investor you can be, join our LP Program for access to our LP Show (including the episode with Kevin on SPACs), the LP community on Slack and Zoom, and our new Book Club live sessions with authors like Hamilton Helmer of 7 Powers and Will Thorndike of The Outsiders. Join here at: https://acquired.fm/lp/   New! We're codifying our own Playbook notes and takeaways from each episode, and posting them here in the show notes and on our website. You can read them below or at: www.acquired.fm/episodes/eventbrite   Sponsors: Thanks to Tiny for being our presenting sponsor for all of Acquired Season 7. Tiny is building the "Berkshire Hathaway of the internet" — if you own a wonderful internet business that you want to sell, or know someone who does, you should get in touch with them. Unlike traditional buyers, they commit to quick, simple diligence, a 30-day or less process, and will leave your business to do its thing for the long term. You can learn more about Tiny here: http://tinycapital.com Thank you as well to Bamboo Growth and to Perkins Coie. You can learn more about them at: https://growwithbamboo.com https://www.perkinscoie.com/   Playbook Seeing the next technology wave before others do is rare. It provides a roadmap for what to build and invest in if you're willing to bet on that knowledge. Kevin worked at Silicon Graphics in the mid 90's. This led him to realize that internet services like PayPal, YouTube, and many others would be possible long before others (similar to Don Valentine realizing computers would penetrate every industry from his time at Fairchild). PayPal and its subsequent "mafia" was successful in part because of rapid experimentation. They observed what got used by customers and then doubled down. PayPal's "core" use case on eBay started as an experiment. International money transfer (Xoom) and event ticketing (Eventbrite) also initially started as experiments on the PayPal API before the eBay acquisition — and went on to become large companies. Julia, Kevin, and their cofounder Renaud had a prototype of Eventbrite running and serving customers even before starting the company — which gave them the confidence to do what seemed crazy on paper, but was actually "de-risked": start a company as an engaged couple, have a remote technical cofounder, bootstrap for 2 years after being turned down by VCs, etc. When a company is experiencing explosive growth, they often need to leave other huge opportunities on the table. PayPal knew international remittances could be huge, but didn't build it internally because of the need to focus on eBay merchants. The TAM for bringing an offline behavior offline is often WAY bigger than anything you can calculate beforehand. The range and size of what were previously niche or impossible use cases will often expand dramatically with easy-to-use online tools. This is especially true in long-tail use cases that can only be aggregated by self-serve internet-based software. One early encouraging sign for Eventbrite was its use to host speed dating events in New York. Before Eventbrite, it was nearly impossible to organize, promote, and charge for something like that. Now, organizers could suddenly become entrepreneurs and make real money hosting events like this. Most VCs ignored or were confused by this data (~"Call us when you attack Ticketmaster."), but they missed that it unlocked a massive new market which previously operated only through word-of-mouth and cash transactions (if at all). All three major dislocations of the 21st century — the tech bubble bursting in 2001, the financial crisis in 2008, and now COVID in 2020 — have only accelerated offline behaviors to online. COVID is unlocking a new wave of online event entrepreneurs for Eventbrite in the same way the financial crisis unlocked a wave of in-person event entrepreneurs in 2008-10. Starting with just one niche can be incredibly powerful; often your customers will then lead you to more. Before the speed-dating in New York (which was fully inbound), Eventbrite was used to organize tech meetups in the then-smaller tech community in SF. It was even used for the first TechCrunch Disrupt! Too much capital (and too little accountability) can hurt a company much more than help it. Capital covers up problems, distracts focus from customers, and leads to poor resource allocation. Kevin: "The periods where we had raised the most money privately were the hardest and most difficult for me, because we were really fighting this gravity of overspending and creating inefficiency. And it took us away from our roots as a capital-efficient, highly-effective perpetual motion machine [that we'd had as a bootstrapped company]." Being a public company not only instills more capital allocation discipline, but can ALSO afford a degree of financial flexibility that just isn't possible as a private company. Within weeks of COVID hitting, Eventbrite dramatically shrunk the size and scope of the company AND raised $375m in new capital from new and longterm shareholders. Both actions would have been difficult to impossible as a private company with a static valuation (and associated anti-dilution, ratchet terms, etc) that no longer reflected the reality of the current situation.
Pinduoduo

Pinduoduo

2020-07-1601:51:46

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

Oprah (Harpo Studios)

2020-06-2502:08:222

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

SpaceX

2020-05-2602:39:415

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

Adapting Episode 3: Intel

2020-05-1201:18:444

Want more Acquired? Join thousands of other founders, CEOs, VCs, product people and engineers learning in the Acquired Limited Partner Program: https://glow.fm/acquired/ When you think of Intel today, you probably think of the microprocessor company. Maybe you also think about about 'Intel Inside' and their famous jingle. You might even think "big, stable, boring public company". But for the first two decades of Intel's life, absolutely none of those things were true. Today we tell the incredible story of how the company that started it all in Silicon Valley clawed back from a crisis that brought them to the brink of death, and of one man who rose as the ultimate survivor to become their leader and a legend even in his own time: the late, great Andy Grove. Note: This episode originally aired as part of Podapalooza, a podcast festival organized by our friends at Glow to benefit COVID relief. Find out more and support the cause at https://www.plza.org Sponsor: Thanks to Silicon Valley Bank for being our banner sponsor for Adapting and Acquired Season 6. You can learn more about SVB here: https://www.svb.com/impact Thank you as well to Wilson Sonsini - You can learn more about WSGR at: https://www.wsgr.com/ Sources: Only the Paranoid Survive:  https://www.amazon.com/Only-Paranoid-Survive-Exploit-Challenge-ebook/dp/B0036S4B2G Swimming Across: https://www.amazon.com/Swimming-Across-Andrew-S-Grove-ebook/dp/B07CJRM4DX/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Grove https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gordon_Moore https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Noyce https://www.businessinsider.com/alan-patricof-greycroft-ipo-market-2011-1 https://anthonysmoak.com/2016/03/27/andy-grove-and-intels-move-from-memory-to-microprocessors/ http://archive.computerhistory.org/resources/text/Oral_History/Intel_386_Business_Strategy/102701962.05.01.pdf https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_80386 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Shockley https://www.inc.com/ilan-mochari/remembering-andy-grove-intel.html
On March 5th 2020, Sequoia Capital published a Medium post entitled ‘Coronavirus: The Black Swan of 2020’. The memo minces no words, admonishing founders & CEOs to “question every assumption about your business”, and portends that “as Darwin surmised, those who [will] survive ‘are not the strongest or the most intelligent, but the most adaptable to change.’” We’re joined by longtime Sequoia partner and head of the firm’s US business Roelof Botha to discuss on what Sequoia saw leading up to the memo and why they decided to publish it, how they and their portfolio companies are adapting to the new world it warned of, and what lasting changes might come to Sequoia itself from this moment. For anyone facing hard decisions and/or looking for ways to think about opportunity, this is not one to miss. Want more Adapting/Acquired? You can join the Acquired Limited Partner program at: https://glow.fm/acquired/ Links: The Black Swan Memo: https://medium.com/sequoia-capital/coronavirus-the-black-swan-of-2020-7c72bdeb9753  The COVID-19 Decision Matrix: https://medium.com/sequoia-capital/the-matrix-for-covid-19-c25bd5195f46    Sponsor: Thanks to Silicon Valley Bank for being our banner sponsor for Adapting and Acquired Season 6. You can learn more about SVB here: https://www.svb.com/next Thank you as well to Wilson Sonsini - You can learn more about WSGR at: https://www.wsgr.com/
loading
Comments (11)

Maciej Czech

NYT was right and it shows how smart they were - not only Jews were killed at industry scale but everyone from our region. Now you are rewriting history with this lie that only they were eliminated. Now you are trying to correct them that they misused word Europeans?

Mar 24th
Reply

Mark

Nice!

Dec 11th
Reply

vahid fakhr

Awesome podcast, for who loves startups.

Dec 8th
Reply

Niki Torres

Absolutely enjoyed this one! Rahul is such an eloquent guy.

Aug 17th
Reply

Richard Ottley

awesome interview 👍👏 Jason is the best.. he's got endless stories to write another book

May 4th
Reply

Richard Ottley

awesome 😊 too my birthday is also on November 12 😁

Jan 25th
Reply

Richard Ottley

are you guys coming back with new episodes.. I like this podcast

Jan 19th
Reply

Tumwine

Awesome discussion about #wework

Nov 16th
Reply

Tumwine

The Fairchild info at the beginning was my wow in this episode.

Oct 20th
Reply

Tumwine

Great episode

Sep 21st
Reply

Maciej Czech

This channel was moved third time?

Mar 7th
Reply
Download from Google Play
Download from App Store