Acquired

By Ben Gilbert and David Rosenthal

Listen to a podcast, please open Podcast Republic app. Available on Google Play Store.


Category: Tech News

Open in iTunes


Open RSS feed


Open Website


Rate for this podcast

Subscribers: 207
Reviews: 0

Description

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

Episode Date
DoorDash + Caviar Quick Take + SXSW live show voting!
36:42

Vote for an Acquired SXSW live show at www.acquired.fm/sxsw !

 

We’re joined by former Caviar executive Nick Adler for a quick-take on the big news last week in the battle for US food delivery supremacy, DoorDash’s acquisition of Caviar (which was previously owned by Square). With Uber and Lyft newly public and transportation relatively settled (for the moment), the front lines of the global startup capital wars appear to be shifting to this massive and fast-growing industry. How does it all work and what does this latest chess move portend for the future? Tune in to find out!

 

Links:

 

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://glow.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)

Aug 12, 2019
The Shopify IPO
01:24:37

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://glow.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)

  

Ben and David head north of the border to Ottawa, Canada to cover perhaps one of the greatest IPO success stories of the past 5 years, Shopify. From humble beginnings as a “lifestyle business” hawking hipster snowboard gear online to now routinely mentioned in the same breath as Amazon, the tale of Shopify and its incredible CEO Tobi Lütke’s ascent is not one to miss!

 

Links:

 

Carve Outs:

 

Sponsor:

  • Thanks to Silicon Valley Bank for sponsoring Acquired Season 5. You can learn more about SVB at: https://www.svb.com/next

 

Editor's note: Shopify actually powered $41b of sales, not $14b, in 2018, as discussed toward the end of the episode. $14b was the fourth-quarter number. While this changes the analysis of value captured at the end of the episode (Shopify only captures 2.5% of merchant sales as their own revenue, not 7%, which is admittedly very different), it doesn’t change overall sentiment on the company discussed in the episode.

Aug 06, 2019
Huawei
01:02:50

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://glow.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)

  

For our first episode of Season 5, Acquired returns to Shenzhen to cover another Chinese technology giant, this one slightly... different from our past subjects: Huawei. From a backwater importer of PBX switches to the world’s second largest handset manufacturer and near-undisputed leader in 5G infrastructure technology, Huawei’s ascent over the past 30 years has been nothing short of spectacular, equaled only by the spectacular fireworks of recent events surrounding the company. What’s the story behind this global telecom giant, and what does its future portend for global tech and US - China relations? We dive in.

 

Links

 

Carve Outs

 

Sponsor

  • Thanks to Silicon Valley Bank for sponsoring Acquired Season 5. You can get in touch with Andy Tsao, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here: https://www.svb.com/profile/andy-tsao
Jul 22, 2019
Superhuman (with CEO Rahul Vohra)
01:16:43

Please take the 2019 Acquired Survey. It takes 5-10 minutes, helps us immensely, and you may win a pair of new AirPods or a free 1-year subscription to the LP show! http://acquired.fm/survey

 

We wrap up Season 4 with a very special (and accidental!) episode, a conversation with the CEO of Superhuman, the red hot email productivity app which just announced their $33m Series B led by Andreessen Horowitz. While originally intended as an LP episode, we felt Superhuman would provide the perfect bookend to our “modern enterprise productivity trilogy” following our Zoom and Slack episodes. We hope you enjoy the conversation with Rahul as much as we did, and we’ll see you later this summer for Season 5!

 

Links

 

Sponsor

 

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://glow.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)

Jun 27, 2019
The Slack DPO
01:55:24

Please take the 2019 Acquired Survey. It takes 5-10 minutes, helps us immensely, and you may win a pair of new AirPods or a free 1-year subscription to the LP show! http://acquired.fm/survey

 

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s an... enterprise software company? We give the full Acquired treatment to newly-public Slack, one of the most extreme and successful pivots of all-time. From a log cabin in Canada to a never-ending game and back again, Slack’s journey has more twists and turns than a Hobbit’s tale. Tune in for one APLUSS story you don’t want to miss!

 

Links

 

Carve Outs

 

Sponsor

 

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://glow.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)

Jun 25, 2019
The Zoom IPO (with Santi Subotovsky)
01:16:07

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://glow.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)

 

Zoom board member (and general partner at Emergence Capital) Santi Subotovsky joins us to tell the true underdog story behind the hottest IPO of 2019. Together we trace founder Eric Yuan’s incredible journey from immigrant software developer, who didn’t speak any English upon arriving in Silicon Valley in 1997, to Glassdoor’s #1 rated CEO in America in 2018. In an age where border walls have replaced open doors in Washington, and burn rates and privacy scandals have sidelined Silicon Valley’s pretense of making the world a better place, there is no better reminder than Zoom of everything that can be great about our country and our industry.

 

Links

 

Carve Outs

 

Sponsor

Jun 19, 2019
The Electronic Arts IPO (with Trip Hawkins)
01:57:57

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://glow.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)

 

Acquired looks back at a monumental IPO from a *much* different era: Electronic Arts. We’re joined by EA’s founder Trip Hawkins to tell the incredible story of how he built the company that made video games mainstream. Starting from his high school years as both a geek and a jock, to then working for Steve Jobs as one of Apple Computer’s first employees and later completely changing the world of sports with John Madden Football, Trip always had a clear vision for what EA could become and what magic could happen at the intersection of technology and the liberal arts.

 

Sponsor

May 27, 2019
The Uber IPO
02:20:11

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://glow.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)

 

Welcome to the big one. On the day of its IPO, we tell the story of Uber. It’s a story whose roots stretch back 130 years, but whose impact reverberates perhaps more powerfully on our current world than any other. A story that, in all of its greatness and in all of its ugliness, may just be the story of our time.

 

Links

 

Sponsor

May 11, 2019
The Pinterest IPO
01:37:56

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://glow.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)

 

In the second episode of our APLUSS(Z!) IPO saga, we dive into the history behind the planet’s largest non-social social network, Pinterest. From The Pirates of Silicon Valley to the bloggers of Salt Lake City, the creation story behind this “productivity tool for planning your dreams” is far from your typical unicorn journey. Once labelled as the “next Facebook” by investors and press, ten years later both Pinterest-the-product and Pinterest-the-company are in fact anything but. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing… tune in to find out!

  

Links

 

Carve Outs

 

Sponsor

Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring Acquired Season 4. You can get in touch with Kara Tatman, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, at https://www.perkinscoie.com/en/professionals/kara-e-tatman.html

Apr 24, 2019
The Lyft IPO
02:16:03

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://glow.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)

 

Call it the playoffs. Call it the Olympics. Call it March Madness. No matter which sports analogy you borrow, it falls short of capturing what Lyft's IPO yesterday kicked off in the tech world. A generational changing of the guard from the FAANG to the APLUSS (Airbnb, Pinterest, Lyft, Uber, Slack, Stripe). A breaking of the liquidity dam that's kept capital, technology and talent locked up in a small number of Silicon Valley winners for longer than ever in history. And most importantly, a public market avenue for investing in the largest single market created since the advent of the internet. Acquired is live on the scene recounting and analyzing the history of Lyft (and ridesharing broadly) in every exquisite detail!

 

Links:

 

Carve Outs:

 

Sponsor:

Mar 30, 2019
LP sneak peek: How to build a successful SaaS company (with Jake Saper, Partner at Emergence Capital)
15:29

Hey Acquired listeners, our latest LP guest conversation was so good, we wanted to share some of it with everyone. We dove deep into the gritty details of SaaS investing and company building with the best in the business, Jake Saper from Emergence Capital. Emergence has been around since the beginning of SaaS and — uniquely for a venture firm — is entirely focused on early-stage investing within it. They were early investors in major successes like Salesforce, Veeva, SuccessFactors, Box and Yammer, and more recently Gusto, Zoom and many more. This episode is a must-listen for anyone investing in, operating in or thinking about modern SaaS companies!

If you liked this conversation and want to hear more, you can join the Acquired Limited Partner program at https://glow.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)

You can also sign up for Emergence's regular email newsletter on SaaS topics at: eepurl.com/c1IPvf

Mar 06, 2019
Season 4, Episode 3: Instagram Revisited (with Emily White)
01:10:41

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)

 

We enter the wayback machine and revisit the subject of Acquired’s second ever episode, Facebook’s bombshell 2012 acquisition of Instagram — this time with the help of then-Facebook executive Emily White, who moved over post-acquisition to become Instagram’s first business head. Together with Kevin and Mike, Emily helped build Instagram's business model, which today accounts for nearly 1/4 of all of Facebook’s revenue. Is this still Acquired’s canonical A+ with an extra 3.5 years of hindsight? Spoiler alert: yes. 

 

Carve Outs:

 

Sponsor:

Feb 26, 2019
Spotify + Gimlet/Anchor Quick Take + Worldwide Meetup Details!
40:30

Worldwide Meetup Details!

Join us on February 21, 2019 at 530pm PT (830pm ET) at https://zoom.us/j/196930784 for our first worldwide meetup! Ben and David will be live on video hanging out and taking questions on both Slack and Zoom.

 

Spotify + Gimlet/Anchor Quick Take!

We continue to experiment on Acquired, this time with a quick-take on Spotify’s bombshell dual-acquisition of Anchor and Gimlet Media. While we may give these deals the full Acquired treatment in the future, we wanted to share our quick thoughts with you all sooner rather than later while the Acquired research department (aka Ben & David’s free time) works through the current episode backlog. Let us know if you like this format and we’ll do more in the future!

 

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! (Apropos ;)  >https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)

Feb 19, 2019
Season 4, Episode 2: ARM & SoftBank
01:22:33

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)

 

We dive into the crazy, little-known story of how this small, former PC-maker in Cambridge, England dethroned Intel, saved Apple from bankruptcy, became the blueprint for the largest investment fund in history, and of course now powers just about every device you use today. From Issac Newton to the Apple Newton, the Vision Fund and beyond, ARM has had an impact on the technology industry that cannot be overstated!

 

Meetup!

To celebrate passing 1m downloads, we’re hosting a worldwide meetup! Join us on February 21, 2019 at 530pm PT (830pm ET) on Zoom and Slack for our first worldwide meetup. Ben and David will be live on video hanging out and taking questions on both Slack and Zoom. Check Slack and our website for details and the Zoom link as we get closer!

 

Links:

 

Sponsor:

Feb 03, 2019
Season 4, Episode 1: ESPN
01:22:14

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! >https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)

Booyah! Acquired, the worldwide leader in acquisitions and IPOs, kicks off Season 4 with a classic: ESPN. How did a failed former TV weatherman end up building the world’s most valuable media company on top of a dump (quite literally) in Bristol, Connecticut? We follow the incredible entrepreneurial journey from Getty Oil diversification strategy to Berkshire Hathaway home run to Disney crown jewel. This Is Awesome, Baby!!

Links:

Carve Outs:

Sponsor:

Jan 21, 2019
Season 4 Trailer (and 2019 predictions!)
21:59

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

-----------------

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)

Jan 14, 2019
Season 3, Episode 10: Tencent
01:49:31

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)

 

We close out Season 3 and our China mini-series with a monster episode on Tencent, the Shenzhen-based social networking and entertainment powerhouse. We dive deep into the story of Pony Ma and his cofounders’ incredible journey from making software for pagers(!) to QQ, WeChat, League of Legends, Fortnite, Snapchat and even Tesla. This is one finale you don’t want to miss!

 

Carve Outs:

  • Ben: President Obama’s OG podcast! https://bit.ly/2BqXxHJ
  • David: Kara Swisher’s interview with the Google Walkout organizers: https://bit.ly/2RwuskZ
  • David (bonus!): Allen Iverson on the Players’ Tribune: https://bit.ly/2EkrRHQ

 

Sponsor:

  • Thanks to our great partners Silicon Valley Bank for sponsoring all of Acquired Season 3! You can get in touch with SVB here: https://www.svb.com
Dec 17, 2018
LP Show Preview: Product-Market Fit
01:04:23

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! (works best on mobile)

https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/

We often get asked, “what type of content is on the Limited Partner Bonus Shows?” Well, we figure an episode is worth a thousand words (er, something like that), so we’re releasing one of our LP bonus shows in the main feed.

On this episode, we dive into the most elusive aspect of early-stage investing and company building: finding product-market fit.

We’ll be back next week with our regularly scheduled programming: the Season 3 finale on Tencent!

Dec 10, 2018
Season 3, Episode 9: Netflix (Part 2)
01:24:29

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/(works best on mobile)

 

We complete our two-part Netflix special with the company’s bold transition to streaming, including of course the most (in)famous spin-out in business history. Rising from the ashes of Qwikster, we chronicle Netflix’s rebirth as a media company and long journey back to the top of the FAANG mountaintop!

 

Links:

  • Netflix’s Qwikster apology video: https://youtu.be/c8Tn8n5CIPk
  • SNL parody of the apology video: https://bit.ly/2PWEyyZ
  • Evolution of Netflix home page: https://read.bi/2KvHdte
  • The Chaos Monkey: https://bit.ly/1qkqDxZ 
  • Benedict Evans’ chart of FAANG stocks: https://bit.ly/2r3D72A

 

Carve Outs:

  • Ben: Kevin Rose interviews Matthew Walker on sleep: https://bit.ly/2LpIl5v
  • David: Justin O’Beirne on Apple’s new Maps: https://bit.ly/2zrQ76Z

 

Sponsor:

  • Thanks to Silicon Valley Bank for sponsoring all of Acquired Season 3. You can get in touch with Al Guerrero, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here: https://bit.ly/2AjQZtJ , and read his Medium post here: https://bit.ly/2zpibb3
Nov 25, 2018
Season 3, Episode 8: Netflix (Part 1)
01:26:14

Join the Acquired Limited Parter program! (works best on mobile)

 

In a world ravaged by late fees and lack of rewinding, one man two men from a sleepy California beach town make a stand against tyranny, daringly dethrone an evil empire and… oh who are we kidding, they just copied Amazon’s business plan for books and applied it to movie rentals. But as always there is much more to the story than that! We dive into the fascinating, true, and oft-untold history of Netflix in our first two-part special on Acquired. Part 1 covers Netflix’s original DVD rental business from founding to 2009, and next time on Part 2 we’ll cover the (rocky) transition to streaming from 2010 to present. Buckle up for a wild ride!

 

Links:

 

Carve Outs:

 

Sponsor:

  • Thanks to Silicon Valley Bank for sponsoring all of Acquired Season 3. You can get in touch with Theron McCollough, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.
Nov 12, 2018
Acquied Season 3 Episode 7: Venmo (live with Andrew Kortina)
01:08:52

Our latest experiment! Become an Acquired Limited Partner and get access to LP-only bonus content: http://kimberlite.fm/acquired

————

Ben & David are joined by special guest and Venmo cofounder Andrew Kortina for our first-ever SF live show! In front of a packed house we chronicle the journey of how two freshman-year roommates from Penn turned a healthy obsession with Craigslist and a fake podcast into an app that facilitated $17B of payments last quarter alone, producing not one but two landmark acquisitions along the way!

Note: the audio quality is a little rough due to some A/V issues at the live show. We apologize!

 

Links:

 

Carve Outs:

 

Sponsor:

  • Thanks to Silicon Valley Bank for sponsoring all of Acquired Season 3. You can get in touch with Reetika Grewal, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.
Oct 29, 2018
SF Live Show Announcement: Venmo!
04:47

Join Ben and David for Acquired's first-ever SF live show! We'll be covering Venmo's acquisition by Braintree (and then PayPal), with special guest Andrew Kortina, co-founder of Venmo. We can’t wait to see many of you there!

Register: http://acquired.fm/liveshow

When: Wednesday October 24, 2018 

6:00 PM – 9:00 PM PDT

Where: SVB @ WeWork Golden Gate

25 Taylor Street

San Francisco, CA 94102

Oct 08, 2018
Season 3, Episode 6: Behance (with Scott Belsky)
01:11:41

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)

Ben and David are joined by Adobe’s Chief Product Officer, Behance founder, Benchmark partner, author, and product luminary, Scott Belsky, to tell the story of Adobe Systems’ 2012 acquisition of Behance. We dive into the role it played in of one of the greatest (and least well-known) pivots of all time: Adobe’s transition from packaged software to services, which over the past 6 years has generated an astounding $100B+ in market cap and nearly 10x growth in Adobe’s share price!

 

Announcement: We're super excited to announce our first SF live show on October 24th, 2018! We have an amazing story and guest lined up who we can’t wait to share with you all. :) Tickets are very limited due to space constraints: please register early at http://acquired.fm/liveshow

 

Links:

 

Sponsor:

  • Thanks to Silicon Valley Bank for sponsoring all of Acquired Season 3. You can get in touch with Adam Millsom, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.
Oct 02, 2018
Season 3, Episode 5: Alibaba
01:33:57

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)

We continue our China Tech series with perhaps the most incredible entrepreneurial journey in history: Alibaba and its indefatigable founder, Jack Ma. How did an unknown 30 year-old English teacher from a second tier Chinese city build the world’s 7th largest company by market cap (and the largest in China) in just 20 short years? This is one story you don’t want to miss.

 

Links:

 

Carve Outs:

 

Sponsor:

  • Thanks to Silicon Valley Bank for sponsoring all of Acquired Season 3. You can get in touch with Eric Zhou, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.
Sep 24, 2018
Season 3, Episode 4: Recode (with Kara Swisher)
01:23:43

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)

In this special episode Ben & David head to Recode’s SF office and sit down in the red chair with the one & only Kara Swisher! Kara tells the story of Recode, from the beginnings of her partnership with Walt Mossberg in the late 90’s at WSJ to the launch of the D Conference and the All Things D blog, to starting Recode and ultimately being acquired by Vox Media in 2015. Kara is someone we’ve long looked up to at Acquired, and it was really special to have her join us on the show. We hope you enjoy the conversation as much as we did!

 

Links:

 

Sponsor:

  • Thanks to Silicon Valley Bank for sponsoring all of Acquired Season 3. You can get in touch with Jeremy Shure, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.
Sep 11, 2018
Season 3, Episode 3: The Sonos IPO
01:34:33

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)

Ben and David are (almost) live on the scene covering the plucky Southern California “camera company”… uh wait, wrong episode… we mean *speaker* company’s IPO! Continuing the long Acquired tradition of analyzing companies at the intersection of music, tech and business, we discuss the past, present and future of Sonos in world where speakers actually now… speak! 

Links:

Carve Outs:

Sponsor:

  • Thanks to Silicon Valley Bank for sponsoring all of Acquired Season 3. You can get in touch with Rob Freelen, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.
Aug 20, 2018
Season 3, Episode 2: The Xiaomi IPO
01:13:23

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)

Acquired kicks off our China tech mini-series by teaming up with the best in the business: Hans and Zara from GGV’s 996 Podcast! Together we cover the largest technology IPO in the world since fellow China tech giant Alibaba in 2014: Xiaomi, where Hans has been an investor and board member from the very beginning. This episode is chock full of history and insight on both Xiaomi and what’s happening in China tech more broadly, and why we all should be paying attention. No matter where you live, this is definitely not one to miss!

 

Sponsor:

  • Thanks to Silicon Valley Bank for sponsoring all of Acquired Season 3. You can get in touch with Steven Pipp, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.
Aug 06, 2018
Season 3, Episode 1: Tesla
01:59:19

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)

Acquired kicks off Season 3 with a gangbuster two-hour extravaganza on America’s most successful automotive startup since The Ford Motor Company: Tesla. We cover everything, from founding to its 2010 IPO to all that’s happened since, including the question on the minds of superhero fans everywhere: who came first, Elon Musk or Tony Stark? (Spoiler: Elon)

 

Carve Outs:

 

Sponsor:

  • Thanks to Silicon Valley Bank for sponsoring Acquired Season 3. You can get in touch with Jordan Kanis, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.
Jul 17, 2018
Season 3 Trailer
09:40
Jul 09, 2018
Season 2, Episode 10: The Rover-DogVacay Merger (with Rover CEO Aaron Easterly)
01:07:55

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)

Please click here to take the 2018 Acquired Survey. It takes 5-10 minutes, helps us immensely, and you may win a pair of AirPods or equivalent Android-friendly listening accessory (woo!)

Acquired wraps up Season 2 with our first “elusive” private-private merger: Rover.com and its 2017 combination with rival pet care marketplace DogVacay. We’re joined by Rover CEO Aaron Easterly to dive into the full history of how the crazy idea of “Airbnb for dogs” not only became a billion-dollar company, but also brought our heroes together for the first time and led to the founding of Acquired!

 

Links:

 

Sponsor:

  • Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring Acquired Season 2. You can get in touch with Gina Eiben, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.
Jun 18, 2018
Season 2, Episode 9: GitHub
01:23:46

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)

We’re live on the scene the day following the biggest announcement in the open source software world since well, open source software: Microsoft acquiring GitHub for $7.5B in stock. How did we get here? What does it mean for software developers going forward? And most importantly, why is there a creepy half-cat / half-octopus plastered all over everything? As always, Acquired has the answers. 

Carve Outs:

Sponsor:

  • Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring Acquired Season 2. You can get in touch with Lee Schindler, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.
Jun 06, 2018
Season 2, Episode 8: T-Mobile / Sprint
01:21:15

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)

If you thought the telecom business was boring, think again! Acquired brings you an episode packed with more drama than an entire season of Game of Thrones. Starting with a death in the family, we follow a tale of fortunes lost and rebuilt, bitter battles between rivals who once worked for each other, and at the center of it all, a lesson in the power of stable cashflow businesses. This is one call you don’t want to drop!

 

Links:

 

Carve Outs:

 

Sponsor:

  • Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring Acquired Season 2. You can get in touch with Gina Eiben, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.
May 21, 2018
Season 2, Episode 7: PowerPoint
01:14:12

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)

Acquired returns with a classic, delving into Microsoft’s first acquisition ever: Forethought Inc, the makers of PowerPoint. Hate it or love it, you can’t deny the combined companies’ impact: by the early 90’s PowerPoint had transformed the way businesses, educators and governments communicate, ensuring job security for pointy-haired Dilbert bosses everywhere.

 

Links:

 

Carve Outs:

 

Sponsor:

  • Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring Acquired Season 2. You can get in touch with Gina Eiben, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.
May 04, 2018
Season 2, Episode 6: Spotify’s Direct Listing
01:44:38

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)

Acquired wraps up a big few weeks of coverage with not an IPO or an M&A or a fundraising round, but what’s still the largest tech exit in recent memory: Spotify’s $30B direct public listing. We dive into what it all means and how we got here: from Napster to iTunes to Facebook (and even some Justin Timberlake thrown in for good measure). Acquired FM is on the scene and spinning all the hits from this new wave music industry titan! 

 

Note: We incorrectly described Spotify CEO Daniel Ek’s ownership stake in Spotify as 25%+; that is actually his voting control. His economic ownership is 9.3%, and cofounder Martin Lorentzon’s is 12.4%. We apologize for the error!

 

Links:

 

Carve Outs:

 

Sponsor:

  • Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring Acquired Season 2. You can get in touch with Lee Schindler, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.
Apr 06, 2018
Season 2, Episode 5: The Dropbox IPO
01:37:33

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)

Acquired is live on the scene following Dropbox’s public market debut. From playing a central role in the early days of Y Combinator, to having Steve Jobs famously label the company a “feature not a product”, to pivoting from consumers to enterprise to developers and back again, the silicon valley history runs deep with this one. What twists and turns lie ahead for Dropbox as a public company? We speculate!

 

Links:

 

Carve Outs:

 

Sponsor:

  • Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring Acquired Season 2. You can get in touch with Lee Schindler, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.
Mar 26, 2018
Season 2, Episode 4: SoftBank, Fortress and the Vision Fund
01:28:04

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)

Acquired dives into the topic on the minds and lips of just about every VC and founder these days: SoftBank’s $93B+ Vision Fund, and its seemingly-overnight rewriting of the rules of venture capital and startup fundraising. Where did this new 800lbs gorilla come from, what are its goals, and what does it mean for the future of silicon valley and the global tech ecosystem? The answer, it turns out, starts with an acquisition, and unfolds into a story no one has yet told and few yet understand. Luckily our heroes are on the case!

 

Links:

 

Carve Outs:

  • Ben: eBoys: The First Inside Account of Venture Capitalists at Work
  • David: Liu Cixin’s Remembrance of Earth’s Past trilogy (starting with The Three-Body Problem)
  • Bonus: shout out to Brian McCullough’s new podcast the Ride Home, in partnership with TechMeme!

 

Sponsor:

  • Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring Acquired Season 2. You can get in touch with Lee Schindler, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.
Mar 23, 2018
Season 2, Episode 3: Nest
01:32:43

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)

Acquired brings it all back home—to the smart home that is—with Google’s 2014 acquisition of Nest for $3.2B. From Nest cofounder Tony Fadell’s first job at General Magic (alongside future Android founder Andy Rubin) to his days as “father of the iPod” under Steve Jobs at Apple, the Silicon Valley history runs deep with this one. But did that make the acquisition a good move for Google in the coming battle with Amazon’s “Lady A” for control over consumers’ homes? We dive in! 

Links:

Carve Outs:

Sponsor:

  • Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring Acquired Season 2. You can get in touch with Gina Eiben, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.
Feb 20, 2018
Season 2, Episode 2: Raising a Seed Round with Against Gravity CEO Nick Fajt
01:14:19

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)

We launch mini-series on Acquired with a subject near & dear to our heroes’ hearts: startup fundraising! This has been one of our most-requested new topics, and we’re excited to kick things off with makers of the popular Rec Room social VR app, Against Gravity, which raised one of Seattle’s hottest venture rounds in recent history: a $4m seed led by Sequoia Capital in 2016. CEO Nick Fajt joins to tell the story from company inception to building and shipping the initial product, fundraising as a first-time CEO, what they’ve been able to accomplish with the capital and their vision for the future. We had a blast touching on many classic Acquired themes for the first time “in-action” with a young, growing company, and hope you all enjoy the discussion as much as we did. Let us know what you think in the Slack!

Carve Outs:

Sponsor:

  • Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring this Acquired Season 2. You can get in touch with Gina Eiben, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.
Feb 07, 2018
Season 2, Episode 1: Zappos (with Alfred Lin)
01:12:38

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)

Former Zappos Chairman & COO (and current Partner at Sequoia Capital) Alfred Lin joins our heroes to kick off Season 2 with a classic: Amazon’s 2009 acquisition of the internet’s quirkiest online retailer for $1.2B in stock. How did three Harvard undergrads go from delivering pizza to their dorm to delivering happiness to the world — and become in the process one of the few companies ever to compete successfully head-to-head against Amazon in commerce? Tune in to find out! 

 

Note: Unfortunately the quality of David and Alfred’s audio tracks in this episode were significantly impacted by a processor issue on David’s computer, which we didn’t discover until after recording. We’ve worked hard to fix in post-production, but it’s still far from perfect. Still, the content from Alfred is so good, we felt we had to put this episode out there even though the audio quality isn’t up to par. We hope you’ll give it a listen regardless, and we’re working on getting a transcript made ASAP as well. 

-Ben & David 

 

Carve Outs:

 

Sponsor:

  • Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring this podcast. You can get in touch with Jason Day, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.
Jan 23, 2018
Announcement: San Francisco Happy Hour
57

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

Jan 08, 2018
Episode 51: 2017 Holiday Special
01:16:09

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)

Acquired cozies up to the fire and looks back on the year in tech. How wildly off were we on last year’s predictions? What does the next year have in store? Most importantly, what price will Bitcoin be trading at in December 2018??? Pour yourself a glass of your favorite holiday beverage and kick back with us.

 

SF Acquired Meetup!

  • Mark your calendars: we’ll be hosting an Acquired Meetup in SF the evening of January 18, 2018. More details coming soon—check Slack or Acquired.fm

 

Links

 

2017 Carve Outs of the Year:

 

Sponsor:

  • Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring this podcast. You can get in touch with Jason Day, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.
Dec 18, 2017
Episode 50: Apple - Beats
01:15:14

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)

Acquired crosses the half-century mark with an instant classic: Apple’s 2014 purchase of Beats, its largest acquisition ever. If you knew Beats as just another headphone company, think again—the history on this one will keep your heads ringin’.

SF Acquired Meetup!
* Mark your calendars: we’ll be hosting an Acquired Meetup in SF the evening of January 18, 2018. More details to come soon.

Carve Outs:
* Ben: HQ
* David: Wooden on Leadership

Sponsor:
* Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring this podcast. You can get in touch with Nick Ferrer, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.

Dec 11, 2017
Episode 49: The Stitch Fix IPO
01:11:09

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)

Ben and David dive into the most talked-about tech IPO of 4Q 2017: Stitch Fix. After downsizing the offering and pricing below the range, does this signal a warning that public markets won’t value high-flying silicon valley “disruptors” as high as VCs hope? Or is this a textbook example of a great return for a disciplined management team and well-run company? Most importantly, what happens next? Tune in for our heroes’ take. 

Carve Outs:

Sponsor:

  • Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring this podcast. You can get in touch with Jason Day, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.
Dec 04, 2017
Episode 48: Qualcomm - Broadcom
51:33

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)

Ben & David cover the proposed largest tech M&A deal of all time, and in the process dive into the evolving dynamics of the industry that started everything in Silicon Valley—silicon. Just when VCs thought innovation was dead in semiconductors, a new wave of startups and large companies are redrawing the lines of competition in an industry dominated for a half-century by the “Wintel” duopoly of Intel and Microsoft.

Topics Covered Include:

The Carve Out:

Sponsor:

  • Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring this podcast. You can get in touch with Nick Ferrer, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.
Nov 20, 2017
Episode 47: The Atlassian IPO
01:05:04

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)

Ben & David venture to the land down under (and reunite in-person!) to tell the story of the granddaddy of all bootstrapped tech success stories, collaboration software company Atlassian. How did two plucky college grads from Sydney, Australia go from just trying to escape working for the man to becoming two of the top 10 wealthiest people in the entire country, all without raising a dollar of venture capital? We dive in. 

Topics Covered Include:

  • How Atlassian founders Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar met in college at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, and their decision to bootstrap a startup as an alternative to finding a “real job” after graduation
  • Atlassian’s “no sales” model, and the resultant efficiency of their sales & marketing spend relative to other SAAS companies 
  • Organic product growth and acquisitions over the years, starting with Jira and later adding Confluence, BitBucket, HipChat / Stride, Jira Service Desk and Trello
  • Rapid revenue growth and the decision to continue as a bootstrapped company, only raising secondary capital prior to going public
  • The IPO in November 2015 and subsequent stock performance (spoiler: it’s been good)

The Carve Out:

Sponsor:

  • Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring this podcast. You can get in touch with Jason Day, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.
Nov 07, 2017
Episode 46: Blue Bottle Coffee
01:02:42

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)

Today our heroes cover a deal that might have more impact on life in Silicon Valley than AI, wearables and AR/VR combined… Nestle’s acquisition of Blue Bottle Coffee. Will hipster entrepreneurs and the VCs who love/need them continue to line up around the block for their minimalist coffee experience of choice, now that it’s owned by the Nesquik Bunny? Is this the beginning of Blue Bottle pod machines filling the empty counter space left by Juicero’s demise in VC offices throughout South Park? We investigate. 

 

Topics Covered Include:

  • The rise of “Third Wave” coffee
  • Blue Bottle founder James Freeman’s “classical” (music) influences 
  • Venture capital and the coffee business 
  • Achieving liquidity when companies and founders’ don’t want to go public, and don’t want to sell their stakes 
  • Nestle’s position in single-serve coffee market and potential brand impact of Blue Bottle

 

The Carve Out:

 

Sponsor:

  • Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring this podcast. You can get in touch with Jeff Beuche, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.
Oct 08, 2017
Episode 45: HTC, Google and the Future of Mobile
01:19:27
Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)
 
Acquired is back and live on the scene! After months of speculation, Google announces today their acquisition (err, "Cooperation Agreement”) of a large portion of HTC’s hardware division. What does this mean for the future of mobile? Can Google transform itself into a vertically integrated device company and compete directly with Apple? Most importantly, when will we see more Beats Android handsets??? (We hope never)
 
Topics Covered Include:
  • The origins of HTC as a Taiwanese OEM, dating back to the Compaq iPAQ and Palm Treo 650!
  • HTC’s long history with Google, starting as the manufacturer of the first Android phone, the HTC Dream / T-Mobile G1
  • HTC’s ownership of Beats, for a hot minute
  • Google’s own winding history in hardware, with its Motorola acquisition in 2011 and divestiture in 2014
  • Google & HTC’s joint work on the Pixel smartphones in 2016
  • And much analysis and speculation on what this means for Google, Apple, Samsung, vertical vs horizontal business models and more!
 
The Carve Out:
 
Sponsor:
  • Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring this podcast. You can get in touch with Jeff Beuche, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.
Sep 21, 2017
Episode 44: AOL - Time Warner (with the Internet History Podcast)
01:41:34
Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)
 
On this extra-long episode of Acquired, Brian McCullough from the Internet History Podcast returns to discuss perhaps the most (in)famous merger of all time: AOL - Time Warner. Who doesn’t remember the soothing sounds of 56k modems and the timeless phrase, “You’ve Got Mail”? Join us all as we unpack how one of the biggest ISP’s of the 90’s tried to take over the world… and fell far short.
 
Topics Covered Include:
  • AOL’s status in the 90’s / early 00’s
  • Explaining just what it is that AOL did at the height of their popularity
  • How AOL pioneered a number of internet paradigms
  • AOL’s persistent money troubles and bailouts from other companies
  • Steve Case foreseeing the coming era of broadband, inspiring AOL to pursue working with a cable company
  • Ebay vs. Time Warner in a down-to-the-wire war for a merger with AOL
  • Why the money dried up for AOL after their merger with Time Warner
  • AOL and its value in the post-Time-Warner era
  • Speculating about what would have happened had AOL and others stayed independent businesses
  • And much discussion on how to grade this one…
 
The Carve Out:
 
Sponsor:
  • Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring this podcast. You can get in touch with Jeff Beuche, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.
Sep 18, 2017
Episode 43: The Square IPO
01:15:31

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)

Unicorns and ratchets and lawsuits, oh my! Our heroes dive into the history of Jack Dorsey’s famous “other” company, Square. Was the Square IPO a canary in the coal mine signaling doom & gloom for the so-called unicorn companies of the early 2010’s, or a mispriced and misunderstood diamond in the rough? Acquired weighs in.

 

Topics Covered Include:

  • Square’s deep origins in the early 90’s in St. Louis, MO with the initial meeting of its co-founders, Jack Dorsey & Jim McKelvey
  • McKelvey’s side glass blowing business and the “inspiration” for Square that came much later in the late 2000’s
  • The complicated involvement of Washington University (in St. Louis) professor Robert Morley, who had worked for years developing payment card reading technology
  • The company’s early meeting with Scott Forstall at Apple, and its “significant” impact on the its name and design
  • The real disruptive innovation of Square and its business model (hint: not just building a mobile card reader)
  • Square’s massive payments deal with Starbucks in 2012 and its impact on the company
  • The evolution of Square’s business from a simple card reader to cloud-based Point of Sale (PoS) system and entire suite of merchant tools & business management services
  • The drama leading up to Square’s IPO (including at Jack Dorsey’s “other” company, Twitter), dynamics and narratives affecting its pricing, the effect of IPO “ratchets”, and the company’s performance over the ~2 years since

 

The Carve Out:

 

Sponsor:

  • Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring this podcast. You can get in touch with Buddy Arnheim, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.
Aug 16, 2017
Episode 42: Opsware (with special guest Michel Feaster)
01:13:57
Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)
 
Acquired dives into the legendary acquisition of Ben Horowitz & Marc Andreessen’s “second act” software company Opsware, from a perspective never before heard—HP’s side of the story! Our heroes are joined by Michel Feaster, who led both the acquisition for HP and then the Opsware product as part of the integrated company afterward under Ben Horowitz. Today the tables have turned: Michel is the Co-Founder and CEO of Seattle-based startup Usermind, and Ben Horowitz sits on her board on behalf of A16Z. This episode is not one to miss!
 
Topics covered include:
  • Opsware’s early history and origins as Loudcloud, the “second act” of internet wunderkind Marc Andreessen and Netscape product manager Ben Horowitz
  • Ben’s first person telling of the Loudcloud/Opsware history in The Hard Thing about Hard Things, as well as the great Wired "period piece” covering Loudcloud’s launch in August 2000
  • The importance of timing, and Loudcloud’s too-early vision of—essentially—AWS before AWS (including eerie parallels between the metaphor Andreessen used to describe Loudcloud during the company’s first press briefing, and Jeff Bezos’s description of AWS at YC nearly a decade later)
  • Creation of the “Opsware” tool inside of Loudcloud to automate deploying and configuring servers within Loudcloud’s data centers
  • Loudcloud's meteoric rise, crash following the burst of the internet bubble, and hard pivot as a public company into Opsware—now an enterprise software company selling datacenter tools 
  • Michel’s role in HP’s evaluation of the company as an acquisition target, and process leading to its $1.6B acquisition in July 2007
  • Integration of the company into HP’s culture and sales channel
  • The creation of Ben & Marc’s “third act”, the VC firm Andreessen Horowitz, and what it’s like for Michel now having Ben as an investor on her board at Usermind 
 
The Carve Out:
Aug 05, 2017
Episode 41: Booking.com with Jetsetter & Room 77 CEO Drew Patterson
01:14:53
Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)
 
Acquired trains its lens on the “second or third best acquisition of all-time”, Priceline’s 2005 purchase of Booking.com. Our heroes are joined by friend-of-the-show and former Jetsetter & Room 77 CEO Drew Patterson to help understand how this little-known startup from The Netherlands grew into the largest travel company in the world, with nearly $8B in annual revenue. Was this deal even better than Instagram??? We debate, hotly. 
 
Topics covered include:
  • The biggest startup you’ve never heard of (in the US), Booking.com, and its parent company Priceline (yes, the William Shatner Priceline)
  • Booking’s founding in Amsterdam in late 1996: by recent college graduate Geert-Jan Bruinsma
  • Skift.com’s Definitive Oral History of Online Travel 
  • The travel industry's GDS's (“Global Distribution Systems”) and the development of Sabre 
  • How Bruinsma raised the initial money for Booking: by emailing anyone he know who had an email address 
  • OTAs ("Online Travel Agencies”) and how they operate; the "merchant model" versus the “agency model"
  • The role of search in online travel 
  • Bill Gurley on Conversion: The Most Important Internet Metric of All
  • Expedia’s early flirtation with Booking, and decision not to acquire the company
  • Priceline head of M&A Glenn Fogel’s vision for how powerful the agency model for OTAs could become in Europe
  • Priceline and Glenn's 2004 acquisition of Active Hotels in the UK, followed by the 2005 acquisition of Booking for $133M and the combination of the two businesses into Booking.com 
  • Booking’s incredible growth in the decade since the acquisition, from less than 20M room-nights to over 500M, and $7.8B in revenue in 2016
 
The Carve Out:
 
Sponsor:
  • Thanks to Silicon Valley Bank for sponsoring this episode. If you'd like to learn more or start a banking relationship, you can get in touch with Shai Goldman here.
Jul 26, 2017
Episode 40: Activision Blizzard
01:13:58
Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)
 
Ben & David cover the creation of the gaming world’s equivalent of the 70’s rock supergroup: the 2008 merger of Blizzard and Activision. We tell the story from the Blizzard perspective, tracing the history of one of the most innovative companies in the business from humble beginnings at the hands of UCLA undergrads, to surviving multiple acquisition rollups (including at one point being owned by the French national water company), to joining ultimately with Activision to form the largest gaming company in the world, all while inventing multiple game genres that define the industry as we know it today.
 
 
 
 
Topics covered include:
  • Blizzard’s founding in 1991 as "Silicon & Synapse” by recent UCLA grads Allen Adham, Frank Pearce, and Mike Morhaime
  • The team’s first projects making ports for other games, including Battle Chess on the Commodore 64
  • Early success on the Super Nintendo with Rock & Roll Racing and The Lost Vikings
  • Origin of the Real-Time Strategy game genre (“RTS”) and Blizzard’s fist mega-hit, Warcraft 
  • Blizzard’s crazy corporate ownership changes over the years
  • Development of further legendary game franchises like Diablo and Starcraft, along with sequels to Warcraft and the rise of the rise of player modding
  • Emergence of the Multiplayer Online Battle Arena genre (“MOBA”) from the Warcraft III modding community, and its growth into one of the biggest sectors in the games and esports industries today
  • Blizzard’s role in developing the concept of online gaming, from early hacks to play against friends to World of Warcraft and Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (“MMORPG’s”)
  • The 2008 merger with storied gaming company Activision 
  • Growth and success since the merger, including the launch of new game franchises Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm and Overwatch
 
The Carve Out:
 
Sponsor:
  • Thanks to Silicon Valley Bank for sponsoring this episode. If you'd like to learn more or start a banking relationship, you can get in touch with Shai Goldman here.
Jul 13, 2017
Acquired Episode 39: Whole Foods Market
01:11:57

Ben and David are once again live on the scene, this time covering the biggest disruption in grocery since… well, sliced bread: Amazon’s $13.7B purchase of Whole Foods Market. We place this deal in context by diving deep into the long, intertwining history of grocery, tech and Amazon, from the infamous dotcom flameout Webvan (domain name now owned by Amazon) to its much more successful progeny Kiva Systems (acquired by Amazon in 2012) to current Silicon Valley unicorn Instacart (founded by former Amazon logistics engineer Apoorva Mehta). One thing is clear: for Amazon and Jeff Bezos, realizing the longterm vision of the Everything Store truly means building the everything store.

Topics covered include:

Followups:

The Carve Out:

Sponsor:

Jun 21, 2017
"About Acquired" on the Anchor Podcast of the Day
20:15

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

Jun 11, 2017
Acquired Episode 38: SoundJam (iTunes)
01:15:17
Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)
 

 

Ben & David revisit the birth of the digital music revolution and Steve Jobs' "digital hub" strategy, with Apple's 2000 acquisition of the Mac music player SoundJam MP, which would go on to become iTunes. We relive the 90's with brushed metal interfaces, music visualizers and of course, software sold in (physical) boxes.

 

 

Thanks to this episode's sponsor, Silicon Valley Bank. You can learn more about SVB, or reach out to Marshall Hawks directly (who's voice you'll recognize on the show) here: https://www.svb.com/profile/Marshall-Hawks/

May 31, 2017
Episode 37: BAMTech, Disney and "the Biggest Media Company You've Never Heard Of”
01:14:40
Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)
 
Ben and David continue Acquired’s “tech and sports” mini-series with Disney’s 2016 acquisition of a minority stake (with the right to purchase a majority stake at a later date) in BAMTech, the internet streaming company originally founded as part of Major League Baseball in the early 2000’s. However the importance of this story goes deeper than just sports, with major ramifications for nearly every major technology company from Amazon to YouTube. Even if you’re not not sure if baseball’s played on a diamond or a gridiron, tune in as we swing for the fences in predicting the future of TV! 
 
Topics covered include:
  • What is BAMTech, and why is it, according to The Verge, "the future of television”?
  • BAMTech’s origins as part of Major League Baseball's Advanced Media division ("MLBAM)”)
  • MLBAM’s founding CEO Bob Bowman’s decidedly “non-tech” background, and growth into one of the most important tech leaders of the past 15 years
  • Initial technology struggles and learnings from early streaming efforts (including a botched audio package of Ichiro Suzuki’s games with the Mariners for fans in Japan)
  • Landing on a streaming model that works with the launch of MLB.tv in 2002/2003—three years before YouTube is founded! 
  • Improvement of the MLB.tv service and MLBAM’s streaming expertise over the next ten years through the rise of mobile, and simultaneous growth of MLBAM’s revenues to over $1B annually
  • MLBAM’s initial deals to expand its streaming services beyond baseball, starting with ESPN in 2010, then WWE, the PGA, HBO and the NHL
  • The importance of media rights, and MLBAM’s transition from a simple tech/infrastructure provider to a full-fledged media company 
  • The decision to initiate a spin-off process for BAMTech from MLB in August 2015, and Disney’s $1B investment into the newly created spin-out company in August 2016
  • Disney’s subsequent announcement that they’ll be working with BAMTech to create a direct-to-consumer ESPN streaming service
  • BAMTech’s $300M deal with Riot Games in December 2016 for the media rights to League of Legends eSports content 
  • Bob Bowman’s announcement in February 2017 that he’ll be stepping back to from a day to day role, and hiring of former Amazon VP of Video Michael Paull as BAMTech’s new CEO
 
Followups & Hot Takes:
 
The Carve Out:
May 10, 2017
Episode 36: The LA Clippers
01:05:03
Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)
 
In honor of start of NBA playoffs, Ben & David venture off the beaten path to explore one of Steve Ballmer’s most famous acquisitions, his 2014 purchase of the Los Angeles Clippers NBA franchise. Was this landmark purchase a steal or a turnover for the former Microsoft CEO? We speculate wildly!
 
Topics covered include:
  • The Clippers’ founding in 1970 as the NBA expansion team the Buffalo Braves
  • Early ownership changes and the move west to San Diego in 1981
  • Acquisition in 1981 by LA lawyer and real estate developer Donald Sterling for $12.5M
  • Sterling's relocation of the Clippers to LA in 1984 against NBA rules
  • Struggles over the next 25 years as the "worst franchise in professional sports” according to ESPN 
  • Turnaround beginning in early 2010s led by Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, and Chris Paul
  • The bombshell in April 2014, reported by TMZ, of a taped conversation between Sterling and his mistress where Sterling makes hugely offensive and racist comments, directed in particular toward former Lakers point guard Magic Johnson
  • Fallout from the comments, resulting in a lifetime ban from NBA for Sterling, and a forced sale of the team to former Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer for $2B
  • Impact of the landmark sale price on NBA and other sports franchise valuations 
  • Clippers performance post-sale, and  prospects for the future 
  • The opportunity for technology and business model innovation in the NBA, and professional sports in general
 
Followups:
 
The Carve Out:
Apr 24, 2017
Episode 35: Oculus
01:17:24
Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)
 
Ben & David transcend the barriers of “real” reality, and dive into Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg’s geek-eutpoia vision of the future of gaming, social, and maybe even the entire internet: strapping goofy-looking goggles to your face. Is VR for real this time or are we living through another Virtual Boy moment? Tune in to find out!
 
Topics covered include:
  • Oculus’s origins in 2010 as a twinkle in the eye of the then-17 year old VR wunderkind, Palmer Luckey, who started by prototyping VR headsets in his parents’ garage in Southern California 
  • Palmer’s time interning at USC's Institute for Creative Technologies, and chronicling of his own VR efforts in the Meant to be Seen 3D internet forums
  • Legendary game developer John Carmack’s own interest in virtual reality, his intersection with Palmer on the MTBS3D forums, and how he acquired and popularized one of Palmer's first early prototypes of the Oculus Rift (which was literally held together with duct tape!) by demonstrating it onstage at E3 2012 
  • How former Scaleform cofounders Brendan Iribe and Michael Antonov teamed up with Palmer after E3 to create the company Oculus VR
  • The newly-formed Oculus’s wildly successful August 2012 Kickstarter campaign, including video endorsements from both Carmack and Valve founder Gabe Newell
  • Oculus’s subsequent venture capital fundraisings, and catching the attention of Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg 
  • Facebook’s acquisition of the company in March 2014 for $2.3B
  • The Zenimax lawsuit filed against Oculus and Facebook following the acquisition 
  • Valve (home of the most incredible company handbook of all-time) and Gabe Newell’s subsequent pivot from supporting Oculus to launching their own competing VR efforts with the Vive 
  • Team changes at Oculus post-acquisition 
 
Followups:
 
Hot Takes:
 
The Carve Out:
Apr 11, 2017
Episode 34: The Starbucks IPO with Dan Levitan
01:19:23

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)

Ben & David "pour over" the 1992 IPO of the legendary Seattle coffee company with the help of Dan Levitan, who served as lead investment banker on the IPO and who would later co-found the venture capital firm Maveron with Starbucks’ CEO Howard Schultz. 

Topics covered include:

  • The original Starbucks’ founding as a coffee bean roaster, started by three disciples of the legendary coffee roaster Alfred Peet
  • Howard Schultz’s introduction to Starbucks, his joining the team as director of marketing, and inspiration behind his “third place” coffee shop vision
  • Howard’s departure from the original Starbucks, founding of Il Giornale, and subsequent of acquisition the Seattle Starbucks stores
  • Starbucks’ incredible growth following the acquisition and expansion beyond Seattle
  • The state of raising private capital in the 1980’s/90’s, and the decision to go public (link to the S-1)
  • Howard’s ambitious goals for the roadshow and investor participation, and subsequent stock performance after the IPO
  • The narrative and evolution of Starbucks as a technology company, or a consumer company that leverages technology very effectively

The Carve Out:

Apr 03, 2017
Episode 33: Overture (with the Internet History Podcast!)
01:27:11
Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)
 
Episode 33: Overture (with the Internet History Podcast!) 
 
Ben & David dive deep into the early days of internet search, with the help of the best in the internet history business: Brian McCullough from the Internet History Podcast! We are huge fans of IHP at Acquired, so this was a real treat to collaborate with Brian and the great work he does over there. In this episode we cover the story of how a small incubator in Southern California spawned perhaps the greatest tech business model of all-time, Yahoo!’s fumbling of that golden opportunity, and Google’s recovery of that fumble to cross into the end zone of tech history behind the biggest moat ever constructed on the internet. 
 
Topics covered include:
  • Overture’s origins as part of the Idealab incubator run by famed early internet entrepreneur Bill Gross
  • Invention of the paid search business model… initially by returning ADS ONLY in response to search queries
  • The eventual marrying of Overture’s paid search (ads) with organic search results via syndication on other properties like Yahoo!
  • Revenue from Overture’s ad partnership saving Yahoo!’s business after the internet bubble burst 
  • Yahoo!’s eventual acquisition of Overture for $1.4B in 2003 
  • But… the really interesting story here: Overture’s 'inspiration' of Google’s business model and the creation of "the greatest advertising machine in the history of the world"
  • The original (pre-Overture) Google business model: selling a box
  • Google’s differentiation vs Overture: focusing on the long tailad quality scores, and an advertiser-friendly auction structure
  • Google’s first major search syndication victory over Overture: AOL
  • Yahoo!’s failed attempt to buy Google for $3B in 2002, leading it to settle for acquiring Overture instead the following year
  • Project Panama” at Yahoo!, and its impact on the tech and internet history
  • Overture's (and later Yahoo!’s) lawsuit against Google for stealing the paid search business model— "the O.G. version of Snapchat and Instagram”
  • Paul Graham’s take on "What Happened to Yahoo?”
  • Perhaps the most important technology to come out of this whole episode: Hadoop
  • The power of incentive alignment in marketplaces— and creating the widest and deepest moats on the internet
 
The Carve Out:
Mar 13, 2017
Episode 32: The Snap Inc. IPO
01:23:13
Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)
 
Snap! Acquired is live on the scene reporting from the "Super Bowl" of 2017 tech events: Snap Inc's hugely anticipated (and just plain huge) IPO. What does the future hold for this plucky “camera company”? Will Snap's IPO endure as tech's most important picture-frame since the 2012 debut of Facebook, or is it destined to fade as just another snapshot? We debate! 
 
Topics covered include:
 
The Carve Out:
Mar 04, 2017
Episode 31: The Uber - Didi Chuxing Merger with Brad Stone, author of The Upstarts & The Everything Store
01:09:54
Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)
 
Topics covered include:
  • The global surge in 2012 of entrepreneurs starting ridesharing companies, nowhere moreso than China 
  • Didi CEO Cheng Wei and investor Wang Gang’s backgrounds at Alibaba, first entrepreneurial effort in Momo, and Momo’s pivot to Didi Dache
  • The culling of the ridesharing herd in China down to Didi Dache and Kuaidi Dache through brutal competition and involvement of the “big three” Chinese internet companies 
  • Rise of the Chinese messaging apps and associated mobile payments, and their impact on ridesharing
  • The 2015 merger between Didi and Kuaidi, brokered in part by Russian VC Yuri Milner
  • Uber’s decision to enter the Chinese market, and early success with investment and support from Baidu
  • The first meeting between Uber CEO Travis Kalanick and Cheng Wei in 2015—which does not go well
  • Subsequent “scorched earth” competition between Didi and Uber throughout 2015-16
  • Negotiating an armistice: Uber’s agreement to sell its Chinese operations to Didi in late 2016
  • End of the war, or just the beginning? January 2017: Didi invests $100M in Brazilian Uber competitor 99
  • Sustainable growth, and building moats versus scorching earth
 
Followups:
  • Stay tuned for real-time coverage of the Snap IPO coming here on Acquired! 
 
The Carve Out:
Mar 01, 2017
Episode 30: P.A. Semi + AuthenTec
01:07:51
Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)
 
Topics covered include:
 
Followups:
 
The Carve Out:
Jan 24, 2017
Episode 29: Special—2016 Review and 2017 Predictions
01:11:43
Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)
 
Ben & David wrap up 2016 with a review of the top tech themes we discussed on the show this year, and look forward to which themes we think will be relevant in the coming year. Can our hosts predict the future? Tune-in in 2018 to find out! 
 
Note: we apologize for the less-than-amazing audio quality on this one. We’re still working on tuning our remote recording setup!
 
Topics covered include:
  • Our top tech themes of 2016, including the first annual Acquired "Theme of the Year”: Aggregation Theory (surprise, surprise)
  • Themes we think will be most relevant as we head into 2017
  • Extended Carve Outs!
 
The Carve Out(s):
Jan 11, 2017
Episode 28: The Amazon IPO with original Amazon Board Member Tom Alberg
01:06:31
Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)
 
Ben & David welcome very special guest Tom Alberg, board member and first lead investor in Amazon.com, to cover the IPO of "earth’s most customer-centric company". From longterm thinking to flywheels to riding big waves, this episode is chock full of lessons and stories from the journey of building one of tech’s most iconic franchises. We hope you enjoy listening as much as we did recording it! 
 
Topics covered include:
  • Tom’s “prolific” bio from the Amazon S-1
  • Jeff Bezos’s journey from a Vice President at the New York hedge fund D. E. Shaw to founding Amazon in a Bellevue, WA garage in the summer of 1994
  • Jeff’s longterm thinking as evident in the early days of Amazon, and his approach that "failure is ok, but not trying things is not ok” 
  • Raising the seed money for Amazon before product launch, how Tom met Jeff and decided to invest despite the “high” valuation
  • Tom's (and Jeff’s) focus on the power of targeting large and growing markets 
  • Amazon’s actual overnight success after launching the website: according to Tom at the time, "By the second or third week… It was clear there was a trend here.”
  • How Amazon’s venture round, led by John Doerr of Kleiner Perkins, came together in the spring of 1996 
  • Amazon’s torrid growth through 1996, Jeff’s mantra of “get big fast” to win the land grab of online book selling, and the board’s decision to prepare for a public offering in the spring of 1997 
  • How Frank Quattrone and Bill Gurley, then of Deutsche Bank, won the lead position for the Amazon IPO, beating out more storied firms such as Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley 
  • Development of the flywheel concept within Amazon, as an outgrowth of maniacal focus on creating superior customer experience
  • Amazon's public offering on May 15, 1997 at $18 per share (effectively $1.50 relative to today’s stock price after splits), raising $54M at a market capitalization of $438M — and subsequently trading down during the first few months following the IPO  
  • Amazon and Jeff’s management of investor perceptions of the company, and ability to sell the longterm vision over short term profits — “you get the investors you ask for” 
  • The creation of the first annual letter to Amazon shareholders included in the company’s 1997 annual report (and republished every year since), and then-CFO Joy Covey’s role and contributions to it 
  • Raising convertible debt just before the peak of the dotcom bubble and subsequent ability to survive the burst, and the impact of the downturn on Amazon culture
 
The Carve Out:
Dec 31, 2016
Episode 27: Special—A Conversation with Microsoft's Head of Strategic Investments Brian Schultz
01:10:17
Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)
 
Topics covered include:
  • Brian’s history working across “both sides of the aisle” as both a startup founder and corporate development leader at a big company, how perspective from each informs the other, and the importance of learning “customer empathy” 
  • How Microsoft approaches M&A from an organizational perspective, and the importance of fit with the company’s product roadmap 
  • How Brian approaches strategic investments at Microsoft, and the evolution over time of the Microsoft (and large technology companies as a whole) perspective on investing in other companies
  • Balancing the tension between partnering and investing, and what criteria Brian thinks about when evaluating companies 
  • Microsoft’s investment in Facebook in 2007 (at a then-crazy-seeming $15B valuation), and more recently Foursquare, Mesosphere, CloudFlare and others
  • The current state of the tech M&A landscape, and the emergence of private equity as tech company acquirers 
  • Potentially changing corporate and foreign tax structures and how they impact acquirers’ thinking around deals (or not!) 
  • How Microsoft tracks and evaluates success of acquisitions over time, and lessons learned from successes and failures 
  • The increasing number of operating companies (technology and otherwise) looking to invest in startups, and how that landscape has evolved over time 
 
Followups:
  • Snap Inc.’s rumored IPO filing — and bonus discussion of how VC’s and other investors think about “exiting” their investments in companies that have gone public
 
Hot Takes:
 
The Carve Out:
Dec 16, 2016
Episode 26: Marvel
01:18:26
Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)
 
Topics covered include:
  • Marvel’s corporate origins as "Timely Publications”, created in 1939 by pulp magazine publisher Martin Goodman in NYC, with the publication of Marvel Comics #1
  • Creation of enduring characters such as Captain America, the Fantastic 4, Spider Man, The X-Men, Iron Man, Thor, The Hulk and more
  • Adoption in 1961 of the "Marvel Comics” brand, and writer-editor Stan Lee’s transition of the company towards focusing on edgier characters and stories targeted at older audiences 
  • Marvel’s first sale in 1968 to the Perfect Film and Chemical Corporation (later Cadence Industries)
  • The company’s “turbulent” corporate history through the 1980’s and associated mergers, acquisitions and lawsuits
  • Marvel’s reinvention as a film-focused media company in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s with the launch of Marvel Studios
  • Disney’s ultimate acquisition of the company for $4.2 billion in August 2009, during the depth of the great recession 
  • Marvel's—and in particular Marvel Studios’—performance since the acquisition 
 
Followups:
 
Hot Takes:
 
The Carve Out:
Dec 05, 2016
Episode 25: The Facebook IPO
01:20:42

Hey Acquired listeners. A note about this show: we recorded this episode the night before the 2016 Election Day in the US. At the time, the biggest change we saw coming was adding a new type of content to Acquired in analyzing IPO’s, which we introduce in this episode. Two days later, we woke up to a very different world than the one we were expecting.

Reflecting on what’s happened, and the past few months of our show, we wanted to say two things:

First, we want to apologize for our cavalier attitude toward this election cycle, and our glossing over the clearly very real problems and deep divide in America that it represented. In the Skype episode, David pretty glibly compared the AT&T - Time Warner merger to "Make America Great Again", arguing that any reactionary force is “on the wrong side of history” and cannot be relevant in a changing world. That was wrong, the sentiment behind it was wrong, and it was insensitive to the very real pain a lot of people are feeling out there on both sides.

Second, looking back on this particular episode about the Facebook IPO, we think it actually might present a relevant parable for our country right now and--we hope--some important lessons for the technology industry going forward. For all the wonderful aspects of the tech industry that we celebrate on this show, there is no doubt that it also bears a great deal of responsibility for the current divide in America, and especially in its contribution to wealth inequality. Likewise, for all the wonderful aspects to the Facebook IPO story, as told in this episode, there is a very dark side as well: Facebook shareholders, investment banks and institutional investors raked in billions of dollars at the expense of individual retail investors who lost their shirts.

At the same time, Facebook’s perseverance through their “broken IPO", and their determination in overcoming with incredible speed the massive, existential challenge to their business model posed by mobile, is something we think *can be* an inspiration to us all on how to move forward even when that seems hard. We hope you’ll listen to this episode with that in mind and think about how you, we, and the technology industry as a whole can do better in serving everyone in this country and in the world.

Thanks for being on this journey with us. We’re sorry for our shortcomings, and we’re going to keep working hard to do better. 

-Ben & David

 

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile) 

 

Topics covered include:

Followups:

Hot Takes:

The Carve Out:

Nov 11, 2016
Episode 24: Skype
01:18:25
Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)
 
An acquisition so wild and crazy, they had to do it again. And again. Ben & David cover tech’s perhaps most-traded asset, Skype (which also happens to be a fantastic business). How do we even know which deal to grade? Tune in to find out… 
 
Topics covered include:
 
Followups:
 
Hot Takes:
 
The Carve Out:
Nov 02, 2016
Episode 23: NeXT (Live show at the GeekWire Summit)
01:02:29
Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)
 
Ben & David broadcast live from the 2016 GeekWire Summit covering one of the all-time greats, Apple’s 1996 acquisition of NeXT. This episode has it all: the Steve Jobs hero story, Apple, I.M. Pei, Ross Perot, Aaron Sorkin, Nobel Laureates and… Gil Amelio? Does NeXT rank atop the best acquisitions ever? Our own heroes cast their votes. 
 
Topics covered include:
 
The Carve Out:
Oct 23, 2016
Episode 22: Zillow + Trulia (with Zillow Group CFO Kathleen Philips)
01:10:46
Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)
 
CFO of Zillow Group Kathleen Philips joins Ben and David to cover the show’s first true “merger” versus “acquisition" (only took 22 episodes!), Zillow’s 2015 combination with Trulia to form Zillow Group. 
 
Note: our audio glitches unfortunately continued on this episode, and quality is rough. We recommend listening on speakers vs headphones if you’re able. We apologize and will be back to normal quality next time!
 
Topics covered include:
  • Zillow and Trulia’s beginnings during the “Web 2.0” era in the mid-2000’s 
  • Zillow, Trulia and other online players’ place within the massive US real estate market
  • The lengthy “dance" between Zillow and Trulia and earlier aborted merger talks between the two
  • The difficulty of "true mergers” among private companies and why the path is easier for public companies 
  • Public company shareholders’ influence and role in M&A transactions 
  • Details of the blazingly fast negotiations (27 days start to finish!) per disclosures in the SEC filings (scroll down to "Background of the Mergers”)
  • Structuring the deal and incentivizing Trulia and Zillow mangers to stay and continue growing as separate brands
  • Trulia cofounder Sami Inkinen’s whereabouts during the merger negotiations 
  • The experience going through a lengthy FTC review of the merger, and defining what the relevant “market” is the FTC should be considering
  • Introducing our new acquisition category: a “timeline acquisition” ;) (h/t Kathleen)
  • Zillow Group’s overall approach to acquisitions, folding into its broader HR strategy 
  • Zillow founder Rich Barton’s startup thesis of searching for "What piece of marketplace information do people crave and don’t have?"
 
Followups:
 
Hot Takes:
 
The Carve Out:
Oct 14, 2016
Episode 21: Inside the M&A Press with Bloomberg's Alex Sherman
01:18:15
Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)
 
Ben and David go inside the M&A press with Bloomberg’s technology M&A reporter and host of the Deal of the Week Podcast, Alex Sherman. If you’ve ever wondered how stories about big deals get broken or what “according to people familiar with the matter” really means, tune in for the behind-the-scenes scoop! 
 
Note: A technical glitch with our recording setup created occasional short silences between Alex’s comments and Ben & David’s. It shouldn’t impact listenability, but we apologize for the awkward pauses!
 
Topics covered include:
  • Bloomberg’s own fascinating “history & facts” and origins following the acquisition of storied Wall Street firm Salomon Brothers 
  • Bloomberg’s core as a highly profitable technology business (selling terminals to Wall Street firms), with a large media empire built on top of it
  • The tradable value of breaking M&A news & information to Bloomberg’s terminal customers, and competing on speed
  • How “sources" work — and industry standard that sources be directly within the companies involved in a deal
  • The coded language of M&A reporting and gleaning where information is coming from based on a story’s structure and phrasing
  • The lifecycle of a story—steps from sourcing to writing to release, and reasons (or lack thereof) for why stories run when they do
  • Internal & external PR resources companies use for M&A 
  • How Alex prioritizes his time researching and creating stories, and who he’s meeting with to hear about what deals are in the works 
  • The difference between ‘news' and ‘analysis', and why news dominates the majority of stories versus deeper analysis
  • Media and social media business models, their evolution in the messenger world, and speculation on Twitter’s future
  • How entrepreneurs can think about interacting with the press and building relationships with the right reporters for their stage and space
  • Apple’s ‘unique’ approach to press relations 
 
Followups:
 
Hot Takes:
 
The Carve Out:
Sep 27, 2016
Episode 20: Android
01:13:48
Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)
 
Ben & David examine Google’s 2005 purchase of Android for a rumored $50M, undeniably one of the best technology acquisitions of all time. But will it top the list of these tough graders? Tune in to find out.
 
Topics covered include:
  • Welcome new listeners! We quickly review the show format for newbies. 
  • Community spotlight: Patagonia on a Budget from community member Matt Morgante (@mattm on Slack)
  • Andy Rubin’s career trajectory and what made him “born to start Android"
  • The undeniable “cool factor” of the Danger Sidekick in the early/mid-2000’s, including fans such as Larry Page, Sergey Brin and… Turtle from Entourage 
  • Android’s original ambition to build an operating system for… digital cameras
  • WebTV founder Steve Perlman is pretty much the best friend ever 
  • Google’s own perspective on Android as their “best deal ever"
  • The Android team’s reaction to Steve Jobs unveiling the iPhone in January 2007, and redesigning the initial launch hardware 
  • Announcing Android and—equally importantly—the Open Handset Alliance (“OHA”)
  • The much-talked-about "mobile holy wars", between Android’s “open” platform and Apple’s “closed” platform 
  • The less-talked-about US carrier wars with the iPhone + AT&T in one camp, and everyone else in the Google / OHA camp (including “Droid Does”)
  • A quirk of history: HTC at one point acquires a majority share in Beats, resulting a short-lived period of Beats-branded Android phones (still available on Amazon!)
  • The real battleground for Google in the mobile platform wars: the economics of “default search” (briefly known thanks to the Oracle/Java lawsuit against Google
  • Google’s detour into smartphone hardware with the acquisition (and subsequent divestiture) of Motorola 
  • The “fork-ability” of Android via the Android Open Source Project (versus “Google Android”), and the rise of Xiaomi, Cyanogen, Kindle Fire and other platforms
  • The ecosystem economics of the Android business for Google 
  • “Defensive” versus “offensive” acquisitions, and protecting Google’s core search business 
  • Could (or would) Google have built an Android-like platform without acquiring Android the company (or having Andy Rubin)?
  • Framing the technology world’s shift to mobile within (surprise) Ben Thompson’s Aggregation Theory
  • The current “moving up the stack” of the competitive playing field as the mobile landscape matures 
  • Grading: Android versus Instagram?
 
Followups:
 
Hot Takes:
  • The iPhone 7 (and AirPods) announcement 
 
The Carve Out:
Sep 16, 2016
Episode 19: Jet
01:05:05
Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)
 
Ben & David break down Jet.com’s meteoric rise, culminating in Walmart’s blockbuster $3B+ acquisition of the company just two years after its founding. Will we look back on this deal as an ‘Instagram-like’ bargain or a ‘Pets.com'-sized blunder? And most importantly, can *anyone* compete with Amazon going forward? We speculate wildly.
 
Topics covered include:
 
Followups:
 
New section: Hot Takes! (thank you @cteitzel on Slack for the idea)
 
The Carve Out
Aug 29, 2016
Episode 18: Special—An Acquirer’s View into M&A with Taylor Barada, head of Corp Dev at Adobe
01:03:47
Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)
 
Ben & David are joined by special guest Taylor Barada, VP and Head of Corporate Development & Strategic Partnerships at Adobe, to discuss how large tech acquirers approach buying companies. This episode is full of great insights for startups & entrepreneurs who might find themselves navigating the M&A process, as well as anyone curious about the craft of dealmaking and the strategic approach of large acquirers. 
 
Topics covered include:
  • How conversations begin between startups and acquirers
  • The importance of building a relationship with acquirers over time and "investing in lines, not dots” (just like raising VC)
  • The often under-appreciated role of culture fit between acquirers and acquisition targets 
  • How entrepreneurs should evaluate acquirers throughout the M&A process 
  • Two examples of successful acquisitions Taylor completed at Yahoo in Citizen Sports and IntoNow
  • The M&A process at large technology acquirers, from initial conversations to LOI, due diligence and the definitive merger agreement 
  • The relative roles of Corp Dev, business/product owners and executive sponsors in the M&A process
  • Common mistakes startups (and VC’s) often make in the M&A process
  • Different “categories” of M&A that acquirers think about, and the relative risks & opportunities of “core" acquisitions vs transformative new businesses 
  • What percentage of deals Adobe looks at actually happen, and the importance of being willing to say no
  • M&A as a tool for strategy, and the different M&A cultures & approaches at different companies 
  • Tech themes Taylor and Adobe think about as part of their M&A strategy
  • Evaluating the longterm success of deals and the importance of the M&A integration function 
 
Followups:
 
The Carve Out
Aug 22, 2016
Acquired Episode 17: Waze
01:00:30
Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)
 
Topics covered include:
 
The Carve Out
 
Followups:
Aug 03, 2016
Acquired Episode 16: Midroll + Stitcher (acquired by Scripps)
55:34
Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)
 
The meta show: Ben and David turn their gaze inward and examine the podcasting industry through E. W. Scripps’ recent acquisitions of the Midroll podcast advertising network and Stitcher podcast client. Featuring discussion of our own product process and metrics at Acquired. 
 
Announcements:
  • We’re pivoting! (not really) Our new show description: A Podcast About Technology Acquisitions That Actually Went Well
  • But we are launching a new feature! Since so many of you, our listeners, are also tech and startup folks and/or other builders, we wanted to create a space to feature cool products, companies and side projects you’re working on. Thus we’re adding a "Community Showcase” section to the show. If you’d like to be included just send us a Slack message or email, and we’ll choose one submission to feature on each show. This episode we’re highlighting BESTR, from community member David Resnick (aka @the_rezonator in Slack), which is an online platform to share lists of great things. Check it out and let David know what you think. 
 
Topics covered include:
  • Top Google search results for “acquired podcast"
  • Midroll’s origins in the comedy podcast Comedy Bang Bang (now an tv show on IFC) and exit last year to Scripps 
  • The structural challenges inherent to podcasting as a medium and the gap between audience size/engagement and industry revenues
  • Opportunities for independent podcasters and our own audience and business metrics at Acquired 
  • Stitcher’s long corporate history as a venture backed company, first acquisition by French music company Deezer, and now second acquisition from Deezer by Scripps
  • Problems with Stitcher as a product and industry reaction to the acquisition including John Gruber's response, Ben Thompson’s article on Stratechery, and Ben & James Allworth's discussion on their excellent podcast Exponent
  • Handicapping Stitcher+Midroll’s chances for success within Scripps, and opportunities for new startups & innovation in the podcasting space
  • Pioneer Square Labs’ own past efforts in the podcasting space and their process for evaluating potential new company ideas 
  • Shoutout to Pocket Casts and our listeners down under 
 
Followups:
 
The Carve Out
Jul 12, 2016
Acquired Episode 15: ExactTarget (acquired by Salesforce) with Scott Dorsey
01:09:12
Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)
 
Ben and David return to make their first foray into enterprise software, covering Salesforce’s $2.5B acquisition of ExactTarget in 2013 with the help of special guest and ExactTarget cofounder & CEO, Scott Dorsey
 
Technical note: due to an issue we didn’t catch during recording, audio quality is significantly lower than usual for this episode (especially David’s voice). We apologize but hope you’ll give it a chance anyway— Scott offers great wisdom & insights, and the ExactTarget success story is a inspiring one underdog entrepreneurs, especially (but not limited to!) anyone located in the Midwest or elsewhere outside of traditional "Silicon Valley-style” tech hubs.
 
Topics covered include:
  • The decision to start ExactTarget post-internet bubble and in Indianapolis, with zero software experience between Scott and cofounders Chris Baggott & Peter McCormick
  • Raising initial money from friends & family, followed by early investment and mentoring from Indianapolis venture pioneer Bob Compton
  • Building and scaling a great sales organization within a technology company
  • The importance of focusing early on a clearly defined target market (SMBs in the case of ExactTarget), and then “stair-stepping” up as the product and business scale grow over time
  • ExactTarget’s unsuccessful first IPO filing during the financial crisis
  • Building a "capital-efficient” early stage company, and the value of raising growth capital at the right time to step on the accelerator
  • The value of “secondary” investments allowing founders, employees & early investors to “stay hungry” by achieving some liquidity along the way
  • When and how to expand internationally and the importance of strategic resellers
  • ExactTarget’s second successful IPO filing and life as a public company with quarterly financial reporting to Wall Street
  • How the acquisition process played out with Salesforce and other bidders (including reference to ExactTarget’s incredible SEC filing detailing the entire negotiationscroll down to "Background and Reasons for the ExactTarget Board’s Recommendation”, starting at the bottom of page 13)
  • Approaching the difficult task of integrating a major acquisition involving thousands of people
  • The fun story of ExactTarget’s winning Microsoft as a large customer—including actual sledgehammers
  • Scott’s new Indianapolis-based venture studio, High Alpha
  • Plus as always the "hard hitting" analysis across acquisition category, what would have happened otherwise, tech themes—and final grading
 
The Carve Out
 
Followups:
  • Instagram’s incredible user numbers announcement: 500M monthly active users / 300M daily active users
Jul 05, 2016
Episode 14: LinkedIn
01:01:03

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)

Ben and David cover the 3-day-old acquisition of LinkedIn by Microsoft for $26.2 billion. They cover LinkedIn’s founding story by Reid Hoffman, break down their core businesses, analyze recent stock behavior, and speculate on the future of the company inside Microsoft. The big question - were they worth the price tag?

Items Mentioned On The Show:

The Carve Out:

Jun 16, 2016
Episode 13: Push Pop Press (Facebook Instant Articles) with Todd Bishop
56:37

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)

Ben and David are joined by Todd Bishop, technology reporter and co-founder of GeekWire, to discuss Facebook's 2011 acquisition of Push Pop Press. Highlights include:

  • The founding story of Push Pop Press by Kimon Tsinteris and Mike Matas.
  • The evolution of Facebook Creative Labs, Facebook Paper, and eventually, Facebook Instant Articles.
  • Facebook's role in the changing media landscape today.
  • GeekWire's experiments with Facebook Instant Articles, Google Accelerated Mobile Pages, and live video.

The Carve Out

Jun 06, 2016
Episode 12: Snapchat
56:00

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)

Ben and David tackle their first failed acquisition: Facebook's 2013 offer to buy Snapchat. They cover the fascinating story of Snapchat's creation and growth, their blossoming business model, how it would be different inside of Facebook, and what the future holds.

Items mentioned in the show:

The Inside Story Of Snapchat: The World's Hottest App Or A $3 Billion Disappearing Act?

Inside Evan Spiegel's very private Snapchat Story

May 23, 2016
Episode 11: PayPal
52:05

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)

Ben and David return to technology acquisitions by examining a classic: eBay's 2002 purchase of PayPal. 

Items mentioned in the show: 

How the 'PayPal Mafia' redefined success in Silicon Valley  - Tech Republic

Instagram Will Be a $3 Billion Business This Year: Analyst

President Obama and Bill Simmons: The GQ Interview

"The Carve Out":

Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder - 

The Bill Simmons Podcast - Chris Sacca

May 09, 2016
Acquired Episode 10: Virgin America
48:13

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)

Ben and David deviate entirely from the stated purpose of the show, tackling this non-technology acquisition that is so recent, we have no idea if it went well yet. But, the April 2016 acquisition of Virgin America by Alaska Airlines was so fascinating, we had to do it! 

 

Items mentioned in the show: 

Louis C.K. - Everything is Amazing and Nobody is Happy

 

Alaska Acquires Virgin America Investor Deck

 

“Measuring The Moat” Paper - Michael J. Mauboussin

 

Business Adventures - Twelve Classic Tales from the World of Wall Street

 

 

"The Carve Out":

Michael Mauboussin: "The Success Equation:Untangling Skill and Luck" | Talks at Google

 

Apr 27, 2016
Episode 9: Writely (Google Docs)
42:34

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)

 

Ben and David continue the cloud productivity saga with Google Docs. They examine the suite of acquisitions made by Google with a focus on Writely in 2006. They tackle:

  • The nuts and bolts of the Upstartle (company behind Writely) acquisition, founded by Sam Schillace, Steve Newman and Claudia Carpenter.
  • SaaS offerings in cloud productivity today.
  • Was this a good idea for Google?
  • Google's future bets.
  • A new section: The Carve Out!
Mar 29, 2016
Episode 8: Acompli, Sunrise, and Wunderlist (w/ Kurt DelBene)
56:04

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)

 

Ben and David have special guest Kurt DelBene on to discuss Microsoft's acquisition of Acompli, Sunrise, and Wunderlist. Kurt is the EVP of Corporate Strategy and Planning at Microsoft, and joins to discuss Microsoft’s cloud-first, mobile-first strategy, and the importance of being cross-platform in the modern era. They cover:

  • How the app of Outlook Mobile on iPhone and Android came to be.
  • How to decide whether to build vs. buy, and how it plays into the strategy for Office.
  • How to preserve a culture and a team, and how Javier Soltero came to run all of Outlook at Microsoft.
  • The origin of Outlook on the PC, originally led by Brian MacDonald as “Ren”.
  • How to balance a business with competing priorities, and a decision-making framework for acquisitions in a large company.
  • How to measure the success of an acquisition, and how sometimes, it’s not by measuring revenue at all.
Feb 29, 2016
Episode 7: YouTube
44:10

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)

 

Ben and David test the widely-held belief that YouTube was one of the most successful tech acquisitions of all time. In today's world of next-generation video platforms, mobile video, streaming, and chord-cutting, was it actually a great purchase by Google?

As discussed in the show, here is Sequoia's original YouTube investment memo - a rarely-shared gold mine for anyone interested in startup investing.

Feb 03, 2016
Episode 6: Lucasfilm
33:41

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)

 

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

Jan 19, 2016
Episode 5: Siri
37:46

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)

In the last episode of 2015, Ben and David discuss Apple's acquisition of Siri. Notable topics include:

  • The founding of Siri by Dag Kittlau, Adam Cheyer, and Chris Brigham.
  • Scott Forstall on the Apple side, and the end of his time at the company.
  • The other Apple acquisitions around Siri, including Topsy, Novauris Technologies, OttoCat.
  • Cue, Spotsetter, VocalIQ, and Perceptio.
  • The team Apple built around Siri post-acquisition, including Alex Acero from Microsoft Research.
  • Speculation on the future of voice and its role in everyday computing.
Dec 14, 2015
Episode 4: Bungie (with Xbox Co-Founder Ed Fries)
01:00:45

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)

 

Ben and David are joined by Former Microsoft VP and Co-Founder of Xbox, Ed Fries, to discuss the Bungie acquisition and the development of Halo. Highlights include:

  • Ed’s call with Steve Jobs after the acquisition, and sharing the stage with Steve and Bungie Co-Founder Alex Seropian at the Macworld Keynote.
  • Bungie today, and the unlikely path to get there led by Harold Ryan.
  • How to find something that all parties want to get a deal done, the creation Peter Tamte’s spin-out Mac gaming studio, and orchestrating the division of current Bungie projects and assets with Take-Two, led by Ryan Brandt.
  • Saving a project that’s off schedule and missing the mark, and how Jason Jones led the effort to make Halo 2 a hit at launch.
 
Nov 30, 2015
Episode 3: Twitch
46:48

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)

 

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

Nov 16, 2015
Episode 2: Instagram
35:55

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)

 

Ben and David discuss Facebook's acquisition of Instagram in 2012. Was it a success? If so, what are the criteria that made it work? What lessons can be learned for other acquisitions in the future?

 

Nov 01, 2015
Episode 1: Pixar
31:10

Join the Acquired Limited Partner program! https://kimberlite.fm/acquired/ (works best on mobile)

 

Ben and David discuss Disney's acquisition of Pixar in 2006. Was it a success? If so, what are the criteria that made it work? What lessons can be learned for other acquisitions in the future?

 

Oct 15, 2015