188 episodes

Every company has a story.

Learn the playbooks that built the world’s greatest companies — and how you can apply them as a founder, operator, or investor.

Acquired Ben Gilbert and David Rosenthal

    • Technology
    • 5.0 • 12 Ratings

Every company has a story.

Learn the playbooks that built the world’s greatest companies — and how you can apply them as a founder, operator, or investor.

    Hermès

    Hermès

    In luxury, there’s Hermès… and there’s everyone else. Stewarded by one French family over six generations, Hermès sells the absolute pinnacle of the French luxury dream. Loyal clients will wait years simply for the opportunity to buy one of the company’s flagship Birkin or Kelly bags. Unlike every other luxury brand, Hermès:
    Doesn’t increase supply to meet demand (hence the waitlists)Doesn’t loudly brand their products (IYKYK)Doesn’t do celebrity endorsements (stars buy their bags just like everyone else)Doesn’t even have a marketing department! (they barely advertise at all)And yet everyone knows who they are and what they represent. But, despite all their iconoclasm, this is not a company that’s stood still for six generations. Unbeknownst to most, Hermès has completely reinvented itself at least three times in its 187-year history. Including most recently (and most dramatically) by the family’s current leaders, who responded to LVMH and Bernard Arnault’s 2010 takeover attempt by pursuing a radical strategy — scaling hand craftsmanship. And in the process they turned the company from a sleepy, ~$10B family enterprise into a $200B market cap European giant. Tune in for one incredible story!
    Sponsors:
    Many thanks to our fantastic Season 14 partners:
    J.P. Morgan PaymentsServiceNowVantaNVIDIA GTC (Code "ACQUIRED" for 20% off)Links:
    Visuals for: 00:23: Haut a Courroies, the “high-belted bag” to carry saddles and boots00:45: Chaine d'ancre, “Chain of anchors”00:49: Jeu des Omnibus et Dames blanches, “White ladies at play”00:53: Screen printing each color on a scarf individually00:57: The Hermès oranges01:06: Sac à Dépêches (today: the Kelly Bag)01:07: Grace Kelly photo in LIFE Magaine01:26: Steps to sew a saddle stitch01:48: The Birkin Bag03:17: Petit hThe saddle stitch (video)Inside the Saddlery at the FaubourgHermès 2022 Annual ReportAxel Dumas InterviewAll episode sourcesCarve Outs:
    Anker GaN Prime 100W chargerMatterPerplexityThe Score Takes Care of ItselfMore Acquired:
    Get email updates with hints on next episode and follow-ups from recent episodesJoin the SlackSubscribe to ACQ2Check out the latest swag in the ACQ Merch Store!‍Note: Acquired hosts and guests may hold assets discussed in this episode. This podcast is not investment advice, and is intended for informational and entertainment purposes only. You should do your own research and make your own independent decisions when considering any financial transactions.

    • 4 hrs 10 min
    Novo Nordisk (Ozempic)

    Novo Nordisk (Ozempic)

    Last year Novo Nordisk, the Danish pharmaceutical company behind Ozempic and Wegovy, overtook LVMH to become Europe’s most valuable company. And the pull for Acquired to finally tackle healthcare (18% of US GDP!) became too strong for us to resist. While we didn’t know much about Novo Nordisk before diving in, our first thought was, “wow, seems like these new diabetes and obesity drugs mean serious trouble for big insulin companies.”
    And then… we realized that Novo Nordisk IS the big insulin company. And in a story befitting of Steve Jobs and Apple, they’d just disrupted themselves with the drug equivalent of an iPhone moment. Once we dug further, we quickly realized this company has it all: an incredible 100+ year history filled with Nobel Prizes, bitter personal rivalries, board room dramas, a generation-defining silicon valley innovation, lone voices persevering against all odds — and oh yeah, the world’s largest charitable foundation at its helm. Tune in for one incredible story!
    Sponsors:
    Many thanks to our fantastic Season 14 partners:
    J.P. Morgan PaymentsServiceNowVantaMore Acquired:
    Get email updates with hints on next episode and follow-ups from recent episodesJoin the SlackSubscribe to ACQ2Check out the latest swag in the ACQ Merch Store!Links:
    Chart: US Healthcare Spend by CategoryChart: US Distribution and Reimbursement System (for pharmaceutical drugs)Chart: Insulin Supply ChainYouTube Talk: What People Get Wrong about the Finances of the Drug IndustryAlex Telford: The pharma industry from Paul Janssen to today: why drugs got harder to develop and what we can do about itOut-of-Pocket Health: Obesity DrugsOut-of-Pocket Health: US Healthcare System ProblemsAll episode sourcesCarve Outs:
    Noxgear Tracer 2 running vestDrops of GodWool by Hugh HoweyMere Mortals at San Francisco BalletBlackberry‍Note: Acquired hosts and guests may hold assets discussed in this episode. This podcast is not investment advice, and is intended for informational and entertainment purposes only. You should do your own research and make your own independent decisions when considering any financial transactions.

    • 3 hrs 44 min
    Holiday Special 2023

    Holiday Special 2023

    Ben has some big news. Actually, double big news! On what has become a holiday tradition here at Acquired, we cozy up to the fire to do our annual review of the show “in public”. We reflect on what can only be described as an absolutely mind-blowing 2023 (LVMH! Jensen! Costco! Charlie! Half a million plus listeners!) and look ahead to some big things cooking for 2024. Plus as always, we wrap with extended carve outs (joined this year by some surprise guests) for anyone still shopping for those holiday perfect gifts.
    Huge thank you to everyone for making 2023 an amazing year again here in Acquired-land, and cheers to even greater things to come in 2023!
    Sponsors:
    Thanks to our fantastic partners, any member of the Acquired community can now get:
    Your product growth powered by Statsig (and listen to our ACQ2 interview with CEO Vijaye Raji)Scalable, clean and low-cost cloud AI compute from Crusoe (and listen to our ACQ2 interview with CEO Chase Lochmiller)Mark Leonard and David Senra’s holiday book recommendations on Blinkist, plus our favorite books on Ben & David’s BookshelfMore Acquired!:
    Get email updates with hints on next episode and follow-ups from recent episodesJoin the SlackSubscribe to ACQ2Check out the latest swag in the ACQ Merch Store!Links / Extended Carve Outs!
    The Psychology of MoneyThe Artist’s WayTransitionsThinking, Fast and SlowZojirushi hot water heaterNike Pegasus Trail 4 GORE-TEXMillJune OvenSiloAliasWarby Parker Amari glassesHoka Ora recovery shoesAdobe Light RoomThe Eureka Theory of Everything is Wrong by Derek ThompsonThe Luxury StrategyCandideThe QB SchoolMNF ManningCastThe Eras TourUppababy VistaThe Joolz Aer PlusCocoAt Present‍Note: Acquired hosts and guests may hold assets discussed in this episode. This podcast is not investment advice, and is intended for informational and entertainment purposes only. You should do your own research and make your own independent decisions when considering any financial transactions.

    • 2 hrs 25 min
    Visa

    Visa

    To paraphrase Visa founder Dee Hock, how many of you know Visa? Great, all of you. Now, how many of you know how it started? Or, for that matter, who started it? Who runs and governs it? Where is it headquartered? What’s its business model?
    For the 11th largest market cap company in the world, Visa’s history and strategy is almost shockingly unknown. A huge portion of the world’s population uses their products on a daily basis (you might say Visa is… everywhere people want to be), but very few know the amazing story behind how that came to be. Or why Visa continues to be one of the most incredible and incredibly durable business franchises of all-time. (50%+ net income margins!! On $30B of revenue!) Today we do our part to change that. Tune in for one heck of a journey.
    Sponsors:
    Thanks to our fantastic partners, any member of the Acquired community can now get:
    Free access to our episode research on Blinkist plus our favorite books on Ben & David’s BookshelfScalable, clean and low-cost cloud AI compute from Crusoe (and listen to our recent ACQ2 interview with CEO Chase Lochmiller)Your product growth powered by StatsigMore Acquired!:
    Get email updates with hints on next episode and follow-ups from recent episodesJoin the SlackSubscribe to ACQ2Check out the latest swag in the ACQ Merch Store!Links:
    Burger King rolling out credit cards in 1993Get your BankAmericard MasterCard today! (!?)Episode sourcesCarve Outs:
    I Think You Should LeaveMistborn‍Note: Acquired hosts and guests may hold assets discussed in this episode. This podcast is not investment advice, and is intended for informational and entertainment purposes only. You should do your own research and make your own independent decisions when considering any financial transactions.

    • 3 hrs 42 min
    Charlie Munger

    Charlie Munger

    We sit down with the legendary Charlie Munger in the only dedicated longform podcast interview that he has done in his 99 years on Earth. We’ve gotten to have some special conversations on Acquired over the years, but this one truly takes the cake. Over dinner at his Los Angeles home, Charlie reflected with us on his own career and his nearly 50-year partnership at Berkshire Hathaway with Warren Buffett. He offered lessons and advice for investors today, and of course he shared his speech on the virtues of Costco once again (among other favorite investments). We’re so glad that we got the opportunity to record and share this with you all — break out your notebooks, tune in, and enjoy the singular wit and wisdom of Charlie Munger.
    A transcript is available here.
    Sponsor:
    Special thanks to Tiny for being the exclusive sponsor of this episode. You can get in touch with them here (just tell them Ben & David sent you), and order your very own bronze Charlie bust here.
    More Acquired!:
    Get email updates with hints on next episode and follow-ups from recent episodesJoin the SlackSubscribe to ACQ2Become an LP and support the show. Help us pick episodes, Zoom calls and moreACQ Merch Store!‍Note: Acquired hosts and guests may hold assets discussed in this episode. This podcast is not investment advice, and is intended for informational and entertainment purposes only. You should do your own research and make your own independent decisions when considering any financial transactions.

    • 1 hr 6 min
    NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang

    NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang

    We finally sit down with the man himself: Nvidia Cofounder & CEO Jensen Huang. After three parts and seven+ hours of covering the company, we thought we knew everything but — unsurprisingly — Jensen knows more. A couple teasers: we learned that the company’s initial motivation to enter the datacenter business came from perhaps not where you’d think, and the roots of Nvidia’s platform strategy stretch back beyond CUDA all the way to the origin of the company.
    We also got a peek into Jensen’s mindset and calculus behind “betting the company” multiple times, and his surprising feelings about whether he’d go on the founder journey again if he could rewind time. We can’t think of any better way to tie a bow on our Nvidia series (for now). Tune in!
    Editorial Note: We originally recorded this episode before the horrific terrorist attacks in Israel. It feels wrong to release this episode — where the nation of Israel and the Mellanox team are discussed — without sharing our profound sadness for all the families who had innocent loved ones or friends killed, injured, or taken hostage. Our hearts go out to everyone coping through this dark moment in history.
    Sponsors:
    Thanks to our fantastic partners, any member of the Acquired community can now get:
    Your product growth powered by StatsigScalable, clean and low-cost cloud AI compute from Crusoe (and listen to our recent ACQ2 interview with CEO Chase Lochmiller)Free access to Jensen’s favorite business books on Blinkist, plus our favorites on Ben & David’s Bookshelf
    More Acquired!:
    Get email updates with hints on next episode and follow-ups from recent episodesJoin the SlackSubscribe to ACQ2Become an LP and support the show. Help us pick episodes, Zoom calls and moreMerch Store!
    ‍Note: Acquired hosts and guests may hold assets discussed in this episode. This podcast is not investment advice, and is intended for informational and entertainment purposes only. You should do your own research and make your own independent decisions when considering any financial transactions.

    • 1 hr 29 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
12 Ratings

12 Ratings

@svekeman ,

Super professional and insightful

Addicted to this podcast! Super good!

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