192 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 • 2 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.

    Starbucks (with Howard Schultz)

    Starbucks (with Howard Schultz)

    Starbucks. You’d be hard pressed to name any brand that’s more ubiquitous in the world today. With nearly half a billion global customer purchases per week across its stores and 3rd party retail channels, a significant portion of the human population gets their daily fix in the green and white paper cup. (Including our own Ben Gilbert who famously enjoys his daily spinach feta wrap. :)
    But it wasn’t always this way. Long before the frappuccinos and the PSLs and the cake pops, Starbucks was just a small-time Seattle roaster that only sold beans — and was started not by Howard Schultz but rather the guys who later ran Peet’s (!). Starting from six tiny stores when Howard took over in 1987, this quirky coffee company named after a character from Moby Dick has scaled to nearly 40,000 locations worldwide.
    Today, in a first for Acquired, the protagonist himself joins us as a third cohost to tell the whole story of Starbucks. And Howard is in the perfect moment to do this — after three separate stints as CEO he’s now retired, off the board of directors, and in his own words “not coming back.” So place a mobile order (or not! as you’ll hear Howard speak about), sit back with your own favorite Starbucks items, and enjoy.
    Sponsors:
    Many thanks to our fantastic Season 14 partners:
    J.P. Morgan Payments *ServiceNowPilotThe Biggest Thing We’ve Ever Done:
    San Francisco. September 10, 2024. Mark your calendars.Links:
    Howard’s letter “The Soul of a Brand”Worldly Partners’ multi-decade Starbucks analysisStarbucks S-1More 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!** Future capabilities of biometric payments are under development; features and timelines are subject to change at the bank’s sole discretion.*
    Note: references to Fortune in ServiceNow sponsor sections are from Fortune ©2023. Used under license.

    ‍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.

    • 3 hrs 15 min
    Microsoft

    Microsoft

    Microsoft. After nearly a decade of Acquired episodes, we are finally ready to tackle the most valuable company ever created. The company that put a computer on every desk and in every home. The company that invented the software business model. The company that so thoroughly and completely dominated every conceivable competitor that the United States government intervened and kneecapped it… yet it’s STILL the most valuable company in the world today.
    This episode tells the story of Microsoft in its heyday, the PC Era. We cover its rise from a teenage dream to the most powerful business and technology force in history — the 20-year period from 1975 to 1995 that took Bill and Paul from the Lakeside high school computer room to launching Windows 95 alongside Jay Leno and the Rolling Stones. From BASIC to DOS, Windows, Office, Intel, IBM, Xerox PARC, Apple, Steve Jobs, Steve Ballmer… it’s all here, and it’s all amazing. Tune in and enjoy… Microsoft.
    Sponsors:
    Many thanks to our fantastic Season 14 partners:
    J.P. Morgan PaymentsServiceNowPilotLinks:
    Congress changing copyright law in 1980 to include “computer programs”Acquired “classic” on Microsoft’s 1987 acquisition of Forethought / PowerPointQuartr's charts on Microsoft's revenues, market cap, IBM comparison, and moreAll episode sourcesCarve Outs:
    LGRAndré 3000’s new album + GQ InterviewMeta Ray-BansVisual Designer Julia RundbergSummer HealthMore 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: references to Fortune in ServiceNow sponsor sections are from Fortune ©2023. Used under license.

    ‍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 23 min
    Renaissance Technologies

    Renaissance Technologies

    Renaissance Technologies is the best performing investment firm of all time. And yet no one at RenTec would consider themselves an “investor”, at least in any traditional sense of the word. It’d rather be more accurate to call them scientists — scientists who’ve discovered a system of math, computers and artificial intelligence that has evolved into the greatest money making machine the world has ever seen. And boy does it work: RenTec’s alchemic colossus has posted annual returns in the firm’s flagship Medallion Fund of 68% gross and 40% net over the past 34 years, while never once losing money. (For those keeping track at home, $1,000 invested in Medallion in 1988 would have compounded to $46.5B today… if you’d been allowed to keep it in.) Tune in for an incredible story of the small group of rebel mathematicians who didn’t just beat the market, but in the words of author Greg Zuckerman “solved it.”
    Sponsors:
    Many thanks to our fantastic Season 14 partners:
    J.P. Morgan PaymentsServiceNowVantaLinks:
    The Man Who Solved the MarketThe QuantsBloomberg’s 2016 RenTec profileQuartr's visualization of RenTec's returnsAll episode sourcesCarve Outs:
    Modern Treasury’s Transfer Conference RegistrationThe New LookCole Haan x Acquired!Class of Palm Beach (and the Mini Kelly inside the Birkin!!)More 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: references to Fortune in ServiceNow sponsor sections are from Fortune ©2023. Used under license.

    ‍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.

    • 3 hrs 10 min
    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: Quartr's Hermès: Two Centuries of Craftsmanship and Excellence (with graphs)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 9 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

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
2 Ratings

2 Ratings

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