79 episodes

Discover how companies work from the people who know them best. We do deep research and interview industry veterans, investment professionals, and corporate executives to explain the inner workings of public stocks and private businesses. For each company, we break down their history, business model, financial statements, secret sauce, and bull/bear case. We believe every business has lessons to teach us and Breakdowns is here to highlight them. Learn more and stay up to date at www.joincolossus.com.

Business Breakdowns Colossus

    • Business
    • 5.0 • 1 Rating

Discover how companies work from the people who know them best. We do deep research and interview industry veterans, investment professionals, and corporate executives to explain the inner workings of public stocks and private businesses. For each company, we break down their history, business model, financial statements, secret sauce, and bull/bear case. We believe every business has lessons to teach us and Breakdowns is here to highlight them. Learn more and stay up to date at www.joincolossus.com.

    Polaroid: The Genius of Edwin Land

    Polaroid: The Genius of Edwin Land

    Today we are breaking down Polaroid. For 30 years, Polaroid monopolized the instant photography industry, producing one Nobel-caliber breakthrough after another. As their products dazzled, sales grew from just under $1.5 million in 1948 to $1.4 billion in 1978. Today, the business is a shadow of its former self but the lessons from its history and especially from the founder endure. Edwin Land is not the most familiar name in business history, but he has had an outsized influence on the world in which we live. In particular, he was Steve Jobs’s hero. To break down Polaroid, I’m joined by David Senra, who studies history’s greatest entrepreneurs through his Founders podcast. David is uniquely qualified to distill the lessons and secrets behind Edwin Land and his life’s work, Polaroid.
     
    For the full show notes, transcript, and links to the best content to learn more, check out the episode page here.
     
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    This episode is brought to you by Tegus. Tegus is the new digital hub for market intelligence. The Tegus platform empowers Investors and Corporate Development teams to invest smarter by pairing best-in-class technology with the highest quality user-generated content and data. Find out why a majority of the top firms are using Tegus on a daily basis. If you're ready to go deeper on any company and you appreciate the value of primary research, head to tegus.co/breakdowns for a free trial.
     
    —--
     
    This episode is brought to you by Scribe, the trusted transcription provider for business. Scribe powers call transcription, closed captioning and more with best-in-class accuracy, speed and security. It’s the chosen transcription service for all of S&P Global, including CapIQ Pro, and clients like leading market intelligence platform, Tegus. Scribe accurately transcribes messy, difficult audio including company and product names, currencies, accents and numbers. Challenge us with your hardest audio and see how we stack up. Visit scribefreetrial.com to unlock 150 minutes of free transcription today. 
     
    —--
     
    Business Breakdowns is a property of Colossus, LLC. For more episodes of Business Breakdowns, visit joincolossus.com/episodes.
     
    Stay up to date on all our podcasts by signing up to Colossus Weekly, our quick dive every Sunday highlighting the top business and investing concepts from our podcasts and the best of what we read that week. Sign up here.
     
    Follow us on Twitter: @JoinColossus | @patrick_oshag | @jspujji | @zbfuss | @ReustleMatt
     
    Show Notes
    [00:03:04] - [First question] - How unique Edwin Land was
    [00:08:58] - What he was like and how he solved the problem that lead to Polaroid
    [00:13:20] - Defining what a polarizer is at a high level
    [00:16:36] - How scope of ambition can overcome humble beginnings
    [00:18:59] - The story of the instant camera and how much of a leap forward it was  
    [00:26:11] - Revealing the Instant Camera; The marketing side of Polaroid beyond the initial magic Land created
    [00:31:40] - Why they were so successful in building a four decade moat around their patent
    [00:34:59] - Living in the space of the important and the impossible 
    [00:38:50] - Optimism as a moral duty that we can take away from Land
    [00:42:59] - Lessons from the aftermath of Polaroid after Land’s death 
    [00:48:02] - What the story of Polaroid most represents that is useful for entrepreneurs
    [00:49:52] - A Triumph of Genius

    • 50 min
    General Electric: Lessons from the Rise and Fall

    General Electric: Lessons from the Rise and Fall

    This is Matt Reustle and today we are breaking down the historic General Electric. Honestly, approaching this episode was a unique challenge. Today’s GE barely resembles what was once the largest company in the world. So rather than purely focus on what’s remaining, we decided to use a lens of “then versus now”.
     
    To break down General Electric I am joined by Josh Aguilar, a GE Analyst at Morningstar and enthusiast on all things capital allocation. It’s a theme we revisit throughout the conversation on GE's time as a conglomerate, and its rise and fall. The story of GE has many chapters, the origin dates back to Thomas Edison in 1896 and while GE has long been classified as an industrial business for a very long time – it’s hard to overlook the technological breakthroughs they’ve introduced; the incandescent light bulb, the ex-ray machine, the electric locomotive, and commercial jet engine. The business has had no shortage of historic products. But when Jack Welch took over in 1981 – he implemented a playbook that brought GE much praise over the coming decades, and Josh and I focus our conversation on the end of Welch’s era until the present day. 
     
    Now, if you’d like to hear more on the early years of General Electric and particularly Thomas Edison – make sure to check out our newest Colossus teammate David Senra and his podcast Founders. David conveniently dropped a new episode on Edison this week, and after my conversation, you’ll hear a preview of that episode. So stay tuned for that, after my conversation with Josh. Please enjoy this breakdown of General Electric.
     
    For the full show notes, transcript, and links to the best content to learn more, check out the episode page here.
     
    -----
     
    This episode is brought to you by Tegus. Tegus is the new digital hub for market intelligence. The Tegus platform empowers Investors and Corporate Development teams to invest smarter by pairing best-in-class technology with the highest quality user-generated content and data. Find out why a majority of the top firms are using Tegus on a daily basis. If you're ready to go deeper on any company and you appreciate the value of primary research, head to tegus.co/breakdowns for a free trial.
     
    —--
     
    This episode is brought to you by Scribe, the trusted transcription provider for business. Scribe powers call transcription, closed captioning and more with best-in-class accuracy, speed and security. It’s the chosen transcription service for all of S&P Global, including CapIQ Pro, and clients like leading market intelligence platform, Tegus. Scribe accurately transcribes messy, difficult audio including company and product names, currencies, accents and numbers. Challenge us with your hardest audio and see how we stack up! Visit scribefreetrial.com to unlock 150 minutes of free transcription today. 
     
    —--
     
    Business Breakdowns is a property of Colossus, LLC. For more episodes of Business Breakdowns, visit joincolossus.com/episodes.
     
    Stay up to date on all our podcasts by signing up to Colossus Weekly, our quick dive every Sunday highlighting the top business and investing concepts from our podcasts and the best of what we read that week. Sign up here.
     
    Follow us on Twitter: @JoinColossus | @patrick_oshag | @jspujji | @zbfuss | @ReustleMatt
     
    Show Notes
    [00:04:05] - [First question] - What GE looks like today compared to its peak
    [00:07:42] - The reasons why GE lost so much of its power
    [00:15:14] - How much of their success can be attributed to being propped up by leverage  
    [00:17:18] - The strategy they’re operating with today and the businesses within GE
    [00:24:05] - Drivers in the decision to split up their business and end the conglomerate era
    [00:25:34] - Would they have made disposals if they were operating from a strong position 
    [00:27:15] - What their capital allocation and free cash flow will look like going forward
    [00:29:38] - GE’s centralized

    • 52 min
    AMD: How Chips Are Changing

    AMD: How Chips Are Changing

    Today, we’re breaking down a global semiconductor company known as AMD. AMD isn’t the biggest and hasn’t always been the best chip maker in the world. But as cyclical and structural changes take place in the semiconductor industry, AMD serves as a great proxy for what’s going on and why.
    To break down the details, both behind the company and the industry, I’m joined by Jay Goldberg, a semiconductor industry consultant at D2D Advisory and Partner at Snowcloud Capital. We explore the rise of custom silicon, AMD’s competition with Intel and Nvidia, and whether or not chip making is a good business at all. Please enjoy this breakdown of AMD.
     
    For the full show notes, transcript, and links to the best content to learn more, check out the episode page here.
     
    -----
     
    This episode is brought to you by Tegus. Tegus is the new digital hub for market intelligence. The Tegus platform empowers Investors and Corporate Development teams to invest smarter by pairing best-in-class technology with the highest quality user-generated content and data. Find out why a majority of the top firms are using Tegus on a daily basis. If you're ready to go deeper on any company and you appreciate the value of primary research, head to tegus.co/breakdowns for a free trial.
     
    —--
     
    This episode is brought to you by Kensho Scribe. Scribe powers call transcription, closed captioning and more with best-in-class accuracy, speed and security. It’s the chosen transcription service for all of S&P Global, including CapIQ Pro, and clients like leading market intelligence platform, Tegus. Scribe accurately transcribes messy, difficult audio including company and product names, currencies, accents and numbers. Challenge us with your hardest audio and see how we stack up! Visit scribefreetrial.com to unlock 150 minutes of free transcription today. 
     
    —--
     
    Business Breakdowns is a property of Colossus, LLC. For more episodes of Business Breakdowns, visit joincolossus.com/episodes.
     
    Stay up to date on all our podcasts by signing up to Colossus Weekly, our quick dive every Sunday highlighting the top business and investing concepts from our podcasts and the best of what we read that week. Sign up here.
     
    Follow us on Twitter: @JoinColossus | @patrick_oshag | @jspujji | @zbfuss | @ReustleMatt
     
    Show Notes
    [00:02:27] - [First question] - Where to start when it comes to understanding semiconductors 
    [00:04:21] - Why semiconductors were created in the first place  
    [00:04:57] - Key milestones and players in the semiconductor industry 
    [00:07:35] - What are the factors that determine who wins and loses
    [00:08:37] - The semiconductor industry map today writ large
    [00:12:05] - How the changing geopolitical landscape affects power in this sector 
    [00:14:15] - Why we can’t just throw unlimited money at this problem to solve it 
    [00:15:30] - Whether or not chip businesses are actually defensible and good businesses
    [00:17:37] - Differences between CPUs and GPUs and how everything we do uses them
    [00:22:56] - AMD’s history with CPUs and GPUs and how they’ve evolved over time
    [00:26:55] - Why there is such a high barrier to enter and disrupt the chip design market
    [00:31:54] - A future where we transition to specific and specialized use-case chips 
    [00:35:36] - Companies like Google and Apple building their own in-house chips
    [00:38:55] - Other industries where this dynamic exists outside of semiconductors
    [00:41:57] - The scope and economics of AMD today 
    [00:44:26] - What’s important to know about AMD and Intel’s capital allocation strategies
    [00:47:28] - What he’d focus on if he was the capital allocator for a big chip company
    [00:48:55] - One major lesson that this industry has taught him about investing
    [00:50:28] - Major lessons about AMD and the world writ large that isn’t addressed yet

    • 52 min
    CrowdStrike: Cyber SaaS

    CrowdStrike: Cyber SaaS

    This is Jesse Pujji and today we are breaking down CrowdStrike, the cybersecurity provider. Founded in 2011 by George Kurtz, the former CTO of McAfee, CrowdStrike differentiated from firewalls and anti-malware by building a platform that actively predicts threats rather than blocking attacks that have happened before. Today, CrowdStrike serves over 18,000 customers globally and is valued at $45 billion.
     
    To break down CrowdStrike, I’m joined by Roneal Desai, a senior public market investor focused on enterprise software. In our conversation, we discuss how CrowdStrike reinvented cybersecurity for the cloud era, why the pandemic and remote work drove a paradigm shift in the industry, and how the company helped the DNC identify Russian hackers during the 2016 election. Please enjoy this breakdown of CrowdStrike.
     
    For the full show notes, transcript, and links to the best content to learn more, check out the episode page here.
     
    -----
     
    This episode is brought to you by Tegus. Tegus is the new digital hub for market intelligence. The Tegus platform empowers Investors and Corporate Development teams to invest smarter by pairing best-in-class technology with the highest quality user-generated content and data. Find out why a majority of the top firms are using Tegus on a daily basis. If you're ready to go deeper on any company and you appreciate the value of primary research, head to tegus.co/breakdowns for a free trial.
     
    —--
     
    Business Breakdowns is a property of Colossus, LLC. For more episodes of Business Breakdowns, visit joincolossus.com/episodes.
     
    Stay up to date on all our podcasts by signing up to Colossus Weekly, our quick dive every Sunday highlighting the top business and investing concepts from our podcasts and the best of what we read that week. Sign up here.
     
    Follow us on Twitter: @JoinColossus | @patrick_oshag | @jspujji | @zbfuss | @ReustleMatt
     
    Show Notes
    [00:02:29] - [First question] - Overview of what CrowdStrike is
    [00:05:28] - The size and scale of CrowdStrike today 
    [00:07:10] - Customer use-cases before and after CrowdStrike
    [00:08:45] - What software would have been used prior to CrowdStrike 
    [00:12:17] - How many customers could there be and who CrowdStrike is taking share from
    [00:16:41] - What their prior estimates lacked in terms of TAM 
    [00:17:17] - Whether or not Palo Alto Networks is a true competitor
    [00:19:33] - The criteria used for deciding which service is better than the other 
    [00:21:16] - The early days and founding story of CrowdStrike and their structural advantages
    [00:27:30] - What about COVID opened up an opportunity for CrowdStrike’s growth
    [00:29:44] - The P&L and the special parts of the business that show up there
    [00:34:21] - Strategic acquisitions and product expansion
    [00:39:21] - What’s behind their distinctive growth 
    [00:40:54] - Other noteworthy aspects of their gross margin and R&D 
    [00:44:17] - Distinctive aspects of their sales and marketing strategy 
    [00:50:00] - What their unit economics looks like today
    [00:52:35] - Key factors that would contribute to the bull case for CrowdStrike in ten years 
    [00:54:14] - Why a security company would become the integrated layer  
    [00:55:47] - Biggest risks and threats to CrowdStrike over the next decade  
    [00:57:41] - Lessons for builders and entrepreneurs  
    [00:59:05] - Lessons for investors
    [01:00:09] - Where to go to learn more about CrowdStrike

    • 1 hr
    Atlas Copco: Sweden’s Best Kept Secret

    Atlas Copco: Sweden’s Best Kept Secret

    This is Matt Reustle and today we are breaking down the Swedish industrial giant, Atlas Copco. With a market cap hovering around $50 billion US dollars, Atlas Copco is a dominant player in the air compressor and vacuum pump markets. It has returned 40x over the past 20 years for its shareholders and to break down the business I’m joined by Stephen Paice, Head of European equities at Baillie Gifford. Baillie Gifford has owned this business for 4 decades and Stephen still has the handwritten research notes from the mid-80s so we thought it was a proper fit. 
     
    We cover the rich corporate history, including how one family - the Wallenbergs (also referred to as the Swedish Rockefellers) - have played such a major role in the history, we get an overview of pneumatic energy and the importance of the air compressor market, and we explore what makes this corporate culture so noteworthy to both insiders and outsiders. Please enjoy this breakdown of Atlas Copco.
     
    For the full show notes, transcript, and links to the best content to learn more, check out the episode page here.
     
    -----
     
    This episode is presented by Visible Alpha. The team at Visible Alpha built a platform to analyze consensus data and financial metrics on over 6,000 public traded companies. Rather than having to dig through models one by one, Visible Alpha extracts data from every line item across sell-side models so you can better understand expectations on metrics beyond just revenue and earnings. Listeners are invited to try Visible Alpha for free by visiting visiblealpha.com/breakdowns.
     
    —--
     
    Business Breakdowns is a property of Colossus, LLC. For more episodes of Business Breakdowns, visit joincolossus.com/episodes.
     
    Stay up to date on all our podcasts by signing up to Colossus Weekly, our quick dive every Sunday highlighting the top business and investing concepts from our podcasts and the best of what we read that week. Sign up here.
     
    Follow us on Twitter: @JoinColossus | @patrick_oshag | @jspujji | @zbfuss | @ReustleMatt
     
    Show Notes
    [00:02:12] - [First question] - What makes Atlas Copco such an interesting business 
    [00:03:52] - What they’re selling and who they’re typically selling to 
    [00:06:02] - Whether or not there are alternatives to air compressors
    [00:07:03] - What a vacuum pump is and how their industrial vacuum business works
    [00:08:55] - Metrics used to measure how Atlas Copco is a market leader 
    [00:10:25] - Some of the key milestones of their corporate history leading up to today
    [00:17:51] - How much the Wallenberg family owns of Atlas Copco today
    [00:18:48] - Walking through the income statement
    [00:21:47] - Service regularity and overview of revenue generated through service 
    [00:25:35] - Cost profile of the business and how their supply chain works
    [00:30:19] - Anything unique that contributes to their 6-7% revenue growth
    [00:31:55] - What the consolidated business margin works out to
    [00:33:23] - TransDigm; Being able to allocate 30-40% of free cash flow towards acquisitions in a fragmented market
    [00:35:16] - What the bull case for Atlas Copco is
    [00:39:46] - A metric he typically uses when thinking about these types of businesses 
    [00:40:47] - The most interesting and surprising takeaways from Atlas Copco

    • 43 min
    ChargePoint: Leading the EV Charge

    ChargePoint: Leading the EV Charge

    This is Jesse Pujji and today we’re breaking down ChargePoint. ChargePoint is the clear market leader in the United States for electric vehicle chargers. Founded in 2007 by five technical founders, the business has ridden the wave of EV growth and has manufactured some 40% of charging points in the US. 
     
    To break down ChargePoint, I’m joined by Mark Tomasovic, a principal at Energize Ventures and a previous guest on our show. We discuss the challenges of a commoditized business, how ChargePoint is leading the EV land grab, and why the US is at a particularly interesting point for EV adoption. Please enjoy this business breakdown of ChargePoint.
     
    For the full show notes, transcript, and links to the best content to learn more, check out the episode page here.
     
    -----
     
    This episode is brought to you by Tegus. Tegus is the new digital hub for market intelligence. The Tegus platform empowers Investors and Corporate Development teams to invest smarter by pairing best-in-class technology with the highest quality user-generated content and data. Find out why a majority of the top firms are using Tegus on a daily basis. If you're ready to go deeper on any company and you appreciate the value of primary research, head to tegus.co/breakdowns for a free trial.
     
    —--
     
    Business Breakdowns is a property of Colossus, LLC. For more episodes of Business Breakdowns, visit joincolossus.com/episodes.
     
    Stay up to date on all our podcasts by signing up to Colossus Weekly, our quick dive every Sunday highlighting the top business and investing concepts from our podcasts and the best of what we read that week. Sign up here.
     
    Follow us on Twitter: @JoinColossus | @patrick_oshag | @jspujji | @zbfuss | @ReustleMatt
     
    Show Notes
    [00:02:16] - [First question] - What ChargePoint is
    [00:03:26] - Their size, scale and revenue today
    [00:04:21] - The history of ChargePoint and the EV charging sector 
    [00:06:25] - How the industry has evolved and important metrics to understand 
    [00:08:18] - Who the main players are in the EV charging infrastructure layer
    [00:10:46] - The role auto manufactures play and their relationship with this world
    [00:12:05] - Tesla’s closed wall network and ChargePoint’s open network
    [00:13:05] - Competitive advantages in the EV charging landscape
    [00:15:45] - Whether or not sales and marketing is unique to ChargePoint 
    [00:16:47] - Other unique arrangements that will unlock the pace of their land grab
    [00:18:37] - The various lines of P&L and how to think about them
    [00:19:34] - The three levels of chargers and costs associated with them 
    [00:21:52] - What goes into their gross profit margins and cost of revenue 
    [00:22:50] - How their gross margin compares to their competitors
    [00:23:41] - What they’re trying to accomplish with their high R&D spend
    [00:24:49] - What they’re investing in and betting on for the future by spending cash
    [00:25:38] - Expectations of future growth for the next couple of years
    [00:26:46] - Growth over the long-term trajectory and the car to charger ratio
    [00:29:14] - Their main flywheels that give them a competitive advantage 
    [00:30:53] - The big buckets of customer segments and end point leverage
    [00:32:09] - What the life expectancy of a charger is
    [00:33:13] - The regulatory environment writ large 
    [00:34:39] - Bull case for ChargePoint over the next five to ten years 
    [00:37:36] - Reasons why ChargePoint might not succeed over the next five to ten years 
    [00:38:58] - Lessons for builders and investors when studying ChargePoint 
    [00:39:51] - Learn more about ChargePoint; energize.vc

    • 40 min

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