ACQ2 is Ben and David's conversations with expert founders and investors. Acquired the stories of great companies — and ACQ2 dives deeper into the lessons we can learn from them, often with the protagonists themselves.
We sit down with Morgan Housel, who is one of our very favorite authors and has also become a good friend of the show over the past few years. Morgan’s last book The Psychology of Money had a huge impact on both of our personal financial philosophies (and by extension Acquired’s!), and Morgan was kind enough to give us an advance copy of his new book launching tomorrow, Same as Ever. It’s equally as good, and maybe even more relevant in the current environment for thinking about what’s not going to change as we cycle through vastly different macro financial environments. Tune in and enjoy!
Morgan’s new book Same as Ever
The Psychology of Money
Morgan’s blog on Collaborative Fund and on Twitter
Morgan’s new podcast!
Doug Demuro on Analyzing the Car Industry, Creator-Led Businesses, and Porsche Episode Follow Up
While preparing for our Porsche episode with Doug DeMuro, we had a lot more than Porsche to discuss… but the episode was already over 3 hours! We decided to save the rest for its own episode, released here on ACQ2. Doug helped us understand what’s going on with the car industry supply chain in 2023, the transition to electric vehicles, the car dealership business model, and how most consumer car purchase decisions really get made.
We also got to talk with Doug about his business empire. In addition to his YouTube channel with ~5 million subscribers, Doug started a car marketplace called “Cars and Bids”. Earlier this year, Doug took a $37 million investment from The Chernin Group, and Doug walked us through that transaction and what it’s been like going from “indie creator” to a large and more professionalized organization. And of course, there’s some discussion on our Porsche episode together.
Cars and Bids!
Doug on YouTube and Twitter
Generative AI in Video and the Future of Storytelling (with Runway CEO Cristobal Valenzuela)
We sit down with RunwayML’s CEO Cristobal Valenzuela to discuss the incredible tools they’re bringing to film and video creators (including last year’s Best Picture “Everything Everywhere All at Once” from A24), and the history + current state of the “visual” branch of generative AI. We cover how they’ve gone to market with both creators and enterprises, the potential for much more radical future use cases, and the company’s recent $141m strategic raise from Google, Nvidia + Salesforce and the context of the current AI fundraising landscape. Tune in!
Follow Cris on Twitter
Saving the Planet with Better AI Data Centers (with Crusoe CEO Chase Lochmiller)
We sit down with Crusoe Energy CEO Chase Lochmiller to talk about the two “hard to imagine” tasks they’ve undertaken: 1) building a new AI cloud infrastructure provider from scratch, and 2) colocating and powering it with stranded energy from some of the harshest and most remote locations on earth.
Crusoe’s cloud of course has to compete with (and in many cases exceed) the price/performance curves of cloud incumbents like AWS, Azure and Google in processing AI workloads. And the way it does so is by building data centers literally on top of oil flares (and other wasted energy sources) that otherwise comprise multiple percentage points of annual global greenhouse gas emissions. In other words — methane that previously just got lit on fire is now powering your favorite AI startup’s training workloads!
We cover what it actually takes to build and operate a public cloud, the latest Nvidia networking and server innovations and what they mean for GPU data centers, and how to set up a company to pursue something “hard” like this across the team, operations and capital raising fronts. Tune in!
Crusoe Energy and Crusoe Cloud
Follow Crusoe and Chase on Twitter
Comparing the Dotcom Crash to Today (with Tom Cowan from TDM)
Every now and then, we come across super interesting and under-the-radar (at least to us!) public markets folks like NZS Capital who make us think differently about the art of investing. TDM is another one of those groups — founded 18 years ago in Australia, they’ve compounded a single, private pool of capital at 26% per annum over nearly two decades. That’s Warren & Charlie territory!
TDM recently published a memo comparing the current “post ZIRP bubble” market with what happened in the years following both the dot-com crash and the GFC in 2008. As always, past performance isn’t necessarily predictive of the future, but what happened back then surprised us and might surprise you too. More importantly, it gave us the perfect excuse to sit down with TDM cofounder Tom Cowan and share the conversation with you all. Tune in and learn alongside us!
TDM’s 2023 Market Memo
The current BVP Cloud Index
Follow TDM on Twitter or LinkedIn
Generative AI Moats in B2B with Emergence Capital’s Jake Saper
How do you build defensible business value in an era when, as AngelList CEO Avlok Kohli said on our last ACQ2 episode, the “cost of intelligence is going to zero”? Longtime friend of the show Jake Saper and his partners at Emergence Capital have been refining their thesis for this brave new world of Generative AI in B2B, and we sit down with him to discuss. We cover topics including:
When do exactly correct answers matter, and when do they not?
When are human-in-the-loop systems necessary?
When do startups have an advantage vs. incumbents, and vice-versa?
Where can companies capture value on a durable basis?
When do you need proprietary data in order to be defensible?
Whether you’re building or investing in existing businesses from the “pre-AI” era or brand new startups that are native to GPT, this episode has plenty of takeaways you should consider. Tune in!
Jake’s recent blog post on Generative AI and B2B
Follow Jake on Twitter