169 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
    • 4.9 • 991 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.

    Qualcomm

    Qualcomm

    Qualcomm, or “Quality Communications” — despite being one of the largest technology companies in the world, few people know the absolutely amazing technological and business history behind it. Seriously, this story is on par with Nvidia, TSMC and all the great semiconductor giants. Without this single fabless company based in San Diego, there’s almost no chance you’d be consuming this episode on whatever device you’re currently listening on — a fact that enables them to earn an incredible estimated $20 for every new phone sold in the world. We dive into this story live at the perfect venue: our first-ever European live show at Solana’s Breakpoint conference in beautiful Lisbon, Portugal!


    If you want more Acquired, you can follow our public LP Show feed here in the podcast player of your choice (including Spotify!).


    Links:
    The Qualcomm Equation Principles of Communications Engineering by Irwin Jacobs and John Wozencraft Episode sources

    Sponsors:
    Thank you to our presenting sponsor for all of Season 11, Fundrise! If you’re considering raising a growth round of capital in the next year, you should definitely explore raising some of it with the Fundrise Innovation Fund. Just email notvc@fundrise.com, and tell them Ben & David sent you. And if you’re an individual looking for exposure to private growth-stage technology companies, you can invest in the Innovation Fund here. Thank you as well to Pilot and to Brex. If you sign up for Brex using this link, Brex and we will send you a free Acquired t-shirt! :) Note: New and existing Brex customers are eligible for this promotion. Promotion runs through December 31, 2022, at 11:59pm PT. To receive an Acquired t-shirt, you must create a free Brex account via brex.com/acquired. Brex terms and conditions apply. If you’re an existing customer, send your t-shirt request to hello@acquired.com from your work email. T-shirts will be mailed within 30 days to the address on the Brex account.

    ‍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.

    • 2 hr 27 min
    Benchmark Part II: The Dinner

    Benchmark Part II: The Dinner

    We sit down with all five current Benchmark GPs for one of their legendary weekly dinners, during which we ask all of the unresolved burning questions from Part 1. How do THEY think about Benchmark v3? What are their day-to-day emotions trying to keep the equal partnership “bending toward greatness? Why is there no growth fund? What does it take to become the next Benchmark GP? Why is there a secret Principal program? We cover all these and much, much more. We also recorded the whole thing on video — which we highly recommend watching even if you normally only listen to the audio feed!


    If you want more Acquired, you can follow our public LP Show feed here in the podcast player of your choice (including Spotify!).

    Links:
    Please take our 2022 Acquired Survey if you have a minute. It'd mean the world to us! Dad hats are live in the Acquired Merch Store!   
    Sponsors:
    Thank you to our presenting sponsor for all of Season 11, Fundrise! If you’re considering raising a growth round of capital in the next year, you should definitely explore raising some of it with the Fundrise Innovation Fund. Just email notvc@fundrise.com, and tell them Ben & David sent you. And if you’re an individual looking for exposure to private growth-stage technology companies, you can invest in the Innovation Fund here. Thank you as well to Pilot.


    ‍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 58 min
    ACQ Sessions: Jason Calacanis

    ACQ Sessions: Jason Calacanis

    We kick off ACQ Sessions with the-behind-the-scenes story of All-in, from the world’s greatest moderator himself Jason Calacanis. ACQ Sessions is our new, occasional “MTV Unplugged” version of Acquired: a great IRL guest, a bottle (or two) of wine, and no script. We talk about everything you’d imagine we would over wine with JCal — All-In, bestie relationships, money & politics in Silicon Valley, who his influences and mentors have been (one surprise — the great Fred Wilson of USV!), what motivates him to keep grinding and why, at age 50+ when he could easily be winding down he’s instead speeding up into the most productive phase of his entire career. Pour a beverage yourself, pull up a comfy seat and join us!


    If you want more Acquired, you can follow our public LP Show feed here in the podcast player of your choice (including Spotify!).


    Survey!
    Please take our 2022 Acquired Survey if you have a minute. It'd mean the world to us!
    Sponsors:
    Thanks to Vanta for being our presenting sponsor for this special episode. Vanta is the leader in automated security compliance – making SOC 2, HIPAA, GDPR, and more a breeze for startups and organizations of all sizes. You might say they’re like the “AWS of security and compliance”! Everyone in the Acquired community can get 10% off using this link. Thank you as well to Brex and to Tiny.

    ‍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.

    • 2 hr 23 min
    Benchmark Capital

    Benchmark Capital

    Benchmark Capital. We tell the tale of the legendary equal partnership that accomplished something no other venture firm can claim: twice it has produced the highest returning fund of its cycle, each time with a 100% different GP lineup. If ever there were a playbook for successful generational transfer of a generational-defining venture firm, this is it. We spend 3.5+ hours digging into how the dotcom “eBay eBoys” transformed into the rockstar Fab Four of the Uber, Instagram and Snap mobile gold rush (spoiler: not by a straight line!), and what the future holds for Benchmark’s next GP generation. If you’re a student of the venture game from any angle — founder, GP, LP, etc — this is a story you need to tune in for!


    If you want more Acquired, you can follow our public LP Show feed here in the podcast player of your choice (including Spotify!).


    Sponsors:
    Thank you to our presenting sponsor for all of Season 11, Fundrise! If you’re considering raising a growth round of capital in the next year, you should definitely explore raising some of it with the Fundrise Innovation Fund. Just email notvc@fundrise.com, and tell them Ben & David sent you. And if you’re an individual looking for exposure to private growth-stage technology companies, you can invest in the Innovation Fund here. Thank you as well to Pilot and NZS Capital! You can register for the next NZS Talkback here.

    Links:
    Benchmark’s website circa 1997 Benchmark’s website circa 2000 Benchmark’s website today Episode sources

    Carve Outs:
    Bill Gurley’s Runnin’ Down a Dream talk Smartless Podcast Mitch Lasky on Invest like the Best Ursula Le Guin’s Earthsea Cycle

    ‍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 hr 48 min
    Replay: Sequoia Capital

    Replay: Sequoia Capital

    Welcome to a new experiment here at Acquired: Replays! We realized many of you have joined us recently and haven’t heard older episodes — so we’re re-releasing some of our “greatest hits”.
    Today we’re starting with one of our very favorite Acquired series: the legendary Sequoia Capital. This is a 2-part series that we’ve edited into one episode: the first part is the story of the firm and its founder, Don Valentine, and the second is our interview with Doug Leone.
    Let us know what you think about this experiment, and tell us in Slack what episodes we should revisit in the future!

    If you want more Acquired, you can follow our newly public LP Show feed here in the podcast player of your choice (including Spotify!).

    Sponsor:
    Thank you to Tegus for sponsoring this episode! Tegus is the world’s leading company intelligence platform, containing thousands of fully transcribed, searchable interviews with experts on companies of every stage and sector – all accessible online and on-demand. They’re trusted by great firms like Benchmark, Spark, Thrive, First Round, Redpoint, MITIMCo, IGSB and more. You can learn more and get a free trial by clicking here. Just tell them that David and Ben sent you when you get in touch!
    Links:
    Silicon Valley’s “Traitorous Eight” Don Valentine’s lecture at Stanford GSB Berkeley’s oral history with Don
    ‍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.

    • 2 hr 50 min
    Amazon Web Services

    Amazon Web Services

    So, how DID an online book retailer end up building the infrastructure layer that powers the entire internet? (Or at least 39% of it, per latest market share data.) While many myths, legends, and some downright falsehoods exist, the real answer to that question deserves a full Acquired episode of its very own. So here it is: the story of Amazon Web Services. Who’s got the truth? Tune in and find out. :)


    If you want more Acquired, you can follow our newly public LP Show feed here in the podcast player of your choice (including Spotify!).


    Sponsors:
    Thank you to our presenting sponsor for all of Season 11, Fundrise! If you’re considering raising a growth round of capital in the next year, you should definitely explore raising some of it with the Fundrise Innovation Fund. Just email notvc@fundrise.com, and tell them Ben & David sent you. And if you’re an individual looking for exposure to private growth-stage technology companies, you can invest in the Innovation Fund here. Thank you as well to Pilot and NZS Capital! You can register for the next NZS Talkback here.

    Links:
    Steve Yegge’s Platforms Rant (so good!) Ben Thompson on AWS and Snowflake Episode sources

    Carve Outs:
    Moon Knight John Carmack on The Lex Fridman Podcast

    ‍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.

    • 2 hr 49 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
991 Ratings

991 Ratings

buckeye nutt ,

Hands Down Best Biz/Tech Narrative Pod

I plan on naming my first two children Ben and David, regardless of gender.

ycw135 ,

Please do Luxottica

It will be interesting to hear the story of how Luxottica became this huge sunglasses dominating player.

B00yah ,

My not-guilty pleasure

This podcast is both educational, entertaining, and a must for anyone who likes to analyze business.

As an analytical person, I like to dig into the details of both the company and individuals who build interesting companies. David & Ben are well researched and do a fantastic job presenting both a well rounded and non-biased view.

Highly recommend to anyone with an insatiable desire to learn.

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