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    • Importance of Understanding Founders in Startup EcosystemFinancial management is crucial for startups and understanding successful founders can provide insights into company building. Acquired podcast and limited partner program offers valuable resources to join the discussion.

      Understanding the history and world views of founders Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz is paramount in the startup ecosystem shaped by the 2009 creation of Andreessen Horowitz. Pilot, a company that manages financial back-office work for startups, was founded by highly technical co-founders from MIT who realized the need to maintain finances for their previous companies. This highlights the importance of financial management for startups to maximize outcomes. The podcast Acquired provides insights into the stories and playbooks of great technology companies like Andreessen Horowitz, as well as deep dives into company building topics like venture capital fundamentals through its limited partner program. To join the discussion, listeners can visit acquired.fm/slack.

    • The Countercultural Roots of Ben Horowitz's Entrepreneurial VisionHorowitz's upbringing taught him to challenge the status quo and pursue disruptive ideas with fearlessness and conviction, qualities that have helped him build successful companies.

      Ben Horowitz's upbringing in Berkeley, California was heavily influenced by his parents'roles in the counterculture movement of the 60s. His father, David Horowitz, was a leading political activist and worked with various radicals like Bertrand Russell, Jean-Paul Sartre, and James Baldwin. He co-edited Ramparts, a magazine of the hippies and counterculture, and became close with Huey Newton, the leader of the Black Panthers. The entire family attended the Black Panther church every Sunday. This background sheds light on Horowitz's fearless approach to entrepreneurship with a focus on disruption and breaking the norms. He has always been comfortable with diverging from the mainstream and standing up for what he believes in, which has helped him build successful companies like Opsware, Loudcloud, and most notably, Andreessen Horowitz.

    • How Family History and Personal Experiences Molded Ben Horowitz Into a Tech Industry Leader.Family background and personal experiences shape an individual's trajectory and impact on the world, regardless of ideological beliefs.

      Andreessen Horowitz's co-founder, Ben Horowitz, comes from a family with a rich history intertwined with social and political movements in America. Ben's experience with his family's history and the Computer Revolution in the Bay Area shaped his views and desire to pave his own path in the technology industry. He joined SGI, Lotus, and later heard about the Mosaic web browser, which ultimately led him to co-found Netscape Communications Corporation. This story shows that despite clashing ideological beliefs, family bonds can persevere, and personal experiences can shape an individual's trajectory and impact on the world.

    • Marc Andreessen: From Choosing the Right Environment to Creating the First Popular Web BrowserMarc's success in creating the first popular web browser stemmed from his intentional choices of environment, his willingness to listen and challenge existing beliefs, and his belief that the internet should be easy to use and graphical.

      Marc Andreessen's background and environment led him to create Mosaic, the first popular web browser. He intentionally chose the University of Illinois for its CS program and opportunities to work on cool projects. While working at NCSA, he heard about Tim Berners-Lee's world wide web and decided to create a graphical browser for it, despite resistance from the technical community. He believed the internet should be easy to use and graphical, which led to the creation of Mosaic. Marc's ability to put himself in the right environment to meet the right people and his willingness to challenge existing beliefs were key factors in his success.

    • The Birth and Impact of Mosaic Browser on the InternetMarc Andreessen and Eric Bina's Mosaic browser revolutionized the internet, making it accessible to the masses, and opened up opportunities for future social media platforms. The Clinton administration's funding of the Mosaic project was a game-changer in internet history.

      The key takeaway from this text is that Marc Andreessen, with the help of Eric Bina, created an easy-to-use graphical browser called Mosaic that opened up the internet to the masses, which was counterintuitive at the time when people thought that the internet would be accessed only through televisions with high bandwidth and controlled by cable companies and government. The Clinton administration allocated funding for the Mosaic Project, which led to the creation of Mosaic. Mosaic was not open source but was freely available for anyone to download and use. It grew exponentially from 12 users in February 1993 to a million users in early 1994. This opened up opportunities for future investments in social media platforms like Twitter and Clubhouse.

    • The Ever-Evolving World of Tech CompaniesTechnology is constantly advancing, creating opportunities for new industries and growth. No matter how contrarian an idea may seem, it could become the next big thing in the tech industry.

      The history of tech companies has shown that every generation has their moment and new industries emerge. Silicon Valley is always moving forward and as long as Moore's Law continues, computing and technology can address new industries. What seemed contrarian at one time, might be the most obvious thing today. Marc Andreessen’s creation of Mosaic, the first graphical web browser, had an insane growth with a perfect product-market fit and it became the killer app for the internet. Although Andreessen thought he had missed the Silicon Valley boat, his experience shows that there's always room for growth and paradigm shifts in the tech industry.

    • How Mosaic Killer Became Netscape Communications: The Story of a Decisive Turn in the History of the InternetJim and Marc's delayed N64 console online service idea turned into Mosaic Killer, later renamed Netscape Communications, with the help of venture capitalists. Their daring decision-making led to the internet's rise.

      The idea that Jim and Marc had for an online service for the N64 console was ahead of its time and would have been a huge opportunity had it been executed earlier. However, due to the console's delay, they decided to commercialize Mosaic instead. They recreated it and changed the name of the company to Netscape Communications. The internal code name they used for the browser code was Mozilla, which stands for Mosaic Killer. Clark put in $4 million himself, but brought on venture capitalists, including Kleiner Perkins, later on. The history of Netscape turned on a knifepoint, and the decisions they made led to the success of the company and the rise of the internet.

    • The Innovative Freemium Model that Built Netscape's SuccessOffering a free product to gain a large consumer base and then leveraging it to sell related premium products can be a successful business strategy. Netscape's IPO remains an inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs today.

      Netscape's success was built on the innovative freemium model that offered a free browser to gain a massive consumer base, which they leveraged to sell licenses for server software to create and host commercial websites. The company's IPO was a historic event, with institutional and retail investors clamoring for shares, and it ultimately resulted in a market cap of $3 billion. This model set the trend of free access to the web, and its success was due in part to the unique history of the Mosaic browser and the timing of its emergence. The freemium model remains a popular strategy today, particularly in tech startups, and Netscape's IPO serves as an inspiration for many aspiring entrepreneurs.

    • Netscape's IPO, Microsoft's Strategy, and the Birth of the Dot-Com BubbleSuccess can breed competition, and one should always be aware of potential threats. Beware of strategic decisions made by competitors, and never underestimate the power of savvy negotiation skills.

      The IPO of Netscape kicked off the dot-com bubble, and it was unusual for companies to IPO without being profitable at that point in time. Netscape had an unbelievable growth trajectory in terms of users and revenue, and an impressive $17 million in revenue in just the first six months of 1995. However, Marc Andreessen famously said that he wasn't worried about Microsoft competing, which ultimately led to a strategic priority for Microsoft to compete and win in the internet browser market. Microsoft's perfect strategy to kill Netscape came in the form of bundling the Mosaic web browser, which they had licensed from Spyglass, into Windows and giving it away for free. This move created a big lawsuit, but Microsoft eventually won through their savvy negotiation skills.

    • The Dominance of Microsoft and the downfall of NetscapeMicrosoft's dominance in the tech industry was fueled by the per CPU shipped license for DOS, bundling Internet Explorer for free with Windows, and creating a challenging environment for competitors like Netscape to survive. CEO experience is valuable for venture capitalists at Andreessen Horowitz.

      Microsoft's per CPU shipped license for DOS allowed OEMs to put Windows on every computer they shipped, resulting in the dominance of Microsoft's platform. Internet Explorer's success was due to being bundled for free with Windows 95 and XP, forcing Netscape to compete with a free product. The enterprise server division became Netscape's only chance to compete with Microsoft, but they still had to produce web pages compatible with Internet Explorer. Netscape lost $3B in market capitalization and was in danger of losing the entire company due to their inferior product. Marc Andreessen was CEO of Ning, but not of any other successful companies he was involved in. Andreessen Horowitz's motto was that all general partners needed to have been CEOs.

    • PitchBook's comprehensive data aids research for Acquired podcastPitchBook offers free access to their broad coverage data source for two weeks, proving valuable for researchers like Acquired podcast in understanding pre- and post-rounds share price, shareholder equity, and ownership. The story of Netscape's downfall and its acquisition by AOL also highlights the potential for new opportunities to arise from failed companies.

      PitchBook is a leading financial data provider for VC, private equity and all mergers and acquisitions, with comprehensive and broad coverage data source of private company data and a lot of public company data. Their information about pre- and post-rounds share price, shareholder equity, and who owns what throughout the story helped the Acquired podcast greatly in researching for their episodes. They provide free access to their database for two weeks so people can experience and explore their data. Microsoft's bundling strategy of Netscape in all copies of Windows 95 made Microsoft win in browser wars, causing Netscape's shares to go downhill. The sale of Netscape to AOL for $4.2 billion was an all-stock deal with AOL, and became interesting for Ben Horowitz, who became the VP of AOL's e-commerce division. Together with the old server team from Netscape, they started a company which operates infrastructure for non-technology companies.

    • The Netscape Acquisition and Its Impact on the Browser MarketThe Netscape acquisition by AOL led to the creation of Mozilla and Firefox, while the separation of the brand from intellectual property paved the way for the New Aurora Corporation and its eventual sale to Facebook. Microsoft's deviation from standards helped solidify Internet Explorer's dominance.

      The Netscape acquisition by AOL was motivated by several reasons, including to compete against Microsoft, acquire Netscape's web properties, and use Netscape as a bargaining chip. The acquisition ultimately resulted in the separation of the brand from the intellectual property, which was renamed to the New Aurora Corporation. This corporation was eventually sold to Facebook. Mozilla, which was open-sourced before the acquisition, became the foundation that stewarded the open-source code project, ultimately leading to the creation of Firefox. The dominance of Internet Explorer in the browser market was partly due to Microsoft's ability to deviate from standards, which led to messy user agent checks with various browser names, most of which can be traced back to the Mosaic lineage or the Mozilla lineage.

    • Lessons from Netscape and Loudcloud for Venture FirmsUnderstand market opportunities, have a knowledgeable figurehead, communicate clearly within partnerships, specify details upfront for valuations - all essential for successful investments.

      The story of Netscape and Loudcloud provides important lessons for venture firms, particularly in terms of understanding market opportunities and pricing deals. The establishment of Loudcloud helped to sow the seeds for Andreessen Horowitz and its investment philosophy. Marc Andreessen's involvement and investment in both companies was significant, demonstrating the importance of having a well-respected and knowledgeable figurehead on board. The decision by Benchmark Capital to invest without a full partner meeting highlights the need for clear communication and agreement within a partnership. Finally, the issue of pre-money valuation versus post-money valuation demonstrates the importance of specifying details upfront and considering the potential impact of further investment on company ownership.

    • The Tension Between Benchmark and Marc AndreessenA disagreement over company valuation led to tension between Benchmark and Marc Andreessen, ultimately resulting in the establishment of Andreessen Horowitz. Competition between the two firms proved beneficial for both, generating publicity and increasing their stature.

      The failure of Benchmark to embrace Marc Andreessen into their partnership due to his demand for higher valuation led to tension and animosity between the parties. This event played a significant role in the subsequent establishment of Andreessen Horowitz venture firm after Marc and Ben were not given enough support from Benchmark for their startup. Their firm, Andreessen Horowitz, was formed with the philosophy of being the opposite of Benchmark. The rivalry between the two venture capital firms ultimately proved beneficial for both, as it generated publicity and increased the stature of both firms.

    • How Loudcloud Survived the Dot-Com Bubble BurstBe flexible, adapt quickly, and pivot toward profitable ventures to survive market downturns. Always be prepared for unpredictable market events.

      Loudcloud faced challenges due to the dot-com bubble burst, but despite being an infrastructure company, they managed to raise $65 million and invest in CapEx. However, when orders started vaporizing, they had to raise more money and struggled to do so. Even after raising Series C funds of $120 million, Loudcloud burned through it quickly, and their only option was to go public. Though their IPO was deemed the IPO from Hell, they managed to lower guidance and went public at $6 a share, eventually selling their entire infrastructure business for $63.5 million. The lesson learned is to always be prepared for market collapses and to pivot toward profitable ventures.

    • The Importance of Waiting for the Market to Catch Up in the Technology IndustryBeing an early player in the technology market can be challenging, but holding on and enduring tough times can lead to success. Luck can come with patience, and technical founders can become successful CEOs with the right skills and resources.

      In the technology market, if you find yourself early to the market, it's important to hold on and wait for the market to catch up. Despite facing layoffs and challenges, if you can stay alive, you can become a big player. This experience led to the founding thesis of Andreessen Horowitz that there is no bubble, and the internet and software will continue to grow and take over everything. It's not easy, and you may need to cry a lot, but the ability for technical founders to become CEOs with the necessary resources and skills is crucial. The efficient markets hypothesis is wrong, and luck can come if you wait long enough.

    • Andreessen Horowitz's Approach to Founder Loyalty and Capital InvestmentFounders are the heart of a company and loyalty to them is crucial for success. By investing in the right people and embracing new ventures, success can still be achieved without relying on outside funding.

      Founders should run the companies they start, which was a dumb practice to preach and follow in the venture capital industry until Andreessen Horowitz changed the game. Alienating founders is a risk, and investors should show loyalty to them to win deals. Andreessen and Horowitz recognized the opportunity to put capital to work and embraced everything that was going on in the tech industry, becoming prototype super angels who invested tens of millions of dollars in startups. This enabled them to start their venture firm. Furthermore, NordVPN is a rare big tech company started in Lithuania, founded in 2012 by four childhood friends and has grown to this whole crazy scale that they did without taking $1 of outside funding.

    • Andreessen Horowitz: The Most Founder-Friendly VC Firm in Silicon ValleyAndreessen Horowitz's strategy of focusing on building long-term, sustainable businesses with technical co-founders as CEOs has been successful in investing in billion-dollar companies like Facebook and Twitter, making them a significant force in the startup ecosystem.

      Andreessen Horowitz built a vehemently founder-friendly VC firm, financing 45 different companies, including meaningful ones like LinkedIn, Foursquare, and AngelList. They were the most active VCs in Silicon Valley at that point and were focused on building big companies. Their philosophy was to not sell early, but build long-term sustainable businesses with technical co-founders as CEOs. They were successful in their strategy, investing in companies like Facebook and Twitter that went on to become billion-dollar companies. Other firms like Sequoia and Benchmark tried to replicate their approach, but Andreessen Horowitz remained a significant force in the startup ecosystem.

    • The Importance of Being in the Right Place at the Right Time and Experiencing Success and FailureSuccess and failure are both important experiences for shaping future successes. Being in the right place at the right time can also play a crucial role. Always think about the future and be willing to take risks.

      Being in the right place at the right time and getting lucky is crucial for success, along with experiencing both success and failure. Andreessen Horowitz's founders, Marc and Ben, knew what true product-market fit and crazy growth felt like from their first experience with Mosaic, which meaningfully shaped their future experiences. They also knew what total failure looked like, which helped them triangulate where they were at any given point in time and why. Rather than enjoying their $19 billion under management lifestyle, they're always thinking about what the future of Andreessen Horowitz looks like beyond a venture capital firm. Courageously turning down Doug Leone and deploying their money while the rest of the world thought everything was falling apart was also a big playbook theme.

    • Exploring Video Games and Mindful Thinking through Resonant Arc Podcast and 'The Elephant in the Brain'By understanding the evolution of our base desires, we can become mindful of our own irrational behavior. Joining a community of like-minded individuals fosters thoughtful and respectful discussions on tech and beyond.

      The Resonant Arc podcast is a great example of innovative format, where they take old classic video games like RPGs and do a playthrough before dissecting the story, development, and context behind it. Being mindful of the way in which our brain is not acting logically or appropriately as we should present in society is important as we are animals with base desires that come from evolution, mentioned in the book 'The Elephant in the Brain', making it an interesting read especially for individuals interested in psychology and politics. Joining communities like acquired.fm/slack can help have thoughtful, respectful, and higher-order discussions on all things tech and beyond.

    Recent Episodes from Acquired

    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.

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    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.

    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.”

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    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.

    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!

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    ‍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.

    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!

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    ‍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.

    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!

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    ‍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.

    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.

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    ‍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.

    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.

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    ‍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.

    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.

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    ‍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.

    Nvidia Part III: The Dawn of the AI Era (2022-2023)

    Nvidia Part III: The Dawn of the AI Era (2022-2023)

    It’s a(nother) new era for Nvidia.

    We thought we’d closed the Acquired book on Nvidia back in April 2022. The story was all wrapped up: Jensen & crew had set out on an amazing journey to accelerate the world’s computing workloads. Along the way they’d discovered a wondrous opportunity (machine learning powered social media feed recommendations). They forged incredible Power in the CUDA platform, and used it to triumph over seemingly insurmountable adversity — the stock market penalty-box.

    But, it turned out that was only the precursor to an even wilder journey. Over the past 18 months Nvidia has weathered one of the steepest stock crashes in history ($500B+ market cap wiped away peak-to-trough!). And, it has of course also experienced an even more fantastical rise — becoming the platform that’s powering the emergence of perhaps a new form of intelligence itself… and in the process becoming a trillion-dollar company.

    Today we tell another chapter in the amazing Nvidia saga: the dawn of the AI era. Tune in!

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    ‍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.

    Costco

    Costco

    Costco is not only Charlie Munger’s favorite company of all time (plus he’s on the board, natch), it’s an absolutely fascinating study in how seemingly opposite characteristics can combine to create incredible company value. For instance: Costco has the cheapest prices of any major retailer in America — and also the wealthiest customer base. They pay their hourly workers 30% above the industry norm (and give them excellent healthcare + 401k benefits) — and are almost 3x more profitable on labor than Walmart. Speaking of Walmart, Costco stocks 40x fewer SKUs than their Bentonville-based rivals — yet sells an average of 15x more volume of each. And oh yeah, practically all of Costco’s C-Suite started their careers as baggers and checkout clerks! Tune in for a mind-bending exploration of one of the world’s most iconic — and iconically unique — companies.

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    ‍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.

    Related Episodes

    Andreessen Horowitz Part II

    Andreessen Horowitz Part II

    Alright, backstory's out of the way, and Acquired is rolling three hours deep on the venture firm that changed the game for everyone — a16z.

    • VC marketing? Check.
    • "Founder-friendly?" Check.
    • Platform services? Check.
    • Huge valuations and massive fund sizes? Check and check.

    We dissect it all in glorious detail, right down to the famous office library (located next to the Rosewood on Sand Hill, natch). The story of modern venture capital starts here. Let's Go!!!

    If you love Acquired and want more, join our LP Community for access to over 50 LP-only episodes, monthly Zoom calls, and access for live events and discussions with episode guests. We can't wait to see you there. Join here at: https://acquired.fm/lp/

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     Carve Outs:

    ‍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.

    The Slack DPO

    The Slack DPO

    It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s an... enterprise software company? We give the full Acquired treatment to newly-public Slack, one of the most extreme and successful pivots of all-time. From a log cabin in Canada to a never-ending game and back again, Slack’s journey has more twists and turns than a Hobbit’s tale. Tune in for one APLUSS story you don’t want to miss!

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    Episode 24: Skype

    Episode 24: Skype

    An acquisition so wild and crazy, they had to do it again. And again. Ben & David cover tech’s perhaps most-traded asset, Skype (which also happens to be a fantastic business). How do we even know which deal to grade? Tune in to find out… 

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      Hot Takes: 

      The Carve Out: 

    Episode 42: Opsware (with special guest Michel Feaster)

    Episode 42: Opsware (with special guest Michel Feaster)

    Acquired dives into the legendary acquisition of Ben Horowitz & Marc Andreessen’s “second act” software company Opsware, from a perspective never before heard—HP’s side of the story! Our heroes are joined by Michel Feaster, who led both the acquisition for HP and then the Opsware product as part of the integrated company afterward under Ben Horowitz. Today the tables have turned: Michel is the Co-Founder and CEO of Seattle-based startup Usermind, and Ben Horowitz sits on her board on behalf of A16Z. This episode is not one to miss!  

    Sponsors:
    Pilot: https://bit.ly/acquiredpilot24
    Statsig: https://bit.ly/acquiredstatsig24
    Crusoe: https://bit.ly/acquiredcrusoe


     
    Topics covered include: 
    • Opsware’s early history and origins as Loudcloud, the “second act” of internet wunderkind Marc Andreessen and Netscape product manager Ben Horowitz
    • Ben’s first person telling of the Loudcloud/Opsware history in The Hard Thing about Hard Things, as well as the great Wired "period piece” covering Loudcloud’s launch in August 2000
    • The importance of timing, and Loudcloud’s too-early vision of—essentially—AWS before AWS (including eerie parallels between the metaphor Andreessen used to describe Loudcloud during the company’s first press briefing, and Jeff Bezos’s description of AWS at YC nearly a decade later)
    • Creation of the “Opsware” tool inside of Loudcloud to automate deploying and configuring servers within Loudcloud’s data centers
    • Loudcloud's meteoric rise, crash following the burst of the internet bubble, and hard pivot as a public company into Opsware—now an enterprise software company selling datacenter tools 
    • Michel’s role in HP’s evaluation of the company as an acquisition target, and process leading to its $1.6B acquisition in July 2007
    • Integration of the company into HP’s culture and sales channel
    • The creation of Ben & Marc’s “third act”, the VC firm Andreessen Horowitz, and what it’s like for Michel now having Ben as an investor on her board at Usermind 

      The Carve Out: 

    Superhuman (with CEO Rahul Vohra)

    Superhuman (with CEO Rahul Vohra)

    Please take the 2019 Acquired Survey. It takes 5-10 minutes, helps us immensely, and you may win a pair of new AirPods or a free 1-year subscription to the LP show! http://acquired.fm/survey

    We wrap up Season 4 with a very special (and accidental!) episode, a conversation with the CEO of Superhuman, the red hot email productivity app which just announced their $33m Series B led by Andreessen Horowitz. While originally intended as an LP episode, we felt Superhuman would provide the perfect bookend to our “modern enterprise productivity trilogy” following our Zoom and Slack episodes. We hope you enjoy the conversation with Rahul as much as we did, and we’ll see you later this summer for Season 5!

    Sponsors:
    Pilot: https://bit.ly/acquiredpilot24
    Statsig: https://bit.ly/acquiredstatsig24
    Crusoe: https://bit.ly/acquiredcrusoe


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