Episode 48: Qualcomm - Broadcom

Ben & David cover the proposed largest tech M&A deal of all time, and in the process dive into the evolving dynamics of the industry that started everything in Silicon Valley—silicon. Just when VCs thought innovation was dead in semiconductors, a new wave of startups and large companies are redrawing the lines of competition in an industry dominated for a half-century by the “Wintel” duopoly of Intel and Microsoft.

Topics Covered Include:

The Carve Out:

Sponsor:

  • Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring this podcast. You can get in touch with Nick Ferrer, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.

Episode 47: The Atlassian IPO

Ben & David venture to the land down under (and reunite in-person!) to tell the story of the granddaddy of all bootstrapped tech success stories, collaboration software company Atlassian. How did two plucky college grads from Sydney, Australia go from just trying to escape working for the man to becoming two of the top 10 wealthiest people in the entire country, all without raising a dollar of venture capital? We dive in. 

Topics Covered Include:

  • How Atlassian founders Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar met in college at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, and their decision to bootstrap a startup as an alternative to finding a “real job” after graduation
  • Atlassian’s “no sales” model, and the resultant efficiency of their sales & marketing spend relative to other SAAS companies 
  • Organic product growth and acquisitions over the years, starting with Jira and later adding Confluence, BitBucket, HipChat / Stride, Jira Service Desk and Trello
  • Rapid revenue growth and the decision to continue as a bootstrapped company, only raising secondary capital prior to going public
  • The IPO in November 2015 and subsequent stock performance (spoiler: it’s been good)

The Carve Out:

Sponsor:

  • Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring this podcast. You can get in touch with Jason Day, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.

Episode 46: Blue Bottle Coffee

Today our heroes cover a deal that might have more impact on life in Silicon Valley than AI, wearables and AR/VR combined… Nestle’s acquisition of Blue Bottle Coffee. Will hipster entrepreneurs and the VCs who love/need them continue to line up around the block for their minimalist coffee experience of choice, now that it’s owned by the Nesquik Bunny? Is this the beginning of Blue Bottle pod machines filling the empty counter space left by Juicero’s demise in VC offices throughout South Park? We investigate. 

Topics Covered Include:

  • The rise of “Third Wave” coffee
  • Blue Bottle founder James Freeman’s “classical” (music) influences 
  • Venture capital and the coffee business 
  • Achieving liquidity when companies and founders’ don’t want to go public, and don’t want to sell their stakes 
  • Nestle’s position in single-serve coffee market and potential brand impact of Blue Bottle

The Carve Out:

Sponsor:

  • Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring this podcast. You can get in touch with Jeff Beuche, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.

Episode 45: HTC, Google and the Future of Mobile

Acquired is back and live on the scene! After months of speculation, Google announces today their acquisition (err, "Cooperation Agreement”) of a large portion of HTC’s hardware division. What does this mean for the future of mobile? Can Google transform itself into a vertically integrated device company and compete directly with Apple? Most importantly, when will we see more Beats Android handsets??? (We hope never)

Topics Covered Include:

  • The origins of HTC as a Taiwanese OEM, dating back to the Compaq iPAQ and Palm Treo 650!
  • HTC’s long history with Google, starting as the manufacturer of the first Android phone, the HTC Dream / T-Mobile G1
  • HTC’s ownership of Beats, for a hot minute
  • Google’s own winding history in hardware, with its Motorola acquisition in 2011 and divestiture in 2014
  • Google & HTC’s joint work on the Pixel smartphones in 2016
  • And much analysis and speculation on what this means for Google, Apple, Samsung, vertical vs horizontal business models and more!

The Carve Out:

Sponsor:

  • Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring this podcast. You can get in touch with Jeff Beuche, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.

Episode 44: AOL - Time Warner (with the Internet History Podcast)

On this extra-long episode of Acquired, Brian McCullough from the Internet History Podcast returns to discuss perhaps the most (in)famous merger of all time: AOL - Time Warner. Who doesn’t remember the soothing sounds of 56k modems and the timeless phrase, “You’ve Got Mail”? Join us all as we unpack how one of the biggest ISP’s of the 90’s tried to take over the world… and failed.

Topics Covered Include:

  • AOL’s status in the 90’s / early 00’s
  • Explaining just what it is that AOL did at the height of their popularity
  • How AOL pioneered a number of internet paradigms
  • AOL’s persistent money troubles and bailouts from other companies
  • Steve Case foreseeing the coming era of broadband, inspiring AOL to pursue working with a cable company
  • Ebay vs. Time Warner in a down-to-the-wire war for a merger with AOL
  • Why the money dried up for AOL after their merger with Time Warner
  • AOL and its value in the post-Time-Warner era
  • Speculating about what would have happened had AOL and others stayed independent businesses
  • And much discussion on how to grade this one…

The Carve Out:

Sponsor:

  • Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring this podcast. You can get in touch with Jeff Beuche, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.

Episode 43: The Square IPO

Unicorns and ratchets and lawsuits, oh my! Our heroes dive into the history of Jack Dorsey’s famous “other” company, Square. Was the Square IPO a canary in the coal mine signaling doom & gloom for the so-called unicorn companies of the early 2010’s, or a mispriced and misunderstood diamond in the rough? Acquired weighs in.

Topics Covered Include:

  • Square’s deep origins in the early 90’s in St. Louis, MO with the initial meeting of its co-founders, Jack Dorsey & Jim McKelvey
  • McKelvey’s side glass blowing business and the “inspiration” for Square that came much later in the late 2000’s
  • The complicated involvement of Washington University (in St. Louis) professor Robert Morley, who had worked for years developing payment card reading technology
  • The company’s early meeting with Scott Forstall at Apple, and its “significant” impact on the its name and design
  • The real disruptive innovation of Square and its business model (hint: not just building a mobile card reader)
  • Square’s massive payments deal with Starbucks in 2012 and its impact on the company
  • The evolution of Square’s business from a simple card reader to cloud-based Point of Sale (PoS) system and entire suite of merchant tools & business management services
  • The drama leading up to Square’s IPO (including at Jack Dorsey’s “other” company, Twitter), dynamics and narratives affecting its pricing, the effect of IPO “ratchets”, and the company’s performance over the ~2 years since

The Carve Out:

Sponsor:

  • Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring this podcast. You can get in touch with Buddy Arnheim, who you heard at the beginning of this podcast, here.

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!

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:

Sponsor:

  • Thanks to Perkins Coie, Counsel to Great Companies, for sponsoring this episode. You can get in touch with Buddy Arnheim (as heard on this episode) directly here.

Episode 41: Booking.com with Jetsetter & Room 77 CEO Drew Patterson

Acquired trains its lens on the “second or third best acquisition of all-time”, Priceline’s 2005 purchase of Booking.com. Our heroes are joined by friend-of-the-show and former Jetsetter & Room 77 CEO Drew Patterson to help understand how this little-known startup from The Netherlands grew into the largest travel company in the world, with nearly $8B in annual revenue. Was this deal even better than Instagram??? We debate, hotly. 

Topics covered include:

  • The biggest startup you’ve never heard of (in the US), Booking.com, and its parent company Priceline (yes, the William Shatner Priceline)
  • Booking’s founding in Amsterdam in late 1996: by recent college graduate Geert-Jan Bruinsma
  • Skift.com’s Definitive Oral History of Online Travel
  • The travel industry's GDS's (“Global Distribution Systems”) and the development of Sabre 
  • How Bruinsma raised the initial money for Booking: by emailing anyone he know who had an email address 
  • OTAs ("Online Travel Agencies”) and how they operate; the "merchant model" versus the “agency model"
  • The role of search in online travel 
  • Bill Gurley on Conversion: The Most Important Internet Metric of All
  • Expedia’s early flirtation with Booking, and decision not to acquire the company
  • Priceline head of M&A Glenn Fogel’s vision for how powerful the agency model for OTAs could become in Europe
  • Priceline and Glenn's 2004 acquisition of Active Hotels in the UK, followed by the 2005 acquisition of Booking for $133M and the combination of the two businesses into Booking.com 
  • Booking’s incredible growth in the decade since the acquisition, from less than 20M room-nights to over 500M, and $7.8B in revenue in 2016

The Carve Out:

Sponsor:

  • Thanks to Silicon Valley Bank for sponsoring this episode. If you'd like to learn more or start a banking relationship, you can get in touch with Shai Goldman here.

Episode 40: Activision Blizzard

Ben & David cover the creation of the gaming world’s equivalent of the 70’s rock supergroup: the 2008 merger of Blizzard and Activision. We tell the story from the Blizzard perspective, tracing the history of one of the most innovative companies in the business from humble beginnings at the hands of UCLA undergrads, to surviving multiple acquisition rollups (including at one point being owned by the French national water company), to joining ultimately with Activision to form the largest gaming company in the world, all while inventing multiple game genres that define the industry as we know it today.

 

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Topics covered include:

  • Blizzard’s founding in 1991 as "Silicon & Synapse” by recent UCLA grads Allen Adham, Frank Pearce, and Mike Morhaime
  • The team’s first projects making ports for other games, including Battle Chess on the Commodore 64
  • Early success on the Super Nintendo with Rock & Roll Racing and The Lost Vikings
  • Origin of the Real-Time Strategy game genre (“RTS”) and Blizzard’s fist mega-hit, Warcraft 
  • Blizzard’s crazy corporate ownership changes over the years
  • Development of further legendary game franchises like Diablo and Starcraft, along with sequels to Warcraft and the rise of the rise of player modding
  • Emergence of the Multiplayer Online Battle Arena genre (“MOBA”) from the Warcraft III modding community, and its growth into one of the biggest sectors in the games and esports industries today
  • Blizzard’s role in developing the concept of online gaming, from early hacks to play against friends to World of Warcraft and Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (“MMORPG’s”)
  • The 2008 merger with storied gaming company Activision 
  • Growth and success since the merger, including the launch of new game franchises Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm and Overwatch

The Carve Out:

Sponsor:

  • Thanks to Silicon Valley Bank for sponsoring this episode. If you'd like to learn more or start a banking relationship, you can get in touch with Shai Goldman here.

Episode 39: Whole Foods Market

Ben and David are once again live on the scene, this time covering the biggest disruption in grocery since… well, sliced bread: Amazon’s $13.7B purchase of Whole Foods Market. We place this deal in context by diving deep into the long, intertwining history of grocery, tech and Amazon, from the infamous dotcom flameout Webvan (domain name now owned by Amazon) to its much more successful progeny Kiva Systems (acquired by Amazon in 2012) to current Silicon Valley unicorn Instacart (founded by former Amazon logistics engineer Apoorva Mehta). One thing is clear: for Amazon and Jeff Bezos, realizing the longterm vision of the Everything Store truly means building the everything store.

Topics covered include:

Followups:

The Carve Out:

Sponsor:

Episode 38: SoundJam (iTunes)

Ben & David revisit the birth of the digital music revolution and Steve Jobs’ “digital hub” strategy, with Apple's 2000 acquisition of the Mac music player SoundJam MP, which would go on to become iTunes. We relive the 90’s with brushed metal interfaces, music visualizers and of course, software sold in (physical) boxes.

Topics covered include:

  • The heady early days of the “digital music revolution”: NapsterWinAmp, and the Diamond Rio
  • Former Apple engineer Bill Kincaid’s first exposure to the concept of digital music, via NPR on the way to an auto racing track
  • Bill’s decision to build SoundJam, recruiting fellow former Apple engineer Jeff Robbin as a cofounder, and later adding Dave Heller to the team
  • Why you used to need a publisher to sell software… and the celebrity author of the SoundJam user manual: David Pogue!
  • SoundJam’s release in 1998 and enthusiastic adoption by Mac owners who enjoyed pirating playing digital music 
  • SoundJam's (and later iTunes’s) most famous UI element: brushed metal
  • The Apple acquisition of SoundJam in 2000 instead of competitor Panic Software’s Audion, and the wonderful history as told by Panic's founders years later  
  • Steve Jobs' launch of iTunes at the Macworld keynote in January 2001
  • Launch of the iPod later that year in October 2001 
  • The SoundJam team’s long subsequent tenure at Apple and leadership roles to this day

Followups:

The Carve Out:

Thanks to this episode's sponsor, Silicon Valley Bank. You can learn more about SVB, or reach out to Marshall Hawks directly (who's voice you'll recognize on the show) here

Episode 37: BAMTech, Disney and "the Biggest Media Company You've Never Heard Of”

Episode 37: BAMTech, Disney and "the Biggest Media Company You've Never Heard Of”

Ben and David continue Acquired’s “tech and sports” mini-series with Disney’s 2016 acquisition of a minority stake (with the right to purchase a majority stake at a later date) in BAMTech, the internet streaming company originally founded as part of Major League Baseball in the early 2000’s. However the importance of this story goes deeper than just sports, with major ramifications for nearly every major technology company from Amazon to YouTube. Even if you’re not not sure if baseball’s played on a diamond or a gridiron, tune in as we swing for the fences in predicting the future of TV! 

Topics covered include:

  • What is BAMTech, and why is it, according to The Verge, "the future of television”?
  • BAMTech’s origins as part of Major League Baseball's Advanced Media division ("MLBAM)”)
  • MLBAM’s founding CEO Bob Bowman’s decidedly “non-tech” background, and growth into one of the most important tech leaders of the past 15 years
  • Initial technology struggles and learnings from early streaming efforts (including a botched audio package of Ichiro Suzuki’s games with the Mariners for fans in Japan)
  • Landing on a streaming model that works with the launch of MLB.tv in 2002/2003—three years before YouTube is founded! 
  • Improvement of the MLB.tv service and MLBAM’s streaming expertise over the next ten years through the rise of mobile, and simultaneous growth of MLBAM’s revenues to over $1B annually
  • MLBAM’s initial deals to expand its streaming services beyond baseball, starting with ESPN in 2010, then WWE, the PGA, HBO and the NHL
  • The importance of media rights, and MLBAM’s transition from a simple tech/infrastructure provider to a full-fledged media company 
  • The decision to initiate a spin-off process for BAMTech from MLB in August 2015, and Disney’s $1B investment into the newly created spin-out company in August 2016
  • Disney’s subsequent announcement that they’ll be working with BAMTech to create a direct-to-consumer ESPN streaming service
  • BAMTech’s $300M deal with Riot Games in December 2016 for the media rights to League of Legends eSports content 
  • Bob Bowman’s announcement in February 2017 that he’ll be stepping back to from a day to day role, and hiring of former Amazon VP of Video Michael Paull as BAMTech’s new CEO

Followups & Hot Takes:

The Carve Out:

Full Transcript below: (disclaimer: may contain unintentionally confusing, inaccurate and/or amusing transcription errors)

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Episode 36: The LA Clippers

Episode 36: The LA Clippers

In honor of the start of NBA playoffs, Ben & David venture off the beaten path to explore one of Steve Ballmer’s most famous acquisitions, his 2014 purchase of the Los Angeles Clippers NBA franchise. Was this landmark purchase a steal or a turnover for the former Microsoft CEO? We speculate wildly!

Topics covered include:

  • The Clippers’ founding in 1970 as the NBA expansion team the Buffalo Braves
  • Early ownership changes and the move west to San Diego in 1981
  • Acquisition in 1981 by LA lawyer and real estate developer Donald Sterling for $12.5M
  • Sterling's relocation of the Clippers to LA in 1984 against NBA rules
  • Struggles over the next 25 years as the "worst franchise in professional sports” according to ESPN 
  • Turnaround beginning in early 2010s led by Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, and Chris Paul
  • The bombshell in April 2014, reported by TMZ, of a taped conversation between Sterling and his mistress where Sterling makes hugely offensive and racist comments, directed in particular toward former Lakers point guard Magic Johnson
  • Fallout from the comments, resulting in a lifetime ban from NBA for Sterling, and a forced sale of the team to former Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer for $2B
  • Impact of the landmark sale price on NBA and other sports franchise valuations 
  • Clippers performance post-sale, and  prospects for the future 
  • The opportunity for technology and business model innovation in the NBA, and professional sports in general

Followups:

The Carve Out:

 

Full Transcript below: (disclaimer: may contain unintentionally confusing, inaccurate and/or amusing transcription errors)

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Episode 35: Oculus

Episode 35: Oculus

Ben & David transcend the barriers of “real” reality, and dive into Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg’s geek-eutpoia vision of the future of gaming, social, and maybe even the entire internet: strapping goofy-looking goggles to your face. Is VR for real this time or are we living through another Virtual Boy moment? Tune in to find out!

Topics covered include:

  • Oculus’s origins in 2010 as a twinkle in the eye of the then-17 year old VR wunderkind, Palmer Luckey, who started by prototyping VR headsets in his parents’ garage in Southern California 
  • Palmer’s time interning at USC's Institute for Creative Technologies, and chronicling of his own VR efforts in the Meant to be Seen 3D internet forums
  • Legendary game developer John Carmack’s own interest in virtual reality, his intersection with Palmer on the MTBS3D forums, and how he acquired and popularized one of Palmer's first early prototypes of the Oculus Rift (which was literally held together with duct tape!) by demonstrating it onstage at E3 2012 
  • How former Scaleform cofounders Brendan Iribe and Michael Antonov teamed up with Palmer after E3 to create the company Oculus VR
  • The newly-formed Oculus’s wildly successful August 2012 Kickstarter campaign, including video endorsements from both Carmack and Valve founder Gabe Newell
  • Oculus’s subsequent venture capital fundraisings, and catching the attention of Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg 
  • Facebook’s acquisition of the company in March 2014 for $2.3B
  • The Zenimax lawsuit filed against Oculus and Facebook following the acquisition 
  • Valve (home of the most incredible company handbook of all-time) and Gabe Newell’s subsequent pivot from supporting Oculus to launching their own competing VR efforts with the Vive 
  • Team changes at Oculus post-acquisition 

Followups:

Hot Takes:

The Carve Out:

Full Transcript below: (disclaimer: may contain unintentionally confusing, inaccurate and/or amusing transcription errors)

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Episode 34: Starbucks IPO with Dan Levitan

Episode 34: Starbucks IPO with Dan Levitan

Ben & David "pour over" the 1992 IPO of the legendary Seattle coffee company with the help of Dan Levitan, who served as lead investment banker on the IPO and who would later co-found the venture capital firm Maveron with Starbucks’ CEO Howard Schultz. 

Topics covered include:

  • The original Starbucks’ founding as a coffee bean roaster, started by three disciples of the legendary coffee roaster Alfred Peet
  • Howard Schultz’s introduction to Starbucks, his joining the team as director of marketing, and inspiration behind his “third place” coffee shop vision
  • Howard’s departure from the original Starbucks, founding of Il Giornale, and subsequent of acquisition the Seattle Starbucks stores
  • Starbucks’ incredible growth following the acquisition and expansion beyond Seattle
  • The state of raising private capital in the 1980’s/90’s, and the decision to go public (link to the S-1)
  • Howard’s ambitious goals for the roadshow and investor participation, and subsequent stock performance after the IPO
  • The narrative and evolution of Starbucks as a technology company, or a consumer company that leverages technology very effectively

The Carve Out:

Full Transcript below: (disclaimer: may contain unintentionally confusing, inaccurate and/or amusing transcription errors)

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Episode 33: Overture (with the Internet History Podcast!)

Episode 33: Overture (with the Internet History Podcast!)

Ben & David dive deep into the early days of internet search, with the help of the best in the internet history business: Brian McCullough from the Internet History Podcast! We are huge fans of IHP at Acquired, so this was a real treat to collaborate with Brian and the great work he does over there. In this episode we cover the story of how a small incubator in Southern California spawned perhaps the greatest tech business model of all-time, Yahoo!’s fumbling of that golden opportunity, and Google’s recovery of that fumble to cross into the end zone of tech history behind the biggest moat ever constructed on the internet. 

Topics covered include:

  • Overture’s origins as part of the Idealab incubator run by famed early internet entrepreneur Bill Gross
  • Invention of the paid search business model… initially by returning ADS ONLY in response to search queries
  • The eventual marrying of Overture’s paid search (ads) with organic search results via syndication on other properties like Yahoo!
  • Revenue from Overture’s ad partnership saving Yahoo!’s business after the internet bubble burst 
  • Yahoo!’s eventual acquisition of Overture for $1.4B in 2003 
  • But… the really interesting story here: Overture’s 'inspiration' of Google’s business model and the creation of "the greatest advertising machine in the history of the world"
  • The original (pre-Overture) Google business model: selling a box
  • Google’s differentiation vs Overture: focusing on the long tailad quality scores, and an advertiser-friendly auction structure
  • Google’s first major search syndication victory over Overture: AOL
  • Yahoo!’s failed attempt to buy Google for $3B in 2002, leading it to settle for acquiring Overture instead the following year
  • Project Panama” at Yahoo!, and its impact on the tech and internet history
  • Overture's (and later Yahoo!’s) lawsuit against Google for stealing the paid search business model— "the O.G. version of Snapchat and Instagram”
  • Paul Graham’s take on "What Happened to Yahoo?”
  • Perhaps the most important technology to come out of this whole episode: Hadoop
  • The power of incentive alignment in marketplaces— and creating the widest and deepest moats on the internet

The Carve Out:

Full Transcript below: (disclaimer: may contain unintentionally confusing, inaccurate and/or amusing transcription errors)

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Episode 32: The Snap Inc. IPO

Episode 32: The Snap Inc. IPO

SNAP! Acquired is live on the scene reporting from the "Super Bowl" of 2017 tech events: Snap Inc's hugely anticipated (and just plain huge) IPO. What does the future hold for this plucky “camera company”? Will Snap's IPO endure as tech's most important picture-frame since the 2012 debut of Facebook, or is it destined to fade as just another snapshot? We debate! 

Topics covered include:

The Carve Out:

Full Transcript below: (disclaimer: may contain unintentionally confusing, inaccurate and/or amusing transcription errors)

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Episode 31: The Uber - Didi Chuxing Merger with Brad Stone, author of The Upstarts & The Everything Store

Episode 31: The Uber - Didi Chuxing Merger with Brad Stone, author of The Upstarts & The Everything Store

Brad Stone, Senior Executive Editor of Global Technology at Bloomberg and author of The Upstarts and The Everything Store, joins Ben & David to dive deep into the Uber-Didi saga, a wild story with far-reaching implications that still aren’t fully appreciated by most of the Western tech community. Brad has been the foremost US chronicler of Didi through his reporting at Bloomberg and work on The Upstarts, and shares fascinating insights about its founder & CEO Cheng Wei, how the tech landscape is evolving in China, and lessons & themes that other technology communities around the world can learn from their rapid rise. 

Topics covered include:

  • The global surge in 2012 of entrepreneurs starting ridesharing companies, nowhere moreso than China 
  • Didi CEO Cheng Wei and investor Wang Gang’s backgrounds at Alibaba, first entrepreneurial effort in Momo, and Momo’s pivot to Didi Dache
  • The culling of the ridesharing herd in China down to Didi Dache and Kuaidi Dache through brutal competition and involvement of the “big three” Chinese internet companies 
  • Rise of the Chinese messaging apps and associated mobile payments, and their impact on ridesharing
  • The 2015 merger between Didi and Kuaidi, brokered in part by Russian VC Yuri Milner
  • Uber’s decision to enter the Chinese market, and early success with investment and support from Baidu
  • The first meeting between Uber CEO Travis Kalanick and Cheng Wei in 2015—which does not go well
  • Subsequent “scorched earth” competition between Didi and Uber throughout 2015-16
  • Negotiating an armistice: Uber’s agreement to sell its Chinese operations to Didi in late 2016
  • End of the war, or just the beginning? January 2017: Didi invests $100M in Brazilian Uber competitor 99
  • Sustainable growth, and building moats versus scorching earth

Followups:

  • Stay tuned for real-time coverage of the Snap IPO coming here on Acquired! 

The Carve Out:

Full Transcript below: (disclaimer: may contain unintentionally confusing, inaccurate and/or amusing transcription errors)

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Episode 30: P.A. Semi + AuthenTec

Episode 30: P.A. Semi + AuthenTec

Ben & David venture into the semiconductor world, analyzing two hallmark Apple acquisitions: P.A. Semi and AuthenTec, both of which would go on to form the basis of core Apple product features in the “A” series of processors and TouchID sensors. Was Cupertino smart to bring these components in-house? Is there more value realized in the whole of Apple’s products than the sum of its parts? We investigate! (Spoiler alert: um, yeah. :)

Topics covered include:

Followups:

The Carve Out:

 

Full Transcript below: (disclaimer: may contain unintentionally confusing, inaccurate and/or amusing transcription errors)

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