Neil deGrasse Tyson: Uniting Humanity
42 min
How can science bring us together? Astrophysicist, author, and television host Neil deGrasse Tyson closes out the first season of Reimagine by sharing his cosmic view of life and why understanding science is key to building back a better world.
Episode Length: 42 minutes
Acquired
Acquired
Ben Gilbert and David Rosenthal
Slack + Salesforce Emergency Pod with Packy McCormick of Not Boring
Acquired is live on the scene covering Salesforce's blockbuster $27.7B acquisition of Slack, with the help of the internet's #1 Slack bull (and top internet analyst in his own right), Packy McCormick of Not Boring. We dissect the deal itself, Slack's relatively short life as a public company, the impact of Microsoft and Teams, and most importantly what this means for enterprise SaaS startups broadly. And oh yeah — we have a ton of fun too. :) Note: you can find our full June 2019 episode on Slack's history and their DPO here: https://www.acquired.fm/episodes/the-slack-dpo If you want more more Acquired and the tools + resources to become the best founder, operator or investor you can be, join our LP Program for access to our LP Show, the LP community on Slack and Zoom, and our live Book Club discussions with top authors. Join here at: https://acquired.fm/lp/ Sponsors: * Thanks to Tiny for being our presenting sponsor for all of Acquired Season 7. Tiny is building the "Berkshire Hathaway of the internet" — if you own a wonderful internet business that you want to sell, or know someone who does, you should get in touch with them. Unlike traditional buyers, they commit to quick, simple diligence, a 30-day or less process, and will leave your business to do its thing for the long term. You can learn more about Tiny here: http://tinycapital.com * Thank you as well to Bamboo Growth and to Perkins Coie. You can learn more about them at: * https://growwithbamboo.com * https://www.perkinscoie.com/ Playbook Themes from this Episode: (also available on our website at https://www.acquired.fm/episodes/slack-salesforce-emergency-pod-with-packy-mccormick-of-not-boring ) 1. Distribution is still key when it comes to selling enterprise products at the highest levels. * SaaS startups can (and do!) land deals with big companies all the time now through the bottoms-up motion of individual teams adopting the product and paying by credit card. And they also can (and do!) expand those deals into large, enterprise-wide contracts. But the massive power of Microsoft, Salesforce, and to a lesser-degree Oracle and Google's salesforces + bundling distribution abilities enables deals to happen at a scale that most independent companies find difficult to match. 2. Enterprise products are like icebergs — 90% of the work is below the surface. * This is true both at the tactical level (integrations, permissions, security, etc) and the strategic: providing seamless connective tissue between work apps inside and across organizations is what makes Microsoft so powerful as an enterprise player — not necessarily because their products are better. * This is why Slack Connect was such an important initiative for Slack, and why Microsoft trained the full firepower of its Teams marketing against it, while mostly ignoring Zoom even though Zoom is much more directly competitive on the product feature front. 3. Telling your story well always matters, no matter how big you get. * Perhaps the biggest reason Slack "failed" as a public company was its inability to effectively communicate what it did that was special, why that was important, and why it was defensible enough to withstand the assault from Teams. Arguably, great answers existed to all of those questions — and the company kept posting impressive numbers to back them up — but Wall Street never bought the story Slack sold. 4. Enterprise collaboration is moving deeper into work apps themselves. * Today's native SaaS tools like Figma, Coda, Notion and others are embedding collaboration and chat natively into apps themselves — which reduces the primacy of a centralized platform like Slack, Teams or Discord. While on the one hand this is a threat to dedicated collaboration platforms, it also presents a massive opportunity: if they (or someone else) can decouple the core "collaboration layer" service from their own dedicated apps and also embed it directly into those work apps via APIs, it exponentially increases the surface area of workplace productivity that they can address. 5. The "Outsiders playbook" of growing through acquisition once your original product approaches market saturation works just as well in tech as it did in other sectors like media and industrials. * As Will Thorndike outlined in The Outsiders, many of the best CEO capital allocators of all-time utilized the grow-through-acquisition strategy very effectively. Salesforce (and other big tech companies like Facebook) are clearly adopting the same approach. Links: * Not Boring: https://notboring.substack.com * Packy on Twitter: https://twitter.com/packyM * Packy's bull thesis on Slack from November 2020: https://notboring.substack.com/p/slack-the-bulls-are-typing
1 hr 25 min
North Star Podcast
North Star Podcast
David Perell
Nik Sharma: Building DTC Companies
My guest today is Nik Sharma, the founder of Sharma Brands and an advisor to companies like Judy and Cha Cha Matcha. Nik is one of my very best friends and my go-to person for all things commerce. Since we first met, we've spent hours exploring the future of marketing and commerce together and recorded this podcast to give you a window into what our conversations are like. We started with Nik's philosophy of launching Direct-to-Consumer brands. I particularly liked Nik's idea of "The Brag Bar" on landing pages, where you can use social proof to sell your products. We also spoke about managing relationships with influencers and finding the supply and demand equilibrium at launch. Towards the end, Nik and I talked about our process for turning conversations into articles, and the time he cold emailed Mark Cuban. Please enjoy my conversation with Nik Sharma. ____________________________ Show Notes 2:21 - Why Nik has the "world's craziest fridge" and how it helps keep him in the know on DTC brands. 6:29 - What marketing strategies Nik has found most successful for DTC brands. 13:31 - How brands can differentiate themselves in a world of emerging brands in already burgeoning markets. 19:25 - Nik's approach to launching a successful DTC brand and when to concentrate your advertising versus diversify. 30:19 - The role of A/B testing in building a brand. 35:43 - How influencers play into the big picture of marketing and why the "shaky video" effect is so successful. 42:12 - The selection and audition process of influencers in Nik's campaigns and how he chooses those he sees as the best for his brands. 45:52 - The costs and benefits of starting your brand through heavy promotion via influencers. 49:56 - How the process of rebranding Hint Water's bottle was performed and the qualitative process that got them to the bottle you see today. 57:27 - The metrics and methods Nik uses in his development of marketing strategies with his brands. 1:05:19 - What Nik looks for in a great landing page, and why all landing pages should be easy to read for everybody from a 12-year-old to a drunk person. 1:10:07 - What UGC is and why Nik thinks it is so underrated by marketing teams. 1:13:31 - The different marketing funnels and when you should use each one. 1:17:09 - Why Nik creates landing pages for fake products and makes them live on the internet. 1:22:56 - The importance of having great merch for your brand. 1:26:22 - What about internet culture makes collaborations so successful and popular. 1:34:05 - How somebody can convert a large personal following into sponsorships and meaningful collaborations. 1:35:46 - How new brands should position themselves when huge players like Amazon are in the same space. 1:44:01 - What happened when Nik cold emailed Mark Cuban and how he got an almost instant response. 1:50:46 - How David and Nik collaborate to develop, write, and publish the articles they make. 1:56:14 - Why Nik doesn't sweat the details of his personal brand that much.
2 hr 1 min
The Twenty Minute VC: Venture Capital | Startup Funding | The Pitch
The Twenty Minute VC: Venture Capital | Startup Funding | The Pitch
Harry Stebbings
20VC: Stitch Fix Founder Katrina Lake on Growth vs Profitability, Her Biggest Lessons From Working with Bill Gurley at Benchmark and The Importance of Mental Flexibility as a Leader
Katrina Lake is the Founder & CEO @ Stitch Fix, a multi-billion dollar public company, which has brought an entirely new model to retail apparel by combining data science, technology, and personal stylists, to create a unique shopping experience tailored to the individual consumer. Prior to their IPO in 2017, Katrina raised just $42M in venture funding from some of the best in venture including Bill Gurley @ Benchmark and Steve Anderson @ Baseline. In just 6 years Katrina took the company from founding moment to $2BN IPO and was even cash flow positive after just 3 years. If that was not enough, Katrina is also on the board of both Grubhub and Glossier. In Today’s Episode You Will Learn: 1.) How Katrina made her way from being an associate at a venture firm to reshaping the world of fashion with Stitch Fix? 2.) On reflection, is Katrina happy that the business was forced to be so capital efficient so early? What did Katrina do to structure the business and its inventory management to preserve cash? How does Katrina think about the balance between growth vs profitability? 3.) What have been some of Katrina's biggest lessons from working with Bill Gurley? How does Katrina ensure not to overweight his opinion on the board? What have been Katrina's biggest lessons on effective board management? How has being on the Grubhub and Glossier board changed the way she operates the Stitch Fix board? 4.) How does Katrina think about imposter syndrome and self-doubt today? How does she remedy it? How does Katrina ensure she remains on the front lines with customers despite being a public company CEO? What benefits are there for founders to stay in the trenches even when a large company? 5.) How does Katrina think on the importance for founders to have a vision today? Where do they need to be flexible? What are some dangers or pitfalls associated with "the vision"? How far are Stitch Fix along in cementing their vision? Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode Katrina’s Favourite Book: Between The World And Me As always you can follow Harry and The Twenty Minute VC on Twitter here! Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.
36 min
Business Lab
Business Lab
MIT Technology Review Insights
Leveraging collective intelligence and AI to benefit society
A solar-powered autonomous drone scans for forest fires. A surgeon first operates on a digital heart before she picks up a scalpel. A global community bands together to print personal protection equipment to fight a pandemic. “The future is now,” says Frederic Vacher, head of innovation at Dassault Systèmes. And all of this is possible with cloud computing, artificial intelligence (AI), and a virtual 3D design shop, or as Dassault calls it, the 3DEXPERIENCE innovation lab. This open innovation laboratory embraces the concept of the social enterprise and merges collective intelligence with a cross-collaborative approach by building what Vacher calls “communities of people—passionate and willing to work together to accomplish a common objective.” This podcast episode was produced by Insights, the custom content arm of MIT Technology Review. It was not produced by MIT Technology Review’s editorial staff.  “It’s not only software, it's not only cloud, but it’s also a community of people’s skills and services available for the marketplace,” Vacher says. “Now, because technologies are more accessible, newcomers can also disrupt, and this is where we want to focus with the lab.”   And for Dassault Systèmes, there’s unlimited real-world opportunities with the power of collective intelligence, especially when you are bringing together industry experts, health-care professionals, makers, and scientists to tackle covid-19. Vacher explains, “We created an open community, ‘Open Covid-19,’ to welcome any volunteer makers, engineers, and designers to help, because we saw at that time that many people were trying to do things but on their own, in their lab, in their country.” This wasted time and resources during a global crisis. And, Vacher continues, the urgency of working together to share information became obvious, “They were all facing the same issues, and by working together, we thought it could be an interesting way to accelerate, to transfer the know-how, and to avoid any mistakes.”  Business Lab is hosted by Laurel Ruma, director of Insights, the custom publishing division of MIT Technology Review. The show is a production of MIT Technology Review, with production help from Collective Next.  This episode of Business Lab is produced in association with Dassault Systèmes.  Show notes and links  How Effective is a Facemask? Here’s a Simulation of Your Unfettered Sneeze, by Josh Mings, SolidSmack, April 2, 2020  Open Covid-19 Community Lets Makers Contribute to Pandemic Relief, by Clare Scott, Dassault, The SIMULIA Blog, July 15, 2020 Dassault 3DEXPERIENCE platform Collective intelligence and collaboration around 3D printing: rising to the challenge of Covid-19, by Frederic Vacher, STAT, August 10, 2020
35 min
Founders
Founders
David Senra
#156 Theodore Roosevelt
What I learned from reading Mornings on Horseback: The Story of an Extraordinary Family, a Vanished Way of Life and the Unique Child Who Became Theodore Roosevelt Subscribe to continue listening and gain access to all full episodes. What other people are saying: “Uniquely outstanding. No fluff and all substance. David does an outstanding job summarizing these biographies and hones in on the elements that make his subjects so unique among entrepreneurs. I particularly enjoy that he focuses on both the founder’s positive and negative characteristics as a way of highlighting things to mimic and avoid.” “Without a doubt, the highest value-to-cost ratio I’ve taken advantage of in the last year is the Founders podcast premium feed. Tap into eons of knowledge and experiences, condensed into digestible portions, for roughly the cost of a takeout meal. Highly, highly recommend. “I just paid for my first premium podcast subscription for Founders podcast. Learning from those who came before us is one of the highest value ways to invest time. David does his homework and exponentially improves my efficiency by focusing on the most valuable lessons.” “I haven’t found a better return on my time and money than your podcast for inspiration and time-tested wisdom to help me on my journey. “It is worth every penny. I cannot put into words how fantastic this podcast is. Just stop reading this and get the full access.” “Reading a biography is a privilege that condenses a life's journey, all its lessons, loves AND mistakes into 20 odd hours of reading. Here David condenses many of the best and intriguing Bios into 1-2 hours. Presented organically and thoughtfully with full book links and show notes for ease. Subscribe right away!” Subscribe to continue listening and gain access to all full episodes.
32 min
In Depth
In Depth
First Round
Start with the story — Drift’s David Cancel on lessons he’s learned as a 5X founder
Today’s episode is with David Cancel. David has been a CEO and founder of multiple different companies throughout his career. He’s also been a software engineer, a serial CTO, and the Chief Product Officer at Hubspot, giving him a unique lens into company building and leadership at different levels. In today’s conversation, David unpacks those lessons and tells us why he’s so focused on storytelling these days as the co-founder and CEO of Drift, a conversational marketing and sales platform. From screenplay writing inspiration, to how storytelling training is part of their onboarding, David shares how they teach storytelling and drive narrative internally at Drift. He also shares tactical advice for engaging with exec teams and getting better at zooming in and out as CEO, as well as some really tactical frameworks, including Charlie Munger’s practice of inversion, the weekly rituals Drift relies on, and how they use asynchronous video communication. It’s a must-listen for current founders and CEOs, and anyone looking to level up their leadership skills. You can follow David on Twitter at @dcancel. He also pens a popular newsletter called “The One Thing,” and hosts a great podcast called “Seeking Wisdom” For reference, the books he mentioned in the episode include Jon Kabat-Zinn’s work on mindful meditation, and “The Passion Paradox” by Brad Stulberg. To learn more about how Drift approaches storytelling, check out this article David wrote for Inc: https://www.inc.com/david-cancel/five-storytelling-tips-to-better-communicate-your-brand-message.html To learn more about Charlie Munger’s concept of inversion that David mentioned, check out this Farnam Street post: https://fs.blog/2013/10/inversion/ You can email us questions directly at review@firstround.com or follow us on Twitter @firstround (twitter.com/firstround) and @brettberson (twitter.com/brettberson)
50 min
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