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Invest Like the Best with Patrick O'Shaughnessy

Exploring the ideas, methods, and stories of people that will help you better invest your time and money. Learn more and stay-up-to-date at https://joincolossus.com/
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Now displaying: January, 2021
Jan 28, 2021

My Guest today is Ali Ghodsi, founder and CEO of Databricks, a data analytics platform for data scientists and developers. He's also the founder of Apache Spark, the open-source project that Databricks is built on, and is an accomplished researcher at UC Berkley's computer science department. Our conversation ranges from the origins of distributed computing to modern data infrastructure, how companies can leverage their massive datasets, and the transformation of Databricks through its phases of growth as a business. While technical, it's exactly the kind of conversation I like to have on this show. I hope you enjoy my conversation with Ali Ghodsi. 

 

For the full show notes, transcript, and links to mentioned content check out https://www.joincolossus.com/episodes/4919706/ghodsi-the-past-present-and-future-of-big-data 

 

This episode of Founder's Field Guide is sponsored by Klaviyo.  Klaviyo is the ultimate marketing platform for ecommerce.


With targeted segmentation, email automation, SMS marketing, and more, Klaviyo helps you create your ideal customer experience. See why Klaviyo's trusted by more than 50,000 brands, like Living Proof, Solo Stove, and Nomad to help them grow their business.

For a free trial check out https://www.klaviyo.com/founders

 

This episode is also sponsored by Vanta.  Vanta has built software that makes it easier to both get and maintain your SOC 2 report, at a fraction of the normal cost. Founders Field Guide listeners can redeem a $1k off coupon at vanta.com/patrick

 

Founder's Field Guide is a property of Colossus Inc. For more episodes of Founder's Field Guide go
to https://www.joincolossus.com/episodes.   

Stay up to date on all our podcasts by signing up to Colossus Weekly, our quick dive every Sunday highlighting the top business and investing concepts from our podcasts and the best of what we read that week.  Sign up here - https://www.joincolossus.com/newsletter.

Follow Patrick on Twitter at @patrick_oshag

Follow Colossus on Twitter at @JoinColossus

 

Show Notes

[00:02:48] – [First question] – What is Databricks

[00:03:34] – History of distributed computing

[00:05:35] – Hardware that made this all possible

[00:07:20] – Early challenges in building out these systems

[00:09:43] – What has made networking technology better

[00:10:35] – Doing something in storage vs with memory

[00:11:45] – Origins of Hadoop

[00:12:42] – Use cases of distributed data in 2010 that weren’t possible in 2000

[00:13:35] – Origins of Spark

[00:15:25] – Early Spark and then the transformation into Databricks

[00:16:50] – Early uses cases

[00:17:37] – Their relationship to the open-source project

[00:21:07] – What customers need in order to work with Databricks

[00:23:11] – Their customer interaction

[00:26:27] – How they think about making investments

[00:28:24] – Their competitive advantage

[00:30:13] – Other companies in moving the needle in building distributed computing industry

[00:32:10] – Walls that need to be broken down today

[00:34:02] – Best practices for companies when it comes to their data

            [00:34:13] – Jeff Lawson Podcast Episode

[00:38:47] – Lessons being a CEO

[00:39:53] – Working at the University of Berkeley’s AMPLab

[00:41:56] – What excites him about the future

[00:43:29] – Kindest thing anyone has done for him

Jan 26, 2021

My guest today is Joost van Dreunen, an investor in the gaming space, professor at NYU's Stern School of Business, and former CEO and co-founder of SuperData Research, a data-driven gaming firm that was acquired by Nielsen. He also recently authored One Up: Creativity, Competition, and the Global Business of Video Games, a great book on the business game industry and why I reached out to speak with him in the first place. Our conversation covers the rise and decline of GameStop, what parts of the value chain actually make money in video games, the evolution of video game business models from Nintendo to Fortnite, and what other industries can learn by studying the video game industry. I hope you enjoy my conversation with Joost van Dreunen. 

 

For the full show notes, transcript, and links to mentioned content check out https://www.joincolossus.com/episodes/14574831/van-unlocking-value-in-gaming

 

This episode of Invest Like the Best is sponsored by Canalyst. Canalyst is the leading destination for public company data and analysis.  If you’re a professional equity investor and haven’t talked to Canalyst recently, you should give them a shout. Learn more and try Canalyst for yourself at canalyst.com/Patrick.  

 

Invest like the Best is a property of Colossus Inc. For more episodes of Invest Like the Best go to https://www.joincolossus.com/episodes

Stay up to date on all our podcasts by signing up to Colossus Weekly, our quick dive every Sunday highlighting the top business and investing concepts from our podcasts and the best of what we read that week.  Sign up here - https://www.joincolossus.com/newsletter.

Follow Patrick on Twitter at @patrick_oshag

Follow Colossus on Twitter at @JoinColossus

 

Show Notes

[00:02:38] – [First question] – First chapter of the modern gaming business

[00:06:28] – The product era of video games

[00:10:11] – The different pieces that take place in creating and selling a game

[00:12:25] – The story of GameStop

[00:18:45] – The transition to digital platform-based gaming

[00:22:55] – How the breakdown of platforms has changed

[00:27:35] – Free-to-play vs free-to-win in digital gaming

[00:31:27] – How the revenue models are changing the type of games that are made

[00:35:07] – Socializing games and the future there

[00:38:14] – Who is making money in the modern gaming world

[00:43:33] – The zones of opportunity to invest in within gaming

[00:47:12] – Why the business models can be more powerful than new tech

[00:53:52] – Strategies from gaming that the non-gaming industries can learn from

[00:57:05] – Kindest thing anyone has done for him

Jan 21, 2021

My guest today is Ilkka Paananen, Founder and CEO of Supercell, a mobile game developer based in Finland. Supercell has built hugely successful games like Clash of Clans and Clash Royale that have reached over 100 million daily active users. What interests me most about the company is Supercell's unique culture built on decentralized, autonomous teams with nearly total creative control. Ilkka and I talk about how Supercell hires and designs teams, why they incorporate as little process as possible, and the rise of global, social games. I hope you enjoy my conversation with Ilkka.

 

For the full show notes, transcript, and links to mentioned content check out https://www.joincolossus.com/episodes/72273479/paananen-superpowering-teams 

 

This episode of Founder's Field Guide is sponsored by Klaviyo.  Klaviyo is the ultimate marketing platform for ecommerce.


With targeted segmentation, email automation, SMS marketing, and more, Klaviyo helps you create your ideal customer experience. See why Klaviyo's trusted by more than 50,000 brands, like Living Proof, Solo Stove, and Nomad to help them grow their business.

 

For a free trial check out https://www.klaviyo.com/founders

 

This episode is also sponsored by Vanta.  Vanta has built software that makes it easier to both get and maintain your SOC 2 report, at a fraction of the normal cost. Founders Field Guide listeners can redeem a $1k off coupon at vanta.com/patrick

 

Founder's Field Guide is a property of Colossus Inc. For more episodes of Founder's Field Guide go
to https://www.joincolossus.com/episodes.   


Stay up to date on all our podcasts by signing up to Colossus Weekly, our quick dive every Sunday highlighting the top business and investing concepts from our podcasts and the best of what we read that week.  Sign up here - https://www.joincolossus.com/newsletter.

 

Follow Patrick on Twitter at @patrick_oshag

Follow Colossus on Twitter at @JoinColossus

 

Show Notes

[00:02:51] – [First question] – Why he is the “least powerful CEO in the world.”

[00:04:03] – His career prior to Supercell

[00:07:53] – Lessons from his prior career that he brought to Supercell

[00:11:49] – What he looks for in identifying and recruiting the best people

[00:13:46] – The funnel of getting great people into the business through the rest of the team

[00:15:44] – The Supercell recruitment team

[00:17:33] – Interviewing and screening applicants

[00:18:39] – Building teams and how they are the driving force behind the company

[00:21:29] – The culture of trust throughout the company

[00:24:13] – Ensuring teams know when to kill a project

[00:26:11] – Celebrating after a project gets shutdown

[00:28:15] – Why retention is such an important focus of the company

[00:30:40] – How reach and depth lead to a game’s success

[00:32:21] – The teams outside of development and how they operate

            [00:33:36] - LOST & CROWNED | A Clash Short Film

[00:34:53] – His day-to-day

[00:35:49] – Biggest surprises within Supercell since its founding

[00:36:38] – What makes for a good game

[00:37:59] – The notion of infinite games

[00:39:28] – Kindest thing anyone has done for him

Jan 19, 2021

My guest today is Claire Cormier Thielke, Managing Director of Asia Pacific for Hines, the largest private real estate investment, development and management firm in the world with over $144 billion in assets under management. Claire responsible for acquisitions, development, and new business generation for Hines APAC and was also recently appointed to the board of Zillow. I was first introduced to Claire two years ago and have wanted to have her on the podcast ever since. 

Her personal story is fascinating - Claire finished Stanford undergrad in 2.5 years and now teaches there - on the intersection of tech and real assets, she was a professional track and field athlete - competing for USA Track and Field, and she's run a marathon on Everest, which we discuss. Aside from her personal story and some of her amazing achievements, in the episode, we dive into the world of real estate investing including how to use pattern recognition to unlock real alpha in real estate, the ingredients that make a city special, and the surprising ROI of public art.

 

For the full show notes, transcript, and links to mentioned content check out https://www.joincolossus.com/episodes/72331821/cormier-the-future-of-cities-and-real-estate

 

This episode of Invest Like the Best is sponsored by Canalyst. Canalyst is the leading destination for public company data and analysis.  If you’re a professional equity investor and haven’t talked to Canalyst recently, you should give them a shout. Learn more and try Canalyst for yourself at canalyst.com/Patrick.  

 

Invest like the Best is a property of Colossus Inc. For more episodes of Invest Like the Best go to https://www.joincolossus.com/episodes


Stay up to date on all our podcasts by signing up to Colossus Weekly, our quick dive every Sunday highlighting the top business and investing concepts from our podcasts and the best of what we read that week.  Sign up here - https://www.joincolossus.com/newsletter.

 

Follow Patrick on Twitter at @patrick_oshag

Follow Colossus on Twitter at @JoinColossus

 

Show Notes

[00:03:01] – [First question] – Overview of her career and her passion for real estate

[00:05:32] – The impact of Gerry Hines on her life

[00:07:30] – Her theory of and what she thinks about cities

[00:09:47] – Cities rhyming with each other

[00:12:03] – How the highway act led to growth in cities

[00:13:31] – How cities compare around the world

[00:15:42] – Airplanes as time machines

[00:18:42] – Overview of a building project and how it differs from investing in equities

[00:23:15] – Rebuilding a city from scratch

[00:25:45] – Major real estate changes we’ll be seeing in the US

[00:28:30] – Real estate trends that fascinate her in Asia

[00:30:10] – Real estate plugging into other industries

[00:32:11] – Trends in Asia that could be ported to the US

[00:34:08] – Where to see the best of cities today (post-pandemic)

[00:37:28] – The ROI on public art

[00:38:33] – Her time in track and field

[00:41:59] – The concept of tomorrow time

[00:42:49] – Cultivated other part of her training

[00:45:07] – Her marathon on Mount Everest

[00:46:26] – Replicating the extreme performance piece of herself in a professional setting

[00:48:18] – Lessons from being a professor

[00:49:53] – Joining Zillow’s board, what she wants to bring and get

[00:52:17] – Her childhood and her parents, how that influenced her

[00:56:26] – How one person can be actionable

            [00:58:30] – Brad Gerstner and Rich Barton podcast episode

[01:00:32] – Kindest thing anyone has done for her

Jan 14, 2021

My guest today is Oliver Hughes, the CEO of Tinkoff, the leading online commercial bank based in Russia. I found this conversation fascinating and think it will be essential for anyone who wants to understand online financial services or the next generation of fintech. Our conversation touches on how Tinkoff used direct mail campaigns to become the largest online banking provider in Russia, their last-mile delivery platform that combines couriers with door-to-door salesmen, and how they build profitability into every aspect of the business. I hope you enjoy my conversation with Oliver Hughes.

 

For the full show notes, transcript, and links to mentioned content check out https://www.joincolossus.com/episodes/72486324/hughes-the-secret-fintech-giant

 

This episode of Founder's Field Guide is sponsored by Klaviyo.  Klaviyo is the ultimate marketing platform for ecommerce.

With targeted segmentation, email automation, SMS marketing, and more, Klaviyo helps you create your ideal customer experience. See why Klaviyo's trusted by more than 50,000 brands, like Living Proof, Solo Stove, and Nomad to help them grow their business.

For a free trial check out https://www.klaviyo.com/founders

 

This episode is also sponsored by Vanta.  Vanta has built software that makes it easier to both get and maintain your SOC 2 report, at a fraction of the normal cost. Founders Field Guide listeners can redeem a $1k off coupon at vanta.com/patrick

 

Founder's Field Guide is a property of Colossus Inc. For more episodes of Founder's Field Guide go
to https://www.joincolossus.com/episodes.   


Stay up to date on all our podcasts by signing up to Colossus Weekly, our quick dive every Sunday highlighting the top business and investing concepts from our podcasts and the best of what we read that week.  Sign up here - https://www.joincolossus.com/newsletter.

 

Follow Patrick on Twitter at @patrick_oshag

Follow Colossus on Twitter at @JoinColossus

 

Show Notes

[00:02:44] – [First question] – The origins of Tinkoff

[00:06:18] – How they started and stayed profitable, and lessons learned

[00:08:18] – Bringing Visa to Russia and what he took with him to Tinkoff

[00:10:02] – Overall Credit card and Tinkoff's specifically business model

[00:12:35] – Running an effective direct mail acquisition campaign

[00:15:45] – Branching off from the original core credit card business into other spaces

[00:18:45] – How he thinks about when to make competing investments

[00:21:00] – Embedding into new businesses and how it goes wrong

[00:24:50] – How they became a large door-to-door business in Russia

[00:27:55] – Why that door-to-door business makes it hard to compete with them

[00:29:38] – Challenges in the payments business

[00:32:25] – Using content to help them grow their business

[00:35:29] – Competitive frontiers for Tinkoff and how often they shift

[00:38:45] – What the future of Tinkoff might look like and the Russian business environment

[00:41:55] – State of the market in Russia today

[00:45:27] – Recruiting talent and building culture

[00:47:55] – What he enjoys most about his job

[00:49:14] – Failures and lessons from them

[00:52:00] – Kindest thing anyone has done for him

 

 

Jan 12, 2021

My guest today is Zach Fuss, an investor at Continental Grain, a 200-year-old family owned business that is focused on investing and operating businesses throughout the food and agriculture ecosystem with assets across the US, Latin America, and Asia. Prior to his work at Continental, Zack was an analyst at Tiger and Citadel. This is a must listen for those interested in any aspect of the food ecosystem but also understanding value chains more generally. In our conversation we cover where profits tend to sit in a specific value chain, how legacy food businesses are creating their 2nd acts as digital businesses and explore what makes Domino's Pizza so interesting and special. I hope you enjoy my conversation with Zach Fuss. 

 

For the full show notes, transcript, and links to mentioned content check out https://www.joincolossus.com/episodes/93129089/fuss-breaking-down-the-food-ecosystem

This episode of Invest Like the Best is sponsored by Canalyst. Canalyst is the leading destination for public company data and analysis.  If you’re a professional equity investor and haven’t talked to Canalyst recently, you should give them a shout. Learn more and try Canalyst for yourself at canalyst.com/Patrick.  

 

This episode is brought to you by the MIT Investment Management Company (MITIMCO). MITIMCO is always on the looking for promising investment managers with the potential to compound our capital for a decade or more. If you think your firm is too small, too young, or too non-institutional, you might just be exactly what we are looking for. Check us out at https://mitimco.org/partner/ or e-mail us at  partner@mitimco.org. Please also see our new page for emerging managers https://mitimco.org/emerging-managers/.

  

Invest like the Best is a property of Colossus Inc. For more episodes of Invest Like the Best go to https://www.joincolossus.com/episodes


Stay up to date on all our podcasts by signing up to Colossus Weekly, our quick dive every Sunday highlighting the top business and investing concepts from our podcasts and the best of what we read that week.  Sign up here - https://www.joincolossus.com/newsletter.

 

Follow Patrick on Twitter at @patrick_oshag

Follow Colossus on Twitter at @JoinColossus

 

Show Notes

[00:03:42] – [First question] – Key components of the food management business

[00:05:12] – The most defensible businesses in the food chain

[00:07:51] – Law of conservation of attractive profits in the food business and food delivery

[00:11:05] – Legacy food businesses and ones that have adapted well to changes today

[00:15:42] – Dark stores and cloud kitchens

[00:17:11] – Breaking down the Domino's Pizza business

[00:19:45] – Being a Domino's Pizza franchise owner

[00:21:03] – Why they offer such high returns to franchise owners

[00:23:22] – The tech company aspect of Domino's Pizza

[00:25:25] – Same store economics for an owner

[00:28:15] – When Domino's Pizza realized their food was not great

[00:29:45] – Why Domino's Pizza owns the delivery and won’t go on other platforms

[00:32:47] – Most portable pieces of Domino's Pizza business

[00:34:03] – Parts of Domino's Pizza history that are intriguing

[00:35:51] – Build once, sell many times

[00:40:09] – Lessons from the best retail businesses

[00:43:26] – Has it become harder for smaller companies to win with larger ones being more nimble

[00:46:39] – Watching the alternative meat companies flourish

[00:49:49] – Interesting trends in the food space

[00:51:22] – Global trends in food that we can learn from

[00:54:04] – Impact of Covid on the food industry

[00:57:44] – Businesses outside of stores that he finds fascinating

[01:00:08] – Why he’s impressed by Chipotle

[01:01:48] – Approaching buying a franchise

[01:05:30] – Creating a new QSR business and differentiating from the pack

[01:07:58] – Frontiers that he’s interested in today

[01:10:17] – What he is saying in the competitiveness in public equities

[01:13:48] – Kindest thing anyone has done for him

 

 

Jan 7, 2021

My guest today is Carlos Cashman,  co-founder and co-CEO of Thrasio an acquirer of third-party Amazon sellers. In a surprising departure for a high growth company, Thrasio has been profitable since its founding in 2018 and was most recently valued at $1 billion. In our conversation we discuss the full spectrum of the Amazon third party seller ecosystem, the effects of globally commoditized manufacturing, and the terms of Thrasio's acquisitions of Amazon businesses. I hope you enjoy this great conversation with Carlos Cashman.  

 

For the full show notes, transcript, and links to mentioned content check out https://www.joincolossus.com/episodes/28372673/cashman-lessons-from-the-amazon-ecosystem

 

This episode of Founder's Field Guide is sponsored by Klaviyo.  Klaviyo is the ultimate marketing platform for ecommerce.


With targeted segmentation, email automation, SMS marketing, and more, Klaviyo helps you create your ideal customer experience. See why Klaviyo's trusted by more than 50,000 brands, like Living Proof, Solo Stove, and Nomad to help them grow their business.

 

For a free trial check out https://www.klaviyo.com/founders

 

 

This episode is also sponsored by Vanta.  Vanta has built software that makes it easier to both get and maintain your SOC 2 report, at a fraction of the normal cost. Founders Field Guide listeners can redeem a $1k off coupon at vanta.com/patrick

 

Founder's Field Guide is a property of Colossus Inc. For more episodes of Founder's Field Guide go
to https://www.joincolossus.com/episodes.   


Stay up to date on all our podcasts by signing up to Colossus Weekly, our quick dive every Sunday highlighting the top business and investing concepts from our podcasts and the best of what we read that week.  Sign up here - https://www.joincolossus.com/newsletter.

 

Follow Patrick on Twitter at @patrick_oshag

Follow Colossus on Twitter at @JoinColossus

 

Show Notes

[00:02:44] – [First question] – Origin of Thrasio

[00:07:27] – The types of business they work with

[00:11:19] – Challenges for smaller businesses selling on Amazon and when they need a Thrasio

[00:15:31] – How the Amazon ecosystem has changed since they started

[00:18:14] – The capital sourcing side of their business

[00:19:49] – Future of the ecommerce space that has them excited

[00:27:20] – What makes the major online powerful so powerful for DTC companies

[00:32:18] – How edge erodes on spend when people crowd into a platform

[00:34:46] – Building the recognition of the Thrasio brand

[00:44:06] – His history as an entrepreneur and what was the common thread in these businesses

[00:45:47] – Getting customers early on

[00:46:47] – Knowing when something will fail

[00:48:48] – Downside of MBA’s

[00:50:07] – The importance of people in building a company

[00:51:01] – Effectively hiring people

[00:52:37] – What has to remain with the founder

            [00:52:50] – The Outsiders: Eight Unconventional CEOs and Their Radically Rational Blueprint for Success

[00:53:53] – Other places in ecommerce that fascinate him

[00:56:36] – What are the risk factors that he worries about

[00:59:12] – Kindest thing anyone has done for him

Jan 5, 2021

My guest today is Ram Parameswaran, founder of Octahedron Capital. Ram started Octahedron this year after more than 5 years as a partner at Altimeter Capital where he made investments in Square, Bytedance, Pinduoduo, and Udaan. In our conversation we cover the potential for internet scale businesses, explore the common characteristics of these businesses, and then go through a rapid-fire round of the most important qualities for 8 business models. This conversation was a blast of energy and could have gone on for 2 more hours. I hope to have Ram on again and can't imagine what his conversations are like at the dinner table with his wife and former podcast guest, Anu Hariharan. Please enjoy this awesome conversation with Ram Parameswaran.  

 

For the full show notes, transcript, and links to mentioned content check out https://www.joincolossus.com/episodes/22392883/parameswaran-internet-scale-businesses

 

This episode of Invest Like the Best is sponsored by Canalyst. Canalyst is the leading destination for public company data and analysis.  If you’re a professional equity investor and haven’t talked to Canalyst recently, you should give them a shout. Learn more and try Canalyst for yourself at canalyst.com/Patrick.  

 

This episode is brought to you by the MIT Investment Management Company (MITIMCO). MITIMCO is always on the looking for promising investment managers with the potential to compound our capital for a decade or more. If you think your firm is too small, too young, or too non-institutional, you might just be exactly what we are looking for. Check us out at https://mitimco.org/partner/ or e-mail us at  partner@mitimco.org. Please also see our new page for emerging managers https://mitimco.org/emerging-managers/.

  

Invest like the Best is a property of Colossus Inc. For more episodes of Invest Like the Best go to https://www.joincolossus.com/episodes


Stay up to date on all our podcasts by signing up to Colossus Weekly, our quick dive every Sunday highlighting the top business and investing concepts from our podcasts and the best of what we read that week.  Sign up here - https://www.joincolossus.com/newsletter.

 

Follow Patrick on Twitter at @patrick_oshag

Follow Colossus on Twitter at @JoinColossus

 

Show Notes

[00:03:45] – [First question] – The opportunity of the commercial internet

[00:11:18] – Identifying the companies that will take advantage of this shift to online commerce

[00:18:30] – How businesses build scale, in particular internet vs non-internet businesses

            [00:23:09] – How Amazon Wins: By Steamrolling Rivals and Partners

[00:24:19] – The Carvana playbook

[00:30:11] – Using frequency of use as a factor in valuing a business

[00:33:55] – Evaluating ByteDance and what can others learn from them

[00:40:52] – Finding success in an experiment

[00:43:32] – How online commerce business will grow globally, with India in focus

[00:55:28] – How they approach and evaluate online advertising businesses

[00:54:50] – Evaluating direct content subscription online businesses

[00:55:42] – Biggest challenges in building ecommerce online businesses

[00:58:31] – The lens to evaluate online marketplace businesses

[00:59:43] – What distinct things matter for on-demand online businesses

[01:01:56] – The competition in the online payment space business

[01:06:35] – Rake/Take rates outside of the US

[01:08:25] – Things that matter for consumer software

[01:10:25] – How that compares to enterprise software

[01:11:44] – Evaluating developer companies

            [01:11:51] – Jeff Lawson Podcast Episode

[01:13:53] – Advice to help people be successful early in their investing career

[01:17:22] – Kindest thing anyone has done for him

1