The Rise of Company X
How the world's most successful companies gained power
I love reading analyses that dive deep into "The Rise of Company X".
The best pieces from this genre approach companies from the perspective of an analyst and go beyond linear narrative to look at early go to market and product decisions, strategic tradeoffs, company culture, competitive dynamics, and missteps. The best ones explain what unique early insights led to innovation and eventually market power. It is also great when the analysts take a position on the future of the company — what threats to they face and what needs to be done from here to maintain, expand, or regain competitive advantage?
I have been collecting these types of analyses (and writing them) for a while and shared a bunch them in this thread on Twitter a couple of weeks ago. Since then, I’ve added a dozen more to the list and have another handful in my queue to read.
While I am collecting them on an ongoing basis here in my public Notion, I thought it made sense to share all of them here as well and give you some weekend reading!
If you know of any more I should add to the list, let me know in the comments or over on Twitter.
Essays and Analysis
A Look at SoftBank Vision Fund I
7 Global Capital
Dark Horse Discord
Why Figma Wins
10 Years of Excellence: A Deconstruction of Supercell
Miska Katkoff and Giovanni Ducati
Pinduoduo and The Rise of Social E-Commerce
Anu Hariharan and Nic Dardenne
A Brief History Of Spotify: Gustav Söderström
Gustav Söderström / Spotify
Why Nintendo Isn't the Next Disney (And What It Will Be Instead)
Aaron Bush / Master the Meta
Netflix Misunderstandings (Parts I - VII)
Matthew Ball / Redef
Under Division — Under Armour's Core Issue
Web Smith / 2PM
What is Amazon?
11 Notes on McKinsey
The History of Bloomberg (Twitter Thread)
Thoughts on Sea Limited
HBO's Origins — A Netflix with Atoms
What's Next for Pinduoduo?
Building the next entertainment giant — Wattpad
I have also written a couple pieces of my own that sort of fall into this genre...
If you prefer audio, the Acquired Podcast is a great source. I've linked a few of my favorites and those recommended on Twitter below but the whole list is here and I am looking forward to going back through and listening to ones I missed in the past.
They have done deep dives into pretty much every important Chinese tech company and Chinese tech trend. Highly, highly recommend.
There are also writers that do these sorts of analyses on a pretty regular basis. Some of my favorites come from Nicolas Colin, Co-Founder of The Family. I linked to his McKinsey analysis above. My two other favorites are his deep dives on Berkshire Hathaway and and Goldman Sachs. You can find the rest here in this thread.
One of areas I spend a lot of time trying to learn about and understand is the rise of the One Person Company. I wrote about my optimism for that market opportunity here.
The best writer on One Person Companies — specifically media companies — is Dan Runcie from Trapital. A couple of his best:
This one about the rise of Square's Cash App is also outstanding.
If you are looking for books tracking the rise of important companies, here are a few of my favorites: