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Episode 21: Inside the M&A Press with Bloomberg's Alex Sherman

Episode 21: Inside the M&A Press with Bloomberg's Alex Sherman

Tue, 27 Sep 2016 21:33

Ben and David go inside the M&A press with Bloomberg’s technology M&A reporter and host of the Deal of the Week Podcast, Alex Sherman. If you’ve ever wondered how stories about big deals get broken or what “according to people familiar with the matter” really means, tune in for the behind-the-scenes scoop!
Note: A technical glitch with our recording setup created occasional short silences between Alex’s comments and Ben & David’s. It shouldn’t impact listenability, but we apologize for the awkward pauses!
Topics covered include:
  • Bloomberg’s own fascinating “history & facts” and origins following the acquisition of storied Wall Street firm Salomon Brothers
  • Bloomberg’s core as a highly profitable technology business (selling terminals to Wall Street firms), with a large media empire built on top of it
  • The tradable value of breaking M&A news & information to Bloomberg’s terminal customers, and competing on speed
  • How “sources" work — and industry standard that sources be directly within the companies involved in a deal
  • The coded language of M&A reporting and gleaning where information is coming from based on a story’s structure and phrasing
  • The lifecycle of a story—steps from sourcing to writing to release, and reasons (or lack thereof) for why stories run when they do
  • Internal & external PR resources companies use for M&A
  • How Alex prioritizes his time researching and creating stories, and who he’s meeting with to hear about what deals are in the works
  • The difference between ‘news' and ‘analysis', and why news dominates the majority of stories versus deeper analysis
  • Media and social media business models, their evolution in the messenger world, and speculation on Twitter’s future
  • How entrepreneurs can think about interacting with the press and building relationships with the right reporters for their stage and space
  • Apple’s ‘unique’ approach to press relations
Hot Takes:
The Carve Out:

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Our presenting sponsor for this episode is not a sponsor but another podcast that we love and want to recommend called the founders podcast. We have seen dozens of tweets that say something like my favorite podcast is acquired and founder so we knew there's a natural fit. We know the host of founders well David Senra. Hi David. Hey, Ben. Hey, David. Thank you for joining us. Thank you for having me. I like how they group us together and then they say it's like the best curriculum for founders and executives. It really is. We use your show for research a lot. I listened to your episode of the story of Akio Maria before we did our Sony episodes this incredible primer. You know, he's actually a good example of why people listen to founders until acquired because all of history's greatest entrepreneurs and investors they had deep historical knowledge about the work that came before them. So like the founder of Sony, who did he influence? Steve Jobs talked about him over and over again if you do the research to him. But I think this is one of the reasons why people love both of our shows and there's such good compliments is on acquired. We focus on company histories. You tell the histories of the individual people. You're the people version of acquired and where the company version of founders listeners. The other fun thing to note is David will hit a topic from a bunch of different angles. So I just listened to an episode on Edwin Land from a biography that David did David. It was the third fourth time you've done Polaroid. I've read five biographies of Edwin Land and I think I've made eight episodes of them because in my opinion, the greatest such a printer to ever do it, my favorite entrepreneur personally is Steve Jobs. And if you go back and listen to like a 20 year old Steve Jobs, he's talking about Edwin Land's my hero. So the reason I did that is because I want to find out like I have my heroes who were their heroes and the beauty of this is the people may die, but the ideas never do. And so Edwin Land had passed away way before the apex of Apple. But Steve was still able to use those ideas and now he's gone and we can use those ideas. And so I think what acquires doing what a founder trying to do as well is find the best ideas in history and push them down to generations. Make sure they're not lost history. I love that. Well listeners, go check out the founders podcast after this episode. You can search for it in any podcast player. Lots of companies that David covers that we have yet to dive into here on acquired. So for more indulgence on companies and founders, go check it out. Well, the nice thing is I don't think this is going to be a super long episode anyway. So yeah. We said that before. Yeah, right. Who got the truth? Is it you? Is it you? Is it you? Who got the truth now? Is it you? Is it you? Is it you? Sit me down. Say it straight. Another story on the way. Welcome to episode 21 of acquired the podcast where we talk about technology acquisitions. I'm Ben Gilbert. I'm David Rosenthal. And we are your hosts. Today is a special episode where we yet again break them old and do a little bit of experimenting of our own here at acquired. We are covering the press perspective of mergers and acquisitions. And we have special guests with us Alex Sherman from from Bloomberg. He's based out of their New York headquarters and is the host of the great deal of the week podcast. He started at Bloomberg in 2008 as an intern out of graduate school and has worked in a variety of roles and covered a number of beats since then. Thanks so much Alex for joining us and welcome to the show. Thanks for having me. Yeah, yeah. We are excited to to have you here. And especially as a former employee of the media industry myself a number of years ago now. I'm really looking forward to this one. I think we're going to have a great time talking about the press and how you guys cover deals, your business model and how it all relates to tech and acquisitions. So thanks again for joining us. Yeah, absolutely. It's nice to be on this side of the table instead of the host of the podcast which I'm used to. I'm put my answer in question. You're getting questions posed to you. Yeah, you'll see as the course of this goes around I may end up being like just interviewing you guys for a force of habit. But yeah, all of that be our listeners can then then see the tables turned. Yeah, for our listeners out there we wanted to do this episode. We were we were talking with Alex about you know what would be the right way to kind of like work work together on something or have Alex be on an episode and as we were talking we realized there's this totally fascinating process of the news cycle of M&A and why we read about stories when we do and how that whole process works that was really not something I had thought about even after doing 20 episodes of of this podcast. So we thought it'd be a cool idea to have Alex on and you know clue everyone in on the process. Yeah, so before we kick off we're going to abandon our traditional structure for this show and do it as a special episode. But I want to sneak in a little bit of history and facts about Bloomberg because I bet a lot of our listeners may consume Bloomberg media but don't really know much about the company other than Michael Bloomberg former mayor of New York was the founder. But it's interesting. So Bloomberg actually I think might be like the largest technology company that nobody really thinks about or talks about too much because people think about it as a media company. But it actually is at its heart and its origins of technology company. So it has it was founded in 1981 by Michael Bloomberg and Michael had been a partner at Solomon Brothers which was an investment bank on Wall Street and Solomon Brothers got acquired in either 80 or 81 by an entity that was rolling up banks and eventually became city group. And as part of that acquisition, Michael as a partner made 10 million dollars in the acquisition and he used that money. He turned around and he started a company called Innovative Market Systems. IMS. Not quite as catchy but definitely a little bit less self-serving. Fortunately for the brand a couple years later just changed the name to Bloomberg. In 1983 so a couple years later, Merrill Lynch, another large investment bank actually invested $30 million in the company for a 30% stake. And then ultimately when Merrill got bought by B of A during the financial crisis in 2008 Bloomberg bought that stake back from Merrill. But the core business of Bloomberg is actually this thing called terminals which Alex you probably use every day and many consumers of Bloomberg media use. I do. I just don't have to spend the $25,000 a year per user fee that everybody else does. Exactly. And terminals are this was kind of like the WhatsApp or the maybe Snapchat or like the WhatsApp for traders for Wall Street long before the smartphone or WhatsApp or AOL or anything like that. It's the communications platform for Wall Street and basically everybody uses it today. Yeah and if for our listeners out there that do use this sorry for butchering the explanation of what it is and for the listeners that don't it's this total black hole for people that that earn in the industry that they actually it's a bloom it's Bloomberg branded hardware and you pay an annual fee and it hooks up to service and it has all this software installed and it sits on your desk and it's your kind of core operating you know it's the operating system on which you work. Yep and you make trades on the platform you communicate with other traders on the platform you can run all sorts of data and analytics on stocks on companies on markets it's very very cool and as Alex was alluding to it's also quite expensive when you when you're selling to clients that have a lot of money they're willing to pay a lot. Yep. So Bloomberg unlike it's interesting you know and then we'll get into the show here but in recent years Bloomberg has evolved and started you know started doing radio which is now podcasts like Alex is deal of the week and television as TV channels news they're about 2000 plus editors and reporters at Bloomberg that Alex is part of that organization but the terminals subscribers to the terminals as Alex was alluding to pay about $25,000 a year per terminal and there are in the neighborhood of half a million people that do that which makes Bloomberg quite a large company. Yeah it's really interesting to think about there's all these you know we've talked about the changing dynamics in the media industry and a lot of these different episodes and you know it's primarily because the way that most publications work is just selling ads and that's their main revenue model and their subscription there's paywalls and there's all these other things but you know with Bloomberg they produce all this media but the core the core business is is one with network effects one that's based on technology one that's essential for people to do their job and it's it's not monetizing the ads on the publications and there's a little bit of that too because you know it's a decent business but you know certainly not compared to sell in terminals. So with that Alex with that long preamble what's your perspective on all that being you know at Bloomberg at this company but but also being a journalist and a reporter and an M&A reporter how how does that play out for you. So I started at Bloomberg as you mentioned as an intern in January of 2008 and I have sort of without revealing the who what or when I'd say I've had interviews with virtually every single competitor of Bloomberg since then at one point or another for to change jobs or because just someone was interested in meeting me and I've never left and there's a reason for that and the main reason is what you just described Bloomberg is and this has been the case since I joined the company Bloomberg is in better financial shape than all of our competitors so it has been hard for me to rationalize why I would go work at say a newspaper which really struggles financially and and lives on advertisement when our entire operation is you could say subsidized by the Bloomberg terminal business which does nine billion dollars a year in revenue and is not ad supported ad supported businesses unless you're a Google or Facebook are by and large not good you don't have to look very far even digital media companies that have decent valuations really struggle and nothing is near the size of Bloomberg so what I have tried to do at Bloomberg is to try to figure out what can I do to provide value here to the core business not just some sort of ancillary side project because you mentioned Bloomberg has business week we have a TV station we have a radio station we have podcasts but in the end if you're not serving the core function of this business you're not essential to this business so whatever I did here I wanted to make sure that I was providing value to maybe both the common user and the terminal user and covering M&A I think is very central to that function because M&A stories move markets a lot more than almost any other story if we can break a deal if we can say this company is in talks to buy you know company X is in talks to buy company Y the stocks and bonds are going to move for those companies the prices are going to move and it therefore makes it worthwhile for you to spend $25,000 a year to buy a Bloomberg terminal if you're trading on this information and one very important note that your listener should know is that Bloomberg terminal customers get our news 15 minutes before the rest of the world gets it it's basically a built-in paywall so if you realize that that's right if you're a terminal subscriber you have access to this information first now a lot of that that advantage and if you're a hedge fund and you're you're trading the markets like that's and you and you know and Alex breaks a story about you know a potential merger like that that is that pays for itself in literally the $25,000 a year pays for itself in seconds yeah well 15 minutes is an attorney it's it comes in the sales pitch there's no question that you know some of our biggest scoops while we try to sell customers terminals we say look we broke this deal you know six billion dollars in market value was created instantly and you would have missed it if you don't have a Bloomberg terminal what I will say though and this is this is very important toward the future of this business is that that 15 minute the 15 minute delay has eroded because of social media and in essence TV so what has happened is you still don't get the story first but as soon as we hit headlines it goes on Bloomberg TV so we have it virtually instantly so in other words we've sort of cannibalized ourselves that way and of course anyone that has a Bloomberg terminal can then tweet the headline so we realized that we live in a world now where the 15 minute delay is a little bit an agronistic it still exists but it's something that's discussed here internally almost all the time like do we want to change this do we still want to keep it so far we've decided as an as an organization that there's still value in this so we do keep it but you know Twitter and other forms of media have certainly put this 15 minute delay in a different category now and I think we're okay with it because honestly so much of the trading is algorithmic that the money is made instantly so really you just need to be first and as long as your point zero zero zero one seconds first you've paid it off after that point when the stock jumps and everything's programmed in there it's much less important that's exactly where I was going to go I mean it's super interesting how that's evolved it reminds me a little bit of when I was at the Wall Street Journal you know our debate was you know famously the WSJ dot com had a paywall in an era when you know very few news organizations did on the internet but that's like almost that's like the if you're talking about like access to a story when all that matters is the news that's totally different from this situation and I was going to ask like how do you as a reporter now and when you're covering an M&A acquisition when it is all about that data that's going to feed the algorithmic traders do you does Bloomberg now and do you as your writing stories like set up data feeds that come out when you break the story so we deal with this in different ways so we know that there's going to be a reaction given our stories and there are ways within the Bloomberg terminal that we can actually somewhat manipulate the reaction and it becomes incumbent upon us to do this responsibly so the the the most telling way that that I can explain this is that our biggest stories are are red headed they're literally red on the terminal so there's a scrolling set of headlines at the bottom of your terminal that are constantly going by and the biggest stories are highlighted in red so if we break a news story and we red headed there's almost always a massive jump in the stocks and that I would imagine has to do with algorithms from trading from traders that are set up however they do it to be coded where if something is red headed then the stocks move so we will purposefully not redhead stories where we don't actually want to generate an enormous market reaction if maybe the story is more nuanced so you know if if let's say a company might be considering buying another company but they haven't entered formal talks yet or something like that you know we we want to make sure that we emphasize the nuance there so that maybe that maybe that particular M&A deal is not as advanced as we would you know maybe want one to be or maybe here's another example that talks have happened and ended and are now dead and it's not a lot for example you wouldn't redhead something about you know apple to probably buy McLaren right that's right in fact we did not redhead that story when when because we did write sort of a version of it after the FT put out their story and yes we did not redhead that story although although let me put let me put it this way when and this is something that we do as a sort of a service to our clients when the FT ran that story their headline was redheaded so we did redhead their headline because the people that made that decision thought that that was an important enough headline and the FT is of a stature where we have decided at Bloomberg that that they're right almost all the time so you know we've given certain media organizations the FT the New York Times CNBC the Wall Street Journal the benefit of the doubt that they're they're you know they know we know that their track record is good enough that even if they beat us to a story we typically will alert our clients to that fact now look at what it's interesting it's almost like even at that point this is what's so fascinating about how markets work like the news like you you guys may have decided not to redhead or not to run a story about that potential acquisition but once that news is out there that impacts the markets so redheading the news that the news the news that the rumor is out there is probably is a super relevant to your customers you David you hit on something that we talk about all the time here as reporters which is if we get beat on a story how much do we then have to react to somebody else's story uh you know so it's it's a in other words this wasn't news a minute ago and we didn't feel but now that the now that the news is out there all the sudden things are baked into the stock price so is it worth it for us to negate somebody else's story just to have the the stock price come down you know sometimes the answer that is yes and sometimes the answer to that is no and just let it be and sort of let the fact that Bloomberg didn't match the story speak on its own as look you know we weren't able to confirm this so we're not really in the business of slamming other people's erroneous reports but sometimes it is sort of necessary to do that if the market has moved one way or another right and it's interesting that your incentives are kind of the opposite I mean a lot of publications these days the incentives are around page views and and you know they're their cpm's and what they want to do is make something seem splashier than it is so they they get more attention and for you guys that you know you don't want to be the boy that cried wolf and you have a responsibility to your your paying customers to deliver them what you believe is the most accurate representation of of the news so you actually have an incentive not to downplay things but certainly to play them accurately and if others are overplaying them then you might be incentivized to give your your customers the the kind of edge by by making sure to downplay it just to negate the overhyping yeah definitely absolutely which actually I think makes this place sort of a good place to work because you don't get caught in that game you can sort of feel good about yourself when you go home at night that your your sole obligation is to just be as right as possible uh and yeah you're incentives are aligned with the truth absolutely and that helps a lot when we cover M&A because I am reliant on people that are directly involved in these transactions to give me the information uh to put out these stories in other words we can hear all sorts of information from indirect sources maybe they're uh you know bankers that aren't working on a deal or maybe they're rival executives or maybe they're x board members or maybe they're friends of an executive or maybe they're traders who have a financial incentive on their own well not none of those sources are good enough for us to publish something on because they're not direct yeah so so when Bloomberg runs a story as someone who reads it you can be certain of the fact that this is not indirect information you know that there was there have been a number of cases where I have put out a story and it's happened to be you know the day before earnings or something like that there was a big uh there was a company called synaptics which is based in uh california um and it was a takeover target for a Chinese conglomerate for about nine months and I put out a series of stories basically that said you know the the Chinese conglomerate is interested they're interested in this price they've done due diligence they've lowered it to this price there's still in talks and then eventually the thing died and it was a whole life cycle story of interested lowered price thing over there were like four stories all along the way and I was the only one that reported it for whatever reason no one matched this story but I knew who my sources were and they're directly intimately involved in the process so from both sides not just one side so so no one has an incentive to lie here uh and and that that's also should be pointed out that we have to get both sides sourcing in order to run a story to be comfortable with the fact that it's right uh so everyone has given a chance to sort of weigh in here and hopefully publish things so I got a number of emails I got a number of emails from from traders saying you know you're being played you're being manipulated here this is no one else is matching these stories you someone is playing you to manipulate the stock and make money off it but of course I know who's doing this and I mean there's there's there's no way we'd all go to jail and they have and it's just not their job to do that so you know it's one of those things that I sort of have to explain to people like no you don't understand the way Bloomberg sourcing is done I'm not getting this information from traders doesn't work that way yeah it is that so across the industry this is great transition they kind of other thing we wanted to talk another one of these several things we wanted to talk about is how what are the nuts and bolts of how this works so is that is that standard across the industry or is that unique to Bloomberg that you need and is it you know for you to feel comfortable going with a story that you have direct sources from both sides of a deal is is is that your standard and and is that standard across the industry so this can be in general that is the standard there can be exceptions if we know something is really in a hot pursuit and we know the Wall Street Journal is chasing it and we know the financial times is chasing it there are certain times where if we are so certain of one side of the source let's say it's the CEO of a company that we've gotten to tell us something on background all this stuff by the way is it's never on the record it's all anonymously sourced so the whole job is based on relationships with people so if if we have an existing relationship with the CEO or the chairman of the board of a company and they've told us something at that point what we'll probably do is we still will reach out to the other side to say we're running this but we may only give them a very short amount of time to sort of get back to us before before we say right like at least give them the chance to say no comment and then and then basically what we'll say is all right we've given them the chance they didn't wave us off the story we know our other sources so strong here that will go with it and in those cases you will see some stories that we run attributed to just a person familiar with the matter but everything else will be attributed to people familiar with the matter and by and large that means that people on both sides have weighed in that means both sides interesting wow this is that's so cool yeah no idea and these are the words that you know I mean we we started like we read a lot of these articles given what we do on the show and I think the probably if you're not in the industry that like I was just glossed right over that like what does that mean like but but coded in that language is are these are these indications about like what the genesis of the story so so I'll give you a little bit more so there's a lot of inside baseball things that you would never know to look for unless you're talking to a reporter you can sometimes glean where the information is coming from based on who the reporter is so people that cover M&A you have to look up what these people do and what their jobs are so on a given story there may be three by lines the first by line is typically where the main information has come from almost all major new news organizations does this so the person with the first by line usually has gotten the critical or maybe the first piece of information to kick off a scoop this is based purely on fresh news scoops well sometimes on a deal reporter number one is let's say the activist investor reporter so you know that the information came from the activist because otherwise that person wouldn't be on the story in other cases maybe the first the first by line is let's say you know Verizon just bought Yahoo well we have a different Verizon reporter than a Yahoo reporter same with the Wall Street Journal same with Royals take a look at who the first by line is if the first by line is the Yahoo reporter then the main information came from Yahoo or someone involved with Yahoo so then maybe the last by line is the Verizon reporter then you can say all right well then that person probably just called Verizon to check up on that the information from the Yahoo side was right so you can sort of figure out where the the information came from it's not always a leak though which is very important I think for people we're not talking about strategic leaks all the time and and we actually talk about this if you go to episode seven of my deal the week podcast I talk about this with the other two M&A reporters at Bloomberg a lot of the information simply comes from you know what I would say to some degree is coincidence which is I have been trying to get a meeting with a person for weeks or months and finally this person has said yes and so I have lunch or coffee with them and and I'm able I'm able to ask the right questions to the right person and get information and then I come back to the office you know well maybe it's seven at night at that point and we've made a decision at Bloomberg this story is not so important that I need to go out at seven at night we'll put it out tomorrow so then the story goes out tomorrow but like you know I had to have some sort of you know parent teacher conference with my kid in the morning so the story eventually goes out at like three o'clock in the afternoon well there's no strategy to that but I think a lot of people read in and in fact you see it all the time on Twitter after stories I've broken why did this story come out when it did like there's way less into that than you think almost all the time like the story went out when it did because like I got around to writing it when I did and I met with the right person at the right time that I would say 80% of the stories fall into that bucket and 20% of the stories fall into there's some sort of reason for why the story is going out right now. Interesting do the from your perspective generally do the players in the stories understand all of this coded language as well like let's take Yahoo Verizon for example which I know you spent a ton of time on that story you know byline comes out and say you know on one of the pieces of information and let's say it's a critical story and the Verizon reporter is known as you know first on the byline does Yahoo that do people Yahoo then understand that means that okay like this information is probably coming from from Verizon or or is this is this kind of you know the the backroom baseball here so it depends on who at Yahoo you're talking about so that your general CEO or or CFO or board member has no idea by and large so they rely on their own internal media relations or in the case of an M&A deal they actually hire outside PR firms and these people absolutely know in fact many of them are former journalists so they are hired specifically to help companies figure out a where the information is coming from and then be to sort of craft the story and to work with reporters so all the M&A reporters know the major external PR firms that are hired on deals very well we speak to them all the time so there the companies are called there's one that's called Brunswick there's one that's called Sardir Binon there's one that's called Joelle Frank there's one that's called Abernathy McGregor there's a handful of other ones that but those are the major ones that are hired specifically to deal with M&A transactions so when one company decides it's going to sell itself or is engaged in a sales process they then hire one of these external firms and sort of the PR at that point is then pushed in their direction so in many cases you actually stop dealing with the company directly and then you sort of start dealing with the PR firm so for instance you know in Yahoo's case Yahoo had a pre-existing relationship with Brunswick but a lot of the communication you know trying to figure out if stuff was right or not ends up going through Brunswick rather than Yahoo the Yahoo internal PR system also is still a method of getting at what information is right and wrong and they were certainly still involved in that process but it really does depend on how sophisticated the company is whether or not they keep the PR internally or sort of hand it off externally that's really interesting it sort of leads me to start thinking about your your week and your day how do you decide you know what you're going to chase down and when you're going to do sort of long lead things where you should be aggressively trying to get this this launcher this coffee setup and how do you decide hey this is the panic button and then in terms of amount of media created like how many stories do you write a week you do one podcast a week what's the total amount of media that you create so on a given week I'd say probably right two to three stories on average there's certainly no quota for that in terms of what I'm focusing on I have a chase list that I keep for myself that is built on sort of a running list of tips that I've gotten from everyone I speak with so that runs the gamut of company executives company corporate development type people bankers lawyers board members consultants that are hired by some of these companies private equity firms PR people I'm sure there's a few other people that are in there and that makes it all but those are the general people that I'm meeting with that are at the level that they'd actually know sort of what's going on that's sort of my rotating cast of characters that I'm meeting with on a given day then when I have to sort of narrow in on something so you know sometimes these sales processes I'm coming up with purely out of the blue and so you know nothing had been reported on this and then suddenly I'm able to break a story and now and now there's a whole circus around it so one of the stories I broke was Verizon was actually had started talks and was interested in buying AOL so this is before the Yahoo thing so that was a story that sort of there was no narrative around that and then my colleague Scott Meritz and I broke that story and now all of a sudden it's sort of out there so now everyone's chasing it for the Yahoo story you know Yahoo eventually decided like they would go public with that and sort of admitted that they were going to sell the company so then like the whole the whole world is on the Yahoo story and then it's at that so so so then becomes very high profile for me so to your question about what to chase because now I know that that is going to be a really competitive story and I know that Yahoo is a big enough company that like everybody's going to care about that so I'm going to pay more attention to breaking a Yahoo story than any of the sort of you know deals that of lesser significance either by name recognition or by size that may come along that's still sort of technically under my umbrella beat of all technology media and telecom companies which is my beat absolutely Burke so you know I may let a three or four billion dollar deal pass without really chasing it if I'm close to breaking some news even if it's just incremental news on Yahoo because I know it's going to get a lot more readership and it's going to get a lot more attention both internally and externally now beyond name recognition the other general metric I use a size so I'm trying to you know at Bloomberg we sort of pride ourselves on breaking the biggest deals so if I can break a 15 billion dollar deal that's going to be a lot more important to me than breaking a one billion dollar deal and really we don't even pay attention to deals that are under one billion dollars unless they come with some big name recognition so maybe a company used to be worth a lot more and now they aren't anymore or for some other reason you know a lot of people happen to know this company because they're consumer facing or whatever it may be so you're saying if we've got some small M&A that we want to sweep under the rug just wait till Verizon's gonna pull a pull an acquisition and then then do it then yes exactly that's exactly what I'm saying getting getting very yeah wait until Verizon's gonna do an acquisition on a Friday and then do it on a Friday take it out with trash right so this leads to a this leads to a point that David and I had been talking about since kind of a couple of years ago before we were doing acquired and we were thinking about you know if we were going to do a podcast maybe this would be an interesting area to go after because it sure seems like nobody talks about these deals after they're done people talk about them when they're announced people talk about them when they close but there's never this like retrospective or like did that actually go well or trying to understand you know what what trends were were can we extrapolate from these deals that have gone well and hence us starting this podcast why is that in your opinion like what why do we not see this sort of coverage later on beyond just the fact that you know that information is less actionable at that point so one of the reasons is it's much harder it's much harder to to to write a good comprehensive story on that and it's it would necessarily be sort of a featuring type story because you really have to dig in and sort of start at the beginning look you guys do a good job of it on this podcast but from a reporter standpoint we need to decide do I want to spend the work on sort of figuring out exactly how good this acquisition was from a culture standpoint from a financial standpoint you know I have to go back I have to figure out you know it sort of exactly how this acquisition may have been profitable or unprofitable a lot of times the numbers are masked because once a big company buys a little company they don't necessarily need to break out all of all of the numbers that used to be publicly available when that first company was public. We joke on the show that that's we joke on this show that's why we love lawsuits. Right exactly we get to dig into them. Exactly the numbers all of a sudden become become public or other things that were hidden for sure but I mean the biggest reason is what you said that it's that it's not actionable the the main reason is that my incentive here is particularly a Bloomberg is to move markets I mean it's something that is very well known here like the goal is to provide value to a Bloomberg subscriber that's trading on information so at Bloomberg it's very cut and dry which is like if you have the time you know 80% of your day should be trying to break news on live deals I mean the other 20% I mean these are just made up numbers but I'm saying whatever the other 20% is sort of your own time so if if I wanted to write a story like to Google time right it's Google time exactly that's right it's free you know free project Google X or whatever they call it Google so so then it's up to me on what to do so look we are this isn't quite what you guys do in the podcast but we did decide as a team that we're going to take on a project for next year where we do oral histories of certain deals so that's something you can expect for Bloomberg so we will go back in time and talk to the people that were involved let's say 10 years ago I think we're going to try to do them around like acquisitions or anniversaries of acquisitions so we're going to go back and talk to the people that were involved and ask them why they did this what they were thinking at the time it won't really be a look at sort of how successful or unsuccessful the acquisition was so that's not quite what you're getting at those really you know are sort of what I read in Harvard case studies typically Harvard Business School case studies at business school so for people that have actually gone to business school I think you do see that a lot of the time but those are not you know publicly available in general for people so you really don't see that very much so one of the reasons yes it's not actionable and the other reason is that it's just sort of hard to do it given the fact that you have mandates to do other things yeah it's a little bit like it's it's like you know getting news on Facebook versus you know reading articles on medium or something like that or you know or you know or long or something like you know it's the you want the dopamine like the dopamine hits of and which for you guys is moving markets and for the news industry like there's a lot more in aggregate there is a lot more dollars and value and buzz in that then there is on the you know the hard to going back and eating you know like all playful of vegetables I do think that another part of it is that general the general public really just wants to know the headline information so you know what companies buying what company and how much is it and then like they sort of move on so that's how that's how the news I mean all the news cycle works like that in all forms and fashions of life what's the headline news okay I got it we'll just move on that's sort of what our culture is like now so even in what you're talking about which is like was an acquisition successful or not you know almost all I want to know it can be sort of told on a gut level so like have I read how successful Facebook buying Instagram was like no like do I know that Facebook buying Instagram was really successful yeah I do I'd like to know maybe how successful it was but like once I know how much money Facebook gain from Instagram which requires some analysis like that's about all I need to know you know I don't really need to like read the sort of the why behind that people that are really involved in this stuff and do it for a living I'm sure would but you know that then all of the sudden now you're dealing with sort of a new form of media which is like all right well if I'm only writing something to the people that are really involved in this now I'm almost working for a trade publication rather than the Wall Street Journal or Bloomberg so I'm going to write something that's really focused on from an audience perspective about who I'm writing for yeah I mean that's something we think about with this show all the time wait David and I have looked at our numbers we probably had three sort of check-ins since we started the show trying to figure out okay what's the future of this thing you know this is but like a side project for both of us and you know you start looking around another technology podcast like whoa how big could it get but you're right it's super niche it's this thing that it's people that are in the M&A world or in startups and hope to one day be in the M&A world and you know that that's got that's got a ceiling and I think you talking about the fact that it kind of fits under that moniker of trade publication is the best way to succinctly put it that I've heard yet yeah it's something that I think about two for my podcast which is I mean it's an M&A podcast so I you know I think to myself like all right well people that have some sort of demonstrated interest in M&A which pretty much means you work in the business will listen to this and how do I how do I get out of the that box how how do I grow an audience for my podcast too so just just this past weeks episode is Rob Kindler who's the head of M&A Morgan Stanley global head of M&A and his brother is a stand-up comedian Andy Kindler so I had them both on the show so I'm I'm I'm trying to figure out ways myself of like all right well maybe Andy Kindler fans will listen to this thing and it's not just the M&A crowd and like I've got to think to myself how do I grow the audience here so that it's not just sort of the standard fair of people that work you know and sort of live and breathe this industry well I can I can tell you that I think you're your idea to do the what you and the team have decided to do with kind of more of the feature piece around anniversaries just looking at at what people have told us about this show has has a lot of merit because when we do certain episodes for example the the Snapchat and Facebook acquisition that wasn't episode that has a tremendous backstory and there's drama and there's it you know listening to David run through the acquisition history and facts there is is enjoyable in its own right just as a form of entertainment so I think that there've been a few instances where we had a more dramatic history reading there and that is something that we continually have people tell us you know I actually am not that interested in M&A but I listened to that episode specifically because my friend told me it was interesting and I loved hearing that story yeah that that is absolutely something we found on and been spot on on this show and our listeners can tell us you know if you disagree but I know you will like people listen to us for the stories you know and that's like that's what's so interesting that we found is this difference between you know news versus stories versus analysis and getting that balance right you know obviously our our listener base and potential listener base is much smaller than than Bloomberg's but but I find it fascinating like how those those three pillars of what's going on you know vary by by medium yeah my idea for the or I don't know if I should give this away because like my competitors at the Wall Street Journal are listening they'll take the idea but I'll at least tease you guys that it's it's it's sort of what you're hinting at where that there is sort of an anniversary coming up of a counterfactual a deal that did not happen so that is what that's sort of what the oral history that I'm thinking of doing is to talk to the people that were involved and sort of why it didn't happen and like what the world would have looked like if it did yeah well that's what I mean I think I think thus far our latest episode on Android is probably on track to eclipse this but I think our most popular episode is Snapchat it's neck to neck with LinkedIn because we did that one like that was the first time that you know not that we were anywhere close to breaking news there but it was still at the top of the news cycle when we released that episode so I think it was a lot of people asking their friends what do you think of this LinkedIn thing and they we had already put up an episode so people would say you really should listen to that at this podcast episode to hear about it but that was like a that was like a spike when it was relevant in the news but Snapchat just keeps getting tons of downloads and I think it's because of this like oh it's this anti history you know like what what the world could have been if Snapchat were part of Facebook yeah I also I think a lot of people are simply just fascinated with Snapchat I I know I am in part because I mean I'm 34 years old and like I can't figure out how to use Snapchat like so I it's the first like company that has a product where I'm like I am aged out of this at this point like I don't know what this thing is depressing really not intuitive to me I don't fully understand why it's popular that said I do see sort of a Snapchat model here that where I feel like other other companies are we're all sort of moving towards something you know I just actually we we just met with the whole executive team at line the Japanese company that does its messenger service and they were sort of explaining to us how in Japan line and some other companies have sort of taken the path of having your whole ecosystem done through its platform so online you know you can order a cap or a pen line you can you basically yeah you order your meals through line so all of these other independent apps in this country are sort of housed within one ecosystem with line and you can see Snapchat developing into that certainly Facebook is trying but you know Facebook messenger is still sort of very much independent of Facebook and sort of that your core Facebook your news feed your pictures it's not quite all lined up in the same sort of bubble ecosystem obviously like I think even the new iOS 10 for Apple you're sort of seeing things move in this direction a little bit but you know it's an app store baked into imesitive exactly exactly so you know I think Snapchat has it right where they've realized oh this sort of you know housing form of chat and and general communication can also be used to do other things one of the questions we were going to ask you is a you know a section we always do on the show is tech trends and you know what this deal represents and tech trends and I think that's a perfect one of you know that we were going to ask you like what tech trends do you see you know covering the landscape that are that are coming and and absolutely know how messaging like you can look to Asia and see how messaging has evolved into this operating system there and then the question I think is like is is and if so if so when will that start to be the reality you know in the US as well made major major wave that's happening in Asia and and the question is is that coming here to the US too I'm curious to hear your thoughts on this one because here's a here's a tech trend that has not happened yet but I'm I want so before I was an M&A reporter at Bloomberg I covered media for three years and then I transitioned into this role covering all technology media tell me media at a media organization is like the ultimate navel for sure absolutely right look you're you're around a lot of people that sort of came from organizations that you're covering from too so it's sort of like you know oh like I need like a time ink source like well like just walk three rows down and like that guy used to be the managing editor at time that's everything so here here's my question to you we have seen the way a lot of consumerish media tech companies are valued for years now has been based on users whether it's ma use or some other form of just user growth that has been the main way that a lot of these media-ish companies have been valued but at some point and we're already seeing it with some like let's say Twitter the growth stalls but there's still value to these products but the way Wall Street has valued them basically there just seems to be a cap and then they they they they may turn into sort of zombie like companies because the user growth isn't there and they're not making any money so what's the way out well right now the answer seems to be like they just sort of give up or sell but I wonder if one day we see some of these user the these media tech media companies that have always been based on users if they can somehow formulate a new way of generating revenue through some degree of subscription which we have not seen so you know Twitter has never been up through the throwout of subscription fee certainly Facebook hasn't and they've never wanted to because the way Wall Street has valued them that would actually be sort of an a famo to what they're going for but you know at one point what but but we have seen among more traditional media companies that have gone online they have transitioned to something that you would call a subscription model which is the paywall so you now have to subscribe to the New York Times or subscribe to the Wall Street Journal so is it just a matter of time before this sort of traditional media that has gone online meets the new media that has not done this and do we see some of these older new media companies go subscription well Alex I think you're forgetting about the vibrant community over at the subscription only Twitter that is a blast from the past yeah right so I you know I look at this as a I think the reason why there is is a little bit of success with paywalls at publications and why I think that would be the nail in the coffin for any any form of kind of like new media that involves it's called social media is that traditional media doesn't require network effects and the you know let's say Twitter for example absolutely does and as soon as people are you know my sources are no longer on Twitter like the people that I want to be following because they decided not to subscribe it's less valuable for me and then I don't get that content so I'm incentivized not to subscribe and I think that there's this like unidirectional value creation that happens from traditional media companies to their readers and there's this like massively bidirectional interconnected web on social media where if people start falling out of the ecosystem you know then everybody else is less incentivized to plate to pay also isn't it possible though that some of these systems become so sticky and invaluable to our life that if you present people with the option of having to pay some sort of really small micro payment which you can then slowly move up over time that people wouldn't just drop out hmm if you had to pay a penny to stay on Facebook would you do that I mean that's a lot of my whole life's on Facebook all my pictures are on Facebook what's interesting what's app you know took this took this approach uh that you know it was a dollar a year to use and free for the first year crucially free for the first year and then a dollar a year um I think it's super interesting what you're saying I think well the cynic in me says Alex come on that would require actual creativity and you know that would right silicon valley is creative on the surface but you know well that I mean I think the more like the the cynic in me says people don't pay for things and people especially don't pay for um well I guess this is a people don't pay for like entertainment people don't pay for websites but well here's why I think you could do it though but but of course they do pay for entertainment they pay for TV for instance now I mean that's a roading a little bit but that's still like a hundred million people that pay for TV in this country oh would they do a revshare like could you see Twitter influencers getting paid out a a percentage of for producing content yeah well I did bend on I mean the the crux of the point the bends bringing up is um unlike a Wall Street Journal or a Bloomberg or New York Times um you know Twitter Facebook don't pay their reporters to generate content it's it's dependent on people being on the system or even like YouTube yeah that's actually the the interesting middle ground YouTube does pay is YouTube right so they they pay their high-end content creators and they have a subscription service that's right yeah yeah um but where I think this could work I actually think Bloomberg is could be a really interesting model here um that people haven't really tried in this area in in tech um is is you guys just like we were talking about in the beginning of the show you monetize the the information and the meaning of what you do um and sell that as a very very expensive subscription to people who care a lot about that um and yet for Ben and me we go to and get your news and read your reporting for free um it would be super interesting you know Twitter especially I think could do that if they made the right investments like what is the data that in aggregate is generated from Twitter from the fire hose quote-unquote that is very valuable to people um you know and they're it's interesting like there's clearly demand for this there are third-party companies that do this there's data sift um there was all the company topsy that Apple bought um there are a few others uh but obviously as a third party like you're not going to be able to do that anywhere near as well as Twitter itself could um there could be a huge latent revenue stream yeah it's tough it's tough I mean obviously you what the the the the big fear there is you don't want to um disincentivize your power users from using Twitter so it needs to be something where it's very purely additive for them to actually pay to for whatever it is that they're getting rather than uh you know sort of the have them feel like they're targeted to pay more money right does Bloomberg use paywalls at all we don't we don't because we have the terminal so we we've decided that we're not now again that that that is a discussion that I know has happened here um before the sort of the idea of should we use a paywall so the decision so far has been no because we sort of have this built-in paywall in our system um but you know one day I suppose that could change super it's it's uh you're bringing me back here to my to my days at the journal and in media and I'm not they're very happy memories in one regard but uh I'm really hand uh business models of media are tough look it's this the I you know we're talking about Twitter sort of social media in general and and one point that I that I do want to make here which again sort of it it speaks to an issue that we have sidesteped but the issue still remains which is uh as a reporter now I no longer really if if I have a reputation of being right I actually don't really need Bloomberg's infrastructure anymore to move markets so there I'll I'll give you a real world example which is when Comcast acquired time Warner cable uh I I got that information at like 930 at night uh and I had it sourced I I we we we were good I knew I was a hundred percent right but it was 930 at night and the Bloomberg infrastructure sort of among among like my editors like no one was at work they're all on home so I had to sort of figure out and I was also sort of new to this role so I had to figure out like how do I alert the right people here to get them all online so that they can approve my sources so that we can actually write this thing and not only the sources have to be approved but then I have to write for paragraphs and editor needs to read those for paragraphs and editor then needs to queue up headlines we need to make the decision to read ahead as I talked about before which of course that requires sort of a new level of authority so in the amount of time that it took for me to figure out all of the different levers that needed to be pulled the right people the contact the phone calls to be made that first weren't answered and then were in that amount of time David Faber who at CNBC got the news and just sent out a tweet and he broke the story on Twitter uh which CNBC sort of allowed him to do while I I had the story at least 42 minutes before he did because he just broken instantly so you know it made me think like Twitter has sort of upended this like I don't need Bloomberg anymore like I could have broke this thing on my own but but but you know that's going to be so fresh that's like as a venture capitalist when you miss investing when you pass on Facebook you know right but but but of course I do need Bloomberg because they're paying my salary so I would have to be a real entrepreneur and be confident enough that like I could sort of start my own thing on my own uh you know and just sort of use my own sample of you have the example right of you know Cara sweatshirt and uh and and and and vaulted at uh recode you know who've done this um but still even tell I mean they they got acquired by by box um well well exactly and and they make their money in part through their conferences business the better example might might be the information which is Jessica lessons uh which charges I mean they so they are they are a subscription media model like we were talking about they charge you know several hundred dollars per year for their information and I don't know exactly how successful they've been at getting people to pay for their information but uh you know it's it's uh it's it's it's it's it's not sort of a slam dunk here obviously like Bloomberg has enough else going for it that uh like I'm not like you know if you're listening to this boss as I'm not leaving what you can't have as an independent though and this is like the ultimate uh tech trend for me is um they don't have the red head right like they don't have the the customer relationship and proprietary data channel to your customer you know the financial traders right like or whoever the equivalent is in whatever industry um if you control that you you well but all you need is that to initially build the trust and now that Alex has that uh if Alex were to tweet I would suspect that he would be able to move markets on his own it would it needs to build the red head in fact that there was one time several years ago I think it was I think it was a shutter fly being for sale though that might not be right but there was one instant several years ago where uh I thought that we had this actually changed Bloomberg's tweeting policies this one mistake I made where I thought the story had gone out uh and tweeted something and actually front run my own story and and and so I was a real life test case where I did move markets my my tweet was picked up by traders and the stock moved like 5% because I said shutter fly and hired you know catalyst to sell themselves or whoever it was wow uh and then and then we realized the story hadn't gone out we immediately pushed out the story at that point uh but you know there was like nine seconds of confusion there uh where I had basically beat my own story and then we and then we re we we sort of huddled up as an organization and we were like okay from now on Bloomberg reporters can't tweet out stories until uh the story has a link involved to it so that we're sure uh the story has gone out to the world now we again we've we've even amended that policy by now we have a link that only terminal subscribers can see uh so that we can tweet out with this link and then you can uh this so so the normal web link doesn't go out still until 15 minutes after the fact but we keep sort of coming up with like you know little incremental amendments to this in order to sort of try to keep up with like the general world of social media with this built in 15 minute uh you know difference that and and I imagine that if I speak to you next year or two years from now like the rules will have changed again. Wow um that's super cool yeah one uh uh want to be totally respectful of your time um one quick topic we wanted to cover before we move into um follow ups and carveouts uh is uh any advise you so many of our listeners are work at startups are entrepreneurs are aspiring entrepreneurs um and maybe this is earlier in the life cycle them where you play of companies but um the press for startups is like such a black box like if I'm a startup CEO or founder and you know I just have no idea how you work I have no idea how to get in touch with you uh should I should I invest in building relationships any thoughts from your end being on that side of the table of you know how entrepreneurs can best interact with you. Well you absolutely should try to build a relationship um but the way you should try to build a relationship is to know what our job is so and that very much depends on who you build the relationship with so there certain outlets are going to cover startups much more closely than other so you know Bloomberg plays in sort of the the big game land where like we're going to write a lot of stories about Uber but like we're not going to write any stories about your piddling you know million dollar valuation startup at this point. You're not covering series A funding announcements. No no but you know tech crunches or like whoever whoever it might be that's sort of covering that at that level uh so so yes build a relationship with a Bloomberg reporter but don't expect us to sort of carry you favor uh and write about your startup that like nobody knows because we just don't do that here like it's just we don't have the audience for it uh so so know where we're coming from it's not personal it's just that like our editors are not going to allow us to write that story. However you know the the day that you guys you know all the sudden you you've put out a series B series C series D and now like you're in you know uh you know almost unicorn territory or unicorn territory then yeah like it's good that you put in the time to make a relationship with the reporter because now that your company is big enough to write about like now you're probably going to get a more favorable story because you've spent the time having some lunches and coffee and you've built a relationship with the reporter and the reporter knows that he can go to you for access you have to remember where the reporter's coming from too. What we want is exclusive information that's what we want this happens all the time with smaller M&A deals with me that are sort of pitched at me and like if if a deal sort of with two companies that like no one's really ever heard of and it's right on that billion dollar line like we might cover it or we might not if you give us the information exclusively if this is a Bloomberg scoop we'll cover it if you wait and put out some sort of press release or you give it to somebody else first like we're not going to cover it it doesn't give us any value so you need to figure out you in this is maybe the best piece of advice I can give to an entrepreneur that wants to build a relationship with the press ask the reporter what matters to them and then figure out a way that you can give the reporter what matters to them so for Bloomberg it's exclusive information for somebody else maybe it's you know I don't know a sit down interview with the CEO or whatever it may be but figure out what it is that the that the reporter wants and whatever that is will be dictated by what the organization finds meaningful and then you know down the road if you're able to sort of cash in on that then I think you'll get sort of the positive result you're looking for from the press yeah and it's it's probably always exclusive information but but it's one type of exclusive information for you exactly you know it's a deal for another type of organization it's a sit down interview that's that's that's so right David and that's and that's I think the important part to make which is in many ways you can sort of give out eight different scoops on the same story you know just sort of piecemeal your information and give one person one piece of exclusive information and give another press outlet another you know piece of exclusive information and then you know we code the Wall Street Journal the New York Times the Financial Times and Bloomberg can also to say that they had scoops and because you've sort of divvied out the information you've now gotten seven different stories instead of one with six others ignoring you love it in VC we call that a party round right exactly yeah um this has been awesome uh I've had so much fun with this like I said reliving my old my old glory days in the in the media and tech press how how long were you at the journal David uh I was there for for just a year uh so a very short stint um but uh uh so I can't speak uh as any sort of expert but it was a lot of fun I think I was the youngest person there by about 30 years right naturally yes so now you'd only be the youngest person by what 25 years or whatever maybe 20 20 years yeah yeah um a couple quick follow ups and this will be fun having Alex on the show here so we do um we have three quick sections to wrap up the show one is follow ups on things that have happened with with deals we've covered in past episodes uh two is hot takes which are any m&a deals that have happened in the last couple weeks so we do a 30 seconds or less quick analysis of um and then three is carve out switcher fun unrelated items we talk about um but uh Alex is probably up on a lot of this stuff uh so feel free to chime in um if you uh if you like or or Ben and I will lead but um but any any thoughts please chime in um first follow up we have is Instagram uh Alex you were joking about you know yeah Instagram is probably good I have no idea how good it is the the a the a plus of Instagram keeps on rolling it is our on this show Instagram is our benchmark for the best deal the the highest rated deal that we have ever had on this show um so they announced this week that they now have uh we we've talked in the past with follow ups about user numbers uh also going back to our conversation Alex that we just had on social media and uh aggregating users and the value of users they announced this week uh that they have 500,000 more than 500,000 active advertisers so separate advertisers organizations buying ads on Instagram over 500,000 that's up from 200,000 in February yeah I mean any by um it's it's interesting because advertisers are where the revenue comes from so it's interesting to look at that but just by looking at the growth of that I mean it's been what eight months since February yeah and and seeing yeah Instagram's ad program is is uh what like two three years old now so seeing like in eight months to to grow that much uh probably most thankfully due to the fact that the the ad the advertiser portals are integrated if you're going in your advertiser that already is using um Facebook you check a box uploads in different assets and boom now you have an Instagram ad um that they've really like talk about synergies they've really leveraged uh their their relationship and the tools that they have for Facebook advertisers to to have a whole new you know incredible growth channel there with Instagram yep next one next one we have real quick uh is amazon uh obviously amazon wasn't acquired but has been an acquireer on several companies we've talked about and reference a lot uh just today uh share price hit 800 bucks a share then when you you're trying to time the market on buying amazon uh I can tell you just give up property values not the re-given investment and buy some of this show yeah property values in Seattle are now at an all time high uh the the the the amazonification of of Seattle is something really incredible to watch and uh the economic growth in the region from this company starting you know right in the center of the city and and kind of exploding outwards and is now in three or four separate neighborhoods overtaking downtown um you know we've talked a lot about their their strategy before I think um I couldn't be more bullish I still am stupidly trying to time the market and wait for investors to cool a little bit so I can get in but it I continue to say I should just buy in now and for the investors on the show not advice but if you are looking for a derivative way to to play the amazon story you should invest in Seattle real statement uh hot take we only have one this week real quick a small deal um but interesting one uh relevant to our episode on ways and discussion of the future of uh automotive and transportation and technology is uh forward buying cherry yet yeah this one's interesting to me so cherry it is basically um the the public bus system but better and with fewer stops and subscription based I believe it was only in San Francisco I believe it was only in San Francisco yeah yeah and you pay I think it's like a hundred a hundred bucks or something and you get access to uh um to these you know great buses that pick you up at a shuttles yeah yeah yeah so as far as forward breaking into um you know this trend of a service based or subscription based car ownership or self driving cars you know the transportation is changing in a lot of ways this doesn't like seem that interesting to me like it seems like there was a lot more things they could have bought that would have signaled to me oh they're they're doing something um you know really transformative and and here I'm not totally sure what the play is yeah I'm not either there's a small deal but but uh definitely you know we saw GM by crews earlier this year which you know crews that game changing right like you drop this thing on the top of your car and it can become self-driving yeah are you kidding me Bloomberg probably covered that deal probably not geriat yeah we're obsessed with this sort of self-driving car and you know that's why they the sort of the you know we decided to redhead that apple McLaren story even when McLaren can't later came out and denied it which by the way as sort of an aside topic they didn't have to deny that so I was a little I don't know why they publicly denied it because based on our sourcing they had at least had conversations with Apple they they phrased it we're not in talks right now um so I'm not I'm not really sure why they denied it rather than just stayed silent but whatever I'm sure they had their own reasoning for for doing that um and it was interesting did it did it positively affect them because then the rumors seriously negatively affected Apple stock so you know you never know in these cases like because it's seriously negatively affected Apple stock that may have been why they came out and denied it Apple may have gone to them and said please do this apple I can tell you a reporter standpoint is like uh sort of one of the few companies that acts as like the mafia I mean the the the the the the amount of fear that they put into other I heavily covered uh when Apple was seriously considering coming out with their own TV product back and I want to say 2013 2014 and they were in I was covering media then so they were in discussions with Comcast and Time Warner cable and other companies uh to potentially figure out if they wanted to um sort of own the programming themselves or just sort of be like a partner with the cable companies and use their programming and it was so difficult again information from the media companies because they basically said like Apple told us not to say anything and you just that was I had never heard that from any other company that these that that the company had done business with Apple's not your boss they were exactly they were free to talk about every other company they did business with but Apple but it was like no no no like you know we we I think Steve Jobs is still alive then too so like maybe it was a yeah I think Katie cotton was their head of PR and apparently you know there's much much tighter back in that era than right now it is right I'll throw in one more hot take for you guys which is just I'm curious to see sweet what happens with um the Yahoo sale to Verizon now that Yahoo has said that 500 million of their users uh were breached in this big data breach from whatever sort of state state sponsored hacker uh you know hacked into their system back in 2014 I don't know if this will have any sort of repercussion on the Verizon deal but already you're starting to hear sort of outsider speculation that uh you know if if this does turn out to be a big deal maybe Verizon would push to try to alter the price uh of the deal uh so I don't know you know a lot of that stuff will certainly come out in the next you know days weeks months interesting do you know if that's precedent to alter the the price based on something like this or any event in general I mean it definitely has the potential to be materially adverse which I presume all the contracts uh another former life I was an investment banker and uh yeah all the um all the merger agreements and stuff will until closed will have uh that's right engines use and and max material adverse clauses that's right yeah I think this would definitely fall into that yeah I don't know enough to speculate but um but that you know if if the breaches as bad as it sounds like it could be um you know I mean you're talking wasn't that long ago that the Sony hack happened and like the the amount of value destroyed at that company and cost they had doing curves um definitely material um right so who knows this apparently happened in 2014 and like I don't know what has been done with it since so like maybe that would suggest that it's not that material but I don't know obviously Verizon is gonna want to look into the details of this so if that might be something to take an eye out on we will we will be on the case when it does um all right carvouts then what you got so my carve out um carveouts for for new listeners is a thing that we do that is a book or a piece of media that we've consumed that may or may not be related to the the topic of this podcast and um a lot of times I'll I'll give an article or something that gave me pause and was something those I like reflecting on or it might be more philosophical or any of those things um this one this time going kind of totally out there there's a little recap video from burning man um on vimeo by user fill of drones and it is one of the most um just beautiful visual captures of any real life event I've ever seen it is it's a ton of drone footage it's a lot of like maybe steady cam footage but it's just this really tremendously beautiful uh recap of of burning man this year and um burning man I think it gets bigger and bigger every year and more and more technology arrives there every year so you know 10 years ago was something that you'd hear about you wouldn't really get what it was and you couldn't really get much about it and now you know people are still grappling with like what the heck is this thing if you've never been um which you know I for the record I've never been um but uh um now the the amount of media coming out of this where we're seeing people is just like incredible creations is super cool so we're going to drop the link in the show notes it's uh burning man 2016 by fill of drones on on vimeo go check it out it's it's a super cool way to spend five minutes super cool um mine uh as a quick one this week uh new book uh that came out recently that I read uh called algorithms to live by uh by buying Christian and Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths this is a super fun book quick read uh it's about fundamental computer science algorithms like um searching and sorting and scheduling and optimal stopping um that you learn about in uh you know your intro cs classes in college or in high school um but then about like what those algorithms are for like late people who aren't uh cs folks um but how to apply them to your life and it's super cool it's like how do you sort your closet based on optimal sorting algorithms to how should you handle your email based on scheduling algorithms uh to um all sorts of stuff how should how should you decide when to uh when uh you found the right person to marry based on optimal stopping problems uh it's uh it's uh it's very um techy but but written by from a humanities perspective so um I enjoyed it quite a bit I think I've got one I wish I had the time to read books now I have two kids under three so like those days are uh I assume they'll come back you need to you need to optimization algorithms right exactly that's right you know raising children or many your time but but I will I'll give you one um because I thought it was very interesting which is uh uh Ross Dalfat wrote a column and op ed column for the New York Times uh talking about uh it's the headline was Clintons Samantha B problem and uh it talks about how uh late night talk show hosts uh have um sort of vehemently swung to the left in this particular election uh so now you know you have what whereas even four years ago in sort of the letterman Leno late night world um you know the these guys were were were letterman I guess sort of tilted left Leno was very middle of the road uh but but you just other than maybe John Stewart occasionally and even John Stewart would sort of pad his his criticism of of the right by saying hey look you know I'm a comedian first and you know the you know this is the fake news show you're no longer seeing that you're seeing John Oliver and Samantha B and Seth Myers and Trevor Noah and a lot of these sort of late night characters really swing hard to the left and basically uh uh you know call out Donald Trump and Donald Trump supporters uh uh you know as being bigoted and racist and and and and there's there's no sort of middle ground here and yet he says he juxtaposed this to the general public where you know there's still a huge percentage of this country that votes for public and and yet there's a big mismatch now between what you see sort of on late night TV and sort of your your maybe at random average you know average picked American that maybe as an independent or a centrist or a republican uh and there's no real outlet on the late night spectrum for this and you know what what what he makes of this is sort of like we're basically he likens it to what we saw in the 60s and 70s where the culture really dramatically shifted leftward and yet we had Nixon and then you know 1980 we had Reagan and so there was this sort of mismatch between uh the culture and the politics and so he's sort of hinting at are we going to see this again if Trump is elected where you know just the the sort sort of your your general entertainment culture is really out of whack with uh your your general politics in this country so interesting read I thought it got a lot of criticism on Twitter but I didn't think it was particularly deserved huh huh well I thought they have to read it yeah me too um there's uh no matter what you think about this election it has been a bananza for the media industry covering all right well well Alex where can our listeners find you um from your podcast your Twitter where do you want to send them yeah um so uh the podcast is called deal of the week it's available on iTunes or you can find it on um and you can find me on Twitter at Sherman 49 49 I typically will tweet out the podcast it's once a week it's the episodes are about 25 30 minutes so feel free to subscribe on iTunes and for our listeners um if you're listening to this episode and you have not yet subscribed but would like to hear more um subscribe from your favorite podcast client from iTunes or overcast or any other client and if you feel so inclined we'd love uh review on iTunes or uh tweeting about it so thanks so much we are at acquired FM on uh on Twitter and we'll see you next time yeah and most importantly thank you to Alex this has been a huge treat for us uh and a lot of fun um well uh we'd love to do it again sometime cover cover more aspects uh but thanks so much for taking your time to to be on our show my pleasure love doing it who got the truth is it you is it you is it you who got the truth now uh