Every company has a story. Learn the playbooks that built the world’s greatest companies — and how you can apply them as a founder, operator, or investor.
Mon, 18 Oct 2021 20:28
We bring the epic saga of Standard Oil and John D. Rockefeller to a close (for now) with two of history's greatest second acts: Rockefeller's pioneering of modern philanthropy (and really modern life itself), and perhaps the single greatest shareholder value "unlock" of all-time in the breakup of Standard Oil. And like any great American saga, of course the good guys win in the end. The only question is... just who were the good guys??
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Dude, this is gonna especially kill you as someone that travels even for like two and three day trips just with a backpack. Oh, it's so good to kill me. Like you're never traveling that way again. You're checking like car seats and the backpacks and I'll see you at baggage claim, my friend. Oh, my God. You got the truth. Welcome to season nine, episode five of acquired, the podcast about great technology companies and the stories and playbooks behind them. I'm Ben Gilbert and I'm the co-founder and managing director of Seattle based Pioneer Square Labs and our venture fund PSL ventures. And I'm David Rosenthal and I'm an angel investor based in San Francisco. And we are your hosts. When we last left our hero, villain, unclear. We saw John DeWakker, supporting the Sherman Antitrust Act as a piece of dead on the vine legislation with really nothing to fear from it. Today we will cover standard oil from 1890 through their spoiler alert breakup in 1911. Ben, you're ruined in the punchline. We're going to cover Rockefeller's legacy and philanthropy and how today's world is a Rockefeller shaped one in more ways than one. We will also debate the fighter points of where standard oil crossed the line between using legitimate business practices like operational efficiency and economies of scale into straight up abuses of power to grow their massive, massive profits. You mean like braving elected officials? David, I look, I don't want to spoil anything here. I guess other than the breakup. Well listeners, we want to say thank you. Yeah, we have had a pretty crazy month here that acquired starting with the TSMC episode. We have just been on, I don't know what it is. Well like semi conductors, but the show has been growing hugely. So much good stuff is going on. We were talking beforehand. Like we really do want to keep our intro shorter and just start getting right into the stories. And in particular, thank you to our old listeners for spreading the gospel. We've really enjoyed this slow methodical linear growth. I think it's helped us hone the product of acquired, but of course like an explosive growth spurt is always a fun thing. So thank you to those of you for spreading the word over the years and welcome to all the new folks. And then too unrelated to the episode, but special little fun thing to talk about. We are about to have a new addition to the acquired family. Yeah, not an on air addition though. No, not on air. This is so crazy. By the time you all hear this, Jenny and I will have had a little baby girl that we are expecting any day now. Honestly, it was like coming down to the wire of recording this is very nerve wracking. This was almost a serious cliffhanger where we just did part one and then David disappeared. A bunch of my friends were asking me like, Hey, like so excited for you and the baby and all that, but you're going to get recording for part two and before the baby goes. Well David, congratulations. So excited for you and Jenny. Yeah, we can't wait. Well, last thing before we dive into part two here is as always pilot our presenting sponsor for all of season nine. Pilot is the backbone of the modern financial stack for startups. As you know, they are backed by all star investors themselves like Sequoia, index, basalist expeditions and stripe. If John DeRaccafeller were starting standard oil today, he would not do the books himself. He would have pilot do it. Stop doing your books. It's obvious outsource it. You're not a books company. You're not a books company. That's great. You're not. You're not an accounting company. Like any of you listening out there, 0.1% of you run an accounting company. So get pilot to do it instead. All right. Now over to our conversation with co-founders, Wissim Dacher and Jessica McEller. So we talked last time about what changed that enabled you all to build pilot as an actual technology company versus just a professional services provider. What services does pilot integrate with and what does that look like from your customers point of view? One of the great things about pilot is first, it doesn't matter what institutions you're using, we know how to ingest and take good care of your financial stack. Now on top of that, we do have the expertise for these deep integrations with tools as they evolve quickly. Stripe releases a new invoicing API we can get on that immediately. So if you are taking advantage of these Fintech solutions as they continue to evolve, you're really going to want a partner that's able to keep up with that on the finance side. That being said, really it's sort of our problem. How do we correctly reflect your business needs in your books? And the good thing about pilot is you're talking to a person who understands you and your business and is taking care of translating that into what happens on the backend. You don't have to worry about how to integrate with these institutions because that's our job. As a startup founder, bookkeeping is not something you want to deal with. You can be sure with you guys that you're not only going to be on top of all the latest API changes from Stripe or Platter, whomever, but you're just going to take care of the job. Yeah. You can learn more about pilot by going to pilot.com slash acquired. Thanks to a seam, Angesica, all acquired listeners. If you use that link, you'll get 20% off your first six months of service. And seriously, it has been says, it's a killer deal and stop doing your books. The Gilbert doctor. Gilbert doctor. Stop doing your books. Have pilot to them for you. Well, David, this one we're going to come for some companies that are newer. So we actually need to say, this is not investment advice. This is for entertainment and educational purposes, we may hold some of the companies that we're talking about, but they're pretty old companies and they're super merged together at this point. All right. So last, we left our plucky anti-heroes. Ben, as you said, the Sherman anti-trust act had just passed. Everybody's having a good laugh about it. The political money is still flowing around like hot cakes or fine wine, which of course Rockefeller didn't drink. And what was the language that made everyone feel like the legislation was DOA? Yes, the key modifying clause in the Sherman anti-trust act was in restraint of trade. So everything, all accommodations were outlawed if they were, quote, in restraint of trade, which was not defined. Nobody knows what that means. It's like, will Ferrell, like, it's provocative. Get the people to go. Okay, so speaking of going, standard oil is going. You know, we said this at the end of bar one, like, they've won. They've won capitalism. They've won America. 90% market share. The whole caracene market, 90% belongs to them. It's game over. But we did kind of hand wave over a bunch of stuff at the end of last time. One, there was some trouble brewing back in the home front, back in the state of Ohio. We're going to cover that. And then the big thing that we really just spent like 15 seconds on last time was the whole, you know, like, oh, yeah, JD retires. What was going on with that? Why do I do it? He just walk away and right off into the sunset. Because he stayed titularly. His name was still on the door. Oh, yeah. And I think he actually did want to walk away, right? Oh, he did. But they thought it would be like bad for the shareholders. Maybe, maybe. We'll see. All right. So first, let's cover the trouble on the home front back in Ohio. So right as the Sherman Act was passing, state legislature members in Ohio, remember, they're like, they're pretty pissed at Rockefeller and Standard Oil. And like, this goes all the way back to the Cleveland massacre. He has a lot of enemies back home. So the state attorney general guy named David Watson, he decides that he's going to bring a case. I don't think it was actually an antitrust case. But he argues that it's not the case is that Standard Oil is in violation of the state corporation laws in that they are a Ohio corporation, but they are conducting illegal interstate commerce is what they alleged. Standard Oil created this trust structure that was so brilliant, but this suit is like, hey, this is just a shame in a front. You don't really transfer any assets here and you're actually breaking our laws. So it takes a couple years, but by 1892, the case reaches the Ohio Supreme Court, the state Supreme Court, which rules against Standard Oil, which means that the trust has to be dissolved. This is the letter of what this means. This Ohio ruling is like game over, but obviously it's not what happened. So how do they get around this? This seems like a pretty big problem. Well, turns out our Standard Oil friends have an escape plan that they've already hatched that they have in their back pocket, it just for this very occasion. So Standard Oil lawyers had figured out that in the state of New Jersey, now they have operations, Standard Oil has operations in New Jersey, but there's no Rockefeller and crew there at 26 Broadway in New York. You know, it started in Ohio, there's no real reason why headquarters, they don't have any special attachment to New Jersey. But in New Jersey, there actually is a loophole in state corporate law at the time that did allow New Jersey corporations to straight up hold stock in other out of state corporations, no even need for a trust structure. But Ohio is suing them for New Jersey just allows. That was the reason why they needed the trust structure in the first place is because Standard Oil of Ohio couldn't own any other Standard Oil companies that are operating any other states and they couldn't have operations in other states. So it was like, it's just this crazy remnant of the fact that we are the United States. And every single state to date had basically said if you have a charter to operate a corporation in our state, that's all the business you can do. Your total addressable market is our state. So they've got this loophole in New Jersey, what do they do? Boom. They just reorganized the whole thing and they transferred all the assets into the new Standard Oil of New Jersey. Or again, at least they make a public show of this. They tell the courts, they tell everybody like, yeah, yeah, this is what we're doing. You know, whether they actually do this or not, no, maybe see a little later in the episode. Doesn't matter though, problem solved. So as turnout writes in Titan, quote, the 1892 overhaul was mostly shadow play, a charade to appease the courts. The executive committee at 26 Broadway, of course, that you know, Rockefeller and all the flagler and all the cronies was formally dissolved. But the members lost only their titles and were soon converted by the nicest legal cunning into the Presidents of 20 affiliated companies. In Standard parlance, these men were now quote, the gentlemen upstairs or alternatively, quote, the gentlemen in room 1400. Nobody had to switch seats at the lunch table and Rockefeller and his coterie ruled as absolutely as before. Fascinating. And so you've got this Standard Oil of New Jersey that by the letter of the law owns wholly or near wholly, all these other, at this point, 20 some companies that are operating in all these other states. And so the way that that sort of structurally looked is all the people who were the trustees of the Standard Oil Trust are now the Presidents of all those companies and they're working remotely from Manhattan. They were ahead of the curve. So this is great for Standard Oil. And this goes on for a while. But slowly, but then noticeably over the years, everybody starts to notice. There's something a little different about Rockefeller. He's always been like a loof, you know, famously during meetings, he would lie down on a chase lounge and have his eyes closed and people would think he's asleep, but then he would jump in. Oh, these are like Standard Oil board meetings. Yeah, yeah, exactly. But he's actually listening like intently to everything. Like he's always been a little weird, you know, in how he operates, but super laser focused and engaged in the business. And he kind of starts drifting away slowly and he seems weird. He starts not coming into the office every day. I think first he stops coming in on Saturdays and then he takes longer time off. He starts missing the sacred executive committee or gentlemen upstairs, lunch meetings. And there really are two things happening to Rockefeller at this time. One is sort of short term good, but long term bad. And the other one is short term bad, but long term good. So he kind of doesn't have anything left to prove at this point. He's outwitted everybody. Of course we talked about you to the JZ Rockefeller connection last time, but it's like the black album which is he or he's like, I'm retiring. I'm done. Literally what more can I say here? Turn out writes quote, in explaining his retirement, which this would lead to the Rockefeller literature has always stressed his health and the heavy burden of his charities though another factor contributed as well. He had perfected the gleaming machinery of standard oil and his appointed task done. Remember he felt like this was his divine duty from God. He felt he should pass the reins onto younger men as gates who will talk about it in a minute, put it, the business quote had ceased to amuse him. It lacked the freshness and variety and had become merely irksome and he withdrew. So what you're saying is Rockefeller is really only like a zero to one guy and maybe like a one to 10 guy and kind of like a 10 to 100 guy, but maybe not 100 to 1000 guy. Or perhaps I mean, he's already at scale. So it's most like he's not really a thousand to 1100 guy. I think this might be part of what you're seeing with all these big tech CEOs now. It's like, base us. What more can I do here guys? Yeah. And you know the public sentiment has to be weighing on Rockefeller too where he's like, look, I believe in my heart of hearts that what I've done here is virtuous. I truly believe this is my calling and what God wants me to do. I do believe that I've brought light to the world in a reliable, cheap way. I believe that I've provided a hundred thousand jobs, good jobs for people and everyone hates me. I don't think he was necessarily overly concerned with other people's view of him. Like he was not a externally motivated man, but that has to grade on you over time where you're, you know, working your ass off and you believe you're in the right at least the vast majority of the time. And yet the world is either espousing incredible hatred toward you or begging you for your money constantly. I mean, yeah, he's just like, it's just kind of not fun anymore. So he wants, we've alluded to this, he wants and he tries to fully actually resign from the company. He talks to John Archbald who he wants to take over and says like, you know, look, my heart's not in it anymore. I'm ready to go have another chapter in my life. But Archbald adds some of the other executives. They're like, well, your name on the, like it really matters. Like I think it would be bad for the troops. And we've just had these, you know, brushes with the government. I think it really would help things if it just entitled only you stay involved. You remain the president, titularly of standard oil. And of course, that means you remain an officer of the company and all the liability that comes with that and just keep the title man. Yeah, it's really the honor you got. Oh, man, these are the, I was going to save this little quip for later, but I'll use it now of, you swim with the sharks, you sleep with the fishes. Archbald and Flagler and all these guys, they were something. So this was a very, very bad move for Rockefeller and a freaking great move for all of the other execs, especially Archbald at standard oil. Okay, so you said charity and like everybody asked in John D for his money. So this is the other piece of it that long term becomes just one of the greatest things to ever happen to America and the world, I think. And he's really, really struggling with what to do with his wealth and in particular, all these cause, you know, remember, he wants to do great works. He feels called by God, he wants to make the money to then do great works with the money. And he's been donating all along the way, kind of in these smaller chunks, but to everyone at church on Sundays, to the church to maintain it. I mean, he's been charitable thus far. Yep. And it trained people around him who he gives to organizations, who he gives to and now the general public who knows about this that, oh, hey, you can just ask John D for money. And he might give you money. And he's super stressed out about this. Like I wouldn't find that very stressful. If just constantly, I mean, he's getting thousands of letters a week just asking for money. He's not into the like cool billionaire stuff ideas. He wants to donate and so he's finding it incredibly challenging that what he wants to do is find high return on society ways to give this money away that align with his beliefs. So he's, you know, looking for either good Christian values, ways to give it away or at least not anything that's antithetical to his beliefs. The last thing that he wants to do is say, ah, there's too much inbound. I'm just going to ignore it. This is his mission in life is to answer these please. Yeah, turn out found this great quote from him in, ah, I don't know if he was something he said to somebody or in his papers or not, but I just really says a lot about what he was how he was feeling. So this is directly from Rockefeller about this time. I investigated and worked myself almost to a nervous breakdown in groping my way without sufficient guide or chart through the ever widening field of philanthropic endeavor. It was forced upon me to organize and plan this department upon his distinct lines of progress as our other business affairs. Well, important to note here is the notion of philanthropic organization does not yet exist in America. There's no gates foundation. There's no playbook for like I'm going to start a 501c3 and employee people that work at the nonprofit that will figure out how to give them money away. It's kind of random and scatter shot the way that everyone donates. So there's not a playbook of like cool. I'll spin up this organization to give away my wealth. Yep. And he's doing it all himself. It's all on his shoulders. Folks might know who either were familiar before or they've gone and looked up John De on the internet since our part one. His appearance radically changes during this time. So he was kind of like devil bill. He had a lot of devil bill in him. Like a big guy. You know, he's very like his personality is understated, but like he was, you know, a presence. He starts shriveling up. He's losing weight. He gets a alopecia and he loses his hair. All of his hair on his entire body, not just like his head, his eyebrows, his mustache. He always had a big bush. He must dash the rest of his body for the whole rest of his life. His hair is gone and it's all just because of this stress that's weighing on him. And frankly, the incredible amount of work that he had done. Standard oil had some trying times. He's not new to stress. Yep. He's actually my interpretation here. You know, some I think comes from turnout, but he loved every minute of standard oil. I think if it were just standard oil, I don't think any of this would have happened. I really think the weight of this wealth and this philanthropy was like this albatross just like hanging around his neck. And let me give a quick scope for a moment when you say the weight of his wealth. Let's talk about his wealth so far at this point in time and that we can check in later and update the numbers. So in 1890, he was generating $10 million in annual income just from standard oil dividends, from a variety of sources. Inflation adjusted. It's like 30x today. Yeah. It's just insane. The other thing to think about is this is before the federal government enacted the income tax. So this is $10 million post tax dollars. Not even post tax. There's the concept of tax. Well, but it's like the notion of a post tax dollar today. Yeah. It's just street money. He really just has this self perpetuating wealth because he owns 257,000 of the 973,000 shares of standard oil. So he owns a quarter of standard oil and he's generating these dividends. At this point in time, I think Rockefeller was trying to keep it pretty modest. He's like 11% annual dividends, but he himself was receiving 3 million in these annual dividends. He had $24 million invested outside of standard oil and things like railroads and real estate and steamships and like a dozen of each of these types of companies. He was invested in banks, Chase Manhattan. He had a very close relationship there and put a lot of money in there. I think by the time he actually retires, he's worth about $200 million. Yeah. Gosh, I think this happened after he retired. And around the battleway, he ends up owning a significant iron mining and ore deposit operation that ends up getting rolled up into US steel when JP Morgan rolls up US steel. JP Morgan, not the bank, the person rolls up a US steel. Which is of course Carnegie steel that he's rolling up into. Yep. Exactly. And he makes 80 million on that transaction. 80 of his $200 million of wealth come from this US steel roll up that he was fortunate enough to have made an investment in this iron company. It's just wild. So he's got, at this point, of course, owning a quarter of a standard oil, generating 10 million a year in annual income, got all these investments across all these industries. And then boom, US steel happens to him too. Man, strength leads to strength. For sure, I guess it applies to people too. That's just institutions. And one last comment on this Rockefeller wealth, you know, I mentioned we're still in sort of this 1890 to 1892 timeframe. But I mentioned that point when he's worth $200 million in 1902. The GDP of the United States at that point was $24 billion. So even at that point, there's still a decade before a standard oil gets broken up. And he owns a quarter of it. He already has 1% of the US's GDP as his personal net worth. Already the richest person that will ever exist in America, including Bezos, so I call these people. Yeah. Well, it'll be interesting to see how things play out in the coming years. But yeah, crazy. So he's got all this weigh in on him. He's trying to be the best, the greatest of all time, trying to be the goat, the Tom Brady, if you will, in both business and philanthropy. Finally in 1891, he not gives up, but says like, I got to find a different way to make this work. And he convinces a man named Frederick Gates, who he had been working with on the University of Chicago project, which we'll talk about in a sec, to come moved in New York and help him with the philanthropic endeavors that he's undertaking. And this is so novel, this ends up creating what leads to the Rockefeller Foundation, you know, a family office, all the stuff about how we think, oh yeah, this is how it's done today. This is where it starts. He starts this whole thing. He ingates. He writes a letter to Gates. He says, I am in trouble, Mr. Gates. The pressure of these appeals for gifts has become too great for endurance. I haven't the time or strength with all my heavy business responsibilities to deal with these demands properly. I am so constituted as to be unable to give away money with any satisfaction until I have made the most careful inquiry as to the worthiness of the cause. These investigations are now taking more of my time and energy than standard oil itself. Either I must part with the burden or stop giving entirely and I cannot do the latter. That sums it up right there. It's crazy to me that he's still the same old Rockefeller. He's obsessed with digging into every little detail knowing how the money is going to be used. It's actually very similar to the Buffett comparison that we made earlier. You think about the episode that we did with I think his Berkshire Hathaway part two when he starts donating some of his money. Warren was obsessed with analyzing the return on an investment. When he was going to donate, he was obsessed with understanding how can I maximize the impact of that investment, which of course was this large burden for him. That's why he ended up deciding. Actually I'm just going to go give it all to the Gates Foundation and they can figure out and then I don't have to think about it. Whereas there are no foundations yet. So you have Rockefeller here with a similar obsession with making sure that every penny is deployed in the most optimal way he did his whole business career and how frustrating. Yeah. Well, I think there's one key difference though between Rockefeller and Buffett. I think they both have this outlook. But Buffett I think he doesn't have a genuine want to be involved in it. He has this outlook. This is the way it should be, but I don't have a passion to do it myself. Rockefeller has the passion to do it himself. I want to run standard oil and I want to do this myself, but I need help. So he brings in Gates. They basically invent philanthropy. Yes, they do. We're going to have so much fun on this episode still to come. But I think if there's one thing to take away from this part two, it's part one was that Rockefeller and Standard Oil invented modern business. The thing to take away here is they invent philanthropy and coming out of that is like so many cornerstones of what modern life is for all of us. We're all those all of us that are listening that we just take for granted. Yeah. And we say invent philanthropy. They invent the sort of systematic and organizational giving away of money. They don't invent tithing. That's a biblical concept. They really do invent modern philanthropy. Yeah. All right. So let's get into it. So the first big project, well, Ben, as you said, he had been giving all his life, even going back to his bookkeeping days. The first significant project that he and the family do is actually spell and seminary what becomes Spellman College, the HBCU Women's College in Atlanta. In the early 1880s, they financed the building of that. Settyspelman. Spellman is the maiden name of his wife, Settyspelman. Yeah. It's amazing that that was the first major project that they do just to not over credit. I think they already had like a few hundred people enrolled and they were raising money locally and they just had some debts. And so Rockefeller came in and just wiped out all the debt funded it and then building the campus there too. It is the first liberal arts college for black women in America and also worth pointing out about Rockefeller's character, which I find fascinating because a lot of times you study people from this era, you know, they're a product of their time. And so they have a very low opinion of people that aren't white men. And Rockefeller does have some less savory parts in reference to comments that he's made about other ethnic groups here and there. But he went from pre-civil war being an abolitionist, a big supporter of Lincoln to really like carrying that through and then putting his money where his mouth is and really advocating for the rights of black people after the civil war. Yeah. So we'll silly to say this, but like for a rich white guy of the time, he's remarkably not racist. Yeah. So much about him is remarkably modern. Like he says, he doesn't have a perfect track record on anything and he doesn't have a perfect track record on, you know, women and women's rights. Most glaringly, I think they, he and said he had five children. One died very young, four children that survived to adulthood. The three eldest were daughters and then junior was the youngest one son. The daughters are like fine, you can do stuff, whatever, but junior, you're getting all the money and you're going to be my successor. Very similar to the New York Times story in that respect where the money flowed through the mail in each, but as you say remarkably striking how close to modern he was in his sensibilities. So that was a spell and that was the first big project. And then there's the University of Chicago, which obviously is this amazing institution and achievement. I think this project is really what put him over the edge psychologically though. This was hard. So it started in the early 1880s. There was this movement to build a true Baptist university in America. Remember Rockefeller's Baptist, you know, all the Ivy League schools started as religious or quasi religious institutions, but they weren't Baptist. With the exception of Brown, Brown had a lot of Baptist influence and that's where junior Rockefeller's son went, but it wasn't strictly Baptist. I don't think they wanted to build like a real Baptist university. And the Ivy League's at this point in time are becoming more and more secular. The Baptist educational community is sort of worried about what's about to take off is this sort of secular education movement and all the best and brightest are going to flock to those types of institutions. And remember, you know, what did we say the first time about the Baptist there? Evangelical, you know, it's not about the wealth per se, but they want to recruit. And so this movement is like we want to put this university in New York City. Attract everybody, the big city, America, post war, etc. JD, of course, is the perfect benefactor for this. He gets involved. It becomes a mess. A guy running the initiative again named Augustus Strong who's a Baptist minister. He ends up sort of scheming Rockefeller's oldest daughter, Bessie ends up marrying his son. So they get like very involved. But then the project falls apart in Rockefeller with draws his support awkward. It eventually does morph into trying to build this project in Chicago instead. And the idea is that we think Chicago is Midwest. Like it was the West then, but it was the biggest city in the frontier. I think it was already the second biggest city in America at that point. The here was sort of new ground. We can build this Baptist university. And then it'll be a model, a template, and we'll build a bunch more Baptist universities all over the country. And two more benefits too. One of which is it's really expensive to build stuff in Manhattan. And so it's a lot cheaper to get building materials out there and hire construction crews. And then of course, you have Rockefeller who really wants to do these good works because he thinks they're the right things to do. Not because he thinks he's repenting for some business sins that he's done. And he's really, really afraid of anything that looks like I'm doing a charitable thing in order to curry public favor so they don't hate me for the business. Anytime anybody would insinuate, well, this is a good way for you to make up for all the state of oil stuff. He would just excommunicate them. And so it was convenient that it was in Chicago because he sort of felt like if it's in New York, then people will sort of view it as me trying to influence the public to like me. And I don't want to be seen as attempting to do that. So you're saying the opposite of what Rockefeller wants might be something like Leelyn Stanford University or Vanderbilt University or Duke University, all wonderful institutions. I went to one of them. But yeah, these are people who want their names on the building, so to speak. For most listeners, I bet you're like, wait, Rockefeller started founded the University of Chicago and that is exactly what he was going for. And it wasn't just universities. Obviously, probably some of you are thinking like, well, you're talking about how Rockefeller pioneered philanthropy and all that. But you guys are missing something. There was another wealthy white dude at the time who was pretty dang philanthropic. And you Carnegie, of course, and they were big time rivals. Carnegie did something pretty amazing. He created the American public library system. Oh, I didn't know that. Yeah. You know how there's like a library in every town in America? That's Carnegie. He created those libraries and funded them. I assume that was taxes. No. I guess it probably is funded by taxes like public libraries. Well, I think they're government institutions today, but they were created and sort of given to America. And he also did internationally too, created a bunch of library systems. What are the reasons for sure that he did that is how do you make sure your name goes down in history, get a plaque or a statue in front of a big building in every town in America with your name on it? That was not Rockefeller's style. Yeah. This is at the time sort of a nebulous concept, but he wanted what he was doing to really be like standard oil in that, you know, what it's standard oil. Dude, they had all of these different operations, you know, in different states, but also different companies. Remember, they bought up all these other companies? And it wasn't that they absorbed them whole cloth. They kept operating these individual companies on their own with support from the mothership, but they were expected to be profitable, have good tight operations in a decentralized manner. They would just have to pass a quality bar for making sure that they had good reliable product and then they would slap the standard brand on it. Yup. And the standard brain, what was standard itself, it was about setting the standard, it was about creating, doing this sort of quote unquote research to create the best processes that would get disseminated out to the decentralized organization. That's what he wants for philanthropy. So once he brings gates in, they start thinking about this and they turn their attention to the state of medicine and health in America and in the world. They do something pretty amazing. So in 1901, they decide to set up the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research in New York City. This is amazing. They buy a farm on the east side of Manhattan, overlooking the East River in the upper 60s. Literally in the middle of Manhattan, there's this farm and they set up this medical research institution there. And the idea is it's going to be pure basic research. And to turn it on, it's great quote of Rockefeller talking to his son to junior. He says, John, we have money, but it will have value for mankind only if we can find able men with ideas, imagination, and courage to put it into productive use. Rockefeller placed the scientists at this institution, not the trustees in charge of expenditures, and this was revolutionary. This was the institute's secret formula, gathered great minds, liberate them from petty cares, and let them chase intellectual chimeras without pressure or meddling. If the founders created an atmosphere conducive to creativity, things would presumably happen. So at this little research institution goes on to become Rockefeller University. Ben, had you heard of Rockefeller University before we did the research for this? I hadn't. I've been blown away by the amount of medical research that's come out of it. So a small sample, I'm just going to like a read from Wikipedia here. If you go to the Wikipedia entry for Rockefeller University, these are the things that have come out of this. First to culture the infectious agent associated with syphilis, showed that viruses can be oncogenic, which enabled the field of tumor biology. Identified the genetic defect associated with arthirioschlerosis, the leading cause of heart attacks in the US. Development of the practice of travel vaccination. Identified the phenomenon of autoimmune disease, developed virology as an independent field. Not the first peptide antibiotic. Crazy. Showed that genes are structurally composed of DNA. Discovered blood groups. Just casual all the blood groups that all the blood groups. Yeah. Developed methadone as treatment of heroin addiction. And devised the AIDS drug cocktail. Whoa, really? Yes. So this institute, it wasn't until the 50s that it would become Rockefeller University. So during Rockefeller's life, he never intended to create a university with his name on it. You know, here's much later. This is a quote from Winston Churchill. Talking about John Rockefeller. When history passes its final verdict on John D Rockefeller, it may well be that his endowment of research will be recognized as a milestone in the progress of the race. Boom. That is a pretty ringing endorsement. Winston Churchill. Yeah. This is very far from what all these other philanthropic folks had in mind. It was diametrically opposed to the University of Chicago project where that was super high overhead, big deal out of the gate, a lot of pomp and circumstance. And with the Rockefeller University or what would become that, it was almost like the lean startup. Yeah. You've never heard of it. And they didn't make a big deal at the beginning and they didn't build a special campus. It was very much like let's get a bunch of really smart people, the brightest in their field together will pay them good money and we'll kind of see. Let them come here and work on what they want to work on. They go even further. So the first head of the institute who they recruited was this guy named Simon Flexner. And Flexner was a physician. Remember, we're talking about how modern Rockefeller is and how modern standard oil is and how modern this philanthropy is. For his father, Bill was a doctor, quote unquote, he was a witch doctor. That's what medicine in the practical sense looked like in America. You know, we're really closer to that at this time still. I mean, that best it was homeopathy at best, which Rockefeller was actually sympathetic to himself for a long time. But Gates and Rockefeller and the family, they work with Flexner and they say, you know, we've done all this research in this science. How can we change how medicine is practiced? So they go to Hopkins. They take the Johns Hopkins model, which is what we know as medical school today, four years post undergrad and they spread it out. They don't go create another university to teach another medical school. They go create medical schools at all the other universities in America. Before this other medical schools, you didn't need a college degree. There was no standardization. So they go first to the University of Chicago, then to Yale, then to Vanderbilt, then to all these other institutions and they just give tens of millions of dollars. So they just start medical schools to start medical schools in the model of Johns Hopkins. And this creates you to modern practical medicine as we know it today. Then they go even further. So they go back to Hopkins and they say, we will fund creating a new school here attached to the medical school, a public health school. They create the first school of public health at Hopkins and then they go to Harvard and they do the same thing there. And it's all behind the scenes. This is so Rockefeller and so standard oil. And is this being sort of managed by Frederick Gates? Yeah. Gates and now the Rockefeller is like junior gets very involved in this and ultimately takes it over. But senior and junior and gates, the three of them together, along with the staff that they're building. They're driving all of this. So listeners, as you can tell by now, standard oil part two is really like Rockefeller part two. I mean, we're dancing in and out of standard oil here, but there's the scope of what the early standard oil money allowed the Rockefeller family to do is just unbelievable. Yep. To sort of put a bow on all of this here. So they're thinking the whole time they're like, how do we really institutionalize this? When you're getting older, they built up this office, this is unique. How do we make this something that's going to perpetuate indefinitely? They set up in 1913. They get a charter from the state of New York. I don't know exactly how this works. I think it was a federal charter granted in the state of New York to create the Rockefeller foundation, which still exists to this day. They give away hundreds of millions of dollars a year to causes from medicine to education to the arts to all sorts of things. It's also because it's been privately held this whole time. We also don't have an exact figure of what the sum of all these different pockets of Rockefeller family wealth are worth. I mean, it's kind of astonishing that we don't, but we don't. There have been scholars who have tried to pour into this and there are estimates, but it's tough. Yeah. I think that's probably where we should leave it right then. We're in a Rockefeller standard early one business. He's one philanthropy. He's one like America. There's kind of nothing more to see here, right? You know, everybody lives happily ever after. Not quite. Not quite. Ben, you've been on the Mafia movie and content kick, the Godfather and all that in your car, about. I think it's time to bring in the one good part of Godfather Part III. Just what I thought I was out. I'll leave it back in. Yeah. I think there's a little more to the story. Yeah. You shouldn't have stayed president. Should not have left your name on the door. Here we go. The breakup of Standard Oil. So let's review a few numbers before diving into the breakup story. So Rockefeller had sort of handed over to Archbold, you know, the day to day of running the company. That modest 11% dividend. Archbold's a pretty big shareholder. All his friends are pretty big shareholders. That ratcheted up to 31% in 1897 and then 33% in 1899. So we are cutting big dividend checks to all these shareholders, which Rockefeller actually was not happy about paradoxically. No, he liked keeping it super modest, keeping the cash in the business, reinvesting it. The share price. So this is interesting. Not a publicly traded company and so we don't get to see the books, but shares do change hands, but shares do change hands. And so every day in the newspaper, a share price is published at which it's kind of the reference price. People are deciding to trade. It's like a direct offering. Yes. The share price went from $176 in 1896 to then three years later, $458. So the stock is running as they say. That's a nice Tesla like move there. Yes, which not really the stock movement that we're seeing today in meme stocks is just a totally different multiple than we're talking about here, but unbelievable three year run from 176 to 458. You then sort of look at that dividend policy. How much of that is there in total? From 1893 to 1901, they paid out $250 million to shareholders. Keep in mind Rockefeller is making 25% of that. He's upset, but he's also making just a crap ton of money. And so the thing to sort of land on here is this is all before the automobile. This is all still the caracene business. And there's this seminal point right around 1898 where cars start happening. It starts working. We go from 800 cars in 1898 to then two years later, 8,000 cars. And so it's starting to happen. Standard oil is realizing, wait a minute. We finally can use this useless gasoline product. And so even in his retirement, Rockefeller's real wealth ends up getting piled on top of his sort of poultry wealth that we talked about earlier from the mass market adoption of the internal combustion engine. Yep. So, right around that time when the automobile was taking off, there's two parts to the break up story that we're going to talk about here. And they're both good for everybody. One is the break up, which is good. Very good. And two is the automobile, which is very good. And they happen on the same parallel paths. So in 1897, right as this run up in the auto industry is starting. And right as JD had fully tried to walk away from the business, good old state of Ohio, they bring charges again, back to the top of the show here. They're like, okay, you guys moved to New Jersey, but like still you're still breaking our laws. We still don't like you. And so what they do is the government official gets a hold of some old trust shares and they try and go redeem the shares of the trust. They're like, oh, well, if you did what you said you were going to do, I should be able to go get shares in Standard Oil, New Jersey, and then there's a holding company of underlying all these other companies. And they can't actually do it. So they're like, ah, you guys, you defrauded everybody. So they bring a case. McAfeller actually gets called to testify in this case and he puts on this great show. He pretends to be this dottering old man who's senile and like, can't remember anything. It's amazing. Oh, when he's on the stand, it's like he's wandering through the mist. Oh, I can't remember. Oh, it's been, he goes from like one of the sharpest, brightest people to ever live in American history to seemingly having no recollection of really how anything kind of came together. Yep. Oh, God, how did that, how did that happen? You know, where are those trust shares? I don't know, Mr. Prosecutor. The state doesn't actually win the case, but it's kind of a distraction. It starts to move public opinion, which is what really counts the court of public opinion against Standard Oil. But they win. And everybody's like, okay, fine. Like, you know, we're going to make it also at the same time as this case is going on. There's a presidential election happening. I was actually when it started in 1896, was the election. And it was a really terrifying figure from Standard Oil's point of view running for president here. William Jennings Bryan, the celebrated, the OG populist, his thing was America was going to get crucified on a cross of gold, right? That was his, yeah, populism and silver. The two things I remember from American history about him. Brotherhood and Apple pie. That and he was like around forever. I was like, how is this guy still alive? He was in the American national political scene for decades and decades and decades. Still alive. Hmm. Just a striking choice of words there. So Bryan loses, of course, doesn't become president. And who does become president? The best person that Standard and all these other trusts of T.P. Morgan and Carnegie and everybody could imagine William McKinley, the celebrated conservative Republican from Ohio. Yep. Yep. Good old boy. Standard contributed a cool quarter million dollars to his campaign. Everybody is just pumped. McKinley's campaign manager again in Marcana actually went to high school with John D. Back when he was going to high school before a wild bill pulled him out. And he's like deep in the family with these guys. He sends a telegram when McKinley wins the little he reads, God is in his heaven. All is right with the world. That's a gloating telegram if I've ever seen one. Oh my God. There's fist bumping going on all over the place. McKinley is just like literally sent from God here from standards perspective fast forward a couple years though. All's good on the federal level. But we start getting some trouble with the states again. And this time it's not Ohio. This time it is right close to the new home, the actual home in New York is in New York when the feisty new governor of New York starts making some noises about coming after the trust and particular the oil trust with standard oil. None other than Theodore Roosevelt, the new governor of New York. Which I didn't realize what he did before becoming president and I didn't realize he was involved in bringing this suit against standard oil. He was very involved. If Rockefeller was bad, there's a chance Theodore Roosevelt was better. Oh, he was the ultimate badass. Once again, Andy Sparks on Twitter, the best reminded me the Theodore Roosevelt, like all the glee that we had in part one for Rockefeller and Standard Oil and Flagler and Mafia Don's and everything that they're doing. You're going to have just a equal glee on the other side when he was unsuccessful, running for president later in life. He gets shot before a speech, literally gets shot in the chest. Oh, that's right. And he gives the speech anyway, right? And he's on the way to deliver the speech. He's being driven. He gets shot by a botched assassination attempt. He's got a bullet in his chest. The driver starts to divert and take him to the hospital and he's like, oh no, no young man. I'm going to give that speech. He goes to the venue and he sort of starts the speech and he's like, I'd like everybody to be as quiet as possible. I don't know if you all realize that I was just shot. And he gives the speech and then he goes to the hospital. Oh, Teddy Roosevelt's the best. There's a great David McCullough biography about him. Is it Mornings on Horseback? Is that the... Oh, I think that might be it. That sounds familiar. I've been to his estate in Sagamore Hill. I think it is called It's on Long Island. Huh, cool. It's super cool. Teddy also has, you know, by modern standards, a problematic figure in his all of his hunting and, you know, all of that. Yeah, I was going to say are there pelts everywhere? My favorite is there's a trash can made of an elephant hoof. Oh my God. Crazy. All right, so this is the guy that is going to challenge John D. So standard and the business community in Marcana, they come up with a brilliant, genius solution to their new problems from Roosevelt in the state of New York. Remember, they like control the Republican Party at this point. They get Roosevelt nominated as the vice president on the ticket for McKinley's re-election campaign in 1900. This will get rid of him. This will get rid of him, like send him to BVP, you know, it'll be like great for his political career, but you're going to get him out of New York. And everybody knows VPs do basically not right, put him in the corner, put him in the corner. Now, of course McKinley wins in a landslide again, problem solved, everybody's high-fiving. What year is this? This is, you know, the fall of 1900 when the election happens. It's all great. McKinley gets re-enoguriated in 1901. And then he gets shot and he dies. Oops. Unlike Roosevelt, he does not survive. Did the Secret Service exist yet? Are they bad at their jobs or are they just not around yet? That's a good question. I don't know. It's such a wild world. And also that this would like continue forever, you know, not forever, but Reagan got shot, right? Like, was he the last president to actually be shot? That's a good question. Yeah, they seem to catch him early, no? Yeah, goodness. Obviously, we don't, I don't mean to make light of McKinley being shot and dying, but this is literally the worst nightmare possible. Suddenly public enemy number one or private enemy number one for stateroil is now in the White House. Yes. Now in the White House. So, TR, I mean, I'm sure everybody's upset about this, assassination and one of it. Once he, you know, gets done with morning, he's like, oh, you MFers. I've got you right where I want you now. And he's about to get some serious ammo because right at the same time, literally the same month that TR is inaugurated as president September 1901, a amazing pioneering woman journalist named Ida Minerva Tarbell, who's a writer for McClure's magazine, National Magazine. It was gonna be important, National Magazine. It starts waking up a new project that she pitches to the editor, McClure. The history of standard oil has a book to come out in serial form in the magazine. Now one might say Ida has an axe to grind from her own past. This is the birth of an investigative journalism, as we know it today. Daniel Jürgen, the great historian who wrote The Prize, which so many people have recommended after part one that we read. Ben, you read a little bit of it. Yeah. I quickly realized like, oh, this is mostly about US Saudi Arabia relations. And we are so not gonna get to that in part two. Yeah. So we'll have to cover the prize and, you know, the rest of the international oil history another time. But he celebrated his story and he calls this book, the history of standard oil, quote, maybe the single most influential book on business ever published in the United States. Amazing. Tarbel and her colleagues at McClure's become known as the Muck Rakers. You know, if we've heard the term muck-breaking journalist, she's them. Do you know who coins the term muck-rakers? Ooh, no, I don't. Teddy Roosevelt himself. No way. Yes. So great. He gives a speech. It talks about how great they are. Yes. So she was this amazing character. Now you said she might have some agenda. Yes. A little bit of personal history to color. We're a point of view here. Yes. So where is Ida from? You know, she's like this international woman. She lives in Paris for a while, but she's based in New York. She's writing for this area, a deck magazine. But her roots are actually somewhere sort of close to home in this story. Kind of Western Pennsylvania area. Yeah. Yeah. You know, like the wild, you know, east back in the day. Yeah, she grew up in Titusville. And her dad was an oil refiner, right? Not only did she grow up in Titusville, while the beginnings of the oil industry were happening. Her dad was a producer, like a driller, who got totally flattened by standard oil. And was one of the leaders of the rebellion against the South improvement company stuff and everything that was going on at that point in time. And I don't know if you knew this. Not only her dad, her brother goes into the oil business. And her brother becomes a senior executive at Pure Oil, which is the most legitimate competitor to standard, right? I don't think we talked about this in part one. Part of the strategy was they got to like 90-ish percent market share in refined oil products coming out of the US. They didn't want to get to 100% because they wanted to keep up some charade of competition. It's like having Bing out there in the search engines. Exactly. Sorry, Bing. So the Bing of standard oil was Pure Oil that they allowed to survive. And guess who's a senior executive there? Ida's brother. William Walter Tarvell. Ida's brother. By the way, I do have the actual stat that we pulled from pitch book, sent us this great tear sheet that standard oil controlled 91% of oil refinement in 1904 and 85% of even the final sales. Wow. Monopoly. You said it. She's got this agenda one might say. But she is a very serious journalist. So she spends a year just researching. She wants to find the real history like nobody's uncovered how this actually went down. Well, and she starts by going to Titusville to rekindle her roots and remember what it was like and stew up some feelings of anti Rockefeller before embarking on doing this. So turn our rates from the perspective of nearly a century later. Ida Tarvell series remains the most impressive thing ever written about standard oil. That is high praise. I mean, essentially late like so much ink is spilled. But for Chernau to say, this is the most impressive thing ever written. I almost ordered the book by the way, but I was like, this is going to be way too hard to read. Well, let's just take Chernau's word for it here. I trust him. He continues a tour de force of reportage that dissect the trust machinations with withering clarity. She laid down a clear chronology, provided a trenchant account of how the combine had evolved and made the convoluted history of the oil industry comprehensible. In the dispassionate manner associated with mcclurs, she sliced open America's most secretive business and showed all the hidden gears and wheels turning inside it. It remains one of the great case studies of what a single journalist armed with the facts can do against seemingly invincible powers. And this like a freaking nuclear bomb goes off in standard oil and around the country. Like this captivates America. It was like the Elizabeth Holmes trial is going on and like there knows that was nothing compared to this. Right. It's like that trial meets the half decade long pitch forks against Facebook and the privacy plus the anti Amazon sentiment. Like there were no equivalent companies to standard oil. There were other trusts that rose up and sort of were following their business practices, but no one as big or as bad or as loathed by America as the standard oil trust. It runs for 19 monthly installments. So for like almost two years. I don't have the exact numbers here, but the circulation of mcclurs, triples or quadruples during this time. Like it grows by hundreds of thousands of people. And remember, it's national. This is new, you know, like in the past standard, and they didn't really care about the press, right? Because it was all like, you know, local stuff or whatever. Like we can crush all this. So there's a delicious piece of irony in this being a national publication. We do have this unbelievable unprecedented period in the early 1900s where you have golden era of media, of magazines, of newspapers. And when you think about it, well, what's the media business model that was the winning one at the time? And so you got all these corporations and trusts that are making all this profit. And what they're doing is they're advertising to potential consumers in these publications who now have all these consumer eyeballs. And they're like, we got to get really epic stories to tell. And so it literally the profitability of the business model that standard pioneered that is funding the organizations that are now coming after them. Well, the parallels today are so I was on the wire cutter the other day, which is fantastic. Love the wire cutter, you know, owned by the New York Times. They have affiliate links on the wire cutter. Great acquisition. Great acquisition to Amazon. You know, Amazon Facebook, all the like the press today is coming after these companies and many ways, you know, rightly so, although not like they don't have their own agendas too, they're taking advertising from them too. It's crazy. So crazy. So in the history, Tarvel, uncovers and documents exactly how the Cleveland massacre went down. If you remember from part one, we read a sort of fictionalized quote of how standard approached the independent refiners in Cleveland with, hey, you got two choices here. We can crush you where we can buy you out at evaluation that we ascribe. That quote came from this history. We wouldn't know these things. Well, this stuff we just said in part one, we wouldn't know without Ida because the only other real account is Rockefeller talking to his official biographer, William O. Engluss, which was never published during the time. Right. Toward the end of his life, he only sort of breaks character once or twice and it's really not that interesting or not that spicy of a story. And still he says, you know what? Actually, there's too much here. You should just store it in the family archives. So like it doesn't come out and it ends up just being a source for future biographers in the future after they get the family's permission. It really is Ida Tarvel who discovered all the stuff that we've talked about. I mean, there's lots of big stuff that she uncovers. The fact that there were secrets of city areas that were nominally, you know, people thought were competitors of standard oil, but were actually owned by standard oil. She finds out that they're still currently at the time engaging in illegal practices with the railroads. There's a whole thing about how the sneak papers out of I think the Cleveland office of standard oil showing that the railroads are sending information about competitors' shipments to standard oil offices. That comes out in the piece. So the fact that this was a national magazine. Standard and Rockefeller when all this comes out, even though the antitrust cases are going on, they don't do anything. You know, their playbook, they've never been faced with something like this before. And the standard response is silence. They don't respond. They don't mount a counter campaign. Even though there's a lot of stuff in Tarvel's history that's wrong that they very legitimately could have taken issue with. Yeah, that strategy works until some boiling over point. Reminds me a lot of Apple, if you think back to Antenna Gate as a great example where like Apple doesn't comment on rumors one way or another because if they'd say that rumors not true, then it means that it substantiates all the ones that they don't comment on. But then you have something like Antenna Gate where it wasn't as big a deal, but it was a deal. And so Steve Jobs flies back from vacation on Hawaii with his family to hold the next, you know, same week press conference about it. There is some boiling over point where like if you don't say something, it is way worse. Up to a certain point, saying something makes you look guilty. But then past a certain point, not saying something makes you look guilty and standard past this point. So not saying anything made them look super freaking guilty in the eyes of the public, you know, and to be fair, they wore a guilty of a lot of stuff. So that's how they respond to the Tarvel piece. Yep. Then on the Roosevelt pressure front, Roosevelt's first term goes by and miraculously they manage to escape by nothing like major happens in terms of breaking on the antichrust front even though Roosevelt wants it to. So when he's running for election in the 1904 campaign, which would be the first sort of mandate for him from the people standard tries to run the same playbook they've always run, they cozy up to him and they're like, Teddy. Let's all be friends here. We've got a lot of money. This is big for you. This is your first selection on a national stage. You could really use our support. How about we make some campaign donations and Roosevelt's campaign managers? They're like, sure, we could use the money. We'll take the money and they do. And standard was the only trust to do this. All the other big trusts did this too. This is one of my favorite quotes in all of Titan, which is actually from Henry Frick, who was an executive at US Steel about what happens here. And now writes that Frick summed up the situation best after the election with quote, we bought the son of a bitch, but he wouldn't stay bought. Oh wow. And who's Frick? I can't remember if he was running US Steel at the point or if he was a senior executive at US Steel. So not standard oil. That's right. I think he's the one that got Rockefeller and Rockefeller Jr. on the board of directors of US Steel. Ah, yeah, I think that's right. They were all buddies. So after the election, which Roosevelt wins in a landslide, because he's got the support of business behind him, now he's like, all right, I've got the mandate. I'm going to make this happen. So right after he's re-enoguated in February 1905, Congress passes a unanimous resolution urging individual states to conduct antitrust investigations into standard oil. And immediately a whole bunch of states bring cases, including Missouri, which is where everything eventually ends up going down. Great state of Missouri. They subpoena JD to come in and testify in front of a grand jury in these investigations. JD, he obviously doesn't want to do this. So he goes into hiding. He literally goes on the lamb. At the same time, the state of Ohio, they go a step further. They issue a warrant for Rockefeller's arrest. It's so crazy. Like it's the world's wealthiest man. It's not like he's leaving the country or anything, but he's just trying to like, say super low key about where he is. He disappears like there are process servers trying to serve him with the subpoena and the warrant for his arrest all over the country, trying to track him down. They're jumping over the fence of, I think it's Patantico Hills, his residence in New York. Is there some servant or something who sees this person leap over the fence and fall? And they're like, can we help you? So he won't even tell his family where he is. The standard oil executives don't know where he is. It's amazing. He just disappears for like two years. During this time, he's sending letters with no return address constantly to 26 Broadway to Archbold and to all the other directors of standard oil being like, guys, I actually want to resign. He's sending his letter of resignation perpetually every week. It's crazy because at the same time, he's building all these medical universities and medical schools that are attached to all these other colleges and these thousands of letters are coming in asking for money and he's dodging the government because they keep trying to get him in court. He's like a bond villain. It's amazing. It's crazy. It's so great. So Archbold, they refuse to let him resign. They're like, I don't know where you're sorry, bud. Well, at this point, those guys are a lot of them are sort of defending themselves and throwing rock feller to the bus. They're saying, oh, standard oil may have acted in this illegal way, but like I certainly didn't. You even have executives at standard oil talking and giving first party accounts to I to tar bell. To tar bell? Yes. To try and shield themselves. Exactly. The guy who talked to tar bell and did this was an executive vet. I think a board member named Henry Rogers. And sure now finds this quote. I think he said this to tar bell. This quote from Rogers says quote, we told him Rockefeller, JD, that he had to keep the title of president. These cases against us were pending in the courts and we told him if any of us had to go to jail, he would have to go with us. It's the freaking mafia. It's amazing. So this is it. Rockefeller, he can stay on the run. He can stay on the lamb as long as he wants, but like the jig is up. This is like the end of the sopranos where I forget whatever the situation was, but like Tony's getting whacked here. Standard oil is getting whacked. We don't know if Tony was whacked. Yeah, right. Okay. We don't know, but didn't the shows producer say and then they unsed it. Oh, and then they unsed it. They said, oh, that's not exactly what I was referring to. Interesting. Interesting. So June of 1906, Roosevelt directly directs the US attorney, like at a secret nighttime meeting, he calls the US attorney general into his office and he's like, I'm directing you to open a federal antitrust investigation into standard oil. And then on November 18th, 1906, that suit is filed in Missouri. Federal antitrust suit against standard oil on the grounds. You know what the grounds are? They have violated the Sherman antitrust act. They are in restraint of trade, which is really interesting because it was definitely true in 1890. It was true through the 1890s, but their dominance was fading at this point. And like the late 19, you were already getting into a situation where there was major foreign influence. I mean, there was lots of oil found in in Russia and in the Middle East. You're starting to get discoveries in Texas. Yep. California. And who was it that said that if there was oil found west of the Mississippi, they would drink all of it. Oh, I haven't heard that one. There was some standard oil crony at one point that was so confident that there was no oil west of the Mississippi that they would drink it if anybody found any. So standard oil, strong suit was not Texas. And of course, the Permian basin would become where tons of oil ended up being found. Yep. Texaco or what became Texaco and Gulf, I think also came out of Texas. Yep. Yeah. The monopoly was fading anyway, which probably was the other factor that made their three things. One, Roosevelt bought the son of a bitch, but he didn't stay bought to Tarbel and the microakers in public opinion. And three legitimately, they weren't that, you know, they're still the most powerful company in the world, but they weren't as powerful. So I don't want to flash forward too far here, but I do know that in 1911, when the federal antitrust law, when things go down, when things go down, which I'll just leave there for a second, their market share had eroded to 64%. There were at least 147 other refining companies competing with in the United States. At that point, John D had left the company. And so you do have this really interesting sort of scenario where I don't know, did it need to be broken up at that point? Are we chasing demons of 20 years earlier? I think we'll hold on that for now, but I think that's the thing to sort of noodle on at this point. So it's a bunch of like crazy drama happens between 1906 and 1911, but it's all a side show. It just takes that long for all this to get to the Supreme Court. And then, judgment day, May 15th, 1911, US Supreme Court Chief Justice Edward White reads the decision. And this is like standard oil V United States, right? Yes. This is the big one. Yeah. And in the, well, gosh, what's the circuit below the Supreme Court, federal court of appeals, maybe some of the pellet court? Not sure. I should know this as child of two lawyers and to these two parents are also lawyers. They'll be yelling at me, listening to this. Anyway, standard had lost every step of the way. And then the final appeal, of course, is to the Supreme Court. The court upholds the decision of finding against standard oil. They are indeed in restraint of trade and orders them. I don't know if it was the Supreme Court that ordered this remedy or if this was what had been ordered at the lower courts and they upheld it to be irrevocably. Cannot undo this. Broken up into 34 separate companies and it has to happen within the next six months. It's a fast timeframe to be able to disassemble a company. Seriously, especially because all of the, you know, previous changes in corporate structure at standard oil, may or may not have actually happened. Like they said it happened if I like did it really happen, but this, no, like they got to do this this time. There's some tech debt. There's some legal debt to go and undo here. Did you read about Rockefeller's reaction when he gets the news? Is this when he's on the golf course and a messenger just brings it on like a little piece of paper? So this is the best. Real quick, before we get to that, I want to thank pitch book, our second sponsor for this episode and all episodes in season nine. Speaking of bringing data on the golf course, you access pitch book on the golf course on your mobile phone. They've got this great app really anywhere that you need private or public company data. It's right there in your hands and your pocket on our tear sheet that we've been referencing this episode. pitch book was kind enough to prepare some great stats for us about the company. Most of you know this, but they're the leading financial data provider for VC, private equity, M&A. They've got over three million companies. They've got a million and a half deals on that 96% of clients rate them better than any other data provider for private company coverage. Obviously we use it for the show. We've got a very special offer for you today and all other days that you are listening to this at least before the end of this season. I assume that it expires at some point. If you go to pitchbook.com slash acquired, you can get limited access for two weeks to all of this data. If you're about to do a fundraise for your company or maybe you're an investor and you're interested in checking out a market landscape on some companies you're thinking about investing in something like that. Go check it out. pitchbook.com slash acquired and our thanks to the wonderful people that we get to work with at pitch book. They're seriously awesome for the best. They are. So take us back to the golf course, David. So Rockefeller, he had come out of hiding at this point. One of the crazy things that happened in the interim between 1906 and 1911 was Roosevelt got really pissed about this. There was a judge in Chicago that almost blew up the whole case. He subpoenaed Rockefeller and was willing to because he wanted him to come testify and was willing to grant him criminal immunity. If he came to testify, Rockefeller was like, I'll take that deal. Oh, and he couldn't be like, try it again for double jeopardy then. So this would have been the one. He couldn't be criminally prosecuted after this. Sidebar. This is ridiculous what happened. So he does the whole dottering old man thing again. I don't know. I lost my way. What? Who are you? What's oil? What's oil? The judge gets nothing out of him. But he's so pissed at the end of the process. I forget what the exact case was. He levies a $29 million fine on standard oil, which is like, I like two orders of magnitude the highest fine ever given to a company ever at this point. That's crazy. Yeah. Is that over a billion dollars today? I don't know. It was a lot of freaking money. I mean, now the companies get fined all the time. But this was, I think it was one if not two orders of magnitude higher of an intervention than the government had ever done in private enterprise before. So what does this do? This sends the stock market plummeting because everybody's like, oh crap, the government's going to start coming after all of these companies. And there he knew the government wanted to. But this is the first time it was like, oh crap, this has teeth. And so there's a panic in the stock market. Oh, does Rockefeller buy? Rockefeller. Not, you know, he buys the dip. Go to go to the easy joke to make here. But even more, he offers to bail out the freaking country. Because now he's come out of hiding. Well, is this the panic of 1893? This was in like 19, gosh, I don't know, eight, 1909 sometime around then. Sometime between six and 11 got it. But there's a huge panic. Everybody's pressuring him like, hey, you're the wealthiest man in America. You know, say something. When, you know, when there's a panic now and Buffett comes out and reassures everybody, never a bet against America. Yeah, it's never a bet against America. Rockefeller does Buffett one better. He comes out and he's like, I'll backstop everything personally. So he restores confidence at everybody. Just a great irony here. That's the best side show of this whole thing. So at this point, he can't be tried criminally. Yeah, he's going to get off scoffery for the rest of his life. By 1911, he actually had left standard oil. Well, so when the breakup happens in December, his resignation is accepted at that point time. And then he writes off into the sunset. Great thing. He just becomes the happiest man on earth after this. He's so happy. He's golfing. He's vacationing. He's becoming more of a socialite. All of his worries about philanthropy, that Albatross's office shoulders. He's created this institution. He's done these great things for the world. He doesn't have to worry about standard oil. Personally, he's got to get out to jail card free for the rest of his life. So messenger comes. He's on the golf course on the fateful May 15th, 1911. Not a care in the world. He's golfing actually with the local Catholic priest in Terrytown. They were they were buds. He loved this private golf course that he owned because he could take people out and restrict them from ever talking business. And so he got to be like jovial and social exactly on his terms. Yeah, like he doesn't talk business anyway. He's just like after he gets to get out of jail free card, literally he's the happiest man in the world. So they're all the golf course. He gets the messenger running up. They Supreme Court rule against standard oil. It's going to be broken up. This is how the legend goes. He gets to the news. He turns to the priest smiling and he says father Lenin, his name is Lenin, have you some money? And everybody in the golfing party is like, geez John, I mean, I know this is bad that standard is going to get broken up, but you're not going to be bankrupt. You don't need the Catholic priest here in Terrytown. You got some real estate assets, at least that you can sell off and like, you know, support yourself in your old age here. Father Lenin's like, uh, well, why do you ask? John. And Raka Valley says, because if you did, you should buy some standard oil stock right now. And he's so right. This is the great irony. This is the best, best thing that ever happened to standard oils, share price. Not at that exact moment, of course, at that exact moment, the share price went tumbling. But in the long run, to Raka Feller, the line in its true is that he made more money in retirement and after standard oil was broken up than he did while he was working. Turn out right here. This was literally the luckiest stroke of Raka Feller's career precisely because he lost the antitrust suit. Raka Valley was converted from a mere millionaire with an estimated net worth of 300 million in 1911 into something just short of history's first billionaire. So remember, he owned a quarter of the company trust, you know, whatever the thing. And he basically never sold shares. He was always a buyer from other people. Anytime he had a dispute with a partner or another board member, I'll buy you out. And because his mafia cronies, Archbold and Flagler, I think Flagler was gone at this point, but they kept raising the dividend against his wishes. He was just getting this geyser of cash every year. And that was financing all the philanthropy and whatnot. So yeah, he wasn't selling. He still owns a quarter of this thing when the break up happens. So it's broken up into 34 companies, standard oil of New Jersey, the main one, but then all the other, you know, operations in the delivery of states and refining and one under separated out. And when they get separated out, I'm pretty sure they become publicly traded companies. And so the financials, the books get opened and people can see what ludicrously good businesses these are. Well, so yes, they can see what ludic the financials, but also not just the financials, the assets. They own all sorts of crap in these things. It's not just like the oil opera. They own God knows what they all these like secret assets and all these, you know, competitors and operations and upstream and downstream stuff that people thought were competitors, but really weren't. Forests to build barrels and everything we talked about in the first one. Railroad cars, all this stuff. Ability to take metals and turn them into pipes and plumbing operations and it's crazy. Yep. So December 1st, 1911, the break up takes effect. 34 companies, they all get publicly listed. I don't know if it was on the New York Stock Exchange or what, but on a stock exchange, you know, for the first time, I don't think immediately, but over the next year, Standard Oil of New Jersey goes from a initial share price of $360 a share to $595 a share over your year one. Standard Oil of New York goes from 260 to 580. Standard Oil of Indiana goes from 3500 to 9500, a share and so on and so on. Whoa. Closer tripling. All of these companies, literally newspapers across America, because this is like, this is just selling papers here all this news. They start running daily box scores. I don't know if it was alongside the sports section or whatnot, keeping track of Rockefeller's net worth. So yeah, I hope that that Catholic priest had some money to go by the dip. I love that that's the stock tip too. He's like, all right, everyone's about to know what a great business this is. Jesus says by the dip, another one is just amazing things here. So, of course, you know, we finally have to separate out these assets. You know, everybody on the executive committee that met for lunch every day, you know, the famous thing that were titillially the presidents of all the separate companies. Now they actually are. So they can't meet for lunch anymore. Got to separate out. No more lunch meetings at 26 Broadway. Instead, at JD's suggestion, you know, sort of like voice from the golf course. He's like, how about y'all meet for coffee at 1030 instead? So they continue meeting every day at 1030. Just given the finger to the government. It's like the old line about, you know, when a European monarch dies and they say, you know, the king is dead, long live the king. The monarch is dead, long live the monarch. Standard oil is dead, long live standard oil. That is exactly what happens here. And so it's interesting in thinking about why, at least in theory, why the government wanted to break up standard oil. It wasn't that they wanted to necessarily, again, in theory, punish the owners of standard oil because that they widely failed at. It was literally like we want to increase competition. And theoretically, it will benefit consumers. But again, I really want to underscore that for the vast majority of cases, and let's take out the like weird supermarket stuff they were doing and some of the terrible things they were doing at the railroads, it really all was just a benefit to consumers. So you ended up with consumers generally pretty happy from all this standardization over the years, competitors, super pissed. And now the shareholders of standard are all just wildly rich beyond their wildest dreams. It's actually quite interesting to think about the people that like took the deal and the Cleveland massacre if they had held. That would have gone really well for them. So Chief Justice Edward White, who presided over the verdict and read the decision, he was actually like a very conservative figure and very business friendly. So he had had this sort of pet theory and this was a chance to like write this into law. You know, remember there was the modifying clause on the Sherman Antitrust Act was in restraint of trade. And it was like, what is that? Oh, so this was an ability to define what restraint of trade is. I think it was called like the reasonableness doctrine or the reason something like that, he wanted to be like, yeah, in restraint of trade within reason. And this is what you're talking about here. Let's be reasonable about this. It's not actually that bad for customers. Yeah. So interesting. And Roosevelt was pissed about this because he wasn't the president anymore by the time this happened. Roosevelt and like Tarbel and the Muck Raking crew and all the progressives, they wanted all the standard oil people to go to jail. They wanted to end this practice forever. And of course, that's not what happened. And they wanted to make it so other people were afraid enough that they would never try it again in the future. Yeah. And it ended up being this very middle, not even middle ground, like very business friendly quote unquote conservative final approach to it. The government had a really big investment in this where we talked about how standard oil is the really the first modern corporation. Roosevelt sort of set the playbook for the modern billionaire. We've talked about how he invented modern philanthropy. This is also massively expanding the might of the justice department in a way that the US had never seen before. Because in the 1890s, the entire justice department staff in Washington was 18 lawyers. Oh, yeah. I remember reading about this. In order to go after standard oil, they massively, massively staffed up. I assume it just never went down from there. So there is another reason too. Why the breakup ended up being great for standard oil and for its shareholders. And I don't think the government was thinking about this probably at all as a consequence of the breakup. But I think does speak to, there's like a really important lesson here about the danger of too much centralization and consolidation of power and a single entity. And that is that. So we've alluded all along to the fact that it was automobiles sales and they're going from Karycine to gasoline that was really going to take standard oil and the whole energy industry to the moon to the next level here. That's not what Rockefeller and the cronies and all the people that were having lunch at 26 Broadway or coffee. That's not what they were built for. They were, that was like, you know, they weren't against it. But that wasn't their game. And as long as they were in charge and as long as standard oil was this singular monolithic in practice thing. A lot of the sort of young Turks within the organization that were focused on this new market felt stifled. So the breakup allowed these people, the new blood, to rise to the top. So Chernow writes, while the old guard at 26 Broadway mourned the trust's passage, some young Turks at the operating companies were overjoyed. One of these extraordinary mavericks, Dr. William M. Burton of Standard Oil of Indiana, thought that Roosevelt had performed an inestimable service. After the 1911 dismemberment, he said, it was felt all along the line, younger men were given a chance. Burton patented an exceptionally valuable process in 1913, two years later, for quote-unquote cracking crude oil. That is for refining it so as to yield a far higher percentage of gasoline. His discovery permitted Standard of Indiana to reap incredible windfall royalties. And you know, if you remember from we were looking up on the last episode, what did Standard of Indiana become? Amaco. Amaco. And it was all this you do. Innovation was live and well again within the oil industry here and within all the standard sort of children. So Standard of Oil of Indiana becomes Amaco. Yeah. Can I talk about the spin outs? Yeah. Let's talk about them. All right. So the spin outs of the 34, many of them, you'll know to say the least. Especially if you grew up in America, but even if you didn't, you'll know. Yeah. The first one was Standard Oil of New Jersey, but its name in the spin out was not Standard Oil of New Jersey. It was the Eastern Seaboard Standard Oil or the acronym SO ESSO, which is a little cute, wink, wink nudge nudge by Rockefeller and crew to say and we're still SO. I just love these are antiheroes here. Like the characters. The whole thing reminded me, I think this was when I was growing up maybe to the SO ESSO, which I had no idea what that referred to until recently. The marketing slogan was put a tiger in your tank. Do you remember that? Oh, no. Yeah. It was so good. I mean, like this breakup and allowing these companies to flourish puts a tiger in everybody's tank here. Yeah. So SO becomes Exxon. Standard Oil of New York becomes mobile. Standard Oil of Indiana, as we mentioned, becomes Amaco. Standard Oil of California becomes Chevron. Boom. Standard Oil of Ohio, which became SO, then got bought by BP to become BP America. I heard of them. The Ohio Oil Company, which became Marathon and then also the Speedway brand. The Atlantic Refining Company, which got shortened to ARCO. Part of that was spun off and bought by Sonoco and then the rest of it was acquired by BP and then ironically they sold that brand over to Marathon. So a lot of internal dealings here still. Internal Oil became Conoco, which of course is now Conoco Phillips. And the South Penn Oil Company became Penzoil. Oh, I didn't know that one. I missed that one. Oh, that's cool because yeah, there were all these other oil products that they were developing and marketing. Yep. Man, I didn't know Penzoil was a Standard Oil child. And here's the craziest thing is if you trace it all the way back and you look at the Standard Oil of New Jersey and Standard Oil of New York, Exxon and Mobile together accounted for more than half of the whole Standard Oil business prior to 1911. So Exxon Mobile really is the primary reconglomeration of the majority of the original Standard Oil. Yeah. So fascinating. There's almost like an evil laugh that I want to have after that line because it is, you're right, it's delicious and it's a century in the making. Yeah. Well, should it be an evil laugh? We'll debate in a second. All right, let's put a bow on this whole thing, shall we? I want to end with just illustrating Standard's wealth here, more in particular Rockefeller's wealth because we've talked about a few figures over time. One of them was the 1902 audit that showed he was worth about 200 million and around 1911, the around 300 million. Well, he actually, with all the stockpops in the split up and the move into the gasoline market for internal combustion engines, his personal wealth by 1913, just two years after the breakup, was $900 million. So in 2021, inflation adjusted dollars, if you literally just do the inflation math, that's about 25 billion. But the more accurate way to look at it would be to say, actually, that's like 3% of GDP, which was still only $40 billion relative, of course, to 21 trillion today. So if you base it on GDP, that figure is about $470 billion. Yeah. The figures I had in my mind and that I think are on Wikipedia and that sort of 300 to 500 billion adjusted net worth range. Yeah. I do think we should think about him like he was a 470 billionaire. Not in terms of purchasing capacity, but in terms of societal impact, the analogy doesn't scale all the way back. Like if you think about when the GDP of America was $1,000, if someone had 500 of that, sure they controlled half the wealth in the nation, but they didn't have the purchasing power that someone who would have $10 trillion today would have. So it's an imperfect way of scaling it. But there is no one who controls 2 to 3% of the nation's GDP in their pockets the way that Rockefeller did in 1913. So let's think of him like a 470 billionaire. And here's the thing. He had already given away about half of his wealth at that point. Yes. That's the nutty thing is you already had what would become Rockefeller University. You already had the University of Chicago. You already had all these medical endowments. It's wild. And so you look today like Bayesos and Musk are about $192 billion. We've got gates at $130 billion again from all the philanthropy about Tide was Zuckerberg. Buffet these days has about $100 billion again from the philanthropy. So if you think that Rockefeller, he sort of had the potential to have like $7,800 billion in terms of the amount of sort of influence of the nation's wealth that he controlled. Which probably would be about all of the other moguls today combined, right? That is exactly where I'm going. Perfect. And that's the perfect analogy. He kind of was that. There was Carnegie. There was JB Morgan. There was a generation earlier. There was Vanderbilt. There was Stanford out in the West and like all that. Yeah. For sure. But this is the scale like yeah, nobody could touch Rockefeller. So we should transition into sort of the family generational wealth from here. Because there's a few interesting things about it. So by the time of his death in 1937, his remaining fortune, of course, which is largely tied up in various family trusts was estimated to be about 1.4 billion in 1937 dollars. So that's about one and a half percent of GDP. It's about 315 billion of today's dollars. The Rockefeller family is now seven generations in. There's about 170 errors. According to Forbes, they have a fortune of about 11 billion in 2016. So obviously been doing a tremendous amount of philanthropy. I do think that 11 billion. It's kind of an unknown, we can estimate it all we want. But like there are multiple Rockefeller family trusts and philanthropies and wealth management groups and you know, it's amazes. There is literally a business and a business ecosystem around the Rockefeller family, which is crazy. I actually went to college with several of them. Rocco is a wealth management firm for the Rockefeller family. Ben Rock, the venture capital firm. So obviously the rock is Rockefeller. And for those not familiar who want a crazy tie from this episode to modern day, Ben Rock was one of the earliest investors in none other than Apple computer. That's right. It's right it was. Just amazing how full circle this comes alongside Arthur Rock. Yep. Really bucks the trend of have you ever heard the phrase David shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations? Hmm. I didn't know the three generations, but I've heard shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves. Yeah. It's like the general idea that because of taxes and the fact that this is when you have errors and they have errors and they have errors, this is a exponential distribution of wealth. So it just everything keeps getting cut in smaller and smaller pieces pretty quickly. That has not been the case. Yeah, it's not been the case. But I think the other thing obviously not in every case. But it's pretty hard hard. Nobody would shed any tears. But you know, maybe you should. It's a hard psychological set of cards to be dealt. Yes. Boohoo. Trust fund of multi billion. Right. But it wreaks havoc on people's psychology. How do you go live a regular life when you know you have that in the bank? So I just find it fascinating how like the shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves thing hasn't really been true. There's been no real like major lawsuits that we know of or feuds or public scandals. They're out of the news. It's this family with 170 errors that still wields tens of billions of dollars at the very least is involved in all these projects and you really never hear about it. Yeah. Again, because of like when we were talking about the philanthropy, like Rockefeller didn't want his name on stuff. So you do it. All these universities, all this stuff, you know, you don't know that it's Rockefeller money. But then there's the one great exception of Rockefeller Center. Yeah. So I got the list. You ready? Yeah. I'm getting before we recorded. So we talked about Spelman College. We talked about the University of Chicago. We talked about Rockefeller University and all the unbelievable medical breakthroughs. We talked about the grant that he made to John Hopkins that ended up funding the discovery of a cure for scarlet fever, which is pretty cool. And then so here's this continues. From 1915 to 1940, junior, financed, designed and directed the construction of a network of carriage roads through a Katie and National Park and then refinanced the whole restoration of the park in 1947. So this is really interesting thing where junior, whereas senior kind of left his mark in medical research. He decided that that was something that he could do that was not necessarily religious, but moral. And so it aligned well with his religious views and the stamp that he wanted to put on the world. Rockefeller was so well known for being the medical donor that when Carnegie got approached with projects like this, he would go, I do believe you're looking for Mr. Rockefeller. Rockefeller put his stamp there. Junior was a naturalist. He really wanted to endow parks and things like that. So check this out. Junior was a huge part of the donation to restore and recreate colonial Williamsburg for anybody that's been there. Yep. That was the main funding of the recreation of colonial Williamsburg. Congress in 1926 authorized the creation of the great Smoky Mountains National Park, but there was no nucleus of federally owned land to actually develop it. So junior contributed $5 million in 1926 dollars. The US government then kicked in two million and private citizens from Tennessee and North Carolina pitched into assemble the land for the park piece by piece. Junior led the round the government participated basically. Yes. Then you've got Abby Aldrich Rockefeller who I believe is she junior's wife? Junior's wife. Yeah. Oh, you're going to talk about what I think you're going to talk about here. The Momma. The Museum of Modern Art in New York City was her brainchild. Which? The land that the Momma's on, the buildings, this face. Yeah. Those were the first Rockefeller mansions in New York. Oh, no way. I think they tore down the buildings and the Momma is a new building there. But that land was when the family first moved from Cleveland to New York, they bought two mansions next door to each other, one for senior and one for junior right there. And that land I think is now the Momma. Wild. Well, and then nearby there, there's obviously Rockefeller Center, which was a junior project. Rockefeller Center is fascinating, right? Because it was a business project. It was junior's main business project. And everybody thought he was crazy, like who would want to be headquartered, then he recruited GE to be an anchor tenant and RKO, like in the radio city, music called the reason it's called radio city is he recruited all the media organizations to come headquartered there. Now not to mention NBC. Yep. You know, 30 Rock, like Rockefeller Center, the ice skating rink, senior loved ice skating. Oh, yeah. That was his winter thing instead of golf. And I think ice skating even started earlier his life. It did. Yeah, back in Ohio. Because he was like a big fitness buff, but interestingly not for vanity purposes, for longevity purposes. He wanted to live to be a hundred. He came close at 98, but he was to put it exactly the way that I think he thought about it, afraid of dying. And so anything that was for health and longevity was sort of virtuous to him. HBO and the Silicon Valley writers team could have a field day with Rockefeller. They were to go do like a retro version of Silicon Valley. All right. So the party continues in 1945, junior donated eight and a half million dollars, which I think is something on the order of a hundred million today to just go by the land for the UN. This is right after World War II. That would become where they built the UN building in New York. That's awesome. And just donated it. He continues the area that is now grand Teton National Park was privately owned until the 1930s when juniors started buying up the land that would eventually he would donate to become much of the park, especially the actual Jackson Hole area. I really could go on to with large areas of the Redwood State Park in California or Embarcadero Center, the buildings in San Francisco. No way. Yeah. Again, more of a business project less of a philanthropy necessarily, but that was a Rockefeller investment. This family, this man and the company and company and then companies, the foundation, the institutions and then the family that he begat, like every aspect of American life was touched and modernized by the Rockefellers. It's insane. Yeah. You're playing right into my, what I tried to say at the top of the show and what I was alluding to when our world is a Rockefeller shaped one. In more ways than just standard oil. All right. Well, there's definitely some playbook and other things that I want to talk about here. But first, let's talk about power. So we reviewed, I think we probably did the seven powers justice in part one and we don't need to do it again. But I do want to make a point, especially because we sort of teased it in the intro of where did they have legitimate business practices and where did they kind of run a foul where the initial power that they had in the business really came from like their operating excellence, creating economies of scale, innovating, clever production inventions and refining. But then later on, they clearly leveraged their scale position to like put competitors out of business, screw over partners like the railroad, try and gobble up as much of the value chain in really sort of nefarious ways. And eventually they just straight up used racketeering and bribery to sort of ensure that their very profitable business at 90% market share could continue. One fun little sidebar that I missed in the notes on that literally was straight up bribery. You know, I think we've only talked about political campaign donations. Archbold was he was really somebody when he took over, he actually put legislators on the payroll. That campaign donations just like you get $15,000 a year, you get $20,000 a year to do what we want in perpetuity. I think the best way to put it is probably they became unsatisfied with what they had accomplished and they just kept pushing. This is probably the right transition point. So what would have happened otherwise? I mean, what if the trust hadn't gotten broken up? And I think we should examine it from standard oil shareholders perspective, which I think we're all going to say like what would have been worse? Consumers perspective and then competitors perspective. And in part, maybe even before what would have happened if they hadn't been broken up, maybe we should examine what would have happened if they hadn't gone into nefarious business practices. What if they just were the leading innovator and they had the best operational excellence and they were operating at large scale so they could have legal scale dynamics out at play? Yeah. You know, it's funny. My thoughts on this, it's like a, I don't know, we're talking about boiling points earlier in the episode. I think up into a certain point as we hopefully laid out in part one, what they were doing was, I don't want to bring morals into it, but it was a chaotic point in both American history and in the industry. It was chaos in the oil industry in the early days. And kind of, you know, is Rockefeller's argument, right? We would have all beat each other to death. And maybe somebody, maybe we would have emerged the winner eventually, but we accelerate. It's like foundation, you know, for people who've read Asimov's foundation, right? Like the whole premise is there will be chaos for 50,000 years or 1,000 years if we have the seldom planned to like get everybody through to the other side and it'll happen much faster and suffering will be alleviated. That's what standard oil did in the early days. I would say that there is a lot of merit to that. But once that happened, especially after Rockefeller left, you know, Archbold and the other Cronies, they kept using those tactics even after they'd already crossed the point. And that was bad. They were insatiable. Even some of the more nefarious tactics you're right probably led to good things for everyone, especially for the people who did end up taking standard oil shares rather than being run out of business. But then at some point, it doesn't accrue benefit to anyone in the ecosystems that took to keep pressing your advantage. And the damning piece of evidence here, I don't have the numbers in front of me, but it's in Titan that turn out, quotes, it's actually just a small part of the book. I wish he'd spend more time on it. At a certain point, just like Uber and Lyft today, all monopoly or do-opely-type businesses, at a certain point, they did start raising prices on consumers. And in those early days, it was great for consumers. The kept prices are officially low, et cetera, et cetera. But once they did wipe out all the competition, and Rockefeller was against this, but the Cronies started doing it. They started raising prices and exploiting monopolistic pricing power. So at a certain point, I think it did become at least not as good for consumers. They were harmful. Yeah. Okay, so what if the trust wasn't broken up? Yeah, it would have eventually become worse for consumers. Well, the competitors thing is interesting. So we've already talked about shareholders. It was great for shareholders that they got broken up. For competitors, it's interesting to me that there was already a very legitimate competitive set emerging by 1906. And certainly by 1911, when they had less than two-thirds market share at that point. Yep. But don't think competitors were having a hard time at this point in history because of the maturation of discovery and drilling technology that we realized there was just way more oil out there than we realized. You drill into the Earth's crust under most countries in the world, and you're going to find some oil. And I think that would have eventually driven down their market share, even if the government hadn't broken them up into 34 constituent parts. So we thought, we were debating like, how do we grade this? What analysis do we do? You know, we've talked a little bit about powers here, but we mostly covered that in the last episode. You know, we're going to end with a grade here in a minute. But we want to add a special section for this episode, which is one of our motivations for doing this series other than like, this really freaking great story. We love telling good stories. Like, duh, this is happening again now, you know, attack or let's at least say it's happening in social networking where they're being rolled up together. It's happening in actually that's the chief offender. Well, in Amazon too, any commerce. Yeah, but not in this like rolling up way. Facebook is the most direct comparable thing to standard oil. Apple has plenty of offenses in potentially abusing their app store privilege, but I think that's a little bit of a different thing. Certainly on the antitrust sentiment in the public, though, I think that expands to all of big tech right now in the government and in the public, not just social networking. Yep. Somehow not Microsoft this time around, but yeah, right. They already had their day in court. But yeah, sorry, we thought this was a really apt thing to do right now. And so we thought for this section, we would kind of just brainstorm and go through and catalog like, all right, what are the similarities and differences? It's a numerate them between the standard oil story and the situation with big tech today. And this is the one I hadn't thought about this before we recorded, but as you were saying, the market had already started to change by the time the break up happened. And the competitors were emerging in a way that nobody thought they could before. And that was because American condition. I think that's happening now too. Are you saying that Calibra is not going to win with free? I doubt it. I seriously doubt it. But yeah, like if we rewind two to three years ago, talking to LPs about venture capital fundraising, two to three years ago is where this was like really cute. There were conversations happening where a legitimate concern was why should we invest in startups right now because big tech is settled. Well, and they're going to eat everything between Facebook and Amazon and Google and Apple and all the returns are accruing to scale in a way that's never happened in this industry. Before and it's just going to happen indefinitely. Any new market or idea of any import that comes along the best you're going to be able to hope for is that Facebook buys you for a couple billion dollars. It seemed dire out there fast forward to today. And like I don't know about you Ben, but I am wildly excited about investing in startups and not in big tech companies. Oh, it feels like the same way that it was at the beginning of the mobile era. It feels like this explosion right now in particularly Web 3. And a lot of crazy wrong stuff out there, but there's so much heat and energy and it's such a new paradigm. Yep. And it's not just crypto and Web 3. How many independent multi billion or tens of billions of dollars public SaaS companies are there out there now like amplitude just went public. There's a new five to ten billion dollar IPO every other day right now. A few years ago that would have been unimaginable. So true. And it's funny. A few years ago the Ben Thompson article, the end of the beginning, which lays out this hypothesis and he is a really good analysis on it. I think it's probably the best analysis done on are we done creating new big tech companies forever? That was January of 2020. Oh, wow. It hadn't been that long. Wow. It might be time for another acquired postulate. I don't know what we're going to name this one. Ooh, lay it on me and I'll decide. All right. New postulate. I heard you hear first. I'm sure we're not the first people to say this. Anytime somebody declares the end of something, this game is over. This market is over blah, blah, blah. They're wrong. That is the bottom of the market and is all going up from there because it is never the end. What was the year that the inspector general of the USPTO said that everything's already been invented? Oh, I don't know that one. That's one of these best quotes ever. So good. Yeah, it's a really good point. Oh, and just real quick, all those LPs in 20, oh my God, I'm just thinking about this. I love LPs as a glass. But like 2016, 2017, 2018, when they were nervous and worried about this and not wanting to invest in venture capital, oh my God, those were the best years to be investing in venture capital. That's a great point. Well, I want to make a little bit of an argument against regulation or at least the nervousness that regulation gives me, regulation by definition will always limit innovation because it says you can do less stuff in the world. Yep. It's prescriptive. Yes. And a lot of times that's good. A lot of times that stuff shouldn't be done. People's creativity can lead them to do destructive things. But it does seem to be the case that paradigms break monopolies. And so we may not need legislation or the courts to do it and that these things will play themselves out. By the fact that 21 years after the Sherman Antitrust Act, Standard Oil's monopoly position was already unseated by the time the ruling came down, if there's so much value destruction going on by a monopoly that we can't afford to wait it out, you know, that's one reasonable argument to either have law or a courts change this. But paradigm shifts happen. New technologies happen and they will always unseed incumbents. And in particular, in this one, it was the advent of electricity that unseated caracene and the creation of the internal combustion engine and the massive desire for gasoline, that sort of undid the conventional electricity. Because suddenly there was this massive market available. But then right around the same time again, oils discovered freaking everywhere. And we can drill it very easily everywhere. So you sort of have this massive destabilizing forest driven by technology in our ability to go find this product elsewhere. Yeah. I like that. So I guess what I'm going with that is it may not always be necessary to go trust bust as long as we're willing to sort of wait it out. And if there's coincidental timing of a new technology, see change. Which I think is the argument that is at least so far kind of carried the day in terms of what's actually happened with big tech, at least in America, not in China, but in America of, you know, and guess these are like big hammers and you have to be really careful about wielding them. And maybe it's better to let it play out a little longer before you bring the hammer down. Yeah. This is why I was saying that Facebook is the most similar thing to standard oil. And just to be extremely blunt about it, Facebook buying Instagram and WhatsApp is a lot like standard oils, Cleveland massacre. And you know, the subsequent roll up of all these other refiners elsewhere. Oh, the parallels are exact. Right. Literally suck went to these founders back in the day and was like, love what you're doing. Here's my competing product that I'm watching next week. Yeah. Yeah. Here is the ultimate. And I'm wondering if the internet and software makes it so that acquisition is not the only way like growing horizontally via acquisition is not the only way to play standard oils playbook. Should we be concerned about Apple or about Amazon's anti trusty stuff that might look like standard oil in a different way that is not rolling up. Those are more sort of like platform concerns platforms, either competing with the vendors on them or perhaps abusing their position in the value chain to take too much of a rake, or as Bill Gurley would say, a rake too far, you know, obviously the 30% thing with Apple. Those, I think, are different than what we're talking about here with standard oil. Well, if anything, I think standard oil actually was a, I don't know, what's better, what's worse, depends on your perspective. But to my perspective, played these aspects better because they could have taken a rake too far on so many things. But as we talked about in the first episode, they didn't want to put all their partners out of business. They could have crushed the real roads under their foot at any time, but they didn't want to. They wanted them to profit and thrive. Oh, maybe actually that's more like Apple, where like apples keeping the take rate where it is. They're going to take an insane amount of the profits of the work of these partners, but they want to keep the partners around. Like Apple's not going to, they're like, well, we don't want to go build every app. So it's good to have a developer ecosystem building apps where standard oil was like, yeah, I'm not sure we want to actually be the real roads, but it's really nice to extract as much value from them as we can. Yep. I don't know if I ever even knew the numbers well enough to say in terms of the relationships with the railroads, but I really got, I don't know, Apple, maybe this is just sentiment, but like got that 30% feels really unjustified. Whereas I don't think standard with the railroads and their other partners wanted the partners to feel like they were taking an unjustified piece of the pie. They wanted them to know that they could at a moment's notice, but I think they really did value warm relations, so to speak. Interesting. All right. Before we move on to a couple fun little last tidbits. I know you have been before we grade two more similarities. I want to highlight resonances between the standard oil and the big tech situation. One is I'm just struck by that quote about standard oil of Indiana at the end and that the sort of young Turks in the ranks thought it was great when the breakup happened. I think part of what was going on there is the old guard became so ossified in their view of how the world worked and weren't seeing reality anymore. And I think about not all the big tech companies, but I get to pick on Facebook. This really seems on the outside to be the case with Facebook right now. And like the Facebook files and everything going on with the Wall Street Journal. It really seems like leadership there. Again, whatever was right or wrong when the tar bell articles came out and Rockefeller and everybody was like, oh, we don't need to say anything here. They're playing this wrong. I bet there are a lot of people deep within the organization that are actually doing the work who are like, we should have a different strategy here, but can't have their voices heard. Anyway, that's one, the other one, similarly that I want to highlight is the press. This sort of dual, the angelic and the less angelic side of the press and people and journalists and their motivations. This is playing out obviously real time in so many places in tech. Yes, the press is doing great, super valuable, incredibly important investigative work. And yes, they are also humans. And the New York Times hates Facebook. Yes, they're also humans with agendas. That was true then and it's true now. At the end of the day, all of this is a bunch of humans doing things that they are incentivized to do for whatever biological chemical reasons they're incentivized to do them. Yep, yep. So the standard trademark was doled out as a part of the breakup to the 34 child companies and each owns a different set of states that they can use it in. Many of these states have a use it or lose it clause in their trademark. And so in many of these states, including California where Chevron owns the standard trademark, there is one or two gas stations that will carry the logo of the company you're familiar with, but say the word standard. And there's a great one in downtown San Francisco that you can go drive by and be like, wait, I'm sorry, what standard it lives. It lives. It's at a market in Vaness, right? Yep. You devine you like, whoa, that should be a Chevron station, but it says standard on it. So weird. Such a fascinating. It's fun to like see a remnant of American history on your commute. Yep. The second one is a very interesting harbinger of what's to come. The foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation's assets starting all the way back with standard oil and then of course in what it was broken up into an enormous holding as you can imagine is the oil companies in particular Exxon mobile. In December of 2020, just this last year, the foundation pledged to dump their fossil fuel holdings. So you have the original oil money pledging divestment. Yeah, interesting. So that'll be fascinating to watch how that plays out. Is it that they pledged to do it, but they haven't? I don't know what the timeframe is yet. I assume they're not going to just dump all of it on the market all at once. Unload a bunch of Exxon on the market. Yeah, probably not. But to hear John D's descendants pledging, it's this delicious dichotomy of John D believing that we should hold on to the standard shares because they're going to be so valuable forever and hoard them. And now finally, we're at this moment in history where we're realizing how really terrible it is to burn all these fossil fuels and even the largest holder of the remnant shares of the standard oil company is now saying it is time for us to get rid of these. Yeah, it'd be super fun to find. We meant to do this on this episode, but there's too much other stuff to get in and we're not experts, but maybe find some guests do a special episode on, uh, I'd love to unpack the oil industry. Oh, I would love to understand just current ownership structure. What's the cap table look like? That's all that too, but also from an environmental standpoint. Yeah, fossil fuels are bad, but fossil fuels and oil upgraded the world technologically to where we are now quality of life. No doubt would not be what we have today. If not for all the fossil fuels we burned, right? Right. So like, what is, I don't know what's the right way to think about this? And we're not going to change overnight. That's the other thing. It's like, should we all be using clean, safe nuclear? Yes, we should. And it's going to be a long time before that is the case. Yep. So more fun acquired energy stuff to come in the future. Yep. Well, before we get to grading, we want to tell you about our last sponsor of this episode Nord VPN. I'm sure by now you know the story of a friend of the show listener Slack member, Tom Oakman, who started this company with his friends, his childhood friends in 2012. Now a thousand employees, 15 million people use it. It's the world's fastest VPN. I mean, the best way I can pitch this to you acquired listeners is if you're going to use a VPN, you should use this one. It's a great one. It's super fast and it's made by your fellow acquired listening compatriot. Awesome story of this being a bootstrapped company from Lithuania, just an amazing entrepreneurial success. So our special thanks to Tom and the whole Nord team. You can sign up at nordvpn.com slash acquired and use the coupon code acquired at checkout. VPNs are like nice and great to have and I'm glad I have Nord here in the US. Let's you do awesome stuff. If you wanted to maybe like, I don't know, watch a out of market streaming sports event when you're geographically in a city that you know, you couldn't otherwise like cool, that's awesome. All sorts of great stuff. There are also places in the world where VPNs are like mission critical, critically important. The difference between life and death, it's easy to forget that. It is good stuff that they are doing. All right. Creating. I thought a fun way to do this would be so the very classic acquired episodes very early on, especially were grading and acquisition. So if you were the shareholder of a big company and you use some of the assets of that big company to buy the little company, how good of an investment or use of those proceeds was it to go buy that little company? I thought for this one it would be fun to say, well, I'm the shareholder or a shareholder of standard oil. And let's say the government's not involved. And I as the management team of the company are recommending that we break this up into 34 constituent parts. And like we're not being forced to do anything, this is just the way that we are choosing to rearrange our corporate structure. Everyone's going to get a share in 34 different companies, proportional to your share of ownership in the standard oil company and that is the transaction that we are electing to make as a corporation. Are you saying it would be like, I don't know if you're like a shareholder or a board director at Amazon and do I want to hold Amazon shares with everything or do I want AWS shares and Amazon shares exactly or SpaceX and you're like, do I want to hold SpaceX shares and Starlink shares or even going back to our eBay episode with PayPal? How good of an idea was it to do the spin off for a shareholder value? So I'm leading the witness here, but I don't think it's an A plus necessarily, but it's definitely an A that they did this. It did from a pure shareholder value perspective in finally being able to open the books, see how good of a business each of these things were. And there's an open question in my mind of what if you could just open the books of standard oil as a whole rather than break it into a bunch of little parts, but there is no arguing with it was a great move. Again, I'll say it and it sounds dirty saying it because it's just such a corporate capitalist phrase, but great move for shareholder value to break it up. Oh, man, this was the OG value unlock. This is what investment bankers would be just salivating over today. Oh, can you imagine the fees on this deal too? You can make so many slide decks. Funny story. I was talking to a friend earlier today. He'll laugh when he listens to this. No identities or anything revealed here, but who was investment banker back a few years ago, who his group covered Tesla. And he was telling me about the 420 day, the day that Elon tweeted, funding secured, and just the mass chaos that that unleashed on Wall Street. Oh, they were like, who's doing the deal if it's already secured? Well, once everybody figured out, oh, the deal was in flux, just the fee potential that like everybody's eyes lit up to like, we got to get in to be, you know, lead advisor on whatever this deal is going to be and signing up different buyers and partners that like, I can only imagine the situation if you were a banker and you heard that standard oil was considering a spin out like it would have been that time's 10. Yeah. In reality, you actually had five years of preparation and lighting up the transaction to do. So it was probably a little bit more organized, but that actually wasn't covered much in Titan. So I'm curious for a more financial history of the breakup to cover. There's got to be like a barbarians at the gate of the standard oil breakup. Oh, that would be so good. All right. So David, what's your grade for your shareholder in standard oil? This is for sure, and a on every dimension. I mean, we've already covered it. Like, there's no dimension where this is bad. And it's, I don't know, it's probably borderline A plus like, I don't know, like, this is a great for this type of transaction. I can't think of anything better. Like, this is a great way that you could actually calculate some kind of return on it as you look at the appreciation and the ensuing decades and compute some kind of IRR on all the component parts and try and look at it versus the previous 15 year IRR on the appreciation of the actual shares of standard. You get Archbold and Rogers and all that, all those guys out of there and turn these places into legitimate operations like us. Fantastic. Young Turks, gasoline centers. Yeah. All right. What do you think? I mean, that's, yeah, it's an A. These companies went on to become the most valuable companies in the world until Big Tech, you know? All right. So what is this portend for? Big Tech breakups like should Amazon spend out AWS? So I'm of the opinion that it's indifferent with Amazon. First of all, we know the size of both businesses. I don't think that it's them both being under one umbrella is creating drag for either one of the organizations. I think Amazon knows how to move pretty fast with both of them, but I also don't buy the like, we're our own first and best customer thing in a way that is value creative on the scale of, oh my God, there's so much better together than they would be a part. I think that's always been a myth that Amazon is the first and best customer of AWS. Like I don't think that's actually true. Well, it took a while to move over all the Amazon stuff that was written not on AWS, AWS. Yeah, they were still using article until like last year. Yeah. So I actually think as a potential Amazon shareholder, I don't know if we should disclose or can disclose on the show whether I hold it or not. I'm indifferent. Or as a theoretical Amazon shareholder, I'm indifferent to whether it's one company or two. I think we can. Well, at least I have before. I'm a, I saw an uncle stew, Stuart and their like community. He tweeted today with his current, evaluated holdings portfolio. So like all bets are off now. All bets are off now. We're in Stonkland. We're in uncharted territory. Yeah, Amazon is, I don't know if it's my biggest holding. I think I have more Bitcoin than Amazon, but anyway, top three for sure. Yeah, I think I'm with you indifferent to maybe slight preference for a spin off. I think it would probably unlock some, get a little statered oil in you. But I'm probably just, probably just recently biased by just having done this episode here. Yep. All right. Let's move on to Carvouts. Yeah. Let's do it. What do you got? All right. Two for me. The first one is the upcoming MacBook Pro with an M1X or an M2 or whatever. I so desperately need this that I, this is your like white whale pre making it my Carvout just to will it into existence sooner. I was looking around for like what should be my Carvout and I looked at my computer and I was like, well, not that thing. You're going to end up like never upgrading your computer because you're just holding out like I need it so bad. I think I told you like a year ago that like you should just gotten a air. I'm on the M1 air. It's freaking fantastic. And then just sell it and get the I want the superbook. Dude, you just get an air. Use it and then sell it. You will lose like 10 bucks on it. These things keep their value so much. You're right. If I wanted to get a new iPhone every year, like a degenerate. But we're so close now. All right. If they don't announce this damn thing like, I right. See, that's, I thought it was like three months away forever. Right. Right. I think if this is not out by December, I'm literally going to buy you an air and I'm going to send it to you and then I'm going to charge it to a quiet. Fair. Count me in. I've said it on air. You have my verbal signature. The air is really good. I bet. Okay. I have a second one though. We at PSL Ventures just invested in a great company called Starfish Space alongside our friends at NFX and Mac Venture Capital. This company is so freaking cool. This is my first space investment from PSL. Oh, you've been wanting to do this forever. And this company is so cool. It's effectively an outer space tugboat. It's a tiny little satellite that you launch and it attaches to other satellites and can tweak them a little bit. It can just move them back into orbit gently. It can do things like extend the life of satellites. It can decommission satellites that are in a dangerous place. I think we've all seen gravity. You don't want that to happen. Satellites should be where you want them to be. It's autonomous. It uses electric propulsion. It uses this really cool novel technique to dock to other satellites. That's a super versatile way to do it. And the founders are just top notch. So I just wanted to like talk about them for anyone that's also a space nerd. Obviously, they're hiring, but I think like just go to StarfishSpace.com. Check out what this company is doing. I just love the like incredible innovation unlocked by this birth of the private space tech ecosystem these days. So cool. Thank you, SpaceX. Elon. Yep. Man, we got to... Let's just keep telling us not to do this because we get people's hopes up. But I'll do it anyway. We got to do some more Elon stuff. We got to do like a Tesla part too. Elon, if you're listening, we officially accept... You're invited. You will have you for sure on the show. We'll accept your invitation to come on the show. And if you're listening and you've emailed with Elon like in the last couple of weeks, reply to that email with him and be like, by the way, I think you should do this. Yeah, the next podcast you do, it's got to be... It's criminal that you haven't done it with us yet. Terrible. No, but literally, I'm not even like being facetious here. Nobody's going to tell the story better than us. I truly genuinely believe that. So what are we waiting for? I'm on air a rose and thal-silled pitch. Okay. Give me your car vouts. My car, this is a funny one. It's like sort of embarrassing, but I'm not embarrassed anymore. So for a long time, I saw all of my friends dropping like flies on this, not just with having babies that we're now doing too. Last to the party, I'm not talking about that. But I resisted for years and I was like, you did this band and I was like, no way. It was just two on the nose, Millennial. I am not going to do this. It was my best pandemic purchase. Sometimes the wisdom of the crowds is right for a reason. I finally became a car carrying Millennial. I broke down. I bought a peloton and it's great. It's really great. Do you need one? No, actually, I used it for a couple of months. I used just the app and a cheap spin bike. For me, Amazon was fantastic. But I found I was using it so much, which just shocked me. I didn't expect that. It's so efficient. You're looking in really good shape. Thank you. I've got the baby coming. Things are going to get wild. I'm not going to have time to just go for a long, leisurely runs. I want to be efficient or I'm going to turn into I'm going to start looking like my baby, you know, flabby. So, yeah, then I broke down and I used Ben's referral code. Thank you. Got a peloton. Pro tip. So I think this is different for everybody. Initially, I was like, all right, if I'm going to do it, I'm going to go all in and get the bike plus. So I got the bike plus initially and it's like really nice for sure. But I had used a regular peloton before and I was like, this is not, especially with the price trap on the regular peloton. This is not $1,000 more nice. I can't believe it's a $1,000 difference. There's so many things wrong with peloton's pricing strategy, but you know, I don't say mean this to her, but I'm actually helping peloton now. John Foley, if you're listening to this, come on the show. We'll talk about the pricing strategy. Yes. I actually mean it. We should do a peloton episode. If you know John, if you're friends with him, tell him he should come join us. I love it. We're just episode planning here. Anyway, yeah, it's great. It's great. Don't get the bike plus. At least right now it's stupid to spend $1,000 more. But the main bike, it's really freaking great. And now I get amazing workouts in 20 to 40 minutes and I'm just so glad to now have this heading into crazy parent life. Welcome to the party, pal. We'll have to check in. Well, do you know what we'll have to do some like acquire group rides or something? Oh, that'd be fun. It'd be super fun. If you want to do that post in meetups and the acquired slack. Great. All right, that's my car about. All right, speaking of that, there's an acquired slack. It's got a great URL acquired.fm slash slack, nice and memorable. We are launching a thing. I think maybe depending in the order of these episodes as they come out, we will have told you about this on a previous episode. But if not, then we are announcing today for the first time or the second time the existence of the acquired job board. So so many of you have been posting in the jobs channel for years now in the slack. You have hired each other. You have gotten new jobs through the acquired community and it warms our heart to see it because it's really cool to watch so many of you get to go work with each other levels, a lot of labs, vouch, a bunch of different places that are sort of our friends and close to the show have had folks join them. But now if you go to acquired.fm slash jobs, that is in a nice organized format where you can browse and there's even a little one liner next to each job of it's kind of making their their rosin thal sales pitch of why this is a cool job and you should come work here. We curate them. So there's no one that's allowed to post there that we don't look at and approve and sort of decide personally that we think they're interesting opportunities. So yeah, go check them out acquired.fm slash jobs. Most of you know about the LP program, but I do want to highlight a recent episode that was friggin awesome. We haven't shipped it yet as of recording this, but I bet it'll be out by the time we drop it. It is with Roniel Rumberg, the founder and CEO of Audius. So fun. I don't think I've had a better web three conversation on or off the show than with Roniel. I thought it was so cool that it was like we ranged from talking about like super technical like deep stuff like Roniel is a computer science like major at Stanford like we were actually there at the same time I was at TSP. He was an undergrad. So then we were talking about fun like tech history stuff from that era. And then like towards the end we're like, oh yeah, by the way, you're in the music industry. So tell us a little bit about like, you know, that and he's like, oh, yeah. Oh, like hanging out with dead mouse and blue and yeah, like dead mouse like, yeah, he's really cool. He's a cool dude. Like what? Yeah, for people who don't know, Audius is crazy. It has six million users and it's a crypto application. Like it's I think that brave and metamask are probably like the three largest applications by user count in all of crypto right now. Web through yeah. Yeah. He was like, oh yeah, like, blah, dead mouse. Yeah, like they're really fun to hang out with. And we got into like the stuff that I was really curious about, which is like, how does it decentralize application work also with like a standard web stack like a web to stack where you definitely need web servers and you definitely need to serve an application to people using regular browsers. So really fun. I'm actually going to go listen to it because I feel like I've forgotten some of the conversation and want to want to really listen. But check that out, acquire.fm slash LP. Thanks so much to our friends at pilot pitch book and Nord VPN. If you want to share this with a friend, you totally, totally should one on one's are our favorite. We like to grow with high affinity rather than a broadcast method. So pick a person that you think would really enjoy this and please send it to them. And with that listeners, we will see you next time. We'll see you next time. And well, next time you're going to hear from me because we did build up a little bit of a backlog will actually be in the past. But then the next time I talk to you, my life will have changed. Yeah, it'll be wild. Totally wild. All right, let's hear it later. We'll see you then.