I love reading analyses that dive deep into "The Rise of Company X".
My favorite ones approach companies from the perspective of an analyst and go beyond linear narrative to look at early go to market and product decisions, strategic tradeoffs, company culture, competitive dynamics, and missteps. The best ones explain what unique early insights led to innovation and eventually market power. It is also great when the analysts take a position on the future of the company — what threats to they face and what needs to be done from here to maintain, expand, or regain competitive advantage?
Below are a bunch I've enjoyed.
If you have any others I should read and include, let me know here on Twitter! And if you want updates when I add new companies to this list or publish a new compilation, enter your email below.
- A Look at SoftBank Vision Fund I 7 Global Capital
- Dark Horse Discord Mule's Musings
- Why Figma Wins Kevin Kwok
- 10 Years of Excellence: A Deconstruction of Supercell Miska Katkoff and Giovanni Ducati
- Pinduoduo and The Rise of Social E-Commerce Anu Hariharan and Nic Dardenne
- A History of Visa — Part I / Part II Mine Safety Disclosures
- A Brief History Of Spotify: Gustav Söderström Gustav Söderström, Spotify
- Reliance Jio — Part I (Reliance: Origins) / Part II (From Oil to Jio) Vedica Kant
- The Rise of TikTok and Understanding Its Parent Company, ByteDance Turner Novak
- TikTok and the Sorting Hat Eugene Wei
- Why Nintendo Isn't the Next Disney (And What It Will Be Instead) Aaron Bush / Master the Meta
- Netflix Misunderstandings (Parts I - VII) Matthew Ball / Redef
- Under Division — Under Armour's Core Issue Web Smith / 2PM
- How Nespresso's coffee revolution got ground down Ed Cumming
- Stripe Teardown: How The $35B Payments Company Plans To Supercharge Online Retail CB Insights
- What is Amazon? Zack Kanter
- 11 Notes on McKinsey Nicolas Colin
- The History of Bloomberg (Twitter Thread) NeckarCap
- Charlie Munger: Turning $2 Million Into $2 Trillion (Coca-Cola) Charlie Munger
- Thoughts on Sea Limited Julie Young
- HBO's Origins — A Netflix with Atoms Daniel Gross
- What's Next for Pinduoduo? Romit Mehta
- Building the next entertainment giant — Wattpad Maxime Eyraud
- How Notion Is Going After Atlassian and Why It Just Might Win Hiten Shah
- The AWS of Finance — Blackrock Marc Rubenstein, Net Interest
- Why does DARPA work? Benjamin Reinhardt
- Klarna is the Ultimate Grower Gonz Sanchez, Seedtable
- How LeBron James and Jeanie Buss squashed Lakers drama Ramona Shelburne
- Nikola: How to Parlay An Ocean of Lies Into a Partnership With the Largest Auto OEM in America Hindenburg Research
- The Quest for Monopoly — NYSE Marc Rubenstein, Napkin Math
- [Compilation] The Rise of Product Led Growth Me, Venture Desktop
- [Compilation] The Rise of Video Games, Facebook, and LVMH Me, Venture Desktop
- The Economics of the Tour de France Zachary Crockett, The Hustle
- Why Rocket Internet has come down to earth The Economist
- S-1 Club — Asana, Palantir, Snowflake, Unity The Generalist (I participated in putting together the Asana analysis)
- What We Owe Rocket Internet Nicola Colin, European Straits
- How Nvidia Went From Powering Video Games To Revolutionizing Artificial Intelligence Aaron Tilley, Forbes
- Voodoo Games Deep Dive Alexandre Dewez
- All You Need to Know About Jack Ma’s Ant Group Lulu Yilun Chen, Bloomberg
- How Ant Group Became the Biggest Fintech Company in the World Marc Rubenstein, Marker
- The Rise and Fall of Industrial R&D Labs — From Bell Labs to Google Ben Southwood, Works in Progress
- Under the Hood of Kima Ventures Jean de La Rochebrochard
- Birth of the Business Corporation Anton Howes, Age of Invention
I have also written a couple pieces of my own that sort of fall into this genre...
If you prefer audio, the Acquired Podcast is a great source. I've linked a few of my favorites and those recommended on Twitter below but the whole list is here and I am looking forward to going back through and listening to ones I missed in the past.
They have done deep dives into pretty much every important Chinese tech company and Chinese tech trend. Highly, highly recommend.
There are also writers that do these sorts of analyses on a pretty regular basis. Some of my favorites come from Nicolas Colin, Co-Founder of The Family. I linked to his McKinsey analysis above. My two other favorites are his deep dives on Berkshire Hathaway and and Goldman Sachs. You can find the rest here in this thread.
One of areas I spend a lot of time trying to learn about and understand is the rise of the One Person Company. Quick thoughts on that:
Over the next decade, new platforms and infrastructure providers will emerge to support the tens of millions of individuals capable of building successful One Person Companies along with the billions of consumers and businesses that will support them. More generally, the rise of the One Person Companies will inject dynamism into the broader economy and will play a role in driving more inclusive innovation.
The best writer on One Person Companies — specifically media companies — is Dan Runcie from Trapital. A couple of his best:
- How Issa Rae Became the Modern Mogul
- How Jay Z and Damon Dash’s Split Still Impacts Hip-Hop
- This one about the rise of Square's Cash App is also outstanding.
If you are looking for books tracking the rise of important companies, here are a few of my favorites:
- The Partnership: The Making of Goldman Sachs (I wrote something about Goldman as well)
- My Years With General Motors
- Shoe Dog — Nike
- Those Guys Have All the Fun — ESPN