Top 1%

Here’s something I observed from being a frequent listener to 3 podcasts:

There's an evergreen demand for unpacking the top 1%

The 3 podcasts I am referring to are:

1/ Acquired

2/ Founders

3/ 20VC

The hosts at Acquired podcast (Ben and David) unpack the top 1% most successful businesses

Examples: Pixar, Porche, Costco etc.

The host of Founders podcast, David Senra, helps unpack the top 1% history’s most successful entrepreneurs.. usually the ones who passed away. He’s famously called friend of the eminent dead.

Examples: Rockefeller, Henry Ford, Sam Walton, Steve Jobs, etc.

The host of 20VC Harry Stebbings unpacks the insights and lessons from top 1% VCs like Brad Feld, Chris Sacca, Keith Robois etc.

Other non-podcast examples are:


  • There seems to be a clear market demand for so many variations of the top 1%
  • “Top 1% of X” (think X = newsletters, founders, companies, VCs etc)
  • What does unpacking mean?
    • Origin story
    • Untold parts of the full story (especially surprising elements)
    • Lessons
    • Ideas that are helpful
    • Insights from their journey
    • Secrets from their success
  • All of the above examples quoted have the following traits in their work. Their work is:
    • exceptional quality where you can sense the care and craft (perhaps takes 30-40 hrs for each edition)
    • directly answers what’s in it for me (”learn success secrets from Pixar, learn success secrets from Steve Jobs, learn success secrets from Mr Beast etc.)
    • time in the game and compounding were a MASSIVE advantage (Acquired has been going on for ~9 years, Harry Stebbings shipped 3000+ episodes etc)
  • Clearly, there is NO short cut except falling in love with the process. This is easy if you actually care about the topic yourself. Ben and David from Acquired said that they initially personally obsessed over “tech acquisitions” that made them curious enough to research and record episodes on that narrow theme. Their inner curiosity tricked into their work which kept them going for years. Chenell loves newsletters and you can tell. Harry loves the VC world and its nuances. Pick a narrow niche that you love (for whatever reason). I believe this is the easiest part to get wrong as your brain most likely will trick you into choosing what feels cool (and high status) as your podcast’s theme. Don’t. Be authentic to yourself or else you won’t last.
  • Side note: I know this through my own experience. I host a podcast called Build In Public Podcast and competed 84 episodes in roughly 2.5 years so far. It was a LOT of work. And I don’t think I would have persevered if I didn’t feel passionate about founders and building in public. Passion is not enough, I am actually obsessed.