Business Wars

Business Wars

Wondery
Business>Management
327 episodes
Netflix vs. HBO. Nike vs. Adidas. Business is war. Sometimes the prize is your wallet or your attention. Sometimes, it’s just the fun of beating the other guy. The outcome of these battles shapes what we buy and how we live. Business Wars gives you the unauthorized, real story of what drives these companies and their leaders, inventors, investors and executives to new heights -- or to ruin. Hosted by David Brown, former anchor of Marketplace. From Wondery, the network behind Dirty John and American History Tellers.
  • In the wake of the unexpected jolt of the COVID-19 pandemic, food delivery app businesses are looking for stability and profitability any way they can find it.  With Uber’s purchase of Postmates and DoorDash buying Caviar, consolidation has become all the rage.  And the apps are diversifying into p...
    Play25m 29s
  • It's July 2019. DoorDash is finally bigger than Grubhub, but it's coming under fire for pocketing tips from its drivers. Now DoorDash needs to rehab its image, or risk losing customers to its competitors.  When a California proposition threatens to alter how food delivery companies classify their d...
    Play29m 36s
  • It's December 2014, and Grubhub's Matt Maloney is feeling the heat. Competitors are eating away at his market share, so he decides to change direction. Grubhub finally starts delivering food with its own drivers. But will it be enough to outpace the other fast-growing upstarts? DoorDash, meanwhile,...
    Play30m 43s
  • It's 1990 in Champaign, Illinois, and 15-year-old Tony Xu is washing dishes in the Chinese restaurant his mother manages. He wants to help people like his Mom, but it'll be many years before he hits on his solution for small businesses.  Across the Atlantic, Bastian Lehmann forgets his snowboard wh...
    Play25m 48s
  • It's December 2011 in San Francisco. Bastian Lehmann is getting ready to launch his courier app, Postmates. But when he and his co-founders discover people want food delivered, not objects, they pivot to a business already cornered by Grubhub.  Meanwhile, 30 miles away in Palo Alto, a business scho...
    Play27m 20s
  • WWE might have thwarted WCW’s effort to claim the pro wrestling crown, but after 20 years of unchallenged supremacy, a new competitor has entered the ring. Bankrolled by a billionaire sports owner and airing weekly on TNT, All Elite Wrestling is, in many ways, the second coming of WCW.  But have th...
    Play23m 49s
  • It’s 1998 and the slugfest between Vince McMahon’s WWF and Ted Turner’s WCW is reaching a critical juncture. McMahon’s on a mission to pull wrestling fans back to his TV shows with a strategy focused on maximum controversy. And to help him in his mission, he’s getting back-up from a high-flying TV...
    Play32m 1s
  • It’s 1996 and with Monday Nitro topping the TV ratings, WCW is out to end WWF’s time as the biggest player in the wrestling business. It’s plotting to establish two brands: one that WCW boss Eric Bischoff hopes can suck away WWF’s family audience, another that will seek to capture the young males w...
    Play27m 52s
  • It’s 1995 and the Monday Night Wars are underway. WCW’s new show Monday Nitro is grappling with the WWF’s Monday Night Raw to win TV viewers’ attention. WCW isn’t pulling its punches either. Under the command of Eric Bischoff, WCW is dropping spoiler bombs, luring away WWF’s top wrestlers and trash...
    Play28m 7s
  • It’s 1994 and WCW is stepping up its game. To get the jump on WWF, Ted Turner is writing big checks to steal away the WWF’s biggest stars and sponsors. And as WCW’s star power increases, so does its popularity with wrestling fans. But the WWF is in no position to fight back. It’s struggling to keep...
    Play28m 1s
  • Two young Silicon Valley entrepreneurs set out to rid the world of smoking with an incredible new product. The device stands to disrupt the tobacco industry and make them rich, until it falls into the wrong hands and lives are ruined. From classrooms to hospitals, boardrooms to the Oval Office, what...
    Play6m 21s
  • It’s the dawn of the 1990s and Vince McMahon’s WWF is the king of wrestling. But trouble’s brewing: a steroids scandal is about to deal a body blow to the WWF and its family-friendly reputation. The scandal will leave WWF stuck in damage control mode as it fights to stem the losses from falling TV...
    Play28m 58s
  • This episode is brought to you by Wondery in partnership with Dell Technologies. In honor of small businesses, we're featuring inspiring stories of successful companies that started out small. It’s 1970 and Gert Boyle’s life is in ruins. Her husband’s just died, and now, as a middle-aged stay-at-ho...
    Play31m 23s
  • It’s the early 1980s and there’s peace in the wrestling business. For years regional wrestling companies have maintained order by sticking to their own slices of US and Canadian territory. But that’s all about to change. Vince McMahon has just taken over the World Wrestling Federation, and he wants...
    Play31m 10s
  • This episode is brought to you by Wondery in partnership with Dell Technologies. In honor of small businesses, we're featuring inspiring stories of successful companies that started out small. It’s 1961 and Tom Monaghan is about to drop out of college and put his all into the hole-in-the-wall pizze...
    Play31m 55s
  • BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca. These companies are now household names thanks to their COVID-19 vaccines. The gambles these businesses took are paying off.  The pharmaceutical giants are in line to profit heavily from their life-saving work, but the system of distributing th...
    Play26m 1s
  • It’s late 2020 and the first vaccines are going into arms across the world. With supplies tight, the nations of the world are pushing and shoving to get their shots, and investors are salivating at the thought of the profits to be made now that humanity’s got Covid’s on the run. But this virus isn...
    Play33m 56s
  • It’s fall 2020 and the world’s waiting for the first results from the vaccine trials. But as the moment of truth nears, the pressure on the vaccine makers intensifies. And while AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson get hit with curveballs, Pfizer finds itself caught in the crossfire of the U.S. P...
    Play31m 16s
  • It’s summer 2020 and with Covid infections surging across America, the Trump administration’s ready to spend billions to get a vaccine fast. For vaccine makers — who face the enormous costs of rapidly upscaling manufacturing and pushing their shots through large-scale human trials — the government...
    Play29m 1s
  • It’s February 2020 and drugmaker Moderna’s sprinting ahead – its Covid vaccine is already poised to enter human trials. But Moderna and its rivals know plenty of vaccines never make it out of trials alive. It’s also going to take a lot of manufacturing muscle to inoculate the world. All of which co...
    Play28m 52s
  • It’s 25 years before the pandemic and at the University of Pennsylvania a Hungarian biochemist is fighting a one-woman campaign to figure out how to create mRNA vaccines. But no one wants to fund her research and every lab rat she injects with mRNA dies. Now, she must decide between her career and...
    Play32m 1s
  • It’s early January 2020, and a mysterious new virus is overtaking the city of Wuhan, China. At first the outbreak barely makes the news, but as the threat comes into focus, scientists spring into action to make a vaccine. But the outlook’s grim – vaccines take years to create, test and approve. No...
    Play28m 49s
  • After decades in KFC’s shadow, Chick-fil-A rode a wave of chicken sandwich obsession to industry dominance. But for how long? Will consumers tire of the relative simplicity of fried chicken in between two pieces of bread? For more on the emergence of the chicken sandwich as fast food’s favorite son,...
    Play24m 48s
  • Our new book, The Art of Business Wars, takes fans through stories they've heard on Business Wars and some that are completely new. Host David Brown is joined by Next Big Idea's Rufus Griscom to discuss how the book came together, what makes a great Business Wars story, and preview some of the never...
    Play23m 46s
  • It’s the the early 2000’s and the animal rights group PETA accuses KFC of cruelty in their poultry processing and creating “Frankenchickens.” As KFC revenues tumble, Chick-fil-A surges ahead, cultivating fanatic customers with opening day parties and lavish food giveaways. But when President Dan Cat...
    Play25m 37s
  • It’s the 1970’s and Kentucky Fried Chicken has yet another new owner: Heublein, the company known for introducing Americans to Smirnoff’s vodka. But KFC brand ambassador Harland Sanders creates a PR fiasco by accusing his new corporate bosses of letting standards slide and ruining the company. As th...
    Play27m 50s
  • oo often in business, taking two positions is the same as taking none. You can only carve out one at a time — so choose wisely. To read more lessons from The Art of Business Wars and to order your copy, visit wondery.com/the-art-of-business-wars.  See our Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy...
    Play4m 38s
  • It’s the late 1960s and Kentucky Fried Chicken’s new owner takes the rapidly expanding franchise public. America’s hottest new IPO makes dozens of employees instant millionaires, but not Harland Sanders, who sold his company for cash. Now brand ambassador, Sanders regrets his decision and attempts a...
    Play26m 0s
  • It’s the 1950s in Kentucky and Harland Sanders faces bankruptcy once again. 65-years-old, broke, unemployed and desperate, he barnstorms the country, living out of his car, selling his secret fried chicken recipe to restaurant and diner owners. Franchising is a new concept and it’s hard going, but S...
    Play28m 44s
  • It’s the 1900’s and a young Harland Sanders learns how to cook out of sheer necessity when his widowed mother leaves him at home to care for his younger brother and sister. Crushing poverty prompts his mother to loan him out as a field hand when he’s just twelve, and from then on he’s on his own. He...
    Play22m 18s
  • It's the Great Depression, and in one of Kentucky’s toughest corners, Harland Sanders defends his gas station business with sheer moxie and a loaded shotgun. He expands it into a thriving motel and restaurant, but impatient tourists balk at long wait times for his most popular dish — fried chicken....
    Play24m 7s
  • Since the disruption of the broadcast viewing experience, late night comedy has gone through some growing pains. It’s no longer must-see TV, but late night water cooler moments remain as fiery political segments go viral online. For more on how the late night landscape has shifted since Johnny Cars...
    Play22m 55s
  • Jay Leno takes it on the chin from NBC when the network informs him his future as Tonight Show host has a looming shelf life. He needs to hand the keys to Conan O’Brien, who doesn’t want to be stuck in the 12:30 slot forever.  As Letterman’s ratings at CBS decline, NBC makes a bizarre decision to k...
    Play32m 15s
  • CBS makes David Letterman a very attractive offer to leave NBC—a move he’s very willing to make—but his long-time network is desperate to keep him. So desperate they dangle the prize that Letterman felt he deserved all along—the Tonight Show.  That doesn’t sit well with Tonight host Jay Leno, who t...
    Play31m 18s
  • When longtime Tonight Show host Johnny Carson shocks NBC with the surprise announcement of his departure, Jay Leno is anointed as the next host of the network’s flagship franchise. But there’s a problem: after a decade hosting Late Night at 12:30, David Letterman thinks Carson’s job should be his....
    Play26m 15s
  • Johnny Carson – the man who defined the Tonight show – is nearing retirement. But NBC has yet to settle on an heir. And that sets the stage for one of the most painful moments for the late night rivals battling for the throne. It will prove enormously embarrassing for Carson, Leno and Letterman. And...
    Play27m 26s
  • The late night saga begins in the uncharted wilderness of after-hours programming. In the early 1950s, an era when television broadcasting literally stops at 11:00 p.m., NBC dares to push the envelope with something called the Tonight Show. It works. It seems insane, but American audiences are read...
    Play25m 48s
  • The cutthroat evolution of late-night talk shows is a long and fierce battle for advertising riches, ratings and sheer egotistical triumph. It’s the early 1980s and NBC’s Tonight Show is the unbeatable standard in its class, and its long-time host Johnny Carson the indisputable god of late night....
    Play30m 31s
  • As the beauty business shifts towards boutique brands and upstarts, traditional titans of the industry like L'Oreal and Esteé Lauder are struggling to maintain a foothold. At the center of this cultural shift are beauty influencers, who are reaching a new wave of savvy, socially conscious consumers....
    Play23m 35s
  • It’s 2007, and the L'Oréal founding family is thrust into the media spotlight when a scandal erupts. The daughter of Liliane Bettencourt, heiress to the company fortune, accuses a family friend of exploiting her mother’s dementia. But the ensuing investigation brings to light Bettencourt’s own unsav...
    Play25m 35s
  • It’s 1991, and after the financial crash of 1987, Estée Lauder is looking for a new way to continue expanding without sinking millions of dollars and several years into developing a new brand. The answer lies in acquisitions, and they set their sights on two young, hip, buzzworthy companies: MAC and...
    Play26m 8s
  • It’s 1979 and Estée Lauder is on top of the world after launching another in-house brand, Prescriptives. But after decades of being primarily known for hair products, L'Oréal is ready to invade the American high-end makeup market. And their secret weapon is Lancôme, a luxurious French brand that the...
    Play26m 52s
  • It’s 1962, and Estée Lauder is on fire, with well-received new products helping solidify their position as the top high-end makeup brand. But Revlon is hot on their tails, and to fend off the threat the Lauders decide to develop a new brand: Clinique. With this line of hypoallergenic products for se...
    Play26m 33s
  • It's 1904, and ambitious French chemist Eugène Schueller quits his job as a researcher to focus on formulating the first synthetic hair dye. Teaming up with Parisian hairdressers to spread the word about his product, he soon expands into hair care and sunscreen, relying on his knack for innovative m...
    Play24m 55s
  • It’s 1946, and after years of building a cult following thanks to free samples and loyal customers, Estée Lauder finally has an opportunity to join the big leagues. She can now sell her high-quality makeup products in department stores in New York City. Unphased by competitors with deeper pockets an...
    Play28m 23s
  • As the Space Race moves into the present day, Elon Musk recoups SpaceX’s losses and edges ahead of Blue Origin. But now his competition is coming not just from Jeff Bezos, but from like-minded dreamers in Russia and China. For more on the coming battle for space supremacy, we speak with Tim Fernhol...
    Play22m 23s
  • It's 2016 and Virgin Galactic is about to re-enter the space race following its fatal test flight two years earlier. But the company's early lead in human spaceflight is eroding fast. Blue Origin, Boeing and SpaceX are closing in. The race to become the first private company to launch a person int...
    Play27m 44s
  • It's 2013 and the long cold war between Blue Origin and SpaceX is about to go nuclear. The clash begins when NASA puts its most famous launchpad up for lease, and escalates fast. Soon SpaceX, Blue Origin, and the United Launch Alliance will be reaching for any weapon they can use to disrupt each o...
    Play27m 37s
  • It's 2009 and a new president is looking to shake up the space world by opening up the stars to private industry.  But with NASA’s space shuttle about to retire, the United States soon won't be able to reach the International Space Station without Russian help. U.S. leadership in space hangs in th...
    Play24m 22s
  • It's 2005 and SpaceX is about to find itself exiled to a tropical island, but this is no vacation. It's in a race against time to get the Falcon 1 rocket into orbit before Musk's millions runs out. But as the failures mount, Musk stares ruin in the face. Pre-order our new book The Art of Business W...
    Play27m 41s
  • It's 2003 and in the Mojave Desert, renegade aviation genius Burt Rutan is building a spaceship funded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. But while Rutan and Allen are preparing to launch the world's first privately funded astronaut, Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos are still struggling to get their space...
    Play26m 45s