ACQ2: The Acquired Interviews

"You can call it paranoia, or you can call it innovation. The language doesn’t matter if the feeling is the same. This is all an experiment I’m running eight years in of: How do I update my mindset to want to approach things by activating the pleasure center more than the pain center.  I’m more likely to move away from pain and towards pleasure. So why don’t I make innovation a game and bring play to, literally playfulness, into it. I see too many founders burn out because they have lost playfulness in their culture." – Tracy Lawrence, @chewishgirl


Tracy Lawrence, founder and CEO of Chewse (@chewse) takes us on the journey of how and why she founded Chewse. Tracy, Ben, and David discuss most of the traditional topics (early days, product-market fit, mission alignment), but spend most of the time talking about non-traditional topics like mental health, vulnerability, and love for company and self. If you’re a founder, this episode will perk both your IQ and your EQ. For everyone else, your faith in the future of tech might get restored. Enjoy!


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Show Bookmarks:

[00:00] – Show intro and introduction of Tracy Lawrence

[06:00] – How Salary Publishing works and affects the culture at Chewse

[10:40] – The early days of Chewse

[15:45] – Market Timing and the Chewse’s differentiation

[16:48] – Business Model Innovations and the Take Rate

[20:10] – Product/Market Fit and Innovation

[28:37] – What is a “Love Company”?

[36:45] – Tracy’s thoughts on Fundraising and Authenticity

[43:10] – What Tracy from other founders

[49:19] – How and why Tracy built a village

[52:32] – Mission Alignment with the Chewse Team

[59:00] – Tracy’s personal message for non-traditional founders



People Worth Knowing:

Andy Grove

Brad Felt

Jerry Colonna

Marc Andreessen


Companies Mentioned in Episode:

All Raise









Six Taste Food Tours





Episode Specific Terms:

B2B Markets

Comp vs Band

IQ vs EQ

Market Place Approach

Mission Alignment

Open-Salary vs Fair-Salary

Product Market Fit

Take Rate



Ben and David’s Affiliations:

Wave Capital, @WaveCapitalVC

Pioneer Square Labs, @psl

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What is ACQ2: The Acquired Interviews?

ACQ2 is Ben and David's conversations with expert founders and investors. Acquired the stories of great companies — and ACQ2 dives deeper into the lessons we can learn from them, often with the protagonists themselves.