Recode Decode, hosted by Kara Swisher

Recode Decode, hosted by Kara Swisher

Australia

One of tech's most prominent journalists, Kara Swisher is known for her insightful reporting and straight-shooting style. Listen in as she hosts hard-hitting interviews about the week in tech with influential business leaders and outspoken personalities from media, politics and more.

Episodes

What Amazon should buy next (Scott Galloway, author, “The Four”)  

New York University professor Scott Galloway returns to the podcast to talk with Recode’s Kara Swisher about his first book, “The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google,” which comes out on Oct. 3. Galloway predicts that Amazon will launch a weekly auto-delivery service called Prime Squared to encourage its highest-value customers to buy more, and forecasts that the company’s next logical acquisition after Whole Foods would be the luxury department-store chain Nordstrom. He also talks about why companies want to be seen as politically progressive today, why Airbnb will be worth more than Uber and why, if you boil Apple’s brand down to one word, it's “sex.”

The race for self-driving cars is on (Chris Urmson, CEO, Aurora)  

Chris Urmson, the CEO of Aurora and former CTO of self-driving cars at Google, talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about when autonomous vehicles will replace human-driven ones. Urmson, who started working on the technology at Carnegie Mellon University in the mid-2000s, predicts we'll see fleets of self-driving cars on some roads within five years, but that they won't completely take over for at least 30 years. He talks about the remaining challenges to making these vehicles completely safe — including the danger of their operators becoming complacent about the technology — and how their arrival will impact everything from government to public transportation to fast-food jobs.

Venture capital is headed for a ‘huge, rude awakening' (Chamath Palihapitiya, CEO, Social Capital)  

Social Capital CEO Chamath Palihapitiya talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about the future of capitalism and investing, which he says will look less and less like traditional venture capital, as firms like his embed themselves at a deep operational level in their companies. Palihapitiya also discusses why investors delude themselves into believing their own bravado, what he thinks of James Damore's Google memo and why Silicon Valley needs to deal with more than just the "low-hanging fruit" of sexual harassment. He evaluates the biggest tech companies of today — including Twitter, Amazon and Facebook — and predicts that the new CEO of Uber will have one of the most important jobs in the country. 

The future of tech jobs in coal country  

Recode’s Kara Swisher heads to Louisville, Ky., to talk about the future of work with a panel of local-minded techies: Interapt CEO Ankur Gopal, Code Louisville founder Rider Rodriguez, TechHire Eastern Kentucky student Crystal Adkins and Tech Jobs Tour CEO Leanne Pittsford. They talk about what inspired them to become entrepreneurial, and why existing tech companies and investors should be looking to historically less-techie places like Kentucky for workers and founders. Gopal emphasizes that people in the area are not looking for a handout, just looking for work, and Adkins explains why hiring for a coding job shouldn’t require a bachelor’s degree. Later in the show, the panel discusses what needs to happen to help entrepreneurial people across the country find their next move.

Lyft will always have human drivers (Taggart Matthiesen, director of product, Lyft)  

Lyft Director of Product Taggart Matthiesen talks with Recode’s Johana Bhuiyan about the ride-hailing company’s push into self-driving cars. Matthiesen predicts that Lyft will slowly evolve into a hybrid transportation service, with users summoning rides as they do today and getting paired with either a human driver or an autonomous vehicle — whatever is faster. Lyft’s cars may never be 100 percent autonomous, he notes, and today’s drivers may become a sort of concierge, providing new experiences to riders while the car does the navigation. Matthiesen also talks about how the #DeleteUber campaign earlier this year helped Lyft and why the company can’t get complacent about its product.

You don't have to lead like Steve Jobs (Chris Kuenne and John Danner, authors, 'Built for Growth')  

Chris Kuenne and John Danner talk with Recode's Kara Swisher about their new book, "Built for Growth: How Builder Personality Shapes Your Business, Your Team, and Your Ability to Win." Kuenne and Danner argue that, contrary to the conventional wisdom about business founders, winning entrepreneurs can come from many personality types, and those personalities shape the sort of company they build. They also talk about why Silicon Valley worships singular figures like Steve Jobs and Elon Musk above others and how to create more entrepreneurs among the "millions" of capable men and women across America.

What tech gets wrong about harassment (Erica Baker, director of engineering, Kickstarter; Sarah Kunst, CEO, ProDay)  

Diversity advocate and Kickstarter director Erica Baker and ProDay CEO Sarah Kunst talk with Recode's Kara Swisher about the conditions that led so many venture capitalists to abuse their power over female tech founders. Kunst, who was sexually harassed by 500 Startups founder Dave McClure, says the time has come to "turn the lights on full blast" and expose bad actors rather than tiptoeing around the problem. Baker, who gained a reputation as a "troublemaker" from her efforts to make Google salaries more transparent, theorizes that harassment and exclusion have run rampant because of the cult of specialness around coding ability, and calls out tech companies that are not holding themselves accountable. Kunst also explains what's wrong with Reid Hoffman's decency pledge and why former Uber engineer Susan Fowler was the "perfect victim."

How Uber is trying to fix itself (Frances Frei, SVP of leadership and strategy, Uber)  

Live onstage: Uber SVP Frances Frei talks with Recode’s Kara Swisher about the future of the beleaguered ride-hailing company. Frei came to Uber from Harvard Business School, where she studied leadership and diversity, and says the company's problems are neither unusual nor unfixable. Uber's employees want to do the right thing, she explains, but have been historically let down by management and not given an outlet to call out bad behavior. Frei also talks about why she rejects Uber board member Arianna Huffington's concept of "zero tolerance," why ex-CEO Travis Kalanick can be redeemed and how to fix the broader epidemic of sexual harassment in Silicon Valley.

Government should fight tech’s ‘corporate villainy’ (Cory Booker, U.S. Senator)  

New Jersey Senator Cory Booker talks with Recode’s Tony Romm about the current state of politics under President Trump and how he thinks the U.S. government should respond to the tech sector. Booker says he’s eager to see Trump gone, but that Democrats can’t solely define themselves as the “resistance” and shouldn’t sink to his level of online vitriol. He argues that Congress should take a skeptical look at the consolidation of companies like Amazon and Whole Foods, and not accept at face value that tech’s role should be “to create a handful of billionaires”; instead, Booker says, protecting consumers and broadening America’s access to science and technology should be the top priorities.

How humans and AI can work together (Tolga Kurtoglu, CEO, PARC)  

PARC CEO Tolga Kurtoglu talks with Recode’s Kara Swisher about leading the iconic Silicon Valley research and development firm, formerly known as Xerox PARC, which works with companies and government agencies to imagine the future of work. Kurtoglu says PARC is thinking a lot about how humans and artificial intelligence agents will work together and how to build a “trustable” AI that can explain how it reaches its conclusions. He also talks about why Silicon Valley has held on to its leadership in tech innovation and what responsibilities the tech sector has as its creations disrupt established industries and eliminate jobs.


What Russians really think of America (Lisa Dickey, author, 'Bears in the Streets')  

"Bears in the Streets" author Lisa Dickey talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about her new book, which chronicles three trips to Russia at three very different times in its history — 1995, 2005 and 2015. Dickey's first journey across the continent was a pioneering work of digital photography and early web publishing, while her later trips illuminated how tech, politics and everything else was changing. She says Americans get a lot wrong about the Russian people and Russians get a lot wrong about Americans, but the two countries have more in common than they realize. Dickey shares some of the strangest stories from her visits to the country, including an unexpectedly contentious trip to see the Matt Damon movie "The Martian" and arguments over whether 9/11 was an inside job.

Silicon Valley should think like Spider-Man (Reid Hoffman, partner, Greylock)  

LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, now a venture capitalist at Greylock Partners, talks with Recode’s Kara Swisher about why Silicon Valley has remained the epicenter of tech for decades and what’s next for entrepreneurs, investors and consumers. Hoffman explains why LinkedIn sold itself to Microsoft, why Airbnb hasn’t gone public yet and why he believes everyone in politics and business should adopt the “Spider-Man” motto: “With great power comes great responsibility.” Later in the show, he discusses his increasing involvement in liberal politics and his enduring friendship with conservative Trump supporter Peter Thiel, whom Hoffman met as a college undergraduate.

Uber can change (Adam Lashinsky, author, 'Wild Ride')  

Fortune Executive Editor Adam Lashinsky talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about his new book "Wild Ride: Inside Uber's Quest for World Domination." In this live interview, recorded after Travis Kalanick had announced a leave of absence from Uber but before he resigned as CEO, Lashinsky talks about trying to find Kalanick's "Rosebud" and why he didn't discover the now-infamous dark side of Uber's culture that was exposed by Susan Fowler and other former employees. He says despite the brand being "severely tarnished," Uber can reshape its corporate culture and bounce back because "[not] every person is rotten."

BONUS: Cecile Richards, president, Planned Parenthood Federation of America (Code Conference 2017)  

In this special bonus episode from the 2017 Code Conference, Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about how the nonprofit has dealt with controversy and political opposition under President Trump. Republicans in Washington are attempting to limit the organization, which Richards says would undermine access to local health services and cause the rates of STIs and abortions to go up. Planned Parenthood will continue to exist even if the GOP's health care bill passes, she says, but it's still fighting to remain a public benefit, with funds for most of its services being reimbursed by the government. Richards also talks about how her team uses social media and texting and why she wants to use drones to air-drop birth control.

How to shift a big tech company to the cloud (Mark Hurd, co-CEO, Oracle)  

In this live interview, Oracle co-CEO Mark Hurd talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about how Oracle transitioned its business to the cloud, which is the fastest-growing segment of all enterprise spending. Hurd says a large, process-laden company like Oracle can't risk getting complacent and out-innovated by smaller startups, and had to weather some unhappy investors on Wall Street for many quarters because building out cloud services takes time and money. He also talks about immigration policy, job automation and why Steve Jobs once told him he would hate to have Hurd's job.

BONUS: Jill Soloway, creator, 'Transparent' (Code Conference 2017)  

In this special bonus episode from the 2017 Code Conference, Jill Soloway, the creator of the Amazon TV series "Transparent," talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about their new show, "I Love Dick," which stars Kevin Bacon and Kathryn Hahn. They say Amazon is more hands-off than traditional TV networks and has helped diversify the female characters we see on TV. Soloway's company, Topple Productions, is aimed at disrupting the "white male gaze" and giving power to creators who otherwise might not have it, and they recall how, after losing twice at the Golden Globes, Jeff Bezos encouraged them to keep effecting social change through storytelling.

Google is God, Facebook is love and Amazon will be worth $1 trillion (Scott Galloway, founder, L2)  

L2 founder and New York University professor Scott Galloway talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about how the biggest companies in tech are disrupting retail, jobs, advertising and more. Galloway says the U.S. is incredibly "over-stored" and predicts that Amazon is well positioned to quadruple what its Prime customers spend. He also explains why most brands should worry about their future stability, and what a handful — including Apple and Disney — have done right to defend themselves. Later in the show, Galloway grades how Google, Facebook, Netflix and more are doing and makes the case for executive changes at Uber and Snapchat.

BONUS Hillary Clinton, former U.S. Secretary of State (Code Conference 2017)  

In this special bonus episode from the 2017 Code Conference, former U.S. Secretary of State and 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton talks with Recode's Kara Swisher and The Verge's Walt Mossberg about the mistakes she made during the campaign and what she thinks in hindsight about criticism of her private email server and paid speeches to Goldman Sachs. Clinton says "anti-American forces" are continually trying to undermine America's security and unity and that she believes saboteurs from Russia were directly aided by Americans, likely including Donald Trump. She criticizes Facebook's spreading of "fake news" and the eagerness of the media to amplify Trump's message, but also the failures of the Democratic National Committee's "poor" data campaign in 2016 as contributing factors to her defeat. Looking forward, Clinton says she's "hopeful" that Democrats will regain control of the House of Representatives in 2018 and "hold [our] own" in the Senate.

Did Instagram copy Snapchat? (Kevin Systrom, CEO, Instagram)  

Instagram CEO and co-founder Kevin Systrom talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about why he's still working at Facebook five years after it bought his company for $1 billion. Systrom shares what he has learned from the executives there and why he insisted from day one that his new colleagues not call Instagram a "photo-sharing app" — which surprised Mark Zuckerberg. He also addresses allegations that Instagram has "copied" features from Snapchat, saying no tech product is completely original and that it's better for consumers if companies in the same space are constantly trying to one-up each other. Later in the show, Systrom explains why he feels personally responsible to make the internet a safer place, and what he's doing toward that goal.

Why cute robots are important for the entire tech industry (Boris Sofman, CEO, Anki)  

Anki CEO Boris Sofman talks with Recode’s Kara Swisher about the future of robotics and why his company is starting with robots that entertain people: The artificially intelligent toy cars Anki Drive, released in 2013, and the emotive pet-like Cozmo, which came out in 2016. Sofman says designing for cuteness makes it easier for humans to accept when the robot makes an error, and is a low-risk way to make all robots better at skills like computer vision. He also talks about the current state of self-driving cars and why the biggest danger robots currently pose to humanity is being misused by human operators.

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