Recode Decode, hosted by Kara Swisher

Recode Decode, hosted by Kara Swisher


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.


'Mr. Robot' creator Sam Esmail: Hackers are more interesting than hacking  

"Mr. Robot" creator Sam Esmail talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about his hit TV show, whose star Rami Malek recently won an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a drama. Esmail says he grew up loving both movies and technology, and was disappointed by Hollywood's seeming inability to portray hackers in TV shows and movies authentically. The secret to the success of 'Mr. Robot,' he says, is that he's more interested in the complex humanity of both the characters and the people who make technology, rather than the tech itself. He also discusses how platforms like Netflix and Amazon have shaped his line of work and explains why he's interested in working in several mediums, such as video games and virtual reality, simultaneously.

Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker: How to stop AI from stealing jobs  

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about cooperation between government and the tech industry and the new challenges of the digital economy. Secretary Pritzker says artificial intelligence will upend many jobs, but the solution is to focus on retraining workers for new industries like cybersecurity, where American companies have hundreds of thousands of open positions. She also explains the recent battle over the Commerce Department's oversight of the internet and why handing over that oversight to the international nonprofit ICANN was the best way to protect the open web.

Why Ashton Kutcher didn't invest in Snapchat  

Actor, producer and investor Ashton Kutcher talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about his life as both a TV star and a tech obsessive. Kutcher, who starred in shows like "Two and a Half Men" and "That '70s Show," has invested over the past five years in companies like Uber, Airbnb and Square. But he passed on Snapchat — twice — because he hated the app's design and feared what would happen when it got hacked. He's currently starring in the Netflix sitcom "The Ranch," and says denying the rise of digital media platforms in Hollywood is like denying climate change.

'Iron Man' director Jon Favreau on pushing virtual reality to the limit  

Jon Favreau, the actor and director known for films such as "Swingers," "Iron Man" and "The Jungle Book," talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about his new efforts in virtual reality, starting with the interactive short film "Gnomes & Goblins." Favreau says that VR is a powerful artists' tool, but advances in digital filmmaking won't replace actors, or the need for fundamental storytelling skills. He hopes to use virtual reality to create powerful connections between the viewer and virtual characters, and explains how other tech trends like Netflix have changed Hollywood forever.

'The Late Late Show' host James Corden hates 'the cloud'  

James Corden, host of "The Late Late Show" on CBS and viral video star, talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about redesigning a talk show for the YouTube generation, built around segments like "Carpool Karaoke." Corden has a complicated relationship with technology, and worries that the internet's appearance of freedom of choice is making us all more narrow-minded. He also chats about encounters with drones and social media bullies and why he thinks the technology industry is misleading the public by using the term "the cloud."

Stop saying "good guy" in the boardroom (Aileen Lee, managing partner, Cowboy Ventures)  

Cowboy Ventures founder and managing partner Aileen Lee, previously a partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about being one of the few female venture capitalists in Silicon Valley. After leaving Kleiner Perkins in 2012, Lee set out to amass data about the small percentage of startups that become breakout success stories, and she coined the term "unicorn" to describe the small fraction that would be valued at more than $1 billion. She says entrepreneurs today have to be tougher now that investors' fervor has cooled off, and says those investors will have to change, too, by becoming more diverse.

How Uber fought city hall — and won (Bradley Tusk, CEO, Tusk Holdings)  

Tusk Holdings CEO Bradley Tusk talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about his unique political consulting firm Tusk Ventures, which trades equity in companies like Uber, FanDuel and DraftKings for regulatory guidance. Tusk previously worked for former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, and explains in detail how Uber undermined the city's current mayor, Bill de Blasio, with a series of blistering attacks last year. He also talks about the tech challenges facing America's next president, including autonomous driving, drone regulation and how sharing-economy workers are classified.

Google and Apple need limits (Margrethe Vestager, Commissioner for Competition, European Commission)  

In this special bonus episode, Margrethe Vestager, Europe's Commissioner for Competition, talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about the high-profile cases she has brought against Apple and Google for alleged unfair tax breaks and antitrust violations, respectively. Vestager says "there is a limit to everything," including the assistance successful companies should get from the government, and their access to consumers' data. She rejects President Obama's past allegation of European regulators singling out American companies, and explains why Silicon Valley should be put under the microscope.

Behind the scenes of Pokémon Go (John Hanke, CEO, Niantic)  

Niantic CEO John Hanke talks with Recode's Kara Swisher and Ina Fried about the company's hit mobile game Pokémon Go and what happens now that the initial hype around it has "stabilized." Future updates to the game will include new types of Pokémon, trading with other players and possibly battling with your friends. Hanke also reflects on his first company Keyhole, which was bought by Google and became Google Earth, and why augmented reality is a more important technology than virtual reality.

Benchmark partner Bill Gurley: Too much money is my biggest problem  

Benchmark general partner Bill Gurley talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about life as a venture capitalist and why he's still worried about a bubble, a topic he has written about extensively. Great entrepreneurs could raise money at any time, Gurley argues, but when funding is easy to come by, it invites in entitled and less talented startup founders, as well as unwanted government regulation. He also discusses sitting on the board of Uber, challenges faced by its CEO, Travis Kalanick, and why the ridesharing company is unlikely to go public "any time in the near future."

Why everyone should talk about diversity (Stacy Brown-Philpot, CEO, TaskRabbit)  

TaskRabbit CEO Stacy Brown-Philpot chats with Recode's Kara Swisher about how her company and others are changing the definition of work. During her previous stint as TaskRabbit's COO, Brown-Philpot oversaw a major shift in how the company defines itself and made its service far more reliable, at the cost of a yearlong restructuring and employee layoffs. She discusses what's next for the sharing economy and why consolidation may be ahead. Brown-Philpot also talks about being one of the few black female CEOs in tech, and what can be done at all levels of a company to improve the diversity conversation.

Quip CEO Bret Taylor: Companies die when they're afraid to fail  

Quip CEO and Twitter board member Bret Taylor talks with Recode's Kara Swisher and Kurt Wagner about the reality of trying and sometimes failing as an entrepreneur in Silicon Valley. A former Facebook CTO, he reflects on how Mark Zuckerberg's company culture balanced good execution with a willingness to fail. Taylor also discusses Quip's $750 million acquisition by Salesforce, how Twitter is responding to abuse and why so many Silicon Valley companies have trouble with diversity.

Disrupting health and beauty (Tristan Walker, CEO, Walker & Company)  

Walker & Company Brands founder and CEO Tristan Walker talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about how technology can disrupt the health and beauty industry. Walker & Company's shaving brand, Bevel, is aimed at people of color who are underserved by the big cosmetics companies, and Walker says he plans to focus even more on personalized products those competitors can't deliver. An alumnus of Twitter, Foursquare and Andreessen Horowitz, he also discusses his problems with tech companies' "culture fit," and why those who say they can't find talented black and Latino tech workers are spouting "complete bullshit."

Tech in Australia: Building "pathways to Silicon Valley" (Mike Cannon-Brookes, co-CEO, Atlassian)  

Atlassian co-CEO Mike Cannon-Brookes talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about co-founding an enterprise software company in Sydney, Australia, in 2002. Cannon-Brookes reflects on Atlassian's successful American IPO and the differences between his team and tech companies that start in other parts of the world. Rather than trying to beat Silicon Valley at its own game, he says, the right approach for Australia is to nurture its own tech talent while building bridges across the ocean.

Wall Street is ignoring women (Sallie Krawcheck, CEO, Ellevest)  

Sallie Krawcheck, formerly the CFO of Citi Group and the CEO of Merrill Lynch, talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about launching Ellevest, a new online investment platform for women. Krawcheck says the male-dominated world of finance overlooks the needs of female customers, and that women invest differently. She also discusses the 20-20 hindsight of the 2008 financial crisis, the danger of another downturn and why being an entrepreneur is "harder than running Merrill Lynch."

Why did Yahoo sell to Verizon? (Eric Jackson, activist investor, Yahoo)  

Eric Jackson, a longtime activist investor in Yahoo and the managing director of SpringOwl Asset Management, talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about the momentous deal that will sell Yahoo's core business to Verizon for nearly $5 billion. Jackson reflects on how he came to be a champion, and then a critic, of Yahoo's final CEO, Marissa Mayer, and whether saving the pioneering internet company was doomed from the start. He also suggests that the end of an independent Yahoo carries some lessons for other tech companies moving forward.

"Chaos Monkeys" author Antonio García-Martinez: Silicon Valley isn’t a nice place  

Antonio García-Martinez, author of the new tell-all book, "Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley," talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about starting a company, getting acquired by Twitter, and defecting to Facebook one year before its IPO. García-Martinez knew from the start that he wanted to write a book, and the end result doesn't mince words with its subjects. He says one of the big takeaways from "Chaos Monkeys" is that Silicon Valley constantly lies to itself, and that that mass delusion has helped it succeed.

The future of home exercise (Peloton CTO Yony Feng)  

Peloton CTO Yony Feng talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about how the indoor cycling company is trying to shake up in-home exercise programs with its custom fitness bike, which sells for $2,000. Peloton broadcasts 12 live spinning classes to those bikes every day and challenges its bike owners to compete for a spot on its global leaderboards. Feng discusses how the bike compares to other techie fitness gear and why Peloton may be interested in virtual reality — just not right now.

"Hamilton" producer Jeffrey Seller: Tech can't beat live theater  

"Hamilton" lead producer Jeffrey Seller talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about how the hit Broadway musical goes forward now that three of its stars — Lin-Manuel Miranda, Leslie Odom Jr. and Phillipa Soo — have taken their final bows. Seller says he avoids or doesn't understand much of Silicon Valley's tech obsessions, and praises the power of live theater as an antidote to gadget addiction. He explains how "Hamilton" and Ticketmaster have tried to thwart ticket-buying bots behind the scenes, and reflects on some of his other Broadway productions, including "Rent" and "In the Heights."

Behind the scenes of the Rio 2016 Olympics (Gary Zenkel, President, NBC Olympics)  

NBC Olympics President Gary Zenkel talks with Recode's Ina Fried about how the network is building on the digital reach of the Summer Games via livestreaming, virtual reality, Snapchat and more. Zenkel says NBC and Samsung expect to produce two to three hours of virtual reality content per day throughout the Games. He also addresses concerns about the Zika virus and politics in Rio de Janeiro, but says he's not worried about their effect on the Olympics.

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