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

Uber's looming 'existential crisis' (Brad Stone, author, 'The Upstarts’)  

Bloomberg Tech journalist Brad Stone talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about his latest book, "The Upstarts: How Uber, Airbnb, and the Killer Companies of the New Silicon Valley Are Changing the World." Stone argues that the stories of Uber and Airbnb are intertwined tales of competition, disruption and regulatory drama, and that both companies have driven CEOs who have found tremendous success despite several early missteps. Stone calls self-driving cars an "existential crisis" for Uber, and also talks about the future of Amazon, which he wrote about in his previous book, "The Everything Store." Stone says Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos might have a business problem under President Trump, as Bezos is also the owner of The Washington Post.

Countries that fear immigrants are killing innovation (Rolf Schrömgens, co-founder, Trivago)  

Trivago co-founder and Managing Director Rolf Schrömgens talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about starting a search engine for hotels and why he thinks much larger rivals like Google are at a disadvantage. Schrömgens says he expects the distinctions among hotels, Airbnb listings and other forms of temporary housing to collapse over time, and wants Trivago to be able to recommend the one ideal place for a user to stay, regardless of category. He also discusses why Germany has not developed a Silicon Valley-like tech scene and why anti-immigrant fervor in the U.S., U.K. and parts of Europe is only hurting those countries and leaving them open to startup-style disruption.

Facebook's News Feed is like junk food (Mike McCue, CEO, Flipboard)  

Flipboard CEO Mike McCue talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about the recent relaunch of his company's news app, which will mixes human curation with algorithms to serve up magazine-like collections of stories. McCue reflects on why one of his first employers, Netscape, failed to look past competition with Microsoft, and why he counsels startup CEOs to focus on more than just their "exit." He also makes the case for online news consumers to value human editors and real identities, as fake news and anonymous harassment have come to define Facebook and Twitter, respectively.

BONUS: 'Fun Home' author Alison Bechdel thought a fan was her Uber  

"Fun Home" author and "Dykes to Watch Out For" creator Alison Bechdel talks with Recode's Kara Swisher in front of a live audience in San Francisco shortly after a performance of the Tony Award-winning musical based on "Fun Home." Bechdel says the rise of social media after her hit book led to widespread acclaim, but also overexposure. The namesake of the "Bechdel Test," which evaluates movies based on the number and interactions of their female characters, Bechdel explains how Donald Trump motivated her to resurrect "Dykes to Watch Out For" and why she was comforted by the Women's March on Washington.

We need robots to take our jobs (John Markoff, ex-reporter, The New York Times)  

Technology journalist and former New York Times reporter John Markoff talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about his nearly three-decade long career covering tech for the Times before retiring at the end of 2016. He reflects on why Steve Jobs was both a great and terrible person to interview and how science fiction books such as "Neuromancer," "Snow Crash" and "True Names" gave him a leg up on other reporters. Markoff says the most important issues facing the tech world today include the dangers of anonymity online; how scientific advances will make it easy to edit genes; and why roboticists need to focus on creating elder care robots.

How you get addicted to apps (Tristan Harris, founder, Time Well Spent)  

Time Well Spent founder Tristan Harris talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about the persuasive techniques and tricks used by companies like Twitter, Google and Facebook to make people engage with them every day. Harris's movement wants tech companies to think more often about the ethics of their design decisions, and to value their users' attention. These design choices, Harris says, are often driven by the fundamental "background problem" of advertising, and he makes the case for an "organic food movement" for tech, where users could pay to be manipulated less.

Social media makes us miserable (Tim Ferriss, author, "Tools of Titans")  

"The 4-Hour Workweek" and "Tools of Titans" author Tim Ferriss talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about his newest book, which compiles the life advice of the "titans" from tech, business and entertainment Ferriss has interviewed on his podcast, "The Tim Ferriss Show." He explains how forays into education, neuroscience, tech entrepreneurship and dietary supplements led him to become a self-help author, and what everyday people can learn from winners like investor Chris Sacca, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick and actor BJ Novak. Ferriss also talks about why "voluntary suffering" is underrated and how ditching social media may make you happier.

Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx: The exit interview  

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx talks to Recode's Johana Bhuyian about his last week in office and what he would do if given more time. In addition to self-driving car and drone regulations, Foxx said he would like to see more rail projects across the country, and discusses the feasibility of Elon Musk's Hyperloop concept, a privately funded high-speed rail alternative. Foxx also discusses President-elect Donald Trump's nominee to replace him, former Deputy Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, and why Congress needs to look closely at Trump's $1 trillion infrastructure spending plan.

You don't need to own all your clothes (Jennifer Hyman, CEO, Rent the Runway)  

Rent the Runway CEO and co-founder Jennifer Hyman talks with Recode's Kara Swisher and Jason Del Rey about her 50-year vision for changing consumer fashion habits. Now more than seven years old, Rent the Runway has six million female customers who rent designer clothes a la carte or three at a time via a $139 monthly subscription. Hyman also discusses the challenges she has faced as a female tech CEO, the most formidable of which emerged while building the company's culture. She says men and women alike are not taught to think of women's voices as inspirational, which makes everything from funding to laying people off more difficult.

Doctors should think like mechanics (Othman Laraki, CEO, Color)  

Color Genomics co-founder and CEO Othman Laraki talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about why we're on the verge of a healthcare revolution. Laraki, whose company tests buyers' genes for certain hereditary cancers, says the future of medicine will be defined by our ability to read data from our bodies. While most of that data used to be recorded on paper and stored at hospitals, now it's largely being generated and stored on our smartphones; he predicts that to achieve truly personalized medicine, we will need artificially intelligenct software that can comb this data, changing the role of doctors in the process.

Can social media bring us together again after ripping us apart? (Orkut Büyükkökten, Founder, Hello)  

Social networking pioneer Orkut Büyükkökten talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about the eponymous social site, Orkut, which he built inside Google, and his new company, Hello. Büyükkökten says current social networks don't make it easy to meet new friends, and believes that Hello will introduce like-minded people to each other while encouraging them to be friendly and authentic. He also discusses why Orkut (the website) failed to catch on in the U.S. and why Hello is focusing initially on international markets such as Brazil and India.

Tom Friedman: The internet is an 'open sewer’  

Pulitzer Prize-winning author and New York Times columnist Tom Friedman talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about his new book, "Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist's Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations." As technology and globalization get ever faster, Friedman says, humans should double down on the values, skills and behaviors that computers can't perform. Reacting to the rise of president-elect Trump, Friedman says "we’ve gone too far" in shaping policies to benefit people who have made poor life decisions, and calls for everyone to become more entrepreneurial. Friedman also discusses why he doesn't use Facebook or Twitter, and why the reactions of companies like Google and Facebook to fake news are "bullshit."

Reddit CEO Steve Huffman: A 'toxic minority' ruins social media for everyone  

Reddit CEO and co-founder Steve Huffman talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about why he covertly edited the posts of some Donald Trump supporters, and why he regrets it now. Huffman acknowledges his editing, which he conceived as a prank but many users saw as censorship, sowed distrust among the Reddit community that the company will have to win back. He also talks about the how Reddit is trying to combat harassment more generally, the role social media played in the election and why he believes Donald Trump would have still beaten Hillary Clinton without any "bigotry [or] nastiness."

Wearables can save your life (Vic Gundotra, CEO, AliveCor)  

AliveCor CEO Vic Gundotra talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about his long career in tech, including his start as a college dropout at Microsoft and his seven years leading Google's mobile and social efforts. His current company helps consumers monitor their heart health via a portable EKG device that talks to their smartphones, and Gundotra says the potential of wearables and deep learning for healthcare is just starting to be unlocked. However, he calls the collapse of Theranos "an unmitigated disaster" for health tech, as it affects the opinions of both investors and consumers. Gundotra also discusses the Silicon Valley bubble and why he believes techies need to extend an olive branch to President-elect Trump and his supporters.

What Trump means for tech (Hilary Rosen and Juleanna Glover, political consultants)  

Democratic political strategist Hilary Rosen and Republican corporate consultant Juleanna Glover talk with Recode's Kara Swisher about how Donald Trump's election to the presidency will affect the tech and media industries over the next four to eight years. They discuss which elements of the tech-forward Obama presidency are likely to be unwound and the role Democrats can play despite GOP control of all three branches of government. The trio also discusses emerging political issues like self-driving vehicles and encryption, and why, for Trump, the New York Times is still more important than Twitter.

Satirizing Silicon Valley: 'I wanted to hit a nerve,' says Sunil Rajaraman  

The Bold Italic CEO Sunil Rajaraman talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about "This Is Your Life in Silicon Valley," a series of satirical articles that went viral earlier this year. Rajaraman set out to shine a light on some harsh truths most techies won't discuss openly, and the surprise success of his pieces has him thinking about adapting them into a book. He also discusses starting and then being ousted as CEO of content marketing firm Scripted.com and how The Bold Italic is trying to preserve local journalism in San Francisco.

How Kayak co-founder Paul English got hit by a ‘truck full of money’  

Tracy Kidder and Paul English, the author and subject of "A Truck Full of Money: One Man's Quest to Recover From Great Success," talk with Recode's Kara Swisher about English's dual life as a tech entrepreneur and philanthropist. English co-founded Kayak and, after selling it to Priceline, started another travel company called Lola. For Kidder, "Truck" is a return to tech several decades after his seminal book "The Soul of a New Machine." They discuss the challenges faced by entrepreneurs, the future of technologies like artificial intelligence and whether some forms of mental illness can be good for a tech CEO.

U.S. Chief Data Scientist DJ Patil: Data can help everyone  

DJ Patil, America's first Chief Data Scientist, talks about his nearly two years in the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy, working on initiatives around health care and policing. Patil grew up in Silicon Valley, and has worked at Skype, LinkedIn and eBay; he says that techies in the private sector should consider a "tour of duty" in the government to be one of their civic duties. He says opening up the vast amounts of data collected by government agencies can make everyone better-off — as long as personal data like health records can be properly secured.

How does tech fix its diversity problem?  

On this special bonus episode of Recode Decode, we look back at our past guests' most insightful comments about diversity in tech and media. Interviewees including Chamath Palihapitiya, Samantha Bee and Dick Costolo explain why discrimination based on sex, age and ethnicity are so common, and what might be done to fix the problem. You can find the full interviews excerpted in this show at Recode.net/Podcasts or in the podcast feeds for Recode Decode and Recode Media.

Foursquare wants to make 'Her' a reality (Dennis Crowley and Jeff Glueck, co-founder and CEO, Foursquare)  

Foursquare co-founder Dennis Crowley and CEO Jeff Glueck talk with Recode's Kara Swisher about how the location intelligence company is generating sellable data for partners like Apple, Uber and Twitter based on its users' check-ins. Glueck, who took over as CEO for Crowley in January 2015, compares the company's new business model to "Robin Hood" because it simultaneously helps small businesses and charges the big ones. The two also discuss where they'd like to see location tech go, including the idea of a talking virtual assistant — similar to Scarlett Johansson's character Samantha from the movie "Her" — that speaks to you like a friend and recommends new places to go.

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