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

Can Facebook help you talk to businesses? (David Marcus, VP of Messaging, Facebook)  

Facebook's messaging products boss, David Marcus, talks with Recode's Kurt Wagner about how the company is trying turn its Messenger app into a hub for interactions between companies and consumers. Marcus explains what Facebook learned from last year's rollout of "bots" on the platform and why the latest tools are poised to be more useful. He also explains why Facebook is not planning to take a cut of purchases made within Messenger and how it's balancing plans to inject ads into the app with users' privacy.

America's immigration policies are hurting startups (Patrick Collison, CEO, Stripe)  

Stripe CEO Patrick Collison talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about how the company he and his brother started in 2010 evolved from a service for other small startups into a global payments platform for companies of all sizes. He discusses why Stripe recently hired a new security head, DARPA alum Peiter Zatko, and why our data is safer in the hands of companies like Google and Facebook than it is with hospitals or telecom giants. Collison also argues that U.S. immigration policy, and restrictive housing policies in the San Francisco Bay Area, are imperiling Silicon Valley's ability to continually innovate in the future.

Behind the scenes of 'The Handmaid's Tale'  

"The Handmaid's Tale" creator and showrunner Bruce Miller talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about his new adaptation of the dystopian Margaret Atwood novel, which recently debuted on Hulu. Miller discusses the aptness of the show's political themes, and why he's excited to tell stories beyond the ones explicitly laid out in Atwood's text. He also chats about the impact that tech companies like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu have had on Hollywood, and weighs the benefits of TV's golden age against the risk that viewers might start to get impatient as they binge through high-quality content faster than it can be made.

Sheryl Sandberg on setbacks, grief and 'Option B'  

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about her new book, "Option B," which she wrote after the sudden death of her husband, entrepreneur Dave Goldberg. This latest book is more raw than her first, "Lean In," combining Sandberg's personal journal entries with research about all kinds of adversity, as explained by her co-author, psychologist Adam Grant. Sandberg explains what most people get wrong about grief and how to talk to those who are in mourning. She also calls for a reexamination of corporate and public policies around parental leave, health care and bereavement.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai: We need a 'lighter touch' to internet regulation  

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai talks with Recode's Tony Romm about his first three months on the job and what critics of his plan to roll back Obama-era net neutrality rules get wrong. Pai says the FCC should be an apolitical agency that focuses on how to create the most "digital opportunity" for everyone and that preemptively regulating how ISPs compete with one another isn't appropriate. He also discusses his relationships with both Congress and Donald Trump, who he says has not meddled at all in the agency's decisions.

How 'Dear Evan Hansen' brought social media to Broadway  

Stacey Mindich and Steven Levenson, the producer and book writer of "Dear Evan Hansen," talk with Recode's Kara Swisher about how the hit Broadway musical depicts the current state of social media and isolation. The show centers on a socially anxious teenager who tells a big lie about a dead classmate, and Levenson says it asks a question that's just as potent in the real world: Through the internet, can something fake turn into something real? Mindich talks about how the story of "Dear Evan Hansen" evolved to speak to multiple generations and how its creators have reached an ardent base of fans online, some of whose faces are now a literal part of the show. They also discuss the post-"Hamilton" era on Broadway, where technologically-minded events like "The Encounter" are rubbing shoulders with old-school live theater.

How 'Silicon Valley' stays current (Mike Judge, Thomas Middleditch, Kumail Nanijani and more)  

The creators and most of the cast of HBO's 'Silicon Valley' talk with Recode's Kara Swisher in this live interview, recorded in San Francisco after the premiere of the first two episodes of Season Four. Executive Producer Mike Judge talks about the challenge of staying relevant and topical when the show is written and filmed so far ahead of when it airs; star Thomas Middleditch, who plays Pied Piper founder Richard Hendricks, says the past year has made him apprehensive about privacy, data collection and social media algorithms; and costar Amanda Crew, who plays venture capitalist Monica Hall, talks about investing in real tech companies with female founders. Also: Kumail Nanjiani, who plays Dinesh Chugtai, begs for free Apple products.

'Silicon Valley’ is more than ‘d*ck jokes’ (Matt Ross, actor/director)  

Actor Matt Ross talks with Recode’s Kara Swisher about playing Hooli CEO Gavin Belson on HBO’s “Silicon Valley,” which just started its fourth season. Ross, who previously played Alby Grant on “Big Love,” says he tries to make the antagonists he plays sympathetic and sincere, even in a goofy comedy like “Silicon Valley.” He also talks about his first film, “Captain Fantastic,” which was nominated for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe, and the balance between tech companies and Hollywood, as Amazon and Netflix bid for top film and TV talent. That competition has been great for outsiders getting their stories told, but Ross wonders: What happens if the new money goes away?

How tech can reshape American politics (Steve Hilton, CEO, Crowdpac)  

Crowdpac CEO Steve Hilton talks with Recode’s Kara Swisher about how his website is making it easier for anyone to explore running for office and to collect donations for political causes and campaigns. Hilton, a former advisor to British Prime Minister David Cameron, says the need to raise money “underpins a huge proportion of what’s wrong with politics,” and wants more diverse voices in the fray. A supporter of both Brexit and candidate Trump, he says the U.S. president needs to stop listening to Republicans in Congress and focus on “positive populism” — meaning solutions to the anxiety over jobs and the economic growth that helped Trump beat Hillary Clinton.

Rep. Ro Khanna: Silicon Valley should give back to all Americans  

Congressman Ro Khanna talks with Recode's Kara Swisher and Tony Romm about why the people who have benefitted most from technology have a civic duty to give back to their country. Rep. Khanna's district, CA-17, covers several major Silicon Valley companies, including Apple, Intel, Yahoo and eBay, and he calls on the people creating "wealth and success" to help others succeed, including their own workers. Khanna argues that net neutrality is a major issue in need of more attention, and calls FCC chairman Ajit Pai "one of the worst picks possible in government" and a mouthpiece for the telecom industry. He also discusses immigration reform, the transition to "21st century jobs" and why President Trump's tweets are so effective.

Diversity isn't an 'add-on' (Laura Weidman Powers, CEO, Code2040)  

Code2040 CEO and co-founder Laura Weidman Powers talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about the mistakes employees and managers make when they talk about diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Companies need to make fundamental changes to how they hire and operate to be welcoming destinations for underrepresented minorities, Weidman says. She discusses the inherent flaws in most "unconscious bias" training and what Code2040 has done differently when it partners with tech companies, finding jobs for hundreds of black and latino students over the past five years.

Why CEOs need to stand up to Trump (Bijan Sabet, general partner, Spark Capital)  

Spark Capital General Partner Bijan Sabet talks with Recode’s Kara Swisher about being a venture capitalist based on the East Coast, and how he became an early investor in companies like Twitter, Tumblr and Cruise. Sabet also discusses why he has become more politically vocal under President Trump, and urges tech CEOs to follow the lead of their employees in speaking out; the answer on all sides, he says, is to let more voices be heard. Sabet also talks about the failure of the personal-drone company he backed, Lily; and the blunt truth about venture capital — even good VCs are wrong most of the time.

Nextdoor CEO Nirav Tolia talks about adversity and Uber CEO Travis Kalanick  

Nextdoor CEO Nirav Tolia talks with Recode's Kurt Wagner about how he and his team built a social network for neighborhoods, with a focus on trust and privacy that forced the company to grow slower than most tech startups. Tolia was previously the CEO of Epinions, which after a merger became Shopping.com and sold to eBay. After a sports startup called Fanbase fizzled, Tolia was challenged by Benchmark's Bill Gurley to try again, and today Nextdoor is worth more than $1 billion. Having faced adversity and a public image problem of his own, he also shares some leadership advice for Uber CEO Travis Kalanick: Deal with your issues quickly.

Don’t have anything nice to say? Say it! (Kim Malone Scott, author, ‘Radical Candor’)  

"Radical Candor" author and CEO coach Kim Malone Scott talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about how to be a better manager and leader. Based on her personal experiences at Apple, Google and several tech startups, Scott argues that most management failings come from bosses who are too nice rather than too mean, especially when they're talking to someone who looks different than them. She also discusses the current management crisis at Uber, which she attributes to a culture of "unchecked unilateral authority" that would be more at home in a "baboon troupe or totalitarian regime."

What tech can do about homelessness (Daniel Lurie, CEO, Tipping Point Community)  

Tipping Point Community CEO Daniel Lurie talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about his organization's efforts to fight homelessness in San Francisco. He says it's all too easy to "not see" the incredible poverty and inequality in the Bay Area if you commute into Silicon Valley every day, which means people in tech must be educated about the problem if they're going to be part of the solution. Lurie calls on techies of means, the beneficiaries of "this incredible moment in time," to get involved in philanthropy. He argues that civic involvement won't last if it's mandated from the outside, and that companies must see it as a cultural priority, with the energy to help coming from the top of the org chart.

How HBO's 'Veep' is reacting to Trump (Live at SXSW)  

"Veep" actors Tim Simons and Matt Walsh and showrunner David Mandel talk with Recode's Kara Swisher about the upcoming sixth season of the HBO political satire. Speaking in front of a live audience at South by Southwest, they recount how they found out on set that Donald Trump had won the presidency, and why it's not their job to respond to the new administration directly. Instead, they say, "Veep" will continue mocking the hypocrisy at all levels of politics and on both sides of the aisle, showing what happens to Julia Louis-Dreyfus's character, Selina Meyer, after she loses the presidency and is a private citizen once again. The trio also talks about the addictiveness of Twitter, whether "Veep" would work in virtual reality, and why everyone in D.C. is oblivious when they get parodied.

Crooked Media founders: We're podcasting the Trump resistance (Live at SXSW)  

Crooked Media Founders Jon Favreau, Tommy Vietor and Jon Lovett talk with Recode's Kara Swisher about their hit podcast, "Pod Save America," in a live interview at South by Southwest 2017. Having previously worked as speechwriters and spokespersons for the Obama administration, the trio discusses what Democrats missed during the 2016 election and how the new "opposition party" to Donald Trump can best focus its resistance. They explain how they run their "progressive media company," which cares more about impact than income, and why they're not excited by the prospect of a presidential run from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Who's buying whom in media and tech (Quincy Smith, partner, Code Advisors)  

Code Advisors Partner Quincy Smith talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about the current state of mergers and acquisitions in tech and media. Smith, who previously worked at Netscape and CBS Interactive, says media companies consolidate in tough times, and a massive game of "sharks and minnows" has begun with AT&T's pending $85 billion deal to buy Time Warner. However, in a similar business climate, tech companies focus on their own products, and Smith argues that the rise of artificial intelligence is delaying or obviating the prospect of big new deals among internet and social media companies.

How to beat Amazon (Ron Johnson, CEO, Enjoy)  

Enjoy CEO Ron Johnson talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about his long career in commerce, including 15 years at Target, and his 12 years at Apple, where he created the Apple Store. Johnson's current company Enjoy hand-delivers premium tech products and helps users with set-up to improve customer satisfaction. He argues that big retailers like Walmart need to innovate on the in-store experience and copy Amazon's approach to customer happiness and loyalty. Johnson also talks about working with longtime Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who initially hated the idea of the Genius Bar.

The internet must be preserved (Brewster Kahle, chairman, The Internet Archive)  

Entrepreneur and archivist Brewster Kahle talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about the 20th anniversary of the Internet Archive and why it's more important than ever to preserve our digital past. Kahle talks about the companies he founded and sold to AOL and Amazon — WAIS and Alexa, respectively — and how the nonprofit Archive has dealt with everything from copyright issues to social networking websites that are walling themselves off from the rest of the web. He also predicts where artificial intelligence goes from here, saying today's corporations and militaries are a sort of "proto-AI."

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