Rank #1: Elon Musk on Tesla’s crazy year, dying on Mars and taking Saudi money
Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about Tesla's turbulent 2018, when SpaceX will send its first rocket to Mars, why he fights with journalists on Twitter and much more. In this episode: (01:49) Using Twitter without a filter; (04:50) Picking fights with the press; (07:59) The “excruciating” year of 2018; (10:54) Why does Musk push himself so hard?; (13:49) The toll on him and Tesla’s employees; (16:52) Self-inflicted wounds and sleep deprivation; (21:44) Tesla’s first profitable quarter in two years; (23:35) Self-driving cars; (25:38) Government regulation; (29:13) Tesla’s competitors; (33:30) Why Tesla is not going private after all; (36:31) The Tesla Semi, pickup truck and other new products; (45:10) SpaceX and dying on Mars; (49:48) Donald Trump’s Space Force and colonizing beyond Earth; (51:49) Going to Mars; (55:06) Jeff Bezos, Blue Origin and Amazon; (57:03) The Boring Company, dad jokes and drilling technology; (1:05:55) Jamal Khashoggi, Saudi investors and techlash; (1:11:05) How is Musk feeling about the future?; (1:15:38) If he got one redo on something from 2018, what would he redo?; (1:16:43) Why Tesla won't make a scooter
Nov 02 2018
Rank #2: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg: The Kara Swisher interview
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about a litany of issues, including the Cambridge Analytica scandal and why Infowars and other conspiracy theorists, like Holocaust deniers, don't get kicked off Facebook. He says he believes over-regulating tech companies is dangerous because it could advantage Chinese firms that don’t share Americans’ commitment to freedom of expression. Zuckerberg also talks about how he thinks VR and AR will change the future of work, explains why his 2017 tour of the U.S. was not a political campaign and says that if anyone should be fired for Facebook's recent privacy stumbles, "It should be me." However, he declines to fire himself, instead committing to an audit of all the other companies like Cambridge Analytica that had access to the most user data.
Jul 18 2018
Rank #3: Obama's cybersecurity chief Michael Daniel: Facebook is an “intelligence officer’s wet dream”
Barack Obama's former cybersecurity coordinator Michael Daniel, now the CEO of the nonprofit Cyber Threat Alliance, talks with Recode’s Kara Swisher about the state of US cybersecurity heading into the 2020 elections. Daniel says the proposed solutions to election hacking may just cause new problems: "If you can track your vote," he says, "I can track your vote."
Michael Daniel (@CyAlliancePrez), president and CEO, Cyber Threat Alliance
Kara Swisher (@karaswisher), Recode co-founder and editor-at-large
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Oct 02 2019
Rank #4: BONUS: Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom in 2017
Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger are resigning from the company, six years after Facebook bought it for $1 billion. Recode reports that they had grown "increasingly frustrated and agitated with [Facebook CEO Mark] Zuckerberg and Facebook’s increased influence over the app." Here's a bonus episode of Recode Decode — Kara Swisher's interview with then-CEO Systrom from June 2017 — in which he talks at length about why he and Krieger did not leave soon after the acquisition. The episode's original summary is below... *** 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.
Sep 25 2018
Rank #5: 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.
Mar 06 2017
Rank #6: 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.
Jan 23 2017
Rank #7: Ezra Klein and Kara Swisher on the future of journalism
Vox.com founder and editor-at-large Ezra Klein talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about the press, social media and President Trump in this live interview recorded in San Francisco. In this episode: (03:22) Why Ezra moved to DC; (07:22) Klein’s background and the “incestuous” Twitter culture of political journalists; (11:38) Media culture in the Trump era; (13:15) How DC has changed and “docile” journalists; (21:55) Ezra’s thesis about tech, media and Trump; (27:06) Media manipulation and the speed of journalism; (36:47) Ezra and Kara’s podcasts and how they report stories; (43:20) Social media and the decline of scoops; (49:22) Hot takes and the overabundance of political opinions; (58:57) The process of the news vs. the product and the future of local news; (1:05:06) Young journalists “training up” from the statehouse; (1:08:43) Bias in media, false equivalency and letting Trump control the story; (1:12:22) How journalists decide newsworthiness; (1:16:33) The pressure to cover trashy stories; (1:19:21) What is the purpose of political journalists now?; (1:22:39) Why Kara doesn’t care what people think of her; (1:24:12) Donald Trump’s tweets and the future of politics; (1:29:54) Ezra’s favorite journalism business model Notes from our sponsors:LEGO: In today's show you heard advertising content from The LEGO Store. With LEGO, every gift has a story. Start your story today at https://LEGO.build/Recode-Pop
Dec 12 2018
Rank #8: Sam Harris on religion, politics, and making "enemies" online.
Writer and podcaster Sam Harris talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about his views on Islam, social media, and President Trump.
In this episode: Harris’ background; why he wrote his first book; the controversy around his books about religion and why Harris didn’t initially call himself an “atheist"; Islamophobia and Harris’ enemies; Christopher Hitchens and the performance of public debate; identity politics; feminism and hijabs; white supremacists online; the terror attacks in Sri Lanka and New Zealand; the Trump effect; Should Jack Dorsey delete Twitter?; Harris and Swisher’s Twitter history; free speech online; what should tech companies do and what should be done to them?; the “moral panic” side of #MeToo; and keeping focused on the right problems.
May 08 2019
Rank #9: 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.
Oct 17 2016
Rank #10: Chamath Palihapitiya: People in Silicon Valley are deeply unhappy
Social Capital CEO Chamath Palihapitiya talks with Recode’s Kara Swisher and Teddy Schleifer about an “identity crisis” that pitted his wealth and fame against personal happiness and relationships.
In this episode: Social Capital’s attempts to disrupt venture capital; Palihapitiya’s “identity crisis” and search for happiness; nonwhite people aren’t allowed to appear crazy; “to all the people that worked for me ... you’re fucking welcome”; why Silicon Valley has never been unhappier; the lack of heroes and values in modern society; the uneasy balance between a business' mission and its profits; disarming the concept of mental health; why Palihapitiya isn’t a fan of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez; why the startup world is a “ponzi scheme”; what entrepreneurs need to ask prospective investors to avoid getting fleeced; the looming debt crisis; the five areas he would invest in now; and the current state of Social Capital.
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Mar 04 2019
Rank #11: Albert Wenger, Union Square Ventures Partner
Union Square Ventures partner Albert Wenger talks with Peter Kafka about being an investor at a time of bubble anxiety and political debate about the trade-off between privacy and security. He argues that tech companies and the government should work together, and also discusses the growing class of mission-driven "benefit corporations."
Jan 07 2016
Rank #12: 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.
Aug 28 2017
Rank #13: How to fix your company's culture (Patty McCord, author, "Powerful")
Patty McCord, the former chief talent officer at Netflix and author of that company's famous "culture deck," talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about her new book, "Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility." McCord recalls how CEO Reed Hastings convinced her to work at Netflix and how they developed the principles of the company's culture over many years — which Hastings unilaterally published online, generating millions of downloads. She also talks about the common mistakes companies make when hiring and firing, why coddling employees with Google-style perks is overrated and how businesses can make lasting change in the aftermath of the #MeToo movement.
Jan 08 2018
Rank #14: Marc Andreessen, investor and entrepreneur
Since founding Netscape more than 20 years ago, Marc Andreessen has been one of Silicon Valley's most influential figures. The entrepreneur-turned-venture capitalist talks with Kara Swisher about bubbles, politics, parenting and more, in an extended interview on this week's show.
Sep 01 2015
Rank #15: Elon Musk was once like you (Daniel Gross, partner, Y Combinator)
Y Combinator Partner Daniel Gross talks with Recode's Kara Swisher and The Verge's Casey Newton about why he returned to the startup incubator that gave him his start in Silicon Valley. Gross co-founded the personal search engine Cue, which Apple bought in 2013 for a reported $35 million and integrated into iOS. Hailing from Jerusalem, Israel originally, he says YC is vitally important for bringing new outsider voices into the highly-networked tech industry and explains why it's important to remind those founders that success is a gradual, humbling process. Gross also talks about the promise of continued investment in artificial intelligence, why it's not a bad thing that "AI" has become a buzzword and what worries him about the algorithms on platforms like YouTube and Facebook.
Dec 06 2017
Rank #16: John Carreyrou on lies and 'Bad Blood' at Theranos
Wall Street Journal investigative reporter John Carreyrou talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about his new book, "Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup." Carreyrou explains how Stanford dropout Elizabeth Holmes' company raised nearly $1 billion for blood-testing products that sounded too good to be true — and they were. Holmes idolized former Apple CEO Steve Jobs and sought to make Theranos out to be the next great Silicon Valley success story, but most of her larger investors were not experienced in either technology or medicine, and people who did raise red flags were pushed aside. Carreyrou says "Bad Blood," which will be adapted into a movie starring Jennifer Lawrence as Holmes, is a "cautionary tale" about entrepreneurship, ambition and hubris, and predicts that the company's top executives will be indicted for the cover-up.
May 21 2018
Rank #17: 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.
Nov 14 2016
Rank #18: 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."
Dec 19 2016
Rank #19: '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.
Oct 12 2016
Rank #20: Silicon Valley is 'an isolated bubble' (Jeremy Liew, partner, Lightspeed Venture Partners)
Lightspeed Venture Partners' Jeremy Liew talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about being a venture capitalist in Silicon Valley at a time when the Valley no longer represents most tech consumers. Liew argues that startup founders are popping up all over because they're now making products for Middle America and the third world, not just Palo Alto and Brooklyn. He also discusses working at AOL after the notorious Time Warner merger, Snap CEO Evan Spiegel's crucial insights that enabled Snapchat's success, and why he's not too concerned about "four years of bad presidency."
Feb 22 2017