Decoder with Nilay Patel


Decoder is a show from The Verge about big ideas — and other problems. Verge editor-in-chief Nilay Patel talks to a diverse cast of innovators and policymakers at the frontiers of business and technology to reveal how they’re navigating an ever-changing landscape, what keeps them up at night, and what it all means for our shared future.


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Decoder is a show from The Verge about big ideas — and other problems. Verge editor-in-chief Nilay Patel talks to a diverse cast of innovators and policymakers at the frontiers of business and technology to reveal how they’re navigating an ever-changing landscape, what keeps them up at night, and what it all means for our shared future.






Inside the global battle over chip manufacturing

A few weeks ago, President Biden was in the Netherlands, where he asked the Dutch government to restrict export from a company called ASML to China. ASML is the only company in the world that makes a specific machine needed to make the most advanced chips. Apple couldn’t make iPhone chips without this one machine from the Netherlands’ biggest company. ASML doesn’t just shape the Dutch economy—it shapes the entire world economy. How did that happen? Chris Miller, Tufts professor and author of...


Taylor Swift and the music industry's next $20

I have this theory that music is usually about five years ahead of the rest of media in terms of its relationship to tech—whether that’s new formats based on new tech, like vinyl to CDs; new business models like streaming; or simply being disrupted by new kinds of artists who use new forms of promotion like TikTok in unexpected ways. I’ve always thought that if you can wrap your head around what’s happening to the music industry, you can pretty much see the future of TV or movies or the news...


Breaking free from big tech and big content with authors Cory Doctorow and Rebecca Giblin

Last year I spoke with Cory Doctorow and Rebecca Giblin about their new book, Chokepoint Capitalism. It’s a book about artists and technology and platforms, and how different kinds of distribution and creations tools create chokepoints for different companies to capture value that might otherwise go to artists and creators.. In other words, it’s a lot of Decoder stuff. As we were prepping this episode, the Decoder team realized it previews a lot of things we’re going to talk about in 2023:...


‘We might be wrong, but we’re not confused’: how Tomer Cohen, chief product officer at LinkedIn, figures out what works best

Tomer Cohen is the chief product officer at LinkedIn, and actually, I talked to Tomer twice. Here’s a little secret about Decoder: we do the interviews, and then often, the guest and I just keep chatting for a while. So after my first interview with Tomer, we were hanging out, talking about the perpetual battles between engineers, product managers, and designers. And he said something that completely jumped out at me: “We might be wrong, but we’re not fucking confused.” This isn’t a totally...


How to buy a social network, with Tumblr CEO Matt Mullenweg

We have to talk about Twitter, right? Elon Musk bought it. He’s making all these changes, and he’s realizing that content moderation decisions are quite complicated, especially when the stakes are high. But talking about Twitter in a vacuum seems wrong. There are lots of other social networks and community-based products, and they all have basically the same problems: some technical (you have to run the service), some political (you have to comply with various laws and platform regulations...


Disney’s CEO drama explained, with Julia Alexander

Today, we need to talk about Bob. Two Bobs, actually: Bob Iger, the former and now current CEO of Disney, and Bob Chapek, the man Iger handpicked as his replacement, who flamed out and was fired by the board, and then, on November 20th, was replaced by Bob Iger. Bobs, man. The heart of this whole thing is total Decoder bait. It’s a story about how to structure a company like Disney. Then you add in the complexity of the shift to streaming, the future of TV and movies generally, and the...


How Bose compete with AirPods — and why it’s in more cars than ever, with CEO Lila Snyder

Bose is one of the most recognizable audio brands in the world: it was famous for the Wave radio in the 80s, it invented noise cancellation, you can see its logo on NFL sidelines every Sunday, and of course there are the popular consumer products like the QuietComfort headphones that reviewers like Chris Welch here at The Verge rate as some of the best in the game. Bose is in tons of cars as well: audio systems in GM, Honda, Hyundai, Porsche, and more are developed and tuned by Bose. Bose...


On with Kara Swisher: Can Chris Licht Turn CNN Around?

Chris Licht faces an uphill battle at CNN. He got the CEO gig in the midst of a prickly merger between Warner Bros. and Discovery and right after the shocking exit of beloved long-time boss, Jeff Zucker. In his first six months, he’s shut down CNN+, ousted Brian Stelter, and shuffled anchors around, including Don Lemon and Jake Tapper. This week, the network chief held an internal town hall meeting where he faced a staff of thousands and discussed upcoming layoffs. Shortly afterwards, he sat...


Phil Spencer really wants you to know that native Call of Duty will stay on PlayStation

Phil Spencer, CEO of Microsoft Gaming, is in charge of Xbox and all the game studios that Microsoft has acquired over the years. Phil came to talk to us hours before the European Commission announced an in-depth investigation into Microsoft’s proposed 68.7 billion dollar acquisition of Activision Blizzard, which makes the enormous Call of Duty series, as well as Candy Crush on phones. So I had the chance to ask Phil: Will he make the concessions that regulators want in order to close this...


Why Figma is selling to Adobe for $20 billion, with CEO Dylan Field

Dylan Field is the co-founder and CEO of Figma, which makes a very popular design tool that allows designers and their collaborators to all work together right in a web browser. You know how multiple people can edit together in Google Docs? Figma is that for design work. We just redesigned The Verge; we used Figma extensively throughout that process. So for years, people have been waiting on the inevitable Figma vs. Adobe standoff since Figma was such a clear upstart competitor to Photoshop...


The mystery of Biden’s deadlocked FCC

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is currently short a commissioner, and the Biden Administration and Senate Democrats just can't seem to get that seat filled despite having nominated an amazingly qualified person. Her name is Gigi Sohn. The inability to get Gigi confirmed at the FCC has left the commission deadlocked with two Democrats and two Republicans. That means the commission in charge of regulating all telecom in the United States, including how you get your internet...


Why Amazon VP Steve Boom just made the entire music catalog free with Prime

I love covering the music industry, but over the past 10 years I’ve found that it’s one of the most challenging things to make accessible to a wide audience. See, my theory is that the music industry is like five years ahead of everything else when it comes to being disrupted by tech: whatever happens to the music industry because of technology eventually happens to everything else. Today I'm talking to Steve Boom, the VP of Amazon Music. Amazon just announced that they are upgrading the...


Never pay the ransom — a cybersecurity CEO explains why

Steve Cagle is the CEO of Clearwater Compliance, which is a cybersecurity firm focused on the healthcare industry. Basically, they lock down hospital computer systems, which contain a huge amount of personal data, and are so mission critical that ransomware attackers know that hospitals are more likely to just pay up. If the cryptocurrency explosion has accomplished anything, it’s making ransomware attacks easier and more lucrative for bad guys. Steve told me there’s so much personal...


The people who make your apps go to Stack Overflow for answers – here's how it works

Today I'm talking to Prashanth Chandrasekar the CEO of Stack Overflow – a highly specialized kind of social network, with a really unique business model. If you don't know Stack Overflow is a major part of the modern software development landscape: it’s where developers come together, ask questions, and get answers about how to build software, including actual code they can use in their own projects. It’s basically a huge question and answer forum. More than 100 million people visit Stack...


Why Signal won’t compromise on encryption, with president Meredith Whittaker

Meredith Whittaker is the president of Signal, the popular messaging app that offers encrypted communication. You might recognize Meredith’s name from 2018 when she was an AI researcher at Google and one of the organizers of the Google walkout. Now she’s at Signal, which is a little different than the usual tech company: it’s operated by a nonprofit foundation and prides itself on collecting as little data as possible. But messaging apps are a complicated business. Governments around the...


Mark Zuckerberg on the Quest Pro, future of the metaverse, and more

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg joined The Verge’s deputy editor Alex Heath for an in-depth conversation about the company’s new high-end, mixed reality headset, the $1,499 Quest Pro, and why he isn’t backing down from building the metaverse. Zuckerberg and Heath also talked about the future of social media, why he enjoys “being doubted,” and the growing concerns about TikTok’s Chinese ownership. Links: The Meta Quest Pro is a cutting-edge headset looking for an audience Xbox Cloud Gaming is coming...


Pat Gelsinger came back to turn Intel around – here’s how it’s going

Today I'm talking to Pat Gelsinger, the CEO of Intel. I’ve been excited to have this conversation for a very long time – ever since Pat took over as CEO a little over a year and a half ago. After all. Intel is a very important company with a huge series of challenges in front of it. It’s still the largest chip manufacturer by revenue, and makes more chips than any other company in the United States. In fact there are basically only three major chip manufacturers: Taiwan Semiconductor...


How Arm conquered the chip market without making a single chip, with CEO Rene Haas

One of the more interesting quirks of the modern tech world is that there’s a really important company at the center of it all that doesn’t make anything. But its work is in your phone, in your TV, your car and maybe even your laptop. I’m talking about ARM, a chip design company that’s been through quite a lot these past few years, and I'm talking to Arm CEO Rene Haas. Arm designs the instruction sets for modern chips: Qualcomm’s chips are Arm chips. Apple’s chips are Arm chips. Samsung’s...


Can software simplify the supply chain? Ryan Petersen thinks so

Ryan Petersen, is the CEO of Flexport, ac ompany that builds software that integrates all the different shipping vendor systems you might run into as you try to get a product from a factory in China to a consumer in Idaho: rail, sea, truck. We’ve talked about the supply chain and inventory management on Decoder with a lot of our guests — the chip shortage seems to affect every company, and sorting out how to get products made and delivered on time is a pretty universal problem. But we...


Everyone knows what YouTube is. Few know how it really works.

Today, I’m talking to Mark Bergen, a reporter at Bloomberg and the author of a new book about YouTube called. Like, Comment, Subscribe: Inside YouTube’s Chaotic Rise to World Domination. YouTube has always been fascinating to me because it’s such a black box: everyone feels like they know how the platform works, but very few people have a real understanding of the internal politics and tradeoffs that actually drive YouTube’s decision. Mark’s book is one of the best of its kind I’ve read: not...