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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.






How to play the long game, with New York Times CEO Meredith Kopit Levien

Meredith Kopit Levien is the CEO of The New York Times, which is perhaps the most famous journalism organization in the world, and certainly one of America’s most complicated companies. The Times is 172 years old, and has only recently become a force on the internet. It’s hard to remember, but back in 2014 and ‘15, people thought the Times was doomed — that it would be replaced by BuzzFeed and Vice and Vox. Instead, the company has undergone a radical and sometimes painful public...


Taylor Swift vs. Ronald Reagan: The Ticketmaster story

This special episode dives deep on Taylor Swift, Ticketmaster, and how a handful of policy changes in the 1980s led to one firm so thoroughly dominating the live events business in the United States that Congress held a hearing in 2023, because Taylor Swift fans were so upset about antitrust law. That sentence is wild. We’re going to unpack all of this with the help of some experts. Here we go. Transcript: Credits: Thanks so much to everyone who talked to...


‘The Goliath is Amazon’: after 100 years, Barnes & Noble wants to go back to its indie roots

In this installment of our Centennial Series on companies that are over 100 years old, we are talking to Barnes & Noble CEO James Daunt. The last few decades have thrown some hurdles in Barnes & Noble’s way, however. Far from being the monster that inspired the plot of the movie You’ve Got Mail, it’s had to face down a new Goliath called Amazon and the general decline of big-box retail stores. After years of closures and declining revenues, Barnes & Noble was bought out by activist investors...


Why Spotify wants to look like TikTok, with co-president Gustav Söderström

Gustav Söderström has worked at Spotify for a long time; his first big project was leading the launch of its mobile app back in 2009. That makes him the perfect company leader to talk to about Spotify’s recent redesign, which introduces a visual, TikTok-like feed for discovering new content on the app’s homepage. As his boss CEO Daniel Ek put it last week, it’s “the biggest change Spotify has undergone since we introduced mobile.” With the title of co-president and chief product and...


Can Xerox reinvent itself for another 100 years?

Intro: Steve Bandrowczak, the CEO of Xerox, an iconic company that got started all the way back in 1906 as a manufacturer of photo paper and is, of course, best known for pioneering the copy machine. Here in 2023, Xerox has moved well beyond paper. It now works with companies large and small to provide IT services: it optimizes workflows, manages data, automates parts of businesses, and yes, still fixes the printers. Steve insists there’s still a lot in the world to print, and selling and...


How Reddit is getting simpler — and dealing with TikTok, with chief product officer Pali Bhat

Pali Bhat joined Reddit from Google about a year ago — he’s actually Reddit’s first-ever chief product officer, which is pretty surprising considering that Reddit is a series of product experiences: the reading experience, the writing experience, and importantly, the moderation experience. One thing we always say on Decoder is that the real product of any social network is content moderation, and Reddit is maybe the best example of that: every subreddit is shaped by volunteer moderators who...


Podcasting? Radio? It’s all one big opportunity for iHeartMedia digital CEO Conal Byrne

We taped this episode live at Hot Pod Summit. That’s our conference for the podcast industry. We have a whole newsletter for podcasters. It’s called Hot Pod, written by our very own Ariel Shapiro. Hot Pod Summit is where we bring that community of creators, trendsetters and decision-makers together to explore the latest developments in podcasting, audiobooks, and more. It was a packed house and a great time. We ended the day by recording our first-ever live Decoder with Conal Byrne, CEO of...


Erase browser history: can AI reset the browser battle?

Hello and welcome to Decoder. I’m Nilay Patel, editor in chief of The Verge, and Decoder is my show about big ideas, and other problems. Today, I'm talking to Mitchell Baker, the chairwoman and CEO of Mozilla, the organization behind the Firefox browser, the Thunderbird email client, the Pocket newsreader, and a bunch of other interesting internet tools. Now as you all know, Decoder is secretly a podcast about org charts – maybe not so secretly, and Mozilla’s structure is really interesting....


Microsoft thinks AI can beat Google at search — CEO Satya Nadella explains why

I’m coming to you from Microsoft’s campus in Redmond, where just a few hours ago, Microsoft announced that the next version of the Bing search engine would be powered by OpenAI, the company that makes ChatGPT. There’s also a new version of the Edge web browser with OpenAI chat tech in a window that can help you browse and understand web pages. The in-depth presentation showed how OpenAI running in Bing and Edge could radically increase your productivity. They demo’d it making a travel...


How HBO’s creatives survived corporate chaos

HBO started as an experiment. It was a way to get people to switch from getting TV over broadcast antennas to cable by offering events you’d otherwise need tickets to see: boxing, plays, movies. That’s where the name Home Box Office comes from. But it grew from there in surprising ways: HBO was a major innovator in satellite distribution, in working with cable operators around the country, and of course in programming. The company’s taste and style has influenced and shaped culture for a...


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...