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Recode Decode with Kara Swisher


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.

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.


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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.






Caleb Scharf: Living on Mars is complicated, actually

Caleb Scharf, the director of Astrobiology at Columbia University, talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about the under=discussed dangers humans would face in space and the rise of private space exploration, as championed by billionaires such as Elon Musk and Richard Branson. Scharf wrote a piece for Scientific American earlier this year, "Death on Mars." about the hazards of the Martian environment for humans, and explains what we know — and don't know — about how human explorers might be able...


Corey Johnson: How to fix transportation in New York City

Corey Johnson, the Speaker of the New York City Council and an candidate in the 2021 mayoral race, talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about his planned expansion of bike, bus, and pedestrian lanes across the city, which will come at the expense of street parking; how NYC has evolved over time, sometimes in spite of popular opinion; and the regulatory mistakes the city has made in dealing with Uber and Lyft. He also talks about how he came out of the closet with the help of a pioneering LGBT...


David Kaye: How the Saudis hacked Jeff Bezos' phone

David Kaye, the special rapporteur for freedom of opinion and expression at the United Nations, talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about the hacking of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' phone by the Saudi Arabian government; why it’s easier than ever for governments to suppress information spread by journalists and dissidents; and the inherent danger of internet companies and governments collecting massive amounts of data about us. He also talks about how the UN responded to the murder of Washington Post...


Larry Ingrassia: How Warby Parker, Dollar Shave Club and other disruptors became billion-dollar companies

Journalist Larry Ingrassia talks with Recode’s Jason Del Rey about his new book, Billion Dollar Brand Club: How Dollar Shave Club, Warby Parker, and Other Disruptors Are Remaking What We Buy. Ingrassia, a longtime editor for the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Los Angeles Times, returned to his journalistic roots to report and write the book, which was triggered by the news that the upstart direct-to-consumer razor company Dollar Shave Club had been bought by Unilever for $1 billion....


Carol Leonnig and Phil Rucker: Trump doesn't care if he lies, and his supporters don't, either

Washington Post reporters Carol Leonnig and Phil Rucker talk with Recode's Kara Swisher about their new book, A Very Stable Genius: Donald J. Trump's Testing of America. In it, they draw from more than 200 interviews with Trump administration insiders to paint a picture of Washington in 2020, Trump's frequent lies, and how he retaliates against the people who dare to cross him. They discuss how they convinced sources to talk to them, why Trump is actually a genius from a certain point of...


Mark Surman: We have to fight for the future of the internet

Mozilla Foundation executive director Mark Surman talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about why the internet needs a "public option," how Mozilla's browser Firefox is positioning itself for the future, and the future of tech regulation. Surman also discusses how punk rock and small-town censorship shaped his worldview, and why being the number one browser isn't actually Firefox's main goal. Featuring: Mark Surman (@msurman), executive director, Mozilla Foundation Host: Kara Swisher...


Anna Wiener: The dark side of the tech industry's seductive culture

Anna Wiener, a contributing writer for the New Yorker and the author of the new book Uncanny Valley: A Memoir, talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about why she left an old industry — book publishing — to work in tech, the "intoxicating" start to her new career, and how her views on tech culture changed over time. Wiener also discusses the problems that people in the industry won’t talk about; why she doesn't agree with reviews that paint her book as a polemic; and how Silicon Valley...


Dave Eggers: What Democrats get wrong about Trump

Writer and McSweeney's founder Dave Eggers talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about his latest novel, The Captain and the Glory, why he chose to write a satirical novel about the Trump era, and what he's learned from interviewing Trump supporters that most people on the left wouldn't expect. Eggers also discusses his writing nonprofit, 826 Valencia; why he has a flip phone rather than a smartphone; and what he thinks of his novel about a technology company, The Circle, in hindsight. Plus: Why...


Franklin Leonard: Greed can combat Hollywood’s bias

The Black List founder Franklin Leonard talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about how he accidentally created one of the most important lists in Hollywood and how he turned it into a real business for connecting screenwriters with producers. Leonard also talks about the statistics that show the benefits of reading scripts from diverse writers and the mostly-white 2020 Oscar nominations, about which he wrote a satirical op-ed for the Washington Post. Plus: Why he doesn't expect AI to replace...


Ezra Klein: Parties, not policy, are "Why We're Polarized"

1/29/2020 co-founder Ezra Klein talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about his new book, Why We're Polarized, the rise of systemic "zero sum" party politics, and how Klein himself has been polarizing in the Trump era. Klein and Swisher also discuss the racial, religious, and urban/rural splits between Democrats and Republicans, the (good and bad) impact of social media on the public discourse, and the one thing regular people can do to combat polarization in their own lives. Plus: Why "Congress...


Annalee Newitz: Why real time travel would look a lot like Wikipedia

Sci-fi novelist and science journalist Annalee Newitz talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about their new book, The Future of Another Timeline. Newitz, who was previously a founding editor of io9 and the editor in chief of Gizmodo, talks about their winding route to becoming a writer, by way of monster movies; how their first book Autonomous addresses AI, software patents, and the pharma industry; and how they worked out the mechanics and limitations of time travel and "editing" history for...


Numa Perrier and Tiffany Tenille: In new Netflix film "Jezebel," the sex industry goes online

Numa Perrier and Tiffany Tenille, the director and star of the new Netflix film Jezebel, talk with Recode's Kara Swisher about Perrier's real-life experience as an online sex worker in the 1990s and turning that into a movie. They also discuss how the rise of digital filmmaking has opened doors for directors of color like Perrier, how Tenille educated herself about life on the early internet, and how state and local regulators wrestled with the rise of digital peep shows. Plus: How the...


The L Word: Why the cast reunited for "Generation Q"

The L Word creator Ilene Chaiken and actors Jennifer Beals, Kate Moennig, and Leisha Hailey talk with Recode's Kara Swisher about their decision to reunite for a new series called The L Word: Generation Q, 10 years after the original show ended. They discuss how the first "L Word" got started, why the first new season is only 8 episodes long, and their hopes for a series of live events for fans of the show, called L Con. Plus: How do they all feel about the rise of tech money in Hollywood...


Kirsten Green: The four types of startups

Forerunner Ventures founder and managing partner Kirsten Green talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about the thinking behind her investments in companies like Dollar Shave Club and Glossier; the messy culture struggle at luggage startup Away; and where innovation comes from in today's tech industry. Plus: What are the advantages of being a female venture capitalist, and does the VC industry have to change? Featuring: Kirsten Green (@kirstenagreen), founding partner, Forerunner Ventures Host:...


Ben Silbermann: How Pinterest is trying to make its users feel better

Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about deliberately engineering happiness into the site, expanding into commerce, and competing with larger social and commerce tech companies. This interview was recorded in front of a live audience at the National Retail Federation's annual conference, the Big Show, in New York City. Featuring: Ben Silbermann (@8en), CEO, Pinterest Host: Kara Swisher (@karaswisher), Recode co-founder and editor-at-large More to explore: Subscribe...


Jeanette Winterson remixes "Frankenstein" with AI, queer love, and cryogenics in "Frankissstein"

Writer Jeanette Winterson talks with Recode’s Kara Swisher about her latest book, Frankissstein: A Love Story. Winterson discusses the intertwined histories of LGBT+ people, science fiction literature and technology; how she decided to write a modern twist on Mary Shelley's Frankenstein with a technological bent; and how Shelley foresaw the intersection of bodies and machines. Plus: Is tech becoming the real monster in modern life? And who is the Victor Frankenstein of this era? Featuring:...


Jason DeParle: How poverty and global migration intersect

New York Times reporter Jason DeParle talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about his most recent book, A Good Provider Is One Who Leaves: One Family and Migration in the 21st Century. The book draws from several decades of reporting, which began when DeParle embedded himself in a shantytown with a poor family in the Philippines for eight months in the 1990s. DeParle also talks about how poverty in the US has evolved throughout his journalism career, the impact of immigration on economic...


Megan Rapinoe: I'm not running for office because Democrats have standards

Megan Rapinoe, the co-captain of the US Women's National Soccer Team, returns to Recode Decode to talk with Recode's Kara Swisher about pay equity, how things have changed since the team's boozy post-World Cup tour, and why she's not running for political office. Plus: How much longer will she be playing soccer? This live episode was recorded at the Massachusetts Conference For Women on December 12. Featuring: Megan Rapinoe, (@mPinoe), co-captain of the US Women's National Soccer Team and...


David Epstein: Why successful people don't do only one thing well

Journalist and bestselling author David Epstein talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about his most recent book, Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World. In it, he argues that the world’s most successful athletes, artists, musicians, inventors, forecasters and scientists are more likely to be dabblers, rather than people who set out to do what they do best from a young age — and, in fact, the people who have highly specialized training from an early age tend to have lower lifetime...


The Swisher family: What Kara’s relatives think about tech, privacy, and Fox News

Kara Swisher convenes her brother, her sons, her mother and her fiancée to talk about their tech habits and how they get their news in a contentious election year. Topics include why her teenage sons Alex and Louie refuse to use TikTok; how technologies like AI are affecting her brother Jeff's work as an anesthesiologist; how having a baby finally forced fiancée Amanda Katz to use Amazon; and why her mother Lucretia Carney isn't giving up on Fox News. Plus: A brief cameo by the newest...