Episodes
Kat Norton is a Microsoft Excel influencer. She has over a million followers on TikTok and Instagram, where she goes by the name Miss Excel, and she’s leveraged that into a software training business that is now generating up to six figures of revenue a day. That’s six figures a day. And she’s only been doing this since June 2020. Nilay Patel talks to her about how she built the business, how she uses energetics to go viral, and why her relationship with social media is so different than...
Published 11/30/21
Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky prides himself on thinking very differently than other CEOs, and his answers to the Decoder questions about how he structures and manages his company were almost always the opposite of what I’m used to hearing on the show. Airbnb is pretty much a single team, focused on a single product, and it all rolls up to Brian. That’s very different from most other big companies, which have lots of divisions and overlapping lines of authority. And Airbnb’s relationship to cities...
Published 11/16/21
Published 11/16/21
Nilay Patel talks to Steven Yang, the CEO and founder of Anker Innovations. The conversation covers the full stack of Decoder topics: taking bets on new tech like gallium nitride, building a direct-to-consumer business on Amazon, and the complexity of managing the Amazon relationship, regulatory issues, platform fees — you name it. And all from a company that started making phone chargers. Anker is endlessly fascinating. Links: Anker CEO Steven Yang is all in on USB-C Amazon-Native Brand...
Published 11/09/21
Welcome to a special Thursday edition of Decoder. You may have read on the site that Verge executive editor Dieter Bohn has been working on a documentary called Springboard: the secret history of the first real smartphone. It's about a company called Handspring and I think the Decoder audience will be really into this story so today we're interviewing Dieter. We talked about his documentary and he brought an exclusive clip that didn't make it into the film. That documentary is streaming now...
Published 11/04/21
Facebook announced a major corporate rebrand by changing its company name to Meta. The new name is meant to solidify the social media giant’s longterm bet on building the metaverse. On this episode of Decoder, vice president of Reality Labs Andrew Bosworth talked with The Verge’s Alex Heath about Facebook’s rebrand to Meta, how content moderation will work in the metaverse, and the hardware journey from virtual to mixed reality, and eventually, AR glasses. Links: Mark Zuckerberg on why...
Published 11/01/21
Adobe is one of those companies that I don’t think we pay enough attention to — it’s been around since 1982, and the entire creative economy runs through its software. You don’t just edit a photo, you Photoshop it. We spend a lot of time on Decoder talking about the creator economy, but creators themselves spend all their time working in Adobe’s tools. On this episode, I’m talking to Scott Belsky, chief product officer at Adobe, about the new features coming to their products, many of which...
Published 10/26/21
This week we are talking to Jeep CEO Christian Meunier – and there’s a lot to talk about. Jeep just announced its second hybrid electric vehicle in the US, the Grand Cherokee 4xe. It also announced a plan for its first electric car in 2023, and to have EVs across the line by 2025, which is very soon. And it’s now part of a huge global car company called Stellantis. So I wanted to know: why start with hybrids, instead of jumping straight to EVs? What does it mean to be the CEO of a brand like...
Published 10/19/21
My guest today is Dave Limp, the senior vice president of devices and services at Amazon – or, more simply, the guy in charge of Alexa. Dave’s group at Amazon also includes the Kindle e-reader, the Ring and Blink security camera systems, the Eero wifi router, and a host of other products that connect to Amazon services.  We wanted to know what the business behind Alexa looks like — Amazon sells Echo products at basically break even, it runs the Alexa for all of them for free, and it employs...
Published 10/12/21
In Land of the Giants: The Apple Revolution, Recode’s Peter Kafka explores the company that changed what a computer is — and then changed what a phone is. From its beginnings as a niche personal computer company, Apple became the preeminent maker of consumer tech products, a cultural trendsetter, and the most valuable company in the world. And along the way, it changed the way we live. Listen to Land of the Giants on Spotify, Apple or wherever you get your podcasts. Learn more about your ad...
Published 10/07/21
Waymo is working on self-driving taxis. Which is a huge deal. Ridesharing apps like Uber and Lyft have remade cities, allowed people to give up their cars, and generally connected the buttons you push on your phone to real things happening in the world more directly than almost any other app. Nilay Patel talked to Tekedra Mawakana, co-CEO of Waymo, about expanding Waymo’s service to other cities, the hurdles in place, and how she thinks the company will make money over time. We also talked...
Published 10/05/21
Nilay Patel talks to John Carreyrou about his reporting on Theranos from his Wall Street Journal articles that broke the scandal in 2015 to his podcast covering the trial of Elizabeth Holmes today. Links: Bad Blood: The Final Chapter https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/bad-blood-the-final-chapter/id1575738174 Theranos’ greatest invention was Elizabeth Holmes https://www.theverge.com/22656190/theranos-elizabeth-holmes-wire-fraud-trial-founder-myth Elizabeth Holmes is on trial for fraud...
Published 09/28/21
We talk a lot about the creator economy here on Decoder and one thing we’ve learned from all those conversations is that the creator economy is a market just like any other, with supply and demand, but that it’s also a market that is absolutely starved of information. So today I’m talking to Lindsey Lee Lugrin, the co-founder and CEO of a new platform called F**k You Pay Me, which is an all-time great company name. FYPM is an app for creators to review and compare brand deals: what brands are...
Published 09/21/21
This week on Decoder we are doing something a little different. We're talking with Charlie Harding, co-host of the podcast Switched on Pop a podcast about pop music, about the state of the music industry particularly as it relates to copyright. The conversation is framed around Olivia Rodrigo's debut album Sour and why she keeps handing out songwriting credits months after the album was released. This is kind of a hybrid between an episode of Decoder and an episode of Switched on Pop. We play...
Published 09/15/21
Apple has had a lot going on lately: we did a whole episode about the controversial child protection photo scanning features, which have now been delayed. A law in South Korea might force the company to change how App Store payments work; the company settled a Japanese case about the App Store recently, as well as a class-action lawsuit in this country. The verdict in the Epic trial will arrive and there are renewed questions about Apple’s relationship with the Chinese government. And, of...
Published 09/07/21
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the demand for microchips has far exceeded supply, causing problems in every industry that relies on computers. And if you’re a Decoder listener, you know that that is every industry. Right now, major automakers have unfinished cars sitting in parking lots waiting for chips to be installed. Game consoles like the PS5 and Xbox Series X are impossible to find. And even things like microwaves and refrigerators are impacted, because they contain simple...
Published 08/31/21
Nilay Patel talks with Doug DeMuro, who reviews cars on YouTube for almost 10 years. Nilay and Doug talk about the economics of YouTube, how Doug feels about the platform, and about the new company he co-founded called Cars and Bids. Read the transcript: https://www.theverge.com/e/22401912 Decoder is produced by Creighton DeSimone, Alexander Charles Adams and Andrew Marino. We are edited by Callie Wright. Our music is by Breakmaster Cylinder. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit...
Published 08/24/21
Today I'm talking to Bryan Salesky, the cofounder and CEO of Argo AI, a startup that's trying to build the tech stack for self-driving cars. Argo just launched a small fleet of robotaxis in Miami and Austin in partnership with Lyft. I wanted to talk to Bryan about his partnership with Lyft, but I also wanted to know if the pandemic accelerated any of his investment or development the way we have seen in other industries. After all, the proposition of having a taxi all to yourself is pretty...
Published 08/17/21
Nilay Patel is joined by Riana Pfefferkorn and Jennifer King to talk about Apple's new child safety features. Riana and Jen are both researchers at Stanford and between the two of them have expertise in encryption policies and consumer privacy issues. Guest Bio: Riana Pfefferkorn: http://cyberlaw.stanford.edu/about/people/riana-pfefferkorn Jennifer King: http://cyberlaw.stanford.edu/about/people/jen-king Links: Apple reveals new efforts to fight child abuse imagery:...
Published 08/10/21
On today’s episode I’m talking with Neal Mohan, the chief product officer at YouTube. And there’s a lot to talk about – YouTube is announcing a $100 million fund to begin paying creators who use YouTube Shorts, which is its competitor to TikTok. YouTube remains the default video hosting platform for the entire internet, in a way can feel almost invisible, like it’s a utility, like water, or electricity. And on top of all that, there are YouTubers – that particular kind of influencer at the...
Published 08/03/21
This week Nilay Patel talks to Chuck Todd, the political director at NBC News and moderator of Meet The Press, the longest running television show in the country. Seriously: Meet the Press started in 1946, and Chuck is only the 12th moderator the show’s ever had. As streaming upends television, he’s expanding Meet The Press from a single weekly show where Chuck interviews politicians to an entire roster of formats. There’s Meet the Press, Meet The Press Daily on MSNBC, Meet the Press Reports...
Published 07/27/21
Nilay Patel encountered the name Blackstone on TikTok last year, just as the pandemic lockdowns were starting. He saw people posting videos smashing burgers and making pancakes outside on a griddle frequently with the caption “I finally got a Blackstone.” 20 minutes ago he hadn’t even heard about this thing, and now he was late to a trend? So he bought one. And hasn’t used his regular grill in over a year. Nilay sat down with the CEO of Blackstone products and inventor of the Blackstone...
Published 07/20/21
We are back after our week off, and we’ve got a good one today. On this episode I’m talking to Thomas Ingenlath, CEO of Polestar, a new car company with close family ties to Volvo. We talked a lot about what kind of company Polestar is — it’s pretty small, and has the ability to rethink a lot of things about how a car company is organized, while having the ability to fall back on a larger company if needed. We also talked a lot about what makes a car company a car company, at a time when...
Published 07/13/21
While Decoder is on vacation this week, we're sharing an episode of Land of the Giants, a podcast from our friends at Recode and Eater. Land of the Giants is a podcast that explores how the biggest tech companies rose to power, and what they're doing with that power. In this 4-part mini-season, they’re covering the world of restaurant delivery apps and exploring how big tech is transforming the business of food, and the true cost of our convenience.  You can listen to the full season of Land...
Published 07/06/21
Juul became a sensation — and a sensationally dramatic story. Lauren Etter, author of The Devil's Playbook: Big Tobacco, JUUL, and the Addiction of a New Generation, joins us to explain how a tech startup founded in a Stanford design studio to disrupt the smoking industry upended years of tobacco regulation in the United States, got a new generation of teenagers addicted to nicotine after years of declining teen smoking rates, and eventually found itself valued at 38 billion. Learn more about...
Published 06/29/21