Episodes
Today, I’m talking to Jason Citron, the co-founder and CEO of Discord, the gaming-focused voice and chat app. You might think Discord is just something Slack for gamers, but over time, it has become much more important than that. For a growing mix of mostly young, very online users steeped in gaming culture, fandom, and other niche communities, Discord is fast becoming the hub to their entire online lives. A lot of what we think of as internet culture is happening on Discord. In many ways...
Published 04/22/24
Published 04/22/24
Today, we're talking about Disney, the massive activist investor revolt it just fought off, and what happens next in the world of streaming. Because what happens to Disney really tells us a lot about what's happening in the entire world of entertainment. Earlier this month, Disney survived an attempted board takeover from businessman Nelson Peltz. While investors ultimately sided with Disney and CEO Bob Iger, the boardroom showdown made something very clear: Disney needs to figure out...
Published 04/18/24
At the absolute most basic, Dropbox is cloud storage for your stuff — but that puts it at the nexus of a huge number of today’s biggest challenges in tech. As the company that helps you organize your stuff in the cloud itself goes all remote, how do we even deal with the concept of “your stuff?” Today I’m talking with Dropbox CEO Drew Houston about those big picture ideas — and why he thinks generative AI really will be transformative for everyone eventually, even if it isn’t yet...
Published 04/15/24
Today we’re talking about Vice, the media company: Where it came from, what it did, and, ultimately, why it collapsed into a much smaller, sadder version of itself.  This is a lousy time for digital media, and it’s hard to make a profit from putting words on the internet right now. So when Verge senior reporter Liz Lopatto went to go report on what happened, she and I both assumed Vice had been done in by the brutal economics of digital advertising on the web. But the Vice story is more than...
Published 04/11/24
Cloudflare is an infrastructure provider basically protecting more than 20% of the entire web from bad actors. When everything is going well, you don't even have to know it exists. It's one of the only defenses — sometimes the only defense — standing between websites and the people who want to take them down. Protecting free speech on the internet around the world, across war zones and hundreds of different kinds of government, is no easy feat. That puts the company, and CEO Matthew Prince,...
Published 04/08/24
Hello, and welcome to Decoder. This is David Pierce, editor-at-large at The Verge and co-host of The Vergecast, subbing in for Nilay, who’s out on vacation. Regular Decoder programming returns next week. In the meantime, we have an exciting episode for you today all about video game emulation, which, as it turns out, is a whole lot more complicated than it seems.  Gaming emulation made headlines recently because one of the most widely used programs for emulating the Nintendo Switch, a...
Published 04/04/24
Today, I’m talking to Intuit Mailchimp CEO Rania Succar, who took over as CEO in 2022 after a pretty rough patch in the company’s history. In 2021, Intuit acquired the company, and the very next year, co-founder Ben Chestnut stepped down after telling employees that he thought introducing themselves with pronouns in meetings did more harm than good. After that, Rania took over. This is a pretty huge culture change, especially as Mailchimp became more integrated with Intuit. It was also a big...
Published 04/01/24
Hey everyone it’s Nilay – I’m on vacation this week, so the Decoder team is taking a short break. We’ll be back next week with both the interview and the new explainer episodes. To tide you over until Monday, we have a bonus episode from our friends at Vox Media and Eater’s Gastropod about an incredible patent battle in the world of pizza.  I’m serious: One of the biggest fights in the pizza industry took place in US court in the ‘90s — an intellectual property dispute about stuffed crust...
Published 03/28/24
Today, I’m talking to Jay Graber, the CEO of Bluesky Social, which is a decentralized competitor to Meta’s Threads, Mastodon, and X. Bluesky actually started inside of what was then known as Twitter — it was a project from then-CEO Jack Dorsey, who spent his days wandering the earth and saying things like Twitter should be a protocol and not a company. Bluesky was supposed to be that protocol, but Jack spun it out of Twitter in 2021, just before Elon Musk bought the company and renamed it...
Published 03/25/24
Both the EU and US have spent the past decade looking at Big Tech and saying, "someone should do something!" In the US, lawmakers are still basically shouting that. But in the EU, regulators did something. The Digital Markets Act was proposed in 2020, signed into law in 2022, and went into effect this month. It's already having an effect on some of the biggest companies in tech, including Apple, Google, and Microsoft. In theory it's a landmark law that will change the way these companies...
Published 03/21/24
We’ve got a fun one today — I talked to Figma CEO Dylan Field in front of a live audience at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas. And we got into it – we talked about everything from design, to software distribution, to the future of the web, and, of course, AI.  Figma is an fascinating company – the Figma design tool is used by designers at basically every company you can think of. And importantly, it runs on the web. It became such a big deal that Adobe tried to buy it out in 2022 for $20...
Published 03/18/24
If you’ve been listening to Decoder or the Vergecast for a while, you know that I am obsessed with Google Search, the web, and how both of those things might change in the age of AI. But to really understand how something might change, you have to step back and understand what it is right now.  So today I’m talking with Verge platforms reporter Mia Sato about Google Search, the industries it’s created, and more importantly, how relentless search engine optimization, or SEO, has utterly...
Published 03/14/24
Today, I’m talking to Kyle Chayka, a staff writer for The New Yorker, a regular contributor to The Verge, and author of the new book Filterworld: How Algorithms Flattened Culture. Kyle has been writing for years now about how the culture of big social media platforms bleeds into real life, first affecting how things look, and now shaping how and what culture is created and the mechanisms by which that culture spreads all around the world.  If you’ve been listening to Decoder, this is all...
Published 03/11/24
Our Thursday episodes are all about big topics in the news, and this week we’re wrapping up our short series on one of the biggest topics of all: generative AI. In our last couple episodes, we talked a lot about some of the biggest, most complicated legal and policy questions surrounding the modern AI industry, including copyright lawsuits and deepfake legislation. But we wanted to end on a more personal note: How is this technology making people feel, and in particular how is it affecting...
Published 03/07/24
On this special episode of Decoder, science educator and YouTuber Hank Green is guest hosting. And the guest? It’s Nilay Patel, who sat down with Hank to discuss building The Verge, the state of media, and the future of the web. Also: whether the fediverse is worth investing in, and how social platforms’ control of distribution has shaped the internet. In the words of Hank: “Nilay has got some weird ideas about the internet. For example, that he’s going to revolutionize the media through...
Published 03/04/24
Our new Thursday episodes of Decoder are all about deep dives into big topics in the news, and this week we’re continuing our mini-series on one of the biggest topics of all: generative AI. Last week, we took a look at the wave of copyright lawsuits that might eventually grind this whole industry to a halt. Those are basically a coin flip — and the outcomes are off in the distance, as those cases wind their way through the legal system.  A bigger problem right now is that AI systems are...
Published 02/29/24
Today, I’m talking with Rahul Purini, the president of Crunchyroll, a streaming service focused entirely on anime — and really, the biggest anime service still going. Rahul has a long history with anime: he spent more than seven years at Funimation, a company that started in the 90s to distribute Dragon Ball Z to US audiences, before getting the top job at Crunchyroll. Anime might seem like niche content, but it’s not nearly as niche as you might think – our colleagues over at Polygon just...
Published 02/26/24
The Decoder team is off this week. We’ll be back next week with both the interview and the new explainer episodes; we’re really excited about what’s on the schedule here.  In the meantime, I thought you all might enjoy a conversation I had with Kara Swisher, the Wall Street Journal’s Joanna Stern and Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman about the Apple Vision Pro. All of us have been covering Apple for a very long time, and we had a lot of fun swapping impressions, talking strategy, and sharing what we...
Published 02/22/24
Our new Thursday episodes are all about deep dives into big topics in the news, and for the next few weeks we’re going to stay focused on one of the biggest topics of all: generative AI. There’s a lot going on in the world of generative AI, but maybe the biggest is the increasing number of copyright lawsuits being filed against AI companies like OpenAI and StabilityAI. So for this episode, we’re going to talk about those cases, and the main defense the AI companies are relying on: an idea...
Published 02/15/24
Today, I’m talking with Jonathan Kanter, the Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Antitrust Division at the Department of Justice. Alongside FTC chair Lina Khan, Jonathan is one of the most prominent figures in the big shift happening in competition and antitrust in the United States. This is a fun episode: we taped this conversation live on stage at the Digital Content Next conference in Charleston, South Carolina a few days ago, so you’ll hear the audience, which was a group of fancy...
Published 02/12/24
We’re very excited for today’s episode, because from now on we’ll be delivering you two Decoders every week. On Monday’s we’ll have our classic interviews with CEOs and other high-profile guests. But our new shorter Thursday episode – like today’s – will explain big topics in the news with Verge reporters, experts, and other friends of the show.  The big idea we’re going to jump into today does in fact have a lot of problems: electric vehicle adoption in the US. We invited Verge...
Published 02/08/24
Today, I’m talking with Casey Newton, the founder and editor of the Platformer newsletter and co-host of the Hard Fork podcast. Casey is also a former editor here at The Verge and was my co-host at the Code Conference last year. Most importantly, Casey and I are also very close friends, so this episode is a little looser than usual.  I wanted to talk to Casey for a few reasons. One, the media industry overall is falling apart, with huge layoffs at almost every media organization you can think...
Published 02/05/24
Today, I’m talking with Senator Brian Schatz, of Hawaii. We joke that Decoder is ultimately a show about org charts, but there’s a lot of truth to it. We talked about the separate offices he has to balance against each other, and the concessions he has to make to work within the Senate structure. We also talked a lot about two of the biggest issues in tech regulation today. One is Europe, which is doing a lot of regulation while the US does almost none. How does a senator think about the U.S....
Published 01/30/24
Today, I’m talking with Representative Ro Khanna, a Democrat from California. He’s been in Congress for eight years now, representing California’s 17th District, which is arguably the highest-tech district in the entire country. You’ll hear him say a couple of times that there’s $10 trillion of tech market value in his district, and that’s not an exaggeration: Apple, Intel, and Nvidia are all headquartered in his district, along with important new AI firms like Anthropic and OpenAI.  I...
Published 01/23/24