Episodes
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...
Published 11/22/22
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...
Published 11/15/22
Published 11/15/22
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...
Published 11/08/22
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...
Published 11/03/22
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...
Published 11/01/22
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...
Published 10/27/22
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...
Published 10/25/22
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...
Published 10/18/22
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...
Published 10/11/22
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...
Published 10/04/22
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...
Published 09/27/22
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 haven’t...
Published 09/20/22
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...
Published 09/13/22
This episode was originally published on May 3rd, 2022. Tony Fadell was instrumental in the development of the iPod and iPhone at Apple and then co-founded Nest Labs, which kicked off the consumer smart home market with its smart thermostat in 2011. Tony sold Nest to Google for $3.2 billion in 2014 and eventually left Google. He now runs an investment company called Future Shape.  Links: Inside the Nest: iPod creator Tony Fadell wants to reinvent the thermostat General Magic -...
Published 09/06/22
We’ve got a special episode of Decoder today – an interview between Verge deputy editor Alex Heath and Meta’s Tom Alison, the head of Facebook. Alex is the co-host of the newest season of Vox Media’s podcast Land of the Giants. This season is about Facebook and Meta. The season finale comes out tomorrow. Alex has been reporting for Land of the Giants for many months, and along the way he interviewed Tom. Facebook has a lot of challenges, but it seems like the biggest problem is TikTok:...
Published 08/30/22
One thing that strikes me, in all these episodes of Decoder, is how little any of us really pay attention to the advertising industry, and how deeply connected it is to almost other every modern business. After all you can start a company and invent a great product, but you still need to market it: you need to tell people about it, and eventually convince them to buy it. And so you take out an add on a platform and, well, the platform companies we all depend on mostly run on ads. Google’s...
Published 08/23/22
Katie Welch is the Chief Marketing Officer of Rare Beauty — the beauty products company founded by superstar musician and actress Selena Gomez. Rare Beauty sells its products online and in Sephora retail stores, and importantly, Katie does almost no traditional marketing: Rare Beauty is a true internet brand, that depends on social media strategy, influencer marketing, and community to drive sales. Specifically, the enormous community around Selena Gomez, who, again, is an international...
Published 08/16/22
In 2019, the Trump administration brokered a deal allowing TMobile to buy Sprint as long as it helped Dish Network stand up a new 5G network to keep the number of national wireless carriers at 4 and preserve competition in the mobile market. Now, in 2022, Dish’s network is slowly getting off the ground. And it’s built on a new kind of wireless technology called Open Radio Access Network, or O-RAN. Dish’s network is only the third O-RAN network in the entire world, and if O-RAN works, it will...
Published 08/09/22
Today I’m talking to Hank Green. Hank doesn’t need much introduction. In fact, he invited himself on Decoder to talk about YouTube's partner program, which shares ad revenue between YouTube and the people making videos. The split is 55/45 in favor of creators. But other platforms don't have this. There is no revenue share on Instagram. There is no revenue share on Twitter. There’s no revenue on Twitter at all, really. And importantly there is no revenue share on TikTok: instead there’s...
Published 08/02/22
Today we’re talking to Jennifer Hyman, co-founder and CEO of Rent the Runway. Rent the Runway is a a pretty simple idea: it’s a clothing rental and subscription business for women which launched in 2008. The basic idea is pretty simple: you can rent clothes one by one, and Subscribers pay a certain monthly amount for a certain number of pieces that they can swap out anywhere from 1 to 4 times a month depending on the tier of their membership. Rent the Runway also lets customers buy...
Published 07/26/22
All right, let’s talk about the metaverse.  You probably can’t stop hearing about it. It’s in startup pitches, in earnings reports, some companies are creating metaverse divisions, and Mark Zuckerberg changed Facebook’s name to Meta to signal that he’s shifting the entire company to focus on the metaverse. The problem, very simply, is that no one knows what the metaverse is, what it’s supposed to do, or why anyone should care about it. Luckily, we have some help. Today, I’m talking to Matthew...
Published 07/19/22
This week, we're sharing the first episode of Land of the Giants: The Facebook/ Meta Disruption. Long before Mark Zuckerberg renamed Facebook Meta and made an unprecedented pivot into the metaverse, he invented a feature that turned Facebook into a social network behemoth. The News Feed, which put your friends’ status updates onto your homepage, changed the way we interact online. It was a strong statement of Zuckerberg’s values: that connecting, and sharing, at scale would be de-facto good...
Published 07/14/22
Happy Fourth of July to our listeners in the States. Decoder is only a year old, but we’ve decided a Decoder tradition is that every summer, we’re going to do an episode about the outdoor grill industry, which is gigantic and growing. Last year, I talked to Roger Dahle, the CEO of Blackstone Products, a griddle company that blew up on TikTok and actually went public a few months after we talked. This year, I’m talking to Jeremy Andrus, the CEO of Traeger, which makes beloved wood pellet...
Published 07/04/22
I’m old enough to remember what it was like to fly before 9/11 — there were no TSA lines, there was no PreCheck, and there certainly wasn’t any requirement to take off your shoes. In fact, there wasn’t any TSA at all. But 9/11 radically changed the way we move through an airport. The formation of the new Department of Homeland Security and the new Transportation Security Administration led to much more rigorous and invasive security measures for travelers trying to catch their flight. This...
Published 06/29/22