Recode Media

By Recode

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What happens when media, entertainment, and technology collide? Peter Kafka, one of the media industry's most acclaimed reporters, talks to business titans, journalists, comedians and podcasters to get their take. Produced by Recode and the Vox Media Podcast Network.

Episode Date
How Survivor and The Sopranos created Trump, with New York Times critic James Poniewozik
Chief television critic for The New York Times James Poniewozik explores how television and the modern media landscape played a critical role in the rise of Donald Trump as both a reality television star and political leader.<br><br><br><strong>Featuring</strong>: Chief television critic for The New York Times James Poniewozik (<a href="">@poniewozik</a>) <br><br><strong>Host</strong>:Peter Kafka&nbsp; (<a href="">@pkafka</a>), Senior Editor at Recode <br><br><strong>More to explore</strong>: <a href="">Subscribe for free to Recode Media</a>, Peter Kafka, one of the media industry's most acclaimed reporters, talks to business titans, journalists, comedians, and more to get their take on today's media landscape. <br><br><strong>About Recode by Vox</strong>: Recode by Vox helps you understand how tech is changing the world — and changing us.<br><br><br><br><br>
Sep 12, 2019
Apple TV+ is coming. Will you pay for it?
At today's Apple’s iPhone 11 event Tim Cook unveiled new details about their upcoming streaming service Apple TV+. Recode Media Senior editor Peter Kafka breaks down everything you need to know it. <br><br><strong>Come See Recode Live in Brooklyn with Craigslist's Craig Newmark</strong><br>We will hold 10 spots for Recode Media fans. First 10 to rsvp at <a href=""></a> will be confirmed for the event.<br><br><strong>Featuring</strong>: Vox Media Senior Producer Zach Mack (<a href="">@zachthemack</a>)<br><strong>Host</strong>: Senior Editor at Recode, Peter Kafka (<a href="">@pkafka</a>), <br><strong>More to explore</strong>:<a href=""> Subscribe for free to Recode Media</a>, Peter Kafka, one of the media industry's most acclaimed reporters, talks to business titans, journalists, comedians, and more to get their take on today's media landscape.<br><strong>About Recode by Vox</strong>: Recode by Vox helps you understand how tech is changing the world — and changing us.
Sep 10, 2019
The epic battle for Uber, with Mike Isaac from the New York Times
New York Times technology reporter Mike Isaac joins Peter Kafka to discuss Uber and his ongoing investigation into the transportation giant’s tumultuous leadership issues. In his new book ‘Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber’ he unpacks how Travis Kalanick, the contentious founder and original CEO of Uber, was ousted and how Uber’s growth at all costs mentality is indicative of a larger issue in tech.<br><br>Later on, Peter is joined by two special guests to discuss what the kids are up these days.
Sep 05, 2019
The decline of the right wing troll with CNN’s Oliver Darcy
CNN Senior media reporter Oliver Darcy chats with Recode’s Peter Kafka about Fox News, Breitbart, The Drudge Report and the current state of attack politics in right-wing media. Darcy also outlines his own path into media from a conservative writer for Glenn Beck’s The Blaze to his current role covering the media at CNN.<br><br><strong>Featuring</strong>:CNN Senior media reporter Oliver Darcy (<a href="">@oliverdarcy</a>) <br><br><strong>Host</strong>:Peter Kafka&nbsp; (<a href="">@pkafka</a>), Senior Editor at Recode <br><br><strong>More to explore</strong>: <a href="">Subscribe for free to Recode Media</a>, Peter Kafka, one of the media industry's most acclaimed reporters, talks to business titans, journalists, comedians, and more to get their take on today's media landscape. <br><br><strong>About Recode by Vox</strong>:Recode by Vox helps you understand how tech is changing the world — and changing us.<br><br><br><br><br><br>
Aug 29, 2019
Foursquare’s Dennis Crowley wants to know where you are
Foursquare co-founder and executive chairman Dennis Crowley speaks with Peter Kafka about the business of tracking and selling location data and Foursquare's pivot into that space. Crowley also discusses his personal transition from CEO to executive chairman and why he finds more joy in tinkering and running Foursquare labs than he ever did as CEO.&nbsp;
Aug 22, 2019
The Sportswriter: The Ringer's Bryan Curtis on the sports-media-politics mash-up
Bryan Curtis is Editor-at-Large at The Ringer, and co-hosts The Press Box podcast, and talks to Peter Kafka about the intersection of sports, media, and politics. Curtis discusses the relationship between journalists and the players they cover, and what happens when players bypass the media to tell their own stories. Also: why podcasting didn’t come naturally to him, his obsession with the New York Times, and - do audiences really know what they want? &nbsp;
Aug 15, 2019
Taylor Lorenz on TikTok, Twitter … and Tumblr
Taylor Lorenz writes about internet culture for The Atlantic, and talks to Peter Kafka about how she fell in love with Tumblr, why all the kids are now on TikTok, and why Twitter is broken. She also talks about the ‘influencer industry’ and why understanding the mechanics of how people consume news is crucial.&nbsp; And she schools Peter on internet circa 2019: micro-memes on Facebook, authenticity on Instagram, and what’s a tea account, anyway?<br><br><br>
Aug 08, 2019
John Harris, co-founder of Politico
John Harris talks to Peter Kafka about how he helped start Politico, how its subscription model works, and owning your mistakes. Also Donald Trump’s relationship with the media, and his obsession with the intricacies of coverage.&nbsp;
Aug 01, 2019
Splice's Steve Martocci wants to remake the music business + All things Amazon with Recode's Jason Del Rey
Steve Martocci talks to Peter Kafka about his venture, Splice, a platform for digital music creation, and why big name artists and teenagers alike are using it to share pieces of music and their creative process. Martocci also talks about his previous business GroupMe, a group messaging app ahead of its time.<br><br><br><br><br><br><br>
Jul 25, 2019
Chuck Klosterman on Trump, Twitter and cancel culture - and his new book
Journalist and author Chuck Klosterman is back to talk all things pop culture and politics with Recode’s Peter Kafka. Their wide-ranging chat touches on Trump, Twitter, cancel culture, keeping up (or not) with pop culture and paying college athletes. They also talk about “Raised in Captivity” Klosterman’s, new book of (very) short stories, which he describes as “fictional nonfiction”. You can buy that here: <a href=""></a><br><br><br><br><br><br>
Jul 18, 2019
Media mogul watch at Sun Valley with Dylan Byers + Erin Lee Carr on making true crime documentaries
Sun Valley’s annual gathering of billionaires is happening this week, and NBCU’s Dylan Byers is covering it. Byers talks to Peter Kafka about the tech and media leaders there, and what to cover when there’s not a lot to cover.The main conversation in this episode is with Erin Lee Carr, whose most recent film is ‘I Love You, Now Die,’ a documentary about the Michelle Carter texting suicide case. She talks in depth about the painstaking process of making this doc, from gathering footage in the courtroom to talking to the victim’s families. And …. The best advice from her father, the late, great David Carr.
Jul 11, 2019
The Texas Tribune’s secret sauce, with Emily Ramshaw
Editor-in-chief Emily Ramshaw talks to Peter Kafka about the crisis in local news - and why The Texas Tribune stands apart from it. They discuss what it means to be a non-profit news organization - for coverage, audiences, and revenue. Also: how she stepped into the role of E-I-C, her approach to running the newsroom, and why diversity, and entrepreneurship matter in journalism.
Jul 04, 2019
How Roger Ailes built Fox News - and how Gabriel Sherman turned Ailes’ story into a TV show
Journalist Gabriel Sherman talks to Peter Kafka about his biography of Fox News' Roger Ailes, which has just been made into a Showtime series with Russell Crowe. He talks about how he wrote the book despite Ailes' pushback and intimidation tactics. Also: how Ailes built up Fox News, and how he might react to the network's relationship to the Trump Whitehouse if he were still alive today. And ...&nbsp; on working (or not) with Russell Crowe on the set of 'The Loudest Voice in the Room.'&nbsp;
Jun 27, 2019
Vimeo’s Anjali Sud shifted the company’s strategy — and became its CEO + The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson on the limits of the ‘attention economy’
Anjali Sud, CEO of Vimeo talks to Peter Kafka about how she changed things up at Vimeo, working with Barry Diller, and how she came to the top job.&nbsp;<br><br>More content on this episode: a conversation with writer Derek Thompson about why Google, Facebook are looking for new markets beyond media; also, his new podcast Crazy/ Genius.&nbsp;
Jun 20, 2019
New York Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger at the Code Conference
A.G. Sulzberger talks to Peter Kafka about the ‘Trump bump’ for the New York Times, how it’s subscription-first model is doing, and the future for local news. &nbsp;<br><br><br><br><br><br>
Jun 13, 2019
YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki at the Code Conference
Susan Wojcicki talks to Peter Kafka at Code Conference, defending YouTube’s controversial decision not to ban Steven Crowder for slurs against journalist Carlos Maza. She talks about YouTube's use of humans, software and rules to police the videos its 2 billion users upload, and says the company is improving its ability to remove objectionable content. After a 30 minute on-stage interview, Wojcicki answers more questions from the Code audience.&nbsp;
Jun 11, 2019
Matthew Ball on Amazon vs Apple vs Netflix vs Disney, and how he built a digital media career by writing for free
Analyst/writer/investor-to-be Matthew Ball gives his predictions on how Disney, Netflix, Apple and Amazon are faring in the ‘battle royale’ - the streaming wars. He gives Peter Kafka his insight on Amazon Video from his time there, and talks about why he's bullish on Disney but skeptical about WarnerMedia. He also explains how he used the internet to transform himself from anonymous consultant to in-demand-strategy guy.<br><br><br><br>
Jun 06, 2019
ESPN’s Jimmy Pitaro on how he’s reshaping the network
Jimmy Pitaro is president of one of the most powerful programming networks on TV - but how does ESPN stay competitive in the streaming era? He talks to Peter Kafka about how he got the job at ESPN, and how he’s reshaping the network. Also: building relationships with the NFL and NBA, and sports journalism at ESPN: where sports and politics intersect.&nbsp;
May 30, 2019
YouTube’s Neal Mohan is trying to police the world’s largest video site + Game of Thrones is gone. What’s next?
Neal Mohan, Chief Product Officer at YouTube talks to Peter Kafka about how YouTube deals with problematic content: how it enforces the site’s community guidelines, and deploys machines to detect, and humans to evaluate this content. YouTube users upload 500 hours of content every minute, and YouTube has no plans to slow that down, so the job won't get an easier; the site takes down 8-9 million videos every quarter. They also discuss the strategy around YouTube's subscription service and its TV service. Also on the show, Vox’s Todd VanDerWerff’s take on Game of Thrones, and his new podcast, Primetime.
May 23, 2019
Eugene Wei explains why we’re all ‘status monkeys’ on social media
Amazon and Hulu veteran Eugene Wei has a really smart take on how status determines our use - and the success - of social networks like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. He talks to Peter Kafka about why we’re all status monkeys on social media, how young influencers use it differently than the rest of us, and how our mental models of these networks are changing. Also: his thoughts on working in the Amazon bubble, and the failed HQ2 in New York.&nbsp;
May 16, 2019
Nick Hornby on writing for TV, 10 minutes at a time
Author Nick Hornby (High Fidelity, About a Boy) talks to Peter Kafka about his newest project: Sundance’s “State of the Union” a 10-part series that unfolds in 10 minute episodes. Hornby, who became famous writing about obsessive fans, also talks about trading vinyl for Spotify, and why that’s not a bad thing.
May 14, 2019
Game of Thrones is down to its last dragon + Hulu CEO Randy Freer
Two conversations in this episode: Vanity Fair writer, podcast host, and Game of Thrones expert Joanna Robinson talks to Peter Kafka about the end of GOT, and what that means for HBO, and the media ecosystem that has built up around the show — and what it says about the state of TV. Plus, Hulu CEO Randy Freer, talks about the fast-growing subscription service, which has become a key part of Disney's video strategy.
May 09, 2019
Digital media pioneer Jason Hirschhorn on Netflix vs. Everyone Else
Jason Hirschhorn, digital media pioneer and CEO of news aggregator REDEF, comes back for this third visit with Peter Kafka. They talk about streaming and ‘direct-to-customer’: what this means for Disney and Netflix. Also: how tech is changing movie-making, and the evolution of Hulu.
May 07, 2019
Kickstarter’s Perry Chen on 10 years and billions of dollars of crowdfunding
Kickstarter is now synonymous with crowdfunding, but for years it was just an idea in founder Perry Chen’s mind: “This is something that should exist.” Chen talks to Peter Kafka about building and funding the site, the challenges of running a for-profit, mission-driven business — and why he hates ads.
May 02, 2019
New York Magazine editor David Haskell on taking over after an industry legend
David Haskell, New York Magazine's new editor-in-chief, talks to Peter Kafka about following in the footsteps of star editor Adam Moss. Also: New York Magazine’s digital strategy, working with Amazon and Apple, and how to solve the cover problem
Apr 25, 2019
Why Jessi Hempel left a superstar writing career for LinkedIn
Jessi Hempel spent years covering tech giants for Fortune, BusinessWeek and Wired. Now she’s working for a tech giant herself. Hempel explains why she’s writing, and podcasting, for Microsoft’s LinkedIn, and what she’s learned about the pros and cons of tech, from both sides of the divide.
Apr 18, 2019
Disney enters the streaming wars + AMC Networks CEO Josh Sapan
Joe Adalian, west coast editor of Vulture, from New York Magazine, talks to Peter Kafka about the Disney+ launch event, and what it could mean for streaming, Netflix and Apple.&nbsp;<br><br>Later on the show, Josh Sapan, CEO of AMC Networks (Killing Eve, Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead) has a lively and an-depth conversation about the business of TV, and figuring out how to compete against giants like Disney and Apple.
Apr 16, 2019
"Savage News" author Jessica Yellin on the dark side (and the silly side) of TV news
Journalist Jessica Yellin talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about her new satirical novel about TV journalism, <em>Savage News.</em><br><br>In this episode: Yellin's Instagram project, News Not Noise; the lie, "nobody wants news without a panic attack"; where News Not Noise could go next; embracing a bias of being against conflict and outrage; Yellin's political background; being a "one-man band" in local TV news; the 2000 recount and moving up to national TV; finally getting her dream job: White House correspondent for CNN; in the Trump era, does the White House press briefing provide a useful service?; a day in the life of a correspondent; the depressing economics of TV pundits vs. reporters; how the news changes when women are in charge; what <em>Savage News</em> is about (it's not Trump); "I had no idea how important my hair would be to White House coverage"; the #MeToo-ish element of the book and the generational differences in what women will put up with; and the ingrained artifice of TV news live shots.
Apr 11, 2019
Nilay Patel and Peter Kafka talk about Apple's media event
If you like Recode Media, we think you'll also like this episode of The Vergecast! Peter Kafka sits down with Nilay Patel, editor-in-chief of The Verge, to talk about Apple's “Show Time” event and whether it's prepared to battle Netflix and Disney in the streaming wars. If you like what you hear, <a href="">subscribe to The Vergecast</a>.
Apr 04, 2019
How Brat co-founder Rob Fishman is making TV for the internet's young women
Brat co-founder Rob Fishman talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about his LA-based digital video studio, which is making shows aimed at young women who might have once watched the CW or MTV.<br><br>In this episode: What sets Brat apart from other online video startups; how the company makes money; how it pays the stars of it shows; Fishman's second startup, Niche, and the influencer economy; selling Niche to Twitter and what it was like inside the company; what he's learned from being a serial entrepreneur; and the long-term prospects of the digital media bundle.<br><br>Thanks to Microsoft Azure for sponsoring this episode. Get started with a free account and 12 months of popular free services at <a href=""></a> today.
Mar 28, 2019
The business of podcasting with Jacob Weisberg, Bethany McLean and Marshall Williams
Bethany McLean and Jacob Weisberg from Pushkin Industries and Marshall Williams from Ad Results Media talk with Recode's Peter Kafka in front of a live audience at South by Southwest.<br><br>In this episode: How podcast advertising works; why Weisberg is interested in experimenting with podcasts you have to pay to hear; why McLean got into podcasting after 25 years in print; why are direct response ads so common and will they go away?; is podcast advertising propped up by a bubble?; how podcasters could screw up their good ad business; the importance of standardizing what a podcast "download" is; does more specific measurement endanger the quality of the work?; how easy is it to make a living from podcasting?; exclusive podcasts; podcasting in China; and the future of podcast metrics.<br><br>Thanks to Microsoft Azure for sponsoring this episode. Get started with a free account and 12 months of popular free services at <a href=""></a> today.
Mar 21, 2019
Brian Stelter, host of CNN's "Reliable Sources"
Brian Stelter, CNN's chief media correspondent and the host of <em>Reliable Sources</em>, talks with Recode's Peter Kafka in front of a live audience at South by Southwest.<br><br>In this episode: How Stelter figures out what to focus on in his coverage; President Trump’s tweets; covering more issues and fewer insults in the 2020 race; the Democrats’ breakup with Fox News; name-calling among journalists; Stelter’s extremely public online life; the Twitter “sewer”; the Twitter-TV-Trump cycle and how social media amplifies cable news’ reach; the ongoing power of TV and CNN as an institution; cord-cutting and how cable stays relevant; the Apple TV adaptation of Stelter’s book; when CNN or its owner AT&amp;T <em>is</em> the news; media is in a "Trump bump," but would there have been a “Clinton bump?”; do Democrats need to be as crazy as Trump to get airtime?; gender bias in how female candidates are covered; and correcting for the mistakes the media made in 2016.&nbsp;
Mar 19, 2019
Alex Gibney, director of HBO's Theranos documentary "The Inventor"
Documentary director Alex Gibney talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about <em>The Inventor: Out For Blood In Silicon Valley,</em> a new film about the fall of Theranos and its CEO Elizabeth Holmes.<br><br>In this episode: Why making the documentary wasn't as straightforward as you might think; John Carreyrou and the other journalists in the documentary; the outsized power of corporations; the prevalence of fraud and the "fake it til you make it" mentality; how Holmes and her deputies shaped Theranos' public image; how Gibney assembles a documentary; Richard Plepler's departure from HBO; Holmes' motivations and the psychology of lying; and Gibney's next documentaries.<br><br>Thanks to Microsoft Azure for sponsoring this episode. Get started with a free account and 12 months of popular free services at <a href=""></a> today.
Mar 14, 2019
"Shark Tank" star Mark Cuban on investing, sports gambling and how he helped Elon Musk
Mark Cuban talks with Recode's Peter Kafka in this live interview recorded at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas.<br><br>In this episode: Who can beat Trump in 2020?; why Cuban was spotted talking with Steve Bannon in 2016; behind the scenes of <em>Shark Tank</em>; how the TV business has changed and what happens now that tech is getting into TV; the moats protecting legacy TV studios and Time Warner's new owner AT&amp;T; the potential of 5G for sports and entertainment; should sports streaming rights be broken up?; online sports gambling; sexual harassment at the Dallas Mavericks; what areas in tech is Cuban most excited about now?; why everyone has to understand AI; Elon Musk and the SEC; how much do regular people really care about privacy?; and why "treating people equally doesn't mean treating everybody the same."
Mar 12, 2019
The New Yorker's Jane Mayer on Fox News and the Trump White House
The New Yorker staff writer Jane Mayer talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about her recent investigation into the links between the Trump administration and Fox News, <a href="">The Making of the Fox News White House</a>. She says Congress should investigate one of the things her reporting uncovered, an alleged attempt by Trump to use the Justice Department to sabotage the AT&amp;T-Time Warner merger.
Mar 08, 2019
Overtime CEO Dan Porter on making sports media for Gen Z
Overtime CEO Dan Porter talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about how his company is turning non-professional athletes into stars — and some common mistakes media founders make.<br><br>In this episode: Porter's background; why it's not accurate to say Overtime covers "high school sports"; what it <em>is</em> focusing on and how it's reaching a young audience; how it helps non-professional athletes build a following online; why it still makes sense to distribute digital content everywhere; building a bond with Overtime's audience; how it makes money now and how it will in the future; why are VCs investing in sports media?; how Porter met his then-22-year-old co-founder, Zack Weiner; how Porter thought about raising money; putting together a house for eSports athletes; how the process of starting a startup has changed in the past decade; building a company on other people's platforms; is Hollywood ready for the tech invasion?<br><br>Subscribe to Casey Newton's newsletter - The Interface: <a href=""></a><br><br>Thanks to Microsoft Azure for sponsoring this episode. Get started with a free account and 12 months of popular free services at <a href=""></a> today.<br><br>Vox Media is conducting an audience survey to better serve you. It takes no more than five minutes, and it really helps out the show. Please take our survey here: <a href=""></a>&nbsp;
Mar 07, 2019
J2 Global CEO Vivek Shah on being a serial acquirer of media businesses
J2 Global CEO Vivek Shah talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about running the company that owns a portfolio of digital brands, including Mashable, PCMag and Speedtest.<br><br>In this episode: What J2 Global is; the importance of having multiple revenue streams in media; how Shah turned Ziff Davis around; why much of J2's business is built around performance marketing and affiliate commerce; buying Mashable and returning it to profitability; bidding for Gawker Media and what J2 would have done with it; making the cultures of acquired media companies fit within the larger company; the silver lining of the media industry's troubles; what J2 wants to buy; why Speedtest is so valuable; is increasing awareness of and regulation around privacy a problem for that business?; Humble Bundle and the most important equation for building a subscription business; and why "we are the largest internet company that many people have never heard of."<br><br>Thanks to Microsoft Azure for sponsoring this episode. Get started with a free account and 12 months of popular free services at <a href=""></a> today.
Feb 28, 2019
AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson on sports gambling and buying Time Warner
AT&amp;T CEO Randall Stephenson talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about the potential of 5G internet, AT&amp;T's 2018 acquisition of Time Warner and how the company is thinking about sports gambling in the U.S.<br><br>In this episode: What does 5G internet actually mean for consumers?; when will 5G be ubiquitous in major cities?; why it will eventually replace home broadband; the rise of professional sports gambling; cord cutting and the TV rights to broadcast sports; buying sports games a la carte and leagues becoming direct distributors; competing in video-on-demand with Apple, Netflix and Disney; integrating the cultures of AT&amp;T and Time Warner.<br><br>Thanks to Microsoft Azure for sponsoring this episode. Get started with a free account and 12 months of popular free services at <a href=""></a> today.
Feb 21, 2019 founder Bryce Roberts: Why venture capital doesn't work for everyone
Bryce Roberts, the "recovering venture capitalist" who founded, talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about why more entrepreneurs should be asking if venture capital is right for them.<br><br>In this episode: Roberts' past investments; how VCs have controlled the definition of "entrepreneur" and why that's a problem; how works and what it looks for in applicants; is venture capital really that bad?; Gimlet's sale to Spotify; the connection between venture capital and layoffs at digital media companies; Shade Room's Angie Nwandu and the unusually diverse group of founders has backed; are traditional venture capitalists threatened by Roberts?; and why Tavi Gevinson shut down Rookie.<br><br>Thanks to Microsoft Azure for sponsoring this episode. Get started with a free account and 12 months of popular free services at <a href=""></a> today.
Feb 14, 2019
Gimlet co-founders Alex Blumberg and Matt Lieber, plus Fortune CEO Alan Murray
Gimlet co-founders Alex Blumberg and Matt Lieber talk with Recode's Peter Kafka about selling their company to Spotify. Then later in the show, Fortune Media Group CEO Alan Murray sits down with Peter to talk about selling Fortune to a Thai billionaire and navigating its transition into new digital challenges.<br><br>In the Gimlet interview: "We didn't leak the story, I don't know who did"; Blumberg and Lieber's interactions with Gimlet staff since <a href="">Recode's scoop on Friday</a>; why the acquisition makes sense; how Spotify became a distribution partner and when acquisition talks started; could Gimlet have remained independent?; how much did Blumberg and Lieber's ability to personally profit influence the decision to sell?; listeners who invested in <a href="">Gimlet's crowdfunding seed round</a> will see a return; will Gimlet's existing shows become Spotify exclusives?<br><br>And in the Murray interview: Fortune's acquisition and the end of Time Inc.; why it's hard to destroy legacy media brands; why it would be a problem if Time Magazine owner Marc Benioff had also bought Fortune; who is Fortune's new owner, Chatchaval Jiaravanon?; the "death sentence" of working with its old owner, Time Warner; how has Fortune changed since Jiaravanon bought it?; developing and scaling up live events to make them both accessible and valuable; advertising-supported businesses and Fortune's competitors; Murray's background at the Wall Street Journal and why Rupert Murdoch is "the best thing that could have happened" to the paper; developing the WSJ's ultimately unsuccessful iPad app, The Daily; President Trump's lies and attacks on journalism; and and how other media outlets are alienating his supporters.<br><br>Thanks to Microsoft Azure for sponsoring this episode. Get started with a free account and 12 months of popular free services at <a href=""></a> today.
Feb 07, 2019
Jill Abramson on BuzzFeed layoffs, "Merchants of Truth" and the local news crisis
Jill Abramson, the former executive editor of the New York Times, talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about her new book, <em>Merchants of Truth: The Business of News and the Fight for Facts</em>.<br><br>In this episode: Why Abramson wrote <em>Merchants of Truth</em>; why she focused on the New York Times, the Washington Post, BuzzFeed and Vice; the recent layoffs at BuzzFeed and why it's now "winter" for digital media; is the New York Times unfairly targeting Facebook in its reporting?; the criticism <em>Merchants of Truth</em> has received before publication; the shrinking wall between business and editorial interests at the Times; the media is critical of President Trump — is that a problem?; the surprising happiness at the Washington Post; Abramson's fact-checking process; and the crisis in local news.<br><br>Thanks to Microsoft Azure for sponsoring this episode. Get started with a free account and 12 months of popular free services at <a href=""></a> today.
Jan 31, 2019
NYU's Jay Rosen says 2020's political journalism will be even worse than 2016's
NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about the problematic state of the political media in the Trump era.<br><br>In this episode: Why 2020 will be even worse for the political press than 2016; alternatives to "horse race" political coverage; how the Democrats' takeover of the House of Representatives is encouraging the media's worst habits; media outlets that anger liberal audiences; the state of Trump journalism; Rosen grades the different roles of the press; the repeated failure of the press to reflect on its own failings; should the press always carry a televised address from the president?; and an alternative model for journalism, The Correspondent, that is launching soon in the United States.
Jan 24, 2019
Axios business editor Dan Primack on newsletters, IPOs and the economy in 2019
Axios' Dan Primack, the author of the Pro Rata business newsletter, talks with Recode's Peter Kafka.<br><br>In this episode: Why Dan Primack didn't start his own site like other star journalists; economic predictions for 2019, including what companies will go public this year; whether those companies will mimic Spotify's direct listing IPO instead of going through a bank; predictions for the media industry; what journalists get wrong about business and what businesses like Facebook get wrong about journalists; and Axios' controversial HBO interview with President Trump.
Jan 17, 2019
Harvard's Susan Crawford on the importance of fiber internet
Harvard Law School professor Susan Crawford talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about her new book, Fiber: The Coming Tech Revolution—and Why America Might Miss It. In this episode: (01:22) Crawford's book and the state of fiber internet in America; (05:39) Why fiber is like electricity; (11:19) Why isn't fiber everywhere already?; (16:01) The failure of Google Fiber and how someone could bring fiber everywhere; (20:07) Politics and 5G; (23:32) Tech giants and net neutrality; (27:11) The political will to get fiber into homes; (30:21) What cities in the US are doing fiber right?
Jan 10, 2019
Neil Vogel on turning around an aging internet property
‘It took us a while to figure out what our real value is to the universe’ - Neil Vogel, CEO of Dot Dash, talks about - ‘’, and the challenges of turning around an internet property in decline. Also: building brands with real value to consumers, and how Vogel built up the Webby Awards.
Jan 03, 2019
Filmmaker Hao Wu and Loretta Chao on streaming culture in China
"A real life Black Mirror story, a cautionary tale," is how director Hao Wu describes his new documentary, 'People's Republic of Desire.' Recode's Kara Swisher talks to Hao Wu, alongside Loretta Chao, a former WSJ reporter who covers tech in China, about streaming culture in China.
Dec 27, 2018
Lydia Polgreen talks to Alan Rusbridger, former editor-in-chief of The Guardian
Former Guardian editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger in conversation with Lydia Polgreen.
Dec 20, 2018
The big business of being a social media star
John Shahidi, the CEO and co-founder of digital production company Shots Studios, talks with Recode's Kurt Wagner about creating content for warring online platforms like Netflix, YouTube and Spotify. In this episode: (01:45) What Shots Studios does; (07:49) What it used to be and how it got Justin Bieber to invest; (16:49) How Shots found the stars it manages; (20:31) How it works with those stars; (29:19) The distribution strategy; (35:24) What platforms work best for Shots' content; (43:31) Twitter Video and getting "Shahidi'd"; (47:00) What Shahidi has learned from experimenting with social media
Dec 13, 2018
Axios reporter Jonathan Swan talks to Maggie Haberman about reporting on the Trump administration
Jonathan Swan, the national political reporter for Axios, talks with the New York Times' Maggie Haberman about the highs and lows of covering the Trump administration. In this episode: (01:18) What to expect from the Trump administration in 2019; (06:35) How do reporters ensure that their reporting on Donald Trump is accurate?; (10:14) Should they change their approach?; (12:28) Swan's background; (16:14) How he started covering Trump for The Hill; (20:22) Trump's relationship with the media; (24:39) The Jim Acosta incident; (26:14) Swan's approach to reporting; (28:43) His interview of Trump and people's reactions; (32:15) The birthright news from that interview; (35:25) What does the press get wrong about this administration?; (38:42) Does Swan miss writing longer stories?; (40:26) Do presidential interviews matter as much as they used to?
Dec 06, 2018
Former GE and NBC executive Beth Comstock
Beth Comstock, the former vice chair of GE and former president of integrated media at NBCUniversal, talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about her new book, "Imagine It Forward: Courage, Creativity, and the Power of Change." In this episode: (01:34) Comstock's background and taking over digital at NBC; (05:56) iVillage and making digital content in-house; (09:59) Why NBC and Fox needed to make Hulu; (12:19) The difficulties of starting it; (16:14) Bringing in ABC and the "existential threat" of tech; (18:18) Mistakes made; (21:56) Why she wrote her book; (23:32) "I was more able to be more creative at GE than NBC"; (31:26) How to get a big company to be innovative; (34:14) What does "Imagine It Forward" mean?; (36:03) Imagination vs. agitation; (41:25) Tips for being more imaginative; (43:42) How do you decide what to invest in?; (48:21) Three things that have to change in business; (49:52) Women at work
Nov 29, 2018
How Twitch's CEO thinks about tech addiction
Twitch CEO Emmett Shear talks with Recode's Kurt Wagner about launching the live video service, selling it to Amazon and reckoning with tech companies' responsibilities to their users. In this episode: (01:41) Why Twitch is "multiplayer entertainment"; (04:31) Shear's background at; (08:50) Pivoting from to Twitch; (11:13) Why Twitch sold itself to Amazon; (16:04) What non-gaming content is popular; (19:17) Movies and football on Twitch; (22:27) How Twitch gets non-gaming content; (24:46) Fortnite and other huge games; (27:06) How game streamers make money; (30:17) NinjaTyler and some musician named Drake; (34:23) The competitive landscape in live video; (39:15) Attracting an audience; (42:08) Tech addiction and streamer burnout; (47:16) Shear's autonomy within Amazon
Nov 22, 2018
Netflix will get ads, predicts The Trade Desk CEO Jeff Green
Jeff Green, the CEO of the online advertising marketplace The Trade Desk, talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about the state of digital ads. In this episode: (2:04) Competing with Google and Facebook; (4:21) What the Trade Desk does; (06:56) Programmatic advertising, Yahoo and Microsoft; (12:35) Fixing “crappy” ads online; (15:26) Google and Facebook’s lack of transparency; (17:18) Are programmatic ads responsible for publications’ declining revenues?; (20:08) Subscriptions vs. ads and Connected TV; (24:00) Will Netflix ever have advertising?; (26:12) Matching brands with “safe” content; (28:55) Fraudulent programmatic ads; (32:09) "The biggest problem in advertising today”; (36:06) Convincing people top buy ads off Google and Facebook; (39:41) Amazon’s encroachment on Google’s turf; (42:39) GDPR and other regulations; (45:27) Direct-to-consumer offerings and China
Nov 15, 2018
Is the Daily Beast the new Gawker?
Noah Shachtman, the editor in chief of the Daily Beast, talks with BuzzFeed's Steven Perlberg about taking over that job in May and how he's thinking about the "gonzo" site's place in the media landscape. In this episode: (01:07) How The Daily Beast fits into the media ecosystem; (04:55) How the rest of the media is handling the Trump moment; (08:25) Access journalism and Axios; (11:42) Being opinionated on Twitter; (13:51) How should outlets respond to bad-faith attacks?; (17:04) Social media policies; (19:30) Facebook's algorithm tweaks; (22:51) Running the Daily Beast and optioning stories to Hollywood; (24:50) Beast Inside and being owned by Barry Diller; (26:58) Covering political campaigns and why "next year may be the craziest year yet"; (29:31) The "gonzo spirit"
Nov 13, 2018
John Skipper: You’ve heard of ESPN. Now give DAZN a try.
Former ESPN president John Skipper talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about his new role as chairman of the DAZN Group, an online sports streaming service that recently launched in the U.S. In this episode: (1:00) Skipper's new job; (3:52) How it compares to his old job, running ESPN; (10:00) What DAZN does; (20:25) How Skipper got from ESPN to DAZN; (22:48) Skipper's surprise departure from ESPN; (25:41) #MeToo and societal change; (28:24) Diversity and politics at ESPN; (33:25) Sports rights around the world; (40:17) Silicon Valley getting into sports; (45:38) Convincing people to watch sports online
Nov 08, 2018
'The Front Runner' director Jason Reitman
Film director Jason Reitman talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about his new movie, "The Front Runner," which stars Hugh Jackman and chronicles Gary Hart's scandalous 1988 presidential campaign. In this episode: (1:12) Reitman’s past movies, such as “Up in the Air"; (2:40) "The Front Runner" and Gary Hart; (5:41) How the Hart scandal changed political journalism; (7:32) The legacy of the scandal and Donald Trump; (9:39) Donna Rice, #MeToo and how the stories of women in sex scandals get told; (13:11) Releasing on election day; (16:51) Jason’s father, Ivan Reitman; (20:13) Making movies for theaters vs. Netflix/Amazon; (24:27) How would someone break into the movie business today?; (29:58) Location vs. story in filmmaking; (32:13) Making a film set in 1987
Nov 01, 2018
Snap VP of Content Nick Bell
Nick Bell, the vice president of content at Snapchat maker Snap, talks with Recode's Kurt Wagner about In this episode: (02:35) Bell's background as a 16-year-old entrepreneur; (06:43) and News Corp; (09:12) Meeting Evan Spiegel and the surprise job interview; (11:34) What works best in Snapchat Discover?; (16:47) Why Stories caught on and created the language of mobile video; (21:05) Who is the audience for Discover?; (22:47) How to balance sexy selfies with serious journalism; (28:40) Big media partnerships and growing the business; (34:44) Instagram's IGTV and working with creators; (37:47) What's happening inside Snap post-IPO; (40:40) Should Amazon buy Snap?
Oct 25, 2018
NFL Network analyst Maurice Jones-Drew
Maurice Jone-Drew, a former running back for the Jacksonville Jaguars and Oakland Raiders, talks with Recode's Kurt Wagner about the transition from playing football into talking about it — as an analyst on the NFL Network and a color commentator for the Los Angeles Rams. In this episode: (01:38) Monday Night Football and the LA Rams; (05:01) How Drew got into broadcasting; (11:06) Being critical of former teammates; (14:58) TV ratings, Colin Kaepernick and the politics of protest; (22:50) How we'll watch football in five years; (32:23) Investing in tech; (34:52) Investing as an NFL player and players who start businesses after retirement; (38:59) Going home to the Bay Area; (42:58) Professional athletes using social media; (48:37) How Drew deals with trolls; (50:16) Kids using social media and playing tackle football
Oct 23, 2018
'The Fairway' author Matt Taibbi
Matt Taibbi, a contributing editor at Rolling Stone, talks with BuzzFeed's Steven Perlberg about "The Fairway," a new book that he is publishing via a paid email newsletter. In this episode: (01:19) The endurance of newsletters and Taibbi's last book, "The Business Secrets of Drug Dealing"; (07:02) How cable news brought about President Trump; (11:42) The problem with the "Trump angle" mindset; (15:08) Alternative business models for journalism; (17:28) The legacy of the 2008 financial crisis; (22:06) The Exile and sexual harassment allegations; (25:47) The responsibility people have for misogynistic things they wrote in the past; (27:55) Becoming an accidental Russia expert and the Steele dossier; (32:29) What bothers Taibbi about "Russiagate" coverage; (36:26) The 2020 presidential campaign; (39:45) Did the media learn anything from 2016?
Oct 18, 2018
Rival CEO Nathan Hubbard
Former Ticketmaster CEO Nathan Hubbard talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about his new live events startup, Rival.
Oct 11, 2018
Vanity Fair editor Radhika Jones
Radhika Jones, the editor of Vanity Fair, talks with HuffPost's Lydia Polgreen about the role of the magazine and its famous New Establishment list in the digital age. In this episode: (02:17) Graydon Carter and Tina Brown; (05:40) How Jones became editor in chief; (07:12) Her background and becoming a “magazine junkie”; (11:42) Mixing the highbrow and lowbrow; (15:52) Putting Lena Waithe on the cover; (20:16) The fragmentation of and opportunities for magazines online; (25:06) The business of making magazines; (30:46) What Jones has learned from shifting to an online paywall; (32:41) Vanity Fair’s place in the year of both #MeToo and Black Panther; (35:00) The 2018 New Establishment List
Oct 04, 2018
'The Big Disruption' author Jessica Powell
Jessica Powell, Google's former vice president of communications, talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about her new novel, "The Big Disruption: A Totally Fictional but Essentially True Silicon Valley Story." In this episode: (02:05) Excerpt #1: Arsyen's introduction; (05:21) Powell's background; (08:17) The Google interview; (11:45) Google's early days in Europe; (13:51) Why she started writing the book; (19:54) Excerpt #2: The management meeting; (22:31) Taking over comms at Google; (27:33) The goal of writing "The Big Disruption"; (35:31) Excerpt #3: Fake news; (37:18) The power of tech companies; (39:12) Why publish the whole book on Medium?; (40:42) Disrupting the world without thinking about the consequences; (46:17) How will the tech community react?; (50:25) Is Silicon Valley a good place?
Oct 02, 2018
The Markup co-founder Julia Angwin
Investigative journalist Julia Angwin talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about the Markup, a new data-driven nonprofit media outlet that will investigate the "societal harms of emerging technologies." In this episode: (02:05) What is the Markup?; (03:29) “Data journalism” doesn’t mean what you think it means (05:42) Angwin’s "greatest hits” of investigating Facebook; (08:15) Her background and why she left ProPublica; (14:42) Why is The Markup a nonprofit startup?; (17:21) Asking people for donations and respecting readers’ privacy; (19:50) Craig Newmark and other patrons of journalism; (24:36) People leaving Facebook and the dearth of user data; (26:00) "What They Know," data collection and post-2016 politics; (31:04) Do consumers understand ad tech now? And how much should they care?; (33:10) Testing the Facebook microphone-wiretapping theory; (34:58) Building tools to collect data — for good; (37:15) Crawling Facebook vs. receiving data donations; (40:00) The challenges of reporting on the tech industry; (42:44) “We are not against interesting stories"; (46:26) 🎮 👦🏻
Sep 27, 2018
'Big Game' author Mark Leibovich
If you enjoy Recode Media, we think you'd also like Recode Decode. On a recent episode of the show, Recode's Kara Swisher spoke with Mark Leibovich, the chief national correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and author of "Big Game: The NFL in Dangerous Times." They discussed the fault lines emerging in America’s football addiction, the public debate over NFL players who kneel in protest during the National Anthem, and whether journalists should change the way they cover politics and sports.
Sep 25, 2018
Business of Fashion editor in chief Imran Amed
Imran Amed, the founder and editor in chief of the fashion publication Business of Fashion, talks with Recode's Peter Kafka. In this episode:02:30 - New York Fashion Week and the BoF 50006:39 - How Fashion Week is changing09:16 - How Amed built Business of Fashion into a subscription business13:47 - BoF's competitors16:37 - The "creation myth" of Imran Amed and the value of consultants20:19 - Why he resigned from consulting and started a blog24:49 - Writing critically about the fashion industry28:33 - Making a standalone business and raising money33:24 - Pricing a subscription media product38:35 - Media M&amp;A40:18 - "There’s real reckoning going on" in the fashion industry
Sep 20, 2018
'The Land of Steady Habits' director Nicole Holofcener
Filmmaker Nicole Holofcener talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about her new film "The Land of Steady Habits," which stars Ben Mendelsohn and is Holofcener's first to be made for Netflix. In this episode:02:10 - Is this a "Netflix movie?"03:20 - What the movie is about05:27 - Audiences on Netflix vs. in theaters09:52 - The process of casting and making "The Land of Steady Habits"14:49 - Commercials and TV shows20:11 - Movies with complicated female leads21:59 - How Hollywood has changed post-Harvey Weinstein24:11 - How Holofcener's life would be different if she were starting now26:11 - What's next?
Sep 18, 2018
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey
In this special bonus episode of Recode Media, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey talks with NYU professor Jay Rosen about how Twitter is thinking about its responsibilities to society at large. In this episode:01:08 - Technological change02:42 - Dorsey’s outreach to conservatives09:43 - How Twitter employees think about news14:33 - Fluid conversations, threads and "edit” buttons18:56 - Why Twitter isn’t “neutral” and making conversations healthy28:03 - The world is round, but “there are other people who share different facts”32:28 - Would Twitter hire an ombudsman? 36:52 - Experimenting with “presence” on Twitter40:58 - "We’re never going to build a perfect antidote” to bad faith actors46:16 - Can global problems be fixed by private companies?49:27 - The top positive and negative impacts of Twitter
Sep 14, 2018
Roku CEO Anthony Wood
Roku CEO Anthony Wood talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about how the TV streaming company went public, embedded itself in a slew of TVs and shrugged off competition from some of the biggest tech firms in the world. In this episode:01:55 - Why Roku is not a “hardware company”02:50 - Roku’s history with Netflix06:42 - Putting the Roku platform on smart TVs11:27 - Working with obscure Chinese TV brands19:09 - Wood’s background with computers25:17 - Competing with Apple, Google and Amazon31:48 - Working with traditional TV distributors34:39 - The Roku Channel37:33 - Revenue sharing with Netflix et al38:50 - Advertising 42:57 - What has surprised Wood about being a public company CEO44:23 - How close did Roku get to selling itself?46:01 - Roku’s new speakers48:45 - Other peripherals
Sep 13, 2018
Substack CEO Chris Best
Chris Best, the CEO and co-founder of Substack, talks with the Verge's Casey Newton about how and why writers are starting paid email newsletters. In this episode:01:40 - What is Substack?03:00 - Why email is better than social media06:55 - Readers are nicer on email09:09 - The pioneers of paid email newsletters12:05 - How email compares to podcasting13:54 - How much will people pay for an email?18:32 - What about free newsletters?20:33 - The challenges of running a newsletter22:56 - Curating the rest of the internet25:57 - How often do successful writers send out new newsletters?30:18 - Building a community34:31 - Should paid newsletters get bundled together?38:31 - “The paradox of email” for media companies42:17 - Where is Substack going next?
Sep 06, 2018
ThinkProgress founder Judd Legum
Judd Legum, the founder of the left-wing political blog ThinkProgress, talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about why he left that site to start a political newsletter, Popular Information. In this episode:02:27 - Legum’s background and early blogs05:09 - Starting ThinkProgress08:58 - Working on Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign12:59 - The Steele dossier and “who’s the messenger?”15:35 - Have we stopped holding candidates to a higher standard?22:02 - Getting internet-famous in the Trump era25:11 - Why he left ThinkProgress27:31 - Why Popular Information is an email newsletter31:41 - Newsletters vs. Twitter and Facebook 34:09 - Convincing readers to pay37:33 - Filter bubbles40:02 - Previewing the next round of Congressional tech hearings
Aug 30, 2018
Redef CEO Jason Hirschhorn
Jason Hirschhorn, the CEO and chief curator of Redef, returns to the podcast to talk with Recode's Peter Kafka about media moguls, the virtues of taking time off and how Netflix outsmarted the TV guys. In this episode:02:50 - Viacom and YouTube09:51 - Big media on the internet vs. digital-first DNA11:51 - How Netflix outsmarted the TV guys, part one14:48 - The non-Netflixes and “traditional relationships”17:52 - Should tech companies buy movie/TV studios?23:38 - Sumner Redstone25:48 - The future of Redef28:48 - The Murdochs and Fox News36:35 - James Murdoch not going to Disney41:35 - Amazon and Apple45:42 - How Netflix outsmarted the TV guys, part two48:38 - Streaming music and musicians ditching labels54:51 - It’s okay to take time off58:17 - “When you’re CEO, no one gives a shit.”
Aug 23, 2018
Digiday editor in chief Brian Morrissey
Brian Morrissey, the president and editor in chief of Digiday Media, talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about how the digital media and marketing business is pivoting toward live events and away from Facebook growth-hacking. Morrissey says he's happy to see the end of "flimsy, overly engineered media brands," many of which were overly dependent on outside platforms to make money. Those publishers were naïve if they didn’t think Facebook would eventually put its own interests above theirs, he says, and today it would be "crazy" to make a new business that's similarly reliant on the social giant's algorithm. Plus: Why more technologists need to invest in media subscription-tech.
Aug 16, 2018
Discord CEO Jason Citron
Discord CEO Jason Citron talks with Recode's Kurt Wagner about how the chat app for PC gamers has grown to 150 million registered users, nearly 20 million of whom use the app every day. Citron says Discord has been "pre-revenue" for the past three years, but now it's starting to think about how it will make money; first up, a games store aimed at recommending new titles to users based on what their friends play, focusing on smaller "indie" titles rather than big games like Fortnite. Citron also talks about the broader state of the gaming industry today, including how gamers are stereotyped and why they don't trust Facebook.
Aug 09, 2018
Product Hunt CEO Ryan Hoover
Ryan Hoover, the founder and CEO of Product Hunt, talks with Recode's Kurt Wagner about running a popular online community for startup founders and other tech enthusiasts. Hoover explains how Product Hunt, now owned by AngelList, is expanding beyond its social media roots into tech news curation and features to help entrepreneurs ship their products to the world. Plus: Why redesigning your app is probably a mistake and how computer-generated celebrities such as Lil Miquela are changing how we think about fame in the social media era.
Aug 02, 2018
'Eighth Grade' director Bo Burnham
Comedian Bo Burnham talks about his new movie "Eighth Grade" with Recode's Peter Kafka. Burnham says that although the movie's characters are depicted facing issues shared by real eighth graders, he wrote "Eighth Grade" to reflect how he feels now, as a 27-year-old in the public eye, and "how I handle anxiety" in the social media age. He also talks about how he accidentally became a teenage YouTube star and why he has veered away from stand-up conventions in his comedy specials "What" and "Make Happy."
Jul 26, 2018
'Billions' producer Brian Koppelman
Writer and filmmaker Brian Koppelman talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about co-creating the hit Showtime series "Billions." Koppelman has made a habit of engaging with the show's fans online, but says that when he's writing new episodes, he has to completely unplug from the rest of the world and not think about how Twitter will react to the latest twists and turns. He also talks about the show's intense commitment to detail, including its frequent visits to real-life New York restaurants, and whether he thinks the viewers of "Billions" are watching for the characters or for "wealth porn." Plus: How Koppelman accidentally became a Vine star and why Wall Street power players are similar to experienced poker players.
Jul 19, 2018
Manoush Zomorodi: Can blockchain save journalism?
Stable Genius Productions co-founder Manoush Zomorodi talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about her decision to leave public radio juggernaut WNYC for a two-woman startup. Stable Genius is one of 20 companies in the journalism marketplace Civil, which is hoping to leverage the emerging technology blockchain to save media; later this summer, Civil plans to sell 100 million digital coins, which it hopes will appreciate in value the way bitcoin did — benefiting its partners, who also have coins. Zomorodi also talks about how the people who hold those coins will be able to influence the news available to readers and explains that, even though she doesn't know if the gambit will pay off, she's happy to be proactively trying to fix the media business rather than just talking about it. Plus: Why she was not impressed by her first in-person encounter with Mark Zuckerberg and why Stable Genius refused to take venture capital funding.
Jul 12, 2018
Eugene Wei: The invisible ceilings to Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter’s growth
Eugene Wei, an early Amazon employee who went on to work at Hulu, Flipboard and Oculus, talks with Recode’s Peter Kafka about “Invisible asymptotes,”a post on his personal blog that went viral. In it, Wei wrote that all companies have a ceiling to their growth, but the ones that can figure out what that ceiling is can adapt and keep growing beyond it. For example, Wei’s old employer, Amazon, recognized that customers’ aversion to paying for shipping was its ceiling, and so developed Amazon Prime to keep them coming back. He explains how Twitter has historically failed to iterate similarly, why Snap’s attempt to redesign Snapchat for a broader audience backfired, and why Facebook, which is still growing internationally, is seeing its American users get less value out of the platform over time. Plus: Why Instagram is the least toxic social network, what’s holding VR back and why "Star Wars" is like a social network.
Jul 05, 2018
‘The King of Content’ author Keach Hagey explains the Redstone dynasty
Wall Street Journal media reporter Keach Hagey talks with Recode’s Peter Kafka about her new book, “The King of Content: Sumner Redstone’s Battle for Viacom, CBS, and Everlasting Control of His Media Empire.” Hagey says that, like the Murdochs, Redstone’s family is embroiled in “soap opera drama” as they work out what happens to a company once dominated by a single patriarch-mogul. She talks about why the people closest to Sumner Redstone did not disclose his declining mental health to shareholders and what sets his daughter, Shari Redstone, who controls both CBS and Viacom, apart from others in that circle. Plus: Hagey discusses Disney’s aborted attempt to buy Vice and why she thinks 21st Century Fox would rather sell to Disney than to Comcast.
Jun 28, 2018
Spotify CEO Daniel Ek (Live at Code 2018)
Daniel Ek, the CEO of music-streaming company Spotify, talks with Recode’s Kara Swisher and Peter Kafka at the 2018 Code Conference. Ek explains why Spotify temporarily banned R. Kelly from its playlists and why it backed off of that ban. He also talks about the company’s recent public listing and how Spotify plans to grow while losing money every quarter based on normal accounting standards. Plus: Why video is becoming more important to Spotify as a platform and how the company is distinguishing its corporate culture from Silicon Valley norms.
Jun 21, 2018
Pod Save America co-host Dan Pfeiffer
Former White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer, now the co-host of the popular liberal podcast Pod Save America, talks with Recode’s Peter Kafka about his new book, “Yes We (Still) Can: Politics in the Age of Obama, Twitter, and Trump.” Pfeiffer outlines the ways in which the political media landscape has been profoundly warped and upended since he went to work for Barack Obama in 2009, arguing that today “the press” is such a broad term that it has lost all meaning. He warns his fellow Democrats that the thing they should be most scared of is how successfully the Republicans have tapped into tools like Facebook and Twitter to develop a “media advantage” built on outrage. Pfeiffer also talks about why he decided to write a book after initially rejecting the idea, and why the White House press briefings delivered by Sarah Huckabee Sanders are “always pointless.”
Jun 19, 2018
Gimlet founders Alex Blumberg and Matt Lieber
Alex Blumberg and Matt Lieber, the founders of podcasting network Gimlet, talk with Recode's Peter Kafka about trying to create the "HBO of audio." Gimlet's first show was StartUp, a podcast about the creation of Gimlet itself that exposed the "myth of being an entrepreneur" — although entrepreneurs might say things are always going great, the reality is that everything always feels like it's "about to break," Lieber says. The founders also talk about how Gimlet is expanding beyond its slate of original shows into TV, movies and special branded podcasts that are entirely underwritten by one advertiser. Through that process, they've learned the importance of educating those sponsor about the need for "emotional honesty" in podcasting and why Gimlet is especially well-positioned to pitch new shows in Hollywood.
Jun 14, 2018
AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson (Live at Code 2018)
AT&amp;T CEO Randall Stephenson talks with Recode’s Peter Kafka at the 2018 Code Conference. Stephenson discusses the company’s pending acquisition of Time Warner, which the U.S. Justice Department has attempted to block. Stephenson explains how — if the deal goes through and AT&amp;T therefore owns content — he would deal with public controversies like the racist tweet that got Roseanne Barr fired. He also discusses AT&amp;T’s decision to pay Donald Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen hundreds of thousands of dollars, calling it a “bad mistake.” Plus: The story behind his speech to employees about Black Lives Matter and discrimination, which went viral when someone posted it to YouTube.
Jun 12, 2018
Momofuku chef David Chang (Live at Code 2018)
David Chang, the chef and founder of culinary brand Momofuku, talks with Recode’s Peter Kafka and Eater’s Amanda Kludt at the 2018 Code Conference. Chang — who’s also the host of “Ugly Delicious” on Netflix — says “there was no strategy” for Momofuku’s first decade of growth, but now he’s thinking more strategically about scaling up. Food is now a blue-collar profession with “white-collar values,” Chang says; that means chefs and restaurateurs are afraid of losing “cool” status when they grapple with professional issues like HR, inclusion and payroll. He explains why those fears are misplaced. Plus: What does Chang think of food delivery startups, and how is the restaurant industry changing in the #MeToo era?
Jun 09, 2018
Jessica Pressler talks 'lady grifters' + Ken Auletta on the 'frenemies' of the ad business
On this special episode of Recode Media, you get two interviews for the price of one: First, Recode's Peter Kafka talks with Jessica Pressler, a New York Magazine staff writer whose longform story about a New York City high society grifter, Anna Sorokin, became a viral hit online. Pressler explains how she reported that story in a matter of months, and why Sorokin's con worked so well. Later in the show, Kafka is joined by New Yorker media critic Ken Auletta, who's the author of a new book called "Frenemies: The Epic Disruption of the Ad Business (and Everything Else)." Auletta says advertising is in peril as people have shifted to smaller screens and ad-free media viewing. He also expains why media companies like Fox and Time Warner are trying to sell, and recounts how he tried (and failed) to break the Harvey Weinstein story in the early 2000s.
Jun 07, 2018
James Murdoch, CEO of 21st Century Fox (Live at Code 2018)
21st Century Fox CEO James Murdoch talks with Recode’s Peter Kafka at the 2018 Code Conference. Murdoch, the son of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, says he’s focused on “land[ing] the plane” as Fox plans to merge with Disney in the coming months, but doesn’t expect to be a part of either the merged entity or the remaining Fox properties, such as Fox News, which won’t be sold. Murdoch also talks about the possibility of a competing bid for the company from Comcast, what the pending merger signifies for the larger business ecosystem and how the media and advertising industries can adapt to changing viewer habits. Plus: Should companies fire on-air talent the way ABC fired Roseanne Barr for her tweets? And is the reckoning over #MeToo ever going to end?
Jun 05, 2018
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and CTO Mike Schroepfer (Live at Code 2018)
Facebook executives Sheryl Sandberg and Mike Schroepfer talk with Recode’s Kara Swisher and Peter Kafka at the 2018 Code Conference. Sandberg, the company’s COO, and Schroepfer, the CTO, talk about the continuing fallout from Cambridge Analytica and other scandals, including “fake news” during the 2016 elections. They retrace the timeline of the Cambridge Analytica affair and talk about what they’ve learned from their mistakes during that time, pledging to take responsibility for the platform. The duo also talks about Apple CEO Tim Cook’s criticism of Facebook’s privacy policies, the potential of government regulation and why trust and safety is now an “arms race.” Plus: Sandberg says Facebook won’t stop offering a free version of its product and Schroepfer explains how it’s thinking about VR and AR.
May 31, 2018
Roman Mars, host of 99 Percent Invisible: Don't put podcasts behind a paywall
Roman Mars, the founder of Radiotopia and host of the hit podcast 99 Percent Invisible, talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about the state of podcasting in 2018. Mars talks about why he started Radiotopia, how it works within the nonprofit PRX and how it thinks about translating its audio shows into live productions. He also explains why the podcasting industry isn't ready to be divvied up into paid subscription services, a la Hulu and Netflix, even though some of its biggest players are beginning to experiment along those lines. Plus: Why 99 Percent Invisible, a show about design, also tackles seemingly eccentric concepts, like how doctors give bad news to their patients.
May 29, 2018
Ezra Klein explains Vox's new Netflix show 'Explained'
3824 editor-at-large Ezra Klein talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about Vox's new Netflix series "Explained." The first season of the show, which debuted May 23, will feature 20 mini-documentaries about topics such as monogamy, cryptocurrency or the racial wealth gap. Klein said these topics are too big to be tackled in a three-minute YouTube video, and that one of his team's metrics of success is whether the Netflix episodes are still useful and relevant to people a year or more from now. Klein also explains why he's skeptical about the supposedly dramatic changes in video consumers’ habits online, and how's approach to journalism has changed since he founded the site four years ago. Plus: Why divisions over social justice, political correctness and "identity politics" are the new "fundamental driver of political conflict" in the world.
May 24, 2018
YouTube's Lyor Cohen on YouTube Music, Childish Gambino and Kanye West
YouTube global head of music Lyor Cohen talks with Recode’s Peter Kafka about the launch of YouTube Music, a $10-a-month music subscription service that will replace YouTube Red. Cohen says giving the consumers the choice of paying with money or “paying with your eyeballs” by watching ads is the right direction for the music industry, and will liberate artists to make music on their terms. He also talks about a now-infamous photo tweeted by rapper Kanye West in which Cohen and fellow music exec Lucian Grainge are hugging with West, who is wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat. Cohen says he’s “disappointed” in many of West’s political views and wants him to focus on music over politics; however, he also argues that consumers don’t understand the suffering artists like West go through, and that social media can exacerbate that pain.
May 22, 2018
What people get wrong about Robin Williams’ life — and his death
New York Times reporter Dave Itzkoff talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about his new book, "Robin: The Definitive Biography of Robin Williams." Itzkoff traces the history of the manic comedian and actor, whose stardom spanned more than four decades in roles in TV shows, such as "Mork and Mindy," and movies, like "Good Will Hunting." After Williams' death by suicide in 2014, Itzkoff says fans and the media were led astray by incorrect or incomplete explanations for what happened, and that Williams' reasons for taking his own life were more complicated than many assumed. Itzkoff also talks about whether another movie star like Williams could emerge in today's Hollywood, his interactions with the comedian as a journalist and how much time he spends crafting jokes for his popular Twitter account @ditzkoff.
May 17, 2018
The Outline CEO Josh Topolsky: Online ads are stuck in the '90s
Josh Topolsky, CEO and editor in chief of The Outline, talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about the importance of good internet-native design for both advertising and editorial content. Topolsky dismisses the idea that everything publishers put out will move behind paywalls, arguing instead that when ads are done well, they can engage readers and support free content. Most of the time, though, online media companies have forced boring ads on their audiences, who have learned to ignore them. He also talks about his past life as a music producer, picking a fight with Mike Bloomberg and what it's like to raise money when you have a reputation as someone who can be difficult to work with.
May 10, 2018
'Chasing Hillary' author Amy Chozick looks back on a decade of writing about Hillary Clinton
New York Times writer-at-large Amy Chozick talks with Recode’s Ed Lee about her new memoir, “Chasing Hillary: Ten Years, Two Presidential Campaigns, and One Intact Glass Ceiling.” Chozick says the book is about more than Hillary Clinton’s unsuccessful campaigns for president; it’s also about all the things reporters didn’t write in their stories about Hillary Clinton, and the “decline of campaign reporting.” In 2016, she explains, dramatic technological changes made Donald Trump’s victory possible and made it harder for political reporters like her to justify always being “on the bus” with Clinton. She also talks about the Clinton family’s contentious history with the New York Times, and how attending the annual media/finance conference Sun Valley led to one of the most humiliating experiences of her reporting career.
May 03, 2018
This is how the New York Times reports Pulitzer Prize-winning stories
New York Times reporter Emily Steel talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about the stories she and her reporting partner Michael Schmidt wrote that brought down Fox News star Bill O'Reilly — part of a series of stories on sexual harassment that netted the Times and the New Yorker a Pulitzer Prize for public service. Steel says she and Schmidt strategized before every phone call and recalls how she got her first source to talk on the record, an act of dogged reporting that necessitated a cross-country flight to take a Pilates class. She also discusses her subsequent story about the toxic culture at Vice Media, a contentious interview with O'Reilly that was broadcast on the NYT's hit podcast The Daily and why she doesn't use Twitter as much as colleagues do.
Apr 26, 2018
Our hoax-filled internet, now available as a book (Rex Sorgatz, author, 'The Encyclopedia of Misinformation')
Writer Rex Sorgatz talks with Recode’s Peter Kafka about his new book, “The Encyclopedia of Misinformation: A Compendium of Imitations, Spoofs, Delusions, Simulations, Counterfeits, Impostors, Illusions, Confabulations, Skullduggery, Frauds, Pseudoscience, Propaganda, Hoaxes, Flimflam, Pranks, Hornswoggle, Conspiracies &amp; Miscellaneous Fakery.” Sorgatz says he doesn’t want readers to move through the book in order; instead, they should open it to a random page, read an article and then see where the footnotes at the bottom of the page tell them to go next. He also talks about the T-word: How much should a book about falsehoods, released in 2018, acknowledge the mendacity of President Donald Trump?
Apr 19, 2018
Outside Magazine editor Axie Navas: Yep, we're getting more political.
Axie Navas, the executive editor of Outside Magazine, talks with Lauren Goode about how that magazine is adapting to the changing digital media industry. One of her key initiatives has been diversifying the editorial staff of the Santa Fe-based magazine and covering issues like sexual harassment, even though its readers are still largely male. Navas explains how Outside is trying to reach new audiences, including younger readers and city dwellers. Plus: Why it has consciously gotten more political since Donald Trump became president, providing a platform for articles like a critical profile of Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke and, after an inflammatory Trump comment about immigration last year, "Top 5 'Shitholes' To Visit."
Apr 15, 2018
How Marques 'MKBHD' Brownlee got six million subscribers on YouTube
Tech reviewer Marques Brownlee talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about his YouTube channel, MKBHD, which has more than six million subscribers — a breakthrough success story on the site. Brownlee started making videos for fun in 2009, when he was 15, but today he's doing well enough to have three full-time employees working under him. He explains how he works with the tech companies who want to get their products in his videos and how he's still able to maintain a certain level of anonymity in public. Plus: Brownlee shares his advice for anyone who wants to make YouTube videos and be the next MKBHD.
Apr 12, 2018
Financial Times CEO John Ridding: How to make people pay for media
Financial Times CEO John Ridding talks with Recode’s Peter Kafka about the company’s decade-long head start in paid online subscriptions. Some of his peers in the tech and media world were initially “hostile” to the idea of a paywall, he says, but two-thirds of the FT’s current revenue is coming from subscriptions. Ridding also talks about how the London-headquartered newspaper has butted heads with some of the big tech platforms, how its global business-minded staff has grappled with the Brexit and Trump phenomena, and how the business has changed since Nikkei bought the FT in 2015.
Apr 05, 2018
Why every Hollywood movie is a superhero movie
Wall Street Journal reporter Ben Fritz talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about his new book, "The Big Picture: The Fight for the Future of Movies." Fritz says the economics of the movie business have been completely transformed by the rise of online streaming services and by brands like Marvel, which have supplanted name-brand stars and directors as the most reliable indicator of a film's success. He explains how Sony fumbled the "Spider-Man" franchise and missed a big opportunity to own the rest of the Marvel characters, and what the big studios are still doing that Netflix and Amazon can't.
Mar 29, 2018
What it's like to be the only woman in a TV writers’ room
TV writer and "Lean In" co-author Nell Scovell talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about her new book, "Just the Funny Parts ... And a Few Hard Truths About Sneaking Into the Hollywood Boys’ Club." Scovell says TV is hierarchical, meaning bad behavior at the top — including sexual harassment — trickles down to other employees. She also talks about what has changed since "Lean In" and what happened when she publicly criticized her former boss, David Letterman. Plus: How writing an episode of "The Simpsons" is like chiseling a sculpture.
Mar 22, 2018
Houseparty CEO Ben Rubin on livestreaming and SXSW fame
Ben Rubin, the CEO of Houseparty, talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about why his livestreaming company pivoted away from its original product, Meerkat, just three months after that app was the toast of South By Southwest. Although Meerkat was the first mobile livestreaming app to get a lot of buzz, the company quickly realized that most users can't make good, genuine live content for others every day. Rubin explains how Houseparty is doing things differently, making it possible for multiple friends to hang out together on their phones and — he hopes — have genuine, troll-free interactions.
Mar 17, 2018
'Get Out' producer Jason Blum (Live at SXSW)
Blumhouse Productions founder and CEO Jason Blum talks with Recode's Peter Kafka at South by Southwest 2018. Blum's company, which largely makes low-budget "genre" films such as "The Purge," "Happy Death Day" and "Paranormal Activity," scored a Best Picture nomination this year with Jordan Peele's hit thriller "Get Out." He talks about the experience of awaiting — and losing — that Oscar, as well as what makes Blumhouse so different from all the other companies more commonly represented at the big awards shows. Plus: Why the studio is often happy to sell its films directly to Netflix or Amazon, rather than sending them to theaters, and why Blum thinks the Hollywood establishment has already lost the in-theater vs. at-home battle.
Mar 15, 2018
How to make a hit TV show for Amazon
Veteran screenwriter Graham Yost talks with Recode’s Peter Kafka about the second season of the Amazon Prime Video series “Sneaky Pete.” Showrunner Yost previously wrote movies like “Speed” and TV series like the FX crime drama “Justified,” and he explains what makes writing for Amazon different — including how the online streaming service thinks about the all-important cliffhanger. He also discusses working with the late novelist Elmore Leonard on “Justified,” and how to stop binging shows like “Sneaky Pete” if you’re hooked but need to get some sleep.
Mar 08, 2018
SoundCloud CEO Kerry Trainor (Live at Code Media 2018)
SoundCloud CEO Kerry Trainor talks with Recode's Peter Kafka at the 2018 Code Media conference in Huntington Beach, Calif. Trainor replaced then-CEO Alex Ljung last summer at a time when the music-streaming company was struggling and couldn't find a buyer. He explains how he convinced the board not to sell the company and what changes he's making to reorient its business model toward audio creators instead of audio listeners.
Mar 01, 2018
Magic Leap CEO Rony Abovitz and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver (Live at Code Media 2018)
Rony Abovitz, the founder, president and CEO of Magic Leap, and Adam Silver, NBA commissioner, talk with Recode's Peter Kafka at the 2018 Code Media conference in Huntington Beach, Calif. They talk about a new partnership to bring some NBA content to Magic Leap's augmented reality goggles, due out sometime this year, and Abovitz shares some new hints about the roadmap for his company. Plus: A cameo appearance by basketball legend Shaquille O'Neal.
Feb 24, 2018
How Lauren Duca became an internet star overnight
Journalist/activist Lauren Duca talks with Recode’s Peter Kafka about the column she wrote for Teen Vogue that catapulted her into fame, and the ensuing interview with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson that made her even more of a star. Duca’s original mega-viral essay, “Donald Trump Is Gaslighting America,” is “still true” today, she says; it established her as a leading feminist critic of the Trump administration before he even took office. Since then, she has endured waves of backlash from the alt-right internet (and, occasionally, Carlson himself), and has had to think carefully about everything she posts and tweets — but Duca says the experience has made her “fireproof,” and her convictions are now “unshakeable.”
Feb 22, 2018
Hollywood Reporter part owner Janice Min (Live at Code Media 2018)
Janice Min, part owner of the Hollywood Reporter, talks with Recode’s Peter Kafka at the Code Media Conference in Huntington Beach, Calif. She talks about how the Reporter is keeping an eye on the nexus of Hollywood, media and power and that one time when she got dinner with Steve Bannon, Michael Wolff and Roger Ailes.
Feb 20, 2018
BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti (Live at Code Media 2018)
BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti talks with Recode's Peter Kafka at the 2018 Code Media conference in Huntington Beach, Calif. Peretti says Facebook should be willing to share in the revenue it makes from its News Feed, something it has already done on other parts of its platform that make a lot less money. He also addresses recent reports that BuzzFeed might spin off its news division and argues that Google and Facebook have distorted the media business by hoovering up most of the digital ad revenue.
Feb 17, 2018
Facebook's Adam Mosseri and Campbell Brown (Live at Code Media 2018)
Campbell Brown, Facebook’s head of news partnerships, and Adam Mosseri, the company's head of News Feed, talk with Recode’s Peter Kafka and Kurt Wagner at the 2018 Code Media conference. They defend the recent controversial changes to the types of stories that appear in users’ feeds, with Brown saying that Facebook is okay with having a point of view if it means “leaning into quality news.” However, Mosseri says Facebook will never make a judgment on any entity’s ideological or political point of view.
Feb 15, 2018
MoviePass sounds too good to be true. Is it?
MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about how he's trying to make a profitable business out of charging $10/month for nearly unlimited visits to the movie theater. Lowe says MoviePass now has more than 1.5 million paying subscribers, who see twice as many films in the theater as non-subscribers. He also talks about the company's risky public feud with the large theater chain AMC, which he says is due to AMC's unwillingness to share the profits of all the new business it is getting. Plus: What Lowe learned as an early Netflix exec from CEO Reed Hastings.
Feb 08, 2018
Paywalls make content better (Nick Thompson, editor in chief, Wired)
Wired editor in chief Nick Thompson talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about the merits of running a print magazine in 2018 and why is adding a $20/year paywall. Thompson, previously the editor of, learned there that asking readers to pay for content changes not just their experience, but also how writers and editors do their jobs because now the pressure is on to make unique content that people will love. He also discusses why much of the conventional wisdom around Facebook's News Feed changes is wrong, the difference between writing for print versus the web and how he is reconciling Wired's original mission of techno-optimism with the realities of 2018.
Feb 01, 2018
How we pivoted from Facebook to Instagram (Dave Finocchio, CEO, Bleacher Report)
Bleacher Report CEO Dave Finocchio talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about founding a sports media site, selling it to Turner and leaving — and why he came back to lead the company again. Finocchio discusses the recently announced changes to Facebook's News Feed that will deemphasize news from publishers like him, but says Bleacher Report started migrating to other platforms years ago, and now sees the highest enagement with its content on Facebook-owned Instagram. He also talks about how the company is using Snapchat to understand its teen readers, how it weaned itself off of having unpaid contributors and what he thinks of sports media rivals like ESPN, SB Nation and Barstool Sports.
Jan 25, 2018
NYU’s Jay Rosen, CNN’s Oliver Darcy and BuzzFeed’s Charlie Warzel talk Trump and the media
Recode’s Peter Kafka brings three past podcast guests back into the studio on this special two-in-one episode about how the media has handled President Trump. First, he interviews NYU Professor Jay Rosen, who lambastes the political press for trying to treat Trump like a normal president; Rosen says interviewing Trump is “meaningless” because his answers aren’t tethered to actual policy ideas. Later in the show, CNN’s Oliver Darcy and BuzzFeed’s Charlie Warzel return to the studio to talk about what’s new in the right-wing media sphere. They say that digital-savvy right-wingers like Mike Cernovich and Milo Yiannapolous have been sidelined, and it’s becoming clear to the pro-Trump media that Trump mostly cares about conventional outlets like Fox News and the New York Times.
Jan 18, 2018
Digital media companies are headed for a crash (David Carey, president, Hearst Magazines)
Hearst Magazines President David Carey talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about how the 130-year-old media giant is striking a balance between its print legacy and the digital future. Carey says print still accounts for two-thirds of his division's profits, and it will be a "long time" before those lines cross. And he predicts that many digital media companies that are heavily reliant on advertising have a rough year ahead, with too much cash heading out the window and no moat to protect themselves. Carey also talks about the advantages of being a private company, why he readily partners with or invests in tech platforms like Snapchat and why everyone still wants to be on the cover of a magazine.
Jan 11, 2018
Will Trump still dominate the news in 2018?
Washington Post Media Reporter Sarah Ellison and New York Times Media Columnist Jim Rutenberg talk with Recode's Peter Kafka about what the media got right and got wrong in 2017. Ellison says readers' interest in all things Trump, known as the "Trump bump," may be waning, so now is the time for journalists to figure out what comes next. Rutenberg agrees that more focus is needed, but says last year was the best for the media in his 25-year career. They also talk about what stories are currently under-covered in the media world, the challenges of balancing writing with investigative reporting and why the Harvey Weinstein scandal seems to have contributed more to the #MeToo movement than the oustings of Bill O'Reilly and Roger Ailes earlier in the year.
Jan 04, 2018
Kara Swisher reviews the media, 2017 edition
Recode's Kara Swisher returns to the podcast to talk with Peter Kafka about how the media and Silicon Valley have fared in the year-plus since Donald Trump won the U.S. presidential election. Swisher says tech companies are still abrogating their share of the responsibility over the content that appears on their platforms and says she's tired of a perpetual-victim mentality among "the richest and most powerful people in the world." She also talks about how Susan Fowler's blog post took down Uber, whether there's a Harvey Weinstein-style predator in tech and why she's reconsidering a run for mayor of San Francisco. Plus: A guest appearance by Recode Editor in Chief Dan Frommer, who explains why we made a list of the 100 most important people in tech this year.
Dec 28, 2017
Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir want to make figure skating great again
Figure skating commentators Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir talk with Recode's Peter Kafka about the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea. Lipinski and Weir, both former professional skaters, got their start as commentators at the 2014 Games in Sochi, Russia, and explain why the official ban on Russian participation this year will not take away from the drama of their sport. Unlike in the 1990s, Lipinski says, there are no household-name figure skaters, meaning it's up to her and Weir to be the stars. Plus: How the commentators use social media and why Weir is not looking forward to the Tonya Harding movie "I, Tonya."
Dec 21, 2017
How Netflix makes a hit (Steven Soderbergh and Scott Frank, co-creators, ‘Godless’)
Steven Soderbergh and Scott Frank talk with Recode’s Peter Kafka about their new western miniseries, “Godless.” The duo brought Frank's 180-page movie script to Netflix and witnessed firsthand how the streaming service gets its shows noticed: Rather than aiming for a specific opening weekend like a traditional movie studio would, Netflix waited to spend much of the marketing budget for “Godless” until after the show was released. The filmmakers also share their perspectives on how consumers are watching more shows on smaller screens, and Soderbergh explains why it was a mistake to go all-in on social media when promoting his recent theatrically released movie, “Logan Lucky.”
Dec 14, 2017
I'm more famous than Anderson Cooper (Cenk Uygur, CEO, The Young Turks)
The Young Turks CEO Cenk Uygur talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about running an online media company for young left-wingers. Uygur says the Washington establishment is just now waking up to the power of the internet, but he and his colleagues have been broadcasting live video over the internet since 2005. Cable news is overrated, he explains, because it's on in the background of stores and press rooms and congressional offices — but, he argues, it's also to blame for the rise of Donald Trump and the defeat of Bernie Sanders. Plus: Uygur bets Kafka $100 that, if Sanders runs again he will win the presidency in 2020.
Dec 07, 2017
Andy Weir on 'The Martian,' 'Artemis' and when we'll live on the moon
Andy Weir, the author of the hit science fiction novel "The Martian," talks with Recode's Edmund Lee about his new book, "Artemis." Set in a city on Earth's Moon in the late 2080s, "Artemis" is a crime caper that centers on a smuggler named Jazz, a young woman who moved to the Moon from Saudi Arabia. Weir explains how "The Martian" became an accidental hit thanks to Amazon's Kindle platform, but also why crowdfunding isn't the future of all media — he wrote "Artemis" with a traditional print publisher already on board. Plus: How Weir writes diverse characters, why he never visited the set of "The Martian" movie and when humans will live on the Moon.
Nov 30, 2017
Hollywood’s sexual harassment story is far from over (Kim Masters, editor-at-large, Hollywood Reporter)
Kim Masters, the editor-at-large of the Hollywood Reporter, talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about covering the entertainment industry at a time of daily tumult. Masters says the sexual harassment allegations against people like Miramax's Harvey Weinstein and comedian Louis C.K. are just the beginning; Many powerful men who have harassed and abused people in the workplace have yet to be exposed, she says. She discusses why it's important for reporters to be sympathetic to their sources' distress, why there's a big difference between men like Weinstein and Senator Al Franken, and how the Hollywood Reporter would react if threatened with a lawsuit.
Nov 22, 2017
Don't 'lean in,' fight back (Sarah Lacy, author, 'The Uterus Is a Feature, Not a Bug')
Pando CEO Sarah Lacy talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about her new book "The Uterus Is a Feature, Not a Bug," which is part memoir and part feminist guide to "overthrowing the patriarchy." Lacy explains why she rejects the type of "careerism feminism" advanced by books like Sheryl Sandberg’s “Lean In." Amusingly, Facebook rejected ads for Lacy's new book because the title contains the word "uterus." She also talks about her relationship with Pando co-founder Paul Carr, why she hasn't spoken to her former friend and Pando investor Peter Thiel since last year and why she's spending most of her time now on a new company, Chairman Mom.
Nov 16, 2017
How to make a ‘comedy-horror’ TV show (Dana Gould, creator, ‘Stan Against Evil’)
Comedian Dana Gould talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about his comedy-horror television series "Stan Against Evil," which just returned for a second season on IFC. Gould says the show never would have made it to the air when there were only three networks on TV and praises the fact that nearly "all programs are niche programs" in 2017. He also explains why it's important for content creators to be adaptable but not slaves to new modes of viewing TV, and reflects on the seven years he spent writing for "The Simpsons." Plus: Why he still does stand-up comedy and how he sneaks his politics into shows without turning them into lectures.
Nov 09, 2017
How Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner built and lost a rock and roll empire (Joe Hagan, author, "Sticky Fingers")
Author Joe Hagan talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about his new book, "Sticky Fingers: The Life and Times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone Magazine." In the book, Hagan traces Wenner's rise as an eccentric, spendy and sometimes barbaric media mogul and how Rolling Stone became the "entire internet" for the music world before the internet existed. Wenner — who commissioned the biography — publicly denounced the book when he found out that Hagan had also written about his drug use, sexual escapades and business failings, but the author explains how the two men have reached a sort of peace and why he sympathizes with Wenner's "tragic" later years.
Nov 02, 2017
NYT's Michael Barbaro explains why you love 'The Daily'
Michael Barbaro, the host of the New York Times podcast "The Daily," talks with Recode's Peter Kafka in front of a live audience at Joe's Pub in New York City. Barbaro explains how "The Daily" gets made and what it signifies as the once-omniscient and authoritative tone of the Times has softened, allowing journalists to talk about their reporting process and admit when they don't know something. He also talks about what makes "The Daily" different from print stories, why podcasts are succeeding at the Times when video did not and how the paper is integrating audio into its journalists' work.
Oct 28, 2017
Samantha Bee on Harvey Weinstein, Jeff Bezos and Donald Trump (Live)
"Full Frontal" host Samantha Bee and TBS President Kevin Reilly talk with Recode's Peter Kafka, recorded in front of a live audience at Joe's Pub in New York City. Bee dissects how her show has approached the sexual assault scandals rocking Silicon Valley and Hollywood, particularly that of movie producer Harvey Weinstein, and why her show is able to cover them so well. She also talks about "Trump fatigue" and why Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos's excuses for the lack of diversity among the company's top executives "sound like such fucking horseshit to me." Reilly talks about how Turner approaches Bee's comedy show as a business and why it's not worrying about where people are watching the show — unlike some of the traditional broadcast networks.
Oct 26, 2017
How blocking ads can save the media industry (Tony Haile, CEO, Scroll)
Scroll CEO Tony Haile talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about his company's not-yet-launched product that will let news consumers pay once for a clean, ad-free experience across multiple news outlets and across all platforms. Haile says Scroll, which has taken funding from companies like News Corp, Axel Springer and the New York Times Company, is trying to solve the media business model for the vast majority of casual visitors who don't currently pay for content. Previously the CEO of Chartbeat and still an adviser to that company, he discusses why he left and explains why it still makes sense for media professionals to monitor real-time data about who’s consuming their work. Haile also talks about leading polar expeditions in his 20s and how he faked his way through his first year of business meetings with media companies.
Oct 19, 2017
Jimmy Kimmel on the intersection of comedy and politics
The eponymous host of “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” tells Recode’s Peter Kafka how speaking out about political issues on his show has affected his life online and on TV. Kimmel says he agrees with Disney CEO Bob Iger that he should try not to get political too often and stay “in the middle” by default. He acknowledges that politics may turn off some of his show’s viewers, but that issues like health care and gun violence are “too important to ignore.” Plus: Why comedy shows initially shied away from talking about the Harvey Weinstein story, and how late-night TV is changing (or not) in the YouTube era.
Oct 17, 2017
How to start a company when you’re 25 years old (Brit Morin, CEO, Brit + Co)
Brit + Co CEO Brit Morin talks with Recode’s Peter Kafka about launching a media and commerce company aimed at millennial women when she was 25. Brit + Co has since raised about $40 million, and has branched out beyond online content to include education, merchandise and live events. Morin explains how she fought against the sexist assumptions of investors that she was merely “Dave Morin’s wife” (The answer: Data!), why she named the company after herself, and why Brit + Co has intentionally not raised as much money as it could have.
Oct 12, 2017
Sports have always been political (Jason Gay, columnist, Wall Street Journal)
Wall Street Journal sports columnist and Vogue contributor Jason Gay talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about the raging debate over NFL players kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality against African Americans. Sports have always been political, Gay says, and the football players who have taken a knee are especially brave given the NFL's lack of loyalty to players. He also talks about how he got into writing about sports for the Journal, and why his editors let him get high on marijuana gummies before covering the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor boxing show. Plus: How a Vogue cover story featuring celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence, Rihanna or Nicole Kidman comes together, and why the world still cares.
Oct 05, 2017
Why podcasts are better than radio (Jad Abumrad, co-host, Radiolab)
Jad Abumrad, the co-host of WNYC Studios' hit show Radiolab, talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about the new season of More Perfect, a spinoff podcast about the Supreme Court. Abumrad says he was getting "restless" a couple years ago at Radiolab, and so dispatched his team to find interesting stories from the judicial system. He also talks about the intense process of making Radiolab — episodes can take a year to report and cost $100,000 — and why, in the heat of the political protests in Charlottesville last month, his team decided to pull down a controversial episode. Plus: The "really weird" way Abumrad was informed he'd won a MacArthur "genius grant," which he initially suspected was a Nigerian email scam.
Sep 28, 2017
When is the internet going to change TV ads? (Dave Morgan, CEO, Simulmedia)
Simulmedia CEO Dave Morgan talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about the future of TV advertising, which has historically been "not so broken that it’s had to be fixed." However, Morgan's company is betting that big advertisers will want their TV ads to start working more like digital ads, personalized to each viewer and able to be connected with buying behavior. He also talks about how his first company, Real Media, weathered the dot-com crash, why the advertising world hasn't changed as quickly as he once predicted and why TV is a much bigger deal than most people in the tech bubble would assume. Plus: A bonus chat with the New York Times' Jim Rutenberg about how Russia used social media to meddle in the U.S. election and what that means for Silicon Valley companies.
Sep 21, 2017
Why Ken Burns won't leave PBS for HBO
Documentarian Ken Burns talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about his new 18-hour documentary, "The Vietnam War." Burns says he sought to upend conventional wisdom about the war by rewinding the iconic images, stories and music of the time and telling history through the lens of all the countries involved in the fighting. He believes we are in a "golden age" of documentaries, but Burns says he has no desire to leave his career-long home, PBS, for a more digital-focused platform like HBO, Netflix or Amazon. He also talks about how war documentaries will change now that no one writes letters anymore, why critics have stopped fretting about the length of his films and why it's okay to watch that cute cat video online — so long as you come back to something more substantial later on.
Sep 14, 2017
How to pay for serious journalism (Clara Jeffery, editor in chief, Mother Jones)
Mother Jones Editor in Chief Clara Jeffery talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about how the progressive magazine made its business model work on the web, with more than $15 million in revenue per year. Jeffery says the media put itself in an economic crisis by ignoring the business side of its work and argues that the best way to fund "stuff that's not just cat videos" is to ask readers and viewers for donations. She also reflects on how journalism has changed since Donald Trump won the presidency, why she still blames Facebook and Twitter for helping him win and why she's skeptical of media companies "pivoting to video."
Sep 07, 2017
How to compete against Google and Facebook: Go around them! (Tim Armstrong, CEO, Oath)
Tim Armstrong, the CEO of Verizon's media properties Yahoo and AOL, talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about how those sites — collectively known as Oath — will survive and evolve. Armstrong, previously an early sales exec at Google, says competing directly against Google and Facebook for advertising dollars would be "the worst thing we could do" and instead, Oath plans to find other ways to win a piece of the pie. He also explains why it makes sense for Verizon to own Yahoo and AOL in the first place, what he learned from the struggles of local news site Patch and whether he would run for political office (no).
Aug 31, 2017
A guided tour of the pro-Trump media (Oliver Darcy, CNN; Charlie Warzel, BuzzFeed)
CNN's Oliver Darcy and BuzzFeed's Charlie Warzel talk with Recode's Peter Kafka about how they report on the many facets of the far-right media, which has exploded in prominence thanks to President Trump. They talk about how ideas, memes and conspiracy theories originated on websites like Breitbart or message boards like Reddit's /r/The_Donald can bubble up to more traditional conservative outlets — or even the White House. Darcy argues that Drudge Report founder Matt Drudge is the center of this digitally savvy lineup, acting along with Twitter as the most important gateway to the mainstream. Warzel explains why he's careful not to label everyone a "Nazi," instead offering the alt-right and others in the new landscape of pro-Trump media a "tough but fair shake."
Aug 24, 2017
Chuck Klosterman talks about Nazis, Taylor Swift and the future of journalism
Writer Chuck Klosterman talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about his new book, "Chuck Klosterman X," a collection of essays and profiles he wrote for such outlets as Esquire, Grantland and the New York Times Magazine. Klosterman says he wants people to talk about what he writes, not how he writes it, and considers how politics, social media and the rise of media analytics have reshaped the work of journalism. He says he intentionally tries to avoid the tropes that his peers in the magazine world fall back on: Pretending that his interviews are casual, friendly conversations; taking subjects to weird places simply for the sake of a stylish opening; and, when the subject is a woman like Taylor Swift, talking about what she is wearing or what she looks like.
Aug 17, 2017
Patreon will help fans pay artists more than $140 million this year (Jack Conte, CEO, Patreon)
Patreon CEO Jack Conte talks with Recode’s Peter Kafka about why the current version of the web, where content is mostly free and supported by ads, is not necessarily the “best version.” Conte’s site makes it possible for subscribers — or "patrons" — to pay creators for what they make and get bonus content or other perks in return, and it's on track to process $150 million in 2017. He predicts that Patreon will one day go public, and explains why he really, really hates it when people call Patreon a “tip jar” or a “fan club.”
Aug 10, 2017
Everyone still wants to be on TV (Tonia O'Connor, chief revenue officer, Univision)
Univision's new Chief Revenue Officer Tonia O'Connor talks with Recode's Edmund Lee about how the company has grown from a handful of Spanish-language TV channels to 17 TV and digital channels. O'Connor says TV is still the hot ticket for everyone, even once-digital-only players like the former Gawker sites, which Univision acquired last year for $135 million. She also talks about how the company serves as an intermediary for reaching Hispanic consumers; why it changed course on Fusion TV and is putting less news on the air; and why she sees it as her "life's mission" to help other women succeed in business.
Aug 03, 2017
How food became cool (Larry Fitzgibbon, CEO, Tastemade; Helen Rosner, editor at large, Eater)
Tastemade CEO Larry Fitzgibbon talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about building a digital media company around food-as-lifestyle that reaches more than 200 million people per month. Fitzgibbon, who was previously an executive at Demand Media, says quality is the new key to succeeding in online video across all platforms — social, mobile and possibly TV. Later in the show, Eater Editor at Large Helen Rosner joins Peter in the studio to discuss why there are no new celebrity chefs on TV and how food culture became cool.
Jul 27, 2017
How to make a bestseller that lasts (Ryan Holiday, author, 'Perennial Seller')
Writer, marketer and self-proclaimed media manipulator Ryan Holiday talks with Recode’s Peter Kafka about his new book, “Perennial Seller,” which explores “the art of making and marketing work that lasts.” He argues that creators over-value how their work launches, and don’t pay enough attention to how their decisions — from start to finish — affect its staying power. Holiday also talks about how his 2012 book, “Trust Me, I’m Lying,” predicted the alt-right’s approach to media manipulation, and explains why the ancient Roman philosophy of stoicism is still resonating today with everyone from the Secretary of Defense to startup founders in Silicon Valley.
Jul 20, 2017
Shari Redstone, Vice Chair, Viacom (Code Conference 2017)
Viacom and CBS Vice Chair Shari Redstone talks with Recode's Peter Kafka at the 2017 Code Conference about the venture firm she co-founded in 2011, Advancit Capital, and why it operates outside of her other companies. She says her biggest mistake there was not investing in Twitch in 2011 because she thought the video game-streaming company was already too highly valued. Redstone also discusses how content companies like Viacom are facing the challenges of the digital age and why they don't necessarily need to sell themselves off, as Time Warner is trying to do. She says she's not too worried about tech companies like Twitter, Google and Facebook making bids for the rights to NFL games, which CBS has locked up for several years.
Jul 13, 2017
Podcasting is growing up (Nick Quah, founder, Hot Pod)
Nick Quah, the founder and writer of the podcasting industry newsletter Hot Pod, talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about where podcasts are headed next. Quah says two events in 2014 — Apple's decision to make the Podcasts app a default one on iOS and the success of the true crime show "Serial" — are responsible for the explosion of interest in podcasts over the past few years. His newsletter, which currently reaches about 11,000 inboxes, is aimed at people who work in the growing industry and has become his full-time job, along with several side hustles. Quah also discusses how Apple's plans to share more data about podcasts' audiences with their creators will be good in the long term for most shows, but could spell bad news for some of them.
Jul 06, 2017
Why Hillary Clinton won't admit that she made mistakes (Rebecca Traister, writer at large, New York Magazine)
New York Magazine's Rebecca Traister talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about covering the intersection of gender and politics and her recent profile of Hillary Clinton's post-election life. Traister explains how she gradually convinced Clinton's campaign to give her access to its candidate, and how everything changed after Nov. 8. She also analyzes Clinton's appearance at the 2017 Code Conference, where the former Secretary of State was reluctant to admit any missteps that she would do over if given the chance.
Jun 29, 2017
What Peter Thiel’s war against Gawker can tell us about Trump (Brian Knappenberger, director, "Nobody Speak")
Director Brian Knappenberger talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about his new documentary "Nobody Speak: Trials of the Free Press," which premieres on Netflix on June 23. In it, Knappenberger connects venture capitalist Peter Thiel's successful lawsuit against Gawker Media, by way of pro wrestler Hulk Hogan; the rise of Donald Trump to the presidency amid increasing distrust of the media; and the secretive sale of the Las Vegas Journal-Review to billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson. Knappenberger says these incidents are all intertwined, giving his new film an added level of urgency. He also talks about why the work of the Washington Post and the New York Times is a "ray of hope" for newsrooms everywhere.
Jun 22, 2017
Dean Baquet, Executive Editor, The New York Times (Code Conference 2017)
In this special bonus episode from the 2017 Code Conference, New York Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about how the newspaper's journalists are covering President Donald Trump and why there are so many leaks coming out of Washington at the moment. Baquet acknowledges that many journalists, including him, misunderstood the "anger and anti-elitism" that elevated Trump, and defends the hiring of climate skeptic Bret Stephens as an opinion columnist, saying people on the left should be willing to hear him out. He also warns that local news is "verging on a crisis" and smaller outlets around the country may have to be rescued by technologists and philanthropists. Baquet says one of his other goals is figuring out how to update the "voice" of the Times to match the way people talk online.
Jun 17, 2017
Meet the Wall Street analyst the big media companies love to hate (Rich Greenfield, analyst, BTIG)
BTIG's Rich Greenfield talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about being an outspoken media and technology analyst who has made enemies throughout Hollywood and much of the big-media landscape. Greenfield has advised clients to bet on Netflix and against Disney as the traditional paid content model breaks down, but also readily cops to the times in the past when he has been wrong. He also talks about why investors have to keep an eye on the startup ecosystem, the importance of data for anyone in media who wants to go direct-to-consumer, and why Google should buy Spotify.
Jun 15, 2017
Reed Hastings, CEO, Netflix (Code Conference 2017)
In this special bonus episode from Code Conference 2017, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about the video-streaming platform's continuing push into making original TV and movies. He says current windowing practices, in which movies are exclusively in theaters for a time before they're available in the home, will inevitably go away. Hastings also explains why Netflix has backed off of working in China, why it has no plans to carry sports or ad-supported content and why Netflix is in favor of net neutrality even though the company is so big that it doesn't need it anymore.
Jun 10, 2017
BuzzFeed chairman and HuffPost co-founder Ken Lerer on the future of media
Media mogul Ken Lerer — the chairman of BuzzFeed, a board member at Viacom and a venture capitalist — talks with Recode’s Peter Kafka about the media landscape in 2017. Lerer, who previously helped start MTV and co-founded HuffPost with Arianna Huffington, discusses why BuzzFeed did the right thing with its explosive Trump dossier, what he looks for in companies he invests in, and why he’s more optimistic about AT&T’s pending acquisition of Time Warner than he is about Verizon’s deal to buy Yahoo and AOL. He also makes the case for a Breitbart-style online news outlet for liberals.
Jun 08, 2017
'Better Call Saul' actor Michael McKean doesn't care how you watch
Michael McKean, who plays Chuck McGill on AMC's "Better Call Saul" and has previously appeared in films such as "This Is Spinal Tap" and "Clue," talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about the process of acting and comedy. McKean is currently appearing in a dramatic play on Broadway (a new production of Lillian Hellman’s "The Little Foxes") and he says he’s glad the audience usually leaves their phones off. He also chats about improvising with Christopher Guest, his brief stint on "Saturday Night Live" and why he doesn't think much about how people are watching his work.
Jun 01, 2017
Why this four-hour Grateful Dead documentary took 14 years to make (Amir Bar-Lev, director, 'Long Strange Trip')
Amir Bar-Lev, the director of the new documentary "Long Strange Trip," talks with Recode's Peter Kafka. The four-hour film, which traces the history and cultural impact of the Grateful Dead and its fans, will be released in theaters and will stream via Amazon Prime Video. Bar-Lev says it's accessible to both Deadheads and non-fans alike and that he made it in part as a reaction to how Instagram culture has made people believe they are "mini celebrities." He also argues that mainstream observers have neutered the Dead's legacy by trying to cast them as tech or business geniuses, when in fact they always put art ahead of commerce.
May 25, 2017
Information doesn't have to be free (Jessica Lessin, CEO, The Information)
The Information CEO Jessica Lessin talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about why her news site, which reports on tech and business, puts its content behind a $400-per-year pay wall. Lessin says the default assumption should be that news is paid for because it provides value to people's lives. She also talks about why she left the Wall Street Journal in 2013, what most people get wrong about Facebook and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg and why sexual harassment at companies like Uber is the toughest story in tech to crack.
May 18, 2017
W. Kamau Bell talks about Trump, racism and podcasting
Comedian, author and TV host W. Kamau Bell talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about the second season of his podcast, "Politically Re-Active," and his CNN show, "United Shades of America." Bell explains why his podcast persona is seemingly different from the Kamau that people see on TV, and how both of those things compare to being a stand-up comic. He also talks about the misconceptions that follow him as a comedian who is "always talking about racism" and why he doesn't mind too much if he bombs at a big, broad comedy club.
May 11, 2017
Tracking a drug boss across the web (Nick Bilton, author, 'American Kingpin')
Journalist Nick Bilton talks with Recode's Jason Del Rey about his new book, "American Kingpin." It tells the story of Ross Ulbricht, the programmer and "criminal mastermind" who founded the Silk Road, a notorious online black market where everything from drugs to guns could be bought and sold anonymously. Bilton, a special correspondent for Vanity Fair, also talks about why he left the New York Times in 2016 after more than a decade there, saying he didn't feel challenged by the newspaper's predictability and rigidity. He also argues that, contrary to what the Facebook CEO claims, Mark Zuckerberg is likely running for president — or perhaps planning some other major change that necessitates a heavily photographed tour of the United States.
May 04, 2017
The New York 'Startup' scene gets a novel (Doree Shafrir, author)
Doree Shafrir, a writer at BuzzFeed News and the author of "Startup: A Novel," talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about updating the coming-of-age-in-New-York story for the modern media scene, where working at a print magazine is not the holy grail. "Startup" satirizes what happens when a tech reporter uncovers a scandal involving the 28-year-old CEO of a mindfulness app. Shafrir says one of the weirdest ways she has promoted "Startup" is on "Matt and Doree's Eggcellent Adventure," a podcast about in vitro fertilization she hosts with her husband, Matt Mira. She also talks about working at the New York Observer under Jared Kushner and at Gawker when it was a largely obscure, New York-specific website.
Apr 27, 2017
How Neil Gaiman's ‘American Gods’ finally made it to TV
Author Neil Gaiman talks with Recode’s Peter Kafka about the TV adaptation of his novel ‘American Gods,’ which debuts April 30 on Starz. Gaiman says ‘American Gods’ is a ‘big, sprawling’ story that could have never been made when the book came out, in 2001 — the rise of prestige TV and consumers’ online binging habits made it possible. He also talks about working in comics, what he thinks of President Trump, and why he’s fascinated by — but not making content for — VR.
Apr 20, 2017
Inside the Trump White House (Mike Allen, co-founder, Axios)
Axios co-founder Mike Allen talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about demystifying the chaotic news of the world in his daily newsletter, Axios AM. Allen says the palace intrigue in the White House is more complicated than it may seem at first blush and explains how he has kept his access to the Trump White House even as coverage of the new administration has soured. He also chats about his previous job writing for D.C. insiders at Politico and how Axios is trying to reach the much broader audience of busy people everywhere who want to be smarter.
Apr 13, 2017
Why TV is different from YouTube (Reza Izad, CEO, Studio71)
Studio71 CEO Reza Izad talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about how the business of online video has changed in recent years. Izad came to Studio71 when the German TV station ProSieben bought an earlier company that he co-founded, Collective Digital Studio, and he has worked with YouTube celebrities such as Fred, Lilly Singh and Roman Atwood. He believes "everything that’s successful in entertainment is an outlier" and talks about how digital stars can make the jump to other online platforms and traditional TV. Izad also chats about why Facebook's video ascendancy is a question of when, not if.
Apr 06, 2017
Uber investor Jason Calacanis doesn't want to hear your idea
Angel investor Jason Calacanis talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about his media company Inside, and why it plans to launch a new email newsletter every week in 2017, for a total of more than 60 by year's end. He also chats about his past companies, including Mahalo and Weblogs Inc., and how he became one of Uber's first investors. Calacanis explains his angel investing philosophy, which favors founders who have built something over those who just come to meetings with an unrealized idea.
Mar 30, 2017
How to be a rock musician in 2017 (Craig Finn, 'We All Want the Same Things')
Singer, songwriter and The Hold Steady frontman Craig Finn talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about his new solo album, "We All Want the Same Things." Finn still enjoys the life of a touring musician but explains why it's unlikely that The Hold Steady will do another big multi-city tour in the near future. Even though the world is politically divided, he says, music can still play a big role in building communities and friendships among strangers. Finn also discusses working with Bruce Springsteen, opening for The Rolling Stones and adapting lyrics written by George R.R. Martin into a song for the "Game of Thrones" TV show.
Mar 23, 2017
Glenn Beck doesn't care if he alienates Trump voters (Live at SXSW)
Former Fox News commentator and TheBlaze founder Glenn Beck talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about being a conservative media personality at a time when a Republican he hates, Donald Trump, is president. Speaking in front of a live audience at South by Southwest 2017, Beck says he doesn't care if Trump supporters no longer listen to him, because "right is right, wrong is wrong." He also weighs in on how Breitbart became a "platform for the alt-right" under Steve Bannon after the passing of its founder, Andrew Breitbart, and says that politicians need to put aside party labels to talk about big issues — such as how the rise of robots and artificial intelligence could lead to "50 percent unemployment" in the next 40 years.
Mar 16, 2017
The Huffington Post wants to reach Trump voters (Lydia Polgreen, editor in chief, The Huffington Post)
The Huffington Post's new editor in chief, Lydia Polgreen, talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about turning the liberal news site founded by Arianna Huffington 11 years ago into a destination for a larger audience — including some of Donald Trump's supporters. Polgreen, who spent 15 years at The New York Times before joining HuffPost late last year, said she wants to help liberals, conservatives and everyone in between see how much they have in common. She also talks about why she left the NYT, the gaps between "have and have-not" media consumers, and how she reacted when HuffPost was barred from a White House press briefing.
Mar 09, 2017
'Why is this on Mashable?' asks Executive Editor Jessica Coen
Mashable Executive Editor Jessica Coen talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about taking the reins of the 12-year-old site last year and how she's working to focus its writers on the stories it can do best. Coen previously spent two years editing and five in charge of Jezebel, Gawker Media's feminist site. She chats about bringing a bit of the Gawker voice to Mashable's writing, where the site is investing the most (video and Snapchat) and her advice for young journalists trying to break into the media business. Coen also discusses the most dramatic moment of her tenure at Gawker: The publication of a sex tape starring Limp Bizkit's Fred Durst.
Mar 02, 2017
Making a superhero movie for adults (Scott Frank, screenwriter, 'Logan')
Screenwriter and novelist Scott Frank talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about writing a superhero movie for people who don't like superhero movies: "Logan," an R-rated sendoff for Wolverine, Hugh Jackman's iconic "X-Men" character. Frank explains how he lucked his way into a job at Paramount at age 24 and what he learned from writing films like "Get Shorty," "Malice" and "Out of Sight." He also discusses his next project after "Logan" — a western miniseries for Netflix called "Godless" — and why, after a long career in Hollywood, he decided last year to write his first novel, "Shaker."
Feb 23, 2017
The New York Times wants to become like Netflix (Gabriel Snyder, journalist)
Wired contributor Gabriel Snyder talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about his recent cover story for Wired magazine, "The New York Times Claws Its Way Into the Future." Snyder profiled how the storied newspaper is trying to adapt to the fast-failure-friendly M.O. of a tech company and says it's now betting on one big Netflix-like digital subscription, rather than the multiple smaller subscription products it previously attempted. He also explains why it's so difficult for new ideas to make it up the chain of command inside the NYT and why so many young digital stars have left the company.
Feb 16, 2017
Here’s the secret to making things popular (Derek Thompson, author, ‘Hit Makers’)
Derek Thompson, a senior editor at The Atlantic and author of "Hit Makers," talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about his new book, which explores the "Science of Popularity in the Age of Distraction." Thompson says contrary to conventional wisdom, content is not as important as how you distribute it, and things don't "go viral" the way an actual virus does — instead, they benefit the most from existing social networks and distribution channels that preceded them. He also says ESPN, which is struggling to make as much money from TV as it used to, needs to re-orient its strategy around the smartphone lock screen, rather than the television screen.
Feb 09, 2017
Business Insider CEO Henry Blodget says Trump is pushing 'anti-American' policies
Business Insider CEO Henry Blodget talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about why he sold the company to German publisher Axel Springer and why BI is moving toward paid newspaper-like subscriptions. Blodget says digital media is "as different from print and TV as they are from each other" and explains why cloning a newspaper for the web will never work. He also talks about why he took Donald Trump seriously from day one and says that despite a smart campaign, the new president is now advocating "un-American and anti-American" policies.
Feb 02, 2017
The future of advertising is 'fewer, better ads' (Ian Schafer, CEO, Deep Focus)
Deep Focus CEO Ian Schafer talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about why the digital advertising world is due for a shake-up. Schafer says he's skeptical of the branded content studios being created inside big media companies because he doubts they can compete with Google and Facebook for the same business. He argues that the online ad economy has grown too big and the future must entail "fewer, better ads" that may be more individualized to consumers and placed on new, unconventional platforms.
Jan 26, 2017
How the press can save itself in the age of Trump (Jay Rosen, professor, NYU)
NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about how the media, and the reporters who cover the White House in particular, should react to President Trump, who has frequently been hostile to their profession. Rosen says media organizations need to rethink their structures and individual journalists will have to establish a more transparent relationship with their audiences. He also talks about why journalists shouldn't interview Trump surrogate Kellyanne Conway and what everyone can learn from Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold.
Jan 19, 2017
Fox's digital ad guy wants you to use an ad blocker (Joe Marchese, president of advanced advertising, Fox Networks Group)
Fox Networks ad boss Joe Marchese talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about why he, an online advertising executive, encourages consumers to use ad blockers. Marchese argues that the relationship between advertisers and the public needs to be reset because people see ads as interruptive and advertisers are paying up for smaller and smaller slices of the pie. He also says all of Fox's ads on Hulu and its own websites should be skippable, and talks about the one time of the year when everyone wants to see advertising — the Super Bowl.
Jan 12, 2017
How to make $11 million by failing (James Altucher, founder, Choose Yourself Media)
Choose Yourself Media founder James Altucher, an entrepreneur and author of several advice books, talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about the importance of learning from failure in life and business. Altucher twice went from being a multimillionaire to nearly broke, and currently does not own a home even though his company grossed $11 million last year. He says people should consider the alternatives to things like buying a house, going to college and reading the news, focusing instead on the things that will directly affect their lives.
Jan 05, 2017
Why is there no fake news on LinkedIn? (Daniel Roth, executive editor, LinkedIn)
LinkedIn Executive Editor Daniel Roth talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about overseeing the editorial branch of the career-networking site. Roth says LinkedIn users police themselves in ways they don't on Facebook because they know their bosses and colleagues can see them. Hailing from the world of magazine and digital journalism, he also discusses his initially rough transition to working at a tech company and what happened when he wrote a 5,000-word cover story about Donald Trump for Fortune in 2004.
Dec 29, 2016
Kara Swisher: Journalists must be 'tougher on everybody'
Recode co-founder and Executive Editor Kara Swisher talks with Peter Kafka about why the media needs to be tougher and more skeptical in the aftermath of the 2016 election. Swisher says journalists too often behave like "stenographers," lazily relaying what people say without interrogating their ideas. She also discusses the rise of fake news on platforms like Facebook, how she worked her way up from the mailroom at the Washington Post and why she and Recode co-founder Walt Mossberg sold the site to Vox Media in 2015.
Dec 22, 2016
Trump will blow up political journalism (Margaret Sullivan, columnist, the Washington Post)
Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan, formerly the public editor of the New York Times, talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about the effect of the incoming Trump administration on the world of political journalism. Sullivan says she initially thought, after Trump's win, that the media had completely failed, but has since moderated that position, and expects "a new kind of journalistic inquiry" will arise. She also discusses how she came to the New York Times, why she left the paper after three and a half years and why she still wants internet comments to have a place on media outlets' websites.
Dec 15, 2016
Making viral videos before YouTube (Burnie Burns, co-founder, Rooster Teeth)
Rooster Teeth co-founder Burnie Burns talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about how the early viral video hit "Red vs. Blue" evolved into a thriving media company. Burns says Rooster Teeth, which predated the launch of YouTube by several years, has succeeded because it goes deep and talks honestly with its young, geeky, video game-savvy fans. He also discusses how YouTube helped the company release its first feature film, "Lazer Team," and explains why he considers the 2014 harassment campaign Gamergate a prelude to Donald Trump's presidential win.
Dec 08, 2016
Did racism motivate Trump's voters? (Stephen Dubner, co-author, 'Freakonomics')
Journalist and "Freakonomics" co-author Stephen Dubner talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about how behavioral economics can explain Donald Trump's victory, arguing that racism and xenophobia are symptoms of a deeper-felt economic resentment. He also discusses widespread misunderstandings about probability and offers a partial defense of poll aggregators like FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver. Later in the show, Dubner explains how "Freakonomics" became a mini media empire, why he's now almost all-in on podcasting and how Bruce Springsteen convinced him to quit rock and roll.
Dec 01, 2016
Trump-related 'terror and hysteria' isn't justified (Ken Kurson, editor-in-chief, Observer)
Observer editor-in-chief Ken Kurson talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about running the online newspaper published by Donald Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Kurson says Kushner has no day-to-day influence on the Observer. He argues that reactions to his alleged ethical lapses — such as his sitting with the Trump family at the Republican National Convention — are overblown or misguided, and says Hillary Clinton's supporters are overreacting to their loss. Kurson also says some journalists and pollsters who mis-called the election should resign or be fired, and explains why staying off Twitter has been good for his psyche.
Nov 23, 2016
Musicians who fight Spotify are 'so f-cking dumb' (Bob Lefsetz, author, Lefsetz Letter)
Bob Lefsetz, author of the influential music industry newsletter the Lefsetz Letter, talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about the winners and losers in the modern music business. Lefsetz says the traditional music label model was one of artificial scarcity, and there's no going back now that streaming services like YouTube and Spotify have arisen. He also argues that Netflix is doomed and VR is being mis-sold to the public. Later in the show, he reflects on the election of Donald Trump and why he's skeptical of the New York Times' ability to challenge the incoming U.S. president.
Nov 17, 2016
The 'Star Trek' reboot could have naked aliens (Jim Lanzone, CEO, CBS Interactive)
Jim Lanzone, the CEO of CBS Interactive and chief digital officer of CBS, talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about the balance between free broadcast TV and paid online subscriptions. CBS has so far convinced more than a million people to pay $6 a month for its online service, CBS All Access. Lanzone says the company hopes to court even more subscribers with digital-only shows, including a spinoff of "The Good Wife" and a reboot of "Star Trek," which won't have to play by traditional FCC rules around nudity and swearing. He also makes the case for CBS' tech site CNET and discusses how he came to the company, via a digital TV guide site called Clicker.
Nov 10, 2016
You've outraged the internet? Here's how to apologize. (Bryan Goldberg, CEO, Bustle)
Bustle CEO Bryan Goldberg talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about launching a site aimed at millennial women — and why having a man at the top made a lot of people wary. Goldberg bragged a bit too aggressively and had to spend several months explaining his words, but says "apologizing is great." He also talks about how Bustle rose to 40 million monthly pageviews, why it doesn't care as much about Facebook video views and why he'd rather hire young women out of journalism school than media stars who will bring attention to themselves.
Nov 03, 2016
How tech PR works (Brooke Hammerling, founder, Brew Media)
Brew Media founder Brooke Hammerling talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about how she created a PR firm for some of the biggest names in tech and why she sold it to Sigmund Freud's great-grandson. Hammerling has no plans to leave Brew, however. She says she prefers to work with clients who don't think of her company as hired help, but rather as part of the team. She recounts her experience being verbally attacked by a prominent male tech blogger, but says sexism today is even worse in Hollywood than it is in Silicon Valley.
Oct 27, 2016
Smosh and ScreenJunkies boss Keith Richman: We're looking into TV
Defy Media President Keith Richman, who oversees popular YouTube channels Smosh, ScreenJunkies, Clevver and others, talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about how Janet Jackson's breast-baring "wardrobe malfunction" at the 2004 Super Bowl inspired him to get into web video. Richman says Defy's ability to hop on video platforms early and figure out what makes them tick has helped the company reach 70 million YouTube subscribers who watch 800 million videos per month. But the ad dollars are still better on TV, so Defy is thinking about how its shows might work there, too.
Oct 25, 2016
BuzzFeed's video boss Ze Frank on going viral at scale
BuzzFeed Entertainment Group president Ze Frank talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about how his newly re-organized video team is developing shows for YouTube, Facebook and Snapchat — and also TVs and movie theaters. Frank says online videos are crossing borders and boundaries that text and still images couldn't penetrate, but he acknowledges that some bits of culture may be lost as entertainment goes global. He also shares the behind-the-scenes story of Tasty, BuzzFeed Food's viral video juggernaut, which has attracted more likes on Facebook than Beyoncé.
Oct 20, 2016
Ex-Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau: I'm afraid of a 'smarter Trump'
Jon Favreau, former speechwriter for President Obama and the host of The Ringer's podcast "Keepin' It 1600," talks to Recode's Peter Kafka about how he got to the White House and why he can never totally quit politics. He predicts Hillary Clinton will win the presidency on Nov. 8 but explains why her speaking style is so much less conversational than Obama's. Favreau expects that Donald Trump will launch a new TV venture for his followers after the election, and says he supports the GOP's "never-Trumpers" because he fears that a smarter version of Trump will run in future campaigns.
Oct 18, 2016
Donald Trump is still a 'short-fingered vulgarian' (Kurt Andersen, co-founder, Spy)
Kurt Andersen, co-founder of Spy magazine and host of WNYC and PRI's Studio 360, talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about branding Donald Trump a "short-fingered vulgarian in the 1980s and how Trump has changed (or not) since then. Andersen says the real estate mogul flirted with running for president as early as 1987, but that over time, the fantasy became more and more real. He also discusses the organizations Spy influenced — including Gawker and "Last Week Tonight" — and why he now likens podcasting to the rise of public radio 40 years ago.
Oct 13, 2016
Behind the scenes of 'Vice News Tonight' (Josh Tyrangiel, executive vice president, Vice)
Josh Tyrangiel, executive vice president for content and news at Vice, talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about the company's new weeknightly TV show, "Vice News Tonight" on HBO. To distance itself from traditional newscasts run for decades by the likes of CBS, ABC and NBC, Vice is doing away with a central news desk and news anchor, focusing instead on finding visual ways to tell stories that may get short shrift elsewhere. The big goal: Get millennials watching, which Tyrangiel says can be done so long as "Vice News Tonight" adds value to young people's lives.
Oct 11, 2016
Keith Olbermann: Covering Donald Trump is like covering a tsunami every day
"The Closer" host and former ESPN and MSNBC anchor Keith Olbermann talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about the 2016 presidential race and the rise of Donald Trump. Olbermann says Trump is not a totally new phenomenon, noting that political demagogues like Huey Long and Joe McCarthy lived before the era of cable TV. He also discusses his past jobs in cable news, the Netflix-influenced future of media and how he cured his addiction to arguing with Twitter trolls.
Oct 06, 2016
"Call Your Girlfriend" co-host Aminatou Sow on how to make a hit podcast
Aminatou Sow, who co-hosts "Call Your Girlfriend" with Ann Friedman, talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about why she started podcasting: A man said that "women don’t make podcasts." Sow explains how she and Friedman leveraged their network of media influencers, including "Girls" star Lena Dunham, to climb the iTunes charts, acknowledging that "we kind of cheated." She also discusses why she's through with San Francisco, the future of "Call Your Girlfriend" beyond podcasting and why she enjoys the fact that Snapchat makes her feel old.
Sep 29, 2016
Skip Bayless: Why I left ESPN for Fox Sports 1
Skip Bayless, the co-host of Fox Sports 1's "Skip and Shannon: Undisputed," talks about his recent decision to leave ESPN after 12 years on the air for its smaller Rupert Murdoch-owned rival in Los Angeles. He tells Recode's Peter Kafka that he needed to get out of his comfort zone — and out of ESPN's hometown of Bristol, Connecticut. Bayless also discusses the ways Fox is different from Disney-owned ESPN, the unlikely way he got into sports journalism and why he doesn't pay attention to the internet, even though he has more than two million Twitter followers.
Sep 22, 2016
CNN's Brian Stelter: No, CNN is not biased for Trump
Brian Stelter, host of "Reliable Sources" on CNN, talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about being a cable news host during the historic 2016 presidential election. He argues that the media needs to re-evaluate how it treats politicians' lies, pointing to the differing treatment of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Although CNN gets good ratings from his controversial statements and recently hired Trump's former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, Stelter says the network has not given the Republican candidate attention because it's good for business. Instead, he wonders why more presidential candidates couldn't learn from and emulate Trump's media savvy.
Sep 15, 2016
Gigaom founder Om Malik on the virtues of a heart attack
True Ventures partner Om Malik talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about his varied career in tech journalism, including the launch and eventual shutdown of his eponymous site Gigaom. Malik describes himself as a workaholic journalist, but a heart attack in 2007 forced him to reconsider his priorities. He also discusses the macro trends of the startup world, his first stint as a venture capitalist in the late 1990s and why Apple should buy Netflix.
Sep 08, 2016
The New York Times has to think like a tech startup (Sam Dolnick and Clifford Levy, editors, New York Times)
New York Times associate editor Sam Dolnick and assistant masthead editor Clifford Levy talk with Recode's Edmund Lee about how the 164-year-old newspaper is modernizing for the web. Levy reflects on the now-defunct NYT Now mobile app, which showed the Times's staff the value of collaboration among departments. The paper must learn to experiment and sometimes fail, the editors say, much like a tech company in Silicon Valley. Dolnick, one of the potential heirs to the paper as a member of the Ochs-Sulzberger family which owns it, shares the behind-the-scenes story of the NYT's first foray into virtual reality last year.
Sep 01, 2016
Skift CEO Rafat Ali: Small media companies are beautiful
Skift founder and CEO Rafat Ali talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about how media entrepreneurship has evolved since he launched his first company, PaidContent, in 2002. Ali left PaidContent after an acquisition by the Guardian (that went nowhere) and launched Skift to write about the travel business for people who work in the travel business. Today, Skift is a profitable boutique company with 29 employees, and Ali explains why he's happy to keep it small and let it grow slowly.
Aug 25, 2016
Gawker wasn't always mean (Elizabeth Spiers, founding editor,
Elizabeth Spiers, the first person to write and edit, talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about launching the site in 2003, and reflects on how it has evolved since then. Now that Gawker Media has been sold to Univision for $135 million, many wonder how it might change, but Spiers says Gawker has already changed plenty over its history. She also discusses her stint working for Donald Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and her new company, The Insurrection, an agency focusing on virtual reality content.
Aug 18, 2016
James Andrew Miller examines Hollywood's top agents in 'Powerhouse'
James Andrew Miller, author of the new book "Powerhouse: The Untold Story of Hollywood's Creative Artists Agency," talks with Recode's Peter Kafka. Miller says the Creative Artists Agency, or CAA, transformed the entertainment business forever, led by the "yin and yang" personalities of Michael Ovitz and Ron Meyer. He also talks about one of his previous books, an oral history of ESPN, and what really happened to ousted Grantland founder Bill Simmons.
Aug 11, 2016
We're not startup bros anymore (Ilan Zechory and Tom Lehman, co-founders, Genius)
Genius co-founders Ilan Zechory and Tom Lehman talk with Recode's Peter Kafka about how they and their business are maturing. Genius, which started as music-annotating service RapGenius, is now striking deals with major media companies to let users and brands insert factoids into content across the web. Zechory and Lehman discuss how they're trying to make Genius annotations omnipresent, and address allegations that their platform facilitates abuse.
Aug 04, 2016
So, you’ve been shamed by Twitter (Virginia Heffernan, author, "Magic and Loss")
Virginia Heffernan, author of the new book "Magic and Loss: The Internet as Art," talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about the physical things we risk losing as we digitize more and more of our lives. She praises Snapchat's "brilliance" for preserving impermanent media and talks about what happened when critics of an article about creationism threw her into the "Twitter coliseum." To cope with the social media onslaught, she came to imagine her Twitter handle, @page88, as a tougher, wittier persona who could take the abuse on her behalf.
Jul 28, 2016
Gary Vaynerchuk can't wait for the startup armageddon
Investor and VaynerMedia co-founder Gary Vaynerchuk talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about how he parlayed early success on Google AdWords and YouTube into an agency that helps other brands succeed online. A social media celebrity in his own right, Vaynerchuk calls himself an "entrepreneur through and through" but says tech and media are riddled with phony entrepreneurs who are heading for an "armageddon." He laments today's rising startup valuations as a worrying sequel to the early-2000s dotcom crash.
Jul 21, 2016
Donald Trump is bad for democracy (Jacob Weisberg, chairman, Slate Group)
Slate Group Chairman Jacob Weisberg talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about his podcast Trumpcast, which obsesses over presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump and his following. Weisberg says Trump will leave a big mark on American politics even if he loses to Hillary Clinton in November. He also discusses how Slate has changed since it launched as a digital magazine in 1996, what social networks it is and isn't using and why media companies should be wary of Facebook's growing power.
Jul 14, 2016
Documentarian Alex Gibney says the Stuxnet virus was a "new kind of weapon"
"Zero Days" director Alex Gibney talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about his new film's focus on the Stuxnet virus, which sabotaged the Iranian nuclear program. He compares Stuxnet's attack to the first nuclear bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and calls for countries to open a dialogue about cyberweapons. Gibney also discusses his other documentaries, including "Going Clear," "Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine" and "Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room."
Jul 07, 2016
Daring Fireball's John Gruber: "I'm a writer first and a businessman second"
Daring Fireball founder and sole employee John Gruber talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about running a one-man media company. Gruber has been writing about Apple since 2002 but he estimates that his podcast — which started in 2013 — now represents half of Daring Fireball's revenue. He explains how he got into writing in the early days of web blogging and why he has opted to monetize his site by having only one sponsor per week. Gruber also chats about Steve Jobs's legacy, why he doesn't love the Apple Watch and the alleged influence of Apple's corporate team on his writing.
Jun 30, 2016
​Steve Jobs "literally caught me with my pants down" (Brian Lam, founder, The Wirecutter)
The Wirecutter founder Brian Lam talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about creating a modern update to Consumer Reports that makes best-in-class buying recommendations across a range of products. He also discusses his previous life as editor in chief of Gawker's technology blog Gizmodo, which famously obtained and wrote about the iPhone 4 before it was released. That led to a testy phone call from Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who "really didn’t like losing that mini chess game," Lam says.
Jun 23, 2016
Malcolm Gladwell wants to make you cry
Malcolm Gladwell, New Yorker columnist and author of "The Tipping Point," talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about his new podcast, "Revisionist History." Gladwell thinks his new foray into audio will have a more emotional effect on listeners than his columns and books, because "you feel with your ears and you think with your eyes." He also discusses how he wandered into a job at the Washington Post in the 1980s and the proliferation of mass shootings in America, from Columbine to this week's tragic attack on the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.
Jun 16, 2016
The Ringer editor Sean Fennessey on ending Grantland, starting again
Sean Fennessey, the editor in chief of Bill Simmons's new site The Ringer, talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about the decisions that go into launching a media business in 2016. Fennessey reflects on the slow death of Grantland, the site Simmons launched under ESPN in 2011, and what the staff is trying to do differently this time. Among the many challenges facing The Ringer: Balancing fun with legitimacy, figuring out an online video strategy and trying not to sound too drunk.
Jun 09, 2016
"Warcraft" director Duncan Jones: Don't watch this movie on an iPhone
Duncan Jones, director of the new movie "Warcraft," talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about pleasing both gamers and non-gamers while adapting a popular video game to the big screen. He describes "Warcraft" as a spectacle that should be seen in theaters, but is already working on "Mute," a smaller-scale follow-up to his low-budget debut picture "Moon." Jones also reflects on the death of his father, David Bowie, and the current state of the digitally shifted movie business.
Jun 02, 2016
You have to fight robots to see Beyoncé (Michael Rapino, CEO, Live Nation)
Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about the challenges and opportunities for live music and events in 2016. He says concerts have changed dramatically in the past 10 years, becoming spectacles rather than just vehicles to sell records. Rapino also delves into why consumers hate Live Nation subsidiary Ticketmaster and how the company has tried to fight overseas bots that buy and scalp most tickets sold online.
May 26, 2016
How email saved Jason Hirschhorn's life
Jason Hirschhorn talks with Peter Kafka about his past jobs at Viacom, Dish Network and MySpace and at his new startup Redef. Expanding on the Redef Media email newsletter, which Hirschhorn started in 2006, Redef now has more than 50,000 subscribers in several industries, including music, fashion and sports. He also talks (in great detail) about his quadruple bypass surgery and how Redef's fans saved his life when his doctors were confounded by complications.
May 19, 2016
Samantha Bee says hiring more women = better comedy
Samantha Bee talks with Peter Kafka about leaving "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," launching her own late-night comedy show "Full Frontal" and what she's doing to make the new show unique. One of the priorities from day one, Bee says, was making a concerted effort to hire women, which has led to some standout stories. She also talks about the 2016 election and why comedy can't be decided by committee.
May 12, 2016
Why Larry Wilmore used the N-word at the White House Correspondents' Dinner
"The Nightly Show" host Larry Wilmore talks about his instantly controversial roast at the White House Correspondents' Dinner. He mocked Brian Williams, Wolf Blitzer and Barack Obama, among many others, and not everyone was laughing. Wilmore also discusses Donald Trump's rise in the Republican Party and why he closed his WHCD speech by referring to the president as "my n---a."
May 05, 2016
The NYT's Jenna Wortham just wants to "write about people who look like me”
New York Times Magazine staff writer Jenna Wortham talks with Peter Kafka about covering the intersection of culture and technology at Wired magazine and then at the Times. Wortham has also pursued several side projects, including the journalism-as-live-performance show Pop-Up Magazine. She argues that today's journalists must constantly reinvent themselves and that there's value in zigging where others zag.
Apr 28, 2016
"Veep" Producer Frank Rich: Trump Can Win
"Veep" executive producer and New York magazine writer-at-large Frank Rich talks with Peter Kafka about the 2016 election, why he underestimated Bernie Sanders and what future candidates can learn from Hillary Clinton's gaffes and Donald Trump's larger-than-life persona. Formerly a theater critic and political columnist for the New York Times, Rich explains why he left the Times in 2011 and how he got involved with HBO. Plus: Other than "Hamilton," how is Broadway doing?
Apr 21, 2016
Snapchat Should Start Paying Its Users (Hunter Walk, Investor, Homebrew)
Venture capitalist Hunter Walk, the co-founder of Homebrew, talks with Peter Kafka about his pre-investing career at Second Life, YouTube and "Late Night With Conan O'Brien." He also joined Google in 2003, when the 1,000-employee company was only known for search and before it went public. He discusses why venture capitalists like him need to be patient; how YouTube started making money and paying its users; and why Vine, Instagram and Snapchat should follow YouTube's example.
Apr 14, 2016
From Fake Steve Jobs to HBO's "Silicon Valley" (Dan Lyons, Author, "Disrupted")
Dan Lyons, author of the new book "Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble," tells Peter Kafka how he came to work at a "cult-y" unicorn where "grown-up" meant anyone experienced enough to have worked somewhere else. He traces his career from Forbes Magazine, where he secretly created the satirical Internet personality Fake Steve Jobs, to Newsweek, HubSpot, ReadWrite and Gawker's Valleywag. Most recently, he's been a writer on HBO's hit comedy "Silicon Valley" and shares some behind-the-scenes stories.
Apr 07, 2016
Millennials Aren't an Alien Species (Philippe von Borries, co-CEO, Refinery29)
Refinery29 co-founder and co-CEO Philippe von Borries talks with Peter Kafka about how his company morphed from a New York-focused fashion guide to a globally recognized powerhouse with 150 million readers and followers online. He explains how Refinery29 created some of the Web's first native ads and argues that native advertising is the antidote to modern cynicism about traditional ads. Plus: Von Borries wants an end to over-generalizations about millennials.
Mar 31, 2016
Can Donald Trump Be Stopped? (Nate Silver, Founder, FiveThirtyEight)
FiveThirtyEight founder and Editor in Chief Nate Silver talks with Peter Kafka about the 2016 election, and why his site was one of many that didn't see Donald Trump coming. He calls Trump a "demagogue" who has succeeded under extraordinary circumstances and says he has a 25 percent to 30 percent chance of winning the general election if he becomes the Republican nominee. Plus: The end of Grantland and why Silver loves the Golden State Warriors.
Mar 24, 2016
Digital Brands Are a "Sh*t-Ton of Work" (Troy Young, President, Hearst Magazines Digital)
Hearst Magazines' Troy Young talks with Peter Kafka about his efforts to unify the legacy media company's magazines under one digital strategy. He calls himself "incredibly optimistic" about the future of the medium as it moves away from monthly timelines and toward global, minute-to-minute activity. Young also breaks down what it took to create a successful channel for Cosmopolitan on Snapchat.
Mar 17, 2016
Peter Gould, Co-Creator, "Better Call Saul"
"Better Call Saul" co-creator and Executive Producer Peter Gould talks with Peter Kafka about getting his first big break after the age of 40 on the hit AMC television show "Breaking Bad." Gould says that show and "Saul," its currently-airing prequel, might owe their existence to DVRs and the Internet. He explains how today's media consumption habits are changing the way premium TV shows get made.
Mar 10, 2016
Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin, theSkimm Co-Founders
Co-founders of theSkimm Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin talk with Peter Kafka about how they built up an email newsletter that gets opened by 1.5 million people, and why they want more. TheSkimm's mission is to make its readers (predominantly young, educated women) more informed and engaged with brand partners, and Weisberg and Zakin explain why email is just one tool to do that.
Mar 03, 2016
Adrian Wojnarowski, Editor of The Vertical
Yahoo sports columnist Adrian "Woj" Wojnarowski talks with Peter Kafka about how he left print journalism and why he's staying at Yahoo, even as the media giant cuts down on its other journalism efforts. He also explains why the NBA is perfect for the Internet and how he approaches the competitive, fast-paced world of reporting sports news.
Feb 25, 2016
David Remnick, The New Yorker Editor
In this first episode of "Re/code Media with Peter Kafka," Peter sits down with David Remnick, the editor of The New Yorker. Remnick has presided over the magazine for the past 17 years and built out a variety of digital offerings as the media world has been upturned. He talks about what makes those efforts work and why it's so important to preserve what The New Yorker is famous for.
Feb 17, 2016
Andrew Jarecki, "The Jinx" Director
In an episode that originally aired on Recode Decode, Andrew Jarecki joins Peter Kafka to talk about the success of true-crime documentary series such as "Making a Murderer," "Serial" and the show he directed, "The Jinx." He also discusses his history in tech as the founder of MovieFone and a new application called KnowMe.
Feb 11, 2016
Chet Kanojia, Starry CEO
In an episode that originally aired on Recode Decode, Starry CEO Chet Kanojia sits down with Peter Kafka to talk about his latest disruptive startup, which aims to attack broadband monopolies and duopolies by delivering high-speed consumer Internet over the air. He also discusses what the Supreme Court didn't understand about his last startup, Aereo.
Feb 04, 2016
Nick Denton, Gawker Media Founder, and Jason Epstein, Investor
In an episode that originally aired on Recode Decode, Gawker Media founder Nick Denton and new board member Jason Epstein sit down with Peter Kafka to discuss the online media company's rapidly changing outlook. How will Gawker react to the growing power of Facebook? And will it be set back by an incoming invasion of privacy lawsuit?
Jan 28, 2016
Shani Hilton, BuzzFeed Executive Editor of News
In an episode that originally aired on Recode Decode, BuzzFeed’s Executive Editor of News Shani Hilton talks with Peter Kafka about running the "real" news division of the much-talked-about new media company. She also discusses whether millennials need special news.
Jan 21, 2016
Chris Altchek, Mic CEO
In an episode that originally aired on Recode Decode, Mic CEO Chris Altchek talks with Peter Kafka about building a news site for millennials and the differences among news reading generations. He also discusses what Mic has learned in the past five years and why there's no silver bullet for social media success.
Jan 14, 2016
Albert Wenger, Union Square Ventures Partner
In an episode that originally aired on Recode Decode, Union Square Ventures partner Albert Wenger talks with Peter Kafka about bubble anxiety, mission-driven "benefit corporations" and why tech companies should be willing to work with the government to stop crime and terrorism.
Jan 07, 2016
Rufus Griscom, Heleo CEO
In an episode that originally aired on Recode Decode, Heleo CEO Rufus Griscom talks with Peter Kafka about trying to build a "BuzzFeed for brains" that can distribute Big Ideas to the broader Internet. He also talks about how much things have changed since he launched his first media startup,, in 1997.
Dec 31, 2015
Ev Williams, Medium CEO
In an episode that originally aired on Recode Decode, Medium CEO Ev Williams talks with Peter Kafka about why writing on the Internet today is all about the platform. Plus: Why did Williams and the rest of Twitter's board seemingly change their minds about Jack Dorsey's eligibility to be CEO again?
Dec 24, 2015
Katie Nolan, Fox Sports TV Host
In an episode that originally aired on Recode Decode, the NFL's media czar Brian Rolapp talks with Peter Kafka about why a soon-to-be-auctioned set of games might (or might not) go to the Internet. Plus: What separates live sports from the rest of the TV business?
Dec 17, 2015
Brian Rolapp, NFL Media Czar
In an episode that originally aired on Recode Decode, the NFL's media czar Brian Rolapp talks with Peter Kafka about why a soon-to-be-auctioned set of games might (or might not) go to the Internet. Plus: What separates live sports from the rest of the TV business?
Dec 10, 2015
Ricky Van Veen, CollegeHumor Co-Founder
In an episode that originally aired on Recode Decode, CollegeHumor co-founder Ricky Van Veen talks with Peter Kafka about monetizing content on the Internet and why a lot of that content is moving to "old" platforms like TV. Plus: Who's more powerful, Rupert Murdoch or Mark Zuckerberg?
Dec 03, 2015