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Season 3, Episode 4: Recode (with Kara Swisher)

Season 3, Episode 4: Recode (with Kara Swisher)

Tue, 11 Sep 2018 04:07

In this special episode Ben & David head to Recode’s SF office and sit down in the red chair with the one & only Kara Swisher! Kara tells the story of Recode, from the beginnings of her partnership with Walt Mossberg in the late 90’s at WSJ to the launch of the D Conference and the All Things D blog, to starting Recode and ultimately being acquired by Vox Media in 2015. Kara is someone we’ve long looked up to at Acquired, and it was really special to have her join us on the show. We hope you enjoy the conversation as much as we did!


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That's different. That's just a bunch of white guys talking. Mmm, apple, apple, apple. Oh, that damn Google Facebook. Welcome to season three episode four of A Quiet, the show about technology acquisitions and IPOs. I'm Ben Gilbert. I'm David Rosenthal. And we are your hosts. We're here today to talk about the acquisition of Recode by Vox Media. And in fact, Broadcasting Live from the Recode podcasting studio in the red shares nonetheless. We're here with one of the greatest people, which we probably the greatest person that we could imagine to help us tell this story. All right, okay. The one and only Karris Wischer. Nice to meet you. This is not really the Recode. It's just a studio. We all have to show you now. We're not fancy here at Vox Media. That's why I'm here. Listeners don't know that. Yeah, okay. It's really impressive. We're in suits. We had a really nice view of the Bay Bridge before and our other office, but it was too expensive. So here we are looking at the Trans Bay Terminal, which is buses. Beautiful on its own, right? This is what happens after you get acquired. And then the set, and then the, no, no, that was before we had the night. Well, before we acquired, we started the company and my backyard. So this is much nicer than anything else. Well, we'll get into that. Yeah, okay. All right, listeners. Karris needs no introduction, but I'll do one anyway because it was fun to put one together. Karris, the executive editor and co-founder of Recode. She is the illustrious host of the Recode Decode podcast. She's an absolute legend in the technology industry previously founding the All Things Digital Conference and blog at the Wall Street Journal, which is a pioneer of legitimizing blocking and creating an actually good technology conference. Karris has been called one of the greatest interviewers of our time by as recline and once interviewed Bill Gates and Steve Jobs in their only ever combined interview, actually in the chairs we're sitting in. I actually vividly remember where I was when I watched this for the first of many times. She's interviewed President Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, the mooch, and famously made Mark Zuckerberg sweat through his Facebook illuminati hoodie on stage. She's an amazing storyteller and a renowned author, and we are so, so lucky to have her with us today. That's a nice, I think we'll stop now. I'm seeing. No, you won't get off that easy. All right, well, if you're new to the show, you can check out our Slack at It's the place where David, myself, and 1600 of our favorite listeners discuss episodes right after we release them along with real-time hot takes and some of the biggest tech news of the day. Our presenting sponsor for this episode is not a sponsor, but another podcast that we love and want to recommend called the Founders podcast. We have seen dozens of tweets that say something like, my favorite podcast is acquired and founder, so we knew there's a natural fit. We know the host of founders well, David Senra, hi, David. Hey, Ben. Hey, David. Thank you for joining us. Thank you for having me. I like how they group us together, and then they say it's like the best curriculum for founders and executives. It really is. We use your show for research a lot. I listened to your episode of the story of Akiyama Rita before we did our Sony episodes this incredible primer. You know, he's actually a good example of why people listen to founders until acquired because all of history's greatest entrepreneurs and investors. They had deep historical knowledge about the work that came before them. So like the founder of Sony, who did he influence? Steve Jobs talked about him over and over again if you do the research to him. But I think this is one of the reasons why people love both of our shows, and there's such good compliments. It's not acquired. We focus on company histories. You tell the histories of the individual people. You're the people version of acquired and where the company version of founders. Listeners, the other fun thing to note is, David will hit a topic from a bunch of different angles. So I just listened to an episode on Edwin Land from a biography that David did. David, it was the third, fourth time you've done Polaroid. I've read five biographies of Edwin Land, and I think I've made eight episodes of them. Because in my opinion, the greatest entrepreneur to ever do it, my favorite entrepreneur personally is Steve Jobs. And if you go back and listen to like a 20 year old Steve Jobs, he's talking about Edwin Land's My Hero. So the reason I did that is because I want to find out like I have My Hero's, who were their heroes? And the beauty of this is the people may die, but the ideas never do. And so Edwin Land had passed away way before the apex of Apple, but Steve was still able to use those ideas. And now he's gone and we can use those ideas. And so I think what requires doing what a founder trying to do as well is find the best ideas in history and push them down to generations. Make sure they're not lost history. I love that. Well, listeners, go check out the founders podcast after this episode. You can search for it in any podcast player. Lots of companies that David covers that we have yet to dive into here on acquired. So for more indulgence on companies and founders, go check it out. All right. Well, who dive in? Yes, please. All right. Let's do it. Okay. So, Kerry, you have a super interesting personal story that we won't get into here today. But listeners, of course, you go listen to you on the Ezra Client Show. Sure. Great interview where you talk all about that. Seriously, I think it was one of our car vets while back. Yeah. It was a great, yeah. It was a great interview. It was great. The LiftNuts version is out of school. You work in print journalism to start your reporter in DC, first at the Washington City paper, then at the Washington Post, Reef Detour in TV in between. Again, go listen to the Ezra Client Show. And David's not just saying that, like, so we can save time or something. It's one of my favorite podcasts episodes I've listened to in the past year. Yeah. You should go listen to it. None of that sounds like tech blogging. No. I'm not going to invent tech blogging after that. Yeah. But you do me during that time period, your partner, Walt Mossberg. Absolutely. How did you first meet Walt? And of course, he was also a dessert. Well, I was writing a book because I was working for the Washington Post and I started covering AOL when it was tiny. It was a tiny little company, which I think I talked about in the Ezra Client Show. And so he was an integral part of the early success of AOL. He had a very powerful column in a print column in the Wall Street Journal and personal technology. And he wrote a very positive review of AOL. And so I interviewed him for it because he sort of got a lot of people to use it for the first time. And he picked it over two very big efforts by Sears and IBM. Yeah, Compu Sir, Fraudogy. Compu Sir, Fraudogy. Yes. And so he said those suck and please use AOL. And this was a big giant boost. This is the reason Steve K. Sones half of Hawaii is I think of the Walt Mossberg today. Yeah, but today AOL invented the GIF. That's the... I don't know about that. I don't know. He was the person who did it and so he got what was going on way before other people. And I had already been very much interested in digital stuff. And so he was just in my book. He was beginning of a chapter of a book. And then we just hit it off and both saw things the way print was going the same exact way. And so he then tried to convince the Wall Street Journal to hire you away from the post? He did. He got me in my job at the post and at the journal and they didn't have anyone covering the internet. There wasn't the internet. It wasn't. Well, no, it wasn't because it didn't exist. It just didn't exist. It's like covering cryptocurrency a couple of years ago. There wasn't anyone covering that. But it was 97 when you joined the Journal, right? Yeah, but it really wasn't. It was online services. You can't... There was no Google. There was barely an Amazon. I think I joined in 96 actually. Somewhere in there. But it was barely... Netscape had gone public, but it wasn't very big. You had Microsoft, really. And that was more computing. And it was not internet computing. And so very few people were using the internet. Mark Andreessen was a teenager, I think, in creating the Mosaic browser at the University of Illinois. And so there wasn't. It wasn't that big. People think it was, but it wasn't. But it was real small and Yahoo. When I met them, they had just a few people working there on Amazon, just a few people. So no, it wasn't big. So did the Journal have a tech bureau already? Or did you start? They were covering things like Intel. The chips, they had chip coverage, they had Microsoft coverage obviously, because that was software. They had Apple coverage, mostly downward, the downward facing Apple essentially. And they had stuff like that, but it was all about the hardware essentially and also the chips and the inerts and stuff like that. It was very technical. And so I was the first person hired in that bureau to cover the internet per se, like what it was in online services in Yahoo. And so there was no one covering these people, the site, there was a site, you don't remember that company. No, definitely. So John Doer. Yeah, John Doer was in that one. And they just didn't have people, they just didn't, I was it. I was it. And people made fun of me as I've said many times. Well, Carol, what do you think it was about you that this is weird corner of society that's clearly not a thing yet, but you're all in on it. You're saying the internet is me. Yeah, I got it right away. It's sort of like seeing a movie and going, oh, I think I just saw it and I was very interested in it before when I was at the Washington Post. I was very interested in, we had these little trash 80 computers that we used. I used to write party stories about Washington for the style section. I used the trash 80 and we'd put the couplers on telephones. It was crazy that we did this at like pay phones if you remember those. And then I started liking the phones that we had. We had a portable phone that was in a suitcase and I was obsessed with it and I carried it around. And nobody was interested in it. And I kept saying this makes total sense. Why aren't we using this? Why isn't everybody having? Why aren't we? You just started making connections. And I think I just made connections on just this one thing. And the minute I saw it, when I saw the browser and the World Wide Web, which you called it the World Wide Web, you have to spell it out all the time, you knew. You saw, oh, oh, just a minute. And so there was all these experimentation going on. Like there was a AT&T at this thing called interchange. There's CompuServe and Prodigy. There was all kinds of stuff. But I remember thinking this is going to be going to change everything. And I covered retail for the Washington Post and you could see classifieds. You're going to get screwed. You could see. I remember being mad at deadlines at one point. I'm like, why do we have deadlines? That's stupid. People should get news any time. And I met a lot of people that thought like I did. So there weren't that many. But Walt was one of them. And so I just kept pursuing it. And even though people made fun of me, until they started to be worse something in the 90s and the mid to late 90s. And so that was a boom. That was one of the first boom. The pre-crypto boom. No, it was a boom. It was several booms. That was one of them. The early 90s, and then late 90s, I'm sorry, not the early 90s, were a time when all these companies started to be worth a lot. And there was like Mark Andrieson was on the cover, I think he was 20. The king of something. He was on a throne and he had hair at the time and was barefoot and like this guy is going to rule the universe. So there was lots of attention to it. And Bill Gates got very wealthy. And that was a big deal. When I met him, he was wealthy, but not that wealthy. And Steve Jobs was making his comeback. So. And I mentioned deadlines. You and Walt together, I believe, went to the Wall Street Journal after you've been there for a while. And you're like, we should do a blog. Yeah. Yeah. I got pregnant. I had a baby. And when I came back, I was just fat. I read a lot of blogs and I was away. And I especially Andrew Sullivan had one. There was a If you recall It was great. I forget what that guy's name is. Anyway, it was very funny. I saw some others like TechCrunch and others. And I thought, well, they suck at journalism. Why can't we do that? They don't have deadlines. Yeah, they don't have deadlines. Why can't we do this? We should do this. We should have an ongoing conversation. And we couldn't convince the management of the Wall Street Journal to do it. Was it the edit side? Was it the business side? They were both. They were just ignorant. We just kept saying this is the way of the future. And they didn't agree with us. They were interested in a Saturday journal and things like that. But they did understand conferences. And they had a conference division that was just terrible. And we said, we'll do a conference the right way. And so it was a money making thing from the start. And so it's a good way to get in. And we started with the conference in the early 2000s. And then we moved to the website in 2007. 2007? Yeah. So this was a question. We had five years of the conference going on. Right. Did you always intend the conference to be the way to bring management of the journal around the end of the month? Yes. Yes, 100%. Like, here's some money. Here's some millions for you. And profits. And what reporter brings millions and profits? And they don't bring $10. And if you bring more than $1,000. And I was actually a spreadsheet monk at Dow Jones before I became a BC. It made a lot of money. Yeah. Like, you guys made like millions. 20% of the journal's profit. At some point. Yeah. We called it a self-minister, Mr. 20%. But they were making any money. So that's a low bar. I can confirm that. It was a low bar. We did call ourselves Mr. Mrs. 20%. But the problem the journal made is they made a deal with us where we got a percentage of the profits. So they didn't make that much money. So which is good for me and good for wall. And wallet does a nice TV set and everything. But were you an employee of the journal then? I was originally. And then I went, became a contractor. I did. I didn't want to work for them anymore. And why is that? I don't like working for people. I'm a bad employee. So I'm doing a thing for Forbes on this being a bad employee. Like, I'm a bad employee. I was, hey, hey, bosses. I think they're stupid. I'm rude. I'm just not a good employee. And so I'm a pretty good employee. Well, Vox is great. They never bother me and they're smart enough not to. But they were making decisions about the internet. I thought we're stupid. And I knew more. And I just was tired of banging against my head against a wall. And they just didn't want to do. They were not very into online stuff. They were later. And they had some early stuff. Bill Groose can do a lot of really cool stuff. But they weren't interested in it. They saw it as an adjunct. They saw it as something to beat. They thought it was going to go away. This was not uncommon at newspapers. And I was at the Washington Post. When they started, they had a separate division in Virginia. They kept the online people over there. And I was like, this has to be fully integrated. And I didn't want to be in management. That was the other part. That was an aftermath. So is that why I'm curious? I was going to save this question till later. But you sort of become a half entrepreneur with all things D. But it wasn't until much later that you fully become we could find the gap. We were from the beginning. We got to do what we wanted to do. And the way we kept them at bay was we made money. So if you make money, they shut up. Just bring us the profits. Just here's the bag of money. Leave us alone. Like that kind of stuff. And they kind of did. And Walt had a really big reputation that it was making a lot of money for them in the print publication. Because his Thursdays, when his column appeared, that's where all the big ads were. That was the big ad day for the Wall Street Journal. One of them, he was important for their business from a print perspective. They would do what he wanted, essentially, and should have, because he made them a lot of money. And so they indulged us in this thing and by the way, it made money. And it also brought attention. And then it brought great attention. Because the first year we had gates. We had jobs. Then we had gates and jobs. Then we had this person and that person. It did these amazing interviews that got a lot of attention. And then we had gates and jobs. And so what's to our US? Except they did. Except they did. Did you guys consider though doing it fully independently to start or do you think the timing was wrong in the beginning? We should have. We should have, but it wasn't. We could have. Walt had a great franchise there. I think I was a contractor. So I didn't mind as much to be. A lot of reporters need to be at a big, but that's their identity as being part of the blank. And I felt like it was the first time I realized you didn't need the giant mothership to be famous. You could do it on your own. And I'd seen others do it. There's a lot of people on the internet who became whatever you'd think of Michael Irvington. And I don't think much of him still to this day. He got a great experience. And he just all of them. And Sullivan, who seems to have gone a little crazy too, but they got their own thing based on their own work. And so one of the things I always say to people is if you do the work, nobody can touch you. Like if you do good work, it has to be good work, and it has to either make money or cause attention or something, it has to have some value, whatever that value happens to be. If you do the work, nobody can hurt you ever. Like a lot of people that come to me with political issues at the company, I'm like, do the work. And they're like, yeah, what about this guy? It doesn't like me, I'm like, do the work. Like trust me when I tell you, if you do the work, aside from various issues of sexism and ageism, and things like that, which do exist at every single company I've worked at, if you actually perform, you tend to get rewarded for it. You tend to. And again, women are just trying to do whatever you want. You also have to not care. You have to also not care. I didn't care to be in management. I didn't care to climb the ladder. I didn't care if they liked me. And so that helped a great deal. And you had the leverage that if you go do it on your own, that's also going to be successful. Oh, yeah, they would hate that. They would hate that we succeeded without them. But I don't, you know, okay. And by the way, I also the important thing, which I hate to do, there's such a trope of Silicon Valley, I didn't care if we failed. I didn't care. And I was older at this point. I was much older. You're in your 30s already, right? 40s. Oh, yeah. I'm older. You know, profit sharing with them where you guys took most of it. Did they ever try and renegotiate that? Well, they originally, you know, was interesting. The first year we made, I forget it was a good, it was a good summer money. It was a million bucks or something like that. We made a lot of money. We didn't even try, but nobody was trying it all. We made money. And I remember calling Walt and I said, I think I said this on the other show, did you get the flowers? Because I didn't get the flowers. Like, I said, you fricking flowers if you made your money. And the next year we're like, you're giving us money. And so I think they gave us $40,000 extra. They thought that was like a big deal. And then they didn't want to give us. Like I'm giving you millions. Yeah, like I know. And we were like, oh, well, that's not very much. And so I think it was $40,000 sticks in my head. And then the next year they just didn't want, they were like mad about the $40,000. And we're like, well, give us part of the profits. Like, I don't know why they did it. Like they just did. And so they gave us a third of the profits and it was a lot of money. And they hated it. They hated it. But they couldn't. It was like a three or four year contract. And I remember being in a cab. I remember that. Oh no. It's exactly what you guys wrote. And the real thing is that you don't need to be part of the X to your forehand. No, exactly. No, they hated it. I remember one guy's like, we never should have done that. That was our error. And I'm like, you were so greedy for this short term. You didn't understand. What it did is unleashed the idea that reporters could go on their own, like Jessica Lesson at the information or Kevin Delaney at Quartz. Yep, absolutely. Both Great Wall Street Journal reporters. But they all of a sudden were like, caramate a break for the border. Now I'm going to do it. And so that was the great part. That was the truth. Yeah, so I did. No, we did. It was like, you could. You could. It's worth calling out. Just how much talent you cultivated there, too. Yes, we did. I mean, when you're just naming a couple of names now, but you look at the journal at the journal. That was Kevin. And they weren't at all things D. But we tried to get Kevin to come to all things D, but he wouldn't take the risk at the time. He didn't want to leave the journal. But he then he did. Even to come into D, which was not only part of the journal. He knows that. He knows he knows we talked about it the other day. But there was, I mean, everybody was there at that time. Yeah, we were. I mean, it was like you say, Jessica Lesson. She was Jessica. She's a bit different. Yeah, yeah. At the journal. Yes, that was at the journal. Not at all things D. But we had great, we've had amazing, like my guys, it is amazing. Not only bowls is amazing, they're all at the time. Yeah, everybody was there. Everybody was there. Yeah, we had a lot of people coming through. What was that? We were good at training people. Were you in Walt, like, were you out there identifying people? Were you recruiting? Yes. Yes, yes. Because people wanted to work for something exciting. You know what I mean? And we were doing one of the things we also were doing, which other places weren't doing, is we were running exciting journalism. We were doing like personality, be like Peter Kafka, and who's still at at recode. We were doing like, hey, this Comcast deal sucks, and here's why. That we had that kind of tone. That was a big part of why you wanted to do the blog. You wanted that in opinion, and you didn't, you had this line in another. You wanted to have an informed opinion based on reporting. That is very different than mowling off about something. We knew, like, when I write columns, I've done, Dave, I do checking. I called Mark Zuckerberg when I asked him, when I'm about to say something terrible about Mark Zuckerberg. But, you know, we spent a lot of time doing reporting, and so we had a tone of voice that had, whether it was great features that we did, or like, look at this, or, this is a mess over at Yahoo. We would have narratives, the whole Yahoo things, and we'd have great graphics too. John Petchkowski now works for BuzzFeed, did amazing graphics. Raise the Yang Tannik, which was, you know, the Tannik for Yahoo. We would put a red... Did you call Jerry and tell him you were gonna... Oh, he laughed, he didn't care. Most people, some people care, but we don't care about them. But we put a ball gag in Eric Schmidt's mouth when he kept saying stupid things. So every time he said stupid thing, we'd say, Eric Schmidt said a stupid thing again, today, and Barra's Google, the ball gag goes up. And so we don't do that now, but it was great. And then I had a little camera, a little flip cam that I was like shoving people's face. That was a precursor to a lot of stuff. Yeah. So we would, I'd stick in there and like, hi, how you doing? How you doing? Like, do whoever I was around. And you posted on the site. I just would post him, fold on the sites. And I think people liked that. It was fun. It sort of, we were trying everything different. One time I did a whole story that just said, Apple Twitter, Apple Twitter, Apple Twitter, just to see how many likes we, not how many likes how many is stupid, because nobody cares about anything. And so we were, and then you would just, it would just be honest. And I think that's what was great about it. Like Peter Kafka is a perfect example of that. Great reporting, because he always got the scoops. That's right, we always got the scoops. That was critical. But at the same time, and we got the scoops, whether we had access or not. Like, they gave us access, great. If they didn't fuck you. Like, you know what I mean? That's the kind of thing we feel. Like, don't give a great. I'm good without you, your help. I'm good with your help. But we didn't cultivate that accessi journalism. And yet, we got a lot of access, which I think, having worked at the Wall Street Journal, it was all about access. Like, then we're gonna give it to you first, as an exclusive. I kind of hated that. Like, I don't mind it, but I'm like, ugh, what am I leaving? I feel like a couple of strings attached, right? It always does. And you also, you mentioned this on the, as your client podcast, but your strategy is already know everything that's going on. Yes. And then go talk to them. Yes, or they think you do. Like, there's a whole thing. Off. Okay, I always know everything that's going on, but sometimes I don't. No, I actually do these days. It's really kind of sad. I've forgotten things. Like, I literally have a list of tips people have told me that I've forgotten about. Like, there's a, I have a really good tip on Facebook that I literally am waiting for Kurt, where I know you get back from his honeymoon. Because I know no one will get it. Like, I'm just sitting there, but I would have been in the old days just typed it right up and shoved it out there. But, you know, things have changed in that way. The stuff we pioneered, everybody else copied, or, and we copied from other people, et cetera, et cetera. But everyone iterated on a little bit of our model. And, you know, BuzzFeed has a similar tone. Everybody's done a lot of the stuff we did. And now Jessica's doing these long stories, which people are now iterating on her innovations. So, I think people have caught up to a lot of our tricks. Who reminds you today of the pioneering you back then that was breaking all the rules? Uh, you know, Jessica a little bit. But she's doing a different thing. So, you know, she has those long stories. And I, I, you know, some would axiosis doing kind of, but I think it's, I think it's formulaic and I think it'll get tired after a while. I think that one's gonna exhaust you. Although, certain people, like, I like my gal. And I like some of the newsletters. Got Casey Newton has a newsletter called The Interface that I love recently. I thought he was, I just, I've always, like, tried to bug him about access journalism, but this thing is great. It's totally insightful and useful. What I'm interested in is journalists who make products that people find useful and helpful to their lives, you know, or funny or insightful. And whatever format it takes, I don't care. Like, same thing with podcasts. We started this four or five years ago. I forgot it's four years ago. Well, hold on. We're gonna come back. Okay, all right. Okay, in any case, we just decided, we just decided, we just decided to do things. And that's the environment I wanna be in. Like, I just, now I'm gonna do this. Like, too bad. Same thing with The New York Times, come, I'm gonna do it. Like, did I think about that I worked for a box? Sure, but I don't care. Like, I have a plan. Like, why I'm doing it that way? So. For folks that haven't checked it out, I think a few amazing op-eds. Yeah, I have one a week. I have one a week now. Yeah, there's about five now. I'm gonna have two this week. But last week was on Trump moughing off on, yeah, that ludicrous, you know, about Twitter and Silicon Valley at last. Oh, God. That was very good. Whatever, they're unfair to him. They're unfair. By the way, well, we were gonna ask you, but the mooch, that was my big interview. That was so great. Well, here's a good example of that. So everyone's like, oh, you can't interview him. I'm like, why not? Sure, I can. So I, what I had done, like, I think that's what I, like, I'm having a big fight today on Twitter about banning. They're like, you can't interview him. I'm like, yeah, I can't. No, you can't. Well, I'm going to. So whatever, like, I get your problems with them, but I'm gonna still interview him. But was it- That's what people told us about you. What? Interviewer. What can't we say we can? Yes, you can. Like, whatever. Just wear on your show. Right, exactly. So is that the last- Our clean night- By the way, that's why we like, oh, come on. You don't want to clear. Is there a clean night? No one's listening on it. Tim Cook ain't listening. And by the way, he did a great interview with me recently on MSNBC. But what was I talking about? Oh, mooch. Oh, so what happened was I trolled him on Twitter all the time. He just made me laugh. But I also thought it was appalling in many ways. And so I just kept writing hay scare emoji and then I would make a joke about whatever he had stupid thing he had said. And I forget, there were a lot of them. They went odd and odd, like hundreds of them. They were terrible for me to do. And then I was at this event that John Patel had in Silicon Valley at a restaurant. At this restaurant, there was a thing. And I don't wear my glasses. I don't see very well. And this person was like coming over and his tiny little man was like headed by way with a lot of hair. And I'm like, I don't know who is that. And he comes right in my face and is scare mooch. And he's like, oh, yo. I know you're mean to me on the internet. I'm like, oh my god, scare emoji. And we ended up talking. She's Italian. I'm Italian. It was great. We had a great bunch of drinks. We laughed. And I said, you had to come on my podcast. And he goes, you kidding me? I'm like, absolutely not. And we did it at his office. His crazy office in New York. And it was fun. And I think he was surprised that, because I'm super liberal on Twitter, obviously, and anti-dromp. And he thought, boy, wouldn't she talk to me? But of course I would. Why wouldn't I? He was really interesting. And actually, it was a good podcast. I was having, I mean, it's my favorite interview you've ever done. Yeah, it's one of them. Because the narrative on him was, he's the mooch. He's like caricature. He's not a human. But he is. But he is. But he's also a caricature. Well, yes. Yeah. But you can tell in your interview that there is a method to his madness. There is. There is. But he's still the mooch. He's still the mooch. He's still the mooch. He's still the mooch. He's like, come to my club. I went to his club. Like, why wouldn't I? Are you kidding? Here's a giant steak. All right, I'll eat it. I'm a vegetarian, but I'll go for it. I did. Did you break your rule for sure? Why not? It was a good steak. He's the mooch. Let's pick this back up. So D becomes very successful. Yeah. Your mister misses 20%. Yeah. And while we get towards the end of 2013, the contract for D is up. Yeah, we had signed another one to Rupert Murdoch much to my sugar in that I did that. But when he bought the company, he loved Wal Mossberg. I'll tell you that. He didn't know my name for a long time. But we kind of first contract with them. And then the things, just everything it down Jones. Was that another three-year, do you sign it? Three-year, 20-year. Yeah, something like that. Right when they bought it, we did. Oh, that was 2007. So you signed a couple of them. Yeah, we signed a couple of them. Yeah, I know. We did. We were there a long time. Total of seven. Maybe two contracts. But we're, go ahead. I was my favorite story from my favorite Rupert. So I never actually met him when it worked there. But my desk on the eighth floor in 1211 was, I was hired. There was headcount, allocated for my job. My boss had hired me and Wendy Deng, his then wife. She wanted her personal assistant to take my desk. Oh. And so your desk was taken. So my boss had to go and fight with newscorp corporate and Wendy did. No, no, no. I won. I mean, that wasn't even there yet. But my boss won. I mean, he's a tough lady. Yeah, I like Wendy. And it was a victory. It's a court of victory for us. I started between the two of them at dinner and I'll just can't even go into it. It was quite a night. Yeah. I'm sure. Yeah. All right. So when did you know that the separate? You know, we tried. And then after that, first of all, they didn't want to invest. We had an idea of to do all things, finance, all things, whatever. We had a great idea. And John Miller, who was the chief digital officer at the time, loved it. And then he last. Yeah, yeah. And I knew him super well from writing books on AOL. And I liked him. I think he's super innovative. He's been a great artist and very well since then. But he wanted to do all. He liked the idea, all things, this, all things. Like, you would have a conference. We thought about newsletters, podcasts. We're not thought of at the time. But that certainly would have worked or events, finance, health. We were going to women. We could have owned a lot of categories. And they just didn't want to invest. It was such. I have a section of the paper. You could have your own. Exactly. And then you pick out reporters who are well known. They didn't want to make stars of reporters. I think that might. I don't know why. Maybe they just were busy with whatever they were busy with sports rights and phone hacking. Well, exactly. So that happened. So we had a lot of pushback. We got a lot of hostility from the journal people themselves because we often beat them. And they didn't like that. And we weren't that nice to them. When they stole our stories, we were like, hey, you shoplifters. They hated that. Be collegial. I'm like, we're not your colleagues. So no. Here's my contract. Yeah, I don't work for you. I don't have to be nice to you. And so they just had an old school thinking that we didn't. And they were resentful. I think they were aware of how much money we made. I think they would say that wasn't an issue. But I'm sure it was. They didn't like us being famous also. And so it just wasn't ready for us. Today, they're different. Or maybe they are. I don't care. I don't read the post-reacherials. But in any case, in point. Exactly. I do read the New York Times, which is why I'm there. And then the phone hacking thing happened. And we were like, oh god, these people. We were trying to pretend they're not Satanic. And they are. So what's the phone hacking thing for us? What happened was the only good thing was Wendy swatting away the pie pretty much in that incident. But they hacked the phone of a dead girl, newscorp dead, newscorp internet. And it was run by the swollen. And times of London. And the times of London. And they did it. They did these terrible things that were just so unethical. And while they were like, oh god, can we hang out with these people anymore? They're giving us a hard time. They're not going to invest them. It's we're too small to invest in. But if we want to get big, they won't give us the money to get big. It was just like, they aren't going to do what we want. And we're too small and too big at the same time. It sounded like, you know what I mean? And so it just like, it wasn't going anywhere. And so we went around and interviewed a bunch of people. We wanted to not have venture capitalists. So we interviewed media companies. And we had a list. And we had A, B, and C people. We'd love to invest in us. And we talked to a lot of them. Bloomberg, everybody. What was your hang up with taking VC? I just didn't want to listen to a VC. Eventually, they'd screw me. Eventually, they'd screw me, right? Like, I know them. I covered them. I'm like, eventually, they screw you. So no, thank you. And so we wanted to be careful about it. We wanted immediate investors. We wanted immediate investors who understood media. Because we weren't going to make a ton of money. There just wasn't. We could do OK, but it was an massively scalable business. And so we wanted someone who cared about it and who we could experiment with. And so we went with NBC because we liked the television thing. And we went with Terry Semmel, who would work for Yahoo. He actually was originally a media investor. And he had a media company called Windsor. He did. And he was retired. And he had a venture. Not a venture firm. It was investment firm that invested in media. So you guys raised $12 million. Yes. January 2014, you launched. All things to you. Yep. And we could. You take all things. Well, the journal keeps all things D. They do. We tried to buy it from them, but Rupert wanted $30 million for it. They were going to sell it to us. We offered them a million, which was insane at the time. Because you took every single employee came with you to recon. Yes, they did. And what would that have even gotten you? Did people, like, was there RSS feeds that people would? Just was a name. We had a lot of, we had a lot of, yeah, we had everything. Like it would have been nice to have it. Yes, we would have kept all things C and would have kept the brand name, but they never used it. It's the thing. They did WSJD, whatever that is. And so, but they, they never used it. I was like, it's just pure peak that they did that. It was insane. There was a waste of their money. They could have had a million bucks from me. But, and that was way too much to do. That would have been meaningful to their operating. Yes, exactly. Yeah. It was so dumb and he wanted $30 million. And I remember thinking, you know, I could buy for that much money, right? Like, come on. Like, which have been funny. And I don't know. It just was, it was not a good parting. It was, and they were obnoxious to us on the way. They tried to say they fired us, which was crazy. But, you know, whatever. What, okay, so we got it. We got it. We got it. We got it. We got it. We got it. We got it. We got it. We got it. We got it. We got it. It was a lower case now. Is that the... No, it's just ReCo. I don't know. Yes. The MAST hat is all, right. It's all lower case. It's stand from or came and clean it up, but I don't like the slash. I don't know why I just did it was stupid. And I was like, you should never let me design anything. But, but reco tangerot. Are you Marissa Mayer who's on the weekend? No. And later. No, no. We hired a branding firm and they came up with lots of names and I just found the deck the other day. And this is what ReCo means and this and that. And I did, we just liked it. In a minute we saw it where, like, oh, yeah, that. a bunch of really crazy names like oh god I can't remember. Some of them were wacky. What was it? I was finding it. The parent company was Revere Digital. Yes, that was because we were, what was that for those? Paul Revere. Yeah, Paul Revere. Yeah, it was Walt. It was Walt from that area. Ah. And it was, I forget there was a, there's an obnoxious reason. It was originally called Shut Up and Listen. LLC. That was the original. I think it was called Shut Up and Listen. That's good. Yeah, that was my art. Even you couldn't go with that. No, we did. We went with it for a, it was Shut Up and Listen for a long time and I forget why we changed to Revere. It was something with Paul Revere. I know I've forgotten. Is the Wall Street Journal like the Red Coats or something? Yes, something like that. We're getting that. It was like something like that. I forget. Everything we do is based on obnoxious tendencies. And so we, we had a naming group and they came up with that. And then the guy who owned was a German guy who wouldn't give it to us. He wanted a lot of money. And so we went with, we decided to make Net Sexy. And then you and John Groober, like the Daring Fireball, the two, the two, the two, the two, the two. Yeah, yeah. What the hell? Nobody cares. But nobody, everyone's like, you can't do that. We're like, why? Who cares about this? Nobody types. And nobody types. Right? Exactly. And hello Google. I just put Recode. And so then, and then the guy, we're trying to get And it's owned by the kind bar guy. That guy. What? Yeah. And so something, he just had it. He just, I don't know why. He has it. He wanted to start. Yeah. He has it. He, I think he still does. But anyway, I ran him to a party. I'm like, give me your URL. And he's like, if you do a site, a conference about peace. I'm like, no, fuck you. I'm not doing a conference about peace. I know. I was like, if you're not me, we do actually, but with that by choice. And he wanted, I don't forget, he wanted to lend it to us. He was very nice. He was very sweet. But I wasn't going to be doing a peace conference. And I did not want to rent his URL for any reason. Anyway, we didn't get that. And it was fine. It doesn't matter. Like it's a great name. It's a great name. It's a great name. It's a great name. So you said something a little bit. And then has a code conference. And then Recode, decode, it works perfectly. It's fine. So you said something while back. Then I want to pick back up on you said you, you involved new like this was getting you'd make money. You are already making money. But you knew this wasn't going to be like V.C. scale business. However, at the pretty much the same time you start recode, all of these new insights get started. Of course, box, which we're sitting in box headquarters right now, which has a fun story to itself. But there's Buzzfeed. There's you know, all these companies, they're raising tons of money. VCs are jumping in. Yes. All the content companies. What? What were you thinking when you saw this? Oh, Jesus. Oh, no. Like, because I've seen it before. Yeah. And it always ends in tears. You know, and not good tears. So I was like, Oh, damn. And they were like a business insider. They raised a bunch of money. Then they started getting my they tried to poach my employees for ridiculous salaries. I was like, you see money. You know, in one point when I was trying to hire someone, they I was offering them a lot. What I thought was a lot of money. And then they wanted a lot more. And I'm like, I didn't even want to pay the first one. I'm not going to pay the second one. If I really don't want to pay it. In fact, I'm not paying the first one anymore. And so it was that was that you saw that happening. And then that one, you know, what do they get those guys? Kevin Rus went there a whole bunch of Alex Madrigal, Alex Madrigal went there fusion fusion. They came in and offered like, here's $3 million report. It was craziness. It was craziness. And it was I just saw. And again, I mean, the moneymaker for D and events. Yeah, now the podcast. You know, the that's the old Jeff Zucker quote, you know, for all Jeff's like, he was right. Like digital dollars turned into, you know, or analog dollars, that's digital. Now he thinks it's a quarter more. It's actually doing it for some people. And it was once a good. It was just like, come on. This isn't going to work. I'm not an idiot. And so I was sort of and then we would have had to turn to VC money. And I just was like, I can't fund raise. I can't do my journalism. Like I can't like do the things that make us great. And so I thought we got a sell like I mean, I was like pushing hard, pushing wall, hard. And how far into the business was this six months? Huh. I was like, no, no, no. This could go very wrong for us with the money we have. And so, you know, if there wasn't that fund right, I think you probably would have stayed independent, but that was it was crazy. Mine was the money was being thrown around and it wasn't going to stop. And it could really hurt us. And so I think one of the great things I did learn from tech people was that you move like you move and you don't like stand on ceremony. You know, go, oh, this will work. And you just pan. By moving, you know, make this you don't just. Yeah, you just know only the paranoid survive. Like wait a minute. And I had seen this story before. And so I was worried. And I also didn't think it had any economic underpinnings. And so it was just it was a race to the bottom as far as I could. But there were, but you know, bigger scale, even if it's hard, you have to be bigger. That I just, I felt that. And so I looked around and talked to a bunch of people who were like us. There were several. And did you talk with any of those that had raised crazy money to sort of combine with them? None of them. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. There were offers all the time. It was crazy. Like reporters deal making like it's that you know, you got to get off the train if that's happening. Kara, I got to deal for you. I'm like, no, you don't. And I'm pretty good at deals. But I'm not that good. And you're really bad. And so, you know, really, sir, think of you know what I'm saying? Like no, like no, thank you. Like even VCs are stupid, right? Like I'm not going to have a reporter make a deal with me. So Jim bankoff had talked to me about using their ad system. And I'd known Jim forever because he was there. Well, and I loved him. Corus. Cor, I forget which yeah, it was course. I guess it was course. No, it was courses. They're content management systems. They had an ad system too. In any case, he wanted he wanted he wanted it wasn't called that then, but he wanted us to be part of their ad group like they sell our ad that one of those deals. And I was like, well, why don't we just merge about that? And you don't have anything fancy like we're fancy. We're another revenue stream. We got ideas were well known at brand. It adds we're like your other brands. We're like Vox. We're like Eater. We're like we're in the same zone. And especially the verge, but not but you guys are very different. It's like right. It's well, but it's like Walt went over there. We move that's I think of the merges like we moved like we weren't dumb about it. We were like that's and the consumer stuff really wasn't working on reka waltz consumer stuff. It wasn't we were a tech news site and it adding the consumer stuff just didn't like we didn't try. It just wasn't right from a from a journalism point of view for the product. And so we were doing all this scoop breaking news business stuff and then we had Walt there. And so he was better to give him a bigger audience the verge made more sense. And by the way, we do it. We do anything again if it makes more sense like we're not stupid like like if things change we change. Nothing is sacred. Yeah. Nothing absolutely nothing. And so and so Jim wanted to do some kind of commercial deal where he said let us take this ad sales off your hands. We got this great technology platform and you're like nah it's combined. What about this? And he thought of it too. Like he thought he understood how famous Walt Nywer and how it did add to his brain. It adds to it. It adds to advertiser interests. It adds to buzz. It adds to all kinds of things. And he's a pretty conservative media mogul. Like you know if you can compare him to Shane Smith or even the guys over at Buzzfeed and who Shane Smith. Shane Smith runs vice. God. And vice who now is not running vice because they have some issues because of Shane Smith. And so Nancy Dubute-Crentz I think the lady to come in and clean it up. So anyway so they it was a good match. It was a good match. We've been thrilled. It's been you four years almost now. So it was May May we announced it a code. Yeah we announced it a year later. May May May 2015 you're not you're selling to box. So the deal was done you announced a year later. Yeah. Wow. Oh wow. How'd you keep that under your head? No no no we didn't we didn't come to the conclusion until close to the deal. So he's been a year sort of figuring it out. Because it was 18 months. Yeah we were running it for a year. Yeah it was 18 months. Before you sold but it really was six months when you started. Yes absolutely it was pretty soon. It was pretty soon. And you know it was I thought about the employees I'm like oh I promise them this now I'm doing this and you know I don't it's fine. Like you know what I mean. Every play is right and every you know what they'll all do well they'll all do well. And so they understood that this was an entrepreneurial effort. And again I don't see there's nothing wrong with saying we're going to change our tune. Like there's nothing right. I think you know journalists are super risk averse and they're very rigid and I'm not. So I will literally change at any moment. Well I was going to save this for our tech team section but I want to bring it up now. Facebook. Yeah. That was I think if if I had to rewind back to that time and justify all the VC money going into the space it's that social distribution is eliminating the traditional media gatekeepers you can build new you know timing for the digital age on the back of social distribution. New media was it was in every article. Yeah. What is new media? What is new? Yeah. But the way that's going to play out is it's great for Facebook. It's great for Facebook. Not great for. It's great for racists and anti-Samites. It's great for people Russians. The Russians have worked out well for but not so much for the rest of us. No they didn't come up with a business plan of how to do I'm not saying there isn't one. I just they haven't come up with it in a way that I think anyone feels happy about and they tried everything. We'll get the podcast. Yeah well at one point I remember that when they started Facebook I had all these issues with Facebook live including the fact that I thought people would murder each other on it. I was like oh it seems like a perfect way to kill someone and then show it or do suicide or something like that and I expressed my reservations to them about that issue like wow you don't have control of the rest of your platform now you're an unleashed video platform. All right you incredibly irresponsible people go right ahead but they remember them saying you should do Facebook lives remember that that all the journalists were doing Facebook live and I go and it was like from the top they were like care I usually share or whatever it would lose you Facebook or Chris Cox or whoever and I was like I'm not doing your Facebook lives and they're like why I'm like where do I where's my money where's my sack of money because it's a waste of my time you'll get more users I'm like I don't need I have 700,000 like what they're not making me money like you also aren't your users there right there you're users yeah where's my money like I kept saying where's where's the benefit for care also it's like a it's like a head fake right because yeah you'll get more famous I'm like I am famous like but really what was going on was yeah you're seven years there's all the for all these new media platforms all coming from Facebook exactly I just never saw I literally never saw I was like I'm not wasting I'd rather watch lawn order because that would give me pleasure and but doing talking to people that put a little like sometimes I'll do it to get people to read an article but it doesn't help what's the 700,000 is that it's not even no Twitter is 1.3 and actually dipped when they did their cleaning they're calling and now it's back up the purge when they did the purge right and now this up again to 1.3 or so something like that again it's like Twitter selling add dollars selling ad units against your 1.3 million followers yeah I guess I'm sure half of them are bots so I'm guessing half of them are bots I was just there early that's all I was a recommended user I didn't buy any of them I was an early user and I was on the early recommended list and I think I just was put on everybody's thing I don't think half the people know who the hell I am all right so so speaking of audience size so when you got bought by Fox Media what were your what your audience look like on on recode how's that how big it was yeah small small a couple million has it grown since the acquisition you know we're not as focused on the website I'm not again we haven't been as focused we have been focused on the way I say but we don't see it as just the website or the podcast or the event it's all a group of things they all feed on some kind of flywheel or something it's that's the way you think about it makes sense it's like all journalism is how we look at it whether we break news on our on our podcast we broke plenty of news on the Mark Zuckerberg podcast like hello that like drove a news cycle for two or three days so is that recode is that the recode podcast I don't care again the same thing and then you know then we had Cheryl on stage a code and then we had it just we don't think about like that we don't think of it like that and then the code interviews become news then they become podcasts all our code interviews become podcasts yeah and then we break them up into pieces and then we make news do it for at least one every like three or four episodes yes yeah yeah we did like why not it's all content and I it's and however people want to consume it is really how I look at it I think we definitely are rethinking what is the traditional web news site because it's changed really dry I mean like Bloomberg is doing everything in the world they cover up every piece of information bomb it it out like so you know they do right they have a lot of people a lot of money to do that because they make all those money from the machines and so you have to think really hard is what is your value in each product you're making like I'm super interested in newsletters recently I don't know why because I think Casey's is so good I'm thinking a lot about it like that's an interesting I know there's 2018 we're talking about email news I know they're good but they're good but but I still think some of them are just terrible I start my day with primac right except you don't do all of them so what is it about his that's great what is it about like I'm interested when I would read yours would yeah I would have a different I have a different idea I have a new thing I'm cooking up that I think would be interesting I'm not saying that flattery like I want your tone like yeah yeah but it's going to be in a different way I'm going to I have a different I think newsletters are great but they're they're heavy like I find they pile up yep and so I'm I'm like I still like them they pile up they're like Sunday newspapers how can I get this in a way that's there's a way to do it that's different you want to break news on the show I don't I just I'm still thinking about it I'm thinking hard about it because I'm reading a lot of them and I'm like this is like just the way when I started listening to podcasts I was like all right this is what I think is good what I think is bad and so when we started the podcast it was the same thing everyone's like you can't do an hour and it was two months after the acquisition you started the podcast yes nobody was paying attention did you know how big it was going to get no no yes yes yes because I knew we were because here our bet is that people are smart people smart people like smart interviews yeah people like substantive things it had become a twitchy twitchy little universe of content right and so everyone's getting little pieces of information that made no sense and I thought conversations matter I always thought think conversations matter it's what we do it code but only a certain amount of people get to hear it even though we put them in podcasts at code we have the big swinging you know dicks essentially right you know that's what we have and most of them are but that's pretty much people have to pay the money to make their money to make their money to do it yeah and then when you go down when you go down the stack a little bit there's all these fascinating people you know who should get attention we didn't have a lot of VCs at code for example I just we just didn't and Andrew Mason may have been my favorite sort of pre-code decode that was so blunt honest amazing exactly and so people feel more comfortable in that setting but I could get to people like Chimath like he like we wouldn't have put Chimath on the co-says for poisey great in a podcast or April underwood like you don't know she is but she's critically important or like I had today Nicole Wong who ran the big legal teams at Google and Twitter and was very central to a lot of their early decisions talking about what's happening now like who I wouldn't put Nicole you know I like I know who she is and now you will know who she is and so I think what's what's interesting is that you can do all kinds of different things with the medium and I that's what I liked about it but my premise was that you could do an hour and everyone says you can and I was like yes I can know you can and I was like you know what I'm gonna just do it and I'm not gonna listen it was great about Vox as there was nobody here to say we couldn't like they just didn't they're like oh right try it like it didn't cost anything and I think what's cool is everybody's realized you can do an hour and a half oh we can do more if they're good we did 90 minutes with Mark that everybody listened to that yeah 100% why not it was good like that's the only thing is it just has to be good that is again do the work if you do the work whatever format there's no everyone tries to make all these hard and fast rules of oh this is gonna work that's gonna I don't that's just bullshit you know that like right if it's good if if a product is I have like a criteria it has to be useful entertaining and kind of a you have must have like a must have and if it makes money fantastic if it hits even one of these things it's great so you know I think about the podcast it's useful it's entertaining it makes money and you can't get an interview with Mark Zucker except Cara Swisher's interview like I don't care how many people interview him I did the best one and so you can't get it anywhere else so that's a perfect product as far as I'm concerned you know the conference you can't get people who guest up podcasts talking like they do on podcast and the other format yeah but it's also I can get them talking like that so it's just like so I so that's the whole thing it's like Mark Marin is only Mark Marin doing it you cannot replicate it you can't it cannot be anything that can be replicated you really have to not do like that kind of thing and so my gallon can't be replicated lots of lots of things can't be replicated to to snapchats to chagrin a lot of their things can be replicated and quite well by Kevin's sister on Instagram that's a problem like as delightful as I think snapchat is and my kids love it it's it's replicable and that's a problem you have to create moats around yourself and someone so with podcasts in the future of recode how important is it to the strategy how much are you saying like actually this is kind of the way forward or not paying attention to the website as much I think I'm not writing for the website right now I don't think it's not important by the way we have great journalists doing an amazing job I'm not that interest in that format right now that's all that's just me Cara Swisher it's not we have a great editor Dan Fromer and we've got a great staff and things like that and they're figuring out what they think is the way to go and they're trying different things recently they've been doing a lot of really substance of big articles we're doing less scoops I think but that should be the decision of whoever the editor is not me I have ideas of the way you would do a news website I just don't not interest it's like I paint it over here in paint and now I'm interested in photography and now I like that's how I look at it and so whoever's making the website the recode website it has to integrate into everything else we're doing like our events and the podcast but it's part of the same branding idea like you have to think of that and so the reason I'm interested in podcasts is I love and Peter Kafka has one and we're starting another one coming is because we're interested in creatively ultimately it's creatively interesting to us and so therefore we create work that I think is lottable if it wasn't we'd stop doing it and it also makes a lot of money like that's a great that's and it makes a lot of money you keep that Facebook doesn't exactly it's our money and we make it fair and square pretty much you know that's how we it's a fair and square pretty much so business as far as I can tell and it has all kinds of interesting applications we think we're doing a bunch of live podcasts we're doing a bunch of all kinds there's all kinds of things you can do off of it that are really interesting we also give the opportunity for the recode reporters to do podcasts like Kurt Wagner did a bunch for Peter John a Boolean is doing what she's doing the who is she doing the the guy the auto guy Lawrence Burns you know they get the opportunity to learn how to be better interviewers and stuff like that so it gives us gives that opportunity Jason Delray is doing this I can't say what it is but he's doing a multi part series which will be a short version it won't be a show everyone wants like I want a show like why do you want a show why don't you do four episodes like they are doing on Netflix with certain shows so he's doing one that's really going to be great he's doing two of them that are going to be great to audio things that are just they're going to be what they are and we're going to we have a sponsor for them and that'll be great and so it gives it gives them an opportunity to be the reporters of recode to be creative why do they monetize so much better I just do right now they might not later I think because people really listen to them and they like them and they download them you could they're very quantifiable I think the people can measure them people talk about them you can see they get a lot of buzz and I don't think I think the idea that the audience thinks really hard about where they're getting their content is kind of an old school thing like if it's not on the website it's like well so what if it's in in podcast form so what if it's on the event side so what if it's in a story in a print journal like what if it's a tweet yeah like I tweet a lot like I tweet a lot of stories kind of stuff and unbelievably in this world it's the place where you have a direct relationship with that person instead of this you know yeah you remember we got we've famously got rid of comments six five years ago right everyone was like how how can you do that I'm like I hate them like they're I don't have my voice like it all right well it was interesting because when we took them up first of all I was like you have to have comments and like do we you know and and of course you do I'm like why like they take their their vial they don't add to the the the the benefit they don't help the website in fact all we do is try to like knock things off I'm wasting time my copy editors taking off you know you faggot like I don't need it like you know what do like awful what would I need these awful anonymous people saying terrible things on a website that I run and so we took it off and I remember there was one guy who was just just terrible vial homophobic and a symmetric race everything like this guy was the whole package and he you know he was he wrote me a no an email they somehow find my email and I'm like how dare you and comments I should it's a first amendment I have right to say whatever I want you know that stupid trope and I was like you know get your own fucking website it's my website get out of my bar get out of my bar get out of my bar guess what I'm not giving you a beer like sorry you're an awful vial human being and so it was really interesting and I said Twitter was our comment section really yeah and so it that's where I engage with people a lot I've recently not done Instagram as much because I don't well I'm so glad we ended up podcasting this for how are you liking podcasting boys what do you think it's fun it's not not only is like tremendously fun I never thought it enables people who aren't in media and I mean we're not journalists and we have things to say right you're smart interesting people like why not I don't know us I'm just saying you seem so far you haven't said anything too stupid you know no you haven't said anything stupid so far I'd be the best comment I never got yeah put that on the website you know it seemed too stupid no but I mean it's creative like you know it matter who are and I think again conversation is really important and people like to hear people love great conversation the other thing is David and I do the podcast for a variety of reasons and even though a wonderful sponsor in Silicon Valley bank zero of it is to make any money on the show and the number one reason that we do it is because it allows us a creative journey and self directed education yeah we get to learn stuff that we otherwise would never learn about and it's awesome to get to share it with people but like it lets us quench this thirst of of you know you know we're not in school we're not gonna class as we get to learn me people you want to me yeah I often like I'm not your part I was just I just did a I did an event where I interviewed Sean Hayes you know the guy who was on Will and Grace he's so great yeah he's amazing but he's also a very important producer in Hollywood well don't realize he has tons of shows and uh he was like I love your podcast I said come on it and I was and he's like okay and so I'm going to do that by the way Sean Hayes but I want to talk about the entertainment is because he's doing all kinds of digital stuff and he's a producer and so it was just like I want to talk to Sean Hayes and that would be wonderful on lots of levels to talk to him on lots of things and so that it gives you that opportunity to meet people and and have people surprise you with thoughts and I think that's my favorite part like today the Nicole Wong-Wong was really good she had some thoughts that I she said things and I was like oh I hadn't thought of that like you know what I mean and I love that I love that's my favorite part is learning from the other people well that's the yeah in a lot of ways I think podcasts or we're totally like doing tech themes now instead of later but that's fine we always do that I think podcasts are have really removed gatekeepers for yeah I mean like we're two guys like we're we're not journalists you know Tim Ferris isn't a journalist like you know it's a great podcast it's a great podcast like you know all of the top with the exception of really box podcast which you get into in a sec it's Indies it is in a lot of ways and it's going to be consolidated look it's going to be consolidated you get that like you get the one of the things though I wouldn't take out print all the time that's why I did the times thing like people are like what are you doing I'm like I think print is important I think not just print but a global brand yeah the written word and a global brand and I felt like one of the things that I thought was happening and a thing that I kept banging on for the past year was the irresponsibility of the tech sector and how they had misused their platforms and mismanaged them and I've been talking about this for a long time and so it was fine to do it at recode because but it's like the it's the house or you know it's like the local newspaper and I thought you know what I'm going to get on a global scale and start whacking at these people like you know what I mean like and they're going to pay attention because I want them to do something about it and fortunately there's still a global brand to be able to do exactly and so but I but I don't discount it because I've gotten a whole new bunch of people now paying attention to the messages that I think are important and that's why it's important to think holistically about it's not just podcasts it's not just website like recode it's not just events it's it's not just speeches it's all it's all of them together that gives you these tools that you can reach people in different ways and they each require a different skill all right you talk about consolidation I'm curious more on why why you're sure that it's going to um gonna consolidate when right now we're sort of in this era of of Indies thriving because it always consolidates everything I you know it's interesting I don't know if you know as I have two tattoos yeah many tattoos on my hands so it's centripy and entropy and I could go into like all the ridiculous things about it but it's essentially everything dissipates everything organizes right so there there are two opposite they exist right exactly and so everything moves towards organization everything moves towards consolidation and then it moves towards destruction like in the same right way and so I think that that's sort of a cycle you see that that will happen and I think podcasts everyone's like wait a minute this makes money and then everyone's gonna pile in many we should federate these in a bunch of I know well federated media remember that that was John Patel yeah so that didn't work out so well uh it was a good idea um but you know these things are gonna federate they're gonna federate and then they're gonna unfetterate and then the big companies will get into them and they will suck and then blah blah blah but I think the matter what like the reason Mark Marren's popular is only one reason is a great podcast right yeah you cannot make that you cannot make you just can't like you can't replicate you can't change it and so that's so I think I'm not that worried about the consolidation but I do think there's gonna be a few places that are gonna are creative at making them and therefore like box box gimli there's a bunch of them that are really good at making them and some will have a certain style you know the you know like the daily with the New York Times Michael Barbarra is a friend of mine and I think he's they're great they're so creative they're who'd have thought that I'm talking about what a mad yeah newspaper stories every day telling you how I put together stories nothing could be more boring and I can't stand the ones they have in the newspaper right this is how we put together I'm like I don't want to hear you I want to hear Michael Barbarra'll do his mmm hmm hmm but he goes beyond the story right so it just works and the and the that team there is so talented the team of people who put that not just in but there's a whole pack of people there that are just so good and tell a story in a great way well I think that's our category consolidation we we categorize each acquisition yeah in a way I was gonna go business business line so the way that we do is for people in the show we decide what category the acquisition was was it people technology product business line asset or consolidation and I mean I was gonna go business line because for me it's really like picking up a whole new P&L and running that P&L independently and hoping it expands and you know realizing synergies I'm saying that every episode now is pissing me off it's okay it's a good one but you know with with wall it going across and and writing it at the verge but as effectively it's still its own business unit that you're buying for hopefully the summer future cash flows yeah yeah but it's other things there's more things to it like you advertise your interest the client started his show right around the same time you did right well you know he came to me when he was starting it we had done ours no he did it after after so there you go it's like when he came and he said what should I do and he wanted to like interview like the deputy secretary of agriculture I'm like can you do some interesting people yeah bring in Biden Biden I kept saying Biden would be good and he's like well I'm like no Biden he'd be like a people in love to hear from Biden and he's a very good interviewer and he's he's more wonky and he's definitely more wonky should call something wonk something he should but I was already wonk if you remember in wonk blog and things like that and that was at the I think that was at the Washington Post where they were I believe I believe it was in adjacent to them so I don't think they could take that he's like you didn't start wonk blog I love I was like trying to make a joke there it landed flat oh sorry I love Ezra Ezra and I are of the same mind I would say have a lots of things we'll be doing more together in the future I think he's really great yeah he's great all right well that blows my acquisition categories and that's consolidation and what would have happened otherwise you would have failed on your own yeah to speculate on that I'm curious that's a good probably maybe not I know what it's failed me and well sold to someone else for a different price later we would have sold we might I might have been smart enough to sell it to someone else yeah yeah I think I was smart I did I sold it I'm sorry I you would have failed to have meet the return thresholds of the 12 million dollars you raised I don't think they cared yeah so I can investors eating care that I don't have VCs hey you get the investors you ask for I got money from Terry I called him to thank him for I think they gave us five million dollars due to first and I kept not being able to reach him it was he's such a lovely man and I go hey I finally reached him I afraid it was gonna start dinny at wherever the hell he was on his yacht and he goes I go hey Terry thanks for the five million dollars we got in the bank and he's like oh good you again yeah he goes no he knows it was and he goes he goes oh good good good for you I hope you enjoy it and it was like literally like uncle game what's the gift like yeah he's like good luck with that and I was like okay it was a big bite and I was like all right see yeah and it was really like I was like he's not gonna bother me in any way for that money ever again and he actually got his money we got the second box anyway yes okay the sale to Vox more or less than the 12 investors all made their money back oh yeah they all took Vox stock they all they could have gotten cash they they took Vox stock I think I don't know fault I don't know what everybody did but I'm pretty certain they did yeah it was more cool let's go right but it's all those like yeah content valuation so I don't know I don't know right yeah well speaking I've we've already covered a lot of tech the ms we'll see where it ends we'll see where Vox ends too that's like it's like she's creating yeah all right Karen you want to be on the hot seat go for I mean you know I know a lot of a big shareholder so this is how we grade in the show so we we decide you know the acquireer with all their might and resources and interesting things they could do with their shares and their capital was it a good use to buy this company yes well well you got a great 8 f it's a plus Instagram 1 billion into hundreds of billions of value f you're familiar with yeah so there must be a point in there somewhere yeah yeah I got that um I would say I would say a b plus at least if not an a yeah I would it benefited in lots of ways yes yes there's no downside there's absolutely exactly made their money back they they there's no and also they get a good name they get good journalism they get I think they've done pretty good on most of their of their acquisitions it seems like all the you know they had ran into trouble with one but it still was a great journalistic product racked that they still a great journalistic product um and I think they did the right thing with it so I don't consider any of those a failure I think they have very good taste in how they do things yeah I do I think just like any content company they're going to run into the same issues of content companies like that buzz they're in the same they're not exactly in the same boat buzz you spent more money but they're in the same um content media's hard like that's their problem that's the problem they have media she's hard oh real real quick just just to throw it like the um do either you know the what the valuation of box media was at the recode acquisition and then what it is now so something they've raised it like it's a unicorn now they announced it 1.1 billion yes yes yes it's it's much higher and who knows if they could ever solve for that like all of them I think Buzzfeed was 1.5 yeah right yeah box was 1.1 if I remember from the news stories and then I was mashable and ash was some ridiculous sum and then it sold for like a song kind of thing so to the extent that so I believe they're way no no they're higher they're a higher yeah they're a higher they're a way higher they're up there I'm glad to be down in low lands with with the box people and although it's still a lot but entrepreneurs know you know the lower your valuation the more upside the you know I don't know who would buy God any of these companies it's hard to do right now it's not the greatest time well it's not like any content companies well it won't calm cast I don't know I guess yeah they're big NBC yeah sure but why like you have to think if I had to go write a news they see the way I think about like I remember writing about Tumblr being bought and they were on the edge of like death essentially and I all the tip I got was it was being acquired by a company for a billion it's a I didn't hear it was Tumblr a content come a digital content company is being acquired by Yahoo for a billion dollars that's just somebody intentionally encrypting it just they just said that that's all I got and I was like okay and I call myself Sherlock homo all right Watson who's your Watson I just made my cat my cat and and I was like okay and I made a list and I was like this is what they would buy this is what they'd be interesting this is what I know she likes do you know what I mean I know her tastes and stuff like that and Tumblr was third on the list because she wants to be helpless a hip and you know I mean even Twitter was on Twitter was on there you know and I started making calls as if I knew and I so I called up I knew all the investors of Tumblr and I knew they're in trouble and I was like she could possibly spend this amount of money on this couldn't be this stupid and but I will try it and I literally went I said oh so yeah I was buying you and I like how did you know and I'm like thank you I have my ways I know I was like I'm so smart you're so good care I'm like mm-hmm that good you're so stupid I want to tell me can you freeze that in a direct quote please yeah but it was really fast but I all I did was I I thought about it like I strategized it so I think about like box and those things all the time like like box concast yeah but why like what would it Steve Burke like why would he need this what would it add like you know same thing if you bought BuzzFeeder if you bought any of these companies or anything that's how I think about everything like who would but when Twitter was the rumors were who would buy Twitter this and this would they want to buy this and everyone was like Google's gonna buy Twitter I'm like no they're not they don't want to buy that mess like like but you know that's how you you have to think I could you I could see like a Verizon yeah someone that has distribution who can marry great come look how does the work out for the day yeah one didn't work out like that works in theory in theory yeah or it will work one day the platonic form of that will be realized okay sure like look at look at look at I will see maybe clear channel I don't know yeah I don't know newscorp newscorp back to new rupor how would how what would that have to be for you really running this court anymore I think he's quite lively I suspect I've heard we had James Murdoch on stage the other day he's I don't think he's staying with that I think it's gonna be locklin and rupor at the other place I'm gonna see I think that's what he said that's what he said didn't he he had no no no he said on stage just recode media I think he did scooped he's doing investments he said it he said it publicly like I'm not telling you anything you know well there we go who's that might one of my scoops I forgot I think it's an a- because I this is my own narrative my head is it's clearly been evident in the episode but like I just I don't think box boxes like the biggest player in podcast right now mm-hmm no NPR and and PR is not doing pocket okay NPR distributes radio shows on podcast yeah that's the they're not making native pocket not new ones everyone's trying to copy the daily is really pretty yeah and they're they just announced what I think NPR just in this plus I think as we've talked about a little bit on the show the whole podcast business model is about to go through a lot of positive disruption where people are gonna pay creators direct yes and Vox now has probably the biggest aggregated audience of podcast listeners in America yeah outside of NPR which already monetizes through direct um payments so for whatever they paid for recode to help jumpstart that like I think it's fantastic yeah is it an Instagram yeah sorry care I don't think no but on a lot of levels sometimes I think should I have just done those on my like like as well right yeah I would have had a lot like I'm thinking of like um that guy who does the uh Ben Thompson or that's what I was gonna bring up yeah then some days it's like oh that would be me I know can you write that much how does Ben Thompson write that much every day he lives in Taiwan that's not the one is nothing it doesn't give him more than 24 hours it just gives him a jump in the morning I could do I could do it I could do it I could do it I just have to stop doing other things but yeah do you do you pay for us your techry I do yeah I think I do yeah I do I think we have one three code um I think he's uh he's really interesting I think all those people aren't I think about those things like what do you need anything like I always am trying to go for like I'm not trying to Maria condo everything and I'm deaf I like look when I did the time thing I didn't leave Fox did I like there's ways to do it I think what what these tech all these media companies have to think about is how do you keep really creative people interested all the time how do you keep a like an antiracic and interest in the New York Times how do you keep a a star does their stars now yeah how do you keep the but how why not keep them creative they create more great things that make more money like how do you do that as any like if you're vanity for anything how do you keep creative people interested and reward them in the way that if they make money how do you help reward I think that's an interesting thing none of this is scalable obviously because it's all human you can't AI this thing right so right that's the only issue but if you're just in media I think it's going to be a lot more um I'm not a sports person what's a call when someone is free agent it's gonna be a lot more free agents yeah yeah yeah you see contracts for what kind of like you had you involved with the journal yeah I have three contracts so I have one with NBC because I do my mmsmbc show uh it's periodic interviews I do based like Tim Koch we did the Google guys um I've got a contract with the New York Times and I employed by box media so there you go yeah yeah yeah it's better than sports you can play for three years yeah yeah it's interesting I just think about it you wouldn't have been able to do that many years ago yeah that's interesting I find that fascinating my logic isn't any different but like I can't be and I can't be anywhere close to an A because we know of like on the show A's mean like in the same multiples on billions of dollars so you know I'd be you have a high curve then you're just grating on an Instagram really well you have to give them a roll F's we're all freaking us well you got it it's log with me my son got it speaking of grades my son got a day in math a couple of years ago and uh he he he's got nasi math too so it's kind of a we just didn't like this teacher at one point and he remember him saying to me um he got I go low he had D I'm not that hard on my kids about grades I was like but a D come on and he goes well at least it's not enough and I was like it is an F D is an F like a D is an F in this household a D is an F period yeah it's just like the the the the schools just won't go to F though D is like you got an F but I'm giving you a D you can tell me gave AOL time order a D D oh D yeah we did no that wasn't enough that wasn't enough I would not for some of the entire book yes exactly but I'm telling you it was the right idea it was absolutely the right idea it was the wrong time and the wrong people but it was certainly the right idea what we're talking about media and the internet here so it was the right idea it was just early and a bunch of assholes running the show so I wrote a book on it they were assholes all sides bend you want to do like around just like the right one so uh we got it we got to know what's a day in the life of Cara Swisher like hmm I wake up I wrote a I wrote a column this morning and then I came in here and did a whole bunch of podcasts I'll spend some time tonight thinking about some live events we're gonna do and some the next MSNBC thing I make a lot of calls I call around I talk to a lot of people now that I'm doing the column I spend a lot more time talking to people I'm starting to plant Peter and I just went to Phoenix to look at some hotels for code we have to move the hotel yeah and then we so I'll work on that I'll work on some hotel stuff and thinking about that I'll work on code speakers we have a new list of who we want for next year I'll often I'll fly places to meet different people I'm gonna meet some pretty well-known people going to fly to see them I try to ask people in person to come to code a lot of times I think it's a hard I've a hard time saying no to me yeah yeah hello hi did you show up I know I'm coming I was coming for lunch very few people turned down lunch for you one of the things that I think is a big close everyone's always like how did you talk to them I'm like I call them like people will talk to you like if you get their emails and you write them they will write you back like it's really interesting and anyone anyone if you get their emails we'll write you back and if you ask the question how do we we emailed you yes did I write you that you did write a thank you there you have it if you seem like not crazy I'll write you back so I I'll go visit people I'll do a lot of lunches I'm trying to think of the next couple of days it's a lot of podcasts of the next couple days some events a bunch of events like next week I'm interviewing Maggie Haberman at Lesbian Soutek we're gonna make a podcast out of that again and we're doing I'm doing Jane Lynch she was a friend of mine actually we're in we're gonna make a podcast out of that so a lot of events I do outside of Vox I we make into podcasts because that's that's the price of admission for me doing it we're doing oh 90 second street why thing so we do a lot of live events we go to a lot I do a lot of live events and then and I'll always do panels with and you have to do with women's issues or young people that's it that's it then I have my kids hang out with my kids hang out with my different people family my mom so not busy at all not busy at all I'm real busy I have a great family all right you're running for Mara San Francisco in 2023 give us an update I don't think I know no I think London breed is good I think she's good I don't want to like I think she's good I don't think anyone expected at die and I think I'm gonna give her a chance she seems like she deserves one and that's a good reason I was just doing that because of my point I was trying to make is someone's got to fix this friggin mess here it's mess and so I think I was trying and at the time I really meant it it was like someone's got a you've got to get away from all these career politicians she seems some of her stuff I'm really interested in we'll see we'll see I mean it's an incredibly difficult job that she's got but I like some of her moves visiting the homeless things I like her whole PR that I like it I like it I like it she's bringing scooters she seems sensible she seems like same thing with like Stacey Abrams in Georgia I'm really interested in politicians like that I think she's really sensible and she she comes to compromises she's not angry she's not like in partisan I don't mean angry I mean partisan like in a way that's inflexible I like I like politicians like that so we'll see I'm hoping have her mayor breed on the show I would hope that would happen we've asked best of luck oh oh all right what one more nobody we don't get across your whole career you think you trying I'm gonna try why not heard it here first well then we'll have an answer to this next question across your whole career what work are you the most proud of the gates jobs fit the interview was great I think it's hard not to top that I think it was great because lots of reasons historic it was important it was a great interview it was revelatory I think it was emotional I think that was really great I think some of our coverage of Uber was great what we did yeah getting him fired was if we were just one small part in that effort I thought that was good that was time well spent a lot of the interviews of code or or in recode and all things do you're gonna be historic I know it like nobody has done those interviews our Elon Musk ones although I think he did some crazy today but you you you you had him he was speculating on the multiple universities on simulation in simian not multiple simulation where we're a pawn of other creatures that was a great interview that was a fantastic interview that was a real insight to him when you know even my Kim Kardashian interview was great I you know some of just I think there's a body of work there I was thinking the other day like someone's like you know oh you've got to keep trying I'm like retire right now like we have a I have a like wall did he had a body of work that was so substantive and so important and these interviews were going to go down it like if a hundred years people were going to look at those interviews some of them not all of them some of them and they're going to matter they're going to matter and so everything we do now is just gravy as far as you know what I mean and so that's a really good way to look at it is there's no downside to anything we're doing and so we can continue to push upward so you're your jobs and gates interview is so formative to me it was yeah I think I said something about it earlier but I watched it a dozen times first in a bunch of tiny clips says it dribbled out and then eventually the whole thing yeah newscorp didn't want that they came back later when we were using some of those clips or something else and they're like that's our IP I'm like no you gave it away we got you to give it away years ago was so great such a moment we got more rooper to sign it away in the worst it was great that was a great and we wanted to put that on for all of humanity I mean in in in lieu of doing carbats today that that to me I think you asked Steve about he and Bill's friendship yeah and he responded with the Beatles line the Beatles at the end you and I have memories yeah oh that made everybody cry and almost made me cry oh he planned it he was such a manipulative person I'm gonna go away but I like the one where I said what what what we ask good questions actually there's two interviews that one when we asked him what what is the thing you don't know about your relationship with gates and he said oh wait for for a long time we've been married it was so good and gates was so disturbed by because you could see like flickering I'm not anti-gay but I am but I can't like oh my god what did he just totally got him that was a great moment and then I have to say the last interview he did gates did I mean jobs did with Walton I right before he died it was pretty close before he died and he was just skinny as can be and just emaciated and very weak but I got to tell you go watch that interview he go physically watch it because it's you can't get it by the voice he is so vibrant as a person I know there's all these controversy about his daughter and everything else he was a shitty father and you know everyone he's a shitty father like it looks dark least I don't know about his other kids and obviously she's she has to talk about it and but that interview I have to say he was so vibrant and full of life about he really exemplified all a lot of the good things I like about Silicon Valley about like keeping going and the relentlessness of him was there and the he had more energy than anybody in the room and he was about to die and I thought that was kind of cool that's a real and he answered and I think I asked him I think one of the best questions I asked him ever was what do you do what are you going to do for the rest of your life I think that's I just and you could see everyone like did she just ask that that guy's about to die and I was and I did it on purpose what are you going to do the rest of your life and he started he knew what I was doing and it was great because he couldn't believe I asked it I think but no he couldn't he didn't mind he never minded stuff like that and he said he was like okay this is what I do with TV like as if he was going to live for 20 more years and I thought that was a great answer he didn't go like on my waning days I shelf contemplate the universe or whatever he knew he was he had to know he was dying maybe he didn't I don't know but it was a great that was that was my favorite interview I think I thought that was in terms of but you know just the recent Zuckerberg interview I thought was very good I thought to change things I thought I got him to say things we all knew he thought that he never said and I think I wasn't unkind and I don't think I snarked at him and I thought I allowed him to speak and he just I thought that was a really good and revelatory interview so so that's him and the next one whatever I do the next one we'll see maybe Elon next yeah he on the final day I don't know we'll see with him that he's I'd like to interview him again can you just get some sleep first I don't know something's going on yeah something's got something something who knows I don't know we all have our crosses to bear right I haven't I think that's the like the big thing is like they're people they're people yeah they're people do anything else you want to leave our listeners with just do the work please just do the work and then you'll do you be just fine again there's so many ways that people get in your way whether you're woman in sexism or person of color it's racism or anti-semitism you were absolutely gonna face those things and don't don't let anyone tell you that's not holding you back but if you keep doing the work I do think you can succeed you can succeed in a way and be very happy with your work I think and I know that's easy to say but I think it's it's always helped me I think that's it thank you Kara thank you Kara that was a great interview I appreciate you guys are very talented if you aren't subscribed and you want to hear more you can subscribe from your favorite podcast client you can follow Kara on Twitter Kara working they follow you on Twitter um they can find me at Kara swisher excellent yep I got one of the early ones I was like I had I have that I have swisher at GMMilla think or one of them one of those early ones I think my type Kara swisher email tips to swisher at GM whatever I'm not going to answer that when I never use it but um but I have some a lot of the early everything which is because I was there awesome well if you like the show review us on iTunes come join the slack or don't and enjoy whatever podcast you listen to in the future thanks everyone