638 episodes

Decoder is a show from The Verge about big ideas — and other problems. Verge editor-in-chief Nilay Patel talks to a diverse cast of innovators and policymakers at the frontiers of business and technology to reveal how they’re navigating an ever-changing landscape, what keeps them up at night, and what it all means for our shared future.

Decoder with Nilay Patel The Verge

    • Business
    • 4.4 • 25 Ratings

Decoder is a show from The Verge about big ideas — and other problems. Verge editor-in-chief Nilay Patel talks to a diverse cast of innovators and policymakers at the frontiers of business and technology to reveal how they’re navigating an ever-changing landscape, what keeps them up at night, and what it all means for our shared future.

    The risky new way of building mobile broadband networks

    The risky new way of building mobile broadband networks

    In 2019, the Trump administration brokered a deal allowing TMobile to buy Sprint as long as it helped Dish Network stand up a new 5G network to keep the number of national wireless carriers at 4 and preserve competition in the mobile market. Now, in 2022, Dish’s network is slowly getting off the ground. And it’s built on a new kind of wireless technology called Open Radio Access Network, or O-RAN. Dish’s network is only the third O-RAN network in the entire world, and if O-RAN works, it will radically change how the entire wireless industry operates.
    I have wanted to know more about O-RAN for a long time. So today, I’m talking to Tareq Amin, CEO of Rakuten Mobile. Rakuten Mobile is a new wireless carrier in Japan, it just launched in 2020 – it’s also the world’s first Open RAN network, and Tareq basically pushed this whole concept into existence. I really wanted to know if ORAN is going to work, and how Tareq managed to make it happen in such a traditional industry. So we got into it – like, really into it.

    Links:
    Rakuten
    Rakuten Edge Cloud
    "Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM"
    Rakuten Group to Acquire Mobile Industry Innovator Altiostar
    Gadgets 360
    Massive MIMO

    Transcript:
    https://www.theverge.com/e/23061797

    Credits:
    Decoder is a production of The Verge, and part of the Vox Media Podcast Network.
    Today’s episode was produced by Creighton DeSimone and Jackie McDermott and it was edited by Callie Wright.
    The Decoder music is by Breakmaster Cylinder. Our Sr Audio Director is Andrew Marino. Our Editorial Director is Brooke Minters. And our Executive Producer is Eleanor Donovan.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    • 1 hr 22 min
    Why Hank Green can’t quit YouTube for TikTok

    Why Hank Green can’t quit YouTube for TikTok

    Today I’m talking to Hank Green. Hank doesn’t need much introduction. In fact, he invited himself on Decoder to talk about YouTube's partner program, which shares ad revenue between YouTube and the people making videos. The split is 55/45 in favor of creators. But other platforms don't have this. There is no revenue share on Instagram. There is no revenue share on Twitter. There’s no revenue on Twitter at all, really. And importantly there is no revenue share on TikTok: instead there’s something called a creator fund, which shares fixed pool of money, about a billion dollars, among all the creators on the platform. That means as more and more creators join TikTok, everyone gets paid. You might understand this concept as: basic division.
    This episode is long, and it’s weedsy. Honestly, it’s pretty deep in our feelings about participating in the internet culture economy, and the relationship between huge platform companies and the communities that build on them. But it’s a good one, and it’s not really something any of us talk about enough.

    Links:
    Vlogbrothers
    Decoder interview with YouTube Chief Product Officer Neal Mohan
    Viacom Has Officially Acquired VidCon, A Global Online Video Convention Series
    Patreon Acquires Subbable, Aligning the YouTube Stars
    The Verge EMAILS t-shirt
    Crash Course
    SciShow
    Eons
    The medium is the message
    The Kardashians hate the new Instagram
    Hank Green: So… TikTok Sucks
    Waveform: The MKBHD Podcast, “TikTok vs YouTube with Hank Green”
    Decoder: The videos that don’t work on YouTube and the future of the creator business with Nebula CEO Dave Wiskus 
    Awesome Socks Club
    Awesome Coffee Club

    Transcript:
    https://www.theverge.com/e/23051537

    Credits:
    Decoder is a production of The Verge, and part of the Vox Media Podcast Network.
    Today’s episode was produced by Creighton DeSimone and Jackie McDermott and it was edited by Callie Wright.
    The Decoder music is by Breakmaster Cylinder. Our Sr Audio Director is Andrew Marino. Our Editorial Director is Brooke Minters. And our Executive Producer is Eleanor Donovan.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    • 1 hr 15 min
    Rent the Runway CEO Jennifer Hyman thinks clothing rental is inflation-proof

    Rent the Runway CEO Jennifer Hyman thinks clothing rental is inflation-proof

    Today we’re talking to Jennifer Hyman, co-founder and CEO of Rent the Runway.

    Rent the Runway is a a pretty simple idea: it’s a clothing rental and subscription business for women which launched in 2008. The basic idea is pretty simple: you can rent clothes one by one, and Subscribers pay a certain monthly amount for a certain number of pieces that they can swap out anywhere from 1 to 4 times a month depending on the tier of their membership. Rent the Runway also lets customers buy secondhand clothing either after they rent it or just outright. 

    But Rent the Runway has had a pretty intense path from its founding in 2008 to going public in 2021: the onset of the pandemic in 2020 cratered the business as 60 percent of customers canceled or paused their subscriptions, and Jennifer was forced to make drastic cuts to survive. But she says that now things are swinging back, as more and more people are spending their dollars going out, traveling, and generally shifting their spending from things to experiences. There’s a post Covid wedding boom going on: Rent the Runway is right there for people.

    Jenn and I talked about that swing in the business, but we spent most of this conversation talking about running a company that basically does really high-risk logistics: sourcing clothes, sending them to people, getting them back, cleaning them, and sending them out again. Spotify and Netflix run subscription businesses where the products never wear out or get dirty; Jenn has to deal with red win stains at scale. In fact, Rent the Runway runs one of the country’s biggest dry cleaning operations, which I find to be completely fascinating: what does dry cleaning innovation actually look like, and how does it hit the bottom line?

    My favorite episodes of Decoder are the ones where simple ideas – renting clothes – turn out to be incredible complicated to execute. This is one of those.

    Links:
    Apple defends upcoming privacy changes as ‘standing up for our users’
    Rent the Runway, a secondhand fashion site, makes its trading debut.


    Transcript:
    https://www.theverge.com/e/23041884

    Credits:
    Decoder is a production of The Verge, and part of the Vox Media Podcast Network.
    Today’s episode was produced by Creighton DeSimone and Jackie McDermott and it was edited by Callie Wright.
    The Decoder music is by Breakmaster Cylinder. Our Sr Audio Director is Andrew Marino. Our Editorial Director is Brooke Minters. And our Executive Producer is Eleanor Donovan.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    • 1 hr 9 min
    Is the metaverse going to suck? A conversation with Matthew Ball

    Is the metaverse going to suck? A conversation with Matthew Ball

    All right, let’s talk about the metaverse. 
    You probably can’t stop hearing about it. It’s in startup pitches, in earnings reports, some companies are creating metaverse divisions, and Mark Zuckerberg changed Facebook’s name to Meta to signal that he’s shifting the entire company to focus on the metaverse.
    The problem, very simply, is that no one knows what the metaverse is, what it’s supposed to do, or why anyone should care about it.
    Luckily, we have some help. Today, I’m talking to Matthew Ball, who is the author of the new book called The Metaverse: And How It Will Revolutionize Everything. Matthew was the global head of strategy at Amazon Studios. In 2018, he left Amazon to become an analyst and started writing about the metaverse on his blog. He’s been writing about this since way before the hype exploded, and his book aims to be the best resource for understanding the metaverse, which he sees as the next phase of the internet. It’s not just something that you access through a VR headset, though that’s part of it. It’s how you’ll interact with everything. That sort of change is where new companies have opportunities to unseat the old guard.
    This episode gets very in the weeds, but it really helped me understand the decisions some companies have made around building digital worlds and the technical challenges and business challenges that are slowing it down — or might even stop it. And, of course, I asked whether any of this is a good idea in the first place because, well, I’m not so sure. But there’s a lot here, so listen, and then you tell me.
    Links:
    Matthew Ball on Twitter 
    Mark Zuckerberg on why Facebook is rebranding to Meta 
    Microsoft, Meta, and others are founding a metaverse open standards group
    Android emoji will actually look human this year
    Apple’s app tracking policy reportedly cost social media platforms nearly $10 billion
    Microsoft and Activision Blizzard: the latest news on the acquisition
    Microsoft HoloLens boss Alex Kipman is out after misconduct allegations
    European Parliament Think Tank memorandum—Metaverse: Opportunities, risks and policy implications

    Transcript:
    https://www.theverge.com/e/23033211

    Credits:
    Decoder is a production of The Verge, and part of the Vox Media Podcast Network.
    Today’s episode was produced by Creighton DeSimone and Jackie McDermott and it was edited by Callie Wright.
    The Decoder music is by Breakmaster Cylinder. Our Sr Audio Director is Andrew Marino and our Executive Producer is Eleanor Donovan.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    • 1 hr 20 min
    Land of the Giants: Facebook gets a facelift

    Land of the Giants: Facebook gets a facelift

    This week, we're sharing the first episode of Land of the Giants: The Facebook/ Meta Disruption. Long before Mark Zuckerberg renamed Facebook Meta and made an unprecedented pivot into the metaverse, he invented a feature that turned Facebook into a social network behemoth. The News Feed, which put your friends’ status updates onto your homepage, changed the way we interact online. It was a strong statement of Zuckerberg’s values: that connecting, and sharing, at scale would be de-facto good for the world. It was also his first public controversy. Follow Land of the Giants to get new episodes every Wednesday.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    • 28 min
    How arson led to a culture reboot at Traeger, with CEO Jeremy Andrus

    How arson led to a culture reboot at Traeger, with CEO Jeremy Andrus

    Happy Fourth of July to our listeners in the States. Decoder is only a year old, but we’ve decided a Decoder tradition is that every summer, we’re going to do an episode about the outdoor grill industry, which is gigantic and growing.
    Last year, I talked to Roger Dahle, the CEO of Blackstone Products, a griddle company that blew up on TikTok and actually went public a few months after we talked.
    This year, I’m talking to Jeremy Andrus, the CEO of Traeger, which makes beloved wood pellet smokers with all sorts of features — the high-end models even have cloud connectivity so you can control them from your phone. Traeger also recently went public; the company says it will book between $800–850 million in revenue this year.
    The Traeger story is fascinating: the company was around for 27 years and not growing very much when Jeremy bought it with the help of a private equity firm and became the CEO. He had no background in cooking; he had previously been CEO of Skullcandy, the headphone brand. His early run as CEO of Traeger was a bit of a nightmare, culminating in an arson of a truck at one of Traeger’s warehouses. Jeremy responded by cleaning house, replacing most of the team, and moving the company from Oregon to Utah.
    Since then, Traeger has grown its revenue by 10 times and hopes to close in on a billion dollars in revenue soon. But, it has all the challenges that come along with shipping big, heavy hardware products through the supply chain crisis, looming recession, and changing consumer behavior as one version of the pandemic seems to be ending and people are spending their money on travel instead of home goods. Jeremy was game to talk about all of that; we really got into it.

    Links:
    ​​How Traeger's CEO Cleaned Up a Toxic Culture
    Jeremy Andrus Found Success With Skullcandy. Now He Hopes To Do It Again With Traeger Grills.
    Traeger buys wireless thermometer company Meater 
    Jeremy Andrus Found Success With Skullcandy. Now He Hopes To Do It Again With Traeger Grills. 
    Traeger's stock opens 22% above IPO price, to value the grill market at $2.6 billion

    Transcript:
    https://www.theverge.com/e/22953717

    Credits:
    Decoder is a production of The Verge, and part of the Vox Media Podcast Network.
    Today’s episode was produced by Creighton DeSimone and Jackie McDermott and it was edited by Callie Wright.
    The Decoder music is by Breakmaster Cylinder. Our Sr Audio Director is Andrew Marino and our Executive Producer is Eleanor Donovan.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    • 1 hr 17 min

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5
25 Ratings

25 Ratings

MahimaB ,

Total fan

Hi Kara,
I recently started listening to your podcasts and I am your biggest fan in Dublin. The way you conduct interviews, the intelligent questions you ask and how you don’t shy away from showing a bit of vulnerability by sharing about your personal life with your children, make you truly an endearing and likable podcaster.
I, as a big fan, would love to hear an interview of you, about your life, how you came into tech and how you decided to chart such a unique and amazing path for your self. Also, about the books you are reading, your mentors and your life philosophy.
Also, please come visit us in Dublin.
Sincerely,
Mahima

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