662 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
    • 5.0 • 2 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.

    Inside the global battle over chip manufacturing

    Inside the global battle over chip manufacturing

    A few weeks ago, President Biden was in the Netherlands, where he asked the Dutch government to restrict export from a company called ASML to China. ASML is the only company in the world that makes a specific machine needed to make the most advanced chips. Apple couldn’t make iPhone chips without this one machine from the Netherlands’ biggest company. ASML doesn’t just shape the Dutch economy—it shapes the entire world economy. How did that happen?
    Chris Miller, Tufts professor and author of Chip War: The Fight For The World’s Most Critical Technology walked me through a lot of this, along with some deep dives into geopolitics and the absolutely fascinating chip manufacturing process. This one has everything: foreign policy, high powered lasers, hotshot executives, monopolies, the fundamental limits of physics, and, of course, Texas. Here we go.

    Links:
    US issues sweeping restrictions on chip sales to China
    Japan and the Netherlands join US with tough chip controls on China
    Pat Gelsinger came back to turn Intel around — here’s how it’s going

    Transcript:
    https://www.theverge.com/e/23342471

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

    • 53 min
    Taylor Swift and the music industry's next $20

    Taylor Swift and the music industry's next $20

    I have this theory that music is usually about five years ahead of the rest of media in terms of its relationship to tech—whether that’s new formats based on new tech, like vinyl to CDs; new business models like streaming; or simply being disrupted by new kinds of artists who use new forms of promotion like TikTok in unexpected ways. I’ve always thought that if you can wrap your head around what’s happening to the music industry, you can pretty much see the future of TV or movies or the news or whatever it is, because the music industry just moves that fast.

    I was talking about this with my friend Charlie Harding, the co-host of Switched on Pop, and he said that he thinks the upcoming Taylor Swift Eras Tour is itself the end of an era in music — that the age of cheap streaming services is coming to an inevitable conclusion, and that something has to change in order for industry to sustain itself in the future. 

    So, in this episode, Charlie and I walk through a brief history of the music business—which, despite its ever-changing business models, is permanently trying to find something to sell you for $20 whether that’s the music itself, all-access streaming, merch, and even NFTs—using Taylor Swift as a case study. We map her big moves against the business of music over time to try to see if this really is the end of an era. And maybe more importantly, to try and figure out if the music industry can sustain and support artists who are not Taylor Swift, because streaming, all by itself, definitely cannot.

    Links:

    Switched on Pop
    Charlie’s first appearance on Decoder: Good 4 who? How music copyright has gone too far - The Verge 
    Why Amazon VP Steve Boom just made the entire music catalog free with Prime - The Verge 
    Spotify launching in the US at 8AM tomorrow, open to all pre-registered users - The Verge
    Metallica sued Napster 15 years ago today - The Verge
    Taylor Swift calls Apple Music free trial 'shocking, disappointing' in open letter - The Verge
    Taylor Swift versus Ticketmaster: the latest on the tour that may break up a giant - The Verge
    The DOJ has reportedly opened an antitrust investigation into Ticketmaster's owner     
    How fandom built the internet as we know it, with Kaitlyn Tiffany - The Verge
    Steve Aoki on the blockchain, the metaverse, and the business of music - The Verge

    Transcript:
    https://www.theverge.com/e/23322720

    Credits:
    Decoder is a production of The Verge, and part of the Vox Media Podcast Network.
    Today’s episode was produced by Hadley Robinson, Creighton DeSimone and Jackie McDermott and it was edited by Callie Wright.
    The Decoder music is by Breakmaster Cylinder. Our Editorial Director is Brooke Minters. 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 23 min
    Breaking free from big tech and big content with authors Cory Doctorow and Rebecca Giblin

    Breaking free from big tech and big content with authors Cory Doctorow and Rebecca Giblin

    Last year I spoke with Cory Doctorow and Rebecca Giblin about their new book, Chokepoint Capitalism. It’s a book about artists and technology and platforms, and how different kinds of distribution and creations tools create chokepoints for different companies to capture value that might otherwise go to artists and creators.. In other words, it’s a lot of Decoder stuff.
    As we were prepping this episode, the Decoder team realized it previews a lot of things we’re going to talk about in 2023: antitrust law. Ticketmaster. Spotify and the future of the music industry. Amazon and the book industry. And, of course, being a creator trying to make a living on all these platforms.
    This episode is longer than normal, but it was a really great conversation and I'm glad we are sharing it with you.

    Links:
    What is Mixer, Ninja’s new exclusive streaming home?
    Ninja returns to Twitch
    This was Sony Music's contract with Spotify

    Transcript:
    https://www.theverge.com/e/23311918

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

    • 1 hr 30 min
    ‘We might be wrong, but we’re not confused’: how Tomer Cohen, chief product officer at LinkedIn, figures out what works best

    ‘We might be wrong, but we’re not confused’: how Tomer Cohen, chief product officer at LinkedIn, figures out what works best

    Tomer Cohen is the chief product officer at LinkedIn, and actually, I talked to Tomer twice. Here’s a little secret about Decoder: we do the interviews, and then often, the guest and I just keep chatting for a while. So after my first interview with Tomer, we were hanging out, talking about the perpetual battles between engineers, product managers, and designers. And he said something that completely jumped out at me:
    “We might be wrong, but we’re not fucking confused.” 
    This isn’t a totally new line — it’s been floating around for a while, you can Google it — but you know I love an f-bomb, and honestly, it’s one of the most simple and clarifying things a manager can say, especially when managing across large teams. So I asked Tomer to come back and really dig in on that idea.
    On top of that, we’ve been talking a lot about running social networks lately, and LinkedIn is a fascinating social network because it doesn’t have the same engagement-based success metrics as other social platforms like Twitter and Instagram. Tomer doesn’t care about time spent on LinkedIn; the platform is designed to be successful when people get new jobs. That means his ideas for features and user experiences are just really different.

    Links:
    Employment Situation Summary (Jobs Report)
    December Workforce Report 2022 (LinkedIn)
    Vision to values flowchart
    ChatGPT proves AI is finally mainstream — and things are only going to get weirder
    LinkedIn buys California-based SaaS learning platform
    How big companies kill ideas — and how to fight back, with Tony Fadell
    RAPID decision making

    Transcript:
    https://www.theverge.com/e/23281360 

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

    • 1 hr 18 min
    How to buy a social network, with Tumblr CEO Matt Mullenweg

    How to buy a social network, with Tumblr CEO Matt Mullenweg

    We have to talk about Twitter, right? Elon Musk bought it. He’s making all these changes, and he’s realizing that content moderation decisions are quite complicated, especially when the stakes are high.
    But talking about Twitter in a vacuum seems wrong. There are lots of other social networks and community-based products, and they all have basically the same problems: some technical (you have to run the service), some political (you have to comply with various laws and platform regulations around the world), and some social (you have to get millions of users to post for free while making sure what they post is good stuff and not bad stuff).
    So, we’re doing something a little different this week. First, I’m talking to Matt Mullenweg, who is the CEO of Automattic, which owns WordPress, the blog hosting platform, and Tumblr, the social network, which he purchased from Verizon in 2019. Then, Verge deputy editor Alex Heath and I are going to break down a bunch of what Matt told me and apply it to Twitter to see what we can learn.
    Okay, Matt Mullenweg, CEO of Tumblr, followed by Alex Heath. Here we go.

    Links:
    How WordPress and Tumblr are keeping the internet weird
    GPL - General Public License
    Verizon is selling Tumblr to WordPress’ owner
    Kanye West suspended from Twitter after posting a swastika
    ‘Martin Scorsese’s lost film’ Goncharov (1973), explained
    Yahoo acquires Tumblr in $1.1 billion cash deal, promises 'not to screw it up'
    Verizon is selling Tumblr to WordPress’ owner
    Turnaround Definition
    Welcome to Tumblr. Now Go Away.
    Work With Us / Twitter – Automattic
    Tumblr will sell you two useless blue check marks for $8
    Elon Musk is laying off even more Twitter workers
    Welcome to hell, Elon
    Why “Go Nuts, Show Nuts” Doesn't Work in 2022
    How America turned against the First Amendment 
    About – SHOSHANA ZUBOFF
    A Framework for Moderation
    First Amendment - Freedom of Religion, Speech, Press, Assembly, and Petition | Constitution Center
    America’s Favorite Flimsy Pretext for Limiting Free Speech 
    Brandenburg v. Ohio
    Elon Musk says Tim Cook told him Apple ‘never considered’ removing Twitter - The Verge
    The Twitter Files - Matt Taibbi
    Elon Musk’s promised Twitter exposé on the Hunter Biden story is a flop that doxxed multiple people
    Twitter Blue is back, letting you buy a blue checkmark again

    Transcript:
    https://www.theverge.com/e/23270126

    Credits:
    Decoder is a production of The Verge and part of the Vox Media Podcast Network.
    It was produced by Creighton DeSimone and Jackie McDermott and it was edited by Callie Wright. 
    The Decoder music is by Breakmaster Cylinder. Our Editorial Director is Brooke Minters and our Executive Director is Eleanor Donovan.

    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    • 1 hr 42 min
    Disney’s CEO drama explained, with Julia Alexander

    Disney’s CEO drama explained, with Julia Alexander

    Today, we need to talk about Bob. Two Bobs, actually: Bob Iger, the former and now current CEO of Disney, and Bob Chapek, the man Iger handpicked as his replacement, who flamed out and was fired by the board, and then, on November 20th, was replaced by Bob Iger. Bobs, man.
    The heart of this whole thing is total Decoder bait. It’s a story about how to structure a company like Disney. Then you add in the complexity of the shift to streaming, the future of TV and movies generally, and the gigantic reputation of a character like Bob Iger, who many people think could plausibly run for president. There’s just a lot going on here.
    Whenever I need to talk Disney, media, and Bobs, I call one person: Julia Alexander, director of strategy at Parrot Analytics and a former reporter at The Verge. Julia pays a lot of attention to the streaming giants, she’s sourced inside all the companies battling for our attention, and she has a lot to say about the Bobs.

    Links:
    Bob Iger steps back in as Disney CEO, replacing Bob Chapek 
    Reed Hastings on Twitter
    Disney+ launch lineup: Every movie and TV show available to stream on day one - The Verge
    Bob Iger steps down as Disney CEO, replaced by Bob Chapek - The Verge
    Disney streaming chief Kevin Mayer resigns to become TikTok CEO - The Verge
    Disney Plus surpasses 100 million subscribers - The Verge
    Meta announces huge job cuts affecting 11,000 employees - The Verge
    Netflix's $6.99 per month ad tier is now live
    Stranger Things - The Verge
    Disney’s major reorganization is good news for anyone who loves Disney Plus - The Verge
    Functional Structure: Advantages and Disadvantages | Indeed.com
    Pros and Cons of Implementing a Divisional Structure | Indeed.com
    Disney Proposal to Restructure, on McKinsey’s Advice, Triggered Uproar From Creative Executives - WSJ
    Disney Shows the Limits of Streaming - WSJ
    Disney Erases Almost All Its Pandemic Gains After Earnings Miss
    ‘Strange World’: Beautiful to look at, but not much below the surface - The Washington Post
    Watch The Future Of | Netflix Official Site
    Kevin Mayer quits as TikTok CEO due to ongoing political turmoil - The Verge
    Kevin Mayer Says His Firm Is In Deal Mode After Buying Reese Witherspoon's Hello Sunshine
    WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar announces exit as Discovery deal nears close - The Verge 

    Transcript:
    https://www.theverge.com/e/23259187

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

    • 1 hr 2 min

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