The Podcast Where Data Meets Life
Politics and Tech: Why Can't We All Just Get Along | Congressman Mike Doyle
Our elected leaders used to set the tone of political discourse. Today, politicians take cues from their tribe, gleaning their talking points from whatever's trending on social media that day. And because legislation can't be written in 140 characters, there's a huge disconnect between the soundbites that voters want to hear and the substantive policies the country actually needs. That disconnect is particularly pervasive in technology policy — or the extreme lack thereof. The tech industry moves so fast and the nuances are so complex, Congress can't keep up.
Today on The Dumbest Guy in the Room, host John Dick welcomes Congressman Mike Doyle, who's retiring after this term following 28 years in the House of Representatives. Congressman Doyle holds a seat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and he chairs the subcommittee on communications and technology, where the most important debates on tech policy are happening. The two talk about the changes the congressman has seen over three decades in Washington; how the new breed of politicians is more interested in being social media stars than passing laws; and why tech remains largely unregulated.
Leading from the Bottom: How Systems Thinking Can Revitalize Everything From the Ground Up | Jeff Wilke, co-founder and chairman of Re:Build
This week on The Dumbest Guy in the Room, host John Dick welcomes Jeff Wilke, who played a major role in building Amazon into the company it is today. After his retirement from Amazon in 2021, Wilke co-founded a company called Re:Build to help revitalize American manufacturing.
John and Jeff talk about how short-term, quarterly earnings-driven corporate decision-making in America has created a host of problems that only corporate America can solve. Jeff also shared the origins of Amazon’s famed leadership principles and why they were so crucial to the company’s success.
Did COVID Save Retail? The Painful But Essential Lessons of the Pandemic | Shelley Bransten of Microsoft
It's no secret that the pandemic changed everything that businesses knew about their customers overnight. But old habits – and big systems – are hard to break, especially in big corporations where innovation is expensive and "risk" is a swear word.
On this week's episode of The Dumbest Guy in the Room, host John Dick welcomes Shelley Bransten, Microsoft's corporate vice president for global retail and consumer goods. John and Shelley talk about how COVID became the new "chief innovation officer" in retail, how companies need to be agile and resilient in the face of constant change, and whether it's better to write a grocery list by hand or on a smartphone.
Remaking Media: How to Build Trust in an Ever-changing Landscape | John Battelle, co-founder of Wired and The Recount
Like many things in our country, media is broken – badly. It's hard to know where to start to fix it. Media outlets who once prided themselves on rigor and objectivity are now forced to pander to the biases of their tribal audiences, lest they lose viewers and advertisers to the countless other things vying for our attention. Algorithms help to promote the most sensational and divisive content possible – all while our private data is collected under murky terms.
On this week's episode of The Dumbest Guy in the Room, host John Dick welcomes John Battelle, a legendary journalist who helped create Wired magazine 30 years ago and has launched several influential companies since then, including The Recount. The two discuss Twitter, TikTok, the future of privacy, and the role advertisers can play in saving media – and saving us from it.
Bringing Economics to the Masses: Finding Hope in Today's Economic Uncertainty | Michelle Meyer of Mastercard
The U.S. economy is absolutely massive. It’s also extremely complex, and that makes it difficult from the political perspective. You can’t thoroughly explain globalization and supply chains in a meme. We need to make economics more approachable and more relatable for the average person, and stop talking about the US economy like it’s one big monolith.
In this episode of The Dumbest Guy in the Room, host John Dick welcomes Michelle Meyer, the chief North American economist for Mastercard and one of the most influential people on Wall Street, Madison Avenue, and CNBC. John and Michelle talk about the rising prominence of women in economics and finance, why Michelle isn’t alarmed about the recent economic chaos, the role of technology in improving productivity, and why you should rinse your dishes before putting them in the dishwasher.
Failing on Purpose: Changing the Way We Think About the World's Biggest Problems | Astro Teller, CEO of X
It’s almost impossible to keep up with all the crises in America today. There’s inflation, energy costs, drug prices, mental health, supply chains, inequality, and so much more. Even COVID is raging again. Meanwhile, we’ve just kind of accepted the political animosity. Then there are the existential catastrophes on the horizon: climate change, food shortages, geopolitical crises.
But what are we supposed to do about it? Those problems take science, and a boatload of money, and an almost reckless amount of courage to tackle. Thankfully, we also have those in America.
In this episode of The Dumbest Guy in the Room, host John Dick welcomes Astro Teller, the head of an organization simply called X – the so-called “moonshot factory” of Alphabet, the parent company of Google and YouTube. Astro and John talk about how X is trying to solve seemingly unsolvable problems by failing as quickly and shamelessly as possible.
Insightful, Fun Brain Bender
John’s topics and guests are always insights and thoughtful. I leave each episode a little smarter.