Kara Swisher

Kara Swisher

Executive Editor, Re/code

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON September 17, 2015

Discussion

Kara Swisher
Kara Swisher@karaswisher · Executive Editor, Re/code
Hi, I am Kara Swisher, a tech reporter. I annoy people in tech.
Steven Sinofsky
Steven Sinofsky@stevesi · a16z
@karaswisher What sort of process do you go through to prepare for an interview? Do you think about snappy comebacks for non-answers in advance? 😈
Kara Swisher
Kara Swisher@karaswisher · Executive Editor, Re/code
@stevesi I do NO prep as you know! I am just a snappy comment factory. In all seriousness, I spend my yer paying attention to tech. I think if you prep too much you miss the conversation completely. Also, I listen more than it seems.
Kara Swisher
Kara Swisher@karaswisher · Executive Editor, Re/code
@stevesi BTW Steve, you have a LOT of snappy comebacks. So POT=KETTLE
Steven Sinofsky
Steven Sinofsky@stevesi · a16z
@karaswisher No fair, you have the microphone right now 🆘
Ryan Hoover
Ryan Hoover@rrhoover · Founder, Product Hunt
Kara! Welcome. You recently wrote a piece about the future CEO of Twitter. Who would make a good CEO for Twitter and why? P.S. Great job with the Re/code Decode podcast. 👍
Kara Swisher
Kara Swisher@karaswisher · Executive Editor, Re/code
@rrhoover You would. My dog would at this point.
Kara Swisher
Kara Swisher@karaswisher · Executive Editor, Re/code
@rrhoover Seriously, they need someone who understands product, advertising and media.
Casey Newton
Casey Newton@caseynewton · Silicon Valley editor, The Verge
Hi Kara — longtime fan here. Any tips for getting people to tell you something you can use that they absolutely do not want to tell you / let you use??
Kara Swisher
Kara Swisher@karaswisher · Executive Editor, Re/code
@caseynewton Tweak their overly coiffed hair senseless like I plan to do to you at next tech event. Calling Vox HR!
Casey Newton
Casey Newton@caseynewton · Silicon Valley editor, The Verge
@karaswisher Kara you have blanket permission to ravage me whenever you like. I made sure this was written into your contract
Jeff Needles
Jeff Needles@jsneedles · Data @ Houseparty & Maker of Things
@karaswisher Hey Kara! What is the most important piece of tech you think should've taken off but didn't? Why not? Could it make a comeback?
Kara Swisher
Kara Swisher@karaswisher · Executive Editor, Re/code
@jsneedles Hmm, I think perhaps Google Glass. I think they made it so that any normal human being would reject it (you responded to the device rather than vice versa). But I do think the concept of visual search and discover is going to be huge. Or, as Trump say: YUGEEEE
Corley
Corley@corleyh · COO @ Product Hunt
@karaswisher What do you think of diversity in tech? And what do you think would have the biggest positive change?
Kara Swisher
Kara Swisher@karaswisher · Executive Editor, Re/code
@corleyh I talk about this issue all the time. Tech has been failing here by any metric. Positive change: HIRE MORE WOMEN. HIRE A MORE DIVERSE WORK FORCE. LOOK UP FROM YOUR COMPUTER AND SEE WHO IS WORKING FOR YOU.
Amrit Pal
Amrit Pal@amritpa1 · Product Manager @Square
@karaswisher You have an innate ability to make your guests feel comfortable, and yet ask intimidating questions. How do you balance it?
Kara Swisher
Kara Swisher@karaswisher · Executive Editor, Re/code
@amritpa1 I think smart people like to answer smart questions. I think I am tough but fair and that is pretty much what works. Also I am not shy.
Melissa Joy Kong
Melissa Joy Kong@melissajoykong · Content, Product Hunt
If you could completely redesign tech journalism as a whole, what would you change and why?
Kara Swisher
Kara Swisher@karaswisher · Executive Editor, Re/code
@melissajoykong Hmm, less cheerleading and tech love. More interest in the wider world and tech's impact. Less doing commodity journalism that is meaningless.
Kate
Kate@katesegrin · Head of Social @ GitHub
@karaswisher who are some of your biggest influences? And like Ryan mentioned, BRAVO on your fantastic podcast. One of the highlights of my week!
Kara Swisher
Kara Swisher@karaswisher · Executive Editor, Re/code
@katesegrin Thanks. I love the podcast. Hmm, Nora Ephron was a big influence. Joan Didion. Ben Bradlee. Also Steve Jobs in an odd way. I think most people got him wrong by calling him heartless. He was all heart, for better or worse.
marlo
marlo@franceschine · Founder, 82 Labs
@karaswisher thank you. i'm late to the party but i wanted to know what it was like working with Steve Jobs? Anything you can share. From all I've read, you were his favorite reporter and you worked quite closely. That has always fascinated me and made me very interested in your work.
Cristian Olarasu
Cristian Olarasu@cristianctin · Tech entrepreneur
@karaswisher Thank you for being here. Can you touch briefly on the subject of ad-block on iOS9 not being available in apps. Is running it really like "stealing content" for users. What is you opinion?
Kara Swisher
Kara Swisher@karaswisher · Executive Editor, Re/code
@cristianctin I think ad blockers are fine. Ads need to be better.
Eric Willis
Eric Willis@erictwillis · Working on something new
@karaswisher Do you have one article/post that you think is absolutely your best work or favorite? If so, which one is it and why?
Kara Swisher
Kara Swisher@karaswisher · Executive Editor, Re/code
@erictwillis Hmm, when Dave Goldberg died. That was from the heart. Also some essays on women and tech.
Kara Swisher
Kara Swisher@karaswisher · Executive Editor, Re/code
@erictwillis also not that serious: Liveblogging Yahoo earnings. I made good points with humor. I won a Loeb Award for that, so people got it!
Eric Willis
Eric Willis@erictwillis · Working on something new
@karaswisher Thanks!
Teresa Hammerl
Teresa Hammerl@colazionearoma · Socialmediapreneur
Hi Kara, you say that you annoy people in tech. How do you do that?
Kara Swisher
Kara Swisher@karaswisher · Executive Editor, Re/code
@colazionearoma I joke, but I poke. I guess because I am a mouthy broad.
Arlo Gilbert
Arlo Gilbert@arlogilbert · Founder & Angel
What would your secret service code name be?
Kara Swisher
Kara Swisher@karaswisher · Executive Editor, Re/code
@arlogilbert Ahahaha. What a good question that was absolutely BLOWN by all of them except Trump. Hmm, Elvis.
Varun Deshpande
Varun Deshpande@varund7 · N/A
@karaswisher Idk, I thought 'Justice Never Sleeps' was wonderfully succinct, catchy, and zzzZzzz
Melissa Joy Kong
Melissa Joy Kong@melissajoykong · Content, Product Hunt
What tech titan did you used to have an unfavorable opinion about, but have since changed your mind—and why?
Kara Swisher
Kara Swisher@karaswisher · Executive Editor, Re/code
@melissajoykong Marc Andreessen, whom I met when both of us were young (more than 20 years ago), were always bickering because we were both jackasses then. Our convos now (see podcast) are now bracing.
Ryan Hoover
Ryan Hoover@rrhoover · Founder, Product Hunt
For reference, here's the podcast with @pmarca.
Kara Swisher
Kara Swisher@karaswisher · Executive Editor, Re/code
Ok peoples of Product Hunt, I have to go to a big gay tech event at GitHub, because I am a big gay in tech, so last questions pls as I have to walk through the traffic hell that is Dreamforce's annual takeover of SF.
Ryan Hoover
Ryan Hoover@rrhoover · Founder, Product Hunt
Haha, thanks so much for joining us (and for stopping by the office!). 🙌 Sorry to keep you waiting outside though. I feel terrible. 😞
Kara Swisher
Kara Swisher@karaswisher · Executive Editor, Re/code
Bye all, please feel free to write me: kara@recode.net or @karaswisher
Sam Houston
Sam Houston@samhouston · Senior Community Manager, Bugcrowd
How has your experience been as a new podcaster and how do you see the podcast complimenting the written journalism work that Re/code is most known for?
Kara Swisher
Kara Swisher@karaswisher · Executive Editor, Re/code
@samhouston I LOVE IT. But I am an egomaniac, so I would. Also it fits in nicely with what we do at Re/code events: Smart, tough, fair and engaging interviews of substance and depth. People appreciate that in this soundbite world.
Arlo Gilbert
Arlo Gilbert@arlogilbert · Founder & Angel
What are the most interesting 3 interviews you've ever done?
Kara Swisher
Kara Swisher@karaswisher · Executive Editor, Re/code
@arlogilbert Hmm, Jobs for sure with Gates. Historic. Larry Ellison. Hysterical. I liked interviewing Hillary Clinton. Also my mother about Twitter. That was classic ("What is this TWITTER?")
David Geller
David Geller@davidgeller · CEO & Founder of Spryly
@karaswisher Perhaps jumping on Christian's theme - how significant will iOS9's impact on ad revenue be? Are you hearing comments in the industry that it will have a dramatic impact?
Kara Swisher
Kara Swisher@karaswisher · Executive Editor, Re/code
@davidgeller I am not an expert, but people are worried. Apple, which does not make $ on data or advertising, is incentivized to create software and hardware that deliver great experiences. Ads are overall not good experiences. Marketers have to get more creative.
Ryan Hoover
Ryan Hoover@rrhoover · Founder, Product Hunt
@karaswisher to piggyback this question, do you have plans to experiment with new ad formats or revenue models at Re/code?
Kara Swisher
Kara Swisher@karaswisher · Executive Editor, Re/code
@rrhoover Good question. We think about it a lot, but we now have the much smarter folks of Vox to help us. A lot of our revenue is from our events, so delivering a lot of value and a great experience is how we do well there. Much easier than advertising as it depends on our editorial creativity.
@serena ehrlich
@serena ehrlich@serena · Director, Social + Evolving Media
@karaswisher, you are one of the most influential people in tech. Do you see the future of news coverage to continue to be textual, or are podcasts and video based news going to take it over? (Given that 33% of all YT searches are for news etc.). Thanks!
Kara Swisher
Kara Swisher@karaswisher · Executive Editor, Re/code
@serena I think all of the above. Journalists today need to be promiscuous in all forms of media. Those who do not try everything risk becoming obsolete. That said, great content is always valuable in whatever format.
Mark Jeffrey
Mark Jeffrey@markjeffrey · Author
Uber has now raised more money than anyone in human history, ever. Since they are now worth 50B and the entire worldwide market for taxi + black car is 44B, have they now done *exactly* what Silicon Valley (the tv show) warned us against (i.e. "Nobody told me I could have taken less!!!! Auugggghhh!!!") on an epic scale? (i.e. raised against a valuation they can never hope to live up to, much less give a 10x return on investment on in 7 - 10 years).
Kara Swisher
Kara Swisher@karaswisher · Executive Editor, Re/code
@markjeffrey In their case, they need the dough. Not for now, but later. This is a huge market.
Adam Waxman
Adam Waxman@ajwaxman · Product, SeatGeek
@karaswisher Hey Kara! 2 questions: 1) Which social channels drive the most traffic (or are the most popular) on re/code? 2) Who's your favorite non re/code tech writer?
Kara Swisher
Kara Swisher@karaswisher · Executive Editor, Re/code
@ajwaxman 1.) organic! But Google and Twitter after that. 2.) Hmm, that is a hard one. Jessica Pressler when she writes on tech.
Niv Dror
Niv Dror@nivo0o0 · VC at Shrug Capital
@karaswisher what was it like asking Hilary Clinton the most awesome question of the night? 👋😜 (high five) http://imgur.com/blWyF0G
Kara Swisher
Kara Swisher@karaswisher · Executive Editor, Re/code
@nivo0o0 Let's be clear SHE high-fived me!
Cathy
Cathy @mamaohm65 · tech analyst
Who or what encouraged you to pursue this vocation?
Kara Swisher
Kara Swisher@karaswisher · Executive Editor, Re/code
@mamaohm65 My 7th grade English teacher, Sally Gilbert. Also my early mentors at the Washington Post.
Brandon Carte
Brandon Carte@brandoncarte · Reviewer at Purch
@karaswisher You have both a reputation where people fear you and respect you a great deal. In fact, my heart is slightly racing while I am writing this question! Anyway, what do you make of this and would you say that you are a nice person? P.S. thanks for being one of the hardest workers in technology journalism. I admire you greatly and hope to meet you someday.
Kara Swisher
Kara Swisher@karaswisher · Executive Editor, Re/code
@brandoncarte Calm DOWN, Brandon! I think I treat people with respect but don't treat them like they are gods. People lick internet execs up and down all day, largely based on their net worth. I could care less. Also I met almost ALL of them in their garages.
Kara Swisher
Kara Swisher@karaswisher · Executive Editor, Re/code
@brandoncarte thanks about hard working. One time someone asked me why I was so successful and I said: BECAUSE I WORK HARDER THAN YOU DO. It's no magic formula.
Itamar Rogel
Itamar Rogel@itamarro · Co-Founder, Newsfusion
Hello @karaswisher, honored to have a shot at asking you a question :) You've founded two leading tech journalism websites with the same co-editor, but in different business settings and (arguably) different eras of digital media. What were the most striking differences between these two experiences? And what was the top takeaway from each?
Kara Swisher
Kara Swisher@karaswisher · Executive Editor, Re/code
@itamarro All Things Digital was easier to get an audience since we were in a smaller pool and platforms like Facebook did not dominate the distribution (no one did but Google and that is easier in a way).
Kara Swisher
Kara Swisher@karaswisher · Executive Editor, Re/code
@itamarro That said being at the WSJ/Dow Jones/RupertWorld hindered our ability to grow and we missed a great moment to bust out. With Re/code the takeaway was that content was changing quickly and you needed to not wait when it did. We did not.
Itamar Rogel
Itamar Rogel@itamarro · Co-Founder, Newsfusion
@karaswisher Thank you. I think I'm going to start a theme park and call it RupertWorld :)
Mike Pegg
Mike Pegg@mpegg
@karaswisher - What was the experience like being on Silicon Valley? :) Are you a more a fan of season 1 or 2?
Kara Swisher
Kara Swisher@karaswisher · Executive Editor, Re/code
@mpegg I loved it, but I am an egomaniac, so I would. Seriously, all such sharp people working one that. Also the food was not as good as that of an average Internet company. I did like the golf cart to the set 15 feet away from trailer.
Kara Swisher
Kara Swisher@karaswisher · Executive Editor, Re/code
@mpegg I think they really nail at lot of the idiocy of tech, but also they love it, which is why it works.
Jake Marsh
Jake Marsh@jakemarsh · http://deallocatedobjects.com
@karaswisher What's the best way to approach a journalist about a product you're working on/launching?
Kara Swisher
Kara Swisher@karaswisher · Executive Editor, Re/code
@jakemarsh Depends. We like to see products but have stopped doing launches. They are like writing press releases.
Jake Marsh
Jake Marsh@jakemarsh · http://deallocatedobjects.com
@karaswisher Yep makes sense, and I don't blame y'all. I'd rather get a journalist genuinely excited about a thing and let them write why. Thanks so much for doing this, big fan here!
Carmel DeAmicis
Carmel DeAmicis@carmeldea · Figma
What's the biggest mistake you ever made as a reporter?
Kara Swisher
Kara Swisher@karaswisher · Executive Editor, Re/code
@carmeldea Good one, Carmel.
Kara Swisher
Kara Swisher@karaswisher · Executive Editor, Re/code
@carmeldea ok, it is always when I am not trying harder on a story and being lazy as a reporter. Too many do that and think it ok. Also not being fair is always a failure to me.
Melissa Joy Kong
Melissa Joy Kong@melissajoykong · Content, Product Hunt
Who do you consider the most underrated CEO in Silicon Valley?
Kara Swisher
Kara Swisher@karaswisher · Executive Editor, Re/code
@melissajoykong Good question. Hmm. Stewart Butterfield right now. Probably Jeff Weiner too.
Ryan Hoover
Ryan Hoover@rrhoover · Founder, Product Hunt
What technology do you think will have the biggest influence on our relationships and the way we communicate with our friends and family in the next 10 years?
Kara Swisher
Kara Swisher@karaswisher · Executive Editor, Re/code
@rrhoover When I get my time machine and change history haphazardly.
Kara Swisher
Kara Swisher@karaswisher · Executive Editor, Re/code
@rrhoover Ok, ok. I think when tech gets embedded in our bodies. It will.
Ryan Hoover
Ryan Hoover@rrhoover · Founder, Product Hunt
cc'ing @elonmusk
Melissa Joy Kong
Melissa Joy Kong@melissajoykong · Content, Product Hunt
In your line of work, people are incentivized to tell you the truth, but also sometimes to hide/spin it. Given all of the people you've interviewed and all of the stories you've written, do you think people have a propensity toward honesty or deception?
Kara Swisher
Kara Swisher@karaswisher · Executive Editor, Re/code
@melissajoykong Both! When I started off in journalism, I used to try to figure out who was lying to me. When I got good at journalism, I realized it was better to figure out what people lie to themselves about.
Kara Swisher
Kara Swisher@karaswisher · Executive Editor, Re/code
@melissajoykong Everyone tells their stories to their best advantage. It's human. But there is a lot of spin.
Melissa Joy Kong
Melissa Joy Kong@melissajoykong · Content, Product Hunt
@karaswisher Oh my gosh. This is gold. I think this answer might stick with me forever.
David Geller
David Geller@davidgeller · CEO & Founder of Spryly
@karaswisher Any thoughts on US tech titans coming out in China's defense against the GOP nominees & their simplistic, myopic demonization of one of our largest and most important manufacturing partners?
Kara Swisher
Kara Swisher@karaswisher · Executive Editor, Re/code
@davidgeller Well it is an election year, so here comes the reductive thinking.
Joseph Solosky
Joseph Solosky@jolosky5 · Sports and Tech Writer
@karaswisher i just participated in my first Blab chat, was wondering if you thought this app may replace or augment podcasting?
Kara Swisher
Kara Swisher@karaswisher · Executive Editor, Re/code
@jolosky5 Never used Blab chat! So YES!
Corley
Corley@corleyh · COO @ Product Hunt
@karaswisher Thank you for joining! You have done an amazing job getting interesting people to open up and share very interesting insight & perspectives. What would you say has allowed you to create such thoughtful dialogue?
Kara Swisher
Kara Swisher@karaswisher · Executive Editor, Re/code
@corleyh Pure unadulterated obnoxiousness.
Jeff Umbro
Jeff Umbro@jeffumbro · CEO of The podglomerate
Hi @karaswisher - can you tell us a bit about what's going to change and not change with recode now that you all are with Vox?
Kara Swisher
Kara Swisher@karaswisher · Executive Editor, Re/code
@jeffumbro Not much! It is a longer story, but we went with a company with ethics we admired, with technology we needed and with a commitment to high quality media. Also that Ezra Klein is adorkable.
Nikhil V.
Nikhil V.@nikvimal · Founder
@karaswisher What's your favorite part about running a podcast like this?
Kara Swisher
Kara Swisher@karaswisher · Executive Editor, Re/code
@techvoltz Doing substantive interviews with smart people. Every single person who has done one appreciates a real convo and not a 2 minute vomiting of info to sell something. The upcoming one with Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner is perfect example. They almost missed their flight they were so involved in a real conversation.
Nikhil V.
Nikhil V.@nikvimal · Founder
@karaswisher That's an excellent story. Keep it up! :)
Paul Tomkinson
Paul Tomkinson@paultomkinson · Founder, Textras
@karaswisher Hi Kara. Loving the new podcast. Is it tricky getting your readers to move over and listen, or easier than you thought?
Kara Swisher
Kara Swisher@karaswisher · Executive Editor, Re/code
@paultomkinson I love it. Much easier. We are growing week after week.
Cody Bierman
Cody Bierman @codybierman77
@karaswisher Hi Kara, huge fan of the podcast. If you could interview anyone in history who would it be and why?
Kara Swisher
Kara Swisher@karaswisher · Executive Editor, Re/code
@codybierman77 I was JUST talking about this after I saw Hamilton on Broadway this weekend. The Founding Fathers. Cleopatra. Jesus, of course. Maybe Elvis, but that's me.
David Diamond
David Diamond@david_diam · Product designer
Hey Kara, examples of the worst/ most cringeworthy types of subject lines when getting pitched a product?
Kara Swisher
Kara Swisher@karaswisher · Executive Editor, Re/code
@david_diam Oh so many. I really cannot remember
Hi Kara -- big fan of Re/code. You guys cover a lot of emerging tech products in highly developed countries. Any plans to explore grassroots tech revolutions in third-world communities?
Kara Swisher
Kara Swisher@karaswisher · Executive Editor, Re/code
@mackeller We should. We have not the resources to do so and it is a failing on our part.
Nicholas Sheriff
Nicholas Sheriff@nicholassheriff · Founder, Medic Ventures
@karaswisher Kara ;) I love you! What are your thoughts on ads coming to instagram...have you personally been a fan of the experience? How would you compare those ads and the experience to say the new apple news?
Kara Swisher
Kara Swisher@karaswisher · Executive Editor, Re/code
@nicholassheriff I like the Instagram ads I have seen. Creative. I think great ads are great. Crappy ads suck. Not complex.
Kara Swisher
Kara Swisher@karaswisher · Executive Editor, Re/code
@nicholassheriff I like Apple news a lot so far.
Nicholas Sheriff
Nicholas Sheriff@nicholassheriff · Founder, Medic Ventures
@karaswisher Same here I'm just annoyed that the ads keep repeating and changing formats...it's hurting the content a bit...but I'll get blind to them soon enough. :) how does anyone get a hold of you to interview would sending you a bucket of chocolate chip cookies help?
Cathy
Cathy @mamaohm65 · tech analyst
what advice would you give your 20 year old self?
Kara Swisher
Kara Swisher@karaswisher · Executive Editor, Re/code
@mamaohm65 I hate to say this, but I am not that different. I have thought every day about living my life every day as if it would be my last (my dad died at a young age, so this is not a surprise manifestation of that) and I still do. I think I would probably worry a lot less about achievement and more about result.
Pumpkin
Pumpkin@woopump · Co-founder @ Pumpkin
@karaswisher What do you think of the future of mobile marketplace?
Kara Swisher
Kara Swisher@karaswisher · Executive Editor, Re/code
@woopump ? you mean people buying stuff on phones? Kinda already a done deal now.
Ryan James
Ryan James@iryanjames
I love the new podcast, but wonder how the segment "Too Afraid to Ask" came about. It seems off to include discussions of basic tech topics in a podcast so narrowly target at tech enthusiasts. You guys seemed to have noticed this, and adapted towards more involved topics as the episodes have progressed. What have you learned so far from the podcast, and how do you see it evolving on the future?