Kevin Roose

News director at Fusion, executive producer and co-host of Real Future, and author of Young Money

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON October 30, 2015

Discussion

Kevin Roose@kevinroose
Well hello! I'm Kevin Roose, news director at Fusion and executive producer of "Real Future," a new documentary TV series about technology and the future. (Coming soon to screens near you!) Before Fusion, I was the tech columnist at New York magazine, and I've written two books: Young Money and The Unlikely Disciple. I love telling stories about the human side of technology, and have written on topics like the 1099 economy and the use of technology inside prisons. I'm also psyched about our tech-themed live event spectacular (don't call it a conference) in San Francisco next weekend: Real Future Fair. Tickets are available here.
Casey Newton@caseynewton · Silicon Valley editor, The Verge
@kevinroose Hi Kevin — I've been following your work for a while now and am a big fan. Would you say that you learned more about startups at Digg or at Google Ventures?
Kevin Roose@kevinroose
@caseynewton Don't at me.
Craig Kochis@craigkochis · Facebook
@kevinroose After founding Digg, what are your thoughts on the rise of Reddit, and particularly, their new approach with https://upvoted.com/ ?
Kevin Roose@kevinroose
@craigkochis This is going really well.
Lauren Kay@laurenikay · CEO, Dating Ring
@kevinroose Whatever happened to that raccoon you threw down the stairs? Is your dog okay?
Kevin Roose@kevinroose
@laurenikay I think you have me confused with...no, you know what, nevermind.
Ryan Hoover@rrhoover · Founder, Product Hunt
Kevin! Welcome! I'm curious to hear your thoughts on Facebook Instant Articles, Snapchat Discover, Medium, and other hosted distribution platforms. Are these good for journalists and publications? How do you see journalism changing in the next 5 years?
Kevin Roose@kevinroose
@rrhoover I really like them! I do have one worry about them, but it's probably not the one you're thinking of. What worries most journalists about ~distributed content~ is the loss of economic independence, when stuff isn't hosted on your organization's site and you can't sell display ads against it. And, sure, okay! But this all happened in the digital video world years ago, with content migrating to YouTube, and the digital video world hasn't ended. I think, ultimately, the revenue-share arrangements will be worked out, and media people will grumble, but it will be okay. The thing I worry about is the standardization of presentation. On Facebook Instant Articles, or on Snapchat Discover, or even on Medium, there is a limited set of tools to make your organization's stories *look* and *feel* different from those of any other organization. And when one company creates a set of practices that work really well, everyone else rushes to copy it. There is a real homogeneity of form developing on the social web, and I think that's going to hurt media companies in the long run. (Plus, it's boring! Imagine if all books had the same cover!)
Jacqueline von Tesmar@jacqvon · Community at Product Hunt ⚡️
What's something you used to fervently believe that you now see as misguided?
Kevin Roose@kevinroose
@jacqvon I used to think personal privacy didn't matter. I was part of that crew that yawned whenever Facebook or Google or some other company did some horribly invasive thing. (I think I actually said once: "Why do you care about privacy if you're not doing anything wrong?") But working with my brilliant colleagues (especially Kashmir Hill, who is the world's best privacy reporter) and thinking more deeply about the intersection of privacy issues with race and criminal justice issues has convinced me that I was wrong.
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Operations @ Product Hunt
Hi Kevin thanks for joining us today. What was your most a) most challenging article at New York Magazine, b) proudest c) most surprising. Thanks!
Kevin Roose@kevinroose
@ems_hodge The most challenging story was probably a long profile of Ray Dalio, the hedge fund billionaire. (http://nymag.com/news/business/w...) He's so secretive, and his workplace is so controlled, that it was super hard prying secrets out of people close to him. The most rewarding was probably this excerpt from my book about a Wall Street secret society, which broke some personal records for me and really launched the book into the stratosphere: http://nymag.com/daily/intellige... And the most surprising was probably this profile of a grad student who threw a wrench in the global austerity movement. (http://nymag.com/daily/intellige...) It did bananas traffic, which is weird, considering it had "grad student" and "austerity" in the title.
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Operations @ Product Hunt
What do you enjoy most from your varied roles - writing books, writing the column, hosting the TV show, producing the show, being the news director at Fusion? What are the main differences (aside from the obvious) how do you juggle everything?
Kevin Roose@kevinroose
@ems_hodge I don't juggle so much as pick up one ball, watch the others drop violently to the ground, then pick up the shards of another one and toss those into the air. Seriously, I am awful at time management, and pretty bad at self-care. When I was writing my second book, I wore one of those Jawbone bands that tells you how much you sleep. And I had accidentally shared my sleep figures with some friends. And one day, one of them texts me a screenshot of my sleep data and is like, "dude, you are going to die." But I'm getting better. I find it helps to break up the day by project. So I'll slay some emails from 7-9, work on writing from 9-11, and spend the afternoon doing TV stuff. Any tips would be appreciated!
Russ Frushtick@russfrushtick
@kevinroose What episode of Real Future are you most excited about?
Kevin Roose@kevinroose
@russfrushtick Oh man. It's like choosing a favorite child. But I'm pretty psyched about a segment I hosted on revenge porn. We found a new window into that topic that is really scary and eye-opening.
Lejla Bajgoric@lejlahunts · Intern, Product Hunt
Hi Kevin :) Of all worlds to follow and write about, what is it about startups that'd led you to choose this?
Kevin Roose@kevinroose
@lejlahunts I decided to move out to the Bay Area in 2011, and at the time, writing about startups was kind of a pragmatic necessity, since it was *the* national story happening here. (New York magazine wasn't going to send me to San Francisco to cover the Giants.) But I do think there is something uniquely fascinating about tech culture, and especially tech culture in the Bay Area, where we have kind of this cargo cult thing happening. It's really fertile ground for storytelling, and investigative work—both because, as we've seen with Theranos recently, a lot of these startups are under-scrutinized, and because it's just a whole nexus of power and ambition and money. That's always a great recipe for stories.
Jeff Umbro@jeffumbro · CEO of The podglomerate
Hey @kevinroose - Everyone profiled in Young Money - where are they now?
Kevin Roose@kevinroose
@jeffumbro The short answer is: a much better place. The long answer is: of the 8 main characters in the book, I believe 6 of them have migrated out of investment banking and into tech start-ups. Silicon Valley is the new Wall Street!
Dandy@globaldandy · freelance financial advisor
@kevinroose thoughts on Milo Yiannopoulos & launch of Breitbart tech?
Kevin Roose@kevinroose
@globaldandy I hope they find inner peace.
jacilyn@jacilynh · Civil Engr & Flatiron Web Dev. Student
@kevinroose do you have any advice to get team members to use technology/new approaches that you think would benefit the team, when the team member is skeptical of the new tech?
Hoover Hunt@hooverhunts · CEO, Hoover Hunt :-)
Hi Kevin, curious - what was the very first piece of writing you ever published?
Kevin Roose@kevinroose
@hooverhunts Oh man, it was a tiny, bad article in Esquire about cell phone detox. Hold on, let me find it. Oh my god, it's still up: http://www.esquire.com/news-poli... It was basically a pity favor to me from my first boss, AJ Jacobs, who was an editor at Esquire. I was a sophomore in college. And I remember doing a ton of research for it, calling all these people, crafting these perfect 1,000 words on the topic of digital detox, just really going at it. And then, in the end, the editor completely tore it up and rewrote it at 300 words. Which is kind of how it goes, I now know. But at the time, I was horrified.
Victoria S@girlhearmeroar · Startup (Boulder, CO)
@kevinroose Hi Kevin - I was in college when I read Young Money and it genuinely played a role in dissuading me from starting my career on Wall Street. My decision was reaffirmed recently when I read Straight To Hell, which seemed to reinforce your conclusions that WS is an unfulfilling, soul destroying, and corrupt culture. Now that you have been covering SV for a while, and have even called SV the new Wall Street, do you feel that it is attracting the same kind of personalities I read about in YM and S2H? Thanks
Kevin Roose@kevinroose
@girlhearmeroar Wow, thanks! Funny enough, I just had a guy tell me the other day that Young Money persuaded him to work on Wall Street, so I guess my cosmic karma is tied at 1-1. I do think SV is attracting the same types of people WS once did—super-smart, ambitious go-getters with fancy college degrees who are attracted to prestige and stability. There are still some pretty big differences in the cultures, though. Wall Street is nakedly about making money—there is no save-the-world virtue, even as a rhetorical shield—whereas Silicon Valley still professes to want to help people. So I hope that rubs off on all the Wharton grads flocking to SOMA.
Erik Torenberg@eriktorenberg · Former Product Hunt
What Q do you wish you asked Marc Andreessen in your interview with him that you didn't?
Kevin Roose@kevinroose
@eriktorenberg I wish I'd gone a little harder at him about his claims that the American middle class is an obsolete historical artifact that we should let expire. It's a really pernicious view, and I've heard it start to spread among Silicon Valley types.
Erik Torenberg@eriktorenberg · Former Product Hunt
What's your favorite interview question in general? What's the best interview advice you ever received?
Kevin Roose@kevinroose
@eriktorenberg The best interview advice I've ever gotten (and I can't believe I'm giving this away) was to start every interview by telling an embarrassing story about yourself, whether it's about how you accidentally overslept your alarm that morning, or whether you stepped in dog shit on the way to the interview, or whatever. Because if you're telling embarrassing stories about yourself, the person you're interviewing will feel comfortable airing their embarrassing stories as well. (Of course, yours won't end up in print, and theirs probably will.)
Wade@wade · Cofounder, Resource
@kevinroose What's the most interesting situation that has occurred as a result of people confusing you with Kevin Rose?
Kevin Roose@kevinroose
@wade I once had a booker from a big TV show ask me to come on to talk about Digg's resurgence. (I agreed!) Then she must have clicked my website link in my email signature, because I got a follow-up that said, "Please disregard previous email."
Wade@wade · Cofounder, Resource
Rob Toledo@stentontoledo · Ride a bike
@kevinroose Hi Kevin, I loved Young Money - got any other books in the works?
Kevin Roose@kevinroose
@stentontoledo Not yet! What should I write about?
Rob Toledo@stentontoledo · Ride a bike
@kevinroose Would love to read a "Young Money"-like look at the startup goldrush - that or your experience with the parrots would be good too
Shaan Puri@shaanvp · ceo, Monkey Inferno
How much would you pay for @kevinrose to change his name, to avoid all the confusion?
Kevin Roose@kevinroose
@shaanvp I think this is best settled by jousting.