Dead Cat with Kara Swisher
2:47PM Sep 14, 2022
All right. Welcome to dead cat. This is Eric newcomer Tom duotone is here and we've got Kara Swisher. Karen I just left code though much more intense for her Kara. What did you say? 16 interviews or how many interviews? 16? Yes. 16 Yeah, and they were all big ones. They weren't small. They weren't like, you know, sometimes you have a sort of a palate cleanser, but it was meant from Pete Buttigieg to Andy Jassy to Bob Iger to Johnny I've Lorraine jobs and Tim Cook to Amy Klobuchar. It just wasn't
easy. A high expectation topically different. Topically different. The minute after I finished I did a pivot episode was oh my god, it's back from his scot free August. So you know, I do four podcasts a week, it's really it's fine. I'm just fine. It's it's good. That's how we want to, you know, code was designed that everybody's a headliner, essentially, some conferences have a headliner, and then a bunch of, you know, lesser, lesser or weaker speakers, or sometimes sponsors, unfortunately. And we just felt that the way we designed it was everybody, it was a kind of a camp Miss for almost every single, right. And then we had these interstitial ones that were great. They were great this year, and we're working on a piece it will be out by the time this airs about code. And it does, it does feel like so many of the conferences you go to the questions are for the people who aren't in the know. And then you know, the, hey, there's the background hanging, but I do think you do such a good job of making the actual interviews feel feel essential. You know, that's how it was started, Walt, and I used to go to a lot of conferences, there were tons of them back then like agenda. And some of them were good, you know, but that most of a lot of it, first of all, was very sponsor driven. And so they were sort of done in this PR kind of way. And they were very light interviews by people who weren't journalists sometimes like, I mean, I like a lot of these technologists, but they really can't be How smart is your brain? How big. And so we're news oriented, you know, people copied us for years, you know, whether lots of different people tried to do different things, post us, including the Wall Street Journal, call this conference, D if you can believe it, because they're so creative, they can't come up with something fresh and new. So you know, we just try it, we just did it. And when we actually changed over the years, too, we didn't keep to the same stuff. We would things didn't work, we change them. But our whole focus is on the audience and what they would like, you know, that's how that's how just like we think about readers, well, maybe there were a number of themes to come out of the conference. But part of the reason I wanted to have you on in like a big one was sort of like Kara's last code. Like, why, you know, why is this sort of the last code and yeah, it had sort of a you know, finality to it. But you've got so many projects like our I don't
think I'm Rachel Maddow. They asked her why she had this very, she's a hit show five days a week. I've done it 20 years, and honestly, I've delivered so much good content to you, you all should stop bothering me.
But, you know, every year are you winding down or you
know, just just other things interests me. It's just, it's like putting on a Broadway show every year. And it's sort of can you top this and last year was great. We had Ilan and Satya and you know, Marc Benioff, etc, etc. Just really great interviews, but it just every every year, I guess I want to a new thing I want to I'm like a cook. And I want to make a new thing. That's all and I'm, you know, you have run a successful restaurant or whatever it is, you sort of want to try something new. And so pivot was that for me, you know, we did all things we did recode, decode, and then I moved over to the times. And now I'm back at doing another new one at Vox, which is a little different. I wanted to sort of change out the way I do my interview shows. So I just do that all the time. When I don't when I'm like, No, I think I'll do something else. I'm very much like a cook. I'm like I don't want to make this cake anymore. It's a very good cake and and I hope you enjoy it I charge a lot for my cake
is the pivot is Piwik. And a replacement in some ways are
just not replacement. It's different. It's such a different product, right? We're gonna we did a pivot event that I liked a lot. It was really fun to do that one, I had a really fun time doing this one, but pivot, the pivot fans are really rabid in a way that I love. And they're much more of a community explain
to me Well, who's a typical pivot fan? And what do they how do they characterize them?
You don't know literally, I like some guy in Queens. Well, what they do is they meet you on the street and want to talk to you incessantly, which is great. We love it. You know, I was in in Los Angeles having lunch at this place and two people came up to me and she was an interior designer and he was a was an architect. You know, they love pivot. And then this guy in Queens, he did a U turn on the street and jumped out of the car. I thought I was in taken for a second. Yeah, I could have gotten anybody just wanted to selfie with me and he was a plumber. He was a plumber. I was like so it's a very Different kinds of I would say it's probably younger. But we have a lot of young people this year at code, who are pivot fans actually, interestingly, Oh, interesting
and pivots broader, right? I mean, you're sort of moving. You're transcending tech in a certain way, right? Or how do you think about Yes,
it's funnier with Scott, that weird relationship between me and Scott, which is charismatic. It really is. It's a great chemistry that we have together. And it's, I can also one of the things that if you notice, the third day, and I was thrilled that so many people stay one of the problems with code was we would do the third day. And I would joke, this is a joke I make many times if I booked Jesus as the last speaker, a lot of people be like, Oh, I have a Southwest flight. But he's back. It's kind of a big deal that Jesus is back. He's turned, he's
tough to explain to Jesus's PR agent that he's not the headliner right now, right?
I know. But I would put him at the end and keep people there. But they wouldn't. They'd be like, you know, I gotta get word for whatever, you know. And so the last day of code, I changed to be more like a pivot Conference, which is people you don't know companies like that woman who was doing wave technology was amazing. Like, what, you know, wave energy technology. She was fantastic. She couldn't make the big stage at code because everybody wants Tim Cook, right? So I can pivot conference. I can have one or two big headliners a night we last year, we had Brian Chesky, and the head of Goldman Sachs. And then we have all these companies you you may not have heard of, but are fantastic. We can also be more diverse. And I don't mean just mean people of color. And women, although I do mean that. But age conservatives, we had a bunch of conservatives on stage. You know, just it was just it's just an opportunity.
Why can't Why can't conservatives the code I didn't know they can I invited a lot I can't I did last year I didn't it was sort of a democratic primary element was
I asked? I asked. I asked. I asked I asked I asked I asked I got a lot of nose.
Ron DeSantis, would you? Yeah, yeah. He's I mean, they can't live in the same factual universe as you are. How would that have? That's the problem. I don't know why. It would have said on the demeanor, right. You would have had to have been now would you have done I would have
asked him directly and when he was factually inaccurate, or pointed out like everybody else, I'd like to get to what his mentality certainly as he was discussed a lot like I forget who was talking about how good he is. I think it's Bob Iger at, you know, the way he presents himself. One of them was yeah, I'm trying
to remember who said it was I think I
thought it was Bob Iger. But
well, I mean, I agree certainly has a very interested on DeSantis. Because obviously, everything's happened with Disney and yes, successor fuck that one up.
Yeah. But actually, Disney is doing just fine. So you know, it's a wash world still there? Yeah, it's fine. And they their numbers were fine. They're actually their parks are doing really well. You know, I want to divide because I love I really have liked talking to him over the years. And he's a little bit unplugged, which as you can see isn't
he was my favorite, just like raw charisma.
Yeah. And also he was like, Oh, this okay, that this is going he never would have talked. Well, no, he did. He was always a very good interviewer as a CEO, but now he's like, could give a fuck. And it's like, here, let me tell you what I actually think who
who outperformed expectations or let's let's talk.
You know, honestly, people ask me that all the time. I thought they all were very good. I didn't find any of the interviews like oh, that sucked. You know, sometimes many years that happens. But like Carly Fiorina was just terrible example. We got into a bit of a bit of a beef testy thing going on. But, you know, I thought they were all great. I can't think of one of the Cuban was it was all people I like to talk to I actually programmed because of people I like to talk about, and I didn't program, people I didn't like to talk to you know what I mean? I was like, you know, I did ask Marc Andreessen. He said, No, yeah, I can. Why I think was the answer for
that one. Well, because and what's the reason for that? You think? I mean, he just
feels like whatever he's doing now, his little Act of, you know, victim and right wing the, I don't know what he's doing.
What would you say on stage, you said on stage that people did Marc Andreessen had said the tech set still liked you because of Stockholm Syndrome. Oh, that
was when there was an article. Yeah. He said that many years ago. Yeah. But I guess he's through that. You know, I knew him really well. And he's been on stage at code. He's given me the reason why he gave him amazing interviews. We also had Bill Gurley coming but his mom died. And he was gonna give this amazing presentation. I love Bill Gurley. Such a big thinker. We haven't always agreed we used to argue about Uber all the time. But I was I was sorry, that one didn't happen. That was one I'm really I'm hoping to have him on my new podcast because I think he's a really interesting thinker and open to you know, he's an adult, you know, he's an adult like, some of these people they're like, they do calculations like why should I do it? I can, you know, go on Joe Rogan and they'll just suck up every word I say and say it's fantastic. So they don't some people want to be challenged. Some people don't. And I had the people who liked being
Bill Gurley was my first article when I put up the paywall has been very generous and is always open. Yeah,
he's interested in you don't have to agree with him. I've gotten testy notes from him or salty notes from him, but you know, I wanted again, I wanted big thinkers, I would hope to bring back Mary Meeker, but she was scared her schedule was As she had scheduled something she had gone every year to code and our most years to code, and given this amazing internet trend
from from observing it. I mean, it seemed like you guys, were both, I mean, maybe Scott more than you, but we're very happy with how Evan Spiegel, the snap CEO performed. I mean, he was just coming off of that earnings call and say they did a good job. Yeah, I mean, right.
Yeah. And I thought, Scott that last question about fatherhood really shut them up. He wasn't expecting it. That's why I like Scott there. He he'll ask some right, Adela. Brooke
was like booing it. I broke him. I don't know. It was a funny one. It's like, I mean, it's fun now of those out of left field,
so I like Scott's in there. But he was tough on him. He was tough on him about a couple of things I was I was I actually talked to Scott, he's usually asked those out of left field questions, but he has some very pertinent management and stock questions that I thought
Yeah, it's a pretty pivotal moment for the company. How have you seen by the way, you know, from the beginning, when it was All Things D up till now the like, changing demeanor of the execs, as they, you know, approach these interviews? I mean, was it a bit freer in the past? And now there's so much more coached?
Yes, but not not these people. I invited people who weren't that way who weren't going to I was they weren't, I wasn't having it. And they knew I wasn't having it. And so like Mark Cuban wasn't going to try to try to talk him.
But what about Sundar, Sundar Pichai? I mean, I feel like he's good is I know, like, you enjoy in the moment, then afterwards, I'm like, What did he say? Like? Well,
it's true, you got a glimpse into him. Now, let me just say he's like that off the record. He's like that, you know, he's very, first of all, he's a lovely man. He's a very lovely, sweet man. And he's not like the founders, I can tell you that. And so what can be very difficult and just difficult. And we've had them on stage. We had them together. One of the, I think, the first coat, we had them together. But I thought it was just interesting for people to see these people in action. And he's just by nature, a cautious person. So I think it was he wasn't trying to spin necessarily. It's he's very deliberative. And so I want people to, even if he doesn't answer the way you want him to, or get news, although by the way, Eric, plenty of news. You're welcome. Like,
anymore. It's funny now. Now, I've totally evolved into one of these people who's happy to have them for like, the vibes rather than the news. It's funny.
How they answer right, exactly.
Right, exactly what they are how they think about
your let me give you an example. And I'll, I'll help you. When I said here's
a quitter should ask.
Twitter. He said absolutely not. He made a face and he was like, Ah, I wouldn't stay away from that piece of shit. You know what I mean? That kind of thing. Right? And as Pinterest. Oh, my
God, he was so so went out on Pinterest. Yeah, that was the worst handling of a single question. I think
he can't he's such a bad poker player. Yeah, I did it on purpose preceding it with Twitter, because then Pinterest was second that we planned. Right. So it was smart, because we knew he was so
big on tonight and Twitter. And then when she said Pinterest, obviously there was a truthiness to it that he would seem like a real liar if he went so big. And then he was caught. So it was it was it was well structured
question and I also know that he doesn't like that other people don't mind lying to me to my face. Steve Jobs love to do it. Like, I am not making a phone camera. I don't know what you're talking about. Oh, next year. Here's our phone.
Well, I enjoyed that. Because you brought that up to Tim Cook. Tim Cook gave this elaborate defensive Steve Jobs saying that basically. Oh, Steve hadn't committed to doing the phone. Yeah, because he wasn't sold on the carriers. Did you? It was a funny like, Why? Why do you need to like, it's like he was okay. Yeah, but
I did. That might be true. They might he might have been struggling with them for a long time. But they were still working on he still because he was working on a phone. So I asked him, I went back and looked and I said, are you working on a phone? I don't know if you're gonna launch it. But is that an important thing for you? I was very specific. I'm very specific. So they can't weasel out of it. But in that case, yes, I saw him do that. That's fine.
Whatever, I want to go back to this idea of them becoming a bit more closed off as time went on. I mean, what do you think that's a result of is it just the PR apparatus around them getting to be more controlling, they're just being more coached just the tech, you know, posture being so much more, you know, present in the national conversation that these guys are aware of that if they say things, they can fuck up larger processes.
I think there's a bit of regulatory, you know, actually, these are people who talk more than most people more more than most corporate people. So that's to start with, they are that way. But one thing that they do that I think is interesting is it's not all of them. Some of them, I don't think Mark Cuban's changed and Iota really over the years, they become surrounded by people who lift them up and down and agree with them vehemently. And so when someone challenges and they don't think they know what to do, and I think they become, you know, they get in these if you've watched succession, one of the things that I think is really interesting, I know the creators really that I talked to him about this, these spaces they're in they're all cashmere and comfort, but they get smaller and smaller and smaller over the years. And so they're very comfortable and expensive, but they're Herman medically sealed. And so a lot of these people are surrounded by people who agree with them violently. And so and because they get paid, they get paid. And they benefit from those people. You know, Mark, you're so smart. Of course, don't listen to Kara. Like, and I've had some really good points you should have listened to right over the years. And you know, I've had encounters like that with Mark Zuckerberg where I say that was stupid. And he's like, What are you talking about? Everyone agrees. I'm like everyone who pays you agrees, like everything you say, because you're in charge of this. I don't work for you. And so I think that's what happens more as they get richer and richer and more dis involved with actual people, which go from the plane, with the nannies to the you know, whatever, you know, from the plane to the car, to their house to their security, they all have security. Now, they never did. It's a different life. And then some of them get out, right, like Bill Gates is much better since he left, you know, since he's doing other things he's very easy to talk to actually, he was very difficult to talk to. He was always difficult. That was not that nothing to do. Well. But I think he just learned how to talk rationally. Right? But if they're by nature like that, they're going to behave like that. Right? If they're by nature, like any Jesse was there since he was in high college. He's been an Amazon since he's College. He loves his little country of Amazon. So he's, he believes in it. And he actually does and if you understand that about them, I don't I think reporters don't want to go, Oh, they're lying. Oh, talking points. I don't think that you have to understand them as people. And I think most reporters have a have a tendency to not assume that people
was I mean, certainly I'm slowly evolving to that. Oh, no, it reflects their personalities in some way.
I mean, Twitter is sometimes an interesting lens into these people's minds. purities Jeff Bezos right? I mean, this guy
was like, she doesn't like the queen let her fucking queen so employees weird was a totally sees literally complaints about tone and woke culture. And then he just woke this lady out the door, whatever. Yeah,
it's incredible. And it's I noticed that since he stepped down as CEO, he's really let his Twitter game fly in. And it's so much fun to watch. I mean, I really want to encourage it from him.
I do too, although I have to say I don't think he's very good at it. And I don't know. But that's why he seems not very smart. He seems reactive.
Which is again, incredible, because this is a guy who was built up as like the great business leader of our time, and deserves credit for a lot of things that Amazon is, but like, you imagine that everything that comes out of his mouth is like a pearl. And in fact, it's just
they're not. They're not posters. I can't imagine Bezos has been consuming the internet, sort of in the constant. I think he probably is. Oh, I think he's paying he's like playing catch up. But it feels like some of these things seems such obvious, like cell phones that if you spend a ton,
in this case, it's interesting because he now just an insight his thing. He was always argumentative and very difficult to talk to in terms of he has a sort of ha ha laugh, personality. He's very difficult and sometimes unpleasant person, right? And so, one at a time, I remember I wrote something in the Wall Street Journal, they had gotten into trouble for paying people for promotion promoting products on the site. And they had always had the image of everything's equal. We're just putting it out there. And you know, so they got extra money. If you put, I don't know, some shampoo in a more prominent search position, essentially, back then, this is early Amazon days. But it was getting payment from where it was merchandising is what it was paid merchandising payments, which I had covered retail for seven years. And that's the end cap people pay to be in supermarkets again, cap, right, basic. And I used that comparison. I'm like, I covered this is the end cap. This is what he's doing. And then and he promised not to he had I had had quotes where he said I'd never do that, but I've never do it retail does. And he did it. And I pointed out, he came up to me to Ted and he started yelling at me, like, that's not that I'm doing that. And I was like, you know, relax, you know, sweetheart, but you know, it's just, it was really interesting. So he's he's obstreperous. He's just hidden the obstreperous SNESs. Then we had a we had a very big argument, and then sort of okay, but he, he has that is his personality, what you're seeing on Twitter is what he's what I experienced back in the day, when he was calling, we're constantly because he wanted,
I think he also hit on a particular a particular sore spot for tech executives, which is when you point out that their innovations are actually things that the regular world the regular world has been doing for decades, I find
that they want to seem like he was just venal like they were and I just feel like they are I think that's more not that that he wasn't innovative, but that he was doing exactly what he said he wouldn't do. And he was just like them and so one of my things with all these people, when I covered them, they you know, they sort of think they hung the moon and aren't they innovative and you know what a banker is innovative. So the farms big farm is innovative, they've come up with some pretty cool drugs and also problems and so the problem with tech is they they get so licked up and down all day long that they think they hung the moon and so not all of them
are there. I mean, the tech media got so negative like it got boring
a little Well, I think I started it, but I agree. I pivoted,
I mean, you were you sort of burned down Mark Zuckerberg a little bit, right. I mean, you're Raisa. Yeah. Travis. Right. Yeah. But, I mean, do you but now are you you're sort of you're gonna act? No,
I think that was exactly the right thing to point out what was having a
good time. But what about now? Like, what's your mood at the MO I still
I still have all kinds of problems. Negative comp, right? Not negative. It's skeptical. You have to be skeptical. I think sometimes snarky is what's the point and it's unfair. It's actually unfair as as a party, you have to listen to their argument. And and you can't just assume out of hand that they're lying to you. And I think one of the things I learned as a reporter over the years, I used to think, Oh, they're lying to me, what are they lying to me about? Now? I think, what are they lying to themselves? Right. What do they have to say? And the second part is, what do they have to what has to come out about them? They want to they have to present. You know, Steve Case, for example, this is way back used to always have to be right in the end. And he often was, by the way, he's very prescient, if you look at some old Steve Case stuff, the stuff he wrote the last book he wrote was just dead on is what's happening now. This was a long time ago. He has a new book out I think coming but he always has to be right in the end. And I liked that I just as long as you know it, someone like, I'm trying to think of someone who would be a Ted leonsis. I'm just using a while people he really liked to be liked. That was critical. If he wasn't liked. He didn't. He felt uncomfortable. And so if you figure out psychologically, what they're the thing that's going on with them, it's, it's very, it's a lot easier to see them as people. And I don't mean to say they're not powerful. They don't aren't manipulative, the companies aren't damaging. It's just that I think we spend a lot of time on the stuff that doesn't matter. And don't pay attention to the stuff that does. And that's, that's what I mean, skeptical is what you need to be not snarky, and not mean not. There's no when I was going after Marissa Mayer, I my premise was, she is not qualified to run this company. And also this company is headed for the trash heap anyway. And his bullshit about reviving it is bullshit. And all they own is Alibaba. And that's what happened. And so
you don't you don't look back at all at your Marissa coverage and think it might have been a little bit mean.
No, go read it. No, no, I didn't. I never wrote about her clothes. I never wrote about her. There were a lot of members that glamour fashion shoot, everyone went on. Yeah, Vanity Fair or something. The centerfold I didn't write about marks Lux ever. I never wrote about his personal life. The other thing that I remember once she was late to a meeting at Khan and all these people she was she wasn't a very good CEO calling back clients. That was everybody in
Yahoo. Right your
time by the way, she can come and respond to Kara's depiction of this Oh, but
she wasn't it wasn't a depiction. They said it on the record. It wasn't these the you know, the heads of all these ad agencies, she, she goes to them quite a lot. And okay, that's, that's she needs to you can't do that when you're in that business. And so, so she was late to a meeting. And Kevin had a habit of doing that, by the way to remember that she was but she missed it. And because she was sleeping, because she had jet.
I remember you writing about
this? I didn't write about it. I didn't. I didn't because one I thought maybe she's pregnant. I thought maybe she's missed a meeting and Nikesh, Aurora Miss dozens of them. So why should I call her out when he used to do it all the time. And so there was, there was a lot we didn't we didn't pick on we only picked on the business aspects of their problems. We did not pick on them personally. We did not think they were had necessary except for Travis. I do think he had mal intent. We didn't assume that they were bad people necessarily. They just were most of them aren't by the way.
Yeah, a big question of tech coverage that you're getting at which is just do you think the public in the press assesses these companies based on a score keeping of their policy decisions and moral rights and wrongs? Or do you think it's it's very personality driven? people's feelings about Mark Zuckerberg seem the public's feelings about Mark Zuckerberg seem to drive their perception of Facebook, so much more than their understanding of all the little scandal
has happened to gates too, but it happened to gates and then he changed it because of all the philanthropy and happens to people and so and Gates has shifted his image, right? Because all that really tremendous philanthropy is doing it doesn't leave behind what he did. Same thing with a queen like today. I was watching Twitter, it was really interesting. And you have those who are like Queen, she's fantastic. And then there's others like, hey, colonial dame, right, you know what I mean? Like I don't forgive her for that. And I get both sides like you can't leave behind the past that you had now. She's not particularly responsible for it and individually, but she was the queen and presided over a lot of really brutal stuff, Lord, mountain button and India all kinds of stuff. You can carry two visions in your head of people. I think the reason everyone was paying attention to Mark Zuckerberg is because it's the biggest that's all it's the biggest and it's the most careless it was the most careless or it has been and so if it's the biggest it gets the most attention. and they have to, that's what I was trying to get at with several people is like, they don't consider themselves powerful. It's really a star were pirates.
It was almost comedic. They were all because they're also worried about antitrust, which was a big theme. Yeah. To me. Yeah, for sure. There you were good about surfacing that. But they were like, there was a part where Sundar was almost celebrating how poorly they were doing in cloud. Because somebody asked about cloud, it's like, you don't have enough market share. And it's like, see, we're not a monopoly. Like, don't worry about it. It was like, these years normally you think of them as like, right. I know. But But normally they're shilling. You know how good they are. But like the big tech,
Sandy saying 1% of retail. And I'm like, 53% of online commerce. Yes, but 1% of retail. And so, you know, it's it, whatever. As long as you I'd like to hear how they defend themselves. It's
interesting. Yeah. It's always a dance. I mean, I remember, you know, covering snap when Facebook was just, you know, reaming them with copying all their features. And everyone was telling me, you know, oh, Facebook just wants to kill snap. And I was like, no, they don't. They want snap to be there. Because they're the perfect response to the fact that Facebook is a monopoly. It's like, how could we be a monopoly, this other company exists that has 200 million daily users.
But then, of course, tick tock shows up with the thing that actually works, right. And then of course, Mark's got cards that say, China, China, if you notice, I didn't interview them in 2018 he was already doing it. China, China, China, China. And by the way, I tend to agree with him on that right he was doing it for his interests versus the real threat of but also
remember this is probably after he you know spent that you're learning Mandarin and wanted to expand Facebook into China. And once that fell on its
Facebook can't go to China and Tik Tok can forget the national security thing. It just like, it's not a fair competitive landscape. Anyway, I wanted to go,
you might agree with these tech people. You know, that's the problem. No,
I'm allows you I can admit it, you know, you can you admit your opinions. Right? We
did that. That was the design of recode. Alright, I know that was the original. Because I told
you, I copy you, you know, it's good.
It's good. We were at the Wall Street Journal. And I wrote a story about web then. And I was like, I did a ton of reporting. And I was like, this is a fucking mathematical disaster like and doesn't and I don't mean to say they're not going to be food delivery. I don't mean to say that someday, when everything aligns, that it's not a great idea. But this particular company is a mathematical fucking disaster. And I was gonna say something like that. And the journal and the editor sent it back to me. It's like, can you get someone else to say this? I'm like, no, no, I did. I did the reporting, reported analysis. And I called the to be sure statement to they always put it to me. Sure. Some people don't think that, you know is one sexual assault away from the end of their business? But what do you do not like that? I hate the TV shorts. So at recode I designed the editorial is never a to be fuckin Sure. Sensei, what you think? So Peter Kafka was very good at this. He'd write us. He'd break a story. And he said, Okay, this is what they mean, this is what they're saying. This is, you know, he would give you his knowledge and experience based on reporting, and then he could say like, that's not and one thing that drives me crazy is often I'll say, I'll make a prediction about something. It's not a prediction. It's based on reported analysis. And a several times were like, Oh, you got that, right. I'm like, no, no, I just just like, as if I was I wanted to be a CIA analyst. And so I just did the work that made us
base when you could get anonymous sources. Yeah. So
that's, that's all we did at recode. As we like, Okay. Comcast is saying this, but really, this is what's happening. I think puck does a great job of it. Actually.
You're on a reporter, podcast, and we're talking about hard questions. So what's the what's the status of recode? I mean, it feels like recode business is largely dependent on the comp No, no, it has not, it's not affiliate hired so many great, so many great reporters have come up through it, I guess, is is recode succeeding? How would you take?
It's not linked anymore? It's not people have? It's not the code is code is separate? Yeah, from recode. Okay, it's not the same. That was when we had the Recode business by itself that we sold to Vox and then the code conference went into their events division, whether they're going to do the cut does something, it's all in the events business now. So it's not affiliate. It's not within that p&l anymore. And so the p&l of recode, or the staff of recode is within Box, I think, I think that's dot com. And so that's where it is. So it's not the code conference isn't financially lifting the other one. And then Vox decides if they need more tech reporters, or if they can make enough ad money or this and that. I stopped working really for recode when I started doing the podcast, me and I took an intern and I went I was running it and I said, Jim, I don't want to run. I don't like management very much. I'm not bad at it, but I don't like it. And I want to do this podcast thing. And I think it's going to be a big business. And so since I already had a business that made a lot of money for them there, they tend to believe me, right? They tend to give me the chance to try things. And so I literally took it in turn. He's now tweets, angry things I'll tell I love him. He's great. No colon. And Jim was great in that regard. I'm like, I'm not going to run this anymore, you'll find someone else. And he was like, oh, because they'd like to keep you in that job forever, right? And so I was like, I'm gonna do this, and I'm gonna make you tons of money. And it's make sense of money. It makes sense, right? And so that's, that's all. And so the podcast is in the podcast of it. Well, lesson you learn,
you're saying about yourself is sort of you wanted to be the creator, rather than the manager.
I want to do what I wanted to do. I don't know what else to say.
I get to be a manager and you no longer
I didn't really it just I had to do it. Because that's the way it is, you know, when you're running things. I mean, don't you like working by yourself now? Isn't it nice?
I miss colleagues, I like you.
Know, I have a lot. I have a ton on the podcast, and then
I like being in charge. Certainly. I like that part of it. I like my voice being sort of the deciding one. You know, yeah. I wanted to go back to Andy Jassy. I know he sort of veered off of that. What did you make of him like to me? I mean, you really tried to give him the opportunity to to say, this is your company now? Like, how are you making it yours? And he almost was like, oh, there's a lot of people who run it. Like, I don't know, what did you make of that? Hope
that gives me insight into doesn't it Jeff Bezos would have been, you know, he's narcissist in charge. I noticed he's not a narcissist. I noticed that probably will be He reminds me a great deal of such an Adela, actually, who now has come into his own and we'll take credit. But the first interview I did with Satya after he got the CEO ship was not a very good interview. He was very deferential to previous administration. Do you think
they're worried though? They'll get it taken away? It's like it's not firmly in their hands. Yeah. I need to still worry about the,
you know, the stock is down. They've got a lot of challenges. There's regulatory scrutiny. He's been very aggressive. Behind the scenes on this regulatory stuff. Jeff never went to Washington. This guy goes all the time from I mean, I hear about him here all the time. I think he's a much he's a different personality. And I think it's very difficult if you're not the founder, because when you're the founder, you can be any kind of asshole you want, right? Because you're the founder, and you're the God. And so if you're the second person, it's harder to hold on to like, sec. It's interesting, because Sundar is the second person really, I wouldn't I wouldn't count Eric Schmidt because I thought that was a troika. Sachi was the second person. So Ted Saran dose, although he was there very early. And so it was Jesse and so I think they they're not as confident as you think in there. And they've got a sort of Tim did a great job of it. By the way, think about inheriting from jobs. Oh my God, nothing but failure. Right? There's if it goes well, they're like, Oh, it was jobs. And if it goes not well, oh, cook sucks. And there was a lot of shakeout of executives then several left several big executives, although the the main team, Eddy Cue was backstage, I was like, Oh, you're still here, still here at ACU? A lot of the a lot of the team is still in place, which is interesting. But there was a huge amount of shake up before he found his way, right before he found his way. And he's, you know, 10 10x, that company's value, which is,
I mean, what jassie? I mean, this fits into sort of a theme I was getting at before, like the union question, I thought he sort of skewered himself and that he couldn't get out of it fast enough. But like, there's a different sort of version of reporting, maybe I don't know what we see on some like Aaron Sorkin show or something where you're just like, if you think the union things the wrong thing they're doing like you never move off of it or like, how do you think sort of philosophically about
that? I think he thinks that unions suck. I think he thinks
you as the questioner like, how long you like make a point
that unions suck? They have what are they? What are they? What are they done for me lately? And so and I think they've done it to themselves in many ways. There is here's the two issues is Amazon is paying people more they do have better benefits. Would they have gotten those through union unions like to sort of come I got the scout for you, you know what I mean? The problem is, which I pointed out to him was the worker still then has no leverage what's there's no, you're sort of they rely on the kindness of billionaire strangers, right? And there's reasons for them to be nice. You keep people you, you know, you, you avoid regulatory scrutiny, the nicer you are this and that and maybe just in and of itself, you build a better company, people are actually happy there. And so there's great arguments to be made. What was interesting is Christian smalls showed up by he called they call me from the airport and he got there too late. I would have to know that. He was there. He was great. He's a great guy. Yeah, but he but Andy Jesse is right. It's one it's one warehouse in the country. It's this is as Scott points out in today's pivot. It's not a you know, it's not the it's not the French revolution happening. It's just one it same thing with Starbucks. It's one store in wherever the heck that one store unionized. And so I think what's I wanted to hear I think he thinks that I think he actually thinks that that unions are useless. They're just a pain in the ass. I don't think he's doing it because they are going to cost them more money because I think what's going to what has to I think, Jesse In that case, I think the federal government should just mandate $25 an hour. That's it done. And then what do you need a union for? And then you then unions have to reconfigure themselves into something that's useful.
So part of your answer is, oh, the amount I'm going to hold them on it is how bad do I think the actual issue is? Versus sorry? Yes,
I want to think about it, because he has a point he has, he has a point at the same time. He also is leaving out the very pertinent fact that they workers have no leverage around safety. They don't have any transparency. They you know, the the numbers that they make them do, you know, some of it, of course, is great fodder for reporting, they have to pee in whatever they, whatever, I think they don't have any power. Right. So that's what I find interesting about it not, not whether Amazon pays them $18, which is a much better wage than most people in retail.
aren't going away on this. You just wrote a story about how like, Go puff tried to implement Amazon's sort of workplace conditions that it like destroyed the company. Yeah. Because they're bad at it. Yeah, go
puff is is bad at it. I mean, I don't know there's a lot to there's a lot to unpack with this topic in general,
I guess I'm not going to solve the union issues. Yeah,
I don't know. I mean, I guess what I would be more interested in maybe hearing from them is how the anti union argument has shifted from a lot of these companies, because back in the day, they used to say, a union is gonna get in the way between the bosses and the employees. And we're a family, a family together and doing that. No, no, because what Amazon is very craftily done, in my opinion, is they've said, You're not going to work at Amazon warehouse that much. We're going to help you get a job to do things you really want to do. So why would you want to waste your time and your paycheck argument going into a union when this is just a you know, some sort of a launching pad to you you know, starting your Instagram, you know, influencer courier is like a, you know, dog makeup purveyor.
They say that, but yeah, I know it's right. Yeah. And
so I find it very interesting that Amazon basically has decided that we have a transient workforce. Yeah. And so a union would slow that down. Yeah. And I think that would affect their business model. So
you know, I thought that movie, no, Madelyn was very good, because she didn't hate the work she was doing. But it wasn't you could have gone a very different way that movie I didn't
write, but I, you know, and they got a lot of flack.
Very light. No, I'm a ray that crying but it was very confusing and very complex didn't have a moral answer. It
was. Yeah. And back to the journalist aspect of it. I mean, we've we've harped on this on the show before because I, you know, covered labor for the last 18 months. I think journalists really fucked up the story around unions and Amazon, because they made it seem like it was going to be a slam dunk proposition. And that every Amazon warehouse in the country was going to unionize. And when it came down to it, you know, the big one in Alabama was a failure. The one and you know, the Christian smalls led that was a success, but it seems isolated right now. And so I think reporters need to do a much better job of understanding the sentiment that people on the warehouses have before you start pushing your own personal political agenda, like I am pro union. I don't mind saying that. You know, I do think they are a good thing. I don't necessarily agree with you. But I think reporters are no,
I'm not anti union. I'm pro good Union, but a lot of unions suck that's really
weakened in this country. But you know, union sentiment is very strong, you
know, I don't want this to become the whole episode.
Yeah, who's good entertainment unions are really interesting. They have more power,
they have more leverage, like sectoral unions are super interesting. In general, certain ones do very
well. And so I think it's not the worst thing the world to say maybe y'all should read that. If we're sitting there telling the billionaires to rethink their business unions or big businesses, too, and have been over the years. Rethink your fucking business, because it's declining.
On your pitch, can it? Can I ask you, though, just on the topic of hard questions, though, you just you are an opinionated person. And you do want to press these people? How much do you think about where the audience sentiment is? And whether they're going to go along with you on this front? Because like, look, a lot of the people there, it's big business, it's not cheap going to this thing. So it's people that have means they're probably going to be aligned to a degree with the founders. I know, there are people that ask hard questions and shit, usually their own selfish reasons, you know, like, you know, why does Google or why does Apple not allow?
I like, I like my brother asking about the private jets, although he certainly would like one for himself. But yeah,
but but do you ever worry like, Okay, if I go on too long in this line, I'm going to lose the audience. And we're not going to have you know, the kind of revealing conversation that I want to get.
No, you never. I think it's interesting, because what I think I think I do do something that I think others do not do is one I don't follow along the questions. I had them there, but I don't, I don't follow a script very much. And I go off when I hear something like I listen to what I'm talking about. And I could go off on a tangent when there's something interesting. And I think I'm a little funny. I think I'm funny. And the way I skewer people is a little funnier, and it says, I think I'm funny, but I think I am
yeah, and you're good to cut you cut in with a short thing that says no, that's not or like something quick. So you're not like over inserting yourself into it, but you're checking them.
When I started code. I was much more snarky, and I would say I hate to say this about a woman but shrill
about myself. Your words? Yeah, we're not Yeah,
I was. shrill and I think I learned there's a better way to interview and without sucking up there's a way to have a calm a conversation when you're in a regular conversation with someone. That's how I think about it. You know, like constantly attack people, you don't constantly kiss up to them. And so one thing that I think I do do very well I'm a good negar really good, negative white man. Men in general,
but I want to ask about a couple code and All Things D moments from past because I sort of see them as formative in the way that journalists approach the relationship with CEOs. And one of them is obviously the moment where you're interviewing xOP and he, you know, he he starts sweating like buckets up on there, as you and Walter talking about privacy. And, you know, this was they're starting to make their march towards share everything and, and, you know, people were uncomfortable with that. And Zach, I mean, really, he must have had some sort of condition at the time because the guy was sweating so much and, and you know, he took off his hoodie.
You told him to take it off, right or didn't you? I did? Yeah, I did.
Well, because he was gonna think I had some knowledge he had fainted before. From I don't maybe Oh, and Ben Otto, someone. He had panic attacks of some sort. And at company meetings, he had gotten lightheaded. Many times and so I was aware of that. And he and his face, you couldn't see it from where you were? I don't think you were there. But no, no video of it is his face. You couldn't see it. His face went white. And I've seen people faint. And so I thought, Oh, my God, he'll St. And then he'll be on the floor. And then I'll never have an interview
again. The calculation is like good moments, but yeah, killed the
most promising entrepreneur and tech
push anxiety attack would not be I have
to, like, lean down and touch him. And the whole I was like, it was all going in my brain. And I thought he might faint. I thought he might think,
yeah, but you I thought you handled that in a very, you know, I think comforting way. But also, it wasn't like, I'm sorry for having asked you the questions that maybe led you to having a panic attack. It was like, Do you need a moment? But we're gonna continue down this line of questioning because they're important, and it
was human is because you Why do you? There's no reason to I mean, actually, Walt was the one asking the questions, but I felt it was someone said it was motherly, which is interesting. I mean, I am a parent, I have a lot of kids, but I just felt like this guy is obviously in physical distress, am I really going to like kick him in the nuts? Like, I don't really feel like that was it. And I wanted to stop it. Because he didn't. He was beside himself. He didn't. And he didn't want to admit he was beside himself because he was in public. And so I wanted to take one of the reasons I made the jokes about the Illuminati, and that the reason I took that hoodie is because it gave him a second to looking at me. So they weren't looking at him. And then he, he calmed down, like he calmed down. And he needed that because when people are in those panic attacks, or, or or if faint, they just need a minute. He needed a minute and he was a very young CEO, and I think he was embarrassed. I mean, he wrote me a lovely note afterward, I'll tell you that he really did. And so one person wrote me a mean note, but it was one of their VCs
vowed to never show another human emotion during an interview.
No, then he did the one of the Holocaust with me, where he said Holocaust deniers don't mean to lie and got him in trouble.
That was just a horrible line that was fed to him that just shouldn't No, no, no, no, you think that was spontaneous? That was here's what happened. I was it must have been Rachel Whetstone sort of saying
Rachel was there, Rachel was, what was happening is I was asking about Alex Jones. I was not asking about Holocaust deniers, right? And I worked out very fast on his feet. That's the problem. I don't blame Rachel. It's just not fasten. The whole course
thing was intentional. Right? They Yeah, yeah. So I am I,
here's the problem. Here's the problem. I was talking about Alex Jones. I was never talking about Holocaust. And I think they prepped a lot of stuff with him. And he said, I'll take this tool off the shelf, I'll pick them because
I talked about the Holocaust reflects the principles.
Well, exactly. So he they must have given him six or seven. And he said, I'll pick this one, which was a mistake. And because he's not good on his feet, and so again, it's not the PR person's fault. It's his fault. So we were talking about Alex Jones, he did he felt cornered and he knew he was wrong. And he didn't want to say it. And so so he the thing he did and I watched him do it it was really fascinating. And he got because he's so like, one thing about Mark is you literally watched the wheels work and you're like No, don't do that. Don't do that. Don't do that. Like you can see him cuz he's so bad. He's not smooth in any way. He may have gotten better, he's still not good. No, and so he's so not self aware of how to handle himself in that regard. So he he said oh, let me give another example. They must have done that like switch if you're in troubled switch and so which is what people do. And he goes as a Jew, he was like it was as a Jew. I will talk about how like that was what he was trying to do. Even I a Jewish person. Anybody would be horrified by but nonetheless I get what they were trying to do. And
we don't I mean, like as a Jew thing is a smart starting point, but I didn't expect him to go off into we need to give credibility to
a case. Worst for me that I would be most appalled by unwilling To stand by,
that is what he was trying to do. But he's so ham handed that walked down. And one of the things I did I think that I have to say this was my best moment as an interviewer. Wow, she said, holocaust. This was it. This was he goes, Holocaust deniers don't mean to lie. Right? Right, something like that. It's naive and everything. There's so much there as bad as someone who's running the most important technology company and communications coming. The planet thinks that you're lying. Or you can't be that stupid. Oh, there's a good faith. Yes. And so he said that, and I could have said, you fucking idiot, of course, they mean to lie. That's their business. They killed people. And then they lied about it. Worse, they mean to like, I didn't say a word. I went, huh, I think they do. But go on. Go on. That was the best thing I've ever done in an interview. Because then it was a word salad of insanity. Right? And you and what that showed that word salad was, this is how he thinks people I want you to hear what out on his feet. what he's thinking. We've got a problem, Houston, right? Because this is how this is the man who runs everything. Can't figure it out. He's not educated enough. So that was what I was trying to show is that he was inadequate to the task at hand that he was responsible for. And I think that did that beautifully.
Do you think if he had a more clear vision of online discourse and censorship and the role that Facebook could play things would genuinely be different in the way that they in the way that things are handled on that site? Or just online conversation and rancor in general? Yes, because
I think what they were doing and other countries, not this country, because we've got lots of outlets. I think the damage they didn't I think of Francis Haugen was 100%, right, what they did, and it's been reported by lots of people, people who are in their Burma, right everywhere, everywhere where Facebook is the internet, they have caused untold damage, because they're sloppy managers of their platform. That is the there they are not good stewards of the thing they think. And I think it's fine in this country. And it's not great in this country, by the way. And that's why when Maria ReSSA brought me that data in 2015. That's why I flipped on Facebook. I mean, I wasn't ever that friendly to them, but I was like, oh, oh, and she's like, it's gonna come here. We're the canary in the coal mine. She had proof. She had data and they ignored it. They ignored it. And so I was like, Huh, why are they ignoring it? Why don't they do something about it? That means they're like, cigarette manufacturers, which Marc Benioff said in an interview with me,
the last portion of this interview, I want to talk about sort of the fascinating sort of headline of this year's code where you had tick tock, well, I was thinking, well, tick tock was the theme, but I was
coming. It's been so hot, this was coming. She was she was she got sick? No couple days.
I mean, the Laurene Powell Jobs, Tim Cook. Johnny, I've been reflecting on Steve Jobs. You know, on the one hand, sort of as the you know, the news person, it's like, oh, we're gonna talk about sort of the past and the headlines. But but then it ended up being a really moving thing. I think you you teared up, right? Which is unusual, I guess. I mean, I haven't seen all your interviews, but I that was a touching moment. Yeah. I don't know what what was your sort of goal with that interview going into
exactly that not me tearing up necessarily. But I wanted. I know that what everybody wants in the moment. What's the iPhone? What what's dynamic Island? The fuck cares? Like there should be another one next year. That's why the one, two we said our first interview was I've had a premise of the death of Steve Jobs was a very big deal in Silicon Valley. It changed. There's other lesser people. Whenever you think of him, he was still had a lot of really cool ideas. And you could argue with him about it. And he liked debate. That was one interesting thing. Other CEOs don't like debate. He really did. You guys
definitely treated him like Jesus up there. It was no, no. Yes. You did know. Tim Cook literally said like he thinks he told us not to ask what would Steve Jobs do? So there was that? Sure. They knew enough to say okay, we're not going to treat him like Jesus. But he definitely had a sort of
iconic figures. He was an iconic figure. And so he was the first interview. Let me just tell you, he didn't need to come to code. He came to all the ones we asked him to. And he was he gave as good as he got. I'll tell you that. He never he lied. Sometimes. He I lie. He would argue you'd say that's disingenuous. He goes, is it? Oh, yes, it is. I'm really manipulating you. It was such a pleasure to interview him because it was it was it challenged you right? It wasn't he was given. But I have to say he wasn't. It was always fascinating. It was always insightful that that paragraph he did at one of our codes about privacy, go watch that thing. That's a smart fucking person. Oh,
they're all great. I mean, they're fun.
I mean, really, that's what I mean about Mark Zuckerberg. He doesn't have any. He should have finished college or at least read more or something not college because Steve left left college As Steve was well read and thought very carefully, and that's what I wanted to talk about. The second part was, it was the first interview was Steve and I wanted to talk about his legacy like and so. And the last part is, it's my fucking conference, I'll do whatever I want, right? I want it. I wanted it to be sentimental. I wanted it to be. Remember when this was a lot simpler. Remember, when you didn't all have all this money and all this power? Remember, when you were making things for the beauty of when technology was delightful? And it wasn't about a sort of rapacious suckage of information? Or my
brother, or a great moment in that interview you had Walt Mossberg asked this question. You know, would would steve jobs have been as obsessed with the markets as the world is about Apple today? And Tim Cook totally agrees with that and says, No, it would have been very product focus. But But to me, it felt like such a implicit critique of Tim Cook that he is this steward of a company that's so rooted making money?
I think they don't if I had to pick companies that don't think about money, they'd be on the top of them. I don't I don't
the one that makes the most I mean, they didn't
make a lot for a long time, right. So that's in their heads, like in their heads. So they're like, my grandmother grew up in the Depression, and she the end of lots of money that you were a house dress, right, like all the time and so I think they, they're not as fixated on stock, or else they could think about, let me go to someone else that I interviewed recently, Monica Lewinsky, think of all the things she could have done, and the things she didn't she could have written a tell all she could have done documentaries about Bill Clinton could talk about Bill Clinton's penis for years. She never did. She made choices. She didn't think of the things Apple could do. If they really wanted to make money, they could have gone the Facebook route they could have done. They could have fuck privacy. Why didn't why do we care? We're sucking up all this information. Yeah, but
there's a whole this argument that this privacy campaign is good for Apple's bottom, it is good. They're apples, they roll out a new, like you sort of Tim Cook insists that they're this like, super innovative company. And then he rolls out a new phone every year. That's like, increment, like apple. I love Apple products. He's a good steward. But I'm not here
to think about what they could pick. That's all I'm saying. And Facebook picked all those things and didn't mind it in any way. Like, yes, we're going to be a repayment of everyone calls them information thief, and they are they are they're rapacious information thieves. And so that's how I like to think of it and then that question, I think he's correct. I think they if I had to pick a company that cares about the quality of the products them I think Evan Spiegel is another person even if he's not now he's not on the other side is getting his ass kicked great products, that Pixi is a wonderful product. It is just not a good business that's different. Those are two different things. And maybe someday these things will be well, and I always think of like, you know, speaking of Apple, they made the Newton that didn't work, but boy, was it directionally correct. Right. There was another one general magic, the General Magic device. It was an iPhone.
Did you swear off asking about any beef between Tim Cook and Johnny, I've
heard you just because I know it's not really true. That's that's a press they love. Who don't you get along with it? Bloomberg era, Tim Cook is not a guy
who really like goes off.
He just doesn't it doesn't matter. But seriously, think about Bloomberg. You guys were fucking when you were there. What a hot fucking mess. Those people hated each other. What's the fucking difference? I don't care. Did it matter?
I love all the conflicts. interpersonal conflicts are some of the best news stories out.
I also was, would he be there if they had a real beef now,
right? I agree. There's always this sort of like, oh, they have a beef but yet they spent all this time.
Here's here's how I look at those stories. Who the fuck cares? Does it matter? Does it matter? And the same thing when we were writing about Sergey sleeping with the lady from glass right? We had heard a lot there. Google was full of that kind of stuff, you know for years and some of it we should have covered by the way much heavier. But it was it was a different time. Right like there was Andy Rubin
Yes, we did. We did cover that we didn't cover that. But let me just tell you why wait, we absolutely we broke that story because he was sleeping with someone who was running a major division and it had huge repercussions within the company including the divorce on the stock so it was a business story where everyone sort of was like why are you covering their personalized I'm like are you kidding me? This is a business story. And so that's what I'm saying if Johnny Ive and Tim Cook not getting along affected the business you sure as hell we cover it. Otherwise, I don't care.
Can I go back for a second to to Steve Jobs and we can maybe point here and his death sort of being a significant moment for Silicon Valley. Because this also relates to the other great moment that you've had in the code All Things D you know, history, which was you know, the the Bill Gates Steve Jobs interview in 2007, which is you know, I watched it the other day, it's genuinely moving. It is was wonderful and my takeaway from it, and I think that we forget when you watch Steve Jobs, the guy is amazingly charismatic in a way that I you just don't see amongst the He knows these days. I mean, like, when he talks you listen, he knows how to tell a story, you know that he means the things that he says, which is not usually the case with a lot even
when he committed themselves to mean the lies that he's giving. But yeah, I'm
not saying he's a truthful guy.
Anyway, anyway, I don't mean to derail you're
an adult. Yeah. I mean, you know, read Tom ask his question.
Yeah, I say I've gone back and forth as a tech reporter as to like the role that Steve Jobs plays because people do deify him because he is so much more interesting that a lot of the characters these days, but I also see him as kind of a destructive force because so many CEOs want to be like him and just aren't
they don't, they don't want to be like him. They actually want the shitty parts like look, if you go back now and look at everybody who's so difficult. I'm like, Really, like on any given fucking Tuesday, Elon Musk has 17 more offensive things and Steve Jobs said his whole life right right.
And Steve Jobs would face his critics whereas Elon is yeah,
he just teaches rags them I can't imagine Steve Jobs behaving I don't think he'd like it at all. He'd be like, What the fuck are you doing dude? Like the stuff around the car driving I was joking about he like act like a jerk but who cares me parked funny like that was always remember that was a story. Yes.
Parking in like other people's spaces and a handicap. Right?
Whenever it's so minor. It's so like, he shouldn't park in a handicapped gun, but he's dead. So here we are. And so one of the things that I think has happened is they tried to be cheap versions of him and shitty versions of him and he wasn't a shitty version of himself. He was warts and all very difficult to be obstreperous but he's also passionate and creative and interesting and constantly thinking, and he could be an asshole to these guys are mostly an asshole and can be creative as well. The one that disappoints me most is Elon, who I actually like, I had him last year I thought about having him this year, I asked him and then I thought, no, no, maybe not.
I didn't want to deal with you want them this year?
To him? I
said, No. But nobody challenges this guy. That would have been valuable. Elon just goes on the fucking all in, you know, conference, and they just asked him nothing.
I agree. I agree. But you know what, I just didn't want to listen to him. I've heard enough from him. That that's what I felt like, I he's not he's, he's he's doing stuff in plain sight. And I don't think he'd do any insights. And we would argue, and people might be entertained. But it just,
I feel like if you're gonna do it, you need to beg him to take a good night's sleep beforehand, like half the time,
I just was like, You know what, when you come back to, and by the way, I find him to be a genuine visionary. I really do. When he cut when he wakes up and wants to act like a man, he can call me. That's how I feel like, you know what I mean? Like, and if he wants to make dumb mean jokes, I like them. I like, those are funny. But some of this is bullshit. And I just didn't want to hear it. I just didn't wanna hear that. He didn't say yes, I do. I wrote him. I asked him. So
I mean, politics was such a huge part of the conference, where you had the candidates, but then there's this also the tech political moderates dealing with politics. I mean, you had Mark Cuban, she sort of professing to hate Yeah, Democrats and Republicans somewhat equally, probably is sort of most negative comments for about Elizabeth Warren. And then in the Yeah, she's, which I thought was strange, personally, but the Oh, given his political views anyway. But then on the Tim Cook, Johnny, I've, Laurene Powell Jobs interview, you know, Laureen. And Tim both said that they thought Steve Jobs would have been upset about the political partisan moment, but I didn't feel like they spelled out whether they would be upset about Trumpism canceled culture or like what I felt like and they didn't really they weren't willing to go there and say what they you think it was trumpets Trumpism.
Oh, Lorraine has been very on the record she has,
but Tim Cook obviously
lives in a world where he has to deal with the federal government. You can't just go
because he's the stock price optimizer. I
mean, it's not his personality to slag. He's not he's very measured. He just is this just the way he is that you may not like it, but that's what he's like. He's not hiding or anything else. It's just not he doesn't want to he does want to gauge he wouldn't he's not very he is he's very supportive of gay issues. But he could be very, like, I'm a big gay stopping to gays, but he's just not that's not the gay he is. So whatever. I don't know what to tell you. But I think that she was saying one of the things that was really striking about Steve Jobs, and most people don't know this is he had a relationship with Rupert Murdoch. And what he was trying to do was change his mind he always try to be like, No, this know that you're being very negative. Instead of saying you suck, and you're like, the way I liked what Jon Stewart did you know, you're ruining our country to Tucker Carlson many years ago, he did a very behind the scenes, trying to convince Rupert Murdoch, what he was doing was dangerous. And that's what you know, Ananda was talking about with persuasion. And some people today that's not good enough. We have to all have to be like pitchforks at each other. That's the only way the only way is going to be a civil war. And that's that. I think it would have been an interesting moment. And what she was saying is even he who would engage Each with people who didn't agree with couldn't have handled this moment would bet would have been opposed to Donald Trump would have been vocal about I think that's what
that's what it's all Yeah, I don't know. I feel like
patriotic what's happening with I think it would have appalled him in the time I knew him. He was an odd you never knew where he was coming from. But one of the things I'll tell one story the last day, I told one story when he said came out and told me pink sucked the day they announced it, which I loved about that. And it's like, it does suck, it sucks, doesn't I'm gonna get rid of it. And he, he came out one time. And Walt wasn't there. He loved Walt, you know what I mean? And he when he saw me, he's like He, at first I was just irritating. And then he kind of liked me, but I don't really care. It's like, whatever. He but he liked wall to just like, walk better. That's all. They had a really interesting and unique relationship. Because they had been young and fucked up when he met wall like he wasn't Steve Jobs. He was on the ropes when he knew. Well, that same thing with gates. You know, he started the company with a new wall and stuff. So they had a very different relationship. And he came out and he was looking for wall you can see he's like, and what he wanted to see what well thought of is what he made. And he wasn't there. He always liked his insight. And he was always looking for that that was 100% true when he said he always wanted he always called people Laureen talked about that he did he called people constantly. He wasn't as confident as he seemed. He definitely wanted people to know what they thought what they made, and this and that. And so he was looking for awhile to get insight into what they had done. And they had done a thing of an iPad that you could use with the keyboard. I think it was once something like that. It wasn't a keyboard, but it was in it and stuff. And so he was sort of looking for me. He was just sort of crestfallen that Walt wasn't there. He was like, oh, okay, yeah, I'll talk to you. You're the closest thing to Walt. And so he came up to me, and he's like, where's Walt? And I was like, Okay, we're gonna be talking about Walt. And I said, he's in Paris with his wife on vacation. He hasn't taken a vacation 100 years, and she wouldn't let them take the laptop. So he wouldn't work. Because that was, you know, this was pre a lot of this stuff. And but she took the iPad that has the keyboard, and he wanted to see if he could live without a key, you know, that life, you know, if he could do it. And I said, But and it's working, because this is working really well actually. He's finding it very useful to type on the on the iPad. If you've ever seen wall wall, it's very fast. And I bet and I said she's pissed. She's pissed right now because it's working. And he looked at me, and he goes, I could turn it off.
I have to say, I was like, I like you. Oh, my God. I said, you could he goes, Oh, yeah.
Are you going What did imagine Travis Kalanick says that? It is.
And he can look at people's things.
Oh, by the way, he didn't know where I was getting in and out of a fucking Uber I'm sure, but and malevolent way, but it was one of the I love that
moment. Yeah, he could really tell a joke. And that also comes through in your interview with him and Bill Gates. Yeah,
he's genuinely funny day one, for many years now. That God gates behind the scenes, it was even better way back in the greenroom was I'll be writing about in my memoir, but it was they had such a relationship. But when I said
what, I'm sorry, did you say he called Bill Gates gay? I didn't know
this is what he did. I said, What's something about your relationship that you don't that people don't know? And he said, for a long time now we've been married. And it was so good, because he knew that Bill Gates wasn't anti gay, but he was uncomfortable, as many straight men are when you make gay remarks. And so Bill Gates, you could see when you were sitting in his eyes was like, What do I say if I say something anti gay, I can't do that. And yet, I'm not gay. I want to say I'm okay.
And he was like,
he got him. He profiled him and Steve Jobs loved doing that to Bill Gates loved it. Well, yeah, I did it all the time.
My favorite thing, I think this is from the Walter Isaacson Steve Jobs. Biography was saying that the big mistake that Bill Gates made is that he never took acid in the 60s and that's why I never had a creative bone in his
that's true. I is interesting cuz I don't think any of those people on the stage like the Walter Isaacson book, interestingly enough, I think one of the things people got really think it's accurate. Some of it, some of it. Here's what I don't think it got. I like Walter is working on Elon book. He's with Elon time now, which is crazy. Walter is always in the right place at the right time. Or the wrong time, whatever. So by he's a very talented man. No, I think what it got wrong and what many stuff gets wrong, and I set it on stages. Everybody thought Steve Jobs was heartless. He was not heartless. He was a he had too much. And it manifested itself in good ways and really unpleasant ways. And so when he didn't like something, it came out stronger. Like he just, I don't say like, I don't want to say he cared more but he cared too much in some cases, and I think he he was too passionate and too and he was aggressive. So in that way, and I think that there's a very big difference between being heartless and having too much heart, it can manifest itself doesn't make you nice if you have too much heart necessarily. I think that was, again, like I was saying, and I'll end on this people are complex. These people are complex and now they have enormous power. And no matter what happens character outs, right, you're a shitty person, and then you suddenly get a lot of power. Hello, Donald Trump. You're he's a shitty previous shitty person. Poor, right? He's just he had a shitty parents. He never was hugged as a child. He was also a bad seatbelt
power. You know, you can sort of laugh at Donald Trump, but with power, like you're saying,
yeah, it becomes instant. That's what these people are like. And so they so I spend myself understanding them as people a lot of time and I don't want to hug them. I don't want to be their friends at all. Some of them. I've liked. I like quite a bit. I like Mark Cuban. I really do. I like him. Personally, I always find something interesting talking that but some people or or, or like Brian Chesky I really like him. I like him. I can see he's trying and struggling to be a better person like Evan in that way. And by the way, Evan and I started off being very testy with each other because of a lot of his frat bro thing, but he's evolved. And so you have Yeah, exactly. Right. He's better. Yeah. Same thing with the same thing with the with gates in a weird way. Boy, did we have a real problem with each other?
We could talk to you anyway. I don't want to take you
anyway. Thank you. So you've got me talking. memoirs.
Yeah, when's that out?
When I write? I don't know. It's gonna be funny. It's gonna be fun. I'm not settling scores. People. I will. You know.
Cool. All right. So how about you Eric? It's my time with exactly. Startup stuff and doing your
You're very you're both very gifted reporters.
Thank you. Thanks for coming on. Thanks, Kara. Anytime Sally Goodbye, goodbye. Goodbye. Goodbye. Goodbye. Goodbye. Goodbye.