Decoder with Nilay Patel

Decoder with Nilay Patel

Decoder is a show from The Verge about big ideas — and other problems. Verge editor-in-chief Nilay Patel talks to a diverse cast of innovators and policymakers at the frontiers of business and technology to reveal how they’re navigating an ever-changing landscape, what keeps them up at night, and what it all means for our shared future.

Episodes

July 15, 2024 60 mins
Today, I’m talking with Arati Prabhakar, the director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. That’s a cabinet-level position, where she works as the chief science and tech advisor to President Biden. Arati and her team of about 140 people at the OSTP are responsible for advising the president on not only big developments in science but also about major innovations in tech, much of which come from the private se...
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Today I’m talking to Nicholas Thompson, the CEO of The Atlantic. I was really excited to talk to Nick. Like so many media CEOs, including Vox Media’s, he just signed a deal allowing OpenAI to use The Atlantic’s vast archives as training data, but he also has a rich background in tech. Before he was the CEO of The Atlantic, Nick was the editor-in-chief of Wired, where he set his sights on AI reporting well before anyone else. I was...
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Canva got its start more than a decade ago as a different form of disruptive tech for creatives. It’s a web-based platform that makes design tools cheaper and accessible for individuals, schools, and businesses from tiny to enterprise. Melanie has big goals to grow the company — and try to do good in the process. Links:  Canva tackled digital design — and now the office suite is next | The Verge Canva Inks Deals With Warner Musi...
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It’s almost the Fourth of July, and that means it’s time for our annual grilling episode. This year, I’m talking with Big Green Egg CEO Dan Gertsacov, who has big plans for using very modern fan-based marketing techniques to expand the market for the company’s old-fashioned, fire-burning, aspirational product.  Links:  Big Green Egg Appoints a New CEO | CookOut News Big Green Egg 50th Anniversary 1974-2024 | Big Green Egg Yep...
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Today, we’re talking about politics and lobbying in America. It’s hard to imagine a time when the influence of big corporations and billionaires didn’t touch every part of American politics, but the kind of lobbying we have now didn’t really exist before the 1970s. Now, our political debates about everything from energy, finance, and healthcare are deeply intertwined with corporations and their money — and new big players in tech n...
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Today, I’m talking with Greg Peters, the co-CEO of Netflix. I caught up with Greg while he was at the Cannes Lions festival in France, which is basically the world’s biggest gathering of advertisers and marketers. It’s an increasingly important place for Greg to be, as Netflix’s new ad tier has nearly doubled in six months to more than 40 million subscribers and feels increasingly pivotal to the future of the company.  On top of t...
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We’ve got a special episode of the show today – I was traveling last week, so Verge deputy editor Alex Heath and our new senior AI reporter Kylie Robison are filling in for me, with a very different kind of episode about AI. We talk a lot about AI in a broad sense on Decoder — it comes up in basically every single interview I do these days. But we don’t spend a ton of time on the day-to-day happenings of the AI industry itself. So...
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Tubi is a free and very rapidly growing streaming TV platform — according to Nielsen, it had an average of a million viewers watching every minute in May 2024, beating out Disney Plus, Max, Peacock, and basically everything else, save Netflix and YouTube. All those streaming service price hikes are driving people to free options, and Tubi is right there to catch them. CEO Anjali Sud joins Decoder to explain why she thinks Tubi's m...
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Private equity is a simple concept — a PE firm uses some combination of money and debt to buy a company, then makes a profit — but the reality of what happens to the companies that get acquired is anything but. It's everywhere, and it's not going away. In this summer remix, we're talking with Brendan Ballou, author of Plunder: Private Equity’s Plan to Pillage America, about how we got here and what happens next.  Links:  Private ...
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Cohere is one of the buzziest AI startups around right now. It's not making consumer products; it's focused on the enterprise market and making AI products for big companies. And there's a huge tension there: up until recently, computers have been deterministic. If you give computers a certain input, you usually know exactly what output you’re going to get. There’s a logic to it. But if we all start talking to computers with human ...
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The art of video game design is flourishing, but it feels like a really grim time to be in the business of making and distributing games. Huge global publishers and tiny indie studios alike are facing huge financial pressures, and it doesn’t seem to be letting up anytime soon. So where did this enormous pressure come from, if consumer interest is high and sales are great? Verge video game reporter Ash Parrish joins Decoder to expl...
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Today, I’m talking with Zoom CEO Eric Yuan — and let me tell you, this conversation is nothing like what I expected. It turns out Eric wants Zoom to be much, much more than just a videoconferencing platform. Zoom wants to take on Microsoft and Google and now has a big investment in AI – and Eric’s visions for what that AI will do are pretty wild. See, Eric really wants you to stop having to attend Zoom meetings yourself. You’ll he...
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May 30, 2024 27 mins
For nearly 20 years now, the web has been Google’s platform; we’ve all just lived on it. I think of Decoder as a show for people trying to build things, and a lot of people have built their things on that platform. For a lot of small businesses and content creators, that’s suddenly not stable anymore. The number one question I have for anyone building things on someone else’s platform is: What are you going to do when that platform...
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Today, I’m talking with Joseph Cox, one of the best cybersecurity reporters around and a co-founder of the new media site 404 Media. Joseph has a new book coming out in June called Dark Wire: The Incredible True Story of the Largest Sting Operation Ever, and I can’t recommend it enough. It’s basically a caper, but with the FBI running a phone network. For real.  Joseph walks us through the fascinating world of underground criminal...
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Today, I’m talking to Google CEO Sundar Pichai, who joined the show the day after the big Google I/O developer conference. Google’s focus during the conference was on how it’s building AI into virtually all of its products. If you’re a Decoder listener, you’ve heard me talk about this idea a lot over the past year: I call it “Google Zero,” and I’ve been asking a lot of web and media CEOs what would happen to their businesses if the...
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Last week, TikTok filed a lawsuit against the US government claiming the divest-or-ban law is unconstitutional — a case it needs to win in order to keep operating under Bytedance’s ownership. There’s a lot of back and forth between the facts and the law here: Some of the legal claims are complex and sit in tension with a long history of prior attempts to regulate speech and the internet, while the simple facts of what TikTok has al...
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Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen has been at the top of my list of people I’ve wanted to talk to for the show since we first launched — he’s led Adobe for nearly 17 years now, but he doesn’t do too many wide-ranging interviews. I’ve always thought Adobe was an underappreciated company — its tools sit at the center of nearly every major creative workflow you can think of — and with generative AI poised to change the very nature of creativ...
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Today, we’re going to talk about the smart home — one of the oldest, most important, and most challenging dreams in the history of the tech industry. The idea of your house responding to you and your family, and generally being as automated and as smart as your phone or your laptop, has inspired generations of technologists. But after decades of promises, it’s all still pretty messy. Because the big problem with the smart home has ...
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Today, I’m talking with Polestar CEO Thomas Ingenlath, whom I first interviewed on the show back in 2021. Those were heady days — especially for upstart EV companies like Polestar, which all seemed poised to capture what felt like infinite demand for electric cars. Now, in 2024, the market looks a lot different, and so does Polestar, which is no longer majority-owned by Volvo. Instead, Volvo is now a more independent sister company...
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May 2, 2024 39 mins
Today, Verge transportation editor Andy Hawkins and I are going to try and figure out Tesla. I said try — I did not say succeed. But we’re going to try. That’s because Tesla has been on a real rollercoaster these past two weeks, in terms of its stock price, its basic financials, and well, its vibes. If you’ve been following the company, you know that that gap between what the business is and how its valued has been getting bigger ...
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