“One of tech’s most prominent journalists, Kara Swisher is known for her insightful reporting and straight-shooting style. Listen in as she hosts hard-hitting interviews about the week in tech with influential business leaders and outspoken personalities from media, politics, and more.”
Recode Decode is another one of those podcasts that just wouldn’t stand out without its host. Kara Swisher is intense. She’s intimidating. She IS Recode Decode. But then, in a world of tech journalism that tends more toward the celebratory, and toward questions served up like underhand, softball-style pitches, we need intense and intimidating. Someone needs to put the Mark Zuckerbergs of the world in their place. Someone needs to call bullshit on the tech world when she sees it. That someone, I’d contend, is Kara Swisher.
In Recode Decode, Kara Swisher brings her ruthless, no-mercy journalism style to bare in a one-on-one interview with some of the people who matter most in tech. In these interviews, her central strategy is a full-court press, and she’s always ready with a follow-up question. More often than not, that follow-up question is quite simply: “Why?” That’s because people in tech seem to love to make grandiose, overly-broad statements, and while nine out of ten tech journalists just write those vague statements down as if they were unquestionable truths, Kara wants to know more. Why is that true? What’s that statement based on? Have you considered the far-reaching implications of what you’re saying? You know, basic journalism. But really, I guess it’s not all that basic, because in asking these questions Kara is in a league all her own.
Still, the podcast isn’t perfect. Though Kara’s journalistic instinct is amongst the sharpest around, she sometimes seems to get bogged down in two ways. One is that she applies that instinct to the same topics over and over again, and it can feel like beating a dead horse. To be fair, she probably does this because we as a society just never get the point, so she has to try to keep reminding us. The other way is that she seems a little too wrapped up in her own reputation as a hard-hitting reporter, and so it’s not rare that her tough questions serve more to promote that reputation than to promote the story itself. As such, it can feel like she’s inserting herself in the story more than is necessary.
All that said, though, Recode Decode is tech journalism at its best, and although you’d have to be pretty deeply integrated into the tech world to recognize the names of everyone Kara interviews, the topics she covers will be familiar, and what’s more will usually be in desperate need of discussion. Personally, I read each episode’s description before deciding to listen to it as not everyone or every topic is of interest to me, but if you find yourself living and working in the tech world, not subscribing and listening to every episode could prove to be fatal to your career if your job depends on remaining abreast of the latest trends.
It’s a recorded-live interview, so expect that.
Pretty good consistency, but if you’re not already immersed in the tech world you’ll probably listen on an episode-by-episode basis.
Covered in the review, but again Kara Swisher is the raison d'etre of Recode Decode.
I’d say it’s not really that kind of podcast.
Very high. Is the tech world slowing down? Then neither is this podcast.
Usually about an hour.
Overall Score: 7.7/10
- Silicon Valley is ‘an isolated bubble’ (Jeremy Liew, partner, Lightspeed Venture Partners)
- Uber’s looming ‘existential crisis’ (Brad Stone, author, ‘The Upstarts’)
- Facebook’s News Feed is like junk food (Mike McCue, CEO, Flipboard)
- How you get addicted to apps (Tristan Harris, founder, Time Well Spent)
- Social media makes us miserable (Tim Ferriss, author, “Tools of Titans”)
- Y Combinator’s Sam Altman, the Internet of Things and Google
- Elon Musk biographer Ashlee Vance, photo apps and Reddit
If you like this podcast, you’ll probably like:
- The Tim Ferriss Show
- Note to Self
- How I Built This
- TED Radio Hour
Recode Decode's Website