Welcome to Source Code, Protocol's show about the people, power and politics of tech. Twice a week, we talk to the most important people, and about the most important stories, happening all over the world of tech.
Anyone who tells you they know what the future of work looks like is lying to you. For some people, post-pandemic work looks completely different than it once did, while others are already back in the office in roughly the same way as before. But there are big trends, even bigger than the pandemic, around remote work, flexibility, corporate values, and work-life balance, that are disrupting all facets of the workplace.Hayden Brown, the CEO of freelancing platform Upwork, is definitely biased toward a freelance-first, gig-based version of the future of work. But she’s also had a front-row seat to a huge amount of change, after becoming CEO of the company only a few weeks before the pandemic hit. Since then, she’s had to help employers and workers alike navigate new ways of finding work and new ways of getting things done. And while she admits freelancing isn’t for everyone, she’s also confident that neither is a full-time job.Brown joined the Source Code podcast to discuss Upwork’s recent rebrand and its efforts to describe and understand the future of work. She also talked about how a push for flexibility is changing workplaces everywhere, why the freelance economy is so appealing to so many people, and what companies can do to catch up.For more on the topics discussed in this episode:Hayden Brown on TwitterUpwork’s “The Great Work Teardown” studyAn inside look at Upwork’s rebrand — UpworkHow freelancing is changing work — The New York TimesFor all the links and stories, head to Source Code’s homepage.
41 min 53 sec
The shipping industry is not short on new ideas about how to get things to people faster, cheaper and easier. Want a toothbrush and a burrito at your house in 15 minutes? That’s almost certainly doable. And it’s an increasingly competitive space.Eric Wimer and Kristian Zak, the founders of Returnmates, are focused on the other end of the buying process: the returns. They’re trying to build a system that is just as efficient and convenient (and almost as fast) for sending back the stuff you don’t want after all. They’re partnering with some big brands in the process, which are betting that by making returns easier, they might actually be able to make customers more comfortable shopping online in the first place.Wimer and Zak joined the Source Code podcast to talk about the returns industry, why businesses are finally coming around to making returns easy, and how to build an efficient system to get people’s unwanted clothes, gadgets, rugs and dollhouses back from whence they came.For more on the topics discussed in this episode:Eric Wimer on LinkedInKristian Zak on LinkedInReturnmatesEric Wimer: Why we launched ReturnmatesFor all the links and stories, head to Source Code’s homepage.
42 min 12 sec
Anna Kramer joins the show to tell the story of ConstitutionDAO, and the crypto fans who tried to buy the U.S. Constitution. Then, Ben Brody explains what’s behind Apple’s new Self Service Repair Program, and whether this is really a huge win for the right-to-repair movement.For more on the topics discussed in this episode:Anna Kramer on TwitterThis crypto group plans to buy the ConstitutionA crypto group raised more than $40 million, but lost an auctionCitadel CEO Ken Griffin outbid crypto group for ConstitutionBen Brody on TwitterApple will start selling tools to let users repair their own iPhonesFor all the links and stories, head to Source Code’s homepage.
32 min 51 sec
Tech is currently reckoning with its role in the real world, and what happens when our digital and physical lives collide. Jamie Siminoff, the founder and CEO of Ring, has been thinking about that for a decade. Ring has spent the last few years trying to figure out how to balance privacy and safety, what it takes to make people feel comfortable putting tech in their homes (or with the tech their neighbors may have installed), and what it means to be a good citizen. After some high-profile issues and a lot of scrutiny about its policies, Siminoff and Ring have spent the last couple of years rethinking all of their ideas.Ring recently announced a number of new products, including the Alarm Pro security system that includes internet backup and a smart-home hub, and the Always Home Cam, a drone designed to fly around your house and keep an eye on things. Those products represent some of Ring’s most ambitious work yet, as it tries to both define and refine what home security means.Siminoff joined the Source Code podcast to discuss Ring’s new products, how his thinking on security and privacy have evolved, why a drone might actually be less intrusive than your average security camera, and what it took for Ring to force all its users to turn on two-factor authentication. Oh, and why it’s so hard for a computer to tell the difference between a dog and an intruder.For more on the topics discussed in this episode:Jamie Siminoff on TwitterRing Always Home Cam, an Indoor Flying CameraRing Alarm ProWe Tested Ring’s Security. It’s Awful — ViceAt Ring’s R&D Team, Security Gaps and Rookie Engineers — The InformationRing’s Services Have Not Been Compromised – Here’s What You Need to Know — RingHow Public Safety Agencies Use Neighbors — RingA Dad Is Suing Amazon's Ring Because He Says A Hacker Terrified His Kids — BuzzFeedFor all the links and stories, head to Source Code’s homepage.
40 min 54 sec
Anna Kramer joins the show to discuss Elon Musk’s confusing sale of Tesla stock, what a fake resume says about the state of recruiting in tech, and how Apple’s new MacBook Pros have become the hot new software engineer perk. Then, Janko Roettgers breaks down the metaverse: what it is, when it’s coming, what it’ll look like, and the problems we should expect. Finally, Ben Brody explains why members of Congress love writing letters, and why it might be a more effective strategy than you think.For more on the topics discussed in this episode:Anna Kramer on TwitterElon Musk's wild Twitter weekend sent Tesla stock into a Monday tailspinMeet Angelina. She got job interviews at top tech companies. She’s also not real.The M1 Macs are the new software engineer status symbolJanko Roettgers on TwitterEverything you need to know about the metaverseThe Metaverse: What It Is, Where to Find it, and Who Will Build It — Matthew BallBen Brody on Twitter‘Sincerely, Elizabeth Warren’: How lawmakers use letters to get their wayFor all the links and stories, head to Source Code’s homepage.
41 min 12 sec
Nina Herold does not buy the idea that business travel isn’t coming back post-pandemic. Even with more employees working remotely, even with Zoom and async creeping toward the mainstream, plenty of people will still get on planes, trains and highways to get the job done.That doesn’t mean business travel won’t change, though. Herold, the chief product and operations officer at TripActions, thinks it might change a lot. Rather than travel for sales calls, employees might travel to quarterly team all-hands offsites; rather than a few people traveling constantly, everyone might travel a little. Most of all, Herold said, TripActions has found that a pandemic spent at home has made everyone rethink how, why and when they travel. And that there’s a big market to be won in that transition.Investors seem to agree: TripActions, which laid off nearly 300 people at the beginning of the pandemic, has since raised two huge funding rounds and is now valued at $7.25 billion, nearly doubling the company’s valuation from two years ago. Boosted by huge growth and that massive pile of cash, TripActions is now set on an equally big goal: building the super app for travel.Herold joined the Source Code podcast to talk about how travel is changing; what a travel super app might look like; why booking travel and filing expenses is still such a painful process; and why the difference between Basic Economy, Main Cabin, Economy Plus, Economy Comfort and Main Cabin Extra is such a tricky one to help users solve.For more on the topics discussed in this episode:Nina Herold on LinkedInWhat it feels like to be laid off on Zoom during this crisisCOVID-19 bruised TripActions’ business. It chose to innovateTripActions Secures $275M in Funding as it Creates a New Category of T&EFor all the links and stories, head to Source Code’s homepage.
38 min 23 sec
Ben Pimentel joins the show to talk about two cryptocurrencies that kind of seemed like scams — shiba inu coin and squid coin — and why one failed while the other became a $37 billion industry. Then, Michelle Ma explains why “flexible” vacation policies are actually making employees take less time off, and what companies are doing to change that. Finally, Shen Lu digs into why Big Tech companies are leaving China, and what it means for the global tech industry.For more on the topics in this episode:Ben Pimentel on TwitterIs that hot meme coin a shiba inu or a squid?Michelle Ma on TwitterHow LinkedIn and others keep remote work fairCompanies with unlimited PTO are forcing their employees to take itAsync vs. sync work: How to re-evaluate meetingsShen Lu on TwitterThe Great China ExitFor all the links and stories, head to Source Code’s homepage.
41 min 13 sec
All Facebook, all the time! Issie Lapowsky joins the show to talk about what’s in the Facebook Papers, and what it’s like trying to report on them and understand how Facebook works. Then, Janko Roettgers discusses the company’s big rebranding — Facebook out, Meta in — and Mark Zuckerberg’s big-picture plans for the metaverse.For more on the topics in this episode:Issie Lapowsky on TwitterIt’s Frances Haugen’s world. We’re all just living in it.Here are all the Facebook Papers storiesThey left Facebook’s integrity team. Now they want the world to know how it works.Facebook's hiring crisis: Engineers are turning down offers, internal docs showRobin Caplan on Twitter: Facebook as a radically hierarchical companyJanko Roettgers on TwitterHow Facebook is merging VR with the real worldMark Zuckerberg just announced the end of FacebookThe Metaverse and How We'll Build It Together — Connect 2021For all the links and stories, head to Source Code’s homepage.
42 min 49 sec
Sebastian Thrun was one of the early pioneers of the self-driving car, and spent years working at Google and elsewhere to make autonomous vehicles a reality. Then he ditched the industry entirely and went for something even bigger: flying cars.Except, wait, don’t call them flying cars. Thrun, now the CEO of Kitty Hawk, calls them “electric vertical takeoff and landing aircrafts,” or eVTOLs for short. (It’s not quite as catchy.) But whatever the name, Thrun is betting that they’ll be transformative. No more dealing with existing infrastructure and outdated systems, no more worrying about the human driver next to you. He imagines a fully autonomous, fully safe, much more environmentally friendly skyway system that doesn’t have to worry about terrestrial matters at all. And he’s convinced that’s all coming much faster than you might think.Thrun joined the Source Code podcast to talk about the state of flying cars — sorry, eVTOLs — along with his vision for the future, what it’ll take to get there, why batteries are the bane of everyone’s existence, and whether he’s nervous to be the first human passenger inside Kitty Hawk’s latest vehicle, Heaviside.For more on the topics discussed in this episode:Sebastian Thrun on TwitterKitty HawkMore info on HeavisideKitty Hawk’s New Flying Car Promises a (Near) Silent Flight – WiredWhat Is a Flying Car? — The New York Times
40 min 41 sec
First, a brief update on the Facebook Files, as more stories start to come out. Then, Owen Thomas joins the show to discuss PayPal’s reported interest in acquiring Pinterest, and why that deal might actually make sense for both sides. Janko Roettgers then discusses the good, bad and complicated of Netflix’s last few weeks, before Lizzy Lawrence joins the show to talk about the world of productivity influencers.For more on the topics in this episode:January 6 insurrection and Facebook: Internal docs paint a damning pictureWhat Facebook knew about how it radicalized usersOur Comprehensive Approach to Protecting the US 2020 Elections Through Inauguration DayOwen Thomas on TwitterCould PayPal and Pinterest build a shopping super app?Janko Roettgers on TwitterHow Netflix wants to get the next ‘Squid Game’Lizzy Lawrence on TwitterMeet the productivity app influencersFor all the links and stories, head to Source Code’s homepage.
40 min 28 sec
The way Shishir Mehrotra sees it, digital documents haven’t really changed in 50 years. Since the days of WordStar, Harvard Graphics and VisiCalc, the basic idea of what makes up a document, presentation and spreadsheet haven’t really changed. Until now.Now, thanks to companies like Coda — where Mehrotra is founder and CEO — along with Notion, Quip and others, that’s starting to change. These companies are building tools that can do multiple things in a single space, that are designed both for creating and for sharing, and that turn documents from “a piece of paper on a screen” into something much more powerful. And to hear Mehrotra tell it, documents are headed toward a future that looks more like an operating system than a Word file.Mehrotra joined the Source Code podcast to talk about Coda’s recent announcements, the two-year project to rebuild its core technology, Coda’s future as a platform, and why he thinks documents can be much more than just documents going forward.For more on the topics covered in this episode:Shishir Mehrotra on TwitterCodaCoda’s GalleryCoda’s next move: Building an app store for getting stuff doneThe Power of Reset: Arianna Huffington’s secret to de-stress and unite teamsFor all the links and stories, head to Source Code’s homepage.
A recording of a Protocol Live event, “Is there any innovation left in smartphones?” featuring Samsung’s Drew Blackard, The Cyrcle Phone’s Christina Cyr, and Purism’s Nicole Faerber. We talk about sustainability, cameras, batteries, right-to-repair, foldable screens, and much more. To see the video of this event, or register for upcoming Protocol Lives, check out our events page.
54 min 50 sec
Molly Mackinlay loves the music app Audius, a decentralized tool that is trying to rethink the way artists own their music and interact with fans. She’s a big believer in NFTs, and is looking forward to a world where everything from houses to cars are sold and tracked through the tokens. And she’s definitely excited about the metaverse, as long as it’s “crazy and open and enables all sorts of creation, which doesn’t come from one single company running the metaverse.”In her day job at Protocol Labs (no relation), Mackinlay spends her time building the infrastructure that will enable all of that. She oversees IPFS, the underlying protocol that could be the future of how data moves between devices, networks and even planets. It’s a job that requires wrangling thousands of developers and projects, prioritizing many different ideas about how the future of the internet should work, and trying to convince everyone to jump on board with the decentralization movement.Mackinlay joined the Source Code podcast to discuss her vision for the future of the internet, what it takes to build an internet that never breaks or crashes, and the opportunities web3 holds for companies new and old, big and small.For more on the topics discussed in this episode:Molly Mackinlay on TwitterProtocol LabsHow IPFS worksAudiusFor all the links and stories, head to Source Code’s homepage.
42 min 30 sec
Issie Lapowsky and Ben Brody join the show to talk about the latest in a string of rough weeks for Facebook, including Frances Haugen’s Congressional testimony and Facebook’s surprisingly aggressive pushback.For more on the topics discussed in this episode:Ben Brody on TwitterIssie Lapowsky on TwitterEight takeaways from Haugen’s testimony on Facebook‘Beyond the pale’: Former Facebook staffers react to the company’s Haugen spinDeveloper says Facebook banned him over his 'Unfollow Everything' toolZuckerberg says coverage of Facebook painted a 'false picture'Facebook went down: what happened and what happens nextWhat you can learn from Facebook's outageFor all the links and stories, head to Source Code’s homepage.
28 min 15 sec
PCs are back. After years of what looked like a slow decline into nothingness, the pandemic — and the remote work, school and life it created — turned laptops and desktops into must-have devices. From MacBooks to Chromebooks, virtually everything in the PC category has seen huge growth during the pandemic even with a chip shortage making it hard for companies to keep up. Even computer monitors have never sold so fast.Panos Panay has seen the spike more closely than most. As chief product officer at Microsoft, Panay oversees both the teams that make Microsoft’s Surface hardware and the teams that make Windows. For the last 18 months or so, Panay and his teams have been dogfooding those products like never before: “We design these products on these products,” he said, “which is very interesting.” For months, Panay has been going to his office on Microsoft’s Redmond campus only occasionally, to work in the hardware lab or do the occasional team catch-up. But for the most part, like everyone else, he’s been on video calls and in group chats all day like everyone else.Suffice to say, that has changed how Panay thinks about Microsoft’s products, and how his teams built the latest versions. The plans for what would become Windows 11, which launched to the public on Monday, and for new products like the Surface Pro 8 and the Surface Laptop Studio had begun long before the pandemic started. But they changed, because the world changed. And Panay doesn’t think it’s going back. The big(ger) screen is here to stay.For more on the topics discussed in this episode:Panos Panay on TwitterThe 2021 Microsoft Windows eventA good Windows 11 reviewFor all the links and stories, head to Source Code’s homepage.
25 min 42 sec
Ben Brody and Issie Lapowsky join to talk about the most recent revelations from the Wall Street Journal’s Facebook Files investigation, plus what we learned — or didn’t learn — from the most recent Congressional hearing with Facebook executives. Then, Nick Statt joins to talk about EA’s huge investment in a mobile future for the gaming industry, and how Epic sees the metaverse evolving.For more on the topics discussed in this episode:Issie Lapowsky on TwitterBen Brody on TwitterHow Congress's parade of tech hearings totally lost the plotA Facebook whistleblower will testify before the Senate next weekThe many faces of FacebookNick Statt on TwitterHow EA got into mobile — and figured out the future of gamingEpic Games believes the Internet is broken. This is their blueprint to fix it.Protocol’s tech calendarFor all the links and stories, head to Source Code’s homepage.
41 min 35 sec
For years, most productivity tools were the domain of power users and productivity whizzes, people willing to do the work to get more work done. (Or, in many cases, noodle endlessly in their to-do list app without ever actually accomplishing anything.) But over the past 18 months, those tools have become crucial to the work lives of people around the industry and the world. Colleagues can’t hash things out at lunch or around a computer, and bosses can’t check in on a project by walking down the hall. Everything had to be digital.That transition forced people like Michael Pryor, the head of Trello at Atlassian, to rethink their tools. With new kinds of users coming into the system, Pryor said he and his team fundamentally re-imagined Trello’s place in the world — and built a framework for a new kind of productivity in a new era of work.Pryor joined the Source Code podcast to talk about the new Trello, but also why work tools need to be more flexible, why too many collaboration apps fail, and why the future of work might involve VR headsets. Eventually.For more on the topics in this episode:Michael Pryor on TwitterTrello is getting out of to-do lists and into fixing the future of workTrello’s productivity blogWorkonaEverything you need to know about Kanban in GmailFor all the links and stories, head to Source Code’s homepage.
38 min 6 sec
Ben Pimentel joins the show to discuss China’s aggressive moves against the crypto industry, Robinhood and Coinbase’s battle for crypto supremacy, and PayPal’s new financial super app. Then Tomio Geron explains what’s going on at Binance, and why the largest crypto exchange in the world is under so much regulatory scrutiny.For more on the topics discussed in this episode:Ben Pimentel on TwitterChina's crypto crackdown: will crypto recover?Robinhood’s crypto wallet is smart, risky — and inevitablePayPal's super app is hereTomio Geron on TwitterHere's everything going wrong at Binance, the world's biggest crypto exchangeFor all the links and stories, head to Source Code’s homepage.
28 min 47 sec
Issie Lapowsky, Ben Brody and Nick Statt join the show to discuss The Wall Street Journal’s five-part series of stories known as The Facebook Files. What have we learned about Facebook? How will Facebook respond? What should lawmakers make of it? What happens next?Issie is firstname.lastname@example.org, Ben is email@example.com, Nick is firstname.lastname@example.org, and David is email@example.com.For more on the topics discussed in this episode:The Facebook FilesIssie Lapowsky on TwitterBen Brody on TwitterNick Statt on TwitterFacebook: What the Wall Street Journal got wrongWhy Washington can’t just fix FacebookFor all the links and stories, head to Source Code’s homepage.
34 min 34 sec
Bringing you another Protocol virtual event, hosted by Protocol's Alison Levitsky, diving into what it means to build a company and culture that's optimized for a hybrid future.
51 min 29 sec
Nirav Patel spent a long time building cutting-edge hardware, both at Apple and at Oculus. But when he founded his own company, Framework, he picked a decidedly more mature (and maybe less exciting) product to focus on: PCs.The Framework Laptop, the company’s first product, is a $999, 13.5-inch clamshell that looks and feels a lot like, well, every other laptop on the market. Except for the fact that you can take it apart, practically piece by piece, and repair or upgrade nearly everything inside. From the processor to the keyboard to the memory to the battery, Framework’s laptop is a vision for a future that gives users more control over their gadgets, and gives longer life to the gadgets themselves.Patel joined the Source Code Podcast to discuss the journey of making the Framework Laptop, how the industry is changing thanks to right-to-repair laws and a societal turn toward conservation, the challenges faced by Framework and other companies making modular and upgradeable devices, and why the tech industry should be watching what’s happening in France.For more on the topics discussed in this episode:FrameworkNirav Patel on TwitteriFixit’s Framework Laptop teardownIn Defense of Dumb TVsThe quest for sustainable consumer electronics: Rethinking products and business modelsThe quest for sustainable consumer electronics: It’s not easy being greenFor all the links and stories, head to Source Code’s homepage.
38 min 51 sec
It's Apple Day! Apple's September event is always its biggest and splashiest, so we grabbed Protocol's Nick Statt to talk about some of the biggest announcements, biggest surprises, and hottest takes on the future of Apple. For more on the topics discussed in this episode:Nick Statt on TwitterAll of Apple's announcementsWebcams and battery life: What mattered at Apple's latest event
28 min 8 sec
Ben Brody and Nick Statt join the show to talk about the ruling in Epic v. Apple, and what it means for the future of the app market. Then Janko Roettgers discusses the new Ray-Ban Stories, and what we should make of Facebook’s entry into the smart glasses world. Finally, Biz Carson talks about the first day of the Elizabeth Holmes trial, and what’s going to happen over the next 13 weeks.For more on the topics discussed in this episode:Nick Statt on TwitterBen Brody on TwitterEpic v. Apple ruling blocks Apple from banning links to alternative paymentsJanko Roettgers on TwitterFacebook’s Ray-Ban glasses are a big deal for ARHow Facebook prepared for the next ‘glasshole’ backlashBiz Carson on TwitterElizabeth Holmes goes on trial for Theranos fraudFraud or mistakes? Opening trial arguments debate how much Elizabeth Holmes knew.For all the links and stories, head to Source Code’s homepage.
41 min 17 sec
In 2017, David Marcus wrote Mark Zuckerberg an email saying he thought Facebook should get involved in cryptocurrency. (He was on vacation at the time.) After a stint running PayPal and another as the head of Facebook Messenger, he thought that fixing payment infrastructure was the next big project he wanted to work on. Zuckerberg liked the idea, which eventually became Libra, a cryptocurrency that Facebook announced in 2019 alongside a group of partners that would help it develop and govern Libra. Marcus and his new team, a group called Facebook Financial (F2 for short), was also set to work on a wallet called Calibra. The announcement went over like a lead balloon: Congressman Brad Sherman compared “Zuck Bucks” to 9/11, a number of members of the Libra Association quickly bailed on the project, and it seemed doomed before even launch. But Marcus and his team kept working.Now, Libra is Diem and Calibra is Novi, and Marcus said both are nearly ready for public consumption. He joined the Source Code podcast to talk about how he has approached the cryptocurrency space, what it’ll take to get users to trust Facebook with their money, the merits of bitcoin and stablecoins, why NFTs are the start of something big, and much more. For more on the topics in this episode:David Marcus on TwitterThe original Libra launch postWelcome to NoviGood stablecoins, a protocol for money, and digital wallets: the formula to fix our broken payment systemFor all the links and stories, head to Source Code’s homepage.
46 min 36 sec
Zapier became a $5 billion company by finding ways to improve and integrate the rest of the trillion-dollar software industry. The service works with a plenitude of apps from Salesforce to Teams to Gmail to Zendesk to Stripe to Webflow to Quickbooks and hundreds of others, building bridges between them to make it easier to move data and automate workflows. In the process, Zapier has also become one of the standard bearers of the low-code/no-code movement, one of a teeming new industry of companies offering tools to build apps and workflows without needing so much as a tag. “I think there was a huge amount of power in tools like Zapier,” CEO Wade Foster said, “taking things only a single digit percentage of people could do, and giving that leverage to regular business users.”Foster joined the Source Code podcast to talk about Zapier’s rise, the shift toward integration and unification taking over the SaaS world, what he likes and dislikes about the low-code/no-code industry, and what AI and voice assistants might mean for the future of software. He also offers a few wild tips on how to make the most of Zapier.For more on the topics in this episode:Wade Foster on TwitterZapier’s Explore pageLow-Code/No-Code Tools Are Everywhere. Can They Really Deliver?For all the links and stories, head to Source Code’s homepage.
39 min 9 sec
Anna Kramer joins the show to discuss a wild week for OnlyFans, where the platform goes from here, and whether creators will ever trust the company again. Then Ben Brody discusses Apple’s new policies for app developers, why anti-steering matters, and whether Apple’s teeny tiny olive branch will make legislators and litigators go easier on the company.For more on the topics in this episode:Anna Kramer on TwitterOnlyFans has reversed its decision to ban pornThe Great OnlyFans exodusAs OnlyFans abandons sex workers, here’s who is filling the voidThe Bella Thorne Effect: How Celebrity Killed the OnlyFans StarBen Brody on TwitterApple will let developers email users about payments outside iOSWhat Apple’s App Store settlement means for the Epic Fortnite lawsuitFor all the links and stories, head to Source Code’s homepage.
27 min 24 sec
Girish Mathrubootham is in pay-it-forward mode. After starting Freshworks in Chennai, India, and growing the customer communication startup into a multibillion dollar company, Mathrubootham wants to take the lessons he learned along the way and help a new generation of Indian entrepreneurs do even more, even faster.India is one of the fastest-growing markets for the tech industry, with hundreds of millions of people coming online and a much more open, global stance than countries like China have adopted toward tech. That’s why Google, Amazon and practically every other tech giant is scrambling to establish a foothold in the country. Mathrubootham said that’s a good thing, but he’s focused on helping the founders already in India to build companies to rival those giants both in the country and around the world.Mathrubootham joined the Source Code podcast to talk about his experiences as a CEO and an investor, the state of the Indian startup market (particularly for SaaS companies), what his new Together Fund is looking for in Indian companies, and what it means to build “a Silicon Valley” in a city like Chennai. For more on the topics in this episode:Girish Mathrubootham on LinkedInTogether FundShaping the SaaS landscape: a US$1 trillion opportunity for India’s startupsBig Tech Thought It Had A Billion Users In The Bag. Now It Might Be Forced To Make Hard Choices To Get Them.For all the links and stories, head to Source Code’s homepage.
36 min 28 sec
Hirsh Chitkara joins the show to talk about Tesla's AI day, and the looming clash between the electric car company and regulators. Then Issie Lapowsky digs into Facebook's newly released data on the platform's most popular content, and tries to figure out what it all means. Finally, Janko Roettgers discusses his series on the race to make gadgets more sustainably, and why it's both hard to do and incredibly important to get right.For more on the topics in this episode:Hirsh Chitkara on TwitterThe Wild West days of self-driving are ending. Nobody told Tesla.Tesla is building a robot, and it's called the Tesla BotIssie Lapowsky on TwitterFacebook is sharing data to prove it’s not a political hellholeJanko Roettgers on TwitterThe quest for sustainable consumer electronics: It’s not easy being greenThe quest for sustainable consumer electronics: Rethinking products and business modelsFacebook is building a meeting app for the metaverseFor all the links and stories, head to Source Code’s homepage.
38 min 33 sec
A remote, digital-first future of work would appear to be extremely bad news for a company like Envoy. CEO Larry Gadea and his team have spent a number of years building tools for physical offices, after all, including the visitor-check-in system it’s best known for. (If you’ve ever been in a startup office, you know the one: It’s the iPad in the lobby that makes you sign an NDA and then take a picture at that horrible under-chin angle.)But Gadea said that while the pandemic created some tough times for Envoy — including forcing Gadea to lay off a big chunk of his employees — it has also helped accelerate the company toward some of its bigger, more ambitious plans. Gadea thinks the industry is headed for a rethinking of what an “office” actually does, with more intelligent tools to make sure every employee has the experience they need when they come in. And in a world where five days a week, 9-5 is no longer the normal setup, those tools seem to Gadea to matter more than ever.Gadea joined the Source Code podcast to talk about how Envoy has changed over the last 18 months, how he sees physical spaces becoming more intelligent and collaborative, and why there are some serious parallels between the office of your future and the school halls of your past.For more on the topics in this episode:Larry Gadea on TwitterReturn to Workplace Index: COVID-19 Foot Traffic TrendsRethinking the on-site experience? It’s time to say goodbye to the “office”Protocol’s tech employee survey
42 min 31 sec
A bonus episode! We recently held a virtual event on all things meetings. How to know when to have them (and when not to), how to prepare for them more effectively, how to have them more productively, how to share information when they're done, and much more. We thought you might enjoy it, so we're sharing it here too.For more on the event and our guests, click here.
53 min 17 sec
First, a quick look at Samsung’s new foldable phones, and what it’ll take to make anyone care about foldable phones. Then Ben Brody joins to talk about the new bill in the Senate that would change the way Apple and Google’s app stores work. Finally, Allison Levitsky catches us up on tech’s return to offices, new vaccine mandate policies, and the increasingly flexible future of work.For more on the topics in this episode:Samsung’s big bet on a foldable futureBen Brody on TwitterA new Senate bill would overhaul Google and Apple’s app storesAllison Levitsky on TwitterVaccine mandates aren’t enough. Big Tech wants employees to prove it.Tech company hybrid work policies are becoming more flexible, not lessFor all the links and stories, head to Source Code’s homepage.
28 min 19 sec
DuckDuckGo has been on a tear the last couple of years. In mid-2018, the company’s data showed it was getting about 18 million searches a day; now that number’s pushing 100 million. Both numbers still look like rounding errors next to Google’s gargantuan scale, but DuckDuckGo has cemented itself as one of the most important players in search.But Gabriel Weinberg, DuckDuckGo’s founder and CEO, doesn’t see search as the endgame for the company. DDG is a privacy company, set out on building what he calls “an easy button for privacy.” Weinberg’s is a slightly unusual vision for privacy on the internet: He wants to let people use the apps they want, the way they want, without being tracked or having their personal data collected and used against them. And it should all happen in the background. Privacy, he said, should be “really making one choice: the choice that you want privacy, you don't want to be coerced.” Weinberg joined the Source Code podcast to discuss what we talk about when we talk about privacy, how a company like DuckDuckGo can compete in a world dominated by the data-gatherers, whether products can be both private and best of breed, and how he feels about the company’s name as it goes more mainstream.For more on the topics in this episode:Gabriel Weinberg on TwitterDuckDuckGoDuckDuckGo Email ProtectionThe latest on Google’s search engine choice screenFor all the links and stories, head to Source Code’s homepage.
44 min 5 sec
Nick Statt joins the show to talk about all the craziness in the gaming world, from the rise in subscription gaming to the scandal unfolding at Activision Blizzard. Then, Issie Lapowsky joins to discuss the 2,700-page infrastructure bill, and what’s in it for the tech industry.For more on the topics in this episode:Nick Statt on TwitterThe game industry comes back down to Earth after its pandemic boomThe game industry’s Netflix and Spotify momentIssie Lapowsky on TwitterFrom Comcast to crypto: Here’s who wins and loses in the Senate infrastructure billFor all the links and stories, head to Source Code’s homepage.
38 min 42 sec
Twitter recently released one of its algorithms into the world — the one that controls how images are cropped in the Twitter app — and said it would pay people to find all the ways it was broken. Rumman Chowdhury and Jutta Williams, two executives on Twitter’s META team, called it an “algorithmic bias bounty challenge,” and said they hoped it would set a precedent for “proactive and collective identification of algorithmic harms.”The META team’s job is to help Twitter (and the rest of the industry) make sure its artificial intelligence and machine-learning products are as ethically and responsibly used as they can be. What does that mean or look like in practice? Well, Twitter (and the rest of the industry) is still figuring that out. And this work, at Google and elsewhere, has led to huge internal turmoil as companies have begun to reckon more honestly with the ramifications of their own work.Chowdhury and Williams joined the Source Code podcast to talk about how the META team works, what they hope the bias bounty challenge will accomplish, and the challenges of doing qualitative research in a quantitative industry. That, and what “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” can teach us about AI.For more on the topics in this episode:Rumman Chowdhury on TwitterJutta Williams on TwitterHow Twitter hired tech's biggest critics to build ethical AITwitter will pay you to find bias in its AIFor all the links and stories, head to Source Code’s homepage.
50 min 54 sec
First, a few takeaways from another blockbuster quarter in the tech industry. Then, Janko Roettgers joins the show to discuss Big Tech’s obsession with the metaverse and the platform war that seems inevitable. Finally, Ben Pimentel talks about Robinhood’s IPO, and the company’s crazy route to the public markets.For more on the topics in this episode:Janko Roettgers on TwitterFacebook announces Metaverse product group headed by Instagram VP Vishal ShahZuckerberg to investors: This metaverse thing will be expensiveBen Pimentel on TwitterRobinhood shares slide below offering price in debutRobinhood’s broken IPO echoes FacebookRobinhood meme-stocks itselfFor all the links and stories, head to Source Code’s homepage.
27 min 55 sec
Nick Statt joins the show to discuss a big week in gaming news, including Valve's new Steam Deck console and Netflix's push into making video games. Then, Issie Lapowsky takes us inside the World Wide Web Consortium, where there's a high-stakes privacy battle being waged over the future of privacy and the internet. Finally, Biz Carson talks about SoftBank, Tiger Global, and a massive shakeup happening inside the VC industry.(Programming note: We're off next week, back the week following.)For more on the topics in this episode:Nick Statt on TwitterValve announces handheld Steam Deck console for playing PC gamesWhy Netflix is getting serious about video gamesIssie Lapowsky on TwitterConcern trolls and power grabs: Inside Big Tech’s angry, geeky, often petty war for your privacyBiz Carson on TwitterTiger Global vs. SoftBank: Inside the investing playbooks that upended Silicon ValleyFor all the links and stories, head to Source Code’s homepage.
40 min 57 sec
You’re probably listening to this on a smartphone. That smartphone probably cost hundreds of dollars, if not well over a thousand. (Looking at you, iPhone Pro Max owners.) For billions of people around the world, those devices are simply not affordable. Feature phones are alive and well, and KaiOS CEO Sebastien Codeville knows the landscape as well as anyone. KaiOS was created in 2015 out of Mozilla’s failed Firefox OS project, and has become a hugely popular operating system on super-cheap phones. KaiOS devices cost as little as $17; they typically have smaller screens and lots of physical buttons; they prize durability and days-long battery life over fancy features. And yet the people who use them, use them in entirely familiar ways. They text, they watch videos, they pay for stuff. For people all over the world, KaiOS-powered “smart feature phones” are a first introduction to the internet, and in many cases their users’ primary screen experience. Codeville joined the Source Code podcast to discuss KaiOS, the challenges of building an app store and hardware for cheap devices, and why smartphones won’t kill feature phones anytime soon. Or maybe ever.For more on the topics in this episode:Sebastien Codeville on TwitterKaiOS2020's most popular KaiOS apps How Reliance Jio became the world’s fastest-growing mobile networkHow KaiOS claimed the third-place mobile crownFor all the links and stories, head to Source Code’s homepage.
35 min 11 sec
Ben Brody joins the show to discuss President Biden’s long, sprawling executive order on competition, and all the topics from net neutrality to right-to-repair that matter to the tech industry. Then Anna Kramer discusses Richard Branson’s impending flight to space, how regular people train to become astronauts, and how long it’ll take before we can get on a rocket the same way we get on a plane.For more on the topics in this episode:Ben Brody on TwitterA new Biden order will crack down on tech mergers, data gathering and ISPsThe 8 ways Biden’s competition order could shake up Big TechAnna Kramer on TwitterSo you want to be a space touristComing Tuesday: How to Build a Smart CityFor all the links and stories, head to Source Code’s homepage.
30 min 6 sec
Dropbox was one of the first companies to go all-in on remote work. In October 2020, even as the Covid-19 pandemic continued to rage with no end in sight, CEO Drew Houston declared that “virtual first” was the future of Dropbox. Melanie Collins, the company’s chief people officer, has been a leading force in figuring out what that actually means in practice. Melanie joined the show to discuss Dropbox’s way of thinking about remote work, how it’s redesigning offices, how to measure employees when you can’t see their butts in seats, and much more. For more on the topics in this episode:Melanie Collins on LinkedInDrew Houston’s original Virtual First blog postDropbox’s Virtual First toolkitChief People Officer Melanie Collins shares her experiences with building the future of work
35 min 51 sec
What does the workday of the future look like? When does it start? Where do you go? What tools do you use? How do bosses measure success? Do we know ... anything yet?That's what we discussed in a recent live event, called Redesigning the 9-5. We were joined by Danielle Brown, the chief people officer at Gusto; Javier Soltero, the VP of Workspace at Google; and Jen Grant, the CEO of Appify. It was a great, practical conversation, and we thought you might enjoy it as well.
47 min 16 sec
Sridhar Ramaswamy worked at Google for 15 years. By the end of his time at the company, he ran a team of thousands that helped make Google make billions. How? By selling ads.Now, Ramaswamy is out to do something different. He’s the CEO and co-founder of Neeva, a new search engine that has no ads, aims to preserve user privacy, and relies on a subscription business to make it all work. Ramaswamy is convinced that’s the right way to build the search engine the world needs now, and to build a company that can do right by users, investors, and the internet all at the same time.Ramaswamy joined the show to talk about the job a search engine does, how things change when you get rid of ads, and why he’s not worried that Google’s going to crush him. For more on the topics in this episode:NeevaSridhar Ramaswamy on TwitterOne company's plan to build a search engine Google can't beatThe Android Choice ScreenFor all the links and stories, head to Source Code’s homepage.
34 min 55 sec
First, we do a quick run through what’s new in Windows 11, and what it means for the tech industry as a whole. Then Ben Brody explains the fate of the five — sorry, six now — antitrust bills currently being debated in the House. Finally, Anna Kramer talks about the challenges of building an ethical AI team, and how Twitter seems to have gotten it right. For more on the topics in this episode:Windows 11’s biggest change: Microsoft is reinventing the app storeBen Brody on TwitterSweeping tech antitrust bills advance, but opposition is louder tooAnna Kramer on TwitterHow Twitter hired tech's biggest critics to build ethical AI For all the links and stories, head to Source Code’s homepage.
33 min 27 sec
A lot of CEOs have spent the last 15 months getting used to remote work. Amir Salihefendic, the CEO of Doist, is not one of those people. He’s been running a company across many time zones, in many countries, for years. And he’s learned a thing or two about what it takes to do it right — and why getting it right is as much about embracing asynchronous work than it is just sending everybody home.Salihefendic joined the show to discuss how async should work, how Doist built a messaging app that feels very different from Slack, why companies should swap meetings for documents and offices for retreats, and much more.For more on the topics in this episode:Amir Salihefendic on TwitterDoistAsynchronous Communication: The Real Reason Remote Workers Are More ProductiveThe Art of Async: The Remote Guide to Team CommunicationFor all the links and stories, head to Source Code’s homepage.
39 min 52 sec
After more than two decades at the FBI, Gurvais Grigg was looking for something to do post-retirement. So he picked … cryptocurrency and financial crimes. Grigg is now the global public sector CTO at Chainalysis, where he spends his time working with companies and governments on financial investigations involving cryptocurrency and the blockchain. He joined the Source Code podcast to explain the rise in ransomware, how the industry works (and its eerie parallels to the rest of the tech industry), and what governments and companies should be doing to protect themselves. For more on the topics in this episode:Gurvais Grigg on LinkedInChainalysisGrigg’s blog post on why he joined ChainalysisChainalysis’ report on the state of ransomware in 2021For all the links and stories, head to Source Code’s homepage.
Nick Statt joins the show to talk about Microsoft’s big investment in cloud gaming, and what it could mean for the rest of the tech industry. Then he talks about the most interesting things from WWDC, and what to watch for at E3. Finally, Anna Kramer joins the show to talk about how tech companies are planning to return to the office, and why their plans are generating so much backlash.For more on the topics in this episode:Nick Statt on TwitterMicrosoft is building its own streaming devices as part of a major Xbox Game Pass expansionApple Defends The Walled GardenAnna Kramer on TwitterMost Facebook employees can work remotely foreverAmazon opts for three-day hybrid work planFor all the links and stories, head to Source Code’s homepage.
30 min 46 sec
Big Tech is coming for your kitchen. In recent years companies like Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods and Plenty have raised huge sums of money and have been attempting to find a cheaper, more efficient, more sustainable way to feed the world. Some of it involves creative new uses of plants, and some involves creating wholly new building blocks in a lab.Larissa Zimberoff has been chronicling this space for years, most recently in her book, “Technically Food: Inside Silicon Valley’s Mission to Change What We Eat.” She’s eaten all the strange proteins, been in the labs, and seen firsthand what it takes to rethink the way the world eats. Spoiler alert: It’s not going to be easy.Zimberoff joined the Source Code podcast to discuss how tech and food became intertwined in the first place, why so much of the future is actually about cows, which companies are most promising, and which futuristic foods might find a way into your fridge before long.For more on the topics in this episode:Larissa Zimberoff on Twitter“Technically Food: Inside Silicon Valley’s Mission to Change What We Eat”The Technically Food newsletterInside Silicon Valley’s Mayo Marketing Madness
36 min 44 sec
Protocol’s Ben Brody joins the show to discuss Facebook’s latest (and surely not last) decision on what to do with Donald Trump. Then Issie Lapowsky explains the Supreme Court’s decision in Van Buren v. United States and what it means for tech. Finally, Zeyi Yang introduces us to the cutest EV in China, and unpacks the state of the industry. For more on the topics in this episode:Ben Brody on TwitterFacebook will suspend Trump for at least two yearsIssie Lapowsky on TwitterSCOTUS limits core anti-hacking law in Van Buren decisionZeyi Yang on TwitterMeet China's tiny, adorable Tesla-slayerEvery Chinese tech company wants to make EVsFor all the links and stories, head to Source Code’s homepage.
39 min 43 sec
If you’ve ever been into one of Amazon’s Go stores, you know the strange and somewhat magical feeling of checkout-free shopping. Walk in, grab your stuff, walk out. A receipt shows up on your phone a few minutes later. End of interaction. For Amazon, Go offers a chance to bring some of the convenience of online shopping into the real world. It also gives Amazon more insight into how people shop, what they look for, and how stores themselves work. That data can be invaluable.Standard Cognition is one of Amazon’s leading competitors in this space, a company offering similar technology and features to existing stores all over the world. It already operates inside a network of convenience stores, and CEO Jordan Fisher said self-checkout is only the beginning. The company’s underlying tech, which it calls The Platform, could someday bring powerful computer vision to nearly any physical space. Fisher and his team are trying to figure out how to make it work, how to reckon with the privacy implications, and how to make checkout-free shopping even easier going forward.Fisher joined the Source Code podcast to talk about what Standard is working on, what it’s like to compete with Amazon, how physical and online retail are merging into a single shopping experience, how Instacart and Uber Eats are changing stores, how computer vision systems can be both pervasive and privacy-preserving, and much more. For more on the topics in this episode:Standard CognitionJordan Fisher on LinkedInHow The Standard Store worksCheckout-free tech is coming sooner than you thinkStandard Cognition hits $1B valuation with $150M investmentFor all the links and stories, head to Source Code’s homepage.
38 min 50 sec
Protocol's Ben Brody, Karyne Levy and Nick Statt join the show to talk about the end of Epic v. Apple, why the rest of the industry (and world) is watching this case, and how Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers might rule.For more on the topics in this episode:Ben Brody on TwitterKaryne Levy on TwitterNick Statt on TwitterAll of Protocol’s Epic v. Apple coverageApple and Epic lay it all on the table in final day of Fortnite trialEpic v. Apple verdict will set the stage for future antitrust battlesApple's Craig Federighi throws Mac security under the busFor all the links and stories, head to Source Code’s homepage.
33 min 58 sec
Tomio Geron joins the show to discuss a wild week in the crypto world, and what the U.S. government is trying to do to calm things down. Then, Megan Rose Dickey explains what we’ve learned from a recent set of tech company diversity reports, and where the industry still has the most work to do. Finally, Nick Statt catches us up on another week of Epic v. Apple, and tells us what happens after the trial wraps up this week.For more on the topics in this episode:Tomio Geron on TwitterCrypto is crashing. Is this a dip or the end?Washington is rushing to regulate crypto. It’s a mess.How Blockchain Can Fix One Of Wall Street's Thorniest ProblemsMegan Rose Dickey on TwitterA year after blockbuster accusations and lawsuits, Pinterest says it's 'committed to doing better'Did Coinbase screw up? Survey says workers want to talk about race.Banning politics at work? Not at Asana, says DEI chief.Salesforce's diversity report shows progressNick Statt on TwitterApple's Craig Federighi throws Mac security under the busNot even Phil Schiller knows the App Store's profitability, and that's great news for AppleApple says Fortnite commissions totaled more than $100 million, but the real number is likely higherFor all the links and stories, head to Source Code’s homepage.
35 min 29 sec