Kai Ryssdal’s Conversations From the Corner Office brings you inside the room with the business and cultural leaders transforming our economy. In this business leadership podcast, Ryssdal interviews experts and entrepreneurs on a wide range of topics from the news of the day, successes, failures and what’s next.
What do a small town doctor, a hair stylist, and the executive director of an independent movie theater have in common? They all run businesses that play key roles in their local economies, however small those businesses might be. These three people are part of a series we’re doing on Marketplace, “United States of Work,” that re-imagines the the U.S. labor force as 10 individuals. Find all the interviews at Marketplace.org/Work.
20 min 58 sec
Joanne Heyler, founding director of the Los Angeles contemporary art museum The Broad, takes Kai on a tour of the vaults where the collection that’s not on display is kept. They discuss both how art can reflect the economy and the business of running a museum.
19 min 5 sec
Despite unprecedented economic expansion in the U.S., the global economy is slowing down. On today’s episode, a wide-ranging conversation on what’s standing in the way of economic growth with Janet Yellen, former Chair of the Federal Reserve, and David Malpass, President of the World Bank Group. Recorded live on stage at the George Washington University, sponsored by the Bipartisan Policy Center, they touched on how everything from consumer debt, to the U.S./China trade war and the new coronavirus could affect the global economy.
26 min 30 sec
This season, you have a record 532 scripted TV shows to choose from. Netflix, Apple and cable networks are spending billions on marquee talent, intellectual property and reboots, some of them with the help of big data. AMC, however, is trying something different. Sarah Barnett took over as president the legacy network in late 2018, as the streaming war was heating up and cord cutters threatened cable’s dominance. She spoke with us about her plan to counter the streaming giants, AMC’s legacy of big hits like “Breaking Bad” and why investing in new voices is crucial to making good TV.
15 min 54 sec
About one in nine Americans lacked access to affordable nutrition last year, according to the USDA. Enter Feeding America, a network of tens of thousands of food banks, meals programs and more. CEO Claire Babineaux-Fontenot talked with us about how she uses her corporate background to run one of the nation’s largest charities, and how she stays positive in the face of such a big problem.
11 min 56 sec
Since Jonathan Reckford became the CEO for Habitat for Humanity in 2005, the nonprofit housing organization has grown to help nearly 30 million people improve their housing conditions. “An interesting hybrid between a global corporation and a denomination,” he said. But as the world faces a growing affordable housing crisis, his work faces the same barriers as many people trying to find shelter. He spoke with us about some of the challenges to building affordable housing in a for-profit world.
13 min 19 sec
Kelly Sawyer Patricof and Norah Weinstein knew they wanted their nonprofit, Baby2Baby, to do big things to help kids living in poverty. But they didn’t realize that a photo featuring Jessica Alba and Nicole Richie at one of their first events would lead to a donation of 100,000 diapers and a totally new strategy for growth. They talked with us about running their nonprofit as a business, working together as co-presidents and why their work is nowhere near done.
13 min 49 sec
Not long after Lisa Kaz graduated college with a computer science degree, she joined her grandfather in the auto show business. Today she’s the CEO of the LA Auto Show and the conference that happens immediately before, AutoMobility LA. She talked with us from the show floor about the challenges of running an auto show today and the technology she’s most excited to see in the cars of the (near) future.
15 min 33 sec
David Nussbaum knows whatever he’s doing with “America’s Test Kitchen” is working when he attends events with hosts Bridget Lancaster and Julia Collin Davison. “You’d think I was with Michelle Obama and the ex-president,” he said. America’s Test Kitchen continues to grow, expanding from TV and magazines into podcasting, and attracting more than 400,000 paying subscribers to its website. Nussbaum spoke to host Kai Ryssdal about why the $10,000 spent developing each recipe on average is totally worth it; how he’s attracting a new and younger audience; and why he took the job at America’s Test Kitchen in the first place.
10 min 35 sec
When Jim Hackett became CEO of Ford Motor Co. in 2017, he pledged to make the automaker leaner and invest more in electrics and hybrids. The Mach-E, an electric Mustang SUV, is the first look at that investment and Ford’s strategy to take their best-selling brands and electrify them. An electric version of the F-150 is expected in 2021. Will it be enough to overcome other challenges for the auto industry today, like tariffs, climate change and changing consumer preferences? Kai Ryssdal spoke with Hackett at the launch of the Mach-E Sunday night in Los Angeles to find out.
25 min 5 sec
Scott Gimple was the showrunner for five seasons of “The Walking Dead” before becoming chief content officer for the entire franchise. And in that time, the series has become a content universe, with a spinoff series, video games and both a movie and another spinoff in the works. Kai Ryssdal interviewed Gimple in his Burbank office, not too far from a life-sized statue of Han Solo frozen in carbonite. They talked horror what it’s like to direct the storyline for an entire franchise. And Gimple made a passionate pitch for Ryssdal to give the series a shot.
16 min 36 sec
Eva Price quit her job at ABC News at 26 to chase her dream of becoming a theater producer. Fifteen years later, with three Tony Awards, more than 18 Broadway credits and a place on the Broadway League’s board of governors, she’s a theater powerhouse. She took home a Tony this year for an edgy new version of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma!” and she’s leading production of a new musical, “Jagged Little Pill,” inspired by the Alanis Morissette album. Kai Ryssdal sat down with Price inside Sardi’s restaurant in New York City, a place as synonymous with Broadway as the Tonys themselves. They talked about what a producer does, how the industry is changing and why Broadway matters.
14 min 16 sec
When Dick’s Sporting Goods CEO Ed Stack took over the family business, it was only two stores. Now the company has over 700 stores, making it one of the biggest sports retailers in the country. Stack recounts all this, as well as the company’s decision to cut back on gun sales following the Parkland, Florida, shooting, in his new book “It’s How We Play the Game.” Stack and Kai Ryssdal talk about the book, the gun sale controversy and corporate responsibility.
13 min 44 sec
Competitive bodybuilding, The Rock, and how you build an enterprise around a person: a conversation with Dany Garcia, CEO of The Garcia Companies.
17 min 35 sec
Coursera is one of the largest companies offering “MOOCs” — that is, massive open online courses. Launched in 2012 by two Stanford professors, Coursera partnered with universities to offer college courses for free. In the years since, Coursera has grown to offer certificates and even full college degrees for a fraction of the cost of on-campus degrees offered by its partner universities. It has also expanded into offering employee training for businesses. Coursera CEO Jeff Maggioncalda says he thinks online learning could just be the future of higher education.
12 min 17 sec
Slack is a workplace messaging platform that allows users to communicate with co-workers across the country, share files instantaneously and react to news about free doughnuts with the perfect GIF. Since its launch in 2013, it’s been popularized in workplaces around the country and around the world. Slack boasts 10 million users and went public in a direct listing on the New York Stock Exchange earlier this summer. Things get philosophical as we talked with Stewart Butterfield, Slack’s co-founder and CEO, about what his company does, the future of email and how technology changes human behavior.
24 min 43 sec
Pabst Brewing company is perhaps best known for Pabst Blue Ribbon or PBR, a beer the 175-year-old company has sold for over a century. But while the beer name and its signature blue ribbon label may have stayed pretty much the same for decades, the company itself hasn’t. Nearly two decades ago, the company nearly disappeared…then hipsters picked PBR as their signature drink and the company came roaring back. Today, general manager Matt Bruhn has been tasked with transforming Pabst from a beer company to a beverage company. And he’s starting with hard coffee and clear whiskey. Check out the taste test he did with Kai Ryssdal over at Marketplace.org.
15 min 27 sec
Hearst was founded in 1887 by William Randolph Hearst, it started out as a single newspaper, the San Francisco Examiner. Now, Hearst is one of the largest media companies in the world, with holdings in dozens of magazines, newspapers, and television networks. Some might be surprised to know that Hearst also has its hand in healthcare and business information, as well. Hearst President and CEO Steve Swartz talked with us at the Hearst Tower in New York City.
18 min 33 sec
Poshmark is an app where you can either buy items from other users or try to sell unwanted items like clothes, handbags, shoes, or home decor. Think of eBay, but with more social aspects where people could follow each other’s “closets,” and comment or share the listings they like. It started bak in 2011, and has grown to 50 million users and paid out more than a billion dollars to sellers. We talked with CEO Manish Chandra about his fashion magazine background, this year’s decluttering trend and how he kept the company from growing too fast.
11 min 40 sec
The word “streetwear” might summon a few images in your head — Kanye West and his high-end Yeezy sneakers, stylish Supreme T-shirts and more. But once upon a time, streetwear was less a mainstream fashion statement and more of an expression of smaller, alternative subcultures like skateboarding, punk rock and surfing. That’s the world into which Bobby Kim, a.k.a Bobby Hundreds, launched a T-shirt business that eventually became the Los Angeles streetwear company The Hundreds. He spoke with Kai Ryssdal about how he kept his streetwear brand successful without “selling out” and his new book, “This Is Not a T-Shirt.”
13 min 22 sec
Lands’ End is a 56-year-old American company that made its name in the catalog business. In the digital age though, it’s had to adapt. Jerome Griffith became CEO in 2016. At the time, the company needed a change after years of declining sales and more than a decade under the ownership of Sears. Griffith has invested in building out the company’s e-commerce capabilities and opening Lands’ End stand-alone retail stores. He talked with us about why he took the job, how he’s turning the company around and what he likes about this moment in retail.
11 min 8 sec
Health care employs more people in the United States than any other industry. About 11% of all all private-sector workers work in health care. Heather Hasson and Trina Spear’s company Figs is out to reinvent and disrupt the uniforms that many of those workers wear: scrubs. We talked with them at Figs’ warehouse in City of Industry, California.
17 min 17 sec
Amy Sherman Palladino and her husband, Dan Palladino, are deep in production for season three of their hit show on Amazon, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” It’s the story of Midge Maisel as she pursues a career in stand-up comedy in 1960s New York. The pair have already won a ton of awards for the show, including Emmys and a Peabody. They talk to us about the joys of producing a show for a streaming company, why no detail is too small to notice and how Midge’s story will end.
28 min 58 sec
When we last talked with Ed Bastian in 2016, he had only just been appointed CEO of Delta Air Lines. This time we caught up with him at Los Angeles International Airport as he stepped off a flight from Atlanta. He talked about the company’s plans to spend billions on remodeling and updating airports across the country, including $2 billion at LAX; why he thinks his airline has figured out how to break through the boom-and-bust cycle of the industry; and what he said to the CEO of Boeing.
21 min 47 sec
Running the Tribeca Film Festival is Jane Rosenthal’s side hustle. Rosenthal co-founded it with her producing partner, Robert De Niro, in the aftermath of 9/11 when few visitors wanted to make their way downtown. Her more than 50 credits include movies like “Meet the Parents,” “Bohemian Rhapsody” and the upcoming Martin Scorsese directed crime drama “The Irishman,” which will be released by Netflix later this year. She talked with us about why she doesn’t like the word “content,” what she does like about video games and why she’s excited for the way Netflix has disrupted the movie business.
21 min 52 sec
Jamie Dimon led JPMorgan Chase & Co. through the financial crisis. Today, it’s the largest bank in the United States, managing nearly $3 trillion – more than the gross domestic product of several countries. Now, though, he’s more worried about cyber security. And yes, he does know what he wants to do when he (eventually) retires. This interview was originally released October 3, 2018
32 min 47 sec
One of the few women leading global economic policy today is Christine Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund. She says the biggest problems of our day, from cyberthreats to climate change, can’t be solved “by turning inwards, by looking at your belly button.” She describes herself as part architect, part firefighter and explains why she thinks banks would be better off if more of them had female CEOs.
15 min 30 sec
You already know Luis von Ahn’s work. He helped create CAPTCHA, the technology that helps control spam on the internet and crowd-sources humans to help computers read and digitize old text. In 2012, he co-founded Duolingo, a free language learning app. To him, the app was meant to solve “this mismatch where most of the people trying to learn a language didn’t have $1,000, whereas the software that would teach you a language cost about $1,000.” Von Ahn says there are now more Americans learning on his app than there are in the public school system. Why? Because Duolingo works like a video game.
13 min 31 sec
Millions of people lost their homes, their jobs and their savings during the financial crisis. The resulting recession destroyed over $30 trillion of the world’s wealth. Although the crisis grew out of big banks’ handling of mortgage-backed securities, no Wall Street CEO served time for it. So what happened? We spent the past year reporting on how the crisis changed America, and this was the question we were asked the most. On this special episode of Corner Office, we have the answer.
41 min 43 sec
Dennis Muilenburg started as an intern at Boeing in 1985 and never left. The aerospace company is America’s largest exporter, the Defense Department’s second-biggest contractor, and since Muilenburg became CEO, its annual revenue topped $100 billion for the first time. We visited the company’s headquarters in Chicago to talk with Muilenburg about biking 10,000 miles a year, his differences with the president, and why manufacturing in America today is “harder than it’s ever been.”
28 min 30 sec
If you own a car, then you know that taking it to the shop can be a pain. But the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company wants to make it easier to understand how the rubber — literally — meets the road. One of the largest tire companies in the world, Goodyear has been around for over 100 years. Chairman and CEO Rich Kramer tells us although tires haven’t changed much, consumer behaviors and technology have.
11 min 20 sec
The Los Angeles Lakers are more than just a basketball team. They are also a global brand worth $3.3 billion, one of the most successful franchises in the NBA and fundamentally an entertainment company with outsized influence. Lately though, the team has struggled to deliver on the court, missing the playoffs five years in a row. Back in October, we drove across town to the Los Angeles Lakers’ new headquarters in El Segundo, California, to talk with CEO and co-owner Jeanie Buss. She showed Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal around her basketball empire and talked about some of the tough choices she’s had to make trying get the Lakers back on top.
19 min 56 sec
SpaceX may be the face of the private space industry now, but it wasn’t always that way. In the 16 years since its founding, the company went from curious newcomer to leading the sector. And the reason? It’s made a business out of building and launching affordable, reusable rockets, attracting clients like NASA who use SpaceX rockets to get their devices into space. Elon Musk may be the company’s founder and CEO, but Gwynne Shotwell has been the company’s chief operating officer for over a decade and is the person running the company day to day. Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal took a tour with Shotwell of SpaceX’s flagship manufacturing facility, where they talked about the state of the commercial space industry, what it’s like to run a rocket company and the plan to put people on Mars within 10 years. Editor’s note (Dec. 12, 2018): The headline has been updated.
13 min 48 sec
Glassdoor is one of the world’s largest job and recruiting sites. It’s probably best known as a place where you can rate your employer and get salary information for different companies. Before co-founding Glassdoor, chief executive Robert Hohman started his career as a software developer at Microsoft and was one of the earliest employees to work on Microsoft Expedia Travel Services, an online travel platform that would later become Expedia. Hohman sat down with us to talk about why he became interested in starting this company and the importance of transparency in employment.
15 min 45 sec
AEG is an international sports and entertainment company. It owns and operates, or is affiliated with, more than 120 of the world’s biggest venues and entertainment districts, such as the O2 Arena in London, Mercedes-Platz in Berlin, the Barclays Center and PlayStation Theater in New York, and the Staples Center and L.A. Live in Los Angeles. We went out to L.A. Live, a sports and entertainment district that is about a mile and a half away from Marketplace headquarters, to talk to Dan Beckerman, the president and CEO of AEG. While there, he gave us a tour of the Staples Center which is home to Los Angeles basketball teams the Clippers, the Lakers, and the Sparks, as well as the National Hockey League’s Los Angeles Kings.
21 min 33 sec
It’s open enrollment time for health care plans, so we’re talking to Bernard Tyson, CEO of Kaiser Permanente, one of the country’s largest health care and hospital organizations. He sat down with us to explain the dilemma of health insurance costs and what patients are getting with their coverage. “There are two parts to the affordability that I think about all the time,” Tyson said. “The affordability of coverage and the affordability of care. Those are two very different things.”
17 min 11 sec
At the dawn of the financial crisis, Walt Bettinger took over as president and CEO of Charles Schwab from the company’s founder and namesake. “It was an intense period. At that point in time, your actions weren’t likely to change the trajectory of your company,” Bettinger said. But under his leadership, he did change one of America’s largest banks, taking it to an even larger scale. With millions of new accounts holding trillions of dollars, the company has seen record growth and earnings. He sat down with us to explain why, despite this growth, his company makes less profit off every dollar invested than its competitors — and why he takes pride in that.
13 min 10 sec
It’s hard to think about about the term “drag queen” and not think of RuPaul. He is probably best known for hosting “RuPaul’s Drag Race” (for which he’s won three Emmys, including this year’s award for best reality TV competition), but he’s also created an industry out of the drag world, which he’s been a part of for over three decades. “I’ve earned the right to say I am definitely the Queen of Queens,” RuPaul said. “I’m the most famous drag queen in the world. I’m the most famous drag queen ever in the history of humans on this planet.”
19 min 59 sec
Would you buy a used luxury brand handbag? Maybe a watch or some shoes? Think Gucci, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, to name just a few. Julie Wainwright, CEO of The RealReal, knows pre-owned luxury goods are a big market, which led her to start her company. “We should be over a billion [dollars in sales] next year if we do our job right,” Wainwright told us during a tour of her e-commerce center in Secaucus, New Jersey.
32 min 48 sec
Jamie Dimon has been at the helm of JPMorgan Chase since 2005. As the largest bank in the United States, it manages nearly $3 trillion — more than the gross domestic product of several countries. Dimon is also the longest-serving chief executive on Wall Street. “It is a scary place to be,” he told Marketplace’s Kai Ryssdal. Ryssdal spoke with Dimon about a wide range of issues, including interest rates, wages and the financial crisis.
32 min 34 sec
You may not know the name Michael Ovitz, but you almost certainly know his work. For years, he was one of the most powerful people in Hollywood, the deal-making talent agent behind “Jurassic Park,” “Ghostbusters,” “Tootsie,” “Rain Man” and “Schindler’s List,” to name a few. Creative Artists Agency, the talent agency he co-founded and ran for two decades, represents Hollywood A-listers like Meryl Streep, George Clooney and Tom Hanks. Ovitz tells us how the practice of “packaging” talent together helped shift Hollywood’s balance of power from studios to artists and their agents. He also reflects on how the industry has changed and Hollywood’s #MeToo reckoning.
11 min 50 sec
It started with a simple Google search to compare credit cards, but when nothing helpful turned up, an idea was born. Tim Chen is the founder and CEO of NerdWallet, a financial advice website with more than 100 million yearly users. While struggling to compare credit cards online, he got the idea for a website with all types of financial advice and products. He told Kai Ryssdal that the idea resonated with millennials because “millennials are just used to comparing things. Even college professors.”
13 min 31 sec
When Dan Rosensweig took over as CEO of Chegg back in 2010, the company was mainly known for textbook rentals. The Chegg of today looks a little different. The company went public in 2013 and transitioned into subscription-based tools likes bibliography services, AI paper editors and tutors. We sat down with Rosensweig to talk about what it was like to lead the company through that transition and where a company like Chegg fits into the education landscape of today.
11 min 3 sec
13 min 20 sec
Subscription box services may be the big apparel movement right now, but tech and data are allowing at least one company to go in a very different direction: custom tailoring. Colin Hunter is the CEO and co-founder of high-end men’s fashion company Alton Lane, and his goal is to make that retail experience personal — like, really personal. His company uses body scanners to get your body measurements in a matter of seconds, which are then sent to fabric makers who construct garments to order (which, of course, is not cheap). Also, the company’s showrooms have bartenders on duty to serve drinks. Hunter tells us why his company’s brand of retail could be the future, and how customer data could change the role of retail as we know it.
11 min 27 sec
You’ve probably heard of MoviePass, the subscription-based movie ticket service — yeah, the one having a lot of problems recently. Sinemia offers a similar ticket plan through their mobile app, but with a different business model. It’s not a household name yet in North America, but Sinemia’s expanded to Canada, Australia, the U.K. and now the U.S. Founder and CEO Rifat Oguz moved the company to Los Angeles last year, and he told us how he plans to make the movie subscription business work.
11 min 58 sec
Archie has always been a part of Jon Goldwater’s life. His father, John, co-created the iconic character and the rest of the Riverdale gang. But under the younger Goldwater’s tenure as co-CEO, the “Archie” of today looks pretty different from the “Archie” of yesteryear. From introducing the series’ first openly gay main character, to Archie’s infamous death, to the hit television show “Riverdale,” Goldwater has ushered the “Archie” brand through a tremendous overhaul. Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal talks to Goldwater about those decisions, the challenges of taking over the family business, and where “Archie” may be headed next.
12 min 43 sec
Arne Sorenson is only the third CEO in Marriott’s history and the first not to have “Marriott” as his surname. In 2016, he oversaw the company’s multi-billion dollar merger with Starwood Hotels and Resorts, making Marriott the largest hotel chain in the world by far. Sorenson joined host Kai Ryssdal from the lobby of the Ritz-Carlton in New York City to talk about how the travel ban has affected his business, that open letter he wrote to Donald Trump, why he hopes tax reform comes soon, what hotels of the future will look like and his personal tips for travel.
25 min 26 sec
Spencer Rascoff has been at Zillow, the company familiar to many a person searching for a home or apartment, pretty much from the beginning. Since 2005, he’s weathered the housing crisis and another housing boom. And as CEO, he’s leading the real estate/tech/data company into a new market: buying and selling its own homes. He talked with us about where the housing market’s been and where it’s going.
18 min 3 sec
Nigel Travis has run Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins as CEO of Dunkin’ Brands since 2009. And he’s as surprised as the rest of us at the resurgence of doughnuts. In this interview, Travis talks about how his background in human resources makes him a better CEO, why it’s so difficult to find employees these days, and the No. 1 thing people like to buy with their doughnut (the answer will probably surprise you).
20 min 58 sec