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Too Embarrassed to Ask


Technology doesn’t need to be confusing, though too often it is. Do you have tech questions that you’re too embarrassed to ask? Kara Swisher of Re/code and Lauren Goode of The Verge have the answers. Tune in to their podcast every Wednesday for straight talk about the latest gadgets and products. Submit your own questions in advance by tweeting them to @recode with the hashtag #TETA.

Technology doesn’t need to be confusing, though too often it is. Do you have tech questions that you’re too embarrassed to ask? Kara Swisher of Re/code and Lauren Goode of The Verge have the answers. Tune in to their podcast every Wednesday for straight talk about the latest gadgets and products. Submit your own questions in advance by tweeting them to @recode with the hashtag #TETA.
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Technology doesn’t need to be confusing, though too often it is. Do you have tech questions that you’re too embarrassed to ask? Kara Swisher of Re/code and Lauren Goode of The Verge have the answers. Tune in to their podcast every Wednesday for straight talk about the latest gadgets and products. Submit your own questions in advance by tweeting them to @recode with the hashtag #TETA.






Saudi money, Facebook’s fib and Amazon HQ2

Recode's Kara Swisher and NYU's Scott Galloway talk about Silicon Valley's Saudi money crisis, the ongoing fallout from Facebook Portal and the cities that never had a chance in Amazon's HQ2 competition.


Google's data breach, Facebook Portal, and Taylor Swift

Kara and Scott discuss why the Google Plus hack matters, the new Facebook Portal and its plastic lenscap, and Kara's affection for Taylor Swift (even before Swift's Instagram post exhorting her fans to register to vote). In this episode: (01:48) The Google hack; (7:03) Facebook Portal; (12:49) Wins of the week: Taylor Swift and Nikki Haley; (16:23) Anand Giridharadas and the problem with elites; (21:12) Predictions: Sniper retail acquisitions and techlash; (25:51) Would Apple or Google...


Facebook's data breach, Elon vs. SEC and the Kavanaugh hearings

On this episode of Pivot, Kara and Scott talk about: (01:20) Facebook's massive data breach; (06:05) Elon Musk's $20 million SEC settlement; (12:43) Wins of the week: Jeff Flake, Amy Klobuchar and Jeff Bezos; (20:47) Soul-sappingCycle and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter


Instagram co-founders, "tech bias" and why Amazon will buy Snapchat

Kara and Scott talk about the dramatic departure of Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, Attorney General Jeff Sessions' war on "tech bias," and the future of Snap. In this episode: (01:44) The big story: Why did Instagram’s co-founders leave?; (07:13) Attorney General Jeff Sessions and “tech bias”; (12:39) Will Amazon buy Snapchat?; (17:44) GOATs of the week: Craig Newmark and Margrethe Vestager; (20:08) Absurd quotes of the week; (21:27) Scott’s prediction on the future...


Introducing Pivot with Kara Swisher and Scott Galloway

A weekly look at tech and business headlines, with provocations, predictions and insights from two leading voices in the worlds of journalism and marketing.


What comes next after #TooEmbarrassed ends?

Two and a half years ago, we launched Too Embarrassed to Ask. And now, having answered your questions about everything from Snapchat to Juicero to tech addiction, it’s time to goodbye ... or maybe Goode-bye? This week, Recode’s Kara Swisher reunites with her longtime co-host Lauren Goode (now a senior writer at Wired) for one final show and one final “hashtag money.” They talk about wearables, podcasts, Phoebe’s twin sister on “Friends,” Facebook’s year of scandals and — of course — their...


Should you quit social media?

Microsoft Research scientist Jaron Lanier talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about his new book, "10 Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now." He explains why those who have the opportunity to quit platforms like Facebook and Twitter should do so, comparing the problem to past crusades against “mass addictions” like smoking or drunk driving. Lanier also talks about the future of virtual reality, a field in which he helped drive interest in the 1990s.


Why do people think their phones are spying on them?

Northeastern University assistant professors Dave Choffnes and Christo Wilson talk with Recode's Kara Swisher about their recent year-long investigation into a popular online conspiracy theory: Smartphones are secretly turning on their microphones to record conversations and serve us more targeted ads. Choffnes and Wilson say that although there have been a small number of apps that have surveilled users, they tested 17,000 of the most popular apps on Android and found that this doesn't...


How do you get over burnout? Ask Kobe Bryant for help.

House of Highlights creator Omar Raja talks with Recode's Kurt Wagner about how he built his sports-focused Instagram account into a social media juggernaut. Today, it's owned by Bleacher Report and has nearly 10 million followers. Raja hasn't taken a day off in four years; however, the fame of the account has connected him with basketball stars like Kobe Bryant, who earlier this year gave Raja a personal pep talk and cured a growing sense of burnout. He also talks about how he decides...


Disinformation on social media: How screwed are we?

Renée DiResta, the head of policy at Data for Democracy, talks with Recode’s Kara Swisher about how disinformation is spread on social media platforms and what can be done about it. DiResta says the tech community wouldn't be talking about this problem as much if Donald Trump had not won the presidency in 2016 — and that’s unfortunate, because a huge and diverse number of groups have weaponized social media, not just pro-Trump Russian agents. She explains why consumers shouldn’t be afraid...


Are VR games better than normal video games?

Recode’s Kara Swisher, her son Louie Swisher and Recode Radio producer Eric Johnson talk about Sandbox VR, a new virtual reality arcade installation south of San Francisco that they visited together, along with Kara’s other son, Alex. They share their reactions to an action-packed pirate video game, in which everyone was wearing a backpack computer and a VR headset and could roam freely around a room, all while shooting evil skeletons, dodging ghosts and solving puzzles. Kara says she’d...


Anil Dash: How can we make tech more accountable?

Entrepreneur Anil Dash, the CEO of Fog Creek Software, talks with Recode’s Kara Swisher about ethics and accountability in the tech industry. Dash recounts his first “eye-opening moment” about the potential for abuse on the web, and why he is encouraged by an apparent shift in the tone of the conversation about harassment and inclusion. He also proposes a new way to talk about the worst forms of platform misuse, such as the genocide in Myanmar that has been fueled in part by Facebook....


AT&T can buy Time Warner. What does that mean for everyone else?

Recode's Kara Swisher and Peter Kafka talk about this week's ruling that AT&T could buy Time Warner, likely ending a lawsuit brought against the companies by the U.S. Justice Department. The decision almost immediately triggered a $65 billion bid from Comcast for 21st Century Fox, which Disney had been publicly courting at a lower price. And more generally, Kafka says it means that any media distributor now feels free to buy content companies, should they want to mirror AT&T's planned...


Apple WWDC 2018: Why was there no new hardware?

Recode’s Kara Swisher and Dan Frommer talk about the 2018 edition of Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). Frommer explains why the company has stopped regularly unveiling new hardware at the event, and why Apple's decision to break that rule last year with an early preview of the HomePod smart speaker may have backfired. He also recaps the big announcements from this year’s conference, including updates to Siri and Apple’s augmented reality technology, ARKit. Plus: Why FaceTime...


Code 2018: When will Silicon Valley take responsibility for its products?

Recode's Kara Swisher and Peter Kafka, the co-producers of the 2018 Code Conference, talk with Converge host Casey Newton about this year's interviews and the unofficial theme that emerged over the past week: "With great power comes great responsibility." Kafka says that tech companies that have longed described themselves as "platforms" are having more responsibilities thrust upon them, whether they want them or not. Newton explains why he was encouraged by new Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi...


Pro lacrosse player Paul Rabil: Can tech help niche sports go mainstream?

Professional lacrosse player, entrepreneur and investor Paul Rabil talks with Recode's Kara Swisher and her son Louie Swisher about the intersection of sports and technology. Rabil says that for niche sports like lacrosse, it's especially important for athletes to respect the power of social media apps like Instagram, which can humanize the players and convert followers into fans. He also talks about broader trends affecting all sports today, including media consolidation, the generational...


Should the big tech companies be broken up?

NYU professor and “The Four” author Scott Galloway talks with Recode’s Kara Swisher about how Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Tesla and other tech leaders are faring in an era of techlash. Galloway says many of these businesses, despite good intentions, have too much power and should be broken up. It's the responsibility of anyone who’s unhappy about privacy violations to elect lawmakers who will rein them in, he says. Previously having predicted the Amazon-Whole Foods acquisition, he makes a slew...


Who cares about privacy?

“Chaos Monkeys” author and Wired contributing writer Antonio García-Martínez talks with Recode’s Kara Swisher about his early-2010s stint at Facebook, where he helped develop the ad-targeting technologies that have landed the company in trouble in recent months. He evaluates how Facebook is dealing with a string of public controversies that culminated in CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifying before Congress, but argues that “most people don’t care about privacy” and that the company isn’t in any...


Why did Jason Calacanis sell all his Facebook stock?

Investor, author and serial entrepreneur Jason Calacanis talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about recent tech news stories, including Tesla's Q1 earnings, Facebook's data privacy scandal and Uber's rebound from a series of scandals. Calacanis, an early Uber investor and personal friend of ex-CEO Travis Kalanick, says chief U.S. rival Lyft missed its opportunity to capitalize on those "unforced errors" and now "the window has closed." He also talks at length about why he sold all his shares of...


Why is AT&T trying to buy Time Warner?

Recode managing editor Ed Lee talks with Kara Swisher about the pending $85 billion merger of AT&T and Time Warner. Lee says the deal is in part a reaction to the rise of Netflix and will, in theory, let the companies create new kinds of online video and smarter digital advertising. However, last year the U.S. Justice Department sued AT&T in an attempt to block the deal, which Lee says is plausibly more motivated by President Trump’s animus toward Time Warner-owned CNN than by actual danger...