The Information's 411
By The Information
The Information's 411Mar 08, 2021
Special Episode: Kara Swisher interviewed by Jessica Lessin
Jessica sits down with journalist and Pivot host Kara Swisher to discuss what's wrong with Silicon Valley and next in news.
Sand Hill Road has gone crypto-crazy, making it the best time ever to be a cryptocurrency or blockchain-based startup. Six such companies drew our attention enough to make it into this year’s The Information 50 list of promising startups. They range from an environmentally friendly cryptocurrency to the “picks and shovels” businesses enabling others to develop crypto products—such as nonfungible token marketplaces—or make sure they’re legally compliant.
In today’s episode, executive editor Amir Efrati speaks with crypto reporter Hannah Miller about the startups that made the cut. Then Hannah talks to the co-founder of one of them—Audius, a blockchain-based music-streaming service trying to give musicians a bigger cut of streaming revenue. Its crypto tokens are already worth $1 billion collectively. Check out the final episode of our five-part series.
Dollar Bill Y’all
Cryptocurrency is soaking up attention, but financial services technologies involving fiat currency have also never been hotter. This week we continue our special five-episode series on The Information 50, our annual list of the most promising startups valued at less than $1 billion, by taking a look at five fintech startups that made the cut.
In this episode, The Information’s Amir Efrati speaks with reporter Kate Clark about the startups that made our list, why “banking as a service” is on the rise, and why this year’s record $87 billion in fintech startup funding doesn’t represent the peak. Then Kate interviews Itai Damti, co-founder of Unit, the top startup on our list, and Henrique Dubugras, co-founder and co-CEO of corporate card startup Brex, about the fintech frenzy and what’s coming next.
The Talent Cloud
This week we continue our special five-episode series on The Information 50, our annual list of the most promising startups valued at less than $1 billion, by taking a look at the B2B category. More than half the startups in this group reflect two big pandemic related trends: companies trying to control spending on subscription software apps, and their constant search for new employees.
The Information’s Amir Efrati talks to reporter Kevin McLaughlin about the six startups that made the cut and valuation trends in enterprise software. Efrati then talks to Jonathan Siddarth, founder and CEO of Turing, which helps companies hire pre-vetted, remote engineers from all over the world. Listen to find out why the fast-growing company, barely three year old, is No. 1 on our list.
Apple Upsets the Shopping Cart
This week we continue our special five episode series on The Information 50, our annual list of the most promising startups valued at less than $1 billion.
In episode two, executive editor Amir Efrati first talks to reporter Malique Morris about commerce startups worth watching, including a budding rival to Shopify, a fashion marketplace and a facilitator of limited-edition merchandise “drops” for celebrities and shows such as “Succession." Next, Malique talks to Rachel Tipograph, founder and CEO of MikMak, an advertising-tech provider for consumer brands, which could be a beneficiary of Apple’s restrictions on iPhone advertisers.
AI Candy - The Information's 411
This week, The Information released TI50, our annual list of the most promising startups valued at less than $1 billion. Over the next five episodes of The Information 411 podcast, you’ll hear from The Information reporters who put the list together and from the founders whose companies made the list. In episode one, executive editor Amir Efrati first talks to reporter Kevin McLaughlin about the companies in the list’s Enterprise AI category and how machine learning tools and services are proliferating and being applied in the real world. Next, Amir talks to Clement Delangue, co-founder and CEO of Hugging Face, the #1 ranked company in the Enterprise AI category. It’s a conversation you don’t want to miss.
Gorillas in the Wild
Why are so many instant delivery startups popping up? Cory talks to The Information's Mark Di Stefano about the buzzy sector and one controversial company in particular, Gorillas. Then, Steve LeVine, author of the new The Information newsletter The Electric, explains the geopolitical dynamics in the battery industry.
A Town Fights Amazon Trucks
What happens when a small town becomes a choke point for tens of thousands of Amazon deliveries every day? Cory talks to The Information’s Paris Martineau about what residents’ struggles in a small Massachusetts town tell us about the challenges of Amazon’s rapid physical expansion. Then, Hong Kong bureau chief Shai Oster explains why the Chinese government cracked down on ride-hailing firm Didi Chuxing just after it went public.
Does one of the most storied venture capital firms need to adapt to a changing startup environment? Cory talks to The Information’s Berber Jin about his profile of Benchmark, known for a deliberative style that could handcuff it amid more fast-paced dealmaking. Then, Josh Sisco breaks down what the latest antitrust news means for Facebook and Amazon.
Amazon's China Whistleblower
Why did Amazon fail to protect an employee who disclosed labor violations at a Foxconn factory that makes Amazon devices? Cory talks to The Information’s Wayne Ma about the lack of corporate whistleblower protections in China and why U.S. tech companies aren’t living up to their own standards in the manufacturing hub. Wayne broke the news this week that Amazon continues to work with the Foxconn factory, even after the whistleblower was sent to prison.
Playbook of Jonah
BuzzFeed might become the first of its generation of digital media upstarts to go public. How is CEO Jonah Peretti trying to grow the company? Cory talks to The Information's Jessica Toonkel and Sahil Patel about Peretti's consolidation strategy. Plus, reporter Paris Martineau discusses the implications of Amazon's growing air cargo fleet.
Are You Better Than the Average Human?
It’s been a difficult couple of years for self-driving car developers trying to bring robotaxis to the public. How do they get out of the so-called "trough of disillusionment?" Listen to highlights of The Information’s Autonomous Vehicles Summit. Amir Efrati interviews Argo AI CEO Bryan Salesky and former Zoox CEO Tim Kentley Klay about where the industry goes from here.
Amazon's Next Chapter
Amazon has been making big moves in Hollywood. What does that tell us about the company's new CEO Andy Jassy? Cory talks to The Information's Kevin McLaughlin and Jessica Toonkel about their recent reporting on what Amazon's incoming boss is up to. Then, Cory and senior editor Wendy Pollack discuss the downfall of Katerra, the SoftBank-backed construction startup that burned through $2 billion on its way to shutting down.
Tip Your Influencers
Why are Instagram, Snap and TikTok rushing to build ways for influencers to make money? Cory talks to The Information’s Kaya Yurieff about what she is tracking with her new creator economy newsletter. Then, did the momentum shift in the Apple–Epic trial? Josh Sisco covered the trial for The Information, and explains how the judge might rule in the antitrust case.
Amazon's Highway Tragedies
Fast deliveries by Amazon and other online retailers have brought tremendous convenience for consumers, but the e-commerce boom has come at a cost. A five-month investigation by The Information identified a pattern of serious and sometimes deadly crashes involving drivers moving freight for Amazon. We explore the toll of Amazon’s trucking surge.
Related stories:The Deadly Toll of the Amazon Trucking Boom Amazon Expands Secretive Trucking Program
Apple and Uyghur Labor
The Information found evidence of Apple working with suppliers suspected of using forced labor. How? Cory talks to Wayne Ma about how he discovered Apple's links to the Xinjiang region of China. Then, an interview with scholar Laura T. Murphy about how tech companies can look for evidence of forced labor in their supply chains.
Read the story: Seven Apple Suppliers Accused of Using Forced Labor From Xinjiang
Extreme Makeover: Zuck Edition
How is Mark Zuckerberg planning to revamp his public image? Cory talks to The Information's Sylvia Varnham O'Regan and Alex Heath about why Facebook's co-founder is going on another charm offensive. Then, Cory interviews Justin Bedecarre, CEO of Raise Commercial Real Estate, a Founders Fund-backed startup, about how tech firms are experimenting with sending their workers back to offices, with more flexibility to work from home. "Running a hybrid workplace is the hardest workplace to run," he said.
Will Epic Fail?
Apple's app store in on trial. Will Epic Games be able to loosen Apple's grip on app developers? Cory talks to The Information's legal reporter Josh Sisco about how Apple got in this situation and why it's likely to pull out a victory next month. Then, Cory and The Information's senior editor Wendy Pollack discuss whether Philadelphia-based delivery startup Gopuff can ditch its juvenile reputation to reach a more mainstream audience.
Why Apple Has the Edge in Epic Antitrust Trial
The Guardians of Apple’s App Store Gird for Battle
Gopuff Revenue Triples, but Growing Competition to Test Expansion
The Andreessen Effect
Cory talks to Kate Clark about what her recent reporting on Andreessen Horowitz tells us about the firm's history and strategy to win deals. Then, Kevin McLaughlin discusses his story on why high-profile artificial intelligence startup DataRobot ousted its CEO.
We dive into some of the tech questions facing the potential rollout of vaccine passports. Paul Meyer, CEO of the nonprofit Commons Project, discusses why it is important that people's proof of vaccination not get locked up in walled gardens. Then, Cory talks to The Information's Juro Osawa about Grab's $40 billion SPAC deal and Didi Chuxing's struggles to develop autonomous vehicles.
Tech's Tiger King
Cory talks to Kate Clark about the new king of venture capital deals: Tiger Global Management. The New York hedge fund has invested at a rapid pace, at higher and higher valuations. What does it mean for venture capital in 2021? Plus, Wendy and Cory discuss whether venture-backed travel firms will get a lift after a bleak year.
Behind the Fintech Frenzy
Why are startups like Stripe, Plaid, Brex, Ramp and Fast raising so much money so quickly? Cory talks about the phenomenon with Bain Capital Ventures partner Merritt Hummer and The Information's venture capital reporters Kate Clark and Berber Jin. Plus, an interview with Henrique Dubugras, co-CEO of Brex, a corporate credit card startup, about the pandemic, fintech valuations and company's future strategy.
Google’s Cloudy Future
Cory and Kevin McLaughlin talk about why Google Cloud loses so much money, and why this year will be crucial for the company. Then, The Information’s Kevin Delaney talks with former Google executive and “Radical Candor” author Kim Scott about how women and non-white employees sometimes face prejudice when being candid at work, and what organizations can do about it.
Katerra's Shaky Foundations
Cory and Wendy dive into the disaster that befell Katerra, the construction tech startup that's struggling to stay alive. They also explore what the future of construction tech is.
Also, co-host Tom bids a fond farewell to the podcast we launched 5 years ago.
Condé Nast Turns A New Page
Tom speaks to Roger Lynch, the CEO of magazine giant Conde Nast about how he's trying to turn the company around and build out newer businesses like e-commerce, longform video and digital subscriptions. He also talks about how the company handled its cultural reckoning last year. Then Alex and Mat join to recap their interview with Mark Zuckerberg and his plans around AR and VR.
BONUS EPISODE — Mark Zuckerberg on the Future of AR and VR
Alex Heath and Mathew Olson interview Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg about the promise of augmented and virtual reality. They discuss why he's investing so much time and money on the technology, how it could forever change entertainment and the workplace and what technical hurdles still need to be overcome for the technology to reach its potential.
Facebook Needs Kustomer Support
Cory chats with Josh Sisco about the reason regulators are probing Facebook's deal to acquire Kustomer. Tom talks to Kevin McLaughlin about the next group of enterprise software companies to go public.
IPOs and Female CEOs
Tom talks to Zoe about the next wave of companies going public that are led by female CEOs. Cory chats with Katie and Ross about the reason SPACs are looking at early-stage companies.
Facebook on My Wrist, Apple on Your Eyes
Reporters Alex Heath and Wayne Ma discuss their exclusive reporting on Facebook's efforts to build a smartwatch and Apple's work on a mixed-reality headset. This is another Facebook vs. Apple battle worth following.
Around the World With Apple
Tom Dotan and Jessica Toonkel discuss their reporting on how NBCUniversal is trying to pluck its way to streaming success, and why a merger with WarnerMedia might make sense. Then, Wayne Ma explains the logistical feats that helped Apple avoid the kind of shipping delays that plagued other companies.
When Startups Get Political
This week, we bring you two of the most revealing interviews from The Information's Future of Startups conference. Expensify CEO David Barrett and Cameo CEO Steven Galanis spar over the right way to lead a startup in an extreme political climate. Then, Jessica Lessin interviews former Google CEO Eric Schmidt about antitrust scrutiny and employee activism.
How GameStop Disrupts 'Consensus Reality'
The Information columnist and former Facebook executive Sam Lessin talks to Cory and helps us make sense of online communities, internet populism and the GameStop stock surge. Then, reporters Tom Dotan and Jessica Toonkel explain why ESPN is no longer the favorite child of parent company Disney.
Self Promotion as a Service
What happens when VC firms become publishers? Tom talks with The Information's Zoe Bernard and Newcomer.co's Eric Newcomer about Andreessen Horowitz' latest moves, and startups' relationships with journalists. Then, Cory breaks down his reporting on Airbnb's efforts to keep white nationalists and hate groups off of the travel site.
Cory and Alex tell the story of the messaging app Telegram and its mysterious founder, who find themselves in the global spotlight after rapid growth recently. Can the company figure out a business model? And will it crack down further on chat groups with the potential to spark real-world violence?
Googlers of the World, Unite!
Following the announcement of the new union of Alphabet employees, we dive into the rising trend of worker unionization in the tech industry. Then Cory talks to Alex about how social media companies will handle President Trump's presence on their platforms after his incitement of the riot at the Capitol.
Closing the Racial Equity Gap
Our year end episode features an interview with musical artist Pharrell Williams and non-profit advisor Willa Seldon who talked about their experiences as black entrepreneurs. They also shared their views on what most investors and executives who aren't racial or ethnic minorities don't understand about the headwinds that minorities face in the business world.
Their new organization supporting Black and Latinx entrepreneurs is called Black Ambition, and the website for their startup competition is www.blackambitionprize.com
Is 2020 a One-Off For Business?
As the year winds down we look ahead to what we think will transpire in 2021. Tom chats with Jessica Toonkel and Martin Peers about the tumult in media and whether Hollywood really is abandoning theaters. Then Cory talks with Zoe Bernard and Kate Clark about upcoming changes in the investing space and why financial services startups took off this year.
IPO My God
Amir and Cory explain what DoorDash and Airbnb's specatular debuts on the markets means about both companies and about the tech world as a whole. Then we chat with Peter Hamby of Snapchat, who hosts its popular political series Good Luck America. He talks about whether social media platforms are doing enough to root out misinformation from politicians and if Obama still is in tune with the way young people consume news.
Slacking Benioff's Thirst
Cory speaks with Kevin McLaughlin, our enterprise reporter and soothsayer, about the reasons Salesforce spent big to acquire Slack. Tom talked to Paris about why Generation Z is both Amazon's biggest critic and a loyal customer base.
I Left My Startup in San Francisco
Cory talks to Scott Wiener, a member of the California state senate, about how the future of the tech industry in San Francisco. We wrote this week about the CEOs of Dropbox, Brex and Splunk leaving the city permanently. Wiener isn't sure the trend will last. "There have been a lot of speculative predictions that I'm not sure will play out," he said.
Dark Side of The Loon
Alex talks about the struggle inside Facebook over how to deal with misleading posts from politicians. Cory gets the inside story from Nick Bastone about struggles at Alphabet's Loon, the experimental company that's tried to bring internet connectivity to rural areas.
500 Middle Miles
Paris explores Amazon's plan to own more parts of the delivery process with the building out of its trucking fleets. Wayne talks about Apple's fraying relationship with manufacturer Foxconn.
Before the Dust Settles
How can we start to make sense of the implications of this election for tech? Cory talks to three tech-savvy political veterans for early takeaways.
Guests:Jim Messina, CEO of the Messina Group and former campaign manager to Barack Obama in 2012 Bruce Mehlman, founder of Mehlman Castagnetti Rosen & Thomas, a lobbying firm that works with tech companies Betsy Hoover, co-founder of Higher Ground Labs, an firm that invests in startups focused on political technology
Contractors With Benefits
Will Uber and Lyft drivers become full-time employees, or something more like contractors with benefits? California's Proposition 22 will help determine the fate of "gig" work, as well as the financial fortunes of Uber, Lyft, DoorDash and Instacart. Tom and Cory break down this high-stakes battle ahead of Election Day, with some help from Uber and Lyft reporter extraordinaire Amir Efrati. We also hear from Uber and Lyft drivers on both sides of the fight, one of the most important political battles ever for the tech industry.
Quibi, We Hardly Knew Ye
Nick Bastone and Chris Stern join to talk about the DOJ's antitrust suit against Google and where things go from here. And Jessica Toonkel and Tom dive in the the brief life and sudden death of the video streaming service Quibi.
Working Remotely or Not Remotely Working?
Tom talks to Kate Clark about the state of funding for female-led startups, which has sunk even lower during the pandemic. We also interview Tracy Chou, founder of Blockparty and Sara Mauskopf, cofounder of Winnie, who discussed their experiences raising money for their startups. And Cory talked to Nick Bastone and Humu's Liz Fosslien to talk about why some workers feel they've become less efficient as they work from home.
The Appiest Place on Earth
Cory Weinberg talks to Tom Dotan about the success of Disney+ and why the app's importance has bred tensions at the entertainment giant. Then, Cory talks antitrust and tech culture with Maelle Gavet, a former executive at real estate startup Compass and online travel firm Booking. Gavet recently published a book about her experience with what she calls "tech's empathy problem."
Zoe talks about this week's Coinbase controversy and how different CEOs feel about taking activist stands as a company. Then Alex talks about Facebook's battle with Apple, this time over messaging and integrating into iMessage.
SPACs: A Love Story
It seems like in Silicon Valley is starting a SPAC. Reid Hoffman, Peter Thiel, Kevin Hartz, Chamath Palihapitiya, maybe even your roommate.
Reporters Cory Weinberg and Ross Matican trace the origins of the SPAC surge. We explain why these special-purpose acquisition companies have become so popular, some of the regulatory history, and what some of the downsides are.
In this episode, we talked to:George Arison, co-CEO of Shift Technologies Milos Vulanovic, associate of corporate finance at EDHEC Business School Thomas Hennessy, co-CEO and president of PropTech Acquisition Corporation Jay Heller, head of capital markets & IPO expansion at Nasdaq
Further reading:The Information's SPAC Target List What Private Tech Firms Should Watch Out For in SPACs Opendoor, in Announcing SPAC, Opens Up About Losses ChargePoint to Go Public in $2.4 Billion SPAC Deal
Laurene Powell Jobs and Jenna Lyons (2020 WTF Summit)
This week we're presenting highlights from two interviews from the WTF Summit earlier this month. Emerson Collective's president Laurene Powell Jobs discusses her group's work on voting access as well as her ownership of The Atlantic magazine. Jenna Lyons, the former creative director for J Crew, talks about starting from the ground up with her new beauty brand.
We speak to some brave souls around the world who ventured back into the movie theater. And Richard Rushfield of The Ankler joins to give his take on how well the movie industry has faired these last two weekends back and what it all means for Hollywood.
With the TikTok drama getting even messier and tech relations between the US and China at an all time low, we check in with Jessica Lessin about the latest. Then Cory talks to Kate Clark about how the payments firm Stripe has become a force in venture capital, often edging out established firms to get in on deals.
Wherefore Art Thou Domio
The second part of our Airbnb series looks at Domio, a startup that tried to build a business on the Airbnb platform. Paris tells us how she stumbled across the Domio story and how the company gamed loopholes in city guidelines about short term rentals. And Cory explains what the Domio saga means for Airbnb as it heads toward an IPO.
Airbnb Fights the Right to Party
Cory talks about the rise of parties at Airbnb rentals and how it's poised to be a huge headache for the company as it heads down the path of going public.
Benioff at Sea
Kevin talks about his profile of Marc Benioff, the Salesforce CEO and philanthropist, which looked at how he and his company are managing during the pandemic. Especially when Salesforce's marquee event, Dreamforce, appears to be off this year. Also Tom chats with Alex about Apple's changes to ad tracking and the effect it will have on Facebook—as well as the gaming companies that rely heavily on Facebook ads.
Yunan joins to explain why the TikTok saga and the US government's decision to ban the app, unless it sells to an American company, has hurt the reputation of Zhang Yiming, the CEO of the app's parent company ByteDance. And Cory speaks to Kate about Headspin and the case of the company that had to give back some of its capital to investors after its revenue projections proved to be wildly off base.
Once a Hero, TikTok’s Founder Is Under Attack in China
Startup HeadSpin to Return Funding After Probe of Financial Statements
It was a big week for tech and politics as the four leaders of the major US tech companies testified in front of the House Antitrust subcommittee. We spoke to Alex Heath and Chris Stern about which CEOs weathered the questions from lawmakers best and where the antitrust investigations go from here. Then Cory speaks to Anissa Gardizy about delivery startup GoPuff and the problems its skyrocketing growth has caused for its neighbors.
I'm a Celebrity...Get Me On Here!
Cory Weinberg interviews Steven Galanis, the CEO of Cameo, a fast-growing startup that allows major and minor celebrities can send messages to fans. Steven discusses Cameo's growth story, why this is a "new golden age" of consumer apps, and why Apple's app-store monopoly should get government scrutiny.
Haven Help Me
Paris Martineau discusses her reporting on problems at the secretive healthcare initiative Haven, and what the turmoil tells us about its benefactor Amazon. Four Information reporters give their takes on which companies are ripe for acquisitions.
Billionaires Without Summer Camp
Nick Bastone gives us an update on the digital advertising industry and compares the trajectories of Google and Facebook during the second quarter. Jessica Lessin gives her take on whether it matters that the annual Sun Valley conference was called off this year because of the pandemic.
A Little More Moderation, A Little More Action, Please
We talk with John Redgrave, the CEO of content moderation startup Sentropy about the challenges of curbing hate speech online. Then Cory checks in on the state of the travel industry with Jon Staff the CEO of vacation startup Getaway.
Facebook v Speech
Alex joins to talk about how Facebook went from hero to heel as America careened from the coronavirus pandemic to the Black Lives Matter protests. Then Chris Stern discusses the state of the anti-trust investigations pending against big tech companies and the behind the scenes role Pierre Omidyar is playing in advancing the cases.
Party at the Mailbox
As part of our Juneteenth episode, we're focusing on how tech companies and tech products can contribute to major policy changes. We talk to Catherine Bracy, executive director of the Tech Equity Collaborative, about why tech companies should fight for racial justice through property tax reform. Then we hear from Nykidra Robinson, who runs Black Girls Vote, which helped drive higher voter turnout in Baltimore's primary election this year with a virtual election party.
Tech companies: It’s time to show that Black lives really matter to you
We talk to Wayne Ma about Apple's attempts to have robots handle the manufacturing process at their factories and why it hasn't worked. Then we speak with Kate Clark about the federal paycheck protection program loan and the startups that took advantage of it.
Special guests this episode included David Bourne, a scientist at the Robotics Institute at the Carnegie Mellon University and Jonathan Wasserstrum, the CEO of SquareFoot.
What Apple Learned From Automation: Humans Are Better
After Chaotic Start, Federal Loan Program Helped Startups Avoid ‘Deep Layoffs’
Cory talks with two black women in tech to see what tech companies have done and still need to do to address racial inequality. Sherrell Dorsey, a journalist and entrepreneur and the founder of The Plug, has been cataloguing the responses from tech companies showing support for the black community. Sarah Kunst, a venture capitalist at Cleo Capital, explains the importance of firms funding more diverse founders.
Zoe and Cory join to discuss how the pandemic has hit the job market in tech. Zoe talks about the phenomenon of job postings that turn out not to be real. And Cory gives some historical context around how the current job losses in tech compare to previous recessions.
TikTok on the Clock
Cory joins to discuss Mark Zuckerberg's announcement that Facebook is fully embracing the work from home office. We explore the reasons tech is rushing to adopt the policy and whether it will have a big effect on cities. Then Tom gives the backstory on Kevin Mayer, TikTok's new US CEO. He explains what it means for Disney to lose its top streaming executive and the challenges Mayer will face coming to the controversial Chinese company.
The Oracle and the JEDI
Chris Stern gives us an update on the ongoing battle to win the Pentagon's cloud computing contract. He explains why Amazon is still fighting to win the account back from Microsoft in the courts. And how Oracle fits into the puzzle.
Microsoft’s Secret Ally Against Amazon in Cloud Deal: Oracle
Uber in a Pandemic
Amir joins to talk all things ride hailing, including why Uber and Lyft had to undergo massive layoffs. We also explain how Uber's side businesses like food delivery and bikes are on diverging paths during the crisis.
Uber Discusses Plan to Lay Off About 20% of Employees
Earnings and Learnings
Alex walks us through the first quarter earnings for Snap, Twitter and Facebook to see how they faired at the onset of the pandemic.
Let's Not Go Out To The Movies
Tom and Jessica Toonkel talk about the chaotic world of the movie industry as theaters across the world remain shuttered. We discuss what it will take to get people to feel comfortable again going to theaters and whether the movie industry will finally change from its hard set ways of not making new releases available to rent at home.
Pandemic Forces Studios to Think Outside the Box on Movie Releases
Pimp My Zoom
Nick Wingfield walks us through the ways Silicon Valley execs—and the rest of us—step up their at home video conference technology.
How Viruses Affect Hosts
Cory joins to talk about the major layoffs at Opendoor. We also discuss how Brian Chesky is leading Airbnb through this bleak period in the company's business and if it stands a chance of going public this year.
Tangled Up In Azure
Kevin talks about the problems that Azure has had providing service to its customers. It's cropped up before the pandemic, but the surge in use during the work-from-home era has made things even more complicated.
Outbreak Strains Microsoft’s Cloud, but Issues Began Earlier for Customers
Mind Your Zs and Qs
Zoe breaks down the new strange world of video conference etiquette. We discuss how the new remote lifestyle has raised a handful of questions about the proper way to interact over video chat. And she explains why an etiquette coach said you technically don't have to wear pants when you're on a Zoom conference (or any video conference for that matter).
Apple's Remote Control
Nick Bastone dives into the way Apple has tried to manage the work-from-home era, where employees have to keep the secret products under wraps while working in a non secretive location
Are You There, Pod? It's Me, Spotify
Jessica Toonkel talks about why Spotify decided to go on a spending spree to get into the podcasting space. We discuss how this can actually pay off for the company and how long it could take to show results.
Is Amazon Too Essential?
Priya dives into how Amazon has become one of the central pieces holding things together as large swaths of the country remains under stay-at-home orders. We also discuss whether Amazon's increasing role as a utility servicing the nation will change the way people view the company—and what it means for regulatory efforts.
There's Hope, There's Hope, There's Light
We talk to Shai Oster, our Hong Kong bureau chief, about his experience leaving the country as the coronavirus began threatening from China. Then returning to Hong Kong once the US started seeing the effects. He gives us a look at what life looks like after the quarantining ends and people attempt to return to normal.
The first of our special midweek podcasts during the COVID-19 pandemic looks at Airbnb. Cory explores the company's decision to give guests full refunds on trips that had to be cancelled because of travel restrictions during the crisis.
Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org if this situation has happened to you if you have any thoughts as a guest or host.
Bear Market Necessities
Martin talks about the effects of the market downturn in response to the global pandemic. And we discuss which companies are the most affected and how long it will take for investors to regain confidence in the markets again.
Market Crash Pressures Softbank's High-Risk Investment Strategy
When the VCs Start to Worry
Kate talks about the messages that investors are giving to their portfolio companies about the coronavirus and how to prepare for an economic downturn.
VCs Brace for Fundraising Delays Amid Outbreak
What About Bobs?
Jessica Lessin talks about Disney's surprise appointment of a new CEO, Bob Chapek and what it means for Bob Iger in his new role as executive chairman. Priya discusses the future of Amazon Go.
Despite Stepping Down as Disney CEO, Iger Will Still Be In Charge
Buyer Beware: Why Retailers Should Think Hard About Amazon ‘Go’ Partnerships
Little Boxes Made of Ticky Tack
Cory interviews New York Times journalist Conor Dougherty about his new book on the California housing crisis and the role tech has played in causing it (and trying to solve it). Then Jessica Lessin talks to Robin Murdoch of Accenture about autonomous vehicles as part of our sponsored series with the firm.
Old Time Roku Roll
Jessica and Tom discuss Roku and whether its hard-nosed negotiation tactics with media companies will work. Cory dives into Softbank and its troubles since the WeWork collapse.
Self-Driving for Dollars
Amir talks about the companies that have invested the most in self-driving car technology in the past decade. Kate explains why Sequoia is doubling down on seed investing and why that category is getting more competitive.
Facebook and the Republocrats
Chris Stern joins from Washington DC to talk about how Republicans have become Facebook's biggest supporters on the Hill in the face of increasingly antagonistic Democrats. Kevin discusses the legacy of Ginni Rometty the outgoing CEO of IBM.
Initial Private Offering
Priya and Kevin Dugan talk about the ways companies going public try to get bankers to become clients in order to win the job. Kate explores Lambda School, a coding school that has a different way of approaching tuition, and the controversy around it.
Nick Bastone and Jessica Lessin talk about David Drummond's tense relationship with Google Venture and his lasting legacy at Alphabet.
Drummond Departure Puts Spotlight on Google Venture Arm
Google Reckoning With History of Interoffice Romance by Top Execs
Uber Drowning in the Pool
This week, we talked about Amir's exclusive story that outlined Uber's many business problems, including UberPool, and Amazon's Twitch, which is grappling with a declining user base and falling short of advertising revenue goals.
Hindsight is 2020
Tom and Jessica wrap up 2019, looking back at the year for Facebook, startup fundraising and media.
When God Opens a Streaming Door He Closes a Theatrical Window
Jessica Toonkel makes her prediction about how streaming services will affects the theater and movie industries. Kevin discusses AWS and its relationship with the open-source community.
Boz and Effect
Alex dives into Facebook's massive hardware plans in AR and VR and the executive, Andrew "Boz" Bosworth, who's heading the endeavor. Nick and Kevin talk about Google Cloud and the long-shot effort to beat Amazon and Microsoft.
Mathletes and Tech-athlons
Wayne explains how Vietnam became such a significant business for Facebook and Google. Zoë dives into the trend of hiring elite athletes at tech companies.
[Bonus] Why Monoculture Moments Are Rare
A trio of executives, Universal Pictures' Katie Goldsmith; Attention Capital’s Nick Bell and Instagram’s Charles Porch, explain the next phase of growth for direct-to-consumer brands.
The Information's 411 — The Florida Project
Amir joins to talk about DoorDash's money-losing business and Uber's report on sexual assaults. Alex Heath talks about his investigation of Magic Leap's business and the disappointing sales for its AR headsets.
Story links: Doordash https://www.theinformation.com/articles/with-public-debut-looming-doordash-projected-450m-2019-loss
Magic Leap https://www.theinformation.com/articles/dented-reality-magic-leap-sees-slow-sales-steep-losses
Disney in a Foxhole
Ashley breaks down where the frontrunners for the Democratic nomination stand regarding the tech industry. Martin joins to talk about the math of Disney's acquisition of Fox's assets and why it's clear that it seriously overpaid.
[Bonus] Why Jason Blum Says Tech Has Upended Hollywood
Producer Jason Blum explains why we've still got a few more years of big money flowing into Hollywood before business realities set in. Also why Apple should consider buying a studio and why most movie budgets have gotten smaller while TV shows have ballooned in price.
The Information's 411 — A Bundle of Nerves
Beejoli talks about the future of cable channels during the streaming era and what it's like working for the "old" part of the business. Cory gives the latest on Airbnb, including a scoop on its money-losing second quarter and its departing chief operating officer.
[BONUS] The Information's 411 — How Jared Grusd is Expanding Content on Snapchat
Snap's chief strategy officer talks about Snap's Discover section, its explosive growth in India and competition from TikTok and Quibi.
The Information's 411 — AR You Not Entertained?
Nick talks about Apple's big internal meeting about its augmented reality plans. Jessica Toonkel discussed Disney's big streaming launch and what comes next.
The Information's 411 — Myths and Origins
Priya talks about the companies that have inflated their origin story and why these myths matter. Kevin dives into the feud between Rubrik and Cohesity.
The Information's 411 — HBO Appomattox
Beejoli and Tom discuss the latest battle in the streaming wars as WarnerMedia unveiled HBOMax. Nick makes his first appearance to talk about how Google has tweaked its hiring strategy to focus less on culture fit.
The Information's 411 — Finding Humanity in (HBO's) Silicon Valley
We interview Thomas Middleditch and Zach Woods, the stars of HBO's Silicon Valley. Ahead of the final season premiere on October 27, they reflect on how the tech industry has changed during the course of the show's run, how they searched for the humanity in the Valley, and why they think the show sticks the landing.
[BONUS EPISODE] The Information's 411 — Why IPOs Aren't One-Size-Fits-All
Cory Weinberg talked to Lauren Cummings of Morgan Stanley, Will Connolly of Goldman Sachs and Scott Stanford of Acme about the future of the IPO, why direct listings make sense for some companies and whether Softbank will stick with companies it has backed as they go public. This on-stage interview took place at our annual Subscriber Summit at the Rosewood Sand Hill Hotel in Menlo Park on October 17, 2019.
[BONUS EPISODE] The Information's 411 — Why Instacart's Apoorva Mehta is Leaning in on Advertising
Jessica Lessin spoke to Instacart CEO Apoorva Mehta about the company's growing ad business, potential regulations on gig-workers, and how he discovered that Amazon had bought its biggest customer Whole Foods. This on-stage interview took place at our annual Subscriber Summit at the Rosewood Sand Hill Hotel in Menlo Park on October 17, 2019.
[BONUS EPISODE] The Information's 411 — Fidji Simo
Jessica Lessin spoke to Facebook executive Fidji Simo about the future of the Facebook app, its slowing growth and the struggle to protect users while maintaining principles of free speech. This on-stage interview took place at our annual Subscriber Summit at the Rosewood Sand Hill Hotel in Menlo Park on October 17, 2019.
The Information's 411 — Trump's Secret Trade Crackdown
Matt Drange joins to talk about how the Trump administration has cracked down on the volume of sensitive US technology that it allows to be exported around the world.
The Information’s 411 — God-Zillow
Nick recaps his conversation with Rich Barton and explains why the Zillow CEO is embracing ecommerce despite the heavy investments. He also discusses whether Microsoft's commitment to the surface has paid off. And why Apple's reliance on China may heavily influence its reaction to the protests in Hong Kong.