What do you do when your job places you at the start of a revolution about to change business, the economy, indeed, all of society? If you are a reporter, you build an unprecedented rolodex of A-list C-suite tech execs, and you ask them tough questions about their business.
That is how Kara Swisher, former Wall Street Journal reporter and founder of Recode, has spent the past few decades. Writing about internet, technology and Silicon Valley, she penned several books (AOL.com and There Must Be a Pony in Here Somewhere) won a Loeb Award for her reporting, hosts 2 podcasts (Recode Decode and Pivot), and publishes at Vox/Recode.
In our Masters in Business conversation, she discusses that none of this was part of her original plans. Swisher studied foreign service at Georgetown as an undergraduate, expecting to follow her father into military service. Disappointed she could not join the armed forces because she is gay, she instead went to Columbia School of Journalism, to fight very different battles. Today that manifests in her weekly Op Ed column for the New York Times, where she holds the Technology Masters of the Universe accountable for their bad business decisions or personal behaviors.
Swisher observes the impact of money on Silicon Valley, in particular, how it has warped people’s perspective. The changes in power and influence has skewed how people not see the world, but also, how each perceives themselves. She notes that Silicon Valley practices a form of “Libertarian Lite” — which she calls an intellectually “arrested development” approach to responsibility of companies.
You can stream/download the full conversation, including the podcast extras on Apple iTunes, Overcast, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Bloomberg, and Stitcher. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here.
Next week, we speak with Sir John Browne, former CEO of British Petroleum between 1995 and 2007, and author of numerous books, most recently, Make, Think, Imagine: Engineering the Future of Civilisation.