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GeekWire

GeekWire

23 episodes

Jan 20, 2021

Bonus: 'Venture Capital Loves Destruction' 

It was one of the most tumultuous years the country and the world have ever seen. And yet, as we reported on GeekWire last week, venture capital investments in the United States broke another record in 2020, topping $150 billion for the first time, according to Pitchbook and the National Venture Capital Association. In Seattle and across the Pacific Northwest, funding totals came in at $4.4 billion, up 15% year-over-year, according to GeekWire’s tally, derived from our running list of startup investments. 

What in the heck is going on? My colleague, GeekWire co-founder John Cook, put that question to Mike Davidson, a Seattle-based tech and media veteran who was Twitter’s vice president of design from 2012 to 2016, during the recording of our most recent GeekWire podcast episode. This portion of the conversation didn't make the final cut, but we found the analysis illuminating, so we're presenting it here as a bonus episode. 

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Jan 16, 2021

Social media after Trump, with former Twitter VP Mike Davidson 

Twitter didn't set out to ban Donald Trump. The president gave it no choice.

That's the assessment from Mike Davidson, a Seattle-based tech and media veteran who was Twitter's vice president of design from 2012 to 2016, sharing his perspective  as the guest commentator on this week's show.

"This was something that many employees wanted the company have wanted the company to do for a long time; I wanted the company to do this for a long time," Davidson said. "But the company itself is not out to get Donald Trump. If anything, they let him stick around on their platform for too long."

The breaking point was Trump's incitement of the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol by a mob of his supporters.

"If you run one of these private companies, you have to ask yourself, 'Am I OK being complicit in an insurrection of the United States government? Am I OK with that?' ... The answer to that question has to be no," Davidson said. "There is no concept of of owning a platform and being able to stay neutral about something like that."

So what went wrong with social media? And where do we go from here? Those are some of the topics on this podcast discussion between Davidson and GeekWire co-founders John Cook and Todd Bishop.

Podcast produced and edited by Curt Milton. Theme music by Daniel L.K. Caldwell.

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Jan 9, 2021

Trump, social media, and an unprecedented moment in American history 

Twitter's decision Friday to join Facebook in permanently suspending President Trump's account underscored the fundamental role of social media in one of the most tumultuous periods in American history. If it feels strange and unusual, that's because there's no historical precedent, neither in media nor the presidency.

"This has not happened before," says Margaret O’Mara, a historian, author and University of Washington professor, our guest commentator on this week's show.

"Particularly in the modern period, what the president says and does has always been covered, because it's always been newsworthy," said O'Mara, who specializes in the history of tech and politics. "Particularly as the presidency grew into becoming the most important job on the planet, and the U.S. was becoming a military and economic superpower, what the president said mattered -- it had credibility."

We also discuss the future of Seattle, Silicon Valley and other established tech hubs in the aftermath of the pandemic, a topic of O'Mara's recent New York Times opinion column, "California May Lose Some of Its Stars. But Silicon Valley Is Forever."

And we wrap the show with highlights from O'Mara's bookshelf: "Uncanny Valley," by Anna Wiener; "Race for Profit: How Banks and the Real Estate Industry Undermined Black Homeownership," by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor; and "The Cigarette: A Political History," by Sarah Milov.

Produced and edited by Curt Milton. Theme music by Daniel L.K. Caldwell.

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Dec 26, 2020

Top Stories of 2020 

To say that 2020 unfolded in unexpected ways would be an epic understatement. The changes caused by the pandemic promise to impact tech, business and everything else for years to come. And that's just the start.

The influence of Seattle's tech and scientific communities rippled throughout the world. The region's life sciences institutions played a key role in uncovering and battling COVID-19, and Bill Gates emerged as a leading voice for science and equity in the pandemic. Enterprise tech companies provided the bedrock for a massive global acceleration of digital technologies.

A national reckoning over race, sparked by the killing of George Floyd, brought renewed attention to the tech industry's diversity and inclusion problems, and fueled what will hopefully become lasting momentum to address them

MacKenzie Scott’s bold approach to philanthropy set an example for her fellow billionaires, as she took extraordinary steps to distribute her Amazon wealth.

As if 2020 wasn't eventful enough, the tech industry and U.S. government grappled with an unprecedented cyberattack in the final weeks of the year in the form of the SolarWinds hack, threatening to undermine key institutions and organizations, and prompting an extraordinary response from Microsoft.

We reflect on this unprecedented year on a new episode of the GeekWire Podcast, as viewed through our focus on technology, business and innovation in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest. Joining GeekWire co-founders John Cook and Todd Bishop for the discussion is guest commentator Ed Lazowska, computer science professor at the University of Washington's Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering.

To inform our discussion, we each reviewed lists of top stories on GeekWire for the full year and each month, as determined by overall readership, then offered our own perspectives on the trends, stories and issues that mattered most.

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Dec 23, 2020

How this Seattle tech CEO landed in the pro bowling Hall of Fame 

Rob Glaser is best known as the founder and CEO of RealNetworks, the Seattle-based company that specializes in digital media, games and computer vision technology. But for about two decades, he was also part of the ownership group for the Professional Bowlers Association, along with his former Microsoft colleagues Chris Peters and Mike Slade. 

That's how Glaser landed in the PBA Hall of Fame earlier this year, despite never having been a pro bowler himself.

It also makes Glaser the answer to what turned out to be a real stumper of a trivia question on the latest episode of the GeekWire Podcast. As part of our regular tech trivia contest for listeners, we asked, "Which current CEO of a Seattle tech company has been inducted into the hall of fame of a professional sport?" We received lots of guesses, but only one right answer.

So we decided to call Glaser up and get his bowling backstory for this special bonus episode of the podcast. We also talked about RealNetworks' new MaskCheck app, which uses computer vision to detect whether people are wearing masks properly in compliance with public health guidelines. 

Congrats to our contest winner Isaac Alexander, who will receive a GeekWire mask and mug as his prize. We'll be back this weekend, Saturday, Dec. 26, with a special year-in-review episode of the GeekWire Podcast with guest commentator Ed Lazowska, University of Washington computer science professor.

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Dec 19, 2020

Stalking Seattle's unicorns 

Seattle's tech community just reached a new milestone: 10 unicorns, privately held companies valued at more than $1 billion. Their characteristics say a lot about the direction and state of the tech industry in the region, both positive and negative.

Read more: Seattle area boasts 10 fast-growing unicorns: Can you name the billion-dollar startups?

Joining us as a guest commentator this week: Heather Redman, co-founder and managing partner of Flying Fish Partners, a Seattle-based venture capital firm that focuses its investments on machine learning and artificial intelligence. 

Also up for discussion: the challenges of running a big tech hub like Seattle. Mayor Jenny Durkan recently announced that she wouldn't be running for a second term. She faced numerous challenges during her tenure as mayor, but one of the biggest was bridging the divide between the tech industry, particularly Amazon, and the rest of the Seattle community.

Read more: Balancing act: What Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan’s short tenure says about running a tech hub, by Monica Nickelsburg.

And in our final segment, it's the return of the GeekWire Trivia challenge, with a chance to win your choice of a GeekWire mask or socks. Our question: Which current CEO of a Seattle tech company has been inducted into the hall of fame of a professional sport? Listen to the third segment for clues, and send your answer (or guess!) to contest@geekwire.com. From the pool of correct answers, we'll pick one person at random to win their choice of swag. 

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Dec 12, 2020

Facebook fallout; Seattle's status as 'Cloud City'; testing SpaceX Starlink 

This week on the GeekWire Podcast: How the antitrust case against Facebook could impact the rest of the tech industry; the state of Seattle as "Cloud City"; and first impressions of SpaceX's Starlink satellite broadband service from a user of the company's "Better Than Nothing Beta."

Our guest commentator this week is Seattle-area angel investor Charles Fitzgerald, co-organizer of the Cloud City Meetup and a tech industry veteran who worked in product management and platform strategy with companies including Microsoft, Mozy and VMware. He blogs at platformonomics.com.

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

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