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Full transcript: Louie Swisher and Casey Newton talk about teens on social media on Too Embarrassed to Ask

No, Louie, your mom still won’t let you get Grand Theft Auto.

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On this episode of Too Embarrassed to Ask, host Kara Swisher welcomes back her teenage son Louie and The Verge’s Casey Newton. The three discuss how teens use social media and where they get their news, then take questions from listeners. Special guest appearance by Louie’s grandmother Lulu.

You can read some of the highlights from the discussion here, or listen to it in the audio player above. Below, we’ve posted a lightly edited complete transcript of their conversation.

If you like this, be sure to subscribe to Too Embarrassed to Ask on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, Overcast or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Kara Swisher: Hi, I’m Kara Swisher, executive editor of Recode, and you’re listening to Too Embarrassed to Ask, coming to you from the Vox Media podcast network. This is the show where we answer all of your embarrassing questions about consumer tech. You can send your questions on Twitter with the #TooEmbarrassed. We also have an email address, Reminder, there are two Rs and two Ss in embarrassed, in case you cannot spell.

My regular co-host, Lauren Goode from The Verge, couldn’t join us today because she’s working on her YouTube series called Next Level, or at least that’s what she told me. She might still be in a food coma from Thanksgiving. In her place, we’re delighted to bring two fan favorites back to the show, who did a previous show and it turned out to be one of the most popular we’ve done. In San Francisco we have The Verge’s Casey Newton.

Casey Newton: Hello.

KS: Hello Casey, how you doing?

CS: I’m great. I hope you had a happy Thanksgiving, Kara.

KS: Yes. It was fantastic. The person I am here with in Washington, D.C., is my elder son, Louie Swisher, who was on a previous episode. Which, as it’s turned out — again with you, Casey, together — seemed to be a team that the listeners like. Hello, Louie.

Louie Swisher: Hi, Mom.

KS: How you doing?

I’m doing good.

KS: Good. Well, thank you for coming back. We previously had the two of you on this podcast in June, for an episode about how teens use technology and social media, and we discovered that our listeners want more. It was one of our most popular episodes ever, as I said, so let’s do an update. I also have here in the room my mother, Lucretia. Say hi, Lucky. You’re not going to say much.

Lucretia Carney: Oh, Kara never changes. Thank you, Kara.

KS: All right, cut off her mic now. Anyway, if we need your input, we will ask for it, but don’t say anything until then. All right. Louie, we were going to focus on you and Casey. Louie, in the past couple of months, what’s the coolest new app or tech thing you’ve seen?

Not much changed.

KS: Not much changed. Anything you’ve seen that you like?

No, not really. No new apps. I mean, TBH.

KS: Well talk about that, TBH.

It had a short life. For a week everybody — actually, for me about two days — everybody was obsessed with it.

KS: Explain what it is, for the people.

It’s an app where you can anonymously ... There’s a question, it’s like, “Who’s most likely to make something viral?” Then it pops up several, like, four names, and they’re your friends. Then you get to choose one who is most likely to do that, who would do that. Then you can count how many of these TBHs, I guess, you’ve gotten.

KS: Right.

I guess some people turn it into a competition. I think I got about like 800 from people I know, before I deleted the app.

KS: Why did you do just two days? What was that deal?

Because it was kind of boring.

KS: Right.

It was ...

CS: Wait, Louie, you won 800 polls in two days?

No, no, in like a week.

CS: Okay. That still feels like a lot.

Yeah. I saw you as a friend request in it.

CS: You must be good at making things go viral.

Oh that was my top thing. That was my top thing, I’m good at making things go viral.

KS: All right, but you saw Casey’s friend request and you denied him?

Oh, I didn’t accept it. No, I saw him and I was like, could I? I was like, no.

KS: Why? Casey, he just rejected you.

He’s an adult.

CS: You know the funny thing about this app — and a reason why I think it did take off — was that you can only ask positive questions.

Well, you don’t ask the questions.

CS: This is one of the ways ...

The question is already there, you just choose.

CS: Right. They’re automatically generated, because if it was left to the teens ...

Oh, it would be terrible.

CS: ... they would certainly use the app to bully each other. In this app, you can sort of only respond with nice things, and it took off.

KS: Yeah, so did you not like the nice things, Louie?

No. You’d choose something that didn’t fit someone, or something like that.

KS: Right.

There was ways around the niceness, I guess.

KS: Okay. Fantastic to know. Casey, explain what happened to this app. What occurred with it after it got a lot of popularity?

CS: Sure. It got really popular and then after it seemed like about two weeks, Facebook swooped in and bought it, and it seemed to be another classic case of Facebook using some sophisticated technology to see what young people were doing with their phones. Once that hit a critical mass, they invited the TBH team down to headquarters and said probably something along the lines of, “Hey, we could either clone this and destroy you over a weekend, or we could pay you a nice chunk of change and you could just build it here.”

KS: How much did they sell it for?

CS: I don’t think that was actually ever disclosed. Under $50 million probably.

KS: Here’s Louie saying he doesn’t like it, he got sick of it after two days. What is that?

I used it and then I like would check it periodically and I’d see ... I’d check it sometimes and I’d see the notifications on my phone. Then I was kind of bored with it. It wasn’t that fun because you can only ask 15 questions, and then you have to wait like two or three hours before you can answer another 15.

KS: You would like, what, more? You just got bored with it.

I just don’t like the app.

KS: Yeah, you don’t like the app.

What would change it? If it got a new setting? There’s nothing really new about it. What the app’s about, you can’t change that, that’s the whole thing.

KS: Right.

I think it had a short life, it’s like a short-lived app that was really popular, now it’s not.

KS: Casey, how do you analyze that for Facebook now that they’ve bought it?

CS: Yeah. I think it speaks to why TBH was really smart to sell, because outside of a sale they probably would have experienced a rapid crash. That’s a problem with most of the social apps we’ve seen launch over the past two years.

KS: Right, Peach.

CS: Is that they seem to have a ... Yeah, Peach, Ello. They can be really popular for two, three weeks, but our interest tends to wane. I think of them like popup restaurants. They’re sort of open for a few days, and you go, and the food is basically the same as the food you’ve tried somewhere else, but there’s something fun and different about the presentation. Once you’ve gone once, you’re going back to McDonald’s and Arby’s with the rest of the normal people.

KS: Right. What happened to Peach?

CS: I think TBH was sort of destined for that.

What is Peach?

KS: Louie doesn’t even know what Peach is.

CS: Peach was a social network that was designed by a guy named Dom Hoffman who was previously the founder of Vine. It just had some fun things that you could do to people. Instead of like sending them a message, you could just send them like a buzz, or I don’t know, like other weird terms.

What do you mean?

CS: You could use it to make GIFs. It just had all these weird creative tools. It was very difficult to understand what exactly it was for, but it was just different enough that everybody kind of hopped on. I do think that there’s this hunger that people have, to have an experience that is not part of the Facebook universe. Just show me something that is different, show me something that is original. There are these apps that come along every once in a while, like a Peach, like a TBH, but they either tend to die out really quick, or Facebook scoops them up.

KS: Even the one that you were ... Pokémon Go, too, same thing. Louie liked it for a while and then didn’t. That was a long while you liked it.

Oh, Pokémon Go, that was my whole summer before freshman year.

KS: Right, but then it wasn’t.

Well, yeah, because I got back to school, I got back to work. I didn’t have time to like go out all day and walk around. It was very smart to release it right before the summer, like at the beginning of the summer.

CS: Yeah.

Because then people would be out all the time. They’d have free time, especially kids, the target audience.

KS: You still don’t use it, right?

I still have it on my phone. I’m not going to delete it. I did a lot of work to up my roster, but I’m just not using it.

KS: Casey, are you still using it? You used it for a while.

CS: No. I still have it on my phone. I played it for a while. Pokémon Go really was probably the biggest social hit of the past few years, although it’s not social in the way we normally think about it, because there was no messaging inside of the app. That was a blockbuster for like over a year. Even though the absolute mainstream was only playing it for maybe a few months, they had a really long tail of users that is still playing it to this day.

It’s still a popular app.

KS: Yeah.

CS: Yeah. Ina Fried — your former colleague, Kara — she still plays Pokémon walking around town.

KS: Really? She got one in my bedroom once, I was a little disturbed by that. She walked upstairs and she found something.

CS: Wait, your bedroom is a PokéStop? This is breaking news.

KS: Apparently.

Oh yeah, there’s a PokéStop across from my house. If I had known that when it was still popular ... I moved after it stopped, but if it was still popular, I would always be on the app. Now it’s like every month or so there’s a new mobile game that’s like the craze. This month it’s like Golf Clash.

KS: What’s that?

If you play Clash Royale, it’s kind of like that, except ...

KS: Explain Clash Royale for the idiots in the room.

Okay. I’m just going to explain Golf Clash. Golf Clash is like you have as many hits ... You play, it’s a one on one, or it could be ... Usually it’s one on one, one hole golf, and you just have to beat the other person in golf by getting the least amount of strokes. Then if you tie, if it’s a draw, then you go to a shootout and you have like one shot to get as close to the hole as possible. It’s set up a lot like Clash Royale, like the menu screen and the other things, but it’s really fun. It’s a good ...

KS: What do you like about it?

It’s not boring like normal golf.

KS: Oh good.

It’s like a one-hole thing, so it’s fun.

KS: Like normal golf.

No, normal golf is like nine or 18 holes. This is just one hole.

KS: It’s also with your fingers, rather than walking and ...

Well, I like to play golf. I used to go golfing with Lulu a lot.

KS: Yes, you did.

No, this is more, this is fun, this is a good app.

KS: Have you heard about this one, Casey? Golf Clash?

CS: I haven’t, but I’m excited to think that teenagers are about to get back into golf in a huge way. It’s been shortened for their Gen Z attention span, so golf is just one hole from now on. We’d probably get a lot more games in during the day.

KS: Yeah, that’s true, the one-hole golf courses everyone. All right.

Speaking about this stuff that sort of lasts, talk about Snap. I know you stopped using Instagram as much as you used to. I saw Evan Spiegel just recently and we talked about a lot of things and what they’re doing, but do you still use Snapchat as much? Then we’ll get to Instagram.

Snapchat recently has been pretty bad with all the glitches.

KS: What does that mean?

A week ago or something like that, Snapchat just shut down and nothing would send, you couldn’t load anything, and it was down for a couple hours. It’s only a couple hours, but ...

KS: But you use it all the time.

I do. I use it, it’s my main way of talking to people.

KS: Is that more, or less, or it’s just the only way you ...

About the same. I upped the number of streaks I’ve had, I guess. Not much has changed except Snapchat keeps updating and changing how it looks. Just keep it the same and fix the issues, instead of trying to rebrand it every month, I think is what I’d like.

KS: What about Instagram?

Instagram’s the same.

KS: Same. Do you use it more?

I use it the same.

KS: For your stories?

I used to never use it, this is like a year ago, and then I really started using it a lot, about the same amount I do now. I used to be into memes a lot and there’s a lot of memes on Instagram, even though a lot of people consider those not the good ones, but I was fine with it. Then I got busy with school and I wasn’t into them as much. Definitely my Instagram usage is down.

KS: Why? Does it take too long or what?

No, it’s just I’d rather do other things.

CS: Louie, I want to know where the good memes are.

KS: Yeah, where are the good memes? How do you find them?

No, because once people like you find them, then they’re not good anymore.

KS: I think he just insulted you, Casey, again.

CS: Wait, so you have to find a meme that’s never been seen before ...

No, I’m saying that once people who ... I don’t know how old you are, but you’re ...

CS: I’m 63.

Okay. Well, okay, since you’re 63, no.

KS: Yeah.

Sure, next time I see you, I’ll help you, I guess.

CS: Thank you.

KS: But you don’t want to reveal it?

Well, no, because then a lot of people know about them.

KS: Give us one. Give us oldsters one freaking thing, Louie, come on. Give Casey a bone, throw Casey a bone here.

I’m not going to throw him a bone. What do you mean? Tell him? Explain to him a meme?

KS: No, explain one that’s good recently.

I don’t look at memes, I have school.

KS: All right.

I have lacrosse.

KS: Okay, all right. Okay. Casey, he’s insulting us today.

I have Netflix.

CS: Yeah. I came prepared for a very combative interview and Louie has not disappointed.

KS: All right. Speaking of combative, Facebook and Twitter, you’re still not using them?

No. I had a Twitter and I ...

KS: You had a Twitter?

I had a Twitter.

KS: Okay.

I’ve had a Twitter account. I have one tweet on it.

KS: Okay.

It’s a retweet from you, which is a retweet from the John Oliver show about Donald Trump.

KS: All right, but you’re not using the Twitter? Do you ignore it completely?

Yeah, I just don’t use it. I don’t have the app, it’s boring.

KS: Okay. All right, okay.

Then Facebook, maybe I’ll check it to see when lacrosse practice is, but that’s about it, just because we have the Facebook group chat.

KS: What about your friends? Same thing?

Nobody uses Facebook.

KS: So they don’t pay attention to the fact that Facebook, Twitter and Google are testifying in front of Congress? Are you aware of that?

I didn’t even know that.

KS: Oh God. Oh my God. It’s the only thing I’ve been focusing on-

Because that’s your job, I have school.

KS: All right, do you know about it?

No, what are they testifying?

KS: They’re testifying about how Russia manipulated the elections and put fake news on there to trick people just like you, apparently. You don’t vote, but you will be voting some day.

Next election, actually.

KS: Yes. These platforms are the way that most Americans get their news and that they were manipulated by the Russian government to change our elections.


KS: Do you care at all or do you not believe ...

That’s terrible. It’s like destruction of our democracy, but ... I mean, not really.

KS: But. But.

But I don’t use Facebook or Twitter.

KS: Yeah, so it doesn’t affect you.

I know a lot of people do, though. They’re the two most popular apps, the two most popular social media platforms.

KS: Yeah, but you’re not paying attention to this Russia thing.

I think within the next 10 years they’re going to die out. Once all the grandmas and grandpas are using Facebook and once Donald Trump’s done with Twitter, once his thumbs can’t move anymore, then it’s over.

KS: Casey, do you have anything to say to that?

CS: Well, I just wanted to say I think democracy was the original good meme.

Good one.

KS: This is interesting that they’re not paying attention to things we devote our lives to. Casey, what do you think about that?

CS: Yeah.

Because we have school.

CS: Oh man.

KS: Yeah. Yeah.

Because we have school.

CS: Everything I write, I’m just like, “I hope the teens are into this story and share it at lunch,” but I’m not getting there.

KS: My mother’s laughing over there. Mom, are you paying attention to fake news?

Lucretia Carney: Yes. Yeah, all the time.

KS: Why is that?

LC: Because I watch Fox News.

KS: Yeah, so you know all about fake news. You know all about fake news.

LC: Not fake.

Let her watch what she wants to.

KS: All right. All right, that’s enough from you, Mom, turn off her microphone.

No, no.

KS: All right, so nothing on Facebook, you don’t care about these things. Are you worried about them getting regulated?

What do you mean?

KS: Facebook, Twitter, Google? Congress is thinking of regulating them over political ads, that they have to disclose who are buying because the Russians were buying political ads.

Well, they should obviously, in the bottom it should say like, “Paid for by the Russian government,” or, “Paid for by the Trump campaign,” or, “the Hillary campaign.”

KS: Right.

Don’t they usually say that?

KS: No.

Well, then they should. Then again, you can’t restrict ... This is a sensitive topic, but I think you should warn, but if you don’t agree with something or you don’t like the way ... This is coming off terribly.

KS: No, that’s all right.

I’m just saying you shouldn’t restrict content just because ...

KS: No, but it should be disclosed.

Yeah, definitely. Definitely.

KS: You think they should be regulated, these companies.

If it’s like an avocado that’s made by Switzerland. You want to know, “Oh, that’s probably not going to be a good avocado.”

KS: Right, okay.

That’s a terrible analogy, oh gosh.

KS: All right. That’s pretty good, actually. Actually, it wasn’t. Have the teachers in school talked to you about people who spread lies online or conspiracies ...

They’ve tried to.

KS: What was that? What was that? What do you mean they’ve tried to?

My school’s incredibly biased, it’s an incredibly liberal school.

KS: Right, okay.

I don’t have an issue with that.

KS: That was the point of why I sent you there, but go ahead, move along.

I know, but after Trump won we got half a day off from school because people were upset. If Hillary had won, I don’t think we would have had any days off for the Trump supporters.

KS: It was like a snow day. Okay, all right. Let me ask, but they teach you on this spreading lies online, what do you ...

They don’t spread lies online.

KS: What are they trying to ...

They don’t really talk to us about that, my school has other issues that are more important.

KS: All right, not conspiracy theorists, fake news, they don’t talk to you about that?

No, we don’t.

KS: All right, okay. Casey, any questions for cynical Louie Swisher? Apparently the Trump supporter Louie Swisher.

CS: Well, I’m curious where Louie is getting his news right now.


CS: Where is Louie getting his news these days?

Snapchat. Social media. From the things on Snapchat, like the Live Stories or something, so I can actually see it. Sometimes I’ll watch the news or I’ll just hear about it from you or Lulu, or other people.

KS: What do you watch on Snapchat? Because they’re adding more and more.

They have these quick briefs of ESPN or CNN.

KS: Which ones do you like now? They’re adding a lot more, they told me.

Really? Oh.

KS: Yeah, they’re going to try to get all sides.

I like “Good Luck America.”

KS: Yeah.

It’s pretty unbiased. I mean, it’s slightly biased ...

KS: Who does that, Casey? Who does “Good Luck America”?

CS: That’s Peter Hamby’s show, that’s a Snapchat original.

KS: That’s a Snapchat original.

Is it a Snapchat original?

KS: Yeah.

Well, it’s good.

CS: Yeah.

KS: What do you like about it?

Well, it was better, now it’s okay. I don’t know, I like how he goes to where they are and talks to the people. He gets with the people. He did one with Biden and Kasich and I liked that, I liked to see ... I didn’t know they’re working together and I think it’s great that they’re working together.

KS: Okay, so you’re getting news from the Snapchat originals. What else did you use on there?

I don’t know, sometimes I’ll check ... Usually, after something important happens or something breaking happens, Snapchat will have a live story of people who are there and recording it, and they’re posting it, and they’re sending it to this ... You can actually see it and it’s not biased, it’s just live footage of it.

KS: Right, so you would rather have that than pontificating from people. Interesting.

Definitely, I’d rather have that than Anderson Cooper telling me how he feels.

KS: All right then. Anderson Cooper, you’re finished. Okay, we’re here with my elder son, Louie Swisher and The Verge’s Silicon Valley Editor Casey Newton. We’re going to take a quick break with a word from our sponsors and I’m going to continue interrogating them when we get back. Casey, I want to know where you get your news from now on, from here.

CS: I’ll tell you.

KS: All right, go ahead, right now, very quickly.

CS: I get most of my news from Twitter because I have it open on my laptop for 18 hours a day and so when stories break, that’s where I see it. I wind up reading from a wide variety of sources, but ...

KS: Twitter. Me too.

CS: Yeah. There are also sites where I will just type in the URL in the address bar to see what’s going on and that includes the New York Times, it includes Recode and The Verge, and then a handful of others. Techmeme kind of aggregates all of the big tech news of the day, so I go there, too.

KS: Right.

CS: Yeah, mostly.

KS: Twitter, too, absolutely.

You said 18 hours? How much do you sleep? Geez.

CS: I’m slightly exaggerating, but if I am in front of a computer monitor, Twitter is open.

Oh, okay.

KS: Twitter’s open. All right, when we get back we will talk about that and more.


We’re back with my son Louie Swisher and Casey Newton, my fake husband, and we’re going to talk some more about how young people are using tech. Now, we were just talking about where you get your news, both of you, what about video? Same thing, Louie?

What do you mean video?

KS: There’s a difference between ... Do you read or watch? Which one do you do more of?

I don’t read.

KS: You don’t read at all, okay.

I’ll read articles, like you’ll send me articles and I’ll read those. On YouTube, too, there’s ... I’ll look at Trending and there’s like a CNN short video and I’ll watch that.

KS: But video is where you get it. Same thing on Snapchat.

Usually. I’ll read an article or something, but I’d rather watch.

KS: Yeah. Are you using more video, Casey?

CS: Yeah, absolutely.

KS: Do you think that’s a big trend? I think it’s an absolutely big, huge trend, more.

CS: I did. I wrote a story about it earlier this year because I found myself using YouTube more and more. When I went down to headquarters to essentially ask them why that was, they explained that they were using machine learning to figure out what I liked and they were getting much better at figuring that out. So there are all sorts of ways they’re doing this, but yeah, I will now just reload YouTube four or five times a day without even knowing what I want to see there, just confident they’ll show me something related to my interests.

Yeah. Yeah.

KS: Like what? What do you both be watching?

I watch a lot of YouTube.

KS: Right.

I’ll watch clips and stuff. If I don’t want to watch an old TV show, I’ll just watch clips of something I do. “Parks and Recreation,” I really like Ron Swanson, who’s a character, and I’ll just watch Ron Swanson clips, but then I actually got into the show and I watched like 12 episodes yesterday.

KS: Oh really? When you’re supposed to be doing homework?

No, I didn’t have any homework, it’s Thanksgiving break.

KS: Okay, all right. So, Ron Swanson got you into watching ...

Then also, I noticed there’d be other “Parks and Rec” clips, and then it’d be clips from “The Office” or clips from “The Simpsons” or other shows. After two or three times of just watching these videos, it started to learn and notice what I want. If I completely shifted from ... If I was watching these clips and then I switched to Dude Perfect or Vox or something, then all my feeds within two or three days would just become Vox or Dude Perfect, whatever I watch. It’s really interested to see that happen. It’s also kind of creepy that they’re just spying on what I watch.

KS: It’s extraordinarily creepy.

It is.

KS: What do you watch, Casey Newton?

CS: I really like to cook.

Me, too.

CS: And once I searched for a recipe on YouTube and the next time I went to YouTube it had, “Oh, here are three kind of similar recipes from different chefs,” and then I figured out that I really like two of the chefs, so I subscribed to their channels. Then every time they have a new video, I see one of those.

I feel like it’s really good for your niche or your interest because I would never have seen any of that stuff on Twitter, I would never see any of that stuff on Facebook, but you open up YouTube and YouTube sort of figures out what kinds of things you like to look at that maybe aren’t part of the daily news.

KS: Now, would you both watch ... Let me ask you both: Original content. I just did an interview Susan Wojcicki, who’s the CEO of YouTube, and she was talking about them making more original content. They’ve been trying to push creators and give them money, but now they’re really moving in.

What do you mean creators?

KS: They give them money to make things, producers, like lots of creators on YouTube. Name some.

I wouldn’t call them creators.

KS: What do you call them?


KS: YouTubers, whatever you want to call them.

They’re making videos, they’re not ... The only one who I think is really making impact is Casey Neistat. I really like his videos. He takes a daily vlog, which is ... A lot of people, they make 20-minutes videos just so they can fit in a lot of ads and they’re incredibly boring, but then he just takes it and ... With the mixture of his aerial shots and his other ... Just his filming and it’s actually ... His vlogs are really awesome and I really like them, even though they’re just vlogs in the end. Pretty much boring videos, but he makes them not boring just by his ...

KS: Why? Because he’s ...

Have you ever watched one?

KS: No.

You’ve met him, but you’ve never ...

CS: He does stunts.

KS: He does stunts? Does he?

CS: Yeah. One of his stunts was he dressed someone up as Aladdin

Oh yeah.

CS: And put a magic carpet on some kind of ... I don’t know what it was.


CS: A hoverboard.

Some skateboard, sorry, some skateboard.

CS: A skateboard, yeah, and then rode around the streets of Manhattan. The video is just of all these people oohing and aahing as they seen Aladdin flying around corners in the Flatiron district.

Yeah. Last year, too, he did a video where he went actually skiing through New York City when they had that Snowmaggedon and he got a Jeep and he attached ... He was just snowboarding and one of his friends was skiing, being pulled by the Jeep through New York City and it was really awesome. That’s the first video I watched from him and after that I was kind of hooked.

KS: Okay.


CS: I will say though, Kara ...

We’ll watch one of his videos tonight, Mom.

KS: Okay. Oh good, I can’t wait. Go ahead, sorry.

CS: Kara, you asked about YouTube originals, and no video content is as bad as YouTube originals.

They’re terrible.

CS: I don’t know why this company can’t figure it out because they’ve had the longest lead time of anyone, but ...

KS: Yeah, that’s a really good point.

CS: It’s so unclear to me why YouTube didn’t try to go out and make an “Orange Is the New Black” six or seven years ago, because they had the money.

KS: Well, they were asked about it and they didn’t want to.

CS: Yeah.

KS: They were like, “We’re not content people.”

Then again, they’re not like Netflix, they’re not like ...

KS: But they could be.

Why? They’re not a place ...

KS: Before Netflix was Netflix.

Well, Netflix was just a place for crappy movies to go but now they have these incredible shows.

KS: Right.

Again, it’s a place where you go to watch TV.

KS: Right.

YouTube is a place where you go to watch short videos or clips about how to do things, posted by real people, not by studios and other things.

KS: So you wouldn’t welcome original content?

I don’t think they need it.

KS: What if they came up with a great show you liked? You’d just ...

Why am I going to YouTube to watch a TV show?

KS: Okay, that’s a good question, Casey? Let’s get an answer to this.

CS: That makes me want to know, what is the longest video you’ll watch on YouTube, Louie?

Eight minutes. No, 10 minutes.

KS: Jesus.

Maybe 12, depending on who it is.

KS: Yeah.

When I see those YouTube creators with their 20-minute videos and there are like eight or 10 ads in them, and it’s just them ...

KS: What bothers you, the ads or their name “creators”?

It’s just they’re posting shitty content.

KS: Like what? You don’t like the makeup videos, though?

I don’t wear makeup.

KS: Well, you’d look better with some.

I’m beautiful enough, I don’t need ...

KS: I understand that, but what don’t you like? The ads?

Because it’s boring.

KS: It’s just boring.

They’re just 20-year-olds with too much money who are just doing weird stuff. “Oh, I’m going to prank,” or, “Oh, I’m going to do strip FIFA,” or, “I’m going to ...”

KS: What?

... “kiss this girl and it’s going to be a prank, oh man.”

CS: Tell us about strip FIFA, please? No, wait. Tell us about strip FIFA.

One of the YouTubers I actually like ...

KS: Write it down, Casey.

One of the people I actually like is Cody Ko, I love his videos, they’re so funny. He reacted this one guy, BarryBeeTV, and he does strip FIFA, which is like they play FIFA and you can unlock cards ...

KS: FIFA’s a game, explain it for us.

CS: It’s a soccer game, right?

Yeah. You can get packs or whatever, with cards, like baseball cards, but for soccer. Depending on how good they are based off of color, and gold is the best. He did this weird setup where it’s like if a player is above a certain number, in between like 60 and 100, then the girl he’s with has to take off her shirt.

KS: Oh, the girl has to.

Which is disgusting. It’s disgusting.

KS: Oh, your grandmother’s ...

LC: It’s like strip poker.

KS: Yeah. Thank you.

It’s exactly like strip poker, it’s disgusting.

KS: Right.

It’s terrible. It’s weird that ...

KS: It’s disgusting.

It’s just disgusting.

KS: All right, okay. All right.

That stuff, those people who do pranks, like prank invasion, or something like that, they just ...

KS: Prank invasion? I don’t even know that. Write that down, Casey.

He goes around kissing girls and calls it a prank.

KS: That’s called sexual harassment.


KS: Actually, lately. Anyway, okay, Casey, any follow-up?

YouTube needs to clean up these people.

KS: They do. Any follow-up there on that, Casey?

CS: Yeah, I think we just need to forward these YouTubers’ contact information to the police so they can investigate these crimes.

KS: Exactly. All right, let’s get into a couple different things. We’ll go very quickly because we have one more section after this. AR and VR, any interest, Louie?

What is AR?

KS: Augmented reality.

I don’t know what that means.

KS: It means you put on glasses in front of the Eiffel Tower and it’ll tell you its height or its history. Even your grandmother knows, okay.

CS: Pokémon Go is technically an AR app because it uses your phone to put a digital object in the real world.

KS: Yeah.

CS: Yeah.

Oh, is that what AR is?

KS: Yeah.

CS: Yeah. It’s one application of AR.

KS: I think the point is, the teens don’t care what’s it called.

It’s expensive.

KS: It’s expensive. All right, so VR, what about VR? Virtual reality, this is where they put the headset ...

I think one cool thing I’ve seen with it was when, I think, PlayStation, they incorporated VR into their gaming console, which is really cool and it’s a respectable gaming company.

KS: So you would do it with gaming?

Yeah, and with a video game I wanted to play, not ... I don’t know. I don’t know how I feel about VR because it’s putting yourself ... It could be really useful in a lot of situations. I’ve seen clips ... Not clips, I’ve heard of how police officers ...

KS: They can learn empathy.

They can put them in situations or something using VR and if they’re going to shoot the person or not, which is good training. It can help a lot with a lot of things, but I personally wouldn’t use it that much.

KS: You wouldn’t use it that much, all right. Well then, let’s put off the entire ... Sorry, Google, about all those investments.

Yeah, I don’t like it, just cut it.

KS: Just cut it. Sorry Oculus, see you later.

I didn’t like the Google Glass, look what happened.

KS: What about, say, you were going to search for furniture, say you were going to college and then Ikea has an AR, has an augmented reality app and could show you what it’s like in the room.

I didn’t say AR, I was talking about VR.

KS: Yeah, but I’m saying, what if it was in the room?

AR is kind of cool. AR is cool, I can ... Snapchat has the things you can put your Bitmoji in front of you dancing or something like that, that stuff’s kind of cool.

KS: You can put a Bitmoji? Casey, do you know this?

You can flip the camera around and then there’s just something like just dancing there. Some of them are weird, like today one of them was a squirrel who was twerking, which is kind of weird. It’s very weird, but some of these are fine, like the Bitmoji dancing ones.

KS: Okay. I see, yeah, look at that, there’s a Bitmoji dancing in your screen.

It’s a squirrel twerking.

KS: It seems inane. All right, so are you interested in the iPhone X? You didn’t get one, I got you the iPhone 8, did you want the X?

No. I’m going to crack it.

KS: Yeah, you’re going to crack it, that’s your thing.

I like the 8 a lot.

KS: Yeah.

I like it except I don’t like how there’s no headphone jack and I can’t charge my phone and listen to stuff at the same time.

KS: I have a solution for you for that. Casey, how do you like yours?

What is that?

KS: Did you get it up and going?

CS: My iPhone X is supposed to arrive as we are recording this podcast.

KS: Oh my God.

CS: So my hope is that when this podcast is over it will be waiting for me.

KS: Okay. You think it will recognize your face?

CS: I’m going to teach it my face and it will come to love my face, as have so many others over the years.

KS: My mom liked that joke. All right, so just a couple more questions for this section. Do you know about HQ? Casey and I really like HQ.

What’s HQ?

KS: You’re going to like it. Explain HQ, Casey, it’s the new trendy hot thing and I love it.

CS: Oh man.

Oh my, if she likes it, I don’t know if I’ll ...

CS: It’s a trendy ...

KS: Hello. You’ll see, you’re going to love it.

CS: Louie, I think you’d actually like this. You download the app and then twice a day you get a push notification, one is at 3 pm Eastern, one is at 9 pm Eastern, and you open it up and there’s a host who has 12 trivia questions. If you answer all 12, you win real money.


CS: So, every day there’s a pot of money, like on Sunday night I think it was $7,500 and then let’s say a couple hundred people won, a friend of mine won like $26 playing on Sunday night. You don’t win these huge amounts of money, but it’s free money and it’s totally taken over our office.

KS: It’s fun.

Wait, how do they make money? How do they not-

KS: We don’t know how they make money.

CS: They’re losing money right now. So, one of the ways they could make money is through ads. Another way they can make money is by selling extra life, so if you miss one question, you can currently get an extra life.

KS: Oh yeah.

CS: If somebody signs up with your referral code, but you can imagine them selling those.

KS: Yeah.

CS: They’re currently getting 100,000 people a day who are watching each game.

KS: Yeah, it’s really fun. If you get a mistake, you’re thrown out.

All right, I just downloaded HQ.

KS: Okay. If you get the mistake, you’re out.

CS: Use referral code Casey Newton, Louie, thanks in advance.

Casey Newton, okay.

KS: Okay. What’s interesting about it is that you keep playing until you lose.

I like the money. I like the money.

KS: I know, but it’s fun and then you can see how many people got it wrong every time.

I don’t care about that, I care about the money.

KS: I know, but it’s interesting they couldn’t spell the word.

Can I Google it? How long do I have to answer the questions?

KS: No, you don’t have time.

CS: It feels like it’s only three or four seconds, it’s pretty short. Yeah, Kara, to your point, watching people lose is the best part of HQ. Today, the first question was, “What is the sweet substance that bees produce,” and 2,000 people thought it was music.

KS: Lucky just got it wrong. My mom just said nectar, but go ahead, it was music?

CS: It’s a hard game. Yeah, yeah, 2,000 people thought bees make music.

KS: Yeah, it’s a really ...

CS: Usually the first two or three questions are really easy and then it gets super hard.

KS: It gets super hard and there’s always an Australian question in there. Are they from Australia? Is that why?

CS: Not to my knowledge.

KS: There’s always an Australian question.

What’s your referral code?

KS: Casey.

CS: It’s just my name, Casey Newton.

KS: There you go. Oh my God, it could have been Kara Swisher, thanks a lot, Casey. Anyway, it’s great.

CS: I didn’t know you were playing.

KS: I am playing. It’s a great game, HQ. We’ll play it tonight. Your brother will love it, too. I think any age will like this game, a trivia game.

CS: It’s fun for the whole family. It’s very wholesome.

KS: It’s our Thanksgiving game.

Wait, so how do I get this money?

KS: Well, it goes into your account once you sign up. They get a lot of signups, that’s ...

LC: Yeah, but I’m good at those things.

KS: Oh, you are? Okay then, Lucky, you’re going to keep the family in money then. Finally the Swisher family can finally be wealthy. It’s actually very hard, don’t you think? It’s really fun and they have a very adorable host, who’s very engaging and stuff, the whole thing’s great. Anyway.

CS: Yeah.

KS: We’ll talk about the final section — we have questions from our readers in a few minutes — but Casey, I want you to talk about the projects you started working on. You have an email newsletter and now you’re doing a podcast so that you can copy the person who you think the most of in this world, which is me.

CS: That’s right.

KS: So explain what you’re doing very quickly.

CS: You’ve taught me all these things.

KS: Explain what you’re doing.

CS: Yeah, just two fun things to talk about — and the easiest way to find these is just go to my Twitter profile, which is @CaseyNewton — but one, I started a daily newsletter about social media and democracy, I’m calling it the Interface. The idea is if you want to know what’s going on with Facebook, Twitter and Russia, and you also want a sprinkling of news about other social apps like Snapchat and HQ, go ahead and follow it, I’ll give you all the day’s news and a little bit of analysis.

KS: Louie doesn’t want to know about Russia, just so you know.

CS: Yeah.

It’s not that I don’t want to know, it’s that my English paper is more important than collusion right now.

KS: Okay. Oh my God.

CS: That seems fair, actually.

KS: “My English paper is more important than collusion,” that is the quote of the day. Anyway, go ahead, Casey. And your podcast?

CS: That’s out. I recently recorded the first episode of the podcast and so we’re putting that together right now, so hopefully I’ll have a lot more to share on that soon, but I’m really looking forward to ...

KS: Any more details? The name, the topic? Are you just going to bald-facely compete with me and lose?

CS: It is not competing with you, The Verge has never done an interview show before and so we had the idea of, what if we could get some of these interesting folks in Silicon Valley to come in and tell us a little bit about who they are and what shaped their perspective, and what they’re working on now. By doing that, just shed some more light on what’s going on in Silicon Valley, and have some fun along the way.

KS: Name?

CS: That’s the basic idea and we’re calling it Converge.

KS: Converge, I get it, from Verge.

CS: Yeah.

KS: You’re converging them.

CS: It’s a conversation with The Verge and I’m there.

KS: Very exciting for Casey Newton, a podcast king. He’s got a newsletter.

LC: Sounds like competition to me.

KS: All right, thanks, Mom. Sorry. All right. My mom, always supportive.

Anyway, we’re here with my elder son Louie and The Verge’s Silicon Valley editor, Casey Newton, talking about everything, and we’re going to take a quick break for a word from our sponsors. When we get back, we’ll answer some questions from our readers and listeners.


We’re here with my son Louie Swisher, as well as Casey Newton from The Verge. We’re talking about all kinds of things. And since Lauren Goode is not here today, I will read the questions for each of you, just jump in, I will direct them to each of you. This is from Eric Martin, @MyFaveMartin: “Why do preteens keep taking my charger without asking when they have their own chargers and the fact that they misplace it is not my fault, so why should I have to be inconvenienced due to their negligence? When will this end? When they go off to college?” Louie, who steals my chargers, answer that question, please.

Well, I steal the chargers because they are mine in the first place and you take them from me.

KS: I see.

You take my chargers. Whenever you come and visit.

KS: No, I think you take my chargers.

I think it’s a little bit of both.

KS: I think Alex takes our chargers.

I think ... Yeah. I think chargers are like, you lend them to your friend and they don’t give them back, or your mom takes them or something.

KS: What do you think about this mat? When is that mat coming out?

What mat?

KS: There’s a mat, right?

Yeah, but I’m going to spill a cup of water on that and it’s going to be the end of it.

KS: All right. Is that the case, Casey Newton? Are you getting the mat?

CS: I haven’t gotten the mat yet. I’m definitely interested in it, although it seems like the reviews have kind of been ho-hum, so I’m not ... I don’t mind having to plug in a phone.

KS: Right.

Yeah, plugging in a phone ...

CS: But if everyone else starts charging ...

KS: Is anyone else taking your chargers?

CS: I have had pretty good luck with people not taking my chargers. On my desk, there are just two chargers that are just out all the time that I use, but we work in an office where people take their charging pretty seriously.

KS: Yeah.

CS: So I think everyone here has like six chargers on their person at all times.

KS: Yes, exactly. All right. Go ahead, sorry.

Wireless charging is really cool, like in our car. We have a Mini Cooper Countryman and they have a wireless charger, it’s actually really cool.

KS: Does it work?

Although it does really heat up your phone.

KS: Does it? You put it in a little area and it ...

Yeah, and it just charges, even through the case, which is really incredible.

KS: Yeah. The new iPhone ...

I don’t get how that works, but ...

KS: What is the technology, Casey? Do you know the name of it? What’s it called?

CS: I believe it’s pronounced “chee,” right?

KS: Yes.

CS: It’s Qi. Yeah.

KS: Yep. That’s what they’re using on the iPhones now and they’ll have their own pad out, I think, later in the year, so next year.

I’m not going to buy that.

KS: Okay, all right, I probably will buy it for you. Michele — I can’t pronounce that — Kyrouz? “Louie, what news shows/channels do you want to see on YouTube? What types of topics should teens explore in putting out new shows?” What would you like to see on YouTube?


KS: Yeah. If you could design your own show.

I don’t know. I think there should be a specific setting, if people want to look at news ... I think people go to YouTube because they’re tired of looking at CNN, they want to look for a funny video or something else.

KS: What would an ideal news show look like?

If you’re going to put news into CNN and not leave it in the state that it is right now with news clips from CNN or whatever, I think they should have a section where you could ... They have like the homepage, and they have the trending, and they have liked videos, they should have a place where it’s news and then they have different genres for news like foreign news or domestic news, local news.

KS: How would you like it delivered to you? You want it fast like cable news?


KS: Would you like just people being there?

They should do brief ... Yeah, like “Vice News Tonight” or whatever. It’s brief analysis that’s interesting, I think they should do something like that, like a quick two-minute video about a certain thing.

KS: You like that Snapchat original?


KS: You like the Snapchat show.

Yeah, I think that’s good. I don’t think anybody else should do that.

KS: What’s that called?

“Good Luck America,” I think.

KS: Yeah.

They have a new one out today, so I’m probably going to look at that later.

KS: Okay. Do you know the name of that, Casey?

CS: I know “Good Luck America,” I don’t know what the name of the today show is.

KS: The next one’s from Peter Wells. I’m going to ask you both this question. “I hope you ask him about Travis [Kalanick], [James] Damore and other positive role models in Silicon Valley.” Casey, why don’t you start with this one? How are we doing on positive role models?

CS: Oh, not good. Not good.

KS: Not good.

CS: When we’re in such a maelstrom, a long-overdue maelstrom where finally there’s some accountability for so much of this horrible behavior that’s gone on for years, the last thing I want to do is look around the room and say, "Oh, well, that’s a good male CEO," because who knows?

KS: Who knows? Right.

CS: By the time this comes out, like 84 other men will be arrested, so now’s not a good time to check in with ...

KS: Yeah, every morning is like that, “Nooooo.” I remember when George Takei was like, “Not Takei,” and then ...

George Takei?

KS: Yeah. See? There you went, “Nooooo, not George Takei.” What do you think about all this, Louie? And try not to say something offensive.

It’s terrible that all these people are doing these things and they think it’s okay.

KS: Yeah.

A lot of them are covering it up after like, “Oh no, I didn’t do that. I thought it was mutual,” blah, blah, blah.

KS: So, you don’t buy that?

I think it’s bullshit.

KS: Yeah.

The only person who I think has really did a disgusting thing but still owned up — not owned up, dammit — but was Louis C.K. when he came out and said he did it and he was disgusted by his action, and he’s very sorry. I think that’s ...

KS: At least he admitted it.

At least he admitted it, that’s what I give him, at least he admitted it.

KS: Yeah, all right, because he admitted ...

CS: Is it awkward that you were named after him, Louie?

Yeah, Louie C.K. is my father.

CS: Has that lead to some hard conversations at school? Yeah.

KS: Yeah. Yeah, all right, that’s enough of that, Casey Newton.

I think it’s disgusting what these people are doing and they’re not setting good role models by just saying ... Even when there’s definitely proof that they did these things that they’re saying they didn’t, they’re just being liars and they’re just terrible people.

KS: Yes. Thank you. I raised you well, now you may go out into the world. All right, this is from Rohan Bhade, “Do teen millennials use Google Allo?”

What is that?

KS: “Have you ever heard of it? What is the preferred communication tool of choice for Android teen millennials or do they use Instagram, Snapchat to trade text and video?” Allo is their speaking. Explain Allo, Casey.

I thought it was a good start. I thought I had something to say, but it’s not nice.

KS: Okay, don’t say anything.

CS: Google loves to make messaging apps, I think they have like seven or eight right now that they use for various purposes and I believe it was last year they released Allo, which is a sort of very generic messaging app. They put it out and it pretty much died right away, particularly on iOS.

Although I will say that as people do buy Android phones — and people are buying lots of Android phones — I’m getting little notifications letting me know, “Hey, this person’s on Allo now. This person’s on Allo now.” So, I do think it’s building up something of a user base on Android phones because it’s installed by default, but whether anyone’s using it is another story.

I think the main way for teenagers to talk to each other is just Snapchat. I think Snapchat text or Snapchatting.

KS: Yeah.

It’s not like iMessage or Google Message where it’s just to the Androids or just to the iPhones, it can go between ...

KS: He likes that.

It can go between the two.

KS: Do you like SnapMaps?

I think it’s creepy, but I’m ...

KS: You ghosted me, whatever, you put me on ghost mode.

I didn’t ghost you.

KS: Let me just tell you, I found you at your party because your brother is so intelligent.

I didn’t ghost. What are you talking about? I’m always on ...

KS: You put yourself on ghost mode, I know that ...

No, I didn’t.

KS: Yes, you did, because we couldn’t find you. We did, actually ... I love Snapchat, SnapMaps, and I told this to Evan Spiegel, we found you by finding your friends, that was very clever.

Anyway, do you like SnapMaps or do you just find them creepy?

It’s kind of creepy, but it’s also ... It’s a lot of things.

KS: Yeah.

I think it’s interesting. The main thing is that you can see when your friends are hanging out without you.

KS: Oh, that’s great. That’s good to know. What do you think of them, Casey, SnapMaps? I think they’re cool.

CS: Yeah, I think I would find them a lot more interesting if I were in high school because I think you do always have that sense of, “Is something fun going on without me?” SnapMaps allows you to kind of passably observe that and hopefully ...

Cry about it.

CS: ... go hang out and participate. Hopefully not cry, although I’m sure that happens.

KS: Yeah.

CS: Yeah. I think it’s a killer product for kids in high school and college.

Yeah, it’s interesting and also ... I don’t know. I don’t know if I really like having my location shared all the time, but then again, it’s just with people I’m friends with on Snapchat, so I don’t really care.

KS: Yeah. Yeah.


KS: Explain ghost mode, please, whatever.

Ghost mode is where you can turn off. It’s just going where people can’t see you and they can’t see where you are, which is pretty reasonable if you don’t want that.

KS: Yeah.

I think a lot of people just, “Eh, I have to press three buttons, what’s the point?”

KS: Oh, so they stay visible.

Yeah, I just stay visible because I don’t really care.

KS: Yeah. Okay. All right. @ohsam: “Wondering about Snapchat groups versus group chats in iMessage or other apps, and the hierarchy of friends and cliques?” So, groups, Snapchat groups, in a group chat.

Group chats?

KS: Yeah.

Yeah, well, group chat and Snapchat, it has a limited number of people you can put in it, which I don’t know if iMessage does that. It’s a good way to talk to people, and I guess if you want to make a group chat or something where not everybody has an iPhone or something. If you do an iMessage group chat and then you add somebody who doesn’t have an iPhone, it kind of ruins the whole thing because then you can’t add or kick out people, you can’t change the name of the group chat, everything becomes SMS, which costs money.

I think Snapchat’s a good way ... I think that’s a good way because regardless of what type of phone somebody has, a Snapchatable phone, you can always change the group chat and change your ... I think it’s good, Snapchat group chat.

KS: Which one do you use, Casey?

CS: Let’s see, believe it or not, my group chats are mostly on Facebook Messenger. I don’t know exactly why that happened. I do have one big group chat on iMessage, but I perform in an improv troupe and for whatever reason they just all decided that Messenger was where they wanted to chat, so that chat is going off all day every day.

KS: Everybody, let’s do a little ad for Casey and his improv troupe. What’s its name, Casey?

CS: It’s called Luxury Cruise Singles Mixer.

Oh my God.

CS: I did not choose the name.

I want to come see this. I want to come see you guys do something.

CS: You should. You should.

KS: Yeah, we will.

CS: It’s a fun time.

Is it suggestion improv?

CS: Yeah. We get a suggestion from you and then we do crazy things.

KS: We’re coming. We’re coming to Christmas.

We’re going to have fun.

KS: We’re going to have some fun.


KS: That’s going to be a little scary. What would you suggest for him?

Not going to reveal.

KS: Okay. Not going to reveal.

CS: Yeah. Save it, yeah, because I don’t want to plan it.

Save the best for later.

KS: Get ready.


KS: Two more questions left. Not really a question, but Reginald Bazile tweeted this to us: “Finally, someone will answer for Spectacles."

What the hell is Spectacles?

KS: Well, there you go, that was the problem.

Yeah. Well, only one person I know has them.

KS: And?

It’s cool that you can move your phone and see the video.

CS: Yeah.

And still move around, but expensive.

KS: Did you ever want to buy any?

They were going to break ... I assume they break easy, they’re expensive, I never wanted them.

KS: Why?

Because I don’t like wearing glasses.

KS: Yeah, anything else? Would you like to put something in your eye?

No. No. No.

KS: No? That you’d record everything?

Please no.

KS: Okay. All right. All right, Casey, what about you? What do you think about Spectacles?

CS: I did get them and I took them on a vacation to Mexico and I took a bunch of Snaps with them, and while I’m glad I have those memories, the process of getting the Snaps from the glasses to the phone was pretty cumbersome.

I would imagine.

CS: It made me just not want to really use them very often, so I kind of quit using mine. I think it was a fun toy, I don’t think it’s dumb that Snap made them.

Oh no, it’s a toy is what it is.

CS: Yeah.

It’s not like a useful thing, I think it’s a toy in the end.

CS: Yeah.

KS: Where do you imagine it going? Either of you.

I don’t. In the trash.

CS: Supposedly they have $40 million worth of them sitting unsold in a warehouse somewhere, so I don’t think it’s going anywhere good.

KS: Yeah, what about in general? The conceptual idea, Casey, think bigger.

They’d have to do something new with them.

CS: Well ...

KS: Go ahead, you go first and then Louie.

CS: Yeah, I sort of think it’s like if Spectacles 1.0 was the iPod, the next version needs to be the iPhone. It has to be just radically better.

KS: Okay.

I think they should use those $40 million worth of Spectacles, just give it a new paint job and call it the Spectacles 2.

CS: That’s smart.

KS: Actually, that is smart. Evan Spiegel, if you’re listening, there you go.

Sell them as a toy.

KS: Yeah, sell them as a toy.

All right, another question by Jaydeep Deshpande, @theDeshpande: “Thoughts on Nintendo Switch?” Go ahead, Louie.

Nintendo Switch, not going to get it.

KS: Because?

I’m not 8. I’m not into Nintendo.

KS: You’re not 8? Years old, you mean?

Well, when I was 8 and I was younger, I really liked Wii and I really liked Nintendo, and I really liked those consoles, but now that I’m older, I don’t even play video games that much.

KS: Really? Why?

Because I don’t have time with all this homework, and I’d rather watch Netflix. When I do play, being a teenage boy, I love myself a good violent video game.

KS: Yeah. Which one will you never get to own as long as I’m your parent?

Grand Theft Auto.

KS: Yes.

I would really like it if the people at Rockstar would send me a free copy.

KS: No.

Because then my parents wouldn’t be spending money. I said to my mom, I said, “Mom, if I earn the money to buy the game, can I get it?” She said, “No, not in my house.” I said, “But it’s not your game then, it’s my game because I earned the money to buy it.”

KS: Yeah, it’s our house.

If they sent it to me for free you ...

KS: No.

... can’t really ...

KS: No.

Send it to me. Contact me, Rockstar, and I’d love to get a new game.

KS: No. N-O. N-O. N-O. No, they shoot women.


No, they don’t tell you to shoot people, you have the ability to choose, that’s the point of these. You don’t play video games, Lulu.

LC: Never.

It’s a game of choice.

LC: No, no, it’s a bad choice.

Well, no, you could go in that game, you could buy a car legally and you could obey all the traffic laws, or you could just drive crazy through the city, which most people do.

LC: You know what happens to people who drive crazily? Accidents.

It’s in a game, not in real life. Apparently, whenever the new GTA game comes out, crime rates drop a little bit, but still.

KS: Oh my God. Oh my God.

That’s what I heard. That’s what I herd.

CS: I feel like I’m sitting at the Thanksgiving table right now and it’s making me so happy.

KS: At least we’re not talking about Trump.

Just wait.

KS: Just wait.

LC: I like him.

KS: No, you don’t. Stop.

LC: I just thought I’d start an argument.

Lulu likes controversy.

KS: Cut off her mic right now.

What do you think about the Nintendo Switch, Casey? Then we have one last question.

CS: You know what? I will totally eat my foot on this one because I thought it was such a dumb idea and it’s been a huge hit. When I saw that thing, I thought it was going to be a big flop and then everyone in our office got some, the kids I know have them, and not only do they have them, but they seem to really love them. The fact that it’s so portable means that they can take it on vacation and they can take it on a plane. Great example of me just being super dumb and not knowing what the heck I’m talking about.

KS: All right, so Casey is stupid. All right, on that one, Nintendo Switch. Louie has a genius idea for Spectacles for selling them. Okay, last question from Paul Degnan — this has been so enjoyable, boys. “What’s the dadgum Snapchat? What are the youngs always on about?"

Let me see that question. I need to read that.

KS: Read that out loud.

What’s the goddam Snapchat? What’re the youngs always on about? Just trying to ...

KS: So, you’re still a Snapchatter though, Swisher.

I use Snapchat, yeah.

KS: It’s still your favorite.

I’m going to have to follow this guy, download Twitter, he seems pretty funny.

KS: You’re still a Snapchatter.

Yeah, I use it to talk to people and because nobody texts. A text is going to take me three hours to get response versus when I Snapchat, I’ll get it within like 10 minutes.

KS: I see. So, it’s speed.

I think it’s the ease of it.

KS: Will you keep doing it after in college?

I don’t know.

KS: Also, when are you going to college? Is that soon?

You’re very funny. I’m a [high school] sophomore.

LC: Hopefully.

KS: Okay, Lucky, stop.

No, no, no, just a little bit longer. Just a little bit longer.

KS: Casey, what are your thoughts on Snapchat as a business? They’re having a lot of struggles with Wall Street.

CS: Yeah, I want to hear more about your conversation with Evan Spiegel, but they’re having a really rough time and I think now the question is, do they have a rabbit they can pull out of a hat? I’m totally prepared to believe they’ve got some great product that’s coming down the pipe that’s going to be awesome and capture the world’s imagination.

For what it’s worth, as you can kind of hear from Louie’s stories, they have clearly captured a generation of high school kids and maybe some college kids that are going to use it for the foreseeable for future, but they need to find a way to grow and they haven’t found that at all in the past year.

KS: They are creative, they are.

CS: Yeah.

Why do they need to grow? Why can’t they just remain what they are at heart, like a communications platform?

CS: Yeah.

Why do they have to add new things? Why do they have to ... Why don’t they just remember what they are, a communications thing, and then keep it that way and then branch off of that and add new things because of that

KS: Wow, that sounds like my conversation with Evan Spiegel, interesting.

CS: I think it’s a great idea, but in practice, a social network that isn’t growing is dying, period. The thing either grows or it dies, those are the only two choices a social network has, because otherwise, people just fade away from it and they stop using it.

What are they going to fade to?

CS: They’ll go to any one of the 71 properties that Facebook has bought.

KS: Yeah, that’s the thing ...

Facebook buys something, it dies.

KS: The issue is, they do have a giant social network — Facebook — copying everything they do. Everything.

Yeah, it’s like Instagram now has Snapchat, again, texting. DMs was around for a while, but Snapchatting, just sending pictures and stuff, I was like, “Oh wow, Stories? Oh, what’s next? Are they going to add Instagram maps?”

KS: Yes.

That’d be really creepy, I follow a lot of people.

KS: Yeah.

Yeah, Snapchat should just remember what it is and stick to that. I don’t think people are going to go away from Snapchat just because they’re not adding new content every month.

KS: Yeah.

I think they’re just going to ...

CS: Yeah.

I think maybe every once in a while add a new thing, like add new Bitmojis, add new ...

KS: Yeah.

I think Bitmoji was a good thing.

KS: You know what? It’s a creative company, it really is.

It really is. It’s doing a lot of things that are great, but I think they need to not get ahead of themselves, they need to just ...

KS: Very smart, Louie Swisher. I think that’s smart. They’re a very creative group of people. I always bet on creativity, so we’ll see. Last very quick question from me, did you see Elon Musk’s big truck and his Roadster?


KS: No? Okay.

I don’t really care for Elon Musk.

KS: All right, we won’t get into that until another episode.

I don’t know him, but ...

KS: Anyway, would you want a Roadster?

What is a Roadster?

KS: A car that he’s put out.

LC: Old-fashioned car.

KS: Yeah, little, little thing.

I like cars.

KS: Yeah. We’ll get on to that in the next episode.

Yeah, next episode.

KS: Yeah, when you come back, when you’re driving, but not yet, you’re not going to drive yet.

Just another year.

KS: Another year. All right, Casey, thank you so much. This has been great.

CS: Thank you, guys.

KS: Thank you.

CS: It was great talking to you.

KS: I’m excited about Casey’s podcast and his newsletter. What’s it called again, Casey? How can people get it?

CS: The Interface. Go to my Twitter, @CaseyNewton, you’ll see links to everything.

KS: All right, which is great. Louie Swisher will be appearing at his high school in the next few years.


KS: He’ll be coming back for more. We’ll talk about cars next, that’ll be great.


KS: Self-driving cars and everything else.

I don’t trust a machine, I trust myself.

KS: All right. Okay, well, I have the opposite feeling about you.

You said I’m a good driver.

KS: You are a good driver. Anyway, this has been another great episode. Mom, thanks for making your short appearances. Okay, that’s enough.

LC: You’re quite welcome.

KS: All right, that’s enough, Lucky.

LC: It was great.

KS: All right, thanks, Mom. Anyway, this has been another great episode of Too Embarrassed to Ask. Louie and Casey, thank you for coming back on the show.

Thank you.

CS: Thanks for having me.

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