On this episode of Too Embarrassed to Ask, co-host Lauren Goode counts down her favorite episodes from the past two years as she bids farewell to her listeners. Goode is leaving to take a job at Wired, but #tooembarrassed will continue with co-host Kara Swisher.
You can read a write-up of the interview here or listen to the whole thing in the audio player above. Below, we’ve posted a lightly edited complete transcript of their conversation.
Kara Swisher: Hi, I’m Kara Swisher, executive editor of Recode.
Lauren Goode: And I’m Lauren Goode, senior tech editor at The Verge.
And you’re listening to Too Embarrassed to Ask, coming to you from the Vox Media podcast network. This is a show where we answer all of your embarrassing questions about consumer tech.
It could be anything at all. Like, “What will Kara Swisher do without me?” No really, what will she do?
So many things. I’ll be just fine. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out. We’ll talk about what she means in a second. Send us your questions, find us on Twitter, or tweet them to @Recode, or to myself or to Lauren, with the hashtag #tooembarrassed. We also have an email address, tooembarrassed@Recode.net. Reminder, there are two Rs and two Ss in embarrassed.
And I won’t be checking it.
Well, all right, Lauren.
Good luck, Kara.
Normally I’d scoop everybody on any sort of news, but Lauren keeps ... vomiting up information here. But I’ll let you break your own news. So go ahead, since you already started off on such a note.
I’m leaving you.
Yeah, I know.
But really everybody, I am leaving, after more than two years and nearly 120 episodes of this podcast. Is that possible?
I’m leaving Too Embarrassed to Ask.
Where are you going? You’re just leaving? How can I miss you if you won’t go away?
I’m actually just going down the hall. But I’m leaving this podcast. So good-bye. I am, I’m leaving Vox Media. I’m going to Wired.
Uh-huh. And doing what there? That’s a competitor.
It is. I’ll just see myself out now. I’m going to be ...
We have security coming right after this. You have to be able to collect your things. We’re having people put things in boxes right now. Then you’ll be gone.
It’s a lot of gadgets.
Yeah, it’s a lot of gadgets. No, you’re not allowed to keep them. Casey Newton’s clearing your desk.
We’ll be moving on very quickly. Yeah, security, don’t worry, I can handle her for now. You’re going away. What are you going to write about there? You’re leaving the Vox Media podcast network.
I am. I am.
Who’s going to say ka-ching?
You’ll find somebody.
You have been ... let’s just go over it. You’ve been with Recode for forever, right?
I’ve been with ...
When did you come? When did you show up?
My first day was December 1st, 2011.
Where did you come from? The Wall Street Journal.
I had been at the Wall Street Journal and I was video producer and a video reporter there.
Remember that show?
I got to know Walt Mossberg. By the way, everybody, I was really early to livestreaming video.
Nobody watched it.
It wasn’t a thing then. We found out everybody was watching everything on demand anyway. The Netflix-ification of society had begun at that point. So everything was ... Anyway, I got to know Walt Mossberg through that project, essentially, and Walt used to come on our live show every Thursday to talk about his column. It was really fun. And we used to have these phone conversations. Got to know him really well. Then I think I went to, I was assigned to cover the D Conference at one point.
Yes, you were.
And you were, I mean, I was like, “There’s Kara Swisher.”
You still do that, too.
I think you were like somewhat dismissive. Like, who is this person?
I was nice to you.
And I think it was Walt and Peter who told you at some point.
We should hire you. But we did, we hired you at AllThingsD. What year was that?
That was 2011.
Wow. That’s a longtime relationship we’ve had.
I know. And then we became Recode.
And then we became Recode.
And that was the new year.
And then we sold.
2014. 2013 or 2014?
2013? I don’t remember.
You should remember that was your, “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out” Murdoch moment.
I know, but you know what, I don’t care. My career is made already. Don’t worry about anything anymore. I don’t have to remember anything.
Yeah, and then we sold to Vox.
Yeah, then we sold to Vox and you went over to The Verge, because all our consumer reviewers went over there, including Walt too.
And now you’re going to do Wired. And you’re gonna do similar things there?
Yeah, I’m gonna be senior writer of the Gear section, which is Wired’s long-standing consumer tech section.
So you’re top gadget lady, right?
Yeah, I mean, I think ... yes, gadgets for sure, but I think ...
It’s not a dismissive word, in my opinion.
It’s not a dismissive word.
Maybe Walt liked the word gadget, I don’t know why.
Well, I think that it can make consumer tech sometimes seem a little bit trivial by using the word.
Sometimes it is.
But sometimes it’s actually the apps and services and things that we use, it’s really this whole idea to be connected.
Would you prefer doodads? How about doodads?
You’re senior doodad editor.
I’m trying to say something that’s really deep and insightful and Kara’s just not gonna let me have that moment. So you know what, follow me on Wired and we’ll talk about it.
Go ahead. Go ahead, go ahead, I’ll let you. You’re gonna do big topics and small. Big and small. Big issues and small. And reviewing? You’re gonna continue to review? Because that was your great strength.
I hope so, continuing video. I’ve had a couple of really fun video series here at Vox Media and I hope to continue making videos and figuring out where video is going and, by the way, if anyone else figures that out first, let me know.
You did great ones at Recode. You did some very fun ones.
We had really fun ones here. Remember we did the Apple Watch one? The rules of etiquette with Apple Watch.
Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Where I started to show you my vacation photos on Apple Watch and you were like, “You’re never going on vacation again.”
Oh, that was funny! I remember. Oh, that was a good video. We’ve done some choice ... what else did we do?
I was gonna say, we did the ... you did Uber for Onesies.
Yeah, Uber for Onesies.
We had you appearing on CNBC in a onesie poking fun at the on-demand economy.
I was. I looked good in a onesie, I have to say. Didn’t Mark Bergen do the onesie?
You were still just as intimidating in a onesie.
It was Bergen. We put Kurt Wagner in a onesie.
Casey Newton. Were you in a onesie?
And then Shervin who made a cameo.
Oh, my God, in a onesie. Shervin.
In a onesie.
Oh my God.
Yeah, we made that happen.
The things we’ve done, it’s crazy. So you’re gonna be doing that, but you’re still gonna be, like, on the scene.
On the tech scene. Yeah, absolutely.
Right. What do those people at Wired like? Are they nice? I heard they’re not nice.
Yeah. I’ve heard terrible things about them there.
You’re just saying that. Oh.
They’re awful people. Conde Nast. That means you get to hang out with Anna Wintour? No, they’re very nice, very nice.
Let the shit-talking begin. And let me hang out with Anna Wintour. Anna’s already asked me if I’d like to have lunch.
Not all of them are nice. Yeah, so, that’s my key part. I write for Vanity Fair from time to time, although I haven’t done it in a while. Although I’m still just ...
You did. You did, actually.
I go, I appear at their conferences. I have Conde Nast connections.
I will say that Nick Thompson, who’s the relatively new editor in chief at Wired. He’s been there a year.
I’m very pleased they made that appointment.
Yeah, he’s really smart. It’s a really smart group of people and I’m very excited to go work for them.
Tough guy. Yeah. Wired, of course for those who don’t know, is the iconic tech publication that was, you know, it really started off the idea of the tech consumer. Writing about tech as a consumer thing, as a social thing. It was beautiful design and all kinds of things. It’s a Conde Nast publication. So you’ll be online and in the magazine, correct?
That’s the goal.
Good. Will you have your own column?
I don’t think it’s being defined in that way.
Okay. But, you’re just gonna be writing? But long features too, right?
The senior writer person in this section at Wired has generally done that. It’s not necessarily just about, here’s this thing and here’s what this thing does, but sort of the backstory behind it. Or interesting people or interesting trends.
So events. Like we’ve trained you well. You’ve been onstage.
Oh, I will still be going to events. You know, events are, if you go in with the right mindset and sense of humor, events are a really fun part of the tech industry.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, but are you gonna ...
It’s kinda wild.
But not go to events. You gonna put on events?
Oh, in events. I’m sorry, I thought you meant coverage of events. I was like, I will still be there. Yeah, I hope to be part of the events team as well. Wired does have events.
I’m gonna have to kill you then. What about podcasts?
Yeah, Kara. I’m gonna be doing it all, Kara.
Oh my God. I’m gonna have to kill you now.
That’s okay. I don’t mind. Everybody, you heard it here. If I suddenly disappear in the next seven days, look for my body in the San Francisco Bay.
I’m excited that you’re doing this.
So, what we’re gonna do here is we’re gonna recap some of Lauren’s favorite episodes and I’m going to be emotional here. You’ve been a wonderful host. I really do enjoy sparring with you and I do, it’s all in love when I say that I hate you. Know that I just miss you.
I’m gonna miss that so much.
I know, but you know what I mean. Like, I like that you ... you’re a good foil.
I can’t wait to read the comments after this on our iTunes page. They’ll be like, “Kara drove her away.”
“Lauren’s so nice.” We know, blah, blah, blah, blah. Like, story of my life. Even my mother, like, you know, like ... she always takes my friend’s side in a fight. People I’m dating, she’s always like, “Well, mm-hmm.”
See, that’s the worst. You know, it’s so the worst.
It’s fine, it’s fine. So we thought we’d recap some of Lauren’s favorite episodes.
You know what, Kara? Nice doesn’t get scoops.
I know, it’s true. It’s true. Keep down. Stay down. I’m gonna get it tattooed on my ass.
Lauren’s favorite episodes at Too Embarrassed to Ask. Lauren, what was your favorite episode of Too Embarrassed to Ask? Let’s start with you.
There were too many. There were way too many to list, and a lot of times it really did depend on guests, but mostly I enjoyed the episode where you finally admitted that you were obsessed with AirPods after initially calling them ugly and making fun of them.
Three pairs and counting.
Well, how do you have three pairs already?
Because they run out of juice. I have them on all the time. The juice issue is a problem.
I already made Eric Johnson, our producer, find some clip awhile ago of you hating and then professing your love for AirPods, so I’m going to skip that. One of my favorite podcast moments ... let’s just play the clip.
Doug Evans: There’s 400 custom parts in here. There’s two motors, there’s 10 printed circuit boards, there’s a scanner, there’s a microprocessor, there’s a wireless chip, wireless antenna, there’s 775 aircraft-grade aluminum, there’s a gear box, there’s latches that support 16,000 pounds of force. So this is a monster of a machine kind of inside this veil of this nice aesthetic.
And then you have to put these packs in and these are packs of products, not juice. My friend is like, “Oh, juice packs.” You don’t just squeeze juice into a glass.
Doug Evans: No, this is fresh-cut produce.
I like it. It’s good.
Lauren Goode: What’s your short 30-second review of it?
I have to say I’m surprised. I thought it was just juice in a bag and you just squeezed it into a glass. For some reason, I just felt that.
Doug Evans: Yeah, you would need a $699 device to do that.
Oh, right, so it’s the pressure that you’re paying for.
Okay, so that is Kara talking about Juicero and astutely noting, by the way, that it seemed like something you would just squeeze in a glass.
I’ll tell you, in advance knowledge, I saw a Kevin Rose video where he did that. So I should have done that and done a story on it.
Kara, tell us how that story ends.
Oh, Juicero. Well, it’s no longer, you know? Nobody’s buying a $699 device that squeezes juice when you can do it just as well with your hand.
Who was it that discovered you could squeeze it?
It was Ellen Huet. Great job. I was aware of it. You know, some of the things you see and you’re like, “Of course,” but she got them good. She got them good. Good for Ellen.
Poor Juicero. You know Doug Evans, who we just heard from, I was gonna say he has resurfaced again. Vice had a report recently about raw water.
Not Vice. That was Nellie Bowles’s report. Nellie wrote the first one.
She wrote about raw water, but then Vice added ...
He was in the story. He was in the story and then they went around with him, further making him seem ridiculous. Like a ridiculous figure. But, yeah, it was ... he went to raw water, so ... who says you can’t get crazier, right? You’d think Juicero would be the top of the crazy parade, but no, he’s marching on the raw water. I don’t know what’s next. Fake skin. I don’t know what. I don’t know.
That was one of my favorite podcasts, hands down. Another favorite episode of mine was at South By Southwest last year, when we were both there live. We were in the Nat Geo space. It was this really cool live podcast and we interviewed Mary Lou Jepsen about her brain-reading app. No, seriously, she’s working on brain-reading technology. Here’s what she had to say about that.
You talk about that idea of communicating through thought. How does that happen? Explain what you’re doing with Openwater.
Mary Lou Jepsen: So, Openwater is using LCDs to ... it seems like a two-fold approach — make a wearable MRI system and work on telepathy — but it’s the same technology. If I throw you in an MRI machine right now, you as well, I can tell you what words you’re about to say. I can tell you what images are in your head. I can tell you what music you’re thinking of. I can tell if you’re listening to me or not and really get the implications of what I’m saying, because this notion of privacy that we have changes when we can ...
See people’s thoughts.
Mary Lou Jepsen: Yes.
Right now you’re saying that you can do that.
Mary Lou Jepsen: And that’s possible with MRI now.
Yeah, I liked that. That was a great episode. Mary Lou Jepsen’s a character. She’s worked for Facebook, she works for Google. She actually happened to be a very good friend of Megan’s at MIT. They went to school together. She’s doing all this stuff around screen technology. That was her first thing. At one point, I remember, she told me she wanted to put a screen across the moon and do moon TV. Which would freak everyone out across the planet.
She talked about that during that podcast. And we were all like, “How would you regulate that?”
Yeah, you wouldn’t. Like, I don’t think there’s any implications of a Coca-Cola commercial on the moon. It’s really interesting. She’s a big thinker.
Yeah, she’s a big thinker. It was a really fun podcast, not just because it was with Mary Lou Jepsen, but because of the live audience and the fact that we were in South By Southwest together.
They’re drinking all the time.
Yeah, and it was at noon or something. It was the middle of the day and it was at a bar, so things were getting a little rowdy. We also shared a room together at South By.
We shared several rooms together. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, because ...
We shared a room together and I, at one point, it was like a Sunday afternoon and there was a lull and I went to go take a nap. I’ll never forget this, you came over to my side of the room, you handed me a sleep mask, which I thought was the nicest thing. You were like, “Here, you’re trying to take a nap. Use the sleep mask.” And I said, “Oh, okay, thanks.” And then you promptly got on the phone with your insurance company and made seven phone calls back to back to insurance agents. As though you had given me earplugs, only you hadn’t. And then I was like, “Well, I guess I’m not napping.”
Yeah, there’s no napping at South By Southwest, but I did give you a nice ... do you have that ... nice little lovely thoughtful moment of mine. Sorry about that. Anyway, next one. I’m a kind person. I didn’t notice how kind I was.
Let’s see, what should we ... okay, so it’s hard to say that this is a favorite, because of the weight of the subject matter. I think it was more of our more impactful podcasts was with Niniane Wang and Joelle Emerson who came on the show to talk about sexual harassment.
We wanted to talk about techniques and solutions and things like that.
It was very solutions focused. Niniane had already, at that point, come out in the media with her story about repeated harassment from a VC, so that was out there already. She hadn’t, I think, done a lot of long-form interviews with people, and she came on to tell her story. Joelle is a founder of a firm called Paradigm and they work with a lot of companies. Sort of, address unconscious bias from the ground up. She’s very solutions focused. They’re both very ... very interesting conversation. Here’s a quick clip from them.
Niniane Wang: The Gloria Steinem Foundation tells me that when there’s a hyper-masculine environment, harassment begins to occur. Whether it’s the military, police force, prison, if something is overwhelmingly male, then this type of harassment will occur. And we can do medium-term work to get rid of the bad actors and put processes in place to remove them, but the truly long-term fix is to create more diversity and that, that will create systematic change that helps men understand women more if they are working with them every day. And that will naturally help them make better decisions to change the system to remove harassment.
Okay, hyper-masculine. I agree with that. Silicon Valley, is that like hyper-masculine, because the men here are not as ... they’re not like ... she was talking about police and things like that. It’s definitely a hyper-male environment here in Silicon Valley. That was really important.
It’s hyper-male and I think it’s worth noting too, whether it’s beta or alpha, there can be a toxicity that arises from any type of insular culture.
Absolutely. It’s hyper-juvenile male, is what it is.
Mm-hmm. It can be.
That’s to me what it is. It’s not quite as menacing as she was talking about, but it’s the same thing. It’s the same result. Whenever it’s the same result, and that was what was critically important with that one in talking about solutions and what to do about it.
Right. Incidentally, this was also where I admitted that maybe sometimes I look up to Kara a little bit.
Look down, because I’m so short.
If you enter an organization as a young person and you don’t see a woman who’s moved up the ranks, who’s maintained a successful career with someone ... I can look up to Kara, she’s right here next to me, right? She’s more experienced than me. But for people that enter a work organization that are facing challenges that don’t have that, it can be incredibly discouraging.
I was trying to get you to look down at me.
I did say “look down on me.” Look at me. I’m so funny I already know my jokes.
Now, we did a lot of podcasts about Uber. Johana Bhuiyan came on a couple of times and Mike Isaac from the New York Times that used to be working at AllThingsD and Recode.
Yeah, but Uber’s not my favorite, so they’re not making the list.
Oh, they aren’t?
No, I mean, you know what? Uber was a really important topic that we covered multiple times throughout this year and I’m really glad that we had the people on that we did, but I can’t say any one of those podcasts stood out to me as “this is my favorite” because ...
They were the toxic gift that keeps on giving. Do you know what I mean? The desiccated, rotting gift that keeps on giving.
Is it still a gift at that point?
Yes, it is. Today I wrote a story about what was going on there and they’ve had some trouble this week. Although I do like the new CEO. He’s coming to Code. He’s trying. But, honestly, at one point we were at a party and he said, “Thanks for getting me my job, but I hate you.” You know what I mean?
How did you get him his job?
He’s was talking over at Reuters. We did a bunch of stories. You know, we did the one about the India rape thing. Mike did a great issue about regulatory issues. The Information; Amir Efrati did great stories about the escort thing. It all ended up where it ended up, I think the media played a great role in the removal of Travis Kalanick.
Speaking of fellow journalists, we’ve had a lot of journalists on the Too Embarrassed podcasts over the past couple of years. They’re too many to name them all, but Johana, Kurt and Jason from Recode came on. Peter Kafka came on once. He and I talked about streaming media services for a full hour, it was quite fun. Dan Seifert from the Verge, Ina Fried from Axios, Joanna Stern from the Wall Street Journal, Casey Newton and Dieter Bohn from The Verge.
Many others, but a few of my favorite episodes hands down were when I spoke with Ray Maker of DC Rainmaker fame about wearables. Brian Stelter came on from CNN to talk about the fake news phenomena. Jacqui Cheng from Wirecutter, she came on to talk about tech products to buy when you’re on a budget and it was fantastic. She’s come in a couple of times and it was really fantastic, but the story with Ray Maker ...
All right, tell me one.
You weren’t there for that one.
No, I wasn’t, so tell me.
Of course it’s on my favorite list.
Everybody knows Ray Maker, what a name.
One of the first things ...
“I’m Ray Maker.”
He’s DC Rainmaker.
All right. If you say so.
By the way, Outside magazine just did a great profile of Ray.
All right, I’ll read it.
Yeah, go check it out.
What did you like about it?
What I liked about it, aside from the fact that you weren’t there, was that we just talked about wearables for an hour and a half.
Oh my God, you must have been in heaven.
I said at the start of this, If Kara was here, I would not actually be having this conversation right now.
No, you can’t, because they’re unwearables.
Because she calls them unwearables.
Are you wearing any? You use to have like 90. What’s that one?
Yes, I’m wearing one. It’s the new Fitbit.
Oh, please. Whatever. Okay.
This is not out yet.
Okay, thank you.
By the time of this podcast, it will be.
It’s huge. It’s enormous still.
It’s not that big.
It’s big. C’mon, it’s like a rock on your ... It’s like, “Here, I’m wearing this giant ...” It looks like you had some problems with the law and they had to keep track of you. That’s what it looks like.
I’ve never heard that before. No one has ever said wearables look like ...
I know, but it should be on your ankle. I think it’s a better fit on your ankle. Anyway, you’ve had a lot of them and let me just say you’ve gotten rid of them. I’m 100 percent correct that these wearables are still not where they need to be.
I would agree with you that they are not where they need to be. That said, I had a very fun conversation with Ray about it because he tests all of the latest fitness packs.
You can keep hoping. Hoping and dreaming.
And we talked about ...
That’s what keeps our America great.
All right, all right. Brian Stelter on fake news.
Yeah, Brian’s great.
Let’s play a quick clip from that.
Brian Stelter: There wasn’t as much awareness of that before election day as there was after election day. I would say certainly thanks to the efforts of Craig Silverman at BuzzFeed and the others in the fall, in the September/October range, there was certainly a heightened awareness of these fake, totally made up sites. And now, of course, as you’ve said, the term has been sort of retired. It’s been exploited, it’s been misused by people to mean anything I don’t like, anything I don’t agree with is fake news.
Yeah, President Trump uses it.
Brian Stelter: The president has now kind of taken over the term. I think Margaret Sullivan at the Washington Post is right, we shouldn’t be using the term “fake news” so much anymore. We should let that one go and use more specific language like, “These fictional sites that are trying to make money are creating hoaxes and trying to fool people.” So I think we can be more descriptive, but the problem is still very real and very there.
Kara, what do you think? Do you think people are being more careful about using the term “fake news” or is it just firmly embedded in our vernacular?
No, it’s one of these words that’s just gotten away. Trump has just ruined it. You know what I mean? It’s like, everything’s fake news? It’s not. We gotta have another ... just “fake” is fine. It’s what we should focus on, that it’s fake. It’s an interesting issue. I think the word’s been made impossible to use anymore by Trump, by calling everything “fake news.” And everyone says it. My kids say it all the time. My dogs say it. It’s just things that aren’t accurate, inaccurate is the word I’d like to use.
The idea that we shouldn’t use the phrase in general because it devalues the actual news, do you think that’s true?
It does. Yeah, I just think that Brian was really smart on this and the idea is, again, what these platforms have allowed to happen is just irresponsible on every level.
Yeah, even more so, we taped that podcast, it had to have been last year, it was definitely 2017, and since then, you know for a while, we would talk about, “What is the responsibility of the platforms and are they just still platforms?” And just over time it’s become increasingly apparent that they are more than platforms and that they’re adopting the rules of media companies.
100 percent. It was a really smart one.
It was and then Jacqui Cheng, we talked to her about what phone to buy when you’re on a budget, because last year we saw the announcement of $1,000 flagship smartphones, and that doesn’t work for everybody. And then in addition to talking about what phone you should buy on a budget, we talked about everything. We talked about laptops, I think we talked about tablets. We may have even touched on e-readers. It was a very good conversation.
She’s just super smart. The budget one was interesting. Of course, I’m very wealthy, so I can buy the expensive phone.
Oh, are you? We didn’t know that. We didn’t know. You haven’t mentioned it 75 times in the podcast before. Oh, now it’s my turn to be snarky, Kara.
The phone is my life, I’m going to spend money on it. Other people buy fine wines, other people buy nice cars. I have a Ford Fiesta. I’m gonna have a nice phone, right?
Are you going to buy me a fine wine when I leave?
Oh, do you like wine?
I like it a little bit.
No, I’m not buying you wine. I’m not buying you a gift at all. Do I have to? You left. You should buy me a gift. We’ll have a party. We’ll have a Lauren Goode good riddance party.
Good with an E riddance. Lauren Goode riddance.
Good riddance. Lauren Goode riddance party. I want to continue the good riddance tour in a moment. You have the perfect name for that. But we’re going to take a quick break for a word from our sponsors. Lauren, make it a good one.
Hashtag you’ll miss me.
No, that wasn’t a good one. C’mon! Say the hashtag.
We’re doing so well financially. I just had a meeting with out podcast money people.
Uh huh. That’s all gonna go down the tubes once I leave.
No, no, because I’m the key man. That’s the situation going on. I’m making all the dough. I need a good hashtag money. C’mon.
We’re back with Lauren Goode, who’s on her Goode Riddance Tour as she prepares to leave Vox Media and Kara Swisher and head over to Wired.
Really, you’ve been a part of our lives. You’re like a ... barnacle, in a lot of ways.
I always wanted to be underwater.
But we’re indulging her by going through some of her favorite moments from this podcast over the past two years, which we’ve been doing this two years. Too Embarrassed to Ask. It was Lauren’s idea and it’s been a lovely thing. What’s the next one?
You gave me credit for an idea. That is what people should do. That’s really nice.
I’m good that way.
Thanks for doing that.
I don’t suck up ideas, I’m not a white guy. C’mon, let’s go. The white lady. Let’s go.
This is one of my favorite podcasts, mostly because Louie Swisher made another guest appearance. Your son. Wait, is he going to take over as co-host when I’m gone?
Yes. Yes, he is, because he does rather well. The ratings go up when Louie Swisher’s around.
He should. He probably should. People clamor for Louie.
I’ve got a second one. I’ve got an heir and a spare. Alex on Fortnite, I’m trying to convince him, he’s much shyer than his brother. But Alex is an obsessive Fortnite user.
Oh, that would be great.
I know, but he talks my friggin’ ear off about it. I’m like, can we just record you talking about stupid Fortnite? So, heir and a spare.
That’s actually nice. That’s great. Bring him on. Well, this one is also my favorite podcast. Not just because Louie Swisher was on the show, but it’s because it’s when Kara finally admitted that she has a phone problem. This was from a recent podcast we did with the author Catherine Price on tech addiction.
This is about your phone. I think you might have a problem and you need some help. Now, I’ve thought about what I would say to you at this moment, but I do think you need help and it’s help I can’t give you. Otherwise, I don’t think this podcast relationship can move forward. So, either you need to consciously uncouple from your phone or I’m going to have to leave you on this podcast, and eventually you’re just going to be stuck with some bespectacled guy named Rob or Will or Alex, who speaks in thoughtful tones and is going to want to turn this podcast into a 90-minute discussion about obscure films.
I’m sorry, were you talking? I was looking at my phone. I love my phone, Lauren, and I’ll be honest with you ...
This is going to be a long, long road.
I’ve got to tell you, I love my phone more than you. I’m sorry to give you that piece of information, but it’s true.
Kara, that is one of the meanest things. You know what?
Why is it mean?
Friends, family, anybody who’s listening to this podcast ...
The phone is fantastic. Why would you be mad at being left by someone who’s ...
Leave remarks in the comments section of iTunes if you have any thoughts and feelings on what Kara Swisher just said and I’m just going to leave it at that.
So you said you love your phone more than me and I warned you, I warned you that I was leaving you.
Yes. Yeah, that continues to be the case. I still love my phone more than you.
And I am leaving you.
I know. That’s okay, that’s okay. I’m good. I still have my phone, so what’s the problem? There’s no problem.
We both made commitments during that podcast to try different things. This was after your fancy vacation to Mexico.
I didn’t do any of them. What were they?
You said that you were not gonna use your phone in the elevator.
Oh, I don’t do that. I already wasn’t doing that. I find that rude.
And then I said that when I went on a vacation the following week, that I was not going to pick up my phone first thing and look at it.
And did you do that?
Nope. I looked at it.
See? Both of us. We’re a disappointment to each other. Do you think I’m going to give up my phone for you or I like you more?
You know, it wasn’t that I expected you to give it up, it wasn’t about sacrificing something you love. It was just about prioritizing differently.
Yeah, whatever. But the thing is, the fact of the matter is I love my phone more than you and I will continue to do so long after you leave.
You know, this really could have worked out if we had gone to podcast therapy.
I’m sure if I put with Esther Perel ... I just did the Esther Perel podcast. We were on couples.
You did? Really?
Yeah. Esther Perel and I did a great podcast from, but you weren’t there, from South By Southwest. It’s blowing up on the internet today.
I’m gonna have to listen to it.
Because she took apart the Trump marriage for me and then talked about stroking phones.
Mm-hmm. She’s my new partner. She has a French accent. I got her to ... oh no, she’s from Brussels; she’s Belgian. She was talking about, I said take apart the Trump marriage and she goes, “Oh, I could not do this. I do not know them. Eh, okay!” And then she did it. And she had a really great, I have to say ...
What did she say about?
She said Melania is in a story she didn’t want to be in and that Trump is a narcissist. So, no hope there.
You know, I do love Esther, but I don’t think you need any degrees in psychology to point out narcissism in that case.
Yeah, I know. I got it. I got it. She had some very ... you just listen to it. It’s very good.
I’m gonna listen to it. Yeah, I’m gonna listen to it on my way home.
All right, No. 3.
While I’m crying in my car on my way home from our final podcast.
No. 3, it’s a little bit of a sleeper hit, but one of my favorite episodes was our podcast about podcasts. Once a year we went really meta and we would ask people to send in their favorite podcasts and we would go through our own list of favorite podcasts and it was surprisingly popular. People just love talking about podcasts when they’re not listening to them. Kara, what’s your favorite right now?
You’ve got a lot of great interviews lately.
I have! Recode Decode rocks! Scaramuccci, c’mon. Chris Hughes talking about a very serious subject, universal basic income. I talking about sex with Christiane Amanpour. C’mon, couldn’t get better than that. Who else have I done recently? Esther Perel obviously, who’s fantastic. Just everybody seems to want to talk on that Recode Decode. It’s good. We’ve got a lot more that are coming up that are great.
If you were to say one, aside from Recode Decode or Too Embarrassed to Ask, what would it be?
Peter Kafka’s Recode Media. No, I like a lot of podcasts. I like Vox Explained. I like The Daily, I love Michael Barbaro. We’ve got a whole man-crush going on with each other. I really like him. I think it’s really well done. And Vox Explained is quite good, too. It’s new.
It’s very good, yep.
So I’ve just started listening to it. One’s in the morning, one’s in the afternoon, so it works out rather well. And they’re short so — shorter — and they’re nice, they’re packed full of goodness. I listen to the history one. Don’t know much about history. One of the history ones, I can’t remember. I have one on the history of Rome. I’m obsessed with the history of ancient Rome. I don’t know. I like the Pod Save America guys sometimes. They get a little bro-y for me.
You’ve interviewed them too, haven’t you?
Yes, I have. They’ve been on Recode Decode. They get a little bro-y, but I like the bro-y. They’re good bros.
What’s a podcast bro called? It’s just like a pod-bro?
A pro? I don’t know.
Just the same as they are everywhere else, brocast. Something like that, yeah. All right, we’re gettin’ down to it. No. 2.
No. 2. Honestly, this is really my favorite Too Embarrassed to Ask episode of all time. Walt Mossberg was retiring last year in the summer of 2017, so we planned a little surprise for him. We asked him to come on the podcast one last time. It was down at Code Conference in Southern California and we made it seem like it was just going to be like this standard thing, and then behind the scenes, Kara and I were working to get all of tech’s top executives to send in their Too Embarrassed questions to him. Here’s the clip.
Okay, this one is from Bill in Redmond, Washington.
Bill: Hey, Walt, this is Bill. What’s your advice on staying up to date on all the changes once your column is no longer coming out?
Walt Mossberg: Oh, Bill in Redmond. I know how tough it can be when you live so distant from the epicenter of tech. And you’ve never had any experience! Ah, Bill Gates, just ... you know what, just scroll through Twitter. And take your chances on what’s fake and what’s not.
All right, fantastic answer!
Walt Mossberg: That’s basically my method.
Lauren Goode: Walt, if you ever start sharing things that look to be overtly fake, I’ll just DM you and let you know, okay?
Walt Mossberg: No, just message Bill. Say, “Bill, here’s a good one.”
Lauren Goode: I guess we have a lot of listeners in Redmond, Washington, because this one is from a long-time fan named Steve.
Steve: Walt, this is Steven from Redmond. Just a quick question about your review of Outlook ’97. You called it “a great idea poorly executed.” And you said, “The interface was puzzling and that people would be confused by all this dense and daunting interface. It’s cluttered, complicated. Wordy, complex forms and dialogues. But don’t worry, Microsoft’ll get it right by the third version.” Is that all you had to say, or was there anything you wanted to add to that? Oh, and go Yankees!
Honestly, there were so many good clips from that. You know, Phil Schuler, Bill Gates, Meg Whitman, Sheryl Sandberg, Steven Sinofsky, Jack Dorsey sent in a question, it was really great. But the best part of it, they had sent in very thoughtful questions, some of them did, but the best part of it was really hearing Walt’s reaction, because he was so surprised. You can’t see that through the podcast, but his face was so great.
That laugh; I can’t do his laugh. That Walt cackle.
Yeah, it was so great. It’s like a Bezos-like laugh.
He’s a cackler, really.
It’s a ha-ha-ha. Let’s do our Walt laughs.
I can’t do it. That’s good, that’s good.
He was so fun.
He’s a great guy. Lauren, he’s been such a great mentor to me and you and he deserves all the kudos.
He really does.
He does. He’s a good man.
I really, really am going to miss you both. Immensely.
Well, he’s gone. He left. Left us far behind.
You know, Walt’s retirement is like the furthest thing from retirement. He’s so busy.
He is busy.
He’s got so many great things going on.
He’s in a cigar store. But he’s left us, Lauren, let’s be honest.
I know, and now I’m leaving you, but honestly I am so immensely grateful to everything I’ve learned. I’ve learned so many reporting tips and tricks from you guys, but also just learned a lot about the industry. You know, it’s funny, a lot of what it comes down to in this crazy news business is who you get to work with in newsrooms.
Yep. It’s true. Oh my God, you’re going all soppy. Enough about me, what do you think of me?
What do I think of you? What about me? What about me?
What do you like about me most?
Let’s talk about me now. Let’s talk about me.
This is true. Building teams. They always say there is no me in team, but there actually is me in team. I hate when people say that, ’cause it’s like, yeah, it’s right there, an E and an M.
I think there’s no I in team. That’s the phrase.
Yeah, whatever. Teams are important.
What are you gonna do without me?
Oh, you know, I’ll find someone else. I always find someone else. Just think, literally, I got my kids, I got my dogs, Lauren. I got Eric! I’ve got Eric. Will you send Eric, please?
There’s no me in team! There’s no me in team! There is me in team. Wait, I was getting there, because we still have to get to my No. 1 favorite podcast of all time.
Okay, No. 1.
It was just all of ’em.
Oh, Lauren. So sentimental.
Yeah, all of my podcasts with Kara Swisher.
Have I not taught you to be snarky and mean? I feel like I’ve failed.
You are such a softy. I’m gonna go back to them and say ... You know, people for years to come are gonna ask me, “What was it like working with Kara Swisher when she was not hiding out at events at Yahoo?” And I’m going to say, “She was a softy.”
Oh, God, please don’t do that.
All right, I’m not gonna.
I’ve worked all these years to frighten and scare people.
Oh, I’m gonna have so many good stories.
Yeah. All right. You promise?
All right, Lauren, you’re not going far. Wired is located here in San Francisco, so you may continue to come to our events.
Thank you. I would love to.
And also, my parties perhaps from time to time. Every other one.
Every other one? I feel so pleased.
Let me just say, Lauren is an amazing journalist. She does a lot of reviews and she’s known for reviews and some of the questionable video things she’s done.
But I have to say she’s a great reporter. She’s a dogged reporter. We had hoped she would stay at Recode. She’d come back to Recode, we asked her to be an editor, I will reveal that. We wanted her to do it, but she really ... her best stuff is writing and reporting on tech and what it means. I think that’s the great part. There’s not a lot of great people doing this, there just aren’t. I think Wired will be much improved with you there.
Thank you very much. That’s like the nicest thing you’ve said sincerely.
You know that’s all you’re getting.
I wanna give a special shout out to Eric Johnson who is the ... I was going to say the voice behind the microphone, but actually he doesn’t chime in all that much. He’s a producer but he’s ... Yeah, yeah.
Oh he’s coming on when you’re gone. He’s gonna become the guest host.
Eric Johnson: Get out of the way.
Okay, sorry guys, my chair has gone flying across the room here.
Yeah, he’s coming on.
No, Eric Johnson has been a fantastic person, friend. We’ve known each other since, well, we both went to Stanford, but we didn’t go at the same time. We have worked together since the AllThingsD days. We went to E3 together. We were in E3 and we stayed in that bizarre hotel that was like on the total other side of LA. And anyway, Eric has been a fantastic reporter and now a fantastic podcast producer and all around wonderful human being. So thank you so much for everything you’ve done. It’s been a real pleasure working with you.
Well, Lauren, security’s here to take you away.
Okay, here’s my badge.
Here’s your badge.
And I’ll really miss all of you. I just wanna say thank you to everybody who’s listened.
Oh, the audience, right.
Yes, of course! Who’s gonna listen to you reading mattress ads?
I’m just saying, who’s gonna read the comments, ’cause I don’t. I’ve gotta find someone.
Yeah, who’s gonna read all the emails? Guys, if you send an email to TooEmbarrassed@Recode.net, there’s a chance Kara’s not gonna get back to you. It was me responding all those times.
There’s a chance? A 100 percent chance of rain. C’mon.
You’re probably better off tweeting at her. And I know Eric will also be checking the inbox.
Thank God for Eric.
And I really, really thank all of you for being on this Too Embarrassed journey with me.
Oh, it’s a journey. What should we call it? Should we retire Too Embarrassed?
Goode Riddance. Putting my microphone down now.
All right, this has been another great episode with Lauren Goode. Lauren may be leaving us, but the show will go on because why not.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.