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Converge with Casey Newton

The Verge

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Converge with Casey Newton

Converge with Casey Newton

The Verge

29
Followers
1
Plays
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About Us

Welcome to Converge, a conversational game show hosted by Casey Newton, the Silicon Valley editor of The Verge. Listen as the tech industry’s most fascinating entrepreneurs step into the hot seat to play a series of tailor-made games that are funny and revealing. Produced by The Verge and the Vox Media Podcast Network.

Latest Episodes

Eoghan McCabe chats about bots

The hype cycle for bots exploded in 2016 as developers poured time and money into the dream of personal digital assistants. Facebook and Microsoft announced major investments into conversational user interfaces, and Slack launched a fund to capitalize on the bots hoping to build on its platform. But when bots became available the public, the public largely shrugged. The advantages of conversational interfaces paled next to their drawbacks. It turned out that typing into text boxes — often while trying to guess the appropriate commands — felt frustrating compared to the visual interfaces people were used to. And so bots largely receded into the background as another Silicon Valley innovation that arrived before its time. Eoghan (pronounced “Owen”) McCabe, co-founder and CEO of the fast-growing marketing startup Intercom, says the collapse was predictable. “Have there ever been any super destructive, sexy technology innovations that haven’t actually worked that way?” he says.“...

44 MIN2018 AUG 15
Comments
Eoghan McCabe chats about bots

Pandora’s Roger Lynch makes us a playlist

Breaking down music into its component parts helped Pandora build personalized music playlists years before services like Spotify even existed. Could taking a similar approach with podcasts help the streaming-audio company regain the users it has lost to newer services? That’s the bet Pandora is making under Roger Lynch, who joined the company as CEO in 2017. Lynch lays out his thoughts on the future of music on this episode ofConverge, an interview game show where tech’s biggest personalities tell us about their wildest dreams. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

44 MIN2018 AUG 8
Comments
Pandora’s Roger Lynch makes us a playlist

Taggart Matthiesen takes us for a ride

Should ride-sharing companies build a “quiet mode”? “We have thought about it,” Taggart Matthiesen, head of product for autonomous driving for Lyft, told me. “I think it’s interesting. At some point, we may play around with that idea, but that’s unfortunately not a feature at this point.” Matthiesen says that a “zen mode” would represent another step in more personalized rides, a move the company plans to accelerate as it changes gradually to include more autonomous vehicles. “The autonomous car is going to know a lot more [about you],” Matthiesen said. “It’s going to know your temperature that you’re going to want. It’s probably also going to know that it’s early in the morning, and so it’s going to have a dark-lit cabin to let you sleep. Maybe you can even relax in the seat, and the back will extend into some sort of lie-flat mode. Maybe not complete lie-flat, just based on the area, but a good recline.” Lyft iscurrently testing self-driving cars in Las Vegasin ...

46 MIN2018 JUL 25
Comments
Taggart Matthiesen takes us for a ride

The Human Utility’s Tiffani Ashley Bell on how small nonprofits are stepping up

Tiffani Ashley Bell is the founder of the Human Utility, a nonprofit organization working to restore water service to people who are unable to pay their bills. The organization, which was founded in 2014, began its work in Detroit and has since expanded to Baltimore. Bell lays out her thoughts on how Silicon Valley should change its priorities on this episode ofConverge. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

44 MIN2018 JUL 18
Comments
The Human Utility’s Tiffani Ashley Bell on how small nonprofits are stepping up

Dream Machine’s Alexia Bonatsos makes a surprisingly good case for an Airbnb for horses

Alexia Bonatsos has watched countless startups come and go. First as the editor in chief of TechCrunch, and now in her current role as the founder of venture capital firm Dream Machine, Bontasos’ job has been to understand what makes a tech company succeed. “A lot of it’s gut, but gut’s not magical woo-woo dust,” she says. “It’s taking in data and information, and eventually making a decision based on that.” Bonatsos has seen thousands of companies, and so on today’s episode of Converge, we turned the tables. Using two decks of cards — one with a set of famous companies, and the other with a set of random nouns —we invited Bonatsos to draw two cards, and pitch us the resulting company. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

43 MIN2018 JUL 11
Comments
Dream Machine’s Alexia Bonatsos makes a surprisingly good case for an Airbnb for horses

Front’s Mathilde Collin on why email is making a comeback

It’s been four years now since Slack arrived to kill email —and yet, email persists. While the group chat app has plenty of ardent fans and continues to grow quickly, it also draws criticism for its distracting, always-on nature. At many workplaces, if you’re at work, you’re also expected to be available on Slack. For some people, that means the thing that “replaced” email replaced it with something much more demanding. Mathilde Collin says the workplaces of the future ought to take a different approach. She’s the cofounder and CEO of Front, which makes tools for sharing inboxes with your teammates. If you’ve ever emailed a business address starting with “contact@” or “info@,” there’s a chance the team is managing the emails with Front. But Collin’s longer-term vision is to build what she calls an asynchronous version of Slack. Like Slack, Front will be integrated with all the other software tools you use —Asana, Trello, Github, Google Docs, and so on —and collect an...

42 MIN2018 JUL 4
Comments
Front’s Mathilde Collin on why email is making a comeback

Mike Maples Jr's midas touch

It hasn’t even been four years since Amazon bought Twitch.tv, the live-streaming platform that has become the primary destination for broadcasting the playing of video games. Since then, the service has grown to 15 million daily users, with the average person watching 106 minutes per day. In hindsight, it’s no wonder that Amazon was willing to pay $1 billion to snap up Twitch —but for a long time, it was an open question whether anyone would buy it at all. Twitch began life as Justin.tv, a web-based live broadcasting platform. As venture capitalist Mike Maples Jr. of Floodgate Capital tells us on this week’s episode of Converge, it wasn’t always clear that Twitch would thrive. In fact, it was more or less stagnant before the company pivoted into games. “They were Justin.TV for five years before Justin.TV Games took off, and we realized that was the company,” Maples said. (In a nice Silicon Valley twist, Twitch has lately been embracing all sorts of non-gaming video, effective...

47 MIN2018 JUN 27
Comments
Mike Maples Jr's midas touch

Maran Nelson scares us about AI

Clara Labscofounder and CEO Maran Nelson tells us there is real reason to be worried about AI — and not for the reasons that science fiction has trained us to expect. Clara’s approach to AI is innocuous to the point of being dull: it makes a virtual assistant that schedules meetings for people. (This week, it added a bunch of integrations designed to position it as a tool to aid in hiring.) But even seemingly simple tasks still routinely trip up AI. “The more difficult situations that we often interact with are, ‘Next Wednesday would be great — unless you can do in-person, in which case we’ll have to bump it a couple of weeks based on your preference. Happy to come to your offices.” Nelson sketches out her vision for a better kind of AI onConverge. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

42 MIN2018 JUN 20
Comments
Maran Nelson scares us about AI

Pocket's Nate Weiner saves our content

Pocket founder and CEO Nate Weiner tells us why he sold his company to Mozilla —and how he’s working to build a better version of Facebook’s News Feed into the Firefox browser. By analyzing the articles and videos people save into Pocket, Weiner believes the company can show people the best of the web —in a personalized way —without building an all-knowing, Facebook-style profile of the user. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

37 MIN2018 JUN 13
Comments
Pocket's Nate Weiner saves our content

Google’s Mark Risher changes our passwords

On this week’s episode ofConverge, Google’s Mark Risher tells us why the conventional wisdom about choosing your password is wrong — and about the expanding number of threats faced by platforms like Gmail as they work to protect users from phishing attacks and spammers. Conventional wisdom about choosing longer, more complicated passwords is getting less effective over time. Meanwhile, the people behind phishing attacks are getting much better. Risher is a director of product management at Google, where he oversees Google’s identity, account security, and counter-abuse teams. A big part of Risher’s job over the years has been to fight unwanted email, and he says the methods used by spammers have evolved significantly over that time. Some attackers are getting much better results than they used to just by doing some research on their clients, he said. Risher tells us a better approach to picking passwords onConverge,an interview game show where the biggest personalities in tech ...

47 MIN2018 JUN 6
Comments
Google’s Mark Risher changes our passwords

Latest Episodes

Eoghan McCabe chats about bots

The hype cycle for bots exploded in 2016 as developers poured time and money into the dream of personal digital assistants. Facebook and Microsoft announced major investments into conversational user interfaces, and Slack launched a fund to capitalize on the bots hoping to build on its platform. But when bots became available the public, the public largely shrugged. The advantages of conversational interfaces paled next to their drawbacks. It turned out that typing into text boxes — often while trying to guess the appropriate commands — felt frustrating compared to the visual interfaces people were used to. And so bots largely receded into the background as another Silicon Valley innovation that arrived before its time. Eoghan (pronounced “Owen”) McCabe, co-founder and CEO of the fast-growing marketing startup Intercom, says the collapse was predictable. “Have there ever been any super destructive, sexy technology innovations that haven’t actually worked that way?” he says.“...

44 MIN2018 AUG 15
Comments
Eoghan McCabe chats about bots

Pandora’s Roger Lynch makes us a playlist

Breaking down music into its component parts helped Pandora build personalized music playlists years before services like Spotify even existed. Could taking a similar approach with podcasts help the streaming-audio company regain the users it has lost to newer services? That’s the bet Pandora is making under Roger Lynch, who joined the company as CEO in 2017. Lynch lays out his thoughts on the future of music on this episode ofConverge, an interview game show where tech’s biggest personalities tell us about their wildest dreams. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

44 MIN2018 AUG 8
Comments
Pandora’s Roger Lynch makes us a playlist

Taggart Matthiesen takes us for a ride

Should ride-sharing companies build a “quiet mode”? “We have thought about it,” Taggart Matthiesen, head of product for autonomous driving for Lyft, told me. “I think it’s interesting. At some point, we may play around with that idea, but that’s unfortunately not a feature at this point.” Matthiesen says that a “zen mode” would represent another step in more personalized rides, a move the company plans to accelerate as it changes gradually to include more autonomous vehicles. “The autonomous car is going to know a lot more [about you],” Matthiesen said. “It’s going to know your temperature that you’re going to want. It’s probably also going to know that it’s early in the morning, and so it’s going to have a dark-lit cabin to let you sleep. Maybe you can even relax in the seat, and the back will extend into some sort of lie-flat mode. Maybe not complete lie-flat, just based on the area, but a good recline.” Lyft iscurrently testing self-driving cars in Las Vegasin ...

46 MIN2018 JUL 25
Comments
Taggart Matthiesen takes us for a ride

The Human Utility’s Tiffani Ashley Bell on how small nonprofits are stepping up

Tiffani Ashley Bell is the founder of the Human Utility, a nonprofit organization working to restore water service to people who are unable to pay their bills. The organization, which was founded in 2014, began its work in Detroit and has since expanded to Baltimore. Bell lays out her thoughts on how Silicon Valley should change its priorities on this episode ofConverge. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

44 MIN2018 JUL 18
Comments
The Human Utility’s Tiffani Ashley Bell on how small nonprofits are stepping up

Dream Machine’s Alexia Bonatsos makes a surprisingly good case for an Airbnb for horses

Alexia Bonatsos has watched countless startups come and go. First as the editor in chief of TechCrunch, and now in her current role as the founder of venture capital firm Dream Machine, Bontasos’ job has been to understand what makes a tech company succeed. “A lot of it’s gut, but gut’s not magical woo-woo dust,” she says. “It’s taking in data and information, and eventually making a decision based on that.” Bonatsos has seen thousands of companies, and so on today’s episode of Converge, we turned the tables. Using two decks of cards — one with a set of famous companies, and the other with a set of random nouns —we invited Bonatsos to draw two cards, and pitch us the resulting company. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

43 MIN2018 JUL 11
Comments
Dream Machine’s Alexia Bonatsos makes a surprisingly good case for an Airbnb for horses

Front’s Mathilde Collin on why email is making a comeback

It’s been four years now since Slack arrived to kill email —and yet, email persists. While the group chat app has plenty of ardent fans and continues to grow quickly, it also draws criticism for its distracting, always-on nature. At many workplaces, if you’re at work, you’re also expected to be available on Slack. For some people, that means the thing that “replaced” email replaced it with something much more demanding. Mathilde Collin says the workplaces of the future ought to take a different approach. She’s the cofounder and CEO of Front, which makes tools for sharing inboxes with your teammates. If you’ve ever emailed a business address starting with “contact@” or “info@,” there’s a chance the team is managing the emails with Front. But Collin’s longer-term vision is to build what she calls an asynchronous version of Slack. Like Slack, Front will be integrated with all the other software tools you use —Asana, Trello, Github, Google Docs, and so on —and collect an...

42 MIN2018 JUL 4
Comments
Front’s Mathilde Collin on why email is making a comeback

Mike Maples Jr's midas touch

It hasn’t even been four years since Amazon bought Twitch.tv, the live-streaming platform that has become the primary destination for broadcasting the playing of video games. Since then, the service has grown to 15 million daily users, with the average person watching 106 minutes per day. In hindsight, it’s no wonder that Amazon was willing to pay $1 billion to snap up Twitch —but for a long time, it was an open question whether anyone would buy it at all. Twitch began life as Justin.tv, a web-based live broadcasting platform. As venture capitalist Mike Maples Jr. of Floodgate Capital tells us on this week’s episode of Converge, it wasn’t always clear that Twitch would thrive. In fact, it was more or less stagnant before the company pivoted into games. “They were Justin.TV for five years before Justin.TV Games took off, and we realized that was the company,” Maples said. (In a nice Silicon Valley twist, Twitch has lately been embracing all sorts of non-gaming video, effective...

47 MIN2018 JUN 27
Comments
Mike Maples Jr's midas touch

Maran Nelson scares us about AI

Clara Labscofounder and CEO Maran Nelson tells us there is real reason to be worried about AI — and not for the reasons that science fiction has trained us to expect. Clara’s approach to AI is innocuous to the point of being dull: it makes a virtual assistant that schedules meetings for people. (This week, it added a bunch of integrations designed to position it as a tool to aid in hiring.) But even seemingly simple tasks still routinely trip up AI. “The more difficult situations that we often interact with are, ‘Next Wednesday would be great — unless you can do in-person, in which case we’ll have to bump it a couple of weeks based on your preference. Happy to come to your offices.” Nelson sketches out her vision for a better kind of AI onConverge. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

42 MIN2018 JUN 20
Comments
Maran Nelson scares us about AI

Pocket's Nate Weiner saves our content

Pocket founder and CEO Nate Weiner tells us why he sold his company to Mozilla —and how he’s working to build a better version of Facebook’s News Feed into the Firefox browser. By analyzing the articles and videos people save into Pocket, Weiner believes the company can show people the best of the web —in a personalized way —without building an all-knowing, Facebook-style profile of the user. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

37 MIN2018 JUN 13
Comments
Pocket's Nate Weiner saves our content

Google’s Mark Risher changes our passwords

On this week’s episode ofConverge, Google’s Mark Risher tells us why the conventional wisdom about choosing your password is wrong — and about the expanding number of threats faced by platforms like Gmail as they work to protect users from phishing attacks and spammers. Conventional wisdom about choosing longer, more complicated passwords is getting less effective over time. Meanwhile, the people behind phishing attacks are getting much better. Risher is a director of product management at Google, where he oversees Google’s identity, account security, and counter-abuse teams. A big part of Risher’s job over the years has been to fight unwanted email, and he says the methods used by spammers have evolved significantly over that time. Some attackers are getting much better results than they used to just by doing some research on their clients, he said. Risher tells us a better approach to picking passwords onConverge,an interview game show where the biggest personalities in tech ...

47 MIN2018 JUN 6
Comments
Google’s Mark Risher changes our passwords
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