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Source Code

Author: Protocol

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Welcome to Source Code, Protocol's show about the people, power and politics of tech. Twice a week, we talk to the most important people, and about the most important stories, happening all over the world of tech.
99 Episodes
Molly Mackinlay loves the music app Audius, a decentralized tool that is trying to rethink the way artists own their music and interact with fans. She’s a big believer in NFTs, and is looking forward to a world where everything from houses to cars are sold and tracked through the tokens. And she’s definitely excited about the metaverse, as long as it’s “crazy and open and enables all sorts of creation, which doesn’t come from one single company running the metaverse.”In her day job at Protocol Labs (no relation), Mackinlay spends her time building the infrastructure that will enable all of that. She oversees IPFS, the underlying protocol that could be the future of how data moves between devices, networks and even planets. It’s a job that requires wrangling thousands of developers and projects, prioritizing many different ideas about how the future of the internet should work, and trying to convince everyone to jump on board with the decentralization movement.Mackinlay joined the Source Code podcast to discuss her vision for the future of the internet, what it takes to build an internet that never breaks or crashes, and the opportunities web3 holds for companies new and old, big and small.For more on the topics discussed in this episode:Molly Mackinlay on TwitterProtocol LabsHow IPFS worksAudiusFor all the links and stories, head to Source Code’s homepage.
Issie Lapowsky and Ben Brody join the show to talk about the latest in a string of rough weeks for Facebook, including Frances Haugen’s Congressional testimony and Facebook’s surprisingly aggressive pushback.For more on the topics discussed in this episode:Ben Brody on TwitterIssie Lapowsky on TwitterEight takeaways from Haugen’s testimony on Facebook‘Beyond the pale’: Former Facebook staffers react to the company’s Haugen spinDeveloper says Facebook banned him over his 'Unfollow Everything' toolZuckerberg says coverage of Facebook painted a 'false picture'Facebook went down: what happened and what happens nextWhat you can learn from Facebook's outageFor all the links and stories, head to Source Code’s homepage.
PCs are back. After years of what looked like a slow decline into nothingness, the pandemic — and the remote work, school and life it created — turned laptops and desktops into must-have devices. From MacBooks to Chromebooks, virtually everything in the PC category has seen huge growth during the pandemic even with a chip shortage making it hard for companies to keep up. Even computer monitors have never sold so fast.Panos Panay has seen the spike more closely than most. As chief product officer at Microsoft, Panay oversees both the teams that make Microsoft’s Surface hardware and the teams that make Windows. For the last 18 months or so, Panay and his teams have been dogfooding those products like never before: “We design these products on these products,” he said, “which is very interesting.” For months, Panay has been going to his office on Microsoft’s Redmond campus only occasionally, to work in the hardware lab or do the occasional team catch-up. But for the most part, like everyone else, he’s been on video calls and in group chats all day like everyone else.Suffice to say, that has changed how Panay thinks about Microsoft’s products, and how his teams built the latest versions. The plans for what would become Windows 11, which launched to the public on Monday, and for new products like the Surface Pro 8 and the Surface Laptop Studio had begun long before the pandemic started. But they changed, because the world changed. And Panay doesn’t think it’s going back. The big(ger) screen is here to stay.For more on the topics discussed in this episode:Panos Panay on TwitterThe 2021 Microsoft Windows eventA good Windows 11 reviewFor all the links and stories, head to Source Code’s homepage.
Ben Brody and Issie Lapowsky join to talk about the most recent revelations from the Wall Street Journal’s Facebook Files investigation, plus what we learned — or didn’t learn — from the most recent Congressional hearing with Facebook executives. Then, Nick Statt joins to talk about EA’s huge investment in a mobile future for the gaming industry, and how Epic sees the metaverse evolving.For more on the topics discussed in this episode:Issie Lapowsky on TwitterBen Brody on TwitterHow Congress's parade of tech hearings totally lost the plotA Facebook whistleblower will testify before the Senate next weekThe many faces of FacebookNick Statt on TwitterHow EA got into mobile — and figured out the future of gamingEpic Games believes the Internet is broken. This is their blueprint to fix it.Protocol’s tech calendarFor all the links and stories, head to Source Code’s homepage.
For years, most productivity tools were the domain of power users and productivity whizzes, people willing to do the work to get more work done. (Or, in many cases, noodle endlessly in their to-do list app without ever actually accomplishing anything.) But over the past 18 months, those tools have become crucial to the work lives of people around the industry and the world. Colleagues can’t hash things out at lunch or around a computer, and bosses can’t check in on a project by walking down the hall. Everything had to be digital.That transition forced people like Michael Pryor, the head of Trello at Atlassian, to rethink their tools. With new kinds of users coming into the system, Pryor said he and his team fundamentally re-imagined Trello’s place in the world — and built a framework for a new kind of productivity in a new era of work.Pryor joined the Source Code podcast to talk about the new Trello, but also why work tools need to be more flexible, why too many collaboration apps fail, and why the future of work might involve VR headsets. Eventually.For more on the topics in this episode:Michael Pryor on TwitterTrello is getting out of to-do lists and into fixing the future of workTrello’s productivity blogWorkonaEverything you need to know about Kanban in GmailFor all the links and stories, head to Source Code’s homepage.
Ben Pimentel joins the show to discuss China’s aggressive moves against the crypto industry, Robinhood and Coinbase’s battle for crypto supremacy, and PayPal’s new financial super app. Then Tomio Geron explains what’s going on at Binance, and why the largest crypto exchange in the world is under so much regulatory scrutiny.For more on the topics discussed in this episode:Ben Pimentel on TwitterChina's crypto crackdown: will crypto recover?Robinhood’s crypto wallet is smart, risky — and inevitablePayPal's super app is hereTomio Geron on TwitterHere's everything going wrong at Binance, the world's biggest crypto exchangeFor all the links and stories, head to Source Code’s homepage.
Facebook under fire

Facebook under fire


Issie Lapowsky, Ben Brody and Nick Statt join the show to discuss The Wall Street Journal’s five-part series of stories known as The Facebook Files. What have we learned about Facebook? How will Facebook respond? What should lawmakers make of it? What happens next?Issie is, Ben is, Nick is, and David is more on the topics discussed in this episode:The Facebook FilesIssie Lapowsky on TwitterBen Brody on TwitterNick Statt on TwitterFacebook: What the Wall Street Journal got wrongWhy Washington can’t just fix FacebookFor all the links and stories, head to Source Code’s homepage.
Bringing you another Protocol virtual event, hosted by Protocol's Alison Levitsky, diving into what it means to build a company and culture that's optimized for a hybrid future.
Nirav Patel spent a long time building cutting-edge hardware, both at Apple and at Oculus. But when he founded his own company, Framework, he picked a decidedly more mature (and maybe less exciting) product to focus on: PCs.The Framework Laptop, the company’s first product, is a $999, 13.5-inch clamshell that looks and feels a lot like, well, every other laptop on the market. Except for the fact that you can take it apart, practically piece by piece, and repair or upgrade nearly everything inside. From the processor to the keyboard to the memory to the battery, Framework’s laptop is a vision for a future that gives users more control over their gadgets, and gives longer life to the gadgets themselves.Patel joined the Source Code Podcast to discuss the journey of making the Framework Laptop, how the industry is changing thanks to right-to-repair laws and a societal turn toward conservation, the challenges faced by Framework and other companies making modular and upgradeable devices, and why the tech industry should be watching what’s happening in France.For more on the topics discussed in this episode:FrameworkNirav Patel on TwitteriFixit’s Framework Laptop teardownIn Defense of Dumb TVsThe quest for sustainable consumer electronics: Rethinking products and business modelsThe quest for sustainable consumer electronics: It’s not easy being greenFor all the links and stories, head to Source Code’s homepage.
It's Apple Day! Apple's September event is always its biggest and splashiest, so we grabbed Protocol's Nick Statt to talk about some of the biggest announcements, biggest surprises, and hottest takes on the future of Apple. For more on the topics discussed in this episode:Nick Statt on TwitterAll of Apple's announcementsWebcams and battery life: What mattered at Apple's latest event
Ben Brody and Nick Statt join the show to talk about the ruling in Epic v. Apple, and what it means for the future of the app market. Then Janko Roettgers discusses the new Ray-Ban Stories, and what we should make of Facebook’s entry into the smart glasses world. Finally, Biz Carson talks about the first day of the Elizabeth Holmes trial, and what’s going to happen over the next 13 weeks.For more on the topics discussed in this episode:Nick Statt on TwitterBen Brody on TwitterEpic v. Apple ruling blocks Apple from banning links to alternative paymentsJanko Roettgers on TwitterFacebook’s Ray-Ban glasses are a big deal for ARHow Facebook prepared for the next ‘glasshole’ backlashBiz Carson on TwitterElizabeth Holmes goes on trial for Theranos fraudFraud or mistakes? Opening trial arguments debate how much Elizabeth Holmes knew.For all the links and stories, head to Source Code’s homepage.
In 2017, David Marcus wrote Mark Zuckerberg an email saying he thought Facebook should get involved in cryptocurrency. (He was on vacation at the time.) After a stint running PayPal and another as the head of Facebook Messenger, he thought that fixing payment infrastructure was the next big project he wanted to work on. Zuckerberg liked the idea, which eventually became Libra, a cryptocurrency that Facebook announced in 2019 alongside a group of partners that would help it develop and govern Libra. Marcus and his new team, a group called Facebook Financial (F2 for short), was also set to work on a wallet called Calibra. The announcement went over like a lead balloon: Congressman Brad Sherman compared “Zuck Bucks” to 9/11, a number of members of the Libra Association quickly bailed on the project, and it seemed doomed before even launch. But Marcus and his team kept working.Now, Libra is Diem and Calibra is Novi, and Marcus said both are nearly ready for public consumption. He joined the Source Code podcast to talk about how he has approached the cryptocurrency space, what it’ll take to get users to trust Facebook with their money, the merits of bitcoin and stablecoins, why NFTs are the start of something big, and much more. For more on the topics in this episode:David Marcus on TwitterThe original Libra launch postWelcome to NoviGood stablecoins, a protocol for money, and digital wallets: the formula to fix our broken payment systemFor all the links and stories, head to Source Code’s homepage.
Zapier became a $5 billion company by finding ways to improve and integrate the rest of the trillion-dollar software industry. The service works with a plenitude of apps from Salesforce to Teams to Gmail to Zendesk to Stripe to Webflow to Quickbooks and hundreds of others, building bridges between them to make it easier to move data and automate workflows. In the process, Zapier has also become one of the standard bearers of the low-code/no-code movement, one of a teeming new industry of companies offering tools to build apps and workflows without needing so much as a tag. “I think there was a huge amount of power in tools like Zapier,” CEO Wade Foster said, “taking things only a single digit percentage of people could do, and giving that leverage to regular business users.”Foster joined the Source Code podcast to talk about Zapier’s rise, the shift toward integration and unification taking over the SaaS world, what he likes and dislikes about the low-code/no-code industry, and what AI and voice assistants might mean for the future of software. He also offers a few wild tips on how to make the most of Zapier.For more on the topics in this episode:Wade Foster on TwitterZapier’s Explore pageLow-Code/No-Code Tools Are Everywhere. Can They Really Deliver?For all the links and stories, head to Source Code’s homepage.
Anna Kramer joins the show to discuss a wild week for OnlyFans, where the platform goes from here, and whether creators will ever trust the company again. Then Ben Brody discusses Apple’s new policies for app developers, why anti-steering matters, and whether Apple’s teeny tiny olive branch will make legislators and litigators go easier on the company.For more on the topics in this episode:Anna Kramer on TwitterOnlyFans has reversed its decision to ban pornThe Great OnlyFans exodusAs OnlyFans abandons sex workers, here’s who is filling the voidThe Bella Thorne Effect: How Celebrity Killed the OnlyFans StarBen Brody on TwitterApple will let developers email users about payments outside iOSWhat Apple’s App Store settlement means for the Epic Fortnite lawsuitFor all the links and stories, head to Source Code’s homepage.
Girish Mathrubootham is in pay-it-forward mode. After starting Freshworks in Chennai, India, and growing the customer communication startup into a multibillion dollar company, Mathrubootham wants to take the lessons he learned along the way and help a new generation of Indian entrepreneurs do even more, even faster.India is one of the fastest-growing markets for the tech industry, with hundreds of millions of people coming online and a much more open, global stance than countries like China have adopted toward tech. That’s why Google, Amazon and practically every other tech giant is scrambling to establish a foothold in the country. Mathrubootham said that’s a good thing, but he’s focused on helping the founders already in India to build companies to rival those giants both in the country and around the world.Mathrubootham joined the Source Code podcast to talk about his experiences as a CEO and an investor, the state of the Indian startup market (particularly for SaaS companies), what his new Together Fund is looking for in Indian companies, and what it means to build “a Silicon Valley” in a city like Chennai.  For more on the topics in this episode:Girish Mathrubootham on LinkedInTogether FundShaping the SaaS landscape: a US$1 trillion opportunity for India’s startupsBig Tech Thought It Had A Billion Users In The Bag. Now It Might Be Forced To Make Hard Choices To Get Them.For all the links and stories, head to Source Code’s homepage.
Hirsh Chitkara joins the show to talk about Tesla's AI day, and the looming clash between the electric car company and regulators. Then Issie Lapowsky digs into Facebook's newly released data on the platform's most popular content, and tries to figure out what it all means. Finally, Janko Roettgers discusses his series on the race to make gadgets more sustainably, and why it's both hard to do and incredibly important to get right.For more on the topics in this episode:Hirsh Chitkara on TwitterThe Wild West days of self-driving are ending. Nobody told Tesla.Tesla is building a robot, and it's called the Tesla BotIssie Lapowsky on TwitterFacebook is sharing data to prove it’s not a political hellholeJanko Roettgers on TwitterThe quest for sustainable consumer electronics: It’s not easy being greenThe quest for sustainable consumer electronics: Rethinking products and business modelsFacebook is building a meeting app for the metaverseFor all the links and stories, head to Source Code’s homepage.
A remote, digital-first future of work would appear to be extremely bad news for a company like Envoy. CEO Larry Gadea and his team have spent a number of years building tools for physical offices, after all, including the visitor-check-in system it’s best known for. (If you’ve ever been in a startup office, you know the one: It’s the iPad in the lobby that makes you sign an NDA and then take a picture at that horrible under-chin angle.)But Gadea said that while the pandemic created some tough times for Envoy — including forcing Gadea to lay off a big chunk of his employees — it has also helped accelerate the company toward some of its bigger, more ambitious plans. Gadea thinks the industry is headed for a rethinking of what an “office” actually does, with more intelligent tools to make sure every employee has the experience they need when they come in. And in a world where five days a week, 9-5 is no longer the normal setup, those tools seem to Gadea to matter more than ever.Gadea joined the Source Code podcast to talk about how Envoy has changed over the last 18 months, how he sees physical spaces becoming more intelligent and collaborative, and why there are some serious parallels between the office of your future and the school halls of your past.For more on the topics in this episode:Larry Gadea on TwitterReturn to Workplace Index: COVID-19 Foot Traffic TrendsRethinking the on-site experience? It’s time to say goodbye to the “office”Protocol’s tech employee survey
A bonus episode! We recently held a virtual event on all things meetings. How to know when to have them (and when not to), how to prepare for them more effectively, how to have them more productively, how to share information when they're done, and much more. We thought you might enjoy it, so we're sharing it here too.For more on the event and our guests, click here.
First, a quick look at Samsung’s new foldable phones, and what it’ll take to make anyone care about foldable phones. Then Ben Brody joins to talk about the new bill in the Senate that would change the way Apple and Google’s app stores work. Finally, Allison Levitsky catches us up on tech’s return to offices, new vaccine mandate policies, and the increasingly flexible future of work.For more on the topics in this episode:Samsung’s big bet on a foldable futureBen Brody on TwitterA new Senate bill would overhaul Google and Apple’s app storesAllison Levitsky on TwitterVaccine mandates aren’t enough. Big Tech wants employees to prove it.Tech company hybrid work policies are becoming more flexible, not lessFor all the links and stories, head to Source Code’s homepage.
DuckDuckGo has been on a tear the last couple of years. In mid-2018, the company’s data showed it was getting about 18 million searches a day; now that number’s pushing 100 million. Both numbers still look like rounding errors next to Google’s gargantuan scale, but DuckDuckGo has cemented itself as one of the most important players in search.But Gabriel Weinberg, DuckDuckGo’s founder and CEO, doesn’t see search as the endgame for the company. DDG is a privacy company, set out on building what he calls “an easy button for privacy.” Weinberg’s is a slightly unusual vision for privacy on the internet: He wants to let people use the apps they want, the way they want, without being tracked or having their personal data collected and used against them. And it should all happen in the background. Privacy, he said, should be “really making one choice: the choice that you want privacy, you don't want to be coerced.” Weinberg joined the Source Code podcast to discuss what we talk about when we talk about privacy, how a company like DuckDuckGo can compete in a world dominated by the data-gatherers, whether products can be both private and best of breed, and how he feels about the company’s name as it goes more mainstream.For more on the topics in this episode:Gabriel Weinberg on TwitterDuckDuckGoDuckDuckGo Email ProtectionThe latest on Google’s search engine choice screenFor all the links and stories, head to Source Code’s homepage.
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