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GeekWire on Smash Notes

GeekWire podcast.

February 07, 2020

GeekWire brings you the week's latest technology news, trends and insights, covering the world of technology from our home base in Seattle. Our regular news podcast features commentary and analysis from our editors and reporters, plus interviews with special guests.



Episodes with Smash Notes

How do you built a high-performance team in a rapidly growing tech company? Even though Slack was about to IPO, growing, and crushing it, Cal did not show it. No bravado, no Silicon Valley jargon, just a very smart CTO sharing startup advice and the lessons learned. Very refreshing!

Updated on June 20

Amazon's shift to one-day shipping as the core benefit of its Prime membership program promises to significantly alter Amazon’s financial picture and accelerate the pace of global online commerce. On this special episode of the GeekWire Podcast, reporter Nat Levy joins us to look at the implications of this move for Amazon, its customers, competitors, investors and the shipping + logistics industry. 

Updated on May 13

According to Jeff Bezos, it might be a distraction to try and to colonize other planets. They are far, and none are better or come even close to quality of Earth. In his view, we should colonize space instead. But does his involvement in BlueOrigin conflict with his job at Amazon? It's all in this GeekWire podcast!

Updated on February 07

Seattle has a new unicorn, Outreach, the sales and marketing automation company that raised a $114 million funding round this week, pushing its valuation to $1.1 billion. The news sends John and Todd on a startup odyssey, exploring the hidden connections among the new wave of public companies and tech behemoths in Silicon Valley and Seattle, including Uber, Lyft, Convoy and others. Plus, Amazon and Microsoft are preparing to challenge Apple's AirPods,. And on the Random Channel, Melinda Gates has a message for the tech industry, and John is determined to be a "Never Throner."

Updated on April 29

Here’s what we’re talking about on the GeekWire Podcast this week.

Despite the pandemic, funding for Seattle tech startups remains robust in the first half of 2020. In fact, funding is ahead of last year. What gives? We consider whether COVID-19 is accelerating some companies into the new economy of remote working, online shopping and more. Check out our list of startup funding to see how companies are doing. 

Health benefits platform Accolade became Seattle's first IPO of the year, with an initial valuation of $1.2 billion. Headed by Raj Singh, a veteran Seattle startup entrepreneur, Accolade uses a variety of technologies to help employees at its client companies navigate their health benefits, with a goal of improving health and reducing costs.

GeekWire's events are back!
Up next week is a new event, Geeks Gaming for Good, where eight company-sponsored teams will compete in a Rocket League tournament. A portion of the entry fees will go to a prize pool benefiting Seattle-area non-profits.
On July 16, we'll be hosting GeekWire Roundtable: The Future of Sports. We'll discuss how sports can safely return in a post-pandemic world, the role of tech and the economics of sports in this challenging environment.
And the GeekWire Awards are back on July 23 and they're going virtual. We'll be revealing the winners of the Pacific Northwest's annual technology and startup awards ... and there will be some special guests.

To register, go to the Events page at GeekWire.com.

With GeekWire’s Todd Bishop and John Cook. Produced by Curt Milton. Theme music by Daniel L.K. Caldwell.

Here’s what we’re talking about on the GeekWire Podcast this week.
Microsoft shocked the tech world Friday morning by announcing it would be closing all of its retail stores. What does this tell us about Microsoft's business strategy and what might it portend for the future of physical retail stores?
Amazon made a bold move in a new direction by acquiring robotaxi startup Zoox. Why would Jeff Bezos want to get into autonomous vehicles? And which fellow tech billionaire called him a copycat?
President Trump shuts the door on employment-based visas for foreign workers, and tech leaders are ticked off. We’ll explain what he did, and why they’re not happy.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella laid out an ambitious plan to address racial injustice at the company and across society. Can Microsoft save the world? We’ll assess its chances.
Amazon bought the naming rights to Seattle's basketball and hockey arena ... and you won't believe what they're going to call it. So, of course, we have to crash Amazon's party by coming up with nicknames for the venue.

With GeekWire’s Todd Bishop, John Cook, Monica Nickelsburg, Taylor Soper and Kurt Schlosser. Produced by Curt Milton. Theme music by Daniel L.K. Caldwell.

Here's what we're talking about on the GeekWire Podcast this week.

Not everyone loves Apple's App Store, it seems. This week, it become a target of criticism for its arcane rules and business practices. Even Microsoft President Brad Smith got into it when he said in an interview that he wants more scrutiny on app store policies imposed by its competitors, such as Apple and Google. What is everyone so ticked off about?
Microsoft president calls for antitrust scrutiny of app stores: ‘The time has come’
Apple’s App Store Draws Antitrust Scrutiny in European Union
1 big thing: Tech giants' life cycles shape their crisis responses
The pandemic has shown that Amazon is essential—but vulnerable
Supreme Court’s denial of Trump’s attempt to rescind DACA is a win for Dreamers and Microsoft

A pandemic seems like a crazy time for companies to be pricing their stock and going public, but that's precisely what several tech firms are doing. We talk about why they're doing it right now (and why they might be in a hurry) and what this IPO rush might mean for several Seattle-area firms.
The Tech I.P.O. Comes Roaring Back in the Pandemic

It's no secret that Todd struggles to keep up with the email pouring into his inbox. He is looking forward to trying HEY, a new email management program offered by Basecamp, but John isn't sure it's going to make much of a difference. Discuss!

Listen above, and subscribe in any podcast app.

With GeekWire’s Todd Bishop and John Cook. Produced by Curt Milton. Theme music by Daniel L.K. Caldwell.

"Racism is a pandemic. Whether it's tech, or whether it's any other form of business, we have the need for a vaccine that's going to stop it. And I think that can take many forms." 

Those are the words of Adriane Brown, an Axon and eBay board member, former Intellectual Ventures president, and venture partner at Flying Fish Partners. She was speaking during a conversation about race and the tech industry, organized by GeekWire as protests across the country demand racial equity and justice following the death of George Floyd and other Black Americans at the hands of white police officers.

The conversation was hosted by Former Tacoma Mayor and past Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce CEO Marilyn Strickland, a candidate for U.S. Congress. Also participating were Leafly Chief Product Officer and longtime Seattle entrepreneur Dave Cotter, and Remitly CEO and co-founder Matt Oppenheimer.

In recognition of Juneteenth, commemorating the end of slavery in the United States, we’re presenting Part 2 of the conversation in this special episode of the GeekWire Podcast. Listen above and continue reading for highlights. You can also catch up with Part 1.

Twenty-five years ago, more than a decade before the debut of the iPhone, a different piece of technology had people lining up outside stores around the world: Microsoft's Windows 95.

"Everything was mayhem," recalls Brad Chase, the former Microsoft executive who was in charge of marketing the operating system. "This was the product that ended up ushering computers and Microsoft and arguably Bill Gates into the mainstream. Everybody wanted to know everything about it."

"One time I even went on press tour and tried to calm everybody down because I wanted them to know Windows 95 would not solve world hunger," he jokes.

But beyond the sheer hype, Windows 95 was the culmination of Microsoft’s strategy -- the company’s bet that there would be a market for a computer on every desk and in every home (and running Microsoft software, executives would add privately.)

Chase explores the ingredients of successful business strategies in his new book, "Strategy First: How Businesses Win Big, published today, with examples from across the world of business and technology.

On this episode of the GeekWire Podcast, Chase analyzes the strategies of today’s tech giants, explains the components of effective strategies, and talks about the role of strategy in addressing challenges facing the world (a topic he also explores in this column on how companies can advance racial justice.) As a bonus, he tells the inside story of how he struck the deal with the Rolling Stones to supply the iconic track for the Windows 95 advertising campaign.

Here's what we're talking about this week on the GeekWire Podcast:

As protests over police violence continue across the country, Amazon, IBM and Microsoft all announce they won’t sell their controversial facial recognition software to law enforcement. But Amazon says it will only stop for a year. That earned the company some good will, but racial justice and civil rights groups called it a trivial concession.
Is Amazon’s facial recognition moratorium a victory for police reformers or just good PR?
Microsoft promises not to sell facial recognition tech to police before Congress passes regulations
Amazon bans police use of its Rekognition facial recognition software for one year amid protests

Non-compete agreements are back in the news as Amazon sues one of its former executives for taking a job at Google Cloud. We take a look at what's behind this always-controversial contract provision and whether its days may be numbered.
Amazon is worried that Brian Hall, a former Amazon Web Services marketing vice president, might spill secrets to his new employer, Google Cloud.
The company is in court trying to prevent Hall from working on speeches and slides for the upcoming Google Cloud Next event.

And the return of the Random Channel!
GeekWire Producer Curt Milton gets his first haircut in months as COVID-19 restrictions begin to life in Seattle, but finds things are far from back to normal.
Monica Nickelsburg weighs in on a new startup that lets you rent a piece of an indoor, vertical farm. It's a cool idea but a pricey way to get your salad.
And GeekWire Editor Todd Bishop talks about the life affirming nature of researching and writing obituaries, including a recent one on a towering figure in Seattle tech, Manny Vellon.

Listen above, and subscribe in any podcast app.

With GeekWire’s Todd Bishop and Monica Nickelsburg. Produced by Curt Milton. Theme music by Daniel L.K. Caldwell.

A special GeekWire Podcast discussion hosted by Marilyn Strickland, former CEO of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce; with Dave Cotter, Leafly chief product officer; Remitly CEO Matt Oppenheimer; and Adriane Brown, Flying Fish Partners venture partner, Axon and eBay board member and former Intellectual Ventures president.

As thousands of Americans protest police aggression night after night, technology is giving millions at home their first window into scenes that are all too familiar to people of color. On this week's episode of GeekWire, civic editor Monica Nickelsburg explains how the cameras in our pockets are shaping the revolution in the streets.
Although the demonstrations this week are rooted in history, technology sets this moment apart from civil rights movements of the past.
Recording has become a powerful tool in the debate over racial justice and law enforcement, but its impact depends on who wields the camera.
The ability to record and share what’s happening on the ground with a largely captive audience due to the pandemic allows the experience of black Americans to be witnessed more broadly than ever before.

Hosted by Todd Bishop, produced by Curt Milton, with music by Daniel L.K. Caldwell.

Dr. Cheryl Ingram has seen the statements from tech companies this week, expressing outrage over the death of George Floyd and speaking out against the racial inequities in our society.

Now is the time for leaders to go beyond talk and take action, she says. Actually, the time was long ago. But now would work.

"Tech has a huge responsibility," Ingram says, not only due to the prevalence of bias in the industry against women, people of color and people with disabilities, but because of the potential for tech companies to have a positive impact. "If the tech industry comes together and really starts to fight for change, we're going to see change happen much faster in our country."

Ingram is the CEO and founder of consulting firm Diverse City and tech startup Inclusology, which is developing a tech platform for diversity, equity and inclusion assessments inside companies. Ingram shifted Diverse City's operations to LA in 2018 but remains engaged with the Seattle community.

We're featuring her story on this episode of the GeekWire Podcast, including a conversation from last fall and a follow-up discussion this week in which she addressed the tech industry's role in the racial inequities in society. As part of our discussion, Ingram presented several concrete steps for tech leaders to take to start to solve the problem.

Here’s what we’re talking about this week on the GeekWire Podcast.

Amazon and critics wage a PR war in the company’s first virtual annual meeting. One employee said working at an Amazon warehouse is like getting the "golden ticket," but a former employee and critic talked of "toxicity" in the company's culture. We watched, and cringed, and we’ll tell you all about it.
Former employee and activist Maren Costa said: “Toxicity is embedded in our operations as pollution causes stunted lung development, asthma, and higher death rates from COVID-19 concentrated in black and brown communities. This is environmental racism.”
The meeting started with vignettes from front-line workers highlighting the company’s investment in fighting COVID-19, expected to cost $4 billion this quarter alone.

HBO Max, the new streaming service engineered in Seattle, launches without support from its tech neighbor, Amazon -- and there’s an interesting backstory.
The service costs $14.99 a month and includes access to 10,000 hours of content, including original HBO shows, popular movies and classic television.
But you won't find it on Amazon's Fire TV. The company contends HBO Max should be part of the current HBO subscription service it offers through Prime.

And some iconic entertainment and tech destinations in Seattle -- the Cinerama and Living Computers Museum -- suddenly face an uncertain future and possible demise. We’ll explain why. And we'll discuss why it might make good business sense for Amazon to buy the Cinerama.
Vulcan plans to close Vulcan Arts + Entertainment and Vulcan Productions by the end of the year, calling into question whether some of its organizations will ever return.

With GeekWire’s Todd Bishop, Monica Nickelsburg and John Cook. Produced by Curt Milton. Theme music by Daniel L.K. Caldwell.

NASA and SpaceX are keeping a close eye on the weather in Florida and beyond as they get set for a second attempt to launch two NASA astronauts in SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule this weekend.

Many people tuned in earlier this week to see SpaceX’s Crew Dragon carry two NASA astronauts, Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken, to the International Space Station, before the launch was scrubbed due to weather.

What’s the significance of this launch? What does it mean for the commercial space race and the future of space exploration? On this special episode of the GeekWire Podcast, we’ll do a deep this historic mission with GeekWire photographer Kevin Lisota on the scene in Florida, and aerospace and science editor, Alan Boyle.

"Virtual-Classes Trend Alarms Professors." That was the headline on a 1998 New York Times story about an open letter to then-Gov. Gary Locke from University of Washington professors “worried about the enthusiasm he and one of his advisers are showing for instruction via CD-ROM's and the Internet.” More than 20 years later, with the pandemic making distance education an unavoidable reality, we revisit the topic with Locke and one of those professors on this special episode.

Here’s what we’re talking about this week on the GeekWire Podcast.

Word leaked out this week that Uber is considering buying food-delivery service Grubhub, and it turns out there are many Seattle connections behind the possible deal, including links to Expedia and several other companies.

Food delivery is a tough market to make a buck in, for companies and their drivers, so what's in the deal for Uber?
Uber Eats is #2 and Grubhub is #3 in food delivery services, behind leader DoorDash. DoorDash grew its market share 42% in March while Grubhub stayed flat. Uber Eats grew 20% (it has a Starbucks contract).
Seattle connections: Brian McAndrews, Grubhub board chair, is the former CEO of aQuantive and also served as a managing director at Seattle venture capital firm Madrona Venture Group. Zillow Group co-founder Lloyd Frink is also on Grubhub’s board. Frink had executive roles at Expedia where Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi cut his teeth.
Australian hedge fund Caledonia Investments owns 16% of Grubhub and has large ownership in Zillow.

Thousands of Jump ride-share bicycles vanished from Seattle streets recently in thelatest shakeup in the troubled mobility service field. The pandemic isn't making it easy for bike- and scooter-share companies. Will their rides return to Seattle once the pandemic is over?
Thousands of brightly colored ride-share bikes have disappeared from Seattle streets as companies post losses and lay off staff.
Not sure when they’ll be back but industry will look very different on other side of COVID-19 crisis: Industry will become more consolidated. Not clear if demand will return to pre-pandemic levels. Micro-mobility companies will focus on profitability.
There were more than 2.2 million bike-share rides in Seattle last year, averaging more than 6,000 per day, according to the Seattle Department of Transportation.
Last week, Uber invested $170 million in Lime and said it would hand its bike-share program off to Lime.
Before the pandemic, Uber, Lyft, Lime, Spin, Bird, Ojo, and a handful of other companies were interested in launching electric scooter services in Seattle and elsewhere but now those plans are in limbo.

Amazon unveiled a virus-zapping robot on "60 Minutes" last Sunday, but it's possible they were just trying to distract from the rest of the report, which focused on working conditions in the company's warehouses during the pandemic.

We get our first look at Microsoft's new $199 Surface Earbuds and their appearance provokes some interesting reactions. Did someone say "Frankenstein's bolts?" Plus, we raise a toast to Seattle allowing restaurants to sell takeout cocktails during the pandemic.

With GeekWire’s Todd Bishop, Monica Nickelsburg, Taylor Soper and John Cook. Produced by Curt Milton. Theme music by Daniel L.K. Caldwell.

COVID-19 has upended the tech startup hiring market: There used to be more jobs than talent, but the situation has flipped in the face of business challenges from COVID-19. Tech giants and startups who are hiring now find they can pick from the cream of the crop. We've been looking into who's hiring, and what it's like to hire and onboard new employees remotely. Plus, how Silicon Valley's cutbacks could impact the Seattle tech market.

They’re almost here! The much-anticipated Microsoft Surface Earbuds have a release date. Were they worth the wait? Someone on our podcast is hoping the $199 earbuds will be a game changer. Microsoft has a very good reason for making flashy new hardware like the earbuds.

Mark Suzman, the new Gates Foundation CEO, discusses the foundation’s efforts to fight COVID-19, whether we’ll see a vaccine and when. In a highlight from his exclusive conversation with GeekWire members this week, he talks about how the quest for a COVID-19 vaccine compares to HIV/AIDS and the challenges the Gates Foundation faces in dealing with the virus. Read more.

GeekWire’s next members-only virtual event, focusing on the future of the workplace, is scheduled for May 14. For more information about the exclusive event and other benefits and perks, sign up for a pass via GeekWire’s membership webpage.

With GeekWire’s Todd Bishop and John Cook. Our podcast producer is Curt Milton. Our theme music is by Daniel L.K. Caldwell.

Follow @geekwire for updates. Send us a news tip. Share our newsletter.

Here’s what we’re talking about this week on the GeekWire Podcast:

Amazon's sales rose 26% in the first quarter as the COVID-19 crisis made the online retailer an even bigger part of many lives, but profits were down 30% due to expenses from dealing with the virus. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos gave a clear message to shareholders, saying they "may want to take a seat," because there are big challenges ahead and they won't be easy or cheap to overcome. The company says it will spend $4 billion this quarter on initiatives related to the pandemic.

With Amazon biggerand more powerful than ever, federal lawmakers want Bezos himself to testify before Congress.

Pressure is mounting from Amazon warehouse workers who fear for their safety and are unhappy with how the retailer is responding to the coronavirus pandemic. Protecting workers from COVID-19 will be one of the biggest challenges for Bezos and Amazon in the months and year ahead.

People will eventually return to their offices to work, but how will they do that safely?Madrona Venture Group compiled a "toolkit" with input from 15 major employers in the Seattle region, including Amazon, Microsoft and Starbucks. One big finding: Communication is key to making employees feel safe at work.

Meanwhile, funding for startups in the Pacific Northwest is taking a hit from the COVID-19 crisis, which may be bad news for young companies that don't have money in the bank. 

With GeekWire's Todd Bishop, Monica Nickelsburg and John Cook. Our podcast producer is Curt Milton. Our theme music is by Daniel L.K. Caldwell.

Here's what we're talking about this week on the GeekWire Podcast.

“Picture restaurants that only seat people at every other table, and airplanes where every middle seat is empty.” That is what the “semi-normal” next phase of the pandemic will look like, Bill Gates says, offering a starkly pragmatic take that contrasts with predictions from President Trump that the economy will come “roaring back.” But Gates also points to the potential for a new wave of innovation the likes of which hasn’t been seen since World War II.

“If there’s life, there’s travel,” says Expedia chairman Barry Diller, expressing optimism about the future even as the Seattle-based online travel giant makes a series of dramatic moves to shake up and shore up its business amid the economic crisis.

Speaking of shaking things up, GeekWire co-founder John Cook returns to the show and offers his own Richter Scale to help understand how the pandemic is stirring some companies to greatness, and shaking others to their core.

Pivoting During a Pandemic: In our final segment, we share highlights from our members-only webinar on "Pivoting in a Pandemic," with two experienced Seattle CEOs who are in the thick of it right now: Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman, who is leading the tech-powered real estate brokerage through a period of unprecedented economic turmoil; and Tokki CEO Jane Park, the former Julep CEO, who quickly pivoted her eco-friendly gift wrap startup Tokki to adjust to the realities of the pandemic shortly after launching earlier this year.

We’ll be hosting these types of discussions regularly with newsmakers and leaders in business, science, technology and startups, and our members get to tune in and participate live. Go to geekwire.com/memberships to learn more.

Our podcast producer is Curt Milton. Our theme music is by Daniel L.K. Caldwell.

Follow @geekwire for updates. Send us a news tip. Share our newsletter.

For startup leaders accustomed to building their businesses in boom times, the economic impact from the COVID-19 pandemic goes beyond mere setback, into the realm of complete shock. But even in these unprecedented times, there are lessons to be learned from past downturns, and from the steps other startups are taking to navigate the current crisis.

"We have a whole generation of people who never went through anything that looked like a dislocation or a downturn," says Dan Rosen, chair of the Alliance of Angels, an investor, biophysicist and veteran tech executive who has been through multiple economic cycles. "This is a change in mindset from, 'I need to grow my business as quickly as possible' to 'I need to survive'."

Rosen, who authored a widely read column on the topic, joined entrepreneur Xiao Wang, President and CEO of Boundless Immigration, on a recent webinar from the University of Washington’s CoMotion innovation hub in Seattle, part of its “Fundamentals for Startups” series.

The webinar, recorded on April 10, was moderated by Seattle-area tech and business leader Ken Myer, interim executive and UW lecturer and commercialization advisor, who urged startup leaders to see the crisis as an opportunity to grow. "This is a phenomenal development experience for you as a leader," Myer said. "Crucible moments in our lives are what shape leadership moments. If you can see it as a learning opportunity, you're going to come out of this thing a much more effective leader today and down the road."

The discussion, on "Negotiating Startup Life through a Crisis," was full of specific guidance and long-term perspective for startups and their leaders. We at GeekWire learned a lot from the conversation, and we asked if we could share edited highlights on a special episode of the GeekWire Podcast.

Here's what we're talking about this week on the GeekWire Podcast:

As numbers on COVID-19 improve, the debate begins over when and how Seattle, Washington state and the country will return to normal life. Gov. Jay Inslee and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos have some thoughts. Washington’s attorney general sues Facebook for violating the state’s law on political ads. Microsoft says Amazon has only itself to blame for losing the Defense Departments JEDI cloud contract. And the return of our Random Channel! We’ll talk about the finale of Lego Masters (spoiler alert) and see what else is ringing our bell this week.

As Washington state COVID cases keep falling, here’s the data driving the ongoing ‘stay home’ order
Washington state had its lowest daily total of new cases in a month on Wednesday, 89, but has since seen cases rise again.
If we relax social distancing now, projections show new cases could jump to 300 daily by mid-May, Inslee says. Deaths could also jump. The projections are from the two Seattle-area groups: the Institute for Disease Modeling and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, or IHME, which has come under criticism for its approach.
We need more testing before we can begin to gradually reopen, Inslee says. He says it’s “unknowable” if he’ll be able to lift the stay-at-home order on May 4.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos calls for regular COVID-19 testing ‘on a global scale across all industries’
In his annual investor letter, Bezos says that regular testing of everyone globally (not just at Amazon) is the key to returning to normal.
He pointed to Amazon’s efforts to build its own testing capability and other efforts to protect workers’ safety.
First known COVID-19 death among Amazon’s workforce took place two weeks ago, company announced Tuesday.
Amazon's stock hit an all-time high this week, reflecting increased demand for its products and services.
Can Amazon keep its huge and growing workforce safe?

Gates Foundation’s CEO worries about pandemic politics — and says ‘we have nothing to hide’
Gates Foundation is allotting $150 million more to fight the pandemic, $250 million total.
Critics claim the foundation is stoking fears and pushing vaccines as part of a “Big Pharma” agenda.
Bill Gates decried Trump’s stated intention this week to stop U.S. funding of the WHO, saying blocking funds right now would be “as dangerous as it sounds.”

In other news ... 
Washington AG sues Facebook for violating state political ad law
Amazon ‘bid high and lost’ on JEDI, Microsoft says after release of DoD watchdog report
As coronavirus consumes world, Microsoft unveils biodiversity initiative to address challenges that will outlast COVID-19
Amazon fires two employees who called for climate change reform and better warehouse conditions

And in our Random Channel discussion ... 
Oh, baby, ‘LEGO Masters’ finale lands like a brick on outraged fans who dispute choice of winner
Goat 2 Meeting
Nature Is Bouncing Back During the Coronavirus Crisis—but for How Long?

Here’s what we’re talking about this week on the GeekWire Podcast.

Bill Gates talks about how work will change after the coronavirus ... and how school shouldn't. A Seattle startup that is trying to make a safer football helmet gets a new lease on life. And Lego and Nintendo bring Super Mario into the physical world in a surprising way.

We have a lot of tech news to discuss on this week's episode:
Vicis assets sold for $2.85M to Schutt investor, promising to revive failed startup’s helmet tech
No Neo in 2020: Microsoft pauses work on dual-screen device running Windows 10X
The quest for a better blockchain: Former Microsoft AI chief invests in Seattle startup Asensys
Ray Ozzie’s latest project: Former Microsoft exec raises $11M for IoT startup Blues Wireless

News about the COVID-19 pandemic:
COVID-19 crisis sparks ‘inflection point’ for online grocery — and huge revenue for Amazon
Startup stimulus? How logjams and ethics are impacting federal loans for tech companies
Internet should be an ‘essential utility,’ WA schools chief says as state pulls plug on rest of term

Microsoft says its Teams collaboration software hit another record in usage, but the number isn't quite what it seems:
Microsoft reports new spike in Teams usage as work habits change around the world

Bill Gates talks about how some forms of work will never go back to "normal" after the virus, and why he thinks school shouldn't change too much:
Bill Gates says coronavirus will forever alter work, but face-to-face school is ‘totally irreplaceable’

A Seattle startup is selling games for Slack but ... isn't that what ruined Facebook?
Games on Slack: Seattle startup Polly looks to unite remote teams with shared interactive activities

Super Mario moves out of your game system and into the real world of Lego and it's kind of cool:
Pre-orders start for LEGO and Nintendo ‘Super Mario’ set that interacts with the physical world

And how a rant about reheating a fancy Seattle takeout meal turned into a viral force for good:
Seattle restaurant delivery complaint in ‘reply all’ email turns into $10K donation to food charity

With GeekWire’s Todd Bishop, Monica Nickelsburg, Kurt Schlosser and Taylor Soper. Our podcast producer is Curt Milton. Our theme music is by Daniel L.K. Caldwell.

Here’s what we’re talking about this week on the GeekWire Podcast.

Amazon is under pressure as workers in dozens of its warehouses test positive for the coronavirus, and an Amazon exec makes a major blunder in employee relations. Amid the gloomy COVID-19 news, there are some stories that fill us with hope. And it was never a dull moment with John Legere as CEO of T-Mobile. As the company merges with Sprint and he departs, we remember a leader who is as colorful as his wardrobe.

Among this week's events: There are encouraging signs that social distancing is helping to flatten the virus curve in Washington. Governor Jay Inslee says the state will get tough with businesses that don't honor his stay-at-home order. And Bill Gates outlines three steps he thinks the U.S. must take to control this outbreak.

Amazon's power and resilience could leave it in a dominant position once the coronavirus outbreak is over. But can it keep its workers safe?
Amazon faces unprecedented challenges as dozens of its warehouses grapple with COVID-19 outbreaks

Follow our live blog for up-to-date news: Coronavirus Live Updates: The latest COVID-19 developments in Seattle and the world of tech

More from the podcast: Even in these grim times, there are stories that give us hope. Here are a few.
With high school’s 3D printers in his house, student runs mask production line for Seattle-area hospitals
Maker Mask launches in Seattle using 3D-printing technology to produce protective gear
Whale experts launch free, virtual marine biology camp to entertain and inform kids
High school student near Seattle builds website to serve as a leading place for coronavirus information

John Legere has departed as CEO of T-Mobile. We look back at his colorful career with an epic highlight from his 2014 appearance at the GeekWire Summit.
T-Mobile completes $26.5B Sprint merger, capping two-year struggle to create new wireless giant

With GeekWire’s Todd Bishop, Taylor Soper, Monica Nickelsburg and Kurt Schlosser. Our podcast producer is Curt Milton. Our theme music is by Daniel L.K. Caldwell.

Kevin Scott is Microsoft’s chief technology officer, its executive vice president of AI and Research, and the author, with Greg Shaw, of the new book, “Reprogramming the American Dream: From Rural America to Silicon Valley, Making AI Serve Us All."

Scott, who joined Microsoft with its acquisition of LinkedIn, goes back to his roots in rural Virginia in the book, making the case that there is a middle ground between the extreme viewpoints about the future of artificial intelligence -- one in which short-term disruption is followed by long-term benefits of technology augmenting and improving human endeavors.

But first, he says, we must ensure equal access to technology, starting with rural broadband, the importance of which is underscored by the rise of remote work in the COVID-19 crisis.

Scott spoke with us via phone this week about his vision for the future of artificial intelligence and technology, in advance of the book's release on Tuesday, April 7. Scott will also be participating in a live stream with "Hillbilly Elegy" author J.D. Vance, who wrote the forward to the book, at 10 a.m. Pacific on Monday, April 6.

Here’s what we’re talking about this week on the GeekWire Podcast.


Seattle’s latest week under the cloud of the coronavirus began with Gov. Jay Inslee’s long-expected shelter-at-home announcement. It requires all but essential workers to stay at home and limits what everyone else can do outside of home.


We also take a look at how Seattle’s big tech firms are responding to the COVID-19 crisis. Many are laying off staff and cutting expenses, while some, like Amazon, find their business is booming.


And we offer our own reading of the Walt Whitman poem that Gov. Inslee quoted when he announced the stay-at-home order.


Continue reading for highlights.



Follow our live blog for up-to-date news: Coronavirus Live Updates: The latest COVID-19 developments in Seattle and the world of tech


More from the podcast: We take a deep dive into how Seattle tech firms are responding to the crisis, and how it might impact them in the future.



Governor Inslee read some lines from a poem by Walt Whitman, “Song of Myself, 33,” when he announced his stay-at-home order on Monday. We read a longer excerpt from the poem and discuss.


With GeekWire’s Todd Bishop, Taylor Soper and Monica Nickelsburg. Our podcast producer is Curt Milton. Our theme music is by Daniel L.K. Caldwell.

Here’s what we’re talking about this week on the GeekWire Podcast.


It was another tumultuous week in Seattle, the epicenter of the coronavirus crisis, with restaurants and bars ordered closed, gatherings of more than 50 people banned, and the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths continuing to climb.


Among the week’s events: A worker at a tech company in Seattle became the first person injected with a possible COVID-19 vaccine;  Amazon says it wants to hire 100,000 workers to deal with demand, the city and state brace for a possible shelter-in-place order, and much more.


Listen above, subscribe in any podcast app, and continue reading for highlights.




  • Gov. Jay Inslee closed all restaurants and bars, recreation places, entertainment venues, beauty salons and barbershops, and many more. Many restaurants and coffee shops have gone to takeout only.

  • Gatherings of more than 50 people were banned and Monday President Trump asked people to limit gatherings to 10 or less. However, Gov. Inslee has so far avoided a full "shelter in place" mandate

  • The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Washington state as of Friday was 1,524 with 148 deaths. 

  • An Amazon warehouse worker in Queens, NY, tested positive for COVID-19, the company’s first known positive case in a warehouse employee.


  • COVID-19 vaccine trials start in Seattle.

  • Numerous retailers have closed: Microsoft and Apple stores, REI, Nordstrom, and many more. T-Mobile was closing 80% of their stores. Seattle businesses have taken a huge economic toll, with a report from the Seattle Metro Chamber showing that nearly 40% of all jobs in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties will be severely impacted by the virus.

  • Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed a $200M emergency funding bill. President Trump signed a federal relief bill, with discussion of direct payments to Americans to stimulate the economy.

  • Use of Microsoft Teams went up 37% in the last week, from 32 to 44 million users, spurred by demand as more people work from home.

  • The NYTimes obtained a 100-page report prepared by the federal government that warns the pandemic “will last 18 months or longer” and could include multiple waves of infection, stressing the healthcare system, critical infrastructure and state and local governments.

  • Testing is ramping up. Inslee said the state had received federal approval for private labs to test. The University of Washington opened a drive-through testing station.

  • Amazon says it wants to hire 100,000 additional warehouse workers to help with demand. Amazon told third-party sellers it will bar shipments of non-essential items to its warehouses so it can prioritize medical supplies and household goods.

  • Traffic in the Seattle area has vanished as people are either working from home or they have lost their job due to the economic downturn. 

  • The US and Canada closed their border except for cargo and “essential” traffic.

  • And schools remain closed, with parents attempting to fill in as teachers and keep kids occupied. Rumors abound that schools might stay closed through the end of this school year or even the end of 2020. University of Washington classes will be remote for spring quarter.


Follow our live blog for up-to-date news: Coronavirus Live Updates: The latest COVID-19 developments in Seattle and the world of tech


More from the podcast: It’s a tough time to be a worker in the gig economy. We interviewed gig workers who expressed fear, desperation and uncertainty.



And don’t believe that story about Bill Gates trying to woo Tom Brady to play in Tampa. But do believe what Gates has been saying for years about preparing for a pandemic.



With GeekWire’s Todd Bishop, Taylor Soper and Monica Nickelsburg. Our podcast producer is Curt Milton. Our theme music is by Daniel L.K. Caldwell.

Here’s what we’re talking about this week on the GeekWire Podcast.


The gravity of the COVID-19 virus outbreak hit home hard in Seattle this week: Large events were banned, schools were closed, and thousands of people struggled to adjust to working from home. Restaurants began to feel the pinch – some even closed temporarily – as people stayed home. The Seattle Archdiocese said it would suspend celebration of the Eucharist at services. Amazon will hold its annual shareholder meeting online … a first.


Over three dozen people have died from the virus and over 500 cases of the disease were reported. The number of infections and the death toll continued to rise. And testing for the disease continues to be a problem.


We discuss several angles to this fast-moving story:


Children in Seattle-area schools will be home at least until April 24. Nicole Tanner talks with us about what the experience of learning in a virtual classroom is like for her second-grade daughter … and herself:



Alan Boyle has been reporting on what testing for COVID-19 can tell us about the disease:



Kurt Schlosser visited the eerily quiet South Lake Union neighborhood, where Amazon is headquartered:



And Monica Nickelsburg wrote about Amazon taking its annual shareholder meeting into the cloud:



The GeekWire Podcast team recorded this episode remotely … and we talk about that as well.


With GeekWire’s Todd Bishop, Monica Nickelsburg and Kurt Schlosser, and special guest, contributing writer Nicole Tanner. Audio editing and production by Curt Milton. Music by Daniel L.K. Caldwell.



Her former podcast co-hosts can be found here:


Here’s what we’re talking about this week on the GeekWire Podcast.


Seattle became ground zero in the U.S. coronavirus outbreak this week and tech firms were trying to adjust. Meetings and conferences were cancelled or moved online and many firms told employees to work from home for the rest of the month. GeekWire was no exception: Our annual awards event has been postponed.


How will the virus impact Seattle’s tech scene in the short term and in the long run? Will it change the way many of us work? We discuss …



We inaugurate a new feature: Tweet of the Week! We have two this week and both are focused on … you guessed it … the coronavirus.


And Microsoft renewed a big deal that has their surface tablets playing a key role at NFL games.



With GeekWire’s Todd Bishop, John Cook and Monica Nickelsburg. Audio editing and production by Curt Milton. Music by Daniel L.K. Caldwell.

GeekWire Podcast listeners, we’re sharing this special episode of our GeekWire Health Tech Podcast with you given the widespread interest in the novel coronavirus outbreak. For more GeekWire Health Tech episodes, see geekwire.com/healthtech.


A new generation of cutting-edge vaccines could dramatically accelerate the global response to future outbreaks such as the current coronavirus epidemic. On a special episode of GeekWire's Health Tech Podcast, we go behind the scenes with two University of Washington scientists pursuing these vaccine breakthroughs. Dr. Deborah Fuller is a professor of microbiology and a vaccinologist at the University of Washington School of Medicine, and Dr. Jesse Erasmus, a molecular virologist working on new RNA vaccine and therapeutic technologies.

On this special episode of the GeekWire Podcast, a conversation with veteran tech journalist Steven Levy, Wired editor-at-large, about his new book Facebook, The Inside Story. GeekWire editor Todd Bishop spoke with Levy this week during a University Bookstore event in Seattle. And as a special bonus for GeekWire Podcast listeners, stick around to the end for a chance to win your own signed copy of the book. 

Here’s what we’re talking about this week on the GeekWire Podcast.


In a surprise move, Seattle-based travel site Expedia laid off about 12 percent of its workforce this week, including 500 people in Seattle. Chairman Barry Diller had called the company a “bloated organization” on a recent earnings call. It sounds like he is cracking down and wants more focus, more profit and less wasted effort.



Amazon opened a new grocery store in Seattle this week but … there was something missing. We take a look at Amazon Go Grocery, which builds on the company’s chain of Amazon Go convenience stores. This store has more food, and even grocery carts, but you still won’t find a checkout line.



A new salary survey from the federal Labor Department finds that Seattle-area tech workers are making an average annualized salary of almost $280,000 a year. That figure blows past other professions in the Seattle region and is even outpacing the benchmark for hefty salaries, financial workers in New York City.



With GeekWire’s Todd Bishop, Monica Nickelsburg and Kurt Schlosser. Audio editing and production by Curt Milton. Music by Daniel L.K. Caldwell.

America's housing crisis is a nationwide problem, but it's especially acute in San Francisco and Seattle, home to the country's largest technology industries.


The "terrible twins," as New York Times reporter Conor Dougherty describes them, represent a perfect storm of rapid job growth, an influx of wealth, and rampant single-family zoning that makes it difficult to densify housing. In an interview with GeekWire this week, Dougherty explained how the two tech hubs have become centers of opportunity for some while squeezing out others.


"The economy changed in some big ways that make inequality much more structural," he said. "And we've not built nearly enough housing where prosperity is happening."


Dougherty has been covering economics and real estate for The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal on-and-off for a decade. He joined us for this episode of the GeekWire podcast to discuss his new book "Golden Gates: Fighting for Housing in America."

Here’s what we’re talking about this week on the GeekWire Podcast.


PBS’s Frontline profiled the Amazon empire and painted a complicated picture of unrelenting ambition. Frontline spent a year examining Amazon’s impact on commerce, technology and society, and landed interviews with several current executives and former employees. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos didn’t sit for an interview, however. Though the documentary didn’t cover much new ground, it did provide a striking narrative, highlighting new voices and perspectives.



Speaking of Bezos, he made a big splash this week when he announced plans to donate $10 billion to nonprofits fighting climate change. We discuss the Bezos Earth Fund, and how experts in philanthropy and climate change are reacting to it. Plus, Sen. Bernie Sanders takes a swing at tech fortunes during a campaign stop in the Seattle area.



Finally, we caught up with our resident space and science geek, Alan Boyle, to discuss the mega-earthquake predicted to hit the Seattle region. Boyle also caught us up on how technologists are thinking about what happens to our remains — physical and digital — after we die.



With GeekWire’s Monica Nickelsburg, Taylor Soper and Alan Boyle. Audio editing and production by Curt Milton. Music by Daniel L.K. Caldwell.

Here’s what we’re talking about on this week’s episode of the GeekWire Podcast:


Voting online is fast, convenient and also … vulnerable.


In the wake of the Iowa caucuses app fiasco, we tried voting with a smartphone in a Seattle regional election. While there are valid concerns about security in mobile voting, organizations behind this test are confident it will be safe and are moving ahead with the technology.


Amazon’s latest front in its battle for a lucrative U.S. military contract has it taking on President Trump. The company lost the JEDI contract to Microsoft, but now it wants a court to allow it to depose Trump to see if his animus toward Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos was a factor in the decision.


Speaking of President Trump, he found something interesting in the names of four giant tech companies this week.


And, back to the ballpark! Seattle’s CenturyLink Field, home to the Seahawks and FC Sounders, is going cashless. Why are they doing it and what if you didn’t bring a credit card with you to the game? We talk about the future of a cashless world, and the controversy around the trend.


With GeekWire’s Todd Bishop, Monica Nickelsburg and Kurt Schlosser. Audio editing and production by Curt Milton. Music by Daniel L.K. Caldwell.

Here’s what we’re talking about this week on the GeekWire Podcast:


Amazon’s second headquarters may be closer to Seattle than you think. Amazon says it plans to grow its presence in Bellevue, in the Seattle suburbs, to 15,000 employees in the next few years. That could be comparable to the number of employees working in the official HQ2 site of Arlington, Va. Will the company find a friendlier climate in the ’burbs?



We also discuss how a case of billionaire envy may have driven Amazon’s secretive drive for HQ2 and possibly damaged its reputation for openness.



What caused the Iowa caucuses app fiasco and how might it influence an upcoming Seattle-area election that will be the first in the country to be done via a mobile app?


The failure of the app that was supposed to speed up reporting of results leaves questions about the security of high-tech voting in its wake. The issue shook the confidence of a public wary of the tech industry and concerned about election security.



And finally, Seattle baseball fans will be able to use augmented reality software to digitally resurrect a concrete stadium that wasn’t very popular when it was standing. We discuss what tech we’d really like to see at T-Mobile Park.



With GeekWire’s Todd Bishop, Monica Nickelsburg and Kurt Schlosser. Audio editing and production by Curt Milton. Music by Daniel L.K. Caldwell.

Here's what we're talking about on this new episode of the GeekWire Podcast: 


Amazon employees are responding to threats of termination for their climate advocacy by intentionally violating the company’s corporate communications policy.


More than 350 workers criticized Amazon’s contribution to climate change, violating corporate PR rules that prevent employees from discussing company business without approval. It’s the latest example of tech workers leveraging their position as valued assets in a tight labor market to pressure their employers on political issues.


Washington state lawmakers are considering a new regional tax that would raise an estimated $121 million a year from some of the Seattle area’s biggest employers, including tech giants Microsoft and Amazon, to fund programs to alleviate homelessness.


The legislation, unveiled Wednesday, is the latest attempt to direct some of the wealth generated by Seattle’s tech boom toward addressing the homelessness crisis.


Umbrellas become a lightning rod on Amazon's Seattle campus. In any other city, umbrellas would barely be noticed. But Amazon’s big orange-and-white rain deflectors are sparking discussion and debate in Seattle, where there’s a sizable and prideful segment of the population that believes umbrellas are not for locals, they’re for tourists and transplants. “Complaining about umbrellas is easily the worst old Seattle vs. new Seattle take,” an Amazon public policy employee wrote on Twitter.


One GeekWire reader summed up the criticism in a comment: "It's not the issue of using an umbrella - it's how friggin' gigantic they are. To me these umbrellas are everything that's wrong with Amazon. No consideration for anyone but themselves."


And finally, we discuss what a Seattle startup leader’s car purchase says about state of transportation in the city, and the uncertainty that can come with relying on experimental startups for vital services like getting from place to place.


With GeekWire's Todd Bishop, Monica Nickelsburg and Kurt Schlosser. Audio editing and production by Curt Milton. Music by Daniel L.K. Caldwell. 

How can we create modern workplaces where everyone can thrive?


That's one of the questions at the heart of the new book, Female Firebrands, by human resources professional Mikaela Kiner, founder and CEO of Seattle-based Reverb Consulting. "Female Firebrands" profiles 13 women from a variety of backgrounds, exploring the realities of the modern workplace through their eyes and experiences.


The book details the many obstacles they face, but also the steps they're taking to overcome them, along with efforts by colleagues, mentors, advocates and leaders to help remove barriers. The tech industry plays a central role, with anecdotes and examples from Microsoft, Google and other tech companies.


"We talk about workplace culture and sometimes we don't notice what's going on around us," Kiner said. "We're like the frog in the water and the water's warming up. At least for me, personally, the water hit that temperature where I really had to look around and take stock of these issues."


The result is a guidebook, in effect, with insights and practical tips not only for women and underrepresented minorities but for men and others seeking to create more diverse, inclusive and effective workplaces. The book includes chapters on key issues such as privilege in the workplace, the #metoo movement, and issues for working moms, with takeaways for people in a variety of different roles in the workplace.


On this episode of the GeekWire Podcast, we're joined by Kiner and two of the "firebrands" from the book, Ruchika Tulshyan, author of The Diversity Advantage and the founder of Candour, an inclusion strategy firm; and Emily Parkhurst, president and publisher of the Puget Sound Business Journal in Seattle


While many of these issues have been discussed for many years, the book focuses on new solutions and insights. Parkhurst said she is seeing some signs of change. She told the story of going to lunch with a female intern last summer. "Usually in those kinds of conversations the interns will ask me, 'You're a woman in a position of power. Tell me about how you got there?' At no point was that a question. It was an assumption that that was a place that she could eventually end up."


One key, Tulshyan said, is for people in positions of privilege and power to start "stepping up and stepping in," and not just stand by as passive allies. 


"The advice here isn't necessarily to women to do better. It is for others in the room, our allies, our advocates, people with privilege who have a platform, who have influence, to take a moment and really understand some of the vulnerabilities that we've shared in the book," said Tulshyan. "I really hope this conversation continues to happen, and we continue to find solutions together. It's not just women leading it."

Did the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia really hack into Jeff Bezos' phone?


It sure looks that way, based on a forensic analysis of what happened after a video was sent to the Amazon CEO and Washington Post owner via WhatsApp by Mohammed bin Salman, a.k.a. MBS. A United Nations report this week called the incident part of a broader campaign against the Washington Post seeking to stifle its coverage of Saudi Arabia, allegedly including the subsequent killing of Saudi dissident and Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. Within hours of receiving the nefarious video, "a massive and unauthorized exfiltration of data from Bezos' phone began, continuing and escalating for months thereafter," according to the forensic report. 


It's an extraordinary demonstration of the perils of digital communication. But what else was leaked from the phone, and why didn't Bezos and his team have better security protocols in place at the time? That's our first topic on the show this week.


RELATED READING: Decoding the Jeff Bezos phone hack: What the rest of us can learn from the forensic report


Plus, an NFL quarterback invents a new way of interacting with a Microsoft Surface tablet on the sidelines, a new glimpse of the Microsoft Duo dual-screen device, and Seattle startup Mystery teams up with the famed Gottman Institute to rekindle romance. We explain what this partnership says about Mystery's larger business model.


And finally, listen to the end for the answer to last week's trivia question: What do Jonas Salk, who discovered and developed the polio vaccine, and John Ehrlichman, the Nixon aide and Watergate figure, have in common as it relates to Seattle startups?


Next event: Join us at the GeekWire Awards, March 26 at MoPOP in Seattle.

Apple doubled down on artificial intelligence and boosted its presence in Seattle with the acquisition of Xnor.ai, an Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence spinout with roots at the University of Washington, as first reported by GeekWire this week.


It was a win for those institutions, and investors including Seattle's Madrona Venture Group, but it's also an example of an ambitious startup selling to a tech giant before it has the chance to become one itself. So how should we look at deals like this?


Plus, Microsoft's ambitious plan to go "carbon negative" puts the tech company at the forefront of corporate efforts to address the global environmental crisis. We explore what it means for the company, for its rivalry with Amazon, and for the planet.


And in our final segment, it's the GeekWire Trivia Challenge, with a chance to win a pair of tickets to the upcoming GeekWire Awards. What do Jonas Salk, who discovered and developed the polio vaccine, and John Ehrlichman, the Nixon aide and Watergate figure, have in common as it relates to Seattle startups? Listen to the third segment and send your answer to podcast@geekwire.com for a chance to win.

CES is becoming less of a place where companies unveil game-changing products, and more where they show attention-grabbing ideas.


That's one of the takeaways from GeekWire's CES 2020 coverage team, managing editor Taylor Soper and photographer/videographer Kevin Lisota, who just returned from several days at the big technology show in Las Vegas. On this episode of the GeekWire Podcast, they recap some of the strangest things they saw at CES, but also some of the most interesting and impactful products and trends. Plus, celebrity sightings, cutting-edge food and robot companions.


Amazon and Ring



Demos and experiences



Tech trends


More than half of the U.S. population over age 12 has now listened to a podcast, according to Edison Research. The medium has fundamentally altered the landscape for audio content, liberating and empowering both listeners and creators. And big acquisitions such as Spotify’s purchase of Gimlet Media signal that the business of podcasting is coming of age, too.


But there remains an economic gulf that some entrepreneurs and investors see as an opportunity. Ad spending on podcasting is around $500 million, by some estimates, but that compares to $17 billion or more for radio.


So where is podcasting heading next? How will speech recognition, smart speakers and other innovations change the landscape for podcasts? Should you start your own show? Could you make any money if you did?


On this episode of the GeekWire Podcast, we’re going meta. It’s a podcast about podcasting: a discussion with podcast producers, media vets and startup entrepreneurs, recorded on stage at the GeekWire Summit this fall.




  • Phyllis Fletcher, the senior editor for podcasts at American Public Media, who has worked on shows including APM’s hit business podcast, Spectacular Failures. You may recognize her voice from her previous work as a reporter and editor at KUOW Radio in Seattle. (You can check out all of her tweets from the GeekWire Summit here.)


  • Steve Henn, who leads content strategy for audio news at Google. He’s a journalist turned tech entrepreneur who left a career in radio to co-found a digital media startup that was acquired by Google in 2017. You may recognize his voice from his work in public radio as a correspondent on such shows as Marketplace, Planet Money and NPR.


  • David Payne, the president of Rainstream Media and the co-creator, author and executive producer of its flagship show, “Somebody Somewhere,” a true crime podcast. A lawyer and former federal prosecutor, his career in media has included roles as Chief Digital Officer for Gannett/USA Today, and senior vice president and GM of CNN Digital.


  • Amira Valliani is the CEO and co-founder of Glow, a Seattle startup and Pioneer Square Labs spinout that is building a subscription, monetization and distribution platform for podcasts. She served as a communications adviser in the Obama White House and as a speechwriter for then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She got started in podcasting with her own local politics show in Cambridge, Mass.

From Amazon to Zillow, big successes to surprising failures, it was an extraordinary year for technology and innovation emerging from and impacting Seattle and the Pacific Northwest. That's the consensus from GeekWire co-founders John Cook and Todd Bishop, who independently compiled their own lists of the biggest stories of the year, then compared notes in this year-end GeekWire Podcast discussion.

John and Todd make it through the rain and into the studio to discuss some of the  biggest stories of the week: Car2go's exit from North America, which will leave Seattle without a free-floating car-sharing service for the first time in many years; and the sudden downfall of Vicis, the high-tech football helmet maker backed by some of the NFL's biggest names. Plus the answer to last week's Name that Tech Tune challenge.

The hacking of multiple Ring cameras this week brought the sometimes abstract world of tech security and privacy into stark relief, as hackers watched and harassed families and children in their homes, demonstrating the frightening real-world consequences of weak password security. 


On this episode of the GeekWire Podcast, we explain what happened in the incidents, discuss practical tips for making devices more secure, and explore the big picture implications of these technologies for the industry and society.


While biometric identification, facial recognition and artificial intelligence represent a potential replacement for passwords, they also come with potential trade-offs of their own, as demonstrated by new guidelines issued by the Port of Seattle for the use of such technologies.


In other news, we explore Seattle's attempt to put rules and safety guidelines around the coming wave of scooter sharing programs in the city.


And in our final segment, it’s a new installment of our Name that Tech Tune challenge, with a chance to win a GeekWire shirt.


The leaders of Amazon's cloud division made a few things clear this week at the Amazon Web Services re:Invent conference in Las Vegas:



  • AWS has broad ambitions in the $3.7 trillion enterprise tech market, looking for growth well beyond the current cloud sector. The company is urging more companies to move their computing to the cloud, at the same time it's developing hybrid technologies to run cloud technologies on premises.

  • Amazon believes Microsoft is working against the interests of its customers by implementing new licensing restrictions on Microsoft operating systems and databases, limiting the ways its software can be used on AWS and other cloud platforms.

  • AWS doesn't believe it's possible that it could have lost the Pentagon's $10 billion cloud computing contract to Microsoft purely on the merits of their  respective technologies. This is why Amazon is formally challenging the bidding process.


It all adds up to escalating competition between the Seattle-area tech giants, not just between AWS and Microsoft Azure in the cloud but also between AWS and Microsoft in the larger enterprise technology market, which is the bread and butter of Microsoft's business.


Also on the show, we discuss what 60 Minutes missed in its report on tech and Seattle's homelessness crisis; explain why the first official Craigslist app is a mixed blessing, and reveal the answer to our Name that Tech Tune challenge.

This week on the GeekWire Podcast, we go behind-the-scenes of some of the biggest and most interesting stories we covered this week:


This week on the GeekWire Podcast: Amazon is formally protesting a decision by the U.S. Department of Defense to award its $10 billion JEDI cloud computing contract to Microsoft, suggesting that the Pentagon succumbed  to political pressure from President Donald Trump. 


Plus, Microsoft takes its Dreamers immigration lawsuit to the U.S. Supreme Court, what it's like to have Cortana read your email out loud, and we get our first taste of the apple of the future, the Cosmic Crisp, before this new Washington state innovation hits store shelves next month. 

LAS VEGAS -- Nearly 20,000 people are here this week to learn about the latest from Seattle-based Tableau Software, whose technologies turn large amounts of data into visualizations, or vizzes, interactive graphics and charts for interpreting and telling the underlying stories.


They also heard from Tableau's new parent company, Salesforce, whose co-CEO Marc Benioff joined Tableau CEO Adam Selipsky on stage for the keynote address as a last-minute addition a little more than a week after European regulators cleared the companies to integrate the $15.7 billion acquisition.


On this special episode of the GeekWire Podcast, recorded on location at the Tableau Conference, we’ll share highlights from our discussion with Selipsky about what’s next for the Seattle company following its $15.7 billion acquisition by Salesforce, the future of data and artificial intelligence, the rise of employee activism at Tableau and other companies, and what Marc Benioff emails him about. 


Editor’s Note: Tableau hosted GeekWire for a recording of the GeekWire Podcast on the show floor of the Tableau Conference as part of a sponsorship agreement. GeekWire retained editorial control of the podcast and covered its own expenses related to the podcast and coverage from the event.

Not only was Amazon's effort to back pro-business candidates for the Seattle City Council not effective, but its $1.45 million in contribution seems to have backfired on the company, energizing its opponents and leading to a new City Council that's collectively more to the left of the political spectrum than before.


It's the latest in a series of political and policy missteps and missed opportunities for the company, from HQ2 to JEDI. 


Also this week: Bill Gates and Elizabeth Warren on taxes; a Microsoft study shows the potential benefits of a shorter work week for productivity; an epic Seattle Sounders rap from a GeekWire reader; and Cortana is ready to "play" your email for you, but are you ready for her to do that?

A lot has changed in the world, the tech industry, and Microsoft since Satya Nadella published his book, "Hit Refresh," two years ago. One of the changes: Microsoft reclaimed the title of world's most valuable company in 2018, two decades since it last held that status. But the company didn't celebrate the milestone.


"Success is important, but you have to remember that your success has to have come from some sense of purpose," the Microsoft CEO said in an interview with GeekWire this week. "In 2019, in particular as a tech company, I think that the excessive celebration of technology and tech companies is not what it's all about."


Instead, Nadella explained, "We as a world need to make sure that digital technology is helping us create more equitable growth in all communities, in all countries. And that means our success has to be based on success around us."


That is one of the core themes in Nadella's new afterword for the paperback edition of "Hit Refresh," to be released Nov. 5.


Speaking with GeekWire this week, Nadella went further on several key topics -- discussing Microsoft's approach to a growing wave of nationalism around the world, addressing employee concerns about their treatment inside the company, and explaining why Microsoft is betting on a new category of dual-screen devices.


He also offered his take on two recent victories: Microsoft winning the coveted JEDI contract from the U.S. Department of Defense, beating out Amazon for the $10 billion, $10-year Pentagon cloud deal; and Seattle Sounders FC making it to the MLS Cup. Nadella and his wife Anu are part of the new ownership group for the soccer team.

Artificial intelligence might sound like a futuristic concept, and it may be true that we're years or decades away from a generalized form of AI that can match or exceed the capabilities of the human brain across a wide range of topics.


But the implications of machine learning, facial recognition and other early forms of the technology are already playing out for companies, governmental agencies and people around the world,. This is raising questions about everything from privacy to jobs to law enforcement to the future of humanity.


On this episode of the GeekWire Podcast, we hear several different takes from people grappling right now with AI and its implications for business, technology and society, recorded across different sessions at the recent GeekWire Summit in Seattle.


We hear from Microsoft President Brad Smith, co-author of the book Tools and Weapons; U.S. Representative Pramila Jayapal, Seattle Police Department Chief Carmen Best; Luke Larson, president of Axon, the maker of Taser and body camera technology; and Dave Limp, the senior vice president in charge of Amazon's devices and services business.

Amazon took a million-dollar gamble this week, betting a last-minute cash infusion will help elect a new Seattle City Council despite the inevitable backlash to the contribution. It's a risky move that has already emboldened Amazon's biggest critics in Seattle government. Whether the bet will pay off at the polls remains to be seen.


Also on this episode: 


The Federal Trade Commission is ramping up its investigations into Big Tech, and one of the agency’s toughest enforcers visited Amazon’s backyard to discuss the state of competition in the industry with GeekWire's Monica Nickelsburg this week.


FTC Commissioner Rohit Chopra spoke at the GeekWire Summit in Seattle on Tuesday in a wide-ranging interview that covered antitrust law, the investment landscape in tech, and lessons learned from his background regulating the financial sector. The interview — available as a video and edited Q&A below — provides a glimpse into how one of the enforcers charged with reining in the tech industry is thinking about competition and related economic dynamics.


Read a transcript of the discussion and see more coverage of the GeekWire Summit.

Our GeekWire Summit just wrapped up, and one of our sessions in particular made national news: our conversation on stage with Jay Carney, the former White House press secretary who is now Amazon’s senior vice president of public affairs. We talked about a wide range of issues, including antitrust and competitive concerns, and what it’s like to work for Jeff Bezos. We also asked for Carney’s take on current events in Washington, D.C., and his comments on the Trump administration were later covered by publications including Bloomberg News and CNBC. Carney issued a tweet Thursday morning clarifying that he was speaking in his personal capacity and not as an Amazon representative. 


We’re making the entire conversation available in this podcast, and you can read a transcript on GeekWire.


Coming soon on the GeekWire Podcast, the other side of the antitrust issue -- an interview with FTC Commissioner Rohit Chopra by GeekWire civic editor Monica Nickelsburg. Audio production for this episode by Jennie Cecil Moore. 

Microsoft is back in the smartphone business with the unveiling of its new Surface Duo dual-screen folding device this week. It's a fascinating story all on its own, as the company finally goes public with a concept it has been experimenting with behind-the-scenes for much of the past decade. Surprise twist: It runs Android.


But combined with the larger Surface Neo dual-screen tablet/notebook, the story is much bigger. Microsoft is trying to take the lead in a new category of computing, while expanding its focus beyond Windows to focus on apps and experiences across a range of devices. We share our reactions to the news on this episode, and ask the all-important question, is Microsoft cool again?


Plus, a Seattle startup debuts a new pizza-making robot, and we nerd out on the new version of Flight Simulator, which is getting a boost from AI and the cloud, and modern satellite imagery.


We're keeping it short this week as we get ready for our big annual technology conference. Hope to see you next week at the GeekWire Summit!

Amazon announced a series of new Echo and Alexa products and initiatives this week -- from smart glasses to wireless earbuds to a new neighborhood wireless initiative --  extending the reach of its devices and services well beyond the home, while attempting to address consumer concerns about privacy at the same time.


 


Here's our coverage from the week.


A new skyscraper in Seattle will bear the name Qualtrics Tower, after the technology company that will occupy more than a dozen floors in the building, with plans to quadruple its employee count in the region to more than 2000 people in the next several years. So what is Qualtrics, anyway? It’s an experience management company, with co-headquarters in Seattle and Provo Utah, that was acquired by enterprise technology giant SAP for $8 billion. We sat down for a conversation recently with Julie Larson Green, a former Microsoft Windows and Office leader who is now the chief experience officer at Qualtrics, to talk about fundamental economic shift that the company is betting on.

The climate crisis surged to the top of the tech industry's agenda this week, encouraged by a groundswell of activity from workers at Amazon, Microsoft, Google and other big tech companies, as part of global efforts to bring attention to the issue. It's the latest example of rising activism inside the tech industry, as a new generation of workers pushes employers to speak out and take action on political, social and environmental issues.


We discuss the protests and the larger trend on this episode of the GeekWire Podcast, with highlights from the climate walkout at Amazon's Seattle campus, and Jeff Bezos announcing the company's new Climate Pledge earlier in the week.


In the second segment of the show, we discuss what the shutdown of LimePod says about the future of urban mobility in Seattle and around the world.


And on the Random Channel this week, the scourge of "microplastics", Amazon's Allbirds knock-offs, and the "Showdown at the Window Seat."

From package delivery to ride-hailing, companies including Amazon and Uber are facing new scrutiny over their use of contract workers to power the services they provide to consumers.


California is poised to enact a law that would force Uber and Lyft to treat drivers like employees as part of a broader push around the country to ensure app-based workers have broader labor protections. Meanwhile, three U.S. Senators are demanding answers from Amazon about its network of contractors and independent delivery companies that get packages to customers’ doors.


We discuss the implications of these developments on this new episode of the GeekWire Podcast.


Plus, a Seattle startup is aiming to upend the smartphone market with a high-quality, low-priced alternative designed to be used for twice as many years as many people use their existing phones. The inside story of Taylor Swift's beef with Microsoft's chatbot. And we do our best to help Alexa come up with some answers to difficult questions.

In “Tools & Weapons: The Promise and the Peril of the Digital Age,” Microsoft President Brad Smith and his co-author Carol Ann Browne tell the inside story of some of the biggest developments in tech and the world over the past decade -- including Microsoft’s reaction to the Snowden revelations, its battle with Russian hackers in the leadup to the 2016 elections and its role in the ongoing debate  privacy and facial recognition technology. 


The book goes behind-the-scenes at the Obama and Trump White Houses, explores the implications of the coming wave of artificial intelligence, and calls on tech giants and governments to step up and prepare for the ethical, legal and societal challenges of powerful new forms of technology yet to come.


We touched on many of those topics in this conversation with Smith about the new book, due out Sept. 10. Smith will also speak at the upcoming GeekWire Summit.

Amazon ousted Apple this year as the most loved brand among millennials, people age 19 through 39, according to a new study. What does this say about the future of the world? OK, that might be taking it too far, but some of our resident millennials offer their take on this episode of the GeekWire Podcast. And in news for slightly older generations, the startup HopSkipRide made its debut in Seattle this week, promising to safely shuttle your kids around town. We explain how it works and try to decide if we and our kids will use it. Plus, in the Random Channel, Microsoft the Musical, insights from Burning Man, and the latest from the chicken beat. 

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren appeared in Seattle on Sunday, a few blocks from Amazon's headquarters, and given the Democratic presidential candidate's call to break up the online retail giant as part of a larger crackdown on big tech companies, we were anticipating fireworks. It didn't happen. In fact, as we reported earlier this week, Warren didn't specifically mention Amazon in her public remarks when commenting on the need for stronger antitrust enforcement.


On this episode of the GeekWire Podcast, we tell the behind-the-scenes story of how we were able to ask Warren about the issue by matching her sheer endurance. We also discuss why the call to break up big tech hasn't taken hold as a major campaign issue. 


In other topics, we discuss privacy concerns over Ring's collaboration with law enforcement; the new trailer for Netflix's Bill Gates documentary, what the algorithms say about an iconic Nirvana song; and, of course, the latest on the elusive Popeyes chicken sandwich

New wireless Bluetooth headphones from Seattle startup Human are getting mixed reviews based on their appearance, and their initial starting price of $399 (which the company quickly dropped to a promotional price of $259). But their unique design, which completely envelops both ears, reflects a vision of the future in which technology will be melded to our bodies, and potentially to our minds. 


Plus: Jeff Bezos' first Amazon job ad, 25 years later; A new Netflix documentary will go inside the mind of Bill Gates, and Alexa makes a "Jeopardy!" cameo.

Microsoft's partnership with Samsung promises smooth integration between Windows and the Galaxy Note10, and that was enough to convince GeekWire's Todd Bishop to dump his iPhone X in favor of the consumer electronics giant's new flagship device. But which of the two Note10 variations should he get? And what can he expect as he switches from on major smartphone platform to another? Tech reviewer Andru Edwards of Gear Live and the Geared Up podcast joins us on this special episode to offer his advice.

Amazon, Uber, Google, Facebook, Microsoft and many other big companies have something in common. They're all platforms, providing underlying technologies that others use to build or facilitate their own businesses. But there are different types of platforms, with different motivations, and understanding the differences is key for anyone looking to build, compete against, regulate or do business with a platform. 


We explore the power and pitfalls of platforms on this episode with Michael Cusumano, the Sloan Management Review Distinguished Professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and the co-author of the book, "The Business of Platforms: Strategy in the Age of Digital Competition, Innovation & Power," with Annabelle Gawer and David Yoffie. The book examines the hidden forces behind some of today’s most powerful and influential companies. It's an especially timely subject given the current scrutiny of many of those companies.


 

We're back! It's the return of our weekly news roundup, with Todd Bishop, John Cook and Monica Nickelsburg. First, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella's surprise appearance at Samsung's latest Galaxy smartphone unveiling signals good things ahead for Windows users. We go inside the shutdown of ReachNow, BMW's car-sharing service that operated in Portland and Seattle, and discuss the unusual ways that some people in our society are using car-sharing services. And finally, on the Random Channel, we offer our latest documentary recommendations, catch up with Amazon's Treasure Truck, and savor some bread made from 4,500-year-old yeast.

Despite the restrictions it imposes on Facebook's business, the Federal Trade Commission's settlement with the social media giant is viewed as insufficient by some critics. So what can we do as Facebook users? What impact is Facebook having on us in the meantime? And what can the tech industry learn from the whole thing? That's our topic on this episode of the GeekWire podcast, featuring highlights from a discussion with Sheryl Cababa, a user experience designer with Artefact in Seattle and the author of the report, "Can Social Media Be Saved?"; and tech industry veteran Andre Vrignaud, who found a way to manage the impact of Facebook on his life, as detailed in this GeekWire story earlier this year.

It was tough week for Amazon on the regulatory front. It started Tuesday with an antitrust hearing before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee. Although Apple, Facebook, and Google also sent representatives, Amazon fielded the most pointed questions. A few hours later, the European Union launched a formal investigation into the company, focusing on how it treats third-party sellers in the Amazon marketplace.


We explore why Amazon is in the hot seat, how the company is responded, what comes next on this episode of the GeekWire Podcast. 


Plus, the end of the road for ReachNow, and our podcast recommendation for reliving the Apollo 11 moon landing

To understand the future of space, it helps to start with the past.


On this special edition of the GeekWire Podcast, marking the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, we’ll hear from Alan Boyle, GeekWire's aerospace and science editor, and listen in on his conversations with three unsung heroes of the Apollo era: NASA flight directors Gerry Griffin and Milton Windler, and flight controller Poppy Northcutt. They each reflect on the historic mission and share the sentiment that America should go back to the moon and beyond.


This episode of GeekWire is part of the Destination Moon podcrawl, organized by Seattle’s Museum of Flight. Look for other episodes about the Apollo 11 50th Anniversary in the coming days from other participating podcasts: Flight Deck from the Museum of Flight; Sound Effect from KNKX Radio; The Truth from Radiotopia; and Stuff You Missed in History Class.

Would you have guessed that nearly 25 percent of the Seattle region's top tech startups are led by CEOs with backgrounds at Microsoft? That was the surprising result of our analysis of the GeekWire 200, our index of the top privately held tech companies in the Pacific Northwest. And fundings for the region's startups bucked the national trend, as reflected in data from our new startup deal tracker


Nintendo unveiled a new iteration of its Switch game console; former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer pulled off what might be his greatest deal ever; and an Amazon employee showed the potential of artificial intelligence with a high-tech cat door.


GeekWire editor Todd Bishop and managing editor Taylor Soper recap and analyze the news on this episode of the show. Plus, listen for the debut of the new GeekWire Podcast theme song, by composer Daniel L.K. Caldwell

"You've got all of this opportunity for places where you can interface with the physical world. I think it's just where business opportunity is going to live."


That was one of the takeaways from Microsoft CTO Kevin Scott's talk at the recent GeekWire Cloud Summit. On this special episode of the GeekWire Podcast, we're presenting highlights from his conversation with GeekWire's Todd Bishop.


The Microsoft CTO was previously vice president of engineering and operations at LinkedIn, led engineering and operations at mobile advertising company AdMob, and worked two stints at Google, starting as a senior engineering manager in 2005. He's also the host of the podcast Behind the Tech and is involved in diversity initiatives both inside and outside the company.

Apple's new campus in Seattle, unveiled this week, will accommodate as many as 2,000 workers, doubling the company's previous commitment to expand its engineering operations in the city. But beyond the sheer numbers, the prime location positions the company to compete more aggressively for talent against rivals including Amazon, Google and Microsoft.


It also promises to make Seattle a bigger epicenter for cloud engineering, artificial intelligence and voice technologies. 


We explore the implications of Apple's move on this episode of the GeekWire Podcast, with GeekWire's Monica Nickelsburg, Kurt Schlosser, and Todd Bishop.


Plus: Bill Gates and Jeff Bee-zos, Windows 95 makes a cameo at the Supreme Court, Teen Vogue's transition, Russell Wilson makes memes come true, and Slack meets Slack.

If you tuned into the news this week, you heard one company’s name over and over again. Slack, the workplace communication and collaboration technology company went public and instantly saw its share price spike by 50 percent. But with competition from Microsoft, Facebook, Google and others, where does Slack go from here? Today on GeekWire, the future of Slack, and the competition among tech giants to change how we communicate, collaborate and get work done. With Paul Condra, lead analyst for emerging technologies at PitchBook, and Nat Levy, GeekWire reporter.

Salesforce surprised the tech world this week with its agreement to acquire Tableau Software for $15.7 billion -- but maybe it shouldn't have been a surprise after the Seattle-based data visualization company was listed among the cloud giant's acquisition targets in a leaked internal slide deck a while back. With Salesforce co-CEO Marc Benioff declaring Seattle the new HQ2 for the San Francisco company, GeekWire's John Cook and Todd Bishop tell the story behind this record-setting deal and consider the implications for the West Coast tech 'megalopolis.'  


Plus, a Seattle startup entrepreneur unveils a smart new tool for finding candidates with views similar to your own, a Pioneer Square Labs spinout wants to help podcasters raise money from their most passionate listeners, and we debate the merits of dogs in the workplace after several Seattle tech companies rank high a list of pooch-friendly places to work.

The past decade has been a period of incredible growth for the technology industry in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest. One of the primary engines of that growth is the University of Washington's Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering in Seattle. Computer scientist Hank Levy has been a quiet force behind the program as its leader for the past 13 years.


During his tenure, the program positioned itself as one of the top 5 computer science programs in the country, after MIT, Stanford, Berkeley, and Carnegie Mellon in the minds of many in the industry. It grew its faculty by 30 positions, or 70 percent; doubled its space with the addition of the Bill &  Melinda Gates Center for Computer Science & Engineering; tripled its undergraduate enrollment and doubled its graduate enrollment; and developing strengths in areas such as robotics, data science, security, sensors and machine learning.


Levy will step down as Allen School director effective July 1 but will remain involved with the program. Speaking with GeekWire this week, in advance of the Allen School commencement Friday evening, Levy reflected on the huge changes during his tenure, the transformation of technology during his career, and the challenges still facing the UW and the tech industry.

In the 13 years since Maria Klawe took over as president of Harvey Mudd College, she has surprised skeptics and achieved a milestone that has confounded most institutions of higher education. Today, 50 percent of Harvey Mudd graduates with degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are women, and students of color are on the rise at the elite technical college.


The shift is no accident; Klawe made diversity her top priority when she took the helm at Harvey Mudd, in Claremont, Calif. And while she's made strides, she's also faced big challenges during what she describes as the most difficult years of her professional career.


Klawe is a noted computer scientist and academic and a former Microsoft board member. Before becoming the first woman to lead Harvey Mudd, she served as dean of engineering at Princeton University and dean of science at the University of British Columbia. Klawe will share insights from her journey as a leader in computer science and champion for diversity when delivering the 2019 commencement address for the University of Washington's Paul G. Allen School for Computer Science & Engineering this Friday, June 14.


We caught up with Klawe for a preview of her remarks and a broader discussion of the opportunities and challenges facing the technology industry. Listen to the podcast below, subscribe to the GeekWire Podcast in your favorite podcast app, and continue reading for highlights from the conversation.

Amazon gave a detailed look at its new warehouse robots and delivery drones, discussed its plans for a satellite constellation, and talked about the future of artificial intelligence, machine learning and automation during a multi-day conference in Las Vegas this week. GeekWire's aerospace and science editor Alan Boyle was in Las Vegas to cover it all, and he joins us with a recap and analysis.

Chad Robins is a Cornell grad and Wharton School MBA who was working in real estate finance a decade ago when he was approached with a business idea by his brother, Harlan Robins, head of the Computational Biology Program at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.


As Chad Robins recalled, "When he called me up in 2009 and said, 'Hey I want to start a business, I've figured out how to sequence T-cells at a high throughput,' I was like, 'Yes, I'm in!' and then I went to Wikipedia and I'm like, 'What the hell is he talking about?' I don't know the difference between a T-cell receptor and a T-bone steak."


A decade later, the company they created, Adaptive Biotechnologies, is using the genetic code of the immune system to change the diagnosis and treatment of disease. It’s valued at more than $1 billion. It has partnerships with industry giants Microsoft and Genentech, and this week it filed raise $230 million in an initial public offering. On this episode of the GeekWire podcast, we’ll get the inside story of Adaptive Biotechnologies and share what we learned in its IPO filing.


Correction 6/3: Chad Robins and Harlan Robins hold about the same amount of equity in the company, which wasn’t apparent from the IPO filing because some of the stock is held in trusts. We've update the audio to remove this portion of our discussion.

Are we living in a simulation? Is there an afterlife? And if not, what would it take to create one? Drawing inspiration from Seattle's tech industry and the emerging field of virtual reality, best-selling science-fiction author Neal Stephenson knits together ideas as old as the Bible and as up-to-date as Elon Musk's musings in an epic 880-page novel titled "Fall; or, Dodge in Hell," due out June 4. GeekWire's Alan Boyle read the book and interviewed Stephenson, and joins us to share highlights.

The peak home-buying season is upon us, but buyers and sellers taking a fresh look at the market will see a much different landscape for real estate technology than they did just a year or two ago -- and it's only the beginning of the changes to come. It's an exciting time in the real estate tech business, and anything can happen. On this special episode of the GeekWire Podcast, we assess the changes so far and debate what could happen next: Could Zillow end up buying Redfin or another brokerage to bolster its new model? Will the notion of one-click homebuying ever truly take hold? How will traditional brokerages play a role in the future? And will any of these changes actually address the fundamental problem of housing affordability? 

Amazon's annual meeting has become a spectacle over the years, despite the company's best efforts to stick to business. Todd Bishop and Monica Nickelsburg explain what happened at this year's event, earlier this week in Seattle. Plus, the latest on T-Mobile and Sprint, why a former Facebook exec is floating Microsoft's Brad Smith as a replacement for Mark Zuckerberg, and how Rover capitalized on the Game of Thrones finale.

John Rossman helped to launch and build the Amazon Marketplace business before leading the company's Enterprise Services business during his tenure at the company. In his new book, "Think Like Amazon: 50 1/2 Ideas to Become a Digital Leader," he helps other business leaders and managers understand, learn from and adopt elements of Amazon's approach. He sat down with us this week to talk about some of the ideas that define the company, and what they say about its future.

Four years after acquiring Minecraft, Microsoft this week unveiled its most ambitious effort yet to take the popular franchise to the next level, and specifically into the real world. GeekWire went hands on with the game in a sneak preview, but with the release not expected until later this summer, why the heck is Microsoft touting this game before the rest of us can actually play it? 


Plus, Amazon is offering its employees an incentive to quit their jobs, if they start their own package delivery companies. This is the latest wrinkle in the company's Delivery Service Partners program, which we explored in depth last year. 


Finally, on the Random Channel, the latest twist in our quest to stream live audio at the ballpark, a commentary on the sequestering of tech execs, and the latest in the scooter saga, featuring Washington Gov. Jay Inslee.

Listen in on our conversation with Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, about her book, "The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World." The book has garnered national attention and further elevated Melinda's status as an influential public figure in her own right. GeekWire's Monica Nickelsburg and Todd Bishop spoke with Melinda at her office in Seattle, at the conclusion of her national book tour. Go to GeekWire.com for full coverage.

There's a common theme running through the spring season of developer conferences and tech events: trust and privacy.


With the tech industry faceing a backlash from consumers and regulators, tech giants including Facebook, Google, Apple and Microsoft are looking to assure everyone that they're listening. But each company is approaching the issue in a very different way, and with a very different track record on the topic.


On this episode of the GeekWire Podcast, we listen to the CEOs of these companies talk about privacy, and analyze the different approaches.


Other stories covered on this episode:


The strength and success of the people and companies across the Pacific Northwest tech ecosystem was on full display Thursday night at the GeekWire Awards. GeekWire's Jonathan Sposato, John Cook and Todd Bishop share highlights and clips from the night on this episode of the GeekWire Podcast. More highlights here.

What do Pinterest, Lyft, Uber and Slack have in common? Yes, they're all newly public or about to make their initial public offerings. But they also share a common characteristic on the bottom line -- proceeding with their IPOs with lots of revenue and growth but, so far at least, without the consistent profits to show for it.


And they're part of a trend. Eighty-three percent of IPOs in the first three quarters of 2018 were made by companies that hadn't posted profits in the prior 12 months


So what's the future of these companies? On this episode of the GeekWire Podcast, we're joined by someone who has spent a lot of time looking at the financials of many of these companies: Ben Gilbert, co-founder of Seattle's Pioneer Square Labs, and co-host of the podcast Acquired, which tells the stories of major companies, acquisitions and IPOs. He and his co-host David Rosenthal have been focusing on these companies on their recent episodes, starting with Lyft and Pinterest.


Since we recorded this episode, Slack has also released its S-1 registration statement, revealing a $138.9 million net loss in its most recent fiscal year.

Founded in 2015, Seattle startup Arivale aspired to pioneer a new sector called scientific wellness, combining genetic testing with personal coaching to improve the health of its members. Its founder, genomics legend Lee Hood, said the company "really stands a chance of being the Google or Microsoft of this whole arena." But four years later, Arivale abruptly closed its doors this week. We explain what happened with special guest, GeekWire chief business officer Daniel Rossi, an Arivale member whose experience in the program was chronicled in our 2017 series.


Plus, Microsoft breaks the trillion-dollar mark, Bill Gates serves as a surprising role model for other dads, and there's a new set of guidelines for kids' screen time.

Almost every week at the end of the GeekWire Podcast, we feature our "Random Channel" segment, discussing all the random items of questionable relevance that we were buzzing about behind the scenes during the course of the week. This week, with several of us out of the office, we decided to forgo our regular news conversation and go "full random," you might say. We hope you enjoy getting to know some of the offbeat interests of our team, including Kurt Schlosser, Monica Nickelsburg and Taylor Soper. And don't worry, we'll be back on topic next week with our regular show.

The news that Amazon is shifting its Seattle-based worldwide operations team to Bellevue, Wash., raises a ton of questions about its future in the region. GeekWire's Monica Nickelsburg, who broke the story, joins Todd Bishop and John Cook to discuss the implications. Plus, Howard Schultz gets sued for text messages sent to voters by his team, and the GeekWire Awards finalists have been revealed.

With the 50th anniversary of the historic Apollo 11 Moon Landing on the horizon, Mark Armstrong, son of the late astronaut Neil Armstrong, first person to walk on the moon, talks with GeekWire's Alan Boyle at the Museum of Flight in Seattle. 

Microsoft is putting Amazon into a difficult position by advocating a tax increase on both companies in their home state. Meanwhile, Apple is placing an even bigger bet on privacy as a feature. We explain a surprising startup investment by two Seattle tech veterans. Plus, the return of the Random Channel.

Every year, Amazon and Jeff Bezos hold an elite, invitation-only conference called MARS, for Machine learning, Automation, Robotics and Space, which doubles as an excuse for the Amazon founder to test out the latest in autonomous vehicles, robots and personal aircraft. GeekWire aerospace and science editor Alan Boyle joins us with a rundown. Plus, 15 years after Google started a wave of engineering outposts in the Seattle area, the region's startups are figuring out how to co-exist with Silicon Valley tech giants. And how DNA is inspiring the next generation of data storage technology at Microsoft and the University of Washington.

After a year of privacy scandals, consumers are beginning to realize that the volume of data tech companies collect on them exceeds what they could have imagined. Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood has been helping listeners untangle the complex web of the data economy on her show. She visited Seattle last week to discuss those issues with Giri Sreenivas, CEO of private email server startup Helm, Ryan Calo, co-director of the University of Washington Tech Policy Lab, and Monica Nickelsburg, GeekWire’s civic editor, during an event hosted by KUOW.

We're preparing for the GeekWire Awards, our annual event recognizing the best in Pacific Northwest tech and innovation, and on this episode of the GeekWire Podcast we provide an update on past Startup of the Year winners and preview this year's contest. Find out more, submit nominations, and buy tickets at geekwire.com/awards. Plus, a brave Amazon employee asks Jeff Bezos if his tumultuous personal life is distracting from his work, and Peter Sagal of Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me offers his input on getting less input in our lives.

GeekWire photographer Kevin Lisota has taken pictures of everything from rocket launches to tech luminaries, but he recently spent a couple weeks far from Seattle, on a photo expedition in far-western Mongolia. On this special episode of the GeekWire Podcast, he shares photography tips and tricks from expedition leader Andy Williams of Muench Workshops and the reCOMPOSE photo podcast. 

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren's ambitious plan to regulate Facebook, Google and Amazon as utilities and roll back some of their biggest acquisitions, is a giant stake in the ground for the 2020 presidential campaign -- but is it realistic? And would it really have the desired impact on competition and consumers? We dive into those questions on this episode of the GeekWire Podcast,

What the heck is going on at Zillow? The online real estate giant announced the return of co-founder Rich Barton as CEO, along with a major change in its business model. John Cook and Todd Bishop sort out the news, speculate on the cause, and speculate wildly on what could be next. Plus, Amazon is backing out of a high-profile Seattle skyscraper in the latest sign of its troubled relationship with its hometown. And we say farewell to those cute little Amazon Dash buttons!

This is a guest episode of the new podcast Under Construction, from the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, featuring a conversation with my GeekWire co-founder John Cook, talking with the podcast's host, Seattle Metro Chamber CEO Marilyn Strickland. For more episodes, check out seattlechamber.com/underconstruction, or subscribe at soundcloud.com/seattlechamber.

Come on, Amazon, really? The tech giant spent more than a year looking for its "HQ2," planning to establish a second headquarters equal to its Seattle home, before surprising everybody by instead splitting the giant project between New York City and Arlington, Va. Now, after facing initial opposition from some New York city and state leaders, the company this morning said, well, nevermind.

Bill Gates sits down with GeekWire to talk about what's on his mind in 2019, including what he would say to President Trump about nationalism vs. globalism, why he's pushing the U.S. to double down on nuclear energy, thoughts on the future of techbooks, and memories of his late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. Plus, his take on the viral photo of him standing in line at a popular Seattle burger stand.


See GeekWire.com for more coverage of the interview, and read Bill and Melinda Gates' 2019 annual letter at gatesletter.com

Publicly challenging the National Enquirer's parent company AMI for attempted blackmail and extortion, as Jeff Bezos did in his remarkable post Thursday afternoon, is bold, risky and even admirable, especially for someone in his position. But for Amazon and its founder, there's more than some embarrassing pictures at stake.

We're starting a new tradition on GeekWire, periodically sharing selected episodes of some of our favorite podcasts about startups, leadership, technology, science and more from the Seattle region and beyond. First up: What Fuels You, a new podcast from Shauna Swerland of Fuel Talent, featuring conversations and insights from successful business leaders.


Her guest on this episode is Jane Park, the CEO and founder of Seattle-based beauty products company Julep. Park, who founded Julep in 2006, was named CEO of the Year in the 2014 GeekWire Awards. She sold Julep in 2016 to beauty brand Glansaol, which filed for bankruptcy late last year. (Park hasn't been involved in day-to-day operations at Julep since the acquisition.)


For more episodes of What Fuels You, go to fueltalent.com/podcast or subscribe in Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or Spotify. 

Can Howard Schultz make a serious run for U.S. president? Can Zillow's Zestimate be improved? And can a new Bluetooth feature help Todd find his freakin' AirPods Those are just a few of the burning questions on this episode of GeekWire's Week in Geek podcast, as GeekWire co-founders Todd Bishop John Cook discuss the news of the week. 

Amazon rolled out its latest effort to conquer the last mile of delivery, and it's named "Scout." Plus, an app that helped new U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez get elected is spreading to other campaigns, with a catch. And the latest twist in New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichik's on-again off-again relationship with Microsoft Surface tablets on the NFL sidelines. And a mildly profane installment of the Random Channel. With GeekWire editor Todd Bishop, civic editor Monica Nickelsburg, and Geek Life reporter Kurt Schlosser.

As two of the world's most valuable companies, Amazon and Microsoft have created mind-boggling wealth and economic vitality in the Seattle region. But around them, housing prices have skyrocketed and the number of people experiencing homelessness has spiked as the rising tide of the tech industry fails to lift all boats Now the two tech giants are taking on the housing crisis, but their approaches are as different as the companies themselves.


Which will be more effective? That's one of the topics we discuss as we recap the week's news on the GeekWire podcast. Also in the news: The Seattle Sounders' new jerseys, and Bill Gates at Dick's Drive-In,

With his AT&T Cingular Flip 2 in hand, Michael Valeri genuinely believes he’s living a better life for himself without a smartphone, and he’s interested in teaching people how they can do it, too. And the distinction is important — he doesn’t want to tell people why they should give up their iPhones, but rather how to survive if they do. He spoke with GeekWire reporter Kurt Schlosser, who wrote about Valeri here: https://www.geekwire.com/2019/can-live-without-smartphone-flip-phone-fan-done-13-years-will-teach/

We're back! John Cook, Monica Nickelsburg and Todd Bishop get the GeekWire Podcast rolling for 2019 with our weekly news discussion, exploring the potential  implications of Jeff Bezos' divorce for Amazon and the Seattle region, explaining why Facebook needs its Uber moment, and debating the finer points of modern grocery shopping. Go to geekwire.com/podcast for links and more info.

New York Public Library’s Tony Ageh was recently in Seattle to talk about libraries’ digital transformation. Ageh made the point that tech now permeates pretty much all of a library’s operations. But in many ways, it's a good thing that libraries have been behind other organizations in adopting technology. Highlights from Ageh's conversation with GeekWire contributor Frank Catalano at Seattle Public Library.

Hey GeekWire Podcast listeners, we hope you enjoy this latest episode of our new podcast, Numbers Geek with Steve Ballmer, featuring the remarkable story of Arlan Hamilton, who went from homeless to running her own venture capital firm, investing in "underestimated" founders. To listen to every episode of the new podcast, go to geekwire.com/numbersgeek. We'll be back soon with a new GeekWire Podcast episode. Thanks for listening!

"You’re worth a trillion dollars. Why do you need our 3 billion dollars?" That's how Amazon was greeted by the New York City Council this week. City leaders in the Big Apple pointed to the tech giant's rocky relationship with its original hometown of Seattle to contend that winning the company's HQ2 isn't much of a prize. Meanwhile, Apple announced plans for a big Austin campus, along with new offices in Seattle and Southern California.

Our guest on this special edition of the podcast, Wash. State Gov. Jay Inslee. He spoke with us on stage during a special reception prior to the GeekWire Gala, about everything from his presidential ambitions to regulating big tech to lessons learned from Amazon's HQ2 search.

A preview of the new GeekWire podcast, Numbers Geek with Steve Ballmer, where we present a data-driven take on the country's most divisive issues. Subscribe now in your favorite podcast app to hear episode one.

This week, Microsoft rivaled Apple to be the most valuale company based in the U.S. But just a few years ago, that success seemed almost impossible. The Microsoft Surface division has been a microcosm of the company's struggles and failures in the past years and on this episode, we speak with journalist and author Brad Sams about that story. Sams' book about the Surface is called "Beneath A Surface" and is out now.

It's the holiday season, and along with festive Amazon packaging and never-ending carols, that means its time to buy holiday gifts! This week, we're sharing our annual Geared Up Tech Holiday Gift Guide. Todd and Andru will share their recommendations for the best gadgets and gizmos to put on your list -- plus a special surprise recommendation for that one person who has EVERYTHING.


Visit GeekWire.com/GearedUp to see a full list of our recommendations and links to all the specific products we mention on this episode.


Subscribe to Geared Up in your favorite podcast app by searching "Geared Up."

Pickles that yodel. Foot-tall punching nuns. A rubber chicken museum. What do these things have in common? They're all brainchildren of Archie McPhee, the Seattle-based makers and retailers of whacky, delightful and (occasionally) practical items for more than 35 years. Join us for an audio tour of Archie McPhee's out-of-this-world retail store as we learn more about the company's history, its creative process and the stories of some of its most popular items. We're joined on this episode by David Wahl, Archie McPhee director of awesome (a.k.a. marketing and creative services).

Amazon is moving into the big apple with half of its HQ2 project slated to bring about 25,000 — or up to 40,000 — new jobs to Long Island City in Queens. But can NYC learn to love HQ2? We check in with GeekWire Civic Innovation Editor Monica Nickelsburg on the scene in Queens to find out.

It's official: Amazon's HQ2 search has ended in not one but two new hubs for the technology giant in the Crystal City neighborhood of Arlington, Virginia, and Long Island City in New York. Join GeekWire Co-founders John Cook and Todd Bishop as they dissect the news and the repercussions of the tech giant's extraordinary search.

Amazon's continent-wide search for a second headquarters took a strange turn this week as news leaked that the company is planning to split its second headquarters into two different cities. Critics have decried the move as a "bait and switch" and it puts the status of HQ2, due to be announced any day, up in the air. Also: Tuesday marked a monumental election for the U.S., including several ballot measures that directly involve the tech industry.

We're coming to you live again this week, this time from Renton, Wash, home of Boeing's 737 plant, the ultra-geeky Wizards of the Coast (maker of Dungeons and Dragons and Magic: The Gathering) and the Seattle Seahawk's practice facility. On this special episode of the Week in Geek, we talk with Wizards of the Coast President Chris Cocks about the company and its beloved games, including its experiments with augmented reality — plus we interview Seahawks Wide Reciever Doug Baldwin about his work with Renton's community center and his plans for life after the NFL. The show is part of GeekWire on the Road, our traveling spotlight of emerging tech hubs in the Pacific Northwest.

In 2000, rotavirus killed more than half a million children every year. Not many people had even heard of the disease. Then an unlikely alliance of international scientists, policymakers, a first-time entrepreneur and the richest man in the world teamed up to take it on. We tell the story of what happened on this episode of Health Tech, a GeekWire podcast.

On this live episode of the Week in Geek, we interview former Breaking News leader and Factal co-founder Corey Bergman about the changing state of news and facts online. How can people escape the Twittersphere? How do you build an engaged community over the internet? We'll get into that and much more.


Plus, we are excited to announce another live taping of the Week in Geek on Nov. 1 where we will interview Chris Cocks, the President of Dungeons and Dragons creator Wizards of the Coast. Join us for this event as part of GeekWire on the Road in Renton, Washington. More details: https://www.geekwire.com/events/next-recording-november-1-southport-lake-washington/

Paul Allen was the co-founder and one of the technical geniuses behind Microsoft. But he was also a billionaire with wide and varied interest: The owner of two professional sports teams, the benefactor of several museums and art organizations, and the founder of multiple scientific institutes. On this special episode of the Week in Geek, we look back at Paul Allen's influence on the world and ask: What happens now to his vast legacy?

We're sad to report the passing of Paul Allen, who died Monday at the age of 65. The Microsoft co-founder had an outsized impact on technology, science, the arts and even professional football. In remembrance of his life, we are sharing an interview with Allen taped in 2011, where he candidly shares his outlook on Microsoft, the progress of technology, his relationship with Bill Gates and much more.

Glenn Kelman has led Redfin from a small, bold real estate startup to one of the global leaders in real estate technology. He's also an outspoken leader inside the company and beyond, not afraid to criticize his community and his industry when he knows they can do better. On this epsiode, we share the full interview between Kelman and GeekWire Co-founder John Cook, taped live at the 2018 GeekWire Summit.

Uber has run into more than a few legal troubles in the last two years. Tony West is the man who has to deal with them. We're sharing Tony's full interview with GeekWire Civic Innovation Editor Monica Nickelsburg on this episode, including his take on Uber's data breach cover-up and how the company can regain the trust of its customers.

In a surprise move, Amazon announced it is raising its internal minimum wage to $15 an hour and also vowed to lobby for a raise in the national minimum wage. The move launches the company and CEO Jeff Bezos into the broader discussion over working wages, an issue Amazon has been critizised on in the past. Plus, we'll take a look at Likewise, the new reccommendation app hatched out of Bill Gates' office and led by his right hand man.

Nine years ago, Stephanie Florence was diagnosed with incurable blood cancer. Today, she's cancer-free thanks to a new treatment called CAR T immunotherapy. This treatment is the golden child of cancer research today — but it wasn't always this way. Find out how CAR T went from an underdog to a cancer killer on this episode of Health Tech.

Last year, Google secretly acquired a digital health startup spun out of the University of Washington. After requesting documents related to the acquisition, GeekWire learned there's actually a surprising twist to the story, all to do with smart home device maker Nest. Plus, we discuss Jeff Bezos' plan to give away $2 billion to tackle homelessness and early childhood education and we take a look at the upcoming GeekWire Summit, our biggest event of the year.

You've just founded a new company, and it's time to start pitching to investors and partners. What do you do? We go inside the story of two entrepreneurs in that position: Cassie Wallender of Invio and Kwame Boler of NEU, both winners in the first round of GeekWire's Elevator Pitch series.

One year ago today, Amazon announced it is searching for a city to host a second headquarters. This search has turned the tech world upside down in some ways -- it's pitted cities against each other and really shown us how much power Amazon weilds. So after all the time, where do we stand? And more importantly, what has this process told us about one of the most influential companies in the U.S.?

Seattle's Cinerama isn't just a movie theater. For more than 50 years, the cinema has been a center of technology and pop culture, associated with geeky classics from 2001: A Space Oddyssey to the latest Marvel movie. Tour the theater and hear about all the hidden tech that makes it possible on this episode of the GeekWire Popcast.

Silicon Valley investors are pouring more and more money into Seattle startups. So what's the secret behind this new influx of interest in Seattle's tech scene? We sit down with two experts from Silicon Valley Bank to talk through the numbers and trends around the startup world on this episode of the Week in Geek.

Coworking! Accelerators! Virtual offices! The nature of work -- and of workplaces -- is changing in the startup world and beyond, and so are the communities built around those workplaces. Join GeekWire Co-founders John Cook and Todd Bishop for a conversation with The Riveter Founder and CEO Amy Nelson and ImpactHub Seattle leader Sarah Studer about the future of work and the communities around it. We'll also run down some of the biggest news stories of the week.

How was an airline employee with no known flying experience able to successfully steal a plane? Why did he want to do so? And what can be done to stop something like this from happening again? We tackle those questions on this special episode of the Week in Geek Podcast and share snippets of the man's rambling conversation with air traffic control as he does stunts and evades F15 fighter jets scrambled to prevent a potential disaster.


We also want to invite podcast listeners to a special meetup and live recording of the Week in Geek! The event is all about building community and takes place the evening of Thursday, August 23, in Seattle's Ballard neighborhood. Go to geekwire.com/neighborhub for more details, and use the code "podcast" to get tickets for just $10.

One house in Seattle's University District is home to perhaps the most influential and least showy science fiction and fantasy hub in the world. It's called the Clarion West Writers Workshop, and its graduates are reshaping the world with bestselling novels, literary magazines, geeky museums and beyond.

The U.S. healthcare system needs to change. But how? Can the system be 'fixed' the way that Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase want to fix it with their new healthcare company? What would 'fixing' the system even look like? We explore answers to those questions on this episode of Health Tech. 

A lawsuit over 3D-printed guns took a turn this week when a judge blocked the release of blueprints that show how to make them — but the legal battle isn't over yet. Plus, Starbucks is teaming up with Amazon competitor Alibaba to deliver coffee in China. Can the retail giant find success overseas? And finally, grab your litter scoopers. There might just be valuable scientific data hiding in your pet's poop.

Facebook agreed to stop letting advertisers exclude ethnic and religious groups from seeing certain ads on its platform this week, the same week that it lost roughly $120 billion this week as investors sold off stock. So is this a moment of reckoning for Facebook and other social media giants? Plus, we go inside Microsoft's Imagine Cup competition, where 49 students teams pitted advanced technology projects against each other.

It was quite a week for controversial news. First up: Would you let a facial recognition program track your kids at school? One tech dad is making it happen. Plus, scooter sharing company Bird seems to be planning a launch in Seattle, even though the company isn't allowed to put scooters in the city. GeekWire is also diving into homelessness with the #SeaHomeless campaign: This time around, we investigated how other cities are combating homelessness and what Seattle might learn from them.

Sarah Lacy is the founder and CEO of Chairman Mom, a subscription-based online community for working moms. She joins us to talk about the venture and sticks around to discuss the news of the week on this special Week in Geek episode. Other stories on the show: Lime's $335 million funding round and new scooter deal with Uber and the parallels between San Francisco and Seattle are becoming even more pronounced. Plus, on the Random Channel, the topic you've all been waiting for: The Incredibles 2.

We're halfway through 2018, and that means it's time for our mid-year technoloyg roundup. On this episode we dig into three of our favorite new pieces of technology from the past six months.

Why are women underrepresented in tech?


One answer to that question, offered by a University of Washington lecturer, has ignited a fierce debate in the tech industry. We sit down with Stuart Reges to discuss the ideas in his essay, "why women don't code." We also speak with diversity expert Ruchika Tulshyan about the pervasive gender gap in technology and the research into its causes.

It was a big week for Amazon. The company announced a new last-mile delivery service to rival FedEx and UPS, but with an interesting twist. It also announced a $1 billion acquisition: A company called PillPack that delivers drugs straight to customer's doors. Plus, we dive into a huge funding round from a startup you've probably never heard of.

Amazon is trying to get its Alexa voice assistant into as many homes as possible. Its latest offering: The Fire TV Cube, which essentially turns Alexa into a remote control. We try it out live on this episode. Plus, Oculus announced a new virtual reality TV app -- and some people are unimpressed -- and a report points to a new line of AirPods coming before the end of the year.

Can science fiction help us predict -- and prepare for -- the future? How about helping us make better business decisions? Scout thinks so. The unique online magazine and futurist community connects innovators, technologists and science fiction writers to strategize for the near future. On this episode, we speak with Scout CEO and Editor in Chief Berit Anderson about the company's work.

Amazon, JPMorgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway have finally picked a CEO for their ambitious health venture, and his background gives some interesting clues to his potential ideas. Plus, a lawsuit over a moving app could mean big consequences for the gig economy and we dive into tech's involvement in the controversial family separation polciy.

Dr. Dan Low wanted to know how his patients were doing on a new drug. Getting the data was so painful, he decided to found his own software company to make it easier. On this episode of Health Tech: Dan's journey from career doctor to startup CEO and back, and what his experience says about the state of healthcare data.

The Seattle City Council voted to repeal the Head Tax, also called the 'Amazon Tax,' less than a month after it was put in place. The vote was surrounded by chaos and demonstrations from both sides of the issue -- some citizens were actually hauled out of Town Hall during the event. We'll explain exactly what happened, why it matters for tech companies around the country and where things stand with Seattle's huge homelessness problem.

E3, the biggest gaming convention in the U.S., is starting with a bang this week. Geared Up co-host Andru Edwards is down in Los Angeles for the show and on this episode, we run down the big game announcements of the year from Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo — including Xbox's push to have more exclusive titles. Plus, an intriguing new study on something most people want nothing to do with: Airport WiFi.

Right now you use Redfin and Zillow to find homes, but what if they wanted to buy your home? Plus, Amazon's new Fire Cube wants to make Alexa your remote control and Microsoft makes one of its biggest acquisitions ever, and some fun on the random channel.

iOS, Apple Watch, Siri, Oh my! Apple just wrapped up its annual Worldwide Developers Conference and this show is all about the new features the company is bringing to its most popular devices. We've been trying the new tricks on iOS 12, including some very goofy MeMojis, and will give you the rundown on what's cool and what's not so impressive. Plus, the new Mac OS Mojave and updates to the Watch OS and the Apple TV OS.

Su-In Lee's father passed away from incurable cancer. Now she's using her expertise in artificial intelligence to help cancer patients find the most effective treatment — based on their genetic data. On this episode, we follow Su-In's story and explore how precision medicine is increasingly using health data, AI and other technologies to fight diseases from cancer to Alzheimer's. 

On this special edition of the GeekWire podcast, the other side of Jeff Bezos. You may know him as the Amazon CEO, but he's also the founder of the Blue Origin space venture. He talked about his space ambitions this weekend at the National Space Society in conversation with Alan Boyle, GeekWire’s aerospace and science editor. It was a fascinating talk about the future of humanity with someone who is thinking -- and spending -- deeply to usher in a new era of space travel. 

Like thousands of others, Manish Engineer moved to Seattle recently to take a new technology job -- but instead of a tech startup or a giant like Amazon, his job is at the Seattle Art Museum. Manish is SAM's first Chief Technology Officer and it's his job to use technology to enhance the experience of fine art. We talk to him about his new role and how technology is impacting fine arts in this episode.

Seattle startups raked in hundreds of millions of dollars this week. What's behind the flurry of big-dollar deals? Plus, a new service that lets you rent your car out, Airbnb-style, and Seattle's iconic Space Needle gets a makeover

High-end camera maker Red unveiled a mysterious new smartphone this week, and Geared Up co-host Andru Edwards was there for the hands-on experience. He said the new phone has some cool features, but also some strange ones. Plus, Microsoft once again tries to take on Apple in the tablet arena and we get into the Hype around the Tesla Model 3. Andru ordered his Model 3 more than two years ago and is picking it up in just a few days.

The Seattle City Council passed a controversial tax on big businesses, prompting outcry from the city's tech giants and unearthing white-hot passion over the city's growth and homelessness crisis. The money raised will go towards building much-needed affordable housing, but it is may also make Amazon and other companies slow or stop growth in the city, maybe even reversing part of Seattle's tech boom. So what happens now? Can the tax make headway towards solving the city's problems? And would it really be all that bad if Amazon and other companies stopped adding new jobs? We debate on this episode of the Week In Geek.

Two portable virtual reality headsets launched onto the stage in the past weeks: The highly affordable and convenient Oculus Go and the more sophisticated but pricey Lenovo Mirage Solo. So how do they compare? We go hands-on with both devices to find out on this episode. Plus, big news from the PC world with the launch of several new HP computers and a class-action lawsuit against Apple over the MacBook keyboard.

Enter our Geared Up Giveaway for a chance to win an Oculus Go headset! https://www.geekwire.com/2018/geared-podcast-head-head-reviews-oculus-go-lenovo-mirage-solo/

On this episode, we take a deep dive into two technologies that co-hosts Andru Edwards and Todd Bishop have been using lately. Andru gives us his take on two Nokia Health's smart devices and Todd tells us how he was lured back to using Windows by his new favorite PC. Plus, what is Apple doing with virtual reality?

On this episode, we come to you live from Microsoft's annual Build developer's conference. We sit down with Scott Guthrie — the head of Microsoft's cloud and enterprise division — to talk intelligent edge, the future of cloud and more. We also speak with Mixed Reality GM and Studio Manager Lorraine Bardeen about Microsoft's path forward in virtual and mixed reality, particularly its emphasis on enterprise applications.

The Seattle City Council is considering a tax on Amazon and other high-earning companies in the city — and the conflict over it got nasty this week. We explain it all on this episode. Plus, a Seattle-based startup wants to give you doctors appointments from your smartphone with help from an AI chatbot.

The Oculus Go sprang onto shelves in a surprise launch Tuesday. Is the lower-power, portable VR headset the future of virtual reality? We debate on this episode. Plus: What the T-Mobile / Sprint merger means for wireless customers and Apple reports record-breaking iPhone sales in the first months of 2018. 

Technology and politics are butting heads more than ever before. Issues like net neutrality and data privacy have stormed the national stage and Senator Maria Cantwell is in the middle of it all, from Mark Zuckerberg's hearing in Congress to the fight to restore net neutrality protections. We sit down with her to talk about all those issues on this episode of the GeekWire podcast. 

If you only know Marvel from the movies, you don't really know Marvel. That's the sense you get when you enter the world-premiere exhibition at the Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle, "Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes." On this episode, we take you on a tour through the exhibit with its curator, Ben Saunders, to get the inside story of Marvel's history, its impact on society and some of the incredible pieces on display.

Rand Fishkin is the co-founder and former CEO of Seattle technology company Moz, and in his seventeen years in the startup world, he's learned a thing or two about being an entrepreneur. He shares some of those stories — personal and professional — in his new book, Lost and Founder, out April 24. Rand joins us on this episode of the GeekWire Podcast to talk about his unwavering dedication to transparency, the lessons he's learned as a founder and even his recent departure from Moz to found a new company, SparkToro.

Amazon made a surprise move this week: A new partnership with Best Buy. It seems the age of the retail store is far from over. Plus, the company finally announced the number of Prime members it has: More than 100 million. And finally, former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer holds the first-ever shareholders meeting for American taxpayers.

Apple's HomePod smart speaker has been out for a while now — and it's clear the device is struggling in a competitive smart speaker market. What led to its demise?

Plus, Amazon reveals how they assign the preferred "Amazon's Choice" label to products, Apple is rumored to be entering the news business and how Xbox's backward compatibility might be the console's saving grace.

The fallout around data privacy scandals has put Facebook in a tough spot. After CEO Mark Zuckerberg spent two days testifying before Congress, many are asking, what's next? And some say that next comes a big change in the tech economy. Plus, Uber is remaking its image after a scandal-filled year, thanks in no small part to its new CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi.

On the Random Channel: The big Gmail redesign (it's interesting, we promise!) and some heart-warming hopscotch.

A look at GeekWire's new daily news show, TLDR. Subscribe to TLDR in your favorite podcast app for new episodes every weekday, or get the video version by subscribing to GeekWire's YouTube Page. If you're an Alexa fan, both the podcast and video are available on Echo devices.

A new technology called "parallel reality" lets many different people see completely different content on the same screen, simultaneously, without goggles. So how does it work, and how could it change the world? On this episode of the Week in Geek, we talk with two of the founders of Misapplied Sciences, the company that has developed the technology, Chairman and CTO Paul Dietz, CEO Albert Ng. Plus, Amazon Go continues to be popular, and a new VR study warns about the impact of virtual reality on young kids.

How should gadget fans think about privacy? Andru, for one, says growing concerns about data privacy with Amazon, Google and Facebook will be a boon for Apple and other companies that don't base their businesses on advertising revenue. But doesn't that mean you're locked in to Apple's ecosystem? "Yes – locked into greatness," he says. Listen to our privacy discussion on this week's episode, plus a first look at the new iPad and an update on Valve Steam Machine consoles. 

Geared Up is brought to you by National Car Rental. Find Andru's Technically Speaking on the NationalCar.com control center or youtube.com/nationalcarrent.

Silicon Valley is the birthplace of some of the most innovative companies in the world, but these days it’s also become infamous for something else. Bloomberg Technology host Emily Chang calls that something “Brotopia,” a culture that has built giants like Google and Facebook but has made the tech industry toxic and even dangerous for women and other minorities. Chang joins us to talk about her new book by the same name on this episode of the GeekWire Podcast.

President Trump is "obsessed" with Amazon, but not in the same way as the rest of us Prime members. A report that Trump is looking for ways to regulate the tech giant torched Amazon's stock this week, but is it all bluster or a serious threat? Plus, two Seattle-area tech companies file for their IPOs in the same week, and on the Random Channel, we say farewell one of this show's longest-running characters.

Apple announced a new $299 iPad aimed at schools this week, along with tons of other education products -- but will they give the company the edge to catch up with Google and Microsoft in ed tech? We pose that question to GeekWire contributor and ed tech expert Frank Catalano on this episode of Geared Up.

Facebook is reeling from the revelation that a British firm, Cambridge Analytica, improperly used millions of its users' data. #DeleteFacebook is trending and those in the tech world are closely watching how users react to the news. Can the tech giant turn a new leaf? What are we willing to give up for the convenience of tech platforms? And would paying for services like Facebook solve the problem?

Apple announced a mysterious education event, hosted at a high school in Chicago. Is the company aiming to make a comeback in the education technology market? Plus, Apple is rumored to be making its own displays, Microsoft marches on with its always on PCs strategy and a new plan to make Alexa talk less.

Cancer research and treatment is at a tipping point. Breakthrough science is helping patients live longer, healthier lives and even curing patients in desperate situations. That's why Seattle journalist Luke Timmerman is preparing to summit Mount Everest this spring, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars in cancer research funds in the process.

This week, we take a trip back to the heyday of Walkmen and the Apple IIe. GeekWire reporter Kurt Schlosser got to visit the new, interactive 80s exhibit at the Living Computers Museum + Labs. Plus, a controversial lawsuit over the next generation of apples (not the computers, this time) and a new study sheds light on why so few female students go into tech roles.

We get a hands-on review of the brand new Samsung Galaxy S9, set to launch Friday. Plus, Apple buys digital magazine service Texture and Andru gives us his take on Amazon's acquisition of smart home security company Ring -- and why it might be bad for consumers.

Memes, reaction GIFs and urban legends like Slenderman are all examples of a new culture developing in the U.S. and across the world -- one that's unique to the web. On this episode of the GeekWire Podcast, we speak with two archivists from the Library of Congress that built the library's web culture archive to preserve elements of this culture and the unique communities that are growing online.

Is Amazon good for Seattle? That's the question a community forum asked this week, and the results point to the complex relationship Amazon has with the communities around it. Plus, Uber and Lyft are the latest tech companies to dive into healthcare and Amazon's Alexa voice assistant gives us a reason to laugh... or not.

It's International Women's Day, and in the tech world, the discussion about diversity, harassment and inclusion is coming more and more into the spotlight. What can companies and individuals do to make tech more welcoming for minorities and women? What is unconscious bias, and how can companies fight against it? We get into those questions with two diversity and humans relations experts: UniquelyHR Founder and CEO Mikaela Kiner and Apptio EVP of People and Culture Britt Provost.

It was a big week for AI. Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen put $125 million towards a new initiative to create "common sense" for AI that will help the technology get even smarter. Microsoft announced several AI-fueled healthcare technologies. On another note, Amazon came to an agreement to acquire smart home security company Ring.

Tech's entanglements with the law were on full display this week. Washington and other states are fighting net neutrality rollbacks. Advocates across the political spectrum are criticizing Amazon's ask for government incentives in its HQ2 search, some calling it 'corporate wellfare.' Plus, wireless, over-the-air charging is close to being a reality and an app that could help in the battle on the opioid crisis. 

Sony and Samsung both hinted at -- or had leaks about -- upcoming smartphone releases. What are they up to? Plus, Andru gives us his take after using the Apple HomePod and Dyson is taking its vacuum cleaner business in a surprising new direction. Follow our tech coverage at GeekWire.com and subscribe to live, behind-the-scenes recordings of Geared Up at youtube.com/gearlive

Can studying human intelligence help us build smarter machines? Rafael Reif thinks so. He's the president of MIT and he spoke with us on this podcast about the university's efforts to expand our understanding of AI and build new technologies for the future of the field.