This too-early morning, October, 13, I attended an interview of Recode publisher and co-founder Kara Swisher by someone from Silicon Valley Bank at an event hosted by the Solutions Network Journalism organization at Galvanize, a co-working and education training space in the SOMA district of San Francisco. SJN is dedicated to telling the whole story, not just the dysfunctional, sensational part.
I wouldn’t call Swisher’s Recode.net solutions-based journalism. It’s straightforward tech reporting from an insider’s perspective (Swisher’s partner was a former executive at Google and is now U.S. Chief Technology Officer.). Her bias when it comes to stories that trigger her hot points — she doesn’t suffer bigots kindly, particularly Sandhill Road sexists — shows in stories like the minute-to-minute TMI coverage Recode gave of the Ellen Pao sex harassment/discrimination suit against Kleiner Perkins et al.
While focusing on the technology industry, the former WSJ reporter and author of two books about Steve Case and AOL, spews what I call Swisherisms — oblique, witty critiques of the lifestyle that high tech creators and consumers alike ascribe to.
For example, referring to the former Twitter board of directors, which was composed of ten white men, she said that they epitomize the “mirrortocracy” of Silicon Valley.
She calls the plethora of service apps, from food deliveries to instant car pick-ups and laundry apps, “assisted living for San Francisco millenials.”
And Google’s exploration into longevity she calls its “Do Not Die Effort.”
Her main gripe, though, is that people consume rather than participate. She referred to someone else who coined the term digital sharecroppers to describe the way consumers contribute to someone else’s output without reaping the benefits. In contrast, she says, “The real power comes from making things.”
Swisher sees a shift away from millennial-service apps to a focus on food technology, transportation, and automation of government service. She feels health care has been the least affected by technology because of regulatory and privacy issues, but with advancements in data manipulation, that field will change for the better.