Land of the Giants
Land of the Giants
Jun 23, 2020
“Netflix is a team, not a family”
Play • 39 min

Is working on a team of all-stars, excellent pay, and unlimited vacation worth the stress of constant criticism from co-workers and the knowledge that your boss is considering whether to replace you? Netflix execs will tell you that their internal culture is the key to their success.


Hosts: Peter Kafka & Rani Molla

This podcast is a production of Recode by Vox and the Vox Media Podcast Network. This episode was produced by Zach Mack, Bridget Armstrong. Our editor is Charlie Herman. Gautam Srikishan engineered and scored this episode. Nishat Kurwa is the Executive Producer.

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City of the Future
City of the Future
Sidewalk Labs
Flexible Streets
The pandemic has forced us to reexamine and reimagine how we use one of our most precious public spaces: our streets. From outdoor dining to expanded bike lanes, cities have been re-designing streets so they can be better shared by all — drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians alike. But could we take this idea even further? What if we could use design and technology to make our streets more flexible? So they could change use according to the season, the week, or even the hour? In our season finale, we explore a future where city streets can do just that — and better respond to all of our needs. In this episode: * [0:01 - 6:44] We meet with transit guru Gridlock Sam to talk about the history of political battles over New York City streets and the recent changes in response to Covid * [6:54 - 11:18] Aspen Director of Parking & Downtown Services Mitch Osur and Coord Head of Policy & Partnerships Dawn Miller explain how data is allowing cities to solve problems like traffic and curb congestion * [11:43 - 14:40] We visit Sidewalk Labs Senior Creative Technologist Nick Jonas to test out Pebble, a new technology for vehicle occupancy detection * [16:23 - 23:43] Associate Director of Planning & Delivery Siqi Zhu and Director of Mobility Willa Ng imagine how our streets can adapt to be shared more equitably To see images and videos of topics discussed in this episode, read the link-rich transcript on our Sidewalk Talk Medium page. City of the Future is hosted by Eric Jaffe and Vanessa Quirk, and produced by Benjamen Walker and Andrew Callaway. Mix is by Zach Mcnees. Art is by Tim Kau. Our music is composed by Adaam James Levin-Areddy of Lost Amsterdam. Special thanks to Sam Schwartz, Mitch Osur, Dawn Miller, Nick Jonas, Siqi Zhu, and Willa Ng.
25 min
Clever
Clever
Amy Devers + Jaime Derringer of Design Milk
Clever Confidential Ep. 2: The Supernatural Beginnings of The Bradbury Building
In the heart of downtown Los Angeles sits Hollywood’s undisputed architectural superstar — the Bradbury Building. The imposing structure’s character is definitive. Its origin story, however, is much murkier…  How did a young draftsman design one of the most remarkable buildings in the world? Why did he never again do anything of note? Or did he? Was all his creativity spent on this one masterpiece? Was this a case of stolen intellectual property? Or could this have even been a brush with the supernatural? See images and read the show notes! Clever Confidential is our offshoot series where we dig into the lesser told stories of the darker side of design; the shadowy, sometimes sordid, tales hiding under a glossy top coat of respectable legacy. Many thanks to this episode’s guest experts Kim Cooper and Richard Schave! More about Esotouric: Although Esotouric's in-person tours have been paused since March 2020, Kim and Richard can be found every Saturday at 12p PST, presenting an all-new immersive cultural history webinar to Los Angeles history lovers around the world. Past webinar themes (all available On-Demand) include Raymond Chandler, The Black Dahlia, Angels Flight Railway, Grand Central Market, Cafeteria History and Lost Bunker Hill. And their first, naturally, was about the greatest building in Los Angeles: the Bradbury! Many thanks to our sponsors:   Helix To all our designer friends out there, Helix is one of the only “mattress in a box” companies that offers a designer trade discount—and it’s a good one at that! Just go to http://helixsleep.com/clever, sign up for the trade program, and once approved you will receive 25% off all products at all three of their brands.   For regular customers, Helix is offering a great promo where you can receive up to $200 off your order plus 2 free dream pillows. Just visit http://helixsleep.com/clever to take the quiz and save up to $200 on your dream mattress   Skillshare Curiosity is what drove us to create Clever and curiosity about design, creativity and the human experience is what keeps us going. We never stop learning, so whether you’re a beginner, a hobbyist, or a seasoned pro, there is always another skill to master, or technique to perfect.   A new year is the perfect time to start. Skillshare is an online learning community for everyone. And they’re giving Clever listeners a free trial of their Premium Membership. No matter what 2021 brings, you can spend it creating something meaningful with Skillshare’s online classes—from design to film and photography, illustration, business, writing and more.  Explore your creativity at Skillshare.com/Clever, where our listeners get a free trial of Skillshare’s Premium Membership. Start now at Skillshare.com/clever   Please let us know what you think on social: Twitter, Instagram and Facebook... Support this show http://supporter.acast.com/clever.   See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
1 hr
Future Perfect
Future Perfect
Vox
Rethinking meat
How can we convince people to change their relationship with meat? Melanie Joy has been grappling with this question for a long time. To answer it, she takes us back to other points in history when new technology helped make social change palatable. She digs into how the invention of the washing machine and other household appliances, for example, helped make feminism easier to imagine. Then, she looks to the future, at our latest meat technologies — plant-based meat and lab grown meat — and asks: Could they make it easier for us to move away from meat altogether?  Further listening and reading:  Joy’s books, Powerarchy: Understanding the Psychology of Oppression for Social Transformation and Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows.  Vox’s Ezra Klein interviewed Joy for an episode of The Ezra Klein Show in 2018. Hear that interview and read her book recommendations here. We always want to hear from you! Please send comments and questions to futureperfect@vox.com.  Subscribe to Future Perfect on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app to automatically get new episodes of the latest season each week. This podcast is made possible thanks to support from Animal Charity Evaluators. They research and promote the most effective ways to help animals. Featuring: Melanie Joy (@DrMelanieJoy) Host: Sigal Samuel (@SigalSamuel), staff writer, Vox  More to explore: Follow all of Future Perfect’s reporting on the Future of Meat. Subscribe to Vox’s Future Perfect newsletter, which breaks down big, complicated problems the world faces and the most efficient ways to solve them. Follow Us: Vox.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
22 min
The History of Computing
The History of Computing
Charles Edge
Bob Tayler: ARPA to PARC to DEC
Robert Taylor was one of the true pioneers in computer science. In many ways, he is the string (or glue) that connected the US governments era of supporting computer science through ARPA to innovations that came out of Xerox PARC and then to the work done at Digital Equipment Corporation’s Systems Research Center. Those are three critical aspects of the history of computing and while Taylor didn’t write any of the innovative code or develop any of the tools that came out of those three research environments, he saw people and projects worth funding and made sure the brilliant scientists got what they needed to get things done. The 31 years in computing that his stops represented were some of the most formative years for the young computing industry and his ability to inspire the advances that began with Vannevar Bush’s 1945 article called “As We May Think” then ended with the explosion of the Internet across personal computers. Bob Taylor inherited a world where computing was waking up to large crusty but finally fully digitized mainframes stuck to its eyes in the morning and went to bed the year Corel bought WordPerfect because PCs needed applications, the year the Pentium 200 MHz was released, the year Palm Pilot and eBay were founded, the year AOL started to show articles from the New York Times, the year IBM opened a we web shopping mall and the year the Internet reached 36 million people. Excite and Yahoo went public. Sometimes big, sometimes small, all of these can be traced back to Bob Taylor - kinda’ how we can trace all actors to Kevin Bacon. But more like if Kevin Bacon found talent and helped them get started, by paying them during the early years of their careers… How did Taylor end up as the glue for the young and budding computing research industry? Going from tween to teenager during World War II, he went to Southern Methodist University in 1948, when he was 16. He jumped into the US Naval Reserves during the Korean War and then got his masters in psychology at the University of Texas at Austin using the GI Bill. Many of those pioneers in computing in the 60s went to school on the GI Bill. It was a big deal across every aspect of American life at the time - paving the way to home ownership, college educations, and new careers in the trades. From there, he bounced around, taking classes in whatever interested him, before taking a job at Martin Marietta, helping design the MGM-31 Pershing and ended up at NASA where he discovered the emerging computer industry. Taylor was working on projects for the Apollo program when he met JCR Licklider, known as the Johnny Appleseed of computing. Lick, as his friends called him, had written an article called Man-Computer Symbiosis in 1960 and had laid out a plan for computing that influenced many. One such person, was Taylor. And so it was in 1962 he began and in 1965 that he succeeded in recruiting Taylor away from NASA to take his place running ARPAs Information Processing Techniques Office, or IPTO. Taylor had funded Douglas Engelbart’s research on computer interactivity at Stanford Research Institute while at NASA. He continued to do so when he got to ARPA and that project resulted in the invention of the computer mouse and the Mother of All Demos, one of the most inspirational moments and a turning point in the history of computing. They also funded a project to develop an operating system called Multics. This would be a two million dollar project run by General Electric, MIT, and Bell Labs. Run through Project MAC at MIT there were just too many cooks in the kitchen. Later, some of those Bell Labs cats would just do their own thing. Ken Thompson had worked on Multics and took the best and worst into account when he wrote the first lines of Unix and the B programming language, then one of the most important languages of all time, C. Interactive graphical computing and operating systems were great but IPTO, and so Bob Taylor and team, would fund straight out of the pentagon, the ability for one computer to process information on another computer. Which is to say they wanted to network computers. It took a few years, but eventually they brought in Larry Roberts, and by late 1968 they’d awarded an RFQ to build a network to a company called Bolt Beranek and Newman (BBN) who would build Interface Message Processors, or IMPs. The IMPS would connect a number of sites and route traffic and the first one went online at UCLA in 1969 with additional sites coming on frequently over the next few years. That system would become ARPANET, the commonly accepted precursor to the Internet. There was another networking project going on at the time that was also getting funding from ARPA as well as the Air Force, PLATO out of the University of Illinois. PLATO was meant for teaching and had begun in 1960, but by then they were on version IV, running on a CDC Cyber and the time sharing system hosted a number of courses, as they referred to programs. These included actual courseware, games, convent with audio and video, message boards, instant messaging, custom touch screen plasma displays, and the ability to dial into the system over lines, making the system another early network. Then things get weird. Taylor is sent to Vietnam as a civilian, although his rank equivalent would be a brigadier general. He helped develop the Military Assistance Command in Vietnam. Battlefield operations and reporting were entering the computing era. Only problem is, while Taylor was a war veteran and had been deep in the defense research industry for his entire career, Vietnam was an incredibly unpopular war and seeing it first hand and getting pulled into the theater of war, had him ready to leave. This combined with interpersonal problems with Larry Roberts who was running the ARPA project by then over Taylor being his boss even without a PhD or direct research experience. And so Taylor joined a project ARPA had funded at the University of Utah and left ARPA. There, he worked with Ivan Sutherland, who wrote Sketchpad and is known as the Father of Computer Graphics, until he got another offer. This time, from Xerox to go to their new Palo Alto Research Center, or PARC. One rising star in the computer research world was pretty against the idea of a centralized mainframe driven time sharing system. This was Alan Kay. In many ways, Kay was like Lick. And unlike the time sharing projects of the day, the Licklider and Kay inspiration was for dedicated cycles on processors. This meant personal computers. The Mansfield Amendment in 1973 banned general research by defense agencies. This meant that ARPA funding started to dry up and the scientists working on those projects needed a new place to fund their playtime. Taylor was able to pick the best of the scientists he’d helped fund at ARPA. He helped bring in people from Stanford Research Institute, where they had been working on the oNLineSystem, or NLS. This new Computer Science Laboratory landed people like Charles Thacker, David Boggs, Butler Lampson, and Bob Sproul and would develop the Xerox Alto, the inspiration for the Macintosh. The Alto though contributed the very ideas of overlapping windows, icons, menus, cut and paste, word processing. In fact, Charles Simonyi from PARC would work on Bravo before moving to Microsoft to spearhead Microsoft Word. Bob Metcalfe on that team was instrumental in developing Ethernet so workstations could communicate with ARPANET all over the growing campus-connected environments. Metcalfe would leave to form 3COM. SuperPaint would be developed there and Alvy Ray Smith would go on to co-found Pixar, continuing the work begun by Richard Shoup. They developed the Laser Printer, some of the ideas that ended up in TCP/IP, and the their research into page layout languages would end up with Chuck Geschke, John Warnock and others founding Adobe. Kay would bring us the philosophy behind the DynaBook which decades later would ef…
15 min
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