Category: The Ezra Klein Show

From Vox:

Patrick Collison is the 28-year-old CEO of Stripe, the online payments company that was just valued at $9 billion. Haven’t heard of Stripe? You’ve probably used it. Last year, 40 percent of people who bought something online used Stripe’s payment systems. The company has become an integral part of the internet’s financial plumbing.

And Collison has become one of Silicon Valley’s leading lights — he made the cover of Forbes last year, where one venture capitalist described him as “the LeBron James of entrepreneurs.” Collison is also one of the few people I’ve met who is a genuine polymath. He seems to know everything about everything, and his recall — particularly his ability to live-footnote his own comments — is something to behold.

We talk about how he and his brother conceived of, and launched, Stripe, and then we go much deeper. Among the topics we discussed:

-Why there was a market opportunity for Stripe in a world that had PayPal
-Why people are often wrong when they look at a market and think an incumbent has dominated it
-What he thinks is untrue about the stereotypes of how Silicon Valley handles regulation
-How we might be able to tell whether a buildup of regulations are preventing new companies from emerging
-Why jobs like home healthcare and childcare are becoming tension points in our national immigration discussion
-The difference in the way politicians and tech leaders approach problem-solving
-How he tries to shape culture within his company to help it become, in his words, more like itself
-What he admires about CEOs like Jeff Bezos and Jim Simons
-The culture of “rationalist” bloggers, and why he reads them-How we underestimate the importance of the Enlightenment period

Enjoy!

Listen to the entire episode here.

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From Vox:

Jose Andres isn’t just a chef. He’s a force. All that talk of how DC is now a hot dining scene? Andrés deserves more than a bit of the credit. He’s popularized Spanish tapas through Jaleo, brought El Bulli-style molecular gastronomy to America through MiniBar, and racked up some Michelin stars and James Beard awards along the way.

Andrés has hosted television shows, taught courses on the science of cooking at Harvard, extended his restaurant empire to Las Vegas and South Beach, set up a nonprofit in Haiti, and launched a fast-casual chain focused on vegetables. He’s been named “Man of the Year” by GQ and one of the world’s 100 most influential people by Time.

I’ve know Andrés for a couple of years, and I’ve never met a better storyteller, or seen anyone who thinks harder about the component parts of creativity. We talk about that, as well as:

-What Andrés learned from his father
-Why the most important job when making paella is tending the fire
-Why cooking at home is important but not essential
-What he makes of Americans eating out of the house more than ever before
-Why we need to be pragmatic about sourcing food
-How he applies what he learned in the Spanish navy to his restaurants
-What he learned from Ferran Adrià, the founder of molecular gastronomy
-How he takes ideas from other disciplines and applies them in his kitchens
-How important hiring is to him and why immigration policy is so crucial to the American restaurant business
-Why his fast-casual restaurants called Beefsteak are nearly meatless
-How he’s managed to run an empire while remaining focused on the creative side
-What he thinks we might lose by eating synthetic food or silent
-The one dish he thinks people should learn to cook

Do you eat? Do you think? Then listen to this.

Listen to the entire episode here.

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From Vox:

There are few episodes of this show that people loved as much as my conversation with Heather McGhee, president of the think tank Demos. Our first discussion focused on race, class, populism, and the sometimes toxic ways the three interact. It’s a topic I wanted to revisit in the aftermath of Trump’s election, and so I asked Heather back to the show. After this conversation, I’m very, very glad I did. Among other things, we discussed:

-The three factors that explain the election results
-Why race is a more complex force in politics than either liberals or conservatives assume
-The dangers of Democrats convincing themselves that populism and racial justice are either/or
-Her experience talking with a white man who realized he was prejudiced, and asked her help in changing
-Why Clinton lost states Obama won
-Why Clinton didn’t outperform Obama among nonwhite voters
-Why the core of modern racism is seeing some races as made of individuals and others as collectives
-Whether the very language around race and racism makes empathy more difficult
-How Democrats should think about cooperating — and not cooperating — with Trump

And, as always, much more. Heather is brilliant on these topics, and this is worth listening to.

Also, a lot of you have asked for an episode where I answer your questions, and we’re going to make it happen. So send your questions for me to [email protected].

Listen to the entire episode here.

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From Vox:

Why did Hillary Clinton lose the election? Why did Donald Trump win it? And why was the polling so completely wrong?

No one digs deeper into the demographics, polls, and trends of modern American politics than the Atlantic’s Ron Brownstein. Though he didn’t predict Trump’s win, his pre-election writing explained exactly how it could — and eventually did — happen. And it’s a more complicated story than you’ve heard.

In the week since the election, much has been made of Trump’s strength among white working class voters — and properly so, as they were core to his victory. But the white working class wasn’t the primary cause of Clinton’s loss. Her real problem were groups that didn’t turn out for her in the numbers her campaign expected — college-educated whites, African-Americans, and millennials. And that suggests a very different future for the Democrats.

In this conversation, Brownstein goes through the math of the election in detail. We also talk about:

-What Clinton’s campaign assumed, wrongly, about winning the middle of the country.
-The two quotes that Brownstein thinks explain the entire election
-How much James Comey influenced the election’s outcome
-Why Trump was able to win the support of voters who thought him unqualified
-What might have happened if Democrats had chosen Bernie Sanders as their nominee.
-Whether the next Democratic nominee should be focused on winning back working-class whites or energizing the Obama coalition
-The worrying signs the Republican Party will see if it compares Trump’s win to Reagan’s wins
-Why Brownstein sees Trump as a political independent candidate who happened to run under the Republican banner (and why Ezra disagrees)
-What will be hard and easy for a Trump administration to do while working with a Republican Congress.

And much more. There’s a lot of confusion about this election. Brownstein is here to clear it up.

Listen to the entire episode here.

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