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Foundering podcast

Foundering

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  Bloomberg  

Foundering is an award-winning, serialized podcast from the journalists at Bloomberg Technology. Each season, Foundering brings you inside a different high-stakes drama from the technology industry, where its companies are wielding unprecedented capital and power.

Foundering is an award-winning, serialized podcast from the journalists at Bloomberg Technology. Each season, Foundering brings you inside a different high-stakes drama from the technology industry, where its companies are wielding unprecedented capital and power.

 

#164

Amazon Part 7: The Final Frontier

It was the end of an era. Jeff Bezos announced he was leaving the CEO role at Amazon and becoming executive chairman. But as one epic business story was ending, another was beginning. His handpicked successor, Andy Jassy, would have to defuse the company’s mounting confrontations with regulators and employees, including a rising labor union at a Staten Island warehouse. Reporter Brad Stone chronicles what happened when Jeff Bezos’s feet left the ground – literally. One of the world’s wealthiest people wanted to spend more time on space travel, philanthropy, and a life of peripatetic indulgence with his new partner, Lauren Sanchez. But with pressing problems facing his company – and the planet – how serious is Bezos about deploying his vast resources and keen intellect to solving real problems? And 30 years after he started Amazon in a Seattle area garage, what will be Bezos and Amazon’s lasting legacy? See [omnystudio.com/listener] (https://omnystudio.com/listener) for privacy information. ... Read more

14 Apr 2022

35 MINS

35:17

14 Apr 2022


#163

Amazon Part 6: The Billionaire and the Tabloid

A wayward CEO, a tabloid newspaper determined to humiliate the world’s richest person, a callously disloyal brother and dramatic allegations of cyberespionage and international intrigue. The events surrounding the divorce of Jeff Bezos and MacKenzie Scott in early 2019 were almost too far-fetched to believe. A day after they announced the dissolution of their 25-year marriage with a tweet, the National Enquirer published an explosive story, detailing Bezos’s extramarital relationship. Reporter Brad Stone tells the dramatic story of Bezos’s evolving personal life and its impact on the tech giant he founded — leading to his ultimate decision to step back from the role of CEO. See [omnystudio.com/listener] (https://omnystudio.com/listener) for privacy information. ... Read more

07 Apr 2022

42 MINS

42:52

07 Apr 2022


#162

Amazon Part 5: The Price of Speedy Delivery

For its first 20 years, Amazon relied on UPS and other delivery companies to get packages to its customers’ doorsteps. Then a shipping disaster one Christmas made Jeff Bezos decide to build his own transportation network. Reporter Brad Stone chronicles the remarkable expansion of the Amazon transportation network into our communities, the company’s strained relationship with its delivery contractors and drivers, who wear Amazon uniforms but do not technically work for the tech giant. See [omnystudio.com/listener] (https://omnystudio.com/listener) for privacy information. ... Read more

31 Mar 2022

37 MINS

37:28

31 Mar 2022


#161

Amazon Part 4: The Virtual Bazaar

Jeff Bezos made an unorthodox decision two decades ago to open the Amazon’s virtual shelves to merchandise from outside sellers, turning the site from a simple online store into a virtual flea market. But converting Amazon.com into a marketplace also brought unexpected challenges. Cheap knockoffs flooded onto the site. Small businesses discovered that their professional lives were dictated by the whims of executives in Seattle. Reporter Brad Stone chronicles the epic expansion of the Amazon Marketplace, which generated tremendous growth for the company and unprecedented wealth for Jeff Bezos. It also attracted a litany of complaints from customers and competitors – and the critical attention of regulators around the word. See [omnystudio.com/listener] (https://omnystudio.com/listener) for privacy information. ... Read more

24 Mar 2022

34 MINS

34:50

24 Mar 2022


#160

Amazon Part 3: The Bumpy Road to Hollywood

Before Mrs. Maisel was marvelous and Jack Ryan saved the world, Jeff Bezos was convinced that the internet would change how people watched TV shows and movies. His response to the opportunity was called Prime Video –a seemingly prescient bet to bring a selection of video programming into the bundle of perks for Prime members. Reporter Brad Stone tells the story of Amazon’s bumpy road into Hollywood. After an early taste of success, the company navigated a public relations crisis around allegations of inappropriate behavior targeted at studio boss Roy Price. And then Bezos got his first significant brush with celebrity culture, sparking a personal reinvention that would have major consequences for the company and his own muted personal life. See [omnystudio.com/listener] (https://omnystudio.com/listener) for privacy information. ... Read more

17 Mar 2022

34 MINS

34:50

17 Mar 2022


#159

Amazon Part 2: The Obsessive Secrecy Around Alexa

One day in 2011, a small team of Boston-based AI scientists got an unexpected call: Amazon wanted to buy their company. Its founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos, was leading a secret team to develop a unique device, a voice-activated computer that could recognize and respond to user questions from across a noisy room. The world would soon know the device as the Amazon Echo, and its virtual personality as Alexa. Brad Stone tells the Alexa story and sizes up its impact on culture, and conventional notions of privacy. He also tracks down the actress who Amazon got to perform the voice that’s now in millions of homes worldwide. See [omnystudio.com/listener] (https://omnystudio.com/listener) for privacy information. ... Read more

10 Mar 2022

33 MINS

33:46

10 Mar 2022


#158

Amazon Part 1: The Inventor vs. The Monopolist

Today Amazon is an inescapable juggernaut. Back in 1994, it was just an idea, pitched by a former Wall Street banker named Jeff Bezos to disbelieving investors at the very birth of the internet era. Reporter Brad Stone, who has spent years chronicling the Amazon story, describes how the company almost flamed out the dot.bomb era and how Bezos rescued the company in part by ginning up two new lines of business – Prime shipping and its digital reader, the Kindle. See [omnystudio.com/listener] (https://omnystudio.com/listener) for privacy information. ... Read more

10 Mar 2022

38 MINS

38:46

10 Mar 2022


#157

TRAILER Foundering: The Amazon Story

This season of Foundering reexamines a foundational story of the internet age: the rise of Amazon and its ingenious founder Jeff Bezos. Over the last 20 years, Amazon has changed the way we shop, what we watch on TV, how we interact with our devices and how businesses consume computing resources. But is Amazon now too powerful—and unaccountable? And how did Bezos, once widely admired, turn into a controversial figure of unfathomable wealth, whose personal pursuits are avidly covered by the tabloids? Following his best-selling book “Amazon Unbound,” Brad Stone continues his exploration of Amazon and its founder, presenting an unvarnished picture of a company that spans the globe and touches nearly every aspect of our lives—for better or worse. See [omnystudio.com/listener] (https://omnystudio.com/listener) for privacy information. ... Read more

17 Feb 2022

02 MINS

02:40

17 Feb 2022


#156

Introducing: Breakthrough

On Breakthrough, a new series from the Prognosis podcast, we explore how the pandemic is changing our understanding of healthcare and medicine. We start with an examination of long Covid, a mysterious new illness that has stumped doctors attempting to treat symptoms that last for months and potentially years. It has changed the way hospitals work and forced healthcare officials to prepare for the next pandemic. Covid has also opened the door to revolutionary technology: messenger RNA vaccines. It’s a technology that never could have been proven so quickly outside the crucible of that first pandemic year, 2020, and it holds big implications for the future of medicine. Breakthrough launches on Oct. 19. Subscribe today on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. See [omnystudio.com/listener] (https://omnystudio.com/listener) for privacy information. ... Read more

13 Oct 2021

02 MINS

02:57

13 Oct 2021


#155

TikTok Part 6: The Showdown

In the summer of 2020, amid a pandemic, historic unemployment and racial unrest, President Donald Trump developed a bizarre obsession with TikTok. In this episode, reporter Shelly Banjo and her colleagues take you aboard Air Force One and into the surreal tit-for-tat fight between TikTok and one of the most powerful men in the world. Updated May 27, 2021 to reflect ByteDance CEO Zhang Yiming's decision to step down. See [omnystudio.com/listener] (https://omnystudio.com/listener) for privacy information. ... Read more

20 May 2021

39 MINS

39:36

20 May 2021


#154

TikTok Part 5: Should We Be Worried About Our Data?

After Donald Trump is elected president, tensions between the United States and China escalate. Several American politicians, security experts and even Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg turn their attention toward TikTok. In this episode, reporter Shelly Banjo looks into the fundamental question facing TikTok: What user data does TikTok collect, and can that information wind up in the hands of the Chinese government? See [omnystudio.com/listener] (https://omnystudio.com/listener) for privacy information. ... Read more

13 May 2021

38 MINS

38:26

13 May 2021


#153

TikTok Part 4: Are The Kids All Right?

While TikTok is known primarily as a breeding ground for funny memes, dance routines and lip-synching videos, there’s a dark side to TikTok that starts with the young children who populate the app. In this episode, reporter Shelly Banjo looks into the consequences of TikTok’s failure to safeguard its adolescent user base. Warning: This episode contains difficult and disturbing reporting, including stories about the sexual exploitation of minors. See [omnystudio.com/listener] (https://omnystudio.com/listener) for privacy information. ... Read more

06 May 2021

31 MINS

31:16

06 May 2021


#152

TikTok Part 3: ‘I’ll Be Making Bank! Hopefully.’

TikTok has redefined American pop culture and upended the music industry, advertising and the economics of fame. In this episode, reporter Shelly Banjo examines TikTok’s hands-on approach with its creators and artists, minting a new generation of social media stars and positioning TikTok’s parent company as the first Chinese tech giant to come out with a truly global consumer app. See [omnystudio.com/listener] (https://omnystudio.com/listener) for privacy information. ... Read more

29 Apr 2021

37 MINS

37:18

29 Apr 2021


#151

TikTok Part 2: The Silent Force from China

TikTok is powered by sophisticated artificial intelligence that predicts what users want to see next. This technology was developed at ByteDance, TikTok’s Chinese parent company and the most valuable startup in the world. In this episode, reporter Shelly Banjo explains how ByteDance founder and CEO Zhang Yiming fundamentally changed how a generation consumes media on their phones. See [omnystudio.com/listener] (https://omnystudio.com/listener) for privacy information. ... Read more

22 Apr 2021

38 MINS

38:16

22 Apr 2021


#150

TikTok Part 1: An Epiphany on a Train

Alex Zhu, a Chinese tech entrepreneur, was seated on a train in Silicon Valley across from a group of teenagers. He watched as the kids were listening to music and making videos on their phones, and he decided to create an app that combined the two cultural obsessions. The resulting platform would become the social media powerhouse now known as TikTok. In this episode, reporter Shelly Banjo explains the genesis of Gen Z’s favorite app. See [omnystudio.com/listener] (https://omnystudio.com/listener) for privacy information. ... Read more

22 Apr 2021

29 MINS

29:27

22 Apr 2021


#149

Coming Soon: A New Season of Foundering

TikTok emerged as the defining app of a generation: a cultural tastemaker, a musical hitmaker and a launchpad for a new breed of celebrity. But as the app reached over 2 billion downloads, TikTok became a victim of its own success, attracting sharp scrutiny from the world’s two most powerful countries. In this season of Foundering, Bloomberg Technology reporter Shelly Banjo tracks the rise of TikTok by taking listeners inside the mysterious Chinese mega-startup behind the phenomenon and the political hysteria that followed. See [omnystudio.com/listener] (https://omnystudio.com/listener) for privacy information. ... Read more

01 Apr 2021

02 MINS

02:26

01 Apr 2021


#148

Introducing: Doubt

A few decades ago, nobody really questioned vaccines. They were viewed as a standard part of staying healthy and safe. Today, the number of people questioning vaccines risks prolonging a pandemic that has already killed hundreds of thousands of Americans. How we got to this moment didn’t start with the rollout of vaccines or in March 2020, or even with the election of Donald Trump. Our confidence in vaccines, often isn't even about vaccines. It’s about trust. And that trust has been eroding for a long time. Doubt, a new series from Bloomberg’s Prognosis podcast, looks at the forces that have been breaking down that trust. We'll trace the rise of vaccine skepticism in America to show how we got here — and where we’re going. Doubt launches on March 23. Subscribe to Prognosis today on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. See [omnystudio.com/listener] (https://omnystudio.com/listener) for privacy information. ... Read more

12 Mar 2021

02 MINS

02:42

12 Mar 2021


#147

WeWork Part 7: In the End, There Was Adam

After WeWork's failed IPO, thousands of employees were laid off and the company teetered on the brink of collapse. Meanwhile, ousted CEO Adam Neumann flew to Israel with a generous exit package in hand. In this final episode of Foundering, reporter Ellen Huet surveys the wreckage of WeWork. Adam's executives and employees were asking themselves: Did Adam ever really believe in the values he preached? And what lessons will the world draw from WeWork's crash? See [omnystudio.com/listener] (https://omnystudio.com/listener) for privacy information. ... Read more

30 Jul 2020

41 MINS

41:45

30 Jul 2020


#146

WeWork Part 6: IPO -- Just Kidding

WeWork had spent nine years chasing lightning-fast growth, burning billions of dollars, and expanding around the world. In 2019, the company reached a turning point: WeWork needed even more cash, and Adam Neumann decided to take his company public with a massive IPO. But suddenly, in the span of a few weeks, his plan crashed spectacularly. The almost-IPO flopped and WeWork became a laughingstock. In this episode, reporter Ellen Huet asks: How did the company's fortune flip so fast, and why didn't they see it coming? See [omnystudio.com/listener] (https://omnystudio.com/listener) for privacy information. ... Read more

23 Jul 2020

41 MINS

41:58

23 Jul 2020


#145

Introducing: Blood River, A New Podcast From Bloomberg

The killers of Berta Caceres had every reason to believe they’d get away with murder. More than 100 other environmental activists in Honduras had been killed in the previous five years, yet almost no one had been punished for the crimes. Bloomberg’s Blood River follows a four-year quest to find her killers – a twisting trail that leads into the country’s circles of power. Blood River premieres on July 27. See [omnystudio.com/listener] (https://omnystudio.com/listener) for privacy information. ... Read more

21 Jul 2020

03 MINS

03:43

21 Jul 2020


#144

WeWork Part 5: The Universe Does Not Allow Waste

Adam Neumann always had wild ambitions. By 2017, he had found an even wilder investor who wanted to fund those ambitions: SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son. Adam spent his billions from SoftBank on competitive tactics, seemingly random investments, and even an elementary school. In this episode, reporter Ellen Huet explores why this free-wheeling spending was so odd: Adam knew this was a bad idea. In exclusive recordings from internal meetings in 2016, he warned his employees that they had to cut back on WeWork's "spending culture." But once the money poured in, it appeared like he forgot his own advice. See [omnystudio.com/listener] (https://omnystudio.com/listener) for privacy information. ... Read more

16 Jul 2020

35 MINS

35:31

16 Jul 2020


#143

WeWork Part 4: WeWork Sued Her the Same Day

What happened at WeWork when things got ugly between the company and its employees? As WeWork expanded, a handful of employees wanted to speak out and interrupt the public image that WeWork was presenting to the world. In this episode, reporter Ellen Huet follows the stories of two former workers, some of the first insiders to speak up about what they saw on the job.  See [omnystudio.com/listener] (https://omnystudio.com/listener) for privacy information. ... Read more

09 Jul 2020

31 MINS

31:20

09 Jul 2020


#142

WeWork Part 3: Is Naked Pete Coming to Summer Camp?

To its thousands of employees, WeWork was much more than a job. Founder Adam Neumann leveraged his employees’ emotions to motivate them. In exclusive tapes obtained by Bloomberg, Adam lectured employees that working at WeWork was special: “You do not get a chance like this again.” In this episode, a former employee describes the tumultuous experience of working inside WeWork’s headquarters, from their raucous parties to the late night meetings. See [omnystudio.com/listener] (https://omnystudio.com/listener) for privacy information. ... Read more

02 Jul 2020

33 MINS

33:23

02 Jul 2020


#141

WeWork Part 2: The Bar Is Now at Your Desk

WeWork sold office space, but also it sold something else: fun. Beer flowed freely, members partied at the office, and your work was your life. But getting these offices off the ground was utter chaos, especially for the burgeoning company’s young, inexperienced workers. In this episode, reporter Ellen Huet takes a look at WeWork’s early days, when the company was growing so fast that some buildings opened without doors or functioning bathrooms. See [omnystudio.com/listener] (https://omnystudio.com/listener) for privacy information. ... Read more

25 Jun 2020

31 MINS

31:47

25 Jun 2020