We do a lot of interviews on The Verge. For your reading (and sometimes viewing) pleasure we decided to pull them all together in one convenient place. Yes, every single interview is collected right here. Grab a root beer or some mineral water and your reading glasses, and enjoy.
Feb 24, 2016
Xiaomi just announced its latest flagship, the Mi 5, and we got a chance to sit down with vice president Hugo Barra following the phone's introduction. Barra is the company's public face, having previously served as one of the leaders on Google's mobile team, and he exudes both the vast ambition of his current employer and the quiet confidence of his former company. The big thing he wanted to get across today was that Xiaomi's attendance at Mobile World Congress is mostly an ambassadorial mission. The company isn't announcing new markets for its products — it's still focused primarily on China and building out its operations in neighboring countries in Southeast Asia — but it does want to establish a global reputation and expand its name recognition.Read Article >
In order to be taken seriously around the world, Xiaomi will first have to shake its reputation for being one of the Chinese copycats that Apple has in the past criticized for ripping off its iPhone and other products. The Mi 5 achieves that with aplomb, showing off design hallmarks that Xiaomi introduced with its Mi Note, and looking nothing like Apple's aluminum-clad flagship. Some might argue that Xiaomi has shifted to copying Samsung, owing to the similar lines of the Mi 5 to Samsung's Galaxy Note and Edge devices, but Barra is definite on that point: Xiaomi's Mi Note was first out of the gate with the 3D-curved back now featured on the Mi 5. It's evident that the company has invested heavily in its design, and Barra anticipates a time when people will recognize phones that look similar and say "hey, that looks like a Xiaomi phone!" It's a fittingly bold ambition from one of the mobile industry's fastest growing companies. Watch our full interview with Hugo Barra for more on Xiaomi's plans for the future.
Jan 8, 2016
The Oculus Rift's $599 price has been a tough pill to swallow for many, but there's already a way in which you can slice it down to a more reasonable size: buy the Rift with a Dell or Alienware PC. Here at CES, Dell has just announced that it will take $200 off the price of purchasing a Rift VR headset with one of its certified Oculus Ready PCs.Read Article >
So far, there are only three PC makers approved to carry the Oculus Ready branding — Dell, Alienware, and Asus — and two of them are technically the same company. Dell is capitalizing on that leading position now by opening orders for its Oculus Rift bundles, which are built around the Alienware X51 and Dell XPS 8900 desktops. The Oculus-certified variants of those PCs start at $1,199, which Dell will discount by $200 when you buy them along with a Rift headset. Deliveries of these bundles will be at the same time as those for direct preorders with Oculus, which are presently expected on March 28th.
Jan 7, 2016
What makes the Robin different? Well, it certainly looks different from the rest of the Android field, with its fresh minty color scheme and regular geometric lines. Designed by Scott Croyle, the former head of HTC's design team, the Robin represents an effort to do things a little differently. It tries to hide its technological capabilities rather than impress people with them. This is a phone that promises to be smart enough to back up disused apps and unloved photos to a cloud storage locker without driving its user insane by making undesired judgments. That's a lot of smarts, but it's all dressed up in a friendly, humane design that invites you to touch and hold it.Read Article >
Check out our interview with Croyle discussing the thinking that went into the Kickstarter-backed Robin's design. The Nextbit Robin starts shipping to early backers on February 16th and further preorders will be taken until January 15th, when the company will halt new orders while it works to fulfil the ones it already has.
Sep 2, 2015
Intel makes a habit of announcing its new processor generations in gradual steps. A month ago, it introduced the first members of its sixth-gen Core family — better known by the codename Skylake — in the form of the overclocking-ready Core i7-6700K and Core i5-6600K, a pair of desktop chips primarily aimed at gamers. Today at IFA, the American chipmaker is unfurling the full breadth of its Skylake range, which will span the broadest spectrum of devices in the company’s history. Intel will have Skylake processors going from a 4.5W TDP designed for ultra-thin, fanless machines all the way up to 91W for workstation and enthusiast gaming purposes.Read Article >
Kirk Skaugen, the general manager of Intel’s Client Computing Group and the person charged with expanding the company’s mobile business, will be presenting the news in a keynote address on Wednesday that will kick off a busy day of IFA 2015 press conferences. OEM partners like Acer, Asus, and Lenovo will then be following up with their announcements of new machines using the new processors, putting real hardware meat around the beating heart of Intel’s latest. Ahead of the show, Skaugen sat down for an interview with The Verge to discuss Intel’s strategy with its new family of chips and the close collaboration with Microsoft that leads him to believe that there’s never been a better time to buy a new PC.
Sep 1, 2015
Phone fans owe a lot to Scott Croyle. In his time as HTC’s design chief, Croyle presided over the creation of the critically acclaimed One series of Android smartphones as well as earlier standout devices like the Windows Phone 8X. He helped evolve smartphone design beyond mere utilitarianism, and for that he deserves our appreciation. Croyle departed HTC in April of last year to join a small startup named Nextbit, whose initial focus was on making software rather than hardware. But it wasn't long before Croyle was back to making cool new things for our pockets, and today he returns with his small group of like-minded, experienced phone makers to introduce the Nextbit Robin. It’s what Croyle and company are calling a “cloud-first, design-first smartphone.”Read Article >
The Nextbit team dropped by the Verge offices ahead of today’s Kickstarter launch to show us the guts of the Robin smartphone and to discuss how all those high-tech pieces fit together. In essence, it was a guided tour through the process of designing a smartphone from scratch, with our guide being Scott Croyle himself.
Nov 5, 2014
Subscription book app Oyster has come a long way since launching just over a year ago. The service has more than quadrupled its library of books to 500,000, landed big publishers like Disney, and released apps on several new platforms like the web. This week, the company debuted a new feature called Book Lists that’s like GoodReads — except this time, the place to find new books is also the place to read them with one tap.Read Article >
It seemed like a good time to catch up with Willem Van Lancker, the creative co-founder of Oyster, who also happens to be one of the guys who designed Apple’s iconic iOS emoji. If Van Lancker has his way, his legacy will lie in changing the way we read, but the odds are against him: in the world of six-second Vines and disappearing snaps, keeping someone’s attention for more than a minute is a challenge — and Amazon has a competing service of its own called Kindle Unlimited. He took a few moments to speak to The Verge about how things have been going.
Sep 26, 2014
This week, a very dangerous vulnerability was discovered in one of Linux’s most widely used utilities. The good news is that the good guys discovered it, but the bad news is that it’s potentially "worse than Heartbleed" in the wrong hands, according to some experts (and Heartbleed was pretty bad news). It's a terrible situation for almost everyone in the computing industry. One of the few exceptions is AgileBits, the company behind password-management software 1Password.Read Article >
Each time a massive hack or leak makes news, 1Password sales go up. Each time celebrity nudes get stolen, a few more people realize that their data is not as secure as they thought it was, and consider what can be done. The developers at AgileBits say they’re just as bummed when something gets hacked — but it’s hard to deny the marketing power of a security flaw in selling an app that promotes better, stronger passwords.
Aug 12, 2014
It’s been four years since Stewart Butterfield last sent an email to a work colleague. His team long ago replaced email with a chat app that plugged in to all their favorite services like Twitter, GitHub, and Dropbox. It worked so well that, when Butterfield’s game Glitch went under, his company decided to launch their chat app to the world and reboot their company.Read Article >
In the six months since launch, Slack, as the app’s called, has been growing at a breakneck pace. Over 125,000 people use the app every day, among them 13,000 teams at companies as large as eBay, Sony, Yelp, and NBCUniversal. Active user numbers are expected to double by year end, but more importantly, engagement is off the charts, with users spending nearly 10 hours logged in to the app every day. "Slack is so beloved that some companies have begun mentioning it as an employment perk alongside on-site massages and bottomless bacon-tray Fridays in their job listings," reads a recent profile of the company in Wired.
Aug 8, 2014
For over 25 years, John Bruno has created some of the most memorable visual effects in film, and he’s got an Oscar (and a pile of nominations) to prove it. His credits include classics like Heavy Metal, Batman Returns, and Ghostbusters. And his collaborations with longtime friend James Cameron gave us The Abyss, Terminator 2, True Lies, Titanic, and Avatar. For all of these, Bruno has dictated the style and substance of the surreal and supernatural on our screens.Read Article >
Most recently, Bruno took a turn in the director’s chair to document James Cameron’s historic dive to the Challenger Deep at the bottom of the Mariana Trench, which lies 36,000 feet below the surface of the ocean – the deepest place on earth.
Aug 4, 2014
Any way you look at it, Tim Wu is an unlikely candidate for public office. The Columbia law school professor who coined the term "net neutrality" is a public intellectual better known for his academic work than his political activism. But he entered New York's Democratic primary when Zephyr Teachout, a fellow law professor and activist, asked him to be her running mate in a long-shot challenge to incumbent Governor Andrew Cuomo. The current lieutenant governor, Robert Duffy, is not seeking reelection, so Wu faces Cuomo’s chosen successor, former Congresswoman Kathy Hochul.Read Article >
Internet activists have long supported Wu’s writing; now he’s asking them to support his campaign. Cuomo has challenged the petitions that Wu needs to get on the ballot, saying they are invalid, and said Teachout has not lived in New York for the required five years before running. Fighting these challenge is a costly distraction, which is why they are becoming a more common move in political campaigns. Wu is trying to fight back with the help of crowdfunding platform Tilt, seeking $100,000 to fight the petition challenge.
Jul 28, 2014
Ever the controversial figure, Frank Miller is nevertheless one of the greats. As one of many notable comics creators who shot to prominence in the 1980s and ‘90s, Miller’s work on such characters as Batman and Daredevil helped define a generation of comic readers. But he’s seen his share of deserved criticism over the course of his career — graphic novels like Sin City and 300, while stylish and influential, have been derided for their treatment of women and people of color, and the more recent Holy Terror was shellacked by readers and comic writers alike for its unabashedly propagandistic attack on Islam.Read Article >
Miller presses on, critics be damned. He’s a bit of a crank, after all, and will proudly call himself "a prick" in front of an audience of die-hard fans at Comic-Con. Reunited with director Robert Rodriguez, who helped bring Sin City’s stripped-down style to film back in 2005, he’s now preparing for the release of Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. Coming out on August 22nd, the new movie is a return to his beloved world of fast cars, brutal killers, and dangerous women, but promises to push the envelope even further. We sat down with Miller to talk about the new film, his influence, and when Sin City 3 will come out.
Jul 24, 2014
The comics industry mastered Hollywood a long time ago, but the tried-and-true comic book has had a harder time making the transition to digital. The biggest player in the game right now is Comixology, which long ago established itself as the gold standard of comics distribution online. However, ever since its recent acquisition by Amazon, the app has endured criticism for a new design that — as a consequence of Amazon's understandable unwillingness to deal with Apple's in-app purchases policy — effectively breaks what was originally an awesome storefront. But when it comes to alternatives, the last decade is littered with ambitious experiments in the medium that either did too much or just never got off the ground. How do you make a viable digital comics business while pushing the medium forward? It's a tough question to answer, and no one has really made a perfect solution.Read Article >
Award-winning writer Mark Waid gets all that, and could be the one to get the business right — as one of comics' big-name authors, he's worked as a collaborator on a few major projects in digital and even helped with Comixology's earlier well-received design efforts. He's also been an ardent critic of what he sees as excess in the space. And people ought to listen: fans might recognize his work in classics like Marvel’s Age of Apocalypse (a screen adaptation of which will hit theaters in 2016) DC’s Kingdom Come, and Empire, an Eisner-nominated limited series about a supervillain dealing with what happens when you finally take over the world.
Jun 13, 2014Read Article >
Phil Lord and Chris Miller are on a hot streak. After scoring a surprise hit with 2012’s big-screen reboot of 21 Jump Street, the directing duo followed it up this past February with The Lego Movie. With a mix of inventive visuals and effervescent comedy — not to mention a ton of pop-culture references — the pair took what could have easily been a lazy commercial tie-in, and turned out a tremendously entertaining movie that felt straight from the Pixar school of animation. This Friday, their first sequel, 22 Jump Street, hits theaters — and expectations are a little higher this time around. We chatted with the directors about their animation background, striking the right balance between heart and snark, and how they avoided the pitfalls of almost every sequel ever made.
Jun 12, 2014
As I slide open the door on the second floor of Microsoft's cavernous green booth at E3 2014, the gorgeous (and unreleased) game Ori and the Blind Forest fills the screen in front of me. Sometimes, Phil Spencer tells me as he shakes my hand, he likes to take a break from interviews and just play for a minute.Read Article >
Spencer has been head of Xbox at Microsoft for two months, but he's been a gamer much longer. And since his promotion from head of Microsoft Studios, he's sought to remind the world that the Xbox One is, above all, a device made for gamers. He spent all 90 minutes of Xbox's E3 press conference talking about games, and he believes firmly that those games are the one and only thing that will determine the success of his console. Not TV features, not streaming services, not voice commands. Games.
May 29, 2014
Before the present explosion of indie games, there was Cave Story. A sprawling, wonderful Metroid-style 2D adventure, Cave Story was the sole work of Daisuke "Pixel" Amaya, who created the game in his spare time while working for a Japanese IT company. Almost everyone who played Cave Story fell in love with it, and the game was a strong influence on the current boom of auteur-led indie titles.Read Article >
Pixel did everything himself — the graphics, the music, the programming, the story — and released Cave Story for free in 2004. There were freeware titles before, of course, but Pixel’s strong spirit of independence and stamp of authorship means Cave Story is as good a pick for the birth of the indie scene as any. Now he’s back with Kero Blaster, a 2D action game four years in the making that bears all the hallmarks of another cult classic.
May 19, 2014
The new Godzilla was an unqualified success this past weekend, earning over $200 million globally and kicking off development of a sequel. It’s a particularly impressive feat given the kitschy history of the character. Most people think of Godzilla as a camp testament to cheap special effects and terrible dubbing, but the new film sidesteps those impressions by adopting a more grounded, earnest tone, calling back to the 1954 Japanese original that used the creature to express nuclear fears in post-World War II Japan.Read Article >
While that’s due in no small part to director Gareth Edwards, it’s also thanks to the work of screenwriter Max Borenstein. While Borenstein’s been impressing the industry for years with scripts like the unproduced Jimi Hendrix biopic Jimi, Godzilla is actually his first credit since his 2003 feature Swordswallowers and Thin Men (he’s got Seventh Son coming next year). A few days before the movie opened, we spoke with the screenwriter to find out how he made Godzilla relevant to modern audiences, both in the film and in the graphic novel prequel Godzilla: Awakening.
Mar 27, 2014
In the late 1970s, science fiction and cinema changed forever. Star Wars helped usher in the era of the outer-space blockbuster, while Ridley Scott’s Alien crystallized a sinister vision with some of the most horrific creature design ever seen. But as the new documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune argues, neither may have become the classics we know today were it not for another epic film — one that nobody has ever seen.Read Article >
Alejandro Jodorowsky is the avant-garde filmmaker behind cult classics like El Topo and The Holy Mountain, and in 1975 he began work on a surrealistic adaptation of Frank Herbert’s Dune. His vision was trippy and fantastic — "I did not want LSD to be taken, I wanted to fabricate the drug’s effects," Jodorowsky says. To bring it to life, he assembled a legendary creative team, including artists Jean “Moebius” Giraud and H.R. Giger, with future Alien writer Dan O’Bannon handling visual effects. Jodorowsky convinced everyone from Salvador Dalí to Orson Welles to star in his epic. Then the filmmaker assembled a series of books containing every storyboard, ship design, and piece of art — and sent them off to the major studios to help get funding.
Mar 26, 2014
One year ago, Oculus founder Palmer Luckey told me that his virtual reality headset company had no intention to sell. He said that the team had agreed, for the time being, to stay independent — to make sure that it didn't have to cater to another company's business strategy in order to further its goals. When Oculus raised $100 million in funding, it seemed that independence was assured, even though the company picked up a few new bosses along the way. But today, Facebook bought Oculus for $2 billion, including $400 million in cash.Read Article >
If Oculus already had enough money to launch its consumer virtual reality platform, why would it sell to Mark Zuckerberg? We just asked Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe and founder Palmer Luckey that very question. Luckey says that Facebook will not only allow Oculus to stay independent, but that it will also provide the resources to design and produce components purpose-built for virtual reality hardware. Though originally, Oculus piggybacked on the low cost of commodity components built for smartphones, Luckey says that won't necessarily fly from here on out. "Great virtual reality has different requirements than great cellphones," says the founder. "This is going to let us do things that would have just been far and away impossible without Facebook."
Mar 19, 2014
Eventually they just made a watch.Read Article >
Motorola design chief Jim Wicks and his team had spent a year and a half designing the device that would ultimately become the beautiful Moto 360 smartwatch, but every initial result was lacking. "Every time you do one," he tells me, "no matter how awesome you might think it is, if it’s square, everyone’s just kind of like ‘ehhh...’ And you sit there and you think about making it a little bit thinner, or a little bit bigger, a little bit heavier — you work for all those things and you still get that kind of feeling. And then finally we realized we’re not going to break through that ceiling, even with our peers, if we can’t get out of the ‘eh’ zone."
Mar 14, 2014
Mike Judge has been taking shots at pop culture — and making people laugh in the process — ever since Beavis and Butt-head took MTV by storm. From Office Space to King of the Hill, the writer–director's satirical gaze has spared almost no one, and now he's taking on the tech industry. His new HBO show Silicon Valley debuted at SXSW, and while there may be some surface similarities to other recent shows Valley is most certainly its own thing: it's snarky and unafraid to call things like it sees them. We spoke with Judge about what makes him laugh, why startups are a perfect subject, and whether we're still on the path towards Idiocracy.Read Article >
Mar 13, 2014
danah boyd’s SXSW keynote is sold out. When it’s over, a dozen fans rush the stage.Read Article >
These fans aren’t young groupies hoping to get a closer glimpse at their favorite rock star, but full-grown adults hoping to hear one more word from boyd. She’s one of the world’s sharpest authorities on how teens interact with technology, and for many, her word has become canon for understanding why teens do what they do.
Mar 13, 2014Read Article >
The last two Godzilla trailers have given us a hint of what's to come in the upcoming film, and at SXSW a small audience got the best look yet at the new monster. After a screening of the 1954 Japanese original, director Gareth Edwards introduced an extended sequence from the 2014 version in which the new Godzilla lays waste to Hawaii before squaring off against another giant monster. Even with some unfinished visual effects the clip lived up to our highest hopes — in fact, the only downside was that the clip hasn't been formally released for a wider audience. The morning after the screening we sat down with the filmmaker to talk about the design of the new beast, how his film ties into the rest of the franchise, and the challenge of making monster movies that mean something. We'll get to see Edwards' creation in all its glory on May 16th.
Mar 5, 2014
The business that emerged from Loudcloud’s assets, Opsware, was another journey through hell. When Horowitz finally unloaded Opsware on Hewlett-Packard — for $1.65 billion in cash — he felt more sick than he did relieved. "I couldn’t sleep, I had cold sweats, I threw up, and I cried," he writes in a new book. A few years later, Horowitz decided to do it all over again, starting Andreessen Horowitz with Netscape founder Marc Andreessen.Read Article >
Fortunately for Horowitz, his next startup has had a smoother road to success. In four years, Andreessen Horowitz has raised $2.5 billion and made successful investments in Groupon, Zynga, Instagram, and Skype, which all went public or were acquired for billions. Their current portfolio includes high-profile startups Airbnb, Box, Jawbone, Lyft, and Pinterest, among others. Along the way, Horowitz garnered attention for his blog posts about entrepreneurship, which he has collected and expanded in a new book, The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building A Business When There Are No Easy Answers. It’s a candid, sometimes melodramatic take on startup life where complete failure is never more than one bad decision away. We sat down with Horowitz in his firm’s Menlo Park offices to talk about the dot-com crash, why profanity produces results, and where he finds the new rap lyrics that serve as epigraphs for his blog posts.
Feb 25, 2014
For years Scott Hansen has had two different personas. He’s created art and design work under the name ISO50, while his ambient, electronic music was made under the Tycho moniker. Those worlds are now finally coming together. Next month Hansen will release Awake, his second album on label Ghostly International, and his first where he’s been able to focus on music full time, putting aside his previous career as a freelance graphic designer. Instead, he’s put all of that energy into Tycho, crafting not only the music but the visual aspects as well, from album covers to concert posters. We talked to Hansen about the change in focus, what it’s like working with a band, and why he doesn’t listen to electronic music.Read Article >
Awake will be available on March 18th.
Feb 19, 2014
Artist Trevor Paglen spends much of his time photographing places you’re not supposed to see, whether that’s desert military bases or mountainside listening posts or classified spacecraft. His first photographic monograph, Invisible: Covert Operations and Classified Landscapes, captured those secret spaces as hazy, nearly unreadable images: a collection of lights on the horizon, or a dark smear across the sky. He’s also reported on the CIA’s covert rendition flights and collected 70 military patches representing secret government projects.Read Article >
Most recently, he rented a helicopter to photograph several intelligence headquarters: the (now) well-known National Security Agency; the National Reconnaissance Office, which administers intelligence satellites; and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, which provides mapping and geographical data to the government. Paglen released his images into the public domain. Via email, he discussed what intrigues him about such secret spaces and what images of them allow us, the viewers, to consider.