First Click: And the winner of your favorite Code Conference moment is…

June 3rd, 2016


This week’s Code Conference is over, yet it lingers as one of my favorites since Bill Gates and Steve Jobs sat down in those iconic red chairs back in 2007. An interview that tugged at the nostalgia strings even as they discussed the next big thing. Code typically operates on a timeline spanning the immediate past and near future. This year’s Code extended the timeline into the 23rd century with Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos discussing our collective existence some 200 years into the unknown. For technologists it was art, if, like me, you find art at its greatest when it’s aspirational.

Yeah, I’m aware that Code is put on by Recode, a Verge sibling under the great Vox Media begetter. But I’ve been a fan of Code since Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher flew the "D" banner under the tutelage of The Wall Street Journal. So, sue me Peter Thiel (please don’t) — I’m biased. I’m a fan of the Code format that lulls executives like Musk and Bezos into thinking it’s perfectly natural to espouse doomsday scenarios even as they build the rocket ships of their own escape. It’s a platform for Mary Meeker to present her annual Internet Trends slide deck that’s akin to a religious manuscript for many an analyst. It’s a place for Tinder's Sean Rad to discuss transgender dating and for Melinda Gates to talk about making contraception available to every woman in the world. And it’s a place for Bill Gates to worry aloud about an AI other than Clippy.

Code is a place for Impossible Foods' Patrick Brown to discuss Google’s taste for fake meat, for TMZ’s Harvey Levin to discuss the business of celebrity death, for Sheryl Sandberg to distance Facebook from Peter Thiel, and for Sundar Pichai to talk about Google’s tougher role in future nexus devices. It’s a place for Twitter’s Jack Dorsey to wear a "#StayWoke!" T-shirt, unironically. And yes, it’s a place for Gawker's Nick Denton to talk about the Hulk Hogan lawsuit, bankrolled by Mr. Thiel whom I have no quarrel with and think is probably a very nice billionaire who’d be fun at a picnic or any social occasion, really.

And these were just some of the sessions held at a place where a who’s who of the tech elite can be heard without the filter of a publicist. Every session was interesting, but my fave had to be Elon Musk’s, especially after my buddy and Verge co-founder Joshua Topolsky got Musk talking about the odds that we’re living in a simulation (spoiler: we are).

What was yours?

What was your favorite interview from Code Conference 2016?
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