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Tech Needed Someone to Chronicle Its Triumphs and Travails

Barry Ritholtz

(Bloomberg Opinion) -- What do you do when your job places you at the start of a revolution that's about to change business, the economy — indeed, all of society? If you are a tech journalist like Kara Swisher, this week's guest on Masters in Business, you build an unrivaled source list of A-list C-suite executives, and you ask them tough questions about their businesses.

That is how Swisher, founder of Recode, has spent the past few decades. Writing about the internet, technology and Silicon Valley, she penned several books, won a Gerald Loeb Award for her reporting, hosts the Recode Decode and Pivot podcasts, and publishes at Vox/Recode.

In our conversation, she said that none of this was part of her original plan. Swisher studied international affairs at Georgetown University as an undergraduate, expecting to follow her father into military service. Disappointed she could not join the armed forces because she is gay, she instead went to Columbia University’s School of Journalism to fight very different battles. Today that manifests in her weekly op-ed column for the New York Times, where she holds the technology masters of the universe accountable for their bad business decisions or personal behavior.

Swisher observes that the impact of money on Silicon Valley has skewed how its denizens see not just the world, but also themselves. She notes that Silicon Valley practices what she calls libertarianism lite — an intellectually “arrested development” approach to corporate responsibility.

Her favorite books are here; a transcript of our conversation is available here.

You can stream/download the full conversation, including the podcast extras, on Apple iTunes, Overcast, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Bloomberg and Stitcher. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here.

Next week, we speak with Sir John Browne, chief executive officer of BP Plc from 1995 and 2007, and author of numerous books, including, most recently, "Make, Think, Imagine: Engineering the Future of Civilisation.”

To contact the author of this story: Barry Ritholtz at britholtz3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Greiff at jgreiff@bloomberg.net

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

Barry Ritholtz is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is chairman and chief investment officer of Ritholtz Wealth Management, and was previously chief market strategist at Maxim Group. He is the author of “Bailout Nation.”

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