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Elon Musk, Jason Kilar, Marc Benioff, Ariel Emanuel, and More Join Vox Media For Day Two of Code Conference

On-stage interviews featured Vox Media’s leading voices including Sean Rameswaram, Nilay Patel, Scott Galloway,  Jamil Smith and Olivia Nuzzi

Asa Mathat

Day two of Vox Media’s annual Code Conference wrapped today at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, featuring a day with business and technology leaders like Elon Musk (Technoking, Tesla and Chief Engineer, SpaceX), Marc Benioff (Chair, CEO, and Co-founder, Salesforce), Jason Kilar (CEO, WarnerMedia), Margrethe Vestager (Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice President, European Commission for a Europe Fit for the Digital Age), Tekedra Mawakana (Co-CEO, Waymo), Kevin Merida (Executive Editor, Los Angeles Times) and Ariel Emmanuel (CEO, Endeavor).

Leading voices from across Vox Media’s networks and podcast network joined the stage, including; Sean Rameswaram (host of Vox’s Today, Explained); Nilay Patel (Editor-in-Chief of the Verge); Scott Galloway (co-host of Pivot and host of the Prof G Show); Jamil Smith (senior correspondent at Vox) and Olivia Nuzzi (Washington Correspondent at New York Magazine).

Highlights from day one of Code Conference are below. For more, follow #CodeCon.

Code Conference on-stage interviews

Elon Musk, Technoking, Tesla and Chief Engineer, SpaceX, discussed his ambitions for space with Kara Swisher.

Addressing Jeff Bezos disputing SpaceX’s NASA contract and Bezos’ recent Blue Origin launch, Elon shared “I think he should put more of his energy into getting to orbit than lawsuits. You cannot sue your way to the moon, no matter how good your lawyers are.”

Marc Benioff, Chair, CEO, and Co-founder, Salesforce, joined the stage in conversation with Kara Swisher and Stephanie Ruhle, Anchor, MSNBC and Senior Business Correspondent, NBC News.

Jason Kilar, CEO of Warner Media discussed HBO Max and the rise of streaming services with Stephanie Ruhle.

When asked if we’ve hit the peak in terms of streaming, Kilar shares “we’re in probably pretty close to the peak of streaming services – from an investment cycle perspective – in that I think it’s probably unsustainable for a number of the players to continue to invest at the levels they are, which means there will be a refactoring most likely, and there will be less players that ultimately get to scale, which is very, very important in a fixed cost business with very low marginal distribution costs. What that means is – going back to the 1950s – there will be a short number of services that you’ll care about that you’ll use on a daily basis, and that will be when your living room experience with the remote becomes very, very simple.”

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Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice President, European Commission for a Europe Fit for the Digital Age shared her thoughts on being known in the industry as a “tech killer” with Kara Swisher.

“It kind of comes with the job as commissioner for competition… Basically, I think our mission is so much bigger because to make sure technology serves us not only as consumers but also as citizens, this is now. Because otherwise our societies will completely drift into a situation where the huge majority of us – we will just be pawns. We will not be part of the decision making. And this is why basically now, democracy is saying this is what we want. We want to take decisions out of those boardrooms and put them into democracy so that we can see societies develop by using tech and not because of tech.”

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Endeavor CEO Ari Emanual spoke with Kara Swisher about the recent acquisition of sports-gambling company OpenBet and other consolidation with CAA buying ICM. “In 2008, I didn’t spend any money on merging with William Morris. I’m not sure what CAA paid for ICM…they compete with WME, Endeavor. ICM has not been what it used to be back 15 years ago…We were looking at it when we were looking at William Morris. He took all the value out when he took the packaging economics out of the business. At the time CAA said we are going to grow organically. I appreciate them validating my strategy in ’08.”

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Sean Rameswaram, host of Vox’s daily podcast Today, Explained kicked off the day’s interviews with Andy Slavitt, former senior advisor on the Biden White House Covid Response Team and Nancy Messonnier, MD Skoll Foundation to discuss the world’s response to the ongoing pandemic.

Chelsea Handler sat down with New York Magazine’s Olivia Nuzzi, as the comedian and TV host shared more on her experience and evolution in therapy. “In the beginning of my career and during my ‘Chelsea Lately’ days I was just kind of telling people what I thought about them. Unsolicited advice and kind of …my perception of the world around me that I lived in…my perception of what was wrong with everybody. I think with therapy I started to get back to myself…take a little bit more accountability for your behavior and who you’ve impacted…and to take stock of that is a natural evolution…so I thought this is something good to share. This is helpful,” said Handler on stage.

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Vox’s senior correspondent, Jamil Smith interviewed Kevin Merida, Executive Editor at the Los Angeles Times.

Nilay Patel, editor-in-chief at the Verge interviews Tekedra Mawakana, co-CEO of Waymo, who explained what’s taken a while to have Waymo cars available: “We’ve been at it for awhile. I would say the engineering challenge of our generation - that’s what’s taking it so long. To do it, do it well and do it right I think means that…safety has to be at the core of everything we do. Safety takes time. And then secondly we have to learn along the way. It’s like a process of discovery…You have to put the technology into the real world and that’s how you get it ready. That’s what we have been focused on doing and learning and receiving feedback from now, riders.”

Asa Mathat