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Companies die when they’re afraid to fail, Quip CEO Bret Taylor says

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Taylor also discusses being a Twitter board member and why Silicon Valley struggles with diversity on the latest Recode Decode.

"There’s a joke at Google: You can make the worst product in the world, but you have a link from the Google homepage, so you’re gonna be successful by any objective metric."

So says Bret Taylor, the CEO and co-founder of Quip who just sold his company to Salesforce for $750 million. Speaking with Recode’sKara Swisher and Kurt Wagner on the latest episode of Recode Decode, he explained why disruptive startups emerge, what prevents big companies from out-innovating them and why it’s important for CEOs to recognize when they should hitch their wagons together.

"Every entrepreneur is lying to you," Taylor said. "They want to create the next Google or the next Microsoft. ... In the grand scheme of things, creating the next Google is awesome, but you also have to weigh reality into it, and this is a way that our product can thrive and grow faster."

Taylor speaks from a lot of experience. Recruited out of college to Google by Marissa Mayer, he sold his first company FriendFeed to Facebook in 2009. As Facebook’s CTO, he learned to appreciate the nuanced art of making and correcting mistakes at scale.

The most famous mistake of Taylor’s tenure was Facebook’s initial commitment to HTML5 for its mobile apps, a decision he stands by as correct because Android and iOS had not yet emerged as clear winners.

"The thing you learn at a larger company is, even if your decision was good before, it's not just your decision," he said. "You have to bring everyone along with you. You have all these engineers who are committed to one strategy."

On the new podcast, Taylor also discussed his ambitions for Quip in the crowded enterprise space; how he evaluates the broader Silicon Valley landscape in a year of several mega-acquisitions, including Microsoft-LinkedIn; and why he joined the board of Twitter as it is struggling with issues of both diversity and rampant abuse.

While mistakes in tech products may be undone, he said it’s harder to undo an early failure to commit to employee diversity.

"If you don’t source aggressively enough early in your company’s life cycle, and you end up with a team that is not diverse, it's harder to fix that issue later," he said. "You don’t want to be the only person from your minority social group at a company."

You can listen to Recode Decode in the audio player above, or subscribe on iTunes, Google Play Music, TuneIn and Stitcher.

If you like this show, you should also sample our other podcasts:

  • Recode Media with Peter Kafka features no-nonsense conversations with the smartest and most interesting people in the media world, with new episodes every Thursday. Use these links to subscribe on iTunes, Google Play Music, TuneIn and Stitcher.
  • Too Embarrassed to Ask, hosted by Kara Swisher and The Verge's Lauren Goode, answers the tech questions sent in by our readers and listeners. You can hear new episodes every Friday on iTunes, Google Play Music, TuneIn and Stitcher.
  • And Recode Replay has all the audio from our live events, including the Code Conference, Code Media and the Code Commerce Series. We've posted audio of every single interview at the 2016 Code Conference, so subscribe today on iTunes, Google Play Music, TuneIn and Stitcher.

If you like what we’re doing, please write a review on iTunes — and if you don’t, just tweet-strafe Kara. Tune in next Monday for another episode of Recode Decode!

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JayM
13 hours ago
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Location Fundamentals, Agglomeration Economies, and the Geography of Multinational Firms

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Research by Laura Alfaro and Maggie Xiaoyang Chen helps explain the location interdependence of multinational firms and how they agglomerate with one another.
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JayM
13 hours ago
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Massive data centers in small towns mostly create low-wage, temporary jobs for the locals, high-tech workers at these facilities are usually outsiders (Quentin Hardy/New York Times)

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Quentin Hardy / New York Times:
Massive data centers in small towns mostly create low-wage, temporary jobs for the locals, high-tech workers at these facilities are usually outsiders—  BOYDTON, Va. — A giant Microsoft facility just outside this very small town hides behind a quarter-mile berm and a guard house …

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JayM
13 hours ago
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Back-to-School Recipe Roundup

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It’s that time of year again: You need breakfasts that are quick to make and eat, lunches you can pack the night before, and after-school snacks that will keep kids going strong till dinnertime. To get the school year off to a healthy start, we’ve rounded up some great ideas and easy-to-make recipes that will help get you and the kids out the door on time.

 

Breakfast in a Hurry

Pumped-up pancakes: Add some shredded kale and apples to your regular pancake batter for an extra dose of nutrients.

Yogurt parfait: Layering plain or vanilla yogurt with fresh fruit and granola makes this fun breakfast a complete — and filling — meal.

Overnight oats: Prep these the night before and your kids can dig in as soon as they get up.

Breakfast burritos (pictured above): These wraps are a hearty and healthy breakfast — perfect for kids who are extra-hungry in the morning. And if you’re really in a rush, simply wrap a scrambled egg in a tortilla and hand it to your kid on his way out the door.

Frittata: Make this yummy dish on Sunday and your kids can eat it for breakfast all week long.

Packable Lunches

Waffle sandwich: Make extras next time you have waffles for breakfast and turn them into a fun sandwich by spreading them with peanut butter, honey and sliced banana.

Sampler platter: Finger foods are especially appealing to little hands, so put together a mix of cheese cubes, deli meat slices, raw veggies, crackers and a dip (such as hummus or ranch dressing).

Fun-shaped sandwiches: If you make a sandwich on bread, use a cookie cutter to turn it into a flower or a fire engine. Take a sandwich wrap and cut it into pinwheel-shaped slices.

Pasta salad (pictured above): This is a great make-ahead recipe that can fill lunchboxes all week long.

Quesadillas: Make a cheese-and-veggie quesadilla the night before and pack it with a side of salsa or guacamole for dipping.

After-School Snacks

Banana walnut smoothie (pictured above): This healthy smoothie is indulgent enough to make your kids feel like they’re drinking a milkshake.

Graham crackers with peanut butter and banana slices: This combo makes the perfect power snack, with just enough sweetness.

Trail mix: A blend of your kid’s favorite nuts, seeds and dried fruit makes a great on-the-go snack when shuttling between after-school activities.

Energy balls: Replace the cliched cookies and milk with these protein-packed no-bake treats.

 

Sally Wadyka is a Boulder, Colorado-based journalist who writes about nutrition, health and wellness.

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JayM
1 day ago
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The American Heart Association Has Bad News for Your Children

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The American Heart Association now recommends that kids consume no more than six teaspoons (about 100 calories) of added sugar a day—that's the takeaway from an announcement that the group made yesterday. The AHA found that children currently take in an average of 80 grams of sugar every day—about 19 teaspoons, which is more than three times the new recommended limit.

"Associations between added sugars and increased cardiovascular disease risk factors among US children are present at levels far below current consumption levels," the researchers wrote. 

The limit of six teaspoons of added sugar is also what the World Health Organization recommends. So how much is six teaspoons of sugar? Here's a handy graphic based on calculations by my colleague Maddie Oatman:

sugar
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JayM
2 days ago
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Comment: One-time codes are the Apple Pay secret weapon that’s just a little too secret

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Much has been written about the convenience of Apple Pay, especially on an Apple Watch. Instead of reaching into your pocket or bag for your wallet, and extracting the card you want to use, you can simply double-click the side button on the Watch and hold out your wrist.

But there’s one aspect of Apple Pay that I’ve always felt fails to get the full attention it deserves: the fact that it never hands over your card details to retailers. Even on Apple’s own microsite, the feature is buried in a paragraph whose heading is about the use of fingerprints.

Yet the list of major chains who have seen customer card details compromised is virtually a Who’s Who of retailing and the hotel trade. Acer, Carphone WarehouseCVS Photo, Eddie BauerHiltonHome Depot, K-Mart, Marriott HotelsMichaels, Neiman Marcus, P.F. Chang’s, Staples, Starwood HotelsSuperValu, TargetTrump Hotels and Wendy’s. That’s even before we get into the Oracle hack that may have exposed almost every US credit card … 

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JayM
2 days ago
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Yeap. It IS really cool technology behind Apple Pay.
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