2020 presidential candidate Andrew Yang on Kara Swisher podcast Recode Decode

2020 presidential candidate Andrew Yang’s best-known policy proposal is his version of universal basic income, a $12,000-annual stipend for every American adult called the Freedom Dividend. But on the latest episode of Recode Decode with Kara Swisher, Yang opened up about how, if elected, he would seek to regulate the big tech corporations that have made UBI more appealing for some voters.

Notably, unlike his competitor Senator Elizabeth Warren, Yang — a former lawyer, entrepreneur, and the founder of the nonprofit Venture for America — isn’t on board with the “break them up” mentality. He agreed that there has been “excessive consolidation” in tech and that there are “instances” where companies should break themselves up, but argued that that would not solve the root problems.

“Some of the other candidates are taking what seem to be 20th century approaches to 21st century problems,” Yang said. “Where it’s not like if we created four mini Googles, that would somehow resuscitate the Main Street businesses of Indiana or whether any of us would want to use the fourth-best search engine. No one here is Bing-ing anything and some of these markets naturally consolidate to one winner.”

He indicated that, like ex-Googler Tristan Harris and a growing chorus of tech critics, he’s also concerned about the psychological impact of tech products on regular people.

“The most human problem that these companies are posing is that the data clearly shows a huge rise in anxiety and depression among teenage girls in particular,” Yang said. “That’s coincident with smartphone adoption and social media use. And this is something that’s plaguing families around the country. And so, to me, that’s something we have to counteract as quickly as possible. And breaking up the ownership of the company may not make that any easier. It might even make it harder.”

You can listen to Recode Decode wherever you get your podcasts, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and TuneIn.

Below, we’ve shared a lightly edited full transcript of Kara’s conversation with Andrew.

Kara Swisher: What’s really interesting is, Andrew, I’ve covered Silicon Valley since the beginning of time, and you are considered the candidate of Silicon Valley and I’ve never met you. So I think it begs the question …

Andrew Yang: Where have I been all this time?

Yeah. Why are you this candidate of Silicon Valley? I want to get that out of the way, because I know everyone in Silicon Valley, I don’t know you. So why are you the candidate of Silicon Valley? Why are you considered that? Or do you consider yourself that?

Well, I spent the last seven years building an organization called Venture for America, and we were able to get support from people like Jeff Weiner, who’s the CEO of LinkedIn, and other Silicon Valley leaders, Reid Hoffman. And so I spent between one and three months a year here for the last six or seven years. It wasn’t long enough for me to hit your radar, Kara. My parents met as graduate students at Berkeley. My brother’s named after the Lawrence Observatory. I think I’ve got some DNA. We used to joke that that’s where my parents got busy, but I’m sure they did not because they’re a little too boring for that.

I certainly feel very at home here in the Bay Area, and I think a lot of it is that my thinking and the ideas of the campaign are very much of Silicon Valley, where I first became convinced of the need for Universal Basic Income after reading Martin Ford’s book. Martin’s actually a California guy, you probably know Martin. But working in Detroit and Cleveland and Baltimore and St. Louis, New Orleans, over the last seven years, I saw firsthand the impact of a lot of the technological innovation on those communities. But my thinking, I believe, is reminiscent of many of the people, and I’m very proud to say that many Silicon Valley leaders like Sam Altman and Jack Dorsey and others have gotten behind the campaign. So it’s become the internet/Silicon Valley campaign over the last number of weeks.

Right. It’s somewhat interesting to be the candidate of Silicon Valley, when Silicon Valley is in the crosshairs of the right, the left, every single person on the planet, essentially. How is that affecting you? Because being the candidate of Silicon Valley right now isn’t necessarily a great thing, right at this moment.

Yeah, and it’s funny, too, because I feel like I get caricatured in the media a lot as the “Asian tech bro.” Part of me is like, I spent seven years running a nonprofit that I started. It’s very, very wholesome. So I do think there’s a little bit of almost a shortcut taken in terms of my background, where when I’m interviewed in the media a lot of the times, it seems like, “Oh, here’s the Silicon Valley candidate.”

I agree with you that right now, Silicon Valley has gone in record time from “can do no wrong at all” to “can do no right.” And obviously neither of those things is that accurate.

It’s doing lots of damage, that’s what it is. It’s not can do no right, it’s actually damaging society. But go ahead, move on.

No, I agree with you. And so the pendulum has swung very, very quickly and dramatically. As always, the truth is somewhere in between where, when everyone was being lionized here in Silicon Valley, there were some excesses and things going on. Even as right now they’re being criticized, there was also a lot of good being done.

All right, so let’s start. There’s an interesting Nate Silver article that was just about you that I thought was interesting. This is a quote about you, the reason you’re doing better than Bill de Blasio, but I think that’s a low bar.

“It could be because he’s done such a good job of speaking to the defining aspect of the American psyche, one that both loves and fears tech. That’s because the cycles of techno hype and disillusionment are a major part of American culture and public policy. But we’re in a cultural moment when our belief in the promises of technology are meeting a crushing reality. Yang’s platform might be less that it’s calling for cloud seating or AI social workers, and more that it’s calling for those things in a time when the relationship between Americans and tech could best be described as, ‘It’s complicated.’”

So let’s talk a little bit about the policies you have, because they are more tech forward than most, or thinking about ideas. Let’s start first with, well, the Yang Gang. The concept of the Yang Gang.

Not a policy.

No. Talk about that. Your use of it. It’s #YangGang.

Yes. So we had to come up with a name for our supporters, and Yang Gang organically bubbled up very early and then took on a life of its own when I became cool, I suppose. I found myself very grateful that my last name rhymes with gang, as it turns out.

When we get asked about our rise, the fact is, most cable news programs were ignoring me and the campaign for months. So we went to podcasts, we went to internet media. And so people ask, was that your strategy? And it’s like, well, I didn’t have much of a choice. It’s not like I was beating off Chris Hayes and Rachel Maddow with a stick or anything. Or choosing not to do cable news. It’s just I pursued the avenues that were open because I’m an entrepreneur, I’m an operator. I started this campaign as a completely anonymous entrepreneur. And so the fact that I’m beating my mayor, Bill de Blasio, is actually nothing to sneeze at.

But the rise of the Yang Gang really was an organic phenomenon, because we’re speaking to the problems that the American people are facing in a different way than most politicians, and we’re proposing solutions that would actually improve people’s lives on the ground.

All right, so let’s talk about some of those solutions. The first one is the Freedom Dividend. This is UBI, which is Universal Basic Income, and you, I think, propose $1,000 to everyone over 18 every month, correct?

Yeah, that’s exactly right.

All right, so talk about that.

Well, the Freedom Dividend is a policy where everyone in a country, in this case every American citizen, gets $1,000 a month free and clear to do whatever you want. While this sounds radical to most people listening to this, it’s a deeply American idea rooted in our history. Thomas Paine was for it at our founding. Martin Luther King championed it in 1967 and was fighting for it when he was assassinated in 1968. Milton Friedman and 1,000 economists endorsed in the ’70s. It passed the US House of Representatives in 1971, and one state has had a dividend in effect for almost 40 years, where everyone in Alaska gets between $1,000 and $2,000 a year in oil money, every year. And they love it. And it’s a deeply conservative state. What I’ve been saying to the American people is that technology is the oil of the 21st century, and what they’re doing for Alaskans, we can do for all Americans.

So when you push it … There’s a lot of people pushing for UBI and trying different things. A lot of companies that are trying to figure out how to do it, it’s being tested. What are the challenges to it? Not to channel Lindsey Graham, but a lot of the people that are against it say it’s Communism, it’s giving away free money. It’s free … the stuff you hear when you get the pushback on it. What is the case against something like this?

Well, the great thing is, many people who are conservatives and independents and libertarians, actually really like the idea of a freedom dividend. Particularly with the word “freedom” in it. That tests much better with the word “freedom.”

Yes, I really just enjoyed my freedom fries recently. But go ahead.

What I say is that it’s not socialism, it’s capitalism where income doesn’t start at zero. And that everyone having money is very good for business, it’s very good for markets, very good for individual freedom and autonomy. These are things that many conservatives embrace. And again, the state that’s had this in effect for almost 40 years is a deep red state. It was passed by a Republican governor.

So the case against this does not actually come from the right, really. It comes from a mindset of scarcity where people think, “Well, if we do this for everyone, it will somehow harm us, it will cause rampant inflation, it will cause a deterioration in work ethic.” These are the phantoms that people erect to try and object to Universal Basic Income. A neuroscientist put it to me best, he said, “Andrew, you’re going to be fighting the human mind. Because the human mind is actually programmed for resource scarcity. And when you propose something that suggests relative abundance, there will be something of a reaction to it.”

Talk about how you’re going to pay for this. It’s a lot of people getting a lot of money. It’s a big number.

The way we pay for it … The first thing is that it’s much less expensive than people believe. If you have a rough headline number, you think, oh, it’s $3 trillion or so, given the number of adults in this country. But it’s actually about half that, because we’re spending $1.5 trillion-plus every year on an assortment of welfare and income support programs.

If you believe that everyone gets $1,000, but if you’re already getting $1,000 we’re not going to stack this on top, then the headline cost comes down very, very quickly. The headline cost also goes down because when we get this money, what are we going to do with it? We’re going to spend it in our communities. It’s going to go to tutors and the occasional night out and car repairs. Not car repairs to you guys, because none of you own a car in this audience. But in other parts of the country.

We all scootered here. Without helmets.

Car repairs, right. Like an extra Bird ride. Is Bird legal here? I can’t remember. I can’t keep track of what’s happening with the scooters.

You can smoke marijuana, date a goat, and ride a scooter at the same time here.

So in this case, that’s where some of the money would go. But if you have this money in our hands, you build a trickle-up economy where the money circulates through regional economies over and over again, and we get a lot of that money back. We save money on things like incarceration, homelessness services, emergency room health care by having a stronger, healthier, more productive people.

How many of you all are entrepreneurs? I bet a lot of you. How many more artists and creatives and entrepreneurs would there be if everyone was getting $1,000 a month? This would be a massive boon to dynamism and growth. And even a conservative model would show that we’d get a lot of the money back. So the headline cost is a lot lower than people think. We can eminently afford it in an economy of $20 trillion-plus.

Is there a group of people that don’t get it? Does Warren Buffet get the $1,000 a month, for example?

Warren Buffet and Jeff Bezos also get it, just to remind them that they’re Americans.

Okay. All right.

But it is opt in. You don’t force anyone to take it. You can’t throw the money through their window or something. If someone doesn’t want it, then they never get it.

Yeah, you better not throw it into Jeff Bezos’s window. You’d be dead. When you think about doing this, why do you think there’s resistance to it? Because when people do talk about it, people are like, “Oh, he’s very UBI.” I’m like, “So?” But it sounds like you’re nuts, sometimes, when you bring it up to people. Is it such a … How would you get it through to citizens that it’s a good idea, versus a way-out, far-out idea?

Well, it’s certainly happening through this campaign where we’re opening people’s eyes and minds to the possibility that we can do this. There’s nothing stopping the majority of citizens in a democracy from voting ourselves a dividend. Companies do it every month and everyone applauds. Everyone’s like, nice job, Microsoft, nice job, Verizon. No one’s ever like, what are the shareholders going to do with that money? Are we sure they’re going to spend it in a good way? I mean, it’s absurd.

Where are the owners and shareholders of the society? We can declare ourselves a dividend. I’m running for president to help wake people up to this reality. And as I win this election, when I come into the White House, the Democrats will be so thrilled that I beat Donald Trump, they’ll be like, “Yeah, let’s pass the dividend and get more money into the hands of families.” And then some of the Republicans and conservatives will look up and say, “Wait a minute, this is a massive win for Americans in rural areas and areas that have been left behind by automation.” And I don’t need 81 percent of Congress to pass this dividend, I just need 51 percent.

Another topic that you talked about a lot about with Venture for America is being in the Rust Belt and these jobs, and the word you’re using is “robot apocalypse.” I kind of get it, because I spent a lot of time trying to scare people about AI. Robotics, automation, and AI are the three things that are coming. I think, as you might know, that what’s happening now … What’s happening in the future is going to be so much more dramatic.

Yeah. It’s about to accelerate and take off now.

Accelerate in a way that’s bigger, and so it’s well beyond having the ability to get on scooters or date on Tinder or take an Uber. What’s going to happen next is really quite dramatic. Talk about your vision of that, beyond the truck drivers not going to have a truck. It’s going to be an autonomous vehicle.

Well, in my book, The War on Normal People, I tried to make it as accessible and understandable for anyone reading it. I talk about the five most common jobs in the US economy. The five most common jobs in the US economy are, No. 1, administrative and clerical work, including call center workers; No. 2 is retail and cashiers; three is food service and food prep; four is truck drivers and transportation; and No. 5 is manufacturing workers. What percentage of American workers you think would fall into one of those five categories? It’s almost exactly half. It’s 49 percent.

You don’t even need to get to AI taking on the jobs of lawyers. I was a miserable attorney for five whole months. I guarantee you can automate that job. But you don’t even need to get to AI doing the job of lawyers, accountants, pharmacists, radiologists, to see just how disastrous this is going to be for millions of American workers. When you look at 30 percent of malls closing, driving a truck’s the most common job in 29 states, there are two-and-a-half million call center workers making $14 an hour. What do you think the time frame is on us replacing those call center workers with artificial intelligence?

I think it’s hard for people to imagine the idea, given right now we’re at the lowest employment, that jobs will disappear really quickly. It reminds me a little bit of the farm-to-manufacturing shift, where it happened over a shorter amount of time, but it did have these profound effects. I was interviewing Marc Andreessen about this, and one of the things he said was, “It’s like farming and manufacturing. There’s so many more jobs in manufacturing, everything turned out well.” I said, “Yeah, but what happened to the blacksmith, the family of the blacksmiths and everything else?” And he said, “Well, who cares about that?”

Talk about that concept of what happens to these jobs. Because it seems to me … Something that I always say is that every job, everything that can be digitized, will be digitized.

Let me say, I am completely with you in this camp, Kara. Because when I dug into the numbers of what happened, even to the manufacturing workers in the Midwest and the South, we automated away 4 million manufacturing jobs in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Missouri, Iowa — all the swing states that Donald Trump needed to win, not coincidentally.

I studied economics, and what did my textbook say would happen to those 4 million manufacturing workers? They would get retrained, re-skilled, moved for new opportunities, higher productivity jobs, all would go well. How many of you guys learned that in college? All right. So then I found the studies as to what happened to the manufacturing workers in the Midwest after they lost their jobs.

In real life, almost half of them left the workforce and never worked again. And of that group, about half filed for disability. Then you saw surges in drug overdoses and suicides in those communities, to the point where our life expectancy has now declined for the last three years. Society-wide, not just in Ohio, I’m talking about in the United States of America, our life expectancy has declined for three straight years because suicides and drug overdoses have now overtaken vehicle deaths as cause of death. Now, my textbook did not say, hey, you get rid of these manufacturing jobs, they go home, they get drunk, they kill themselves, they vote for Donald Trump. That was not in my textbook. But that is exactly what has happened.

When you see what has happened to those workers … I spent seven years in these communities. When you see what happened to those workers, the exact same thing will happen to the mall workers, the call center workers, the truck drivers. And I talk about the truck drivers because they will take this very, very poorly. You talk about the average trucker, 49-year-old man, high school education, making $46,000 a year. Tens of thousands of them are ex-military. A lot of them own their own trucks. How would you react if you’re that person and there is a robot truck that never stops that you cannot compete against? At least some of them are going to react disastrously. Catastrophically.

Right now you already have in New York City something like 12 taxi and Uber drivers killed themselves last year, in part because of economic exigencies and circumstances. One did it outside of City Hall just to try and get attention. Got no attention, no one cares. But eventually, you’re going to have a critical mass of workers who actually externalize the disintegration of their way of life instead of internalizing it.

So it’s an interesting question. I interviewed Pete Buttigieg last week and he talked about the same thing, that income inequality is going to lead to this kind of behavior, and dangerous behavior. What do you imagine … and especially as it moves to even higher-paying jobs, especially as it starts to deconstruct different jobs.

Donald Trump then says, “Hey, I’m going to get all your jobs back, coal miners.” But the coal companies are going to hire robots to do that, because robots should be doing the coal mining, not people. Coal mining is dangerous. You’d have to propose what the jobs are going to be. They’d have to be creative. They’d have to be nothing that can be automated or digitized. How do you find a way out of that? Because that’s where we’re going. We are going to automated cars, we’re going to everything being digitized. We’re getting to jobs that don’t need people involved in them. What do you imagine, then, the jobs are?

This is the generational challenge. But one of the core messages of my campaign is that none of this is speculative. This is already happening. When I talk about what happened to these manufacturing workers, if you dig into the labor market statistics, our labor force participation rate, as we’re all here together, right now, is at 63 percent. The same levels as Costa Rica and Ecuador and a multi-decade low.

And it’s being obscured by the headline unemployment rate. If you get discouraged and leave the workforce, you don’t count in the headline unemployment rate. Headline unemployment rate also does not include the level of underemployment of recent college graduates — which right now is between 40 percent and 44 percent — it doesn’t include the people that are doing multiple jobs to survive. The headline unemployment rate is essentially government malpractice, and it’s obscuring all of the rot underneath. As soon as you flip over the rock and you see what’s going on underneath, you’re like, oh my gosh, it’s terrifying.

When I was doing research for my book, I had to triple check so many times what the numbers were, because I was like, “No way that can be right. No way our life expectancy is declining.”

It is declining.

Yeah, it is declining. No way that 40 percent of American kids are born to a single mother. No way that this has gone on in our country, and that for whatever reason, it has not become a national emergency to that level. But that’s what I saw over the last seven years, running Venture for America. That’s what the data shows. And I’m running for president to advance the fact that Donald Trump, he got some of the problems right, but the solutions were garbage and nonsense. It was build a wall, turn the clock back, bring the jobs back. We need to do the opposite of all that. I’m the man for that job because the opposite of Donald Trump is an Asian man who likes math.

It could also be a Boston woman who likes math, just saying. No, no. There’s a lot of women who like math. Not me, but in any case … I can do math.

When you’re talking about this idea of saving it, what are the jobs? And what is the actual solution? Besides Universal Basic Income you have to give … From your perspective, where are the jobs going? Obviously they have to be creative, because it’s very hard for computers to replicate that. They have to be caring. Like the job of doctors has to change from diagnostics to caring, for example. That’s one job. Where do you see the most interesting jobs that you can imagine being created?

So the first thing I want to do is I want to disabuse us of this retraining myth that’s out there, that somehow we’re going to retrain coal miners into coders or truckers into logistics specialists. This is going to sound very politician-y. I was just at a truck stop in Iowa, and if you went to those guys like, “Hey, have you ever had any interest in like this sort of a coding career?” They’d be more likely to punch you in the face.

And then they would be like, “I’ve always been interested in that. Like let me give you my name.” It’s like, if you come with me, you’ll see what I mean. So the question is, what are the jobs of the future? And the answer is that, we need to create a human-centered economy that actually is built around our values and what we’d like to do. So if you imagine an America, which we can make happen very quickly, where everyone’s getting $12,000 a year, how many people would pursue different forms of work as a result? That they’ve always had some desire to pursue.

And it would also recognize caregivers and parents. People like my wife who’s at home with our two young boys, one of whom has autism. Right now, the market values her work at zero, GDP values her work at zero, when we know that it’s some of the most challenging and important work that’s being done, and that is where the economy has to go.

So the way we get to the jobs of the future is we actually redefine our economic measurements around our own health and well-being, our mental health and freedom from substance abuse, how our kids are doing, whether our elderly can retire in quality circumstances. Because if you have a fight for capital efficiency, we lose on an epic scale, on an historic scale.

So you’re calling it human-centered capitalism, correct?


What does that mean? Is that socialism or … I don’t know what human-centered capitalism means.

So right now the purpose of our economy, broadly speaking, is to maximize GDP. Hence, expansion recession, maximize stock market price growth. And then you have this headline unemployment stat thrown in, to the extent you have guideposts for the economy. So what I’m proposing for human-centered capitalism, is that record-high GDP does us very little good if our life expectancy is going off a cliff.

So what if you were to make life expectancy and health your economic output? What if you were to make our happiness and well-being? What if you were to make our childhood success rates? You build a scorecard and say, “This is how we measure economic progress.” You could have GDP as one measurement, but it’s one of 10 measurements, and I would suggest maybe not the most compelling one.

And then as president, I would report how we’re doing on the more meaningful numbers every year at the State of the Union. I’d be the first president to use a PowerPoint deck at the State of the Union, in part because right now we’re subject to these embarrassing Kabuki theater performances, the State of the Union. Like it’s so weird, it’s so odd. I feel bad for the members of Congress who are like, “Do I stand and clap for this or do I not?”

So we can do better. And a lot of it is by getting the measurements right, because if you have the wrong measurements, how can you ever make progress? Even the inventor of GDP said, “This is a terrible measurement for national well-being, we should never use it as that.” And that was 100 years ago. Like, we haven’t gotten any better since then. So that’s what human-centered capitalism is. And we’re happy to say, Kara, that it’s not very difficult.

As president, one of my first acts will be to go down the street to the Bureau of Economic Analysis and say, “GDP is very old, archaic. We have these other indicators, let’s start using them in addition.” That part is easy. Then the more interesting part becomes tying corporate and individual actions to progress on these measurements. But imagine a country where if I get some kid off drugs, or I help reintegrate an ex-convict into society, that actually counts as economic value. And then I somehow get rewarded for that. That is how we create the jobs of the future.

I think that’s called the Netherlands, I was just there. These seem very reasonable. But just checking in to news today, it seems like Washington today is on level bat-shit crazy. You had a pack of the Republicans saying racist things weren’t racist. You then had the squad saying yes they’re racist. It was back and forth, but craziness. And it’s all taking place on Twitter, which has been weaponized by Donald Trump.

How do you expect to stop this? Because today, I think, was probably peak “Someone should stop Twitter immediately, like someone should turn off Twitter.” This is what I felt like today.

So there is a pioneer of the internet, Jaron Lanier, who said that, “Negative sentiment spreads much more quickly and powerfully on the internet than positive.” And that’s one reason why Trump now has been able to weaponize so many things, is that you have these powerful messages that then people feel like they have to be on one side or the other. The way we change that is by putting someone in the White House who wants nothing to do with these particular, first, denigrating people, who were born in this country and saying they should go back to their country.

I’ve been told to go back to my country several times throughout my life. When I was young, it actually was more confusing and hurtful. Now I’m just like pssh. I mean, not that it’s happened, it hasn’t happened like today or anything. And so the cultural flashpoints that are happening in DC, most Americans are getting exhausted by them and we’re not solving the problems.

Well, that’s the point, isn’t it? Well, getting exhausted and confused is part of the game.

Yeah. And that’s one reason why I’m so thrilled to be running for president, is that when I go to the rest of the country — and it’s not just here, it’s in Iowa or Ohio or Pennsylvania — people are like, “Please, can we talk about something else? Can we actually start trying to solve the problems on the ground?” There’s a huge appetite for that.

But what did you make of the use of Twitter by Trump? What did you make of the use of that? I mean, I just tweeted this, it seemed like he lost on the census vote. He was accused of rape, he was partying with a pedophile, and I thought, “Racist tweets will do it, will switch it around.” How do you stop that? What do you make of it happening over and over again in this endless … and it works quite a lot. It works over and over again.

Well, I think our media is complicit in this, because how did Donald Trump win? The media covered every single thing he did. If he had a rally, it was televised live. He could be called in, all of a sudden they bump everything else. It’d be like, “Donald Trump’s here.” He’s going to just call in and spout some bullshit that doesn’t make any sense. But it was like, it was high ratings. They just went after it.

And now that he’s president, obviously it’s harder to ignore him, because he’s the president of the United States. And so if he says something that’s controversial, then that’s newsmaking. But to me, the mainstream media has to start trying to just dismiss and minimize Donald Trump’s command of the news cycle. It’s going to make it harder for Democrats to defeat him in 2020 if the media will amplify everything he says and does. Because his cultural avatar then grows as a result. And it makes it harder for Democrats to beat him when we need to next November.

So let’s talk about Democrats. You were just in the debate. The only one without a tie, you’re still not a geek because you’re wearing a blazer. So you’re sort of a VC.

I think the term Stephen Colbert used was “business-casual tech bro.”

You don’t have the weird socks, feet, shoes thing with the toes.

No. I don’t, no.

And it doesn’t look like you’re intermittent fasting. Not that you’re overweight, you look great. But you don’t look like that you need a sandwich. So talk about the field right now. You were onstage, you didn’t get a lot of words in edgewise when Kamala Harris and Biden were kind of dominating it. How do you look at the process of running when you’re not as well known? Although you’re polling above some very well known politicians.

I think you’re above Klobuchar, you’re above Tulsi Gabbard, you’re above de Blasio, Gillibrand. So you’re doing very well for someone that wasn’t very well known, but how do you break through, which is first a large field. Secondly, a confusing field and a lot of people. When you have just the debates or whatever, what’s the strategy for doing that?

Well, the great thing is that the field’s about to thin very, very considerably, because the DNC has doubled the threshold to qualify for the debates. I’m happy to say right now I am one of only eight candidates with over 130,000 donors to be able to qualify for this kind of debate.

And the truth of it is that, of the 20 candidates in this next debate in July, more than half of them have their staff yelling at them, “If you don’t have some set-the-world-on-fire moment, we’re all going to quit.” Because your campaign is going to die, because you’re not going to make any debates, you’re not going to raise any money, that’s that. And so the dynamic is unfortunately set up for manufactured talking points and drama.


But the field is going to shrink a lot and in the fall, when more and more Americans tune in and instead of having 20 people on the debate stages, they’re only eight or nine of us, then my message is going to get stronger, louder, clearer. And my following is going to grow, in part because a lot of the folks that are attracted to my campaign are not attracted to more established politicians. And a lot of them have gravitated towards some of the second-tier candidates.

And so as a lot of those candidates frankly disappear, I’m going to end up with that support. I’m going to be the alternative to the establishment that grows the whole time, in part because I’m having a very different conversation about the issues that are facing this country. And I’m happy to say, when someone joins the Yang Gang, it’s hard to leave, apparently.

Though if someone does leave, we don’t do anything. I mean, there’s no like weird, like, gang… And it’s a very, very cheap gang to join. Our average donation is only $26. So our fans are even cheaper than Bernie’s.

Well, how do you compare yourself to someone like Bernie, which was a grassroots campaign from the last election?

I’m younger, fresher, modern, and more Asian than Bernie.

Okay. Well, let’s do that for all the candidates. Kamala Harris?

I mean, I don’t want to go down that road with Kamala. I mean, Bernie it’s sort of easy.

All right. Biden, same thing.

So I will share this with you. And this is something that happened on the debate stage. So we’re on commercial break. I’ll let you guys know what it’s like to run for president.


So you’re on the debate stage and then there’s a commercial break and then you know what we all do? We all run to the side of the stage to get our makeup refreshed. That’s how made-for-TV this bullshit is.


So during one of the breaks, me and Joe are next to each other. And then Joe says, “No matter what happens, Andrew, you and I need to sit down and talk about the fourth industrial revolution, because I am terrified that we’re going to gut the middle class.” And I said, “Hell yeah, Joe.”


So this is I think a very, very positive thing that certainly the message is getting through in ways big and small. And just the prior week, I was with Joe at an event in South Carolina. That’s another thing you might not realize about running for president, but you’re with the other candidates in green rooms, in scrums. In that case it was in a holding pen before a fish fry. And so you end up getting to know each other personally. I have some of the other candidates’ cellphone numbers. We send each other encouraging messages. So there are actual personal dynamics at play and I’m very confident that we’re going to mainstream the issues that are important to this campaign in the days and weeks to come.

It sounds like Biden’s your friend, right? Your BFF. Is he your BFF in this group?

I wouldn’t want to put Joe in that position, but I would say that he seems very, very intent on trying to address some of the same issues that I’m focused on.

All right. So let’s talk about a few other issues that you’re talking about. And then I want to get to the ideas around … well actually let’s talk about putting the election on blockchain. Talk about that a little bit, and climate change. And something you mentioned, which I think gets taken out of context, the media just loves to do this, is space mirrors. Explain space mirrors. It’s not the craziest idea, actually.

So much to unpack there, Kara.

All right. Okay. Let’s start with climate change. There’s not a lot of investment in Silicon Valley for climate change. They’ll spend more time investing in, say, scooters than they will on major issues of the country. Only Elon Musk and Bill Gates have significant investments in climate change technology.

And I think this is one of the biggest legitimate knocks on Silicon Valley, is that the problems that Silicon Valley is focused on solving are market-driven problems.


“If there is a way that I can make a lot of money, then I will put a lot of money behind it. Especially if there’s a company that has demonstrated that I can build up a huge valuation trying to solve that problem.” But if it’s a non-market-driven problem, then it’s very hard to get VCs interested, because that’s not their job in many respects. And so right now if you look around at the problems that we’re facing, climate change being the biggest, there’s not a market-driven solution to climate change.

And so if you’re a venture capitalist, you’re irresponsible if you start trying to plow money into it. And so to me, this is where the government has to lead, try and set the incentives, invest, make it more economically viable for renewable and sustainable sources of energy to actually compete in the market.

Yeah. It’s interesting. It actually could be a market driven… If you think about it, I think the next trillionaire is going to be the person who cracks a lot of this climate change stuff or health care in that area.

I hope so.

And they will be a trillionaire. It’s going to be something like that. One of the things that I always say, and feel free to borrow it, like the stuff that they develop, it’s a joke I always make which I would say is “San Francisco is assisted living for millennials.” Because the stuff they create here is all those kind of products. Like laundry or dry cleaner, laundry, you get your Uber to you, you get your scooter right to you, you get your food right to you. It’s constant. It’s all about the problems faced by mostly young white men, essentially, like what they need now. And so not a lot gets invested seriously. How do you not force them to do that, but move them towards, say, good uses of blockchain or climate change or the bigger health care [issues] that we’re facing?

Well, I do think that putting economic resources in the hands of every American will end up amping up investment on solving problems for women. And solving problems that are facing underrepresented minorities in this country. Because all these people are buying power in every community. And so there’ll be more entrepreneurs coming out of each community and then there’s going to be more money trying to invest in those opportunities.

Certainly, on something of the scale of climate change, you need the government to come in and say, “Here’s a generational problem. We’re going to be willing to support very large bets.” Because that trillionaire you’re talking about, that trillionaire needs to have a runway, needs to have a set of resources to get their start. And as we know historically, a lot of those resources for these big problems do come from the government, in the best of cases.

But I will say right now, it’s embarrassing how our government is really nowhere to be seen in terms of the leadership. And you can see this in part, where if you look at the sponsors of many of the universal basic income trials, it’s Sam Altman, it’s Chris Hughes, it’s private philanthropists. It’s not like the government is going around saying, “Hey, let’s give people money and see what happens.”

You’re not going to believe this, but in the ’60s, the government just started giving people money to see what happens.


And when you read about that, you’re like, “Wow, our government actually decided to make bets and to conduct studies on this to see what would happen.” And today we’re just waiting for Sam Altman and Chris Hughes to report how their data is. It just shows how far behind our government has fallen.

It’s also the same thing with space. It’s all being done by Bezos, Musk, Richard Branson. So it’s all privatization of all the things that government used to do. Do you think governments needs to jump really heavily back into the idea of space investment and things like that, those big ideas?

Well, I think we’re past the point where if you watch these movies like Apollo 13, you grew up with NASA, we’re past the point where the government’s going to end up employing hundreds and hundreds of scientists and whatnot. A lot of those scientists now work for SpaceX or the other private firms, but the government has to put resources to work to support moves in those directions that private industry might not take on.

I talked to someone who’s in AI, for example, and they talked about how the biggest private companies might invest billions to support AI research here in California. But then in China, they have a blank check, they have essentially unlimited computing resources provided by the Chinese government.

And so then the companies here say, “We have a lot of money, but we cannot compete with the Chinese government in terms of money.” And so it would make sense to me that the US government would say, “Well, we have to maintain US competitiveness in this.” And this is someplace where the government wouldn’t be expected to employ all of the researchers or scientists, but the government could write some checks and make sure that we can stay competitive.

So let’s talk about that idea, because one of the proposals has been going around related to tech and I think we can avoid is the breakup of big tech. I’m of the side that more competition is better. Breaking things up does create opportunities for others. And when you don’t have a government involved in helping seed this stuff, it’s up to these big companies to coalesce around two or three giants.

And in this case, it used to be just Microsoft, now it’s sort of Amazon, Facebook, Google. How do you look at those proposals to break them up?

I think there are instances where we should look at having some of these companies divest parts of themselves, where there’s been excessive consolidation. And it’s also true now that the business plan for many entrepreneurs is just to get acquired. Like it’s not trying to build the next business that’s going to last for decades. It’s like, “If we become a big enough threat then Facebook is going to buy us.” And that’s bad, over time it’s bad for innovation.

I will say though that the lens that some of the other candidates are taking seem to be 20th century approaches to 21st century problems. Where it’s not like if we created four mini Googles, that would somehow resuscitate the Main Street businesses of Indiana or whether any of us would want to use the fourth-best search engine. No one here is Bing-ing anything and some of these markets naturally consolidate to one winner.

None of us would ever consciously use the fourth-best navigation app. It’s like, I want to use No. 4 to support them. It’s like, of course not. Like which one’s the best, with the best data and the best traffic? And so we do need to try and solve these problems. To me, the most human problem that these companies are posing is that the data clearly shows a huge rise in anxiety and depression among teenage girls in particular.

That’s coincident with smartphone adoption and social media use. And this is something that’s plaguing families around the country. And so, to me, that’s something we have to counteract as quickly as possible. And breaking up the ownership of the company may not make that any easier. It might even make it harder.

There hasn’t been a search engine created for decades. There hasn’t been a social media company since Snapchat in 2011 and basically it’s the product development arm of Facebook at this point, because they just love to shoplift Evan Spiegel’s ideas. Come on. Sorry. So them staying big, like breaking them up does create opportunity, because people would never think of investing in other things. Not the fourth best, but maybe there’s a better one. Maybe there’s something that can supplant it.

I agree with you that the way these markets are set up right now is stifling competition. And I would love to try and unleash more innovation in these spaces.

All right. What about other regulation? Do you feel that there should be … one of the arguments that I get from, besides the constant I’m-sorrys and we’ll-do-better-next-times, which we had a drinking game at our conference this year and we all were super drunk, because every big company came and said, “I’m so sorry for destroying Democracy, and not next time, and we’ll fix it better next time.” But one of the things they say is, “We need to be big to fight China.”

Because I think most people consider Russia sort of just a troublemaking sort of Tony Soprano over here making trouble for everybody. But they do think of China as the big challenge. And so here you have a state-run effort at tech, which is moving global. They’re trying to supply all kinds of tech all over the world in Africa and other places.

How do you battle that? Because right now in China, it’s a surveillance economy. They accept surveillance in a way that we don’t. They do a lot of funding of their companies. There’s a very tight relationship between the government and these companies. How do we do that here? The argument from the Silicon Valley people recently has been, you’ve got to let us stay big so we can fight China, which is sort of the Xi-or-me argument, which I don’t like either choice, what would you say?

Well, I think that China certainly has some massive advantages in that, as you’re suggesting, they have a much more cavalier attitude towards people’s data. And so if you have access to …

Cavalier, that’s a nice way of putting it.

Yeah, they have total access to it. And the Chinese attitude towards privacy is also very different. So if you have more access to more data then you can develop AI more quickly, and that’s going to be a huge advantage for Chinese companies moving forward. I am not sure I buy the, “Oh, you have to make sure we’re huge so that we can compete against China” argument in every space.

I do think, though, that there are legitimate instances where the US government can try and balance the scales so that a US company can compete on a more even playing ground with China. Because China, not only is its access to everyone’s data at much higher levels, but also their piracy of intellectual property. I was talking to someone who said that there’s a Chinese company where each individual employee had access to $10,000 worth of software and that their company in the US could never have afforded all of these licenses and it’s going to be very hard to compete with those companies. And so to the extent that the government needs to try and even the playing field, that’s what we should do.

Is that the country you’re worried about most in terms of competition with the US and innovation?

On an economic level and innovation level, yes.

So a couple more things, I want to talk just a few more personal things and we’ll get questions from the audience. One of the proposals you made is about data, about it being your personal property. There’s not a national privacy bill, there’s one coming online in California next year. Do you think there needs to be a national privacy bill? And also, what did you mean by it’s your personal property, you could sell it? Because you can’t sell your liver, right? I mean you can, but it’s on the black market and everything else. Should you be able to sell your data? Is that something that you should be able to give away? It sounds like a Black Mirror episode.

Well, I mean, heck, right now someone else is selling it and profiting from it and sometimes in the health care space, they’re selling it, they’re reselling it, it can be worth significant amounts of money. And so to me, I’ll just share for me personally, most Americans, in my opinion, really, really like convenience. And I am one of those Americans. And so when you have some of these weird scroll-downs, I’m just like I think the vast majority of you, I just click “yes, I agree.” “Get this out of my way. Take my data. I hope you don’t do anything too terrible with it, but I just want to use your service, get in and get out.” And I went to law school. I certainly don’t spend my time reading those agreements. Like who here reads those agreements? Nobody. There’s somebody who’s like, “I read those agreements.” They don’t want to admit to it.

So that’s the real-life lived experience of most of us. And I think that that would be acceptable if there were a few things that were happening. No. 1, if you do sell and resell my data over and over again and make lots of money or do something that inconveniences me, then I should have access to that information and maybe even get a smidgen of the money. And if I decide that I don’t like this relationship and I want to be able to anonymize myself, I should be able to do so. And right now, neither of those two things is in effect in the US, we’re just hoping for the best and the companies … Now, here’s the carrot for these companies. Our data with our buy-in is actually significantly more valuable than it is anonymized.

And right now, when it’s being resold, it’s being resold as anonymized data the majority of the time. And so if you actually get my buy-in, my data can actually become more valuable. If I get a cut, maybe I actually even can share something else about myself that you would find valuable. So there’s a possibility for a different type of relationship between us, our information and the companies that are benefiting from that information right now.

So that’s sort of selling your privacy. I’ve talked about this before. There was an event many years ago where Steve Case was talking about each AOL customer was worth $50 and I put up my hand, I said, “Where’s my $20, why don’t I get 20 from it?” But then the idea of that, being able to do it feels a little like selling your liver. Like sure, this is America.

I’m more attached to my liver than I am my data, Kara.

I got that, but it has enormous power. Should we be able to do things maybe we shouldn’t be able to do?

Well, right now, it’s happening without our buy-in, without our assent, and so to me that’s the Wild West that eventually we would want to moderate.

A lot of right-wingers, 4chan, some others, are very attracted to your campaign, you’ve decried this. Can you talk about this a little bit? They like the money giving away, they like a lot of things. But it’s often been linked to anti-Semitic tropes, racist tropes.

Yes, I was mystified and baffled by this one as it arose because I was like, how the hell could you mistake me for someone who would be down with any kind of white supremacy? I mean, look at me, I’m the son of an immigrant. The fact that people in those quarters started to be attracted to the campaign was just a total shock. But as you say, I denounced it, want nothing to do with people who have any kind of racist or hateful ideology. And that’s something that I believe people recognize the difference between this campaign and our ideas for the country. And a very, very tiny proportion of supporters at one point.

So what? You just keep decrying them. Because there’s a lot, I was looking at it, I was sort of shocked by it because it wasn’t anything that you … it was an interesting, weird, I almost was like, “What are you doing? He doesn’t like you.”

You should have responded to their posts with that, Kara.

No, I’m not going to go into … I stay out of /r/The_Donald, but go ahead. On Reddit, that’s on Reddit.

You and me both.

Yeah, so last question, it sounds like a crazy question, but why do you want to be president?

So imagine being the guy who spent six-plus years helping create thousands of jobs around the country in Detroit, New Orleans, Cleveland, Baltimore. And realizing that your water was like pouring water into a bath that had a giant hole ripped in the bottom. And then Donald Trump wins the election in 2016 and your country does not seem to understand what has happened to it. Your country is scapegoating immigrants for something that immigrants have nothing to do with. Your country does not understand that we’re in the midst of the greatest economic transformation in our history, the fourth industrial revolution, and we need to get our shit together as fast as possible to make sure this country is strong and whole so that my kids and yours can grow up in a country we’re still proud of. So let’s say you see all of this in 2017 and then you say, how can I get my country to understand what we’re facing and advance meaningful solutions in a reasonable time frame before the truckers riot?

And then you’re an entrepreneur and operator, you make a list and the list starts and ends with one thing: run for president. And then you look at that and you say, well, if I decided to put my heart and soul into that, do I have a chance to wake my country up? Do I have a chance? And I looked in the mirror and said, yeah, I have a chance. And then you decide not to do that, then you are an asshole.

And I looked in the mirror and said, all right, let’s do this thing, because I want to be able to sleep at night. I may not win, but I am damn well sure I’m going to make this case to the American people and I’m going to be able to sleep at night knowing that we actually knocked some sense into enough of our fellow citizens so we can start solving the real problems of the 21st century.

I think that’s interesting. The motto “And then you’d be an asshole” is an interesting one. But is there a chance of unseating Donald Trump? His favorables go up. He’s more and more outrageous every day, more and more unhinged. It doesn’t seem to have any effect. It doesn’t feel like it is.

I think there’s a great chance of beating Donald Trump in 2020. He had to pull an inside straight to win in 2016 and his support has eroded in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, a lot of the key swing states, and he knows it. He’s looking around, he’s trying to figure it out. The key variable is who his opponent will be.

I think that certain of the people in the field have better chances to beat him than others. I would take anyone in the field over Donald Trump, but one of the reasons why I’m running in particular is that I can peel off many of the people who voted for Donald Trump — conservatives, independents, libertarians, as well as Democrats and progressives — in a way that the other candidates cannot. But the data suggests that we have about a 50/50 chance of beating him, depending upon how the economy goes between now and next November. So this is the big question, is which side of that 50/50 bet are we going to land on?

So last question, I asked this of Pete Buttigieg, if you win, it’s going to be a close election no matter what, whoever the Democratic candidate is, the Democratic candidate wins, say it’s you, it’s very close. There’s issues around election fraud and everything else. What if he questions the election? What would you do?

Well, I’m glad to say that even people who are closest to him have said there is absolutely no way that we would not honor the outcome of an election. And it’s difficult for me to imagine one individual going against the entire, arrayed institutional force of the US government. Our government is not wired to go along with the one crazy person …

Wow, it seems like it is, but go ahead, continue.

And not the will of the tens of millions. I’m sure that he would go down with some kind of strange racist screed, but he would go down. We would have a new president. And if it were me, one of my first acts would be to go to the part of the country that voted for me the least and tell them “I’m your president, too.”

All right, on that note, questions from the audience. Questions. Right here, right here.

Carrie Kim: Hi, my name is Carrie Kim. I work at Blind, it’s an anonymous app that brings transparency to the workplace. And we ran a survey to tech employees asking if they thought the artificial intelligence and tech automation was concerning to employment crisis. And we were surprised to find …

Got to go faster.

Carrie Kim: … that more than 50 percent of employees were not concerned. They didn’t think it was a problem. So as the Silicon Valley candidate, how are you going to convince Silicon Valley and the entire nation that AI and tech automation is a problem?

Andrew Yang: Well, I’m glad to say that recent surveys have showed the majority of Americans have now turned the corner where now most Americans think that technology is going to eliminate many more jobs then it’s going to create in the years to come. And the conversation or the survey you ran does not jive with the conversations I’ve had with people here in Silicon Valley.

A rule of thumb I’ve had is that the more someone knows, the more concerned they are. I have never sat down with someone who was very, very deep into this space and was like, “Yeah, things’ll be all right.” The deeper into the space someone is, like Kara, Kara is very deep into the space and she’s very concerned.

I’m concerned.

Yeah. That is much more the norm than the opposite, in my experience.

Okay, another question. Right here, and then we’ll go …

Audience member: Putting the merits of UBI aside, I want to talk a little bit about your pessimism when it comes to AI. And obviously there have been instances where you have had massive unemployment because of manufacturing automation, but you’ve also had incidences where new technologies have come in, people have protested. This goes all the way back to the Luddites or back to like the railroads or even telephone operators in the ’20s and ’30s, ’60s. I mean, a lot of times when new technologies have come in, people have … jobs become obsolete, but we haven’t seen mass waves of unemployment. Things like the telephone, I mean smart phones, you might have thought that would have caused a lot of unemployment because of a new technology, but it hasn’t. So I’m wondering why are we so pessimistic when it comes to AI that this particular technology change will cause mass waves of unemployment when new technologies in the past haven’t?

Andrew Yang: So one needn’t take my word for it. MIT, Bain, McKinsey, have all done studies, and McKinsey said 20 to 30 percent of jobs over the next 12 to 15 years. Bain said two to three times the pace of the last industrial revolution. And the last industrial revolution included mass riots that killed dozens of people and caused billions of dollars worth of damage. We instituted universal high school in 1911 as a response to that industrial revolution. And all the experts are saying this is going to be two to three times faster, more vicious, affect more parts of the economy. I was just with 70 CEOs and I said, “How many of you are looking at having AI eliminate back-office workers?” You know how many hands went up out of 70?

All, everyone.

70, and you know at least one of them just was pretending because he wanted to be cool like the other 69, but all 70 hands went up. And so they’re very, very concerned. What I say is, look, you have two-and-a-half million call center workers in the United States making $14 an hour, high school educated, let’s say AI wipes out half of them in 10 years. That alone is 1.25 million. And what do you imagine those 1.25 million former call center workers are going to migrate to? And that’s an obvious one. There are dozens of un-obvious ones that are ripping through the back-office functions of many of these companies.

So to me, relying upon an historical analog from 120 years ago, if someone walked into an investor’s office and said, “Hey, 120 years ago, buggy whips.” They would have been like, “What? Get out of my office.” But in this context, someone busts out a 120-year-old fact pattern is like, “Farmers.” And you’re like, “Come on, aren’t we better than that at this point?” No offense to the question.

All right, okay. He’s right. Okay, two more questions, right here.

Audience member: Hi. Let’s move away from the tech and into your ideas. Great, I am glad that you are at least running to bring in new ideas. But going back to how are you going to try to move these policies forward in a Congress that probably isn’t gonna flip in the Senate. And then House is still kind of like trying to figure out what’s happening, even today with the resolution. So how are you going to try to move these policies forward when it’s not just on you?

Yeah, it’s tough. I mean, look, the squad’s fighting Nancy and they’re all fighting Trump and then Kellyanne Conway says something stupid, how do you fix that? Well, Kellyanne Conway will be gone presumably, which is a plus.

Andrew Yang: Well, we have a very, very polarized society and government and it’s causing gridlock in DC and it’s a disaster. So how do you change it? The way you change it is you end up with a popular wave that ends up transcending political party. You have a person come in who’s clearly non-ideological and bipartisan people feel like they can work with him and he has a big idea, like giving everyone a dividend of $1,000 a month that just is universally popular. Cash is very hard to demonize. If you imagine a world, and it’s a very real world, where I come into the Oval Office in 2021, everyone’s going to know why. It’s going to be because I have been pushing this freedom dividend and America said, heck yes. And so then I’m in office, again, the Democrats are super excited about it and say, let’s pass some laws. And then all we need is a tiny sliver of Republican congresspeople to say the dividend is a good idea, it’s going to be great for my constituents.

And if you imagine them fighting it, can you imagine their offices in Missouri, in Kentucky and Alabama? As they go home, people will be like, “Why are you fighting the dividend? We want the dividend, the dividend’s a good idea.” Their office is going to be surrounded until they say, “The dividend is a pretty good idea, let’s give it a try.” And we get that passed, then we can reverse this mindset of scarcity that swept the country. That’s one reason we’re so polarized.

If you have a sense that this country’s getting dumber, nasty, or less reasonable, less optimistic, we are, by the numbers. Because 78 percent of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. Almost half can’t afford an unexpected $400 bill. And research has shown that if you can’t pay your bills, it has the equivalent of decreasing your functional IQ by 13 points, or one standard deviation. So if you can’t pay your bills, you’re putting your feet in front of each other, and then if I come and say, “Climate change.” You’re like, “I don’t care about the penguins, bro, I just got to pay my bills.” And so that’s where most Americans are. We got to get their heads up. You get me in office, we pass the dividend, the scarcity starts to lift and then we can see what else we can get done.

All right, okay, last question. Sorry, I’m sorry, the guy in the back.

Audience member: Hi, thank you. Currently there 1 to 2 million Muslims in China who are in camps and I have heard almost nothing about it on the campaign trail. They’re reeducation camps, they’re taken from their homes. There’s, as you talked about, surveillance. So I just wanted to know, do we as Americans have, I guess, any right to say anything about it? And if so, what do we do?

And perhaps to link that with, the Washington Post had a great story about how all your driver’s licenses are using a facial recognition … without your permission. So it’s not the same thing, but it’s certainly frightening in this country to have your data used that way.

Well certainly, I believe the United States should be able to advocate for human rights in any part of the world, but right now that’s a much less compelling case because people are looking at us and saying, are you really in position to moralize to us about the way we’re treating this particular subgroup of people. So job No. 1 is rebuilding our strength at home so that we can genuinely say, look, we’re fulfilling and actualizing our values, and then we’ll be much better able to champion oppression of other groups of people in other parts of the world. And that’s the goal.

Thank you.

Manny Yekutiel: Kara, can I ask a really quick one?

Sure, it’s your place, it’s called Manny’s. No. No, Manny.

Manny Yekutiel: Can you tell us about your socks, Andrew?

Oh my God, Manny.

Andrew Yang: Really? Sure.

Manny Yekutiel: I want to know about your socks.

Andrew Yang: So I’m wearing some stars-and-stripes socks, they’re very patriotic. And my wife bought them for me in Washington, DC, at the US Capitol.

Are they?

Andrew Yang: They are. And you can see there’s some red, white, and blue.

Manny Yekutiel: Wow, you’re very flexible.

Andrew Yang: I did the bottle cap challenge just the other week.

Honestly, if you’re going to be a Silicon Valley person, your shoes need to be cooler for sure. I have some for you.

Thanks, Kara.

Anytime, I like the socks.

I could use a shoe upgrade.

I’m going to get you some shoes, I’m going to get you some of the newest shoes. Anyway, Andrew, thank you so much.

Thank you Kara, it’s been such a pleasure.

Good luck.

Thank you all.

Recode and Vox have joined forces to uncover and explain how our digital world is changing — and changing us. Subscribe to Recode podcasts to hear Kara Swisher and Peter Kafka lead the tough conversations the technology industry needs today.

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