The Premise

The Premise is a new podcast from Forbes' tech news team that defogs and defuses the hype in business technology. We try to spot and explain the most important trends in mobile, security, cloud and data and explore how companies and organizations are using these tools to make the world a better and more profitable place. The Premise will alternate between feature segments and interviews with the brightest minds in tech.


Tech vs. Tyranny

A common marketing schtick with Silicon Valley startups is that they're...A common marketing schtick with Silicon Valley startups is that they're making the world a better place, but here's a company that may actually fit the description: it gives people hidden cameras to record human-rights abuses. Oren Yakobovich explains how he dropped out of the Israeli army to spend a decade flipping the idea of Big Brother on its head. Parmy and Alex discuss the pros and cons of technology's power to change the world, in the 50th and final episode of The Premise.   Show More

45:49 4/18/2017

Past Episodes

Parmy and Alex are joined by Forbes staff reporter Alex Konrad to talk about the increasingly important role that universities play in the tech startup world by turning their research into marketable products. Alex Knapp interviews Charlie Lewis, Senior VP of Venture Development at Arizona State University's tech transfer arm, about how universities empower both students and faculty to become entrepreneurs.
39:35 4/11/2017
Parmy and Alex discuss the implications of increasingly isolationist policies from the U.K. and U.S. on the technology industry, with issues like immigration and free trade now more at stake than ever. Britain's first female consul general to San Francisco, Priya Guha, also speaks about the art of wooing tech startups to London from Silicon Valley.
38:18 4/4/2017
Will artificial intelligence take away jobs, or just change the nature of how we work? Parmy and Alex discuss some of the arguments and fears around automation, while Alex interviews Joe Lobo, chief bot master at startup Inbenta, who says people will simply need to be retrained for jobs impacted by AI.
37:41 3/28/2017
Parmy interviews Alexander Nix, CEO of Cambridge Analytica, about their work doing data mining and analysis for the Trump campaign; Parmy and Alex discuss the company's efficacy despite the outcome of the election.
31:03 3/21/2017
Parmy and Alex discuss the theory that tech giants Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple, collectively known as GAFA, are having an increasingly powerful impact on the world as they vie to become a hub for all aspects of daily life. The show features Jeremy Ghez, a professor of international affairs at HEC Paris who says consumers can keep these companies in check... but will they?
37:26 3/14/2017
Forbes reporter Kathleen Chaykowski speaks to Thibault Duchemin, Founder & CEO at Ava, who grew up as the only hearing person in a deaf family and built an app that helps them join in the world around them. Parmy and Kathleen discuss how tech originally built for the disabled has become fundamental to the gadgets most people use everyday.
36:02 3/7/2017
A new report for the U.S. army claims future cyber attacks will increasingly affect the real world around us. "We need to think beyond cyber," says author and futurist behind the report, Brian David Johnson, in an interview with Alex. Alex and Parmy discuss the implications for both businesses and consumers.
00:40:06 2/28/2017
Parmy and Alex are joined by Forbes Editorial Producer Matt Perez to talk about the burgeoning business of professional competitive video gaming (eSports) and dive into the different ways that people are able to make money playing video games in front of crowds. Alex also talks to attorney Mike Strauss from Reed Smith about some of the benefits (and risks) for investors who want to get their money in the game.
00:32:43 2/21/2017
Parmy and Alex discuss the market for "in-ear computers" spearheaded by a little German startup called Bragi. Its founder, Nikolaj Hviid, tells us why his earphones are better than Apple's AirPods and why just like the main character of the movie 'Her,' we might one day have an artificially intelligent voice in our ear at all times.
00:36:40 2/14/2017
Parmy and Forbes technology writer Kathleen Chaykowski discuss two companies promising to fix our runaway addiction to apps. One is already making money: the startup behind meditation app Headspace is worth a quarter of a billion dollars. Another startup, Space, used to be in the business of making people more addicted - ahem - 'engaged' to apps. Now it's using software tricks to help them break the habit.
00:36:00 2/7/2017
Parmy and Alex are joined by Forbes tech writer Kathleen Chaykowski to discuss how companies and consumers are combating the proliferation of fake news. Alex Knapp talks to UCLA professors Timothy Tangherlini and Vwani Roychowdhury about a machine learning method they have developed to identify fake social media stories. Parmy Olson interviews author and neuroscientist David Levitin about using critical thinking to vet news sources.
00:54:32 1/31/2017
With more people around the globe moving to metropolitan areas, how are cities incorporating technology to improve infrastructure and overall life quality? Parmy and Alex tackle the topic of smart cities and bring on Michael Zeto, AT&T's Smart Cities General Manager and Executive Director, and Vishal Chatrath, Co-Founder and CEO of
01:14:47 1/24/2017
For part two of the Forbes' 30 Under 30 breakdown, Parmy and Alex bring on fellow reporters Alex Konrad and Dave Ewalt to discuss the young names making their mark in the science, venture capital and gaming fields.
00:33:10 1/17/2017
Parmy and Alex bring on tech reporters Ryan Mac and Kathleen Chaykowski to discuss this year's Forbes' 30 Under 30 Summit and the newest young game changers in the technology and manufacturing fields.
00:31:06 1/10/2017
Parmy and Alex talk to Forbes reporter, Alex Konrad, about the biggest tech stories of 2016: From Facebook to election hacking to self-driving cars to rockets blowing up to Pokemon GO and more.
00:56:04 1/3/2017
Parmy talks to Luis Von Ahn, founder of language learning platform Duolingo, and Vasco Pedro, founder of translation AI service Unbabel, about the great strides being made in translation software - largely thanks to artificial intelligence.
00:42:18 12/27/2016
Imagine pitching your tech startup... to a member of the royal family. Nerve-racking, right? Parmy Olson interviews Prince Andrew, Duke of York, about "Pitch at Palace" - his London tech pitching event and whether or not it'll make its way to Silicon Valley. Parmy and Alex discuss the implications of the event for the rest of Europe and companies all over the world.
00:30:32 12/20/2016
Alex Knapp chats it up in San Francisco with staff writers Aaron Tilley and Brian Solomon about the hardware behind artificial intelligence and how far it's come in recent decades. They discuss A.I.'s application towards video games and self-driving cars, the job displacement it is causing and the likelihood that we'll someday have robot overlords.
00:32:17 12/13/2016
How are mobile messaging companies growing and adapting in the tech world? Parmy and Alex bring on Line CEO, Takeshi Idezawa, to talk about his company's impact on the Asian markets and Tango CEO, Eric Setton, to discuss how they are staying competitive by refocusing on their target audience.
00:32:28 12/6/2016
Parmy Olson is joined by Forbes gadget contributor Ewan Spence to cover a pressing topic - what gadgets to buy friends and loved ones this holiday season. They cover a number of different gift ideas and stress the importance making sure any electronics gift you give to kids comes complete with fully-charged batteries.
00:33:46 11/29/2016
Is social media the reason Donald Trump won the presidency? Parmy and Alex regroup after the election to asses what happened and what the fallout will be like in the tech industry. They bring on Forbes tech contributors Kathleen Chaykowski and Matt Drange to discuss fake news stories that have been circulating on Facebook and if Trump will actually go after media companies he accuses of libel. Parmy and Alex also interview Ted Livingston, CEO and Founder of Kik Messenger, and Diogo Monica, Security Lead at Docker, about their response to the election and the moral responsibility of social media companies.
00:40:25 11/22/2016
Why do so few people know how to code today and how do they get away with it? Alex chats with Allison Mnookin, CEO of Quickbase, a cloud-based app development company, about building apps without knowing any coding knowledge. Parmy and Alex also talk to Forbes writer and bestselling author, George Anders, about how most of the work at tech companies... is not actually technical.
00:38:44 11/15/2016
Parmy and Alex tackle workplace collaboration software... and farming. Parmy interviews Hilmar, CA dairy farmer Aaron Wickstrom about how he incorporates Slack (a popular cloud based team collaboration tool) and robotics into how he and his crew run the farm. Parmy and Alex discuss whether or not Slack is more of a useful tool or a growing distraction in the workplace.
00:30:01 11/8/2016
Parmy and Alex get political: Parmy talks about the role of Russian espionage in the Democratic National Committee hack this summer with Crowdstrike Co-Founder Dmitri Alperovitch and Alex has a lively chat with Elon James White, Founder and CEO of This Week in Blackness (TWiB!) Media, about the constantly expanding role of social media in presidential campaigns.
42:33 11/1/2016
Parmy and Alex catch up and recap the big tech new from Summer 2016 including Samsung's recall debacle, the audacity of Elon Musk, Apple continuing to set trends in the tech industry, the emergence of the Google Pixel and what the Nintendo Switch is really competing against.
35:43 10/25/2016
For our last episode of season one, a roundtable of Forbes reporters discuss the tech stories to watch for this Fall, from Apple to self-driving cars.
36:05 9/6/2016
People are using Trello to plan everything from their weddings to their sales strategies. But what happens when the market is overrun with productivity apps, including some that are just too addictive?
34:20 8/30/2016
At the Forbes AgTech Summit, Forbes publisher Rich Karlgaard sits down with Dr. Robert T. Fraley, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at Monsanto, about what the future holds for farming technology.
35:01 8/23/2016
In 2015, Instagram earned an estimated $630 million in revenue. In 2016, it's on track to earn $1.5 billion. In this episode, we examine how Instagram made itself a prestige brand for advertisers and why its acquisition by Facebook is a model that other tech companies should pay attention to.
44:16 8/16/2016
For decades, we used the mouse and keyboard to tell our computers what to do. Today we're starting to use touchscreens and voice commands. Tomorrow? We may use nothing more than a flick of our wrist - or our thoughts. Join us as we talk to some of the innovators creating the interfaces of the future.
32:26 8/9/2016
Since its release, 'Pokémon GO' has quickly become a global phenomenon. We take a look at the business behind the game and what it might mean for both Nintendo and AR in the future. We also talk to Chikai Ohazama, Keyhole cofounder and longtime Google engineer, who provides insight into the game's evolution and roots in mapping software.
54:26 8/2/2016
The recent Forbes AgTech Summit highlighted over 40 companies working to change the technology behind agriculture. We talked to Julie Borlaug of the Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture and Kim Nicholson, VP of Business Development at Spensa Technologies. They talked about how big data, robots, machine learning and better bug zappers are revolutionizing farming.
34:33 7/26/2016
Startup Big Health has found a way to make the staff at LinkedIn and Comcast more productive, by helping them sleep more. It's part of a growing trend of digital medicine that's increasingly being found in the workplace.
30:44 7/19/2016
The software people use in their day to day lives has come a long way since Lotus 1-2-3. We talk to Box CEO Aaron Levie and Zendesk CEO Mikkel Svane about how the world of enterprise apps changed in the smartphone era - and how it will change further in the future.
40:40 7/12/2016
Autonomous vehicles are getting closer to a daily reality - and infrastructure and regulations are racing to keep up. We talked to Local Motors CEO John Rogers about autonomous shuttle Olli, and Peter Esser from NXP about the infrastructure for autonomous cars and smart cities.
43:47 7/5/2016
On Thursday, June 23, 2016, the United Kingdom voted in a referendum to leave the European Union. Forbes staffers Parmy Olson, Alex Knapp, and Maggie McGrath discuss the initial impact to markets from the Brexit result, and what this vote might mean for tech industries in the UK and beyond going forward.
25:59 6/28/2016
More and more, drones are finding their way into businesses you wouldn't expect - from insurance to the oil & gas industry. We talked to Paul Doersch, CEO of Kespry and Jonathan Downey, CEO of Airware about the potential for drones - and the data they collect - to transform traditional industries.
31:39 6/21/2016
As technology advances, regulators are struggling to keep up. We talked to Neelie Kroes, a member of Uber's public affairs advisory board, and Jeff Matthews, Director of Venture Strategy and Research for the Space Frontier Foundation. They gave the lowdown regarding the regulatory environment on the ground - and above the skies.
36:45 6/14/2016
Apple made headlines and turned heads with its billion dollar investment into Chinese Uber rival Didi Chuxing. Google's also a player in the investment world, with its venture capital arm having been an early investor into Uber. How are Silicon Valley giants changing investing? We talked to Hans Tung of GGV, and Tom Hulme and Avid Larizadeh Duggan from Google Ventures to find out.
35:33 6/7/2016
Shipping is becoming more important for online retailers - but how do you ship to people with no address? And how do you track that shipping globally? Chris Sheldrick, founder and CEO of What3Words and Nick Allain of satellite company Spire join us to talk shipping, satellites, and fighting pirates.
36:31 5/31/2016
Jerry Chen of VC firm Greylock Partners and Chris Curran, chief technologist at PricewaterhouseCoopers join the show to talk about artificial intelligence. Despite fears that AI will steal jobs, the picture they paint is one where AI is able to create opportunities for people to pursue more meaningful, creative careers.
37:30 5/24/2016
Tech startups in Silicon Valley get the lion's share of attention - and investment - in the United States. But it's not the only area where tech companies are finding success and investors. Forbes staffers Alex Konrad and Alex Knapp talk to two venture capital funds making investments in startups in New York City and Kansas City.
28:56 5/17/2016
Two conversations about how design
informs technology and vice versa. David Edge leads the
visualization team at UK engineering firm Arup and talks about how
the firm is using augmented and virtual reality tech to help design
and pitch giant projects like London's Olympic Park and the
upcoming Garden Bridge over the Thames. Gadi Amit is one of Silicon
Valley's most important product designers (clients include Fitbit,
Netgear, Palm, Google) and cares deeply about making sure human
needs and democracy make it into tomorrow's tech
01:01:08 4/26/2016
Lyft is locked in a battle for market share with Uber and nailing the driver and passenger experience is crucial to winning their fickle loyalties. Morelli, a veteran technologist, talks with Forbes managing editor Bruce Upbin about what's going on inside Lyft's design, test and product development culture.
38:01 4/19/2016
How do you create a digital experience that leads to great real-world experiences? Equal parts art and technology, says Airbnb's VP of Engineering Mike Curtis. He shares some of the design secrets behind one of the most successful on-demand startups of all time.
33:06 4/5/2016
Tony Scott, former CIO at Disney and Microsoft, is halfway into his tenure overseeing the world's biggest IT budget: $81 billion. That's $260 of tech spending for every man, woman and child in America. His job is a tough one, wrestling with cyberhacks, creaky IT infrastructure, warring agencies and garrulous Congressmen. He's a class act with lessons for any technology executive about doing important things at scale. Recorded live in conversation with Forbes publisher Rich Karlgaard at our CIO Summit on March 7, 2016 at the Ritz-Carlton in Half Moon Bay, Calif.
29:21 3/24/2016
Can big software companies innovate? Can tech companies do more to defend the rights of women and LGBT communities? Are we working ourselves sick? The answers to all these questions and more await you in this episode of The Premise, Forbes' tech podcast hosted by editor Bruce Upbin. In this episode we talk with Marc Benioff, the Chairman and CEO of Salesforce, recorded live on March 7, 2016, at the Forbes CIO Summit at Half Moon Bay Calif.
38:39 3/17/2016
People now spend more time on mobile messaging apps than on social networks. Sensing the shift, businesses and brands globally are starting to connect with customers on chat apps such as WeChat, Facebook, WhatsApp, and Kik. Rather than deploy humans, they're turning to bots, virtual assistants that respond to open-ended text messages. New bots are springing up to handle all kinds of use cases: shopping, ride-hailing, customer service queries. This episode of The Premise explores technology's new bot economy and bot culture, including interviews with Dennis Mortensen, cofounder and CEO of, a meeting-scheduler bot, and Peter Fjallstrom, a Swedish programmer who created a household bot for his family using Slack. Hosted by Bruce Upbin and Parmy Olson.
36:32 3/10/2016
Technology accelerates everything. Is that really what we want? Episode feat. Starship Technologies, Ally Financial CIO Michael Baresich and Warby Parker cofounder Neil Blumenthal.
55:38 3/1/2016

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