Feb 22, 2022 • 1HR 3M

Super Pumped (w/Mike Isaac)

We talk to author Mike Isaac about the upcoming Showtime series "Super Pumped"

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Eric Newcomer
Ahead of the 2nd Cerebral Valley AI Summit on Nov. 15, hosts Eric Newcomer, Max Child, and James Wilsterman bring you a six-part podcast series on the rise of generative artificial intelligence.
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Credit: Showtime

As much as insiders might bristle over their portrayals, television and movies shape how the world sees Silicon Valley.

Aaron Sorkin’s The Social Network defined how people thought about Mark Zuckerberg. Movies like The Wolf of Wall Street and The Big Short sold arcane financial stories to the masses.

So Tom Dotan, Katie Benner, and I were interested to see how New York Times reporter Mike Isaac’s propulsive book about Uber from 2019 — Super Pumped — would be translated to our television screens.

Since we can’t watch the show yet (the first episode airs Feb. 27), we spoke to Isaac — who has played an integral role in making sure that the show’s writers know the true story behind what went down in the Uber saga. We’ll soon see how closely they hewed to reality.

But ears will be burning. Despite only running seven episodes, the show features a long list of tech characters. They might not be famous outside of Silicon Valley but they are the stuff of legend to Silicon Valley obsessives. That includes people like David Drummond, Larry Page, Arianna Huffington, Emil Michael, Rachel Whetstone, and Jill Hazelbaker. That’s not to mention the headline conflict between Travis Kalanick and Bill Gurley.

Isaac gave us a spoiler-free behind the scenes look at the making of the show. We talked about Hollywood’s obsession with tech. Isaac gave us a preview of the questions he’s asking going into his in-the-works book on Facebook — which is already slated to become the sequel to the Uber series. And we concluded our conversation with a brief discussion of Isaac and his colleagues’ latest reporting on Spotify, which revealed that Spotify had committed to paying Joe Rogan a stunning $200 million-plus.

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