Exclusive: Kara Swisher steps away from hosting Code Conference
After 20 years, this year's annual Code Conference from Vox Media will be Kara Swisher's last year hosting and organizing the event, Swisher told Axios.
Why it matters: Swisher, who recently rejoined Vox Media from the New York Times, plans to turn her attention toward new projects that explore topics beyond tech and reach a wider set of people.
- She'll still appear on stage to conduct select marquee interviews at future Code Conferences.
Catch up quick: When Swisher and veteran tech journalist Walt Mossberg launched Code two decades ago, "it was a much smaller community," Swisher said.
- Today, Code has become one of the most established business-to-business tech conferences in the country, but its audience is exclusive.
- Only 20% of the 4,000 tech executives that apply to attend are accepted and pay a registration fee of $7,000–$9,500.
Between the lines: Pivot, a multiplatform franchise hosted by Swisher and NYU professor Scott Galloway, will continue to be a bigger part of Swisher's day-to-day focus.
- Pivot is focused on spotlighting new companies and entrepreneurs across a broader array of topics — including everything from psychedelics to climate change tech.
- Last year, the company hosted its first-ever Pivot conference in Miami that was attended by both high-level industry executives as well as Galloway and Swisher super-fans.
- "I didn't have to have all the CEOs of all the big names and stuff like that. I could sprinkle them in and then show you companies you've never seen before," Swisher said.
- "I can create really interesting experiences that maybe the Code audience, which is more formal, wouldn't like."
The big picture: Swisher's move back to Vox Media comes amid a greater shift in the news industry toward elevating journalists as independent creators.
- Part of the reason Swisher left the Times is because she didn't feel as though she could be as entrepreneurial.
- "I wanted to do what I wanted to do, and not have to have a large committee to do it," she said.
What's next: Swisher plans to launch an interview podcast with New York Magazine, a brand owned by Vox Media, this fall. She'll continue expanding the Pivot franchise with Galloway under the Vox Media umbrella.
What to watch: This year, Swisher said Vox Media will move the Pivot conference out of Florida in response to the state's new "Don't say gay" bill.