Join Walter Isaacson as he explores digital disruption and innovators using tech to enable human progress – at your own pace.

Season 1

SEASON 2

SEASON 3

SEASON 4

S1 Ep 1 – Movies: Lights…Camera…Disruption

How the movie Jaws and a $40 late fee led to a complete disruption of the entertainment industry as we know it. Host Walter Isaacson explores a series of unusual partnerships, bold moves, and missed opportunities that defined television and film.

AudioTranscript

 

S1 Ep 2 – Photography: Developing Disruption

Digital cameras disrupted Kodak’s film business and led to its bankruptcy in 2012. The catch? Kodak actually invented the digital camera. In this episode, host Walter Isaacson explores how quickly the disruptors can become the disrupted – and vice versa.

AudioTranscript

 

S1 Ep 3 – Food Delivery: A Slice of Disruption

One simple (but disgusting) viral video drove a pizza company to reinvent itself as a technology company. However, technology and the fast food industry have walked hand in hand for decades. In this episode of Trailblazers, Walter Isaacson explores this unexpected relationship – and how far it might go.

AudioTranscript

 

S1 EP 4 – Gaming: Game On, Disruption

One simple (but disgusting) viral video drove a pizza company to reinvent itself as a technology company. However, technology and the fast food industry have walked hand in hand for decades. In this episode of Trailblazers, Walter Isaacson explores this unexpected relationship – and how far it might go.

AudioTranscript

 

S1 Ep 5 – News: Disruption is the Lead Story

Over 150 years ago, new technology threatened newspapers to the brink of extinction. Sound familiar? In this episode of Trailblazers, Walter Isaacson follows the history of the newspaper industry and explores how it has survived by adopting — not resisting — disruptive innovations.

AudioTranscript

 

S1 Ep 6 – Hospitality: Disrupting the Destination

Before hotels, there was home sharing. In the digital age, Airbnb has brought it back. Walter Isaacson takes a historical look at the hospitality industry, navigating listeners from horse carriage inns to the personalization of the sharing economy.

AudioTranscript

 

S1 EP 7 – Advertising: Disrupting Interruption

The story of advertising starts, ends and endures with disruption at its core. Join Walter as he discusses digital marketing’s past, present and exciting future with industry visionaries Seth Godin and Dave Droga.

Audio – Transcript (will be added when available)

 

S1 Ep 8 – Music: The Sound of Disruption

The way we consume music is continuously changing. Join Walter as he discusses how the industry’s endured unfathomable disruption with guests Ani DiFranco, Amanda Palmer, Robert Harris, Jonathan Taplin, Jim Rondinelli and Bob Lefsetz.

Audio – Transcript (will be added when available)

 

S1 Ep 9 – Finance: Cha-Ching!

The way we value and move money is changing. Again. Join Walter as he explores Bitcoin and the long evolution of currency with guests Neha Narula, Don Tapscott, Sarah Meikeljohn, Felix Martin and Max Levchin.

Audio Transcript (will be added when available)

 

S1 Ep 10 – Navigation: Exploring Disruption

Quantum leaps in navigation are bringing our world closer. Join Walter and guests Brad Parkinson, Stan Honey, Randy Hoffman, Corinne Vigreux and Di-Ann Eisnor as they explore how we got here, and where we’re going next.

Audio – Transcript (will be added when available)

 

S1 Ep 11 – Healthcare: Side Effects Include Disruption

From X-Rays to wearables, better healthcare means peering deeper into the human body. Join Walter and guests Dr. Daniel Kraft, Reenita Das, Dr. Jeffrey Trent, Anne Wojcicki and Dr. Giselle Sholler as they explore how wellness is becoming more personal, and more proactive.

Audio – Transcript (will be added when available)

 

S1 Ep 12 – Automobiles: The Road to Disruption

From the Model T to the Model 3, the auto industry’s come a long way – and its most exciting era is yet to come. Join Walter and guests Matt Anderson, Ashlee Vance, Bryan Salesky, Oliver Cameron, and Hans-Werner Kaas as they discuss the long and winding road from horses to autonomous cars.

Audio – Transcript (will be added when available)

 

S1 Ep 13 – Weather: Cloudy with a Chance of Disruption

A climate of disruption is constantly changing how we watch the weather. In this episode, Tim Gasparrini, Janice Stillman, Peter Moore, Sarah Witman Jim Cantore, Cameron Clayton and Paul Roebber open the almanac and see what’s in the forecast.

Audio – Transcript (will be added when available)

 

S1 Ep 14 – Airlines: Where Disruption Takes Flight

The air travel industry has seen more than its share of turbulence in the century since its inception. Come fly with us on this wild ride through the friendly skies.

Audio – Transcript (will be added when available)

 

S1 Ep 15 – Da Vinci: Il Grande Apripista // The Great Trailblazer

There have been many Trailblazers throughout history. But perhaps none has loomed larger, or longer, than Leonardo da Vinci. From art, to science, to math, to technology, hear just how disruptive his contributions were—and still are—in this special episode.

Audio Transcript (will be added when available)

 

S1 Ep 16 – Groceries: Clean Up On Aisle 9

For 100 years, the supermarket has been the place to go to purchase groceries –but that’s rapidly changing and will almost certainly not be the case in the coming decade. Here, we look back on its reign at the top, and look ahead to its very precarious future.

Audio – Transcript (will be added when available)

 

S1 Ep 17 – Package Delivery: Knock, Knock!

What used to take a month, now takes hours. Delivering anywhere in the country is becoming faster and cheaper than ever. In this episode, we’ll take a look at the steps we took to get closer and closer to instant gratification.

Audio – Transcript (will be added when available)

 

S1 Ep 18 – Live Events: Live and in Concert

From amphitheaters to theme parks, from dairy farms to airports, the live event industry is constantly finding new ways, and new places to bring us together. And this episode is your backstage pass to hear how it all works.

Audio Transcript (will be added when available)

 

S1 Ep 19 – Toys: Toy to the World

The toy industry has a long history, but only really became a technology-heavy omnipresence since the 1970s. In this episode, see how toy manufacturers have adapted digital – or not – to win the battle for children’s attention.

Audio – Transcript (will be added when available)

 

 

S2 Ep 1 – Connected Homes: There’s No Place Like Smart Home

We’ve been using technology to make our homes more comfortable, more secure and more entertaining for decades – with varying degrees of success. In this episode, we’ll discuss a history of smart technologies used inside the house, and analyze just how smart they really could be.

Audio – Transcript (will be added when available)

 

S2 Ep 2 – Business Communications: Did You Get The Memo?

We’ve been using technology to instantly convey ideas and collaborate across companies – and continents. Yes, communication’s come a long way since the days of Samuel Morse. In this episode, we crack the code on how it’s continuing to evolve and add context to every text.

Audio Transcript (will be added when available)

 

S2 Ep 3 – Dating: Be Mine

Finding love has evolved as we have. In this episode, we take a look back atthe way we find, attract and pursue lifelong partnerships. It’s time to get in your feelings, as we explore how technology is disrupting the very nature of our nature.

Audio – Transcript (will be added when available)

 

S2 Ep 4 – Space Exploration: New Space

It will always be the final frontier – no matter how much of it we can reach. In this episode we go deep into space: into the known unknowns we’ve explored, the unknown unknowns that lie ahead, and the entrepreneurs racing to lay claim to the heavens.

Audio – Transcript (will be added when available)

 

S2 Ep 5 – Education: Head of the Class

From the blackboard to bots, technology has made inroads into classrooms all over the world. Where will the next innovation in education come from? We take you to the head of the class in this episode.

Audio – Transcript (will be added when available)

 

S2 Ep 6 – Golf: Tee Time

Whether you see golf as an intense, white-knuckle competition, or a leisurely stroll around a course, the game has endured and the magic of the sport keeps growing. In this episode, we’ll take a look at how innovations have made golf bigger, better and more accessible than ever before.

Audio – Transcript (will be added when available)

 

S2 Ep 7 – Privacy: Privacy, Please

Privacy is an American norm, but did you know it wasn’t an American law until 1977? The war to protect our image, our data and our humanity rages as hot as ever – now more digital than ever. In this episode, we’ll take a look at the mechanisms in place that preserve our autonomy.

Audio – Transcript (will be added when available)

 

S2 Ep 8 – Gambling: Jackpot

We’ve come a long way from the mechanical slot machines of the 1960s. In just the past few decades, we’ve graduated to multi-billion dollar social casinos on our smartphones and reflexive resort pricing in Las Vegas. Roll with this episode to learn more.

Audio – Transcript (will be added when available)

 

S2 Ep 9 – Robotics: Beep Boop

At SXSW, we brought together leading experts in the field of AI for a special live panel discussion on the future of robots – in our homes, at work, and anywhere else they can go. We gathered all the highlights here for you in this episode.

Audio – Transcript (will be added when available)

 

S2 Ep 10 – Fundraising: Making Change

From seals campaigns to ice bucket challenges, from Jerry Lewis through Chance the Rapper, fundraising has leveled up since the old days of the poster-sized thermometer. Hear how streaming, social media and celebrity have all contributed to the way we reach out now.

AudioTranscript (will be added when available)

 

S2 Ep 11 – Athletic Shoes: Sneakers

From an actual jail in England to a pretend jail in Nike advertisements, sneakers have always made a statement without saying a word. In this episode, we look into how they fit into the sport and fashion landscape – both on and off the field of play.

AudioTranscript

 

S2 Ep 12 – Stocks: Timing the Market

The stock market is one wild ride, from the literal rough seas of the renaissance to the forthcoming disruption of algorithms and AI. Invest your time in this week’s episode to learn the exciting origins and incredible future of how shares and stocks exchange.

AudioTranscript

 

S2 Ep 13 – Agriculture: Can Urban Farming Feed The World

Host Walter Isaacson talks farming. How did the mechanical reaper change the way we harvest? Can vertical farming help feed our ever-growing cities? Will AI, machine learning and the Internet of Things make farms more efficient? Guests include Neil Dahlstrom, George Kellerman. Jenn Frymark, David Rosenberg, Rob Leclerc.

AudioTranscript

 

 

S3 Ep 1 – Batteries: The Power of Portable Power

Walter Isaacson returns to talk about batteries with the inventor of the lithium ion cell himself, plus current researchers aiming to disrupt the industry again. Can we make them cheaper, safer, sustainable and more powerful?

AudioTranscript

 

S3 Ep 2 – Watches: Innovation on Time

Walter Isaacson and guests engage in a timely discussion on how humans throughout history answer one of our most fundamental questions: “When?”So, what makes the industry tick? And how can we expect time to change in the future?

AudioTranscript

 

S3 Ep 3 – Formula 1: The Race to Keep Pace

Walter Isaacson and guests engage in a fast-paced discussion on the history of Formula One, featuring stories from drivers, technicians and the scientists behind the auto industry’s biggest breakthroughs.

AudioTranscript

 

S3 Ep 4 – Politics: The Medium is the Message

Walter Isaacson and guests dive into a complex discussion on the history of technological breakthroughs and the way they’ve changed how elections work, featuring stories from the insiders who watched it all unfold.

AudioTranscript

 

S3 EP 5 – VR: What’s Possibly in Reality?

Walter Isaacson and guests trace the origins of Virtual Reality (VR) technologies from early applications in video games to who knows what’s on the horizons. Will we one day only be limited by our imagination?

AudioTranscripts

 

S3 Ep 6 – Mattresses: Innovation Never Sleeps

Walter Isaacson and guests trace the way we buy, experience and purchase mattresses. Is disruption of the industry breaking with tomorrow’s light? Don’t sleep on the answers.

AudioTranscripts

 

S3 Ep 7 – Printers: What Will We Print Next?

Walter Isaacson returns to tell the history of printing, from the press, to the copier, to three-dimensional objects and bio-engineering, with the people who are driving the technology forward.

AudioTranscript

 

S3 Ep 8 – Forensics: Who’s on the Case?

Walter Isaacson talks about the history of identifying and exonerating criminals, from fingerprints, to DNA and beyond.

AudioTranscripts

 

S3 Ep 9 – Telecom: A Talking History

Walter Isaacson returns with the story of telecom, from Alexander Graham Bell, to the creation of the first mobile phone, and today’s smartphones.

AudioTranscript

 

S3 Ep 10 – Home Cooking: Technology Worth Savoring

Walter Isaacson asks: how did we go from inventing fire to the Instant Pot? How much different is cooking from its genesis tens of thousands of years ago? And just what does a microwave have to do with weaponry?

AudioTranscripts

 

S3 Ep 11 – Sports Analytics: What’s After Moneyball?

Walter Isaacson hits a home run with the story of sports analytics, from moneyball to the championship run of the Golden State Warriors, with guests Bob Costas, Jackie MacMullan, and Warriors Assistant GM Kirk Lacob.

AudioTranscript

 

S3 Ep 12 – Animation: Just Like We Drew It Up

Host Walter Isaacson explores the art and the science behind bringing animation to life – on the big screen, on the small screen, and on your computer screen.

AudioTranscript

 

S3 Ep 13 – Public Transportation: Moving Us Forward

Host Walter Isaacson explores the technology and people who continue to reinvent … maybe not the wheel, but the ways we apply them to keep us moving.

AudioTranscripts

 

S3 Ep 14 – Fashion: The Politics of Style

Host Walter Isaacson recounts the fascinating origins, developments and movements behind paradigm shifts within the fashion industry over the 150 years.

AudioTranscripts

 

S3 Ep 15 – Insurance: Who’s Looking Out For You?

Host Walter Isaacson discusses the industry’s progress and pratfalls.

AudioTranscripts

 

 

S4 Ep 1 – Fame: A New Breed of Celebrity

The allure of celebrity has always been a facet of human nature. Whether it’s deified early leaders emblazoning their faces onto coins, to young girls fainting over The Beatles, we can’t help but be drawn to the drama of public personalities. Today’s technology provides the platforms and algorithmic opportunity for virtually anyone to cultivate an audience and fan base. From the silver screen to reality television to digital influencers, Trailblazers is taking a deeper look into fame and the changing blueprint of what it takes to get there.

AudioTranscript

 

S4 Ep 2 – Prosthetics: Enhancing Human Capabilities

Progress in modern medicine stems from a demonstrated need in the population, driven by the work and passion of those who seek to improve the lives of others. In the case of prosthetics, many major advancements come from patients who have themselves lost a limb. Trailblazers is exploring the science and technology that grew from battlefield survival to biomechanical innovation that is on track to surpass natural human capabilities.

AudioTranscripts

S4 Ep 3 – Skyscrapers: An Upward Journey

Durability, convenience and beauty have no defined shape. That’s why skyscrapers are a medium for dreaming. Listen to the latest episode of Trailblazers and learn how far we’ve come. And where we’re going.

Audio & Transcript

S4 Ep 4 – Conservation: Next Generation Technology

Technology and nature used to reside at the opposite ends of the spectrum. But like our environment, that relationship has changed over the years and the two have a cyclical relationship of preservation and innovation.

Audio & Transcript

 

S4 Ep 5 – Lock and Key: In Safe Hands

On Trailblazers, learn how we took the early lessons learned from great locksmiths and applied them to the digital era.

Audio & Transcript

S4 Ep 6 – Job Search: Not-Entirely-Human Resources

This week on Trailblazers, we look at the evolution of the job search in the internet era.

Audio & Transcript

 

S4 Ep 7 – Meat: Breaking a 2.5 Million Year Old Habit

The planet’s population is due to grow by two billion over the next few decades, and the environmental consequences of feeding all those people with a diet based around eating meat are significant. Follow the hunt for a new, possibly better source of protein on this episode of Trailblazers.

Audio & Transcript

S4 Ep 8 – Hoaxes: The Original Fake News

P.T. Barnum made a name for himself in the 1830s attempting to pull one over on the American people. Hoaxes may have become more sophisticated since then, but the intent is still the same: fool people for some sort of gain. Follow the evolution of the hoax on Trailblazers.

Audio & Transcript

 

S4 Ep 9 – Theme Parks: Where Tech Meets Thrills

Host Walter Isaacson and guests find out what makes theme parks go, and how they have evolved from basic machinery and thrills to the highest of high-tech applications and experiences.

Audio & Transcript

S4 Ep 10 – Spying: Hiding in Plain Sight

Host Walter Isaacson and guests discuss some of the highest-profile, highest-tech spy stories of the Cold War and beyond.

Audio & Transcript

 

S4 Ep 11 – Aging: Improving the Golden Years

Host Walter Isaacson and guests talk about what it means to get old, and what we can do to make it less scary.

Audio & Transcript

S4 Ep 12 – Fitness: Working Out While Staying In

Host Walter Isaacson and guests talk about a few of the ways that technology can help shift your workout to whenever and wherever you want.

Audio & Transcript

 

S4 Ep 13 – Wellness: Knowing Yourself

Host Walter Isaacson and guests discuss the field of wellness, why it’s different than health, how it evolved over the years and how technology plays a role in getting well.

Audio & Transcript

S4 Ep 14 – Hearing Aids: Rediscovering Sound

Host Walter Isaacson and guests trace the evolution of devices used to help us hear better, looking to the past for information about the earliest hearing aids all the way through the advanced versions available now.

Audio & Transcript

 

S4 Ep 15 – Beer: A Revolution is Brewing

Host Walter Isaacson and guests talk about suds, from early, informal recipes to the latest AI-led innovations meant to personalize beer to your exact tastes.

Audio & Transcript

S4 Ep 16 – Archeology: Unearthing the Past

Host Walter Isaacson and guests dig up the past, talking about the history of archaeology as well as where the field is going now as it incorporates the latest technology into the search for humanity’s story.

Audio & Transcript

 

S4 Ep 17 – Water: A Thirst for Innovation

Host Walter Isaacson and guests talk about some of the biggest projects underway to tackle the global water shortage, from ocean desalination to finding water from completely unexpected sources.

Audio & Transcript

S4 Ep 18 – Podcasts: A Storytelling Breakthrough

Host Walter Isaacson and guests follow the evolution of podcasting from radio and blogs, all the way up to the juggernaut it is today, with over a million podcasts and counting

Audio & Transcript