50 – Get smarter, faster with Jim VandeHei of Axios

Jim VandeHei is the CEO and founder of Axios and the former CEO and founder of POLITICO.

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Episode Description

From breaking historic political news in the ’90s and early ’00s, to starting the country’s preeminent political outlet, POLITICO, Jim VandeHei has established himself as one of the top political journalists and entrepreneurs in the United States. In our conversation, we discuss his unorthodox entry into journalism, what it was like to run POLITICO, and where he sees his newest venture, AXIOS, headed.

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Key Quotes


Any existing professional is going to have to get smarter, faster across more topics because all of the action is in the collision of these big topics: AI, robotics, China, science, politics.” ~ Jim VandeHei

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“We’re in competition with like Spotify or anything else that’s going to eat up your attention.” ~ Jim VandeHei

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News Consumption

Technology empowers us in ways that were unimaginable a decade ago, yet here he stand at a time where people should be getting smarter faster, and I worry a lot of people are just getting dumber quicker.” ~ Jim VandeHei

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“People are just so addicted to Trump — in healthy and unhealthy ways. I just don’t think our species is supposed to spend this much time debating, thinking about, reading, consuming, and watching politics.” ~ Jim VandeHei

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Launching POLITICO

“From the moment of having that conversation to launching POLITICO live was less than six months.” ~ Jim VandeHei on the time it took to launch POLITICO with John Harris, who was The Washington Post’s politics editor at the time.

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POLITICO took off like a rocket…but behind the scenes it was a total shit show. Like we had never run anything.” ~ Jim VandeHei

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Journalism Career

“He goes, ‘In the next week I will teach you how to run a newspaper. And then you’re off to the races.’ And then I said, ‘Alright!'” ~ Jim VandeHei on his first job in journalism

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“I broke a couple of stories that ended up being a big deal. One was that Republicans, before anyone knew that they were going to try to impeach Clinton, had been meeting secretly in the basement of the Capitol…to begin the process of trying to impeach him. And I was the first to write that.” ~ Jim VandeHei on his journalism career at The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal

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About Luke Scorziell

Luke Scorziell
About Luke Scorziell and why he started Bills with Luke Scorziell.

Mr. Scorziell created The Edge of Ideas when he was 15 years old. After a few years of blogging he found a passion for podcasting and now regularly has guests on his show, Bills with Luke Scorziell. He currently writes for USC Annenberg Media and produces a weekly segment on Annenberg Radio News called “Politicking.” You can find more of his work here. Find out more about Luke and his unique journey. Feel free to send Luke a message below.


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