Trailblazers with Walter Isaacson

Trailblazers with Walter Isaacson
We tell the unexpected stories of digital disruption. Listen in as Walter Isaacson, digital revolution expert, explores the unknown drama behind some of the world’s biggest digital disruptions, the daring trailblazers willing to think differently, and the lessons learned along the way. Brought to you by Dell Technologies.

Hearing Aids: Rediscovering Sound
Jul 1 • 30 min
People have been using hearing aids since the dawn of humanity, but the desire for more fashionable, miniaturized devices and better performance has driven technological advancements in personal communications devices for the last century-and-a-half.…
Wellness: Knowing Yourself
Jun 17 • 34 min
What do we mean when we talk about wellness, and why do people want it so badly? In this episode, we dive deep into this sometimes-nebulous field, talking to practitioners who spend their time helping people become well.
Fitness: Working Out While Staying In
Apr 8 • 29 min
Exercise is essential to increasing our lifespan, health and mood. With recent technological advancements, there’s no need to leave the comfort of your living room to feel the burn. On the latest episode of Trailblazers, we weigh all the different options…
Walter Isaacson Interviews Michael Dell
Apr 1 • 13 min
What will the role of technology and businesses be as we navigate a more digital world? In this special episode, Walter Isaacson and Michael Dell have a one-on-one virtual discussion to find out.
Aging: Improving on the Golden Years
Mar 25 • 28 min
Aging is inevitable… or is it? On the latest episode of Trailblazers, we discover what causes our bodies to age and the leaders in scientific fields who are pushing for the advances that can lead to our golden years feeling more golden than ever before.
Spying: Hiding in Plain Sight
Mar 11 • 28 min
Spying is an ancient art, going back to at least Sun Tzu 2,500 years ago. It’s always been dangerous, but with advanced technology entering the picture in the late 20th century, it has become easier than ever to be compromised as well. Join us as we…
Theme Parks: Where Tech Meets Thrills
Feb 26 • 31 min
Theme parks have always been based around thrills, from their earliest days featuring sleds pushed down wooden hills covered in ice. What’s changed is the technology that is poured into making these attractions smarter, faster, and, well, more thrilling.…
Hoaxes: The Original Fake News
Feb 12 • 26 min
Distrust in the news media isn’t as recent a development as we might think; hoaxes and humbugs go back to the earliest days of human communication. It’s only the tools we have at our disposal that allow us to discover and disperse these fake stories that…
Meat: Breaking a 2.5 Million Year Old Habit
Jan 29 • 26 min
The human obsession with meat has never wavered from prehistoric times until now. However, this food once reserved for the rich and powerful has led to global problems of an unprecedented scope and has exacerbated climate change in a way that few other…
Job Search: Not-Entirely-Human Resources
Dec 4, 2019 • 28 min
Not so long ago, we were all applying for jobs in person. The internet, and companies like Monster and CareerBuilder, changed all that. Technology is now changing it all over again, with artificial intelligence and machine learning taking some of the…
Lock and Key: In Safe Hands
Nov 20, 2019 • 29 min
No lock is unbreakable; all you’re ever doing is buying yourself time when a thief tries to access your valuables. To extend that time and make sure your security remains nearly impenetrable, you need two things: a strong lock and a unique key. Both of…
Conservation: Next Generation Technology
Nov 6, 2019 • 30 min
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. The commitment to conserve and heal…
Skyscrapers: An Upward Journey
Oct 23, 2019 • 28 min
As space on our planet comes at a premium, building “up” is the natural solution. But how high can we go? From a century that saw buildings play out the dreams of titans and created extraordinary cityscapes, these towering columns were symbols of…
Prosthetics: Enhancing Human Capabilities
Oct 9, 2019 • 27 min
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…
Fame: A New Breed of Celebrity
Sep 24, 2019 • 31 min
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…
Introducing, AI: Hype vs. Reality
May 29, 2019 • 23 min
New from Dell Technologies comes a show about the cutting edge of artificial intelligence. Join host Jessica Chobot as she talks with AI experts and ventures out into the field to try out the latest advances in machine learning, robotics, computer vision,…
AI: What’s Hype? What’s Reality?
May 22, 2019 • 30 min
Guests Jerry Kaplan of Stanford University, Oren Etzioni of The Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence, research fellow Geoffrey Hinton of Google, Hilary Mason of Cloudera, and author Nick Bostrom join host Walter Isaacson and trace the origins of…
Insurance: Who’s Looking Out For You?
May 1, 2019 • 24 min
Host Walter Isaacson discusses the insurance industry’s progress and pratfalls.
Fashion: The Politics of Style
Apr 17, 2019 • 27 min
Host Walter Isaacson recounts the fascinating origins, developments and movements behind paradigm shifts within the fashion industry over the 150 years.
Public Transportation: Moving Us Forward
Apr 3, 2019 • 29 min
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.
Animation: Just Like We Drew It Up
Mar 20, 2019 • 32 min
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. For more on the podcast go to
Sports Analytics: What’s After Moneyball?
Feb 27, 2019 • 26 min
Walter Isaacson hits a homerun 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. For more on the podcast go to…
Home Cooking: Technology Worth Savoring
Feb 13, 2019 • 27 min
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?
Jan 30, 2019 • 29 min
Walter Isaacson returns with the story of telecom, from Alexander Graham Bell, to the creation of the first mobile phone, and today’s smartphones.
Forensics: Who’s on the Case?
Dec 19, 2018 • 27 min
Walter Isaacson talks about the history of identifying and exonerating criminals, from fingerprints to DNA and beyond.
Printers: What Will We Print Next?
Dec 5, 2018 • 26 min
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.
Mattresses: Innovation Never Sleeps
Nov 21, 2018 • 28 min
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. For more on the podcast go to
VR: What’s Possibly in Reality?
Nov 7, 2018 • 28 min
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 imaginations?
Politics: The Medium is the Message
Oct 24, 2018 • 32 min
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.
Formula 1: The Race to Keep Pace
Oct 10, 2018 • 25 min
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.
Watches: Innovation on Time
Sep 26, 2018 • 24 min
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? For more on the podcast…
Batteries: The Power of Portable Power
Sep 12, 2018 • 25 min
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? For more on the podcast go to…
Preview Season 3 of Trailblazers with Walter Isaacson
Aug 8, 2018 • 1 min
This fall Trailblazers will be back with all new episodes featuring behind the scenes stories of some of the biggest disruptions of our era: from the way we tell time, to the way we solve crime, talk to you then…
Agriculture: Can vertical and urban farming feed the world?
Jul 11, 2018 • 30 min
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…
Stocks: Timing the Market
Jun 27, 2018 • 28 min
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…
Athletic Shoes: Sneakers
Jun 13, 2018 • 30 min
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.
Fundraising: Making Change
May 30, 2018 • 31 min
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…
Robotics: Beep Boop
May 16, 2018 • 34 min
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.
Gambling: Jackpot
May 2, 2018 • 29 min
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.
Privacy: Privacy, Please
Apr 11, 2018 • 31 min
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…
Golf: Tee Time
Mar 21, 2018 • 32 min
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…
Education: Head of the Class
Mar 7, 2018 • 32 min
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.
Space Exploration: New Space
Feb 21, 2018 • 31 min
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.
Dating: Be Mine
Feb 7, 2018 • 26 min
Finding love has evolved as we have. In this episode, we take a look back at the 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.
Business Communications: Did You Get the Memo?
Jan 24, 2018 • 31 min
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…
Connected Homes: There’s No Place Like a Smart Home
Jan 10, 2018 • 32 min
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…
Toys: Toy to the World
Dec 6, 2017 • 31 min
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.
Live Events: Live and in Concert
Nov 29, 2017 • 30 min
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.
Package Delivery: Knock Knock!
Nov 15, 2017 • 31 min
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.
Groceries: Clean Up On Aisle 9
Nov 1, 2017 • 32 min
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…
Da Vinci: Il Grande Apripista // The Great Trailblazer
Oct 17, 2017 • 33 min
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…
Airlines: Where Disruption Takes Flight
Sep 27, 2017 • 33 min
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.
Weather: Cloudy with a Chance of Disruption
Sep 13, 2017 • 33 min
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.
Automobiles: The Road to Disruption
Aug 30, 2017 • 34 min
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…
Healthcare: Side Effects Include Disruption
Aug 16, 2017 • 29 min
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,…
Navigation: Exploring Disruption
Aug 2, 2017 • 39 min
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.
Finance: Cha-Ching!
Jul 19, 2017 • 31 min
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, Felix Martin and Max Levchin.
Music: The Sound of Disruption
Jul 5, 2017 • 34 min
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.
Advertising: Disrupting Interruption
Jun 21, 2017 • 32 min
The story of advertising starts, ends and endures with disruption at its core. Join Walter Isaacson as he discusses digital marketing’s past, present and exciting future with industry visionaries Seth Godin and Dave Droga.
Hospitality: Disrupting the Destination
May 24, 2017 • 30 min
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.
News: Disruption is the Lead Story
May 10, 2017 • 31 min
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…
Gaming: Game On, Disruption
Apr 26, 2017 • 33 min
Sometimes you lose your entire market share to two plumbers and a hedgehog. In this week’s Trailblazers, Walter Isaacson explores the immersive experiences and unlikely victors of the volatile video game industry.
Food Delivery: A Slice of Disruption
Apr 12, 2017 • 26 min
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…
Photography: Developing Disruption
Mar 28, 2017 • 29 min
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.
Movies: Lights…Camera…Disruption
Mar 14, 2017 • 33 min
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.
Introducing Trailblazers with Walter Isaacson
Mar 3, 2017 • 0 min
We tell the unexpected stories of digital disruption. Listen in as Walter Isaacson, digital revolution expert, explores the unknown drama behind some of the world’s biggest digital disruptions, the daring trailblazers willing to think differently, and the…