Cover Story: Seed Money Podcast - Billionaire Gone Wild
Ear Worthy -- The Publication For Podcast Fans
Billionaires behaving badly. When is that ever happened? Elon Musk? Jeff Bezos? Jeffrey Epstein? Donald Trump?
Now there's a podcast about one such billionaire.
New York Magazine and the Vox Media Podcast Network released the latest episode of the series, Cover Story: Seed Money. Hosted by New York’s editorial director of audio and former co-host of Invisibilia, Hanna Rosin, and investigative reporter Ken Silverstein, Cover Story: Seed Money tells the full story of Michael Goguen, the Montana based billionaire, and Matthew Marshall, the ex-spy who accused him of running a sexual enterprise.
Goguen made headlines over the years after losing his job as a venture capitalist at Sequoia Capital when he was sued by a stripper for emotional and psychological abuse. That’s the story the world heard but it’s not nearly as outrageous as what actually happened.
In the latest episode, Rosin and Silverstein reveal the truth. Marshall - the main source for this story, and the person accusing Goguen, had been swearing that he would never plead guilty.
“Why would I plead guilty?” he told the hosts. “ I'd be giving up everything that I've fought for and stood for my entire adult life”
A few days later, he did.
And the hosts pick apart his relationship with the billionaire, and the whole house starts to crumble. As promised in episode one, the hosts uncover a spectacular con, in glorious detail. And reckon with how thoroughly we ourselves were fooled.
According to Marshall, Goguen sometimes refers to himself as Bruce Wayne, wears Batman underwear, and runs a rescue-helicopter operation called “Two Bear Air,” a motif that shows up at the entrance of his massive compound in the mountains above Whitefish, Montana.
In addition to this recent episode, New York Magazine has also published Seed Money by Ken Silverstein, a deep dive on how Goguen got conned by his best friend, who saw him as the perfect mark.
Vox, which produces Cover Story: Seed Money, does tout the raw number of podcasts in its network. From there, however, Vox diverges from many other podcast networks.
Vox hosts innumerable SBNation sports teams podcasts like Cincy Jungle for Cincinnati Bengals fans (you’ve suffered so much Bengals fans) to Canes Country for NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes fans. These podcasts perform as they are expected--providing fans with information on their favorite teams and acting as a listening post for fan enthusiasm or, in some cases, outrage.
Beyond those sports podcasts, Vox hosts some true quality shows. The Cut is a weekly audio magazine exploring culture, style, sex, and politics led by host Avery Trufelman – a 99% Invisible acolyte with solid credentials and crazy-good hosting skills.
Land Of The Giants focuses its microscope on the five tech giants – Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Google. In partnership with Recode, the podcast has gone well below periscope depth when chasing after the DNA of these tech giants.
Vox’s signature show on popular music, Switched On Pop, transforms “it has a good beat and is easy to dance to” nonsense into enlightening conversations about music theory and how popular artists craft songs with mechanistic clarity.
Vox’s latest show arrives via a partnership with CAFÉ. It’s called Stay Tuned With Preet where the former U.S.Attorney Preet Bharara breaks down legal topics in the news.
Last July, the Gastropod podcast formed a long-term partnership with Eater and the Vox Media Podcast Network. Gastropod is a podcast that is equal parts about food and history. The podcast seamlessly infuses each episode with a pinch of historical perspective and a smidgen of foodie nerdiness.
Along with Today, Explained, Vox Quick Hits, The Vergecast, and other quality shows, Vox manages to integrate its disparate media properties into a coherent whole. It’s a dangerous strategy, and corporate giants like Verizon, AT&T, AOL, and ViacomCBS have tasted the ignominy of defeat when attempting to integrate multiple media formats into a functioning company with an overarching goal and laser-focused business strategy.
Check out the six-part Cover Story podcast series, Seed Money.
About the author
I am a South Jersey-based author who is a writer for the Pod-Alization podcast blog on Substack, Ear Worthy on Medium, Podcast Reports on Blogger, Auditorily on Vocal and The Listening Post on Tealfeed.