Introducing ‘Numbers Geek,’ a new podcast from GeekWire and Steve Ballmer’s USAFacts

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Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, founder of USAFacts, records an episode of the Numbers Geek podcast with GeekWire at his offices in Bellevue, Wash. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

What can we learn about the world by looking at numbers? Can numbers change the tone of our national conversation? And what can numbers teach us about business, the economy, government, politics, tech, education and sports?

Those are some of the questions we’ll be addressing on the upcoming season of our new podcast, Numbers Geek, from GeekWire in partnership with USAFacts, the nonpartisan, not-for-profit initiative founded by former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. Launching today, Numbers Geek will feature regular appearances by Ballmer as our “Resident Numbers Geek,” sharing insights into business, government and sports, plus conversations with notable figures in areas such as technology, politics and entertainment.

Numbers to me are a way paint a picture,” Ballmer explains in our intro episode. “That’s how I see the field, if you will, see the landscape of something. It’s a picture then that lets you think about something conceptually, and develop theories, whether it’s in business or sports, or understanding government. Numbers to me are a storyteller.”

We’ll also use numbers to try to establish a common understanding of some of the most divisive issues in the country, like healthcare, international trade, and immigration.

“Sometimes I think people exaggerate the level of difference they have by not looking at how far apart they are on the numbers,” Ballmer says.

The upcoming season features guest appearances and cameos from public figures including Peter Sagal, host of NPR’s “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” and author of the “Incomplete Book of Running”; venture capitalist Arlan Hamilton of Backstage Capital and Startup podcast fame; Shark Tank stars Jamie Siminoff, the founder of video doorbell company Ring, and Arum Kang, founder of dating app Coffee Meets Bagel; Golden State Warriors Coach Steve Kerr; ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith; former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie; RJ Cutler of the “Oval Office Tapes” podcast; conservative CNN commentator Amanda Carpenter, and many others.

GeekWire editor Todd Bishop, left, records an episode of Numbers Geek courtside with Steve Ballmer, owner of the LA Clippers, at Staples Center in Los Angeles. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

In addition to exploring the country’s key numbers, we’ll have episodes featuring what we like to call mystery documents, which we’ll challenge Steve and Numbers Geek listeners to figure out. We’ll also dive into the numbers behind sports, from some of the best seats in the house.

We’re launching Numbers Geek today with an episode about our quest to get conservative political commentator Ann Coulter and a crowd of her critics to stop arguing, for just a moment, and focus on numbers.

We’ll explore new topics every week on this season of Numbers Geek, so subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast app to catch every episode. Check out Numbers Geek on GeekWire for related links, videos, stories and more, and see USAFacts for a deep dive on many of the numbers and issues we’ll be exploring.

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