Story In A Bottle Podcast

Episode Summary

Caren Kelleher, the founder of Gold Rush Vinyl in Austin, TX, has had a remarkable journey through the music industry. Starting her career at Paste Magazine, Caren quickly dove into the business side of music, gaining a deep understanding of the industry's intricacies. Her path led her to tech roles, including a significant position at Google where she managed the Artist Hub platform, enabling artists to upload their music directly to Google Play. Caren's commitment to supporting artists remained unwavering, ultimately inspiring her to establish Gold Rush Vinyl. Her pressing plant is dedicated to independent musicians, providing them a vital revenue stream through vinyl records.

Caren's story is a blend of professional milestones and personal growth, marked by pivotal moments that shaped her career. Moving to Austin and founding Gold Rush Vinyl was a bold move driven by her vision of the vinyl market's potential and a strong desire to help artists earn more from their music. Her innovative approach at Gold Rush Vinyl includes traditional vinyl pressing and the upcycling of damaged vinyl into new products, emphasizing sustainability and creativity. This episode explores the challenges Caren faced, the insights she gained, and her future vision for vinyl and the music industry.

Key Takeaways

  • Caren’s journey highlights the importance of passion and resilience in the music industry.
  • Establishing Gold Rush Vinyl was driven by a desire to support independent artists financially.
  • The vinyl market offers significant revenue opportunities compared to streaming services.
  •  Innovation and sustainability are central to Caren’s approach at Gold Rush Vinyl.


  • "When you're on the road and you're selling vinyl or t-shirts or whatever, but especially vinyl, that's cash in your pocket."
  • "We work for independent artists specifically... Vinyl makes artists a lot of money."
  • "I started managing bands... seeing the royalty statements coming from streaming... it could be six months before the artist got paid."
  • "To see artists hold their own vinyl for the first time, it’s an emotional moment where they truly feel like they've made it."
Direct download: Caren_Kelleher_FINAL.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:10pm EDT

Episode Summary:

David Dylan Thomas, an expert in cognitive bias and user experience, joins us to discuss his multifaceted career and unique insights into the intersection of technology and ethics. David's journey began in the indie film scene, where he discovered the transformative potential of the internet, leading him to pivot towards UX and content strategy. He has worked extensively in applying cognitive biases to create ethical and inclusive products, making him a sought-after speaker and author of the book "Design for Cognitive Bias."

Throughout our conversation, David emphasized the importance of participatory design and involving users in the design process to create more effective and well-received products. He also highlighted how understanding business strategies is critical for driving successful UX and content initiatives. David's storytelling prowess was evident as he shared examples from his career, illustrating how specificity in storytelling enhances audience connection, whether in films or UX work.

Key Takeaways:

  • How understanding cognitive biases can transform UX design:** Recognizing and addressing cognitive biases in user experience design is crucial for creating ethical and inclusive products.
  • When participatory design leads to success:** Involving users in the design process results in more effective and well-received products..
  • How specificity in storytelling enhances audience connection:** Specific, personal stories resonate widely with audiences.
  • Why clear business strategies underpin effective design:** A strong understanding of business is critical for driving successful UX and content strategies.


  • "I think the criteria on which we judge a family is no longer, 'mother, father, two kids in one home'. We're hopefully starting to look at more meaningful criteria for a healthy family."
  • "We were the first generation to really get into that chosen found family thing. And that becomes a criterion for how we want our families to be."
  • "Specificity not only matters but is beneficial. You're actually more likely to succeed in that product way of people liking it, enjoying it, whatever."
  • "The best bet is still on the specific, whether you're paying ten bucks for it or a hundred million dollars for it."
  • "When money gets involved, how much does it start to shift more towards being a product and needing to answer these denominators?"
Direct download: David_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:55am EDT

Episode Summary:

Adam Roberts, also known as The Amateur Gourmet, shares his remarkable journey from an unfulfilled law student to a celebrated food blogger, TV writer, and now a novelist. His blog, which began as an escape from law school, quickly gained popularity due to Adam’s creative approach, including writing songs about food and hosting quirky contests. This unique content set his blog apart and opened doors to various opportunities, such as writing cookbooks and TV scripts. Despite exploring different ventures, Adam’s passion for food and storytelling remained constant, ultimately driving him back to blogging with renewed enthusiasm. 

In this episode, we enjoyed Hendricks and tonics while diving into Adam's career transitions and the evolution of his blog. Key moments include how writing songs about food helped set his blog apart, when his creative endeavors led to TV writing opportunities, and how he maintained his passion for food through it all. Adam’s story is a testament to following one's passion and staying resilient in the face of change.

Key Takeaways:

  • How writing songs about food helped set his blog apart from others.
  • When his creative endeavors led to TV writing opportunities.
  • How he maintained his passion for food through various career changes.
  • How embracing his unique voice and creativity drove his success.


  • “I started a food blog as a way to document my culinary failures and successes, and it ended up opening so many doors for me.”
  • “Writing songs about food and creating quirky content made my blog stand out in the crowded food blogging space.”
  • “Moving to LA and getting into TV writing was an unexpected turn, but it taught me so much about storytelling.”
  • “Coming back to blogging felt like returning to my roots, and it reminded me of why I started this journey in the first place.”
Direct download: Adam_Roberts_FINAL.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:13am EDT

Jimmy Tingle, legendary comedian known for his sharp political humor and reflective one-man shows, takes us through his comedic journey from the vibrant 80s Boston comedy scene to his current autobiographical performances. He shares insights on the evolution of political comedy, how Martin Luther King Jr.'s writings influenced his perspective, and the impact of sobriety on his life and career. Jimmy also delves into the challenges of running for political office and the importance of authenticity in his work. Join us for an insightful and humorous look into the life of a comedian who has continually evolved and inspired through his unique blend of humor and reflection.

Key Insights

  • Political comedy has evolved from simpler times to today's complex and darker issues.
  • Martin Luther King Jr.'s writings profoundly influenced Jimmy's thinking and humor.
  • Transitioning to autobiographical shows allowed Jimmy to engage audiences on a deeper level.
  • Running for political office provided Jimmy with a deep respect for the rigors of political life.Sobriety has significantly shaped Jimmy's career and personal outlook. 


  • "The issues that we talk about today are so much more complex and so much darker. The intensity of the media and the availability of information was nowhere near what it is now."
  • "Listening to his tapes, he was doing a much bigger thing, obviously. He was talking about world events, but he was also using the power of religion and the relationship with a god."
  • "The reason I wanted to do an autobiographical show is it's the only thing I'm kind of sure of. It was easier to just process it, you know?"
  • "Running for elected office is hard. How many moving parts, and how much, how many people you need to answer to, and how responsible you have to be."
  • "When I quit drinking in the 80s, that was a big spiritual influence. Asking God to help me quit drinking was like something that I was doing on a daily basis."
Direct download: Jimmy_Tingle_FINAL.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:33pm EDT

Episode Summary

In this episode, Meghan O’Keefe discusses her journey from aspiring comedian to becoming a prominent figure in digital media at The New York Post's Over Hendrick's and Tonics, Meghan reflects on her early days in the comedy scene in New York, her transition into entertainment journalism, and her current role where she influences how streaming content is perceived and reviewed. The episode delves into the nuances of media and comedy, exploring how Meghan's personal experiences shaped her career path. She candidly discusses the challenges of finding her voice in a male-dominated industry and how her shift from comedy to journalism led to a more fulfilling career. This conversation not only highlights her professional evolution but also touches on broader themes of media influence, personal growth, and the unpredictable yet rewarding nature of creative careers.


  • "I was really depressed and then when I finally started to get stuff together, I went back into comedy a bit. I started getting more confident in Boston. It’s kind of making me want to die. And not only that, but I’m seeing friends get big breaks and they don’t seem happier."
  • "I always loved writing of any kind. And this, I was just really struggling and as I was starting to get like, you know, when Mark was coming to me with the cider at the same time, someone else was trying to get me for their site. And I started to realize, Hey, this entertainment journalism thing I like, and I'm good at it and doors are opening."
  • "The advice I try to give to like, the interns we talk to at Decider is like, you’re so young and your life ahead of you and if anything I’ve learned from my meandering path is that you should be open for the idea that your dream could change."

Key Takeaways:

  • The importance of being adaptable in one’s career, highlighting how shifts in interest and industry can lead to more fulfilling opportunities.
  • The emotional and professional resilience required to navigate the volatile nature of creative industries, particularly in shifting from comedy to journalism.
  • The personal growth that comes from self-reflection and openness to change, which can lead to discovering one’s true passion and niche within a broad industry.
Direct download: MegOk.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:06am EDT

In this lively episode, Tyler Balliet shares insights from his extensive experience in the wine industry, highlighting his unconventional approach to wine education and his journey as an entrepreneur. He describes his latest venture, a comprehensive wine guide titled "Rebel School of Wine," which aims to demystify the wine experience. Tyler emphasizes the importance of providing context rather than jargon, making wine more accessible and enjoyable. His narrative is filled with anecdotes about his friend Joel's innovative winery in Sonoma, the influence of celebrities like Eric Wareheim on wine marketing, and the evolution of wine distribution and consumption.

Throughout the conversation, Tyler reflects on the evolution of the wine industry, contrasting traditional and modern approaches to wine marketing and education. He critiques the standard wine descriptions that dominate the industry, advocating for a more relatable and engaging method that focuses on storytelling and the historical and cultural context of wine. This approach is evident in his book, where he includes 450 illustrations to visually capture the essence of wine regions and types.

Tyler also discusses the challenges and triumphs of his entrepreneurial endeavors, particularly with his event series, Wine Riot, and his transition into publishing with "Rebel School of Wine." He shares personal stories of starting out in the wine industry, the trials of adapting to digital marketing, and his philosophy on making wine education fun and accessible. His candid reflections reveal a deep passion for wine and a dedication to innovating how it's shared with the world.

Key takeaways:

  • Context is more important than jargon in wine education.
  • Personal stories and relationships shape one's approach to wine.
  • Innovation and adaptability are key in the evolving wine industry.

1. "Instead of like, every other wine book is like, Mmm, the strawberries and the boysenberries. And for me, like, what things smell like or taste like... the flavors and aromas is like the least interesting part."
2. "I think we're talking about wine all wrong. I don't think consumers need to actually learn anything to enjoy it."
3. "Understanding wine really kind of like makes the experience better... if you can drink something that you feel confident about. From a science perspective, actually, it makes it taste better."

Direct download: Tyler_Balliet_FINAL.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:54pm EDT

In this compelling episode of "Story in a Bottle," host Dan Maccarone welcomes Susan Rinkunas, a seasoned journalist with deep expertise in women's health and reproductive rights, for a thoughtful discussion over Michter's Old Fashioneds. Susan recounts her professional journey through the ever-evolving media landscape, from her early days at Runner's World to her significant work at Jezebel and Vice Media, where she tackled complex topics such as reproductive rights and health policy. She shares personal anecdotes about the instability and challenges of freelance journalism, especially during pivotal moments like the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and subsequent shifts in abortion legislation.

The conversation takes a deeper dive into the intricacies of media operations and editorial decisions that impact content quality and journalistic freedom. Susan discusses her transitions between major media outlets, shedding light on the effects of corporate ownership and private equity on editorial content and the overall health of media organizations. Her stories highlight the tension between financial objectives and the journalistic mission to report truthfully and ethically.

Susan and Dan discuss the future of journalism, touching on the growing prevalence of digital platforms and the challenges they present, such as the impact of paywalls, the ethical concerns around AI-generated content, and strategies for sustaining quality journalism in a changing economic landscape. This rich dialogue not only offers insights into Susan’s career but also explores broader questions about the direction of media and journalism.

Key Takeaways:

  • Judicial changes dramatically affect reproductive rights reporting.
  • Editorial independence is challenged by corporate media ownership.
  • Freelancing offers flexibility but comes with financial and professional uncertainty.
  • The future of journalism hinges on balancing integrity with innovative monetization.
Direct download: Susan_Rinkunas_FINAL.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:51am EDT

About the Guest(s):

Jessica Coen is an accomplished media executive with extensive experience in the digital journalism landscape. Growing up in a media-heavy household, Coen's passion for journalism was sparked at a young age, leading her to ultimately pursue a career in the field. She has held various editorial positions, including her early role as editor of Gawker and later endeavours at Vanity Fair and New York Magazine. Coen is known for her innovative approach to journalism, especially her successful pursuit of video storytelling to engage audiences. In her current role, she's focusing on reaching younger demographics through political news video content at the Recount.

Episode Summary:

In this episode of Story in a Bottle, host Dan Maccarone delves deep into the world of journalism with media expert Jessica Coen. The conversation unfolds over a Hendrix gin and tonic, discussing Coen's journey from her Detroit roots to the forefront of digital news.

Jessica shares her early encounters with journalism, transitioning from a die-hard reader to an influential media personality. She reflects on her decision to forgo journalism school for real-world experience at Gawker, establishing a candid voice that resonated with a large audience. Her career is a testament to navigating the ebbs and flows of tech, media, and entertainment, especially as she spearheaded the launch of Jezebel and influenced the growth of Mashable.

Key points in the discussion include the evolution of news consumption, the impact of social media on public engagement, and the role of video in reaching younger demographics. Coen emphasizes the importance of relatable content and the necessity of adapting to the viewer's needs in a rapidly changing media environment.

Notable Quotes:

  • "If you're passionate about getting information to audiences, you should be on video."
  • "It's about the actual issue at hand, whether it's funding for Ukraine or woman's reproductive rights or censorship in schools."
  • "Journalism has to kind of follow the lessons of the creator economy."
  • "What does this election really mean? Like, let's really talk about what these platforms are."
  • "The quickest way you fall off your high horse is when you have to do the layoffs."


Tune into the full episode to hear Jessica Coen's inspiring story and gain deeper insights into the evolving landscape of journalism. Stay engaged with compelling discussions on Story and a Bottle for more perspectives from leading voices in tech, media, and entertainment.

Direct download: Jessica_Coen_FINAL.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:05pm EDT

Mike Wystrach is a seasoned entrepreneur with a diverse background in the food and tech industries. Growing up in southern Arizona on a ranch with family ventures ranging from the restaurant business to veterinary care, Mike has a wealth of experience in managing and growing businesses. As a founder of Freshly, a food delivery company, Mike led the venture to great success, exiting to Nestlé after experiencing rapid growth and scale. With a passion for innovative solutions, he's now taking on the veterinary care sector with Petfolk, aiming to revolutionize the industry through technology and customer-centric care.

Episode Summary:

In this captivating episode of Story in a Bottle, host Dan Maccarone sits down with Mike Wystrach over a pint of Guinness to discuss the trials and triumphs of entrepreneurship. Mike opens up about his journey from a family-run restaurant to founding Freshly and his current venture, Petfolk. This conversation reveals the raw and real path to success that is often peppered with uncertainties and challenges, contrasting the typical narrative of overnight achievements.

Mike shares key insights into how solving personal problems led to the creation of businesses that resonated with consumers. From starting Freshly in the midst of economic turmoil with just $15 in his bank account, to the eventual sale of the business to Nestlé, Mike's story is one of determination, adaptability, and relentless pursuit of visions that others may not immediately see.

Key Takeaways:

  • Embrace the journey of entrepreneurship, including the inevitable obstacles and learning experiences, as they ultimately shape the success of a business.

  • Solving one's own problems can lead to innovative business ideas that resonate with a broader audience.

  • Operating a business requires a balance between being unrelentingly committed to the vision and being flexible enough to adapt based on data and experiences.

  • Achieving financial success in a venture is rewarding but is often less satisfying than the day-to-day challenges and growth experienced during the journey.

  • Strong leadership involves recruiting capable individuals who can execute the vision and contribute to the company's growth effectively.

Notable Quotes:

  • "One of the keys to my success has always been kind of scratching my own itch." - Mike Wystrach

  • "I always have fun on things that I think why does this not exist? Like, why does this not exist? And those are always the funnest things for me to create and build and do." - Mike Wystrach

  • "I wasn't the expert on things. I'm a quick learner... generally can learn complex things fairly quickly. But I'm nowhere near a vet." - Mike Wystrach discussing the start of Petfolk

  • "We're like the hair club for men commercial where the guy says, I'm not only the president I'm the first customer... I generally look at myself as the CEO, the first customer." - Mike Wystrach

  • "Nothing works that fast... I woke up the next day, you have those orders. Then you're like, I'm going to start. You found a co-founder immediately?" - Dan Maccarone


During the conversation, no specific external resources or social media handles were explicitly mentioned to be included here.

Tune in to the full episode for a deep dive into Mike Wystrach's entrepreneurial mindset and the strategic decisions

Direct download: Mike_Wystrach.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:29am EDT

Grab a drink and join the laughter as Roy Wood Jr. shares his remarkable evolution from a journalism student to a comedy connoisseur. Our guest doesn't hold back, offering an insider's look at The Daily Show's dynamic post-Trevor Noah, and giving us the lowdown on his decision to branch out creatively. You'll be in stitches as Roy divulges the trials and tribulations of merging comedy with sports commentary at ESPN, and you might just find yourself nodding in agreement with his candid reflections on the necessity of staying true to one's voice while serving up satire that cuts to the core of social issues.

Roy's journey is more than just punchlines; it's a masterclass in personal growth and comedic finesse. He traces his roots from Birmingham's comedy clubs to the glittering lights of LA and New York, spilling the beans on how the cities' comedy communities differ in their camaraderie and competition. Roy doesn’t shy away from the gritty details, highlighting the peaks and pitfalls of navigating the stand-up scene, comedy competitions, and the elusive dream of sitcom stardom. His anecdotes are not only a testament to his resilience but also a treasure trove of insights for anyone looking to crack the code of the comedy business.

Ever wondered how to tread the tightrope of humor in sports and politics without falling off? Roy's got you covered. He uncovers the delicate art of delivering jokes that resonate with fans and foes alike, and the unique challenges that come with each territory. From athletes' sensitive egos to the battlefield of political satire, Roy examines how to craft comedy that's both intelligent and impactful. So pull up a chair, because this episode isn't just entertaining—it's an enlightening glimpse into the mind of a comic genius who masterfully balances the weight of words with the levity of laughter.


- Roy Wood Jr. switched from journalism to comedy, inspired by figures like Stuart Scott and Jenny Moose. His work at ESPN and on The Daily Show combines journalism, comedy, and sports.

- His parents influenced his comedy and public discourse, teaching him to blend humor with impactful points. His father's focus on civil rights and his mother's encouragement to speak out were key influences.

- Wood Jr. explored the comedy scenes in New York and Los Angeles, noting their differences. Competing in shows like Showtime at the Apollo and Last Comic Standing significantly boosted his career.

- He transitioned from stand-up to TV acting and writing, gaining insights from his role in "Sullivan & Son" and selling sitcom scripts. He highlighted the differences between TV and movie narratives.

- Wood Jr. tackled comedy in sports and politics, stressing intelligent humor that promotes critical thinking. He shared insights from The Daily Show, focusing on the balance between humor and respect for serious issues.

Direct download: Roy_Wood_Jr._FINAL.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:41pm EDT

About the Guest(s):

Sang Yoon is a renowned chef and restaurateur known for achieving the venerable status of a celebrity chef. With an impressive career trajectory in the restaurant industry, Sang has worked under culinary legends such as Alain Ducasse and Wolfgang Puck. He gained widespread acclaim for creating what has been called the country's best burger and participated in the culinary competition of "Top Chef Masters." Currently, Sang Yoon is eagerly anticipating the opening of his new establishment, the Helms Bakery, a project close to a decade in making.

Episode Summary:

In this episode of Story and a Bottle, host Dan Maccarone uncovers the journey of chef Sang Yoon, whose reputation in the culinary world is marked by both his exceptional skill and tenacity. Despite his accomplishments, Sang approaches his latest venture, the Helms Bakery, with a mix of excitement and nervous anticipation. This conversation delves into the multifaceted aspects of running a successful dining establishment while balancing personal growth and creativity.

Chef Sang Yoon reminisces about his start in the culinary world, including his formative years in France and his experiences working in high-pressure environments. He discusses his transition from fine dining to the gastropub scene with Father's Office, a move that redefined casual dining in Los Angeles. The narrative also touches on his stint on "Top Chef Masters," revealing the unexpected challenges and adrenaline-fueled moments on the show.

  • Sang Yoon reflects on the rigorous training and discipline that shaped his culinary philosophy.

  • The opening of Helms Bakery presents an opportunity for Sang to explore new culinary territories, including breakfast and pastry.

  • Yoon shares insights into the unpredictable nature of the restaurant business, shaped by external forces such as natural disasters.

  • His foray into "Top Chef Masters" pushes him out of his comfort zone, highlighting the difference between being a chef and a competitive cook.

Key Takeaways:

  • Sang Yoon attributes his culinary success to the disciplined and exacting standards instilled in him during his time in France.

  • Challenges in the restaurant industry are manifold, with external factors like natural disasters playing a significant role in a business's survival.

  • Transitioning from a high-end dining experience to a more casual setting can be an effective way to reach a broader audience and redefine dining culture.

  • Participating in cooking competitions like "Top Chef Masters" requires chefs to adapt and think on their feet, pushing them beyond their traditional roles.

  • Yoon emphasizes the importance of leaving a positive impact on any establishment he's a part of, whether it's enhancing its reputation or contributing to the community.

Notable Quotes:

  • "I think I'm in the business of expression, using food as a medium to express myself."

  • "There's quite a bit of history, and I'm excited to bring back a piece of history."

  • "I've never actually served a single breakfast. So this is my first."

  • "You go into this business and industry knowing you can't please everyone."

  • "You know you've had people yell at you...what's gonna happen, it's like, okay."


  • Follow Sang Yoon on his gastronomic journey and catch up on his culinary insights and upcoming ventures through potential platforms such as the Father's Office website or his social media profiles (not directly mentioned in the transcript).

Tune in to the full episode to immerse yourself in Sang Yoon's compelling narrative and stay connected for more episodes that unveil the personal stories of living legends in tech, media, and entertainment through Story and a Bottle.

Direct download: Sang_Yoon_FINAL.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:59pm EDT

About the Guest(s):

Lauren Tousignant is a seasoned journalist with a robust background in both digital and print media. Her career trajectory took her through various media landscapes, from her early aspirations of writing for a fashion magazine to tackling major societal issues. Notably, she served as the editor of Jezebel, a publication focused on female-oriented content with an unapologetic and candid approach. During her tenure, Lauren guided the publication through significant challenges, including a shutdown and subsequent resurrection. Her work is characterized by a fearless willingness to tackle controversial topics and a deep commitment to shedding light on underreported issues.

Episode Summary:

In this revealing episode of Story and a Bottle, host Dan Maccarone sits down with Lauren Tousignant, the tenacious editor of Jezebel, to unpack her fascinating journey through the ever-tumultuous media industry. While sipping on Aperol Spritzes, they delve into the controversial shutdown of Jezebel and the rollercoaster ride leading to its revival under Paste magazine.

From the onset, Lauren's storytelling illuminates the inside workings of a media company on the brink. Her recount of the days at Jezebel, the challenges of aligning journalistic integrity with profitability, and the painful yet transformative experience of the publication crumbling and rising anew, capture a microcosm of today's digital media landscape. The conversation is enriched with Lauren's personal anecdotes, reflecting on early career aspirations, navigating the industry's highs and lows, and cementing her martini order as a rite of adulthood.

  • The episode is a commemoration of journalistic resilience and the relentless pursuit of a publication's soul even as it faces existential threats. Lauren articulately discusses how, amid these tribulations, Jezebel's voice became more crucial than ever, especially as political landscapes shifted.
  • The dialogue transitions into an explorative discourse on the roles of journalism and objectivity. It is a timely reminder of the importance of storytelling that doesn't shy away from taking a stance – a theme symbolized by Lauren's professional evolution and belief system.
  • As evidenced by Lauren's poignant reflections and Dan's engaging narrative style, this episode is a testament to the vitality and indispensability of voices like Jezebel in an era where media narratives shape public consciousness and societal action.

Key Takeaways:

  • Lauren's experience at Jezebel showcases the fragility and resilience of digital media publications.
  • The conversation highlights the importance of aligning a publication's values with its content, especially on contentious issues.
  • There is an exploration of the delicate balance between journalism as a practice of objectivity and advocacy.
  • The episode underscores the significance of Jezebel's unique editorial voice in the broader media sphere.
  • Lauren's career pathway mirrors the evolving demands and challenges faced by today's journalists.

Notable Quotes:

  • "I was a little disruptive, but I was a great writer."
  • "I do not think anyone writing in college should publish anything on the Internet."
  • "I don't think there needs to be objectivity with those things (abortion and reproductive rights)."
  • "It does feel weird because I kind of was like, this was not. I don't know, I just was. It was, yeah, it was a very bizarre feeling."
  • "We cannot have the Comstock act. Just…That's the first thing I was like, we need to write about the Comstock act every single day."


We encourage our audience to listen to the full episode for an authentic and informative conversation that provides insights into the world of journalistic integrity and media challenges. Stay tuned for more enlightening content from Story and a Bottle.

Direct download: Lauren_Tousignant_FINAL.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:19am EDT

About the Guest(s):

Nolan Bushnell is a pioneering figure in the technology and gaming industry, with a career marked by innovation and entrepreneurship. As the founder of Atari and the creator of Pong, Bushnell revolutionized arcade and video games in the 1970s. His entrepreneurial spirit manifested early, as he sold strawberries and created a "shocker" toy during his childhood. Bushnell has not stopped innovating, with his career spanning the creation of Chuck E. Cheese's, involvement in various tech start-ups, and now, shifting his focus to the intersection of education and gaming through his latest venture, Exodexa.

Episode Summary:

In this insightful episode of Story in a Bottle, host Dan Maccarone interviews Nolan Bushnell, known for his groundbreaking work with Atari and Chuck E. Cheese. In an intimate conversation over glasses of Chardonnay, Nolan retraces his journey from his earliest entrepreneurial ventures to the world of amusement parks and gaming, shedding light on how these experiences have influenced his current endeavors. The episode delves into Nolan's philosophy on innovation, education, and fatherhood.

Nolan Bushnell reflects on how selling strawberries as a kid kickstarted his entrepreneurial mindset, leading to a lifetime of creativity and business acumen. This episode also explores Bushnell's transition from Atari to Chuck E. Cheese and his perspective on educating through games. Through engaging storytelling, Nolan shares his vision for reshaping education via gamification, emphasizing the impact of immersive learning experiences through platforms like VR.

Key Takeaways:

  • Nolan Bushnell's entrepreneurial journey began at age eight, highlighting the importance of early business experiences in shaping one's approach to innovation.
  • The creation of Atari and Pong was as much about technological advancement as it was about understanding market needs and consumer behavior.
  • Bushnell emphasizes the concept of 'flow' in education, advocating for gamified learning as a means to significantly enhance engagement and retention.
  • The significance of life skills in education is underscored, with the need for real-world knowledge like financial literacy and legal know-how being just as critical as STEM subjects.
  • Nolan proposes an educational supercharger concept, blending physical locations with gamified software to create a new paradigm for learning.

Notable Quotes:

  • "Selling strawberries as a kid taught me that as an entrepreneur, you can make more money than selling your time." - Nolan Bushnell
  • "Life isn't unconditional. So the father's job is to provide conditional help kids transition from childhood to adulthood because the world doesn't care about you in general." - Nolan Bushnell
  • "There's a theory that kids who grow up in fatherless homes may have a harder time transitioning to adulthood because they don't learn that there are consequences in life." - Nolan Bushnell
  • "I've described my life as a series of happy accidents... from selling strawberries to playing with ham radios." - Nolan Bushnell
  • "Engagement is when you have a problem that is right-sized, not too hard, not too easy, just right. That's when you enter the state of flow." - Nolan Bushnell


  • Nolan Bushnell's book, "Shaping the Future of Education," briefly discussed in the episode.
  • Official websites and social media handles of Nolan Bushnell and his projects, were not clearly specified in the transcript.

Tune into the full episode to witness the wisdom Nolan Bushnell imparts through the lens of gaming history and innovative thought. Stay connected for more intriguing conversations that delve deep into the stories behind prominent figures in tech, media, and entertainment.

Direct download: Nolan_Bushnell_FINAL.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:00am EDT

About the Guest(s):

Alexa von Tobel is a highly-driven founder and financial expert best known for her pioneering work in the financial technology sector. She’s the founder and former CEO of Learnvest, a personal finance company that was acquired by Northwestern Mutual. Alexa’s relentless pursuit to make financial understanding accessible has led her to author several books, including “Financially Fearless” and a kid’s book, “Rebel Girls: Money Matters.” Her latest endeavor, Inspired Capital, finds her on the venture capital scene, investing in other innovative founders with big ideas.

Episode Summary:

In this insightful episode of Story in a Bottle, host Dan Maccarone engages with Alexa von Tobel over several glasses of Chardonnay. Alexa dives into her journey from art-fencing entrepreneur as a child to revolutionizing personal finance with Learnvest. The conversation provides a raw look at the trials and tribulations of standing up a disruptive fintech startup and the road leading to its eventual acquisition.

Alexa also discusses the inception of her venture fund, Inspired Capital, which focuses on early-stage, generalist investments. From discussing the success and mindset required to back transformative ventures to understanding the intricates of raising a venture fund, the episode is a treasure trove of experiences. With marriage-like mergers and the significance of education in finance, Alexa outlines a life dedicated to impact.

Key Takeaways:

          Alexa’s entrepreneurial spirit was ignited early in her childhood, culminating in the creation of Learnvest and its mission to democratize financial planning.

          Even after a successful exit, Alexa’s passion for building has led her to venture capital with Inspired Capital — seeking to empower the next generation of entrepreneurs.

          Her decision to write a children’s book on financial literacy underlines her lifelong commitment to educating people on managing their finances.

          The episode touches upon the evolution of Learnvest from a content site centered on women and finance to a comprehensive financial planning platform.

Notable Quotes:

          “Learnvest, I really love investing my core. I am somebody who is really thoughtful about how do we make great financial decisions.”

          “I think social media is the one that’s, like, a third rail for us. And so there’s this great professor at NYU, Jonathan Hate, who’s talking all about the impacts, like, the data-driven impacts.”

          “It’s New York City. And so I love to think, know, New York City is an underdog. We’re in so many ways a capital of the.”

          “I became a certified financial planner. I was like, if I’m going to do this, I got to do it right.”


          Alexa von Tobel’s book: “Financially Fearless”

          Her book focussed on tech and finance: “Financially Forward”

          Kid’s book on financial literacy: “Rebel Girls: Money Matters”

Tune in to the full episode to hear the complete narrative of Alexa von Tobel’s entrepreneurial journey and her insightful views on investing and finance. Be sure to catch more episodes from Story in a Bottle for compelling conversations with leading voices in tech, media, and entertainment.

Direct download: Alexa_von_Tobel_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:42am EDT

About the Guest(s):

Eric Friedman is a seasoned professional with deep roots in the New York startup scene. His illustrious career includes significant Union Square Ventures, Foursquare, and Expa Labs roles. At Union Square Ventures, Friedman was at the forefront of identifying and investing in high-potential startups, such as Foursquare, where he was one of the earliest employees and contributed to its growth in multiple capacities. As the head of Expa Labs, he leveraged his vast experience to propel one of the most successful accelerators in New York City. His entrepreneurial spirit eventually led him to found Go Fractional, a platform designed to foster a community for fractional executives to find work and share collective wisdom.

Episode Summary:

In this Story in a Bottle episode, host Dan Maccarone delves into the expansive New York tech ecosystem with guest Eric Friedman, whose journey weaves through some of the city’s most influential startup ventures. Friedman shares his unique experiences from Union Square Ventures to his pivotal role at Foursquare and his leadership at Expa Labs.

The conversation highlights Friedman’s latest venture, Go Fractional, which aims to revolutionize the concept of executive employment by harnessing the untapped potential of elite, high-caliber talent seeking fractional work. As Friedman unravels the rationale behind fractional work, the dialogue shifts to the multifaceted challenges and revelations accompanying finding and trusting this specialized group of executives. Listeners are treated to a deep dive into the intricate world of startups and venture capital through the lens of a seasoned insider.

Notable Quotes:

  • “It is much easier to embrace behavior than create behavior.” - Eric Friedman
  • “If everyone would just do this, it’s going to work. And I’m like, great. How do you get the first person to do that?” - Eric Friedman
  • “You could do it in three weeks versus three months.” - Eric Friedman
  • “The goal of hiring someone is to hire someone smarter than you.” - Eric Friedman
  • “I feel like you should be a paid spokesperson for gofractional.” - Dan Maccarone


  • Go Fractional Website: Go Fractional (URL not mentioned in the transcript, derived from context)

Join us for the entire episode to explore the transformative ideas and inspiring stories shared by Eric Friedman. Stay tuned for more engaging content from Story in a Bottle, where tech, media, and entertainment leaders open up over their favorite beverages.


Direct download: Eric_Friedman.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:19am EDT

About the Guest(s):

Polly Rodriguez is the co-founder and CEO of Unbound, a groundbreaking sexual wellness company that focuses on the design and manufacturing of vibrators, lubricants, and accessories. An advocate for women’s health and empowerment, Rodriguez’s entry into the sexual wellness industry was fueled by her personal experience of being diagnosed with cancer in college and facing early menopause. Following stints in governmental policy work with Senator Claire McCaskill and consulting at Deloitte, her journey led her to the startup realm with Grouper before spearheading her own venture. Under her direction, Unbound has committed to removing stigma and delivering quality products while championing female sexual health and education.

Episode Summary:

In this engaging episode of Story in a Bottle, host Dan Maccarone sits down with a driving force in the tech, media, and entertainment industry—Polly Rodriguez, the co-founder of Unbound. Over an old fashioned, Polly shares her journey from a cancer diagnosis to the realization of sexual health needs and the inception of her own company. The conversation dives into the nuances of healthcare policy, Polly’s role in shaping a dating startup, and how her experiences led her to focus on transforming the sex toy industry.

Polly discusses the challenges and triumphs of leading a sexual wellness company. She brings to light the stark disparities between the offerings of the sex toy industry and the actual needs of women. The episode not only explores Polly’s professional endeavors but also brings forth her personal challenges, her battles with cancer, and her introspections into the ever-evolving landscape of sexual identity and health.

Key Takeaways:

•      Polly Rodriguez’s journey from battling cancer at 21 to founding Unbound is a testament to her resilience and commitment to women’s sexual health.

•      Despite the challenges and stigma, Unbound has made significant strides in mainstreaming sexual wellness.

•      The episode highlights the complexity of advertising sexual wellness products and the role technology plays in sexual education.

•      There’s an emphasis on the impact of societal discomfort with sex, sex education, and how businesses navigate these limitations.

•      Polly’s experience with Grouper, her insights into the dating industry’s algorithms, and her passion for customer experience stand out significantly.

Notable Quotes:

•      “Unbound is a sexual wellness company. We design and manufacture over 30 vibrators, lubricants and accessories.” - Polly Rodriguez

•      “It’s been kind of difficult to navigate to figure out that customer is a lot more price sensitive and generally, I think, less brand motivated.” - Polly Rodriguez

•      “Every time I fall in love, anecdotally, it’s like when I’m not really looking for it. I’m really happy as a person, and I think that was our philosophy, and that’s why I loved so much of what Grouper was.” - Polly Rodriguez

•      “less than 2% return rate. And if you’re not happy with your product, if it breaks, if you don’t like it, if anything happens, email us, no questions asked returns, we will refund you your money.” - Polly Rodriguez


Tune in to the full episode for a deeper dive into Polly Rodriguez’s inspiring story. Discover more about how personal challenges can pave the way for innovative solutions in unexpected industries, and don’t miss out on other enlightening content from the series.


Direct download: Polly_Rodriguez.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:41am EDT

In this episode of “Story in a Bottle,” host Dan Maccarone introduces us to the multifaceted life of Mark Wystrach, lead vocalist of the renowned country band Midland. Wystrach delves into his journey from growing up on an Arizona ranch, through his modeling and acting career, to his pivotal role in shaping the success of Midland. Engage in Mark Wystrach’s recollection of the band’s birth, insights into the music industry, and the synergies of Midland’s teamwork that catapulted them to stardom.

Wystrach’s story is an inspiring tale of shifting gears and finding one’s true calling despite the odds. We explore his personal foray into show business, detailing his ventures on screen before embracing his passion for music. His narrative underscores the importance of dedication in honing his craft, whether it’s in front of a camera or a mesmerized crowd at Red Rocks. Throughout, Mark shares the band’s organic chemistry, their creative process, and why every performance is approached as a chance to deliver the best show of their lives.

Key Takeaways:

  • Personal Drive: Mark’s ambition to succeed in the arts and help his family underpinned his leap into acting and later, a full-fledged music career.
  • Creative Journey: Transitioning from an acting career, Mark emphasizes the transformative process of co-founding Midland and their collaborative approach to music.
  • Live Performances: Mark reflects on the electrifying experience of live performances and how they feed off the crowd’s energy to create unforgettable shows.
  • Health and Fitness: As a performer, Mark discusses his commitment to maintaining fitness, flexibility, and mindfulness to tackle the physical demands of touring.
  • Midland’s Essence: Key to Midland’s allure, according to Wystrach, is the trio’s authentic and collective efforts to resonate with fans across a spectrum of life experiences.

Notable Quotes:

  • “I’m always looking at what I put in my body because of my schedule… I’ve got young kids, so I want to be around for a long time, but I also like to have fun.”
  • “It’s a privilege, it’s an honor, and it’s a gift… to create this thing that’s so magical. And there’s nothing like creating live music.”
  • “I do think that you should kind of be nervous. But I also think that we’re so locked in now… it just feels like being part of a squadron.”
  • “If you don’t learn anything, then you’re a fool. And it was all a waste of time. And luckily, I’m probably just half of a fool. And I was smart enough to learn a lot of lessons from that.”
  • “What a job we get to do every day.”


  • Insolito Tequila: Midland’s own tequila brand.

Tune into the full episode to immerse yourself in the remarkable story of Mark Wystrach and discover more about the camaraderie, music, and the ongoing adventure that is Midland. Stay connected for more insightful episodes from “Story in a Bottle.”

Direct download: MY.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

In this episode of "Story in a Bottle," host Dan Maccarone pours over the career journey and personal anecdotes of Carol Ray Hartsell, an influential figure in the comedy and digital media landscape. The introductory conversation sets an intimate tone, reminiscing about the tight-knit New York comedy circuit that shaped her early career. Hartsell shares her experiences moving from Alabama to New York, immersing herself in the city’s vibrant artistic culture, and producing critically acclaimed comedy shows. Hartsell delves into the making of her directorial debut, "Love Reconsidered," the challenges faced during production, and the serendipitous connections that led her to direct the film. The conversation also covers her tenure at "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" and her role in propelling the digital content of "Full Frontal with Samantha Bee," highlighting the nuanced differences in producing digital content for varied audiences. These insights reveal the dynamic and ever-evolving world of late-night comedy from a creator's perspective. Notable Quotes: "If you're this afraid to do it, just fucking do it." – Hartsell on deciding to direct her first film. "It's like, well, you could. It was actually easy to do at Ucbe’s because they had tech and they did a lot of the work for you." – Hartsell explaining the beginnings of her show "Lasers in the Jungle." "As long as I'm still working and doing this stuff, I don't need the stress of going to a theater that doesn’t want me there." – Hartsell on continuing her writing and producing career. "It felt like a little bit more of a ghost town." – Hartsell on shooting "Love Reconsidered" in the Hamptons during the off-season. "Marriage can fail, love can't." – Hartsell speaking about her and Sean Crespo's screenplay, "Divorce Cruise."
Direct download: Carol_Ray_Hartsell.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:58am EDT

Brian Stelter is a prominent media personality known for his astute analysis and critique of the media industry. He started his journey with the creation of a Goosebumps fan site and then founded a highly impactful blog, TVNewser. His career took a significant turn when he joined CNN and hosted "Reliable Sources," becoming one of the youngest hires at The New York Times. Stelter is also an author, with books such as "Top of the Morning" reflecting deep insights into television and media operations.

Episode Summary:

In this candid conversation on "Story in a Bottle," host Dan Maccarone unearths the intricate tapestry of Brian Stelter's media journey. From humble beginnings to becoming a CNN host and critic of media practices, Stelter's narrative is entwined with the evolving landscape of news media.

Initially, Stelter shares memorable anecdotes from his formative years, including his adventures in early-web fan sites and blogging. This eventually led to his influential role at The New York Times and his deep dive into the competitive world of morning TV shows. The discussion transitions smoothly into the dynamics of modern journalistic standards and the interplay between media and politics against the backdrop of monumental events like the Trump presidency and the rise of Fox News.

The episode culminates with introspective reflections on Stelter's departure from CNN, his ongoing contributions as a media consultant, and his aspirations as a father. Listeners are treated to a profound exploration of the complexities inherent to balancing professional integrity with personal progression.

Key Takeaways:

  • Brian Stelter's early fascination with media led to creating one of the leading Goosebumps fan sites and the TVNewser blog.
  • Stelter emphasizes the intertwined nature of the media and political realms, particularly in the context of the Trump era and its impact on news coverage.
  • His tenure at CNN's "Reliable Sources" and the decision to transition from full-time hosting to consultancy and freelancing provides significant insights into the changing media landscape.
  • Reflecting on being a target of right-wing media, Stelter shares his experiences of dealing with criticism and public attacks.
  • As a father orchestrating a major life transition, Stelter prioritizes family while freelancing allows him to maintain his voice within the industry.

Notable Quotes:

  • "I wanted someone to be doing it... I thought to myself, I should blog this."
  • "That was a very clear dividing line. Yeah, before Trump, we used to tape the show on Fridays..."
  • "Fox News is a political machine. Donald Trump is a creature of the media."
  • "It's like nobody cared, right? And so, yes, a thousand Twitter trolls would reply to him and say, yeah, Stelter sucks. But nobody in the real world, nobody in my real world cared."


  • Brian Stelter's social media profiles (Not explicitly mentioned)
  • New York Times website (Not explicitly mentioned)
  • CNN's "Reliable Sources" archives (Not explicitly mentioned)

Engage deeply with Brian Stelter's revealing narrative of the media landscape by listening to the full episode. Don't miss out on further enlightening content from "Story in a Bottle" - tune in for thought-provoking discussions that shed light on the media's intricacies from those who shape it.

Direct download: BrianFull.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EDT

About the Guest(s):

Bea "B." Arthur is an innovative entrepreneur with a robust history in the tech and mental health sectors. She's the founder of two mental health startups that strive to make therapy more accessible. Her journey encompasses a variety of roles, including a domestic violence counselor, therapist, and founder. Her experiences extend to the media landscape with features on major platforms discussing failure, entrepreneurship, and mental health advocacy. Additionally, B. Arthur has been recognized by Bumble as one of their 100 most inspirational women.

Episode Summary:

In this captivating episode, host Dan McElroe sits down with B. Arthur, a trailblazer in the tech and mental health industries. Arthur delves into her personal and professional voyage, shedding light on the trials and triumphs along the way. With refreshing candor, Arthur recounts the challenges of starting her mental health-focused companies and how her appearance on Shark Tank played a vital role in her entrepreneurial journey.

Listeners are treated to a raw reflection on the realities of founding startups, with Arthur openly discussing the peaks and valleys that have marked her path to success. She emphasizes the importance of mental wellness, her commitment to democratizing therapy, and the transformative power of meaningful conversations. Insights into the dynamics of therapy, the stigma surrounding mental health, and the future aspects of her endeavors are thoroughly explored.

Key Takeaways:

  • B. Arthur's candid sharing of her struggles and the eventual closing of her first startup provides a real look at the founder's journey.
  • Transitioning from in-person to online therapy, Arthur was a pioneer in introducing therapy through video and later through voice and text.
  • Her experience on Shark Tank significantly impacted her business, establishing a broader audience.
  • Arthur emphasizes the value of therapy and coaching, highlighting her commitment to promoting accessible mental health care.
  • The episode touches on the evolving perception of mental health care and the challenges faced by founders in the tech space.

Notable Quotes:

  • "The right talk at the right time can make all the difference."
  • "Trouble is always temporary."
  • "It was my origin story. So for five years, I did Pretty Padded Room, which became In Your Corner."
  • "It's so good to me as a practitioner in the space, as somebody who has a therapist and a coach and an acupuncturist and two boyfriends, I really want to feel good."


Tune into the full episode to hear B. Arthur's inspiring narrative and gain invaluable insights into the intersection of mental health care and technology. Stay tuned for more engaging discussions and stories in future episodes.

Direct download: Bea_Arthur_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:32am EDT

Dan Maccarone interviews Tristan Snell, discussing his experiences in law, technology and politics. They cover Snell's legal battle with Trump University and his video platform startup. Snell describes how his experiences have influenced his approach to politics and legal battles and highlights his transition from high-stakes legal cases to the fast-paced tech startup environment.

Key Takeaways:
- Tristan Snell played a pivotal role in the investigation and lawsuit against Trump University, leading to significant legal repercussions for the institution.
- His startup, Snakt, aimed to pioneer the social video space and came close to acquisitions by big names like Twitter.
- The COVID-19 pandemic played a critical role in determining the future of Snakt, with funding and operations coming to a standstill.
- Snell has built a substantial following on social media, leveraging his insights into politics and law while ensuring authenticity and resonance with his audience.
- Despite the optics of a traditional legal career, Snell's pursuit of a startup dream illustrates a non-linear path filled with learning, risk-taking, and a balance between professional endeavors and passion projects.

Tristan Snell's Book: "Taking Down Trump"
Tristan's Twitter: @TristanSnell 
Join us for a fascinating deep dive into the mind and stories of Tristan Snell by listening to the full episode. With topics ranging from unparalleled legal battles to the thrills of startup life and a strong political stance, this conversation offers insights and lessons applicable well beyond their fields. Stay tuned for more enriching content in upcoming episodes of "Story in a Bottle."

Timestamp Summary
0:00:00 Introduction to the podcast and guest, Tristan Snell
0:01:58 Inspiration behind writing the book "Taking Down Trump"
0:05:19 Influence of Roy Cohn and his playbook on Trump's tactics
0:08:56 Increasing willingness to go up against Trump and the hope for justice
0:09:48 Experience of writing the book and finding a publishers
0:13:01 Tristan's approach to writing his book
0:14:00 Tristan's family background and moving around
0:15:34 Influence of growing up near Washington D.C.
0:17:14 Tristan's various nerd interests
0:17:55 Running for student council positions
0:19:26 Attending Princeton University
0:21:28 Considering law school
0:22:11 Motivations for going to law school
0:22:06 Interning at the White House and working on a campaign
0:25:39 Veep comes closer to reality in depicting the White House
0:29:10 Importance of understanding public perception and avoiding the echo chamber
0:30:46 Lessons learned from the corporate law experience
0:33:46 Tristan Snell reflects on his experience at the New York AG's office and the importance of perfectionism in law.
0:35:09 Discussion on the ongoing cases against Trump and the potential outcomes.
0:37:19 Anticipation of upcoming developments in the New York fraud case and the second E. Jean Carroll trial.
0:38:38 Analysis of the immunity issue and potential arguments in the DC case.
0:39:32 Introduction to Tristan Snell's role as an assistant AG in the New York AG's office.
0:40:15 Initial thoughts on the Trump case and the perception of Trump as a con artist.
0:41:46 Tristan Snell's realization of the extent of the harm caused by Trump's actions in the Trump University case.
0:43:11 Discussion on the emotional impact of hearing the victims' stories and the financial losses they suffered.
0:43:53 Introduction to the topic of the Trump mentorship program
0:45:58 Timeline of the investigation and lawsuit
0:46:40 Decision to leave law work and join a startup
0:47:53 Snacked's goal to be a social video platform
0:49:20 Highlights of Snacked's success and achievements
0:50:39 Memorable moments of user engagement on the platform
0:51:50 Product collaboration with YouTube star Philip DeFranco
0:52:21 Challenges of working together in a startup partnership
0:53:24 Struggles and fears as a startup CEO
0:54:16 Joining the startup full-time with limited funding
0:54:59 Challenges of starting a new social platform
0:55:37 Twitter's potential acquisition of the company
0:57:13 Difficulties and worst parts of the startup journey
0:57:33 The decision to start a side legal practice
0:59:29 The benefits of having a side hustle
1:00:47 Transitioning from snack to starting a legal practice
1:01:50 The impact of Covid on snack's closure
1:06:48 Learning from content creators and implementing strategies for success
1:07:21 Viners used to pull down posts that didn't meet their metrics within minutes.
1:07:49 Social media allows for more flexibility and amendability compared to legal filings.
1:08:03 Authenticity is important on social media.
1:09:19 Tristan Snell doesn't get nervous about posting opinionated content.
1:09:33 Comments provide real-time feedback, but Snell avoids reading them.

Direct download: TSaudioFinal.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

When Amanda Goetz left her corporate gig to sculpt her own path through the entrepreneurial wilderness, she didn't just trade a desk for a dream; she crafted a multifaceted empire, painting a life that harmonizes ambition with the purest forms of self-expression. Her story isn't just a blueprint for building a personal brand that resonates across social media platforms; it's a testament to the sheer willpower of a woman determined to shape her life on her own terms, with a sprinkle of marketing magic. Drawing the curtain back, Amanda shares her journey, from the pivotal moments that prompted her shift from Ernst & Young to the founding of her wellness gummy company, and the intimate details of navigating personal milestones alongside her career.

With Amanda's narrative as our guide, we knit together the vibrant threads of creating multiple revenue streams, each tailored to distinct audience personas. Her strategic approach to audience ownership, from a captivating membership community to a sponsored newsletter, reveals the careful choreography behind each source of income. As we unravel the significance of legacy and the lasting impression of public work on her children, Amanda's reflections add a profound depth to the conversation on entrepreneurship. Her story is interwoven with insights on personal growth through transitions, be it a divorce or a leap into a new job, and the importance of community in both life and business.

Peering into the future, Amanda does not shy away from the raw, unfiltered aspects of her entrepreneurial experience. She embodies the "build in public" philosophy, pulling back the curtain on the wins and the stumbles alike, fostering a community rallying behind authenticity. The episode wraps with a heartening nod to the power of fractional expertise, the art of knowing when to step in and when to step out, and the ripple effects of transparency in nurturing a supportive network. Listeners are invited to reflect on their own narratives, as each story—yours included—is a brushstroke in the broader canvas of our collective journey.


(00:03) Amanda Goetz Journey as a Creator
(08:15) Multiple Revenue Streams and Social Media
(18:26) Growing Up, School, and Career Paths
(31:44) Start a Company, Transition to New Job
(35:41) Founder's Breakfast and Changing Tech Scene
(41:38) Creating a Wellness Gummy Company
(53:13) Navigating Challenges and Growth in Entrepreneurship
(01:05:15) Transparency and Expertise in Startup Growth
(01:11:22) Expressing Gratitude and Acknowledgment for Appearance

Direct download: Amanda_Goetz.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:30am EDT

When Bitcoin started gaining traction, Mike Dudas started buying. In fact, of all the cryptocurrencies out there, bitcoin is the only one he's gone all in on. But his passion for the Blockchain and Crypto world didn't end there. IN 2018, he not only put his money where is mouth was, but his whole career, when he started The Block, the goal being to create THE destination for news in the Blockchain and Crypto world. Over Negronis at Fools Gold in New York, Mike talks about how he started his career doing business development for Disney but eventually got the bug for FinTech, leaning to early roles at Google Wallet and Braintree, eventually co-founding the mobile payments company Button. Through it all, his devotion to crypto hasn't waned - including a passion so deep that it's gotten him kicked off Twitter multiple times. he talks about all that and more.


What You’ll Learn:

  • How you know it’s time to leave a company you founded
  • How using Twitter as a growth strategy can be a blessing and a curse
  • How to pivot your mission based on a quickly changing landscape
  • How to pivot your mission based on a quickly changing landscape
Direct download: SIAB_MDudas_v2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:04pm EDT

The tech world is understandably frustrating and at some point, you’ve just had enough. For Katie Smith-Adair, that point came after she watched Sonar, the startup she was working for, blow up. The mobile app was part of a plethora of location-based people finding networks that permeated South by Southwest in 2012, but never really found its footing. Over a bottle of Chardonnay at Fools Gold in Manhattan, Katie talks about her experiences from waiting tables in Portland, Oregon to moving from the agency world to Microsoft and finally how she started PlaceInvaders, a culinary company that hosts unique dining events in amazing residential spaces.


What You’ll Learn:

  • How working in the service industry makes you better in the business world
  • The glory and fall of working for one of the hottest startups of the moment
  • The challenge and excitement of switching industries entirely to do what you love
Direct download: SIAB_KAdir_v2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:28pm EDT

From music promotion to managing bars. From political strategist to startup founder. From consultant to professor. Jeremy Kagan’s gone down many roads over the course of his career. Over a variety bourbons at Fool’s Gold in New York, Jeremy talks about how his career has taken so many different turns, the emotional trauma of running your own startup and how all his experiences prepared him for his latest role as the Managing Director at the Eugene Lang Entrepreneurship Center at Columbia Business School.

What You’ll Learn:

  • How the challenges of the music industry make you smarter in the more traditional business world
  • How to persevere when your startup isn’t moving at the pace it needs for success
  • Why business school can actually be useful for an entrepreneur
Direct download: SIAB_JKagan_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:17am EDT

Leah Finnegan’s journalism journey reads like the resume of someone decades in, which makes what she’s accomplished even more impressive. She first discovered her passion for journalism while working on the newspaper at the University of Texas and parlayed that into a stint at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, where she quickly realized that one does not need a master’s in journalism to be a good journalist. Over coffee and sparkling water, Leah shares how she’s worked her way up the journalism ladder from Gawker to the New York Times to the current Executive Editor of The Outline, the quirky online publication started by Josh Topolsky that recently sold to Bustle.


What You’ll Learn:

  • The challenges of going freelance
  • How to differentiate yourself as a media company
  • The value, or lack thereof, of a degree in journalism
  • How the media environment is changing in today’s political climate
Direct download: SIAB_LFinnegan_v1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:42am EDT

Adam Levin has lead five different lives or at least had five different careers. From consumer protector to politician to real estate investor to digital entrepreneur to best selling author. And there’s even more beyond that. Over glasses of Lafroig scotch at Fool’s Gold in Manhattan, Adam sat down and discussed all of these facets of his life, including his experience shaping New Jersey’s consumer protection laws in the 1970s, why he co-founded, one of the biggest online financial services educators, in the 1990s, and what lead to his need to write Swiped, his book about protecting yourself from all forms identity theft.

  • How the government protects consumers from sketchy business practices
  • The things we don’t know about our own privacy
  • The history of cyber liability
  • The origin and exit of
Direct download: SIAB_ALevin_v1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:51pm EDT

Growing up on the Hawaiian island of Kauai may not seem like a place where technology takes the forefront, but for Nicole Wilke it was a ubiquitous part of her life. Taking her lifelong education around design and computer science with her from the islands to the mainland, Nicole worked her way through media and tech’s biggest names. Over negronis  at Fool’s Gold in Manhattan, she talks about her experience at brands like Disney and Wired and the transition to her most recent role as Head of Product for Techcrunch.


What You’ll Learn:

  • The secrets behind what makes a good redesign
  • What it takes to break into media
  • Why a diverse skill set is critical to succeed in product design
Direct download: SIAB_NWilke_v2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:52pm EDT

When Nick Carlson started at Business Insider, he was a young reporter coming off stints at Gawker Media and Internet News, putting his faith in a fledgling media startup. Today, he’s the Global editor in chief of BI and oversees 250 plus reporters and writers at the publication, which has become one of the biggest voices in tech journalism. Over Old Fashioneds at Fools Gold in New York City, Nick talks about how he went from working in world of finance at Merrill Lynch to becoming the go-to source for all things Yahoo with is book “Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo!” as well as what it means to spearhead a place that has become a tech and business new institution.

Direct download: SIAB_NCarlson_v2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:36pm EDT

The genre of political and social journalism has spawned a plethora of new voices over the past few years and Taylor Lorenz has emerged as a notable voice, most recently as a staff writer for The Atlantic. Her origin story starts in New York City, where she grew up and as social media became a major destination for communication, she quickly adapted to it by becoming an early Tumblr user and building off that to eventually running social for The Daily Mail. Over bitters and soda at Fools Gold in New York City, Taylor talks about how she went from a social media expert to covering tech for Business insider and growing into her own as a journalist and finding her voice writing for The Hill and The Daily Beast.

Direct download: SIAB_TLorenz_v2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:46am EDT

From a young age in New Zealand, Hamish McKenzie always had a passion for writing and he knew he was pretty good at it! He pursued an English degree and eventually earned a graduate degree in  journalism. Hamish went on to be a reporter and wrote for PandoDaily, the Guardian and the Toronto Star. His freelance writing eventually lead him to he role as head writer for the innovative car company, Tesla -- making Elon Musk his boss. Hamish used his experience in the  the day to day world of Tesla to write the book “Insane Mode: How Elon Musk’s Tesla Sparked an Electric Revolution to End the Age of Oil.” Today, he is the founder of Substack, a company that offers a newsletter business in a box that now powers subscription-based email content for independent writers and young media companies. Over KCBC Alewife Hash Cache IPA at Fool’s Gold in New York City, Hamish discusses getting into the world of journalism and how it brought him into corporate lifestyle, which eventually made him realize what world he truly wanted to be apart of.


What You’ll Learn:

  • Is journalism school worth it? 25:50
  • Should a publication like Gawker or PandoDaily make a comeback? 45:41
  • What is something about Elon Musk that nobody would read in the papers? 54:04
Direct download: SIAB_HMcKenzie_v2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:31pm EDT

Erin Ryan grew up in a small town in Wisconsin and was always a big fish in a little pond. After earning a degree in English from Notre Dame, she began a career in finance, a path she quickly realized was not her destiny. And it was the Gawker Media run, woman-focusted site Jezebel that changed her life. An avid reader of it, she eventually started participating in the conversations there and, eventually, Jezebel asked her to contribute for real. Since then, she’s been all in as a writer, even parlaying her journalism talents into comedy writing, currently as a staff writer for “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.” In addition to that new gig, which has brought her full time to Los Angeles, she also has a new podcast called “Hysteria,” produced by Crooked media and focused on women and politics. Over a fruity, fire-themed IPA at Fool’s Gold in Manhattan, Erin discusses how she grew up, how she became the great writer she is today and all the paths it took her to get there.


What You’ll Learn:

- What it was like growing up in a small town 6:15

- Why take the finance route in the first place? 44:00

- How Jezebel changed Erin’s life 47:36

- Experiencing a sitcom writer’s room for the first time. 1:01:00

Direct download: SIAB_ERyan_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:59am EDT

Lucas Arzola is a man with many different titles. He is an entrepreneur, educator, and innovation ecosystem builder. Originally from Puerto Rico, Lucas ventured to University of California, Davis for college and wound up staying to coordinate strategic partnerships between the university and pharmaceutical biotechnology companies. Lucas went on to found Betabox, a technology company that designs and delivers mobile spaces and on-demand experiences that enhance corporate innovation, workforce development, and STEM education . Today, back in his home country of Puerto Rico, he is the director of operations for the startup accelerator, Parallel18. Over a bottle of red wine at the Parallel18 offices in San Juan, Lucas discusses all his business ventures and how he spent his time dealing with the destructive aftermath of hurricane Maria and keeping his company based around technology and electricity afloat.


What You’ll Learn:

- Dealing with the growth of technology in other countries 11:40

- The challenges of Hurricane Maria 25:21

- Why go to California from Puerto Rico? 40:15

- Leaving your own company 1:05:24

Direct download: SIAB_LArzola_v2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:40am EDT

Beth Schoenfeldt and Megan Hannum are experts at understanding the needs of startups. As business partners, they complement each other with Beth running the operations side of their company, FundedBuy, and Megan handling the networking. Together they are an unstoppable duo. At their core, Beth and Megan leverage their skills to ensure founders can focus on what it will take to get their founders to success and let the FundedBuy network handle all the ancillary day-to-day aspects of running a business. Over Graft Lost Tropic Cider at Fool’s Gold in Manhattan, this power (business) couple discuss their third party network, their individually unique backgrounds and how their unusual partnership came about.


What You’ll Learn:

  • What is FundedBuy? 1:20
  • How did two very opposite people become the business couple they are today? 12:33
  • How a startup is like a sitcom? 25:34
  • The key to having a smart startup and successful founders 40:02
Direct download: SIAB_FundedBy_v1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:40pm EDT

Dave Malouf is a man who comes from many different career paths, but the one course he has stayed on through and through is the almighty Internet. He originally graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in Anthropology, but he soon discovered he loved something else: web design. As Dave created new site after new site, he began to realize that he could help other users and other web designers come up with entire new strategies to this up and coming business. Thus was born The Interaction Design Association. AKA IxDA, an organization that is working to build a community of practice for the advancement and advocacy of the discipline of interaction design. Over Beak & Skiff Hard Cider at Fool’s Gold in Manhattan, Dave takes us on his journey as a pioneer in the Internet design world and how much has changed over time.

What You’ll Learn:

  • The major you graduated with in college might be more relevant than you think. (9:50)
  • Learning about technology as you go (25:19)
  • The evolution of interaction design (42:00)
  • Why interaction design is important (1:00:33)
Direct download: SIAB_DMalouf_final_v1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:44pm EDT

At her core, Glynnis MacNicol has always known writing was her passion. She still remembers her first journal from when she was only 6 years old. Glynnis has translated that fierce need for independence into her role as the co-founder of TheList, a women only social network that seeks to bring professional women together for camaraderie, business connections and a space for open conversation. Glynnis loves to write about the intersection between media, pop culture, and politics. Her work has appeared in print and online for publications including Forbes, The Cut,, New York Daily News, Marie Claire, Capital New York, but also for publications like Fox News, MSNBC, NBC, and CBC. Over Bloody Mary’s at Fool’s Gold in Manhattan, she talks about her new memoir, No One Tells You This, about living through her 40th year, her colorful journey as a journalist in New York and how she struggled to learn the media world and how she continues to push what she can do in it.

What You’ll Learn:

- Culture of the modern day woman (its at the beginning)

- Was media a large part of Glynnis’ life as a kid (28:47)

- Why she wanted to be the voice (50:00)

Direct download: SIAB_GMacNicol_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:48am EDT

Ross Asdourian spends his day to day solving problems. According to him, that is one of the main qualities that makes a great producer. From starting as a freelance producer after college, to getting his first big break as the NBC News Creative Digital Product Manager, Ross paid his dues to get to where he is today, including roles as a Creative Director for NBCUniversal and a Producer for Red Bull. His second big break wasn’t quite as positive. To be blunt, Ross broke his penis. Over Knob Creek Rye at Fool’s Gold, he talks through his fascinating career journey and how one hook up lead to one of the most painful and hilarious experiences of his life, all documented in his book Broken Bananah.

What You’ll Learn:

- The life of a college mascot (7:23)
- Why producing is about problem solving (23:30)
- The exciting world of Red Bull (41:00)
- The story of the Broken Bananah (59:00)

Direct download: SIAB_RAsdourian_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:29pm EDT

Every choice you make in life can be a calculated decision. For Stephanie Vaughan, that is the way she let her career evolve. She was originally in the United States Marine Corp after attending the Naval Academy where she studied quantitative economics. Once her tour in Afghanistan was over, she went back to school where she received her MBA from Columbia Business School in order to further everything she already knew about finance and investment banking. She then pushed herself into the world of venture and now is Vice President of Block X Ventures. Over Sierra Nevada Kellerweis at Fool’s Gold in Manhattan, she shares with us how she went from navigating the challenges of a war to navigating the world of bitcoin and venture capital.


What You’ll Learn:

- What is Block X Ventures and the basics of investing in blockchain companies (1:44)

- Why study quantitative economics at the Naval Academy in the first place? (23:11)

- Is there a method to her madness? The plan to go from the Marines to finance (40:22)

Direct download: SIAB_SVaughn_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:59am EDT

Zach Mach’s original dream of working in the world of media has finally come to fruition, but not in the way he expected. Zach moved to New York right after he graduated college, in hopes of becoming a writer and even though he did have gigs at places like Gawker, he soon realized that a full time career in that world wasn’t his passion. His greater love in life was beer. And he has turned that into a career but opening ABC Beer Company on Avenue C in the Alphabet City and, now, as a writer covering the beer world for publications like Thrillist and GQ. Over local craft beers at ABC, he walks us on his journey of how he became a bar owner and what he has learned about running your own company...especially the unique aspects of bar life.

What You’ll Learn:

- What does it take to get involved in the bar owning business (3:50)

- The true experience of life in the bar world  (19:00)

- The deterrents to a career in writing and media (1:01:00)

Direct download: SIAB_ZMack_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:34am EDT

When you start your career in a complicated industry and are able to realize how much experience you don’t have in order to do it well, that’s admirable. To actually gather that knowledge and then come back is exemplary; that is exactly what Melody Kohdid. After starting in venture capital after college, she didn’t think she was fit for the job just yet and wound up founding her own start up and, later, as head of product for Blue Apron. Now she is finally back to where she started, in VC, as a Venture Partner at NextView Ventures. Over Negronis at Fool’s Gold in Manhattan, she explains how each part of her career shaped who she is now and how it all prepared her for the dream career she would eventually have.

What You’ll Learn:

  • The NextView Ventures thesis Melody’s role on the team?
  • Running a business isn’t about you, so what/who is it about?
  • The best qualities for a founder/CEO
  • Why VC? And Melody found her way into technology.
Direct download: SIAB_MKoh_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:39am EDT

When Chris Maddern discovered his passion for technology, he knew he was hooked. His addiction to it lead to a career that started with pioneering the early days of app development with his company AppLaunch, but quickly lead to a passion that has permeated his career since: solving the challenge of making transactions easier everywhere and anywhere. His work on Venmo revolutionized peer to peer payments and after that success he co-founded Button, which created a marketplace allowing publishers and merchants to make it easier for users to quickly buy, well, anything. Over Sidecars at Fool’s Gold in Manhattan, Chris discusses where his love of technology came from and how he translated that into a life.

What You’ll Learn:

  • What is Button and examples of where people would have used it? 4:12
  • How did Chris start up this kind of company? 7:40
  • Did Chris always want to be in the computer science world? 22:27
  • Inside perspective of what the early days of the app store was like 40:40
Direct download: SIAB_CMaddern_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:37am EDT

Melanie Cristol has always let her passions drive her career. Those passions lead her to become a lawyer and, now, to become an entrepreneur. As a founder, she’s launched her most personal product yet: Lorals. Lorals are lingerie worn during oral sex, for when you love the idea of oral and you want to love the reality. This latex underwear will block anything you don't want transferred, whether it's an intimate view, menstrual or other fluids, or scents. And soon, Melanie hopes for Lorals to block STIs too. Over a shot of Maker’s Mark and some coffee on the side at Fool’s Gold in Manhattan, Melanie discusses her drastic career change and what it takes to create a new sex product line for women.


What You’ll Learn:

  • How do orgasms lead to physical benefits (4:40)
  • What does the name “Lorals” mean and what is their goal (6:50)
  • Types of products for oral sex that are already out on the market, so what makes Lorals different (8:00)
  • How did Melanie start this company and where did she get her inspiration (11:22)
  • What was Melanie’s approach in starting her company (24:53)
Direct download: SIAB_MCristol_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:33am EDT

We all have a lost feeling after college life, even astrophysicists! Andrew Fleming originally went to Michigan Tech for physics and then took it one level higher to study astrophysics at Columbia University in New York. He realized before he was officially done with all school that the prospect of him spending the  rest of his days studying the stars and universe wasn’t in the cards if he didn’t commit himself to academia in perpetuity. So, he made a choice. Instead of the challenging and uncertain world of science and academia. He chose a totally different route: the challenging and uncertain world of media. . He went on to work as a content strategist and senior producer at Conde Nast and, later, VP of Product for Business Insider. Now, Andrew is the Head of Content Platforms at Dow Jones and the Wall Street Journal. Andrew loves his media world and wouldn't trade it for all the stars in the universe.


What You’ll Learn:

- What is “Moneyish” (7:40)
- How does a pop culture moment tie into these financial education moments (16:09)
- What drove him into the world of astrophysics? (26:17)
- How does product work and scientific research equate to each other? (41:57)
- The challenges of journeying from freelancer at Conde Nast to senior-level staffer at Business Insider when it was just starting out (55:40)

Direct download: SIAB_AFleming_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:43pm EDT

Courtney Boyd Myers has always been a multitasking mover. She was born in Connecticut and grew up playing in multiple sports at one time, and in a family that moved around a lot. Both of those qualities has molded her into the person she is today. Courtney is the founder of AKUA, a company that creates sustainable, seagreens-based foods, an adviser of GreenWave, a nonprofit that supports the regenerative ocean farming industry, has invested in an ice cream store based out of Cape Town, South Africa called Unframed Ice Cream which focuses on the perfection of vegan ice cream, AND she is a Global Community Ambassador for the leadership event company, Summit. At just 33, she has accomplished so much in her life and continues to grow and love all of her personal and professional endeavors.


What You’ll Learn:

  • How did Courtney get started with her business, AKUA? (2:30)
  • When and where did media and tech businesses come into her life? (11:08)
  • How she got into the technology and startup world? (19:11)
  • Is mingling and being friendly in the journalism world a good thing? (21:00)
  • What a weekend through Summit is (34:35)
Direct download: SIAB_CBMeyers_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:59am EDT

Daniel Kibblesmith grew up loving comedy and always found himself gravitating towards writing, but it took him awhile to realize he was actually writing comedy as a career. Starting off his career in Chicago after college, Daniel worked for Groupon as an in-house comedian and wrote humorous ad copy. This lead to him becoming one of the founding editors of ClickHole which eventually lead him to Buzzfeed in New York City and now as a staff writer for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Today, he is a published author with his book Santa’s Husband and just launched a comic book, Lockjaw, for Marvel. Daniel is doing what he loves everyday and happy to share his comedy with the world.

What You’ll Learn:

  • How does Daniel take in all the horrible events and news of each day and turn it into comedy on a deadline (24:20)
  • What made him get into comedy writing (27:00)
  • When your day is surrounded by comedy for a job, does it ever get overwhelming (50:00)
  • How to create a packet to become a tv writer (1:02:06)
  • What is the hardest parts of Daniel’s dream job (1:09:11)
Direct download: SIAB_DKibblesmith_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:44pm EDT

The challenge of totally changing your career path after dedicating years to one industry is immense in and of itself. But to do it due to the emotional toll the first one took on you is at another level. Cheryl Wischhover started off her career as a pediatric oncology nurse for 15 years - seeing just how brutal the impact of cancer can be on a daily basis. Today, she is the Senior Beauty Reporter for the fashion and beauty online publication Racked. Cheryl always wanted to be a writer of some sort, but her family’s path turned her towards nursing. When she moved from Chicago to New York in the early 2000’s, she fell in love with fashion, blogging, and the rise of social media which quickly led her to a change that would reroute her entire life and finally let her live out her passions.


What You’ll Learn:

  • What is Racked and why is it different from writing for publications such as Glamour, Teen Vogue, and Elle (4:50)
  • The science behind writing about beauty and why Cheryl’s medical background has been a huge help to her (9:45)
  • How to be strong and follow your head and heart on what you really want to do in life (19:45)
  • Everything that prompted Cheryl to change her career and how she did it (31:00)
Direct download: SIAB_CWischhover_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:45pm EDT

“Politics” should be John Knefel’s middle name. Growing up in a Iowa, a swing state, he understood the political world at a very young age, an that has stuck with him to today. At age 35, he has used his passion for politics as a throughline through the different careers he’s already had. Starting his career with stand-up comedy in New York right after college in the midwest, he parlayed that into his own podcast, Radio Dispatch, which lead him into the world of journalism,  freelancing for top publications like Rolling Stone and The Nation. With his newest venture, writing for Comedy Central's The President Show, he's finally been able to combine his two core passions: comedy and politics.


What You’ll Learn:

  • When writing for a political comedy show, how can you stick to satire rather than sticking to the daily news cycle (10:08)
  • Where is the line drawn for taking political comedy too far (17:25)
  • How to bring the trend of storytelling into comedy (47:00)
  • Why are people driven by their political beliefs (59:17)
  • How to make money as a freelance journalist in our day and age (1:13:48)
Direct download: SIAB_JKnefel_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:05am EDT

Tennis has always been a passion for Caitlin Thompson, and now she is able to hone in on that passion with her own magazine, Racquet. From a young age, she knew being on the tennis court and telling stories were two things that just came natural to her. She continued those two natural feelings by playing tennis for the University of Missouri, which also happens to be one of the best journalism schools in the country. She went on to lead a very fulfilling life in journalism, writing for newspapers and magazines all over the world, and even though our world is shifting more to digital, nothing compares to the excitement and dedication to her own print magazine, and how she feels destiny has brought her two favorite worlds together into one.


What You’ll Learn:

  • Why Racquet is is so important for such a small community (5:10)
  • How money is valuable and media should not be free (28:54)
  • Why tennis has always been written on a spectrum of utility instead of about the people (30:37)
  • How Racquet is putting tennis players back into the cultural conversation (39:06)
Direct download: SIAB_CThompson_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:57am EDT

Growing up in the Albanian community of New York, Ilir Sela was poised to continue the age-old tradition of owning and operating a local pizza shop. But simply following suit was not enough, and, as he grew and advanced in his technical skills, Ilir became the go-to in the community for all things IT related, starting with websites and online ordering, but later realizing the shifting needs of the industry, not only in New York, but nationally. It was this unique circumstance that equipped him to create a major platform to bring about the evolution needed to keep these local businesses connected with the communities they fed. As the founder of Slice, a digital ordering platform, he is constantly finding new ways to do this and to continue to ensure that this community staple finds it’s place in the future.

What You’ll Learn:

- Creative ways to garner interest in tech in an industry that has existed without it

- Why the local pizza shop industry deserves a different solution than big ordering platforms

Direct download: SIAB_ISela_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:51am EDT

It goes without saying that the more connected we’ve become - the world, and the events reported around it, have changed; with information traveling the fastest it ever has, the role of storytellers has evolved and there’s nothing that stands in the way of telling the goings on from every which end. And still, while the world continues to get "smaller," it’s becoming continually challenging to know the happenings taking place in your own neighborhood. Kate Gardiner has spent her many years in and around the journalism world being a voice from an often unheard vantage point - whether it’s reporting in the isolated community of Molokaʻi or growing a network of professional women via - and even in her work today as founder of audience engagement firm, DSTL. Kate’s goal is simple: to build bigger and better communities and to connect them with the information they need to continue to grow.

What You'll Learn:

- The importance of getting the right story to the right audience

- How lack of innovation in local news has failed local audiences

- A tale of evolving entrepreneurship, beginning with exotic fish sales

Direct download: SIAB_KGardiner_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:33pm EDT

It's safe to say that while the entertainment industry is so ingrained in our daily lives, it's inner workings and the lives of those in it are elusive to most. Over drinks at Fool’s Gold, Michael Cerveris gave us a glimpse behind the scenes including all of the exciting, high parts of his career: headlining a banner Broadway show, winning Tonys, making breakthroughs in television. However he also shared how in acting, much like other industries, even when you achieve a certain level of success, imposter syndrome is nearly impossible to avoid, and why he approaches each new project as way to start over again. And Again. And again.

What You'll Learn:

- How to maintain enthusiasm for a job even if it seems like you're doing the same thing over and over every day.

- Why "losing" can ultimately be better for your career.

- How imposter syndrome affects other industries.

Direct download: SIAB_MCeveris_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00pm EDT

Jennifer Wright began her career - with a passion and innate skill for writing - and during a time when content on the web was hitting critical mass, allowing personality and perspective to shine through unlike any time before. She boasts experience with publishing powerhouses like the New York Post, Cosmopolitan, and Glamour - as well as authored her own acclaimed books. We caught up with Jennifer at Fool’s Gold in New York City and over Snake Bite Violette’s she talks about how she got to where she is, what has inspired her writing thus far, and how the shift in our political atmosphere has ignited in her a new approach to her writing that she never expected.

What You’ll Learn:

- How to pursue a passion in writing without being defined by your “beat.”

- The new responsibility all journalists and content creators have in producing content and the necessity to consider global context

Direct download: SIAB_JWright_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:14pm EDT

Ben Hill was a student not unlike many others; getting into school and choosing a path that seemed to make sense and not questioning why. It’d only make sense that when he graduated from Pitt with a degree in Communications he was left wondering what to do next. Over Teeling whisky at Fool’s Gold, Ben talks about the roundabout path he took to get to where he is today - the voice of an important aspect of Americana writing about Minor League Baseball - and the impetus for his blog “Ben’s Biz,” 12 years ago.

What You’ll Learn:

- How Minor League Baseball impacts American culture beyond the sport.

- What it’s like to create a new niche in journalism.

Direct download: SIAB_BHill_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:22pm EDT

When Kristen Hawley set out to create her newsletter, Chefs + Tech, she had years of publishing and tech experience under her belt (spending time at Hearst, Pop Sugar, and Twitter in her early days). As such, as a founder, she always dreamt C+T would be part of a bigger editorial platform and, as of a year ago, that dream was becoming a reality. Joining us for the second time in the Charming Robot offices over Pinot Noirs, she fills us in on the last year of Chefs + Tech: being acquired by Skift and the challenges of a founder (and new mother!) in this position, how C+T has grown since joining the Skift ecosystem, and finally, to share the news of its latest iteration: Skift Table, which is officially launched at the Skift Forum in New York City last week.

What You’ll Learn:

How to start and evolve a product that you have large aspirations for.

The questions you should ask (and answer) as a founder with the prospect of being acquired.

How becoming a parent influences all of the above - and then some.

Direct download: SIAB_KHawley2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:06am EDT

Anthony Batt, Co-Founder & Executive Vice President of VR company Wevr, obviously spends much of his time thinking about future innovations. However, it’s this curiosity that has been a driving force through much of his life and career - leading to the creation of products like Craigslist, Buzznet, and Thrash Lab, amongst others. Over La Croix Pure in his amazing office - former home to Dennis Hopper in Venice, CA - he explains his challenge of always thinking many steps ahead while waiting for technology to catch up and how this is especially true now in the lifecycle of VR.

What You’ll Learn:

- Why sometimes being first in the world of tech does not always guarantee your success.

- How solving a problem can lead to creating a product, even when you don’t mean to.

- The challenge of creating content and products that you know are too early for adoption - and the key decisions to make in this circumstance.

Direct download: SIAB_ABatt_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:22pm EDT

Christina Heller is the Chief Development Officer of VR Playhouse, a creative production studio based in LA which is dedicated to creating great content for virtual reality experiences; a company she co-founded in 2014. It’s an industry she’s found by way of her love of storytelling, with a background in theater, political journalism radio, and documentary filmmaking. Over micheladas, Christina shares her thoughts on the budding industry, how it’s suffered because of unrealistic expectations set by those within it, the obstacles that still need to be overcome in order for it to reach mass adoption, and some of her great experiences creating content (which may or may not include a run in with one of her heroes, Ken Burns).  

What You’ll Learn:

  • Why VR is far from “dead.”
  • Insights into developing some of the first VR experiences for Time, amongst others.
  • The future of virtual experiences - and how you can eventually date without leaving the privacy of your own home.
Direct download: SIAB_CHeller_T2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:19pm EDT

Ben Jackson has made a career in tech from figuring things out on his own. He got an early start with technology - tinkering around and teaching himself different coding languages - which lead to a series of IT jobs and the rest is history. Over beers at Fool's Gold in NYC we learned how those humble beginnings were just the start of a path in entrepreneurship, how he's evolved his role throughout, and eventually landing where he is today, helping fledgling companies make strategic decisions with his consultancy company For The Win.

What You’ll Learn:

- The challenges of evolving from print to digital at an agency in the early days of tech.

- An insiders perspective in starting a company abroad - and the circumstances that drive the decision to ultimately leave.

- Why company "politics" are important and shouldn't be considered a bad thing.

Direct download: SIAB_BJackson_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:35pm EDT

As VC who invests in early stage companies - Adi Levanon of Symmetrical Ventures embraces the opportunity to help grow companies from the ground up. In fact, growing up in Silicon Valley with visionary-type parents, she was poised from an early age to enter the industry. However, she attributes a lot of her success to her time living in Israel, serving in the military, and later becoming a lawyer. Over mezcal margaritas at Fool’s Gold in New York City, Adi enumerates how “everything I’ve done has lead me to what I am doing now” - including sharing her daily experiences in her own podcast “The Adi Tells” podcast.

What You’ll Learn:

  • How to take a headstrong approach to entering a new field and finding a job in a new city.
  • Why learning you’re not a fit at a company is not a failure.
  • The value of working with investors who understand your industry.
  • Mistakes to avoid when you pitch.
Direct download: SIAB_ALevanon_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:10pm EDT

Alexander Reyna is the Creative Director, Games and VR at MLB Advanced Media - whose primary role is to help bring to life the most innovative ways to put baseball content into the hands of its passionate fans. It’s a role that suits him well, as it intersects his entrepreneurial spirit and his design background, dreaming up big ideas and solutions as technology evolves. However, the road to get there was not without its perils. Over The Main Brewey’s Tiny Beautiful Something at Fool’s Gold he talks about the many failures and obstacles he overcame as an artist in his early career, his entry into tech from the gaming world, and how those experiences shape the work he’s doing today.

What You’ll Learn:

- How to take an entrepreneurial approach to the product design process

- Insights into how the tech and design industry has evolved

- Learning how to thrive beyond “failure”

Direct download: SIAB_ZReyna_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:13pm EDT

Emily White is the co-founder of Dreamfuel and Whitesmith, two companies helping musicians and athletes achieve their goals. However, she began her professional career as a competitive swimmer. Born into a family of athletes, it only made sense that Emily attempt a stint in the pool but, when her interests deviated to the music world, she resourcefully used her competitive career as a springboard to get into the program of her choice at Northwestern. Over mocktails at Fool’s Gold in NYC, she describes her path through the music world - where she’s experienced almost every role in management from touring to talent - and how it’s lead her full circle back to swimming, as she contributes in a way she could’ve never envisioned.


What You’ll Learn:

- The important career lessons one can learn from jam bands.
- A woman’s perspective to the perils and biases encountered while fundraising.
- How understanding each part of your business is fundamental to being a strong leader.

Direct download: SIAB_EWhite_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:55am EDT

Phillip Bowden has spent over the last decade entrenched in the world of tech; arguably the most evolutionary period in the industry’s history. What’s more, he’s experienced its growth from several key vantage points. From his earliest experience with computers - by way of tinkering around on a household PC he wasn’t supposed to - he essentially dove into the field in early development roles at Gowalla and Tumblr. However, when friction within the industry increased, he ultimately decided to do his own thing, co-founding consultancy Brooklyn Computer Club with Buzz Andersen. Over Penicillins, he explains the challenges of this ever-evolving industry and his shifting role within it, even today as he helps tech darling Spotify continue to grow.

What You'll Learn:

- Why having more people on a team doesn't ultimately solve a problem faster.

- The pros and cons of working in the tech field with little formal tech education.

- Insights into working for both early stage and larger companies - and the benefits of each.

Direct download: SIAB_PBowden_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:13am EDT

When Jess Brown got her start with computers she spent her time designing for fun and trolling chat rooms online - seemingly a world away from a career in the then fledgling user experience industry. In fact, it was her love of math and the practical application of it at Stanford University that set her in motion. Over an Aperol Spritz, Jess tells us about those early days in a nascent industry, how she was able to guide her first gig with user research and why that lead her to join other startups like Threadflip and Rent the Runway. Today, she is Head of User Experience at Vice - applying the knowledge she’s gained along the way to this ever-expanding, content behemoth - which is no small task.


What You’ll Learn:

- Why test methodology matters in user research - and the importance of determining which is appropriate for understanding the specific user behavior you are testing.

- Why founders of companies may not necessarily need to be their end users and how that impacts design decisions.

Direct download: SIAB_JBrown_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:01pm EDT

Khayyam Wakil boasts a career with an unbelieveable trajectory - all thanks his ability to identify and capitalize on trends. From Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, he rose to Twitter fame in the early 2000s, but what he didn’t know at the time was that his lighthearted exercise in gaming the platform would actually lead to true social influence. Over Malopas (mezcal palomas), he explains just how he became one of the 5% creating content on Twitter which lead to being one of the few selected to be a part of the UN’s envoy to curing malaria and how those experiences, in addition to his time in VR, have shaped his take on both activism and tech. This is especially important today, as he aims to bring more “first hand” experiences to the public in his latest endeavor as Head of Creative Partnerships at Live Planet.

What You’ll Learn:

  • The pros and cons of the “empathy machine” that is tech and Virtual Reality
  • Why sometimes having the propensity to learn is far more powerful than a linear path in education
  • The unfortunate truths about how social media has changed activism
Direct download: SIAB_KWakil_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:20am EDT

Bianca Bosker is a journalist and nonfiction author whose body of work truly runs the gamut; from bowling to covering tech for HuffPo and spending a decade plus becoming an expert in Chinese “duplitecture” and beyond - it’s a career that appears to have no rhyme or reason. However, over Sage Beers at Fool’s Gold she helps explain the method to her madness - that, as a storyteller, she’s found true the old adage that “truth is stranger than fiction” and her obsessive nature helps her get to the heart of these truths. This is especially the case for her latest, bestselling book “Cork Dork” which chronicles her choice to drop everything and start at the bottom of the wine industry as “cellar rat” to endure the challenging path to certified sommelier.

What You’ll Learn:

- Behind the scenes of the early days of HuffPo’s tech coverage - and their thesis for differentiation

- The ins and outs of paving one’s way in the often elusive wine industry

Direct download: SIAB_BBosker_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:10am EDT

In the startup community - from founders to investors to customers and employees - the first question that should be asked is “does this product solve a real problem?” Enter Preston Pesek, the founder of Spacious, a coworking company that aims to answer “yes” to solving not one, but two problems in major cities. Over Micheladas, Preston describes the painstaking process he took to identify and solve the problems of an ever-growing and displaced coworking crowd, as well as the vacancy of off-hours restaurants; with beta testing and shifting business models to transforming physical spaces - it’s a product that attempts to benefit all parties, and ultimately a story that shows how a real product process can lead to success.

What You’ll Learn:

- How to approach being a first-time founder

- The value of knowing what skills you possess and how to hire for those you don’t

- Understanding how to create a product that addresses a real problem vs. creating a problem to fit your product

Direct download: SIAB_PPesek_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:25am EDT

Often times in our increasingly divided and contentious society, for better or worse, comedy is the only and best way to actually be heard. It’s something that Beth Newell and Sarah Pappalardo, co-founders of, know first hand. Dubbed the “the one and only fake women's news magazine” - through its satirical content -  Reductress aims to raise awareness of feminist issues. Over Bell’s Oberon Ale, Beth & Sarah talk about how it came to be and how their roles have evolved during its lifespan and the method to their madness of creating relevant content on a daily basis.

What You’ll Learn:

- Why, more than ever, fake news may be EXACTLY what we need to understand important issues

- Why being the “Oprah of satire” is the ultimate goal

Direct download: SIAB_Reductress_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:43pm EDT

Sutian Dong, Partner at Female Founder’s Fund has spent much of her career in the Venture space - getting her start in Business School at NYU Stern and early experience at First Mark Capital thereafter. However, it’s a path that was not always so clearly defined for her. Over mezcal at Fool’s Gold, she explains her unique process of elimination in pursuing this direction, how it ended up getting her into venture during some of the key, formative years of startups and tech in NYC, and how it’s culminated to her unique position at Female Founders Fund today.

What You’ll Learn:

  • The experience of starting in VC when it was the “step cousin” to private equity and other, more “trendy” finance roles
  • What key things VCs want to hear from founders
  • Why diversity matters in company cultures and how it correlates with success
Direct download: SIAB_SDong_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:25pm EDT

Jacob Lewis spent much of his early career in publishing - at the helm of the New Yorker and Conde Nast - during one of the most transitional times in the industry’s history. It was a vantage point that revealed a bird’s eye view of evolving processes and the eccentricities of staff - and ultimately the folly in flailing and dying publishing behemoths. It’s an experience that inspired him to do an about-face and embark on a company on his own - to pursue a path in tech. Over whisky (AND beer) at Fool’s Gold, he explains the challenges of establishing that first company, the lessons he’s learned along the way, and how he’s applying them to his latest endeavor - restaurant rating platform, Renzell.

What You'll Learn:

- A story of amazing career growth - from working in the mail room to executive levels.

- Behind-the-scenes insights about the challenges of evolving with tech in the publishing world.

- The importance of nuance of the service industry in reviews.

Direct download: SIAB_JLewis_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:27pm EDT

With the major growth of the tech industry it’s never been easier to become a specialist; from hardware to software, design and development, bootcamps and formal degrees there are no shortage of avenues to take to lead you into your career. This is much different than the opportunities Brad Lauster had when his passion for technology began - as he worked his way from the ground up copying printed programs from Atari magazine. Over Sazeracs at Fool’s Gold in NYC, he shares his wealth of experience in both hardware and software, design and development roles spanning across companies like Intel, Stanford University, Equinox - as well as starting his own product, Bindo - all while making the web a better, more usable tool. This experience is especially important today, as he leads product design at Weight Watchers and helps to bring this aging company into a more engaging future.

What You'll Learn:

- What key characteristic all User Experience designers should have.

- The pros and cons of working for large companies.

- The first step to approaching a career in tech.

Direct download: SIAB_BLauster_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:03pm EDT

Jo Piazza is an award-winning journalist and writer - known for her approach to covering the behind the scenes perspectives of the world’s most taboo or inaccessible topics. From fiction to non- she’s explored a lot of unchartered territory; the world of celebrity endorsements to the elusive lives of nuns and the leaders of a nascent tech industry, and most recently behind the closed doors of marriage. Over mocktails at Fool’s Gold in New York City, she explains how her passion for telling the stories that are not often told was a trajectory set when she was a curious kid growing up in Philadelphia - getting the scoop on locals at a neighborhood bar. It’s certainly a methodology we can raise a glass to.

What You’ll Learn:

- How Instagram is ruining marriage.

- The challenges of being a full time writer in 2017.

- How talking with people in bars can lead to a successful career.

Direct download: SIAB_JPiazza_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:02pm EDT

As the tech industry has evolved there is one thing that has separated those who have been successful from those who were not - and that is their adaptability to change. This is a quality that Bart Mroz, CEO of SUMO Heavy Industries, has exuded nearly all his life - since the young age of 12 when he came to the US from Poland without being able to speak a word of English. Since then he has experienced myriad roles in tech - often bearing the burden of being the spearhead of a nascent discipline within older companies and continuing to evolve after he set his sights on a more the entrepreneurial path of running his own company.

What You’ll Learn:

  • The value in channeling a “you just gotta learn” attitude in uncertain moments of your life and career
  • How major loss can be beneficial to shaping the future of your business
  • A unique perspective of immigrating to the US and how that experience helped lead to a career of entrepreneurship
Direct download: SIAB_BMroz_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:56am EDT

At the height of the information age, emphasis on education is also at an all-time high and conversations about the best approach and paths to success are in abundance. Sehreen Noor Ali, VP, Business Development at Kaplan, not only confronts this from a business perspective, but has been considering the multitude of options for many years. Over grapefruit spritzers, she recalls her personal path through formal education, with many years of post graduate studies and nontraditional, as she learned during her days at the State Department, and finally now, as a mom who is looking for the optimal environment for her daughter to thrive. It’s certainly not a one-size-fits-all model, which has benefit from her warrants consideration ensuring her continued success.

What You’ll Learn:

- How governments use social media to impact diplomacy

- The importance of understanding your learning style - finding the right way to maximize it

- How education has had to adapt in the world of digital

- Why you should worry about being well-rounded vs. well-educated

Direct download: SIAB_SAli_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:54am EDT

When it comes to content - on the internet or otherwise - people usually fall predominantly into a category of “consumer” or “creator,” but can you be both? Alex Zalben’s passion for entertainment started at a young age - with a love of Monty Python that overshadowed his apprehension of public performing and a desire to write that catapulted him into a career of sketch comedy. However, over time and experience in both the comedy scene in NYC and professionally at Marvel, MTV and, he’s used his unique perspective to blur the lines and stay true to both aspects of his passion - a true appreciator (and self-proclaimed nerd) of the art he loves and a contributor who furthers the art himself.

Direct download: SIAB_AZalben_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:23am EDT

Arikia Millikan is a journalist and entrepreneur with a resume that boasts digitizing traditionally print-centric brands. It’s a career that’s given her a fair share of behind-the-scenes experiences with the epidemic that’s overtaking the industry - the continued and steepening uphill battle of maintaining the right motivation in the world of news and content. Over Bloody Marys (with a fun twist) at Fools Gold in NYC, she explains how her unique approach in applying engineering principles paired with a “squeaky wheel” reputation help her press forward and innovate within this challenging space.

What You’ll Learn:

- The harm in not keeping balance in the separation between content and revenue in the world of publishing.

- Why it’s valuable to apply approaches from other disciplines when innovating and evolving media.

- How improved tools can make all the difference in quality content creation.

Direct download: SIAB_AMillikan_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:28am EDT

If you’ve ever dreamed of your hobby becoming a career, Austin Smith’s story will resonate with you. Growing up in Des Moines, Iowa, Austin’s earliest interest was music, which led him to be the music director at his dad’s church at the ripe old age of 13. Going on to study music Washington University, technology was just a side interest that he didn’t know could be a career.

Over Zinfandel from Ridge Vineyards, Austin talks about the most formative experience of his career, how hacking his customer service job with technology helped him realize that maybe it was time to turn that side interest into a job, and how working on technology for The Observer and The Economist led him to form Alley Interactive with his business partner, Matt Johnson, to simplify life for the people creating journalism and to help people connect with the world around them.

What You’ll Learn:

- How going with your gut, being willing to figure it out as you go along, and partnering with the right people can lead to a great business.

- How working in a service job early on helps you relate to people throughout your career.

Direct download: SIAB_ASmith_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:46pm EDT

Alex Leo is a news content and product development expert - with a resume that includes roles at ABC news, Reuters, and most recently as VP of Audience Development at the Daily Beast. And while there’s no shortage of great experience in the field, as it turns out, her education in the space began much earlier. Growing up with two writers as parents - her mom for Family Circle, amongst others, and her dad taking on conservative media - she began thinking about content at an early age. Over white wine spritzers at Fool’s Gold in New York City, Alex recalls her first steps into the industry, beginning with a traumatizing experience in visiting colleges with her parents, to pursuing english at Wesleyan University, and ultimately leading to her latest position - essentially a front row seat to observing the unprecedented and controversial marketing tactics used in the 2016 election cycle. She has a unique perspective that can only be forged by a lifelong relationship with the news - and one that has her poised for her next endeavor - starting her own thing to influence real change in the criminal justice realm.

What You’ll Learn:

- What “dark post” means and how it helped Trump win the election

- How to combine your professional skills with a personal passion to make a career move

- Why large media companies would do well if they adopted a startup approach to innovation and digital product development

Direct download: SIAB_ALeo_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:42pm EDT

As technology has evolved, the distribution channels for audiences and consumption of content are at an all time high, the world of journalism is facing unprecedented pressure to “evolve or die.” This problem, however, is not new. It’s an ongoing struggle for balance that’s existed since news organizations appeared online over two decades ago. No one knows this more than Gabriel Snyder. As a writer in this pivotal time, he has been witness to the last decade plus of digital media evolution at major publishers like Gawker, Newsweek, the Observer, and the New Republic. Over rum old fashioneds provided by Fool’s Gold, he recalls that while each suffered from nuanced challenges, no publisher was spared and his insight to what he has seen and the lessons learned along the way are critical to understanding where the industry is headed.

Direct download: SIAB_GSnyder_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:31am EDT

As both a journalist and digital strategist, with a background in social media marketing for large brands and a passion for politics, the stars seemed to align for Nisha Chittal during this past election cycle. Nisha helped lead major news organizations like NBC and MSNBC in their content production and distribution across emerging platforms and nontraditional channels like Facebook and SnapChat, which, of course, is not without many unique challenges. Over Aperol Spritzes at Fool’s Gold, Nisha describes how the newsroom organized itself in order to support these platforms, the shift in their approach after the widespread epidemic of “fake news,” and the importance of finding balance in a 24/7 news cycle world - including when it may be right to call it quits altogether.

What You’ll Learn:

  • How are publishers using social to tell the story in a different way.
  • The heightened responsibility of the journalism community to debunk and fact check their sources.
  • The incredible challenge to remain objective in a polarizing news cycle.
Direct download: SIAB_NChittal_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:54pm EDT

As the dust settles on a historical election season and people continue to comb through all of the factors that lead to its results - one thing remains top of mind: the role of digital. Derek Parham, who acted as Deputy CTO of the Hillary Clinton campaign, offers some behind-the-scenes insights into the most internet-centric campaign to date; his integral role within the digital team which operated much like a well-funded startup. Over bourbon at Fool’s Gold in New York City he recounts his trajectory leading to this very unique role - starting with software development with his dad in the basement of his family’s Bedford, MA home to helping create Google’s suite of apps, to his startup trials and errors. It’s an experience that exemplifies tenacity and one that certainly gets our vote.

What You’ll Learn:

  • The value of learning all parts of the digital product process.
  • Why sometimes leaving a job without another lined up can be the best way to find the next opportunity.
  • The many unexpected pitfalls of tech-adoption within the political realm.
Direct download: SIAB_DParham_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:28am EDT

As the world of journalism continues to evolve, so does the role of writers who exist within it. Enter Dana Schwartz. While her resume calls her an Arts and Entertainment writer for the Observer, that’s hardly encompassing of her “day job.” At 24, she has an impressive background; starting as a pre-med student at Brown before doing an about-face to pursue her passion in writing - and the many avenues it covers - including penning her first novel while interning at the Late Show, contributing to Mental Floss, and finding her balance with comedy and journalism as a “blue check mark” on Twitter. Over old fashioneds at Fool’s Gold in New York she describes her journey of falling head first into major media frenzies and taking the bold step of calling out her boss, and how it’s compelled her to continue to contribute and learn what her personal responsibility is along the way.

Direct download: SIAB_DSchwartz_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:57pm EDT

Charles Adler embodies the true spirit of being a maker in the age of the internet - starting with the inception of an idea through prototyping, beta testing and ultimately launching and evolving as he goes. It’s a process he’s developed and perfected over the course of his career - with myriad roles including UX designer, visual designer, developer, founder, and more - in both on and offline companies. It’s this varied background and methodology that lead to his most popular endeavor yet as co-founder of crowdfunding site, Kickstarter, but over Bulleit Rye in WGN’s studio in Chicago, he explains how his background in the budding punk and EDM scenes and the self-starter culture that accompanied it not only lead to creating that platform, but has inspired him since. And that is still true today, as he approaches a new company - furthering facilitating the makers community in a more tangible way than ever before.

Direct download: SIAB_CAdler_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:47am EDT

Sara Chipps is, first and foremost, a developer. At a very young age, growing up in New Jersey she was intrigued with the internet and all the possibility it held. As a student, she pursued coding with a passion - overcoming the hurdles that come along with being a woman in a field traditionally dominated by men. Her current startup, Jewelbots, which makes smart friendship bracelets that are designed to inspire girls to get more involved in coding, is the culmination of her experience and this early passion. Over sancerre provided by ABC Wine Co., Sara and I discuss her experience as a temp working a helpdesk, as the CTO of Flatiron school and founder of nonprofit Girl Develop It, that helped her form a company career that teaches people of all ages that not only does coding not have to be intimidating, but that it can be fun as well.

What You’ll Learn

  • How everyone can learn to code if they just give it a try
  • How getting involved in coding at a young age can open up opportunities
  • The key differences between being a CTO and a CEO
Direct download: SIAB_SChipps_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:48am EDT

One of the themes of Story in a Bottle is that there’s no one path to a career in ___. Soren Bowie, a writer and editor at Cracked, is certainly the embodiment of that. While Soren was always interested in entertainment, his path to comedy writing was a winding one. From starting out as a child actor and star of some straight to DVD films, to getting paid to watch movies for a living as a DVD quality tester, to a few unintentionally unpaid writing assignments, to finally working his way into Cracked by making funny videos for eHow, Soren kept taking risks and following his interests. In a wide-ranging conversation over Moscow Mules, we talk about his path from rural Colorado to LA, the role of humor in explaining geopolitical drama, the trajectory of a joke on Twitter, why arguing with someone with opposing political views is never going to change their mind and, finally, why all the moms on 80s sitcoms were dead.

Direct download: SIAB_SBowie_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:44pm EDT

Gizmodo Night Editor Eve Peyser always knew she wanted to be a writer. However, it was a chance encounter at a bar with a college friend paired with her talent for comedy that has landed her firmly at the intersection of journalism & comedy, especially as a powerful (and hilarious) voice on Twitter. Starting out as a sex and dating reporter, she would often mine her personal life for editorial content. As she has evolved personally, she’s pulled back on the self-professed over sharing and is using humor to delve into more serious topics such as mental illness, the current political climate, and the pitfalls of capitalism.

What You’ll Learn:

- A good scoop can come from anywhere - even Tinder!

- Why the responsibility of the media is more important than ever - even for those in non traditional, journalistic roles.

- The pros and cons of the over sharing culture on the internet.

Direct download: SIAB_EPeyser_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:18am EDT

Author Robert Simonson always knew he wanted to be a writer, but even in his early career, never imagined where he ultimately ended up. Starting out as a theatre reporter in New York, but he grew tired of the beat and made a bold move into the world wine of wine to find more of a community. However, it was this change in trajectory, which corresponded with the cocktail revival in the US around 2006, that opened the door to his latest and lasting pursuit: the art and history of the cocktail. As one of the first reporters to cover this reviving scene, Robert saw an opportunity and became an expert, furthering his career as he authored The Old-Fashioned and A Proper Drink. Over Boulevardiers (Negronis with Rye instead of Gin) at Fools Gold Bar, Robert talks about the origins of the cocktail revival, how he educated himself when he wanted to change reporting beats, and how big liquor companies influence what we drink.

What you’ll learn:

- How and when to educate yourself to take advantage of an opportunity

- How knowing what you want to do early on can lead to a great career

- About the past, present, and future of the cocktail revival

Direct download: SIAB_RSimonson_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:57am EDT

“We’re living in an era where companies can stand for something,” says Susan McPherson, founder of McPherson Strategies, a consultancy that connects brands and social good. Starting out as a journalist at USA Today, Susan’s road to entrepreneurship has been filled with unexpected twists and turns. With her dad’s words of “nothing is a prison sentence” in her head, Susan took risks, from changing the direction of her career from journalism to marketing to relocating from Washington DC to California and then Seattle. Over un-oaked South African white wine, she discusses how these risks set into motion the path to becoming an entrepreneur that she still follows today, as she opened up new markets and introduced new products at PR Newswire to the work she does today helping corporations create messaging and strategy through the lens of social good.
What You’ll Learn:

- How corporate social good programs can attract and retain the best customers and employees.

- How working as an “intrapreneur” in established companies can prepare you for entrepreneurship.

- How knowing your strengths and hiring great people to supplement your weaknesses can lead to success as an entrepreneur.

Direct download: SIAB_SMcPherson_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:55am EDT

Merrill Brown has worn many hats over the course of his career in journalism; beginning at the Washington Post to founding editor-in-chief of, he’s seen first hand the evolution of the industry. From printing to mass distribution and the improvement of tools to help information spread faster, it’s never been an industry that benefit from resting on its laurels. Over beers at ABC Beer Co. in New York City, Merrill talks about how he’s kept this innate truth as motivation - and maintained a focus that’s one step ahead. This has served him especially well, as technology has made an ever-expanding world that much smaller and content production that much easier. Today, he’s poised to coach a new class of journalists to do the same, as the Director of the School of Communication and Media at Montclair State University where he helps to shape the future of the industry.

What You’ll Learn:

  • How and why a journalist’s responsibilities have increased over time
  • Why the industry may not be prepared for the short and long term of this political season
  • The danger in ignoring or rejecting trends in technology
Direct download: SIAB_MBrown_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:44am EDT

One of the unfortunate, universal truths of humanity is that, at one point or another, everyone deals with the loss of a loved one. Be it a family member, close friend, spouse or partner, grief can manifest in many forms and stages, and so while it’s not novel in concept, it affects everyone completely differently. For Rebecca Soffer, the loss of both of her parents inspired her to seek company in others who have experienced the same, and was the catalyst that lead her to her co-founder, and ultimately their site Modern Loss. Over Shirley Temples, Rebecca talks about her path leading to that point - being the product of two parents who fostered her love of words, her unique background in Hispanic marketing (including several stints abroad), and how she eventually realized her dormant dream of going to Columbia Journalism School. And just when it seemed her resume was a bit winding, it was this distinct experience of loss that tied it all together to give her perspective. Modern Loss is as its name suggests: a community that embraces mourning and the unique circumstances created from it within the modern world, especially compared to the historical solution of trite, “this too shall pass” advice. Rebecca explains that, while all content on the site is singularly linked with the throughline of mortality, that it’s truly about the lives of the people who carry on, and how they have been impacted by their loss - happy, sad, confused or otherwise. And, while Modern Loss has been the solution to the problem she had personally needed to solve, becoming a founder has, of course, lead to more challenges as she grows and expands the site to help create that haven for others.

What You’ll Learn:

  • How to create a content site where you may be part of the audience, but not the only audience.
  • The value of taking comfort where it provides itself - even if it is not your perspective.
  • Why being a successful founder takes a healthy combination of “balls and ignorance” (at least, according to her dad).
Direct download: SIAB_RSoffer_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:20am EDT

A natural entrepreneur is someone who, despite his best effort, can only excel in business when he works for himself. However, when he can also focus that drive with the clear vision to see opportunity where others do not, he’s passed litmus test as a true innovator. Tony Mugavero is just that. As co-founder and CEO of Virtual Reality platform Littlstar, Tony and his team come up with innovative ways to bring virtual reality to the masses; from 360-degree, journalistic videos to immersive, branded content, across myriad devices, they are leading the charge in this seemingly nascent industry. Over Victoria Prima Pilsners provided by ABC Beer Co., Tony talks about not only his path leading to this industry - by way of small businesses since he was a kid growing up in Dallas to his experience creating a music streaming service in the mid-2000s - but also the growth of virtual reality since its inception. Though it’s one of the hottest, up-and-coming trends in the tech world today, which is just now getting to some of the peak experiences at consumer level, he reminds us that VR has been around for decades and gives insight about how we can expect the best experiences ahead of us.

What You’ll Learn:

- How to not only make it, but pioneer an industry where you have little to no experience

- Behind the scenes in virtual reality content distribution

- The challenges in trying to work with Lucas Films and Star Wars

Direct download: SIAB_TMugavero_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:28am EDT

One of the most valuable characteristics an entrepreneur can possess is having a well-rounded background of roles and perspectives over the course of his or her career - establishing a baseline of context and experiences to better serve in business pursuits. It’s a quality that is not lost on Jenna Matecki, founder of Matecki & Co. When considering her path, on the surface, it seems obvious that she is driven by the pursuit of her passions, sharing equal time between politics and art while layering in tech and startup experiences, as well. Over negronis, we learned what’s truly at the heart of her drive: her natural tendency to uncover the most interesting aspects that define the story, and, while the subject matter may change, it’s this role as a modern historian which remains constant. That is especially apparent today, as founder of Matecki & Co., where she sits poised at the intersection of brand, PR, and marketing - helping companies large and small define the elements of their DNA and, ultimately, their story. And as a personal project - leads her to uncovering the stories of others, which she showcases on her podcast ‘Notes On Doing’ (which may or may not have a familiar guest this week).

What You’ll Learn:

- As a company - the value of expressing what is special and unique about what you do.
How to put an interesting lens on what otherwise might be considered banal
- Why straying away from societal norms can be important to your or your company’s success

Direct download: SIAB_JMatecki_v4.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:51am EDT

As technology continues to evolve and consumer habits shift so do trends in content creation in order to reach people in myriad ways. And while there is no end in sight, Will Mayo, founder of Spoken Layer is doubling down on sound. Growing up with dyslexia and overcoming the challenges that came along with it as a student, Will has not only appreciated this medium, but thrived because of it - benefitting from having his textbooks audio-translated. Moreover, in having a musical inclination and passion for choral singing, this interest was only further substantiated. Over ginger beers he explains how the culmination of these things plus his academic career in engineering lead to the first iteration of Spoken Layer - with a goal of being a music collaboration tool. However, like any great founder, he was able to listen to the needs of his audience and, while learning how to operate at various life stages of his company, he was also able to pivot (twice) in order to finally realize the true problem audio was able to solve. Today, as the company has grown to fit into the more compartmentalized consumption habits of the population - as an audio-transcription of some of the most popular content on the internet - Will too is figuring out how this fits into his day-to-day as a founder and thought leader in the space.

What You’ll Learn:

- How to transform a space to adhere to meditation, work, and life

- The benefit of test and learn approaches to product development

- The importance of managing your expectation of employees based on your company’s life stage

Direct download: SIAB_WMayo_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:54am EDT

Gillian Morris, founder of travel app Hitlist, has a story that is unsurprisingly filled with travel; from family trips to Canada as a kid, a stint living in a bell tower in Paris, and journalist gig in Turkey, she’s certainly appreciated many points of view across the globe. That’s how she became the unordained travel agent of her immediate friends and family, and despite her initial tech ineptitudes, was uniquely poised to bring these types of opportunities to the market. Over ginger beer and vodkas, we get a behind the scenes peek at the milestone moments that have lead her to where she is today; with a resume that includes a Harvard degree, international journalism experience with CNN, and even parakeet wholesaling (yes, that’s right). Gillian explains how the single driving motivator has always been to set her sights on a new place and see what happens and how she’s able to continue to achieve that today, even with a founder’s schedule keeping her mostly grounded.

What You’ll Learn:

  • The myriad trials-and-errors of fundraising
  • How it’s possible to turn your passion into a business
  • The benefit of changing your perspective - and the impact it can have on your career
Direct download: SIAB_GMorris_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:25pm EDT

A strong investment thesis can help VCs sift through the plethora of companies that come their way. With Primary Ventures, Brad Svrluga’s second venture firm, he’s focused on companies that are solving real problems with SAAS products for both businesses and the general public. Over Mezcal, Brad talks about his path to venture after shortly considering a career in chemistry, his quick shot up and even faster fall down in the venture world of the dot-com boom, and what it takes to get in front of him and his partner to pitch your startup.

What You’ll Learn:

  • The challenges in building product and distinguishing between what the market thinks they want vs. what the market needs
  • Why investing in a great idea and an authentic founder without a clear business plan is okay
  • How the way startups approach funding is can be an example of how they run their companies
Direct download: SIAB_BSvrluga_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:30am EDT

Caitlin Strandberg has a resume that spans many industries and roles -- from studying history in undergrad and a MBA from Harvard post-grad, to a stint in content creation and publishing in the music world, to hands-on founder apprenticeship at noteworthy startup, Behance — she’s appreciated many perspectives. However, over Arnold Salazars (an homage to her hometown in Florida that she shares with pro golfer Arnold Palmer) she explains that her drive is that of the eternal student - that once she overcomes a steep learning curve of one industry, she’s searching onward to the next. That path has served her well, and especially today, as a “student" of Venture at Firstmark Capital, where she brings her unique background to the table while she embarks on the path to becoming the next best investor.

What You’ll Learn:

- The value of having a great mentor

- How sometimes making a career out of your passion may not be the best move

- The benefit of being a “student” in your career - and how to approach new opportunities

Direct download: SIAB_CStrandberg_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:40am EDT

In the high risk world of venture capital, investors need to not only be savvy, but also innovative. Charlie O’Donnell stands out in the crowd as one such VC whose process is nothing less than unorthodox. The native New Yorker and sole partner of Brooklyn Bridge Ventures sets his own rules - taking meetings literally anywhere with anyone, resulting in one of the most diverse portfolios (including an incredibly diverse stable of founders) to-date. Over homemade milkshakes from one of his investments, Ample Hills Ice Cream, he talks about how this diversity is important for early stage investors specifically, but not without the challenges of growing into this position of power and the scrutiny that comes along with it.

What You’ll Learn:

  1. How to learn and grow from criticism and setbacks, especially when they are public
  2. How to find and deliver value in every meeting
  3. Why it’s important to know your expertise - and when to call on others who know more than you
Direct download: SIAB_CODonnell_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:45pm EDT

Bianca Caampued, one of two small girls who founded the aptly named Small Girls PR, began her career under the equally appropriate internet pseudonym BiancaRocksOut. In those early days, she rocked out in every aspect of her life, from running PR for Cure, a thrift store in New York City to seeking out the unique opportunities of the social and tech landscape that the city afforded. The circumstance was primed such that when she connected with her co-founder, whose birthday party she crashed, they found they shared a desire to create content and an entrepreneurial spirit that lead them to create Small Girls PR. Over glasses of Pedialyte (there’s an explanation, we promise), she shares how their interest in creating a web series lead to the founding of their PR company and how they’ve figured it all out along the way. Now, several years, incredible clients and projects in, the company has grown well beyond its initial expectation, boasting a staff of 40+ spanning both coasts (and more than small girls, at that), but is still rocking out… maybe in a slightly different way.

What You’ll Learn:

- Whether or not a formal business plan is necessary when starting a company

- The value of culture and a personal brand within your company

- The perspective of starting a company with social media at its core

Direct download: SIAB_BCaampued_V3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

If there are two sides to every story, it seems that at the speed in which information travels these days, and the multitude of sources, perspectives are, more than ever, in great conflict. Enter Michael Cervieri. Michael has always known he was meant to be a Writer (with a capital “W”), and, while he spent his early days pursuing the life of a great novelist, he has consistently chosen to entrench himself in perspective and presented his work accordingly. However, when his travels in Central America lead him to deviate from fiction down a path of adventure journalism he was able to see most clearly where that perspective was most desperately needed. Over negronis, Michael talks about how this awareness lead him back to journalism school on the heels of 9/11 and a stint in the Middle East thereafter, and how it’s all culminated at his current project - the Future Journalism Project. His mission has never been more clear; the news cycle demands a rewrite and while the interconnectedness of social has given us the ability to share information at a rapid pace, not all news warrants that protocol.


What You’ll Learn:

  • How every company is a media company.
  • Why discerning the importance of news events is an ongoing challenge for the public - “When everything has this heightened importance, nothing really has heightened importance.”
  • The difference between the practice and academics of journalism.
Direct download: SIAB_MCervieri_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:50pm EDT

Renee DiResta's career has been far from conventional; from a government gig to programmer-turned-trader on Wall Street to a stint as a VC in Silicon Valley, she's certainly appreciated many points of view. Today, as the Founder and Director of Marketing of Haven, a shipping container marketplace catering to myriad clientele, that varied experience has proven to be helpful as she navigates the complicated world of a startup - especially one trying to innovate and bring a centuries old industry into the world of digital. Over virgin mimosas (orange juice and seltzer) she explains how she's had to evolve her working style from industry to industry, the importance of empathy when building both products and teams, the logistics of logistics and the many challenges of revolutionizing one of the the world’s first industries.

What You’ll Learn:

  • As a startup, how to avoid building something nobody wants (hint: it starts with company leadership)
  • Why a product should aim to “enable” rather than “disrupt”
  • How to succeed in an industry even if you’re not a subject matter expert
Direct download: SIAB_RDiResta_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:21pm EDT

In the world of User Experience, the argument of formal education vs. on the job training is bigger than ever. One could argue that Tomer Sharon began his education in User Experience long before the field even existed. As a young man serving seven years in the Israeli Defense Forces, and as a project manager at a defense contractor after, he was immersed in training in problem solving and complex systems and the use of technology in critical circumstances. However, what his service left him longing for was bringing creativity into his day to day vernacular, which finding, was less clear. After several attempts at school and work - from copywriting to advertising gigs - he eventually found a path officially into User Experience; a world he understood long before he arrived. Since then, he’s spent the better part of his professional life at Google where he helped inform many products, most recently gathering insights impacting search results - a system that, while simple to the user, is solely so because of the careful consideration of the team. Today, as Head of UX at WeWork, he has taken his immense knowledge of complex systems and user research to bridge the customer experience both on and offline. Over Sam Adams he tells us about his approach to resolving the issues of this growing company and why, while largely unavailable to him, formal education is at the top of his checklist for potential User Experience candidates.

What You’ll Learn:

  • The importance of a discerning mind in user research - why all insights shouldn’t be taken at face value.
  • How becoming your audience may be the key to understanding your product.
  • Behind the scenes of Google’s hiring process and why it takes so long
Direct download: SIAB_TSharon_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:46pm EDT

Drew Grant has spent the better part of her professional career at the forefront pop culture; from her early days as an editorial assistant at to establishing one of Observer’s most successful verticals, it’s a niche subject matter where her personal interest and voice thrive. Over hard root beers provided by ABC Wine Company, she recalls some of the more exciting moments of her career: from her early childhood inspiration that got her interested in entertainment news (spoiler: it has to do with Jurassic Park) and how it ultimately paid off, meeting President Obama (twice!), and the unique opportunities and editorial liberties she’s been given, including most recently becoming the Arts and Entertainment Editor of the New York Observer. She attributes her success to staying true to her passion & voice and never taking herself too seriously - we attribute it to her natural talent.

What You’ll Learn:

  • Why childhood influences shouldn’t be ignored.
  • The value of having a scripted response (and perhaps more than one) in potentially overwhelming situations.
  • The importance of finding ways to evolve while staying true to yourself - for both businesses and individuals.
Direct download: SIAB_DGrant_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:06pm EDT