Story In A Bottle Podcast

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