Story In A Bottle Podcast

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