All In with Leah Culver

All In with Leah Culver

 
 
00:00 / 00:59:21
 
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We made it to Episode 10, y’all! That’s a wrap on Season 1!

Who better to close out our first season than an engineer, entrepreneur, and general superstar we’ve loved for, like, a full decade? Yep, our guest today is Leah Culver, the co-founder and CTO of Breaker, a social podcast app that we’ve all just started using (if you have an iPhone, check it out. Android is coming soon).

I can only do the things I can do. I can keep trying to get better, but I can’t beat myself up about not being like someone else. I just have to sort of be myself and work with what I have and take it to that—that next step.
—Leah Culver, CTO, Breaker

But Breaker’s not the first startup Leah’s co-founded—in fact, Jenn fell hard for her very first company, Pownce, a microblogging platform that launched way back in 2007. We talk about that journey, plus:

  • The future of podcasting—like Chompers, a podcast on Alexa kids can brush their teeth to.
  • Women in tech, women in podcasting, and the fact that more women than ever are listening to podcasts, according to the 2017 podcast consumer report from Edison Research.
  • Financing a new laptop as a young programmer by selling laser-etched advertising on it back in 2006.
  • Getting into Y Combinator, an accelerator program for early-stage startups.
  • What Leah’s listening to right now (it’s Modern Love, which you can get on Breaker, of course).
  • Interviewing for 30 jobs, what a company’s snacks say about its culture, and why Leah wants you to stop judging her love for Diet Coke.

Also on the agenda: letting people carry things for you (literally and figuratively), peeing with your therapist (no, really), and all the “tiny revelations” we’ve had this season.

Thanks so much for joining us for Season 1! We’re taking a couple weeks off, but we’ll be back strong with Season 2 starting April 17. In the meantime, make sure to sign up for the new NYG Newsletter, coming April 20.

Sponsors

This episode of NYG is brought to you by:

Shopify logo

Shopify, a leading global commerce platform that’s building a diverse, intelligent, and motivated team—and they want to apply to you. Visit shopify.com/careers to see what they’re talking about.

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WordPress—the place to build your personal blog, business site, or anything else you want on the web. WordPress helps others find you, remember you, and connect with you. 

 

Codepen Logo CodePen—a social development environment for front-end designers and developers. Build and deploy a website, show off your work, build test cases, and find inspiration. 

Transcript

Katel LeDû Shopify is on a mission to make commerce better for everyone. In fact, they’re the leading global commerce for entrepreneurs. And did you know that they’re hiring? That’s right! And they don’t just want you to apply to them, they want to apply to you. Join a diverse, intelligent, and motivated team where you’ll get shit done. Visit shopify.com/careers to see what they’re talking about.

Jenn Lukas Welcome to No, You Go, the show about being ambitious—and sticking together. I’m Jenn Lukas.

KL I’m Katel LeDû.

Sara Wachter-Boettcher And I’m Sara Wachter-Boettcher.

JL Hey! It’s Season 1 finale time! How did we make it through 10 episodes? Well it certainly helps to be working on something that we all love. That concept’s no stranger to our guest today, founder Leah Culver, currently CTO of Breaker, a social podcast app. We’ll also talk about tech today versus 10 years ago, using an accelerator application to let you know if you’re ready to leave your job for your startup idea, and the importance and difficulties of self-evaluation. Dun dun dun. But first! How about we check in with ourselves? How y’all doin’, ladies?

KL Doing alright. Doing good. How about you?

JL I’m—do you ever feel like sometimes you just sigh? But you know what? I read a study one time that sighing is actually healthy for you, so that’s ok. I’m doing ok. I’m doing ok.

SWB It was funny, my husband was just telling me that his barber that you shouldn’t sigh because a monk told her not to once. And so I think about that sometimes when I let out a big sigh but I’ve been sighing a lot recently. Like, in fact, kind of a bummer couple of weeks, you know? I uh I tore my ACL which is a little unpleasant. And Jenn and Katel know this because they’re constantly offering to like carry things for me up the stairs such as like glasses of wine, my laptop—

JL But we only barely know this because Sara would try as much as she can to hide this fact from most of us. You could barely tell based on your attitude and uh go—go-get-em-ness.

KL Yeah and in fact I think we ran on your bad ACL a couple times. So.

SWB Actually, they think my ACL has been torn for 14 months and I didn’t know it until I uh twisted something and actually injured myself because the ACL was unstable. And so it’s probably a little bit more torn now. And you know, it really took me out there for a couple of days and then for the past couple of weeks I’ve just been adjusting to what’s essentially like a long-term pre-op lifestyle. Like I have to get surgery. It’s probably not going to happen until September because of a lot of other stuff going on in the meantime—and so I’m at this place where it’s like I’m ok but I can’t do certain things. And some of those are things that are—are really bumming me out. Like I can’t run. And that is a major way that I organize my weeks and think about my time and so I’m kind of adjusting to a lifestyle where I—you know, have to be very careful about certain stuff and I have to wear a brace when I’m out walking for any length of time or trying to do anything physical. And I have to just kind of accept a slower pace, like literally a slower pace! [Mm hmm] And the kinds of stuff that I thought I could do really quickly like, “Oh I’m just going to pop downstairs in between these conference and grab something to drink,” is no longer so quick feeling. And like that is very difficult for me. And I’ve been thinking about like, “Damn. This is going to make me learn some lessons, huh?” Like not just the lessons of, you know, like trying not to injure yourself but the lessons of like, “It’s ok to move more slowly,” and like, “It’s ok to have people help you.” I don’t want to. I don’t want to learn any of those lessons! I’m sorry I don’t want to, I’m sorry I don’t want to learn them at all. They just suck!

JL It’s hard, you know, we’ve talked about this on the show before but asking for help is—is really difficult. And even, you know, just something like, “Hey, could you carry this for me?” A few days before I found out I was pregnant, I was in a bike accident and broke my elbow and my ribs, and uh so I had broken ribs, broken elbow, pregnant, and I had to be like, “Hey, can you carry my laptop?” Like everywhere I went because I couldn’t pick up anything. And it was really difficult but I mean I was at the point where, you know, Sutter had to wash my hair because both my elbows… and so I mean you know it’s like—I had not choice but to ask for help. You know, there’s a lot of things as like, you know, generally able-bodied women that, you know, you—you don’t think about. And, you know, you go through life, you’re going, ok, you know, “I’m brushing I’m teeth. I’m able to brush my teeth.” And then all of a sudden you can’t. And it’s so hard! I’ve read a lot about how people with disabilities live their day-to-day lives and go through routines of things that, often, you know, we don’t think about. And when you’re faced with a temporary physical state in which, you know, you can’t do things as fast as you want to. You know, all of a sudden, your world is sort of like turned upside down. You can’t really figure out what’s what and how to get through your day.

[5:07]

SWB And I feel like, you know, and I mean it’s also, change is just hard for anybody. And I think that what you realize is both how badass people are who, like, figure out how to get through stuff that’s really hard, whether it’s physical or otherwise, and then you also think about how adaptable, in a lot of ways, people are. Right? Like you really can adapt to a lot that you didn’t necessarily realize you could adapt to. And, you know, something that—that I’ve also really been thinking a ton about is the way that—we have talked about sort of like the highs and lows or the peaks and valleys of work and of life, but like, that often that those things are happening at the same time. Like this has been a really good year so far in some ways, for me at least. Where it’s like I’ve got this fucking podcast and it’s going really well and I’m excited about a lot of the stuff that I’m working on and—and at the same time, like not only did I tear my ACL, like I had a pet die earlier this year and it was really hard. Like it was crushingly difficult for me, and I wanted to talk about it on the show, but it was like such a tremendous fresh wound, I couldn’t do it. And I couldn’t do it in any way where I could like get through it and out the other end into something anybody would want to listen to. I mean, 45 minutes of ugly crying is fun, I guess, for some people, but like I didn’t—I didn’t want to subject people to that, especially not, like, Episode 2.

KL I think it’s really helpful to hear both of you talk about just kind of figuring out how you’re going to move around these things that, you know, become a challenge, right? Or just completely throw you off the way that you think you’re going to get through a day. And I feel like, I mean I’ve struggled with depression my entire life and, I think, over the last year I’ve gone through sort of peaks and valleys, just in that alone, you know? Along with sort of day to day life stuff. And sometimes I—I worry because I feel like not being able to cope, let’s say, on a certain day because of, you know, something that is—just isn’t working right in my brain chemistry or I, you know, just haven’t been able to—to rally around the thing I’m supposed to do that day, is—is really difficult to kind of put a structure around that and to say, “I just need some help today,” or, “I just need to like find a different way to do this because it’s so intangible.”

JL And—and it’s interesting like when you hear, you know, “I just need some help today.” Or like Sara, you know, there’s times where like the few times you’ve let us help you carry [chuckling] things up the stairs, on my end, like, it feels good to help. Like [KL absolutely] I want to help. And I think that’s the thing that we sort of have to think of, like the times that I mean you both have helped me on countless situations, I mean like … it feels good to help your friends and, I think, sometimes that makes it easier for me to ask for help [KL definitely]. So think about the fact that like we want to be there and support each other.

KL Yeah. And I think that is—that is ultimately—that is the absolute silver lining because I think about everything we’ve just been talking about and the fact that like, Jenn, when you were, you know, saying we want to help Sara carry stuff up the stairs. I’m like, “Oh my gosh! This is all I want to do!” Right? I’m like, “If she needs help doing stuff because she tore her ACL,” I’m like, “You better tell me when you need something because I’ll be at your house the next day.” And I think that we all feel that way. And we all have a lot more people in our lives that—that are willing to do that than we think. And we just have to accept that and ask, you know?

JL And I think even like, you know, there’s big things like I—I couldn’t type for a little bit so I had people that would have to like dictate for if we were trying to get stuff done.

SWB Would people dictate—like you would dictate code to people?!

JL It was like the most intense pair programming.

KL You’re like, “Div—no, div!”

JL So I mean, you know, but there were small things too like I would be really thirsty and I couldn’t carry like a container of water and like my coworker was like, “Let me get that water for you,” you know? It wasn’t like I was like, “Buy me water!” I just needed someone to just—

KL “Just, like, hand it to me!”

JL —carry it.

KL It’s silly the things that we, you know, don’t think about asking for help or think are too small or whatever. I mean just today, this morning, I was uh at therapy and I was sitting there and I had been thinking for the last five minutes how badly I had to pee and I had the thought, “You can just get through it for the next half hour, it’ll be fine. Like, don’t bother anyone.”

JL Half an hour!!!

KL I know! And then I was like, “No, I can’t—I can’t even concentrate like this is—this is so dumb. I’m like—I’m not going to get out what I need to get out of the session just because I have to pee.” So I finally, said, “I’m so sorry, I just—I really have to pee all of a sudden. You know, do you mind if I just go?” And she was like, “Oh yeah, you know, of course!” And she kind of paused and she’s like, “Do you mind if I go with you?” And I was like, “Of—of course. Sure!” And she was like, “I’m so sorry. I really have to pee too.” And we just both felt so overwhelmingly like, you know, embarrassed but also relieved and so we did and we moved on and it was great. We both like came back to the session. We were like, “Ahhh!”

[10:30]

SWB I mean it’s funny though because it’s like there’s little things and that’s—I mean I feel like that could be a metaphor for a lot of parts of life where these little things that sometimes you deny yourself because you’re worried that, I don’t know, you’ll make somebody else like think something weird about you or that somehow it’s more important that you pretend like you’re this perfect … stoic, non-peeing person. I don’t know what that means but—

KL Or that you—right, that you can just do everything and carry everything and—

SWB Right and like that you never have to make space for your own needs, right? That you can always sandwich your needs into like some other time nobody cares about and that whenever you have to like be like, “Actually, I’m going to raise my hand and say, ‘I need a thing right now,’” that’s uncomfortable and, I don’t know, like uh I think that you should be able to pee when you want to.

JL I used to feel that way a lot, too, about like personal things. I would be like, “Well,” I think it’s because I was—I was an on-site consultant for so long that I had to keep my personal stuff a little bit away and now I’m full-time at Urban and I think one of the things is I still felt like, “Oh I can’t tell you what’s going on.” And last week, my son had to have surgery for um—it’s a common surgery, it’s ear tubes, but, you know, he’s a year and it’s anesthesia and there’s a lot of risks and it was scary. And normally I would never tell the to anyone. I would keep that inside, and keep that anxiety and nerves, and like to myself and then I—I’ve been trying something new recently which is where I tell people these things when I’m thinking like, “What’s going on?” And so you know, I’d just be like, “Oh I won’t be here on Friday.” I would just leave it at that. And now I’m like, “My son’s having surgery.” And like not because like I want people’s pity, or I want them—and I think that’s sort of why I never really said anything because it’s like, “Oh, you know, feel bad and worry for me!” It was like, “No, I just want you to know what’s going on in my life because, you know, I’m not going to be able to answer emails because my mind is someplace else right now.”

KL Right. And you care deeply about this thing that’s happening and the people you’re telling probably do too because they care about you.

SWB And also like you’re a person working with other people. And I think—I think there’s a lot about work culture that encourages us to not come to work as humans and to come to work as workers. And I’ve realized that that doesn’t serve anybody very well. And like I’m still a person when I’m working and—and I even like I’m a consultant still and I—I find myself being much more kind of open about who I am and things I care about. Obviously, you know, you put boundaries around stuff, for sure, but I, you know, like I was talking to a client today about like, “Yup, ACL is torn!” And I was describing like, you know, “I’m really bummed about not being able to run. But, you know, here we are.” And—and then, you know, this client started talking to me about how they just had MRI as well, they have a different knee problem, and it’s like—it’s kind of nice to—you know, you don’t want to necessarily say everything about everything but to be able to bring more of yourself to work. I mean we talked to Stevie last week, I think that was one of the things that they really were communicating was like how wonderful it is when you find a place that wants you to bring more of yourself to work. And that recognizes that there is value in being a human at work. And I think it is valuable to think about like, “Yeah, real people have kids who have to go through surgery like all the time. It happens to people.” And it’s ok. And you’re still awesome at your job.

[14:00]

JL So I’m really glad you said that about how our workplace, you know, isn’t just about us being workers, it’s about us being people. And I think that our guest today has a lot of great things to say about that. Not just as being the founder of a company like Breaker and a CTO but also as someone who hires for the company and has interviewed at a lot of places, and has had a lot of thoughts about what it’s like to find a good culture fit, and being comfortable at where you work. So I’m really excited to get to our interview with Leah. [Music fades in.]

Sponsors

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[15:10]

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Interview: Leah Culver

JL I first became familiar with Leah Culver around 10 years ago when she brilliantly financed her new MacBook by selling ad space laser etched on it. I then became a super fan when she co-founded the social media site Pownce. Those who knew me then know how much I loved the micro-blogging platform and one thing I thought was so, so cool about it was that one of the founders was a woman and she was an engineer. As a developer, it was inspiring to see the awesome projects Leah was creating. Since then, she’s authored the OAuth and OEmbed API specifications and has gone onto found Convor and Grove, real time chat programs, and is now the CTO of Breaker, a social app for listening to podcasts. I’m thrilled to have her here to talk with us today. Welcome to the show, Leah.

Leah Culver Hi! Thank you so much for having me, Jenn.

JL Yeah, as I mentioned, it’s like such an honor for us to have you here. I’m a big fan of the work that you’ve done so far which, speaking of, I’d love if you tell us a little bit about Breaker, how it came to be, and what makes it so awesome.

LC Sure! And I’m actually a fan of yours too. So this is—this is a pretty fun interview to do.

JL Ah thanks! Podcast high five!

LC Awesome! The idea behind Breaker was really—I started to get into podcasting a couple years ago um when Serial came out. I don’t know if you guys all listened to Serial.

JL Yup, definitely.

LC The biggest podcast to ever come out, right? As basically the “hit show” of podcasting. But I hadn’t really been into podcasts before that. I had maybe listened to an episode or two on my computer when someone sent me something. But it wasn’t like I was a regular podcast listener. But I started listening to Serial and I was run—I was training for a marathon at the same time. So, I would listen to episodes when I was training, and I wouldn’t let myself listen to any episodes when I wasn’t running, so it like actually kind of motivated me to get my butt out the door.

JL That’s awesome.

LC —and do my running. Yeah. So it was great but then when the season ended, I didn’t really know what else to listen to. Or I wanted to listen to other things that were like Serial. Like high-quality podcasts as opposed to, you know, two people chatting and the audio quality being bad and things like that. I was like, “Where can I find really great podcasts?” So I tried like the Apple charts. So I was using the Apple Podcast app on my phone. And I tried looking at the charts, and I didn’t have a ton of success because I didn’t really know how—like I knew that someone picked these shows and these episodes but I didn’t really know how. You know? Like what they caught their eye and like what about them was good.

JL Yeah.

LC So that’s how I kind of got the idea behind like, “Hey, there could be something better here.” Like I wanted a player where I could also see like—like similar to like Spotify or YouTube. Like how many people are liking this thing? What are the comments on it? You know sort of what’s going on around this content. And that was the idea behind Breaker.

JL I love that you found an interest in something and were like, “Well, there’s a gap, there’s something missing that I want.” And instead of just being like, “Well, this sucks. This doesn’t exist,” you created it.

LC Yeah! I think that’s the power of being a developer, a designer, or someone that makes things is when you find something in a space that you’re like, “Hey, this thing should exist,” and then the next thought might be like, “Oh. I can make that exist.”

JL That’s so cool. So how has it been like has the shift in focusing on podcasting, are you now finding yourself completely involved, not just in running the company of Breaker, but like the podcasting culture?

LC Yeah, it’s —it’s been super weird. I’m trying to keep like my Twitter feed non-podcast people so I have like a good sense of how popular podcasting is and it seems like it’s on the rise, even amongst people who haven’t been in the industry a long time, but it’s also getting into that podcasting use has been really interesting. It’s a really old medium, right? Like podcasting has been around since there was—probably like forever, if you think radio. But sort of in its current incarnation of like mobile devices and sort of since the iPod, 2006. But I think it was so difficult then to sort of have like a podcast app or to make it easy to listen, like you had to like download files on your phone and things—that really there was this big opportunity to make things better and I don’t think it’s changed a ton since then. I mean only within probably the past year or two, maybe three years, had there been any new companies in the space.

JL Yeah, speaking of the last few years, there’s been quite a few articles that have come out about the lack of diversity in podcasting. Have you found the numbers for women and other minorities in podcasts to be growing?

[19:59]

LC Yeah! Well, I hope so. I’m pretty optimistic about it. I do see a lot of podcasts and a lot of them still are, you know, two guys discussing a topic. And, actually, that’s my favorite search term to use to get like a lot of results is like podcasts called “Two Guys” dot, dot, dot. But you know I think there are many more women podcasters and I think there is a desire in our culture to hear from voices that aren’t, you know, straight white men, right? So I think there’s a desire for that content. And so I think those are actually like the hottest areas of podcasts to go into. And I wanted to bring it up just because it’s recent news: Edison published The Podcast Consumer 2017 and it’s about podcast listeners, specifically, not podcasters and, overall, the monthly podcast listening for men has not grown at all in—from 2017 to 2018 but podcast listening from women has gone from 21 percent to 24 percent of women listening to a podcast every month. So all of the recent growth in podcasting, you could say, has been attributed to women which I think is great.

JL Wow.

LC Yeah.

JL Yeah that’s amazing.

LC Yeah in terms of listenership and I think in terms of content production, we’re seeing the same thing as well.

JL What do you hope to see happen in the podcasting industry over the next year or two years or five years?

LC Yeah, I just want to see more good content, more great shows. I think it’s still really early days and so there’s a lot of opportunity to really build amazing quality content on a sort of new platform in a sense. And I don’t think that all the experimentation has been done yet, right? So there’s things like smart devices, for example, Gimlet which is a podcast producer, just came out with a new show for the Alexa. Like a show specifically made for that device [hmm] and it’s—the idea is like to get kids to brush their teeth. So it’s like a two-minute long podcast and you say, like, “Alexa, you know, play this podcast.” And it’s such a—I don’t have kids so I haven’t even tried it yet but it’s such like a interesting concept that, you know, we have these new devices that can do things with audio that we couldn’t do before. So I’m—I’m curious about that. I’m curious about audio in cars. Headphones. There’s a lot of stuff that’s going on in the technology space, in like the hardware space that makes podcasting really exciting.

JL Yeah wow that is—that is so cool. My son’s one, so we are now brushing but eventually, I think that’s a brilliant idea.

LC But yeah, yeah so there’s a lot of—I think there’s a lot of opportunity driven also by the hardware that’s—that’s coming up now and sort of how we’re thinking about our daily activities and how we interact with media.

JL That’s so neat, I think a lot of times people get discouraged to try something new like a podcast or writing or anything because they think everything’s been before. So I love this idea of looking at it in a completely new way.

LC Oh no. It’s still so early days for podcasting. You—I mean, I feel like back in the day it was like, “Let’s start a blog for this topic,” or, “You should start a Tumblr on this topic.” And now it’s like, “Oh you should do a podcast!”

JL Yeah. I’d love to know your opinion is on like podcasting versus vlogging or any sort of video news.

LC Uh so I’m actually not much of a video watcher myself. I always like to be doing things and be on the move. Like it’s hard for me to like focus on even watching like a TV show or a movie. Like I listen to podcasts when I’m doing something else, right? So I’ll be cleaning my house, or going for a run, or walking someplace. Like I don’t drive but I would listen—I do listen to podcasts when I do ride in the car which is very rarely. For me it’s about the ability to be like multitasking. So that’s why I’m a little I guess biased against vlogs or video podcasts is I just feel that they don’t feed the same need for me, personally.

JL Yeah that makes sense. Yeah I listen to them sometimes when I’m in Lyfts, sometimes because I’m really into something, or sometimes just to avoid awkward driver conversation, but and then also, yeah, when I’m doing stuff around the house. So I’m totally with you on that. So with Breaker, you started that at Y Combinator, along with Convore, can you give our listeners an overview of Y Combinator and what that is and how it helped you get started?

LC Sure! Uh so Breaker was my second time doing the Y Combinator program. They offer a three month program twice a year to entrepreneurs, you apply, and hopefully get accepted, and then get to go to Mountain View for three months, and work with the partners there who are a team of really, really smart people. And I was lucky enough to do it back in 2011, for my second startup, and then I purposely sort of applied again for my third startup because I thought it was such a good experience, I think all the partners are really smart, and it’s really nice to have a connection with a lot of founders. It really is like a good network. I think that’s the—the thing that’s most surprising after joining Y Combinator is how much of the value of the program is more from the network than anything else.

JL What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about applying but unsure if they should, you know, go all in with their idea for a program like that?

[24:48]

LC So an interesting thing lately is Y Combinator has been a little more intern—they look for smart founders but they also kind of look for commitment to ideas. So I’d maybe wait til you were pretty sure that you wanted to do it as a startup. We were kind of at the point where we switching from Breaker being a side project and a hobby project, which we actually ran it as a hobby project for about nine months. And then switched over to being full-time just before we were accepted to Y Combinator, we kind of both quit our jobs. So, lucky we got in. But we probably would’ve done it anyways. And I think that’s sort of what they’re looking for is like, “Hey! It’s something I’m really excited about and committed to,” because if you end up doing a startup, you end up kind of doing it for life. But beyond that, it’s good to just fill out the application with yourself and your cofounders because there are a lot of questions in there, in the application itself, that are very clarifying. Like they ask, “What is your equity split?” And they ask things like, “Where will you live?” And then more complex questions like, “Who are your competitors?” And, “What are you afraid of?” And sort of really gets into all sorts of aspects of really early stage startups that are—you know it’s valuable to ask yourself those questions, even if you don’t end up submitting the application. I’d encourage anyone just to fill it out, submit the application, it never hurts, like nothing bad happens if—if it doesn’t get accepted. It doesn’t mean anything. There are so many great companies that are rejected from Y Combinator, because they get thousands of applicants, right? Like they can’t give every single great company—and oftentimes they’ll see a company apply in a year and not get accepted and then they’ll be accepted the next year or the next—in the next six months, you know?

JL Yeah, I love that. I think that people are so scared of rejection sometimes that it’s really—it makes it hard to put yourself out there.

LC Yeah, I agree and what’s funny is being on the other side of it. So running a startup now I’m hiring people and for me that’s weird because I’m like, “Oh! Sometimes the hiring decision—” that we’re like, “Oh! We’re not hiring right now.” Or, “Oh! You’re not right—quite the right fit.” Really has nothing to do with them as a person. It could just be like the stage our company is at or, you know, something totally out of their control that has nothing to do with the quality of their work. Or the quality of them as a person. So it’s like it’s been very comforting to me, knowing that—so the last time I applied for a job, I applied for 30 different jobs [oh wow!] which is a pretty—yeah it was actually great but I didn’t have that fear of rejection and I actually rejected companies. I actually went in—I actually walked out of two interviews.

JL Yeah. Wow. Good for you!

LC Because I just—I, you know, I did it because I wanted to save their engineers time. Like they were interviewing me and it was, you know, I didn’t want to waste their time if I didn’t think it was a good fit for me. And I think a lot of the times getting into the company, like visiting their space, having lunch with the team, things like that, really get you that really quick, “Hey, is this the right place for me?” And in this particular case—when I just remember I went in and talked to someone on their product team and I was like, “I just don’t really feel this product vision.” And I was like, “You know I don’t think if I feel the product vision I could be into working here.” Um so it was nothing personal, it was just like, “Uh, I don’t think this is the right fit for me.”

JL I love this idea of, you know, I people are like, “Oh I don’t know if I can apply to this job.” And it’s like, “Well, why apply for one? Apply for 30”.

LC Yeah definitely!

JL I mean I love—I love it.

LC And then if you don’t get it, if you don’t get one, it doesn’t really matter because you have 29 more!

KL I love that too and the idea that, you know, there is—there is actually room to interview the company that’s hiring. I mean I think a lot of people just don’t even think that that’s a thing that they can do and it absolutely is. It’s something that you should do when you’re trying to feel out what you’re going to do next. It’s like—it’s a big change.

LC Yeah and oftentimes in a interview, the interviewer will ask you, “Hey! Do you have any questions about this company?” And like you should have questions, you know, and hard questions. I don’t think anyone gets offended if you’re really evaluating them as well. You’re right. You’re totally right.

JL Do you have any favorite questions that you like to ask? Well I mean when you were interviewing, now you’re doing the interview on the other side.

LC This is going to sound so petty, but I always wanted to know what their food situation was like because I thought it said a lot about the culture. So I’m a Diet Coke addict, I absolutely love Diet Coke. And it’s super unhealthy, right? Like no one’s going to be like, “Oh yeah, Diet Coke should be in every corporate office.” But I did judge companies based on whether they stocked Diet Coke or not because I would go to interview at some place and they’d be like, “Oh we only do healthy snacks.” But they’d have like really sugary like fruit bars and stuff. And I was like, “Really?” Like snacks are just, you know, such like a privilege anyways. It’s just such like a silly—a silly thing to look at a company for but because of that I think it really is telling in how—how much independence they believe you have as sort of an employee.

JL Yeah. I think that’s—I think it’s really neat. I think snacks, the office space, the office space, and like how people are set up and where they’re—like their seating situation. There’s just a lot you can tell with like things you might not think of. Are there windows?

LC Yes! Yes! I went to an interview at a major company, I will not tell you which one, and I walked in—and it was for a role that was not like one of their core products. And I walked in and the room—it was freezing cold, there was no windows, and everyone was working in tiny offices like all sectioned off from each other and I knew immediately. I was like, “This is not the job for me.” So yeah I think it all matters.

[30:07]

JL We mentioned that Breaker was your third startup. Your first was Pownce, which you founded soon after college. What was it like to have big early success like that and, you know, eventually you were acquired by Six Apart. So what was it like to have that success and then letting go of what you made with your first big—big product?

LC So I started when I was 24, fresh out of college. I had worked a couple programming jobs in the Bay Area before then. I had moved to the Bay Area because I didn’t like Minnesota winters but also just to have this new opportunity. To be away—none of my family lives in the Bay Area, I didn’t know anyone, it was a chance to be doing something new. And I loved programming. I wanted to do the best I could do. And I felt like that was in the Bay Area and what happened was I met my co-founders Kevin Rose and Daniel Burka and they said, “Hey, we’re thinking about doing this project but we need someone to build it.” Kevin’s a business guy and Daniel’s a designer, and they wanted someone to write the code and I had never built anything of substantial or like a completed app or anything like that. And I just said, “Ok. I’ll do it.” And I think that—I actually remember exactly where I was when I said, “Yeah I’ll do it,” I was in a cafe in Potrero. And I remember saying like, “Yeah, I can do this,” and being like, “I don’t know that I can actually do this.” But I did! I just built it and everything I didn’t know how to do, I looked up on the internet or asked someone else for help. It’s so funny because I was asking all these Django developer—this was the early days of the Django web framework in Python and all these Django developers, I was asking them questions, I was asking them the weirdest questions. Like, “How do I do this like very particular thing?” And they’re like, “I don’t think you need to do that unless you’re building like, I don’t know, like some big site. Like what are you—you know like why do you need to know how to do this crazy, you know, social networking concept?” Like at the time there was really only like Facebook. So it’s like, “Why do you need to know how to do this?” And it’s funny to look back later and I ran into someone and they were like, “Oh, that’s so funny that you said that.” And I ended up building Pownce and I was way in over my head, I had no idea what I was doing, and because Kevin was so popular, he was running Digg at the time. So he was a founder of Digg. He had a ton of followers and people paying attention to him and so he announced, “Hey! Here’s my new project,” and we got hundreds of thousands of new users instantly. And we had an invite-only system and people were selling invites on eBay, and like the whole thing was just weird. And the whole invite—like I had written the whole invite system, so I was thinking, like, they’re selling something on eBay that’s my code, you know? It’s so weird. It was so weird to me but it was such a great experience. What’s funny is I think it has really shaped my whole career in terms of—since then I’ve always been someone who just loves to ship things and get things done and figure it out as I go and I don’t think that would’ve been the case if I hadn’t done Pownce. I probably would’ve followed a more traditional engineering path.

JL We’ve talked about this a little bit with Katel, with her role at A Book Apart and sort of saying yes to things even if you’re like, “Well, I haven’t done it before but I’m pretty sure I can do it.”

KL And then you’re like, “What the hell?”

LC Yeah! Yeah but then you’re like, “Well I could really do anything.”

JL Yeah.

LC You know? Like once you do the thing, you’re like, “Oh! Well that wasn’t so bad.”

KL Yeah. Totally. It’s true. I feel like you—you learn a lot about yourself in a very short amount of time, and I—I definitely wasn’t expecting that. So, I mean, that was a great outcome.

LC That’s amazing.

JL I love that too like the um—like the retrospect of it in that like, “Well, if—if I went through this, I can do anything.” I was thinking today, I was like, “Ugh, you know I haven’t had much sleep,” and I was like, “Ah I gotta do this podcasting thing,” and I was like, “Well, you know, I also got thrown up by my—by my one-year-old all last night, and if I can do that, I’m pretty sure I can do anything.”

KL You survived it!

LC This is way less disgusting I hope! Much less!

JL Yes. It is much less. So thank you. So Pownce was acquired by Six Apart, what was that like?

LC It was an interesting time. I think it was sort of during the sort of tech downturn in 2009. A lot of companies were being acquired or shutting down, and I—when we were acquired I didn’t know they were going to shut down Pownce but they ended up closing down the site, which for me was pretty sad, but I didn’t feel… I was so—I wish I had then felt like I had more control over it. I didn’t feel like I had a ton of control over the acquisition or what happened. I had two co-founders, I was a little bit in over my head, and I think things are much different now. One of the things I’m starting to learn is that a company is more about the longevity. “It’s a marathon, not a sprint” is probably the cliche way to say it, but yeah if companies—I draw a lot of inspiration from companies like VenMo, where the company had been around for years and years with no success or with little success and then managed to blow up and become a whole thing and a household name and things like that. And to realize that success isn’t instant and at Pownce I felt very lucky that we did have a lot of success but we didn’t have enough instantly for I think our team to really—to raise money and to feel like it was going some place, and there were a lot of other pressures going on, and I wish I had had the confidence then in what I know now is like, “Oh, hang in there. Keep going.” Then I learned a little bit more with my second startup as well. I was way in over my head, I was the only person working there, and I didn’t feel like I could fundraise. I didn’t feel like I could raise money, even though the product was making money, I didn’t know how to hire, I didn’t know how to do all these things. So, with Breaker, I feel like I’m really getting that third chance but I feel much—I think this time I have that patience and that commitment to sticking through with it for a long time, which before, I think, when you’re an engineer, you’re just like, “Ah! I’ll just move on to the next project or do the next thing,” is very tempting.

[36:02]

JL Yeah that’s such a—it is such like a complete mindshift as like you mentioned that I can say, and I think that’s one of the things that I always love about being a developer is I have uh started and abandoned many a projects. I have—I own many domain names and then I’m like, “Well, I’ll just let that one go.” So I love it that like you have to make this shift and to run a startup you have to really see it through.

LC Yeah and I think the moment that we ended up, you know, really converting it to a company as opposed to a side project for Breaker was the moment it was like, “Ok this is really happening. We’re going to be in this for a long time.” And I feel so lucky because it’s so nice to make a podcast listening app, like, it really is enjoyable. It’s not a painful product to work on, it’s really great. Like I use the product all the time. So it’s really easy.

JL So what you’re saying is make something that you love, if you’re going to do it.

LC Oh, absolutely. Or something that you care about. You know if it’s a—a cause that you’re passionate about, or if it’s an area that you’re very knowledgeable in, I mean it doesn’t have to be—I’m partial to social networks and communication. So anything about media, communication, social networks is really my wheelhouse. But I think each founder has their own like passion and the thing that they love to do.

JL So you are also an author of the OAuth and OEmbed API specifications, which I just think is so cool. So I’d love if you could talk to us a little bit about that and sort of explain to our listeners what that is.

LC Sure! So OAuth, the easy way to explain it is: if you every click “Connect with Facebook” to login with a site or “Connect with Twitter,” you’re using OAuth, that’s the backend technology for it. I got involved with helping to build it—it’s actually like, I was one of the original like 12 authors, something like that, of the first specification and I got involved through working on Pownce. We needed a way to authenticate and authorize users to use our API. And through that it’s just become something almost completely different from what it was intended for. It was really intended for API access and now it’s just sort of been this defacto way to like quickly login on the web which I think is fantastic. It’s really cool. It’s like a really interesting turn and one of the things I’m most proud of is helping to come up with like sort of that user interface flow that really I think enable it to become this huge thing. So if you’re going to talk about like, “Oh it’s like the coolest thing that you probably like worked on that, you know, people would actually know,” it’s probably, you know, “Login with Facebook.” My dad said recently, he was like, “Oh you always wanted to be an inventor when you grew up, what happened to that?” And I was like, “Have you ever clicked ‘Login with Facebook’ on a website?!” Yeah but it’s so cool. It’s such a little thing, too, in the whole scheme of the web, it’s so cool to think that like developers have these small like little claims to fame on the web, that’s something that like outlives you and continues on is pretty cool, and I just feel so lucky to be like such a small part of that history.

JL That’s really neat. I love that. And then, you know, I also like—I feel like if your—if your dad was like, “Oh yeah, wait! I’ve clicked that!” And then I don’t know, it’s such like, it’s a feel good moment.

LC Yeah, yeah. That was pretty funny.

JL So before Pownce and before OAuth, one of the things that I think was so cool that you did is similar to, if those that remember the million-dollar website where people had sold pixel space for an advertisement, or some people sold tattoos on their body for funding, but what you did was a lot smarter! I’d like to say, in that you raised money for a new laptop by selling advertising space on it. And I just remember thinking that was so cool and such like an innovative way to use the internet and get social funding for your new laptop. And one of the things I was looking at when I was just researching is that I found some of the articles from then and some of them were like, “Cute Girl Sells Laser-etched Macbook Advertising.” And I was like, wow! I was like, I forgot that that existed.

[39:49]

LC Yeah, the internet was a different—it was a different time and a different place back then. What’s really interesting is I got started in that project because the company I was working for at the time is Instructables and they had a laser etcher and so the idea was—So I had a really old computer and all of the people that worked at, you know, Squid Labs and Instructables at the time had these like newer laptops and they were all etching them with this laser etcher but I didn’t even have a laptop. So that—the idea came pretty easily. It was like, “Oh! I don’t have a laptop but I have a laser etcher and everyone is etching stuff onto their laptop,” so it really was not like the most genius plan. It was sort of a circumstantial thing but I mean it was really an interesting exercise in marketing more than anything else. I had never really done any marketing on the internet or really been out there at all. I don’t even think I had a blog. I had like no internet presence. There was no such thing as Instagram and Twitter. So really I wasn’t on the web at all and I think what you brought up about sort of the way the media portrayed it is so different than how it would be done today. It’s so—it’s so funny. Like, “Young Cute Girl Does Something on the Internet” like you’d never see that anymore.

JL Oh, thankfully.

LC It’s probably a good thing. Yeah. Yeah yeah but it wasn’t just that, there were like these “Sexiest Geeks” lists and things like that, and it just would not fly nowadays.

JL I mean—I know that we still have like a lot more work to do in terms of, you know, equal pay and equal representation but at least we have made it past some of these.

LC Yeah. One of the things I’m actually kind of bothered by recently is I—I’m all for the #metoo movement, but I think what’s kind of slightly disturbing to me about is that we want—I think there’s this desire to talk about workplace inequality and the fact that it kind of gets turned into something sexual or has like this focus on sexual assault. It’s like, “Well, can we make the conversation a little broader?” Like can we talk about power dynamics and women in leadership? And we do but I think it’s less salacious and it doesn’t get as much media attention. And so I’m a little disappointed in that angle of it but hopefully we’ll get there.

JL Yeah it’s like there are so many battles—there are so many battles to fight.

LC Yeah! Which one? Yeah you know?

JL I know it’s like I can—I can like only laugh at it because otherwise I just like, my sighs, sometimes my sighs are so loud. But I just like what are we—

LC Yeah so it’s—you’re right. I think maybe it is good to just focus on one bat—one battle at a time but also to have like tangible goals. Like what is the tangible goal of a certain movement? And I think movements are most effective when they have like a piece of legislation you can pass or you know some rules that companies now enact. I think people want simple solutions for complex problems and I think bridging that gap is something that’s really difficult to do.

JL Yeah, that is a hundred percent accurate. I think sometimes when we can’t find those solutions, then we feel a little hopeless and I think hopefully though the more that—more people put their heads together about it, the more that those solutions will come.

LC And everything changes, and everything gets better. I just listened to an episode of The Modern Love podcast, reading an essay from 2012, which I totally recommend people go check out the latest episode of Modern Love podcast. But it was basically a father talking about his gay son and his gay son’s desire to marry his partner and the essay just feels dated. And it’s not that old. You know? And I think that’s so shocking: how fast things change. And for the better. I mean it’s a good thing. It made me sad and hopeful at the same time.

JL So, speaking of getting along and, you know, optimism and productivity, before your role now at Breaker, you were an engineer at Dropbox working on engineer productivity and happiness, which I think just sounds amazing. Can you tell us more about your role there?

LC So at Dropbox I ended up working on the engineering product design team, helping—basically helping engineers and designers throughout their lifecycle at Dropbox. So from the time they first joined Dropbox in their first day through moving around between teams or moving up to become a manager or they’re at sort of the exit interview, if they left Dropbox. And it was pretty interesting. So I ended up on that team because I helped build an internal tool for Dropbox, actually a framework for hosting internal tools called AppBox. And I built it sort of during Hack Week, we had these—Dropbox has these like Hack—Hack Weeks where you can work on anything you want and a lot of the times what people work on is stuff for Dropbox. So, you know, a lunch menu, or a seating chart, or all these tools that people at Dropbox use all the time that aren’t, you know, readily available. So their priority tools are—you want to build with like a special sort of like internal company feel to them. So I built this platform for building new tools on top of and then recruited engineers during these Hack Weeks to like build new tools on top of it. So that’s actually what most of what I did was run that project so I can talk about internal too—we didn’t have like an internal tools team, we had like an internal developer tools, sort of more focused on build process and things like that. But what I was working on was more social, and so it didn’t quite fit into that space. So I ended up on this team that worked on the entire engineer’s life cycle which was super interesting. It’s like an interesting problem to think about.

[45:10]

JL Yeah, I love that. We are constantly trying to figure out how, I mean day one of someone starting new I feel like is one of the most difficult things to work with, starting from like, “Ok, let’s make sure we—they have a computer.” So you’re actually joining us today from New Zealand and you were recently a judge at Webstock. Was that totally awesome?

LC Yes! It was so fun. I loved Webstock. It was great. It was the first one I’d ever been able to go to because it’s in New Zealand. And I basically said, “Hey! I’m going to be in New Zealand. I didn’t know Webstock was happening at the time, is there anything I can do to help?” And they were like, “Oh, come be a judge for our startup competition.” I thought that was so great and such an honor. It was really fun.

JL Is it hard as a judge to give feedback to others about their products?

LC Absolutely. I think it’s hard because I see it from their side, right? Like I’ve done three startups. I’ve done startup competitions. You know, I’ve gone to hackathons and competed and submitted my projects before judges. And, like I said, I think on the hiring side of things it applies here as well, on the judging side, it’s like I think so many of the decisions are just arbitrary. Like you happen to answer a question in the particular right way that the judge wanted to hear, you had like a good looking slide that got people’s attention. Like it seems—it just all seems so arbitrary and all of the competitors this year at Webstock and the BNZ startup competition were all just fantastic. And so it was really hard to say like, “This company is better than another company,” because it’s just—that’s not the way it is. They are just very different. And, like I said, they were all really good.

JL So for something like that, what do you find the best way for feedback—like do you find like the line it’s hard to like discourage people because like their project is great but they can’t all win?

LC Yeah! I actually went up to most—I tried to make a point to go up to most of the folks who didn’t win and talk with them about their projects just to, you know, I think what matters when you’re building a company is it’s always nice to see someone who cares, who paid attention, and knows what you’re doing, and has follow-up questions, and—and I saw this as well with the other panelists and judges they actually offered to help companies. Like, “Hey, you know, BNZ you didn’t win the competition but how can we help you? Who can we connect you with to take you to that next step?” Because startups, it’s not like you win or lose, it’s like always a constant journey, right? Like even—even when you’re a giant company, you’re not always winning. It’s this constant process. So I think a lot of it is asking those startups, “Hey, how can we help and how can we take you to that next level?” And sometimes that pride of winning the prize matters and sometimes it doesn’t. One of the judges actually lost the same competition she had entered years before and had lost and came back as a judge and has a successful startup here in New Zealand. So—

JL I think it’s so important, again, you know we’ve talked about this a lot is like how to keep going with these like products that you obviously love because you’re working on them and putting your heart into and so just wrapping up here: I’d love to hear more about your approach at looking at your work and looking back and saying, “What am I doing right? What are things I wish I’m doing differently?” And like how—how you handle that.

LC I actually spend a lot of time doing self-evaluation. And I think mostly because I’m kind of someone who worries a lot. So I’m always sort of thinking about, “Hey, could I be doing this better?” And sometimes I have to sort of almost take that pressure off of myself. One of the things I struggle with personally is that I don’t feel like I act or look like other founders, especially in my attitudes around building product, getting users, things like that. I don’t think I’m completely like your typical startup founder and I have to sort of talk myself into, “You can only be the best person you can be.” And this is like kind of the thing I get pumped up about. I’m like, ok, I can only do the things I can do. I can keep trying to get better, but I can’t beat myself up about not being like someone else. I just have to sort of be myself and work with what I have and take it to that—that next step. So that’s—that’s sort of what I’m always thinking about in terms of self-improvement. And there are definitely things I’m working on right now. I’m working on giving better feedback. That’s something I’m always working on is how can I give feedback well and really help other people as opposed to just like saying what I think which I think is always a struggle.

KL Yeah. We’re dying to know.

JL That’s great. When you find an answer, please let us know.

[49:35]

LC I think—yeah I don’t know. I don’t know. I think one of the things I’ve learned is like give feedback in—or, give criticism in private, give praise in public. Really work on how to articulate how I feel about something or think about something. A lot of times I just assume other people think the same way I do which is not true at all, right? Like we think everyone’s like us and our reaction to something is going to be the same reaction that everyone has to that thing and that’s not true. So it’s like how to explain like—like just today I gave feedback on like sort of an unread count of something and I had to say, “Hey, I’m the kind of person where I see an unread number and it makes me anxious and x, y, and z and blah blah blah blah.” And I wasn’t actually complaining about the teacher, I think the teacher’s great, but it was like, “How can we make this a comfortable process for people who are—people who like to check things off their inbox and have everything be done versus someone who just kind of lets things go and doesn’t really care about that. I think those are two very different personality types and so I think a lot of the struggle is like realizing what type of personality I am and how to express that as a user and then looking at other personality types. Like how do users who care about personal stats treat like a product? So I’m not someone who cares about every single stat, about what episodes I listen to or like, or things like that. Like they’re kind of fun to me, I’m like, “Oh, that’s interesting.” There’s some people who are like—coming at this whole game like, “Hey, I want to listen to more episodes of a podcast this week than I did last week.” And so how do put myself in their shoes or like understand that we have users that are—have different mindsets than myself. So that’s—I’m kind of working on that as well.

JL That’s awesome. I think those people would not like my 35,000 unread email messages bubble. That’s the thing.

LC As long as you’re ok with it. As long as you personally—

JL Thank you! It does not bother me.

LC I’m so glad I don’t work on email. That’s like the one communication tool I’m like, I say this now, and like say in 20 years, we forget about email. It’ll just be like, “Oh god, ok yeah.”

JL Well, I hope we get to have you back on the show then to talk about your new email project so—

LC Oh my god no.

JL Leah, anything else you’d like to share with our listeners uh today?

LC I guess what I’d like to say is definitely check out Breaker, let me know what you think. I actually read every single feedback email people send us, I may not reply personally, but I definitely read them. So if you have feedback uh let us know, we’ve actually really worked hard to create a company based on user feedback because we understand that not everyone is like ourselves. So you could listen to the next episode of this podcast on Breaker. Let us know what you think.

JL Well, Leah, thank you so much for joining us today. It was super awesome.

LC Thank you so much for having me.

Fuck Yeah of the Season: Tiny Revelations

SWB So usually, right before we wrap up, we have our Fuck Yeah of the Week. And that’s something or someone we’re super hyped about during that given week. But here we are, this is Episode 10, and we’re taking a couple weeks off after this. And so I think it’s appropriate to not just have a Fuck Yeah of the Week, but to have a Fuck Yeah of the Season because it’s been kind of a badass season for us here at No, You Go. So I’d like to give a big Fuck Yeah to all of the people who have shared their ideas with us and have been so generous with their time and so many of them have given me what I’m calling, like, tiny revelations where they said something kind of off the cuff, they said this one little sentence, and I find it, like, sticking in my brain and I think about over and over and over again and I think we should take a couple of minutes and talk about what some of those are. Katel, what’s your tiny revelation?

KL Yeah. Gosh. I think a really recent episode we did with Stevie where they talked about the sentiment of the practice of allyship, has just stuck with me so much and just the idea that we can constantly be working on this, that we can constantly practice being better to each other, being better supporters of each other, and just that it’s a work in progress. I think that that is so important and something that we can all think about and do in very little ways that amount to something much bigger.

JL Yeah, that was a great one. Oh, there are so many great ones. One of the ones that really sticks with me is I loved Sara Chipps’ interview. And one of the things Sara said was, “Everyone has a good idea, right? But how do you—how do you get that started?” And she said, “Ideas are worthless unless it’s something that gets made.” So you know if it’s going to take a thousand baby steps then if you start today you’ll only have 999 left. But if you don’t, then it’s never going to happen. And I love that. You know I’ve talked about this before, I’m a really big fan of the—of, you know, the getting things done method and how you go from idea to really getting it somewhere and we talked about that with Leah today and I also loved so many things that Leah said about this, because I feel like I always have so many ideas in my head and I want to be able to take them from that into something tangible and so I loved the advice that Sara had about how to get your product out and running. I just think it’s so cool.

KL Sara, what about you?

[54:30]

SWB It’s really hard to pick because there’s so many things that I find myself returning to but one of the ones that has sort of lodged itself in my brain where like sometimes I’ll literally be in the middle of working on something, or I’ll be like getting ready for bed, brushing my teeth, whatever, and I find myself thinking it is what Eileen Webb said way back in episode two. She said, “Why should my work get all of my best brain?” And I think what made me really get stuck on that was how much it upended assumptions that I had that I didn’t know that I had about work. Like, that I’d always sort of assumed that spending my best brain, like the—the—the parts of the day where I feel the smartest and most competent, spending the bulk of my time on my work was like inherently good. And an inherently like good way to prioritize. And this isn’t to say like you know, you should like short shrift your work or anything like that but just to say like, to question like is that always helpful? Is that always right? Is that always good? Why? Why do you feel like you owe that to your work? And particularly like why do you feel like you owe that to a company? And I think that I do absolutely owe my clients expertise and intelligence and insight and thoughtfulness. It’s not to say I should like do a bad job, by any means, like hi clients, if you’re listening, I like to do a good job. But I think what it means is like it is ok to retain something for yourself, it is ok to retain something that doesn’t have quote/unquote “productivity”, it is ok to say that I’m going to use the smartest parts of myself today to plan out the garden, or whatever. Right? Like that is an ok thing to do and sometimes that is, in fact, probably the best thing you can do. And so I’m trying to remember that and keep that in mind.

KL In fact, I think it’s—it makes you better at your work if you give yourself that time. I mean I think we can all say that to ourselves and it’s true but it’s—it’s very hard to put that into practice if we don’t you know really think about it and really do it. But I think that actually—it’s cyclical. It like feeds back in on itself and makes you even more of an expert.

SWB Yeah and something you said there brings me back to what you said was your favorite thing which was practice. And I think about the concept of practice a lot. And I think about the concept of like how we build habits, and how we sort of build like a life that makes sense to us, and that works for us. None of us is good at something right off the bat. Even if you’re hyper-talented, it’s—you don’t necessarily have any nuance or skill until you give yourself time and space to practice. And so something I really want to bring away from our first few episodes is like how much I need to practice anything that I want to be good at in my life and whether that’s podcasting, or taking a break, or whether it’s knowing it’s going to take a lot of steps to get something done and giving myself the time to have that actually happen. Like none of those things happened without building them as part of a practice and I think that there’s a level of sort of like patience that comes along with that, that is not necessarily I’m good. That’s something I’m actually pretty bad at. And I’m really looking forward to you know, hearing from more guests who are going to keep me thinking like this because I feel like it’s like done good stuff for my brain.

KL Well, that wraps up season one of No, You Go, the show about being ambitious—and sticking together. We’re taking a couple of weeks off, but we’ll be back in April. While we’re on break check out all our past episodes. If you like what you’ve been hearing, please make sure to subscribe and rate the show. And definitely check us out on Breaker. Your support helps us spread the word. NYG is recorded in our home city of Philadelphia and produced by Steph Colbourn. Our theme music is by The Diaphone. Thanks to Leah Culver for being our wonderful guest today, and thank you for a great first season.

Transcript by Second Hand Scribe.


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A weekly podcast all about building satisfying careers and businesses, getting free of toxic bullshit, and figuring out how to live our best feminist lives at work. Plus, friendship, snacks, and bad TV.

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