532 episodes

A podcast about the design, development, and business of great software. Each week thoughtbot's Chad Pytel is joined by the people who build and nurture the products we love.

Giant Robots Smashing Into Other Giant Robots thoughtbot

    • Technology
    • 4.8 • 89 Ratings

A podcast about the design, development, and business of great software. Each week thoughtbot's Chad Pytel is joined by the people who build and nurture the products we love.

    520 - Breaking New Ground in Maternal Mental Health with Mevi

    520 - Breaking New Ground in Maternal Mental Health with Mevi

    Hosts Will Larry and Victoria Guido are joined by Zamina Karim, the CEO and Founder of Mevi, a community-driven motherhood wellness app designed to address the unique challenges of motherhood, especially in the context of the pandemic. Zamina shares her journey from experiencing postpartum anxiety and depression to founding Mevi. She discusses the lack of understanding and support for new mothers, especially during the pandemic when traditional support structures were unavailable. The conversation also touches on parenting challenges in the current era, underscoring the need for community and support.

    The app aims to revolutionize maternal health by fostering connections among mothers and providing support for the challenges of motherhood beyond medical visits. Zamina's approach to building Mevi is rooted in empathy, aiming to address new mothers' emotional and practical needs and fill a significant gap in current maternal health support.

    Zamina also talks about the broader implications of Mevi's mission, the evolving startup funding landscape, and the importance of pivoting and adapting in the entrepreneurial journey. She emphasizes the role of empathy in building inclusive experiences for parents and the potential of technology to improve maternal health outcomes.

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     WILL: This is The Giant Robots Smashing Into Other Giant Robots podcast, where we explore the design, development, and business of great products. I'm your host, Will Larry.

    VICTORIA: And I'm your other host, Victoria Guido. And with us today is Zamina Karim, CEO and Founder of Mevi, the first-ever community-driven motherhood wellness app. Zamina, thank you for joining us.

    ZAMINA: Thank you so much for having me.

    VICTORIA: Well, outside of founding Mevi, what keeps you going? What's exciting for you right now in your world?

    ZAMINA: Well, I have a toddler. She is two turning three, and she keeps me incredibly active and stimulated throughout the day. And I have my hands full with her throughout the day. And outside of that, I've just jumped into the business full-time. So, I'm navigating solo foundership and recognizing how different of an experience that is when you have been working in a team environment for the last 15 years or so. So, that's kind of what's been keeping me busy the last few months.

    WILL: You mentioned your daughter. When you became a parent, I know there's something surprising; there's plenty. But what was the most surprising thing that you went through when you became a parent?

    ZAMINA: Oh my gosh, there were so many things. You're totally right, Will. But I think, for me, it was a really big emphasis that I noticed on the products that I would need to have. And if I had all of those products, I would be ready and I would be well on my way, and parenting would be a breeze. And it kicked me on my butt when I realized that having the perfect car seat and the perfect stroller was not setting me up for success.

    And there was a lot that I didn't know and didn't realize, even though I had done so much research and had a lot of other parents in my network. I think it's one of those things that you don't truly understand until you have experienced it yourself and you are living through it.

    VICTORIA: So, then, what led you to start Mevi?

    ZAMINA: Mevi was started because my baby was born during the pandemic, and I experienced a ton of challenges during that time. I struggled with symptoms of anxiety and depression for over a year. But I didn't really need any clinical diagnosis, and so no one knew how to help me in my family. And I did not know how to help myself either. And I really felt the Western sort of pressure of having to do it all. And I was quite frankly embarrassed by the struggles that I was experiencing.

    And, you know, you never really go back to your old

    • 41 min
    519 - Ammi's Mission to Empower Parents

    519 - Ammi's Mission to Empower Parents

    Host Will Larry is joined by Priyanka Mahajan, the founder of Ammi, a startup dedicated to supporting new and expectant parents with expertise, support, and community. The conversation highlights the challenges of parenting, the absence of a universal parenting manual, and how Ammi seeks to provide a personalized co-pilot for parents navigating the early stages of parenthood. Priyanka shares her journey from a career in strategy consulting and corporate roles across different countries to founding Ammi, driven by personal experiences and the desire to make a meaningful impact on parents' lives.

    Priyanka discusses the core challenges she faced as a parent, such as dealing with the loss of control, the transition to motherhood, and the importance of acknowledging and navigating the mental and emotional shifts that come with it. She introduces the concept of "matrescence," likening it to adolescence, as a significant, yet underdiscussed, transition into parenthood. Priyanka's personal struggles with anxiety and the impact on her parenting led to the realization of the need for support and resources for parents, particularly in the areas of mental health and emotional well-being.

    Ammi's mission is to fill the gaps in the current parenting support ecosystem by providing accessible expert advice and resources. Priyanka emphasizes the importance of mental health, the creation of a supportive community, and the development of a digital platform tailored to modern parents' needs. Finally, she outlines the challenges and opportunities ahead, including fundraising, product development, and establishing trust with parents.

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    WILL: This is the Giant Robots Smashing Into Other Giant Robots podcast, where we explore the design, development, and business of great products. I'm your host, Will Larry. And with me today is Priyanka Mahajan, Founder of Ammi, a startup that provides expertise, support, and community to new and expectant parents. Priyanka, thank you for joining me today.

    PRIYANKA: Will, thanks for having me. It's great to be here.

    WILL: Yeah. I'm so excited to talk to you about parenting. Anytime I get to talk about parenting, I light up, so I can't wait to talk to you about it, pick your brain, and just hear any advice you have for me.

    PRIYANKA: [laughs] That's great. It's always nice to talk to people who get the challenges, so very happy to dive into it.

    WILL: Yeah, definitely. Me and my wife we always talk about we wish kids came with a manual because you just don't know what you're going to get. Out of my three kids, they're all not even close to being similar in any way.

    PRIYANKA: No, that's totally right. You know, this manual that most people or most parents wish for after their kids are born doesn't quite exist. And it's also deeply personal, and that's exactly what you mentioned about your kids being different. But each parenting experience and, you know, giving birth is different. Each birth is different. Your body is different. So, all of that is quite deeply personal. And that's essentially what we want to do with Ammi is be able to provide this co-pilot to expectant and new parents to guide and help them through that early phase.

    WILL: Yeah, oh, I can't wait. Before we dive in too deep, can you tell us a little bit about who you are, your background, and kind of how you got to this place?

    PRIYANKA: So, first thing, I suppose, is I am Indian. I was born and raised in India, and I've lived in about four countries, including the U.S., and now live in London. I started my career in the strategy consulting area and then moved into internal strategy roles for telecoms and tech industry. And I had my children through that period of working for big corporates and essentially, you know, was busy climbing the corporat

    • 42 min
    518 - The Standard of Self-Care: Unlocking Personal Growth with Chris Pallatroni

    518 - The Standard of Self-Care: Unlocking Personal Growth with Chris Pallatroni

    In this episode, host Victoria Guido interviews Chris Pallatroni, creator of The Standard, a platform dedicated to sharing self-care stories. Chris shares how his interests in gardening and mental wellness fueled the inception of The Standard, which was initially intended to be a landscaping venture.

    He delves into the hurdles faced while developing the platform, highlighting the struggle for product-market fit and the critical role of integrating technology with human connection to enable meaningful support and interactions.

    Chris underscores storytelling's pivotal role in enhancing mental health, advocating for the sharing of personal triumphs over adversity to motivate and assist others facing similar challenges. He envisions The Standard as a vast collection of genuine, relatable self-care narratives aimed at reducing the feeling of isolation among individuals. Through inviting users to share their experiences, Chris seeks to leverage human connections to cultivate a community supportive of mental health and personal development.

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     VICTORIA: This is the Giant Robots Smashing Into Other Giant Robots podcast, where we explore the design, development, and business of great products. I'm your host, Victoria Guido. And with me today is Chris Pallatroni, Founder of The Standard, a storytelling platform where people share stories about self-care. Chris, thank you for joining me.

    CHRIS: Yeah. Thanks for having me on. It's a pleasure.

    VICTORIA: Wonderful. So, before we dive into all about The Standard, why don't you just tell me a little bit about what's going on in your world outside of work? Anything fun? Anything exciting?

    CHRIS: Yeah. Well, first of all, I've got two boys, so for anybody that's listening that has kids, I mean, let's be honest, your life is completely chaotic. So, I've got two boys, one's almost 12, one's almost 10, so all boy, all the time. That's just another way of saying our house is really loud, and there's just tons of stuff happening, sports, whatnot. I also have a wife, a beautiful wife. She's my better half. I've been with her for 24 years. So, between that, I got three cats, not that they take a lot of energy, but there's just a lot of love in our household. So, that's sort of, like, the family side of things.

    And then I'm an avid gardener. I'm really big into mental health and wellness, which, as we start to talk about The Standard, will become really evident. So, I'm all about just doing the things that you need to do to take care of yourself, so lots of running, lots of working out, lots of just being in nature. I know you're a surfer, so, I mean, let's be honest, water is amazing. So yeah, anything I can do to, like, duck out into nature and spend time with my family. Honestly, there's just not enough time in the day.

    VICTORIA: What is growing in your garden that you're the most proud of?

    CHRIS: You don't want to get me started on gardening. So, before I started The Standard, honestly, I thought I was going to be a landscaper, and the name of The Standard actually was going to be applied to a landscaping company. So, I am a professional landscaper. I took all the classes: soil, science, irrigation. I got the degree in design and maintenance.

    I have a tiny, little property, but I have about 700 plants on my property. So, I know everything on the roses, and grass, and camellias. I mean, I'm that guy that, like, likes to see...nature is just amazing, first of all. And it also has very therapeutic qualities when we start to talk about mental health and well-being, birdsong, water, greenery, sunsets, sunrises.

    I'm also developing a piece of land. We have a house we're building, and it's three acres. So, I'm in the process of building out, like, what I'm going to just describe as t

    • 41 min
    517 - Building Better Design Systems with Luro's Trent Walton

    517 - Building Better Design Systems with Luro's Trent Walton

    Hosts Victoria Guido and Will Larry are joined by Trent Walton, CEO of Luro. Trent shares his journey into the design world, from his early fascination with typography and logos to co-founding Paravel. This agency later evolved into creating Luro, a no-code solution for building design systems and tracking their adoption across products.

    Trent emphasizes the importance of understanding the materials one works with in design and development and stresses the need for a holistic approach to product building. This approach blurs the lines between disciplines, encouraging a generalist mindset over specialization. Luro, as a product, stemmed from the realization that existing design systems often fell short in adoption and application, leading to a search for a more integrated and comprehensive solution.

    Trent outlines the functionality and vision behind Luro, explaining how it serves not just designers and developers but entire organizations by fostering better collaboration, documentation, and understanding of design decisions. Luro aims to streamline the creation and maintenance of design systems, making them more accessible and manageable, even for teams facing resource constraints. By incorporating performance, accessibility metrics, and the ability to track component adoption and integration, Luro provides a platform for continuous improvement and alignment with organizational goals.

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     VICTORIA: This is the Giant Robots Smashing Into Other Giant Robots Podcast, where we explore the design, development, and business of great products. I'm your host, Victoria Guido.

    WILL: And I'm your other host, Will Larry. And with me today is Trent Walton, CEO of Luro. Luro is a no-code solution to build your design system and track adoption across your entire product. Trent, thank you for joining me.

    TRENT: Oh, thanks for having me. It's great to be here.

    WILL: Yeah, I can't wait to dive into Luro and get to know more about the product. But before we go into that, tell us a little bit about yourself. I know you're based out of Texas.

    TRENT: Yeah, I grew up, lived here my whole life. I'm in Austin with the other co-founders, Dave and Reagan. Been a designer probably all my life, always been interested in, like, typography and fonts. When I was little, I used to buy badges for cars from swap meets and take them home, not because I needed, like, I had a car I was building and had any interest in, like, sandblasting or building an engine. I just liked the typography, and the design of the icons, and the logos, and all that kind of thing.

    And so, now it's evolved into me just being, like, a type aficionado and a graphic design aficionado, and then that evolved into, especially when I discovered the web in the early 2000s, building and designing websites with Dave and Reagan, who I mentioned. And so, we had an agency called Paravel early on and had a lot of time putting into practice kind of that design and development and building for the web.

    VICTORIA: So, your first interest in design came from, is it a car engine? Is that what I heard?

    TRENT: Well, yeah, my father is a mechanical engineer, and so is my brother. And they work on cars, have classic, like, old Mustangs and Cobras and things that they build in their spare time. And I have no interest in that kind of work [laughs] but grew up in that environment. And, you know, pre-internet growing up in the '80s, one of the things that really got me was the aesthetic and the design around those kinds of muscle cars, so, like, old Shelby or Cobra or Mustang Ford ads, just, I really got into that.

    So, I'd buy, like, car manuals for a few bucks, or if there's a Mustang Cobra and there's a cool, like, chrome snake logo with a condensed uppercase typef

    • 44 min
    516 - Innovating Fashion: Charlotte Holt's Tech-Driven Approach

    516 - Innovating Fashion: Charlotte Holt's Tech-Driven Approach

    Hosts Will and Victoria sit down with Charlotte Holt, the Founder and Creator of The Fashion Library. Based in London, The Fashion Library is a contemporary wardrobe rental resource tailored for stylists. Charlotte opens up about her diverse background, spanning various countries, and shares the transformative journey that led her from being a stylist to establishing her own venture.

    Charlotte sheds light on the formidable challenges stylists encounter, from the environmental repercussions of fashion production to the financial constraints of traditional shopping methods. She articulates how The Fashion Library is poised to confront these obstacles head-on by offering a platform that enables stylists to rent clothing, fostering sustainability while saving valuable resources like time and money.

    Delving into the realm of technology, Charlotte underscores its pivotal role in streamlining operations and catalyzing a paradigm shift towards a more sustainable fashion industry. She outlines her ambitious vision for The Fashion Library's future, encompassing the archive, broadening the user base, and creating a robust marketplace and working platform.

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     WILL: This is the Giant Robots Smashing Into Other Giant Robots Podcast, where we explore the design, development, and business of great products. I'm your host, Will Larry.

    VICTORIA: And I'm your other host, Victoria Guido. And with us today is Charlotte Holt, Founder and Creator of The Fashion Library, London's newest contemporary wardrobe rental resource for stylists. Charlotte, thank you for joining me.

    CHARLOTTE: Thank you for having me. I never ever thought I would be talking on a podcast.

    VICTORIA: You never thought that? Why? What did you think would happen? [laughs]

    CHARLOTTE: As in, like, I never thought I would be on a podcast, me personally. So, like, this is a new experience for me.

    VICTORIA: Wonderful. Well, I know you're speaking with us today, and just to warm us up a little bit, I'm curious: what other languages could you be speaking to us in? What's your...I heard you learn multiple.

    CHARLOTTE: So, I actually went to school in the south of France when I was younger. And for the last couple of years, I've been living in Mexico, so I've been trying to learn Spanish. I am pretty proficient in French and getting there in Spanish.

    VICTORIA: Very cool. I live in San Diego, and I've also been learning Spanish for a long time and love to practice sometimes, so... What about you, Will? Do you speak any other languages?

    WILL: I used to speak Spanish, but it's so hard when you don't live in that culture to keep it up. Because I've been to, like, Peru a couple of times and some other South American places, but I always pick it up when I go back in there and kind of get the feel for it, but it's kind of hard. I need to pick it back up. But Spanish is the one that I feel the most comfortable in outside of English.

    VICTORIA: Right. We're a bilingual nation. And so, I love that opportunity to get to meet other people and speak in other languages and practice that. So, Charlotte, coming back to your journey, it sounds like you've lived in all these interesting places. Why don't you tell us just a little bit more about your background?

    CHARLOTTE: I am from Scotland originally. I know I don't sound like it. And then I went to school in the South of France for two years, like, to finish high school. Then I ended up back in the UK, living in London for 12, 14 years. And then, just as COVID was happening, I was actually supposed to kind of relocate or start working more in the U.S., and I actually ended up in Mexico [chuckles], of all places, and that's where I stayed for two years. I was living the

    • 28 min
    515 - Healing Minds, Changing Lives: The Meru Health Experience

    515 - Healing Minds, Changing Lives: The Meru Health Experience

    Kristian Ranta, the founder of Meru Health, shares the company's journey from its inception to its current status as a leading provider of mental health solutions. Kristian reflects on the decision to pivot Meru Health from a wellness-focused to a healthcare-centered company, emphasizing the importance of overcoming fears and listening to intuition in entrepreneurial pursuits. He discusses the challenges and rewards of building a healthcare startup, highlighting the complexities of navigating regulatory frameworks and securing insurance reimbursements.

    Throughout the conversation, Kristian elaborates on Meru Health's unique approach to mental healthcare, which integrates therapy, coaching, and app-based interventions to offer users a holistic and personalized experience. He underscores the significance of community support in mental health treatment and explains how Meru Health's platform fosters connection among individuals facing similar challenges. Kristian also delves into the company's plans for expansion, both within the United States and globally, while addressing ongoing challenges such as securing insurance reimbursements and maintaining high standards for talent acquisition.

    Meru Health
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    VICTORIA: This is the Giant Robots Smashing Into Other Giant Robots Podcast, where we explore the design, development, and business of great products. I'm your host, Victoria Guido, and with me today is Kristian Ranta, CEO and Founder for Meru Health, a new standard for mental health care. Kristian, thank you for joining me.

    KRISTIAN: Thanks, Victoria. Great to be here today. Appreciate it.

    VICTORIA: Wonderful. To break the ice a little bit to get us started in the conversation here, I don't know if you can hear it, but I have a slight cold and congestion going on. And since you're a healthcare startup, I thought I would ask you, what is your favorite comfort food when you're sick?

    KRISTIAN: I don't know whether it's a comfort food or not, but I think kind of what I always consume if I get, like, some flu symptoms or stuff like that it's ginger, honey, and then garlic. I try to combine these things, and it's semi-tasty. Like, it depends on, like, how strong you make it, but it's definitely effective. So, it's been my go-to thing when I get sick.

    VICTORIA: Me too. I like to try to put all those things into a soup of some kind [laughs], some chicken soup. I've learned how to make some sort of version of congee, which is, like, a rice porridge, which I love because you can kind of just sit it on the stove, and it cooks all day. And you could add in all those flavors, and it comes together really nicely.

    For me, I think that's really nice to think about what you like to eat when you're sick because when you're sick, it affects everything else going on in your body. So, I'm sure you have some personal experiences about how your mental health and your physical health are all interrelated.

    KRISTIAN: I mean, totally. Actually, like, I've been a biohacker for quite a while. So, I've been, like, just trying a bunch of things, like, on the physical health side and, like, exercise. And I'm from Finland originally, so a lot of cold exposure, sauna, swimming in the icy water, stuff like that. And then, of course, a lot of, like, different dietary tests that I've done over the years. And I think there's, yeah, I've recognized that there's a huge connection, and it's like the mind and the body are not, like, disconnected. They're in a way the same.

    Personally, also, like, a big piece kind of for me in this regard has been my journey of meditation. So, I started maybe, like, 10, 12 years ago, started meditating every day, and then I've done a bunch of different retreats and kind of dug deeper. Especially through meditation, I've learned very [

    • 36 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
89 Ratings

89 Ratings

Anuj Adhiya ,

The human side

Lindsey is a great host. She keeps the entire conversation moving and ensures that the discussions lead to thought starters for listeners, even when the topics being discussed might be highly technical. You're guaranteed to get something out of every interview. Lindsey's also wickedly funny so you'll never be bored. Give this show a go.

Nick8090908 ,

Hit or miss, trending towards miss.

This dude really just claimed that his company has artificial general intelligence. Ok.

TravelHardyLlama ,

Worse over time

I can’t say I’m a fan of the more recent podcast episodes. It’s gone from discussing interesting technical problems to business to solely interviews with clients who hired ThoughtBot. High quality audio, low quality filler content.

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