459 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 • 87 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.

    459: Adobe Express with Kasha Stewart

    459: Adobe Express with Kasha Stewart

    Kasha Stewart is the Director of Growth Engagement at Adobe Express.


    Victoria talks to Kasha about finding advocates that encourage her to chase problems, getting more women into product development and why it's essential to bring different perspectives into this area, and ways to bring connection between the end users and customers, engineering teams, and the rest of the organization to the business.



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    Transcript:


    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 us today is Kasha Stewart, Director of Growth Engagement at Adobe Express. Kasha, thank you for joining us.


    KASHA: Well, thank you for having me.


    VICTORIA: Well, I thought I'd start off by asking you to tell me a little bit more about your background and how you found your way to product from starting out in film and video production.


    KASHA: I originally started...I have a fine arts background and did a lot of digital story narrative, post-production. Back in the day (I'm going to date myself.), you had to do...it was a very manual process of chroma keying and removing backgrounds, or refining someone's skin, or some type of background. That was where I kind of...it was my bread and butter. I really loved it. It was creative.


    Then in 2008, 2009, the housing market crashed, and the recession happened. And I thought, you know, I'm not a homeowner. What does it have to do with me? I'm taking these freelance jobs. I had just finished my grad program. And then all the jobs kind of disappeared. And I was thinking; here I was; I had gone to grad school. I had a really specific skill set. And then everything just poofed overnight, disappeared. And I thought, okay, well, what's more stable? Like, what could I do to secure a little bit more stability in my job, career?


    So I started applying for jobs in all these very different tech, like, they wanted people to be what we used to call a preditor, like, a producer and editor, someone that knew how to do this but also knew how to like FTP massive asset files and also knew how to flag something for when things were going wrong. And so I thought, okay, well, let me just apply for one of these. I have some of the skills. I tick the box on some of the requirements.


    And there was a job...it was actually on Craigslist. I actually didn't even know if it was a real job or if it was a scam situation, but I applied. It had a very unusual title; I think it was content distribution editor. And I thought, okay, well, this is interesting. And it was for abc.com. And this is about 2010. I applied. They called me. I thought, okay, why is ABC on Craigslist? But never mind, it was a legitimate job.


    And I got into what we call content distribution, so understanding content management systems. And I would be the last person that would actually process the content that would then be delivered to Hulu platforms, abc.com, many different affiliates. There were also Verizon mobile deals at this time, where the cell phone carriers had their own television networks that they tried to stand up.


    In that process, I started to really learn about licensing, how content is distributed, meta-tagging, and then also the architecture of a CMS. And I just for the life of me couldn't understand why this was built this way. It was a very cumbersome tool. And like clockwork, around 11:00 p.m. at night, it would crash. And if you hadn't saved your metadata on a notepad or in a spreadsheet, you're basically starting over from scratch.


    And I remember asking all these questions, and they were like, "Well, it's proprietary software, and it was built in Seattle." And I was like, "Yeah, but did they ever talk to the, you know..." I didn't know the te

    • 50 min
    458: Cofertility with Lauren Makler

    458: Cofertility with Lauren Makler

    Lauren Makler is Co-Founder, and CEO of Cofertility, a human-first fertility ecosystem rewriting the egg freezing and egg donation experience.


    Victoria talks to Lauren about tackling the access issues around egg freezing and donation and hoping to bring down the cost, leaving a company like Uber and starting her own business, and figuring out a go-to-market approach and what that strategy should look like.



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    Transcript:


    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 Lauren Makler, Co-Founder, and CEO of Cofertility, a human-first fertility ecosystem rewriting the egg freezing and egg donation experience. Lauren, thank you for joining me.


    LAUREN: Thanks for having me. I'm so excited for this.


    VICTORIA: Me too. I want to hear all about Cofertility. Can you tell me a little bit more about the platform that you built?


    LAUREN: Absolutely. Cofertility is really like you said; we're a fertility ecosystem. And at our core, we're enabling women to freeze their eggs for free when they donate half of the eggs retrieved to a family that can't otherwise conceive, providing support and education for everyone involved along the way. You know, we're serving two very different audiences. One side of our business, our Freeze by Co, is targeted at women between the ages of 21 and 40 who might be interested in preserving their fertility.


    We know that really the best time to freeze your eggs, unfortunately, is when you can least afford it. And so we've really taken on this access issue and hoping to bring down the cost on that front. And then our Family by Co business is for intended parents who need the help of an egg donor to have a child, so that could be anyone from people who struggle with infertility, or gay dads, cancer survivors, et cetera.


    There are a lot of people that really rely on third-party reproduction to have a family, and we think it's time to really move that industry forward, and we're doing that in a lot of ways. So that's at a high level; happy to dig in more on any part of that. But we launched in October, and things have been going well ever since.


    VICTORIA: Wonderful. Yeah, I want to ask you more about...you mentioned the problem that you identified with when people who are most ready to freeze their eggs probably can't afford it. [laughs] But how did you really identify that problem and think I should start a company around this?


    LAUREN: Yeah, so it's a two-part problem. I think we see a big problem on the egg-freezing side, which is truly cost. I think we know that women are starting families later than ever. For the first time in U.S. history, the average age of women giving birth now is 30, which is the highest on record. And the experimental label from egg freezing was removed in 2012, and so it's become much more mainstream for women to do it.


    However, the cost to do it in the U.S. is between; I want to say, $12,000-20,000 to do it, plus yearly storage fees. And there are some women who have access to doing it through their large employer, but for the majority of people, that's just not the case. And so, for women who are really trying to prioritize their career or their education or maybe haven't found a partner yet, egg freezing can be a great option.


    And certainly, it's not an insurance policy by any means, and it's not a guarantee. But studies show that if you experience infertility later in life and you did freeze your eggs, you're much more likely to have a child than not. And so we see it as a great backup option. But again, cost is just truly a huge problem.


    And then, on the egg donation side, there are tons of families that rely on e

    • 37 min
    457: We Take Part with Shaila Sahai

    457: We Take Part with Shaila Sahai

    Shaila Sahai is the Founder of We Take Part, an investment crowdfunding platform that connects eco-conscious investors and green tech entrepreneurs throughout Europe, including European overseas territories.


    Victoria talks to Shaila about focusing on clean tech and climate tech solutions exclusively, goals of contributing to the acceleration of the process of decarbonization, and how the idea of a crowd-investing platform that targets only green tech is welcome from the fintech ecosystem and potential investors.



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    Transcript:


    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 Shaila Sahai, Founder of We Take Part, an investment crowdfunding platform that connects eco-conscious investors and green tech entrepreneurs throughout Europe, including European overseas territories. Shaila, thank you for joining me.


    SHAILA: Thank you for having me.


    VICTORIA: So, can you start off just telling me a little bit more about We Take Part?


    SHAILA: We Take part is a crowdinvesting platform based in France. We will be connecting eco-conscious investors, who could be individuals but also institutions, with startups from the green tech ecosystem in France and in Europe. We're going to use projects such as equities. It could be also bonds, green bonds. So basically, it will be investing in a company in exchange of shares in those startups.


    VICTORIA: Great. And you have a background in financial services. What led you to get the idea to start this platform?


    SHAILA: Yes. So I come from the financial services world professionally, so I worked in equity services. So basically, my job was to make sure that trades were correctly made and settled in the stock exchange markets. Then I also went to work in the financial management corporate side in banking. I had, after some years, a global vision of finance management that led me to after some time, I quit my job and started working for myself as a financial management consultant. So basically, it was financial consulting.


    And after some time, I specialized in working with small companies and startups, helping them in financial optimization and also in financial development strategies. And I wanted to do more for those companies after some time, so more than consulting and helping them internally. I wanted to develop tools for them to find more financing solutions than just going to a bank asking for a loan, for example. Most of the time, I could see them feeling blocked when they could not, for example, get a loan from the bank. That led me to develop a crowdfunding solution for them to help them.


    Also, the fact that we chose to target only green tech startups comes from a personal conviction of mine that we should really focus on and prioritize climate change solutions right now. And we should, as a society but also in the economy, focus on sustainable solutions to help and contribute actively to the decarbonization of the economy in general.


    VICTORIA: That makes a lot of sense. And can you give me an example of a type of green tech that is being crowdfunded, or you want to be crowdfunded on this platform fund?


    SHAILA: We want to focus on clean tech and climate tech solutions exclusively. A lot of competitors and investors right now focus on renewable energy, and, of course, this is a very important problem. We want to give access to other startups that develop solutions to clean, for example, the atmosphere or oceans and also the earth for agriculture matters. We want to give them access to investments too. Also, to include people in the investment process because the subjects such as, for example, agriculture, or transportation, construction solutions also are a priority, and they

    • 28 min
    456: Jeli.io with Laura Maguire

    456: Jeli.io with Laura Maguire

    Laura Maguire is a Researcher at Jeli.io, the first dedicated incident analysis platform that combines more comprehensive data to deliver more proactive solutions and identify problems.


    Victoria talks to Laura about incident management, giving companies a powerful tool to learn from their incidents, and what types of customers are ideal for taking on a platform like Jeli.io.



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    Transcript:


    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 Laura Maguire, Researcher at Jeli, the first dedicated instant analysis platform that combines more comprehensive data to deliver more proactive solutions and identify problems. Laura, thank you for joining me.


    LAURA: Thanks for having me, Victoria.


    VICTORIA: This might be a very introductory level question but just right off the bat, what is an incident?


    LAURA: What we find is a lot of companies define this very differently across the space, but typically, it's where they are seeing an impact, either a customer impact or a degradation of their service. This can be either formally, it kind of impacts their SLOs or their SLAs, or informally it's something that someone on the team notices or someone, you know, one of their users notice as being degraded performance or something not working as intended.


    VICTORIA: Gotcha. From my background being in IT operations, I'm familiar with incidents, and it's been a practice in IT for a long time. But what brought you to be a part of building this platform and creating a product around incidents?


    LAURA: I am a, let's say, recovering safety professional.


    VICTORIA: [chuckles]


    LAURA: I started my career in the safety and risk management realm within natural resource industries in the physical world. And so I worked with people who were at the sharp end in high-risk, high-consequence type work. And they were really navigating risk and navigating safety in the real world. And as I was working in this domain, I noticed that there was a delta between what was being said, created safety, and helped risk management and what I was actually seeing with the people that I was working with on the front lines.


    And so I started to pull the thread on this, and I thought, is work as done really the same as work as written or work as prescribed? And what I found was a whole field of research, a whole field of practice around thinking about safety and risk management in the world of cognitive work. And so this is how people think about risk, how they manage risk, and how do they interpret change and events in the world around them.


    And so as I started to do my master's degree in human factors and system safety and then later my Ph.D. in cognitive systems engineering, I realized that whether you are on the frontlines of a wildland fire or you're on the frontlines of responding to an incident in the software realm, the ways in which people detect, diagnose, and repair the issues that they're facing are quite similar in terms of the cognitive work.


    And so when I was starting my Ph.D. work, I was working with Dr. David Woods at the Cognitive Systems Engineering Lab at The Ohio State University. And I came into it, and I was thinking I'm going to work with astronauts, or with fighter pilots, or emergency room doctors, these really exciting domains. And he was like, "We're going to have you work with software engineers."


    And at first, I really failed to see the connection there, but as I started to learn more about site reliability engineering, about DevOps, about the continuous deployment, continuous integration world, I realized software engineers are really at the forefront of managing critical digital infrastructu

    • 46 min
    455: Hello Inside with Anne Latz

    455: Hello Inside with Anne Latz

    Dr. Anne Latz is Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer at Hello Inside, a company that specializes in scientific self-care.


    Will talks to Dr. Latz about why glucose?, being a business-person first and what drove her to become a medical doctor, and where she sees wearable technology going in the in the next 5-10 years.



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    Transcript:


    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 us today is Dr. Anne Latz, Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer at Hello Inside, a company that specializes in scientific self-care. Anne, thank you for joining us.


    DR. LATZ: Thank you for hosting me today, Will.


    WILL: Yeah, I'm excited to talk about Hello Inside. And let's start there; give us a quick summary about Hello Inside.


    DR. LATZ: So we are a German-Austrian startup, so we are based all over Europe, actually, all over the world, I have to say. And we help people by means of technology to understand their bodies best so to really become an expert of their bodies. And the technology we use is not only a smartphone app that shows data but a sensor that's called continuous glucose monitoring sensor that's like a little window you put on your arm that shows you in real-time your glucose data.


    And we at Hello Inside have then an app and the service around that that really helps you to understand your data and become an expert of your body because this data really gives you immediate feedback on what you do in the sense of eating, moving, but also how well you slept, how stressed you are.


    WILL: Wow, that's really neat. You said you had the continuous glucose monitor. The body is so complex, and there are so many ways that you probably could measure activity of the body. Why the glucose portion? Why are you doing glucose?


    DR. LATZ: I think that there are two, maybe even three, reasons to that. The first one is we do not have so many tools like biosensors or technology on the market, which enable us to give really continuous data on different biofluids or markers in the body. So the first one is just that the market here is quite mature because we usually know glucose from the context of diabetes patients, and the technology has been developed years and years ago for those people. And that's why we have really, really good technology, really good sensors, which have high accuracy. The prices get lower and lower, so more and more people can really access this technology. And we just know already a lot about glucose management.


    The second is it's a super, super potent marker. So I'm a medical doctor from my background. And I do not know so many markers in the body; maybe it's the heart rate variability or pulse that give us really immediate feedback to so many lifestyle pillars. So I think eating is quite intuitive that it does something to our blood glucose, but also movement does, also sleep and stress. And all these pillars immediately affect us, and we often know that. But this marker really gives us a take on how we can really visualize in the moment and then create a change from that.


    And the third is probably that it's just a really hot topic, the glucose monitoring, currently, and that's actually not a good thing. But we have really not only an obesity epidemic but really a metabolic health crisis. So a lot of people have problems with their glucose levels, not aware of it. A lot of people have, in general, problems with managing; yeah, I would say, their metabolism and have an energy crisis in their body. You could put it like that.


    And that's why we are really interested in glucose because if you manage glucose in the sense that you stabilize it, you can really improve your health in the sh

    • 32 min
    454: The Global Collective with Stacy Kehren Idema

    454: The Global Collective with Stacy Kehren Idema

    Stacy Kehren Idema is the Founder and Managing Director of Global Collective, which is revolutionizing how men and women do business.


    Chad talks to Stacy about the work Global Collective does, starting a company based in the U.K, and the differences between doing business in the U.S. and the U.K.



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    Transcript:


    CHAD: 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, Chad Pytel. And with me today is Stacy Kehren Idema, the Founder and Managing Director of Global Collective, which is revolutionizing how men and women do business. Stacy, thank you for joining me.


    STACY: Chad, it is a pleasure. How are you today?


    CHAD: I'm well. I'm well. [laughs] I wasn't going to bring it up, but since you asked, I feel like whenever someone asks that question, I feel like I need to give an honest answer.


    STACY: Of course.


    CHAD: Because I think, so often, we don't answer honestly. We just sort of...so what's going on in my life right now is, unfortunately, even though we got our fourth boosters three weeks ago, my wife tested positive for COVID yesterday.


    STACY: Oh no.


    CHAD: And so she feels fine. She feels mostly fine. But we have kids and everything, so it throws a huge wrench into life right now. We're very fortunate that we've got vaccines, and it'll be mild and everything, but it is a big wrench in our life.


    STACY: It is.


    CHAD: Today, tomorrow, for the next week, so...


    STACY: I'm sorry.


    CHAD: Yeah, so she's in a different part of the house, quarantining away from all of us, and we're hoping for the best.


    STACY: Me too.


    CHAD: We could probably do a whole hour around how life is for all of us right now, coming in this different stage of the pandemic. I hesitate now to ask you, how are you today? [laughs]


    STACY: I'm here in London, so, for me, it's the end of my day. And fortunately, I haven't had COVID in a few months. But I know that experience and being even alone was enough to put a wrench in everything. So I get it.


    CHAD: Yeah. Yeah. Well, let's get back to Global Collective. I gave just a brief snippet. But can you tell people a little bit more about what it is you're actually doing?


    STACY: Yes, I would be honored. So the mission of The Global Collective is to revolutionize really how investment companies invest in female-founded and led businesses, and there are three key areas of that. It's really about changing gender perceptions by actually connecting the unique strengths of each gender. And if you were to even remove the gender piece, it's really talking about the core masculine and the feminine energies of how and what resides in all of us. How can we bring more of the flow and the creativity into business?


    The mission is also designed to eliminate the diversity gap. How can we make things better, more equitable, easier both for the men and the women, you know, going back to the genders? And something that's very near and dear to my heart is really about increasing the financial benefit and, frankly, the mental well-being in business because one thing that we don't talk enough about is the impact that mental health can have not only on our personal life but on business and vice versa. And I think it's starting to come out more and more.


    But with founders, with entrepreneurs, and with executives, that mental illness journey has actually increased, and there are some really interesting statistics on it. So, how can we make it a non-shaming conversation? And how can we actually help each other in this area? So the mission is really about transforming business into something different that I think we're all feeling the need for.


    And how it actually came about was from my 50 years of business and personal

    • 35 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
87 Ratings

87 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.

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.

JoshCrist ,

Entertaining, insightful and actionable! 🔥

Whether you’re well established as someone who can translate creative energy into the impact you want to have on the world, or just getting started as a catalyst for change - this is a must-listen podcast for you! Chad and Lindsey do an incredible job leading conversations that cover a huge breadth of topics related to the ins and outs of building a thriving career and life you can be proud of as a creator - from leaders who’ve actually walked the path. Highly recommend listening and subscribing!

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