62 episodes

Nerds are increasingly being asked to have it all—technical expertise and people skills. Join engineer-turned-psychologist Joanie Connell as she interviews nerds and people experts to uncover the best communication strategies for technical people. She brings in everyone from big name scientists and computer geeks to everyday working ones as well as other entertaining and insightful people in a quest for the keys to help nerds interact more successfully with people of all types. Asking thoughtful questions of her guests, she affectionately gives self-proclaimed nerds insights into important people strategies in a light-hearted, conversational style.

Reinventing Nerds Joanie Connell

    • Business
    • 5.0 • 10 Ratings

Nerds are increasingly being asked to have it all—technical expertise and people skills. Join engineer-turned-psychologist Joanie Connell as she interviews nerds and people experts to uncover the best communication strategies for technical people. She brings in everyone from big name scientists and computer geeks to everyday working ones as well as other entertaining and insightful people in a quest for the keys to help nerds interact more successfully with people of all types. Asking thoughtful questions of her guests, she affectionately gives self-proclaimed nerds insights into important people strategies in a light-hearted, conversational style.

    Abby Malchow: Crafting a Career in Big Tech

    Abby Malchow: Crafting a Career in Big Tech

    Abby Malchow is a Manager of Small Business Partnerships at Amazon. She develops and manages partnerships that help drive success for early-stage entrepreneurs and small businesses through delivering programs and investments that support their continued growth. Abby appeared on Reinventing Nerds Episode 6 and talked about Women Vets in Tech when she was working at Intel. Abby is a retired U.S. Navy Chief and combat veteran, serving more than 20 years in the military. In the current episode, Abby discusses how to navigate a career in a big tech company.


    Q: Tell us about the variety of interesting jobs you have had at Amazon.

    She has remained focused on small businesses and entrepreneurs in various roles and in various organizations within Amazon. She was first hired to work on the Global Military Affairs team and figure out where Amazon can help military small business owners if they do want to sell in their store and look at entrepreneurship as a form of employment. She gave them educational opportunities and worked closely with the Military Empowerment team. She moved on to the Finance organization to manage strategic partnerships with a diversity of small business owners and entrepreneurs. Now she works in the broader consumer organization, where she has worked in a couple of different roles.

    Q: How do you navigate a career in a big company?

    Abby talks about the importance of networking and creating partnerships across the organization. Because Amazon is a fairly flat company, it is important to identify people across different teams to drive a goal forward. She says she is a huge believer of going into the office.

    Q: Why is going into the office important?

    Abby discusses the importance of being in the office to meet people and build relationships and how simply being there in person facilitates networking. Abby also gives other networking suggestions, such as getting involved in different initiatives and finding common interests and being proactive about meeting people in different roles.

    Q: How do you maintain your flexibility to work in a fast-moving, ever-changing organization?

    Abby likes the unpredictability and being able to innovate and create in her roles. That is what keeps her there. She describes how she has become much more marketable having worked in different roles. She has gained a variety of skill sets.

    Q: Research repeatedly shows that people leave jobs because of their manager. How do you find the good ones to work with? What do you look for?

    Abby suggests that people learn more from their terrible managers than from their good managers. She also suggests that direct, honest feedback to one’s manager is important and having a manager who gives you opportunity for growth is critical.

    Listen to the episode to hear more about Abby’s tips on knowing the culture, being nimble and flexible, being able to compromise, and challenges that women face in big tech.

    Words of Wisdom:

    I’m a huge believer of being inside the office.

    You always have to “make the ask” to schedule time with people and get to know them.

    You can almost always come to a compromise, but you have to be open to feedback.

    You want a manager who is a gardener, not a gatekeeper.

    Contact Abby Malchow:

    LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/abbymalchow/

    • 29 min
    Franklin Taggart: Humans vs. AI

    Franklin Taggart: Humans vs. AI

    In this episode, Joanie interviews Franklin Taggart about his recent book about AI called, Straight from the Bot’s Mouth: A Conversation With ChatGPT About Artificial Intelligence. Franklin created the book using ChatGPT and had the whole project done in less than a week. In this interview, Franklin describes his experience as well as AI’s impact on society, jobs—especially jobs in the creative sector—and more. Franklin is a coach who works with creative people at every level of their business and sometimes life.


    Q: What was the experience like of creating a book with AI?

    Franklin said it was a curiosity and an experiment for him, and he has been a fan of AI for years. He didn’t set out to write the book. He just wanted ChatGPT to answer his questions. This latest wave of artificial intelligence has really captured my attention and my imagination.

    He keeps a notebook of questions he has about AI. He had also thought about writing a book about it for a while but didn’t have a year’s worth of time to dedicate to the project. In comes AI…

    Q: What are some of the benefits and drawbacks of AI for people in the creative space?

    Franklin said that ChatGPT’s responses to his questions about its impact tended to be quite balanced. Franklin does have concerns, though, especially for creatives. He gives a detailed account of how musicians were impacted by technology over the last several decades as an example of what the AI landscape might look for other creative people. It is a gripping story that is worth the listen!

    Q: What do you use AI for?

    Franklin has used AI to develop sales pages and said he can accomplish this normal hours’ long process in minutes. This raises the question about how to make money for developing sales pitches for people. The hourly rate may no longer be applicable. What will the future be? Franklin uses his experience and imagination to suggest new ways creative people (and everyone!) will need to work differently as AI becomes more prevalent.

    Franklin also talks about how AI will affect the workforce, how to utilize AI to increase your productivity, and much more.

    Words of Wisdom:

    This latest wave of artificial intelligence has really captured my attention and my imagination.

    AI can mirror your creativity.

    Ultimately, my business model is already changing to adapt to having AI resources at my fingertips–because it has to.

    The key is to figure out how to shift your business model so that it can be more fluid and flexible and responsive to the marketplace as AI technology is introduced.

    Franklin Taggart’s book, Straight from the Bot’s Mouth: A Conversation With ChatGPT About Artificial Intelligence, available on Amazon.

    Shout Out:

    Matt Wolfe curates AI tools and shares them on https://www.futuretools.io/.

    Contact Franklin Taggart:

    Website: https://www.franklintaggart.com/

    LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/franklin-taggart-coaching/

    Podcast: Your Own Best Company

    • 50 min
    Kamales Lardi: Humans, Business, and Technology

    Kamales Lardi: Humans, Business, and Technology

    Kamales Lardi is a digital tech expert, business advisor, speaker, teaching fellow, and an author. She  recently published a book called The Human Side of Digital Business Transformation. Kamales is globally recognized as an influencer and Thought Leader in Digital Transformation. She has been advising multinational companies across various industries in Europe, Asia and Africa for over a decade. In this episode, Kamales talks about what an effective digital business transformation looks like, how technology affects humanity, how to use tech for good, and how a diverse ecosystem of players increases business success.


    Q: What is your background and how do you use your knowledge of both technology and business?

    Kamales is from Malaysia originally. She did her MBA in the United Kingdom, and she now lives in Switzerland. She started out in tech working for Anderson Consulting (a.k.a. Accenture) performing technology implementations for large corporations and found she needed to have a deeper understanding of how businesses work and that’s when she got her MBA. Since then, she has been helping companies use the application of technology to increase business value.

    Q: What is your book The Human Side of Digital Business Transformation about?

    The transformation part is taking the business on a journey to be successful in the digital economy. That involves taking the people in the organization on the journey. It goes beyond change management and cultural change to creating an ecosystem of players that help the organization become successful in the future. The players are located both inside and outside the organization and include business owners, management teams, employees, customers, partners, collaborators, educational institutions and so on. Kamalesh describes the ecosystem model and how the different players contribute.

    Q: How are generational shifts affecting tech?

    Kamales describes how bridging generational divides is a part of digital transformation efforts. She discusses how different generations of people have different values and demand different things from companies, such as stability and purpose, and what that means for companies.

    Kamales also talks about diversity as part of an effective digital transformation strategy and many other things, including the importance of artificial intelligence (AI), and how technology is affecting humanity. Listen to the episode to hear the full interview.

    Words of Wisdom:

    The new generation of people knows there is an alternative to the 9-5 job.

    Technology has not only triggered a change in behavior, but also it has triggered a change in mindset.

    I am a technology optimist. I believe in the transformative capabilities in tech, the good in tech.

    There is a darker side to technology if we don’t apply it well. A diverse ecosystem provides checks and balances.

    There are hype cycles of technology, but there are no “silver bullets.”

    Technology can allow us as humans to focus on deeper interactions.

    Contact Kamales Lardi:

    Book: The Human Side of Digital Business Transformation (Wiley) is currently available on Amazon

    and wherever books are sold.

    Website: www.kamaleslardi.com

    LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/kamaleslardi

    Instagram: www.instagram.com/kamaleslardi


    • 32 min
    Sarah Tenisi: Supporting Employee Growth

    Sarah Tenisi: Supporting Employee Growth

    Sarah Tenisi is the CEO of TenisiTech, an IT Service provider firm. They to help companies build the IT foundation to support their business goals and manage the IT as the business evolves to ensure that the IT continues to be a tool not a hindrance. Sarah also hosts a podcast for people interested in technology and leadership called Tech Me Seriously. She is used to interviewing people but has agreed for today to be the guest and be interviewed.


    Q: How did you become interested in IT?

    Sarah describes how she was actually discouraged from studying computer science and engineering in college, and how she held true to herself and made her way in.

    Q: What is your work experience?

    Sarah describes how she started out as an administrative assistant at Hewlett Packard and Adobe, but her managers knew she had studied computer science and supported her growth to move into an IT role.

    Q: How did you transition to starting your own IT company?

    Sarah talks about how she developed skills in the area of organizational growth in one of her IT jobs and how that gave her the confidence to start Tenisi Tech. She talks about what she learned about IT from the business perspective and how to produce seamless IT transitions for her clients.

    Listen to the episode to hear Sarah describe how she supports her team so they can have lives in addition to work, how she overcame a tendency toward perfectionism, listen to her team, and support their growth. She also discusses her experience as a woman in tech and how to get more women in technology.

    Words of Wisdom:

    IT is about being resourceful.

    Perfectionism will ruin your team.

    We all have an interesting story.

    Leadership teams don’t want to talk about technology; they want to talk about productivity, service, security, and scalability.

    Contact Sarah Tenisi:

    Tech Me Seriously podcast

    Sarah Tenisi on LinkedIn

    Tenisi Tech company website

    • 29 min
    Pat Cullen: Leading Through Growth

    Pat Cullen: Leading Through Growth

    Pat Cullen is the VP of Engineering at Carrot Fertility, the leading global fertility healthcare and family-forming benefits provider for employers and health plans. Pat oversees and directs Carrot’s information security, data, and engineering teams. He has more than a decade of experience as a technologist & thought-leader who builds effective teams by driving engineering best practices, empowering developer productivity, and promoting deliverable alignment. Pat discusses leading through growth, how his business background helped him, and his specific approaches to leading tech teams.


    Q: Tell us about your background and how getting an MBA helped you in the field of software development.

    Pat says he had an MBA planned from the start, from when he was a junior in high school. He describes how participating in team sports and activities helped him see how important it was to learn to learn more about leading teams. Having a business background helped him as a software developer know more about the big picture and as a manager better understand where other functional teams were coming from.

    Q: What leadership challenges have you faced as Carrot grew from a startup to a midsize company?

    Pat explains how having managed growing departments at larger companies gave him experience with growth. He also describes how he had to learn how to let go of control and how to help others become more comfortable with change and uncertainty. Pat brings in specific tech and business examples to illustrate his points.

    Q: What is good about slime mold?

    Pat describes how focusing on outcomes as opposed to outputs can lead to more innovative solutions and how slime mold does that organically. It’s a great story of letting your team overcome barriers, make mistakes, and generate powerful solutions.

    Listen to the episode to also hear Pat talk about his experience in larger companies, dealing with layoffs, building feedback loops, and more.

    Words of Wisdom:

    Come to every situation prepared with two to three possible outcomes.

    Stop the meeting five minutes early and rate the meeting around the room.

    Give little “f” feedback not big “F” feedback.

    Contact Pat Cullen:

    Happy to chat with whoever whenever, here’s my Calendly: https://calendly.com/pat-carrot/coffee-chat

    The simplest way to connect with me is LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/%F0%9F%A5%95-pat-cullen-b3295b29

    • 32 min
    Kristeen Barth: Creating a Healthy Relationship with Work

    Kristeen Barth: Creating a Healthy Relationship with Work

    Joanie has a conversation with an IT-manager-turned-coach, Kristeen Barth. Kristeen works with people and teams to challenge their current thinking, and she is committed to their growth experience. Kristeen also has a nerdy background. She has worked in IT project and product management as well as cultural integration. Her current work focuses on team culture and individual growth. Kristeen Barth believes that a healthy relationship with your work is key to a healthy life. That’s what we talk about in this episode.


    Q: How did you become interested in technology management and what roles did you have in IT?

    Kristeen holds a BS in Technology Management and MBA from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. She worked in the telecom and toy industries as a business analyst, then moved into IT program management in the finance industry. It was in this role that she discovered the field of learning and development.

    Q: What inspired you to transition from IT to learning & development?

    Kristeen said that, working in IT, she had focused on improving systems and using Agile methodologies to improve productivity, but she found it even more rewarding to be able to focus on the people. She was interested in how people work together, why they work the way they work, and so on.

    Q: How do you define a person’s relationship with work? What kinds of unhealthy work relationships have you seen, particularly in the tech fields and what does a healthy relationship with work look like?

    Kristeen describes three components of a relationship with work: meaning, growth, and shared goals. The extent to which these factors are positive and balanced indicates the health of the relationship. Listen to the podcast to learn more about these factors, how they appear in tech jobs, and tips to develop healthier relationships with work.

    Words of Wisdom:

    If you are depleted, you won’t be fresh and ready for an urgent situation, like an outage.

    Customer service can be healthy or unhealthy, depending on what is driving it.

    Fear of making a mistake can lead to an unhealthy relationship with work.

    A healthy work relationship is when you are standing up tall and strong and are ready to take on a challenge.

    Contact Kristeen Barth for a free 30-minute coaching session:

    LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kristeenbarth/

    Saboteur Assessment & Coaching Offer: https://www.kristeenbarth.com/saboteur-assessment

    • 35 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
10 Ratings

10 Ratings

FoundersSpace ,

If you're a nerd, you're going to love this

I'm a nerd, and I'm a huge fan of this podcast. It's at the top of my Geek List.

KE Wilde ,

I love the perspective

I love that the show is focused on what matters to nerds. I think that perspective shift reveals some of the greatest challenges nerds face, including being highly intelligent yet struggling at times to effectively communicate. Your show brings great bits fo wisdom!

CynthiaSundance ,

Joanie Connell's Interviews Are Must-Listens!

These podcast interviews are great! We can all benefit from more insights on communications, connecting, and getting projects accomplished--despite the fact that we're sometimes so different. I highly recommend following this podcast series!

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