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The tech industry is great at talking about the future, especially on podcasts. What we're not so great at is taking the time to understand our past. And that's what this podcast is all about. From the Noyce and Fairchild Semiconductor generation through the founding of social media, the history of Silicon Valley has many lessons for us. And we'll be interviewing the people who lived through these experiences to bring their knowledge to you. You'll get explanations for how we got where we ar ...
 
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show series
 
Second Life is widely credited for mainstreaming the concept of the metaverse as a virtual social platform—and today’s guest, James Au, invites us in to hear the inside scoop on how this platform foreshadowed today’s social media and virtual worlds, both in promise and in pitfalls. A freelance tech journalist at the time, James was hired to report …
 
This podcast typically focuses on the history of tech and where it is today, so what better guest to have on than a woman who learned to code when floppy discs were still a thing, became one of the first tech industry analysts to write about companies like VMware and Cloudera, and has since served as an advisor to some of the most innovative tech p…
 
During part one of our conversation with Shireen Mitchell, you heard what it was like for a young Black girl from the projects of New York to get into computers, gaming, and coding during the 1980s. Shireen recounted her time attending an HBCU and her career experiences in Washington D.C. that gave her eye-opening looks into the issues minority wom…
 
As a proud product of 1980s Harlem, Shireen Mitchell is an award-winning woman of color in tech with many talents: founder, author, speaker, social entrepreneur, nonprofit leader, advocate, diversity analyst, and strategist in the political, digital, and social realms. Growing up, Shireen developed a love for computers while beating the neighborhoo…
 
Hint Water founder and CEO Kara Goldin certainly knows a thing or two about entrepreneurship at this point, but that’s not where she got her start. During the 1990s, Kara was immersed in the world of Silicon Valley, working on products like Steve Job’s 2Market and AOL when it was at its peak. However, by the time the 2000s rolled around, Kara decid…
 
In the mid-1990s, when Heidi Williams got her first job in Silicon Valley coding and developing software, she was not unlike most anyone else starting their career: she simply wanted to put her skills to work. But this is the world of tech, where evolution is rapid and industry-shifting changes can occur in the middle of your lunch hour. As you’ll …
 
In our first episode with Bob Alberti, we heard what it was like to be at the forefront of the new world of computers and early internet of the 1970s, along with all the innovations he had a key role in during the decades that followed. Do you play games like World of Warcraft? Thank Bob for that. Ever search for something on the internet? He helpe…
 
Bob Alberti epitomizes what this podcast is all about: stayin’ alive in the often unforgiving world of technology. In the backdrop of Minnesota, which Bob calls the “Silicon Valley before there was Silicon Valley,” he started (and lost) two separate tech companies, developed the world’s first massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMOPRPG)…
 
Michigan-based entrepreneur and marketer Jenifer Daniels was frustrated with the lack of diversity and inclusivity in the world of stock photography. In 2015, she launched Colorstock, a valuable database of original stock photos featuring people of color, intended to fill a massive void that companies like Adobe and Shutterstock were largely ignori…
 
In this Season 4 opening episode, we welcome back Rand Fishkin, founder of Moz and co-founder of the new SparkToro, to explore how Rand found innovative ways to not only launch a new (very cool) product during 2020 but also help people and other businesses on a variety of levels in the process. In this episode, you’ll hear Melinda and Rand discuss …
 
We’re normally all about the history of tech, but the coronavirus pandemic is history in the making. This episode welcomes back best-selling business author and speaker Tom Peters to discuss how managers should handle the tough decisions they’re facing right now. Tom describes himself as an “Extreme Humanist” and he has bold words for those who are…
 
We’re normally all about the history of tech. But today we invited our friend Howard Rheingold back onto the podcast to get his unique perspective on the coronavirus pandemic—an historical moment in itself. As the man who coined the term “virtual community” long ago, he shares his thoughts on online socializing and learning, and predicts how this v…
 
With all that is going on in the world this month—the uncertainty, the fear—we still want to take a moment to celebrate Women’s History Month this March. Because it is worth taking a moment to listen to inspiring stories. It’s important to sow uplifting, interesting, and even funny moments in times like these. This episode features some of our favo…
 
John Levisay joins us as CEO of Bluprint, the “Maker’s subscription service,” an educational library for the world of crafters, artists, and hobbyists of all kinds. His own career has been a creative journey in itself, from GE and eBay, to founding and eventually selling Craftsy, to continuing on as CEO of its current iteration, Bluprint. He shares…
 
As one of the co-founders of BlogHer, Elisa Camahort Page had a guiding hand in the evolution of social influence and blogging. At the forefront of social web revolution, BlogHer was, in effect, one of the first groups to build value for women online through community, blogging, conferences, and commerce. Elisa describes the moment in 2005 when she…
 
Gary Angel is one of the founders of the field of digital analytics. As leader of Ernst & Young’s digital anlytics and founder of his own analytics consultancy, which had been acquired by EY, Gary and his team were reimagining web analytics back when all we measured were website “hits.” Gary takes us through the pillars of good analytics—and the ma…
 
When it comes to data and the privacy of the individual, where is the balance between the customer’s expectations and the company’s compliance with privacy regulations, not to mention responsibility to the consumer? In today’s data-saturated world, Aurélie sifts through the many priorities that are competing for a company’s attention—priorities tha…
 
Howard Rheingold calls himself an Independent Instigator & Observer, and we are so glad he is. Since the 60s, when the first concepts of personal computing and connecting humankind through networks were merely ideas on an LSD trip, he’s been watching how technology and human minds interrelate. Howard brings us up to the macro level, discussing how …
 
Jacqueline Harper has a story that is rarely told and exactly the kind that we’re trying to bring to light with this podcast. As one of the first black female programmers, her career goes back further than most of our guests. At her job in the IBM typing pool in the 1960s, she was asked to go home when she became pregnant with her first child. Even…
 
Rand Fishkin, founder of Moz and co-founder of SparkToro, has an unrivaled wisdom and candor perfect for podcasting. Over his years at Moz, Rand led marketers to a deeper understanding of SEO, armed with a well-placed whiteboard and an impressive mustache. Now Rand is bringing us SparkToro, a software product that opens up information on your audie…
 
We kick off Season 3 with Adam Nash, the VP of Product at Dropbox, whose career includes some of the biggest companies in tech at some of their most transformative stages—from NeXT during its 1997 acquisition by Apple, then Apple under Steve Jobs, to planning products at eBay and working at LinkedIn when there were only 100+ employees and less than…
 
Laura Yecies has an incredible list of Silicon Valley companies on her resume, including Yahoo!, Catch.com, SugarSync, and Netscape following the AOL acquisition. She has been the CEO of two venture-backed startups, including her current role as CEO of SyncThink, an eye-tracking technology with profound implications for neurological health. In this…
 
Geoff Donaker has seen every stage of a start-up—from going public to having to close the doors. Now he is on the VC side as founder of Burst Capital, bringing his expertise to investing. Meet this former COO of Yelp and hear his advice for founders and new companies on how to avoid common problems like stagnant prices or becoming untethered from y…
 
Joe tells the story of founding ExecThread, the member-driven job sharing platform where successful executives share information about great job opportunities—openings that you’d only hear about through word-of-mouth or a lucky draw with a recruiting firm. What he soon discovered, however, was that the members signing up for ExecThread were disprop…
 
Dr. Tiffani Bright, Ph.D., is the Biomedical Informatician Evaluation Team Lead at IBM Watson Health. As she describes it, the field of Biomedical Informatics sits right at the middle of a three-part Venn diagram, where computational sciences, health/life sciences, and social sciences overlap. Dr. Bright is currently working to advance the science …
 
Jim Sterne: Speaker, Author, Consultant, Professional Explainer Jim Sterne is widely considered the godfather of digital marketing analytics. He has not only seen it all, he has been articulating how to prepare for what’s coming next since the 90s. This episode delves into just that—in this case, the next big thing he sees coming is Artificial Inte…
 
Philip Rosedale is a virtual world entrepreneur with insatiable curiosity. Co-founder of High Fidelity and Second Life, he joins the podcast to discuss the biggest themes at the intersection of humanity and technology. Hear Philip describe how they built believable virtual experiences and takes a look forward to the future of expansive virtual worl…
 
"We didn't let tools define what we wanted to do. We figured out what the business value is and then we created a data existence that allowed us to answer those questions.” A sense of awe runs throughout this episode with Avinash Kaushik, one of the godfathers of web analytics. Avinash is a data visualization expert and Digital Marketing Evangelist…
 
Our next guest left a successful career in Silicon Valley at Adobe and Macromedia when she realized that a major shift had been happening—the women who had been working in the cubes and offices around her were gone. Karen Catlin turned her attention to writing, speaking, and coaching on creating more inclusive workplaces and adding diversity to spe…
 
Tom Peters, best-selling business author, speaker, and “Red Bull of management thinking,” reaches back to his start in Silicon Valley in the 1970s, reflecting on how the Valley has evolved and what work still needs to be done to bring the focus back to the people. Tom predicts that continued change is coming our way—especially for women—and that an…
 
Our guest Sian Morson has always followed that nagging idea that keeps her up at night, and this persistence has allowed her to dive into mobile before most people saw its potential, bootstrap her own mobile app business, Kollective Mobile, launch her own beauty app, and now serve as an LP for Backstage Capital. Coming from a background in film and…
 
Mar Hicks, Associate Professor of History at Illinois Institute of Technology, drops in to talk about the history of technology and how algorithmic bias has evolved over the years. They discuss topics from how women were purposefully excluded from the tech industry to how transgender algorithmic bias began in the 70’s. Mar shares insights about bia…
 
Sherry Wei, the soft-spoken but gritty founder of Aviatrix Systems, shares her story of emigrating from China and starting her career coding for Cisco Systems, and the steps that convinced her to jump into the unpredictable world of startups in 2013. From taking Aviatrix Systems from a bootstrap startup to a company with $25 million in venture inve…
 
Paula Buchanan, writer, researcher, and self-proclaimed data nerd, likes to pose the question “so what?” as she looks at how data should be presented and how tech should not be a gadget in search of a problem. “How can I make it so what I’m researching can help people not just by my taking a more maternalistic view, but how can I empower them to he…
 
Paula Buchanan, writer, researcher, and self-proclaimed data nerd, likes to pose the question “so what?” as she looks at how data should be presented and how tech should not be a gadget in search of a problem. “How can I make it so what I’m researching can help people not just by my taking a more maternalistic view, but how can I empower them to he…
 
This episode contains adult themes and a few swear words; so you may wish to exercise discretion when listening with others. "You’re never too old or too young to do anything."- Cindy Gallop From her early training in theatre, to a career in advertising and a life filled with purpose and fun, to her next mission as founder, investor, and evangelist…
 
The word that keeps coming up in this episode is “audacity.” Ellen Petry Leanse joins Melinda Byerley to talk about her experiences in the early days of Apple, when she served as Apple’s first User Evangelist. Proclaimed the “nerd queen,” she led the company’s first online debut in 1985 with one of the first BBSs. Her career is a parable of what ha…
 
Ron Lichty joins Melinda Byerley to share stories about his time in Silicon Valley as a programmer, then a team and product manager. They talk about his instrumental role in the development of Apple’s game-changing personal computer, the Macintosh. This is only one highlight of his distinguished career that also includes three patents, several book…
 
Linda Popky, one of Silicon Valley’s top 100 women of influence, stops in to talk to Melinda Byerley about her lifetime of marketing experiences and specifically her time at Sun Microsystems in the heady days of the genesis of Silicon Valley. In this insightfully fun episode, she talks about how she came to work for Sun and her eventual move from B…
 
Owen Thomas joins Melinda Byerley to talk about the history of his controversial blog post about Peter Thiel’s sexuality and the ethos of narrative control that pervades Silicon Valley. His story includes how and why Nick Denton founded Valleywag. His story is about how journalists can incite grudges and the destruction money and power can unleash.…
 
Kumar Garg joins us to talk about his now famous whiteboard and how to get things done. He tells us about his experiences from the White House Office of Science and Technology during the Obama administration and how the content of the whiteboard came about. Sprinkled in are stories about him being a young migrant from India and how he came to be in…
 
Jim Long, a serial entrepreneur and venture capitalist, shares with us his thoughts on product development, the importance of an MBA, and the cultures of places like Intel and Hewlett-Packard in the 80’s. His experiences continue to coalesce into one of the most authentic and honest perspectives of what has been going on in the valley over the last…
 
Deirdré Straughan, Open Source Content Lead at Amazon Web Services and a global telecommunications pioneer, joins us to talk about how she built an accidental career in tech with absolutely no STEM degree. Along the way, she gives a crash course in the history of the desktop publishing space, which evolved alongside her career as a technical writer…
 
We used to be able to log on and take on any identity we wanted. Now, we expose our entire lives to the world. Is that a good thing? What are the tradeoffs? And in that environment, how have anonymous trolls and bots somehow pushed us all back towards anonymity? And what does eBay’s reputation system have to do with all this? Coraline Ada Ehmke has…
 
The New York Times had an article in March in which several investors on a Detroit road trip seemed to think Silicon Valley was "over" when it came to investing in early-stage startups. I wanted to ask a person actually doing this work what he thought LINKS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE: Data on VC investment by metro region More on Investing in Women-…
 
It's hard to believe, but the internet didn't always have teams of people and algorithms to keep us safe. As Vinton Cerf, one of the creators of internet protocols, put it: “We didn’t focus on how you could wreck this system intentionally.” Larry Friedberg was one of eBay’s first Trust and Safety employees and came to define the profession. He’s he…
 
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