From the Stage to Your Ear(buds)

Photo by karn684/iStock / Getty Images

Last year, we took on a new project to build a podcast network. The project was called Revoice, and was intended to be a network of podcasts created by and for musicians. The idea was sparked by Nick Ruffini, founder and host of the successful Drummer's Resource show - a podcast about, you guessed it - drummers. For a year, Nick, Dave (our other partner), and I worked thorough various business models, story ideas, interviews with stakeholders and creative partners. We spent a lot of time figuring things out and changed direction several times. The world of podcasting is new and exciting, but it's also the wild west of media and content. How do you monetize it? And now, the landscape is so full of excellent podcasts to listen to, how do you compete? (to go deep on this, Manoush's new podcast details how she and her producer, Jen Poyant, are navigating the world of building a show from scratch)

In the end, we decided to keep things simple. We'd begin by working directly with musicians who already had ideas - or recorded content - ready to go. Our project has turned into Revoice Media and our first client is award-winning pop singer Andy Grammer. His podcast, called "The Good Parts", will be live in a week. And it's really good. 

It took more than a year, but we're finally getting this thing off the ground.

A New Vision for Ford and the city of Detroit

This week, the Techonomy team and I went to Detroit to meet with Ford to learn about their vision for the future. Part of that future includes bringing the company back downtown. They've purchased the Michigan Central Station, the iconic building that has been vacant since 1988. Ford will take on the massive task of renovating the building to create a new workspace in Corktown. 

We also hosted a community event at Gold Cash Gold, a fantastic local restaurant in a former pawn shop. Chef Brendon Edwards is a super cool, low-key guy who made his famous fried chicken for us (even though it wasn't on the menu) and spent time chatting with everyone who attended.  

Here's Techonomy founder David Kirkpatrick's report from the trip

I've been to Detroit regularly over the last few years (as I've written about before) and each time, it's striking to see the change happening in the city. See below -- two photos of the same house, taken 5 years apart.

 Photo taken in 2013

Photo taken in 2013

 Undergoing renovations in 2018

Undergoing renovations in 2018

Techonomy New York

This week, the Techonomy team hits New York in what promises to be a provocative, informative, action-packed conference. Former WPP CEO Martin Sorrell will open and iconic NY chef Eric Ripert will close day one, May 8; and celebrated environmentalist Jeffrey Sachs gets things going on day two, May 9 - which wraps up with discussions about AI, robots, blockchain, and inevitably, Facebook (co-founder Chris Hughes is our final speaker). 

If you're interested in attending, head over to our events page

Photo by brazzo/iStock / Getty Images

For Women Only (a new event series)

Photo by AzmanL/iStock / Getty Images

Long before #metoo and the recent awareness about women's issues, I was having conversations about how to create something for women - an event, a media platform, a company. A platform for diverse female voices to talk about real issues, solve problems, and just have a comfortable place to hang out with like-minded women. 

As an event producer and programmer, I find the lack of female representation at conferences appalling, and have worked to correct it where possible. It is more difficult than it should be to get a company to put forward a female speaker. I've heard many ridiculous excuses and have often been ignored when requesting a female speaker, even when pressing to hit a 50/50 gender balanced stage. The recent call out of lack of female presenters at CES by the Advertising industry is a step in the right direction, for sure; but we still have a long way to go. 

In response, I'm starting an event series for women. It's not the most original idea, of course, but I have been thinking about doing it for a long time. There's no reason to wait. I have two amazing partners in this effort - Manoush Zomorodi, who is a co-founder and host; and, Amee Mungo, a digital strategist and entrepreneur who has been scheming with me for years. 

Our first event is on January 25 in NYC. Our mission is to build a strong, vibrant community of women who don't need anyone's permission or promotion to speak. We will cover issues that we grapple with every day, and provide an open, supportive network from which to pull inspiration, ideas, and energy. Away from the internet, IRL. 


Thursday, January 25
5:30PM at
Norwood Club

Our first event features Manoush in conversation with Azita Ardakani about how our unconscious world shapes our career more than we know; and that by having a relationship with our inner world, we can empower what we create in our outer world.

If you're interested in learning more, please get in touch


Commit to 50/50, at minimum.

A few days ago, a number of high-powered executives called out CES for the lack of female speakers on the upcoming 2018 program. The Drum brought the story to life and asked for comments. So we contributed, glad to see this become part of a larger conversation. 

This is an issue we've grappled with for years, not only for major industry conferences and events, but on projects where diversity of thought is a key component of changing direction, shifting culture, and driving innovation. And even though they recognize the need to change things up, there are far too many leaders who prefer to stay comfortable with things as they've always been.
Gender balance, diversity of perspective, and inclusion should be imperatives for anyone who produces and programs an event. Any organization that doesn’t recognize the importance of this moment is simply not progressing at a modern pace. 


November Edit

Excerpts from our November newsletter

The month of November makes me feel that life is passing more quickly. In an effort to slow it down, I try to fill the hours more meaningfully. - Henry Rollins



A few weeks ago, we traveled to Michigan with Manoush, who gave a Bored & Brilliant talk for Ford, as well a keynote for the Michigan Library Association in Lansing (500 librarians = the most engaged audience ever!). Being in Michigan gave us a chance for a short but sweet visit to Detroit, a place that I've come to love over the last few years. I'm always happy to go back to see what's happening in the Motor City.

Detroit is experiencing a boutique hotel boom and we stayed at one of the newest stars, the Detroit Foundation Hotel. The historic building, once headquarters to the Detroit Fire Department, has been renovated into a stunning space that maintains the integrity of what was there before while bringing it fully into the here and now. There are many highlights, but the focus on local designers, artists, and collaborators gives the hotel unique personality (local collaborators of note: Kerosene fragrances and Detroit Is The New Black). The Apparatus Room restaurant is led by 2-star Michelin chef Thomas Lents and is both glamorous and useful - by day, it's a hangout and workspace with communal tables and casual seating (so casual, in fact, that some dude was comfortable enough to nap on one of the couches all day).

 The Apparatus Room at the Detroit Foundation Hotel.

The Apparatus Room at the Detroit Foundation Hotel.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the hotel is the podcast studio. Built for the local community to use as a place to create or collaborate (and free of charge), it's also available to hotel guests and anyone else who happens to be in town and is interested in recording something (Queens of the Stone Age were staying at the hotel when we were there, but sadly, no jam session took place).

 "...f rom the Shinola Runwell Turntable to the wall-mounted Wallace Detroit guitar made with reclaimed wood from the old Detroit Fire Department - it's decorated with inspiration in mind."  Indeed.   Detroit Foundation Hotel, 250 W Larned St, Detroit, MI.

"...from the Shinola Runwell Turntable to the wall-mounted Wallace Detroit guitar made with reclaimed wood from the old Detroit Fire Department - it's decorated with inspiration in mind." Indeed. 
Detroit Foundation Hotel, 250 W Larned St, Detroit, MI.

Edits from The Edit

There's an internal debate going on at Studio Kairos about which medium is most valuable when sharing news and content - a blog, a newsletter, or social? Social trumps all, I think, so really the question is what complements that effort? To find out, we've been off the blog for a few weeks to work on our version of a newsletter. It's called The Edit and we launched it this week. Here are a few stories that were in the newsletter - and, a few that weren't. 

If you're interested in receiving The Edit in your Inbox once a month, let us know!

September is Productivity Month

Dan Costa interviews NerdWallet founder & CEO Tim Chen about the future of finance. 

Dan Costa, Editor-In-Chief of, was recently in San Francisco to interview several tech company founders about productivity, including Tim Chen (above), the CEO of NerdWallet. Tim thinks of NerdWallet as a "book of maps" for personal finance, orienting people so they can make the best financial decisions for every stage of life. He and Dan covered a lot of ground in their conversation - how NerdWallet is applying social to a FinTech product, Millennial consumers, Artificial Intelligence, Bitcoin, and why Tim tries to "be more analog", only checking into Twitter every 3 months. Listen to the interview with Tim on the Fast Forward podcast


Can your office furniture impact your productivity? Sophia Stuart recently visited the Herman Miller showroom in Culver City, CA, for a look at Live OS, the company’s new sensor equipped desks.  

Ryan Anderson, head of commercialization for Herman Miller's IoT Solutions, spoke with Stuart about the concept behind the furniture. Anderson commented, "We asked ourselves, what would it look like to have sensor-enabled furniture? In a mobile-first workplace, what are the new patterns of behavior?" To find out the answers, read Sophia’s article.

 Cocktail hour at Lazy Bear, San Francisco

Cocktail hour at Lazy Bear, San Francisco

Fine Dining, Disrupted

Inside a nondescript, dodgy-looking building in the Mission is one of San Francisco’s most innovative dining experiences: Lazy Bear, a “modern American dinner party”. Once an exclusive supper club started by lawyer-turned-chef David Barzelay, Lazy Bear has become one of the hottest dining events in the city.

You arrive, your coat is whisked into a closet, and a handsome host sweeps you into the cocktail lounge, where you're handed a welcome drink from the communal punchbowl. You dine on cocktail "snacks" like whipped scrambled eggs and soft-shell crab while getting to know fellow guests before dinner begins.

Each seating at Lazy Bear is limited to 40 people, split between two communal dining tables in a gorgeous, dramatically lit room. Dishes are presented individually, passionately introduced by a chef as servers deliver them to the table. It's an evening designed for interaction - conversation is encouraged, and diners are invited into the kitchen, which is open to the dining room, to chat with the chefs as they cook. 

Creating scarcity: "Each month’s tickets go on sale all at once, usually at noon on a Wednesday in the middle of the previous month." And they are sold out every month. October reservations are on sale now.
Lazy Bear, 3416 19th St, San Francisco, CA

 L.A. band Warpaint at Outside Lands.

L.A. band Warpaint at Outside Lands.

And finally, we spent the last few weeks of summer cooling off in the bay area and hit Outside Lands, the music festival held every August in Golden Gate Park.

Artists we loved:
Royal Blood - what Mike Kerr can do with a bass guitar is nothing short of extraordinary.

Maggie Rogers - to understand the buzz, watch her blow away Pharrell Williams during her final masterclass at NYU (and you can hear more about her process for writing that song, "Alaska", on Song Exploder)

Sleigh Bells, a band we've been following since 2008. The difference in their performance between those early days and now is astonishing. Alexis Krauss is a force, reminding us to practice, practice, practice.

To hear music from this year's festival, hit the playlist button below.

Manoush Zomorodi: Bored and Brilliant at TED2017

Just in time for #NationalRelaxationDay, our very own Manoush Zomorodi’s Ted Talk has been posted online. Filmed in Vancouver this past April at TED2017, Manoush talks about the art of being Bored and Brilliant, and gives a preview of what is to come when her book is released in September.

Here are some highlights from Manoush’s talk:

I started talking to neuroscientists and cognitive psychologists, and what they told me was fascinating. It turns out that when you get bored, you ignite a network in your brain called the "default mode." So our body, it goes on autopilot while we're folding the laundry or we're walking to work, but actually that is when our brain gets really busy.

But could this cycle be broken? What would happen if we broke this vicious cycle? Maybe my listeners could help me find out. What if we reclaimed those cracks in our day? Could it help us jump-start our creativity? We called the project "Bored and Brilliant." And I expected, you know, a couple hundred people to play along, but thousands of people started signing up. And they told me the reason they were doing it was because they were worried that their relationship with their phone had grown kind of ... "codependent," shall we say.

I mean, you know the feeling: that amazing episode of "Transparent" ends, and then the next one starts playing so you're like, eh, OK fine, I'll just stay up and watch it. Or the LinkedIn progress bar says you are this close to having the perfect profile, so you add a little more personal information. As one UX designer told me, the only people who refer to their customers as "users" are drug dealers and technologists.

In the end, 20,000 people did "Bored and Brilliant" that week. Ninety percent cut down on their minutes. Seventy percent got more time to think. People told me that they slept better. They felt happier. My favorite note was from a guy who said he felt like he was waking up from a mental hibernation.

So the next time you go to check your phone, remember that if you don't decide how you're going to use the technology, the platforms will decide for you. And ask yourself: What am I really looking for? Because if it's to check email, that's fine -- do it and be done. But if it's to distract yourself from doing the hard work that comes with deeper thinking, take a break, stare out the window and know that by doing nothing you are actually being your most productive and creative self. It might feel weird and uncomfortable at first, but boredom truly can lead to brilliance.


  If you are interested in booking Manoush as a speaker, drop us a  note !

If you are interested in booking Manoush as a speaker, drop us a note!