Giant Robots Smashing Into Other Giant Robots

About the show

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.


  • Poster Image

    428: LGBT YouthLink of CenterLink with Deborah Levine

    June 23rd, 2022  |  Season 11  |  25 mins

    Deborah Levine is the Director of LGBT YouthLink at CenterLink, which supports, strengthens, and connects LGBT centers.

    Chad talks with Deborah about working on something new called imi: a free digital research-backed mental health tool intended to support and help LGBTQ+ teens explore and affirm their identity and learn practical ways to cope with their sexual and gender minority stress, founding Q Chat Space, a digital LGBTQ+ center where teens join live-chat, professionally facilitated, online support groups, and how over the time that she's been doing work in LGBTQ+ spaces products and online interaction have changed and evolved.

  • Poster Image

    427: BrainStation with Johanna Mikkola

    June 16th, 2022  |  Season 11  |  41 mins 22 secs

    Johanna Mikkola is the Co-Founder and CEO of Wyncode Academy, recently acquired by BrainStation, whose project-based programs have helped over 100,000 professionals launch new careers in the tech industry.

    Chad talks with Johanna about creating a digital skills training bootcamp, the hiring and training market and challenges, and prioritizing inclusion and diversity in the student population.

  • Poster Image

    426: Marvelous with Jeni Barcelos

    June 9th, 2022  |  Season 11  |  40 mins 53 secs

    Jeni Barcelos is the Co-Founder and CEO of Marvelous, the world's most beautiful all-in-one teaching platform.

    Chad talks with Jeni about what makes Marvelous different from other teaching platforms out there, the importance of elevating women to leadership positions, and why applying for and getting accepted into an accelerator program was the right path for the company.

  • Poster Image

    425: SweetProcess with Owen McGab Enaohwo

    June 2nd, 2022  |  Season 11  |  32 mins 42 secs

    Owen McGab Enaohwo is the CEO and Co-Founder of SweetProcess, a business process management software that helps management teams and employees easily document procedures, implement processes, and manage tasks.

    Chad talks with Owen about taking specific root issues and building software around them, overcoming resistance to the core idea of documenting processes, and the importance of having the freedom and ability to be empowered to make changes to organizational documents that outline how you do your work.

  • Poster Image

    424: Boulevard with Matt Danna

    May 26th, 2022  |  Season 11  |  34 mins 25 secs

    Matt Danna is the Co-Founder and CEO of Boulevard, which powers next-gen salons and spas. Its mission is to modernize the technology while improving the daily lives of professionals and the clients they serve.

    Chad talks with Matt about discovering a problem and then making the jump to working on it, overcoming hurdles in terms of continued growth, and deciding to invest in building their own hardware by creating Boulevard Duo: a point of sale credit card reader.

  • Poster Image

    423: Reign Ventures with Monique Idlett

    May 19th, 2022  |  Season 11  |  41 mins 54 secs

    Monique Idlett is the Founder of Reign Ventures, a seed-stage investment firm, and previously the Co-Founder and CEO of Mosley Brands and Mosley Music Group, home to a multiplatinum roster of artists.

    Chad talks with Monique about how the music industry is like the startup venture capital industry, understanding that representation matters, having a data-forward approach, and appearing on the TV show Undercover Billionaire, where entrepreneurs are given 90-days and nothing but 100 dollars to go undercover and build a thriving million-dollar business for a small town in the US.

  • Poster Image

    422: Verge HealthTech Fund with Joseph Mocanu

    May 12th, 2022  |  Season 11  |  36 mins 52 secs

    Joseph Mocanu is Co-founder and Managing Director of Verge HealthTech Fund, which invests globally in seed-stage healthcare technology startups relevant to emerging Asia that focus on disease prevention and management, digital therapies, and health system efficiency.

    Chad talks with Joseph about the healthcare landscape in different places of the world, funding criteria for companies, and how the pandemic has changed prospects for the fund and the market in general.

  • Poster Image

    421: Benchmark Labs with Carlos F. Gaitan Ospina

    May 5th, 2022  |  Season 11  |  34 mins 41 secs

    Carlos F. Gaitan Ospina is the Founder and CEO of Benchmark Labs, which provides IoT-based weather forecasting solutions for the agriculture, energy, and insurance sectors worldwide using proprietary machine-learning software.

    Chad talks with Carlos about creating the company, the hardware they're producing and what it is doing, and where the machine learning comes into play.

  • Poster Image

    420: mRelief with Dize Hacioglu

    April 28th, 2022  |  Season 11  |  44 mins 18 secs

    Dize Hacioglu is the CTO of Chicago’s mRelief, which offers an easy-to-use platform that helps families connect to SNAP food benefits. Since it was founded in 2014, the non-profit mRelief has helped 2.8 million Americans unlock $1 billion in food stamp benefits.

    Chad talks with Dize about how the platform helps people navigate the often complicated food stamp benefits system, what her role as CTO looks like as a CTO who codes, and how she hopes to help facilitate the growth of the mRelief program and team.

  • Poster Image

    419: The GK Fund with Michael Benezra

    April 21st, 2022  |  Season 11  |  26 mins 22 secs

    Michael Benezra is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of the GK Fund: a nonprofit social impact fund to support BIPOC-owned companies in Greater Boston. Michael also serves as the COO of Colette Phillips Communications, helping to lead the All Inclusive Boston tourism campaign, among other projects.

    Chad talks with Michael about being a BIPOC ally, disparities amongst the VC world, and how the GK Fund looks for the same things in BIPOC-owned companies that they look for in other companies because the innovation is there; it's just that the opportunity isn't.

  • Poster Image

    418: Aitomatic with Christopher Nguyen

    April 14th, 2022  |  Season 11  |  39 mins 4 secs

    Christopher Nguyen is the CEO of Aitomatic, which provides knowledge-first AI for industrial automation.

    Chad talks with Christopher about why having a physical sciences background matters for this work, if we have artificial intelligence, why we still need people, and working in knowledge-first AI instead of knowledge-second, knowledge-third, or no knowledge at all. Data reflects the world.

  • Poster Image

    417: Hume AI with Alan Cowen

    April 7th, 2022  |  Season 11  |  40 mins 22 secs

    Dr. Alan Cowen is the Executive Director of The Hume Initiative, a non-profit dedicated to the responsible advancement of AI with empathy, and CEO of Hume AI, an AI research lab and empathetic AI company that is hoping to pave the way for AI that improves our emotional well-being.

    Chad talks with Alan about forming clear ethical guidelines around how this technology should be used because there is a problem in that the public is skeptical about whether technology is used for good or bad. The Hume Initiative is intended to lay out what concrete use cases will be and what use cases shouldn't be supported. Hume AI is built for developers to construct empathic abilities into their applications.

  • Poster Image

    416: The ParentPreneur Foundation with James Oliver Jr.

    March 31st, 2022  |  Season 11  |  37 mins 41 secs

    James Oliver Jr. is the Founder and CEO of The ParentPreneur Foundation, which empowers Black ParentPreneurs so they can leave a legacy for their beautiful Black children.

    Chad talks with James about inspiring, encouraging, and supporting ParentPreneurs to lobby to try to close wealth inequality gaps, shoot their shot and send cold emails, and engage in a community that supports one another.

  • Poster Image

    415: Promenade with JT Liddell

    March 24th, 2022  |  Season 11  |  38 mins 34 secs

    JT Lidell is the Founder of Promenade, which seamlessly matches and connects military veterans to the resources, people, and organizations that matter to them.

    Chad talks with JT about being a mission-driven, bootstrapped organization, the problems that he's encountered and hopes that Promenade solves, and aggregating people, tools, resources, and funding to make it happen.

  • Poster Image

    414: Sagewell Financial with Sam Zimmerman

    March 10th, 2022  |  Season 11  |  39 mins 22 secs

    Sam Zimmerman is CEO and Co-founder of Sagewell Financial. Sagewell is building a banking platform for the needs of folks who are trying to retire and live off their savings and income as intelligently and as well as possible.

    Chad talks with Sam about deciding what their first product should be and what they would be bringing to market, finding the right partners, and minimizing risk to make a business and a product that works.

  • Poster Image

    413: The Takeoff Institute with Brian Hollins

    March 3rd, 2022  |  Season 11  |  38 mins 14 secs

    Brian Hollins is the Founder of the Takeoff Institute and Founding Managing Partner of Collide Capital. The Takeoff Institute is focused on equipping Black undergrads with the resources and mentorship they need to build a young professional career.

    Chad talks with Brian about providing students with necessary skills like etiquette and polish to break into Tesla and McKinsey-level companies and facilitating facetime, communication, and mentorship with other Black people within those companies who are at executive levels.