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.


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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    412: Diversity-X with Kevin Withane

    February 24th, 2022  |  Season 11  |  32 mins 26 secs

    Kevin Withane is the founder of Diversity-X: a community to help underrepresented founders who are trying to make a positive impact in the world thrive, scale, and grow.

    Chad talks with Kevin about giving underestimated founders connections and access, creating a venture fund, and creating a platform via DiversityX.

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    411: Civic Innovation with Jay Nath

    February 17th, 2022  |  Season 11  |  34 mins 56 secs

    Jay Nath is the Co-CEO of City Innovate, a govtech company streamlining procurement through enterprise software and innovative frameworks.

    He talks with Chad about how he focuses on helping governments be more effective, responsive, and zeroed in on helping their constituents whether on a small city or a big state scale.

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    410: Ada Developers Academy with Alexandra Holien

    February 10th, 2022  |  Season 11  |  34 mins 31 secs

    Alexandra Holien is the Vice President of Revenue and Strategy and Deputy Director of Ada Developers Academy. She talks with Chad about working for a nonprofit that prioritizes teaching Black, Brown, Latinx, Indigenous, Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, and low-income folks software development for free.

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    409: Career Growth and Being a Mindful Dev with Dagna Bieda

    February 3rd, 2022  |  Season 11  |  34 mins 10 secs

    Dagna Bieda is an engineer, career coach, and founder of She talks with Chad about being a software engineer first and then becoming a career coach who has helped a big range of clients with communication and marketing themselves successfully.

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    408: Shipyard with Benjie De Groot

    January 27th, 2022  |  Season 11  |  38 mins 56 secs

    Chad talks to Benjie De Groot, co-founder, and CEO of Shipyard. Shipyard manages, creates, builds, and deploys ephemeral environments.

    Benjie talks about how Shipyard became a funded company, discovering who their ideal customers are, and building out the core team so Shipyard can accelerate and figure out their next steps in how to bring it to the masses.

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    Assessment and Performance Metrics with Tiffany Shubert of Relias Healthcare

    January 20th, 2022  |  Season 11  |  43 mins 23 secs

    Chad talks to Tiffany Shubert, Senior Product Manager at Relias Healthcare. Relias is an online healthcare education company. They develop and create education and clinical content for anything from physicians to nurses, physical therapists, to in-home care aides in multiple healthcare settings. They span the entire range from acute care hospital settings to in-home care to hospice.

    Tiffany talks about how her clinical skills apply really well to product management, defining who you're solving the problem for, being all about your end-user, and making sure they have an amazing experience with your product.

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    406: thoughtbot 2021 Year-in-Review with CEO Diana Bald

    January 13th, 2022  |  Season 11  |  48 mins 24 secs

    Chad talks to the CEO of thoughtbot, Diana Bald, about 2021 in retrospect. thoughtbot, as a company, has settled into a new structure that contains different teams and committed to becoming a fully remote organization.

    Last year, Diana successfully transitioned into taking over the company's CEO role. She and Chad talk about the improvements the company made in 2021, including DEI (diversity, equity, inclusion) efforts and training sessions, and look ahead to some improvements coming in 2022, such as an expansion of the apprenticeship program.

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    405: RackN Digital Rebar with Rob Hirschfeld

    December 23rd, 2021  |  Season 11  |  47 mins 24 secs

    Chad talks to Rob Hirschfeld, the Founder and CEO of RackN, which develops software to help automate data centers, which they call Digital Rebar. RackN is focused on helping customers automate infrastructure. They focus on customer autonomy and self-management, and that's why they're a software company, not a services or as-a-service platform company.

    Digital Rebar is a platform that helps connect all of the different pieces and tools that people use to manage infrastructure into infrastructure pipelines through the seamless multi-component automation across all of the different pieces and parts that have to be run to bring up infrastructure.

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    404: My Goat with Neil Amrhein and Matt Erickson

    December 16th, 2021  |  Season 11  |  42 mins 17 secs

    Neal Amrhein is the founder and CEO and Matt Erickson is the CTO of My Goat. My Goat is a subscription mowing service for commercial properties. They use robotic mowers and elegant software tools to make turf care easy, convenient, and affordable.