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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    513 - Custom Fit, Global Impact: MADE TECH's Apparel Innovation with Dustin Butcher

    February 22nd, 2024  |  Season 14  |  37 mins 11 secs

    In this episode, Victoria Guido chats with Dustin Butcher, CEO and Co-Founder of MADE TECH, about revolutionizing performance apparel with custom and made-to-measure automation technology. From personal frustrations with ill-fitting gear to pioneering a technology that offers 100% size inclusivity, Dustin shares how MADE TECH is enhancing individual performance and comfort and pushing the industry towards more inclusive and sustainable practices by partnering with established brands.

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    512 - Unboxing thoughtbot's Revolutionary Design Sprint Kit

    February 15th, 2024  |  Season 14  |  34 mins 33 secs

    In this episode of the Giant Robots Smashing Into Other Giant Robots podcast, hosts Will Larry and Victoria Guido are joined by thoughtbot's senior designers, Rami Taibah and Ferdia Kenny, to discuss the innovative Product Design Sprint Kit. This tool compresses the design process into a focused five-day sprint, facilitating the efficient transition from idea to user-tested prototype. The conversation highlights the kit's development, its open accessibility, and its impact on product strategy through iterative design and user feedback. Real-world examples illustrate how these design sprints can lead to crucial product refinements, showcasing the critical role of user testing in product development.

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    511 - Tele911: Pioneering Remote Emergency Care with Dr. Ramon Lizardo

    February 8th, 2024  |  Season 14  |  35 mins 59 secs

    Host Victoria Guido dives into the transformative world of Tele911 with its CEO, Dr. Ramon Lizardo. They explore how Tele911 is revolutionizing emergency healthcare by enabling paramedics to provide on-site treatments with remote guidance from doctors via iPads, significantly reducing the need for hospital visits. Dr. Lizardo discusses his motivations, the challenges of innovating within digital health, and how the COVID-19 pandemic catalyzed the acceptance and growth of Tele911, emphasizing the importance of a values-driven approach in navigating the expansion and ensuring data privacy.

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    510 - The Forecastr Formula: Steven Plappert’s Path to Startup Success

    February 1st, 2024  |  Season 14  |  32 mins 4 secs

    Victoria Guido interviews the CEO of Forecastr, Steven Plappert, about the company's journey and mission to assist non-finance savvy founders with financial modeling. Steven shares insights on balancing growth with financial health and the strategic introduction of a human element into Forecastr's software. He also discusses the company's goals, including cultural strength, profitability, and growth, as well as the crucial role of work-life balance in entrepreneurship. He and Victoria discuss how Forecasts and Thoughtbot integrate this philosophy into their culture.

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    509 - Revolutionizing Learning in Web Development with Wes Bos

    January 25th, 2024  |  Season 14  |  37 mins 48 secs

    Hosts Will Larry and Victoria Guido are joined by Wes Bos, a full-stack developer, course creator, and podcaster. Wes shares his web development journey, from blogging and creating a successful book on Sublime Text to developing his popular online courses and hosting the Syntax podcast. He talks about the spontaneous start of his teaching career, his approach to creating content that is both approachable and practical, and the importance of making web development accessible to all learners.

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    thoughtbot's Incubator Program Mini Session 3: Episode 08: Goodz with Mike Rosenthal and Chris Cerrito

    January 23rd, 2024  |  Season 13  |  28 mins 35 secs

    Lindsey Christensen and Jordyn Bonds catch up with the co-founders of Goodz, Chris Cerrito and Mike Rosenthal, where they share insights from their journey during the Incubator program, including the usefulness of the application process in aligning their vision and the challenges and benefits of user interviews and the importance of not overreacting to single user feedback and finding a balance in responding to diverse opinions. They reveal the varied reactions of users to Goodz's product, highlighting the different market segments interested in it.

    As the Incubator program nears its end for Goodz, Chris and Mike reflect on their achievements and future plans. They've made significant progress, such as setting up an e-commerce site and conducting successful user interviews. The co-founders discuss their excitement about the potential of their product and the validation they received from users. Mike mentions the importance of focusing on B2B sales and the possibility of upcoming events like South by Southwest and Record Store Day.

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    508 - Drumming Up Connections: Jessica Wallace on Networking in Real-Time

    January 18th, 2024  |  Season 14  |  30 mins 13 secs

    Host Victoria Guido talks with Jessica Wallace, CEO of Flok22, about her journey from hairdressing to tech entrepreneurship and the creation of Flok22, an app for real-time networking. They share a mutual passion for music and discuss the challenges and successes in developing Flok22, emphasizing its impact on modern networking and personal connections in the tech world.

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    thoughtbot's Incubator Program Mini Session 3: Episode 07: Knect with Josh Herzig-Marx

    January 16th, 2024  |  Season 13  |  38 mins 23 secs

    Josh Herzig-Marx, founder of Knect, discusses the latest developments in his startup journey since his last appearance on the show. He emphasizes the program's value in helping founders like himself refine ideas and strategies. He particularly notes the program's effectiveness in addressing challenges unique to startups, such as managing professional networks and dealing with the rapid growth of online presence.

    The conversation also delves into AI's technical aspects and potential applications and the practicalities and ethical considerations of using it in professional networking. Josh and Jordyn explore various AI use cases, distinguishing between beneficial applications and those they deem undesirable.

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    507 - Scaling New Heights: Innovating in Software Development with Merico's Founders Henry Yin and Maxim Wheatley

    January 11th, 2024  |  Season 14  |  44 mins 42 secs

    Host Victoria Guido, Henry Yin, and Maxim Wheatley of Merico, with special guest co-host Joe Ferris of thoughtbot, delve into Merico's evolution from focusing on open-source funding to creating Apache DevLake, emphasizing community-driven development and transparency. They also explore the integration of AI in software engineering, underscoring AI's role in enhancing productivity and the significance of data-driven approaches in team management and software delivery.

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    thoughtbot's Incubator Program Mini Season 3 - Episode 06: Goodz with Mike Rosenthal and Chris Cerrito

    January 9th, 2024  |  Season 13  |  26 mins 27 secs

    Mike Rosenthal and Chris Cirrito discuss the progress of Goodz, focusing on the recent intense weeks they've had. Goodz, a startup merging the digital and physical worlds of music, has stayed on course with its initial concept. Mike details their approach to Thanksgiving and the launch of their e-commerce experiment. He shares insights from recent user interviews, which have influenced their approach and understanding of their target audience.

    When the discussion turns to the challenges of launching and maintaining their e-commerce platform, Mike and Chris talk about learning from analytics, marketing strategies, and the importance of understanding consumer behavior. They discuss the challenges in balancing short-term and long-term goals, and the upcoming fundraising efforts.

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    506 - A Breath of Fresh Air: Wendy Lawson's Mission for Accessible Lung Care

    January 4th, 2024  |  Season 14  |  35 mins 8 secs

    Wendy Lawson is the Founder and CEO of Exhale Lung Rehabilitation, a company offering online lung rehabilitation and remote therapeutic monitoring services. She explains her background in chronic disease epidemiology, her dedication to helping those with lung disease, and highlights the challenges in making lung rehabilitation accessible and effective, especially in remote or rural areas. The pandemic created a demand for online medical services, and Exhale took the opportunity to address this need by leveraging technology to provide remote services to those who needed them most.

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    505: Commsor with Mac Reddin

    December 21st, 2023  |  Season 11  |  40 mins 48 secs

    Mac Reddin is the CEO of Commsor. He discusses Commsor's evolution from community-led growth software to a go-to-network model, emphasizing the importance of various overlapping networks in a company's ecosystem. He shares his journey from running a Minecraft-based company as a teenager to founding Commsor, which initially began as a newsletter and evolved into a community and then a product.

    Mac stresses the effectiveness of authentic community building and relationship-based growth over traditional sales and marketing strategies. He criticizes cold calling and email tactics, advocating for genuine interactions and relationship-building. Commsor’s approach, including personal onboarding of every user and fostering a company culture where employees are encouraged to express their individuality and interests, has shown success and satisfaction internally and in the market.

    Chad reflects on his experiences at thoughtbot, aligning with Reddin's perspective on community and user-centric approaches. He emphasizes trust and freedom within his team, allowing for authentic individual contributions to the company's growth and reputation. Together, they discuss the importance of personal connections in business and how modern sales tactics might need reevaluation in favor of more genuine, relationship-based approaches.

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    504: Spare with D'ontra Hughes

    December 14th, 2023  |  Season 11  |  32 mins 57 secs

    D'ontra Hughes is the Founder and CEO of Spare, which uses tech to solve cash management problems for unbanked small businesses and enterprises. D'ontra shares his entrepreneurship journey, driven by realizing the financial industry's impact on less privileged individuals.

    D'ontra highlights a significant issue in the banking sector where the poorest people are often charged the most in fees, perpetuating poverty. Spare addresses the high fees unbanked individuals face when accessing their money. D'ontra's entrepreneurial journey involved various challenges, including learning from customer feedback, understanding the importance of data-driven decisions, and navigating the competitive startup environment.

    The conversation also covers the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Spare, leading to a strategic shift and a focus on regions with high cash circulation. D'ontra emphasizes the importance of strategic planning, data analysis, and a systematic approach to business growth. He also discusses the personal aspects of being a CEO, stressing the importance of maintaining personal relationships and self-care.

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    thoughtbot's Incubator Program Mini Season 3 - Episode 05: Knect with Josh Herzig-Marx

    December 12th, 2023  |  Season 13  |  27 mins 30 secs

    In the third interview with Josh, Lindsey Christensen, head of Marketing at thoughtbot, and Jordyn Bonds, head of the Incubator Program at thoughtbot, discuss the progress of Knect in the thoughtbot Incubator Program. Most of the conversation involves identifying and focusing on the right target audience. Initially, they considered startup enthusiasts, but after exploring other segments like journalists, they returned to startup enthusiasts with a more refined focus. Josh also talks about developing a prototype and its usefulness in getting feedback and refining the product concept.

    The technical feasibility of integrating various communication platforms into their solution is a significant focus. They examined different platforms like email, LinkedIn, WhatsApp, Telegram, and SMS to determine which integrations were essential for the minimum viable product. Looking forward, Josh outlines the next steps for the program, which include finalizing high-quality prototypes and making strategic decisions about the scale and funding of the project.

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    503: Epic Web and Remix with Kent C. Dodds

    December 7th, 2023  |  Season 11  |  1 hr 7 mins

    Kent C. Dodds, a JavaScript engineer and teacher known for Epic Web Dev and the Remix web framework, reflects on his journey in tech, including his tenure at PayPal and his transition to full-time teaching.

    Kent's passion for teaching is a constant theme throughout. He transitioned from corporate roles to full-time education, capitalizing on his ability to explain complex concepts in an accessible manner. This transition was marked by the creation of successful online courses like "Testing JavaScript and Epic React," which have significantly influenced the web development community.

    An interesting aspect of Kent's career is his involvement with Remix, including his decision to leave Shopify (which acquired Remix) to return to teaching, which led to the development of his latest project, Epic Web Dev, an extensive and innovative web development course.

    This interview provides a comprehensive view of Kent C. Dodds's life and career, showcasing his professional achievements in web development and teaching, his personal life as a family man, and his unique upbringing in a large family.

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    thoughtbot's Incubator Program Mini Season 3 - Episode 04: Goodz with Mike Rosenthal and Chris Cerrito

    December 5th, 2023  |  Season 13  |  25 mins 46 secs

    Startup founders Mike Rosenthal and Chris Cerrito are participating in thoughtbot's eight-week incubator program. Mike, with a background in the music industry, and Chris, experienced in physical computing and exhibit development, are collaborating on a startup that creates physical objects linked to digital content, primarily in music. Their goal is to enhance the connection between tangible and digital experiences, starting with a product that resembles a mixtape, using NFC technology for easy access to digital playlists.

    This project is unique within the thoughtbot incubator as it's the first pure consumer product and involves both physical and digital elements. The team is engaged in user interviews and market validation, with the aim of launching a physical product with a digital backend. They are exploring various marketing strategies for the product and are in the process of building its technical backend.