A podcast network post-mortem

From the years 2015–2020 I ran the podcast network, Spec Network, Inc. alongside my co-founders Brian Lovin, Jon Cutrell, and Bryn Jackson. In December 2020, that network closed.

This is a retrospective of my experience as a producer running that network of 12 podcasts for the last five years.

How It Started

— -

In 2013, my partner and I saved up every penny we had, packed our bags, and moved from Minneapolis to San Francisco.

Back in Minnesota, we had very few friends in the design and development community and our career growth was based on books and…

b. Patisserie — San Francisco

A woman walks into a bakery. She stands in the doorway taking in the cheerful lighting, the intoxicating smell of fresh pastries, the inviting, feel-good melody of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons’ ‘Sherry’ playing softly in the background. She scans for available seating, and turns back to the enormous display of goodies perfectly laid out in front of her. She takes her time, admiring the bakers skillfully working their magic behind the marble counter.

With her senses pushing the brink of overload, she hardly notices that she’s being watched. …

The other day my husband came home from work, put his bag down, sat next to me, and proceeded to take off his shoes. While untying his laces, he said, “I read an article today that said women in programming make the same amount of money as their male counterparts. ”

I hadn’t heard this yet, but looked up, thought about it and responded plainly, “That makes sense.”

The struggle to bridge the gender wage gap has been apparent since women entered the work force. Originally, women were regarded as more “fragile,” and thus, could not perform…

I used to imagine my life as a movie. In the movies, you always see these unlikely heroes and troubled, unmotivated or awkward kids built up to eventually do great things. I would catch myself daydreaming about being overly ambitious or acting out in defiance of the system and getting noticed. In my movie, the mentor character was all but cast I had them completely built up — now all I had to do was find the right person to play that part.

That’s exactly what I expected growing up. Someone who would see some hidden…

I recently made the move to San Francisco. Yup. Just a short 30-hour drive from Minneapolis to the Bay. Previous to trip I had only been to California one other time and it was such a blur that I couldn’t tell you what happened.

This was definitely a new adventure but as you might guess this kind of drastic relocation also came with it’s risks. Needless to say — I was terrified.

Not only were we moving far from home but we had no living arrangements set up, a strict budget, the holidays were just around the corner and the…

Roxy always steals the show 

“First comes love. Then comes marriage. Then comes paying off debts and working and maybe having a little extra cash on hand.”

The acronym, DINK (Dual Income, No Kids)— widely used in the personal financial industry, is becoming more and more mainstream when describing a couples’ lifestyle. This comical term, while accurate is a word that is highly offensive to many.

From a historic standpoint, I can see why this lifestyle would be offensive. Traditionally, having kids was not considered optional — in some cases, having kids was even viewed as civic duty. …

Ron Swanson — Parks and Recreation | Credit: AP

An IT guy walks into a potential client’s office. Politely, my business partner and I give the team some space to speak with this IT professional. After a quote has been given and the IT guy has left, the client asks us to review his recommendations and suggest any iterations.

My business partner and I having some experience with technology reviewed the work recommended by the IT professional and while this particular professional was honest and experienced, he was suggesting solutions that were over 10 years old and way past their expiration date. …

find the rabbit in this scribble

My husband and I were driving to a meeting. On our way we stumbled onto the topic of design and development work. Since my area of expertise is more marketing focused, I couldn’t lend much to the conversation other than to listen.

Here’s what I caught…

“Design and development works best when people are given clear constraints.” he said. “At the risk of reducing my job to a child’s hobby — it’s like coloring in a coloring book versus painting freehand.”

“Without constraints, it takes longer to get to your end goal and you usually find yourself wasting valuable time…

pancakes-syrup-y, buttery, goodness

Picture this: you run into a friend at the bar whom you haven’t seen in years. You exchange the usual pleasantries about kids, jobs and significant others (or lack thereof).

Suddenly, you find yourself listening to this person telling you all about their “brilliant idea” for an app.

Sarah Marie

Learner of things & project enthusiast // movie buff, dog whisperer and lover of a good-strong brew @Sarahberus

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