Journalists-turned-entrepreneurs, Manoush Zomorodi and Jen Poyant, share their struggles to build an ethically-minded company, Stable Genius Productions, all while investigating how other founders and creators are resisting the “winners take all” mindset of Silicon Valley. From techies putting humanity at the heart of their products, to artists looking beyond ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ for validation, and investors who value empathy over 100 X returns...there’s a new movement to chart a kinder, sustai...more


  • End of A Partnership

    May 07 2020

    Two years ago, Jen and Manoush quit their jobs and became business partners. Today their adventure comes to an end. Hear how financial and parenting pressures in the age of COVID-19 forced them to make a hard choice. And what happens to this podcast.

  • S4 EP22: Mailchimp’s CEO On Building a Multi-Billion Dollar Business Without Being an A$$hole

    Dec 12 2019

    The newsletter company Mailchimp made an impressive $700 million dollars in revenue in 2019 and, after 20 years, it’s still owned and operated by co-founders, Ben Chestnut and Dan Kurzius. On this episode, Ben shares his tactics for staying focused and calm through market crashes, tech disruptions, and now playing role model for CEOs who think success requires treating employees poorly. Manoush and Jen aren’t so sure about Ben’s advice regarding “scaling.” But as they play voice memos from liste...more

  • S4 EP21: Being Ethnically Ambiguous At Work

    Dec 05 2019

    As co-host of NPR’s Code Switch, Shereen Marisol Meraji combines groundbreaking reporting on race and culture with her own personal experience as a half-Puerto Rican, half-Persian American. On this episode, she and Manoush discuss why the push for inclusion makes some people uncomfortable and how the diversity discussion can get even more delicate when people don’t clearly identify as white or black—like Manoush, who only recently realized her co-workers considered her a woman of color. **Who Y...more

  • S4 EP20: How Valerie Jarrett Turned Her Misery Into Motivation

    Nov 28 2019

    Valerie Jarrett‘s fascinating family defied racism to become some of the most influential African-Americans you’ve likely never heard of, including one of Louisiana’s first black legislators and MIT’s first black student. But Jarrett also shares how, despite a law degree and supportive parents, she struggled to find her own career path. Hear what jolted Jarrett out of a professional stupor to find work that mattered to her. Plus, the revolutionary ways she dealt with staffing and “women’s issues...more

  • S4 EP19: The Guy Who Quit Planes for Good

    Nov 14 2019

    For millions of us, air travel comes with the job. NASA physicist Peter Kalmus was no different; he frequently flew to prestigious conferences around the globe to present his research. But then, on a routine flight in 2012, Kalmus had a personal reckoning. Disgusted at how his travel contributed to global warming, he decided to quit airplanes, switch careers, and start an online community for people who’ve changed their flying habits. On this episode, Kalmus shares how he handles invitations to ...more

  • S4 EP18: Don't Tie a Pink Ribbon for Kate Pickert

    Nov 07 2019

    After an onerous cancer diagnosis, Kate Pickert nearly skipped an interview for a job she desperately wanted. Her husband encouraged her to go, saying, "You never know. Maybe you won't die!" Pickert got the job...and she lived. Now she's a journalism professor and author of Radical: The Science, Culture and History of Breast Cancer in America. On this episode, she tells Jen how investigating her diagnosis like a reporter helped her realize how little people know about the latest cancer treatment...more

  • S4 EP17: Helping Your Relationship Survive Your Job

    Oct 31 2019

    Double-career couples are the norm these days. But when organizational behaviorist Jennifer Petriglieri looked for studies on how these couples manage their professional and personal responsibilities, she found little research. So Petriglieri did her own five-year study, talking to dozens of couples, and compiling what she learned into the book Couples That Work. On this episode, Petriglieri walks us through the three phases she discovered a couple must navigate to keep their relationship and ca...more

  • Bonus: “The Surveillance Economy” from IRL

    Oct 28 2019

    This week, we’re featuring an episode from the IRL podcast called “The Surveillance Economy.” Learn about the rise of surveillance capitalism, and hear from guests like Harvard Business School’s Shoshana Zuboff. She says that Big Tech uses our personal data to not only track, but also predict and even control our behavior. The culture of work and business has changed significantly due to surveillance capitalism. What have we gotten right, and where have we gone wrong?  IRL: Online Life is Real...more

  • EP16: Ari Weinzweig is Prototyping a New Kind of Delicious Capitalism

    Oct 24 2019

    If you live in Michigan or run your company with a bit of an anarchist bent, you've likely heard of the Zingerman's Community of Businesses, including a coffee roaster, creamery, and candy factory, all co-owned and operated. On this episode, co-founder Ari Weinzweig shares the story behind his alternative business empire, starting with a single deli in 1982 that grew into a collective making $60m a year in revenue. Plus, Manoush and Jen reveal their own attempts at business visioning as they try...more

  • S4 EP15: The Secret Ex-Rock Star at The Ford Foundation

    Oct 10 2019

    With her band Tsunami and record label Simple Machines, Jenny Toomey was a fixture on the '90s Washington, D.C. indie music scene. On this episode, Toomey shares her evolution from rocker to founder of the Future of Music Coalition to director at the Ford Foundation, one of the world's wealthiest philanthropies. Be prepared to hear a lot of amazing music...and an inspiring ideas about how youthful ideals can mature into pragmatic and powerful careers. **Who You’ll Hear: **@manoushz (Manoush Zom...more

  • S4 EP14: When Women Don't Support Other Women at Work

    Sep 26 2019

    In 2015, Katharine Zaleski wrote an op-ed for Fortune that went viral called I’m Sorry to All the Mothers I Worked With. In it, the former media exec apologized for “a long list of infractions against mothers,” whom she’d assumed couldn’t handle long hours or weren’t committed to their career because of parenting duties. One of those mothers was ZigZag host Manoush Zomorodi. On this episode, she and Katharine make amends and track Katharine’s metamorphosis from a childless boss at the Huffington...more

  • Bonus: Manoush Guest Hosts the TED Radio Hour!

    Sep 20 2019

    We're excited that Manoush is guest hosting the Ted Radio Hour! To celebrate, we're bringing you her 2017 TED Talk. It's all about our relationship to technology, and how it sometimes helps us to avoid some very human states of mind, like boredom. It’s an inspiring 14 minutes, meant to help you recharge.

  • S4 EP 13: The CEO Who Paid Everyone the $ame $alary. Including Himself.

    Sep 19 2019

    Dan Price, the founder of Gravity Payments, became a media darling in 2015 after announcing that every employee would be paid a minimum of $70k. (Those salaries have consistently risen since then.) For most of his staff, the increase was dramatic (the median income in the U.S. is about $60k.) Now, four years later, Dan tells Manoush how an ex-girlfriend woke him up to Seattle’s high cost of living, what equal pay has done to his company’s bottom line, and what he thinks could rehabilitate other ...more

  • S4 EP12: We're Rethinking What Success Looks Like

    Sep 12 2019

    ZigZag is back after a brief hiatus and kicking off a series of shows investigating how people are rethinking the notion of “success.” On this episode, listeners share their frustrations with an economy structured to thrive at the cost of the planet, communities, and their mental health. Plus, an analysis of their responses to the question: how do you measure and define success in your life and work? The data reveal 5 main goals listeners are striving for…and some intriguing tactics they’re us...more

  • S4 EP11: Pacing Yourself After Burnout

    Jul 25 2019

    Two years ago, Helen Zaltzman and her husband, Martin Austwick, gave up their London apartment to travel the world. She paid the bills by continuing to produce her two podcasts, The Allusionist and Answer Me This, from the road. Things were going well until a visit to Tasmania, when Helen got a serious infection in her neck and had to be hospitalized. After nearly a month in intensive care, she was finally released. Helen was, of course, relieved to be alive. But she soon discovered that her br...more

  • S4 EP10: This is What a Male Identity Crisis Sounds Like

    Jul 18 2019

    Eighteen months. That's how long Khe Hy (pronounced Kay Hee) gave himself to figure out his life after quitting his extremely well-paid job at Blackrock Financials. His friends called him nuts. His immigrant parents thought they'd failed him. But his wife was supportive. She and Khe set some ground rules ("no stressing over little luxuries like ordering wine") and then embarked on an adventure to discover if he could make enough money to support his family, feel intellectually satisfied, and NOT...more

  • S4 EP09: Is Your Career Veering Off Course...Or Just Doing a Zigzag?

    Jul 11 2019

    It can be hard to know if you're on the right track for building your career or business. Manoush and Jen consider crucial lessons from entrepreneurs whom they've reported on over the past five years, including a CEO who changed his business model after the U.S. 2016 presidential election and a software engineer who built an app ahead of its time. Plus, help for a listener worried she's addicted to "zigzagging"...and Valerie Jarrett explains what accepting professional sharp turns did for her ca...more

  • S4 EP08: The Weird Kids At The Big Tech Party

    Jun 27 2019

    Before Silicon Valley was dominated by the Big Five tech companies, there was Mozilla, an organization founded by a motley crew of coders and activists who believe the internet should be open to everyone. Those punk rock roots live on in Mozilla's Firefox browser and its decision to stop running ads on Facebook. On this episode, hear Mark Surman, President and Executive Director of the Mozilla Foundation, on why "privacy" is a new business opportunity for entrepreneurs, whether he thinks kids sh...more

  • S4 EP07: 46, Female, and Ambitious. Is that so wrong?

    Jun 20 2019

    You've probably heard her hundreds of times. Mallory Kasdan is the voice of dozens of ads, from Crest White Strips to Nickelodeon. For years, she made an excellent living sounding like the quintessential "hip mom" or sassy big sister, who happened to have a product to shill. But recently, as social media and celebs upended the advertising industry, Mallory stopped booking jobs. She's had to find new ways to pay the bills and get health insurance for her family. And she's doing it by sounding lik...more

  • S4 EP06: Why Craiglist's Founder Just Wrote Consumer Reports a $6m Check

    Jun 06 2019

    Consumer Reports, theOG‘s of product reviews, just got an upgrade: $6 million from Craigslist founder turned philanthropist,Craig Newmark. On this special episode, he and the CEO of Consumer Reports,Marta Tellado, announce their big plans to test all our apps and connected devices with a new set of criteria: one that takes people’s personal privacy and the collective good into account. Plus, Craig shares his thinking behind funding journalism start-ups likeThe Markup. ZigZag is the business s...more

  • S4 EP05: The Venture Capitalist Asking Existential Questions

    May 30 2019

    We went looking for a venture capitalist who is investing in products or platforms that make money AND make our lives a bit saner: Caterina Fake co-founded Flickr, coined the acronym FOMO, and is now a partner at Yes VC. She’s putting her money behind companies that she thinks will grow big and fast…but in ethical ways. Caterina explains why she said ‘no’ to joining the fancy VC firms on Sand Hill Road, what she’s looking for in entrepreneurs, and how to focus on what matters to you online. Plu...more

  • S4 EP04: When Your Gut Tells You It's Time to END Your Company

    May 16 2019

    We hear a lot about how people start up companies but what about winding them down? After 15 years, media entrepreneur and "influencer" Grace Bonney has decided to close her lifestyle blog Design*Sponge. In this episode, Grace explains why she decided not to sell her business and has no plans beyond the farewell party...other than rethinking her relationship to the web. Plus, Manoush and Jen debate whether being a woman online means having to "perform" vulnerability and wonder if men also use ...more

  • S4 EP03: Adam Grant Says Your Next Boss Might Want You to "Self Manage"

    May 02 2019

    The workplace has become a place of sociological experimentation. But what are the pros and cons to “flattening” hierarchy or employees giving each other "radically transparent" feedback? Organizational psychologist Adam Grant (and host of TED's WorkLife podcast) explains some of the most cutting-edge workplace behavioral changes, how they reflect other societal changes like the #MeToo movement, and what each of us can do to evolve while GETTING OUR WORK DONE. Plus, Jen and Manoush consider ho...more

  • Bonus: Our Old Podcast is Back! Here's a Taste.

    Apr 25 2019

    The tech show about being human returns with an all new season exclusively on the new Luminary app. Manoush kicks things off with the latest on the battle between kids and parents over their screens: do we know how kids are impacted by tech? Does it make them less empathetic? Are they being constantly bullied online? Even if we can help kids figure out their digital habits, are we adults totally screwed? Researcher Elizabeth Englander joins Manoush to share new findings and give the most pragmat...more

  • S4 EP02: An Alternative To Silicon Valley's "Unicorn" Bullsh*t

    Apr 25 2019

    Founded by Jenn Brandel and Mara Zapeda, the growing Zebras Unite network is a backlash against Silicon Valley's so-called "unicorn" companies. Many of these entrepreneurs are saying no to venture capital investors and attempting to build sustainable companies that fit their lives and values. But Jenn and Mara's inspiring real talk about making money AND doing good isn't just for "founders." It's about rethinking the role that all companies--and YOU--have in society. Zebras epitomize what we're...more

  • S4 EP01: Manoush and Jen Became Entrepreneurs One Year Ago

    Apr 11 2019

    On the launch episode of Season Four, Jen and Manoush celebrate the first anniversary of their company, Stable Genius Productions, and share the most important and difficult entrepreneurial lessons they've learned over the past year. They also explain how, after a year of experimentation with format and blockchain technology, ZigZag is evolving into a podcast that takes an honest look at the culture of business--and what needs to change. *Sign up for our newsletter and subscribe to the podcas...more

  • S3 EP06: The Plateau of Productivity

    Mar 28 2019

    What IS that anti-climactic feeling we get after completing a big project? Shouldn’t we be patting ourselves on the back and mixing celebratory martinis? Perhaps you’ve simply entered the final phase of the Hype Cycle: the rather dull Plateau of Productivity. This is when an idea just WORKS, maybe even becomes a cultural norm.  All season long we’ve been tracking how ideas spark, evolve, and grow. Our final episode includes some harsh listener feedback, a conversation between women new to their...more

  • S3 EP5: The Slope of Enlightenment

    Mar 14 2019

    We're almost at the end of our deep-dive into the lifecycle of innovation, or the so-called Hype Cycle. Phase Four, aka the Slope of Enlightenment, is when the breakthrough happens, you get out of the trough, and start moving forward. We're using this phase to share big news from Stable Genius Productions and talk to Katrina Kelly-Pitou, an environmental economist, on the truth behind blockchain's energy-guzzling reputation. Plus, the mayor who made history by banning Bitcoin operations in hi...more

  • S3 EP4: The Trough of Disillusionment

    Feb 28 2019

    Our journey through the Hype Cycle takes a dark turn this week. Because every innovative idea, sadly, must pass through the third (and most miserable) phase of the cycle: the Trough of Disillusionment. This is when you start questioning why you ever decided to INSERT GOAL HERE in the first place. Hear Professor Kevin Werbach explain the difference between full-on failure and simply measuring success on a longer timeline, as related to tech and blockchain. (Because this podcast loves using block...more

  • S3 EP3: The Peak of Expectations

    Feb 14 2019

    As we continue through the Hype Cycle, we reach the fun, thrilling, titillating phase: the Peak of Expectations. It generates the vital inspiration and adrenaline that keeps every entrepreneur or visionary going (that includes the listener who is in the midst of sleep training her baby daughter). On this episode, Manoush and Jen analyze their start-up highs and wonder whether exciting industry news means podcasting has hit its peak. Plus, more from Massena, NY, as we go inside cavernous Bitcoin ...more

  • S3 EP2: What Triggers Innovation

    Jan 31 2019

    Question: what SPARKS us to *act *on an idea, rather than let it fade away? Answer: an "Innovation Trigger," also known as Phase 1 of the Hype Cycle. Hear listeners detail what triggered them to pursue a project, more from Gartner analyst Jackie Fenn, and how a hydroelectric dam prompted one small town to start manufacturing Bitcoin, for better and worse. All this season, we're exploring the lifecycle of ideas, including a visit to a town by the Canadian border where one of the biggest Bitcoin...more

  • S3 EP1: The Lifecycle of an Idea

    Jan 17 2019

    You may *feel *like a special snowflake, but even our best ideas usually take a predictable path: they'll pass through the 5 Phases of the Hype Cycle. Tech analyst Jackie Fenn created this iconic graph (see below) 25 years ago, and it's been used to track innovations (yes, like blockchain) ever since. But the Hype Cycle isn't just for tech: understanding it can help you decide when to press ahead with a job, relationship, or New Year's resolution... or cut your losses and move on. All this seas...more

  • S2 EP12: Lessons Learned from a Risky Crypto Experiment

    Dec 20 2018

    The co-founders of Stable Genius Productions have a candid conversation about their current financial situation (hint: their grant is running out soon), the highs/lows of making this season of the podcast (another hint: they had a fallout over email), and Civil's plans to resurrect itself in 2019 (final hint: the token lives on). GO DEEPER:  Blockchain has not yet added value to international development projects, USAID finds. After mindfulness, tech takes on information overload, Manoush's for...more

  • S2 EP11: If Capitalism and Socialism Had a Baby

    Dec 20 2018

    The richest 1 percent of the world's population now owns more than half of the world's wealth. The calls for breaking up Big Tech companies are growing louder. On this episode, the author of Open Revolution, Rufus Pollock, proposes a solution (think regulation, but on steroids) for wrangling monopolies, sparking innovation, and getting profits into the hands of more people. GO DEEPER: "What the California Wildfires Can Teach Us About Data Sharing," Joi Ito writes in Wired. An old monopoly story...more

  • S2 EP10: An App for Information Overload?

    Dec 13 2018

    Journalists-turned-entrepreneurs Mark Little and Áine Kerr believe the experience of getting news online is broken. (And they should know: Mark worked at Twitter and Áine at Facebook.) So, they're building an app called Kinzen which they hope can reboot our daily news habit by delivering trustworthy journalism without overwhelming us. Afterall, they reason, we have apps to track our sleep, steps, and calories... Why not news consumption? But can there really be an app for that? GO DEEPER: You c...more

  • S2 BONUS: The Story of ZigZag Through Voice Memos

    Dec 06 2018

    It's been an extraordinarily weird year. This mini episode compresses Manoush and Jen's story so far into a strange mash-up of voice memos that documents their leap from public radio producers to audio entrepreneurs (who often are very stressed and seem to rarely sleep). Think of it as an audio thank you note for being on this ZigZag ride. We're so glad you're here with us.  We hope you'll also consider supporting Radiotopia, the podcast collective that helps make ZigZag possible. Go to radioto...more

  • S2 EP9: Julia Angwin's Investigations Haunt Facebook

    Dec 06 2018

    Julia Angwin, the award-winning reporter whose investigations make Facebook sweat, just got $20 million from Craig Newmark (yes, as in Craig's List) to start her own publication. Hear her vision for The MarkUp, why we need a new kind of watchdog journalism, and how she plans to combine hardcore data analysis with shoe-leather reporting. Plus, the honest lowdown on how Julia beats decision fatigue, as a startup founder and a parent. It's not all black turtlenecks and green smoothies, but it's clo...more

  • S2 EP8: The Women Who Make CRIMINAL

    Nov 28 2018

    CRIMINAL was a mega-hit long before the genre of true-crime took off in podcasting. On this episode, Manoush and Jen talk to the show's co-creators, Phoebe Judge and Lauren Spohrer, about quitting their stable public radio jobs to start a company (sound familiar?), managing each other's quirks, and saying 'no' to the many business opportunities that come their way. This duo has great advice for anyone trying to manage a partnership, balance creativity with bill paying, or just stay to one's weir...more

  • S2 EP7: Forget Inbox Zero

    Nov 22 2018

    This week, we explain how the ZigZag inbox works and Manoush answers two very special letters: one from a listener with an unusual financial frustration and another who has an existential entrepreneurial query. Because in the daily cacophony of signals, email sometimes shines through as a place to get the news and information we want from people and sources we trust. GO DEEPER: A study about our email habits finds half of us achieve in-box zero. The SEC says tokens are securities (we think). Th...more

  • S2 EP6: A Secret #MeToo Weapon

    Nov 15 2018

    Can you scrub the truth from the web? Or will people always find a workaround? An extraordinary tale this week about the intersection of new tech, personal stories, human rights, and repressive regimes. Plus, producer Thalia Beaty explains how governments around the world use digital tools to censor and surveil journalists and their citizens. GO DEEPER: New Yorker writer Jiayang Fan's article, China's #MeToo Moment. The testimony nestled in an Ethereum transaction. How Civil plans to repurpose...more

  • S2 EP5: Meat World Matters

    Nov 08 2018

    Meat world, real life, 'social infrastucture'...whatever you want to call it, human contact with our neighbors is crucial to mending divided communities, according to sociologist Eric Klinenberg, author of Palaces for the People. On this episode, Eric issues a passionate plea for more investment in libraries, public squares and other places where people can quite literally meet on common ground. Jen does her own reporting about the 'social infrastructure' that she believes kept her community tog...more

  • S2 EP4: What IS Fact-Checking?

    Nov 01 2018

    This week's episode is focused on a very specialized job in journalism: the Fact-Checker. Our guide is journalism's OG of information verification, Pulitzer Prize winner Bill Adair. He explains the origins, methodology, and challenges of fact-checking in a "post-truth" world. Plus, how journalists are partnering with technologists to build tools that they hope can make the very word "fact" less politically charged. GO DEEPER: Post-truth politics and why the antidote isn't just fact-checking. Pl...more

  • S2 EP3: Trusting Yourself in Startup-Entrepreneurland

    Oct 25 2018

    Hear from three entrepreneurs (Jen, Manoush, and Civil Media CEO Matthew Iles) on how each is coping with uncertainty, deciding how to grow, and bouncing back when things go...well, badly, like that token sale you heard about in the previous episode. Because ZigZag listeners are emailing a lot about going through their own entrepreneurial growing pains. And they're grateful for the raw honesty about being a businessperson: "I appreciate so much that you don't know what you're doing." "It's suc...more

  • S2 EP2: Why Civil's Token Sale Failed

    Oct 18 2018

    Civil couldn't convince enough people that blockchain and crypto-economics were the answer to journalism’s problems. It didn't even come close to its $8m goal. But, #failure is common in the tech world. And so are pivots. On this episode, Civil Media CEO Matthew Iles acknowledges the screw-ups and explains why the company is still solvent. Plus, the second half of our Twitter and 'misinformation' explainer with research from the Knight Foundation. Can you, lawmakers, or Twitter do anything to st...more

  • S2 EP1: How Misinformation Spreads

    Oct 11 2018

    Manoush and Jen kick off the season with surprising new research from the Knight Foundation into how false information spreads on Twitter and its effect on society. They also have news about Civil, the blockchain startup for journalism, which is struggling to sell $8m worth of its cryptocurrency. With only days left in the token sale, techie journalist (and former WNYC colleague) John Keefe joins the duo to share his experience buying CVL tokens and where he thinks the startup went wrong. **GO ...more

  • Announcing Season Two of ZigZag

    Oct 04 2018

    ZigZag is BACK on October 11 for Season Two. The theme is Trust + Information. Listen to the trailer to hear what Jen and Manoush have planned...and click here to learn how to get the podcast delivered to you every Thursday. *Never heard ZigZag? *Give Episodes One and Two of Season One a try. You'll get to know Jen and Manoush and finally understand what blockchain technology is. Still not convinced? Read what the press and listeners have to say about the show.

  • The Civil Token Sale is Live

    Sep 20 2018

    Manoush and Jen explain the latest news on Civil’s token sale. They also admit why they're a little uneasy about some recent press coverage of their endeavors, and try to make sense of one man’s failed attempt at #MeToo redemption. Who you’ll hear: Manoush and Jen (@manoushz) (@jpoyant) A PROGRAMMING NOTE: Season Two officially kicks off on Oct 11, 2018. Never heard the show? Start with Season One here. GO DEEPER: Clarifications on where the money from the sale goes and how the process of buy...more

  • Update: It’s Hard Going Back to School, Work, and Saving Journalism

    Sep 06 2018

    Never heard ZigZag? Start with Season One, Chapter One. This is an update episode between Seasons 1 and 2 of ZigZag.  On Sept 20, we'll have a special report on the Civil token sale. Season Two officially starts on Oct 11, 2018. This week, Manoush and Jen discuss Civil’s biggest partnership to date, why boredom is more relevant than ever, and address listeners who wish they would stop cursing on their show. GO DEEPER: What the Associated Press hopes Civil’s tech will help them achieve. Not ...more

  • Chapter 12: Enter the Mesh

    Aug 23 2018

    Manoush and Jen wrap up Season One* by interviewing Joe Lubin, co-founder of the Ethereum blockchain, about his involvement with Civil and whether the tech is up to the task of supporting a new platform for journalism. They also have honest answers for listeners about where ZigZag and their business, Stable Genius Productions, go next. Plus, a surprise treat at the end makes this season finale sing. *ZigZag will be back with updates on the Civil token sale on Sept 6 and Sept 20. Season Two of...more

  • Chapter 11: Ten Things You Should Know About Crypto

    Aug 16 2018

    From Crypto Kitties to Bitcoin Carnivores, the world of crypto is like a weird parallel reality, hidden just out of plain sight from most of us. This top ten countdown will grant you powers to see previously-invisible blockchain subcultures and experiments surrounding you...but beware: once spotted, they cannot be unseen. Our field guide is the very knowledgable and deadpan Joon Ian Wong of Coindesk. **GO DEEPER: **ZigZag: Chapter 2 is Blockchain 101. So much lingo: magical crypto friends, Hodl...more

  • Chapter 10: Listening to Anthony Bourdain

    Aug 09 2018

    Anthony Bourdain did a very unusual interview a few months before his death: he spent an afternoon with Maria Bustillos, founder of Popula.com and the first journalist to join the Civil platform. Bourdain Confidential, her piece about their wonderfully philosophical and fiery conversation, went viral when she published it in July. Now, for the first time, Maria shares her audio recording of their time together; hear Bourdain’s take on Obama, his choice words for other celebrities, and why he fel...more

  • Chapter 9: Letter from Startup-Blockchain-Women-Entrepreneurland

    Aug 02 2018

    Civil postpones its token sale until September and lowers expectations of how much the sale can generate. Meanwhile, Manoush and Jen are floored by emails from listeners about the changes they’ve made in their lives since #MeToo. Plus, Manoush responds to criticism that she and Jen “act like silly dumb girls” whenever they discuss high-level concepts. **GO DEEPER: **Here's where to 1) read the Civil FAQ and Constitution 2)take the registration quiz, 3) ask questions in Telegram and 4) educate y...more

  • Chapter 8: Putting Crypto Pioneers to the Test

    Jul 26 2018

    It’s true. ZigZag listeners agree that registering to buy CVL tokens is a pain in the ass. And yet, many still plan to join Civil’s experimental social network for journalism. On this episode, listeners ask tough question and explain why they’re undeterred by the platform’s growing pains. Also, Manoush and Jen gather the “First-Fleet” of Civil journalists to discuss problems with employers and business-models past (DNAInfo, The Denver Post, the New York Daily News)...and how they plan to make su...more

  • Chapter 7: A New Frontier for Journalism?

    Jul 19 2018

    The time has come. Civil, the blockchain startup for journalism, made its big announcement: members of the public can now register to buy its digital currency, the CVL token. But Manoush and Jen are surprised by the strict parameters Civil has set for the sale. What do these restrictions mean for their finances? Will people go through Civil’s rigorous process to buy tokens? Maybe...but only if they’re absolutely convinced that the ethics of the platform are worth supporting. Enter Vivian Schille...more

  • Chapter 6: What's a CVL Token?

    Jul 12 2018

    A heady cocktail of cryptoeconomics and game theory is fueling Civil’s big plan to save journalism. Add a “token curated registry” to the mix and it’s enough to give everyone a virtual hangover. Luckily, economist Stephanie Hurder, obsessive crypto-journalist Laura Shin, and hot sauce come to the rescue. ZigZag is the business show about being human. Join a community of listeners riding the twists and turns of late-capitalism, searching for a kinder, more sustainable way. Manoush Zomorodi and ...more

  • Chapter 5: Men, Women and Vulnerability

    Jul 05 2018

    With Civil’s token launch looming, Manoush and Jen go for one last gut check with the guys who helped inspire their meta journey: Alex Blumberg and Matt Lieber, co-founders of Gimlet Media. Season One of their hugely successful podcast StartUp documented Alex and Matt’s own entrepreneurial highs and lows. But the two women want to know: how did living out loud affect their psyches and families? And does gender change the story? Who you’ll hear: Manoush (@manoushZ) Jen (@jpoyant) The Cofounders ...more

  • Chapter 4: Hedging Your Bets

    Jun 28 2018

    Manoush and Jen give themselves 36 hours in San Francisco to come up with a financial backup plan, just in case this whole blockchain-token-thing doesn’t work out. Silicon Valley runs on VC money so maybe Stable Genius Productions should too? First, they talk to a well-known venture capitalist on whether aligning their mission with investor expectations is a laughable goal. Then, they visit Roman Mars, host of 99% Invisible and Radiotopia co-founder, at his headquarters in Oakland. He explains h...more

  • Chapter 3: Higher Than We Knew

    Jun 21 2018

    In Chapters 1 and 2, Jen and Manoush decide to gamble their future on new technology that hasn’t been proven and a virtual currency that doesn’t exist yet. In this chapter, they meet up with another pair of female co-founders to confide their fears about joining the experimental journalism platform called Civil. Alyson Martin and Nushin Rashidian cover the burgeoning marijuana industry in the U.S. and are about to publish Cannabis Wire on Civil. They believe it’s their best shot at growing Cann...more

  • Chapter 2: Blockchain. Blockwhat?!

    Jun 14 2018

    Manoush and Jen have a LOT of questions. Should they stake their careers on the blockchain? How can they explain it without sounding like techno-utopians who have bought into a pyramid scheme? And anyway, can the blockchain really upend how society works...AND help fund Manoush and Jen’s media company? Most importantly, can this episode really explain, simply and clearly, what the hell the blockchain is and how it works? Who you’ll hear: Manoush (@manoushZ) Jen (@jpoyant) Cofounder of Ethereum...more

  • Chapter 1: Meet the Stable Geniuses

    Jun 14 2018

    Manoush and Jen just formed a new kind of media company. But is it possible for them to simultaneously be entrepreneurs, mission-driven journalists, and good mothers without falling off a financial cliff? They quit their public radio jobs to find out. Just as panic starts to set in, they meet a mysterious funder with an intriguing proposal. — About the podcast: Join Manoush and Jen as they document every step of their journey from public radio journalists to media entrepreneurs… on the blockch...more

  • Introducing ZigZag!

    May 29 2018

    A new podcast about women and tech. And the blockchain. And anxiety. First two episodes drop June 14th! But meanwhile come say hi at Stableg.com and sign up for our newsletter. ZigZag is the business show about being human. Join a community of listeners riding the twists and turns of late-capitalism, searching for a kinder, more sustainable way. Manoush Zomorodi and Jen Poyant investigate how work and business impact our wellbeing and the planet we live on. On Seasons 4 and 5, hear from rebel...more