Semi-Random Walks #37: Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert and big time failure

Scott AdamsScott Adams, of course, is the creator of Dilbert, but that’s not all. He’s tried (and often failed) at lots and lots and lots of things in his career, ranging from video games to restaurants to frozen burritos. His 2014 book How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big documents them in detail as well as providing a realistic and often amusing approach to self-help.

Scott’s a very original thinker. His blog is full of thought experiments and contrarian thinking. Sometimes it attracts “outragists,” but luckily for us Scott soldiers on.

Follow him on Twitter @ScottAdamsSays

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Semi-Random Walks #36: Emily Best, founder of Seed & Spark

Emily BestEmily Best is founder and CEO of Seed & Spark, a kinda sorta crowdfunding platform for filmmakers, but it’s much cooler than that. Instead of just asking for money, filmmakers can ask for… stuff! Like props and makeup and locations. (Money too, of course.)

Listen to hear how Emily went from wannabe doctor to Jazz musician to filmmaker to creating an entire film platform.

Follow Emily on Twitter @EmilyBest

A lot of interesting stuff came up in the interview. Here are a few links:


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Semi-Random Walks #35: Kristen Wheeler

Kristen WheelerKristen Wheeler is a coach and speaker. She’s also the creator of Native Genius, a strengths-based approach to career development. Learn how an improper understanding of passion can actually mislead you in trying to figure out your life’s purpose, and especially listen as Kristen demonstrates the power of vulnerability in response to something I said that could potentially have been  negative trigger.


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Semi-Random Walks #34: Steve Swoboda

Steve SwobodaSteve Swoboda is co-founder of SpotXchange. Steve’s experience prior to founding SpotXchange includes founding Booyah Online Advertising and senior management positions at two other startup companies (Ereo, Inc. and ProSavvy, Inc.), serving as chief financial officer of iBelay LLC, a venture capital firm investing in seed stage companies, and public company experience as director of corporate development for MessageMedia (which is where we met).

Find him on LinkedIn.

The show opens with a remix of Iron Maiden’s Number of the Beast and closes with Wrathchild, also from Iron Maiden.

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Semi-Random Walks #33: Paul Gilmartin, host of the Mental Illness Happy Hour

Paul GilmartinPaul Gilmartin is host of the Mental Illness Happy Hour, a terrific podcast about mental health that you should go listen to right now.

Follow him on Twitter @MentalPod.

The show opens with Slow Magic’s Corvette Cassette and closes with Charles Mingus’ Folk Forms. Check out his hilarious memoir Beneath the Underdog.


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Semi-Random Walks #32: Kristin Wong

Kristin WongI discovered Kristin Wong while googling something or other, and I ended up on this story she did about breaking out of a career rut. I had just finished What Should I Do With My Life, so I was curious to hear more stories about midlife career changes.

In addition to doing stories like the above, Kristin also runs BrokePedia, which offers tips on frugal living.

Follow Kristin on Twitter @TheWildWong

The show opened with a loop from Digable Planets’ Black Ego and closed with Video Killed the Radio Star as covered by The Presidents of the United States.

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Semi-Random Walks #31: Darren Pillsbury, incognito romance novelist

Darren PillsburyThis was a fascinating interview. Darren Pillsbury struggled as a writer for many years, and even gave up on it for a period, but in the past few years he’s been crushing it through self-publishing. Here’s his Amazon page.

That’s only part of the story, however. What you don’t see there is the bread and butter stuff that makes him a lot of money. That’s because Darren also writes women’s erotica under a (female) pseudonym, and it’s important that he maintain his secret identity. So unfortunately I can’t link you to any of those works, but he was kind enough to tell us how he discovered the market and has created a living from it.

Note: In the show I incorrectly mentioned Patricia Highsmith as being featured in the New Yorker. I misremembered the name. The article is actually about Nora Roberts.

The show opens with Sacred Love by the Bad Brains and closes with Lucius’ Turn it Around(I love this song!)


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Semi-Random Walks # 30: Dominatrix Miss Ivy Young

1352414304Miss Ivy Young is a licensed marriage and family therapist and a professional dominatrix. Her professional name (which she has never shared publicy before this episode) is Kaila Yi.

Ivy also created Secrets of Submission, a course teaching couples how to apply BDSM concepts in their sex lives. Watch the opening video. She’s got great presence!

Wanna do what Ivy does? You can learn from her through her recently launched Pro Domme Academy. You can also find her on Facebook.

Show notes & links:

  • Ivy is an INFP on the Myers-Briggs scale. INFPs are commonly described as idealists who want to save the world. That aligns with what Ivy describes as her purpose in the world: to eradicate shame.
  • Awesomeness Fest
  • Summit Series
  • Genius Network

The show opens with Scooby Snacks from the Fun Lovin’ Criminals and closes with Neko Case’s In California.)

(Note: I mistakenly attributed “Scooby Snacks” to the Bloodhound Gang. To make up for it here’s the Bloodhound Gangs Ballad of Chasey Lain.)

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Semi-Random Walks # 29: Lawrence Lanoff

Lawrence LanoffLawrence Lanoff is, as he describes it, “a sex positive, streetwise, business savvy life coach,” also known as Catholic rehab. Follow him on Twitter @soullight

Links to more info about some of the things we covered:

  • Christoper Hitchens’ takedown of the Dalai Lama
  • Lawrence’s early interest in Pyramid Power
  • Transcendental Meditation, which Lawrence calls a “full-on complete waste of money.” (I looked into it a couple years ago but was turned off by the price, then I found an alternative called Natural Stress Relief. I tried it out but I’ve found that I get the same benefits from yoga. I still would like to try a Vipassana retreat, however.)
  • At about 36:50 we talk about ayahuasca, which I did in a ceremony shortly after this interview. (You can hear the results at the end of the episode starting at 48:00.)
  • Lawrence says there are four major belief systems that you can trace all spiritual systems back to:
    • “It’s all good, even the bad” e.g. Buddhism
    • “Life is a struggle between good and evil” – Christianity, Islam etc
    • “My way or the highway” – many cults follow this line of thought
    • Objectivity – a scientific-ish attempt to find objective reality (many atheists follow this)

The show opens with James Brown’s Sex Machine we wrap it up with Steve Reich’s Six Marimbas.

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Semi-Random Walks #28: Amy Baglan, founder of MeetMindful

Amy Baglan is the founder of MeetMindful, an online dating site geared toward people who value healthy living, personal development, sustainability, spirituality, yoga, meditation, self-awareness and authentic connections. Follow her on Twitter @amybaglan and MeetMindful @MeetMindful.

Some of the things we discussed in the episode:

The show opened with Funkadelic’s Hit it and Quit It  and closed with George Clinton’s Atomic Dog.

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