a podcast about getting better at things.
info_outline #29 - a new age-old trade 12/03/2018
#29 - a new age-old trade Danielle Frimer is the Head of Conversation Design at Xandra (and Kat's Boss). Like Kat, Danielle is an actor. In this conversation, we talk about how she found herself writing Alexa Skills, how it's like acting, and some of the differences between art and design. Learn more about Xandra at https://www.xandra.com/ Music by Joel Slabach.
info_outline #28 - meaning matching 11/19/2018
#28 - meaning matching Sue and Bruce Wilcox make chatbots that frequently win the world's top prizes for artificial intelligence. And the way they've made better chatbots is by pairing backgrounds in psychology with great creative writing and coding skills. In this episode, we learn more about the way they approach designing conversations. Music by Hale Learn more about Bruce and Sue Wilcox at http://brilligunderstanding.com/
info_outline #27 - stop skipping steps 07/18/2017
#27 - stop skipping steps What's the difference between making stuff that impresses people and making stuff that's actually good? Janelle Hardy is a visual artist who sought find out by placing herself in situations that meant she had to stop skipping steps. We hear how that process introduced her to a new way of looking at her art, and a the joy of mastering the basics. Plus a huge announcement from Stevo! Music by Mystery Mammal
info_outline #26 - avoiding pointless practice 07/12/2017
#26 - avoiding pointless practice How far can you run... before you realize you haven't been getting anywhere? Aiden Cooper is a sommelier at a Michelin-starred restaurant in New York. And if that wasn't already competitive enough, a few years ago he was one of the most promising distance runners in the United States. We talk about both of these journeys and how easy it is to confuse pointlessly logging miles and deliberate practice, if you stop reflecting on why you want to get better at something. More on Dan John's "Compass": http://betterca.st/compass Music: "Gymnopédie No. 1" by Erik Satie, performed on electric guitar by Furkan KONCA "Gymnopédie No. 1" by Erik Satie, performed on vibraphone by August Pappas "Gymnopédie No. 2" by Erik Satie, performed on classical guitar by Tony Smith "Gymnopédie No. 3" by Erik Satie, performed on celtic harp by Vanessa Sheldon "Gymnopédie No. 3" by Erik Satie, orchestration by Claude Debussy, performed by Orchestre Symphonique et Lyrique de Nancy "Gymnopédie No. 3" by Erik Satie, performed on guitar and cello by Ten Strings "Gymnopédie No. 2" by Erik Satie, performed on piano by Olga Scheps "Gymnopédie No. 1" by Erik Satie, performed on Q119 and Q960 analog step sequencers by Clockgate
info_outline #25 - how to teach (pt 2) 07/04/2017
#25 - how to teach (pt 2) There's lots of stuff you know you shouldn't do, like text and drive. So why do you still do it? Julie Dirksen of Usable Learning joins us for a conversation about complexity and nuance of teaching everything from basic knowledge to advanced habits, and tells us some of the common mistakes that experts make when they seek to teach beginners what they know. Part 2 of 2 on "how to teach" More about Julie: http://usablelearning.com Julie's Book: http://betterca.st/25-book Intro: "Steppin'" by Wake Outro: "Tonight by the Moonlight" by James Pants
info_outline #24 - how to teach (pt 1) 06/29/2017
#24 - how to teach (pt 1) If you get good at something, someone is going to ask you to teach them how you did it. But being good at something and being good at teaching it are not the same thing. This week, Nakita Pope recalls learning how to teach beginners and how it's shaped her understanding of her own expertise. Part 1 of 2 on "how to teach" More about Nakita: Intro Music: Calabash by Co.fee Outro Music: Proton Beat by Gangi
info_outline #23 - how to walk away 06/20/2017
#23 - how to walk away Patrick Kelly Jones is one of the best, most highly sought-after actors in the Bay Area. So why, after 20 years of mastering his craft, is he giving it up? In what might be the most real, and vulnerable conversations yet on this show, Stevo talk with Patrick about how it feels to look back and re-evaluate a 20 year career. And why he needs to do it in order to protect what's left. Intro Music, The OO-Ray: Outro Music, 2Cellos:
info_outline #22 - how to turn "F you!" into art 06/01/2017
#22 - how to turn "F you!" into art Has someone ever told you that you couldn't do something, and it only made you want you want to do it more? Kate Hamill knows that feeling. She's a playwright who started writing because she was pissed there were no shows for her to act in, and now her plays are some of the most produced in the country. In our conversation, we talk about how she turned that initial impulse to say, "F you!" and turn it into great art. Kate Hamill: http://www.kate-hamill.com/ Intro Music 1: Beethoven's Sonata No. 1 in F Minor Intro Music 2: https://youtu.be/fzY3NKs4COU Outro Music: https://youtu.be/7GhO4TARUXo
info_outline #21 - what's in a name? 05/24/2017
#21 - what's in a name? Yusuf took the name Yusuf when converted to Islam when he was 20. But it's taken him 20 years to live up to that name. We discuss the challenges of finding guidance in sacred texts that aren't in English, and how navigating a new religion as a convert prepared him for changing careers and starting a new business.
info_outline #20 - biblical standards for non-biblical problems 05/10/2017
#20 - biblical standards for non-biblical problems What does it mean to have a "biblical standard?" Mark Young is trying to be a better husband, and in our conversation we talk about what that means to him as a modern man using an old text for spiritual, and practical guidance. Part 3 of our 4 part series on faith and betterment. Mark Young is at https://about.me/markrjyoung Music by https://soundcloud.com/mysterymammal
info_outline #19 - practical faith 05/02/2017
#19 - practical faith Brenda Cunningham and I share a problem— we hate having to call people. We even break into a sweat when the phone rings. But as Brenda says, "that simply won't do!" Learn how both of us have dealt with this problem, including the surprising ways that Brenda has leveraged her Christian Faith to help her be a better friend. Part 2 of 4 episodes on the role of faith, having it or not, on how we think about getting better. Learn more about Brenda at: http://www.pushcareermanagement.com/ Intro Music by Black Ant: http://b-l-a-c-k.tumblr.com/ Outro Music by Broke for Free: http://brokeforfree.com/
info_outline #18 - going where you're celebrated 04/26/2017
#18 - going where you're celebrated What do you do when you realize that you trust yourself, more than your community? When Angella Johnson was 19 years old, she left the Mormon Church and has spent her life trying to define what it means to be "a good person" without the structure that defined that for her growing up. She tells us how she does that and how she's trying to create a, "life without explanation." Part 1 of 4 episodes on the role of faith, having it or not, on how we think about getting better at things. Learn more about Angella Johnson at http://angellajohnson.com/ Music by Sláinte. More at http://www.irishband.com/
info_outline #17 - emotional responsibility 04/18/2017
#17 - emotional responsibility What does it mean to be authentic? What are we trying to learn when we say we are trying to communicate with "more integrity?" Tammy Washington has been asking these questions for the last few months, when she had to move back closer to home after 13 years of living in LA. We talk about authenticity, integrity, and what it means to be "emotionally responsible" when dating. Learn more about Tammy here: http://www.tammywashington.com/ Intro Music by Andy G. Cohen: http://www.andyg.co/ Outro Music by Doctor Turtle: https://doctorturtle.b
info_outline #16 - On being useful 04/14/2017
#16 - On being useful Brandon Scott Chien has lived in the woods for 45 days. He's drifted cars and shot arrows off a horse. But he's tried to get better at all of it in order to learn more about being useful for the people he cares about. You can watch Brandon's Vlog, "Happy Asian Males" here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLq2cjzTUZsXzxjtC4MMUbMAmcqlI5bvcx Music this week by Josh Woodward: http://www.joshwoodward.com
info_outline #15 - 100 noes with Dr. Nadia Brown 04/03/2017
#15 - 100 noes with Dr. Nadia Brown How many times do you have to do something you hate... before you love it? For Dr. Nadia Brown, her journey to learning a skill she loathed started when the unthinkable happened and she was broke. She had to dig deep and learn to sell her services, but also learn to trust the people around her who believed she could be good at it. To learn more about Dr. Nadia, check out http://doyenneleadership.com/ Music this episode by Kai Engel http://www.kai-engel.com/
info_outline #14 - superbly played with Andrus Nichols 03/27/2017
#14 - superbly played with Andrus Nichols Imagine giving up your entire life to pursue something, then right after you've made the plunge, becoming so paralyzed with fear that you couldn't perform at even the most basic level. Andrus Nichols experienced that at the age of 30 when she left her life to become an actor. We learn how over the next 3 years, Andrus became unstuck by creating her own graduate school curriculum and filling 18 moleskines to create her own "user manual." Music by Yael Yona, "Pharaoh 2011" Hear more at http://yairyona.net/
info_outline #13 - writing a book when you don't know how 03/20/2017
#13 - writing a book when you don't know how 5 years ago, Kent Davis had never written a novel. Now he's published three. We learn how he got started and how he kept going when nothing he was writing was good enough and everything was hard and terrible until it wasn't. Learn more about Kent Davis at http://kentishdavis.com This Episode's Music by Revolution Void
info_outline #12 - how tracking data can impact our motivation 03/13/2017
#12 - how tracking data can impact our motivation Dr. Amy Bucher has been designing health behavior change programs for over a decade, but how does she keep herself feeling motivated? Today's conversation is a deep-dive into the science "Basic Psychological Needs," and why sometimes we feel motivated by data and sometimes it makes us feel like giving up and throwing our Fitbit in a drawer.
info_outline #11 - getting out of your comfort zone 03/06/2017
#11 - getting out of your comfort zone On a whim, Shane moved to Oakland to start a rap career when he was 20 years old, shy, and didn't know anyone. Now he makes new friends every day, because he learned how to get out of his comfort zone. Find out what happened when Shane just started walking up to people and saying, "yo, I like you shirt."
info_outline #10 - death, miscarriages, and learning the banjo 02/27/2017
#10 - death, miscarriages, and learning the banjo If you were the most-produced living playwright in the USA, you probably wouldn’t consider taking up a new art form. But Lauren Gunderson did just that, in a tribute to someone who loved the banjo. Then she wrote about it, and finally — after writing hundreds of plays — cast herself as the main character.
info_outline #9 - sometimes you gotta make a fool of yourself 02/13/2017
#9 - sometimes you gotta make a fool of yourself What if you only ever tried stuff that you were already awesome at? You'd never end up cycling across France, with a bunch of high school students, like our guest Stella Orange. Learn what you might gain from what she calls "falling on the sword of your own dignity."
info_outline #8 - changing your social media habits 01/30/2017
#8 - changing your social media habits What would happen if you just unfollowed the things that made you feel bad? In a world with millions of social media options, it's becoming more important to be judicious in what you consume. People often audit their diets, but have you ever logged what social media you consume and how it makes you feel? Kat Zdan began doing just that about a year ago, and it turns out the answer is not so simple. She explores the pros and cons of controlling your social media feeds in this open conversation about the impact that they have had on her life and self-image.
info_outline #7 - why some people persist at their resolutions and others quit 01/16/2017
#7 - why some people persist at their resolutions and others quit Dr. Heather Patrick has designed some of the largest behavior change studies in history. We sit down to talk about why some people seem to achieve their New Year's goals and others struggle. She blows Coach Stevo's mind with a cool new behavior change tool called "practice quitting" and opens up about her own struggle to "find her tribe."
info_outline #6 - how to make confrontation easier 01/02/2017
#6 - how to make confrontation easier How do you have difficult conversations? Today we talk to Marcia Baczynscki of "Asking for What you Want" and "The Good Girl Recovery Program" about how she got so good at confrontation and difficult conversations with both people she loves and strangers on the street.
info_outline #5 - put technology in service of your goals 12/06/2016
#5 - put technology in service of your goals Does technology help or hinder you? We talk with behavior change designer Dustin DiTommaso about how you can make technology work for you...instead of letting it run your life. Music by Ray Rude: http://www.needledrop.co/wp/artists/ray-rude/
info_outline #4 - what happens when you stop complaining? 12/05/2016
#4 - what happens when you stop complaining? “What would happen if I never complained again?” Cianna Stewart asked herself one day in 2006. The answer inspired the No Complaining Project. Find out the difference between healthy and unhealthy complaining, how to stop complaining when it’s an ingrained habit, and how it affects your ability to take action to resolve problems. (If you want to. Why would anyone want to stop complaining, anyway?) Music by Ray Rude: http://www.needledrop.co/wp/artists/ray-rude/
info_outline #3 - ashley and the ‘94 camry 12/04/2016
#3 - ashley and the ‘94 camry When her car broke down and she had no money to fix it, Ashley found herself in a “going gets tough” situation. Then, a flirtation at AAA and an expired credit card later, Ashley made herself the hero of her own story. Find out how she got great at fixing cars and hear about her one weird trick: put everything back the way you found it. Music by Ray Rude: http://www.needledrop.co/wp/artists/ray-rude/
info_outline #2 - rally your accountabilibuddies 12/03/2016
#2 - rally your accountabilibuddies Does it ever feel like your friends and family don’t support your plans to change? Dr. Jennifer LaGuardia, a Clinical Psychologist and one of the world’s top motivation experts, talks about how you can recruit help from the people in your life to change your habits and how to avoid the most common mistakes. Music by Ray Rude: http://www.needledrop.co/wp/artists/ray-rude/
info_outline #1 - bettercast preview 12/02/2016
#1 - bettercast preview The Bettercast is for people who want to learn how to get a little bit better at the habits that matter. Improving your life is a worthy challenge. It's also damn hard. Meet people who met the challenge and followed through, and hear from psychology and motivation experts about how successful change actually happens. Music by Ray Rude: http://www.needledrop.co/wp/artists/ray-rude/