Episode 7: Finding Identity in the Era of Tech

Jasmine Takanikos: He mentioned a lot like, well, Google fills in your answers, right? There’s all this AI around, you know, making sure what you’re doing in the email.

Laurie Segall: Right.

Jasmine Takanikos: But what I’ve noticed is the subtlety of that voice in Google, if I were to let that AI return my emails-

Laurie Segall: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jasmine Takanikos: … it would cost me money and relationships.

Laurie Segall: I spend a lot of time talking to the inside baseball Silicon Valley crowd. The people who create the technology  you use every day…but I’d like think that the best way we can understand the implications of tech… is to get outside the bubble. 

And my next guest is one of my favorite people when it comes to that — her name is Jasmine Takanikos – 

And she’s the person who helps big brands hone in on identity .. Her company Candor has clients like the the Ritz Carlton Hotel  and Grey Dog – and she uses this methodology called Brand Human – to help people understand who they are at their core -and how that translates  to the outside – on the company level.

Now I know her pretty well – and how I really want to introduce her to you is she’s just someone who works with creative people and asks the right questions…

I ask questions for a living and I’ve already asked a lot of them on this podcast this season…so we’re going to refer back to a lot of those episodes. 

But I was thinking about it and I don’t just want to put out all these ethical questions about tech and never come back to them so today that’s what we’re going to do.

I’m Laurie Segall and this is First Contact.

Laurie Segall: Okay, I’m super, super excited to have you on First Contact. I was going back and thinking who are really just interesting people who have a voice and have something to say, and your name just like automatically came up. You’re always top of mind. So I guess we should start out by talking about our First Contact.

Jasmine Takanikos: Yes, please.

Laurie Segall: Right. (laughs). How would you describe our First Contact, Jasmine?

Jasmine Takanikos: Oh gosh, you’re gonna give it to me.

Laurie Segall: (laughs).

Jasmine Takanikos: Um, well, I would describe it, from a place of just like total connection, I guess.

Jasmine Takanikos: Um, there was, a, a through line with us immediately.

Laurie Segall: So basically we were at a dinner and the theme was sex.

Jasmine Takanikos: Yeah, your sexual life and your sexual preferences or problems with sex or-

Laurie Segall: Right.

Jasmine Takanikos: And it was a curated group of like “powerful women.” 

Laurie Segall: Yeah

Jasmine Takanikos: And that was the conversation.

Laurie Segall: To like set the scene for everyone. It’s like all these, like, really well dressed, cool, powerful women and everybody’s talking about sex and you know, saying things about their sex life and really opening up.

Laurie Segall: And I had two thoughts at the time.

Jasmine Takanikos: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Laurie Segall: My two thoughts were the woman next to me is awesome. Kind of badass, because we were talking total business stuff.

Jasmine Takanikos: Yeah.

Laurie Segall: we just had this connection. And then the other thought I had was like, what are the waiters thinking right now?

Jasmine Takanikos: Absolutely and it was all male waiters, which was really funny, which I don’t think was considered before. This is subtle curatorial decisions.

Laurie Segall: Right, Right.

Laurie Segall: And you’re just a person that people immediately ask questions to. You exude wisdom.

Jasmine Takanikos: Aww, thank you.

Laurie Segall: Um, and I remember us just having a really great conversation at the Women Empowering Sex dinner.

Laurie Segall: You know, let’s talk a little bit about you because like you’re someone I go to, that’s kind of like outside of inside baseball, Silicon Valley.

Jasmine Takanikos: Yeah.

Laurie Segall: But that has like such a unique perspective on everything going on.

Laurie Segall: And so all of these really creative types, or all these different, companies come to you and ask you to help out.

Jasmine Takanikos: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Laurie Segall: And all this stuff and you’re kind of in charge of, I would almost say like being there like head in their heart and creating an identity for them. But what you do, ’cause I feel like you’ve done it with me-

Jasmine Takanikos: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Laurie Segall: … is you just like ask these really weird emotional questions-

Jasmine Takanikos: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Laurie Segall: … that make you think about who you are at your core-

Laurie Segall: You know and, that’s kind of the methodology you bring into BrandHuman, right?

Jasmine Takanikos: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, you know, I’m lucky enough to be an advisor to a lot of people I advise on their businesses, their own personal positioning. And that gives me this really awesome, unique perspective into a lot of different industries and the way people feel about their work and their relationship to their work and their relationship to their output.

Laurie Segall: You pull out these themes from your work.

Jasmine Takanikos: Mhm (affirmative).

Laurie Segall: because you talk with different people throughout your career.

Jasmine Takanikos: Yeah.

Laurie Segall: What themes are you jamming on?

Jasmine Takanikos: So I was really interested inthe conversation you had with Aza Raskin, around just kind of like this, this blue light. Are we blue lighting ourselves, are we blue lighting each other?

Laurie Segall: Right. For our listeners I think it was episode four when we interviewed Aza and like this idea of blue lighting ourselves. Like, I think about that all the time. Like when I wake up and look at my phone, like how this impacts your relationships in every single way.

Jasmine Takanikos: Right and everywhere I travel all over the world, there’s a phone in someone’s hand and they’re often looking down and, literally our body is changing our vertebrae in our neck is shifting based on looking down and how we’re looking down. 

Laurie Segall: It’s so crazy by the way. Like I remember reading the pieces on it, about how like our physical bodies are changing because of our relationship with technology. I mean, come on. Like if that’s not a warning sign, what is, right?

Jasmine Takanikos: Right. And I think it’s fascinating. Because we’re not going to shift people’s behavior, I think at this point with their, their phones. Because, you know, you’ve talked about this so much about how it’s just, it’s just, it’s just too easy. It’s too accessible. You’ve interviewed all of the top founders in tech and they’ve all said the same thing. That we’re at this point, we’re addicted. We’re, we’re part of this matrix.  

Laurie Segall: Well, it’s interesting because if I look back at like some of the interviews we’ve done this, this season so far, it’s like every founder, struggles with that relationship because everyone struggles with the relationship with technology. And so Hinge, the Hinge founder Justin, talks about how he didn’t escape. this was such a powerful line, like he was sitting right where you are and he was talking about, addiction and how he stopped drinking and doing drugs-

Jasmine Takanikos: Yeah.

Laurie Segall: … and and that led him to be able to create Hinge, you know, and create a very popular dating app. But he said he doesn’t have social media on his phone because he said he didn’t escape drug and alcohol addiction to become a slave to his phone. You have Aza, who you mentioned like-

Jasmine Takanikos: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Laurie Segall: … Talking about, and Aza runs like the Center for Humane Technology, which means like his head is literally in technology all day. He’s a designer, like he talks about how he, he goes on these like nature excursions and just like kind of like leaves, um, to a degree.

Jasmine Takanikos: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Laurie Segall: And Shane Mac,  who created this weird dating bot, if you guys listened to that episode that’s super upsetting.

Jasmine Takanikos: That episode actually was pretty incredible. And I think you tackled really important, an important conversation around trust,  that bot conversation in general for me, was pretty fascinating because there was this thing around tonality that You two brought up, that was kind of looked like kind of went over. But I think we should talk about, which is, you know, he mentioned a lot like, well, Google fills in your answers, right? There’s all this AI around, you know, making sure what you’re doing in the email.

Laurie Segall: Right.

Jasmine Takanikos: But what I’ve noticed is the subtlety of that voice in Google, if I were to let that AI return my emails-

Laurie Segall: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jasmine Takanikos: … it would cost me money and relationships, because that tonality is off for me.

Laurie Segall: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jasmine Takanikos: I’ve defined my voice. I’ve worked hard for many years to think about who I am and connect to who I am.

Laurie Segall: Yeah.

Jasmine Takanikos: and to the work I do. And, I’m always taken aback by how it liked me to respond, which feels cold and unprofessional and quick and not very thoughtful. Now, I’m not criticizing that AI, but for me it’s absolutely the wrong tonality.

Laurie Segall: But that’s so interesting that you say like, this could cost me money and business, right?

Jasmine Takanikos: 100%

Laurie Segall: Your whole business is built off of real, authentic voice. And we’re entering this era where everything is automated, quicker, cleaner, but, but there’s this humanity that’s kind of getting lost.

Jasmine Takanikos: Well, you and i talked about that you know there is this automation trend, right? That it’s better for everything to be quicker and more connected. And, anywhere from, you know, resumes to insurance, to all these things. But what you’re doing when you automate everything is you’re missing the subtleties. And as a strategist, the subtleties are often where you find your pain points.

Laurie Segall: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Right.

Jasmine Takanikos: And the subtleties are often where you see what the client really needs. So if my tonality is off, I’m actually not delivering what I need to deliver, because of a quick response. So it takes me two seconds longer, just to be a little bit more thoughtful.

Laurie Segall: Yeah.

Jasmine Takanikos: And then more thoughtful, and I’m actually thinking about it and actually thinking about it helps me do my project well.

Laurie Segall: Right.

Jasmine Takanikos: So, I also think there’s an epidemic in tone in general, in the leadership trainings we do, we talk a lot about communication audits, because how you start to communicate is how you start a relationship, and how you start a relationship is how that relationship is going to go.

Jasmine Takanikos: And you see this massive issue with boundaries in, in tech particularly, right? You can email at 3:00 AM, you can email at 4:00 AM, right? You should be able to talk whenever, you should have availability whenever.

Laurie Segall: So true.

Jasmine Takanikos: There’s more-

Laurie Segall: I’m someone who struggles with boundaries. I very much appreciate that statement.

Jasmine Takanikos: Yeah.

Laurie Segall: I feel like tech has given us no boundaries whatsoever.

Jasmine Takanikos: Right.

Laurie Segall: And I lack discipline too.

Jasmine Takanikos: Yeah. And the reality is, is the data is coming out that that’s not actually how you’re gonna get the best work from your employees. And you’re getting, you know, huge stories around founders that have sort of really driven their employees to extinction by overworking them and using them and using Slack channels or things like that of that nature to actually block them from truly communicating how they feel or understanding them. And almost boxing them into these insane work regulations that are like unsaid. 

Jasmine Takanikos: But, you know, if we’re looking at human capital, if we’re looking at really keeping our people, if we wanna go through life cycles with people, and maybe we don’t, maybe we just wanna recycle people all the time, you burnout’s a real thing, and part of how we reach burnout is not having space and time. And not having space and time doesn’t allow us to think, it doesn’t allow us to feel, and it certainly doesn’t allow us to approach our jobs and our positions from a place of, strategy versus reactivity.

Laurie Segall: I think there’s this interesting trend that kind of goes off of what you’re saying there, so every so often I just geek out over like one or two things. It’s like happens like one or two times a year that like I just get obsessed with something.

Jasmine Takanikos: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Laurie Segall: Unfortunately for like most of those folks around me, lately. I’ve been obsessed with bots and, and you probably have known this like-

Jasmine Takanikos: I know this. I’m, I’m, I’m well aware of, of the bot relationship.

Laurie Segall: (laughs). LIke I’m super, super obsessed with bots, but, but maybe, and I joke-

Jasmine Takanikos: I understand.

Laurie Segall: Right? Like, in defense of my obsession with bots. 

Jasmine Takanikos: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Laurie Segall: When I see something coming down the pipeline in a really interesting way that I don’t think has been touched, I’m like, “Oh this is an edge case.” But the edges always become the center.

Jasmine Takanikos: I was just about to say that, ’cause I’ve heard you say that line and it rings in my head.

Laurie Segall: Yeah.

Jasmine Takanikos: And I understand your obsession with bots because there’s the implications actually, and where it will actually activate is so broad.

Laurie Segall: Right. people know what bots are, but it’s like conversational artificial intelligence. we’ve seen big companies use bots, like who hasn’t been annoyed at, I want to say Microsoft or somewhere where you like message them and they’re like, “Hey Laurie, like we’re really happy to help you today.”

Jasmine Takanikos: Sure. Yeah.

Laurie Segall: You’re a bot, you’re so annoying.

Jasmine Takanikos: Yeah.

Laurie Segall: People are obsessed with issues or with things like virtual reality and the big shiny thing. But actually I think that the other stuff that’s coming down the pipeline is more, is almost more subtle. I think it’s like these conversational bots that could live in your phone or, so the episode we were talking about with Shane Mac who created a bot to date on the dating apps for him.

Jasmine Takanikos: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah.

Laurie Segall: It’s this idea that they can just take off that, that easy layer of like human contact, and sometimes it’s easy, right?  So like, you Shane’s whole point was that he had so many responses on the dating apps. I do think he’s out to some really interesting things, I do. (laughs).

Jasmine Takanikos: Well, I also think part of that,  thing that actually came up for me in that, in that interview-

Laurie Segall: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jasmine Takanikos: … Was that you were like, how’s that going?

Laurie Segall: (laughs). Right.

Jasmine Takanikos: I mean, the reality is, is sometimes when you break down with this tech, how it’s actually going-

Laurie Segall: Yeah.

Jasmine Takanikos: … Sometimes not going so well. (laughs).

Laurie Segall: Well, I mean (laughs), to give to give people some context, like, he created this bot that responds to people on the dating apps with these automated answers. Now, this is like 1.0. Imagine like 5.0 guys. Like so 5.0 is like this bot that learns you in your conversational style and begins and is able to talk to someone else, and set up dates-

Jasmine Takanikos: And the more you use it, the AI gets smarter.

Laurie Segall: Yeah, will get smarter. And so you’ll have these bots to date for you in the future. So that’s like one instance. Like, I had this very personal experience when a woman, Zenya who people have heard in the last episode. She used all my text messages and all my life data and she created a bot out of me, like the Laurie bot.

Jasmine Takanikos: Yeah. Yeah.

Laurie Segall: It was like, it was such an insane experience.

Jasmine Takanikos: Yeah.

Laurie Segall: Like the Laurie bot, like was me on my worst days, right? And started saying some crazy stuff.

Jasmine Takanikos: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Laurie Segall: Like, I think like when asked the meaning of life, the Laurie bot said doing mushrooms and dating a lot the AI got wrong. It picked up a conversation I think I had with my friend who had just been to Burning Man. Anyway, that’s neither here nor there.

Jasmine Takanikos: Right. But that, actually is an issue because there’s something that I’ve been calling it just for the fact of like putting a term around it this idea of shadow data, and shadow data and whatever that could potentially look like.

Laurie Segall: Yeah.

Jasmine Takanikos: Because if we’re saying that all data is smart, right, or that all data can learn you or that you can look at the content of my last three years and say, you know, this is what it looks like for me, but I’m choosing to share from a place of curation, which means that it is a version of me. And so AI on some level, unless it’s listening all the time. And, you know, there’s all this now incredible technology around just like how you move your hand, you’ve brought this up with your different  guests to show depression or to show whatever it is.

Laurie Segall: Yeah

Jasmine Takanikos: But, I think if we rely on our data to become AI, we’re gonna get a lot of negativity because we’re never Googling like, “Oh, that sunset looks beautiful.” We’re never Googling like the feeling of falling in love.

Laurie Segall: You haven’t googled that Jasmine? (laughs). 

Jasmine Takanikos: You know, we’re not like … it doesn’t record any of the-

Laurie Segall: That’s so true.

Jasmine Takanikos: Human subtleties, you know? And your work has always been really fascinating to me. and the reason why I initially wanted to interview you was because I wanted to hear what you thought about, we’re missing.

Laurie Segall: Right.

Jasmine Takanikos: This massive data around humanity that isn’t negative, that isn’t the searcher, that isn’t the seeker, that isn’t the, like there’s a problem and I’m looking to solve it, right? Like, we have to look at data as what it is, you know?

Laurie Segall: Yeah.

Jasmine Takanikos: And, if you’re really good at manipulation-

Laurie Segall: Right.

Jasmine Takanikos: You get one thing right. And you could look at manipulation and curation as the same thing depending on who you are.

Laurie Segall: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jasmine Takanikos: Like there’s, there’s the business of being an influencer and there’s the business of showing only certain things in the positive and the best angles and the best lighting right?

Laurie Segall: Yeah.

Jasmine Takanikos: You could look at that as highly problematic and being actually more robotic than human.

Laurie Segall: Right, right. That’s really interesting. And like, and I love what you say about like the subtleties that are getting lost.

Jasmine Takanikos: Yeah.

Laurie Segall: We’ve got to take a quick break to hear from our sponsors but when we come back we’re going to get into one of my favorite topics in tech: the grey area. 

Laurie Segall: In reporting it’s the subtleties that matter. I remember when I shot my show, Mostly Human at CNN, I pretty sure the production company had like basically a drinking game for every time I said the grey area. The grey area.

Jasmine Takanikos: Right.

Laurie Segall: And like you know these things aren’t black and white and it’s like subtleties that matter, especially when dealing with some of these issues that are nuance.

Jasmine Takanikos: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Laurie Segall: And I think that’s the story of technology now-

Jasmine Takanikos: Totally.

Laurie Segall: … Which is like, you know, I think that’s what we,  talk about. I think maybe why I’m so obsessed with like, you know, the bot stuff is like you could really say like, Shane’s a weird guy for creating this bot to date on the dating apps. You could also say that we’ve reached a point where, there’s so many options and people are becoming less human. And is it a way to get people speaking again? I don’t know. 

Jasmine Takanikos: Or meeting quicker.

Laurie Segall: Or meeting quicker.

Jasmine Takanikos: Right like I thought too, his point was interesting. It’s like, well, this is optimizing. What is it a very annoying experience, right? And partially you’re solving a pain point, but the reality is, is you release that technology into the world for good and for evil.

Laurie Segall: Like, can you imagine though, if you were on a dating app and talking to someone and they asked you to be vulnerable in these ways and said like, tell me something about you that like, people don’t know and you’re like, well, and you say this and then all of a sudden it was like you found out later it was a machine.

Jasmine Takanikos: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Laurie Segall: And I think I go back to like technology, is becoming more human and vice versa and like, there are all these ethical questions behind that. And, I think that goes to the question of even like Gmail, like, or you know, Gchat, like actually like filling in these things.

Jasmine Takanikos: Yeah. Yeah.

Laurie Segall: Even with like Uber drivers, right? Like when you get the thing, it’s like I’ve arrived! I’m like, “Oh my God, that’s so nice.”

Jasmine Takanikos: Yeah. Yeah.

Laurie Segall: And I’m like, “Oh, that’s automated.”

Jasmine Takanikos: Yeah.

Laurie Segall: You know? So I don’t know. I think like all of this stuff, there’s so many good things and so many bad things that are to come. And I think, the last episode, of the podcast, essentially, it kept making a joke out of me, getting into a relationship essentially with a bot and my phone. That’s super weird. But like really developing real feelings.

Jasmine Takanikos: Yeah, and having them trigger, having them know at the right time what your triggers are.

Laurie Segall: Yeah.

Jasmine Takanikos: Right? I mean, but, there was the whole point that, I think it was Aza talking about that, the technology of, of having relationships with bots is already very widespread in Asia

Laurie Segall: Yeah.

Jasmine Takanikos: Right? and you see that, that there’s been a loneliness epidemic for a long time in Asia. They’ve done a lot of studies, especially around like sex and marriage and looking at people are disconnecting much more and not wanting to have physical contact or wanting to hire that contact.

Laurie Segall: Yeah.

Jasmine Takanikos: And we’ve seen that, right?

Laurie Segall: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jasmine Takanikos: And I was really going, “Okay, is that a problem, right?” I mean, if you wanna develop a relationship with a robot? Do I, can I, should I say anything about that? Like-

Laurie Segall: Like does it matter?

Jasmine Takanikos: Right. And, and does it matter? And I think, if you look at video games on some levels, that’s what they are. You’re creating a persona, you’re going out, you’re living in a different world. That’s what second life was, right? Like, there’s going to be humans that actually prefer to speak to a robot, to be with a robot, you know?

Laurie Segall: Yeah.

Jasmine Takanikos: And I think we have to actually like feel fine about that and be like, all right, that’s your way of living. That’s your way of life. Now, is it, is it problematic for humanity in general?

Laurie Segall: Right.

Jasmine Takanikos: Because people aren’t connecting in the same way. So there are implications, right? But do we judge people for what, how they wanna communicate or what they want to do. And, I know you’ve mentioned many times, it’s like humans, we’re messy, we’re real, we’re sometimes you forget to get back to people and we’re not as responsible in, right?

Laurie Segall: Yeah.

Jasmine Takanikos: Like a robot’s going to kind of know it’s going to act robotically, right? So it’s gonna be much more systematized in the way it communicates and connects with you.

Laurie Segall: Right.

Jasmine Takanikos: And if that provides a feeling of safety and connectivity to someone, I, I’m not sure if I have an issue with it.

Laurie Segall: I was thinking about, the bot episode before this and how like, why it struck me in such a very personal way and I was having this AI bot that’s in your phone, that checks in at certain hours of the day. It picks up on certain subtleties. Like it knows I like to walk next to the Hudson river, so to say, have you gone on your walk today?

Laurie Segall: And I think there’s something, um, need to be very careful, because there’s a fine line between human connection and manipulation when it comes to technology. And we’ve been like sold connection, connection, connection since as long as I’ve been covering tech and Mark Zuckerberg-

Jasmine Takanikos: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Right.

Laurie Segall: … Say like we are connecting the world, and then all of a sudden there’s kind of this manipulation thing. So I love this idea of living the question, right?

Jasmine Takanikos: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Laurie Segall: And I’ve always kind of lived the question. And I think when I was experiencing this like weird bot thing-

Jasmine Takanikos: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Laurie Segall: Testing out this bot that lived in my phone that I would speak to at certain hours and it was always there, and it, and it also the AI until it went crazy was very good and seemed very understanding. It just felt, very weirdly intimate for a machine.

Jasmine Takanikos: Uh-huh (affirmative).

Laurie Segall: And, and I think that says more about this moment in tech and, and so I think like there’s seven million people using this in the United States, right? That’s like so crazy.

Jasmine Takanikos: You know you’ve brought up stories before about manipulation around AI and the Ashley Madison Case. I remember you reporting on that very early on.

Laurie Segall: Yeah. We should, we should give like just for folks who don’t haven’t watched it like.

Jasmine Takanikos: Sure.

Laurie Segall: So Ashley Madison was a website online that, anyone who was looking to cheat or have an affair could go to anonymously and potentially find someone who also wanted to cheat and have an affair. I was obsessed with Ashley Madison. Like I, I dunno, um, I just like, I was obsessed with this idea of like a cheating website more so because I’m obsessed with like the lies we tell ourselves as humans and how relationships are really messy.

Jasmine Takanikos: Yeah.

Laurie Segall: And like, I think it’s like, and this website just like touched on something very visceral and real-

Jasmine Takanikos: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Laurie Segall: … Which is that I think a lot of people were unhappy and looked at this as like a way out. and it got hacked, um, for folks who don’t know. And it was like this very dramatic hack and everybody’s names of like potential cheaters were out there for the public to see.

Jasmine Takanikos: Yeah.

Laurie Segall: And I saw this as almost like this modern day Scarlet letter, because everyone would know who was on the list, I will never forget, I was sitting in the CNN newsroom and like, literally people would come up to me and be like, “Can you check and see if so-and-so is on the list?” (laughs). I was like, “Oh my God,” 

Jasmine Takanikos: Oh no!

Laurie Segall: Because I had had access. Like a friend of mine was like a security researcher and like had like-

Jasmine Takanikos: Yeah.

Laurie Segall: … You know, I mean, I feel like I’m always like the girl with like access to the weird stuff.

Jasmine Takanikos: Right. Right.

Laurie Segall: Um, you know, but I remember looking into a thing and, and, doing a bunch of investigating and realize and finding out that Ashley Madison had done studies on when human beings are are their weakest, right.

Jasmine Takanikos: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Laurie Segall: And, I mean, this is what the study said. It came from a very legit place, but apparently like men on Sundays after they go to church, you know, are most likely to cheat or something, are most likely to be willing to click on something, and so they would target ads to these people at these certain moments.

Jasmine Takanikos: Right.

Laurie Segall: So using technology like in order to like exploit people. I mean, that’s so crazy that like the way you could be targeted for like cereal or something ’cause you’re a certain age, gender, whatever. Like you could be targeted by a website that knows when you’re in your weakest moment to try to get you to cheat on your significant other or give into those basic human impulses. Um, that for me was like, “Whoa.” You know.

Jasmine Takanikos: Yeah, and I mean on the other flip side of it, it’s just incredibly powerful too. You’ve also talked about, you know, when to kind of, the signs are around where people might be depressed-

Laurie Segall: Yeah.

Jasmine Takanikos: … And from mental health standpoint, like intervening and intervention and all of that. But, to Aza’s point in, in your earlier podcast episode, he was really saying like these platforms in general, what they have now is they have the ability to persuade and that becomes their capital and their value proposition.

Laurie Segall: Yeah.

Jasmine Takanikos: And if we understand that, that kind of changes the game, because the next wave is, is regulations. We know that, right? You and I have talked a lot about like what does that look like?

Laurie Segall: Right.

Jasmine Takanikos: Who’s doing it?

Laurie Segall: Yeah.

Jasmine Takanikos: You know, the government barely knows what the internet is in my opinion, so they can’t. (laughs).

Laurie Segall: (laughs). I remember sitting in a room when, um, Zuckerberg testified for the first time, bout everything that happened with Cambridge Analytica.

Jasmine Takanikos: Sure.

Laurie Segall: And remember I interviewed him during Cambridge Analytica. So there was just like this moment where you’re in Washington, you’re in the room. It’s like I think there was a guy outside dressed as like a Russian troll. I mean, it was just like-

Jasmine Takanikos: Like surreal.

Laurie Segall: … You can’t make this stuff up. And then it’s like Mark Zuckerberg sitting there and it was just this historic moment there was so much gravitas to this moment because it was this moment that technology and society clashed in this massive way. And then the questions that a lot of these folks were asking, and, and in all fairness, they’ve gotten a lot better.

Jasmine Takanikos: Yes. And. and quickly.

Laurie Segall: And quickly because they had to.

Jasmine Takanikos: Yeah.

Laurie Segall: Um-

Jasmine Takanikos: Well, it was, it was-

Laurie Segall: Embarrassing.

Jasmine Takanikos: Embarrassing. Yeah.

Laurie Segall: These questions that a lot of the senators were asking. I mean, I think, I’m pretty sure if someone asks him to like fix his router but it was like this insane moment where you’re just like, “Whoa.”

Jasmine Takanikos: Yeah.

Laurie Segall: And I remember thinking that, and like because I was the room with a lot of tech writers that we’d all been covering tech for so many years.

Jasmine Takanikos: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Laurie Segall: And all of us are kind of weird in our own ways. Like, I guess like I’m painted as a little more normal ’cause I was on TV for many years, but like all of us were in like the sidebars, in 2010 when like tech was kinda coming up, uh, the second wave of tech.

Jasmine Takanikos: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Laurie Segall: Like it was kind of like a bunch of misfits.

Jasmine Takanikos: Yeah.

Laurie Segall: And so to see a lot of those folks in Washington, during this moment of the clash of tech and society, and our data and all this stuff was just, I remember just thinking like, “Whoa, it does feel pretty historical.” 

Jasmine Takanikos: That to me, that whole hearing was intense.

Laurie Segall: Yeah.

Jasmine Takanikos: Because it made me realize how much they don’t understand and you can’t regulate something when you don’t understand it. And I think that there needs to be developers and programmers and people who are literally writing the next wave of communication. Your code is inherently, it is inherently political, right? It is, it’s a game changer. And who writes that code and who has that editorial voice, you know, is big.

Laurie Segall: Yeah.

Jasmine Takanikos: And so I think that it’s an extraordinary time to educate, to understand when the blood is on your hands and when you’re responsible, to truly understand that you actually are an editor when you start to say you can post that and you can’t post that.

Laurie Segall: yeah

Jasmine Takanikos: That becomes then a media company and that becomes a bias. And you cannot hide behind that you’re a “tech company,” and that you’re not editors anymore.

Laurie Segall: Well I’m, as long as I’ve covered tech, I’ve asked these, the founders of Twitter or Facebook, everyone like, are you a media company or a tech company? And I think, um, it’s been a long time, but they finally have like stopped just like they no longer can say we’re not a media company. They won’t say it, but like it used to be like oh we’re a tech company. We’re just the pipes.

Jasmine Takanikos: Yeah they would stand behind that.

Laurie Segall: I remember I was shooting a documentary on Facebook, last year and so we were able to go and, and on a meeting where they decided what content stays up, then what content comes down, 

Laurie Segall: And I remember like listening to these conversations and, and granted a lot of things have changed since, but you know, there was a question about someone who was accusing a man in the me too era and they were like, we are gonna let this stay up for news value.

Laurie Segall: And I was like, “Well, what if he says that?” Like, and, and so it almost like turned into like a little bit of what I would say would be a like a, a newsroom conversation that we would have-

Jasmine Takanikos: Sure.

Laurie Segall: … With like people who’ve been in the news industry for decades.

Jasmine Takanikos: Sure.

Laurie Segall: And it was, I think with like lawyers and engineers, it was, it was very strange.

Jasmine Takanikos: Yeah.

Laurie Segall: Um, and I think since then, you know, they have like now like the Supreme court for information and now like Facebook doesn’t want that to be on them, but what I like to say is like, it’s a messy process getting there.

Jasmine Takanikos: Yes. Yes.

Laurie Segall: Like, and it was a really messy process. And I, I kind of witnessed, I think maybe because I’ve covered Facebook for so many years and I’ve interviewed Mark many times, like you witness, whether it’s Facebook or these larger tech companies, I would say maybe like a bit of the filter bubble around technology in general. And I interviewed Adam Mosseri, the CEO of Instagram a couple of weeks ago and I said like, you know, it kinda feels like sometimes it takes the media saying something for you guys to pay attention.

Jasmine Takanikos: Well, you know, I think you asked him a really important question, do you ever worry that your boss is wrong do you ever worry that you’re wrong?

Laurie Segall: (laughs). Right.

Jasmine Takanikos: We have to realize there’s like real humans behind these decisions.

Laurie Segall: When you’re at a startup and you’re wrong, okay, by the way, I’m wrong like 10 times a day. But like when you now have two billion people under your belt and it’s like democracy and all these things, I mean, in the time I’ve covered tech, which is like a long time, like the stakes got so extraordinarily high.

Jasmine Takanikos: They did. And, you know, I, I often wonder with Facebook, it just because, you know, I’ve been in, in the game a long time of seeing people build businesses-

Laurie Segall: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jasmine Takanikos: … And I think there is always a relationship between the founder and the actual idea. 

Laurie Segall: Hmm.

Jasmine Takanikos: And we don’t talk often enough about what the actual idea of Facebook was, because it isn’t at all what that is today. it certainly wasn’t, um, for the goodness of humanity and community. And that has to be looked at a little bit.

Laurie Segall: It’s really important, I think when you’re at these companies, and I’ve seen this done well and not done well, right? To have people who call you out on your, on your stuff, right? So like, yeah, you’re right. Like it totally wasn’tbuilt for like connection and this was built in college about around women, right?

Jasmine Takanikos: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Laurie Segall: I think there’s something to be said. These are the founders, that I really, I really respect. it’s funny if you listen to the Hinge episode with Justin McCleod-

Jasmine Takanikos Yeah.

Laurie Segall: … Like I remember when at first I was like, “Why did you want to solve the problem of love?” Right

Jasmine Takanikos: Yes.

Laurie Segall: By the way, bad on me for asking such a broad question. But he was like, you know, “It’s such an important question.” And I was just like, what? Like no, no.

Jasmine Takanikos: He wanted to just-

Laurie Segall: He was like, “I really,” he was like, “Well,” and he gave a really honest answer. He was like, I was a mess. Like I was struggling with drugs and alcohol and I had been in rehab and I lost the girl of my dreams and I was a total disaster and I needed to do this.

Jasmine Takanikos: Yeah.

Laurie Segall: So I think maybe what I get back to is a certain self-awareness that is important, that is human.

Jasmine Takanikos: Yes. And people are allowed to evolve.

Laurie Segall: And, and I think that’s important for tech right now. 

Jasmine Takanikos: Yes

Laurie Segall: And I think maybe if I could say like, you know, having woven myself in and out of some of these big stories throughout my career, like one of the issues is the inability to look in the mirror, right? And, and I think that gets harder when you become more powerful. That gets harder when you have people around you. That gets harder when the stakes get higher, when everything you do is covered. But, you know, it’s funny, I remember for this doc I was doing, I, Alex Stamos who was the chief security officer at Facebook, he ended up leaving you do the math. And it was his team that discovered the Russian influence and it was a really big deal that he was leaving. 

Laurie Segall: And we were driving to Facebook and as he was leaving, because he had decided to leave Facebook. He, I don’t think, felt like he could do what he needed to do within the company. And, he was pointing out the Facebook sign.

Laurie Segall: So if you go, anyone goes to Menlo Park and you’re at Facebook, there’s like this gigantic like signs that people take photos of. And it’s like the thumbs up like, and, and he said, you know, on the back of that sign is, sun Microsystems because that’s the company that was there before. And he said, it’s this incredible reminder that if you don’t continuously evolve-

Jasmine Takanikos: Right.

Laurie Segall: … And also like this idea that like hubris can be the best of you, then there’s always another company to replace you. And and it’s so like weirdly poetic that on the back of that like sign is another company that came before. I think there’s all these complicated feelings about the future and, you know, where we really go from here. And if the company isn’t able to really understand or see or get in front of some of these issues in a way that feels human, it could be replaced too. And, you know, so I just, there’s so much, I guess there’s so much there I think as someone who kind of like dipped in and out of that, of Facebook during this moment.  

Jasmine Takanikos: Yeah. But, we do have to look at why we started a thing and where we were at that point.

Laurie Segall: Yeah.

Jasmine Takanikos: And that’s part of looking in the mirror is understanding all of the different parts of self that have moved you through the journey.

Laurie Segall: Right.

Jasmine Takanikos: And understanding where you will need your own personal development. But the more money you have around you, it can get confusing, right? Who you listen to. Again, your formal, your informal advisors

Laurie Segall: Yeah

Jasmine Takanikos: Why you listen. Money can make you feel a lot more powerful and smarter than you are.

Laurie Segall: Right. Totally.

Jasmine Takanikos: And you know, that’s why I believe, I believe in leadership training that is more question-based, right? Because again, getting to the right questions can be really eye opening. And it sounds very simple, but it’s really not because a lot of trainings and things we look at are telling you how to do something.

Laurie Segall: We’ve gotta take a quick break to hear from our sponsors but when we come back Jasmine talks about time and our complicated relationship with it plus the power of saying no. 

Laurie Segall: And I wanna talk a little bit, about time. So I brought with me, people can’t see, but I have this card on the table that I got. I kept with me from a dinner that I went to, that, that you did. And it says, “What is your relationship to time?” This one was really personal to me because you deal with leaders all the time. You ask them questions that force them to think about themselves.

Jasmine Takanikos: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Laurie Segall: Um, and as I’ve said, you’ve asked me those questions. This is one that kinda hit me. There’s, I’m sure like the tech angle to it, but like, you know, as I’m building out a media company my relationship with time, I would say is complicated and I don’t do a great job of it. And, and increasingly so. And I think our time as we get older and as we get like kinda more stuck in our ways even feels more valuable. I know my mom was sick recently and like you just like, man, like you’re like time is so important. Like especially as we get older, our parents get older, our relationships get more defined-

Jasmine Takanikos: It’s more in front of you.

Laurie Segall: It’s just more in front of you.

Jasmine Takanikos: You can see it, right?

Laurie Segall: Yeah.

Jasmine Takanikos: As humans this is, this is an interesting thing about being human, right? I’ve been thinking a lot about this too in my experience. But, you know, you look at your mom and you know they’re getting older-

Laurie Segall: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jasmine Takanikos: … But then you see it and it does something to you. 

Laurie Segall: Yeah

Jasmine Takanikos: And the principle that you’re talking about, is called ode to hours, and starting to actually apply the idea of devotion to time and  looking at time more as like having a devotional quality to it versus rushing through it. And, you know, when we give someone our time, we are giving them a very precious gift, and it actually ends up becoming our value and it ends up becoming the money we make.

Laurie Segall: Yeah.

Jasmine Takanikos: And ends up becoming the products we create and we put out into the world. And, it’s just a foundational part of things.

Laurie Segall: Yeah. I love, um, there’s a quote that you sent over some stuff and it’s a quote that I’ve lived by, I don’t know why I was obsessed with this when I was in college. Um, well, I guess I was just obsessed with Joan Didion.

Jasmine Takanikos: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Of course.

Laurie Segall: ‘Cause like, I mean, I’m so cliché.

Jasmine Takanikos: Yeah. (laughs).

Laurie Segall: But like I’ve always been obsessed with Joan Didion um, the author.

Jasmine Takanikos: Yeah, of course.

Laurie Segall: Like, just like extraordinaire. I just remember she like used sentences like how would people, I didn’t know would used sentences. Like I had this English teacher growing up who was like five paragraph essay and if it doesn’t fit in the box then like you’re bad.

Jasmine Takanikos: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Laurie Segall: And then all of a sudden I read Joan Didion and like her sentences were long, and used lots of conjunctions-

Jasmine Takanikos: Yeah. Poetic. Yeah.

Laurie Segall: … And she just like, she just like had such a wonderful way about her. Anyway, that’s a tangent. I won’t bring people, uh, into my upsetting college experience.

Jasmine Takanikos: Just just to bring into that, you know, the idea of language, right?

Laurie Segall: Yeah.

Jasmine Takanikos: Is so key to how we develop and who we are.

Laurie Segall: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jasmine Takanikos: And I was lucky enough to have teachers growing up that actually like they were like you’re creating new ways of grammar. Like, but it works. So that openness allows it the application to be much more interesting, right? 

Laurie Segall: Totally. and I go back to that quote, when she said we tell each other stories in order to live, she, it’s like such like an extraordinary thing.

Jasmine Takanikos: Yeah.

Laurie Segall: And I think, um, whether this plays out in technology, whether this plays out, like in our personal life, like we all have these stories, that kind of define how we live and who we are. And, and I think the story of technology is fascinating right now, but there’s just something about that that really resonated. What, what was it for you?

Jasmine Takanikos: Well, story is everything, right?

Laurie Segall: Yeah.

Jasmine Takanikos: It’s, it’s how we actually learn to be who we are, right?

Laurie Segall: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jasmine Takanikos: This is the story of tribe, right? How do you know not to kill your brother?

Laurie Segall: Yeah.

Jasmine Takanikos: Right? Like you’re taught through a story of some kind, and how are you taught not to, do wrong or do right 

Laurie Segall: Yeah.

Jasmine Takanikos: We become, the stories we’re around and we’re told. And so, if we’re repeating the same thing and we’re on like, you know, a negative track of who we are 

Laurie Segall: Yeah.

Jasmine Takanikos: Unconsciously, well, we’re consciously putting that into, into the world into being.

Laurie Segall: Yeah.

Jasmine Takanikos: You know, and I think as I get older, what I try to do is, is,listen to myself a little bit more.

Laurie Segall: Yeah.

Jasmine Takanikos: Right?

Laurie Segall: So my question for you, having worked with, creatives and people who are kind of finding their brand and identity, we’ve talked a lot about this.

Jasmine Takanikos: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Laurie Segall: Um, what homework, what work would you give me?

Jasmine Takanikos: What would I give you right now? So you’re in this really f– interesting pivotal time of, of deciding whose stories you’re gonna tell.

Laurie Segall: Sure.

Jasmine Takanikos: And through that they’re telling your story.

Laurie Segall: Hmm.

Jasmine Takanikos: And so I would tell you to just, I don’t know about doing certain kinds of homework, but like really reflecting on who you’re spending time with right now, because this podcast and this work and Dot Dot Dot is your future forecasting.

Laurie Segall: Right.

Jasmine Takanikos: You’re deciding what deserves a platform to be talked about And, there’s a really interesting responsibility in that, right?

Laurie Segall: Yeah.

Jasmine Takanikos: And it’s not about doing right or wrong, it’s just about checking in enough to know.

Laurie Segall: Yeah.

Jasmine Takanikos You know.

Laurie Segall: No, and I think it’s super important because I left, a pretty fancy job, right?

Jasmine Takanikos: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Laurie Segall: With this idea that I think we need to talk much more about how our heads are and how our hearts are when it comes to technology. And, and I don’t think you can do that without talking to the people who create the technology.

Jasmine Takanikos: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Laurie Segall: So I think you have to talk to the big Titans and whatnot, but you gotta talk to them in a different way. And then I also, the story around technology right now is so much about power and regulation and all this stuff, which is super important. But like, I really believe that some of the things that we miss out on are like the edge cases. Like I, I go back to that bot dating story of like, this conversational AI is coming down the pipeline. It could make us more or less human. We have to have these conversations, right? Like to give you a sense, after we put out that episode, I know for a fact that one of the founders of one of the dating apps reached out, to one of the people involved to ask about the technology. This technology is coming. Right? And my whole thing is like, you know-

Jasmine Takanikos: Let’s pay attention to it.

Laurie Segall: We’ve gotta like look in the corners, like I think it gets harder maybe even as you get bigger in your career or whatnot. But I’ve always loved the hacker community. I’ve loved like the people in the corners. 

Laurie Segall: Like in college I remember I wrote a, I had a column called spotlight, and and I could spot like anyone I wanted with it. And I didn’t do like the cute guy or like the, the track star. I would like interview, um, the woman who like was 90 years old at the library because I just thought she had like biblical secrets.

Jasmine Takanikos: Amazing. Where is that content now? It needs to be- (laughs).

Laurie Segall: I don’t  even know if like the internet fully existed then. I’m making myself seem older.

Jasmine Takanikos: To resurface.

Laurie Segall: But I was just always obsessed with those corner stores.

Jasmine Takanikos: Yeah.

Laurie Segall: And that’s why I started covering technology back in, and I would say 2009, 2010 like it was like a lot of more misfits in the second wave of tech.

Jasmine Takanikos: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Laurie Segall: And I think like committing myself to even with you have a seat at the table and can interview a lot of these bigger founders, like really finding those stories on the edges. Because that’s just so much about the future. And actually those stories are much harder than just booking X, Y, and Z.

Jasmine Takanikos: Yes, you know, I think one of the other things I would say just to like, if you were kind of, in practice with BrandHuman-

Laurie Segall: Uh-huh.

Jasmine Takanikos: … Is there, there’s a lot of I’ve been thinking about recently about integration-

Laurie Segall: Okay.

Jasmine Takanikos: … and you hear a lot of these founders and you’ve interviewed them where they’re like, “Yeah, I go into nature,” I have to kind of unplug to replug and which I think is, is important.

Laurie Segall: Yeah.

Jasmine Takanikos: Right? But what I see a lot of is, totally unplugging and then completely plugging back in without integrating what it is for either of them. Right? So like how do we start to, to find some sense of equilibrium

Laurie Segall: Right.

Jasmine Takanikos: In our lives? Like why does it have to be so extreme?

Laurie Segall: Yeah.

Jasmine Takanikos: And I think in the extreme is where you find a lot of the loneliness and that epidemic which you’ve been talking about. And I think we can’t ask technology to do that for us. 

Laurie Segall: Yeah. I think that’s such a good point. And I, and I … Something you said makes you think about like an internal debate. I won’t say his name, but, um, it’s a pretty, uh, big, executive, from Silicon Valley, recently emailed me and it was like so bitching about something and he said like, “Does technology serve humanity or does humanity serve technology?”

Jasmine Takanikos: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Laurie Segall: Like technology in, in Silicon Valley, like we want the narrative to be that, technology is like the gatekeeper and all this stuff. But like we’re humans, we have control over some of this stuff. And I think really trying to find a way, and I think I struggle with this personally, in this new era where like tech is society and it’s part of us and it’s an extension of us, to really try to find ways to enter, ways to integrate. Because I know from a fact, like I know a lot of folks in Silicon Valley who are like I mean, it’s so ironic. It’s like the people who created this technology and got us in this mess to a degree are like, sending their kids to schools that have no technology, and, and it sounds-

Jasmine Takanikos: And taking a vipassina retreat, like 

Laurie Segall: Yeah, they, they have the-

Jasmine Takanikos: … How many people can afford to plug out of life completely for-

Laurie Segall: Right.

Jasmine Takanikos: … 13 days or whatever it is to sit in silent meditation. I mean-

Laurie Segall: I mean it, it is like, it feels like an episode of Silicon Valley, but it, it makes me … I try not to get too black and white on this, but it also, it’s like, okay, so you can go and you have, you can afford, right? To like go do the meditation retreats and you can send your kids to schools without the technology that you created. But is technology the modern day junk food? Right? Like, you know if-

Jasmine Takanikos: And why does it have to be?

Laurie Segall: … It’s almost like we almost want these people to help in a, in a bigger way, which I know a lot of them are thinking about it, so it’s not-

Jasmine Takanikos: But they also can’t be all put on them. Right?

Laurie Segall: Right. Exactly. This, it’s up to like a lot of different types of folks, but it is, … I’m with you. I don’t think the solution is just like bowing out. And I think some of the people at the top have found these kind of extreme ways, but, but what happens when, you know, the young people you … It’s like, it almost feels like the junk food epidemic and, and really premium information, is probably gonna cost more. The bad information is gonna cost less. Right? So like you begin to see down the pipeline, like some of these ethical issues we’re facing in the future, even when it comes to information and content and access, it’s such-

Jasmine Takanikos: Well you bring up a really important point around affluence and the importance of social media in your life or importance of content and media, which is, you know, the most affluent, influential people I know don’t have social media because they don’t have to.

Laurie Segall: Right. Right.

Jasmine Takanikos: Or they have shadow accounts, another kind of term I’ve been calling it, which is that they just look and they’re, they don’t post content, right?

Laurie Segall: Yeah.

Jasmine Takanikos: And there’s kind of no need to show it off because they’ve been rich all their lives or, or they don’t understand it or their generation missed it. But there’s some of us that are more susceptible to, media addiction and all of that than others.

Laurie Segall: Yeah.

Jasmine Takanikos: And I think, I don’t criticize, the Jack Dorsey’s of the world for wanting to move to Africa or whatever that means. But you know, Scott Galloway’s open letter to Twitter a couple weeks ago on how he feels as a large shareholder about that founder, kind of in his eyes, seeing him step away. Right?

Laurie Segall: Yeah and for our listeners this was a letter Scott Galloway sent to the executive chairman of Twitter, essentially calling for Jack Dorsey to step down. So can you explain a little bit about what was in this?

Jasmine Takanikos: Yeah, I mean there was, there was a lot of points and, and I’ll let everyone look at it themselves.

Laurie Segall: Right.

Jasmine Takanikos: But certainly it was you know a call to action for Twitter to like first and foremost to define their value.

Laurie Segall: Yeah.

Jasmine Takanikos: And asking is this an avoidant move for Jack Dorsey to move to Africa and is this responsible. And um then a variety of other things. But you know that was the gist of it. But I think it brings up a larger conversation of the value that these companies actually have if you really look at all of these inflated evaluations and-

Laurie Segall: Right.

Jasmine Takanikos: … And we really break down value, right?

Laurie Segall: Yeah.

Jasmine Takanikos: And what does this brand do and how are they valuable? (laughs).

Laurie Segall: Yeah.

Jasmine Takanikos: And we can’t just say, this founder is responsible for that value proposition. That’s actually absurd because there’s too many hands in the pot now. And a lot of these tech companies like Twitter, like Facebook, like Instagram in fact, where I feel Instagram actually has been the most contained and managed, the user has decided what that brand has become.

Laurie Segall: Yeah that’s interesting. 

Jasmine Takanikos: And the ambassadors of that brand. If you look at Twitter and you look at Trump is their number one ambassador now.

Laurie Segall: Right.

Jasmine Takanikos: That was not, that was not the founder asking for that or deciding that or having that be a marketing strategy, that is what happened.

Laurie Segall: Yeah.

Jasmine Takanikos: And then in turn became known for that. It’s interesting those brand associations and what we put back on our founders and then from there what we feel is actually valuable in tech.

Laurie Segall: Yeah. So to wrap it kind of, I want to kind of use this as like a setup into the new year. 

Jasmine Takanikos: Hmm.

Laurie Segall: I don’t know, I’m like very sentimental about the new year and like what it brings. You’re like a very disciplined, principled person, right?

Jasmine Takanikos: I manage, sometimes (laughs).

Laurie Segall: You know, what are you, um, what are the biggest things that you’re thinking about as we head into the new year?,This is the stuff, this is the stuff of 2020. Oh my God, saying 2020 sounds crazy.

Jasmine Takanikos: Yeah, I like it. 

Jasmine Takanikos: I run two companies, right? And I am going to be 40 in May and I think, and I started my business at 26, so it’s been a long run. And, I’m thinking deeply about time and I’m thinking deeply about, where BrandHuman goes next more in just, um, a review process actually and it’s going to be a review process, because you can’t move forward without looking at what you’ve done.

Laurie Segall: Uh, how do you think that you define success at 40 versus 26? What’s the difference?

Jasmine Takanikos: There was so much more ego involved at 26.

Laurie Segall: Yeah.

Jasmine Takanikos: You know, and at the time my first client was New Balance actually and in my consultancy and, and I, I got really lucky, but I also got really challenged because I got put in rooms that, you know, the privately held company where they felt I’d be helpful. And I was this “consultant” which means you don’t really aren’t anything. Now I, I care much. I just, my ego is in a different place with my work. I, I almost, I just approach things from a place of like much more discipline in research and trust. And I say no a lot more. I think at 26 I said yes to a lot of things.

Laurie Segall: Totally.

Jasmine Takanikos: You know, we’re constantly saying, you know, no to clients that aren’t in right alignment with our work or no to opportunities that don’t make sense. 

Laurie Segall: Isn’t it extraordinary, when you get a little bit older, right? This ability just like when you realize you’ve gotten to a certain point, to a certain point in your career by saying yes, yes, yes, yes.

Jasmine Takanikos: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Laurie Segall: And then when you reach a certain point, you’re like, the only way I’m going to level up is by learning how to say no.

Jasmine Takanikos: Say no, yeah.

Laurie Segall: And and I think it actually comes with, an extraordinary understanding of who you are. But most importantly maybe who you’re not. Like, I’ve always said, I think life is a bit of a process of elimination. Like, you date-

Jasmine Takanikos: .So smart. 

Laurie Segall: … the guys, you’re not supposed to date or women, whatever, right?

Laurie Segall: You have the job and you get to the top to realize that you want something different… And, and it takes like every little bit of that, to bring you to that point and who you’re not. And that’s even more valuable I think, sometimes in defining who you are. 

Jasmine Takanikos: And I think this is a, this is a strange thing of we define who we are because I don’t know if that’s even possible from all of the work I’ve done with all of these different kinds of humans and different agents from all over the world, it is a process of being human, is a process of, of thinking about who you are at that exact moment.

Laurie Segall: Yeah.

Jasmine Takanikos: It it is constantly changing and evolving. And so to your brilliant point, who you are not is much more accurate because who you are is a guess, but the not, the no-

Laurie Segall: Right.

Jasmine Takanikos: … that, that you can tap into the, your senses. Right? The felt sense and the gut. 

Laurie Segall: Yeah.

Jasmine Takanikos: Right? And the no doesn’t have to be wrong. I’m all, I’m constantly telling like, my clients, this is my community. This is like, you don’t have to obsess about why you don’t want to work with that person.

Laurie Segall: Yeah.

Jasmine Takanikos: It’s okay not to have something we call vibratory resonance at BrandHuman, which is like, it’s just not the right match and they are going to find the right match with someone else. It’s not right or wrong. 

Laurie Segall: First of all you’re the second person to say to me, I feel like what’s your vibration? Or something, like, I feel like it’s becoming a bit of a thing because you’re now like, the second person to say this to me.

Jasmine Takanikos: Well it’s, it’s a key principle in the work we do because I don’t fundamentally believe in like traditional marketing anymore and and PR, I think all of that’s being disrupted, um, in how we spread the word, how we become, how our products become attractive, how things build. And it becomes like if you do, if you do the right work with the right thing, you’re solving a pain point. It’s well-branded, right? All of the things, it becomes its own vibration.

Jasmine Takanikos: And if you look at quantum physics, this is back into science, of like how something vibrates. Every single thing vibrates in this room. Every single thing is, has its own matter, right? So, the more you can do that for yourself, the more you’re actually not going to have to have so many no conversations, ’cause you’re just not going to attract all the no.

Laurie Segall: Right. Good point.

Jasmine Takanikos: Right? So there’s, a science to, to getting yourself and your brand to a point of attraction that there’s just more flow. And you know, I think that’s uh, that’s the goal.

Laurie Segall: I’m going to end this episode on a more emotional note because it’s the beginning of the new year so why not? What if instead of this constant battle to figure out who we are we took a moment to celebrate who we’re not? The puzzle pieces that didn’t quite fit. The ones that when pieced together fit an image that wasn’t well exactly what we wanted. As Jasmine says when it comes to identity and figuring out who we are or in her case helping some of the most well known brands figure it out, maybe it’s just more powerful to celebrate what wasn’t. I liked what Jasmine said “who we are is a guess, we are constantly evolving”. As is the state of technology, it’s why reflection and this idea of living the question is super important to me. So I want to end on a question for you guys- this is one of my favorites- I love to ask the titans of tech this and well just about anyone I interview. I like to ask people “who are you now compared to who you were years ago? How do you measure that change? Who are you not?” it’s an exercise in what Jasmine says, going back and looking at why we started. I don’t care if it’s a company, a job, a relationship, anything. Understanding the origin is part of understanding the evolution and it’s a wonderful way to look forward. Happy new year and thanks for listening to First Contact. 

For more about the guests you hear on First Contact sign up for our newsletter. Go to firstcontactpodcast.com to subscribe. Follow me I’m @laurisegall on Twitter and Instagram and the show is @firstcontactpodcast. If you like the show I want to hear from you leave us a review on the Apple podcast app or wherever you listen and don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss an episode.

First Contact is a production of Dot Dot Dot Media executive produced by Laurie Segall and Derek Dodge. Original theme music by Zander Singh. Visit us at firstcontactpodcast.com