Skip to main content
The Future of Work Project

The Future of Work Project

By Derrick Franco
The Future of Work Project is focused on bringing together today's business leaders, researchers, and entrepreneurs who are experimenting with new and unique ways of working.

From remote work and culture, to research into the peak performance of human beings, we learn alongside these experts pushing the boundaries today.
Listen on
Where to listen
Apple Podcasts Logo

Apple Podcasts

Breaker Logo


Castbox Logo


Google Podcasts Logo

Google Podcasts

Overcast Logo


Pocket Casts Logo

Pocket Casts

RadioPublic Logo


Spotify Logo


# 14 WRDSMTH - From Advertising to Street Art, Following your Passions, and the Importance of Taking Chances
Today I have the honor interviewing Phil Brody, more commonly known as the LA-based street artist WRDSMTH. His work aspires to inspire others on a daily basis and has lead to him growing the WRDSMTH brand into a massive internet sensation with his vintage typewriters found in cities all across the globe. During our discussion, Brody and I look at how he went from his corporate job in advertising to pursue writing and eventually diving headfirst into the world of street art. We also take a look at how taking chances, constantly reinventing yourself, and chasing your passions can lead to multiple opportunities and a more fulfilling life. And finally, we take a look at the different ways we can inspire people to pursue their passions in a world that often seeks to crush creativity. A quick note for context, this interview was done in February of 2020 before the initial Coronavirus lockdown -------------------- WRDSMTH Show Notes: Instagram: Website: Books Mentioned What Makes Sammy Run Fight Club
September 23, 2020
#13 Sargun Kaur - Dismantling Biases and Inequalities in the Technical Interview Process
Sargun is the Co-founder and CEO of Byteboard, a company that has redesigned the technical interview process to evaluate for ability, not access and privilege. Sargun was previously a software engineer at Google before founding Byteboard within Area 120, Google’s in-house incubator, and this year she and her co-founder were honored on Forbes 30 under 30. During our discussion, Sargun and I look at how the current technical interview process fails to accurately assess for core skills, and how she and her team are working on a unique solution to help fix it. We also take a look at how inequity and biases play a major role in the hiring process, and how these issues affect not only who gets an interview, but how far along they get in the process. And finally, we’ll discuss the importance of representation in tech and how founding a startup is truly a test of will and not just intellect.    ________________ Sargun Kaur
September 15, 2020
#12 Steve Schlafman - COVID-19's effect on Venture Capital, the Next Evolution of the Workplace, and the Future of Learning
Steve is a leadership coach, angel investor, and the operator of High Output; a boutique leadership development company based in New York City. He has held a wide variety of investing and operating roles including time at Primary Venture Partners, Lerer Hippeau Ventures, RRE Ventures, The Kraft Group / The New England Patriots, Microsoft, Stickybits /, and Massive. During our discussion, Steve and I look at how COVID has affected the venture space and look deeper at why deals and investments have accelerated over the last few weeks. We also look at the next evolution of the workplace and how cities like New York and LA will emerge and evolve post-crisis. And finally, we take a deeper dive into education, learning in public, and how he and his team have created a unique resource and library to help entrepreneurs during these crazy times. ________________ Steve Schlafman High Output Founders Library: Schoolhouse (Learning Pods): Breather:
August 27, 2020
#11 Chris Thompson - Nootropics, Ketones, and Naturally Increasing Cognitive Performance
Chris is the Founder and CEO of TruBrain, a Nootropics company based in Santa Monica that has created a product to help provide direct focus and energy to the body and mind. During our discussion, we dive further into how Chris built the TruBrain brand and how his partnership with neuroscientists at UCLA lead to a unique formula to help increase the body's natural cognitive performance. We also take a look at how their team's neuroscientists studied brainwave states to learn more about our brain's peak mental state, and how Ketones and micro fasting and how can help improve both focus and energy levels naturally. ________________ Chris Thompson - TruBrain Show Notes: Andrew Hill Ph.D. (
August 20, 2020
#10 Salman Ansari - Polymaths, Pursuing Multiple Passions, and Writing as a Tool for Success
Salman is a tech founder who has worn many hats over the years.  From working as an Engineer and building a company that was later acquired by Oracle, to writing, teaching, and even DJ-ing, Salman has a deep focus on embracing his inner Polymath and following his passions. During our discussion, Salman and I dive deeper into his recent article, The Polymath Playbook, and look at why society today pushes specialization vs mastering multiple domains. We also look at how pursuing multiple passions and projects build up mental models that help you adapt and think differently to give you distinct advantages in many areas of your life. And finally, we look at how writing can be used as a tool for discovering new ideas, building relationships, and helping make sense of all the noise in today’s crazy world. ________________ Salman Ansari
August 7, 2020
#9 Danielle Strachman - The Invisible College, Investing in Young Minds, and The Future of Education
Picture this; You're a new high school graduate in August 2020 and the COVID crisis has forced all your college classes online. Your university has announced it is still going to charge you full tuition to attend in the fall. What would you rather do; Pay $50k in tuition for online classes? Or take a $50k investment to skip school in the fall and build a company? Danielle Strachman is a Founder and General Partner of the 1517 fund, a VC firm that invests in makers, hackers, and scientists working outside of traditional institutions. Danielle was also one of the founding members and director of the Thiel Foundation, a program that gave $100k grants to entrepreneurs under 20 years old as an alternative to college, and also co-founded the Innovations Academy, a project based charter school working to help students have more purposeful learning. During our discussion, Danielle and I take a look at the Invisible College program, and how Danielle and her partners are giving students amazing opportunities by investing $50k in ideas and R&D-stage teams that want to work outside of school in the fall. We also dive deeper into how building Innovations Academy and the Theil Foundation helped shaped the 1517 fund’s philosophies of investing in young minds, and how it has already lead to some amazing results. And finally, we take a look at the current educational system in America and how colleges are no longer set up to help students succeed like they were in the past. ________________ The Invisible College: 1517 Fund: Danielle Strachman -
August 5, 2020
#8 Katherine Dumanoir - Passion projects, paying it forward, and building ideas from the ground up
Katherine is a recruiter for Amazon who is truly one of the most genuine people you'll ever meet. Her passion to help others has lead to building a wide variety of amazing projects helping students and new graduates. From networking events to help students connect to employers, to a new bath bomb company ( that hires students and focuses on giving its proceeds to mental health organizations, Katherine is always exploring and building new ways to help others. During our discussion, Katherine and I dive deeper into how her passion to help others originally lead to her creating her networking groups, and how she used her creativity to build the events from the ground up. We'll also look at how her compassion and being genuine helped her amass a large following on LinkedIn and why her post resonated with so many people.  ________________ Katherine Dumanoir - Amazon + UDABATHBOMB LLC
July 22, 2020
#7 Kaitlyn Knopp - HR and Compensation in a Remote and Post COVID World
Kaitlyn is the founder of Pequity, a digital compensation platform that is aiming to combat pay inequality and help de-complicate compensation for HR teams. Her past experience running HR and compensation teams includes time at Google, Cruise Automation, Instacart, and Lockheed Martin to name a few. During our discussion, Kaitlyn and I dive deeper into how companies HR teams are attempting to handle all of the craziness caused by COVID-19 We’ll also take a look at how the sudden shift to remote has caused companies to rethink how they offer and manage salaries as talent flees areas like San Francisco. And finally, Kaitlyn dives into how companies can manage layoffs and help employees that are furloughed through a mindset of humanity and compassion. ________________ Kaitlyn Knopp - Pequity
May 26, 2020
#6 Matt Newberg - COVID-19 effects on restaurants, and how ghost kitchens and delivery are changing the food landscape
Matt is the founder of, a new media platform exploring how technology is shaping the way people eat. HNGRY's FAST(ER) FOOD documentary took a deeper dive into ghost kitchens and the changes that have come about because of them in the last few years. During our discussion, Matt and I dive deeper into how ghost kitchens and delivery are changing the food landscape. We'll also look closer at how COVID-19 is affecting restaurants today and how this crisis will change behavior post quarantine. Matt Newberg
May 5, 2020
#5 Tom Nearing - COVID-19: Advice for job hunting and working remote during a global crisis.
Tom Nearing is a recruiter who is part of the Marius Group, one of the top recruiting groups in Los Angeles. During this special episode focusing on the COVID-19 crisis, Tom dives into recruiting and coaching advice to anyone job hunting during this pandemic and gives insight into how you can use this extra time to your advantage. We also take a closer look at how online communities are coming together to help those affected by the economic downturn. And finally, Tom and I speak about how working remote is much different during a crisis, and how parents like Tom are managing work and family life during this pandemic. Show notes Madeline Mann: Advice Tom uses for his coaching ( Jena Viviano: Advice for female entrepreneurs ( Austin Belcak: Great perspective on coaching ( Tom Nearing:
April 14, 2020
#4 Taylor Dixon - Building authentic brands, addressing burnout, and rebranding as a solopreneur
Taylor is a business and lifestyle coach based out of Austin, Texas who works closely with a wide range of entrepreneurs. Through her programs and retreats, Taylor helps her clients align their business, and themselves, with their true passions to build brands that scale in today’s fast pace world. During our discussion, Taylor and I look at some of the difficulties that entrepreneurs she works with face, and how she helps her clients take their businesses to the next level. We’ll also take a deeper dive into how her experience addressing burnout helped her to pivot and rebrand her own business into one that allows her to help more people. And finally, we’ll look closer at some of the challenges that come along with building an online business through social media. ---------- Taylor Dixon
April 1, 2020
#3 Warren Shaeffer - Evolution of learning, producing value, and building a consumer first company
Warren is the Co-founder and CEO of Knowable, an immersive audio platform with expert-led courses focused on helping people learn new things, and accomplish life goals. During our discussion, Warren and I touch on how learning is evolving today in a society where free time is so short.  We also look at how companies can produce actual value for their consumers in such a noisy world, and how aligning priorities with their users gives teams a big advantage. And finally, we’ll look at how companies like Knowable are experimenting with different ways of working and investing in their people for the long haul. ---------- Warren Shaeffer
March 17, 2020
#2 Amanda Goetz - Empathy, micro flexibility, and producing meaningful content
Amanda is the VP of Marketing of The Knot Worldwide which is one of the largest global wedding companies today. She leads PR, partnerships and product marketing strategies across the company’s international brands and previously was the founder of an availability software in the wedding space. During our discussion, Amanda and I touch on how brands are navigating today's social media landscape and the importance of producing meaningful content vs chasing influence. We’ll also take a deeper look at how companies can build amazing cultures by investing in their people, shifting mindsets towards micro flexibility, and establishing trust from the top down. And finally, we’ll dive deeper into how a  culture of empathy and honesty makes it possible for working parents to handle the challenges of modern life today. ---------- Amanda Goetz
March 17, 2020
#1 Warren Lebovics - Passion, culture, and today's always on mindset
Warren Lebovics is a designer, startup advisor, and entrepreneur based in San Francisco who has worked on a wide variety of projects for companies like Blackberry and Sony, but also has lead design at a startup that was acquired by LinkedIn. During our discussion, Warren and I will look at how curiosity and passion are the catalysts for doing amazing things. We’ll also take a deeper look into culture, and how his past companies like LinkedIn succeeded by investing in their people and their environment. And finally, we’ll dive into how today's workers have been affected by technology and an always-on mindset. ---------- Warren Lebovics
March 17, 2020