If there were more women in tech, would women enjoy better tech products? We look for answers through three women who are succeeding in the tech industry with innovations that address female painpoints: Shaan Kandawalla of PlayDate Digital, Melody McCloskey of StyleSeat, and Amy Sheng of CellScope.
Melody McCloskey: I have always loved computers. I've always loved tech. And it wasn’t something that I ever thought that I could do. You know, no one turned to me and said, “You can be a software engineer if you want.”
Sue Williams: Welcome to The Story Exchange, featuring the stories and strategies of entrepreneurial women around the world.
Colleen DeBaise: I’m Colleen DeBaise
Sue Williams: And I’m Sue Williams
Colleen DeBaise: Today, we are talking about women in tech. The numbers are pretty dismal…
Sue Williams: They are. Only about 3% of tech startups are founded by women. There are a lot of guys in Silicon Valley.
Colleen DeBaise: Which is exactly why we wanted to explore this issue.
Sue Williams: Absolutely. Today we’re going to share the stories of three different women who are bucking the trend and succeeding in the tech world. We produced video profiles of all three that you can watch on our site, TheStoryExchange.org. Today we’re going to share snippets of those conversations.
Colleen DeBaise: You’re going to hear about some challenges that these entrepreneurs faced -- but you’ll probably also be struck by the uniquely female perspectives that they bring to tech. All three are making products or providing services that the average guy just might not think of…
Shaan Kandawalla: PlayDate Digital is a kids entertainment and education company.
Melody McCloskey: StyleSeat is a platform for entrepreneurs in the beauty space.
Amy Sheng: Cellscope is for a parent at home who thinks their kid may have an ear infection. They can take our device and put it in their kid's ear.
Sue Williams: When you have more women in tech, you have more innovation -- different types of innovation -- because they naturally have female customers in mind, and they want to solve female pain points.
Colleen DeBaise: Yeah, like the breast pump for instance - lots of women complain that there’s not a good one on the market. That’s probably because we don’t have a lot of female engineers designing good ones.
Sue Williams: And if we do, it’s hard for those women to find investors.
Colleen DeBaise: Yeah, most investors are men, who might be a little squeamish about a product like that.
Sue Williams: Yep, so we have a ways to go. In today’s show, we hope to raise awareness of the lack of women in tech. But at the same time, we also want to encourage women and girls to chase their startup dreams -- particularly if they’ve got an idea for a new technology that can improve the lives of other women.
Colleen DeBaise: Our series begins with Shaan Kandawalla. She’s actually not in Silicon Valley, but here in New York, which has its own flourishing tech scene.
Shaan Kandawalla: I always knew I wanted to start my own business. I knew that I wanted to create something. I wanted to work on a product. I wanted to get into the nuts and bolts of a company.
Colleen DeBaise: Shaan runs a company called PlayDate Digital - she develops apps for kids that are based on popular characters from Hasbro, the famous toy company. She’s on track to make a million dollars in annual revenue.
Shaan Kandawalla: We create book apps, for example, around My Little Pony. You bring the story to life through tappable interactions on the iPad. We’re using these devices to bring the characters that kids love to life in an educational way.
Colleen DeBaise: Now, Shaan is from Pakistan originally - that’s an important detail, because if you think about it…there are perhaps some surprising similarities -- on a small level, at least --- between a place like Pakistan, which is male-dominated, and the U.S. tech scene, which is also famously populated almost exclusively by men.
Shaan Kandawalla: I grew up in a country where there were so many restrictions placed on women. Some of my best friends had much more conservative upbringings than I did. You know, my parents were very supportive, were very open-minded and always encouraged us so I had that benefit.
Colleen DeBaise: Shaan learned to challenge gender norms at a very young age. As a teenageer in Karachi…
Shaan Kandawalla: I was the captain of the national swimming team. I had the record for the 50-meter freestyle event. So I was selected to represent Pakistan in the ‘96 Olympic Games. Of course I was very excited. I didn’t expect to win a medal at the Olympic games but just to be able to be there and to represent my country was exciting.
Colleen DeBaise: But...it was not meant to be.
Shaan Kandawalla: Unfortunately I wasn’t allowed to swim in the games. Because at the time, Pakistan didn’t want a woman swimming in the Olympics. The fact that I would be swimming in a swimsuit in front of a male audience on a world scale wasn’t in the cards at that time. Someone in the government basically withdrew my entry. Was it gut wrenching and was it disappointing. Of course it was.
Colleen DeBaise: Shaan handled the disappointment by throwing all her energy into school. First she went to Wellesley College in the States, and then Harvard Business School. She spent a few years working at Hasbro and also Nickolodeon. It was in 2012 that she decided to start PlayDate Digital…here in the heart of New York City. But once again, just like in Pakistan, she found herself standing out as a woman.
Shaan Kandawalla: There’s an interesting stat about how less than 5% of VC-funded companies are women-founded. So there’s definitely a dearth - especially in my space, I’d say there are more males than females.
Colleen DeBaise: One study we found, by Appcelerator, which is a mobile-tech company, found that -- even though women purchase most apps -- 96 percent of all mobile-app developers are male, most between the ages of 20 and 29. Shaan stood out even further when -- a short while after launching her startup -- she became pregnant with her daugher. And that’s when the tone of meetings with potential investors, partners, clients -- most of them male -- began to change. Many questioned her commitment. She got a lot of dismissive attitudes. That surprised her, as she comes from a long line of female entrepreneurs.
Shaan Kandawalla: So my grandmother is 94 years old and you know, she’s an amazing women. She got a degree in chemistry and geology. And she was the only woman in her department in India. She and my grandfather decided to start a business. Today it’s a third-generation industrial chemical manufacturer. She was very much the driving force in the company. She still is, to this day.
Colleen DeBaise: Shaan relied on her experience crossing boundaries in Pakistan to deal with the questioning she got in New York’s Silicon Alley. She would tell naysayers…
Shaan Kandawalla: My mother has always worked. And she worked in her family business. Business was, has always been part of our blood.
Colleen DeBaise: In the end, Shaan lost a potential partner, a fellow Harvard graduate who she thought was going to manage PlayDate Digital’s business side. He didn’t believe a woman could do both things - be a mom, and focus on a startup.
Colleen DeBaise: So we’ve been looking at Shaan Kandawalla, and her story is remarkable.
Sue Williams: Yeah, she is from Pakistan’s elite Zoroastrian community...it’s a very tiny community, but one where education is important, not just for men but for women.
Colleen DeBaise: Yeah, well, that explains how she got to Harvard. Let’s take a look at how she started her business, as it really highlights how much she brings to the table.
Sue Williams: Yeah, a lot of app developers -- the steroetypical guy wearing a hoodie -- don’t have nearly the experience Shaan has.
Shaan Kandawalla: While I was at Harvard, I identified Hasbro as a company that I was interested in…and I was fascinated by the family business that Hasbro was and how, you know, we all grew up with Hasbro brands. My Little Pony, GI Joe, Play-DOh, all the board games -- Monopoly, Scrabble, Clue. So I joined HASBRO right after HBS. I was a brand manager so we worked with the creative teams, and the packaging and marketing and licensing. So we really, it was a great job for me to be able to see kind of how the whole ecosystem worked.
Colleen DeBaise: After two years, Shaan moved to New York to join Nickolodeon, managing its digital gaming business.
Shaan Kandawalla: While I was at Nickolodeon, I was also managing some of the mobile businesses for preschool. It was amazing to sit in focus groups with kids and just see how they were adopting this technology. These devices that didn’t exist before opened up a whole new world of learning, of entertainment, of engagement.
Colleen DeBaise: She was inspired by the fact that Nickolodeon worked with a lot of startup developers…So in 2012, when she had an idea for digital story books, she decided: Why not start her own company.
Shaan Kandawalla: And I was very fortunate because I have a colleague at Nickelodeon who shared my vision. And it was a man by the name of Steve Grieder. He basically said, “You write a business plan and come back to me in a week.”
Colleen DeBaise: Grieder liked her plan - he decided to invest $350,000 dollars in PlayDate Digital and he joined Shaan as her angel and her co-founder. The two spent about a year setting up the business, pitching investors and using connections at Hasbro to secure a licensing deal, allowing them to turn popular characters into storybook apps.
Shaan Kandawalla: I think I was like eight and a half months pregnant when I did a final pitch at Hasbro. And right before Rhea was born, we were actually awarded the business.
Sue Williams: What I think is interesting is that being a mom -- far from being a disadvantage -- probably gives Shaan a leg up on the competition.
Colleen DeBaise: Yeah, exactly - she says the same thing. Let’s listen.
Shaan Kandawalla: I mean my daughter, who’s one and a half years old, is able to fully navigate my devices...which is scary and exciting at the same time. Starting a business like PlayDate digital -- it’s a profession but it’s also personal I’m a mom and I care about what my kid is learning and how she’s interacting with stuff.
Colleen DeBaise: I can tell you, as a journalist, I’ve spent a lot of time at incubators and accelerators, even pitch competitions at places like SXSW -- and you don’t see a lot of women. And you definitely don’t see a lot of moms.
Sue Williams: And that needs to change. So tell us, how is Shaan’s company doing now?
Colleen DeBaise: Very well - I recently asked her for an update -- she now has released 12 apps - they’re all available on iTunes and Google Play. She has a team of developers working for her. And uh, she tells me that this year PlayDate Digital is focusing on becoming more global and customizing its apps for different languages and different countries. And on a personal note, she’s pregnant with her second child.
Sue Williams: Oh that’s nice. And it sounds like she’s doing amazingly well, and so hopefully we’re going to see more woman making it in the tech world. People who didn’t have to deal with such blatant discrimination, like Shaan did in Pakistan and even in New York. Here are some last thoughts from Shaan…
Shaan Kandawalla: I believe in change. I believe that women can be a catalyst for change. I’ve been around women who have been pioneers in their respective spaces. You know, so that’s exciting to me. I like to push boundaries where I can. It also can come back to bite me I’m sure, but meanwhile, I’m OK with it.
Colleen DeBaise: We’re back. The lack of women in tech has become part of the national conversation.
Sue Williams: A lot of people are talking about it. It’s even made its way into comedy routines. Here’s an excerpt from a performance by Ophira Eisenberg, who you may know as the host of NPR’s Ask Me Another.
Ophira Eisenberg (clip): I supported my volunteer comedy career, um, by working in IT. I would go to little offices, some of them were architecture firms or hedge fund companies or advertising agencies and, and fix their computers. Everything was basically like, I can’t get my mail. Uh, but because I would walk in, and because I guess I was IT pretty, I wore a little bit of makeup, I had a pair of sequined flats that I enjoyed wearing at the time. When I walked in and they saw me, everyone was always very suspicious. They were like, uh, are you sure you’re the computer person? Especially at the hedge fund companies...those guys did not want me near their computers. Sometimes they would ask me if I were the girlfriend or wife of the computer tech - that I guess I was coming there early because he forgot his lunch, like I don’t even know why that makes sense that I was there.
Sue Williams: So she’s keeping it light, but really, it’s obvious she’s dealt with the issues we’re talking about
Colleen DeBaise: Exactly. It’s a funny, smart bit.
Sue Williams: So meanwhile, let’s keep talking about women in tech. Did you know the very first computer programmer was a woman?
Colleen DeBaise: I did - Ada Lovelace.
Sue Williams: She wrote instructions for the first computer program way back in the 1800s.
Colleen DeBaise: Indeed - even the Pentagon has named its programming language “Ada” after her. It was a good start for women in tech.
Sue Williams: Unfortunately, things went downhill.
Colleen DeBaise: Yeah. In this segment we are going to take a look at some of the reasons why -- after such an auspicious start -- we see so few women in tech. And why -- when there ARE women in tech, as you just heard Ophira recount -- no one can believe it. Back in the 1970s, when computer science courses were first taught -- there was actually pretty good representation of women at first. But then the numbers started to slide around 1984…
Sue Williams: One theory is that when the personal computer came on the market, which was right about that time, it was heavily marketed to a male audience.
Colleen DeBaise: Yeah, exactly. Somehow computer science became a “boy” thing. Research shows that girls, even today, are subtly steered away from the “male fields” like math or science and encouraged to study more “female” fields like arts and humanities.
Sue Williams: And so by the time those girls go to college, they are far behind the boys who have already learned much more about programming or coding or even become “whiz kid” computer scientists. And so these young women -- even if they have an interest in computer science -- are treated differently by faculty. Most don’t pursue it at the college level at all.
Colleen DeBaise: So that gets us to Melody McCloskey, who is a young tech entrepreneur that we profiled in the San Francisco Bay area.
Melody McCloskey: Building software - you have to be very precise and you have to really strive for an excellent product to make your customer happy.
Colleen DeBaise: Let me tell you a few things about Melody. She has raised $14 million dollars in venture capital for StyleSeat, which is an an online booking platform for beauty-salon professionals. She founded the company, along with Dan Levine, a developer, in 2011. It has grown quickly: some 300,000 stylists now use it, and the company has hired about 30 employees.
Melody McCloskey: We want to completely transform this industry. You know, we wanna be just what LinkedIn is for the business industry. We wanna be that for beauty professionals and for this space. And we’re gonna make a lot of moves to position ourselves to be incredibly valuable, to be as big as we possibly can.
Colleen DeBaise: We like her confidence. But, and this is important, Melody’s career in tech was almost derailed by, of all things, AP Computer Science…as in, the advanced placement course she took in high school, back in 2002, in suburban San Francisco.
Melody McCloskey: I have always loved computers and I’ve always loved tech. Most of my friends were software engineers growing up in middle school and in high school. I ended up taking a...AP computer science course. I was really excited about it. I actually loved the curriculum and the class, but I was the only woman in the class. And there was a lot of pressure.
Colleen DeBaise: We asked Melody to tell us a little bit more about the pressure.
Melody McCloskey: There’s a spotlight that was placed on me and the teacher was didn’t how to treat me and the other boys were always crowding around and wanting to work with me and by my partner. And it was just too intense for me, especially when you’re shy. It was a different dynamic than any of my other classes in biology, or math, or English or things like that.
Colleen DeBaise: So Melody eventually dropped the course. Her story really illustrates how, even today, not enough is done to make girls feel welcome in computer science. It’s not like overt sexism, necessarily, it’s far more subtle than that. Keep in mind, we are talking about teenagers here, not adults who might be able to handle being different or standing out.
Melody McCloskey: I really wish that high schools today pushed math and science on women and made them feel more comfortable. It sounds odd to say that, but I do think that if the environment was a little bit different, I would have continued the class.
Sue Williams: The good news is that Melody ultimately wound up pursuing a career in tech.
Colleen DeBaise: Yeah, although it did take her a while to get there. First she went to UC-Davis where a guidance counselor said, ‘You’re a girl - you have great social skills - you should try public relations.’
Sue Williams: Boy, she really didn’t get any encouragement. It’s amazing.
Colleen DeBaise: No, she definitely did not. So after college -- she did try PR but didn’t really like it. Finally, she took a job managing online content for a television channel. It was a technical job and she loved it. Here’s what she said:
Melody McCloskey: I was tasked with taking these televisions shows, figuring out how they’re gonna live on the Internet. I had engineers, I was helping to build all the backend CMS, like really nerdy stuff that was actually pretty complex. So it was really fun for me and I was working until 11 pm at night regularly, and loved my work, and loved the product.
Colleen DeBaise: That got Melody thinking about starting her own company…
Melody McCloskey: The benefit of being in San Francisco is that you can’t, throw a rock and not hit like five engineers and, and a founder. My friends were talking about raising money, building minimum viable product, how do I hire, or how do I get the best engineering talent, what are the technologies that you’re using.
Colleen DeBaise: Her inspiration for StyleSeat came from a few bad haircuts.
Melody McCloskey: I got three haircuts and color in a row. So ultimately I spent $1,000 and every time I just wasn’t that happy with the result. And then I ended up going to someone who was amazing, and the difference in happiness from “well, when’s my next appointment?” you know, with someone else, to “I feel like my best self. I feel confident.” So I wanted to figure out a way where I could help more women feel that amazing feeling.
Colleen DeBaise: Melody imagined a website where consumers could search for stylists, read reviews and book appointments, something of a Yelp-meets-OpenTable for hair salons and spas. She asked her old colleague and software engineer Dan to help.
Melody McCloskey: I said, “I’d love for you to be my co-founder. Here’s my prototype. This is the vision. What do you think?” And he said yes. And I was like, “Okay, well, but you’re gonna have to quit your job, and actually I can’t pay you. I have no money, and this is going to be really hard and we’ll probably have to bootstrap.” And he said yes. And I was like, “Well, maybe you should think about it a little bit. Like we might need some investment from you to get this going.” And he’s like. “Yes. I already said yes.”
Colleen DeBaise: And with that, StyleSeat was born. They worked in the time-honored startup way.
Melody McCloskey: Dan and I were working seven days a week, did not take weekends off. We were working from nine or ten in the morning until two at night. We ended up bootstrapping for the first year and a half of the business. And that certainly wasn’t because we didn’t want to raise money. It was because raising money was a huge challenge for us.
Colleen DeBaise: Now, raising venture capital is really difficult for any entrepreneur.
Sue Williams: But Melody faced a double problem-- she was a woman in tech and she was running a startup aimed at women.
Colleen DeBaise: Yeah, let’s listen.
Melody McCloskey: The vast majority of investors in the space are male. And so they see this woman come in with this lady app, or this app that’s really focused on female entrepreneurs and needs of, you know, mostly women and they just don’t get it. And so much feedback initially was, “I don’t think women really want this or need this.” Plus about 20% of VC’s in Silicon Valley are bald so they don’t think about problems that arise with hair.
Sue Williams: Well, she’s right about the hair - or lack of it.
Colleen DeBaise: She is, but in terms of male investors not ‘getting it’ - I’ve heard this from other female tech entrepreneurs. When Alexis Maybank of Gilt Groupe was pitching to VCs, they often told her “Let me go home and ask my wife what she thinks of your concept.”
Sue Williams: Gosh, well it would be a lot easier if we had more female investors.
Colleen DeBaise: Yeah, exactly. In Melody’s case, she was lucky in that she had a friend, Garrett Camp, who’s the co-founder of Uber. He believed in her and gave her $10,000 dollars in seed money to get started. So, while she was still trying to raise money, she was also trying to get stylists to sign up for her service. So she hosted parties, where she would serve free Champagne, which of course is always a draw, and show PowerPoint presentations on how to use StyleSeat. She was able to triple her user base in just a year doing that. And that got some high-profile investors interested.
Melody McCloskey: Guy Oseary and Ashton Kutcher, who came in really early. The first second that I pitched it to them over the phone, they were like, ‘Yes. Obviously this needs to exist.’ And since then we’ve brought on Sophia Bush as an investor.
Colleen DeBaise: Guy Oseary is the manager of Madonna and U2 and Ashton Kutcher and Sophia Bush, of course, are actors.
Sue Williams: And to think, this might not have happened because of her AP Computer Science experience.
Colleen DeBaise: Yeah, exactly. So, today there are more organizations helping girls and women make progress in tech. Girls Who Code, Astia, Springboard Enterprises…Melody believes, from her own experience, that groups like these are invaluable.
Melody McCloskey: I think just having a community of women that were supportive of each other or just making it an issue would have been helpful. A lot of guys that I know early on were kind of pushed to do that. It was like, all the cool kids are software developers. That’s what it was in my high school at least, but that wasn’t necessarily the same for women. So I think the more we can help them feel comfortable, and excited, and thrilled, and understand the opportunity around them, the better it is.
Colleen DeBaise: We’ve been looking at women in tech, and the challenges they face. We’re going to close today by looking at the promise and potential for innovation that arises when the female perspective is present. Sue, I know this topic is near and dear to your heart.
Sue Williams: It is. I wrote an OpEd for Inc Magazine last year, when Lego released a “revolutionary” new toy, which were figurines of female scientists. It didn’t surprise me that they were designed by a woman, Dr. Ellen KOOOJman, a geochemist, who had played with Lego sets as a child and noticed there weren’t any figures that looked like her.
Colleen DeBaise: And of course, we’re talking about toys there, but as you noted in your OpED, when we start to look at innovation in all the STEM fields, particularly medicine, it becomes way more serious when women aren’t part of the picture.
Sue Williams: Exactly. For instance…for years, medical research was done almost exclusively on men, and that sometimes led to alarming and even fatal outcomes. Women’s bodies can react differently to medicine than men’s. The sleeping drug Ambien is a well-known example. The FDA now recommends that women take only half the dose, because we don’t metabolize it as fast. Women were actually waking up and doing things like driving cars with the drug still in their system.
Colleen DeBaise: Wow, wow. Well, the good news is that we’re seeing more female entrepreneurs designing medical devices and treatments with women in mind.
Sue Williams: Yea, yeah, so we headed to San Francisco to speak with Amy Sheng, who is a Stanford-educated mechanical engineer and co-founder of a medical company called CellScope. And she’s a mom. Listen to how that influenced her company’s first product.
Amy Sheng: I remember when my son had his first ear infection, taking a half day off of work, taking him into the doctor’s office, you know sitting in the waiting room, finally getting in, the doctor takes a quick you know millisecond peek inside my kid’s ear and then tells me, “oh yep, your kid has an ear infection,” and I thought, wow, this could be addressed in such a better way.
Sue Williams: Amy and her co-founder, Erik Douglas, came up with CellScope.
Amy Sheng: Cellscope is a smartphone-enabled medical toolkit. A parent at home who thinks their kid may have an ear infection. All they need to do is take our device and attach it to their phone, put it in their kid’s ear, and then using our app they can very, very quickly capture a video and then it gets sent to either their doctor or another doctor for a remote review.
Sue Williams: Unlike many women, Amy was encouraged to pursue science when she was just a kid.
Amy Sheng: I was always interested in math and science. A lot of it came from the home. Both of my parents studied physics and then they applied it in their career. My father made science really come alive for me. And my mom would be invited to present her scientific papers at various conferences and she would pull me out of school and we would go.
Sue Williams: After college, Amy worked for cutting edge bio-tech companies -- helping develop an artificial heart and automated microscopes. In 2009 she heard about a project at Berkeley, where bioengineers were building cell-phone-based microscopes for doing remote diagnosis for diseases like tuberculosis and malaria in developing countries.
Amy Sheng: We were doing these pilots in Vietnam or Uganda and it was really the tremendous response and feedback that we were getting from the field. I remember we were just having these discussions, saying, “How can we make an impact even closer to home?” We really wanted to be able to get these products, you know, out of the lab and into the real world.
Sue Williams: With the support of Berkeley, Amy and her co-founder Erik launched Cellscope for U.S. consumers in 2011. They started with the smartphone otoscope as their first product.
Amy Sheng: Ear infections are such a huge pain point for so many families.
There’s around 20 million ear infection related visits in the US alone each year. We would go out and talk to doctors, talk to parents get their feedback on the device and so we were constantly tweaking it and making improvements. We would do a lot of ear exams on each other. I think we probably have imaged our ears the most of anybody.
Sue Williams: Amy’s company is off to a great start, which I think is a really exciting because using mobile technology the way they are could really transform the medical industry. To date, they’ve raised $5.6 million for Cellscope, and signed up 800 doctors to use it.
The next challenge will be getting parents to sign up for it.
Amy Sheng: How do you get a mom or dad who has never used an otoscope, doesn’t even know what an otoscope is, to be able to do this from their home? And so there are a lot of things that our team has had to think about in terms of how can we make the system, both from hardware and software, to be as simple as possible.
Colleen DeBaise: Amy’s story is great -- it really demonstrates how a woman’s life experience, especially as a mom, can influence innovation.
Sue Williams: Exactly. It’s not like a dad couldn’t invent this, but women by and large are still the primary caretakers of their families. They’re the ones who know first hand where there’s gaps in the marketplace for certain products or devices. Here are some last thoughts from Amy about that.
Amy Sheng: I was having young kids right around the time that my company was taking off. I think what I bring is a perspective of I’m a real user, I’m a customer.
Sue Williams: And as a startup entrepreneur, Amy really believes being exposed to science as a young girl made all the difference.
Amy Sheng: I can only speak for my own experience, and it really was being shown from such a young age that I can tinker and try things and learn about how things work. I just never questioned that I could do it, or that women could do it.
Sue Williams: Our thanks to all the women -- Shaan Kandawalla, Melody McCloskey and Amy Sheng -- for sharing their stories
Colleen DeBaise: We especially thank them for being so candid about being women in tech. Sometimes it’s not easy to talk about the challenges -- we appreciate that they did.
Sue Williams: And we appreciate you listening. I’m Sue Williams.
Colleen DeBaise: And I’m Colleen DeBaise.
Sue Williams: Join us next time to hear more stories about innovative and inspirational women doing the things you’d never dream of. Or….maybe you would. This has been The Story Exchange. If you like what you’ve heard, visit our website at TheStoryExchange.org, where you’ll find news, videos and tips for women entrepreneurs.
Colleen DeBaise: Thanks to Ophira Eisenberg for the use of her comedy clip. The excerpt comes from the a taping of the “Risk” podcast, which people can find at www.risk-show.com. Editing helped provided by Nusha Balyan. Production coordinator is Michelle Ciotta. Interview recorded by Sam Shinn. Executive producers are Sue Williams and Victoria Wang.