Did you know that a very large proportion of podcasters have less than a thousand listeners? It makes you wonder why someone would pick a format that requires quite a bit of work and commitment for a not-so-wide reach. Samantha Postman knows there is so much more to podcasting than meets the surface, as she shares with her guest, Casey Juanxi Li. Flipping the usual interview format, Samantha shares with Casey why she thinks podcasting is the most efficient way to repurpose content into multiple channels and platforms while really only doing the work for one. They also share their bold perspectives around remote work, the limited opportunities for women to grow, redefining the concepts of career and progress, and more. Stay tuned for some absolutely valuable nuggets from this conversation.
01:02 – A Quick Disclaimer
02:58 – Show Introduction
08:01 – Why Podcast Over All the Platforms Available Out There?
11:39 – Who Do You Consider Your Ideal Audience Members?
14:04 – Any Examples of World-Shaking Topics?
19:00 – What’s Success for You?
26:19 – Challenges of Working Remotely
32:13 – Struggles of Women in Acquiring Skillsets because of #MeToo Movement
36:09 – Litigation as an Interdependent Creativity Blocker
38:44 – Different Perspective on Parenting as a Woman
40:29 – Societal Blindness on What We Define as Career or Progress
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Listen to the podcast here:
The Whys Of Podcasting, Challenges Of Remote Work, And Bold Perspectives On Women, Careers, And Progress With Casey Juanxi Li, Part 1 Of 3
Samantha: I’ve got a sweet treat for you. In our show, we have Casey Li from Toronto, Canada. She is so amazing. She’s got this wonderful energy. She’s excited and on fire to help podcasters bring their content to the world. She wants to help connect people so that what you have to say can connect with somebody who wants to hear it and there can be magic that happens between that connection. She’s going to talk about new podding app that she’s got up with her partner. You can find their cool podcast app on PoddingLabs.com. Right now, they are accepting beta testers which, by the time they release, they might be live, so check it out. There’s quite a bit of information in the content that you can check out as well so that you can answer some questions. She’s doing some research so that they can do a product that’s going to fit your needs.
A Quick Disclaimer
Also, a little FYI, we get a little off track. Casey and I were talking a little bit. We started to connect and I anticipate that we won’t be just talking about her podcast. You were going to learn about crazy things that you do in anything, how people are meant to bloom with the right elements, and why the #MeTooMovement has affected leadership for women. We’re going to talk about meeting and beating facilitation and interpreter between different kinds of people in the world. We’re going to talk about what it’s like to go through a lot of hardship in your life to digging deep and use pain as a way for gaining for other people so you can help other people. I hope you’re going to stay tuned and read a lot. You’re going to get way more than you bargain for. I promise, if you were those people who like surprises, this show is for you because you’re going to be surprised. We’re surprised about what we talked about. I hope you continue to join and I’m going to let Casey talk a little bit about what we’re going to talk about now and you can get to know her a little bit.
Samantha: Casey, we’re meeting for the first time on Zoom. I’m excited to be with you here. Every time you put something out there, I gain more respect for you, who you are as a person, and what you have in your mind. I’m excited for the two of us to have a discussion and help each other grow. What I love is that we’re both learning. This whole idea of learning in public is maybe something we need to dive into a little more. This is a little bit of that. Definitely, I’m not a perfect podcaster myself. I am not an experienced speaker but podcasters are a little bit different when there’s no energy in the room to work off for somebody. I don’t know a ton about you other than what you want to talk about. I’d love to hear about you. Tell me about yourself. Tell me what brought you here and what you want people to know.
Casey: I’m Canadian. I’ve lived here for most of my life. I am in Toronto. I’ve also lived around the world. I was in London, UK in 2020 and New York. I’ve been around that. I’m working as a software engineer. My latest and greatest project and the one that I’m most excited to talk to you about is PoddingLabs.com which is something that I started with my co-founder, Tom Essl and it’s meant to be a toolkit for small and independent podcast creators.“We’re all on this trajectory in life. When we intersect, we need to stop for a second and ask ourselves what we can learn from each other. @SamanthaPostman ” Click To Tweet
Tom has his podcast. It’s called Podcast Nuggets. He’s been working on it since 2020. It’s about his experience as a product designer at McKinsey and also at Google. While he was making this podcast, he noticed that almost all the analytics tools out there are for the benefit of advertisers who want to buy a lot of impressions. An interesting fact from Andreessen Horowitz is that 80% of podcasts get less than 1,100 downloads per episode, and 50% of them get less than 124.
In reality, the vast majority of podcasts out there are small passion creators who are interested in their niche and want to connect with their audience. It doesn’t make sense for them to be selling advertising because they don’t have an audience. They might not want to sell that advertising at all because they care about the experience and advertising would take away from that. We see much value in this community and people connecting with other podcast creators and connecting with other audience members that they otherwise might not have found.
We think that if we can solve this tooling gap, make it easier for small podcast creators to find meaningful experiences, and help audiences discover them as well, there’s a lot of value to be found there. We are starting by interviewing every single person that we know who has a podcast like family and friends. You talked about your podcast on Twitter, so I immediately found you. I love the fact that when I sent you all my questions, instead of answering over Slack, you suggested that we do this call out loud and record it. I thought that was such creativity. That’s the type of solution that we think we’d like to engender in whatever we come up with.
Samantha: That’s funny that you talked about that because I was on another call doing the Ship 30 for 30 content creation challenge. I had somebody private chat me and there’s like, “I have all these questions I want to ask you.” I was like, “Do you mind if we do these over a podcast?” Because, if we can find ways to learn together and other people can learn from us, that’s even better because we’re all going to learn.
If I’m going to talk to someone for an hour, let’s both leverage it because my time is super valuable and so is yours. If we can both find a way to be efficient with our time, I thought that’d be super cool. Also, I like organic conversations. If it’s too structured, it becomes like a script. That’s another reason why. If we pre-talked, it becomes, “Let’s talk about these four things. Let’s hone in on this.” It then becomes a whole marketing campaign on how you speak.
Casey: I totally agree. No one wants to hear a scripted conversation. It’s always in the space of the crazy, unplanned things that you get the most organic and authentic human interactions. I’m down for however this is going to go.
Samantha: I’m excited because we have a base of what we’re going to talk about, but I’m super excited to see where this goes. Mostly, I’m excited to get to know you because of my interactions with you. I’m super impressed with who you are as a person and your passion for wanting to help. It’s not about creating a product. It’s about creating a purpose for you and helping other people with their purpose. Whenever I come across people who want to help other people with their purpose, I’m like, “We got to connect. I love you already.” When we can grow each other, that’s where the magic happens. Let’s get to it. This is not a typical podcast style. This might end up being more my style where people interview me. Usually, the podcasters interview people, but it’s going to be more like an interview me, ask me a bunch of questions, and we’ll see what discussion comes out of it.
Casey: That’ll be great. The questions that other people choose to ask says a lot about them as well. Even though it’s explicitly an interview of you, you’re getting a lot of information in the other direction.
Samantha: You’ve got some things you want to ask to help you with figuring out how to build your product, Podding Labs. I’ve checked out your landing page. It looks super crisp, sophisticated, and enticing. Honestly, it looks like a version of you. I was like, “I could see her on this. She’s painted all over this whole thing.”
Casey: That is so kind. I’m going to pass that straight on to Tom, who is our product designer. That was 100% him. Not a single line of that code is mine. He’ll be thrilled to hear that.
Samantha: It looks amazing. I was super impressed out of the gate.
Casey: Thank you. I want to know more about you. The way that I always start every single one of these conversations is I want to know why you’re starting this show. What does this mean to you?
Samantha: This is such a hard one. It shouldn’t be but it is. I bucked it at the beginning for lots of reasons. At the end of the day, I would say one of the main reasons is I’m a speaker. I feel like I have a lot to say and people are always seeking me, to talk to me about stuff. I get coffee requests constantly and I can’t say yes to them all even though I love to. People started to say to me, “Why don’t you do a podcast? Record these conversations that more of us can hear them or we can have coffee with you at home and you can speak to us that way.”
Also, I have bad arthritis. It is an autoimmune disease. It’s a crossover between lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. It acts like MS. I type super slow. I’m of the generation that didn’t get typing in school. Honestly, if they would put an award out for words per minute, I’d probably be like an Olympian. To be honest, I’m going slow but when I get excited, I go fast. I thought a podcast would be a good way to do that to get it out there. What I could say in fifteen minutes would probably take me eight hours to type out perfectly. That’s another reason why I want to go to the podcast.
It’s my medium. I love speaking. I thought, “Why not?” Also, this show is going to double because I want to build great content because not everybody listens to podcasts. I thought it would be a cool and fast way, since I don’t type fast, to create content super-fast. Everything we’re going to do is going to get transcribed and cross over as blog content. Everything this entire conversation will be transcribed, and then it’ll process blog content.
Why Podcast Over All the Platforms Available Out There?
Casey: That basically answers the next question that I was going to ask you, which is why specifically the medium of a podcast, and not blogging or Twitter, but it looks like you’re going to use that content again, anyway. You mentioned that you have a podcast production company that’s doing this. Are they taking on a lot of that work which would otherwise be a lot of time for you?
Samantha: I run a couple of other companies and raising a family. They turned out pretty great, so my husband and I did a great job with them. You got to stay whole for them. You need to be careful with how you spend your time. I have a strong finance background, so return-on-investment is important to me. If I take that time, how long it takes me to figure out how to do my digital work, and all of helping me do my descriptions, it could cost me more to do it myself.
It would cost me another thing in every area of my life than what it costs me to have them. That’s why I hired a company. It could possibly be that I take some of that stuff on eventually. To start out with, I thought it would help me create instead of worrying about all the tools about the creation process, and partly why I chose them is because they specifically specialize in helping podcasters create blog content, but they also do the recording.
I’m going to get YouTube out of it too. That’s why I ended up podcasting because you can do these little triangles, you’re like, “I’d like to have a blog,” but I could maybe do YouTube later and podcasts and I don’t want to do all of them at once. I was like, “What if all I have to do is one of those and it literally feeds off the other ones that I don’t have to do much?” That’s why I chose podcasting first as opposed to doing blog first or one of those other ones.
Casey: That makes a lot of sense. You create the content in the way that’s most efficient and showcases the best natural version of you, and then they’ll take care of turning it into these other formats. My next question for you is going to be, who do you consider your ideal audience members?
Who Do You Consider Your Ideal Audience Members?
Casey: My next question for you is going to be, who do you consider your ideal audience members?
Samantha: I don’t want to feel overconfident that you want everyone to listen to you. Otherwise, why would you do it? It’s funny because I was reading something about Ali Abdel. He was talking about how he’s having a hard time with not wanting to be narcissistic. His coach was like, “Putting and creating a newsletter and expecting people to read it is already crossing a few lines, so own it.” I struggle with that, “Who’s going to listen?”
When I then read that from him, I was like, “That’s helpful.” At the end of the day, I want people who are learners. I am a lifelong learner. I was born that way since the second I could breathe. It’s in me. I can’t stop learning. I am in a course. I’m teaching a course. I’m mentoring. I’m volunteering. I’m an information sponge. I want people who are information sponges. Usually, that is a young adult age 18 to 35-ish, because they’re about discovering the world. They’re my favorite people in the whole wide world. I seriously think that we meet in the air for young adults. I’m not joking.
What I love about them is they’re intellectual. They’ll intellectually challenge the status quo. I love that because they’re not all the way conformed yet. They’re refreshingly idealistic and fascinated with the world like a young child is fascinated. As young adults, they have tools to explore them and how they do it. Each one does it is unique. I find people fascinating, and they’re still curious at that age. It’ll mostly appeal to 18 to 35.
If you are a lifelong learner, you’re curious, and you’re keen to grow personally, professionally, or learn from someone who has been around. There’s a little joke in my private circles that I’ve lived a hundred cat lives. People think I’m exaggerating. The more they talk to me, they’re like, “You’re not joking.” That’s who I’m looking for. It’s the people who want to grow and learn, have a growth mindset, and aren’t afraid to be challenged. Some of the stuff I talked about challenges culture. There are a few things I’m going to talk about that could rock some worlds about the way I think about the world. It’s going to cause some people to think about how we’ve been doing things, especially in Western society. That was my long answer.“If you are a lifelong learner, you're curious, and you're keen to grow personally, professionally, or learn from someone who has been around. @SamanthaPostman ” Click To Tweet
Examples of World-Shaking Topics
Casey: Any examples of these world-shaking topics or is that a surprise?
Samantha: I’ll give you a few. One, I haven’t recorded this yet. I have some cross applying theory. I seriously think that baby strollers are a huge contributor to anxiety in Western culture.
Casey: I’m against baby strollers for other reasons but I want to hear the rest of this.
Samantha: I want to talk about baby strollers. I don’t think it’s going to be what people think it is. Here’s another one. I talked about how telling or convincing your children that Santa, the Easter Bunny, or the Tooth Fairy, as a child that they’re real can lead to trust issues between parents and children and between trust in a culture. It’s done in good fun but there are some underlining issues that can come out of it. Many people do it because that’s what we’ve been doing in North America especially, but nobody goes and makes kids believe that Mickey Mouse is real. I don’t understand why we can’t do that with Santa.
Casey: It sounds like I’m the crazy one but I agree with you. That all makes a lot of sense. That’s awesome. I’m excited for more of these, but I won’t make you spoil the surprise until the episodes come out. You’ve done a pretty good job identifying these people that you naturally come across with in real life, so that totally makes sense as a target audience for your podcast. How do you want to connect with them and how do you want them to give you feedback on what they think and what they want to hear next?
Samantha: This is probably going to be a little bit surprising. I have trouble with the niche. I dislike boxes. I have a love-hate relationship with labels. I love asking people about their background because it helps you get a gauge of what mindset they are at. How can I connect with them in a meaningful way? I love that but I don’t like putting people in a box because I don’t like being put in a box. That’s hard for me. I want to know from people what niche you would put me in. That sounds crazy. As a creator, I will say, “Here’s my niche. I’m going to rock that niche.” What I have to say is it crosses many sectors and niches. I honestly don’t know which one it fits into. I want people to tell me like, “What niche do you think this is?”
Casey: How do you want to have feedback?
Samantha: I’m pretty vague about people doing feedback on an open comment. Sorry about this, everyone, be fairly gentle-ish. On my blog, it’s going to be open comments because people can cross-support each other way more than I could. If people want to comment and say, “This resonated with me. I’ve been thinking about this. I’m pissed at this,” then other people will jump in and build to support each other because the community will. I then don’t have to do all the work. I want people to jump in and put their thoughts out there, but as a way for feedback so that you all can talk to each other about it, not that you’d necessarily have to have a conversation with me. Is that helpful?
Casey: It totally does. One of the most powerful things about podcasts is that, for example, you can talk to someone else about an episode that you’ve heard, and you have this instant connection because you’ve both listened to the same thing, even though the original podcast creator doesn’t necessarily have to be present. That makes sense to me. Do you have an idea of what feedback would be important to you that you would personally want to get involved?
Samantha: I would engage with people. I felt like we could further the discussion to help more people than I’d want to get on a show with them. I’m big about talking to whoever comes across my path. The way the universe works is there’s this underneath web that we don’t see it. Asians are more in tune into it because they can understand but we’re all on this trajectory in life. When we intersect, it is for a reason and we stop for a second and ask, “What have I to learn from you? What is it that you learn from me? Why are we intersected?” With us, there’s a clear intersection. Let’s capitalize on it. We were brought together for a reason. I feel like if somebody has come along, the intersections there are intentional, and I’m meant to engage, I’m going to. It might be like, “Do you want to get a podcast with me and talk about this?” I could also DM them and talk to them.
There’s only a lot of time in a person’s day. As much as I would have to engage in anyone who DM me, it’s not physically possible. My website is going to be set up that you can’t email me like crazy because I do get quite a bit. If any of you go on my website, and you’re super frustrated because you don’t see as obvious Contact Me. It is intentional. You have to work a little bit if you want to reach out to me. I know it’s worth it.
Casey: That’s totally fair. You cannot scale a high-resolution relationship with every single person that wants to interact with you. It’s not feasible. I get that.
What’s Success for You Samantha?
Casey: I’m going to ask a question about how you’re going to measure success. Some people care about download numbers, booking a high-profile guest, or getting mentioned by a big podcast like The Tim Ferriss Show, for example. What would success look like for you?
Samantha: This is a little bold, maybe. Success to me is if Elon Musk direct messages me or calls me and says, “I’d like to pick your brain about something,” because I have a couple of ideas that he might want to grow. There’s this cool Mercedes Benz put out this Avatar car. I have an innovative idea that they’ve got some tech that can grow in a way they can’t even imagine. I’ve run it by and vetted it through some professionals. If Mercedes Benz would contact me and be like, “We heard about you, and you’ve got these ideas we want to talk.” That’s success to me. [I talk more about why Mercedes-Benz in the next episode here.] ”“Success Click To Tweet LAS VEGAS – The Mercedes-Benz Vision AVTR, as in Avatar the movie (and director James Cameron showed up on stage), made an earth-friendly debut Monday night at CES 2020. It is the automaker’s view of a battery electric vehicle / autonomous vehicle ready for a sustainable future. AVTR stands for Advanced Vehicle Transformation. Timestamp 2:12 • The AVTR recognizes the driver from his or her heartbeat and breathing, and gives an affirmational pulse on the seatback, as passenger and vehicle become a single “symbiotic organism.”[/caption]
It’s not because it’s them specifically. It’s because they have the power to do more with it. For me, success would be taking what I have to offer the world and growing it somehow. If the readers are growing something, that means something to me. I’m going to give you this example. It’s not for podcasting, specifically. A while ago, I was having one of those days that I was feeling super depressed about my contribution to the world or my value. We have all those.
It wasn’t a good mental place about my value to the world. I had to go downtown and pick up a piece of jewelry for my daughter’s birthday. It’s a teeny little shop. I haven’t ever been in it. I drove past it a thousand of times because I live in this city. I pop into the teeny little shop, a mom-and-pop jewelry store and I needed a little part. The lady is there that I haven’t seen in forever. She’s like, “Samantha, I am so glad I ran into you. I’m excited.” She used to be a client of mine, actually. Also, her husband used to be a chiropractor of mine too. I know them decently.
I’m like, “What’s going on?” She goes, “I haven’t seen you in years but I have the best news and it’s for you specifically.” I’m like, “Okay,” and she’s like, “A few years ago, when you did my son’s tax return, you were talking about his future, and he was talking about going into medicine. You’re like, ‘You should definitely consider going into rheumatology. There are a few of them. You’d be well-suited to it.’” Because of my medical issues, I’m quite privy to the shortage that we have a rheumatologist and he’s talking about wanting to move home.
Lethbridge, where I’m from, has one of the highest in your populations in Canada. At one point, we didn’t have a freaking rheumatologist. We had all these seniors that are sick with bad rheumatoid who had to go all the way and drive two hours to go to a specialist and back. This is what I was sharing with him. I didn’t think that much about it, honestly. I talked to young adults all the time. Apparently, he went into rheumatology. He just graduated. She was excited to tell me that this conversation that we had many years ago literally helped direct him on a path that he was already going and help them figure out which one.
It then even got better because she’s like, “He brought somebody back with him. She’s a rheumatologist, too. Her husband is a pediatrician.” This conversation brought two rheumatologists to Lethbridge and a pediatrician. I was like, “You made my day.” That’s a success. If something I say in my show will be something like seven years later, someone writes me a note and goes, “You are never going to believe what my son or daughter did or what I did.” That’s success to me.
Casey: I love that answer. That is noble. If there’s anybody out there who’s skeptical that this stuff matters as a young person who’s been on the receiving end of life-changing advice of that nature, you might not even think that it is life-changing while you’re giving it. You’re saying some observation that you’re making about the world. Those things get remembered by people and they do change lives. If there’s anyone reading who’s skeptical about this, I am totally with you. Thank you for doing that. The people of Lethbridge are pleased to have their two rheumatologists and one pediatrician.“Why Podcasting: You might not think of your advice as life-changing while you’re giving it, but those things get remembered by people and they really do change lives. - @sometimescasey @SamanthaPostman” Click To Tweet
I do want to follow up on one thing that you said earlier. I’m a massive Elon Musk fangirl. We have a Tesla. I swear to God, when they get the rockets going to Mars, I’d be the first person on it. I want to know what you would say to him.
Samantha: I definitely don’t want to be a groupie. I’m going to start with what I wouldn’t do and be like, “I want to ask if I could follow you,” because I don’t. I don’t even have a notification for him on my Twitter or anything like that. I respect his mind. He’s creative. He has this ability to hold multiple perspectives simultaneously, which is what makes him creative. I’ve had a few people say that I have that same ability sometimes.
I love to have a conversation with somebody. I have some ideas, and I’d love to hash them out with somebody who can do the same thing. Obviously, he’s super skilled at it and he’s got a lot of years of practice. Something that sticks out is that, generally, women don’t have the opportunity like men do to grow those kinds of skills. They have a lot of people who invest in them. They have a little more freedom to do that.
That would also be a win for women. There are some women who have creative thinking who’ve been around a hundred lives, have some ideas about the world and have a conversation. I do have an invention idea. I don’t know who would take it up. I have a theory that only it would be hard for a male to come up with this theory. If I’m right, this theory that I have could be used to help grow premature babies. If it could be investigated, I’m invested in it. It could treat anxiety in a profound way that would change the way we look at anxiety and the way we raise our children. I have an invention idea. I want to talk to him about it. That’s what I want to talk to him about. I want to say, “Elon, what do you think about this?”
Casey: Is that something we’ll have to wait until a future episode to hear about?
Samantha: I’m not sure what to do with that yet. I have vetted the idea out. I have a research team in Calgary that’s interested in taking that idea to development. It was then right before COVID. They did talk to a lead a cardiac specialist at the Toronto Children’s Hospital and they thought there was some validity to what I had to say. The medical market is, from what I understand, to get anything in medicine to treat a premature baby, for example, with this idea, could you imagine what hoops to go through? To be honest, I live in this Lethbridge area. I live on a farm in the middle of nowhere. It’s not like we’re in Silicon Valley. I need to find somebody who’s got connections and to make things happen. It doesn’t have to be Elon Musk. I’m just saying. I do have some shares in Tesla, though.
Casey: It’s interesting what you said about being in Lethbridge and how you’re not in Silicon Valley. One of the biggest changes that people are seeing precisely because we’re not going to offices anymore. We’re not meeting people in coffee shops, but we’re doing it online through things like Ship 30 and through people’s podcast episodes is that hopefully it’ll matter less and less that you’re in Lethbridge, as opposed to Silicon Valley. That eventually, the probability that if you have a good idea, that it’ll get floated to someone who’s able to do something about it. It will get flatter and depend less on where you physically live. That’s my hope, anyway.“Podcasting will hopefully make it matter less that you’re in Lethbridge as opposed to Silicon Valley. - @sometimescasey @SamanthaPostman” Click To Tweet
Challenges of Working Remotely
Samantha: There are other challenges that I find in working remotely. I have to upload my video. There are many things that I have to do myself that take much time because I’m working isolated. That’s the part that I’m finding difficult. Whereas if I was sitting in an office with my assistant, I could be like, “Can you do this or grab this off my computer and then take care of this?” I’m finding it as a user. It’s much work for me to catalog and properly share all the files.
There are definitely benefits of being remote. I already was hiring consultants across the world before doing this. I was Zooming before everybody was Zooming. The second wave of COVID hit. I was like, “I need Zoom shares.” I’ve got to work with young adults before the COVID. I don’t notice that’s always to do with the show specifically, our subject but one obstacle or hurdle I found is the time change. I have an assistant in the Philippines.
When I get up first thing is when she’s going to end her day. I have to, first thing in the morning, talk to her. I love talking to her but that used to be my day to be creative. When I first get up, I don’t go on my phone and all that. The time changes maybe have to shift my schedule. I’m the one who needs to be at my optimal level first thing in the morning but I’m adjusting for her schedule. Also, with young adults, I don’t mind when people work for me. You work whatever hours work for you.
If I normally work these hours, I need you to be available sometimes to have a direct conversation and pick up a phone call because seeing that I’m a slow typer, I make bazillion mistakes in my typing. I want to pick up the call for ten minutes but that doesn’t always work. There are some hurdles. I hear this in the business world quite a bit. I’m from a management background. A lot of people in the leadership world are trying to figure it out. We want to hire flexible workers. We don’t always want to work your flexible hours at 1:00 AM. How do we make it work?
Casey: Imagine you have a team of super engineers and you can build anything that you want, is there a solution that you think they could build to this problem? Do you think it’s more a human thing to figure out?
Samantha: I would have to think about that. I could probably come up with some solutions. I have a few out of the gate that doesn’t necessarily need some fancy tech app. It’s a meeting of the minds and saying, “We want to work together. As a business owner or manager, we want to make it so your optimal because it’s in my best interest when you’re working your optimal level anyway. If you’re happier, you’re going to be satisfied. You’re going to rock it. I want you to rock what you do,” because you feel good about life when you’re rocking what you do.
On both sides, recognizing that maybe it’s like, “You have to be available on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 1:00 and 4:00. Everybody in the office, no matter what time zone you’re in, those days that even if you got to get up at 2:00 AM to be available or have your phone on in case your boss wants to call you,” because I need to be able to call sometimes but I also want to work with somebody in the Philippines.
Casey: I was going to ask why you think that’s hard to communicate? Do you think it’s difficult to say to someone, “I need you to be available from this time to this time, and it’s important that I be able to call you?”
Samantha: The tension that I’ve got on the other side when I have done it, it’s more like, “You said I could work flexible hours.” I’m like, “I want you to work flexible hours. That doesn’t mean that at 10:00 at night, you’re texting me and asking me questions. I’m not at my computer anymore. I can’t necessarily go look it up.” It’s for young adults to understand that because you’re living in a specific type of world. It’s easy for you to whip out a text at 10:00 PM and reply, but not necessarily for me who’s maybe talking to my high school kid, or I’m tired because I’ve been working all day and I can’t work until 10:00 PM like all of you anymore. Understanding each other’s worlds. If the leadership can talk like, “This is how we work. We’re willing to adapt and we want to but there’s only much we can do.”
Casey: That makes sense. It sounds like flexible hours aren’t specific enough of a definition.
Samantha: That’s what the world needs to figure out. Employers need to figure out and get together and be like, “Here are some things that worked for us and what didn’t.” It’s pretty new yet because everyone’s still haphazardly applying things. It would be nice to have some standardizations like, “These worked. Pick A, B, or C.” What you could come up with is, if you’re an office, maybe try this. When you’re hiring somebody, this is what your contract says.
If you say it upfront, usually it’s good. The issue is that we’re learning on the go. When you go and hire somebody, and then a month later go, “This is not working. This whole flexible hour thing that I was on board for.” When then you go back and say, “This isn’t working. What could we need to do it better than the first new hire?” It’s like, “That’s not what I agreed to.” The boss is like, “I didn’t know. We’ve never done this before. I tried, but I can’t. It’s costing me huge to give up my creative time.”
Casey: It’s crazy if you think about it that you throw two people from halfway across the world at each other with a set of words that are as fuzzy as flexible hours and that you’re somehow magically expected to work. In fact, it’s almost a miracle if it does.
Samantha: My generation and up isn’t used to communicating that way.
Struggles of Women in Acquiring Skillsets because of #MeToo Movement
Casey: That makes a lot of sense to me. I do have a couple more questions about your podcast. Before I even get to that, I want to go back to something interesting that you said earlier. You mentioned that you think it’s harder for girls to get a specific set of skills with regards to the type of creative mind that you think Elon Musk has. I’d love for you to be more specific on that. I’m super curious what you meant.
Samantha: I hadn’t put my mind there much. It’s one of those rabbit holes that pops out. This one is going to be a little controversial. Women have less opportunity to sharpen the skills they have. The #MeToo Movement, what has done for women in the corporate world is monumental. I’m not talking about less fit as sexual aggression. I’m talking about mentorship. I’m talking about sharpening skills and the glass ceiling thicker than it was before in many ways. One of the things I do that gives me great joy is helping people find jobs. I love matching people up. I do it for the kick. I do it for fun. If my business friends want to hire somebody, they’ll come to me and say, “We’re looking for someone like this. Do you know anyone?” I’m a pretty big network. I’ll be like, “I know someone that fits that.” It doesn’t always work. I love matching two people up that is a good fit for each other.Women have less opportunity to sharpen the skills they have. Click To Tweet
We’re not legally allowed to ask for a male-only but this position requires them to be around males a lot. Because of all the protocols that have been placed because of MeToo, a lot of companies won’t let a male and a female work alone anymore. Almost all upper management, over the years, half is males. I know it took a long way to get there. Now, women aren’t getting mentored anymore at the level they were. If they are, it’s with an open door.
We’re seeing this across organizations everywhere even in churches. A pastor can go and take out another pastor or somebody in the church for lunch or can shut the door if it’s a conversation that needs to happen between two people but now only with males. Now, all of a sudden, no females can go. Females aren’t able to access leadership, mentorship, and not the sharpening. From what I hear, men are a little more afraid to tell women like, “You could sharpen this or you could sharpen that.” They’re afraid of being called out. They don’t even know what they’re going to get called out anymore.
That great movement has turned into something in the background that people aren’t talking about. One thing that I’m seeing is that women have less opportunity to sharpen. Everybody talks about that it takes time to be out. I spent a ton of years raising my kids instead of building my brain up in that creative way. I built it through kids. What you learn about the world and people through your children is unbelievably amazing. I would say that you stall the creative growth that someone like Elon Musk could have done. If I would not have taken time out to grow my kids the same way that I did, I would be less knowledgeable in certain areas but a lot more than others, if that makes sense.
Casey: That does. I have two follow-up questions on this. The first one is going to be this thing that you mentioned about Me Too putting men and women in a place where they’re almost afraid to interact with each other or are not allowed to. That’s such an unfortunate way of going about the problem. It’s like using a sledgehammer to hit a nail. It completely obliviates any faith we might have in the ability of people to do the right thing. It’s like, “We have no faith in your ability to handle these mature adults. We’re going to prohibit it from happening.” It’s sad because people are better than that. I completely agree with what you’re saying there.
Litigation as an Interdependent Creativity Blocker
Samantha: The whole suing everybody thing has changed the world. I get my back up fast when I hear million-dollar payouts for a company for fairly minor things because it can put a company under. A lot of people rely on those employments. We see the suing thing across the board stifling creativity, stifling relationship building. In the case of Me Too, it’s not always because they want to do this. It’s because of insurance reasons or companies are enforcing it because they don’t want to get sued or they don’t want to be liable. That has handcuffed a lot of growing. I saw that too.
I have this autoimmune disease. I spent some time in a wheelchair. That’s a whole story in itself. I almost died. It was a terrible ordeal. I had trouble getting doctors to do anything courageous because they’re worried about lawsuits. I sat in an office in Calgary. The doctor looked right at me and said, “I can’t treat you without the positive blood test.” In my particular disease, only 80% test positive with the blood test. Twenty percent aren’t going to get treated. What the doctor said was, “You have tons of time to develop side effects and because I don’t have that blood test, you can come and sue me for them.” They would not treat me because they’re worried about getting sued.
The Me Too is across the board. We’re starting to see a lot of companies, even people, publicly. A friend of mine was talking to me about how she was upset about what somebody was saying on a podcast. People are getting fired for the littlest things. It’s muzzling us. The tension is there for this lawsuit thing. I like to see a complete revamp of the lawsuit system but that’s probably never going to happen.
Casey: I don’t think this culture of fear and litigation is ever the right way to solve problems. It’s a tough one.
Samantha: You had one more thing from there that you wanted to continue.
Different Perspective on Parenting as a Woman
Casey: I was going to ask about the second point. If you take 9 months, 1 year, or 2 years out of your life to raise children, that’s the time that you’ve taken away from the progress that you could have been making in your career. My question for you is, why do you think that ends up falling on women? Why do we not hear of men taking two-year-long paternity leaves to raise their kids?
Samantha: If you don’t mind, I’m going a rabbit trail a little bit around and come back because I have a purpose for that. That’s my style. I hear what you’re saying and I might ask you to restate the question again. I’m going to go over here a little bit but I’m coming back for a reason. I want to make a point because it’s important to say. Part of why I can run in many worlds is because I raised kids. I raised both boys and a girl. I got both genders. I got a pretty good feel for different genders. Because I worked part-time seasonal when I was raising them, I was able to do hobbies, learn things, and grow things. I didn’t hone in one specific skill like If I would have done a career specifically in management or leadership or something like that. I was able to take pruning classes, travel, do wine kits, take courses on writing, and I did my Master’s. Those are all things I wouldn’t have been able to do if I did a career.
Being a mom, if you do it well and your husband will be supported, gives you an opportunity in ways that you wouldn’t if you stayed in the workforce. I took Spanish lessons. I took memory palace lessons. I’ve taken a course on probably everything you could imagine, which I couldn’t have done. We need to see it as an opportunity. Raising kids can give you a serious opportunity. What I did that was different than a lot of moms do is I brought them with me. I even taught my daughter how to prune trees. I took a pruning class. We have this huge acreage because we farm and we always need to prune. You can do things as a parent and bring them alongside. That’s something I wanted to say. It’s not going to take you out of your career. Sometimes, it builds you in different ways as long as you’re willing to optimize on it.
Societal Blindness on What We Define as Career or Progress
Casey: I love those points. I’ll take your statement and make an even stronger version of that. It’s crazy that we have this weird societal blindness around what constitutes a career and what constitutes progress.
Samantha: Let’s hashtag that one.
Casey: It’s funny because someone takes a course in, let’s say, Python and they’re like, “I’ve got this certificate in Python.” They list it on their LinkedIn and they tell all their friends. It’s like, “I’m investing in my skills.” As a parent, what are you? You’re many things. You’re a life coach, mentor, a psychologist, you’re all of these things rolled into one, and you’re picking up all these insane skills. You’re learning them firsthand. It’s like a sink or swim situation. It’s probably much more high-stress and high-stakes than a lot of jobs out there. We have this weird societal blindness where we don’t list that on LinkedIn. It’s this incredible growth path with all these skills that you pick up even though you’re doing those things. That’s a great answer.
Samantha: We even see women volunteer a lot. Even if you look at the suffrage movement in the US, it was about women who pushed that because they do good in the world. They’re all about helping because it’s what women do. We’re all about helping others. It’s not that men don’t, but we do it differently. One of my friends was saying to me that her kids are growing up and thinking about maybe jumping back into doing something on her own and growing something. She’s like, “What do I put on my resume, stay at home for the entire time with my kids?”“Raising kids does not take you out of your career. It just builds you in different ways, as long as you're willing to optimize on it. @SamanthaPostman ” Click To Tweet
The girl volunteers like crazy. She can run a 1,500-person event and you’re asleep. She’s part of a large church. She’s always running everything. She’s an event manager and she’s got a ton of experience doing it. She rocks at it. There’s not a place on your resume to say, “I volunteer events.” She’s an event manager. She could probably make some serious money for what she does. One of the things with women is the lack of confidence or the ability to see how transferable that is. You and I, that’s easy. I bet if you talk to her in two seconds, you’d be like, “You’re an event manager.”
You have to remember that’s not the world they think in. They don’t think like that. They’re like, “I volunteered and helped out.” On LinkedIn, now you can put volunteer on there. I’m super glad about that. That wasn’t on there before. I don’t like it on a resume where it says a volunteer. I’d like to push back on that and ask around the world. It should say transferable skills or something like that. They’re all intermingled. I mentored young adults for two and a half years. That’s a long time of mentoring. That would probably not make it to my resume. What I should be saying is I listen to the future of the world. This is going to sound a little crazy but in 2019, I was telling pastors around here that they need to prepare for pajama churching. They were like, “What?”
Casey: What is pajama churching?
Samantha: I go to church. I’m a Christian. I see trends because I hang out with young adults all the time. They’re my favorite people on the planet. I can see that they want to hang out at home in their pajamas. Things are going on in the church and they want to volunteer with their skills. That’s who they are. They don’t want to be your water girl, especially if they got some seriously good skills. They can set up your entire small groups on Google Sheets and have everybody share them. They got great skills. In this particular case, they’re saying to the church, “You want me but not the skills I have? Doesn’t the Bible say we should serve with our giftings?” There’s this tension here. They also want to be able to do it anytime. A lot of them work on Sundays now.
I’m starting to see a bigger movement. I’m starting to see a movement from the young adults of like, “I will do church at home.” What does that look like? I started talking to pastors and I’m like, “We need to prepare for pajama churching.” Honestly, you think that I should be burned at the stake for saying this. They’re like, “How could you say such things? Church happens in a building.” They didn’t say exactly those words. Some of them were like, “Huh?”
This was in 2019. I even said it to my Member of Parliament [Rachael Harder, MP], my MP locally. I said in a meeting, “The pajama church is coming. We need to get ready for this.” Everyone laughed. Guess what happened? In March 2020, the entire world went to pajama churching. People who would dress to the tea to go to church are now watching church with their coffee in their pajamas and with their big slippers. That’s what I love about young adults. How do you tell them that? I can talk to two generations. I specifically can talk to the older generation and I can talk to the younger generation. You want those people on your team.
- Casey Juanxi Li Website
- Podcast Nuggets
- Andreessen Horowitz
- Twitter – Casey Juanxi Li
- How the #MeToo Movement Cheats Women from Essential Mentorship by Samantha Postman
- Elon Musk
- Mercedes Benz Avatar car
- Rachael Harder, MP
- The Tim Ferriss Show
About Casey Juanxi Li
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