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"If you’re not at the drawing board, you’re not making discoveries."

—Neil DeGrasse Tyson

Innovative thinkers have been going “back to the drawing board” for decades to rethink, reimagine, and redefine their amazing ideas. It’s in this spirit that we welcome you to The Drawing Board, a podcast series from Udacity focusing on the remarkable innovations and individuals shaping our world. Discover groundbreaking new products and transformational new technologies. Learn about exciting new career opportunities, and meet the people powering change in tech and beyond. When you want to discover what the future holds, go back to The Drawing Board!

More Episodes

  • Episode 10: Episode 10: Open Office and Working Remote

    The Drawing Board talks with Albert De Plazaola, Global Strategy Leader at Unispace, and a specialist in design strategy, workplace strategy, and change management. Unispace has helped build workspaces for companies including GE, SAP, Slate Magazine, Virgin, WeWork, Infosys and hundreds more, and in this episode, we pursue a definitive answer to the age-old question: to cubicle, or not to cubicle?

    Host: Chris Morrell

    Guests: Albert De Plazaola

  • Episode 9: EPISODE 9: AI and Visual Effects in "Game of Thrones"

    What do you get when you combine transformative, future-facing technologies and cutting-edge technical skills, with a record-shattering pop culture phenomenon? We didn’t know the answer to that question either. But we knew who did! That’s why, for this episode of The Drawing Board, we spoke with James Hollingworth. We could introduce James by saying that he’s an Animation Technical Director for Australian visual effects company Iloura, but that doesn’t really tell you the whole story. So instead, we’ll quote a recent article from abc.net about the work James and his company do: “Last season the company was tasked with bringing to life the bloody Battle of the Bastards scene at the heart of the most expensive Game of Thrones episode ever.” We cover a lot of ground with James as we explore the future of AI in TV and film, and yes, we talk Game of Thrones too! Join us for a fantastic episode of The Drawing Board!

    Host: Chris Morell

    Guests: James Hollingworth

  • Episode 8: The Psychology of Motivation

    Episode 8 of The Drawing Board is all about the psychology of motivation. Richard Ryan and Scott Rigby of Immersyve sit down with us to talk about “Self-Determination Theory,” which is a framework that explains the basic psychological needs behind high-quality motivation. Immersyve’s motivational science promises to transform you into an “engagement ninja.” In the episode, we investigate this theory, and discover why it’s so relevant to our ever-connected mobile world. We learn how Competence, Autonomy, and Relatedness can nurture motivation, and together we explore ways we can apply these ideas to everything from video games to professional basketball to parenting. Discover a new way to approach motivation when you tune in to The Drawing Board!

    Host: Chris Morell

    Guests: Richard Ryan and Scott Rigby

  • Episode 7: AI in Pop Culture

    As artificial intelligence becomes more mainstream through the adoption of gadgets like Amazon Echo and Google Home, how far off are we from the cinematic worlds created in movies like Her, Blade Runner, or The Terminator? How much realism is behind these famous depictions of tech and artificial intelligence?
    To investigate just how “sci-fi” our world may look like in 30 years, we spoke with Kevin Kelly, the founding executive editor of Wired magazine, a futurist who served as Steven Spielberg’s adviser in building the world of Minority Report, and a writer with a very optimistic view of how technology will shape the future. We discuss his illustrious career and get more on his compelling take of humans will use and interact with artificial intelligence.

    Host: Chris Morell

    Guests: Kevin Kelly

    Segment 1 features Kevin Kelly on AI becoming more mainstream. Follow Kevin Kelly on Twitter at kevin2kelly, read his book The Inevitable, and check out his latest work on kk.org.

  • Episode 6: Live from TechCrunch Disrupt

    The Drawing Board team hits the Startup Alley show floor at TechCrunch Disrupt 2017 in San Francisco to chat with some of the innovative startups vying for successattention. Interviews include the Gi Fly Electric Bike [2:00], FLOWVR meditation app [6:50], Reely, an artificial intelligence for sports service [13:18], and AugmenTV, an augmented reality TV-watching experience [21:00].

    Host: Chris Morell and Kelly Schwarze

    Guests: Gabe Nudell, Tristan Elizabeth Gribbin, Cullen Gallagher, Robin Sho Moser

    Segment 1 features the Gi Fly Electric Folding Bike, a smart, electric, maintenance-free folding bike.

    Segment 2 explores FLOWVR, a VR meditation experience that delivers short meditation videos via virtual reality to fit into your daily life.

    Segment 3 features Reely, a machine-learning/artificial intelligence service that recognizes, ranks, and distributes sports highlights.

    Segment 4 is a demo of AugmenTV, an app that uses a second screen to enhance the TV-watching experience with AR integration.

  • Episode 5: Embracing Weird

    Does "weird" have a place in the world? What about at work? What about in tech? The Drawing Board is going to find out! In this episode, we get some perspective from some VERY interesting people, each of whom believes in embracing the weird, and in fostering cultures of weirdness. Our guests are: Astro Teller, Captain of Moonshots at (Google) X; Red Wassenich, progenitor of the phrase "Keep Austin Weird" [1:30]; Kathleen Mullaney, one of Udacity’s first employees [7:55]; and Christa Foley, Culture Advisor and Director of Insights at Zappos [14:50].

    Host: Chris Morell

    Guests: Astro Teller, Red Wassenich, Kathleen Mullaney, and Christa Foley

    Segment 1 features the Captain of Moonshots himself, Astro Teller. He tells us how X, formerly the experimental branch of Google, seeks employees that "embrace the weirdness."

    Segment 2 explores the history (and consequences!) of Austin’s unofficial city slogan, "Keep Austin Weird,." Red Wassenich is the author of the famous/infamous slogan, and we talk to him about his new book, which is all about the odd side of Austin. To learn more: www.keepaustinweird.com.

    Segment 3 features Kathleen Mullaney, Udacity’s VP of Careers and People Ops (and one of the company’s first employees!). She discusses how a growing tech startup can embrace its employees’ eccentricities to make a better and more innovative work environment.

    Segment 4 takes us to Zappos, where they put "a little bit of weirdness" into everything they do. We feature the Culture Advisor and Director of Insights, Christa Foley. Throughout her 13 years at Zappos, she has witnessed, embraced, and fostered the company’s unique culture, and we’ll learn all about it. Find out more about her and their Zappos Insights initiative.

  • Episode 4: Passion Projects

    Life as a budding entrepreneur isn’t exactly glamorous, and making a business come to life involves a lot of confusing, complicated, and exhausting realities. But when you have the passion to fulfill your dream, that passion can sustain you through all the hard work and long hours. And when you succeed, the results can be both incredible, and incredibly rewarding. In this episode of The Drawing Board, we talk with three passionate women who started their businesses as passion projects: Phuong Mai of P.MAI (2:00), Kate Torgersen of Milk Stork (6:20), and Kim Malek of Salt & Straw (19:00). We discover the paths they took to success, and explore the passions that fuel their work.

    Host: Chris Morell

    Guests: Phuong Mai, Kate Torgersen, Kim Malek

    Segment 1 features Phuong Mai, founder of P.MAI, a line of luxury women's backpacks. She discusses how she got her start selling online at a young age, and how she took her backpack idea to market by herself.

    Segment 2 features Kate Torgersen, founder of Milk Stork, a breast milk shipping service for new moms who travel. Kate's unique business idea is now offered at Fortune 500 companies as a benefit to working, traveling moms.

    Segment 3 features Kim Malek, co-founder of Salt & Straw, the small-batch ice cream company that is taking over the West Coast with its unique flavor combos and farm-to-table approach. Kim discusses the challenges of believing in your passion and original idea when everyone else tells you otherwise.

  • Episode 3: Gamification

    The idea behind gamification is simple—borrow what’s great about the experience of playing video games, and use it to make other things more enjoyable! Competition, scoring, prizes—these are just some of the ingredients of what gamification can bring to just about any user experience, if you know how to do it right. Our guests for this episode of The Drawing Board offer a wealth of insight and experience on the subject, and we’re going to discover what they’re working on. We start by exploring an upcoming video game with Ubisoft’s Kenneth Strickland, then we talk to Gina Gotthilf of Duolingo, go up to Strava to hear from Chief Product Officer Aaron Forth, and finally we sit down with Amelia Lin, one of our own gaming experts here at Udacity.

    Host: Chris Morell

    Guests: Kenneth Strickland, Gina Gotthilf, Aaron Forth, Amelia Lin

    Segment 1 features Kenneth Strickland, Lead Game Designer on the new South Park video game by Ubisoft, The Fractured, But Whole. He discusses the challenges of adapting a TV show to a video game, and explains his perspective on engaging game players.

    Segment 2 features VP of Marketing and Growth at Duolingo, Gina Gotthilf. She explains her team’s embrace of gamification for an app that helps people learn languages.

    Segment 3 features Aaron Forth, Chief Product Officer at Strava. How can an app and gamification get people outside and active? Aaron helps us understand their approach at Strava.

    Segment 4 features Udacity’s own Amelia Lin, a product manager with experience in the game industry. She gives us her perspective on the use of game-like features in apps and on the future of addicting apps.

  • Episode 2: All About Puzzles

    Puzzles have been around for centuries, and claims about their value run the gamut from being simple, brain-teasing fun, to potentially preventing Alzheimer’s. Companies like Google are famous for incorporating puzzles in their interviews, but can puzzle skills really predict programmer success? The Drawing Board tries to solve the puzzle of puzzles in this new episode, which features: anthropologist Marcel Danesi, New York Times Crossword editor Will Shortz, author and tech recruiting expert Gayle Laakmann McDowell, programmer Zef Hemel, and HackerRank CEO Vivek Ravisankar.

    Host: Chris Morell

    Guests: Marcel Danesi, Will Shortz, Gayle Laakmann McDowell, Zef Hemel, Vivek Ravisankar

    Segment 1 features Marcel Danesi, Professor of Semiotics and Linguistic Anthropology at the University of Toronto. He discusses puzzles, and their effect on our brains. You can find his books here, or check out his blog on Psychology Today. We also talk with New York Times Crossword Editor and NPR Puzzlemaster Will Shortz about the enjoyment and purpose of puzzles.

    Segment 2 features Gayle Laakmann McDowell, the bestselling author of Cracking the Coding Interview. She discusses the relevance of brain-teasers and puzzles to coding. Follow her on Twitter @gayle, or check out her CareerCup website.

    Segment 3 features Zef Hemel, programmer and engineering manager at Egnyte. Despite a successful career in coding, he hates puzzles. You’ll find out why. You can also read more of his insights on his blog. We also talk with Vivek Ravisankar, CEO and co-founder of HackerRank, who discusses working toward an interview-less hiring process.

  • Episode 1.5: Obama Navy Secretary Ray Mabus

    In Episode 1: The Art of "No," we talked with former Secretary of the Navy during the Obama administration, Ray Mabus. In that episode, we featured just a portion of the audio. It was such a profound interview however, that we decided we had to share it in its entirety. Here, Sec. Mabus talks about the challenges of prioritizing projects, education, equal rights in the military, and more.

    Host: Chris Morell

    Guests: Ray Mabus

    Segment 1 features Google Ventures consultant, former governor of Mississippi, and Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus

  • Episode 1: The Art of No

    JUNE 29, 2017 • Can learning to say “No” make you a better employee? A better leader? A better person? In our inaugural episode, The Drawing Board explores the art of saying “No” to create better products and programs. The idea was first popularized by Steve Jobs nearly 20 years ago; we explore it today with: author Carmine Gallo (4:30), Navy Secretary Ray Mabus (10:00), and psychologist and CEO coach Camille Preston (17:00). Learn how resisting the urge to say “Yes” can help you optimize both your work and your personal life.

    Host: Chris Morell

    Guests: Carmine Gallo, Ray Mabus, Camille Preston

    Segment 1 features “Father of the iPod” Tony Fadell from an episode of Udacity Talks, on how Steve Jobs taught him how to say “No.” Plus, enjoy classic audio from Steve Jobs at WWDC ‘97, when he uttered the now-famous phrase “Focusing is about saying ‘no’.”

    Segment 2 features New York Times/Wall Street Journal columnist and author of The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs and The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs. Find Carmine at http://www.carminegallo.com and @carminegallo on Twitter.

    Segment 3 features Google Ventures consultant, former governor of Mississippi, and former Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus.

    Segment 4 features CEO coach and psychologist Camille Preston. You can learn more about Camille at http://aimleadership.com and http://createmoreflow.com, or @CamilleP on Twitter.

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