Giant Robots Smashing Into Other Giant Robots



A weekly podcast discussing the design, development, and business of great software. Hosted by thoughtbot CEO, Chad Pytel, and rotating cast of fellow developers, designers, and entrepreneurs, we delve deep behind the scenes of the products and technologies we love.


  • 520 - Breaking New Ground in Maternal Mental Health with Mevi

    11/04/2024 Duração: 41min

    Hosts Will Larry and Victoria Guido are joined by Zamina Karim, the CEO and Founder of Mevi, a community-driven motherhood wellness app designed to address the unique challenges of motherhood, especially in the context of the pandemic. Zamina shares her journey from experiencing postpartum anxiety and depression to founding Mevi. She discusses the lack of understanding and support for new mothers, especially during the pandemic when traditional support structures were unavailable. The conversation also touches on parenting challenges in the current era, underscoring the need for community and support. The app aims to revolutionize maternal health by fostering connections among mothers and providing support for the challenges of motherhood beyond medical visits. Zamina's approach to building Mevi is rooted in empathy, aiming to address new mothers' emotional and practical needs and fill a significant gap in current maternal health support. Zamina also talks about the broader implications of Mevi's mission, the

  • 519 - Ammi's Mission to Empower Parents

    04/04/2024 Duração: 42min

    Host Will Larry is joined by Priyanka Mahajan, the founder of Ammi, a startup dedicated to supporting new and expectant parents with expertise, support, and community. The conversation highlights the challenges of parenting, the absence of a universal parenting manual, and how Ammi seeks to provide a personalized co-pilot for parents navigating the early stages of parenthood. Priyanka shares her journey from a career in strategy consulting and corporate roles across different countries to founding Ammi, driven by personal experiences and the desire to make a meaningful impact on parents' lives. Priyanka discusses the core challenges she faced as a parent, such as dealing with the loss of control, the transition to motherhood, and the importance of acknowledging and navigating the mental and emotional shifts that come with it. She introduces the concept of "matrescence," likening it to adolescence, as a significant, yet underdiscussed, transition into parenthood. Priyanka's personal struggles with anxiety and

  • 518 - The Standard of Self-Care: Unlocking Personal Growth with Chris Pallatroni

    28/03/2024 Duração: 41min

    In this episode, host Victoria Guido interviews Chris Pallatroni, creator of The Standard, a platform dedicated to sharing self-care stories. Chris shares how his interests in gardening and mental wellness fueled the inception of The Standard, which was initially intended to be a landscaping venture. He delves into the hurdles faced while developing the platform, highlighting the struggle for product-market fit and the critical role of integrating technology with human connection to enable meaningful support and interactions. Chris underscores storytelling's pivotal role in enhancing mental health, advocating for the sharing of personal triumphs over adversity to motivate and assist others facing similar challenges. He envisions The Standard as a vast collection of genuine, relatable self-care narratives aimed at reducing the feeling of isolation among individuals. Through inviting users to share their experiences, Chris seeks to leverage human connections to cultivate a community supportive of mental health

  • 517 - Building Better Design Systems with Luro's Trent Walton

    21/03/2024 Duração: 44min

    Hosts Victoria Guido and Will Larry are joined by Trent Walton, CEO of Luro. Trent shares his journey into the design world, from his early fascination with typography and logos to co-founding Paravel. This agency later evolved into creating Luro, a no-code solution for building design systems and tracking their adoption across products. Trent emphasizes the importance of understanding the materials one works with in design and development and stresses the need for a holistic approach to product building. This approach blurs the lines between disciplines, encouraging a generalist mindset over specialization. Luro, as a product, stemmed from the realization that existing design systems often fell short in adoption and application, leading to a search for a more integrated and comprehensive solution. Trent outlines the functionality and vision behind Luro, explaining how it serves not just designers and developers but entire organizations by fostering better collaboration, documentation, and understanding of d

  • 516 - Innovating Fashion: Charlotte Holt's Tech-Driven Approach

    14/03/2024 Duração: 28min

    Hosts Will and Victoria sit down with Charlotte Holt, the Founder and Creator of The Fashion Library. Based in London, The Fashion Library is a contemporary wardrobe rental resource tailored for stylists. Charlotte opens up about her diverse background, spanning various countries, and shares the transformative journey that led her from being a stylist to establishing her own venture. Charlotte sheds light on the formidable challenges stylists encounter, from the environmental repercussions of fashion production to the financial constraints of traditional shopping methods. She articulates how The Fashion Library is poised to confront these obstacles head-on by offering a platform that enables stylists to rent clothing, fostering sustainability while saving valuable resources like time and money. Delving into the realm of technology, Charlotte underscores its pivotal role in streamlining operations and catalyzing a paradigm shift towards a more sustainable fashion industry. She outlines her ambitious vision for

  • 515 - Healing Minds, Changing Lives: The Meru Health Experience

    07/03/2024 Duração: 36min

    Kristian Ranta, the founder of Meru Health, shares the company's journey from its inception to its current status as a leading provider of mental health solutions. Kristian reflects on the decision to pivot Meru Health from a wellness-focused to a healthcare-centered company, emphasizing the importance of overcoming fears and listening to intuition in entrepreneurial pursuits. He discusses the challenges and rewards of building a healthcare startup, highlighting the complexities of navigating regulatory frameworks and securing insurance reimbursements. Throughout the conversation, Kristian elaborates on Meru Health's unique approach to mental healthcare, which integrates therapy, coaching, and app-based interventions to offer users a holistic and personalized experience. He underscores the significance of community support in mental health treatment and explains how Meru Health's platform fosters connection among individuals facing similar challenges. Kristian also delves into the company's plans for expansio

  • 514 - The New Frontier of Fertility Treatment: Technology, Telemedicine, and Hera Fertility

    29/02/2024 Duração: 32min

    Host Will Larry delves into the innovative world of Hera Fertility with its Founder and CEO, Thiv Paramsothy. Hera Fertility emerges as a telemedicine-first provider aimed at revolutionizing the fertility journey for couples. Thiv shares his journey from a tech enthusiast in Toronto to a healthcare entrepreneur driven by a desire to make healthcare more accessible and efficient. His ventures, including Hera Fertility, are born out of personal observations and frustrations with the existing healthcare system, particularly its inefficiencies and the barriers to accessing necessary care. Thiv noticed a significant gap in the fertility treatment landscape—long waiting times for appointments, excessive costs, and the overall inconvenience and emotional toll of traditional fertility treatments. Hera Fertility aims to address these issues by offering affordable, convenient, and less invasive alternatives to IVF, leveraging telemedicine to provide immediate access to care, diagnostics, and medication. The episode al

  • 513 - Custom Fit, Global Impact: MADE TECH's Apparel Innovation with Dustin Butcher

    22/02/2024 Duração: 37min

    Host Victoria Guido interviews Dustin Butcher, CEO and Co-Founder of MADE TECH, a company revolutionizing the performance apparel industry through custom and made-to-measure automation technology. Dustin shares his journey from working in the outdoor industry and running a creative agency to founding MADE TECH. The company's mission is to provide performance apparel that perfectly fits the wearer's body, addressing a common issue where standard sizes fail to accommodate individual body shapes and sizes, particularly in sports where fit and movement are crucial. Dustin discusses the inspiration behind MADE TECH, which stemmed from personal experiences with ill-fitting outdoor apparel during activities like ski touring. He highlights the company's focus on inclusivity, allowing for 100% size inclusivity and addressing the needs of a broad spectrum of body shapes and sizes. This initiative caters to individuals who traditionally struggle to find performance gear that fits and opens the door for brands to offer m

  • 512 - Unboxing thoughtbot's Revolutionary Design Sprint Kit

    15/02/2024 Duração: 34min

    In this episode of the Giant Robots Smashing Into Other Giant Robots podcast, hosts Will Larry and Victoria Guido discuss the intricacies of product design with thoughtbot's Senior Designers, Rami Taibah and Ferdia Kenny. They delve into the newly launched Product Design Sprint Kit by thoughtbot, which is designed to streamline and enhance product development. Ferdia and Rami explain how the kit aims to compress the design process into a focused five-day sprint, allowing teams to move from idea to user-tested prototype efficiently. They discuss the genesis of the kit, its components, and the rationale behind making it openly available. Towards the end of the episode, the conversation shifts towards the broader implications of design in product development, the iterative nature of design sprints, and the value of user feedback in guiding product decisions. Rami and Ferdia share real-world examples where product design sprints led to significant pivots or refinements in product strategy, emphasizing the critic

  • 511 - Tele911: Pioneering Remote Emergency Care with Dr. Ramon Lizardo

    08/02/2024 Duração: 35min

    Victoria Guido hosts Dr. Ramon Lizardo, CEO of Tele911, to discuss his company's innovative approach to emergency room diversion. Dr. Lizardo shares his journey from being a physician frustrated with the inefficiencies in emergency care to leveraging technology for better healthcare delivery. Tele911 is a service that transforms how emergency responses are handled. Rather than transporting patients to hospitals for non-critical care, Tele911 facilitates on-site treatments through paramedics equipped with iPads, allowing doctors to provide remote consultations, streamlining emergency services, and reducing unnecessary hospital visits and costs. Dr. Lizardo's motivation for founding Tele911 was driven by personal experiences and the desire to improve emergency healthcare delivery. He recounts the challenges of pioneering in digital health, particularly the initial skepticism from investors and potential users about remote medical services. The COVID-19 pandemic became a turning point, accelerating acceptance an

  • 510 - The Forecastr Formula: Steven Plappert’s Path to Startup Success

    01/02/2024 Duração: 32min

    Host Victoria Guido sits down with Steven Plappert, CEO of Forecastr, an online software designed to aid founders in financial modeling, which was born to help non-finance savvy founders understand and communicate their company's financial health. Despite the pandemic beginning right after Forecastr's launch in 2020, the company didn't pivot significantly thanks to extensive preparation and customer discovery before the launch. Steven delves into the operational and strategic aspects of Forecastr, highlighting the importance of balancing growth with financial sustainability, a consistent theme in their business strategy. Forecastr's significant development was integrating a strong human element into their software service, a move very well-received by their customers. Steven also outlines the company's key objectives, including cultivating a solid culture, achieving profitability, and exploring opportunities for exponential growth. Additionally, Steven discusses the importance of work-life balance, reflecting

  • 509 - Revolutionizing Learning in Web Development with Wes Bos

    25/01/2024 Duração: 37min

    Hosts Will Larry and Victoria Guido are joined by Wes Bos, a full-stack developer, course creator, and podcaster. Wes shares his web development journey, from blogging and creating a successful book on Sublime Text to developing his popular online courses and hosting the Syntax podcast. He talks about the spontaneous start of his teaching career, his approach to creating content that is both approachable and practical, and the importance of making web development accessible to all learners. Wes discusses the evolution of his career, detailing his experiences in teaching at Ladies Learning Code and HackerYou and how he transitioned into selling online courses. He emphasizes the significance of offering quality content in his free and paid courses, ensuring his teachings are relatable and helpful for real-world applications. Wes also delves into the technical aspects of managing his course platform, discussing the benefits of having complete control over his content and the challenges he faces, such as content

  • thoughtbot's Incubator Program Mini Session 3: Episode 08: Goodz with Mike Rosenthal and Chris Cerrito

    23/01/2024 Duração: 28min

    If you missed the other episodes with thoughtbot Incubator Program partcipants and founders Mike Rosenthal and Chris Cerrito of Goodz, you can listen to the first episode ( and the second episode (, and the third episode ( to catch up! Lindsey Christensen and Jordyn Bonds catch up with the co-founders of Goodz, Chris Cerrito and Mike Rosenthal, where they share insights from their journey during the Incubator program, including the usefulness of the application process in aligning their vision and the challenges and benefits of user interviews and the importance of not overreacting to single user feedback and finding a balance in responding to diverse opinions. They reveal the varied reactions of users to Goodz's product, highlighting the different market segments interested in it. As the Incubator program nears its end for Goodz, Chris and Mike reflect on their

  • 508 - Drumming Up Connections: Jessica Wallace on Networking in Real-Time

    18/01/2024 Duração: 30min

    In this episode, host Victoria Guido talks with Jessica Wallace, the CEO of Flok22, an innovative app designed to enhance real-time social networking. Victoria delves into Jessica's unique journey from her roots as a hairdresser to becoming a tech entrepreneur. They explore how Jessica's personal experiences and challenges, including being a military wife and navigating life post-divorce with three children, fueled her drive to create Flok22. Jessica's desire to connect people in real-time, especially in the post-COVID era, led to the birth of this groundbreaking app. Victoria and Jessica discuss their mutual passion for music, revealing how their hobbies provide a creative outlet from the demanding world of startups. Jessica shares her aspirations to return to playing the drums, a skill inspired by her family's musical background, and her journey in learning the instrument during the pandemic. On technology and entrepreneurship, Jessica dives into the challenges and triumphs of developing and marketing Flok2

  • thoughtbot's Incubator Program Mini Session 3: Episode 07: Knect with Josh Herzig-Marx

    16/01/2024 Duração: 38min

    If you missed the other episodes with thoughtbot Incubator Program partcipant and founder Josh Herzig-Marks of Knect, you can listen to Josh's first episode (, his second (, an his third ( to catch up. Josh Herzig-Marx, founder of Knect, discusses the latest developments in his startup journey since his last appearance on the show. He emphasizes the program's value in helping founders like himself refine ideas and strategies. He particularly notes the program's effectiveness in addressing challenges unique to startups, such as managing professional networks and dealing with the rapid growth of online presence. The conversation also delves into AI's technical aspects and potential applications and the practicalities and ethical considerations of using it in professional networking. Josh and Jordyn explore various AI use cases, distinguishing between beneficial applications

  • 507 - Scaling New Heights: Innovating in Software Development with Merico's Founders Henry Yin and Maxim Wheatley

    11/01/2024 Duração: 44min

    In this episode of the "Giant Robots Smashing Into Other Giant Robots" podcast, host Victoria Guido delves into the intersection of technology, product development, and personal passions with her guests Henry Yin, Co-Founder and CTO of Merico, and Maxim Wheatley, the company's first employee and Community Leader. They are joined by Joe Ferris, CTO of thoughtbot, as a special guest co-host. The conversation begins with a casual exchange about rock climbing, revealing that both Henry and Victoria share this hobby, which provides a unique perspective on their professional roles in software development. Throughout the podcast, Henry and Maxim discuss the journey and evolution of Merico, a company specializing in data-driven tools for developers. They explore the early stages of Merico, highlighting the challenges and surprises encountered while seeking product-market fit and the strategic pivot from focusing on open-source funding allocation to developing a comprehensive engineering metric platform. This shift in

  • thoughtbot's Incubator Program Mini Season 3 - Episode 06: Goodz with Mike Rosenthal and Chris Cerrito

    09/01/2024 Duração: 26min

    If you missed the first and second episodes with thoughtbot Incubator Program partcipants and founders Mike Rosenthal and Chris Cerrito of Goodz, you can listen to the first episode ( and the second episode ( to catch up! Lindsey Christensen, head of marketing at thoughtbot is joined by Mike Rosenthal and Chris Cerrito, co-founders of the startup Goodz, and Danny Kim, Senior Product Manager at thoughtbot. Mike and Chris discuss the progress of Goodz, focusing on the recent intense weeks they've had. Goodz, a startup merging the digital and physical worlds of music, has stayed on course with its initial concept. Mike details their approach to Thanksgiving and the launch of their e-commerce experiment. He shares insights from recent user interviews, which have influenced their approach and understanding of their target audience. When the discussion turns to the challenges of launching and maintaining their e-com

  • 506 - A Breath of Fresh Air: Wendy Lawson's Mission for Accessible Lung Care

    28/12/2023 Duração: 35min

    Wendy Lawson is the Founder and CEO of Exhale Lung Rehabilitation, a company offering online lung rehabilitation and remote therapeutic monitoring services. Wendy's extensive background in chronic disease epidemiology, respiratory therapy, and her role with the American Lung Association have been pivotal in her mission to address the gaps in lung rehabilitation accessibility. She discusses the challenges faced in making lung rehabilitation widely available, especially in rural areas, and the exacerbated need for such services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Exhale leverages technology to offer personalized rehabilitation programs, making them accessible to a wider audience regardless of their geographic location. This approach has significantly impacted the quality of life for individuals with lung diseases, especially in a time when remote services have become more crucial than ever. The conversation also touches upon the technical and business aspects of running Exhale where Wendy candidly shares the challeng

  • 505: Commsor with Mac Reddin

    21/12/2023 Duração: 40min

    Mac Reddin is the CEO of Commsor. He discusses Commsor's evolution from community-led growth software to a go-to-network model, emphasizing the importance of various overlapping networks in a company's ecosystem. He shares his journey from running a Minecraft-based company as a teenager to founding Commsor, which initially began as a newsletter and evolved into a community and then a product. Mac stresses the effectiveness of authentic community building and relationship-based growth over traditional sales and marketing strategies. He criticizes cold calling and email tactics, advocating for genuine interactions and relationship-building. Commsor’s approach, including personal onboarding of every user and fostering a company culture where employees are encouraged to express their individuality and interests, has shown success and satisfaction internally and in the market. Chad reflects on his experiences at thoughtbot, aligning with Reddin's perspective on community and user-centric approaches. He emphasizes

  • 504: Spare with D'ontra Hughes

    14/12/2023 Duração: 32min

    D'ontra Hughes is the Founder and CEO of Spare, which uses tech to solve cash management problems for unbanked small businesses and enterprises. D'ontra shares his entrepreneurship journey, driven by realizing the financial industry's impact on less privileged individuals. D'ontra highlights a significant issue in the banking sector where the poorest people are often charged the most in fees, perpetuating poverty. Spare addresses the high fees unbanked individuals face when accessing their money. D'ontra's entrepreneurial journey involved various challenges, including learning from customer feedback, understanding the importance of data-driven decisions, and navigating the competitive startup environment. The conversation also covers the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Spare, leading to a strategic shift and a focus on regions with high cash circulation. D'ontra emphasizes the importance of strategic planning, data analysis, and a systematic approach to business growth. He also discusses the personal aspec

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