Architecture, Mars, and VR . . . with Alfredo Muñoz

Architecture, Mars, and VR . . . with Alfredo Muñoz

Questions: How do we design for extreme conditions and resource challenges?  Is that for Mars or Earth?

Guest: Alfredo Muñoz, Architect; Founder; Onteco; Founder, ABIBOO Studio; Chair for Memberships of the Technical Committee of Space Architecture at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics

Digital twins?  Space architecture?  Alfredo Munoz combines astrophysics and architecture to let us pilot new ways of building in VR on Earth . . . as practice for Mars . . . to improve how we live on Earth.   He’ll share elements of a digital twin of a compound in Mars that you can engage with here on Earth to try out better ways of working, living, and creating.  He also shares his own journey through innovative architecture and bringing those skills and insights to connect with space architecture and collaborative virtual reality. 



Alfredo Muñoz is the founder of Onteco and ABIBOO Studio. He is also the Chair for Memberships of the Technical Committee of Space Architecture at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Mr. Muñoz has been considered the youngest among the most influential Spanish Architects and the youngest European Leaders (EYL40).

His clients range from Fortune Global 500 conglomerates to governments to private high-net-worth individuals on five continents.

Alfredo has been teaching and speaking at elite Universities, and his work has been featured in media outlets across the world.

He holds a Master's in Architecture from the Polytechnic University of Madrid and a Master's of Advanced Studies in Architecture from BarcelonaTech.


Mentioned Links:

Out on a Limb   . . . .with Darryl Hurs

Out on a Limb   . . . .with Darryl Hurs

Question: How can you build a rich creative life based on referrals and going out on a limb?

Guest: Darryl Hurs, Owner/CEO, Indie Week; Managing Director, Downtown Canada; Director, Market Development, Canada, CD Baby; Educator, Harris Institute

In this episode, Darryl Hurs shares his journey from studying music, working in retail at HMV, and being in a band to building a dynamic life in digital arts and music business through the reach of the people he has met and putting himself out there, even if he was uncomfortable.  His work of getting and giving work to others launched his own early work for Live Nation in launching VIPNATION.  His life ever since has all been about referrals and reaching out.  He built Indie Week from booking venues and creating discovery opportunities for new music.  He threads together stories of expanded risk-taking from one group of skills and people to bigger opportunities -- and how the referral is at the core of building his work in the world.



Darryl Hurs has a 25+ year history in the music business including launching and running Indie Week (one of Canada’s largest music showcase festivals and conferences). In the past two years, he has founded 3 new online conferences: Music Pro Summit, indie101 and SCREENxSCREEN.

Darryl recently has been hired as the Managing Director for Downtown Music in Canada heading the Canadian operations for FUGA, Songtrust, Adrev,, and CD Baby.  His past positions include design and branding/marketing for Live Nation as a freelancer (projects included a corporate rebrand and logo design, launching, work for U2, Nickelback, Madonna, Beyonce, Jay-Z and Dave Matthews), retail buyer at HMV, and booker for one of Toronto’s top live music venues (The Rivoli).


Mentioned Links:

Music + India . . . .plus Ritnika Nayan

Music + India . . . .plus Ritnika Nayan

Question: How do you connect independent artists and music business in India as a young woman?

Guest: Ritnika Nayan, Managing Director, Downtown India; Owner: Music Gets Me High

Ritnika Nayan shares stories about her passion: helping indie artists succeed and make money through various avenues that they might have been neglecting.  She does that in her main role: Managing Director for Downtown India.  That passion also connects her early love of Broadway musicals to working on college concerts at Hofstra, music festivals in India, building her own company, wellness work, ukulele covers, and writing a book and teaching future music industry leaders in India.  



Ritnika Nayan is the Managing Director for Downtown India representing CD Baby, Fuga, Songtrust, Downtown Music Services,, and Adrev in the country. She is also the owner of the company Music Gets Me High and the author of Indie 101 – The Ultimate Guide to the Independent Music Industry in India. 

Throughout her 21 years of experience in the music industry, she has worked with artists like Maroon 5, Nickelback, Guns & Roses, Manu Chao, Nucleya, Advaita, Jalebee Cartel and also consulted on festivals like Sula Fest, Ziro festival of Music, Wonderflip fest and more. Ritnika has also set up India’s first stand-alone Music Business Certification course at SACAC, Delhi and conducts workshops on various aspects of the Industry under MGMH Academy. She is an avid speaker at conferences globally including TEDx and has won various awards including the contribution to the creative industry award by University of Westminster, UK and the Young Music Entrepreneur runner up award by the British council and more.


Mentioned Links:

Building Campfires . . . with Arturo O’Farrill

Building Campfires . . . with Arturo O’Farrill

Question: How can you build campfires, mixing music and social activism?Guest: Arturo O'Farrill, Founder, Artistic Director, Afro Latin Jazz Alliance; Professor, Global Jazz Studies, The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, Associate Dean for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
Arturo O'Farrill builds campfires and connects music, activism, and community to build momentum to change his areas of passion in the world -- especially in New York. He shares with us the many projects he is working on, his Grammy-award winning music melding and digging beyond jazz and Latin music roots, his strong beliefs about Cuba and US foreign policy, and his new projects in housing and music in Spanish Harlem. He talks about the impacts on artists with the Virtual Birdland project, which garnered a Grammy nomination, and his work with Dr. Cornel West with Four Questions. He recalls his desires to conduct back at age 6 and breaking into his father's record collection and finding Seven Steps to Heaven, locking in his passion for music. He states with bold examples how "Happiness is marrying your conviction with your art," which frames most of his adult work. He speaks the vigor about the results of unbridled capitalism -- and does not mince words.
Our Guest
Arturo O’Farrill, pianist, composer, and educator, was born in Mexico and grew up in New York City. Arturo’s professional career began with the Carla Bley Band and continued as a solo performer with a wide spectrum of artists including Dizzy Gillespie, Lester Bowie, Wynton Marsalis, and Harry Belafonte.In 2007, he founded the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance as a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the performance, education, and preservation of Afro Latin music.An avid supporter of all the Arts, Arturo has performed with Ballet Hispanico, Ron Brown’s EVIDENCE Dance company, and the Malpaso Dance Company, for whom he has written several ballets.Arturo’s well-reviewed and highly praised “Afro-Latin Jazz Suite” from the album CUBA: The Conversation Continues (Motéma) took the 2016 Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Composition as well as the 2016 Latin Grammy for Best Latin Jazz Recording. In addition, his composition “Three Revolutions” from the album Familia-Tribute to Chico and Bebo also received the Best Instrumental Composition Grammy in 2018. Arturo’s 2020 album, “Four Questions” won yet another Grammy award in 2021.Arturo has been a Steinway Artist for many years and is now a Blue Note Records Recording Artist. Mentioned Links  Timecodes
  • 00:03 Introduction and current work
  • 01:24 Hiring a new bass player with recordings - changing the system he was handed
  • 02:29 ALJA and Building Campfires
  • 04:18 Affordable Housing in Spanish Harlem
  • 07:42 2022 Grammy-nominated songs and their importance to him
  • 08:02 Virtual Birdland with 18 extraordinary artists
  • 09:29 Malpaso and his second Grammy nomination
  • 09:46 Cuba's ongoing struggles
  • 10:30 Grammys as fuel for Foundation support
  • 11:01 Four Questions with Dr. Cornel West
  • 13:15 Getting Started - pretending to conduct an orchestra at age 6
  • 14:51 How his parents met and his early life
  • 16:32 Breaking into his father's record collection and Seven Steps to Heaven
  • 17:24 Happiness is marrying your conviction with your art
  • 18:20 When Arturo started taking heartstances in the world
  • 18:50 The Drum and the Noise -- drums as symbols of gentrification
  • 19:52 Ramarley Graham, Keith LaMar, and music in mass incarceration
  • 21:48 Getting in trouble: music reflecting back on the world - trouble and liberation
  • 22:13 "You don't have a right to say this"
  • 26:34 More on Cuba
  • 30:08 Hard decisions and being an administrator
  • 31:31 You need to learn to say no
  • 32:16 His songs - extraordinary musicians -- and Accepting Chaos
  • 34:33 Succession and the next voice of leadership
  • 36:05 How to reach out
  • 37:29 Loving Los Angeles and Culver City's funkitude
Asking for What You Want . . . with Shirin Laor-Raz Salemnia

Asking for What You Want . . . with Shirin Laor-Raz Salemnia

Shirin Salemnia

Question:  What can you do with focus on drive in both toys and STEM?  And what can a persistent Shirin Salemnia do?

Guest: Shirin Laor-Raz Salemnia, Founder and CEO, WhizGirls Academy and PlayWerks

Shirin shares a passionate tale of drive, success with extreme persistence, and then designing new businesses to give back.  She talks about her journey through college, Mattel, MGA/Bratz, and building her two current businesses.  She didn't take no for an answer -- and said no many times to missions that pulled on her coattails.  She is one of our more driven guests, not taking no from guidance counselors, security guards, and many other people in her life.  The movie Big set her on her mission and voices as distinctive as Deepak Chopra and Simon Sinek inspired her to her current paths of giving back.
Our Guest

Shirin Laor-Raz Salemnia is the Founder and CEO of PlayWerks and the founder of WhizGirls Academy. PlayWerks is an interactive media company that creates high quality multi-platform immersive games and experiences that engage children and adults. WhizGirls Academy is where students engage in project based learning and gamification that help them with tech and digital literacy while acquiring coding skills, entrepreneurship tools, and building confidence and growing as members of their communities with a healthy balanced lifestyle slant.

In 2013, she hosted the first Hackathon for Women and Girls with The White House Council of Women and Girls. In May 2014, she hosted the Kids Hack for LA in collaboration with Mayor Eric Garcetti, the White House, and's Foundation. Also in 2014, Shirin gave her Ted Talk "Are You a Gamer or a Gardener?" at the TedxYouth conference in Los Angeles, CA.

She is currently teaching Tech for Social Impact/Entrepreneurship at USC School of Engineering/(ITP)Viterbi. In December 2014, Shirin joined President Obama, the First Lady, and Vice President Joe Biden along with hundreds of college presidents and other higher education leaders at the "Reach Higher Summit" at the White House to announce the commitment to serve 25,000 inner city children and adults nationwide.

The first WhizGirls Academy Mobile Tech Tour event with Mayor Garcetti in South Central Los Angeles in December 2014, was attended by 1500 people. More recently, in March of 2015 Shirin was honored by LA Mayor Eric Garcetti and Los Angeles City Councilmember Mike Bonin as 2015 LA City Pioneer Woman of the Year. Check out his write up and her appearance at the Getty House with Mayor Garcetti (Check out the 12th pic). In October 2015, She was honored as a Tribeca Disruptor Innovation Fellow.

In March 2016 she was honored as IJWO Woman of the Year.

Mentioned Links

  • Twitter @ShirinSalemnia
  • Facebook @ShirinLaorRazSalemnia
  • Linkedin:
  • WhizGirls Academy:
  • TEDxYouth Talk: Are You a Gamer or a Gardener?
  • Mattel:
  • MGA & Bratz:
  • Jetsetter by Shag:
  • Jordan Mechner:
  • Oviatt Library at Cal State Northridge:
  • Jack Dangermon at ESRI:
  • The Movie Big:


  • 00:00 Introduction
  • 03:17 PlayWerks, Tom Hanks, and College Choices
  • 05:13 WhizGirls Academy and hackathons
  • 06:25 Arc-GIS and Esri
  • 12:15 Career Centers and Conflict
  • 12:59 Persian Parents
  • 15:09 Nutrition?
  • 16:02 Finding Toy People
  • 18:06 Walking Into Mattel
  • 19:23 Super Persistent
  • 21:18 Interviewing at Mattel
  • 23:44 Deepak Chopra and Crisis
  • 25:49 Choosing Options and Saying Yes
  • 28:51 General Assembly and Persistence
  • 31:10 Success? Self-Metrics
  • 33:09 When Do You Close Doors
  • 35:24 Everyone Has a Mission


Gigi Johnson 0:06
So we are recording this conversation on St. Patrick's Day here in 2022. And I, I am excited for me to talk with you because we have talked informally for years at events that we've talked about things and back alleys of Interactive Peer Group TV Academy stuff. And we haven't really talked about the you part of this. I'm very excited to have this "you as creative innovator" conversation that is part of this whole adventure. So Hello, and thank you for joining us today.

Shirin Lao-Raz Salemnia 0:44
Hello, and thank you for having me. This is so exciting. When I got the email, I was like, Oh, that's so cool. I love . . . .you and everything that you do. And I'm so glad that . . . well, unfortunately, we missed each other the past two years of the TV Academy events.

But I did, for a while, have you come out to my class at USC. So that was fun and . . .

Gigi Johnson 1:04
And that's been part of my journey stories: coming in and talking to your [USC] Viterbi Engineering class about life and careers, and how to be bold in their career choices.

Shirin Lao-Raz Salemnia 1:15
Yeah, I feel like my journey has been about getting my career going, but then helping others and giving back and making a difference in a lot of ways with careers. So I'm glad that we cross paths. And I think that happened accidentally. I think one night at the TV Academy event, we were walking to the car, and we were just started chatting. And I was saying, you know, I got this class at USC. And unfortunately, I'm not teaching there anymore. But I was for five years. And it was a fun experience. And we were kind of sharing stories about teaching. And you were saying you were doing stuff at UCLA. So it was interesting how I got to know that other part of you, which was exciting.

Gigi Johnson 1:52
But we're gonna talk a lot about parts of you. And I want to talk about kind of how also you make decisions to do and not do things. So we'll come back to the to, to whatever we can talk about in various things. Because I know that one thing is that you're about to make a big announcement. And we won't be talking about that today. Because it is not . . .

Shirin Lao-Raz Salemnia 2:09
unfortunately not yet. Yeah, as much as I'm itching to get it out there, I have a partner that doesn't allow it yet. And we're still technically under an NDA. So yeah. But there will be a big announcement very soon. And I'm super excited about it. I can't I can't wait to make that announcement.

Gigi Johnson 2:27
So I'm gonna ask everyone to go the show notes. And we'll say this at the end -- that by then we might be able to announce it, or it will follow along with the show notes. So you can stay tuned on all of this. But in the meantime, what are you doing now that you can talk about?

Shirin Lao-Raz Salemnia 2:42
Yes, I'm still running my two startups in the tech space for kids. PlayWerks, which is interactive media. And we create IP that's transmedia and multi-platform. And our first brand is called WhizGirls, which we're not officially launched on the gaming side yet. We're still in beta, but also other is coming soon. Which is actually not part of the announcement, but that's another thing. And then WhizGirls Academy, which is my, like, technically social good, social impact, live extension of the games with girls. So, so I, because I started PlayWerks when I left my toy business job when I where I wanted to be like Tom Hanks in the movie Big, which I honestly never thought I would leave because I was obsessed with wanting to be like Tom Hanks in the movie Big ever since I was a little kid. And I went to Cal State Northridge to do that. And I had everyone --including my family and the Career Center at Cal State Northridge -- saying, "You're crazy. We've never heard of anybody come major in child psychology and say they're going to be a Toy Tester." And unfortunately for me, or fortunately, because I'm a big book nerd, I used to go to the library at the Oviatt Library at Cal State Northridge. There was this book, huge book, like 600 pages, and it was all about careers. And I opened it one day. And I was like, "Look, it says child psych major - toy tester -- I'm not crazy." Like I know. I've always like looked at media and been inspired. And I took it to the Career Center. I said "Look, look!" I mean, we don't have Google Now. We barely were starting to get email back then. Now I'm really aging myself. And they still were like, no, no, fill out this Myers Briggs form, fill out this Myers Briggs form. And I was like, "I'm showing you a book that says child psych major -- toy tester career, along with others." And they kept saying, no, no, I'll try. I'll child . . . child.psych majors usually come and get a master's degree or a PhD. They work in a school, they work in a hospital, they start a clinic. We've never ever heard anyone ever tell us they're going to be a Toy Tester. You know, like, well, there's always a first

We've had a game tester on this show who came in the backdoor that way. And that was Arabian, who came and talked about the fact that's how he cracked his way into

That's right. I remember.

Gigi Johnson 4:58
The Gaming space.

Shirin Lao-Raz Salemnia 4:59
Yeah, that's right

Gigi Johnson 5:00
So I'm gonna back you up further. But let's sort of step -- step into the present right now. If someone says, I want to hang out with her with WhizGirls, what is WhizGirls right now? It is hackathons. Yes?

Shirin Lao-Raz Salemnia 5:13
WhizGirls Academy is hackathons. Yeah. WhizGirls is the games. We're still in beta, like I said, not officially officially launched yet. But WhizGirls Academy is where we do the healthy, balanced tech lifestyle hackathons. So we use the characters in the games, It's project-based learning. We're teaching real coding, HTML, CSS, and UI UX. And we're also we partnered with General Assembly at the time and shipped their curriculum, and we gamified it. And then we also do like during the course of our hackathon day, we do like meditation, fitness and healthy eating. We have like keynote speakers, talk about how they got to their careers in the tech space or other like in engineering, or we had people from NASA JPL and SpaceX, and all kinds of different fun entrepreneurs and stuff. And then at the end of the day, they pitch . . . Oh, and then we also use, . . . sorry, ArcGIS, which is

Gigi Johnson 6:06
Slow down a little bit, because you've said many acronyms so far. And some of our listeners will know what those acronyms are. And some are going, what the heck is she talking about? And I would say maybe some of the 20 year olds I used to hang out with we're going What is this ArcGIS thing? And what is . . .

Shirin Lao-Raz Salemnia 6:25
Yeah, so ArcGIS is a platform that ESRI uses. ESRI is the first ever mapping company. So if you imagine like Google Maps, but with data, so they were around way before Google Maps, and there's a ton of data. So I met them . . . actually, I met Jack Dangermond, the founder at's big event that he used to have every year for STEM, and he invited me to lunch. And then we started chatting, and I said, "I would love to include, you know, ArcGIS, the platform, in our hackathons." And he was like "Sure why not, like we're doing stuff with" I'd love to extend you kn ow, to you

Now, I 'm assuming our listeners will know who is, but they may or may not know that does his and does his whole and actually has gone into robotics and LAUSD with Dean Kaman. We'll come back, I want to haul you backwards. We're going to go backwards. Because usually there is a real great origin story and you have fabulous interwoven origins for that how you got here, but in some ways, you are an interesting combination of toys, games, child psychology, coding, social activism. When did you first . . . who introduced you to coding? And what has that -- their impact on your life -- been?

That's a great question. So in the third grade, I had a female computer science teacher, I went to LAUSD public school. . . Fairburn Ave. Elementary in Westwood, right down the street from UCLA. And I had a female computer science teacher every day that taught us how to code Fortran on an Apple IIC green screen computer. And that's why I actually played Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego. And I was obsessed at school every day. And at home, I had it too. But I also had Atari and Nintendo. So now I'm a child of the 80s, as you can tell, but I watched the movie Big and it changed my life. I think if I didn't watch the movie Big I probably would have stuck to coding and tech. Because she was super fashionable, really fun and bubbly. And every day that was the biggest class I looked forward to, my computer science class, which was mandatory, by the way and . .

Gigi Johnson 8:41
. . . which is very good for that time . . . very, very advanced for that time. So your school?

Shirin Lao-Raz Salemnia 8:45
Well, I mean, I everybody says it. I mean, I was an LAUSD public school and when I was telling LAUSD people, they're like, "That's wild." I'm like, "I know," because I was going to schools recently in there was no computer labs and stuff. And I was like, what happened here?

Gigi Johnson 8:58
And that's an interesting question as to what happened here. Have you gone back to tell her that she's had this impact on kicking you off in your life?

Shirin Lao-Raz Salemnia 9:06
You know, I've been looking for her left and right. Her name is Miss Feldman. I can't find .... I looked on Facebook, I Googled, I can't find her anywhere, which is really strange, because I was actually approached to do a commercial with her about this whole thing. When I couldn't find her, I was like,

Gigi Johnson 9:22
If anything . . .

Shirin Lao-Raz Salemnia 9:23
I reached out. I reached out to some other student teachers. Actually, I have one teacher that I'm still friends with on my Facebook that was at the same school and she couldn't even find her and I was like, Oh, that's weird. I don't know...

Gigi Johnson 9:34
If anybody listening or watching knows where Mrs. ... Mrs. Feldman is please, you know, reach out. We'll give the contact information in the chat. So who knows? Maybe this will help so help help her get connected with you.

Shirin Lao-Raz Salemnia 9:47
Yeah, I would love to thank her because she was like, super fashionable and super techy. And, I mean, I never even heard of like, like when people say, oh, you know, girls shouldn't do tech or coding and gaming, I'm just like, I understand because I grew up with equality. She never pointed a finger and said, "You're a girl. You shouldn't do that." We did it all together. So this whole this stuff is foreign to me.

Gigi Johnson 10:09
And actually, coding is much more dominantly women actually early on. There's really interesting direction the . . .

Shirin Lao-Raz Salemnia 10:16
The 80s. Yeah, yeah.

Gigi Johnson 10:18
So not everyone . . . This is where I go. Not everyone knows not everyone knows the movie Big. That may seem really strange to you, but not everyone knows that movie Big. So if you were gonna explain big to someone who didn't know it, why it was inspirational to you other than of course, Tom Hanks is really charming in it. . . and much younger then too . . .

Shirin Lao-Raz Salemnia 10:38
That's funny. People usually ask me, you want to be a guy and I was like, no, no, he was a child. He had a wish. I don't want to give the movie away. You gotta watch it. I think it's on Netflix or something. Now I'm sure you can find it. But I think it's 1987, I'm not mistaken and . . .

Gigi Johnson 10:54
He as a kid was able to . . .

Shirin Lao-Raz Salemnia 10:56
He's a kid . . .

Gigi Johnson 10:57

Shirin Lao-Raz Salemnia 10:58
He . . . he grows up one overnight basically enters into an adult and he has to like, I guess, support himself. So he decides to get a job at a toy company, which I think it was actually modeled around Mattel, because the logo was very similar. They don't use Mattel. I'm sure there was product placement there. So yeah, so that's how he gets a job. He . . I guess . . . runs into the head of the company at a FAO Schwartz while he was playing on the piano is with his feet. And he wouldn't leave him alone. And he was testing toys, doing focus groups. And ironically, at CSUN when I was doing my child psych undergrad degree, and I still did a little minor in family and computer . . . Family and Consumer Studies. We had a one-way play lab, we called it, where we watched the kids grow developmentally. And we had to write research reports. So we had focus groups, but not obviously for marketing and products. We had it for the kids live. So I had that training for everything that I started doing at Mattel.

Gigi Johnson 12:05
You actually had a Research Lens, which is unique also to have a research and observational behavioral studies lens.

Shirin Lao-Raz Salemnia 12:13

Gigi Johnson 12:13
Coming in to creative play.

Shirin Lao-Raz Salemnia 12:15
In school. Yeah, exactly. And, and that's why and I would tell the career center and I'd be like, Look, we did this. Like I had to write my research reports on these kids since they were XYZ ages, like throughout the years of me being in school here. So what are you saying? I mean, this is exactly what I was like literally training for being at Mattel. And they just like were like, and I was like well, and then also the research that I've done is I can go to Mattel, which is in El Segundo. Technically, I went to North it was like South, next to you know, the airport. Or I could go to Hasbro which is in Rhode Island and I prefer obviously to stay in LA . . . just makes more sense.

So I'm gonna stop you and kind of go sideways a bit. What did your parents think of all this?

Oh my god, they saw that was nuts. Parent -- my parents thought I was nuts. Because obviously I'm Persian and I always make a joke. I say I came on a magic carpet ride to LA when I was two and people look at me like what magic carpet really like? Like, yeah, magic carpet. I've never been back to Iran. I don't know what it's like, but they didn't have market research in Iran. So, you know.

Gigi Johnson 13:20
So your parents there was this young woman who had Fortran and coding experience, love games, found child psychology and game test designer in a big thick career book. And then thought that . . . were the encouraging of this? I mean, Cal State Northridge is a it's a good solid, public institution, safe quality institution. ere they just kind of going "She'll get over it"?

Shirin Lao-Raz Salemnia 13:48
Yeah, they thought it was a phase. But also my driving force was really the movie Big just because that was my sample in real life. Like I had to sample in school every day of doing those research reports in the, you know, child play lab, you know, type of thing. And I think the lab school still exists because that's what they do for that major. But the real the real deal for me was the movie Big. I didn't care that it was the movie. I didn't care Tom Hanks was a guy. I didn't care any of that. So I was like, he tested toys. He had fun every day going to work. He had the corner office. He had the toys. They had the whole thing with that Empire State Building and that people were messing with him that he couldn't make the right thing or something though it's not the right not the right toy or whatever. But he had you know, the big kid inside of him was like these are the toys that kids will like, so . . .

Gigi Johnson 14:39
You then graduated from . . Did you intern when you were in school? Did you try stuff out? Did you raise your hand and go "Mattel! Look at me I'm right here! I am. . . .Yeah, so

Shirin Lao-Raz Salemnia 14:48
I did. I actually . . . so when my parents and friends . . . so I had friends that were going to like UCLA majoring in psycho bio and wanting to be doctors and lawyers, you know, the typical like Persian jobs or whatever typical jobs ike engineering, whatever those things. And I kept saying, no, no, I want to be a Toy Tester. And people were like, Why don't you just try other things? So at one point, I was like, maybe I should do nutrition. I like nutrition. I did volunteer in the hospital. I can't stand it. I was like, get me out of here after a week. I couldn't . . . .once like, you got to do a rotation in the psych ward. I was like, I'm out, goodbye, like, thanks, I can't do this.

Gigi Johnson 15:21
I shouldn't laugh. For some people . . . or something. Every . . . for every job, there's somebody who actually gets passionate about it. I tend to think there's things I love that other people hate. But yeah, it's nice to know that environmental thing early. I don't want to. . . .

Shirin Lao-Raz Salemnia 15:37
Yeah, it made a huge difference. Because honestly, like, I love nutrition, and for myself, I'm really like picky about food and everything, because I have allergies, whatever. But like, not as a career, not something I would be happy with doing, you know, as a career. So I'm glad that I figured that out. And going through the motions. It was like I had graduated. And I had one professor from CSUN that was my champion, and we still keep in touch. And he kept saying, You can do this, we're going to make this happen. You'll figure this out. And like I said, there was no Google at the time, we barely were getting emails. I was literally going to the library and figuring out Okay, so there's a Women in Toys annual like event where they give awards in New York, and then there's like this toy group, I guess. We didn't have meetups back then. But they had like this toy group in LA, people from Mattel and smaller toy companies that would get together. So I found those places. And I went there. And I talked to the people. At the time, there was this thing called GameWorks, which the guy that was the head was a head of the whole thing. So I talked to him, and I said, What are you saying? And he was like, well, sorry, I can't really help you. But like, you know, I'll put up feelers for anybody that I know is looking for . . . to hire new people and what have you. Then I went to a UCLA job fair. This is actually really funny because I went through like a recruiting firm that was in Manhattan Beach, and I went through six or seven different recruiters from the same company during that Job Fair at UCLA, and then they said come to our office or you know, the president of the recruiting company wants to meet you and I started being like, cool. This is Manhattan Beach, it's right by Mattel. This is awesome. So I walked in. And I sat down and she looks at me and she goes, college students that graduate, they don't know the right hand from their left hand. And I was like, wait, what? Like I'm telling you, I want to be a Toy Tester. I've done my research. It's either Mattel or Hasbro. I'm not going to Rhode Island, please. It's down the street. Mattel. Just get me someone in HR. She would not stop. She was like, um, you know, college students. They don't know what they're talking about. I'm like, I'm telling you exactly what I want, Woman. What are you saying? Like, she's like, I have a perfect job for you is this company called Jax Pacific. It's right. It's a beautiful toy company.

Gigi Johnson 17:52
I was gonna say that was a nice selection.

Shirin Lao-Raz Salemnia 17:56
Yes. But I said do they have a research department? And she goes, No. And I said, What am I going to do there? She's like, is a customer service position. You just need to get your foot in the door. I was like, that's a dead end job woman like she pissed me off so badly. I left her. I drove to Mattel on my way back. I at the time had sent in my resume and I got a postcard. So I walked in the security guard was like, Can I help you? And I said, Yes. Can you get me someone in the HR department? And he said, Do you have an appointment? And I said no. And he, he looked at me and he said, Well, this is a high security building. I can just let you in. And I said, I know. Can you just get me someone in the HR department. I sent in my resume. I got a postcard. I'm here to get a job. I don't need a postcard, like please. We went back and forth for 10 minutes

Gigi Johnson 18:41
This is you bold as brass 21 year old.Yes?

Shirin Lao-Raz Salemnia 18:45
Yeah, I was like, Yeah, around that. I think around that age. Yeah, definitely. I was like, Look, when I get a job here, you're gonna be like, there's that crazy girl and I walked out because he was pissing me off. I was like, Why is nobody listening to me? I know exactly what I want. Just give me the damn person. Yeah.

Gigi Johnson 19:04
For those people who've been listening to the podcast, you'll this may ring true with the Chris's ita interview, who did this for months and months at Disney. And that was the only place he was applying for and finally got the opportunity to come in by someone who was sympathetic to the story. So you were persistent. Yes.

Shirin Lao-Raz Salemnia 19:23
Super persistent. So on my way back. I was thinking like, how do I do this? I'm connecting the dots. You know, Steve Jobs commenced this feature, he says connecting the dots moving forward. Well, I didn't have time for that. I was already you know, like going backwards. I was connecting the dots move forward. So I don't know why but it got I got a like hit of like . . . I drove by Otis [College]. And I was like, Wait, what is this place? Oh, this is cool. I'm gonna look this up. So I looked it up. And it said they have a toy design program that services.

Gigi Johnson 19:54
Otis College of Design. Also here in LA. Yeah.

Shirin Lao-Raz Salemnia 19:57
Yeah, so it was on my way back from Mattel, but . . . A lot of interesting synchronicities happened. And I basically called up Otis and I said, I want to meet with a toy design chairperson. And he said, Sure, come to my office. So I walked in. And he was like, beautiful man wearing fashion designer clothes. And he had toys everywhere in his like office. And I was like, this is the coolest thing. I just graduated from bachelor's. Do you have a master's program for toy design? Because I'm super creative. I would love to do this. He goes, "No, unfortunately, we don't." And I said, What do you think I should do? Because I really want to be like Tom Hanks movie Big. He laughed, and he said, Why don't you call my friend. He's the head of research. Ask him out for lunch. Ask him for some information to view. He's a nice guy. He'll do it. Tell him I sent you. And let's see how it goes. And I said, okay, cool. Thank you, Mr. Martin Cabeza. So next day, I went and called his friend who was the head of research. He actually picked up the phone; his assistant said it was a miracle. And I said, Martin from Otis said, I should call you because I'd love to learn more about your job. I want to take you out for lunch and, you know, do an information interview and he said, Well, I don't have time for lunch. I just come over. Okay, so I walk in to Mattel now with an appointment.

Gigi Johnson 21:14
Maybe . . .

Shirin Lao-Raz Salemnia 21:18
Remember this crazy girl? She's back? Yes, I walk in. I walk into his office. Super nice corner office. He's got like this amazing poster of Jetsetter, which is my favorite Shag [print]. He was really into Shag. I was I was obsessed with Shag because of him. My old boss Michael Shore. So I walk in, I shake his hand and I hand him a business card. And he looks at me and he says you're an entrepreneur. And I said wait, what? No, no, no. What are you talking about? I said I want to be like Tom Hanks in the movie Big and I'm here to learn about your job. He goes, I've never seen anything like this. You just graduated from college and you handed me a business card with a link to your resume on it. That's super innovative. I've never seen anything like it. You're an entrepreneur. He wouldn't stop he was like you're an innovator for like 10 minutes and I was like no no no, I thought this is cool. Yes, it stands out, but I want to get a job here.

So I'm going to cut it short cuz you've got lovely stories but . . . so you were at it Mattel. So you were in kind of the kingdom of exactly what you wanted, which is a very large and complex organization. And it's more complex now than then. And then you left there to go with these other strange, fabulous dolls.

Yeah, so yeah, so basically after nine months, he finally created a position for me and then I was at Mattel for three years. And then I went through the motions of "I need to probably go back to school" because I either needed a masters or PhD to grow at Mattel apparently. And then I was debating on going back to school and then I found out MGA was right around the corner from CSUN. So that's how that started. So yeah, basically started the research department at MGA from scratch and also was the brand manager for Brats within six months.

Gigi Johnson 23:19
So you before talking about Brats have mentioned fashion twice. One about your third grade teacher. One about the guy at Otis. And then Brats is a fashion fashion doll with different fashion sets and Barbie. For those who don't know? Yeah, exactly.

Shirin Lao-Raz Salemnia 23:33
Yeah, exactly. I was I was always obsessed with fashion too. And my, my boss, Michael Sharp at Mattel, was super fashionable too. So yeah

Gigi Johnson 23:40
The thread cutting through all of this.

Shirin Lao-Raz Salemnia 23:43
Yeah, exactly.

Gigi Johnson 23:44
So you've shared the story of Deepak Chopra inspiring you to be in . . . to walk into your inspiration. Can you share with us briefly how that was a pivot point for you?

Shirin Lao-Raz Salemnia 23:59
Sure, yes. So when I was having my existential crisis that MGA . . . Well, I want to say it happened like two and a half, almost three years into having the corner office and the toys and everything I ever wanted. I would hear parents always complaining about how they weren't positive role models for their daughter, Brats, and Barbie and even Spider Man which I was like, I have nothing to do with Spider Man. I don't know where that came from. I was really having a serious existential crisis and wanting to find myself so I did like raw food classes. Like I did like life coaching. I did all these things. And I didn't even know who Deepak Chopra was at the time, but he . . . I saw him at an event and he told me to give back when I asked him, "What do you do when you get your dream?"He kept saying you have to give back and I was like, I volunteer my time. I give money to charity. I do a lot of stuff. What do you mean? He was like, no, no, trust me. I'll figure it out. I was like, can you tell me give back to who, what, where? Like, another word, please? He was like no, no, trust me, you'll figure it out. So that was like my big clue. Um, I call it now on the Tech Yellow Brick Road. And yeah, that was Deepak like, I guess the biggest like, two, two-liner clue that I've ever had in my life. And then Simon Sinek was the next one who wrote the book called Start with Why? And I asked him the same question that his book signing in LA and he said, what's your purpose? And why? And I was like, Why is everybody giving me like a dangling clue? But not like a clear go do this thing? Like, well, let's get connected?

Gigi Johnson 25:34
Because this question gets to be, you know, I see where the sun is on the horizon. But the how do I figure out what the bleep to do to get there, right? And you've had a lot of really great inspiration. How do you decide how to choose between options when building with girls when building out your programs? How do you decide what to say yes to being such a driven, creative entrepreneur? How do you try to read the tea leaves and decide where to put the spade in the ground?

Shirin Lao-Raz Salemnia 26:07
That's a great question. I think it comes with, in a sense, it's an intuitive inner knowing, but it's also what is the world want, because now I'm on my journey of giving back and making a difference. So it's interesting, because actually, WhizGirls Academy almost didn't exist. Because I resisted it for nine months. And now it's going back and forth. Like nine months, it took me to get a job at Mattel. And then nine months, the White House, Obama administration, White House was saying, do coding programs for kid. Do hackathons. Do this. Do that. And I was like, no, no, no, no, no. I'm bootstrapping a tech startup. I don't not have time to do another thing. No, no. But every time I turn around, speaking somewhere, parents would walk up to me or like walking at USC, crossing the street, this woman literally dragged me by my collar and told me that I needed to teach her daughter how to code this summer. Like, there was always a constant message coming. And I was like, no, no, I'm good. Resisting. I'm resisting. But that's what happens. So when I say no, it doesn't mean No, forever, because I'll get to signs and messages that I have to say yes.

Gigi Johnson 27:13
Is it? Is it saying no, though, as a bit of a defensive measure on your own creative energy? So you can't do everything? So you need to focus? Or do you find that you tend to put a . . . you commented on the fac Are you a gamer or a gardener? In your your TEDx Youth talk. Do is it that you believe that you have to plant seeds, but can't garden everything? How do you kind of decide? I mean, it's a challenge, especially for female entrepreneurs, to try to not do everything and not spread yourself so thin How do you decide what to not do? So it sounds like you've been a lot of sort of time-based push and pull. How do you know when to close the door? How do you know when to open the door?

Shirin Lao-Raz Salemnia 27:59
I think it goes back to the gut feeling and also like what signs and messages I'm getting to I know it sounds cliche, but when I said no so many times. So the hackathons and the coding it was because I was like, there's all these other programs, I'm not just going to be another program, right? So like when they kept coming to me, I was like, there's Girls Who Code, Black Girls Code, like there's some million of these things. I can't do another thing. And by the way, I learned how to code Fortran back in the 80s, which is a very different ballgame now. I can't teach these kids Fortran, like, and what I see is there's mostly Scratch for the younger kids. So like, how do we fill in the gap? And I think that's where the creative innovator came in. And I was like, Wait, General Assembly has these coding programs they had just launched in LA. Why can't we partner with them?

Gigi Johnson 28:51
For adult people.

Shirin Lao-Raz Salemnia 28:51
For adults. Exactly. Yeah. And actually, they even resisted me and I said, You know what I'm going to send . . . when I started when I came to the point of like, literally, every time I turn around, somebody's telling me I need to teach coding and doing hackathons. I said, I'm just gonna send you directly to General Assembly because I don't have that. I don't have curriculum, I don't have the capacity. And right now I'm in the throes of looking to raise money for PlayWerks. But also building out like, I'm hiring game designers. I'm like, you know, building out the startup, the first one, right? So I came back to I have to, I'm going to send everybody . . . and after three weeks General Assembly called and we're like, Let's have a meeting to discuss this because we're getting a lot of requests and we don't know what to do. Like we don't . . . we don't have kids capacity, and we have a liquor license. That's what they told me. They're like, we can't have kids here on our campuses.

Gigi Johnson 29:44
So many ways you connect dots together. So . . . you scale you, especially in the service space, education based business by tapping partners. So partnering with the White House, partnering with LAUSD coming back full circle there, instead of trying to scale you and burn you out, you tap into people to tie missions together. Is that a decent summary?

Shirin Lao-Raz Salemnia 30:13
Yeah, that makes sense. I think the partnership is a huge part of what I'm all about, because obviously, I can't do everything. And going back to your question earlier, it's like, yes, planting the seeds, but I can't do it all at the same time. Although I come from, you know, kids brands, and that's what they have. It's not like Bratz just was the Bratz doll. We had like a fashion line, we had like an animated series that I worked on, you know, we had like, all these different things. And that's what I plan to do for WhizGirls as well. But I can't do it all at the same time.

Gigi Johnson 30:41
So how do you reflect on your own impact and success? Because in many ways, you have been planting seeds, with girls learning to code and be inspired to detect and connecting people, similar to what you got started with in third grade, right? So that, that, in fact, you're kind of amplified her work in what you've done. How do you measure that it's working? And how do you know when you . . . How do you feel when you've done enough? And can sit there and say, I'm gonna hold this and just be happy at this point in time? How do you . . . how do you kind of self measure the success of this stuff?

Shirin Lao-Raz Salemnia 31:23
That's a great question. I usually see it in the eyes of the kids that we have been working with. So like seeing them go from, I'm not interested in tech, the girls and the boys in the minority areas, because that was kind of like my deal with the Obama White House. So seeing them go from I'm not interested in coding or tech, or being a game designer or any of these techie careers to, I want to do this now and look like I have my startup, I'm pitching you now, at the end of the day of our hackathons. That's where I see the success because I'm literally planting the seed for them to make a difference in their lives and giving them the tools. So that's how I see success. But I'm also an overachiever, and also super driven and, you know, passionate and wild and crazy like that. I guess Steve Jobs said It's the crazy ones. So I'm always like, Wait, we're not doing enough. Like, it's not on that. Like, we need this. We need this. We need this. Obviously, I can't do it all at the same time. And that's what I get frustrated about because I'm like, I have all these things that I want to do, how can we haven't launched the games that you know, all this stuff. But it's literally like, you have to plant the seed. And that's why I go back to my TED talk of like, Are you a gamer or gardener? Because planting the seed and it took me a really long time when Jordan Mechner told me what that means to figure it out. I thought he was on something when he first said that because I asked him like what do you do from a purely traditional toy entertainment kids background to focus on gaming and tech like how do you any literally turn me and said You have to be a gardener? And I was like what? Like, are you smoking something? Like no?

Gigi Johnson 32:59
Toy Gardner

Shirin Lao-Raz Salemnia 33:00
Yeah, I get it completely.

Plant toys . . . Anyways.

Gigi Johnson 33:04

Shirin Lao-Raz Salemnia 33:05
Now I get it completely

Gigi Johnson 33:09
So how do you know when you're done? So how do you know when to move to the next thing because you . . . you've moved to the next thing several times you've moved from Mattel to Bratz. You've moved from Bratz into your own companies, you've been percolating this for quite a while, you've picked up partner programs. How do you close doors?

Shirin Lao-Raz Salemnia 33:33
That's a good question. I feel like when the universe says it's time, I follow, like I said signs and messages very, very closely and clearly. And I feel like there's no random accidents. Like everything is kind of divinely timed, at least for me, it has been. Like, running into someone at a party over the summer has led to this new project that's coming. And then like two days after I met her, I ran into her on the street, like walking in my neighborhood, like I've never walked there, never seen her, like, you know, I mean. So like those things happen in my life where I again, connect the dots going forward, but for me, I feel like it's never done just because I've just only just begun to like, launch a brand and then a brand that has so many different moving parts. Just like my, you know, my, I know how that works in my world. But most people don't understand how it's all connected because people would be like, Oh, you're doing some of that stuff and teaching and advising for Bixel and doing stuff for the mayor's office and -- and I was like look for me I see it's all connected. This is like that kind of like the tree of life for it. You might not see it and it doesn't make sense to you but then I would be like yeah, Musk does a million things not that I'm comparing myself to him but I mean, people that do get shit done are doers. I'm a doer. And I won't stop . . .

Gigi Johnson 34:50
You're not in a single box right?

Shirin Lao-Raz Salemnia 34:52
Yeah, I can never be in a box . . . I don't do well in the box. In fact, and that's actually funny that you say that because my boss at Mattel was trying to keep me in the box and I was like No, no, no, no, not happening.

Gigi Johnson 35:03
So we're nearly at the end of our conversation. We have covered the waterfront. We're going to have in the show notes, all these puzzle pieces for people who would like to tap in and take a look at it more. What have we not talked about? Other than the thing you can't talk about yet? What have we not talked about that you want to mention before we close up?

Shirin Lao-Raz Salemnia 35:24
It's a good question. I feel like everyone has a purpose and a mission on this planet. And I say this all the time. But I feel like once you know what that is, it's not like it's ever handed to you on a silver platter, but you have to work for it. And you know instinctively what that is like for me. At first, I never thought I would ever leave the toy business. And technically, I don't ever want to make physical toys for kids. But I'm doing things that are in the digital space that are similar in a sense. But as we move technologically and become more advanced with tech, I'm like, Okay, I'm super heart centered. I'm super here to make a difference and give back and everything that I've heard people say that I should be doing now. And now I connect the dots, right? So like, what Tom Hanks did for me I'm doing as a give back for the next generation of kids with technology and gaming, and making girls excited about STEM and gaming and tech and boys from the inner city. Like, that was technically my focus initially, it's like, I always say, We're girl focused, and boy inclusive, because I think it's really important. We don't live in a bubble. But also, I am creating a lifestyle tech brand for kids. And that's never been done before. So it's always being that, you know, first innovator and being creative in that space to be understood, because it's always been like, Wait, what are you doing? Really? Oh, that's interesting. Okay, wait, you're meditating with the kids, like your, and we did Job Corps for a week summer camp, and they were like, you're gonna do yoga? Like, I thought we thought the kids were gonna do coding, I was like, No, we have to do all of it. Like, we can't just sit on a computer for like, a full week, there's no way.

Gigi Johnson 37:03
Ahead of your time, ahead of the pandemic. And then sort of closing comment on this that you have been running. . . . You have been in a in a shifting of all this during the pandemic when a hackathon is a generally live person event. So now you're kind of sprouting those wings again. How can people get a hold of you if they would like to participate in what you're doing? And what do you need? I think you commented, before we got started that interns! You need interns!

Shirin Lao-Raz Salemnia 37:35
Yes, because I'm getting a lot of requests for hackathons in person again. So I'm super excited about that. Yes, interns are much needed. And you can get a hold of me at my website, or Instagram or my email, which is But yeah, in terms I definitely need interns.

Gigi Johnson 37:58
And I guess asking you a little bit non sequitur question: franchise? Is there ability for someone who thinks, oh, this is so cool. I would love to do because you're mostly California with this? Yes. With the hackathon . . .

Shirin Lao-Raz Salemnia 38:12
For now. Yeah. Yeah, we've gotten requests to do other cities and countries, actually. But yeah, mostly . . . that's a good question. franchise. I haven't looked into that yet. But I was thinking about maybe licensing out a curriculum for a while. I've been open to different things. It's just that path hasn't been open technically. And that's going back to your earlier question, I think is like how . . . if I push so hard, sometimes it doesn't work. And I'm like, Okay, what's not the right time? Just not.

Gigi Johnson 38:38
Thank you for being on this show. And everybody . . . thank you for enjoying this. And please join us for the next installment of Creative Innovators. And I'm very glad that we could hang out together and tell stories together for people to get inspired.

Shirin Lao-Raz Salemnia 38:55
Thank you so much for having me. This is awesome.

Transcribed by

Making Sense Backwards…with Jeremy Yuille

Making Sense Backwards…with Jeremy Yuille

Jeremy Yuille
Jeremy Yuille Career Illustration 1

Question: How can life make better sense backwards? How can we weave together arts, spatial sound, architecture, and organizational change?

Jeremy Yuille, with Meld Studios in Melbourne, Australia, works with organizations to transform how they work in the face of changing futures. His own past weaves through architecture, art, music, and spatial information architecture. He shares how systems thinking and sound impact organizations and change . . . and shares a weaving graphic on how all the puzzle pieces of his life have come together, making even greater sense backwards.


Jeremy Yuille is a Principal with Meld Studios in Melbourne, Australia. He had been a Sr. Lecturer in Melbourne at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), as well as their Program Manager at the Australiasin CRC for Interaction Design (ACID). His PhD in Communication Design and Masters in Spatial Information Architecture both are from RMIT.

Links on Jeremy



  • 00:07 Introduction
  • 06:20 Circuitous Routes
  • 09:30 Spatial Information Architecture
  • 14:40 Music . . . Bush Duffs
  • 16:48 Jam with Algorithms
  • 17:31 Systems Thinking
  • 20:02 Observing Power in Organizations
  • 21:48 Working in the Weeds
  • 20:28 Multiuser Environments in 2000
  • 24:16 in late 1990
  • 25:09 Higher Ed - Superpower?
  • 28:50 Ways of Thinking About What is Next
  • 32:07 The People Business
  • 35:15 Getting our Collective Stuff Together
  • 37:35 Who Do We Work with Now?
  • 40:00 Creating to Refill the Tank
  • 42:33 Making Less Time for Thinking
  • 42:57 Walking Backwards Into the Future

Career Illustrations

Jeremy Yuille Career Illustration 1Jeremy Yuille Career Illustration 2


Jeremy Yuille 0:07
At the moment, I work with an organization called Meld Studios. And essentially, we work as consultants using methodologies that come from design. And the, the work that we do tends to be in around organizations and the kind of change that organizations can bring to the world. And so that means we do a lot of government kind of work. But we also do a lot of sort of private sector work and all that stuff in between, because everyone's needing to do with change at the moment. Change is so hot right now.

Gigi Johnson 0:45
And so you're in a time of change.

Jeremy Yuille 0:49
Etcetera etcetera. Yeah. So there's that all of that . . .

Gigi Johnson 0:51
Etcetera. Now you are doing this. You're doing this out of Melbourne? Yeah.

Jeremy Yuille 0:55
So I'm in Melbourne, Australia, where meld is across, it started in Sydney, I helped them start up a Melbourne studio about six years ago. We now have studios in Canberra and Perth as well. And we've done quite a lot of work in Brisbane. Yeah. And you know, what is geography these days? Anyway? So there's a lot of that. So there's, there's that work there. And I suppose to me, what would be interesting, Gigi, to understand what is it that really interested you? What is it the thing that kind of made it? Ah, this is interesting for you.

Gigi Johnson 1:37
Why do I want to talk with you? And why do I think you're so cool, um, because in many ways, a lot of the people who we've had on this show are people who take one lens and bring it to another space, and you very much have a creativity background in design, you have a education background and working in this in higher education. And a lot of people don't necessarily take those two lenses, and then take that to organizational change. And then keep creating. We're going to share and for people who are listening to podcasts versus seeing this on YouTube, we'll share this in the show notes, even in the way you describe the journey you've been on, it was . . . is a piece of art -- that you think differently.

Jeremy Yuille 2:26
Right? Well, yeah. Okay. Thanks. And so if I can just take us back to the moment -- what was it -- like about two weeks ago when we met?

Gigi Johnson 2:35
Time is wonky now, but absolutely.

Jeremy Yuille 2:38
And it struck me that we had a lot in common there. So I I definitely felt the same thing that you had, I think around that there's a lot in common here. It's kind of like I've known you for a long time, because we've kind of

Gigi Johnson 2:51
are that you're my my digital twin in another continent. Yeah.

Jeremy Yuille 2:56
Cool. And, and the, because there's a lot of spaces of kind of inquiry and a lot of spaces of sort of interest that we've been swimming in. Yeah. That and we've had about, you know, kind of enough time to sort of bring a range of career experiences to these as well. So . . .

Gigi Johnson 3:20
Are you saying that we're not young people? That was not where you were saying that in a different way? People? We're both young people.

Jeremy Yuille 3:30
We're just we're just we've also had experience. Yeah. Like, I turned 50 last year in the middle of the pandemic, and didn't get to have a 50th birthday yet, but I'm deciding that this year will be can just have birthdays or, or every month or something. Anyway,

Gigi Johnson 3:45
When you were young, were you an artist first? Were you a someone who took things apart? Were you somebody who tried to fix people? I mean, so what was the lens on the world that you kind of came to when you were more like a high school kid?

Jeremy Yuille 4:03
Yeah. I love that. Um, okay. In the way you frame that, what it made me realize is that I definitely was . . . I took things apart and love to fix things and things like that, but I didn't think that people were in any of the in scope, if that makes sense.

Gigi Johnson 4:19
Yeah. Yeah, yeah.

Jeremy Yuille 4:20
So and, and so, to me, like early on, you know, lots of lots of visual stuff, never stopped drawing. You know, how there's that big cliff that people fall off with drawing like they kind of . . . every kid is amazing at drawing. And then somehow by the time we get to high school, no one draws. I was lucky enough to kind of . . . I spent a couple of years like living with grandparents or things like that, where I had quite a lot of time to myself, and so I would draw insane amounts in there. And so that just never left me. And so for me. And the the object that you're talking about there and the thing that I sent you, which is like a visualization, but honestly, I hadn't had a look at it at that scale. Before we were going to have this chat. And so it kind of gave me a way to think about it. And, and to me, I need to draw those things in order to kind of understand how they work together, which comes back to your question, I think, about sort of what was it like back then? I think, to me, I was a lot like what I am now, except I kinda probably wasn't as interested in listening to other people. And learning from other people's experiences. So for me, I always had to do things myself or kind of experience it myself before I got it. And, and I can remember telling myself that quite a lot. And believing that that was true, which now is almost quite shocking. Anyway, so yeah, but you know, lots of visual stuff. I moved on into I studied architecture from as my first sort of degree. But I messed around in school too much. So I didn't actually get into the course. And I had to kind of come in through this sort of security route. That meant, again, I was in this smaller group of, of students doing a bridging course over a summer, where there were just four of us with this one architecture, or at least the American kind of terms, professor there who would kind of just hang with us all day. So we got this really intense pressure cooked kind of one year into, you know, two months kind of thing. And the thing that seems to thread a lot of it together is that there's a there's a moving on between things that often don't seem connected. But, in fact, they're always connected, because it's you that's moving through them. Yeah. And so that's, that's what I find with a lot of the . . . If I think back to a lot of the ways that I've approached creating the me that is now . . . is that, yeah, it's it's a lot of it's just been a lot of jumps off, you know, the edge of a cliff or something that you're not quite sure what's over there, but fairly confident that I can deal with that. So let's give it a give it a crack.

Gigi Johnson 7:21
And that's an intr . . . And it's interesting, because that's a recurring theme in these conversations, this podcast, but not everyone lives that way. Right? Not everyone says, I'm going to now jump off a cliff, and hope that the air is thick to catch me as I fall, or that I will build up new stilts to be able to walk out of it. And some people don't do that. So some people, it's very much of a step B needs to smell a lot like step A, and I need to see where I'm go . . . it might be a disaster, but I need to see where I'm going. And a lot of people though, don't look at the world that way. And they don't make personal choices that way. And I look at my own life, I think I've stepped off so many cliffs. And I don't tend to think about that some people don't step up. And so for me, there's some really great work by what quite a few people in career research that it all makes sense backwards. That careers don't make sense forwards. Herminia Ibarra's work on Working Identity is really great about sense making careers backwards. But But we tend to make the decisions the same way or we learn to not do that anymore from disasters, but you really have a lot of circuitous loops, which I really love. And so I'm so and so some of it is that you take different puzzle pieces. And so one of them is that you your your master's work was on spatial information architecture. How? How did you get into that? And what the blue blazes is that? And how do you go from "I'm a person who makes things" to "I'm going into architecture" and my only lens of architecture is my father was an architect and my sister and I always joke that we would have become architects if our father was not an architect, because we saw the lifestyle that went with that, but and all of the frustration of houses and homes not being built.

Jeremy Yuille 9:25
'Course. A couple a couple of children have no shoes problem.

Gigi Johnson 9:29
Yeah. So so how did you go from architecture to spatial information architecture?

Jeremy Yuille 9:38
Look, a lot of that . . .a lot of these leaps are leaps to things that emerge that look interesting, you know, so it's not necessarily me making the . . . making that leap. It's that the environment kind of provides the opportunity and or a door opens here. And so for spatial information architecture, that's a lab that had started up at RMIT by a range of super interesting people. I mean, if you kind of dig back down that rabbit hole, you get back to people who were doing work with Gaudi, you know, Gaudi's work on the Sagrada Familia. And people who are now running, you know, like, large engineering organizations through digital transformation. So there's a sort of a nexus there that occurred at a point in time when digital was sort of disrupting the traditional practices of architecture. And so a lot of practices sort of, were smushed together in this lab, the spatial information architecture lab at RMIT. And so, I was just lucky enough to be sort of hanging around there. I decided to kind of begin on a master's or postgraduate kind of research journey there. Had some great people to help me and ended up working in that space. But again, it was kind of an extension of the previous work. So it pulled on all of the audio and sort of sound practice that I had in the past. Because if we think about architecture, and sort of three dimensional space in our experience of space, sound is an enormous part of that, you know, even if we think about, you know, echolocation or you know, the ability to sort of tell where we are in space. It's a huge deal. But then if we think about makings . . . of making new kinds of spaces, then the way we deal with sound in those new kinds of spaces, has all sorts of interesting opportunities. So we explored a bit of that.

Gigi Johnson 11:38
Look . . . let's say I'm going to back up a bit because I skipped your sound story and your music story. So what was the music element that then folded into that?

Jeremy Yuille 11:47
Oh, so yeah, that's, that's probably what that was probably the first big jump for me to move from. So in architecture. Again, I'd gone through architecture, and I was kind of ready to be an architect and do the whole thing and stuff. And then I went out and worked for a while as an architect and discovered that didn't really enjoy what the work was, particularly in the kind of late . . . early 90s. Right. So in the early 90s, in Australia, we had a recession. And A - you didn't get paid very much - B - there was insane hierarchies inside the, the sort of the field. And above all of that, you're just doing this work that didn't seem to be adding anything to the lives of people who were going to experience it. So I didn't realize it back then. But it wasn't for me. And that's what I now realize it was. Yeah. So music was this other thing that I've always loved, and, you know, playing in bands and stuff like that. There's also quite a tradition, I've noticed, in architecture students then forming bands. At least in Australia, there's a quite a long tradition of that. So there's something interesting about sort of time-based media, I think, and sort of the experience of music over time. So that sort of the cliff I jumped off was moving from Brisbane to Melbourne. And I have this conceptual mapping of the big cities on the east coast of Australia. And it maps over to my sort of conceptual mapping of the cities on the West Coast of the US. So I kind of think of the this trio of Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane as sort of like San Francisco, LA and San Diego. Right. And so it's kind of like I've moved from San Diego to San Francisco. It obviously wasn't because it's Australia. But yeah. And but for us, like the whole idea was that Melbourne just had this live music scene. You couldn't get a job anyway, because it was the middle of a recession. It was just a nightmare. So like, What the hell, you know, I was living with some interesting people. We moved down there and, and for about four years, four or five years, I was sort of bumming around trying to trying to kind of existing on not a lot, but you know, in that underground music scene when it started with guitars and ended with synths again. Yeah, so like Pavement ish, kind of that sort of stuff comes at the beginning through to outdoor dance parties and all of the sort of, we call them Bush Duffs here, you know, the, there's the that whole scene. Yeah, Bush so it's a Duff. Like a Duff Duff Duff in the bush. Yeah. And, you know, a large scene there of that whole sort of, you know, 90s Electronic kind of stuff. So moving through all of that there's this thread of kind of production and audio production, that then when I started working in around 2000, and moved into the academy, that was still sort of there and informed a lot of what I did, you know, because it meant I was quite sort of digitally savvy as well, because music often kind of gets into a technology before other fields, because there's less bandwidth in audio than there is in video and all that sort of stuff. You know, and often you need to be kind of across the technology, because the, the interfaces aren't as intuitive on instruments, you know, and things like that. So yeah, it was a lot of that kind of fed into having a deep musical sort of practice that sat there. And so the Masters was, on the one hand, this work that was looking at sonification, and how we use sound to help us sort of understand virtual spaces, but also then how that might, how you might sort of generate those kinds of sounds or create environments that almost have a life of their own. And took on a lot of sort of artificial life. I suppose principles here to get you generate . . . be very generative. Yeah. So the

Gigi Johnson 16:32
Generative and intentional? Well, yeah,

Jeremy Yuille 16:34
Yeah. But I've often been interested in that intentional part, because again, it's this retrospect thing that you were talking about before being able to see it backwards, that I think what I really like to do is jam with algorithms. Right? Like,

Gigi Johnson 16:52
Ooh, I like that.

Jeremy Yuille 16:55
The algorithms that we were playing with back then were fairly simplistic. But at the same time, you know, you don't need a whole lot of complexity in order to generate complexity. And that's that systems sort of thinking, sort of theme that now fits into my current practice, the idea that, you know, you can generate complexity from very simple sets of rules. And in fact, quite a limited palette of materials, as well.

Gigi Johnson 17:31
We haven't talked about systems thinking much on this podcast. And that would be a rabbit hole all by itself, for folks who are not familiar with systems thinking.

Jeremy Yuille 17:42
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Do you want me to look a little . . .

Gigi Johnson 17:47
Touch it a bit, if you could go down that rabbit hole a bit? For those who I must admit that I have not? I feel really late to the game on systems thinking is I didn't walk in that door until 2008, 2007. Can you give us a synopsis of what how you work? How you look at systems thinking?

Jeremy Yuille 18:09
But it's really I think, I think it's fascinating, because a lot of the really interesting, well, a lot of the work that is quite famous has come from your part of the world there, you know, and the particularly, like Dana Meadows, Donella Meadows work around how you sort of expand the literacy of systems. So let's back up a bit and think, okay, so Systems Thinking is a way of looking at phenomena or the world that you're in, in a sense that of understanding it as a system. And so it's not that A, then leads to B, which then leads to C, it's that A, B, and C are connected somehow. And when I do something, a, something happens with B, and C, and they're not necessarily linear in those sort of relationships. And so the, the upshot is that it's a way of then thinking about how you might approach a situation such that you're not then taking a little bite out of it, and trying to fix that, because you know, that if I change anything over here, it's going to change everything over there. And so you've you've got to approach things very differently. With this lens.

Gigi Johnson 19:28
It's almost the opposite of more of a mechanistic or hierarchical exploration about the . . . I'm going to fix an organization, we really just need to put this product in place and then life will happen, or we need to get rid of this population of employees that . . . that organizations are much more complex and more biological in the kind of the metaphors.

Jeremy Yuille 19:49
Yeah, absolutely. And, and so yeah, in terms of all org sort of design and organizational sort of change then It feeds back into things like power, you know, and understanding or at least observing and putting into the mix. Where is power happening? How is power happening? Who's involved in this change, and then who has a say, in how the change is even conceptualized, let alone sort of taken forward and what decided upon what we're going to do. And all of that sounds, you know, I know, it sounds all very . . . ike it tries to sort of upend power. But I think the interesting thing with systems thinking as a lens to approach all of this is that it's not about turning things upside down. It's almost like about turning them sideways. So you just look at them in a very different lens. Okay. And all of the things that you see there, you know, there are actually true, you're just seeing different things, because you're looking at them differently. Yeah. And so you,

Gigi Johnson 21:03
You, then were at . . . at RMIT, that you had then gotten your PhD in communication design. Was that then with this lens? Or was this with a different set of threads you're pulling on life?

Jeremy Yuille 21:23
Well, it's interesting at that stage, at that stage, I started to do, I was working in a really different kind of level of zoom on projects. So the

Gigi Johnson 21:34
Zoom, like, I mean, not like the product,

Jeremy Yuille 21:36
not like the product, like sort of, again, with systems

Gigi Johnson 21:39
Products. Yeah, there's also Zoom products that are, yeah, I was being nonlinear there, sorry, I hit the mic,

Jeremy Yuille 21:48
If I if I ... um ... But if we think about the level of zoom that you're working at, you know, there's sometimes you've got to jump up and sort of see things that, you know, and sometimes you're down in the weeds, because that's where you need to be, or it's more fun as well, you know. And, and so, for the PhD, I was I was at that stage managing a program of research across the east coast of Australia, and well actually across Australia, because universities at different points in Australia, and we were looking at some particularly modern multi user environments, and, and collaboration within multi user environments. So this is 2000, sort of five to, you know, so it's around the time that you began to see things like Facebook emerging, and a lot of social networks kind of moving out of the idea of, maybe this would work, you know, through into holy moly, this is really gonna work.

Gigi Johnson 22:52
Oh, this network effects stuff we've been talking about, it's now getting really large.

Jeremy Yuille 22:56
And now we've got a space where we can actually measure that, and oh, my God, you know, because everyone's getting connected. And there's a certain threshold that we've reached in terms of bandwidth, etc. And it'll just went, right. And so, at that time, I was really interested in interaction design. And that sort of, it's that transition between sort of thinking about what it is you . . . your, your product or service is trying to do and how you understand that, and then sort of down in a level of zoom in terms of specifying what that then might do and how your product or service might behave. Yeah,

Gigi Johnson 23:34
Were you still doing art? And were you still doing music? So you've been these are all additive layers to the puzzle at the time?

Jeremy Yuille 23:45
Yeah, I was, but not as much. I mean, it's, it's Yeah, because I was also doing this other creative pursuit as well of like, you know, family. And so you're

Gigi Johnson 23:58
Fitting in there somewhere. And you were doing something else? Was it Z000? What what is the zoo thing that you were doing?

Jeremy Yuille 24:10
Let's have a look here was was, so you're looking at the . . . the diagram that I drew? Yeah,

Gigi Johnson 24:16
I'm looking at your, your beautiful personal art piece, which we are going to keep overlaying in here for those of us who are harassing the visual. So you were you. You were doing net dot art?

Jeremy Yuille 24:29
Oh, yeah. Okay. So that's, so that's back in sort of before I started at the university, and that's like 90, late 90s. Yeah. Let's

Gigi Johnson 24:42
See, this is why it's interesting to have visual way to storytell. But then we're only trying to capture your life in a half hour increment, where you've lived a really complex life. So I'm going to actually take us to . . . take us to a little more towards now because you've done so much stuff. An I take a look at it as, as bringing superpowers to new spaces, but keeping the next piece of the puzzle, because . . . I'd love to talk for a little bit about being in higher ed, and how that helps you thrive or not. And then where that then takes you to what you're what you're doing now. So higher education. . .

Jeremy Yuille 25:22

Gigi Johnson 25:23
Super power? Or brought you a lens to take a look at things differently?

Jeremy Yuille 25:28
So the thing that . . . so higher ed's really interesting. I mean, I think it's, it's,

Gigi Johnson 25:36
Without throwing anything under the No, no, because people may hear this.

Jeremy Yuille 25:41
Higher Ed has really, it's had a very difficult time of it over the last, you know, 20 years. And and that's, that's the time I've been involved in it. Right. So maybe there's a correlation. No. But the . . .

Gigi Johnson 25:58
Me too, it's all it's all my fault.

Jeremy Yuille 26:00
Yeah. In . . . in that 20 years, there's been like this insane change in the role of learning in our world. Yeah. And, you know, partly, it's the network thing, and it's, you know, the the internet and sort of access to information has approached, you know, zero cost of reproduction, all that sort of stuff. Yeah. But the, the other thing then is, so what's the role of these organizations? And all these institutions or the platform that they have, you know, what is what is it that they do? And? And how do they deal with the pressures of scale in particular, you know, because they exist inside the kind of economies that we're in. So, so sorry, I've gone a bit meta there, but the thing that the thing that really interested me with higher ed, and it took me a while to get there, because honestly, you know, I was, I think I just kind of got in under . . . under the door is it was slamming shut, you know. It seems to be that seems also to be a bit of a theme in my life, Gigi, if I kind of can zoom back up to that for a second. You know, I got a job in web design, which I haven't actually put on this map. But you know, because I knew what the word HTML means, you know, and I got to, you know, I got jobs in these things, because I was kind of an early adopter of a lot of things. And so a lot of the fields before they professionalized them before they put up the walls, they were easier to get into. Yeah. And for me, in tertiary, you know, higher ed, it was like that, too, you know, I know, around the world, it's has quite, sort of high walls around it. But in Australia, particularly in at RMIT, and those kinds of organizations that are, they're not your traditional research universities. They were come, they came out of a very different idea about the university's relationship to society. Then they some more like, you know, to born from tech colleges and things like that, yeah. Then they, yeah, in the 2000s, I could get a job teaching technology there, because I knew how to drive these tools. You know, and as I found myself inside the place, thinking about things, then a lot of the latent stuff that come from my, you know, my mom's a teacher, my grandmother ran the English department at the Teacher's College in one of the states here in Australia, you know. And so, the, there's a, some sort of pedagogy sort of gene in there, that was awoken. And so as I worked in this space, the thing that I tried to bring to it is this, I suppose, way of thinking about what's next. And how can we bring the, how can we bring the sort of quality that you get when you work with someone who's really good at something? You know, because I'm working in the space of design. So often, there's this sort of internship slash apprenticeship, sort of model of pedagogy that overlays a lot of design. And so how can you bring a lot of that into a into. . . an environment that has kind of scaled itself out of that sort of space? So, you know . . .

Gigi Johnson 29:37
I tend to put it the no one's proven that a 700 person lecture hall makes any sense at all. And yet that's that core element is gotten away from the sitting at someone's elbow or apprenticing walking into a company as we scale all this stuff.

Jeremy Yuille 29:53
Yeah, yeah. I mean, I can again, if you don't mind I'll, I'll talk about a story. So I finished high school. I just remembered this story and forgotten it. And my art got me a gig at the company that was doing the graphic design for her company, and in Sydney, so I went down to Sydney and sort of stayed there for a month, and did this work experience there, and they, they stuck me out the back with the oldest guy in . . . in the place, and he taught me how to kind of rule lines with a brush, you know, and the whole copyart thing and stuff like that. And it was just like, Man, this is insanely cool. And, and, and so a lot of those kinds of experiences. You know, I noticed, this is nothing approaching that in inside the scaled version of, of education that tertiary has become. And so a lot of the, yeah, if I, in retrospect, I think a lot of the things that I was doing in the Tertiaries, when I was there for about 17 years or so, we're sort of trying to replicate or trying to find ways to bring that sort of experience to people. And to that sort of environment, because it's, it's some there are so many forces that are creating and sort of creating the conditions that then that tertiary experience sort of grows into. And, sorry, that sounds a bit fluffy, but the the idea that, you know, the economy, the market, the competition, you know, the idea that this kind of career is better than that kind of career, all of these things, there are forces that are kind of pulling these entities, you know, and saying, therefore, you will produce something that creates, you know, this kind of experience, and often it's not very deliberate, you know, often it's just sort of the sum of all these forces creates this kind of experience that sort of emerges its way into whatever conditions . . .

Gigi Johnson 31:59
And is kind of untested. Testing the students but not really testing the outcomes from the whole thing. So and you got into the people business then, so you weren't in . . . you were the . . . in the Stuff and Things business, in the space business, in this . . . in the sound experience, the art business, the HTML business, but not, but progressively getting into the people business.

Jeremy Yuille 32:24
Yeah. But then if you think about music, and performance, it's always the people business, isn't it, because it's like, every everything is, particularly if you're into performance, you know, like improvisational kind of thing. It's the moment and it's the experience that you're making in the moment. And for the people who are there. And so, for instance, you know, back in those Bush Duff, sort of days, I wasn't at that end of the field with the the bang and techno. I was actually at the other end of the field in the teepee with the chill . . . in the Chill Zone, creating these kind of, you know, with all my friends making these long, you know, four, eight hour sets that, you know, would would be an experience, you know, that you could hang out in and that were, you know, yeah, interesting spaces to be in. Actually, this reminded me of another piece that we did in Brisbane, with a friend. On the nights of the ninth '99, I just pulled it out the other day, we did a thing called Drone Nine, where we did a nine hour drone at that period, as a performance to kind of save the world.

Gigi Johnson 33:35

Jeremy Yuille 33:36
Because we knew that something had needed to happen at that point in time. Because all the computers were definitely going to die. Etc, etc. You know . . .

Gigi Johnson 33:48
So you take all those puzzle pieces and and again, we're gonna share in the show notes, that really interesting graphic that goes with a lot of this stuff, and you ended up then where you are now, which seems to be a threading of a lot of this together into really sort of rethinking how to change organizations and human experiences. How does that . . . ? How do you deliver that now and where's your headspace? Because in many ways you are with Meld, dealing with design, dealing with art, dealing with experience, dealing with transformation through design and systems change . . .

Jeremy Yuille 34:32
There's been a bit of a bifurcation here though, for me, though, sorry, Gigi.

Gigi Johnson 34:35
Oh no, please.

Jeremy Yuille 34:38
What was your question? Because I'll hold that in there. What . . . what are you thinking?

Gigi Johnson 34:43
Well, where does this take your head and heart space now in the work you're doing?

Jeremy Yuille 34:48
Yeah. Nice. Okay, for me, what I've found is I need to bifurcate a bit. And so therefore the kind of this this stuff that I make right? In the things that I make that . . . they have no practical use. Yeah, that did the most important for my feeding my heart and like myself, and then there's the work that I do with Meld and that has a very practical and pragmatic use, you know, like, to be honest, the the, the frame that we're really coming at there is that this next decade is the one that we need to really get our, you know, collective stuff together. And if we can work on it in at the organizational level, on that, there are big levers that can create great change. So that's, that's happening over there. And increasingly, that's kind of growing and feeding another part of me that is . . . that draws on these creative sort of endeavors, you know, like, so I'm still making music. I'm still kind of doing stuff over here, but it doesn't have a practical impact yet on any of the projects. But what it does is it kind of, it's almost like a sorbet. Yeah, between between sort of courses in a meal that I just kind of need to go over there to clear my head and, and . .

Gigi Johnson 36:18
a palate cleanser, an amuse-bouche, a little . . . a taster.

Jeremy Yuille 36:23
Yeah, yeah, yeah, exactly right.

Gigi Johnson 36:25
So for me, it's our base at the end after I've had a big meal that I like, I'm having dessert. So that, uh huh. I don't mean to make fluffy out of what you said, because I think what you said is really important, that, that you really in many ways, I mean, this is, this is the time of great change. And a lot of organizations are not ready as they could be to be able to step into the space . . . or that people are some people are ready to step into this space. I mean, are you working largely with organizations who are chomping at the bit for great change? Or is part of it to really help people see that it's time?

Jeremy Yuille 37:04
Oh, both definitely. Like all organizations are as ready as they are? And, and, and so. Our, again, this is that systems sort of lens, I think that helps. So if we can sort of subvert even the notion of hierarchy, or, you know, good and bad, and just think we're on different, you know, different parts of the journey, you know. It's not about if it's really about when. And we do. . . the increasingly we having our biggest conversations inside the business are about do we do . . . ? Do we work with this group? Or not? Because, you know, is the . . . is the willingness for change authentic and real? And can it be demonstrated? And do we think that our, excuse me, our, our time is well spent there, because it's an opportunity cost as well, you know, spending time with this group means you're not spending time with that group. But I did hear it described really well by one of my, one of our competitors, but you know, also good friends in the space. And it's like, do you work for . . . ? So we've got a company in Melbourne called KeepCup. And they have have been really at that sort of vanguard of bringing in awareness of . . . . they make cups that you keep, yeah, but they're for takeaway? Yeah, that kind of thing. Do great stuff. They're just amazing company, you know, lots of really . . . they get it. They got it, you know, a decade ago, and they've been getting it ever since, you know. And you think, Okay, well, do you work. . . . ? If you had a choice to work for KeepCup? Or you had a choice to work for, you know, Evil Corp, who don't get it. And who haven't demonstrated that they've got it yet. Who do you choose to work for? And it's not an easy decision, I think, because, you know, this is, this is fun, you know, KeepCup and or the group that have got it is fun, and they kind of get it and they feed your soul. And you know, you're doing good work with good people. And the work with Evil Corp is not fun. And it's hard. And it drains the energy. But it's like, if we are to transition to the kind of world that we need to be in the next decade, then Evil Corp needs to change and Evil Corp needs to be kind of either gone or have become not evil, and loved. Yeah. And so there's something . . . something in that that for me, that's that's our big trend sort of challenge. So sometimes I need to kind of use the creative work to just kind of refill the tank. Yeah. The work, the work that you do, it's not always easy and fun. But I'm just . . . I'm very lucky that I think that I feel confident and capable to be able to do that kind of work. And that I now have opportunities to do that work. Yeah. And the creativity work is something as well that I don't want the fire to go out. Yeah. Think about this. This reminds me a bit of yoga, right, like, so. I have this on again, off again, relationship with yoga for the last 30 years or so. And so the thing being that, anytime I go back to it after I haven't been back to it for a while, it takes me about a month to get the fire started again . Before . . .

Gigi Johnson 40:53
For me, it's for the pain to stop. But yeah. Before it does the work, before the . . .

Jeremy Yuille 40:59
Before, it's kind of . . . it can stoke itself and keep itself going, yeah? To a certain degree. And so for me, being . . . making stuff is . . . it's as important to keep those muscles kind of, you know, there and exercised. And I think they have a response, right? Because they kind of they bring in all of these other ways of being and they even just bring in, you know, the fact that you've got enough energy to be joyful in a moment that needs joy in these other kinds of contexts, because that's the thing that brings a difference in perspective. And all of those sorts of things. So for me, that's, that's, again, I think that's what I'm doing.

Gigi Johnson 41:49
And it's again, sensemaking, backwards, right. This is how this . . . this is how this works for me. Yeah, we've covered so much ground. And I would love to have you back on because we could probably talk for another hour at least.

Jeremy Yuille 42:00
Sorry, I can just . . .

Gigi Johnson 42:01
Wrapping up this segment. Oh, no, me too. This is. And I do think that we're kind of twins in a different continent. So what have we not talked about you want to close with anything? We haven't mentioned that you'd want to have as a passing comment to wrap up?

Jeremy Yuille 42:16
Oh, my goodness. I like it. So yeah, the thing that I'm thinking about here, and it's the thing that you . . . you've mentioned, this sort of making sense backwards. So there's two things that we'd like to talk about there, and there'll be fast. One is that as we move into a knowledge based economy, right, it is hilarious and ironic that we make less and less time for thinking. And I think that's something to kind of really sort of ponder on and think about. And that can be thinking that happens in your brain. But it can also be thinking that happens in your fingers. Yeah. And the other thing is that it really reminds me of that fabulous kind of story that you see as a theme through lots of First Nations is that, you know, cultures is that we really we walk backwards into the world, you know, into the future. We can only . . . our perceptions are only really able to kind of look behind us and see what we've done. But we're always walking backwards into that future. And, and it kind of brings a certain sense of humility, I think, but also, like, there are all sorts of interesting surprises, as well. And . . . . and the ability to, I suppose be prepared for those surprises, to me is one of the things I really am sort of hoping to keep alive while I do things.

Gigi Johnson 43:49
Excellent. We're going to be launching a new podcast, tentatively called Near Futures, is that I would love to continue this thread on this. As you're very much future future building with what you're up to. And we're seeing so many people who are working to collaboratively build and awaken that I would love to have you as one of the first guests on that.

Jeremy Yuille 44:11
Oh, wow, can I. . . can I introduce you to a bunch of people who work in new futures that I'd just love for you to meet?

Gigi Johnson 44:18
Absolutely, and also welcome people who listen to this show who would like to do the same because there's . . . we're seeing a lot of work where futures are being artificially sold to people is what the sense of potential is. And we're seeing that there's great work being done in the world that isn't being seen. And so trying to bring those two things into the same conversation. I keep hearing about the Jetsons five times this week, because people are using that as a metaphor to talk about the future. And I do think that there's other ways to talk about it. Jeremy, it's been great having you on the show. If people would like to reach out to you what do you need and how would you like them to reach out?

Jeremy Yuille 45:00
What do I need? I don't I'm not sure I'm happy for people to reach out like, you know, I'm Twitter's good. Probably showing my age there.

Gigi Johnson 45:13
And we'll . . . we'll put your links in the show notes so people can get a hold of you.

Jeremy Yuille 45:17
Hit me up on Twitter say hi. That's probably the fastest and easiest way to say G'day. Yeah.

Gigi Johnson 45:25
We will we will help people say G'day. So, Jeremy's talking for my future in talking from tomorrow and everyone thanks for joining us.

Jeremy Yuille 45:35
Great to speak.

Transcribed by