Danielle Morrill on founder loneliness and the power of fiction

Product Hunt Radio



April 30, 2019, 9 p.m.

In 2013, Danielle Morrill was just starting up her blog, and writing about startups from a unique, data-driven lens. The blog turned out to be an MVP for what would later become Mattermark, a company she co-founded with her husband, Kevin Morrill, and Andy Sparks.

Danielle's blog was also unique in that she opened up publicly about some of the challenges she was facing at the time, such as feeling lonely as a founder. She also admits to being a “secret introvert” and how over time, even with the level of transparency she brought to her writing, blogging “came to feel a bit like performance art.”

“There’s so much content online but a lot of it is very impersonal... Pain is a little easier too bear when you share it. Sometimes it’s easy to believe when we’re struggling we’re going through something no one else has been through. But it’s not true.”

In 2017, Mattermark was acquired by FullContact and Danielle moved to Denver Colorado, where she now resides. Danielle recently joined devops platform GitLab as GM of Meltano, a developer workflow tool.

In this episode Ryan and Danielle talk about...

Her love of reading, the mind-expanding power of fiction, and her book recommendations.

Danielle admits that until recently, when she was on sabbatical, she hadn't read many of the classic “startup books.” She's checked many of those off her list now, but she still loves fiction for its mind-expanding power. She says that she thought of herself as a fairly worldly person before she started reading fiction.

“I understand a lot more about emotions like empathy and compassion after reading fiction. Each time you read a new book, you try on these new characters’ lives and you get new perspective.”

You can follow Danielle on Goodreads, “one of the most underrated social networks.” She loves to give book recommendations.

They also discuss...

The tools and strategies Danielle uses to track her time and stay productive, and how she ensures she makes time for solitude and self-reflection.

Danielle runs through the tools she uses to manage her time and how her routine of Sunday planning and reflection lets her make sure ahead of time she won't have regrets about how she spent her time that week. She talks about the importance of solitude and says that she blocks out time for it in her calendar.

“The blog was a good outlet but in a way it became another form of performance art. There’s always more truth you don’t share. There’s the internal work of constantly working towards some kind of coherent story about your life. Journaling, working out, or other things that cause you to have to be in solitude are good for that.”

She also talks about what it was like to move from Silicon Valley to Colorado and what it was like to have a co-founder who's also a spouse.

We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Big thanks to Spoka and Pilot for their support. 😸

Companies, Authors, Books and Products Mentioned in This Episode

Goodreads — The social network for book lovers.

Gyroscope — See the complete story of your life.

Haruki Murakami

Fresh Complaint by Jeffrey Eugenides