Tech, Comedy, and Following Your Passion with Sarah Cooper
July 30, 2019, 9 p.m.
Abadesi is joined by Sarah Cooper on this episode. She’s an author and comedian from New York, and has published two books: 100 Tricks To Appear Smart In Meetings, and How To Be Successful Without Hurting Men’s Feelings. She was also an executive at Yahoo! and Google.
In this episode they discuss:
How she got started in comedy and her advice for following your passion
“Observe yourself. Notice where your mind goes when you’re supposed to be doing something else. What do you obsess about? What can you not stop thinking about?“
It was a difficult decision to leave a job at Google to pursue comedy full-time, but Sarah walks through her decision-making process and what pushed her over the edge. She talks about how to find your passion, and why you might need to let go of those childhood dreams.
“Be flexible in what you passion is. Don’t feel like you have to do something just because it was a childhood dream.“
The inside scoop on working at Google
Sarah worked for several years at Google in NYC, working on the Google Docs product. She explains what the best (and worst) things were about her time at Google. She dishes on the amazing interior design, the perks, the nap pods, but also the hyper-competitive environment that knew no bounds. For example, she says that people would race to be the first one to congratulate a co-worker on a personal announcement in an email thread. Another time, a co-worker of hers grabbed her laptop out of her hands to type on it himself because she wasn’t typing fast enough.
What she’s excited about and how tech can do better at helping the world
“It’s kind of ironic because one of the big selling points of joining a tech company is the chance to change the world. That’s the problem with capitalism — the question is always ‘how are you going to make it into a million-dollar company,’ even if it is going to help a small group of people immensely.“
Aba asks Sarah which technologies she’s most excited about. Sarah talks about some of the problems inherent in capitalism and why a company that makes a huge difference to the lives of a small number of people will nevertheless have a hard time getting off the ground.
Her advice for people who are trying to write more
“Never set aside time to come up with ideas. Ideas come to you when you’re observing people or yourself or in the world, or in the shower. I keep a running list of ideas and when I sit down to write I’m not starting with a blank page.“
Sarah takes us behind the curtain to show us what her creative process looks like. She explains why improv comedy is a favorite activity for tech companies looking to do team building, and the best way to turbocharge your writing process.
And of course, we also talk about some of her favorite products.
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 Copper for their support. 😸
Companies and Products Mentioned In This Episode
Google Docs — Write, edit, and collaborate wherever you are. For free.
Slack — Be less busy. Real-time archiving, messaging and search.
Twimmage — Turn tweets into beautiful images you can share on Instagram.