Conversations with friends: 6 highlights from behind the mic

As our podcast producer hangs up her headphones, we take a look back at some of her favorite episodes.

This week’s episode is almost my last for the podcast, as I’ll be finishing up today after 2 years and over 100 episodes. So, with that in mind I’d like to share a compilation of some of my favorite guests, hosts, and interviews from my time here.

In this period, I’ve been fortunate enough to chat to a really wide range of interesting people from across the world of tech, SaaS, and beyond. There are too many highlights to fit into one episode, of course, but I’ve chosen a selection of conversations that have stayed with me and represent a cross-section of the topics we’ve covered on the podcast.

Here’s an overview of the conversations I’ve chosen, along with a link to the original full episodes:

Tech philosopher Alex Wolf on designing harmonious technology

Fast Company Magazine listed her as one of the “Top 100 Most Creative People In Business”, and she’s also been recognized by Forbes, Inc, and Adweek magazine. Her fans include iconic figures like Janelle Monae and Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel.

So what does she do? Well, as you’ll hear, Alex’s CV is impressive and varied but she likes to describe herself as a consumer-facing anthropologist – one who knows how to make branded content that’s digestible by modern audiences and which has the potential to make you stop and think.

Our conversation covered a lot of ground, from our distorted understanding of engagement metrics to how and why engineers should seek to design features that enhance human senses rather than exploiting them. A wide-ranging and richly thought-provoking episode.

Intercom’s Fergal Reid and Ciaran Lee on the making of Resolution Bot

An aspect of producing this podcast that I’ve particularly enjoyed is the opportunity to eavesdrop on some of the brightest minds at Intercom. Episodes that allow us to look “under the hood” at how we build Intercom are always popular with our audience, so I know I’m not alone in this.

When we released Resolution Bot early last year, we recorded this fascinating conversation between our co-founder Ciaran Lee and our Director of Machine Learning, Fergal Reid. In it, they discuss a launch which was the culmination of of a huge amount of work from Fergal, his team and many, many people across the company. It’s a great peek behind the scenes of how we think about using machine learning in a practical way that truly benefits our users.

Kathryn Finney on intersectionality and using your privilege for good

Kathryn Finney is an author, futurist, and entrepreneur. Over the course of a 30-year career her work has won her acclaim from across the business world and beyond. She may even be our first guest who has been honored with their own day, with the Borough of Manhattan celebrating “Kathryn Finney Appreciation Day” back in 2015.

Our chat covered her incredible career, her passion for supporting and investing in others, the nature of intersectionality and some really sound advice for how we all can start to stand up for those who face more prejudices than others. It’s an inspiring conversation with a genuinely inspiring woman.

Intercom on Product: The siren call of innovation

Recording Intercom on Product often feels like sitting in on a private conversation between two friends. Probably because it kind of is. Over 13 episodes Des and Paul have shared their expertise and insights on everything from product judgment to roadmapping to the power of feedback.

There’s a lot to choose from here, but I went with this fascinating episode where they did a deep dive on the concept of innovation – what it means and how we try to foster it here at Intercom.

Wikimedia Foundation COO Janeen Uzzell on future-proofing history

This was Janeen‘s second appearance on our podcast, having previously joined a panel on allyship with our CEO Karen Peacock.

As Wikipedia celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, we caught up with Janeen again to chat about how the organization became one of the most visited websites on the internet, curated by a global network of hundreds of thousands of volunteers who have written more than 55 million articles in 300 languages. In many ways, it represents the world’s largest repository of human knowledge. But as Janeen explained in the episode, it’s not without gaps.

We heard how Janeen and her team are challenging what accessibility around knowledge means, her vision for achieving knowledge equity, and why it’s important to question “who tells your story”.

Reflecting on the Intercom journey – Karen Peacock and Des Traynor in conversation

So often on this podcast we chat with other company CEOs and founders to hear about their successes, their customers, and their cultures. But for this one, we looked a little closer to home. 

This episode was a real treat to record, as we got to hear our CEO Karen Peacock in conversation with one of our co-founders, Des Traynor – with reflections on our past, our present, and our future. It captured so much of what makes Intercom such a special, exciting place to work. Thanks for listening!

If you enjoy the conversations above, check out more episodes of our podcast. You can subscribe on iTunes, stream on Spotify or grab the RSS feed in your player of choice.

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