Stable Genius Productions

Meet Manoush and Jen, founders of Stable Genius Productions. They’re documenting the process of starting a media company while trying not to simultaneously become bad mothers, bankrupt themselves, or destroy their wonderful creative partnership. And ...Show More
Looking for recently uploaded episodes
S2 EP1: How Misinformation Spreads

36:42 | Oct 11th, 2018

Manoush and Jen kick off the season with surprising new research from the Knight Foundation into how false information spreads on Twitter and its effect on society. They also have news about Civil, the blockchain startup for journalism, which is stru...Show More
Chapter 2: Blockchain. Blockwhat?!

25:26 | Jun 14th, 2018

Manoush and Jen have a LOT of questions. Should they stake their careers on the blockchain? How can they explain it without sounding like techno-utopians who have bought into a pyramid scheme? And anyway, can the blockchain really upend how society w...Show More
Chapter 1: Meet the Stable Geniuses

21:12 | Jun 14th, 2018

Manoush and Jen just formed a new kind of media company. But is it possible for them to simultaneously be entrepreneurs, mission-driven journalists, and good mothers without falling off a financial cliff? They quit their public radio jobs to find out...Show More
S4 EP05: When Your Gut Tells You It's Time to END Your Company

47:07 | May 16th

We hear a lot about how people start up companies but what about winding them down? After 15 years, media entrepreneur and "influencer" Grace Bonney has decided to close her lifestyle blog Design*Sponge. In this episode, Grace explains why she decide...Show More
S4 EP03: Adam Grant Says Your Next Boss Might Want You to "Self Manage"

41:01 | May 2nd

The workplace has become a place of sociological experimentation. But what are the pros and cons to “flattening” hierarchy or employees giving each other "radically transparent" feedback? Organizational psychologist Adam Grant (and host of TED's Work...Show More
Bonus: Our Old Podcast is Back! Here's a Taste.

35:59 | Apr 25th

The tech show about being human returns with an all new season exclusively on the new Luminary app. Manoush kicks things off with the latest on the battle between kids and parents over their screens: do we know how kids are impacted by tech? Does it ...Show More
S4 EP02: An Alternative To Silicon Valley's "Unicorn" Bullsh*t

44:43 | Apr 25th

Founded by Jenn Brandel and Mara Zapeda, the growing Zebras Unite network is a backlash against Silicon Valley's so-called "unicorn" companies. Many of these entrepreneurs are saying no to venture capital investors and attempting to build sustainabl...Show More
S4 EP01: Manoush and Jen Became Entrepreneurs One Year Ago

43:14 | Apr 11th

On the launch episode of Season Four, Jen and Manoush celebrate the first anniversary of their company, Stable Genius Productions, and share the most important and difficult entrepreneurial lessons they've learned over the past year. They also expl...Show More
S3 EP06: The Plateau of Productivity

25:23 | Mar 28th

What IS that anti-climactic feeling we get after completing a big project? Shouldn’t we be patting ourselves on the back and mixing celebratory martinis? Perhaps you’ve simply entered the final phase of the Hype Cycle: the rather dull Plateau of Prod...Show More
S3 EP5: The Slope of Enlightenment

30:07 | Mar 14th

We're almost at the end of our deep-dive into the lifecycle of innovation, or the so-called Hype Cycle. Phase Four, aka the Slope of Enlightenment, is when the breakthrough happens, you get out of the trough, and start moving forward. We're using t...Show More
S3 EP4: The Trough of Disillusionment

30:49 | Feb 28th

Our journey through the Hype Cycle takes a dark turn this week. Because every innovative idea, sadly, must pass through the third (and most miserable) phase of the cycle: the Trough of Disillusionment. This is when you start questioning why you ever ...Show More
S3 EP3: The Peak of Expectations

36:04 | Feb 14th

As we continue through the Hype Cycle, we reach the fun, thrilling, titillating phase: the Peak of Expectations. It generates the vital inspiration and adrenaline that keeps every entrepreneur or visionary going (that includes the listener who is in ...Show More
S3 EP2: What Triggers Innovation

22:58 | Jan 31st

Question: what SPARKS us to *act *on an idea, rather than let it fade away? Answer: an "Innovation Trigger," also known as Phase 1 of the Hype Cycle. Hear listeners detail what triggered them to pursue a project, more from Gartner analyst Jackie Fen...Show More
S3 EP1: The Lifecycle of an Idea

33:02 | Jan 17th

You may *feel *like a special snowflake, but even our best ideas usually take a predictable path: they'll pass through the 5 Phases of the Hype Cycle. Tech analyst Jackie Fenn created this iconic graph (see below) 25 years ago, and it's been used to ...Show More
S2 EP12: Lessons Learned from a Risky Crypto Experiment

41:55 | Dec 20th, 2018

The co-founders of Stable Genius Productions have a candid conversation about their current financial situation (hint: their grant is running out soon), the highs/lows of making this season of the podcast (another hint: they had a fallout over email)...Show More
S2 EP11: If Capitalism and Socialism Had a Baby

26:26 | Dec 20th, 2018

The richest 1 percent of the world's population now owns more than half of the world's wealth. The calls for breaking up Big Tech companies are growing louder. On this episode, the author of Open Revolution, Rufus Pollock, proposes a solution (think ...Show More
S2 EP10: An App for Information Overload?

33:37 | Dec 13th, 2018

Journalists-turned-entrepreneurs Mark Little and Áine Kerr believe the experience of getting news online is broken. (And they should know: Mark worked at Twitter and Áine at Facebook.) So, they're building an app called Kinzen which they hope can reb...Show More
S2 BONUS: The Story of ZigZag Through Voice Memos

13:00 | Dec 6th, 2018

It's been an extraordinarily weird year. This mini episode compresses Manoush and Jen's story so far into a strange mash-up of voice memos that documents their leap from public radio producers to audio entrepreneurs (who often are very stressed and s...Show More
S2 EP9: Julia Angwin's Investigations Haunt Facebook

38:16 | Dec 6th, 2018

Julia Angwin, the award-winning reporter whose investigations make Facebook sweat, just got $20 million from Craig Newmark (yes, as in Craig's List) to start her own publication. Hear her vision for The MarkUp, why we need a new kind of watchdog jour...Show More
S2 EP8: The Women Who Make CRIMINAL

37:27 | Nov 28th, 2018

CRIMINAL was a mega-hit long before the genre of true-crime took off in podcasting. On this episode, Manoush and Jen talk to the show's co-creators, Phoebe Judge and Lauren Spohrer, about quitting their stable public radio jobs to start a company (so...Show More
S2 EP7: Forget Inbox Zero

21:35 | Nov 22nd, 2018

This week, we explain how the ZigZag inbox works and Manoush answers two very special letters: one from a listener with an unusual financial frustration and another who has an existential entrepreneurial query. Because in the daily cacophony of signa...Show More
S2 EP6: A Secret #MeToo Weapon

28:57 | Nov 15th, 2018

Can you scrub the truth from the web? Or will people always find a workaround? An extraordinary tale this week about the intersection of new tech, personal stories, human rights, and repressive regimes. Plus, producer Thalia Beaty explains how govern...Show More
S2 EP5: Meat World Matters

30:11 | Nov 8th, 2018

Meat world, real life, 'social infrastucture'...whatever you want to call it, human contact with our neighbors is crucial to mending divided communities, according to sociologist Eric Klinenberg, author of Palaces for the People. On this episode, Eri...Show More
S2 EP4: What IS Fact-Checking?

27:49 | Nov 1st, 2018

This week's episode is focused on a very specialized job in journalism: the Fact-Checker. Our guide is journalism's OG of information verification, Pulitzer Prize winner Bill Adair. He explains the origins, methodology, and challenges of fact-checkin...Show More
S2 EP3: Trusting Yourself in Startup-Entrepreneurland

34:13 | Oct 25th, 2018

Hear from three entrepreneurs (Jen, Manoush, and Civil Media CEO Matthew Iles) on how each is coping with uncertainty, deciding how to grow, and bouncing back when things go...well, badly, like that token sale you heard about in the previous episode....Show More
S2 EP2: Why Civil's Token Sale Failed

43:47 | Oct 18th, 2018

Civil couldn't convince enough people that blockchain and crypto-economics were the answer to journalism’s problems. It didn't even come close to its $8m goal. But, #failure is common in the tech world. And so are pivots. On this episode, Civil Media...Show More
Announcing Season Two of ZigZag

02:53 | Oct 4th, 2018

ZigZag is BACK on October 11 for Season Two. The theme is Trust + Information. Listen to the trailer to hear what Jen and Manoush have planned...and click here to learn how to get the podcast delivered to you every Thursday. *Never heard ZigZag? *Giv...Show More
The Civil Token Sale is Live

23:51 | Sep 20th, 2018

Manoush and Jen explain the latest news on Civil’s token sale. They also admit why they're a little uneasy about some recent press coverage of their endeavors, and try to make sense of one man’s failed attempt at #MeToo redemption. Who you’ll hear: ...Show More
Update: It’s Hard Going Back to School, Work, and Saving Journalism

23:58 | Sep 6th, 2018

Never heard ZigZag? Start with Season One, Chapter One. This is an update episode between Seasons 1 and 2 of ZigZag.  On Sept 20, we'll have a special report on the Civil token sale. Season Two officially starts on Oct 11, 2018. This week, Manous...Show More
Chapter 12: Enter the Mesh

40:47 | Aug 23rd, 2018

Manoush and Jen wrap up Season One* by interviewing Joe Lubin, co-founder of the Ethereum blockchain, about his involvement with Civil and whether the tech is up to the task of supporting a new platform for journalism. They also have honest answers ...Show More
Chapter 11: Ten Things You Should Know About Crypto

29:38 | Aug 16th, 2018

From Crypto Kitties to Bitcoin Carnivores, the world of crypto is like a weird parallel reality, hidden just out of plain sight from most of us. This top ten countdown will grant you powers to see previously-invisible blockchain subcultures and exper...Show More
Chapter 10: Listening to Anthony Bourdain

32:03 | Aug 9th, 2018

Anthony Bourdain did a very unusual interview a few months before his death: he spent an afternoon with Maria Bustillos, founder of and the first journalist to join the Civil platform. Bourdain Confidential, her piece about their wonderful...Show More
Chapter 9: Letter from Startup-Blockchain-Women-Entrepreneurland

19:59 | Aug 2nd, 2018

Civil postpones its token sale until September and lowers expectations of how much the sale can generate. Meanwhile, Manoush and Jen are floored by emails from listeners about the changes they’ve made in their lives since #MeToo. Plus, Manoush respon...Show More
Chapter 8: Putting Crypto Pioneers to the Test

29:56 | Jul 26th, 2018

It’s true. ZigZag listeners agree that registering to buy CVL tokens is a pain in the ass. And yet, many still plan to join Civil’s experimental social network for journalism. On this episode, listeners ask tough question and explain why they’re unde...Show More
Chapter 7: A New Frontier for Journalism?

38:47 | Jul 19th, 2018

The time has come. Civil, the blockchain startup for journalism, made its big announcement: members of the public can now register to buy its digital currency, the CVL token. But Manoush and Jen are surprised by the strict parameters Civil has set fo...Show More
Chapter 6: What's a CVL Token?

20:46 | Jul 12th, 2018

A heady cocktail of cryptoeconomics and game theory is fueling Civil’s big plan to save journalism. Add a “token curated registry” to the mix and it’s enough to give everyone a virtual hangover. Luckily, economist Stephanie Hurder, obsessive crypto-j...Show More
Chapter 5: Men, Women and Vulnerability

26:06 | Jul 5th, 2018

With Civil’s token launch looming, Manoush and Jen go for one last gut check with the guys who helped inspire their meta journey: Alex Blumberg and Matt Lieber, co-founders of Gimlet Media. Season One of their hugely successful podcast StartUp docume...Show More
Chapter 4: Hedging Your Bets

34:52 | Jun 28th, 2018

Manoush and Jen give themselves 36 hours in San Francisco to come up with a financial backup plan, just in case this whole blockchain-token-thing doesn’t work out. Silicon Valley runs on VC money so maybe Stable Genius Productions should too? First, ...Show More
Chapter 3: Higher Than We Knew

27:14 | Jun 21st, 2018

In Chapters 1 and 2, Jen and Manoush decide to gamble their future on new technology that hasn’t been proven and a virtual currency that doesn’t exist yet. In this chapter, they meet up with another pair of female co-founders to confide their fears ...Show More
Introducing ZigZag!

02:50 | May 29th, 2018

A new podcast about women and tech. And the blockchain. And anxiety. First two episodes drop June 14th! But meanwhile come say hi at and sign up for our newsletter.