From Student to Serial Entrepreneur with Alex De Simone on Hack the Process Podcast, Episode 7

Alex De Simone is a serial entrepreneur who helped found the popular job search site Jobr, which is optimized to support both candidates and recruiters. He’s currently launching his second company, CallerZen, based on insights about how millennials expect customer support to work. And he’s still just in his second year of an MBA program at Stanford. Find out how this busy fellow uses his interests to strengthen his personal network, what his experiences have taught him about leveraging two-sided marketplaces, and his opinions about the relevance of business school in the current business climate. And you’ll have to check out the links and the video in the show notes below if you want to find out about Alex’s role as lead vocalist for 90’s cover band Cloning Dolly, which he says is run as a RaaS startup–and that’s rock-as-a-service!

Where to find Alex online




Startup Toolkit Presentation:

Cloning Dolly (RaaS):

Some resources Alex mentioned

The D School at Stanford:




Gymnast Lenika De Simone:

Elon Musk:

Iterating to Improve Your Workflows with Vinay Patankar on Hack the Process Podcast, Episode 6

In this episode we hear from Vinay Patankar, the CEO of Process Street, an online service to help businesses set up intuitive training programs for tasks and processes using checklist-based workflows that can be sequenced, shared, and reproduced in parallel. Vinay tells us how Process Street works, and shares how the lessons he learned from earlier experiences starting companies helped guide him. He’ll tell us about launching his company through AngelPad, finding his cofounder in a hostel in Buenos Aires, and how he suspects that failing to do enough user testing might have helped bring down his last company.

Find Vinay Online at:

Process Street:

Vinay’s Blog:





Some of the resources Vinay referenced:

Vinay’s article “Why Vitoto Failed”

Sean Ellis:

Growth Hackers:








Tim Ferriss:

Success Isn’t Just About Results with Malek Banoun on Hack the Process Podcast, Episode 5

In this episode, we hear some wise words from Coach Malek Banoun, a fitness and life coach combining physical training with support for personal goal setting and continuous learning. Malek tells us how he overcame his shyness as a child, and emerged with the confidence to face his fears head-on, preferring to sprint directly toward them as soon as he recognizes them instead of running away! He also reveals his secret to measuring success, and here’s a hint: it doesn’t have anything to do with results that are out of your control.

Find Malek online:


The Coach Malek Show:


Snapchat: @malekb


Some of the resources Malek mentioned:

24 Hour Fitness:

National Exercise Sports Training Association (NESTA):

Lewis Howes:

Gary Vaynerchuk:

Tim Ferriss:

Barbell Business:

Life Coaching for Transformation with Paula Jenkins on Hack the Process Podcast, Episode 4

In this episode we chat with Paula Jenkins, a transformational life coach with a background in project management who decided to apply her practical experience to the universal quest for joy. She’s also the host of a podcast called Jumpstart Your Joy, where she talks with people about the ways they make joy part of their lives. We’ll find out who her top fantasy podcast guests are, how she reconciles her work and her family life, and she’ll teach us the most joyful technique ever for responding to failure.

You can find out more about Paula here:


Jumpstart Your Joy Podcast:





Here are some of the resources Paula mentioned:

Courageous Coaching:

Kate Swoboda:

Michelle Ward:

Jessica Swift:

Pat Flynn:

Lewis Howes:




Terry Gross on Fresh Air:

WebinarJam (warning: audio autoplay):

It’s A Show!

It’s been an amazing week. After more than a year of idle dreaming, several months of planning and preparation, and a few weeks of hardcore recording and editing, this week I launched my new podcast, Hack the Process.

A Little Background

I’ve known that I wanted to launch a podcast for more than a year now. I’ve been chatting with friends about it, and trying to refine the idea in my head–where it always had a lot of competition for my attention. It’s been a struggle justifying the investment against the possible rewards. A podcast is a huge commitment of time and energy, and not something that has any immediate return. But when I ask my heart, it feels like the right thing to do.

Some of the benefits that I hope for include reconnecting with friends who are doing wonderful things with their time and energy, and making new friends with interesting backgrounds and stories to tell. A podcast gives you an excuse to spend an hour with somebody you haven’t spoken to for a while, or even somebody you haven’t ever met before, and ask them all sorts of personal questions about their lives, what they’re working on, and what they’re passionate about.

Procrastination and Fear

I spent a little bit too much time worrying about what the subject of my podcast was going to be. (You should see the list of domains I registered while considering options!) Choosing just one focus out of all my interests sometimes felt as if I was going to have to deny everything else important to me. At other times, I couldn’t think of a single interest in my life that seemed large enough to justify even an hour of conversation, let alone a whole show.

The advice you come across when you’re considering starting something like this is also very broad. Some people tell you to jump right in and let the audience tell you what they’re looking for after you launch. Other people tell you to focus on the tiniest most specific niche you can possibly define. Some folks say you should copy the people who are successful, by whatever definition of success you have. Others tell you that if you don’t have something original to say, you shouldn’t be saying anything at all.

In the end, I had to choose my own path. We all do. I decided that the focus I would use as my guiding force was my own tendency to procrastinate by working on details in isolation, sometimes incubating ideas in the dark hidden recesses of my mind until they suffocated. This has allowed me to fail silently many times, without facing the universal fear of public humiliation, and pretend to myself that it wasn’t a failure because I never really tried. I know I’m not alone. And I believe I can help myself and others become aware of this behavior.

So I decided to make a show about hacking the process of moving past procrastination and into action. I would interview people who’ve shown an ability to take the next step, to find out how they did it, what tips and tools they found useful, and what they learned along the way. If nothing else, it would definitely be a show I would want to listen to and learn from. And I don’t think I’m alone.

Support Structure

The strongest support came from getting outside my own head and teaming up with a tiny mastermind group of friends who already have podcasts, or who are starting podcasts themselves. I was fortunate to meet these people at a podcasting class we took together at CreativeLive. Out of the students there, we all gravitated toward each other almost instinctively, and stayed connected through social media. I have gotten inspiration, information, and motivation from these folks, and I’m so grateful to them for helping.

When I was ready to get started, I chose to interview members of my mastermind group as some of my first podcast guests. And it was a very good decision. Not only did they have the equipment and the skill to speak comfortably as I practiced my interview techniques, but the content of the interviews themselves provided me with encouragement and support for exactly what I wanted to do.

Also, once I had recorded interviews and made a commitment to these people that I was going to publish, there was no turning back!

One of the benefits of procrastinating the way I tend to, by studying and doing research, is that you learn a lot. Once I dove in, I had a pretty good idea what tools and techniques I would need to master in order to make a podcast happen. I had even invested in some toys and tools to make it easier. Even so, I wasted weeks dithering over unimportant details as my target launch date grew closer. But a few check-ins from members of my mastermind group helped light a fire under me, and I published on schedule.

Getting the Ball Rolling

It’s only been a few days since I launched with my first three episodes, and already I’m hearing from people who are enjoying the shows and getting something useful out of them. Even listening to them myself, I discover things I didn’t hear the first fifteen times I went over them while I was editing. (And it’s amazing what a few positive reviews from unknown people on iTunes will do for your ego.)

In the coming weeks I’ll be publishing more of my interviews, and maybe a few special episodes that focus on particular subjects near and dear to my heart. I’m going to continue letting my fears guide me, and not edit myself as much as I might be inclined to, so I can learn from the response I receive.

I hope you stick with me through the experiments, and give me feedback. When I ask myself what motivates me to do this, it comes down to the hope that somebody out there might benefit from the information I’m gathering and presenting. So if anything in my podcast helps you in any way, please let me know. You’ll be doing me a big favor.

On with the show!