About Kate


I’m a scrappy, southern marketer loving the west coast and all things related to branding, marketing, startups, mobile, and technology. Art, music, and pop culture fuel me. I love Twitter, finding viral videos first, dresses, and design thinking. See what inspires mehere and please reach out and say “hi!”

Anything written in this blog is strictly my opinion and not the opinion of my employer.


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Weekly Round Up: More Podcasts, "Weird Twitter" & More

Before I dive into my weekly round up, thank you for making it an awesome week! I have only been writing regularly for two and a half weeks, and last week I saw an increase of 1330+ unique visitors in 6 days. Thank you, thank you. Please send me feedback as I go!

In this weekly round up, I have a couple updates on recent blog posts:

How Often Do You Check Your Phone: An Update

everyone checks their phones

I figured out how much time I use my phone each day and how many times a day I check it in this recent blog post. I did this using two apps -Moment andChecky. I have a couple of important follow up notes:

  • Moment is counting time I spend streaming music and podcasts - which really increases my daily totals! I stream at least an hour a day (often 2-3 hours), and figuring out that stream time is included makes me less interested in the whole project. I'm mostly just curious how much time I spend in apps, texting, etc.

  • I need to experiment with this more, but I don't think Moment counts time that you are talking on your phone. Last Friday my daily total came in at only 44 minutes, but I caught up with my east coast family on the phone for ~1.5 hours.

  • It took me a week and a half to figure out that Moment also tracks the number of times you check your phone. So there is no need to run both Moment and Checky. I compared check-ins on Checky and Moment, and they're close enough. Checky came in several check-ins higher each day but there is not a significant difference. Only running one app (Moment) will really help save your battery.

8 Podcasts You Shouldn't Miss: An Update

Last week I sharedmy list of favorite podcasts. My list consists mostly of NPR, startup, tech, and design podcasts. Twitter followers and Facebook friends gave me podcast recommendations that I want to share, and I also have a couple more links for Serial fans:

Podcast Recommendations

Thanks to my friend Josh,@evansalveson,@CharlieFrid, and@TheBTeamCo for sharing these. I have not had time to listen yet but look forward to exploring. Here's what came in:

Also special thanks to@CherSeattle for sending over an awesome list of podcasts. She's been an avid podcast listener for 5+ years and she replied to my podcast list with this tweet:

 CherSeattle tweet

Talk about FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), I had to get Cheryl's recommendations! Cheryl is also a huge fan of Nerdist and here's the rest of her list (including NPR and other radio shows that are available via podcast) - thanks so much for sharing, Cheryl!

 More Serial news:

There was an interesting update in the Serial case last week. In case you missed it, check the most recent post on Serial,Update: Court of Appeals Will Hear Arguments in Adnan Syed Case.  I also found this awesome MailKimp remix that all Serial fans will appreciate :)

Other interesting topics and finds from last week:

  • On Kickstarter.

    I backedthe Brand Deck on Kickstarter this week. It's a simple branding tool created by Scott Thomas who led the design team for Obama's 2008 campaign. The deck resembles Cards Against Humanity, and actually, Max Temkin the co-creator of Cards Against Humanity helped build the "Not Safe for Work" Edition (included in some of the rewards). Check out the video on their Kickstarter page. This is a great tool to help you figure out the core characteristics of any brand, including your personal brand.

  • What is "Weird Twitter"?

    I heard about it in passing this week and was curious to find out what this meant. The Internet can explain better than I can, so startwith this Quora article. The BuzzFeed article mentioned seems to be the best source on the topic, but it's more raw than a Southern girl prefers to share so I'll let you click on it from Quora ;)

That's a wrap! Have a great holiday tomorrow and I'll be back with more next week.

Photo by Jim Pennucci


Good Reads: Week of February 9

THE TECH 'TITANIC': How red-hot startup Fab raised $330 million and then went bust(Business Insider)


This article is theHatching Twitter of startup Fab. (Be sure to read NY Times writer Nick Bilton's Twitter story if you haven't already.) Fab, "the world's fastest growing startup" was a design-focused e-commerce site where you could buy unique items from design shops all over the world in a flash sale.

"How does a billion-dollar business go bust in three years? Why did investors keep giving him hundreds of millions of dollars? Over the past few weeks, we've conducted a dozen interview with people intimately familiar with Fab's business, and we asked them those very questions."


How a Ferrari Made Me a Million Bucks(Sprout Social)


As marketers we don't always think about lifestyle marketing. But this article will change that. Neil Patel starts this post off with, "Can you believe that something as silly as a car made me a million bucks? What's even funnier is that I don't even own a car or drive..."

"I've never really tested lifestyle marketing in a public form because I don't think money determines how successful a person is.... But still that leaves the question: does lifestyle marketing help you make more money? Although I hate spending money, other than to help others out, I've been testing and analyzing lifestyle marketing over the years. And the results are astonishing."


"Ikea works in a very different way to everyone else" says head of design(dezeen)


This is a very interesting interview with Ikea's design manger Marcus Engman. Marcus explains how a team of only 20 designers builds over 2,000 products a year. The interview reveals how "the Swedish flat-pack giant is using design to overhaul its reputation for 'doing cheap stuff'; how they gather feedback from customers; and, the logistics that influence production and packaging.


Interviewing sucks. Let's make it awesome. A few experiments we're trying at Medium, and what we're learning.(Life at Medium)


I love this article by Gabe Kleinman, The Wolf at Medium. That's his real job title. Gabe was previously Head of People Ops and then Head of Product Marketing. This article talks about how the interview process is broken and how Medium is experimenting to make it better for all involved. Experiments include letting candidates interview the company, a speed-dating-like 15-minute interviews with multiple people, and invitations for candidates to teach interviewers something - anything. This post reveals which of these experiments is working well and which are not. A must read for all hiring managers.


300 Awesome Free Things: A Massive List of Free Stuff Made by Awesome People(Medium)


This list was curated on +50 tech blogs & websites such as TNW, Buffer Blog, Product Hunt, Angellist, Pickcrew, Betalist, etc. While these aren't necessarily the best tools in their category, they are free and it's a very handy list. Bookmark it - you'll want to reference it later.



8 Podcasts You Shouldn't Miss

Last October, NPR's This American Life launched its first podcast spinoff, Serial.Serial is a true story told over twelve 30-60 minute episodes. One new episode was released every week and became an instant sensation...

According tothis November 13, 2014 article in the Wall Street Journal, "It's quickly become the most popular podcast in the world, according to Apple, and the fastest to reach 5 million downloads and streams in iTunes histroy. Serial is the top podcast in the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Australia, and in the top 10 in Germany, South Africa and India.." It goes on to say that "Serial is downloaded an average of 1.26 million times per episode.."

I was a little late to the game but got hooked onSerial in late December. It took me a week and a half to listen to the entire series. This was the first podcast I listened to, and I was shocked at how engaging it was in audio format. After I finished Serial, I was hungry for more podcast channels and went on a search. I now listen to podcasts at least an hour or two a day, and I love having this source of inspiration and storytelling during daily commutes, workouts, and routines. 

Here is a guide to my top 8 favorite podcasts. Please tweet me@katewalling and let me know yours.

Before we dive in, Ira Glass created this video to show you how to get podcasts:


1) Serial (in case you missed it) 

SNL produced a hilarious skit around Serial. Watch it now - if you've already listened to Serial yet or not:


Here are some great follow up links if you've already finished the series. If not, come back as soon as you do:

-Exclusive: Jay, Key Witness From 'Serial' Tells His Story (FirstLook.org)

-Jay Speaks, Part 2 (FirstLook.org)

-Jay Speaks Part 3: The Collateral Damage of an Extremely Popular Podcast About Murder (FirstLook.org)

-Exclusive: Potential Alibi Witness for Convicted Murderer in 'Serial' Breaks Silence with New Affadavit (The Blaze)

According toSerial's website, Season 2 will feature a different story and will be coming sometime later in 2015. Head to their website to sign up for updates.

2) StartUp

In Startup the podcast, Alex Blumberg from This American Life documents his entire journey of building a podcasting startup. This is his first startup after many years in broadcasting, and we hear every detail of this new venture. As the podcast description notes, this is "a series about what happens when someone who knows nothing about business starts one." Like Serial, you'll want to listen to these episodes in order. Start with episode #1.   

3) Upvoted

Reddit is one of the most trafficked sites on the Internet. Members submit content (text posts or direct links) and vote submissions up or down which determines their positon on the page. Different interests are organized into "subreddits." 

Upvoted, Reddit's new podcast, launched in early January. Alex Ohanian who cofounded Reddit in 2005 tells the stories behind some of the most popular posts on Reddit and how they completely changed the authors' lives. This is very inspiring and helps you realize the strength of community on the web. Each episode is a separate story. Start from episode #0 or just dive in to any episode.

4) This American Life

Clearly I'm a fan of This American Life producers(!), and I lovethe podcast version of this show. The podcast content is the same as the radio broadcast, except you can listen at your leisure and on occasion they include extra material that had to be cut from the radio version because of time. Episodes are available for exactly one week, beginning the Monday after the broadcast.

5) HBR Ideacast

This weekly podcast features the leading thinkers in business and management from Harvard Business Review. Listen to episodes with titles that interest you. I particularly recommendEpisode #444: What Still Stifles Ambitious Women andEpisode #445: Innovation Needs a System. 

6) ReplyAll

ReplyAll is produced by Gimlet Media, Alex Blumberg's podcasting startup (see #2 above). It is a podcast about the Internet with excellent storytelling. Start with any episode.Episode #12 is about the guy whose job was to ensure the website hosting Kim Kardashian's famous picture didn't crash.Episode #7 is an interesting story about domain squatting -one of my favorite topics.Episode #9 is about Yik Yak, an app that allows users to communicate anonymously with anyone within a 10-mile radius and what one college did to handle trolling on this app. 

You'll also love their segments called "Yes, yes, no" where the hosts try to explain an internet phenomenon to Alex Blumberg and see if he understands it by the end of the segment.

7) TED Radio Hour

The TED Radio Hour is based on TED Talks given by riveting speakers on the world-renowned TED stage. Each episode is centered on a common theme - such as the source of happiness, crowd-sourcing innovation, power shifts, or inexplicable connections. Start with any episode. 

8) 99% Invisible

99% Invisible is "a tiny radio show about design, architecture & the 99% invisible activity that shapes our world." The show started as a project of KALW public radio in San Francisco and the American Institute of Architects in San Francisco and is distributed by public radio stations around the country.

They raise all the funds for this show from listeners andKickstarter. Meet Roman Mars, Creator of 99% Invisble in this video:

Enjoy listening! And please share your favorite podcast shows and episodes with me on Twitter at @katewalling.



How often do you (really) check your phone?

Last Monday kicked off 2015's big mobile industry event calendar withMobile Media Summit - San Francisco (#MMSSF15) at the Westin St. Francis in Union Square. I am super passionate about mobile and love these events because we hear firsthand how the top brands and agencies are exploring mobile.

I live and breathe mobile every day as part of my job (I work for a mobile advertising platform), and my smartphone is a huge part of my life - as it is for most of us.This trending Buzzfeed video was mentioned at the conference and explains why marketers are so in love with mobile - people are hooked to their devices!

This video made me curious... How often do I check my phone?

I downloaded two apps last Thursday night -Checky andMoment (the app mentioned in the video)- and have let them run since. Checky tells you how many times a day you check your phone. Moment tells you how many minutes you use your phone each day. 

Before I got started, I estimated that I use my phone about 2 - 2.5 hours per day and check it close to 75 times a day. Here's what I have found out so far: 

CheckyApp screenshot

I checked my phone 35 times on Friday, 44 times on Saturday, and 41 times so far today. Less than expected.

MomentApp screenshot

Friday and Saturday I was on my phone about 2.5 hours each day. Today came in at 1.5 hours.

Even though my assumption on time was correct, I'm still shocked that I am on my phone so much!

Especially 150 minutes on Friday. I am on a computer anywhere from 8-12 hours per work day, so 2 additional hours of mobile usage is pretty incredible - especially when you consider that I barely use my phone at work. One explaination might be that I've recently gotten hooked on several podcasts and listen to them on my 20-minute commute. But I'm not sure that Moment counts minutes when audio is streaming if you are not otherwise using the phone.

I will post an update later on this week when I have more data on my work week usage. In the meantime, check out these two apps if you are curious about your own mobile usage.Checky is available on iPhone and Android.Moment is currently only available for iPhone. For both apps to work, you have to keep them open on your phone. They both requre you to enable location services which drains your battery more quickly than some apps. Be sure to have a power cord on hand.

Leave a comment ortweet me at @katewalling and let me know where you come in. If you're curious what's going on in mobile, check out these tweets from #MMSSF15. You will find the entire Twitter feed from the eventhere



Finding Muscle Shoals

You really don't know what something is like until you've tried it. And that is certainly true when it comes to entrepreneurship. It takes tremendous guts, swagger, and resourcefulness to make something out of nothing. And if you're an entrepreneur for any length of time, you learn to optimize as much as possible. There are only so many hours in each day, and your role encompasses many areas of operation that are constantly shifting. From product and technology to marketing to HR and legal to funding and finance, you operate on all cylinders as you find the right people to help with each functional area. 

Moving away from a 10 year run as an entrepreneur has been a journey and one that I discussed inmy last blog post. My feelings from August still remain. I am happy that I made the transition and want to stay on this track. So much so that I turned down a request from a Silicon Valley venture capital firm to discuss Entrepreneur In Residence.

But I owe so much to my entrepreneurial career. It taught me more than I ever realized and looking back I have a lot to share. One of my goals is to do just that through this blog. Not because it’s a new year and this is a resolution, but because enough time has passed to give me perspective to share what will hopefully entertain and maybe even help you.

Please stay tuned as I share more stories from the trenches of entrepreneurship, interesting things that you’ll want to check out, and some of the startup and marketing hacks I have learned along the way. I can’t promise that I’ll post consistently and my formats may completely vary. Please give me feedback as I go and let me know what you like and what you want more of.

We all strive to find the place that allows us to shine in our careers.

This involves aligning our talent and passion with the right opportunity, environment, and culture. 


AfterI moved to California, someone asked me, “What is your passion?” My answer was… that I had lost it. Being an entrepreneur was my greatest passion for so long, and when I decided to let it go, I had to find myself again. I decided that my short-term passion was sunshine.

I bought a bike and hiked as much as I could; and, somewhere in these 18 months I reconnected with my passion again. There are parts of my entrepreneurial side that I hope will always be part of my work, specifically the creation and building of a brand and team. And while marketing is where I landed in the corporate world and I love every aspect of marketing, I believe that the combination of being a creative at heart and a data-driven marketer with plenty of business experience will drive my success. Not being able to execute against my big idea thinking very quickly has been an adjustment, but ultimately building brands that people love, that are human (even for a technology company), and that touch on art that inspires us all is my current passion. 


If you are frustrated with your passion...

(or just really like music)


I encourage you to watch Muscle Shoals (streamingon Netflix), a documentary about a small town on the Alabama border that gave us some of the most incredible music. 

The number of famous hits and artists that came out of this studio is staggering. Artists traveled to Muscle Shoals because they were mesmerized by the sounds coming from this area and they wanted a part of it. Many thought it was the land itself, a field of energy, giving the music so much heart and depth. Others thought it was Rick Hall’s desire “to be somebody” fueling it and his musicians.

Before Muscle Shoals, Aretha Franklin couldn’t sell records…

And record companies didn’t know what to do with her voice. There’s a video of Aretha before she arrives saying: 

“I’m still about to find out who and what I really am. I don’t know yet. I’m trying to find the answer.”

When Aretha got to Muscle Shoals she sat at the piano and no one spoke. No one knew what to do. Finally, someone started playing a beat, and Aretha broke into “I Never Loved A Man.” This song was her first hit record and it was written in just 15-20 minutes.

May we all find our own Muscle Shoals!