By Stable Genius Productions

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Subscribers: 985
Reviews: 8

 Apr 5, 2019
Following their journey has been so engaging! I also love that I now know a decent amount about blockchain technology.

 Jan 28, 2019
For Manoush - Google sent me a card with code to receive up to $479 in rewards by participating in their research to "make better TV and Internet." It's called Google Opinion Rewards with toll-free:844-852-7636;google.com/opinionrewards

 Jan 19, 2019
TOO MANY DOGGONE COMMERCIALS. Good info about Blockchain.

 Dec 12, 2018

 Dec 5, 2018


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 when their first funding comes in the form of cryptocurrency, things get really interesting.

ZigZag is a meta-mix of voice memos, taped conversations, come-to-Jesus moments, and mini-stories about entrepreneurship, deciding how to align your values with your ambitions, and building strong partnerships.

Episode Date
S4 EP01: Manoush and Jen Became Entrepreneurs One Year Ago

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 explain how, after a year of experimentation with format and blockchain technology, ZigZag is evolving into a podcast that takes an honest look at the culture of business--and what needs to change.

*Sign up for our newsletter and subscribe to the podcast for free on Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsRadioPublicStitcher, OvercastSpotify, or Breaker. *


@manoushz (Manoush Zomorodi, host of ZigZag and cofounder of Stable Genius Productions), @jpoyant (Jen Poyant, cohost of ZigZag and cofounder of Stable Genius Productions)

Apr 11, 2019
S3 EP06: The Plateau of Productivity

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 Productivity. This is when an idea just WORKS, maybe even becomes a cultural norm

All season long we’ve been tracking how ideas spark, evolve, and grow. Our final episode includes some harsh listener feedback, a conversation between women new to their local legislature, and late-breaking news from the Rust Belt town of Massena, NY.

*Season 4 debuts April 11 with a special series on redefining goals, ambition, and success in turbulent times. *


@manoushz (Manoush Zomorodi, host of ZigZag and cofounder of Stable Genius Productions), @tkbeaty (Thalia Beaty, producer of ZigZag), @JackieFenn (Jackie Fenn, Gartner Analyst), @NArquiettd11 (Nance Arquiett St. Lawrence County legislator for District 11), @**ElectCurran2018 (**Rita Curran St. Lawrence County legislator for District 15)

Mar 28, 2019
S3 EP5: The Slope of Enlightenment

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 this phase to share big news from Stable Genius Productions and talk to Katrina Kelly-Pitou, an environmental economist, on the truth behind blockchain's energy-guzzling reputation. Plus, the mayor who made history by banning Bitcoin operations in his city. And then decided to allow them back in. Get ready to be enlightened.

*Also, our email newsletter is a must read. **Sign up for a bi-weekly letter from Manoush with links to her favorite articles and podcasts, a look behind-the-scenes at Stable Genius Productions, and upcoming events. (For example, our guest Jackie Fenn wrote a novel about a programmer whose algorithm goes rogue!)

Who You’ll Hear: Katrina Kelly-Pitou Professor Resilient Energy and Power Systems, Swanson School of Engineering, University of Pittsburgh (@manoushz) Manoush Zomorodi, host of ZigZag (@tkbeaty) Thalia Beaty, producer of ZigZag

Mar 14, 2019
S3 EP4: The Trough of Disillusionment

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 decided to INSERT GOAL HERE in the first place.

Hear Professor Kevin Werbach explain the difference between full-on failure and simply measuring success on a longer timeline, as related to tech and blockchain. (Because this podcast loves using blockchain as a metaphor for life.)

Plus, a local union rep, Dave LaClair, gives producer Thalia Beaty a personal tour of Massena, NY, a town definitely in the “trough.” Their afternoon together ends with an insightful conversation about the people left behind in the U.S economy and how society has gotten to a place where real talk is rare.

**Also, our email newsletter is a must read. **Sign up for a bi-weekly letter from Manoush with links to her favorite articles and podcasts, a look behind-the-scenes at Stable Genius Productions, and upcoming events. (For example, our guest Jackie Fenn wrote a novel about a programmer whose algorithm goes rogue!)

Who You’ll Hear: (@kwerb‏) Kevin Werbach, Professor of Legal Studies and Business Ethics at the Wharton School of Business, Dave La Clair of Massena, NY, (@manoushz) Manoush Zomorodi, host of ZigZag (@tkbeaty) Thalia Beaty, producer of ZigZag

Feb 28, 2019
S3 EP3: The Peak of Expectations

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 the midst of sleep training her baby daughter). On this episode, Manoush and Jen analyze their start-up highs and wonder whether exciting industry news means podcasting has hit its peak. Plus, more from Massena, NY, as we go inside cavernous Bitcoin factories to hear what extreme optimism sounds like. Just beware: after every high comes a low.

Are you signed up for our newsletter? We’ve got links to articles and other great podcasts plus a personal note from Manoush. Go to ZigZagPod.com or just email us at zigzag@StableG.com and we’ll sign you up.

Feb 14, 2019
S3 EP2: What Triggers Innovation

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 Fenn, and how a hydroelectric dam prompted one small town to start manufacturing Bitcoin, for better and worse.

All this season, we're exploring the lifecycle of ideas, including a visit to a town by the Canadian border where one of the biggest Bitcoin mining operations in the world is ramping up, and some claim crypto can save a community in financial ruin.

Tell us what's going on in your life and where YOU are on the Hype Cycle right now: record a voice memo and send it to [ZigZag@StableG.com](zigzag@stableg.com).

**Also, our email newsletter is a must read. **Sign up for a bi-weekly letter from Manoush with links to her favorite articles and podcasts, a look behind-the-scenes at Stable Genius Productions, and upcoming events. (For example, our guest Jackie Fenn wrote a novel about a programmer whose algorithm goes rogue!)

Who You’ll Hear: (@jackiefenn) Jackie Fenn, Senior Analyst at Gartner, (@manoushz) Manoush Zomorodi, host of ZigZag (@tkbeaty) Thalia Beaty, producer of ZigZag

Jan 31, 2019
S3 EP1: The Lifecycle of an Idea

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 track innovations (yes, like blockchain) ever since. But the Hype Cycle isn't just for tech: understanding it can help you decide when to press ahead with a job, relationship, or New Year's resolution... or cut your losses and move on.

All this season, we're exploring the lifecycle of ideas, including a visit to a town by the Canadian border where one of the biggest Bitcoin mining operations in the world is ramping up, and some claim crypto can save a community in financial ruin.

Tell us what's going on in your life and where YOU are on the Hype Cycle right now: record a voice memo and send it to [ZigZag@StableG.com](zigzag@stableg.com).

**Also, our email newsletter is a must read. **Sign up for a bi-weekly letter from Manoush with links to her favorite articles and podcasts, a look behind-the-scenes at Stable Genius Productions, and upcoming events. (For example, our guest Jackie Fenn wrote a novel about a programmer whose algorithm goes rogue!)

Who You’ll Hear: (@jackiefenn) Jackie Fenn, Senior Analyst at Gartner, (@manoushz) Manoush Zomorodi, host of ZigZag

Jan 17, 2019
S2 EP12: Lessons Learned from a Risky Crypto Experiment

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), and Civil's plans to resurrect itself in 2019 (final hint: the token lives on).

Blockchain has not yet added value to international development projects, USAID finds. After mindfulness, tech takes on information overload, Manoush's forecast for Neiman Lab. Indiewire calls Season 2 Episode 2, one of the best podcast episodes of 2018! Radiotopia reaches 25,000 new contributors!


@manoushz (Manoush Zomorodi, host of ZigZag and cofounder of Stable Genius Productions), @jpoyant (Jen Poyant, producer of ZigZag and cofounder of Stable Genius Productions)

**10. Empress of Facebook: My Befuddling Dinner with Sheryl Sandberg (WIRED)
9. Lena Dunham Comes to Terms with Herself (The Cut)
8. A Guide to Worrying in the 21st Century (Bill Gates)
7. Barcelona's Experiment in Radical Democracy (New Yorker)
6. Cryptopia in Crisis: Joe Lubin's Ethereum is a Mess (Forbes) 
5. The Gift of Menopause (NYTimes) -
TIE- **Jennalee (Popula)
4. The Devastating Illusion of Control (The Cut)
3. The Plastic Backlash: What's Behind Our Sudden Rage- and Will It Make a Difference? (The Guardian)
2. Estranged in America: Both Sides Feel Left Out (NYTimes)
1. The Prophets of Cryptocurrency Survey the Boom and Bust (New Yorker)

Dec 20, 2018
S2 EP11: If Capitalism and Socialism Had a Baby

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 regulation, but on steroids) for wrangling monopolies, sparking innovation, and getting profits into the hands of more people.

"What the California Wildfires Can Teach Us About Data Sharing," Joi Ito writes in Wired. An old monopoly story: the Hush-a-Phone vs AT&T debacle from Atlas Obscura. And a new one: Infinite choices, few distributors in the digital economy from The Open Markets Institute. And the Senate Intelligence Committee's two reports on news manipulation on social media: The Disinformation Report and The Internet Research Agency and Political Polarization in the US.

Who You’ll Hear:

@manoushz (Manoush Zomorodi, host of @zigzagpod and cofounder of Stable Genius Productions), @rufuspollock‏ (Rufus Pollock, author of The Open Revolution)

Dec 20, 2018
S2 EP10: An App for Information Overload?

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 reboot our daily news habit by delivering trustworthy journalism without overwhelming us. Afterall, they reason, we have apps to track our sleep, steps, and calories... Why not news consumption? But can there really be an app for that?

You can sign up to help develop Kinzen. An ode to Tumblr after it bans NSFW content. Look up which location data those free Android apps collect from phones (and read the New York Times investigation). Blockchain hits the "trough of disillusionment." ConsenSys, the backer of Civil, cuts 13 percent of its staff. Forbes asks: will the crypto bear market take down Ethereum? Twitter gives us crypto Christmas carols.


Manoush Zomorodi, cofounder of Stable Genius Productions and host of ZigZag Podcast (@manoushz), Mark Little, cofounder of Kinzen (@marklittlenews) Aine Kerr, cofounder of Kinzen (@AineKerr)

Dec 13, 2018
S2 BONUS: The Story of ZigZag Through Voice Memos

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 seem to rarely sleep). Think of it as an audio thank you note for being on this ZigZag ride. We're so glad you're here with us. 

We hope you'll also consider supporting Radiotopia, the podcast collective that helps make ZigZag possible. Go to radiotopia.fm where you can choose from an unusual array of donation gifts (including an outing to the Stable Genius' favorite bar).

Dec 06, 2018
S2 EP9: Julia Angwin's Investigations Haunt Facebook

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 journalism, and how she plans to combine hardcore data analysis with shoe-leather reporting. Plus, the honest lowdown on how Julia beats decision fatigue, as a startup founder and a parent. It's not all black turtlenecks and green smoothies, but it's close.

Julia Angwin's investigations for ProPublic. Mark Zuckerberg Doesn’t Understand Journalism. Looking back at Craig's List. Jessica Lessin left the Wall Street Journal five years ago to found The InformationClosing Rookie: hard truths about digital media from teenage entrepreneur Tavi Gevinson.

Who You’ll Hear:

@manoushz (Manoush Zomorodi) @JuliaAngwin (Investigative journalist and Cofounder of The MarkUp)

Dec 06, 2018
S2 EP8: The Women Who Make CRIMINAL

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 (sound familiar?), managing each other's quirks, and saying 'no' to the many business opportunities that come their way. This duo has great advice for anyone trying to manage a partnership, balance creativity with bill paying, or just stay to one's weirdo self.


deep dive into the messy relationship between true crime podcasts and justice. How Phoebe and Lauren get it done from Raleigh's The New & Observer. The New Yorker article on the new golden age of podcast storytelling. Guy Raz's mega-entrepreneur podcast in the New York TimesThe Future of Voice and the Implications for News from Reuters. It's a bear market for some podcast shops. More acronyms: PRX (of which Radiotopia is a branch) merges with PRI (think The World). Help someone discover the joy of listening by sharing Gretchen Rubin's free Gift of Podcast instructions. Btw, the SEC has a new guide to ICOs. And Crypto is crashing.

Who You’ll Hear:

Manoush Zomorodi (@Manoushz), Jen Poyant (@jpoyant), Phoebe Judge co-creator and host of Criminal (@PhoebeVJudge), Lauren Spohrer cocreator of Criminal (@laurenspohrer)

Nov 28, 2018
S2 EP7: Forget Inbox Zero

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 signals, email sometimes shines through as a place to get the news and information we want from people and sources we trust.

A study about our email habits finds half of us achieve in-box zero. The SEC says tokens are securities (we think). That unnerving New York Times expose about how Facebook handles crisesManoush was in GQ talking about the importance of boredom. How about a Fair Credit Reporting Act to make platforms more accountable? The BBC's look at how (and why) people in India, Kenya, and Nigeria interact with fake news. Another journalism experiment with a radical membership engagement model: The Correspondent

Who You’ll Hear:

Manoush Zomorodi @manoushz and ZigZag listeners!

Nov 22, 2018
S2 EP6: A Secret #MeToo Weapon

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 governments around the world use digital tools to censor and surveil journalists and their citizens.

New Yorker writer Jiayang Fan's article, China's #MeToo Moment.

The testimony nestled in an Ethereum transaction. How Civil plans to repurpose the Chinese blockchain hack as an archiving solution. No more anonymity for blockchain in China? Producer Thalia Beaty explains her reporting on Syria for Storyful. Citizen Lab shows how images get censored on WeChat. India cut the internet the most times of any country last year. Why Russia has struggled to block access to Telegram. Will Google offer censored search in China?

**Who You’ll Hear: **

Manoush Zomorodi (@manoushz) Jiayang Fan Staff Writer at The New Yorker (@JiayangFan) Thalia Beaty journalist (@tkbeaty)

Thalia Beaty, Producer
David Herman, Audio Engineer and Composer
Dan Dzula, Audio Engineer

ZigZag comes from Stable Genius Productions, in* partnership with Civil. We are proud members of Radiotopia, from PRX.* 

Keep the podcast going with your donation. And thank you!

Nov 15, 2018
S2 EP5: Meat World Matters

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, Eric issues a passionate plea for more investment in libraries, public squares and other places where people can quite literally meet on common ground. Jen does her own reporting about the 'social infrastructure' that she believes kept her community together through natural disaster: the boardwalk at Rockaway Beach.

Eric Klinenberg's op-ed: To Restore Civil Society, Start with the Library. Voters approved a tax on San Francisco businesses to help the homeless. Newark wonders if its beat-up downtown can thrive without getting pummeled by gentrification. Is Paul Allen to Seattle what Carnegie was to Pittsburgh? New York City's water communities, as captured by Jen's friend, photographer Susannah Ray. Back online, a 'Magna Carta for the Web' is the only way to save it, says its inventor.


Jen Poyant (@jpoyant) Manoush Zomorodi (@manoushz) (Eric Klenenberg (@ericklinenberg)

Nov 08, 2018
S2 EP4: What IS Fact-Checking?

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-checking in a "post-truth" world. Plus, how journalists are partnering with technologists to build tools that they hope can make the very word "fact" less politically charged.

Post-truth politics and why the antidote isn't just fact-checking. Platforms driving users to misinformation. There's such a thing as fake fact-checkersFact-checkers going OT in Brazil. Google is working on a fact-checking search engine. Fact-checking is on Broadway. How Facebook is downplaying false headlines. Why this journalist fell for this fake video.

*Who You’ll Hear: *

Manoush Zomorodi (@manoush) Bill Adair @BillAdairDuke

Nov 01, 2018
S2 EP3: Trusting Yourself in Startup-Entrepreneurland

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. Because ZigZag listeners are emailing a lot about going through their own entrepreneurial growing pains. And they're grateful for the raw honesty about being a businessperson:

"I appreciate so much that you don't know what you're doing."

"It's such a daily struggle to figure out how to be sustainable and not sell your soul."

"Thanks for sharing the stuff that is uncomfortable. Or unpleasant."

**That funny Breaker article on Civil's failed token sale. A public radio insider's analysis of Civil and community media. The 10 Best Books on productivity? What does a fair algorithm actually look like? Uber, Google, Facebook: Your experiments have gone too far.

Who You’ll Hear: Manoush Zomorodi (@manoushz) Jen Poyant (@jpoyant) Matthew Iles @matthewiles

Oct 25, 2018
S2 EP2: Why Civil's Token Sale Failed

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 CEO Matthew Iles acknowledges the screw-ups and explains why the company is still solvent. Plus, the second half of our Twitter and 'misinformation' explainer with research from the Knight Foundation. Can you, lawmakers, or Twitter do anything to stop the falsehoods from flowing? Yes, actually.

The Knight Foundation's report on Misinformation and Twitter includes unusual and beautiful mapping of tweets. Twitter plans to ban 'dehumanizing speech' and measure 'conversational health'. Civil's mea culpa and Nieman Lab's analysis of the token-sale failure. In his TED talk, sociologist Duncan Watts explains why common sense doesn't apply in the digital world. Learning from the Civic Tech graveyardThe New Yorker's excellent feature on the weird world of crypto. 

Who You’ll Hear:

Manoush Zomorodi (@manoushz) Jen Poyant (@jpoyant) Vlad Barash Matthew Iles (@matthewiles)

Oct 18, 2018
S2 EP1: How Misinformation Spreads

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 struggling to sell $8m worth of its cryptocurrency. With only days left in the token sale, techie journalist (and former WNYC colleague) John Keefe joins the duo to share his experience buying CVL tokens and where he thinks the startup went wrong.

**The Knight Foundation’s report Disinformation, ‘Fake News,’ and Influence Campaigns on Twitter. Here are the Civil token sale stats. Forbes announced it will publish on Civil. Coincidentally (no, really) Jen and Manoush were profiled in Forbes. John Keefe went through 44 steps to buy CVL tokens. The links between trust, media, and democracy. CanThe Trust Project standardize a seal of ethical journalism?

Who You’ll Hear: Manoush Zomorodi (@manoushz) Jen Poyant (@jpoyant) Matt Hindman (@Matt Hindman) Sam Gill (@thesamgill) Vladimir Barash (@vlad43210) John Keefe @jkeefe

Oct 11, 2018
Announcing Season Two of ZigZag

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? *Give Episodes One and Two of Season One a try. You'll get to know Jen and Manoush and finally understand what blockchain technology is. Still not convinced? Read what the press and listeners have to say about the show.

Oct 04, 2018
The Civil Token Sale is Live

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: Manoush and Jen (@manoushz) (@jpoyant)

Season Two officially kicks off on Oct 11, 2018.
Never heard the show? Start with Season One here.

Clarifications on where the money from the sale goes and how the process of buying CVL will get easier. The New York Times features ZigZag. PBS Newshour has a Civil explainer and Coinbase interviews Manoush about her hopes for journalism. An honest assessment of the current process for buying CVL from Nieman Lab. Are the days of explosive crypto growth over? #MeToo must-reads from Jia Tolentino at the New Yorker and Mike Pesca at Slate. Listener donations help keep this podcast going.

David Herman, Audio Engineer and Composer
Tory Williams, Photography

ZigZag comes from Stable Genius Productions, in partnership with Civil. We are proud members of Radiotopia, from PRX.

Sep 20, 2018
Update: It’s Hard Going Back to School, Work, and Saving Journalism

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, Manoush and Jen discuss Civil’s biggest partnership to date, why boredom is more relevant than ever, and address listeners who wish they would stop cursing on their show.

What the Associated Press hopes Civil’s tech will help them achieve. Not only is Manoush’s book Bored and Brilliant out in paperback: a 3-year study about boredom is underway. The Basic Attention Token is a blockchain experiment worth watching. Tech testifies about how you get your information. Women curse too and that’s a good thing. The badass song in the episode comes from listener Tine Schenck, a Norwegian feminist and musician. The button to donate to Manoush and Jen is still working.

Who you’ll hear: Manoush (@manoushZ) Jen (@jpoyant)

Support our work at https://zigzagpod.com/donate/

**David Herman, Audio Engineer and Composer

ZigZag comes from Stable Genius Productions, in partnership with Civil. We are proud members of Radiotopia, from PRX.

Sep 06, 2018
Chapter 12: Enter the Mesh

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 for listeners about where ZigZag and their business, Stable Genius Productions, go next. Plus, a surprise treat at the end makes this season finale sing.

*ZigZag will be back with updates on the Civil token sale on Sept 6 and Sept 20. Season Two officially starts on Oct 11.


Joe Lubin believes the most valuable companies of the future will be decentralized with “flat” leadership. What Ethereum is doing to handle more transactions. 40 Ethereum apps you can, allegedly, use right now. But also, Ponzi schemes are breaking out there too. Track how many people have signed up for the Civil token sale here. The state of podcasts in 2018. “The challenge is not a small one”: analysis of Civil from the Columbia Journalism Review and Brooklyn Based, Breaker, and Marketplace. The button to donate to Manoush and Jen is finally working.

Who you’ll hear: Manoush (@manoushZ) Jen (@jpoyant) Joe Lubin, co-founder of Ethereum and Founder of Consensys (@ethereumJoseph)

Support our work at https://zigzagpod.com/donate/

**David Herman, Audio Engineer and Composer 
Alice Rutherford, Illustrations

Aug 23, 2018
Chapter 11: Ten Things You Should Know About Crypto

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 experiments surrounding you...but beware: once spotted, they cannot be unseen. Our field guide is the very knowledgable and deadpan Joon Ian Wong of Coindesk.

**ZigZag: Chapter 2 is Blockchain 101. So much lingo: magical crypto friends, Hodl and Buidl, Bitcoin Maximalists. South Korea is crypto crazy. Ethereum’s creator and his concept of a “World Computer.” Paul Krugman’s op-ed: Why I’m a Crypto Skeptic. Why Venezuelans want out of the Bolivar. Joon uses Bitrefill in Asia. Russian hackers paid by Bitcoin. Mining warehouses in Mongolia. Blockchain + Brooklyn = a solar panel experiment. Fighting back against Bitcoin energy guzzlers. Will proof-of-stake lower Ethereum’s environmental impact? Jimmy Song thinks smart contracts are dumb. Ethereum's existential crisis.

Who you’ll hear: Manoush (@manoushZ) Jen (@jpoyant) Joon Ian Wong (joonian) Managing Director at Coindesk

Support our work at https://zigzagpod.com/donate/

Aug 16, 2018
Chapter 10: Listening to Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain did a very unusual interview a few months before his death: he spent an afternoon with Maria Bustillos, founder of Popula.com and the first journalist to join the Civil platform. Bourdain Confidential, her piece about their wonderfully philosophical and fiery conversation, went viral when she published it in July. Now, for the first time, Maria shares her audio recording of their time together; hear Bourdain’s take on Obama, his choice words for other celebrities, and why he felt he could never share his happiest travel moments with his TV audience.

Fiction Confidential is an in-depth analysis of Bourdain’s books that Maria wrote and he  loved. They met in February at The Coliseum, a Manhattan restaurant/bar that just closed forever. After writing Inside the Fight Over Bitcoin’s Future and other articles for the New Yorker, Maria became obsessed with blockchain technology. Manoush and Jen reference this Twitter conversation in their update. The new and excellent podcast we mention at the end is NYCFAQ. The book Maria recommends is The History Thieves. The information war is on. Several listeners have asked about the Goethe quote from Chapter 9 (and the debate surrounding its provenance).

An important note:
If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, don’t hesitate. Call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or click here for numbers outside the U.S.

Who you’ll hear: Manoush (@manoushZ) Jen (@jpoyant) Maria Bustillos (@mariabustillos) Anthony Bourdain (Rest In Peace)

Support our work at https://zigzagpod.com/donate/

Aug 09, 2018
Chapter 9: Letter from Startup-Blockchain-Women-Entrepreneurland

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 responds to criticism that she and Jen “act like silly dumb girls” whenever they discuss high-level concepts.

**Here's where to 1) read the Civil FAQ and Constitution 2)take the registration quiz, 3) ask questions in Telegram and 4) educate yourself about crypto risk. Token Foundry will run the CVL token sale and has published consumer-protection standards. Mapping-with-blockchain company FOAM is doing the token-sale-thing now (btw, 1 out of 4 people failed its quiz). The New Yorker article about pay parity at the BBC and the different words we use to describe male and female leaders.

Who you’ll hear: Manoush (@manoushZ) Jen (@jpoyant) and ZigZag listeners!

Support our work at https://zigzagpod.com/donate/

Aug 02, 2018
Chapter 8: Putting Crypto Pioneers to the Test

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 undeterred by the platform’s growing pains. Also, Manoush and Jen gather the “First-Fleet” of Civil journalists to discuss problems with employers and business-models past (DNAInfo, The Denver Post, the New York Daily News)...and how they plan to make sure local and investigative journalism have a future, tokens or no tokens.


The story of Munchee explains much of Civil’s caution around its token sale. Nieman Lab thinks it’s funny that Manoush failed the crypto quiz. Kara Swisher’s conversation with Mark Zuckerberg about platforms, information, and power. Ex-Politico reporter Azi Paybarah, Professor Christina Greer, and the Daily Beast’s Harry Siegel explain how their upcoming podcast, FAQ NYC, will fill a gap in local news. The debate over journalism and paywalls. For now, everything on the first-fleet sites Popula, Sludge, Block Club Chicago, Cannabis Wire, and Documented is free. Sign up for ZigZag’s newsletter for our weekly pick of thought-provoking articles and podcasts.

Who you’ll hear: Manoush (@manoushZ) Jen (@jpoyant) Matthew Iles (@matthewiles) Maria Bustillos Founder of Popula (@mariabustillos) Stephanie Lulay Block Club Chicago (@slulay2) Eric Lubbers The Colorado Sun (@brofax) Harry Siegle FAQNYC (@harrysiegel)

Support our work at https://zigzagpod.com/donate/

Produced by Stable Genius Productions

Follow ZigZag on Instagram and Twitter: @ZigZagpod

Jul 26, 2018
Chapter 7: A New Frontier for Journalism?

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 for the sale. What do these restrictions mean for their finances? Will people go through Civil’s rigorous process to buy tokens? Maybe...but only if they’re absolutely convinced that the ethics of the platform are worth supporting. Enter Vivian Schiller, ex-CEO of NPR, now head of Civil’s Council, enforcer of its Constitution, and the most public face of the platform.


Civil wants people to read this FAQ section and answer a questionnaire before registering to buy CVL tokens. The Wall Street Journal got the scoop. Token Foundry weeds out sellers and buyers who just want to make a fast buck. How to launch a newsroom on Civil. Vivian Schiller just introduced the first Civil Council members. CVL’s token design is based on a framework developed by the Brooklyn Project, an initiative to promote responsible token exchanges. Time to know the difference between cold and hot wallets.

Who you’ll hear: Manoush (@manoushZ) Jen (@jpoyant) Matthew Iles (@matthewiles) Vivian Schiller (@vivan)

Support our work at https://zigzagpod.com/donate/

Produced by Stable Genius Productions

Follow ZigZag on Instagram and Twitter: @ZigZagpod

Jul 19, 2018
Chapter 6: What's a CVL Token?

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-journalist Laura Shin, and hot sauce come to the rescue.

Jul 12, 2018
Chapter 5: Men, Women and Vulnerability

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 documented Alex and Matt’s own entrepreneurial highs and lows. But the two women want to know: how did living out loud affect their psyches and families? And does gender change the story?

Who you’ll hear: Manoush (@manoushZ) Jen (@jpoyant) The Cofounders of Gimlet Media (@gimletmedia) Matt Lieber (@mlieber) Alex Blumberg (@abexlumberg)

Support our work at https://zigzagpod.com/donate/

Produced by Stable Genius Productions

Follow ZigZag on Instagram and Twitter: @ZigZagpod

Jul 05, 2018
Chapter 4: Hedging Your Bets

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, they talk to a well-known venture capitalist on whether aligning their mission with investor expectations is a laughable goal. Then, they visit Roman Mars, host of 99% Invisible and Radiotopia co-founder, at his headquarters in Oakland. He explains how he built his podcasting empire and helps Manoush and Jen decide how to proceed.

Who you’ll hear: Manoush (@manoushZ) Jen (@jpoyant) The Cofounders of Gimlet Media (@gimletmedia) Matt Lieber (@mlieber) Alex Blumberg (@abexlumberg) Roman Mars, Cofounder of Radiotopia and host of 99% Invisible (@romanmars) (@99piorg) Angel Investor Jess Verrilli (@jess)

Support our work at https://zigzagpod.com/donate/

Produced by Stable Genius Productions

Follow ZigZag on Instagram and Twitter: @ZigZagpod

Jun 28, 2018
Chapter 3: Higher Than We Knew

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 about joining the experimental journalism platform called Civil. Alyson Martin and Nushin Rashidian cover the burgeoning marijuana industry in the U.S. and are about to publish Cannabis Wire on Civil. They believe it’s their best shot at growing Cannabis Wire into a hardy, sustainable publication (pun intended). But all four women are holding their breath until Civil’s token launch because, as they discover, the stakes are higher than they knew.

Who you’ll hear: Manoush (@manoushZ) Jen (@jpoyant) Nushin Rashidian (@NushinRashidian) Alyson Martin (@alysonrmartin) Cannabis Wire (@cannabiswire) Matthew Iles (@matthewiles)

Support our work: Here at Civil and Here at Radiotopia too!

Produced by Stable Genius Productions

Follow ZigZag on Instagram and Twitter: @ZigZagpod

Jun 21, 2018
Chapter 2: Blockchain. Blockwhat?!

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 works...AND help fund Manoush and Jen’s media company? Most importantly, can this episode really explain, simply and clearly, what the hell the blockchain is and how it works?

Who you’ll hear: Manoush (@manoushZ) Jen (@jpoyant) Cofounder of Ethereum Joe Lubin (@ethereumjoseph) Ronny Chieng (@ronnychieng) Megan Tan (@meganleetan)

Support our work: Here at Civil and Here at Radiotopia too!

Produced by Stable Genius Productions

Follow ZigZag on Instagram and Twitter: @ZigZagpod

Jun 14, 2018
Chapter 1: Meet the Stable Geniuses

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. Just as panic starts to set in, they meet a mysterious funder with an intriguing proposal.

About the podcast: Join Manoush and Jen as they document every step of their journey from public radio journalists to media entrepreneurs… on the blockchain. ZigZag is a podcast about changing the course of capitalism, journalism, and women’s lives. For real. New episodes of season 1, every Thursday throughout the Summer 2018.

Who you’ll hear in this episode: Manoush Zomorodi (@manoushz) Jen Poyant (@jpoyant)

Support our work: Donate here on Civil and here on Radiotopia!

Produced by Stable Genius Productions

Follow ZigZagPod on Instagram and Twitter: @ZigZagpod

Jun 14, 2018
Introducing ZigZag!

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

May 29, 2018