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Full transcript: Too Embarrassed to Ask asks techies about their morning routines

23andMe CEO Anne Wojcicki FaceTimes while biking to work, while security researcher Brian Krebs has an elaborate treadmill setup.

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an old-fashioned alarm clock with large metal bells on top CC BY 2.0 - Rob and Stephanie Levy

On this episode of Too Embarrassed to Ask, The Verge’s Lauren Goode compiled never-before-heard audio of past TETA guests answering a rather personal question: What is your morning routine? Some set multiple alarms and alerts. Some need to clear the alerts from their screens before doing anything else. Still others find time to exercise — but always with a gadget feeding them news or other information while they do it. All seem to dive first for their phones.

You can read some of the highlights from their discussion here, or listen to it in the audio player above. Below, we’ve posted a lightly edited complete transcript of their conversation.

If you like this, be sure to subscribe to Too Embarrassed to Ask on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, Overcast or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Lauren Goode: Hi, I’m Lauren Goode, senior tech editor at The Verge, and you’re listening to Too Embarrassed to Ask, coming to you from the Vox Media podcast network. This is the show where we answer all of your embarrassing questions about consumer tech. You can send us your questions on Twitter with the hashtag #tooembarrassed. We also have an email address, it’s — and a friendly reminder, there are two Rs and two Ss in embarrassed.

This week, however, we’re doing something a little different. My co-host Kara Swisher isn’t here in the studio right now. I think she’s in Portugal, at Web Summit? Is that correct? Okay, our producer is nodding. She’s off being Kara Swisher, but you’re going to hear her a little bit later in this episode.

Today, we have a special episode for you that’s all about morning routines. If you’re running a tech company, or even running a news website, you must be the kind of person who just naturally wakes up and rolls out of bed in the morning, ready to get shit done, right? You obviously have it all figured out, but not exactly. Even the most efficient or prolific people out there have their little morning routine hacks and favorite apps and things they do, and yes, some gadgets they say make their mornings a lot easier.

Over the past few months on Too Embarrassed to Ask, we’ve taken a few minutes after every episode to ask our guests about their morning routines, and just so we’re clear, this is not a clip show. This is all audio you’ve never heard before. We don’t often get a glimpse into the very personal lives of the techies we talk to for the show, but in this case, we got pretty personal. We asked them what they’re thinking and what they do when they first wake up.

Now, if you take some of this with a grain of salt, I won’t blame you. Some of this is very, shall we say, Silicon Valley, but if you take away one or two small morning routine tips from this, then I’m glad I was not too embarrassed to ask people this question.

First up is Rick Osterloh, who runs Google’s hardware division. We talked to him in early October about the phones and the other products that Google had just announced at their fall hardware event, but what does he use when he’s left to his own devices? Get it?

We’re very happy to have Rick on the show, and I wanted to ask you, Rick, about your morning tech routine. When you first get up in the morning, what do you do? What apps do you use? What products do you use that make you have a better morning?

Rick Osterloh: All right, this is probably unsurprising, but next to my bed, I have a Google Home Mini.

LG: You don’t say.

RO: And I use that as my alarm clock, so that wakes me up.

LG: How long have you been using that for? It was just introduced.

RO: We started dog fooding at about four months ago, so that’s when I first put it there. Then right after that, pretty much immediately, I look at my email and texts to see if anything critical has come in overnight, because our operations are all over the world, and we have a lot of people in Asia, so I’d need to make sure that nothing has gone on that doesn’t need my immediate attention. Then, typically I’ll get in my car and drive my son to school and head down to work. While I’m in the car, I’ll end up doing a phone call or two, typically. So, that’s how it starts.

LG: Do you work out in the morning at all?

RO: Yes. I find that if I work out in the morning, I’ll actually work out, and if I don’t, it will not happen. And then once or twice a week, I try to play basketball in the morning before work, which is my favorite thing to do outside of work and family.

LG: We’ve heard about your basketball skills, but I’m not going to ask about that today.

RO: Yes, good.

LG: You’re also active on Twitter. I see you interacting with people on Twitter. How do you get your news? Do you get it from Twitter? Do you get it elsewhere? What apps do you use for that?

RO: I usually use Google News, but I also check Twitter a lot, Techmeme, and then I really just scan great sites like The Verge and Recode.

LG: Oh, thank you so much.

RO: You’re welcome.

LG: I feel like everything you just said in that answer is like you were obligated to say like, “Well, I start with Google News.” Of course you do!

RO: I’ve checked them all off here.

LG: Yeah.

RO: No.

LG: Do you use any of these ...

RO: That is actually what I do.

LG: Do you really?

RO: Yeah.

LG: Okay, well that’s great. We like honest answers, too. Do you use any type of meditation app? Those are a thing now. People are using those. Are you into that?

RO: No, I haven’t figured out the mindfulness thing yet.

Kara Swisher: No, don’t worry about it.

RO: Yes, I may be too old. I don’t know.

KS: You’ll be dead in 70 years. Don’t worry about it.

LG: You’ve given him quite a nice lifespan.

RO: Thank you, Kara.

KS: I was being nice.

LG: Google’s working on that.

RO: I feel free now.

KS: I knew I’d be right if I’d said that.

LG: All right.

KS: Early 50. Sorry. Probably best.

RO: Come on! You just shaved 20 years off my life.

LG: Rick, thank you for sharing your mornings with us.

RO: Oh, it’s my pleasure. Thank you.

LG: When Kara and I chatted with 23andMe CEO Anne Wojcicki in September, we talked about why FaceTiming from a bicycle is a big part of her mornings.

Kara, who are we here with today?

KS: We’re here with Anne Wojcicki of 23andMe, a personal genomics company.

LG: I’m very excited to ask Anne about her morning tech routine. This is something we’ve been asking people for the past several weeks on the podcast. We want to hear what they do when they first get up in the morning, what makes them most productive, what apps they loved. I also heard that you bike every day to work. Is that true?

Anna Wojcicki: I do. Every day.

LG: Tell us about your morning routine, and how it involves technology in some way.

AW: I wake up, I immediately check my phone. I first check my text messages, I next check my email, and then I check the news. I obviously ready the Recode blog. And then, I go downstairs. I do all that from bed, and then I go downstairs, and I get the kids out the door, I drop them at school, and then I bike to work.

LG: What do you use to check the news?

AW: Honestly, I either read the Recode app, or I use the New York Times, and then I usually do that three, because I go through the email first, I get the Recode headlines, and then I get the New York Times, and then I go through Google News to see what else I missed.

LG: Any other apps you use?

KS: Twitter? Are you on the Twitter?

LG: Yeah, are you on Twitter?

AW: Mostly, I have to say I use Twitter mostly for conferences. If I know that there’s a conference that I’m supposed to be at that I didn’t go, I follow the newsfeed there, but otherwise, no.

KS: You use Instagram heavily, right? But it’s private.

AW: To be honest, I use Instagram to let my mom know where I am, to update, “Yeah, this is what we’re updating,” like it’s a family. I use WhatsApp to update the family, too, like, “Here, here’s the plan,” otherwise, during the week, I’m pretty efficient.

LG: When you use Instagram, do you use the Story feature?

AW: No.

LG: No, you’re actually posting the photos. So you must be a pretty avid poster if you’re using it to let your mom know what you’re up to.

KS: She is. Everybody is dancing in circles. Just a lot of dancing in circles.

AW: My mother likes a lot of information.

LG: She’s a journalist.

AW: She’s a journalist, so it’s just easier to keep posted that way. The morning for me is very efficient, you gotta get out and I gotta know what I’m going to expect. The thing that I have now, which I love, which isn’t necessarily the safest, but I have my phone attached to the bike. I FaceTime with people while I bike.

LG: Oh my god.

AW: People always find that disturbing.

KS: I find that very disturbing.

LG: Do you have a self-driving bike? Does it have radar on it?

AW: No. But I don’t always have to look at the person, but it’s helpful to get ...

LG: Everyone’s like, “Oh, Anne’s chin, good morning again.”

AW: Yes, I usually end up just calling my sister. Then, I also voice dictate. For me, the beauty of biking, it gives me 30 minutes of uninterrupted time. No one’s reaching out to me, which is lovely, and it’s outside and you have air, so, I think well. I end up voice dictating a lot. We had our strategy team meeting the other week, I dictated out the entire agenda and all my ideas. I went on a 50-mile bike ride and just dictated.

LG: What are you using? Siri or Google Assistant, or what do you use for that?

KS: I’m still stuck on 50 miles, but go ahead.

AW: It was a long day. It was accidental. I have notes on my iPhone and I just press the little microphone button and I just dictate as I think. Biking is amazing, otherwise you have to find time to do exercise. I need 30-45 minutes before I get to work and then I’m happy. The days that I don’t bike, I’m just mean. I need to do that. It’s great. Then, I come home and I’m super happy to see my kids. I come into work, I’m happy to see everybody.

I have this huge thing at the company, I really push people to take the stairs. When I see people taking the elevator, I’m like, “Why would you take the elevator in front of me? Why would you even humiliate me that way? Take the stairs, what’s wrong?”

KS: So, you’re a stair fascist. I agree with you.

AW: It’s four flights of stairs, get a quick little workout in. It’s so good for you. There’s no reason why not.

KS: Okay all you elevator-taking people may now apply to 23. Anne, thank you very much. I’ve learned so much about you in such a short amount of time.

AW: Love you, thank you.

LG: Anne is not the only avid cyclist we’ve had on Too Embarrassed to Ask. Adrian Aoun, the CEO of Forward, used to have a pretty insane commute on his bike.

We’re speaking right now with Adrian Aoun, he is the co-founder and chief executive of Forward, a new type of health care startup in San Francisco, it’s been called the Apple Store of health care clinics. We just had a fascinating discussion — and especially since you’re in the health care field, I wanted to ask you, what is your morning tech routine like? What do you do when you first wake up? What apps do you use? Devices? Tell us how you get your day started.

Adrian Aoun: I’m an inbox zero kind of person. I wake up and immediately I’m anxious because I’ve got 47 notifications from all these different apps. Basically, I start going through and killing those notifications, which means answering emails, and answering Slack, which is basically the new email.

As soon as I get through that, I love, love, love reading the news. I use Feedly, I probably subscribe to more blogs than you have ever seen in your entire life. I basically lay in bed, I usually wake up before my girlfriend, which means I’m trying to be super, super quiet to not wake her up. I sit down with my phone and I swipe through it and I read as much news as I can. It usually takes about 45 minutes or an hour. Then, I get up and I work out.

LG: I was going to say, I was expecting you to be the, “I wake up and run five miles with my fancy Apple watch or Garmin watch.”

AA: I’m a big cyclist. In my prior job when I worked at Google, I actually cycled down to Google from the city, most days.

LG: What?

AA: Which I loved.

LG: How many miles is that?

AA: 45 miles, it’s about two-and-a-half hours. Unfortunately, now that I’m doing a startup, I actually have to work a lot more. I can’t show up around ten.

KS: Were you on the Google roof?

AA: Now what I do is I usually cycle up into Marin. Just go over the Golden Gate bridge and climb those mountains. I try to do about 25 miles in the morning, which is about an hour and a half, two hours. It’s really fun.

KS: Good for you.

AA: It’s good.

KS: What’s your big gadget for that?

AA: My gadget?

KS: Do you have a gadget for your bike?

AA: I have a very, very wonderful bike. It’s carbon fiber, it’s got all the technologies.

LG: More-than-most-cars type bike.

AA: I own almost nothing. I’m fairly minimalist. My most expensive possession is my bicycle.

KS: Fantastic.

AA: Don’t steal it.

KS: We won’t, thank you Adrian.

LG: Kara has an affinity for bikes.

KS: I like bikes.

LG: Unless they’re Google bikes.

KS: I hate Google bikes.

AA: Are you really a SoulCycler?

KS: I do. I hate myself for it.

AA: That’s embarrassing. Let me interview you.

KS: No, I don’t think so, it’s horrible. I don’t like Google bikes, we won’t go into that right now.

LG: We should talk about Peloton sometime.

KS: Maybe.

LG: That will be a future discussion.

KS: All right, thank you Adrian.

LG: Adrian, thank you.

When Apple announced the iPhone X earlier in the fall, we pulled Recode Editor in Chief Dan Frommer into the studio to talk about it. I started off by noting that in order to run a site like Recode, you have to be pretty organized. So, here’s why Dan can’t live without Slack in the mornings.

Dan is one of those guys who has Excel spreadsheets for every earnings call he’s ever covered. Strikes me as a very organized person, so I wanted to ask you, Dan, what your morning tech routine is and how you stay on top of everything?

Dan Frommer: First of all: Hah!

First thing, obviously, is, with one eye open, my iPhone alarm will go off, which I will probably set three or four alarms, depending on the morning. Usually two to four. Sometimes they’re five minutes apart, sometimes they’re 15-20 minutes apart.

LG: Your wife must love that.

DF: Yeah, she’s usually up first, so that’s all right. I’ll hit the alarm, I will probably look at email first with one eye closed. I’ll grab my glasses, wake up a little bit, also my dog is there so he’s reading my email. Just make sure everything’s okay, nothing melted overnight. Check my text, sometimes there’s a text from Kara, or 30 texts from Kara from the west coast, overnight. Then, I’ll look at Twitter, check my mentions, make sure no one’s mad at me, see what’s going on, did we declare war against North Korea or something like that. Then, probably Instagram.

LG: Instagram?

DF: Watch a couple Stories, check the feed, then I’ll get up.

LG: It’s interesting Instagram works its way into your morning routine. I tend to look at Instagram as one of the few fun social media presences left in my life. I don’t look at that as must-check first thing in the morning because it’s still fun to me. You said you’re looking at Stories.

DF: Yeah, Stories, in a way, is where are the people I actually care about, what are they doing right now, or what were they doing last night? I think after looking at Twitter, I need a break, something to soothe the brain.

LG: What would you say is the productivity app, or the work-related app that you couldn’t live without?

DF: Definitely Slack. Obviously at Vox Media we use Slack for almost all internal communication. It’s how I see what what my team’s working on, it’s how I see what we’ve published on Recode. It’s how I message with people or observe what’s going on in the company and it’s just a really great tool for communicating.

LG: Do you ever get overwhelmed by Slack?

DF: I don’t really get overwhelmed by anything. I think that I’ve given this feedback to Slack’s product team. It’s really easy to lose where you were three steps ago. There are ways to go back and forth in time, I guess, but it’s really good for being in the moment. It’s not super great for having an archive of what I missed and need to catch up on. Email is still better for that because you have that list of all the emails that you got and you can see whether you responded or not. For living in the moment, I think Slack is great.

LG: Dan, thank you so much for joining us.

DF: Of course.

LG: We’re going to take a quick break now so that Kara can read a word from our sponsor, Zip Recruiter. We’ll be back after this with more morning routines. Ka-ching.


LG: We’re back, talking about the morning routines of some of our past guests here on Too Embarrassed to Ask. One of our favorite tech review sites — other than The Verge, of course — is Wirecutter, the site owned by the New York Times that gives recommendations for seemingly every type of product, not just gadgets, but home products, too. In this clip, Wirecutter Editor in Chief Jacqui Cheng talks about the products that made it into her personal life.

You see the best of everything, not only gadgetry, but apps and things like that, that people should really have in their lives. When you first wake up, what’s the first thing that you do that involves technology and how does that make you more efficient?

Jacqui Cheng: When I first wake up, I am actually usually waking up because the alarm that I have set on Sonos comes on. I will have the Sonos slowly bring up some gentle NPR as I wake up. Then, I guess I check my phone, then I go take a shower and do normal things. It’s pretty simple but also living in the future a little bit.

LG: Is there any type of calendar or email app you use for work that you feel you couldn’t really do your job without?

JC: I have really begun using the Google calendar app more. It used to be bad and then I think has gotten way better. For me, I’m managing a billion different calendars, for me that app ... it’s so usable in so many ways. I think it’s much better than Apple’s built-in calendar app. I do check the calendar first thing in the morning and actually before bed, so I know exactly what’s going on the next day.

LG: What do you use for to-do lists?

JC: I use Apple’s built-in Reminders app, actually. For me, that one’s easy because I use a lot of ... I make a lot of reminders via Siri, so I just speak it and Siri adds it to the list. For me, that’s easy.

LG: That’s a good one. I should really utilize that more. I keep mine in Notes or Google Docs and I get irritated with the lack of voice integration when I’m driving. I probably should just set reminders using voice.

JC: Whenever I do it in front of people, people act like it’s the most insane thing they’ve ever seen. I’ll be like, “Remind me at one o’clock to do this,” and then it’s like, “Okay,” and everyone’s just like, “What?” So, I recommend it.

LG: They think you’re talking to an actual assistant barking orders. You’re talking to a virtual assistant.

JC: Exactly.

LG: Cool. Anything else, any other morning tech routines, or tips for people you think they’d be interests in hearing about?

JC: I guess the only other thing ... I don’t really do this actively, but because I’m a crazy person, I have a bunch of Nest Cam’s set up in my apartment and they have this feature, if you pay for their recording service, where if you ... it can detect the GPS location of your phone. I have it automatically turn off the recording of the Nest Cams when I’m at home so that I don’t record myself walking around naked or anything. Then, it turns on automatically when I leave. I don’t know if that’s technically part of the routine but I like it. I leave the house and it’s automatically watching my cats all day.

LG: That’s only available if you’re paying for Nest Aware, the cloud service?

JC: I’m pretty sure, yeah. I think it’s one of the features they build into that.

LG: Cool, that’s a good one, though. All right Jacqui, thank you so much.

JC: Yeah. Thank you.

LG: Obviously a lot of people we have on our show are running their own companies and they take advantage of a lot of the newest apps and gadgets in order to do that better. Impossible Food CEO Pat Brown is pretty different. He opts out of a lot of popular products and apps you may have heard of and seems pretty focused on work.

Pat, what’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

Pat Brown: The first tech thing? I put on my techy watch.

LG: Apple?

PB: My watch, yeah. That I bought at my assistant’s urging because before I had it, I always missed her texts, her phone calls and stuff like that. It’s actually hugely improved my responsiveness. I’m not getting paid for the promo.

LG: What do you check?

PB: Then, I swallow hard and check and see what emails have arrived overnight.

LG: What apps do you use that you feel help you be more productive, help you run your company?

PB: You mean like iPhone apps?

LG: Sure. Or desktop apps.

PB: Just word-processing tools, Keynote, I use a simple programming tool called R for statistical analysis and modeling.

KS: No Snapchat then, Pat?

PB: I’m the wrong generation. My kids are avid on Snapchat and Instagram and stuff like that. I don’t even have ... I’m sorry, I don’t even have ...

KS: It’s okay, Pat, I like you 100 percent more for this.

PB: I was one of probably the first thousand people to sign up for Twitter and I’ve never used it in 10 years.

KS: Well done. Don’t, there’s this guy on it, he’s the President of the United States, you do not want to meet him on Twitter. Just step out for a couple years, keep going.

PB: I love technology, but I’m not the right generation for that stuff.

KS: All right, thank you, Pat.

LG: Well-known security researcher Brian Krebs knows a lot about how to protect your privacy and keep your computer safe. We talked to him in September about the Equifax hack. Speaking of hacks, as part of his morning routine, he’s hacked together a crazy treadmill set-up so he can stay on top of all the news while he’s also staying on top of his health.

Brian, thank you so much for joining me. Tell me what the first thing is you do when you wake up in the morning. What’s the first tech product or application that you look at or you reach for?

Brian Krebs: I’m gonna say, well, the first thing I do is strap on the Apple Watch and I take my iPhone and I walk the dog. Then, I go straight from there and get on the treadmill. I have a big-screen TV right in front of the treadmill, it’s hooked up to an old computer that essentially has the browser with 1,000 tabs open and I’m reading email, I’m catching up on the news, I’m looking at RSS feeds, I’m just basically tried to suck down as much information as I can in about 45 minutes.

LG: Are you doing that as you’re running or walking on a treadmill?

BK: Fast walking at around 4 percent incline. I actually have a Bluetooth keyboard that I glued to the top of the treadmill. If I’m concentrating I can actually type responses and email. I try not to do too much, I’m usually just downloading the latest news.

LG: You’re really determined to get your news in, in the morning while on the treadmill, this is impressive.

BK: I will tell you, if I don’t do it first thing in the morning, I find I don’t have time to do it throughout the day so I have to ... I know more, I understand more what’s going on and plus I have a much better understanding of how I want to structure my day.

LG: I envision the first thing you would do when you got up was just check immediately for vulnerabilities or someone trying to access an account somewhere. You would have all kinds of alerts set up around that. You mentioned the Apple Watch, what is it that you like about the Apple Watch?

BK: Primarily that it tracks my fitness goals, and those have gotten more intense over the last few months. It’s a personal quest to keep the pounds off. I’m 45, every year it seems a little harder to keep that extra five or 10 pounds off, for me that’s really important and I just feel a lot better. That’s my main reason for using it.

LG: We talked a little bit about this earlier, before we taped the segment, but I asked you if you ever do vulnerability testing on hardware, like wearables, but that’s not really your thing, right? You’re not testing the Apple Watch to see if there are any potential exploits or anything like that?

BK: No, that’s way beyond my skillset. If I want to do something like that I know about 15 or 20 people who I would turn to, to do that on my behalf or to beg to do that on my behalf. I wouldn’t begin to know where to start.

LG: Okay. You’re not concerned about your personal data being shared through something like that, through the hardware?

BK: I do what I can to make sure that I’m not being sloppy with it. At the end of the day, I’m more concerned with things like physical privacy and keeping random things from showing up on my front doorstep.

LG: I hope that no more random things show up on your front doorstep. It sounds like they have.

BK: Me too.

LG: Thanks so much for answering my questions.

BK: My pleasure.

LG: Marta Tellado is the CEO of Consumer Reports. We talked to her in a recent show about the future of how the nonprofit reviews tech products. But here’s what she had to say about her personal morning habits.

KS: Marta, what do you do when you get up in the morning? We ask everybody this.

Marta Tellado: First thing I do is say “Good morning” to David.

KS: All right, okay, that’s a nice physical thing. What do you do digitally?

MT: Digitally, well, I pick up my phone.

KS: Immediately?

MT: Immediately. I turn it on.

KS: What do you use?

MT: I have an iPhone.

KS: I know, I understand that, but what do you use on the phone? What do you look at right away?

MT: News. I’m a bit of a news junkie so I go right to the headlines.

KS: Where? To?

MT: I go around. I take the Post, I take the Times, I go to CR. That’s always my first port of call, because stuff happens 24/7 at CR. I get pinged and sometimes I want to read everything that comes on the website, so I always go there.

KS: Okay. What other apps do you use? What’s part of your morning routine? Some people meditate, some people do all kinds of things.

MT: I just started doing that. I’m really enjoying it. I have a little app device that helps me focus and sometimes it helps me relax to go to sleep at night. I’m all wound up by what happened during the day so I need a little app to wind me down.

KS: Is there any other thing that you do digitally in the morning?

MT: Digitally in the morning, I do news. I have a big family, and there is an enormous amount of texting that goes on in my big family. I got a lot of nieces and nephews. I don’t want to brag, but I think I’m their favorite aunt.

KS: Okay, all right.

MT: We talk a lot.

KS: Snapchat, do you do that?

MT: No, it’s all ...

KS: Regular texting.

MT: Yeah. Constant. There are a lot of Tellados out there. Probably going to run into one.

KS: Okay, good. We’re here with Marta Tellado from Consumer Reports.

LG: We’re going to close today’s show with a morning routine from someone I know quite well. Dieter Bohn, the executive editor of the Verge. We talked to him about smart home apps and, of course, podcasts.

What’s the first thing you do that involves tech in the morning?

Dieter Bohn: Fish around on the floor next to my bed to try and find my phone to turn the alarm off. Every night I set the alarm then I put the phone someplace that isn’t the same place so that when it goes off in the morning I have to go hunting around for it. Then it’s more likely to wake me up.

Then, I get out of bed and won’t look at the phone until I’m out of bed. If I sit in bed and look at the phone, I’ll end up never leaving the bed. Go and check my notifications, I’m very diligent about handling those. I actually can do ... 80 percent of the stuff I do on my phone is right from the notifications screen, at least on an Android phone. On an iPhone it’s a little more difficult because they’re so much messier. Cat comes and bugs me and I plow through a bunch of notifications, bunch of emails. Then, I look at the time, feel bad about not going to exercise and just start the rest of my morning.

The other tech thing that happens to me in the morning, is I will get the news, whether from a Google home or an Echo, whatever random thing I’ve got. Which means, I keep one of them in my bathroom, which is a very strange thing. Turns out those speakers sound a lot better when they’ve got a bunch of tile to bounce off of.

LG: Which says something about the quality of their speakers.

DB: Yeah. Right. Then, it’s a commute in, which is podcasts.

LG: What do you listen to? I was actually going to ask you about your commute, what do you listen to on Bart?

DB: One of my favorite podcasts is Reply All. I, of course, love Vox Media’s podcast, I got Too Embarrassed to Ask, Recode Decode. I’ve got a couple other funny little ones. There’s one called 99% Invisible that is out of Oakland, my hometown. That’s a really good show. A few others. I bring them in and kick them out over time if I get tired of them. I used to listen to a lot of Planet Money, but I know guys, sorry, I gotta bring it back. I haven’t listened to them in a while. It’s mostly podcasts and Two Dots or Threes on the Bart, then I’m here.

LG: You are one of those people who I observe and know first hand who has all these crazy software integrations that are meant to optimize your day and optimize your workflow. What would you say is the most important software hack that you use throughout the day?

DB: Turning off notifications from apps that I don’t care about. That’s the No. 1 thing. I used to just take in the flood of all the information all the time. I’ve realized — email specifically, I do not let email buzz my phone, what’s the point? It’s always going to be there, there’s always going to be some email sitting there no matter what. I’m gonna check my phone a hundred times a day anyways, so why get notified of it? It will show up as a notification, but it won’t buzz and it won’t beep, it’s just there. Its ambiance always around. Not having notifications for stuff like that, where I just know I’m going to see it anyway, is really helpful for my peace of mind.

LG: This has been another great episode of Too Embarrassed to Ask. We’d like to thank all of our recent guests again for being generous with their time and answering some deeply personal morning routine questions. We’d love to hear what you thought of this compilation episode. Tweet at me I’m @LaurenGoode on Twitter or again email us at

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