Sarah Jackson


Currently sitting in a shuttle in route to SF so tooootally free if you wanna chat

Just getting back from walking the dog


How was the walk?

Great! She shit so it was a success!

That always feels like a victory

I remember training my dog as a pup and saying "do your thing" until he did

To this day I smile when he takes a shit

Like a proud parent

hahah it's totally like that! For me it's "would you just shit already!?"

but if she does that means I can sleep soundly

it's the little wins


You guys just came back from Minneapolis right?


How was the motherland??

Hot and sticky! June in MN is the most humid of months...

I did forget how the wind sounds in the trees at night

that threw me off

and how green it is there

and I got to see the stars again

I forgot how big the sky is

but aside from that I missed SF

Ah yes

I was just talking about that earlier

We get so worked up about the "hustle" over here that we forget that it literally doesn't matter outside this city sometimes

yeah, that was nice. And nobody knew what podcasting was

or really cared

that was refreshing

I know a lot of folks would get frustrated with that experience but it was nice to be put into a situation where I had to explain my job so a 5-year old could understand


my niece asked me what I did

because her mom couldn't describe it


When I go back to Costa Rica literally nobody asks me what I do for a living

They don't actually care

Everyone just talks about the *other* things about life

it's nice to know there's more to life than work

I forget that so quickly in SF

Why do you think people are so focused on work over here?

I think it's about making something of yourself

You can make a name for yourself here if you work hard enough

some people really care about that....leaving their mark

I think in Costa Rica or Minnesota goals are most focused on other mostly

The ultimate mark

yeah, nothing says legacy like flesh and blood

The way you put it makes it sound like it's all about ego

"Making a name for yourself"

Is that what you mean?

I think there's definitely ego involved, but I think it's also giving back to a community

paying it forward

I moved to SF because I had an opportunity to do something cool

so I took it.

I think that's a lot of why people move here in the first have a shot to do something you take it

in my case, it was something outside of a cubicle

Getting to work on things you care about as opposed to a job where you're living for the weekends

it doesn't work for me.

that comes back to the value thing...i guess if i wanted to have kids my focus would probably be on stability

jobs are if nothing else, stable

yeah totally

I've been thinking a lot lately about that contrast between small towns and big cities

Some people in small towns have no ambitions to "change the world"

And they seem totally ok with that

And most of the people I've met in bigger cities have all these ambitions about "leaving a mark" and whatnot

yet they're tortured by their inability to do so

I think it goes back to the priorities thing again, right?

what do people want as their legacy?

do they want to try and make the world better or make the world better for one person?

Right — but I think people that "try to make the world better" eventually come to the realization that (a) they're not actually doing that or (b) it's not worth it


I see what you're saying

there's a lot of red tape to get through if you want to make the whole world better

maybe that's the problem though

maybe people are thinking too broad

maybe we need to start smaller...

I'm going to make the design community a better place

and after that...I'm going to make the development community a better place

and then after that...I'm going to make education in general a better place

and then before you know it we have free education and healthcare

ok...I got a little bit ahead of myself


I guess the question is *why*

why make the design community a better place?

because it can be

that's a bullshit answer


it's still a boys' club

but if we want design to be better we need more opinions and perspectives to get involved

how do you get people involved if they don't feel welcome?

well, how did you get involved?

I stepped in and forced Brian and Bryn to listen to me

it only took a couple people

but I still need them to be my advocates

it's weird how often people see me as "the wife"

I can't correct that on my own

I need support

but half the time Brian and Bryn and Jon and Sam and the rest of the guys don't notice it

because they're dudes

so if I don't step in and point it's not going to get noticed

and nothing is going to change

I'll be "the wife" forever.

but the good news is I have their support

they hear me and see me and know it's something we need to work on

That's super interesting but let's back up: how did you get the confidence to say something in the first place?

when i first started the community looked like a boys' club

idk where the confidence came from

i have this tendency to jump into things without thinking too much about them

so I started messing around with an audio file one day and just said "you should let me do this"

I think the reason they let me in was because I stepped in and did it....I asked questions when I needed to but really just ran with it

that still takes a lot of balls (ovaries?)

only if you're afraid of rejection

Who isn't?

How does someone go from feeling rejected from a boy's club to picking up the bat and swinging for the fences?

idk but I can tell you about the first time I realized there was such a thing

ok, so I went to boy scout camp when I was a kid. Long story. But I wanted to shoot a bow and arrow at a target with my brothers and the instructor wouldn't let me because he said "girls can't shoot a bow"

I was so confused because my dad had let me shoot a dozen times before that

so I took the bow my brother was using and shot when the instructor wasn't looking

I want to say I got a bullseye but I ran away too fast to see

did you get in trouble?

oh yeah

they wouldn't let me anywhere near the range after that

but all that was to say, I've always been familiar with that feeling of being the odd one out

I think I just got used to it and stopped caring

because I can shoot better than half the boys out there anyway



but it definitely helps if you have an advocate on your side

Do you think we should do away with all gender roles?

yes. but how we do that is tough

we'd have to basically start from scratch, but that's where having kids comes in's like a little mini do-over where we can slowly reverse those roles

There are some expectations that come with being a woman or a man

It sounds like you don't appreciate those expectations very much

Do you think some women do?

I don't

I think it quiets women

and I hate to see that.

I think it's a tragedy that women (or anybody) feel silenced by this

and I think you're probably right — we need the pendulum to swing back as much as possible

but I wonder why it's so hard for that message to resonate with others

when you say others who are you referring to?

I mean, the people that are not bent out of shape about feminism for example

I would imagine most people aren't stepping in because they don't notice it

51% of people notice it, right?

right, but you need and advocate and need to be willing to either call someone out and say "you need to help me"

or they need to step in themselves

that's tough

you're putting yourself out there

for someone that isn't you

and how do we get those advocates?

great question

the answer for me was finding a group that would stand up with me

the answer for other women may be similar or it may be just one man standing with her and giving her the floor

I realize that not all women are able to look someone in the eye and say "you. you're going to help me"

haha it's like when you need to call 911 around a group of people and nobody is moving

you need to single someone out....point to them and say, 'you. you're doing this'

maybe that's the structure we need?

no that's bad. that's how you get drug mules


I like the advocates approach

it's inclusive

it doesn't pit genders against each other

and it asks women to work with men to find a solution

I hadn't heard that before

oh good. you got one good thing ?

but I think you're right

we need to work together

how do you think we get advocates?

I dunno, I think you appeal to what people want

There's empirical proof that diversity leads to success

in like, every conceivable measure


oh man! I just explained this to my dad

he asked why diversity was such a big deal, and why it mattered

here's where I got to exercise my 5-year-old explanation

I explained it using the 24 colors crayola crayons

for a long time we only had 12 basic colors that we could use

but the second we introduced 24 colors we could add more depth to our pages

it's the same with diversity the more views you include the more people you'll appeal to and the better your idea, product, service will be because more people will be able to understand

you should have seen his face!

I wish I had taken a picture


That's amazing

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Sarah Jackson


Sarah is a producer for the Spec Network, a self-starter, and the kind of person that makes things happen.

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