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What Works
What Works
Tara McMullin

"Work" is broken. We're overcommitted, underutilized, and out of whack. But it doesn't have to be this way. What Works is a... more

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EP 473: Unpacking Attention Fetishism with Jess Shane

Our podcast feeds and streaming services are full of real stories of real people. And not all of those stories... more

23 May 2024 · 28 minutes
EP 472: Speculative Investing Made Personal

Okay, this isn't really an episode about speculative investing. Well, it is. But I'm not talking about crypto or meme... more

16 May 2024 · 15 minutes
EP 471: The Many Hats of Leigh Stein

What would happen if you archived all of your Instagram content, announced that you had taken a job at a fictional... more

02 May 2024 · 32 minutes
EP 470: Rethinking Creativity—A Cautionary Tale

Good luck going anywhere today without running into a message about creativity.I was going to say, "anywhere online," but really,... more

25 Apr 2024 · 21 minutes
NEW: World-Building for Business Owners

I'm teaching a new workshop on May 15 & 16, 2024! It's called World-Building for Business Owners, and it's based... more

19 Apr 2024 · 9 minutes
EP 469: Building Solidarity in the Creator Economy with Kate Tyson & Charlie Gilkey

"How do I want to live?" Philosopher Rahel Jaeggi says this question is bound up in the concept of alienation.... more

18 Apr 2024 · 34 minutes
EP 468: Figuring Out the Creator Economy with Charlie Gilkey & Kate Tyson

It seems the creator economy is booming. Or is it?And what even is the creator economy??Platforms like Instagram, YouTube, and... more

11 Apr 2024 · 50 minutes
EP 467: Organizing Indie Labor with Chiarra Lohr

The labor market has undergone a sea change in the last 20 years. A full third of US workers are... more

04 Apr 2024 · 38 minutes
EP 466: Making Room for Others with Leonie Smith

The Center for Nonviolent Communication describes what they teach as "empathy in action." And so it seems fitting to close... more

21 Mar 2024 · 32 minutes
EP 465: Learning Empathy from Copywriters & Doppelgangers with Samantha Pollack

I have learned a lot about cognitive empathy by learning copywriting. After all, copywriting is a puzzle—the puzzle of figuring... more

14 Mar 2024 · 35 minutes
EP 464: Decoding Accessibility with Erin Perkins

Typically, the question of accessibility online is considered in technical terms: How does this website need to be designed? What... more

07 Mar 2024 · 31 minutes
EP 463: A Brand is a Constellation with N. Chloé Nwangwu

How do you get seen in a world that doesn't see you? How do you get recognized when so many... more

29 Feb 2024 · 30 minutes
EP 462: Decoding the Language of Empathy

Today, we peel back the layers of a term that's become ubiquitous in the business world and beyond: empathy. In... more

22 Feb 2024 · 34 minutes
This is Not Advice: Process Entropy & Process Evolution

Are you waiting for a glorious day with your system, plan, or business just work? I hate to tell you this—but... more

20 Feb 2024 · 11 minutes
EP 461: My Nemesis

Our beliefs leave an indelible mark on how we interact with others and our environment. Even when those beliefs aren't... more

15 Feb 2024 · 21 minutes
EP 460: In Defense of Gimmicks

The proliferation of derivative nonsense on various social media platforms begs the question: Is it possible to make a TikTok... more

08 Feb 2024 · 29 minutes
EP 459: Sorry, self-promotion doesn't work

Last week, Vox published an article by internet culture reporter Rebecca Jennings about how everybody needs to be a self-promoter... more

06 Feb 2024 · 28 minutes
EP 458: How many layers are too many?

Layers. Unless we're talking about cake, you can have too many layers. In today's episode, I share a recent metaphorical revelation... more

25 Jan 2024 · 24 minutes
EP 457: How to Define Hard-to-Define Work Stress

So, you're stressed. Or work feels intense. Or you're putting more energy than you should into manifesting a day with "no... more

18 Jan 2024 · 22 minutes
EP 456: Reprogramming Our Source Code

Why is it that our bodies and brains tend to function on so much outdated code? Our personal algorithms and... more

16 Jan 2024 · 20 minutes
EP 455: The Case for Uncertainty (And How to Navigate It)

The only sure bet is uncertainty. As we start a new year, I want to take a closer look at... more

04 Jan 2024 · 29 minutes
EP 454: Wibbly-Wobbly, Timey-Wimey Stuff

Today, a short meditation on time, the end-of-year season, and how we might carry what we experience now into the... more

21 Dec 2023 · 12 minutes
EP 453: Fear of Loathing in Lancaster

This is the 3rd edition of Cold Pitch, an experimental project from YellowHouse.Media exploring media, curiosity, and identity. I'll be... more

15 Dec 2023 · 43 minutes
This is Not Advice: How a Syllabus Could Change the Way You Plan

Planners and project management apps reinforce linear, chronological thinking. What if we used a completely different medium to plan for... more

12 Dec 2023 · 9 minutes
EP 452: This Daily YouTube Show is a Rich Text

This is the second edition of Cold Pitch, an experimental project from YellowHouse.Media about media, curiosity, and identity. In this... more

07 Dec 2023 · 25 minutes
EP 451: An Inbox Full of Lies

Over the next few weeks, I've got something a wee bit different for you! This is the very first edition... more

30 Nov 2023 · 30 minutes
EP 450: The Will to Share Power with Tania Luna

This is the final installment in Strange New Work, a series that uses speculative fiction to explore radical work futures.Power.... more

02 Nov 2023 · 33 minutes
EP 449: The Most Undervalued Skill of the 21st-Century Economy

This is the penultimate episode of Strange New Work, a special series from What Works that explores the future of... more

26 Oct 2023 · 35 minutes
BONUS: A Quick Pep Talk

I've got something short, sweet, and really special for you today. Sean, my husband, my go-to extrovert shield, and the... more

23 Oct 2023 · 4 minutes
EP 448: Made for Work

This is the 6th installment of Strange New Work, a special series that uses speculative fiction to explore radically different... more

19 Oct 2023 · 27 minutes
EP 447: Disrupting Housework (Without Robots or Replicators)

This is the 5th installment of Strange New Work, a special series that explores how speculative fiction can help us... more

12 Oct 2023 · 34 minutes
EP 446: You Will Be Assimilated with Charlie Gilkey

This is the 4th installment in Strange New Work, a special series from What Works that explores how speculative fiction... more

05 Oct 2023 · 32 minutes
EP 445: The Time to Change with Jordan Maney & Joanna Cea

This is the third installment in Strange New Work, a series that explores how speculative fiction can help us imagine... more

28 Sep 2023 · 34 minutes
This Is Not Advice: Quid Pro No Thank You

This is the 11th edition of This is Not Advice, a "not advice" column for premium subscribers of What Works.... more

27 Sep 2023 · 10 minutes
EP 444: World-Building a More Sustainable Work Environment with Morgan Harper Nichols

This is the second episode in my new series, "Strange New Work." Artist and writer Morgan Harper Nichols is a... more

21 Sep 2023 · 28 minutes
EP 443: Imagining a Radically Different World of Work

The future of work doesn't have to be an extension of today's reality.This is the first installment in Strange New... more

14 Sep 2023 · 27 minutes
Strange New Work Starts September 14!

Join Tara McMullin for a journey into the far future of work, and consider how we can create more humane,... more

08 Sep 2023 · 2 minutes
EP 442: When The Voice In Your Head Whispers... Meritocracy

Today’s episode is a sneak peek of Work In Practice, my new 12-week training program for guides of all kinds.... more

07 Sep 2023 · 26 minutes
EP 441: Rules, Habits, and Opening Doors with Charlie Gilkey

There are rules you know about—and rules you don't. Some rules are written down—and other rules are "just the way... more

24 Aug 2023 · 23 minutes
EP 440: Adopting the Perennial Mindset for Work & Beyond with Mauro Guillén

Play, learn, work, retire—those are the four stages of what Mauro Guillén calls the sequential mode of life. In his new... more

17 Aug 2023 · 24 minutes
This is Not Advice: Metrics, Incentives, and the Seduction of Clarity

This is the 8th edition of This is Not Advice, my "not-advice" column for premium subscribers of What Works. Today, I'm talking... more

14 Aug 2023 · 9 minutes
EP 439: Expectations, Boundaries, and Making Work in Public with Randi Buckley

Making work for the public seems to come with a slew of fuzzy social expectations. What do we owe our... more

10 Aug 2023 · 25 minutes
EP 438: Counterfeit Financial Culture with Manisha Thakor

The media give us wildly exaggerated images of wealth and consumption. And even if we recognize that a tv show... more

07 Aug 2023 · 25 minutes
EP 437: Leaving the Cult of Never Enough with Manisha Thakor

At age 50, Manisha Thakor realized that she'd sacrificed her life at the altar of work. How did that happen?... more

03 Aug 2023 · 29 minutes
This is Not Advice: How Flexibility is Used and Abused

This is an excerpt from the 7th edition of This is Not Advice—a not-advice column exclusively for premium subscribers. In this... more

31 Jul 2023 · 9 minutes
EP 436: The Myth of Rugged Individualism—and Hope for Something More (Remix)

This episode originally ran on May 25, 2022. It's been lightly remixed for today's release!“Rugged individualism” is the very language... more

27 Jul 2023 · 12 minutes
EP 435: Self-Control, Surveillance, and the Body at Work (Classic)

So much of our modern discourse around productivity, empowerment, entrepreneurship, and personal growth includes messages about our bodies. These messages... more

20 Jul 2023 · 55 minutes
This is Not Advice: Beyond Creating Versus Consuming

This is an episode of "This is Not Advice," a bonus podcast I do for premium subscribers of What Works.... more

17 Jul 2023 · 28 minutes
EP 434: What do we really want from social media? with Jay Acunzo

This is an episode about Meta's new app, Threads. It's also about Substack and Substack's new-ish feature, Notes. But really,... more

13 Jul 2023 · 28 minutes
EP 433: What is Capitalist Realism? with Iggy Perillo

"It's easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism," say Frederic Jameson and Slavoj Žižek.Capitalist... more

06 Jul 2023 · 58 minutes
This is Not Advice: Accessibility Beyond the Checklist

Welcome to the 5th edition of This is Not Advice, a non-advice column for premium subscribers of What Works. If... more

03 Jul 2023 · 12 minutes
EP 432: Queer Failure with Kate Tyson

"Failure" got a glow-up sometime in the last 20 years. Instead of something to be feared, gurus tell us to embrace... more

29 Jun 2023 · 29 minutes
EP 431: The Shoulds and Supposed-tos of Baking

Buckle up—today's episode was inspired by something that got me really worked up this week: "I think home-baking is one of... more

22 Jun 2023 · 26 minutes
This is Not Advice: Who is Responsible for Adapting?

"Outsiders" shoulder a disproportionate burden when it comes to fitting in. Can we demand more from the "insiders?"This is a... more

20 Jun 2023 · 6 minutes
EP 430: Why Does Authenticity So Often Feel Fake?

What gets labeled as "authentic" is often quite predictable. It's a market-compatible expression of what was once something unique or... more

15 Jun 2023 · 24 minutes
EP 429: Maybe bigger isn't better?

On June 8, Skye Pillsbury opened the latest edition of her newsletter, The Squeeze, with the header RIP Gimlet. She... more

12 Jun 2023 · 15 minutes
EP 428: "You paid WHAT for that?!" Or, How Echo Chambers Distort Prices and How We Think

I’m about to write the most journalistic thing I’ve ever written: I received a tip.I wish I could say it... more

08 Jun 2023 · 44 minutes
This is Not Advice: Making Work That Can't Be Sold

Welcome to the 3rd edition of This is Not Advice, my advice column that’s not an advice column for paid... more

05 Jun 2023 · 7 minutes
EP 427: The Trust-Profit Paradox

Today's episode is all about trust and responsibility—and how those qualities impact the cost of doing business and the work... more

25 May 2023 · 23 minutes
EP 426: This is Not Advice: It's Our World, AI Just "Lives" In It

What are we really talking about when we talk about our hopes and fears about AI?It's us. We're the problem.Actually,... more

22 May 2023 · 17 minutes
EP 425: [Dispatch] Gone Meta

There's a sort of inside joke in the online business space of coaches, creators, and service providers. Or maybe, at... more

18 May 2023 · 13 minutes
EP 424: How the Game We Play Changes Our Work

“This cancerous economic principle means that executives and venture capitalists have abandoned the concept of value within a business. Through... more

11 May 2023 · 23 minutes
EP 423: This is Not Advice: What can I do to grow my audience?

Today’s quick episode is a sample of something I’m creating for paid subscribers to What Works. I’m calling it my... more

08 May 2023 · 14 minutes
EP 422: The "Risks" of Losing What You Never Had with Nathalie Lussier

What does a bad movie from 1992, loss aversion, Steinbeck, pizza, farm animals, and the founder of a software company... more

04 May 2023 · 37 minutes
EP 421: AI, Automation, and the Case for Luddism

I am on board when it comes to technological progress. I look forward to updating my devices (although I don’t... more

27 Apr 2023 · 36 minutes
EP 420: Why every business is "on a mission to..."

It seems like every company today claims to be "on a mission" to change the world or improve our lives.... more

20 Apr 2023 · 29 minutes
EP 419: What is an “ethical business?” with Brooke Monaghan

At least in my corner of social media, there are a lot of folks asking what makes a business ethical.... more

11 Apr 2023 · 33 minutes
EP 418: [Dispatch] Going beyond the "greedy corporation" critique

This Earth Month... buy more stuff?!We're about to be bombarded with messaging about corporate climate initiatives. We'll have the chance... more

04 Apr 2023 · 12 minutes
EP 417: [Dispatch] "All parasites have value"

"All parasites have value, Sibling Dex. Not to their hosts, perhaps, but you could say the same about a predator... more

28 Mar 2023 · 17 minutes
EP 416: Anxiety (and Mental Health) in the Achievement Society with Morra Aarons-Mele

I’ve called myself a recovering overachiever. I’m recovering not from the drive to excel but from the anxiety inherent to... more

14 Mar 2023 · 33 minutes
EP 415: The Economics of Being Needy with Mara Glatzel

We all have deep human needs—for belonging, for autonomy, for creative expression, for safety and security. But modern life can... more

28 Feb 2023 · 49 minutes
EP 414: The Economics of Ideas with Jenny Blake

What makes an idea valuable? What turns it into a product that can be bought, sold, or rented? Ideas turn... more

21 Feb 2023 · 44 minutes
EP 413: The Economics of Getting (And Paying) Attention: Part 2

This is Part 2 of The Economics of Getting (and Paying) Attention. If you haven’t listened to Part 1, I... more

14 Feb 2023 · 35 minutes
BONUS: Permission to Speak with Samara Bay

How comfortable are you with your own voice? How likely are you to say what's on your mind?Samara Bay, the... more

09 Feb 2023 · 22 minutes
EP 412: The Economics of Paying Attention (Part 1)

How does the principle of supply and demand influence what we pay attention to? (And who pays attention to us?)

07 Feb 2023 · 39 minutes
EP 411: The Economics of Cashflow (Remix)

If we want to understand the tiny economy of our businesses, then we have to understand cashflow.

31 Jan 2023 · 27 minutes
EP 410: The Economics of Work Relationships with Kate Strathmann

How can we avoid unintentional exploitation in our working relationships?

24 Jan 2023 · 36 minutes
EP 409: The Economics Of Information and Care

If information wants to be free… why is it so darn expensive?

17 Jan 2023 · 36 minutes
EP 408: The Economics Of Big (and Small) Decisions with Hillary Rea

Can economics help you decide whether or not to quit social media? Yes!

10 Jan 2023 · 32 minutes
EP 407: How To Feel Good About Going Slow

Can we unlearn urgency and learn to enjoy patience?

03 Jan 2023 · 27 minutes
A Vision for Work in 2023 (and Beyond)

Work has evolved. The way we work has not.

20 Dec 2022 · 11 minutes
EP 406: Our Favorite Things of 2022

Tara & Sean share a look back at the year and what caught their attention in books, tv, podcasts, and... more

13 Dec 2022 · 51 minutes
EP 405: What causes work stress? And what can we do about it?

While the answer might seem obvious, understanding how work creates stress and help us design more sustainable work systems.

06 Dec 2022 · 23 minutes
EP 404: What lights your fire?

Thinking about doing things differently next year? Here's one way my own work has changed—big time.

29 Nov 2022 · 1 hour, 10 minutes
EP 403: Have your values been hijacked?

How do you see through the bait & switch?

22 Nov 2022 · 1 hour, 12 minutes
EP 402: How do you crack the code on goal-setting?

Charlie Gilkey talks with Tara about the cultural code that lurks beneath our assumptions about goals & success.

15 Nov 2022 · 1 hour, 3 minutes
EP 401: Do we really all have the same 24 hours?

Jenny Blake, Charlie Gilkey, and Tara discuss capacity, time, and avoiding overcommitment.

08 Nov 2022 · 1 hour, 2 minutes
EP 400: The Power of Practice

🙌🏻 A 400th Episode AND Book Birthday celebration! 🙌🏻

01 Nov 2022 · 27 minutes
EP 399: Self Help, LLC: The Politics of Hustle Culture with Jadah Sellner

Who does all of our productivity really benefit?

25 Oct 2022 · 52 minutes
EP 398: Self Help, LLC: Good Bodies With India Jackson, Tiffany Ima, and Jessica DeFino

What happens when confidence and control collide?

18 Oct 2022 · 54 minutes
EP 397: Self Help, LLC: Bad Usage With Samara Bay

How we use our voices is a microcosm of how we think about ourselves. What happens when we use our... more

11 Oct 2022 · 41 minutes
EP 396: Self Help, LLC: #MakingMemories with Sara Petersen

How do influencers impact the way we see ourselves, our families, and… our shopping lists?

04 Oct 2022 · 36 minutes
EP 395: Self Help, LLC: Instagram, the Algorithm, and Personality Types with Steph Barron Hall from Nine Types Co

Personality types are big business on Instagram. Why are we so hooked on ourselves?

27 Sep 2022 · 31 minutes
EP 394: Self Help, LLC: The Paradox of Self-Help Expertise with Patrick Sheehan

Who do you trust with improving your life?

20 Sep 2022 · 30 minutes
EP 393: Self Help, LLC: Selling Empowerment with Kelly Diels

Is this really what empowerment looks like?

13 Sep 2022 · 35 minutes
EP 392: Self Help, LLC: Winners & Losers

Are we all in the self-help business now?

06 Sep 2022 · 30 minutes

Are we all in the self-help business now?

23 Aug 2022 · 3 minutes
EP 391: How do human decisions shape the economy? with Stacey Vanek Smith

What even is the economy really? How does economic news impact my daily life? And what would prompt two humanities... more

09 Aug 2022 · 33 minutes
THE BOOK: Do your Big-G Goals Serve You?

After finding myself frustrated, exhausted, and burnt out, I had to ask: Are the goals I set making my life... more

26 Jul 2022 · 10 minutes
EP 390: Context Clues: Is a recession inevitable?

How do you prepare your small business for economic ups and downs?

12 Jul 2022 · 49 minutes
EP 389: Context Clues: Does everyone need a personal brand?

How has our relationship with ourselves changed since we started to put so much effort into emphasizing the most marketable... more

05 Jul 2022 · 30 minutes
EP 388: Extra Context: Not Getting Paid

Can work be valuable even if you're not making money with it? What role do hobbies and personal pursuits have... more

28 Jun 2022 · 21 minutes
EP 387: Context Clues: Is there hope beyond positive thinking?

Vibe check: does positive thinking get in the way of recognizing real limitations and structural challenges?

21 Jun 2022 · 41 minutes
EP 386: Extra Context: Getting Paid

How can we think more strategically about the way we get paid as business owners & independent workers?

14 Jun 2022 · 20 minutes
EP 385: Context Clues: Who do you work for?

Do you spend more of your time working for internet companies than for yourself or your clients?

07 Jun 2022 · 36 minutes
EP 384: Context Clues: Do you love your work?

Is loving your work all it's cracked up to be? And is the work you love meeting your needs?

31 May 2022 · 37 minutes
EP 383: Extra Context: Rugged Individualism

Has individualism made it harder to navigate the 21st-century economy?

24 May 2022 · 11 minutes
EP 382: Context Clues: What makes for a fair refund policy?

Does your refund policy help you make sales... or do right by your customers?

17 May 2022 · 57 minutes
EP 381: What happens when you take a 4-month break from business as usual?

At the end of 2021, I stepped away from my business: left our community, off-boarded my employee to another company,... more

10 May 2022 · 25 minutes
EP 380: When does overdelivering become overcompensating? with Allison Davis

I’m sure you’ve heard it before: underpromise and overdeliver. But is that really the best way to do business? Or... more

05 Apr 2022 · 26 minutes
What Works
EP 385: Context Clues: Who do you work for?
What Works

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Do you spend more of your time working for internet companies than for yourself or your clients?