Penelope Douglas Talks Human About Finding Rationale in an Irrational World

Big and delicious bite out of this amazing thing called life.
— Penelope Douglas

Penelope Douglas sits down to talk human to me about being incredibly messed up, gender equality, commitment, finding rationale in an irrational world, practice, curiosity, suicide, fear, humility, challenge, purpose, impact, and the universe.


Our Conversation with Penelope Douglas

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:03:57] Hi Penelope.

Penelope Douglas: [00:03:58] Hi Jeff.

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:04:00] So what about humans strikes you the most? I start off every conversation with this question.

Penelope Douglas: [00:04:10] What strikes me the most about humans is our, we’re just so incredibly messed up. We are messed up because we have too many opportunities to try to figure out how to be rational in an irrational world and we try so hard to be good humans but there just so many forces at play.

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:04:42] What are these forces that you are talking about? I want to give people an illustration because this has always been something that strikes me about you. You have this amazing optimistic outlook yet you have this very grounded, realistic view and the reason I’ve taken it to heart a lot is because I know that you had a tremendous career. Can you give people a quick illustration of the length of your career and all the experiences that you had?

Penelope Douglas: [00:05:26] Sure. So very quickly it’s important for me to speak from my childhood. I grew up the child of incredibly creative and intellectually powerful parents who had interesting ideas about how to make sure that we grew up as good citizens of the planet.

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:05:44] What do you mean by intellectually powerful?

Penelope Douglas: [00:05:47] They were very smart but they were also very, very imaginative. So they didn’t think highly of themselves in the way that maybe a person who views themselves as an intellectual superstar would, but if you understand their intellect, you would realize they were very, very smart people. What I mean by sort of the way they thought about themselves as they really thought about themselves as citizens of the world and people who were intellectually curious. I don’t think they ever spent any time dwelling on how smart they actually were. So in the way that that came across to us as children, it was about exploration and curiosity but also about culture. It was very important to them that we understand how to create and contribute to a culture that was about community.

So, that’s important because unlike many [children] growing up in a good family with lots of opportunity, we were allowed to be a little more exploratory. Including what I did right after college which was rather than take the perfect job, I took the job I wanted which was to go be a ski bum and the reason that turned out to be such a good choice for me is because as very young woman graduating quite young from college, the most important thing I needed to do was learn how to take care of myself. Actually there couldn’t have been a better job bar-tending at night, you know, skiing during the day, living in a place you’d never been before to sort of learn that I could be a woman of the world. I could take care of myself. I then gravitated towards business, naturally, I started out in--

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:07:24] When you say naturally, is it because of the dynamics that you had?

Penelope Douglas: [00:07:28] What I meant by naturally, is that it seemed to be natural for me to kind of gravitate towards business. I was very intellectually curious about like why certain kinds of businesses seemed to be so successful and others weren’t. It was just natural to me as opposed to naturally heading towards academia or--

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:07:48] The sciences.

Penelope Douglas: [00:07:49] The sciences. There was something about business that just, it was just perfect the way my curious brain was working. So, I went to New York, I started out working, interestingly, in retail sales for a very, very successful clothing company and persuaded the guy who was the owner to let me figure out more about the business than about the front end of the retail sales. In other words, I got him to take me behind the scenes. I got recruited very quickly after that to join an executive search firm, interestingly. At that time women were typically just researchers in the executive search business, you really weren’t allowed to be, believe it or not this is only thirty years ago, you really weren’t allowed to be front facing with a Procter & Gamble or a Wells Fargo Bank. You were doing a good job in your career as a woman at that time in the search business if you were a researcher but I didn’t like that.

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:08:48] Did you find yourself, as a woman at that time, that you had to do things at an above average rate in comparison to men, just to get the same thing as men?

Penelope Douglas: [00:09:02] Always, always yeah.

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:09:04] How did that feel?

Penelope Douglas: [00:09:05] Well you know, interestingly, that is a great question for you to ask me now, because it makes me feel much more sad and I have much more pain about that today in my current work, interestingly, as an older woman than I did then. Then, I think, perhaps because of the culture of my generation, I sort of understood it to be part of what you did.

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:09:28] Right, right.

Penelope Douglas: [00:09:29] You kind of sucked it up and you did it because that was what performance was, that’s what was fulfilling your own dreams would be about. It’s only later that I think I began to analyze it more carefully as it related to my gender. In any event I worked hard and I ended up being in a client facing position. And the reason that’s an important point in my career, the rest of this actually goes a lot faster, is that I found out a lot about myself in that period of time, in terms of how people for me were always at the center of anything that I could imagine that was important about a business strategy. Or about a business of success or about how a business fits into its community or about how community and business can relate to one another. Any of those questions I couldn’t figure them out without thinking about what it really takes for us, for us humans, as people to be in those environments and thrive, those business environments and thrive.

I ended up, no surprise after that sentence, no surprise that I ended up in human resources early in my career after that stint in retail sales. I became a human resources executive for a major bank but wasn’t allowed to stay there, in a good way. I had mentors who pushed me beyond that staff function to take on really tough project assignments, including traveling all over the world and helping this particular situation sell major operations of the bank. So I got pushed towards this kind of interesting marriage that I was always so interested in which is people, strategy, community, culture, business, that sort of combination. I became recognized as someone who could take on really tough assignments and figure them out, kind of puzzles, in the corporate sense: what’s the big problem we are trying to solve.

If you flash forward just a little bit, I became very interested in whether I myself could run a company, and this is now in the mid 1990’s. I chose to find and try to get a great job in one of the most important socially responsible companies of that time that I could find. there weren’t very many that were public facing, socially responsible, branded companies but the one that was interested in me was Odwalla, the fresh juice company. At the time was publicly traded, $65 million dollars in sales, a Wall Street darling, complicated, kind of founder transition going on in a really important time for its strategic  growth as a company. The decision I made was to join Odwalla, thinking, having the thought that I had been deeply introspective and that I would find my way to sort of understand whether I myself could be the CEO of a socially responsible company some day.

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:12:44] Right, right.

Penelope Douglas: [00:12:46] What happens next was incredibly dark and painful period of my life. My life came crashing down around me within four weeks. An E. coli outbreak occurred at Odwalla.

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:12:58] I think some people remember this in the news, right?

Penelope Douglas: [00:13:02] It gained not just attention regionally, but it became a huge national issue. As I learned very quickly that was impart because of how the government, the Center for Disease Control, had to find a kind of “whipping post” company in order to expose the public more--

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:13:21] What’s a “whipping post” company?

Penelope Douglas: [00:13:22] A “whipping post” company is kind of the opposite of a poster child company. So, you know a company that you can kind of flog publicly in order to increase consumer awareness of a serious issue. There had been many, many food borne illness outbreaks before that with major companies but consumers in America hadn’t been paying attention and the media hadn’t really been paying attention. So, we were in a interesting moment in time, probably no doubt in part because of Odwalla’s extremely overt message about being socially responsible. This is a very important part in my life. Who better to become a whipping post in the eyes of a government agency, than a company touting itself to be so responsible that experiences this terrible crisis. I had only been with the company a month. I had to undergo a really serious set of questions for myself about what the nature of commitment is. What is commitment? Why not leave? By the way, many of the senior executives of the company did leave, those that had been there much longer than I had been.

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:14:26] Why was that the central question that immediately happened for you? Because I think for some people coming from a different part of their heart they might be thinking, ‘How am I going to save my ass?’ or ‘How am I going to make sure I survive this disaster?’ For you it wasn’t about survival or kind of self preservation, it was commitment. Why does that matter? Why is that the first thing that is coming from you?

Penelope Douglas: [00:15:05] That’s a really great question, Jeff and it’s definitely from how I’m made up. This a conversation that I know I’m excited to be having that’s about the human part of me, it’s not about anything textbook. The only good answer I have for you, is that there is something about both the way that I was, the values with which i was raised and the way in which my chemistry happens to work. My personality, my make up, that that’s almost always a question I ask myself when I’m in a really deep, serious decision that doesn’t have to do with, for example, love or opportunity but has to do with what I would call a decision that comes from a moment of crisis. Which is what that was, so it is what is the nature of commitment? What is the nature of this commitment? I should mention it’s not, it’s really important to mention, that during that exact same week, the most horrible thing that has ever happened to me in my life also took place which is that my mother died because of medical accident during an outpatient procedure. My mother was my soulmate, as you probably gathered from earlier in this conversation, my parents meant a lot to me.

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:16:37] Talk about that, what do you mean by soulmate?

Penelope Douglas: [00:16:42] We weren’t soul mates when I was small, we were just mother and daughter.


Jeffrey Shiau: [00:16:47] Right, right.

Penelope Douglas: [00:16:49] And then we were, whatever we all are to our children when we all go through that sort self --

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:16:54] Were you the only kid in the family?

Penelope Douglas: [00:16:55] No, three brothers and me.

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:16:57] Were you the baby?

Penelope Douglas:[00:16:59] Kind of the middle.

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:17:00] Oh the middle, okay. Oh well you grew up with three boys.

Penelope Douglas: [00:17:02] Three boys, all around me, including one much younger that I--

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:17:06] So, your mother must have adored you.

Penelope Douglas: [00:17:09] Well, yeah, good point.


Penelope Douglas: [00:17:12] There was probably that and in many ways I think I am, and was very much like her. As we became adults together, by the time I was in my late twenties we had this amazing relationship. Neither of us are extroverts, we’re both kind of trained, we’re tireless communicators. Neither of us are, were, extroverts, so we found in one another this bond that came from this curiosity and this creativity and this playfulness that we shared. this kind of indefatigable optimism but also this kind of shyness or introversion certainly, that allowed us to understand one another’s need for a certain kind of energy that doesn’t come from more contact, it actually comes from less. I think that might have helped us become soul mates.

Anyway, I lost her, it was an accident, it was sudden, it was during a period of time when I was just about to go see her. She was just writing me a note about, “Gosh I’m so sorry about this mess at Odwalla, but come see me, we will talk”. Any way the point of all that is, there are a lot of points to all that, but obviously I was thrust into a very dark place for some period of time. So that question about commitment was one that I think also in a way i had to focus on because if I didn’t find a way to keep asking myself that question, I really didn’t know what I was going to do. I mean I didn’t even know, at that time, if I was committed to my life. I mean I was really, really in a dark place. This huge light had left my life. On the other hand I had--

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:19:02] What did you mean by committed to my life?

Penelope Douglas: [00:19:07] Kind of the way I said it, you know, it was the only time in my life where I didn’t quite understand why you keep living.

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:19:18] Now, I actually want to talk about that for a second because recently, only very recently and I think it’s through moments and at a point in my life when my friends and colleagues and family, that the conversations I’m having with them is more diverse and rich, because of the volume of types of experiences that happen. These conversations don’t happen that often, when, I think during my school years because I think during school years no matter how diverse you think your activities are, it’s still very singular activity.

Penelope Douglas: [00:20:12] I agree.

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:20:13] I think that thought is actually more frequent then I would have imagined when I was younger. If someone told me about that when I was younger, I would have freaked out, ‘Oh my gosh how can you think about that? You need a lot of help.’ For now even for myself, that thought has actually crossed my mind too. I mean for those that are listening it might come as a surprise, this might be the first time people are hearing this from me, but that idea of ‘what’s the point of life right now?’ because of something that is so overbearing. Do you think it’s important to let people know that, and don’t see it as a stigma?

Penelope Douglas: [00:21:12] That’s incredibly important, and it’s incredibly important that we can have a more -- particularly, I’m going to make this connection on purpose -- particularly in our struggle today to find culture and in our struggle today, which an opinion I have, and in our struggle today to find our basic humanity. I think that one of the ways that we could help ourselves find those things is to feel safe and open about talking about questions like this. This is a really important one, have you ever had a moment in time or more than one moment in time, where you’ve wondered what it means to be committed to your life.  In the sense of life, life versus not living. Which is what I think you and I are referring too.

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:22:12] Right.

Penelope Douglas: [00:22:13] Just to kind of make sure we are saying it clearly and honestly. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you have suicidal ideation or that you need immediate mental health, but it’s definitely important nonetheless, whatever it is you may or may not wish to seek, or that you need. It’s really important that we’re able as humans to say these things to one another. So, I agree with you. For me, what was very interesting about that time and I remember this vividly is the wild and amazing thing that also occurred in that exact same period of time. I saw things so clearly. It was if all of my senses were on hyper something, hyper volume you know like hyper. I was amazed by that, and I thought maybe it was my mom sort of being sure that she lived through me for a period of time to help me out. Sort of hyper charge those senses as a way of saying, ‘hey stick with it’. It was fascinating to me, fascinating thinking back on it now, at the time it would make me very momentarily quite joyful and then I would just completely break down. And that happened over and over and over again during that period of time.

I don’t know Jeff if this is a good segue, but today in my life now almost, well exactly twenty years later, that isn’t a question that comes to me, the question of am I committed to life, the way it did that one time in such an important way. I do know that it helped teach me that it was okay to sort of feel things much more at the ends of the spectrum of feeling and that you could, that you’d be okay, if you’re following what I’m saying. Incredible joy followed by moments in time when you feel incredible anger, incredible pain, incredible sorrow, even despair. That that’s okay, I felt that that for me was an important time to understand that I could be okay.

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:24:52] Thank you so much for this sharing. I think this is a very deeply, deeply personal experience. I’m hoping people don’t see this as a how-to or not even as inspiration [inaudible]. I think it’s just two people sharing an experience and just to know that this isn’t a stigma. That you’re not strange or the black sheep because of this.

Penelope Douglas: [00:25:35] Right. I know you know me well, but others who are listening don’t necessarily. I never think of myself as a cheerleader. As cheerful and optimistic and, as you very kindly said, grounded as I may be, I’m not a big fan of cheerleading.


Penelope Douglas: [00:25:57] In fact I hate it when people try to cheerlead me. So, I can really emphasize that I care about in terms of this conversation with you is honesty and feeling.

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:26:11] Right, right. So, I definitely want to get to the characteristic of humility, a little bit later in our conversation. Through the experiences that you’ve had and through this kind of dichotomy of optimism and grounded reality that you have. This is just the situation of how things are currently but I still hold that optimism, that’s why I’m still involved in all these issues and initiatives that are trying to do good. With all the things that you’ve seen in your tremendous career, do you feel and this is a question I’m asking a lot of folks in a kind of a variety of ways. Do you feel our next generation is screwed? Or no it’s actually earlier, our current generation is screwed?


Penelope Douglas: [00:27:21] I think about it a lot, I don’t, as you could tell by looking at my face just then, I don’t have a ready answer for that question. I think--

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:27:36] You’re the first person by the way out of all these conversations and it’s interesting because I would say - so - I’ve had people who have had a maybe five year career so far or a ten year career but nothing that’s as prestigious as yours yet. So it’s interesting hearing that out of all the ones where they’ve had a very - its either A or B answer, this is a very concrete answer, yours is actually a question mark.

Penelope Douglas: [00:28:14] It’s a question mark. Absolutely. I certainly have considerable thoughts about what i think is going to make a big difference to the answer to that question. Some of those are more concrete and obvious in terms of what you might imagine me saying about the planet and about our resilience. I certainly work a lot on some of those solutions, but I’ve spent a lot more time in the last couple of years, as you know Jeff, in kind of a purposeful not-in-one-job kind of lifestyle. Purposefully avoiding the entrepreneur path in order to offer questions and answers and bridge building and other kinds of actions as a way of thinking what we do need in the twenty-first century in order to not be screwed. One of the things I think we need more of is we need more focus on culture. We also have a huge problem, I believe, with a very complicated and complex conundrum that has to do with fear, human fear.

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:29:48] Really quick before we talk about fear, can you actually quickly clarify what you mean by culture?

Penelope Douglas: [00:29:56] Sure, great, because culture is a word that is way overused.

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:30:00] Right?

Penelope Douglas: [00:30:01] And I know in some peoples' minds is immediately jarring. I actually prefer kind of traditional definition of culture and when I’m talking about it I mean it by that traditional definition. It does matter to me and I don’t have a better word than culture. So for me that is the unspoken rules by which society forms itself into thriving communities. It is that set of unspoken rules, the unwritten rules that underpinning that is central to peoples' actions and the values that of course create their actions and their actions and in positive cultures, cultures that are thriving. Everyone understands and acts, commonly in accordance with those unwritten, unspoken, underpinning kinds of rules.

Whatever the right word for rules is, that’s what I mean by culture. I feel that we’ve lost sight of what an important - I think we’ve lost sight of how important culture is and I think we’ve sort of diminished its importance. We’ve sort of - perhaps because of language perhaps because of the movement of people around the world for all sorts of reasons. I also think culture is being diminished as an important ideal by virtue of the other thing I was going to mention which is--

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:31:49] Fear.

Penelope Douglas: [00:31:50] Fear. My greatest concern for us in terms of our not being screwed is our ability understand where fear comes from. All the different ways in which fear comes into our lives and really be able to separate the kind of fear that we can identify as being created by wrongly placed financial interests or wrongly conceived values. As opposed to the kind of fear that is visceral, that we have to actually, absolutely learn to identify and stay with when it happens, which is the kind of fear that is a threat, a threat that’s real that you have no choice to come to terms with. I think we are very confused about the sources of fear. I know I am, and therefore I think fear is a big topic.

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:33:10] I actually want to transition to the topic of humility. Because your admission of fear, your one characteristic I think I’ve admired about you the most every time I have an interaction with you, is your ability to make the person sitting across from you feel like they’re the ones with things to teach and they’re the ones with new information that you don’t know about. When I think a lot of folks who meet you and know about your career, in the back of their head they’re thinking and I’ve had this with just a few folks, in the back of their head they are just constantly thinking ‘what does this person have to learn from me? Why are they asking all these questions that they probably know the answer to and they probably have a better way of doing, because they’ve probably gone through the same experience and they know what the outcome is going to be?’ Why do you think you have that characteristic and do you think it’s intentional? It’s practice, or because of the relationship you had with your family, you had with your mother, that’s actually very natural, and do you think it’s important? Do you think it’s one of the important things that you have?

Penelope Douglas: [00:35:05] I think I will answer your last question first, which is it’s a quality in myself that I love. I love it about myself. So I guess, I don’t know if I know it’s important or not but i know that I--

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:35:19] There’s the humility right there.

Penelope Douglas: [00:35:20] Yeah, you’re right. I know that I love it about myself and I think it’s really important that each of us knows what we love about ourselves. One way to try and answer your question is that the way in which I look at the world and the way in which I relate to people is the way that makes me happiest. I also think I’ve practiced at it in the sense that I think, if you love something about yourself you probably know that you want to hone it a little bit or you want to - it’s good to practice because it’s something you love. I think it’s natural for me to practice, to your question about practice. I think it’s more about the natural person and what makes me happy and then practice is also important, although not primary probably secondary. There is something I want to say though that is the kind of other side of this which is I’m also happiest when I’m valued and offering value. So it isn’t as though the person who perhaps, like me, fits the description you gave of me that that’s all it takes to make me happy. It makes me happiest to interact with the people the way that I do and to be me fully everyday. The other important thing that makes me happy...a better way of putting it is if I can identify that you on the other side of the table think that what we just did was valuable, if I can identify that that was true, I’m the happiest person in the world. If I identify afterwards that we were just paying lip service to one another or that you had an ulterior motive that you didn’t tell me honestly about, I’m not angry actually, I’m just sad instead of happy.

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:37:40] It seems to happen a lot, we are in the financial district right now, it seems to happen a lot specifically in this district.

Penelope Douglas: [00:37:46] Yeah, exactly. And, for some people they would be angry first and then their other emotions would kick into gear. I’m always sad first when the exchange doesn’t seem like it was valued and valuable.

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:37:58] I love that you allow human emotions in your professional life.

Penelope Douglas: [00:38:05] I definitely do.

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:38:07] I think that’s one of the biggest, the biggest disservice to so many college kids, undergrad kids especially anyone who might be listening to this. If anyone ever says, you gotta separate your personal beliefs and your professional beliefs and keep them completely compartmentalized, because you don’t want to bring emotion into your work. For me it’s thinking, well then you’re not being genuine in your work. I understand that there is this sense of ‘oh don’t take things personally’ but I don’t think that means don’t be human.

Penelope Douglas: [00:38:54] Right, or don’t feel something.

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:38:56] Right, I think it’s ‘don’t take things personally’ meaning realize that everyone is working towards a goal. They’re not working or trying to play games with each other. So don’t take that personally. I think it’s so important to invest and express yourself, just like you said.

Penelope Douglas: [00:39:19] Right. I think people who do, I mean my point of view about that as well from a professional perspective is, all the amazingly talented people that I’ve had the good fortune to hire or have work with me. In all the settings, corporations, social enterprises, non-profits all the things I’ve run. It’s that aspect of that person that ability to do just what you just described that makes them unbelievably high potential because that’s how you develop. So it’s a really important topic.

Actually thinking about the college kids and others who might be listening to this, I wanted to see if it was okay if I asked you a question, just quickly?

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:40:13] Of course.

Penelope Douglas: [00:40:14] Or ask it together of ourselves. It actually came to me again this morning. One of the things that I don’t feel I understand so well about where we are across generations right now, and this is a very, very simple question, is how come we don’t smile more at one another?


Penelope Douglas: [00:40:38] I’m really sort of prepossessed with this right now. It’s like I’m walking down the street  - like is it that an older person, call me the older person, when I smile at a younger person - most of the time they don’t smile back at me. Yet I watch people interact with one another, and I realize it has absolutely nothing to do with my view of whether that may be generational or not. It’s actually that there isn’t much smiling going on, in the kind of way, the day-to-day humans on the street, in and out of BART, up and down the subway stairs. At least not here.

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:41:24] I love that observation. A lot of thoughts actually just spun through my head when you asked me that. I think it’s because, and this is just an immediate kind of reaction, there are so many things, standards and expectations. What is stated as faux pas now coming from literally hundreds of directions, ‘Oh it can be misconstrued as harassment. You can be misconstrued as a creep. Oh why are you doing that, that’s a weird thing, that’s a Hollywood fake thing.’ Why is an older person doing that with a younger person? Why is a younger person doing that with a older person? Why is a man smiling at a woman? So there is all these faux pas, like, ‘Oh is that a weird creepy look?’ So I think everyone who is interacting with you, has a different paradigm in their head. So I think someone who has a very open, positive look will smile back. I’ve actually been trying to smile just deliberately at people as well just to see what happens there.

Penelope Douglas: [00:42:52] [inaudible]

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:42:53] And you had a perfect observation. Some people give a ‘what’s with this guy’ look or they smile back and I think that’s really interesting. I don’t know though, that’s my guess because of what people tend to let into their life. Absorb, whether it’s the media, whether it’s books, whether it’s classes, whether it’s lessons they’ve learned from their friends or their family, you don’t know. Again a lot of folks - I think also you don’t know what happened to that person that day. maybe that morning that person received the worst news in the world, so they are not in the mood to smile.

Penelope Douglas: [00:43:38] Right, of course.

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:43:39] So, I don’t know.

Penelope Douglas: [00:43:40] I was interested because it used to be - and the reason I am asking the question is not so much because I think smiling is the important feature of our lives but its because - speaking from my generation that used to be a common courtesy. So it was as much something you did as saying how do you do. You know these are things that are left overs (laughter) from prior generations, right?

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:44:08] Right.

Penelope Douglas: [00:44:09] I’m just trying to figure out what’s todays non technological, human version of a smile is. What is it we can do because I think it’s really important to know what that is.


Jeffrey Shiau: [00:44:23] Right, right. I think the general rule or practice that’s really good is: don’t take things so personally.

Penelope Douglas: [00:44:35] Right.

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:44:36] Just be open and you can interpret it in many different ways. So again because you gotta go save the world in second--

Penelope Douglas: [00:44:46] (Laughs)

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:44:48] I want to just end this conversation with the minute that we have left, I end all my conversations with the question: Ultimately, what’s the point of all of this?


Penelope Douglas: [00:45:08] Stardust. That’s all we are, we are just stardust. That’s how we are formed, that’s what we are made of so as far as I know, it’s just stardust.

Jeffrey Shiau: [00:45:26] How do we embrace that?

Penelope Douglas: [00:45:28] By being as absolutely human as we possibly can and taking as big and delicious bite out of this amazing thing called life that we possibly can. Just keeping ourselves grounded by reminding ourselves every now and then that scientifically speaking we are just stardust. It’s a lovely image for me.


Equipment & Software:

Yeti Microphone & Ice Microphone by Blue Microphones

Audacity for Mac

WD My Passport Ultra 1 TB

Macbook Pro Retina 15inch Late 2013



Smile by Daniel Alan Gautreau

Tiny Bits by Felipe Adorno Vassao

Time & Reflection by Bjorn Lynne

Retro Video Game Hotseat by Bjorn Lynne