In this episode of the Hacker Valley Studio podcast, Ron and Chris host a special episode featuring one of their favorite guests. Carole Theriault is the co-host of both the Smashing Security podcast and the Sticky Pickles podcast, and she is also the founder and director of her own company, Tick Tock Social. Carole joins Ron and Chris to talk about her passion for being behind the mic, the impact of COVID-19 on the 2020 holiday season, and more!
As the interview gets underway, Ron and Chris ask Carole about her background and what she’s up to now. At this point, Carole says, she’s in “podcast land.” She works in tech and IT security, as well, and in her work with Tick Tock Social, she aims to help people simplify their messaging and make it palatable for the representatives of companies they’re propositioning. Turning to her podcasts, Carole shares about her co-host for Smashing Security, Graham Cluley, her friend (or frenemy, perhaps?) with whom she also previously worked for Sophos. To conclude her brief personal introduction, Carole notes that she also fills some of her time with hobbies, such as yoga, baking bread, and painting.
Moving forward in the conversation, Ron and Chris are first curious about how Carole got into podcasting in the first place. She explains that a business trip for Sophos involved her listening to This American Life and falling in love with the podcast medium. After she stopped working for Sophos, she started her own projects, and she was eventually able to convince Graham to host a podcast with her.
And it is this podcast that once included Chris as a guest! So, Chris asks, how did he do? The question kick starts a conversation about quality podcast and radio production, which involves voice quality, radio technique, and more. Fortunately, Carole finds that Chris (like Ron) has a great radio voice, and (unlike Graham) she also finds him to have a good laugh. While it can be challenging to find guests with strong radio presence, one benefit of 2020 is that people have had lots of opportunity in lockdown to work on the relevant skills!
Another area in which potential guests often struggle is that of communicating and making themselves the “star,” so to speak. Carole skillfully takes pressure off of guests and highlights them herself, and she is able to do so because she is not running her show for a boss or a company, but for herself and in order to have fun. Her work is designed to be light!
The lightness is born out of experience, though, as Carole is able to choose content for the show because of a well-developed instinct. She developed her instinct, in part, through her work at Sophos. Looking back, Carole details her transition away from Sophos. Over her 15 years there, the company grew and changed, Carole took on too much, and she found she needed to leave. She and Graham decided on the same day to leave Sophos, not knowing where their friendship was yet to lead!
Carole’s journey has certainly been one of stepping into her personal power, and her philosophy in all her endeavors is to be herself. While missing personal contact, she has navigated the pandemic well in her professional life. More personally, she, Ron, and Chris look ahead to the upcoming holidays, which will certainly be usual! They also share a benefit of the pandemic: people having more free time to join podcasts as guests. In fact, Carole is excited to feature Tim Harford of the BBC’s More or Less podcast soon (and, hopefully in 2021, Ron!).
As the conversation winds toward a close, Carole explains her approach to finding guests, which focuses on finding “win-win” scenarios. She likens the departure of co-host Anna (from Sticky Pickles) to a breakup, asks about Ron and Chris’s friendship, and offers advice both to a new podcaster and listeners looking to ensure their cybersecurity this holiday season!
0:00 - Intro
1:40 - This special episode features Carole Theriault!
2:44 - Turning to Carole, the hosts ask her to share her background and what she’s up to now.
5:00 - How did Carole get into podcasting in the first place?
6:50 - Chris asks, “How did I do?”
10:03 - What are some techniques to highlight a guest and make him/her the star?
12:10 - Carole and her hosts get into content selection.
15:13 - Carole tells the story of her decision to leave Sophos.
19:00 - This journey has been an experience of stepping into her own power.
21:01 - She is herself in her work; COVID-19 has not hindered this (though she misses people!)
23:26 - The group talks holiday preparations.
27:49 - Next, they talk future podcast guests and how to choose guests.
30:07 - How long have Ron and Chris known each other?
32:32 - What’s Carole’s advice for new podcasters and for holiday cybersecurity?
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