Folk Stories

Episodes about Management:

8: Not Living on Automatic with HB Siegel

November 12th, 2018 (73 minutes)

H.B. Siegel is Prime Minister of Ideas at Amazon and also one of a very select group of people who have been at Amazon now for almost two decades. In that time, H.B. has been the Director of Media Technologies, the CTO of IMDB (an Amazon subsidiary), and helped launch the "search inside the book" feature for Kindle.

H.B. graduated with degrees in computer science and electrical engineering with a focus in computer graphics. Prior to Amazon, H.B. worked in a series of animation related companies including Wavefront, Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) and Pixar. At Wavefront, H.B. helped developed Maya, a premier 3D animation platform used to create animations for games and films that is still widely used today. At ILM, H.B. worked on the special effects for now iconic film series such as "Star Wars" and "Men In Black".

In today's conversation we'll talk about pranks and not living live on automatic, we'll discuss H.B's career and what he's learned, and we'll talk about investing in ideas versus people (and techniques for telling apart the good from the bad).


  • cocktail party introductions
  • star wars and industrial light and magic
  • pranks and not living life on automatic
  • the department of ideas
  • catalyst and the university of washington
  • investing in ideas and people
  • trends in film making and animation
  • early work at wavefront and developing Maya
  • experience from nearly two decades at amazon
  • peccy
  • removing inefficiencies
  • werewolves
  • unexpected productions and improv

5: Love, Math and Design with Janet Galore

October 8th, 2018 (78 minutes)

My guest today is Janet Galore, Creative Director of Amazon's Retail Experience Concept Lab. The Concept Lab is a department that looks 3-5 years ahead and explores potential retail experiences that could be possible in that time.

Janet is all about working at the intersection of emergent technologies and design and her past gigs include being an executive producer at Zombie VR Studios where they made the first VR exclusive computer game called Locus and as Speech Director of Microsoft's Advanced Strategies and Research where she worked on long term strategy for the company.

In 2015, Janet and her husband bought "The Grocery", a historic building in the Beacon Hill district of Seattle that started its life as a grocery store in 1929. They have turned the space into a creative space where they regularly host events, exhibits and performances (I first met Janet at one of these events).

Today, we talk about Janet's path into technology and design, we talk about the creative process and what it means to evaluate art and we talk about The Grocery and why staying small can be awesome.

Thanks for listening and if you want to leave feedback or nominate folks to the show, please send emails to feedback(at)


  • history and interest in mathematics
  • early work in tech
  • the life of a creative director at Amazon
  • showing your work in design
  • notes on managing creatives
  • learning from mistakes
  • evaluating art in context
  • the grocery: past, present and future
  • managing panic