Folk Stories

Episodes about Storytelling:

20: Nick Hughes and Building a Global Community of Entrepreneurs

October 7th, 2019 (68 minutes)

Nick Hughes is the founder of Founder's Live, a global entrepreneurial community started by Nick to inspire, educate and entertain entrepreneurs around the world.

Prior to starting Founder's Live, Nick had already done multiple startups. It was through the process of recovering from a failed startup that Nick started "Feature Friday", an event for early stage entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas in 99 seconds and network with others in the Seattle community. This event proved extremely popular and led to Nick scaling it out globally with events now in over fifty cities.

I know Nick from going to the Seattle Founders Live events. While Nick didn't pay me to say this, I'm happy to say that I've always end up meeting interesting people from the event and come out of it feeling highly motivated about doing my own thing. In today's episode, we talk about Nick's entry into entrepreneurship, lessons from having a startup fail, and Nick's vision with Founder's live and where this is going.


Have enough courage to say things aren't going well and I'm feeling down and have you had this before? Most people are gonna say "Oh yeah , I know what you're going through and here's what I did!"

– Nick Hughes


  • how Nick got interested in business
  • study habits and business lessons
  • first startup experience and lessons learned
  • marriage aka finding a co-founder
  • founders depression and Nick's experience with it
  • starting Founders Live and expanding globally
  • Nick's world tour and living up to your potential


  • inspiration
    • being at Founders Lives events and seeing early stage founders getting on stage and pitching
  • surprising fact
    • studied kinesiology and human psychology - used to be a strength coach
  • principle
  • closing notes

18: Leaps of Faith with David Mays

July 8th, 2019 (71 minutes)

David Mays is Senior Public Relations Manager at Amazon where he oversees multiple high impact initiatives. I actually worked with David in my former life at Amazon but we never had a chance for an extended conversation. But as they say, better late than never and today's conversation makes me wish I'd done this earlier. Turns out we have much in common, besides the common employer and the pathological need to run long distances. Prior to Amazon, David has had an expansive career across multiple industries, including public news, the department of defense, and healthcare.

David's father was a Methodist minister and David remembers moving frequently from small town to small town as a kid. He came across a group of runners in one of these towns and insisted on joining them which led to him running his first marathon at the age of 13. This initial catalyst has sparked a lifetime of running, coaching, and the ability to deal with adversity. David has an amazing ability of coaching civilians into champion runners in just about all the places he's worked - this includes coaching his now wife and clinical psychologist Janice Alley who won her age group during her first half marathon race and continues to race competitively today.

In today's episode, we talk about David's childhood and how it sowed seeds for his current narrative, we talk about success as it relates to running and mentorship, and we talk (corporate) talk and explore how David has helped some of the world's biggest corporations shape their own narrative.


"Running as a discipline has always been something that has prepared me for adversity, for always having two or three option plans when things go wrong , [for] failure and the ability to overcome failure, [and for] the desire and ability to mentor and coach and help others"


  • childhood stories and frequently moving
  • overcoming obesity and running first marathon at age of 13
  • thoughts on running, mentorship and facing adversity
  • inviting and coaching non-runners into competitive athletes
  • taking leaps of faith and working across different industries (public news, defense department, oil, healthcare, consumer, etc)
  • supporting the CEO of Kaiser Permanente and defining corporate communication strategy
  • making decisions in short and long time frames
  • "davy gravy" and work under Bush administration
  • vision for the future


  • inspiration
    • long distance mentee, captatain in US army, and competitive runner and triathlete suffered medical condition with unsuccessful surgery
    • seeing her handle situation with calmness and resiliency
  • surprising fact
    • used to play the violin
  • principle
    • treat other people the way you want to be treated
  • closing notes
    • kind words about the podcast and interviews within (thank you David)

17: Following the Filmmaker's Journey with Bao Tran

May 27th, 2019 (66 minutes)
Photographer: Steve Korn

Bao Tran is a professional filmmaker currently raising money for his first feature film, The Paper Tigers, a "Kung Fu indie feature film about three guys who are one kick away from pulling their hamstrings".

Despite knowing that he wanted to do film from watching kung fu movies as a kid, Bao got a degree in computer science as it was the responsible thing to do for someone that is the child of immigrants. This tension between following your dreams and doing what is expected is a theme that is explored both in film and in life for Bao.

Outside of The Paper Tigers, Bao's editing credits include CHO LON, one of Southeast Asia’s highest-budgeted action blockbusters, and JACKPOT, a heartfelt comedy selected as Vietnam’s official entry to the 2016 Oscars for Best Foreign Film.

In today's episode, we talk about kung fu and the action movie genre, we talk about what its like to fundraise for a film, and we talk about telling a good story and what that might mean.


You have a lot of people you might start out with earlier on but they kind of go their separate ways or they go civilian as we say… Its just industry is very tough and its very hard to keep going and continue doing this.

– Bao Tran


  • how Bao's love of kung fu films let to a career in film
  • pursuing passion vs fulfilling family expectations
  • marketing and sales for people that would rather do anything else
  • Bao's first feature film - The Paper Tigers
  • film fundraising and kickstarter
  • diversity and shooting with a mixed race cast
  • shooting action movies and telling stories


  • inspiration
    • as artist, always looking for the work that goes behind art that looks effortless, really impressed with Beyoncé's homecoming
  • surprising fact
    • have a background that is not just film (eg. computer science degree)
  • principle
    • the golden rule
  • closing notes
    • always looking for people that could support the film and want to help - if that's you, reach out


  • Bao's website:
  • Bao's email:
  • LinkedIn:
  • Socials
    • Twitter: @_thepapertigers
    • Facebook: @ThePaperTigersMovie
    • Instagram: @_thepapertigers

13: Creating Film and Community with Vivian Hua

March 25th, 2019 (59 minutes)

Vivian Hua is the director of the Northwest Film Forum (NWFF) , a non-profit film and arts center dedicated to public dialogue and creative action through collective cinematic experiences. Prior to NWFF, Vivian was Communications Manager for ICANNWiki, a collaborative resource dedicated to simplifying the complex issues, policies, and players in the sphere of internet governance. Vivian was also editor in chief of REDEFINE Magazine, a print and web magazine focused on music and the arts.

Vivian got a BA in sociology focused on Law, Society & Justice. Social justice has been a central theme in Vivian's life and is reflected in the work she pursues. In 2017, Vivian released Searching Skies, a narrative short film about a Syrian refugee family. The film was screened in 50 venues across the US and accompanied by a discussion series where people could meet a Muslim person, sometimes for the first time, and ask questions.

In today's episode, we talk about Vivian's vision for the NWFF, Vivian's sudden decision to pursue film upon turning 30, and exploring social justice with film.


When I turned 30, I had a personal revelation. I spent my entire 20's supporting other peoples art … So how do I work on my own now and had a calling to do film

– Vivian Hua


  • what is NWFF
  • getting started in film
  • divination and following signs
  • typical day
  • hosting film discussions
  • searching skies
  • current projects
  • routines to recharge
  • vr and film
  • community and diversity at NWFF
  • marketing art


  • inspiration
    • being inspired by the person that you're with
  • surprising fact
    • used to be a huge raver and gamer
  • principles
    • be authentic to who you are
  • closing
    • anyone who has a cool idea, reach out to Vivian and the NWFF
    • open to random emails


  • LinkedIn
  • Email:

9: Telling Stories with Paul Currington

November 19th, 2018 (93 minutes)

Paul Currington runs the Fresh Ground Stories(FGS) meetup in Seattle. If you're not familiar with FGS, its a meetup that comes together ones a month to share personal stories (based off "The Moth"). Every month, there's a theme and people tell stories based on that theme. Anyone can go up on stage and tell a story, provided that they are true, personal and under 8 minutes.

I've gone to a couple of these events and have always been struck at how raw some of these stories can get. I also told two stories at FGS and found the audience there to be overwhelmingly supportive and kind hearted. I've been wanting to talk to Paul ever since I started this podcast because I think the work that he does, both in telling his stories and enabling others to tell theirs, is incredibly important and has touched the lives of many people, myself included.

Paul has a history in stand-up comedy and has done that for over a decade before switching over to storytelling. He was drawn to the format because he found it to be a richer medium in which to tell stories that were not just black and white. Paul is a man of many stories and a lot of them center around the theme of mental health and depression (themes which we will cover in today's podcast).

In today's episode we'll talk about FGS, storytelling and why you might want to share your own story, we'll talk about the dark nights of the soul and how Paul got through some of the lowest moments of his life and what he's learned, and we'll talk about Paul's principles, how faith is a choice and how turning something into a story can be the start of being able to live with it.


  • fresh ground stories (FGS), what it is and how Paul got involved with it
  • how FGS brings out really personal stories from people
  • storytelling vs stand-up and how pro-life and pro-choice people can be moved by the same story
  • Paul's first memories of depression
  • what happened on December 2012 and life afterwards
  • AA and the 12 step program for depression
  • why Paul doesn't monetize FGS
  • how Paul started talking about depression publicly, starting with a conversation with his son
  • advice on talking to a significant other about depression
  • advice for people who want to help people with depression

Closing Questions

  • inspiration:
    • an African American musician who got a clansman to burn his robes through empathy
  • surprising fact:
    • Paul is a fan of boxing (life is punching you in the face every day and it's how you deal with it)
  • principles:
    • faith is a choice
    • if you can turn something into a story, then it's the start of being able to live with it
  • closing notes:
    • try telling one (safe) person something thats scary and see what that feels like