Folk Stories

Episodes about Tech:

21: Building an esports platform with Grant Farwell

November 11th, 2019 (59 minutes)

Grant Farwell is the Chairman and Co-Founder of Matcherino, an esports platform that helps game publishers and tournament organizers run successful esports tournaments.

Prior to Matcherino, Grant founded Barc, a social web browsing experience for people browsing the same web sites. This was before the rise of services like discord and slack and offered some of the same functionality. Grant says that while the team had a solid technology base, they struggled with sales and monetization. This led to the eventual shutdown of Barc and the start of Matcherino.

In this episode, we talk about the esports industry and challenges tournament organizers face, we talk about doing sales in startups, and we talk about brands and sponsorship in esports.


And it was really like an aha moment… All these fans wanted to donate money… and to not just financially, but in so many different ways, contribute to this event that was happening.

– Grant Farwell


  • story behind the camel
  • economics, crypto and financial platforms
  • Barc'ing up the wrong tree
  • listening to customers but not taking suggestions literally
  • matcherino and techstars
  • esports, tournaments and payouts
  • sustainability in esports
  • how brands navigate esports
  • present and future of esports


  • inspiration
    • being at esport tournament with fans, seeing communities getting together and helping support it
  • surprising fact
    • life is quite boring at home, mostly working
  • principle
    • treat everyone like how you would want to be treated k- closing notes
    • if you want to engage with esports fans, matcherino can help you reach these audience and drive whatever KPIs you're looking to drive
  • Matcherino: Grant's company, esports platform to help game publishers and tournament organizers run successful tournaments
  • Techstars: Startup Accelerator

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

16: Friends, Family and Startups with Robert Sweeney

May 6th, 2019 (82 minutes)

Robert Sweeney is CEO of Facet, the premier platform for hiring senior contract software engineers.

Before becoming a founder, Robert was a senior software engineer himself at companies such as Netflix and Microsoft. Robert knew from an early age that he wanted to be an entrepreneur from working at his grandpa's grocery shop. Robert left Netflix with a friend to start a software development studio with an initial verbal contract from Western Digital.

In 2014, Robert founded Numetric, a SaaS based analytics startup. After working on the company for close to four years, hiring over 40 employees, and raising over $16 million in venture capital, Robert was fired from the very company that he founded.

Today, Robert is working full time on Facet and helping other engineers make the leap from full-time work to doing their own thing.

In today's episode, we talk about negotiating contracts, hiring and firing friends, and that time Robert's house almost burned down.


We had to make the decision that day… That didn't give us enough time to sign the contract. So we quit our jobs on a verbal yes.

– Robert Sweeney


  • inspiration
    • being fired from my startup - changed my perspective on startups and venture capital and also provide extra motivation
  • surprising
    • deal with anxiety
  • principal
    • complete transparency
  • anything else
    • successful entrepreneurs out there don't have anything that you don't have


  • working at grandpa's grocery store
  • early years at Microsoft and Netflix
  • first startup and quiting Netflix on a verbal agreement
  • working with western digital and communicating expectations
  • hiring and firing friends
  • that time when the house almost burned down
  • keeping a family together while doing a startup
  • Numetric, working with family, and getting fired from a company that you founded
  • facet, how it came to be and where its going

15: Domain Expertise with Jay Westerdal

April 22nd, 2019 (68 minutes)

Jay Westerdal is a CEO, founder, board member, and investor of a wide multitude of companies.

Jay first got interested in technology at an early age after witnessing early demonstrations of the internet in middle school. His first job out of college involved creating systems to help manage domain names, a field that Jay has stuck with ever since. Jay founded his own domain company, DomainTools, in 2001, which provided information about the history and ownership of internet domains. Jay also started the Domain RoundTable, a conference dedicated solely to the topic of domains. Jay later sold DomainTools in 2008 for an eight figure exit and continued to work with domains as well as technology ever since.

Today, Jay is CEO of, .Realty and Top Level Spectrum. is a company that provides companies with toll-free 800 numbers, .Realty is a domain registrar for real estate professionals, and Top level spectrum manages various top level domains like .feedback and .forum.

In today's episode, we talk about what domains are and why they matter, we talk about Jay's current day ventures and where he's going, and we talk about the systems Jay has put in place that lets him focus on so many different priorities.


I like to build a rocketship and ride it to the stratosphere but [exit] before it becomes a spaceship just sitting there doing nothing collecting whatever that status quo income is. – Jay Westerdal


  • Jay's initial interest in technology and the internet
  • web domains and domain registration
  • new top level domains and trends in the industry
  • domaintools, what it was and how it was sold
  • organizing a domain conference
  • Jay's current businesses
  • prioritizing tasks
  • what Jay looks for as an investor
  • investing in yourself
  • how to recharge


  • inspiration
    • travel and looking at other people's concepts and ideas
  • surprising fact
    • take vacations seriously
  • principle
    • body is a temple, trying to live healthier and healthier everyday
  • closing notes
    • would love to do more philanthropic stuff in the future, especially addressing homelessness in Seattle

1: Directing the Narrative with Johan Liedgren

September 10th, 2018 (76 minutes)

Johan Liedgren is an award winning film director, consultant and investor/advisor/CEO of over 15 ventures. His clients include major brands like Amazon, Nike and Warner Brothers.

Born in Sweden, Johan studied philosophy in college but put the degree on hold to be one of the first employees in Microsoft at its European Headquarters in Paris. After 8 years at Microsoft conducting corporate strategies and negotiations, Johan left the corporate gig to pursue consulting, startups and film making.

Today, Johan is active as both a consultant and a film director. He starts shooting his newest film in eastern Washington starting this month of September.

If you want to leave feedback or nominate folks to the show, please send emails to feedback(at)


  • early years - copywriting, consulting and corporations
  • just do it - Johan's start to film making
  • early films - courtship, romance and the gray zones of courtship
  • the Johan method of tackling creative bottlenecks
  • the start and process of dream journaling (over 2000 recorded dreams and counting)
  • relying on your gut to find the right people
  • the pit bull incident - being calm under pressure
  • morning rituals
  • living a "balanced" life
  • deciding what to do next
  • the art of story telling