The bettercast is a weekly conversation with a real person about how they got better at something. Through these conversations, we explore what it means to be a better friend, boss, parter, and citizen of the world.


December 3, 2018 55 mins

Danielle Frimer is the Head of Conversation Design at Xandra (and Kat's Boss). Like Kat, Danielle is an actor. In this conversation, we talk about how she found herself writing Alexa Skills, how it's like acting, and some of the differences between art and design.


Learn more about Xandra at

Music by Joel Slabach.

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Sue and Bruce Wilcox make chatbots that frequently win the world's top prizes for artificial intelligence. And the way they've made better chatbots is by pairing backgrounds in psychology with great creative writing and coding skills. In this episode, we learn more about the way they approach designing conversations.

Music by Hale

Learn more about Bruce and Sue Wilcox at

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July 18, 2017 64 mins

What's the difference between making stuff that impresses people and making stuff that's actually good? Janelle Hardy is a visual artist who sought find out by placing herself in situations that meant she had to stop skipping steps. We hear how that process introduced her to a new way of looking at her art, and a the joy of mastering the basics.

Plus a huge announcement from Stevo!

Music by Mystery Mammal

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July 12, 2017 61 mins

How far can you run... before you realize you haven't been getting anywhere? Aiden Cooper is a sommelier at a Michelin-starred restaurant in New York. And if that wasn't already competitive enough, a few years ago he was one of the most promising distance runners in the United States. We talk about both of these journeys and how easy it is to confuse pointlessly logging miles and deliberate practice, if you stop reflecting on why y...

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July 4, 2017 71 mins

There's lots of stuff you know you shouldn't do, like text and drive. So why do you still do it? Julie Dirksen of Usable Learning joins us for a conversation about complexity and nuance of teaching everything from basic knowledge to advanced habits, and tells us some of the common mistakes that experts make when they seek to teach beginners what they know.

Part 2 of 2 on "how to teach"

More about Julie:

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June 29, 2017 60 mins

If you get good at something, someone is going to ask you to teach them how you did it. But being good at something and being good at teaching it are not the same thing. This week, Nakita Pope recalls learning how to teach beginners and how it's shaped her understanding of her own expertise.

Part 1 of 2 on "how to teach"

More about Nakita:

Intro Music: Calabash by Co.fee
Outro Music: Proton Beat by Gangi

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June 20, 2017 66 mins

Patrick Kelly Jones is one of the best, most highly sought-after actors in the Bay Area. So why, after 20 years of mastering his craft, is he giving it up? In what might be the most real, and vulnerable conversations yet on this show, Stevo talk with Patrick about how it feels to look back and re-evaluate a 20 year career. And why he needs to do it in order to protect what's left.

Intro Music, The OO-Ray:
Outro ...

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June 1, 2017 67 mins
Has someone ever told you that you couldn't do something, and it only made you want you want to do it more? Kate Hamill knows that feeling. She's a playwright who started writing because she was pissed there were no shows for her to act in, and now her plays are some of the most produced in the country. In our conversation, we talk about how she turned that initial impulse to say, "F you!" and turn it into great art. Kate Hamill: h...
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May 24, 2017 60 mins
Yusuf took the name Yusuf when converted to Islam when he was 20. But it's taken him 20 years to live up to that name. We discuss the challenges of finding guidance in sacred texts that aren't in English, and how navigating a new religion as a convert prepared him for changing careers and starting a new business.
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What does it mean to have a "biblical standard?" Mark Young is trying to be a better husband, and in our conversation we talk about what that means to him as a modern man using an old text for spiritual, and practical guidance. Part 3 of our 4 part series on faith and betterment. Mark Young is at Music by
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May 2, 2017 55 mins
Brenda Cunningham and I share a problem— we hate having to call people. We even break into a sweat when the phone rings. But as Brenda says, "that simply won't do!" Learn how both of us have dealt with this problem, including the surprising ways that Brenda has leveraged her Christian Faith to help her be a better friend. Part 2 of 4 episodes on the role of faith, having it or not, on how we think about getting better. Learn more a...
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April 26, 2017 72 mins
What do you do when you realize that you trust yourself, more than your community? When Angella Johnson was 19 years old, she left the Mormon Church and has spent her life trying to define what it means to be "a good person" without the structure that defined that for her growing up. She tells us how she does that and how she's trying to create a, "life without explanation." Part 1 of 4 episodes on the role of faith, having it or n...
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April 18, 2017 51 mins
What does it mean to be authentic? What are we trying to learn when we say we are trying to communicate with "more integrity?" Tammy Washington has been asking these questions for the last few months, when she had to move back closer to home after 13 years of living in LA. We talk about authenticity, integrity, and what it means to be "emotionally responsible" when dating. Learn more about Tammy here:
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April 14, 2017 60 mins
Brandon Scott Chien has lived in the woods for 45 days. He's drifted cars and shot arrows off a horse. But he's tried to get better at all of it in order to learn more about being useful for the people he cares about. You can watch Brandon's Vlog, "Happy Asian Males" here: Music this week by Josh Woodward:
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April 3, 2017 55 mins
How many times do you have to do something you hate... before you love it? For Dr. Nadia Brown, her journey to learning a skill she loathed started when the unthinkable happened and she was broke. She had to dig deep and learn to sell her services, but also learn to trust the people around her who believed she could be good at it. To learn more about Dr. Nadia, check out Music this episode by Kai Engel...
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Imagine giving up your entire life to pursue something, then right after you've made the plunge, becoming so paralyzed with fear that you couldn't perform at even the most basic level. Andrus Nichols experienced that at the age of 30 when she left her life to become an actor. We learn how over the next 3 years, Andrus became unstuck by creating her own graduate school curriculum and filling 18 moleskines to create her own "user man...
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5 years ago, Kent Davis had never written a novel. Now he's published three. We learn how he got started and how he kept going when nothing he was writing was good enough and everything was hard and terrible until it wasn't. Learn more about Kent Davis at This Episode's Music by Revolution Void
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Dr. Amy Bucher has been designing health behavior change programs for over a decade, but how does she keep herself feeling motivated? Today's conversation is a deep-dive into the science "Basic Psychological Needs," and why sometimes we feel motivated by data and sometimes it makes us feel like giving up and throwing our Fitbit in a drawer.
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On a whim, Shane moved to Oakland to start a rap career when he was 20 years old, shy, and didn't know anyone. Now he makes new friends every day, because he learned how to get out of his comfort zone. Find out what happened when Shane just started walking up to people and saying, "yo, I like you shirt."
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If you were the most-produced living playwright in the USA, you probably wouldn’t consider taking up a new art form. But Lauren Gunderson did just that, in a tribute to someone who loved the banjo. Then she wrote about it, and finally — after writing hundreds of plays — cast herself as the main character.
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