Hack to Start Podcast - Top 10 Episodes & Overview

Hack to Start Podcast

The Hack to Start podcast was dedicated to sharing stories about how innovative people became successful, often due to an initial step, or hack, that they may not have even been aware was the beginning to something great. Hack to Start ran from 2014 to 2018, creating a library of 198 episodes featuring some of the most talented and unconventional entrepreneurs and founders in tech.

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Hack to Start Podcast Top 10 Episodes:




Brandon Waselnuk, CEO Tattoo Hero

In the first episode of Hack to Start Waselnuk shares the story of building a business from an idea, then taking it through an accelerator program up to the first seed round of funding.

34 minutes

Jeff Morriss, Jr., Director of Project Management & Revenue, Tinder

Morriss talks about his career in tech, beginning with a position at Zaarly, building his own successful projects, then joining Tinder.

34 minutes

Ben Jabbawy, Founder & CEO, Privy

Jabbawy discusses migrating from his background in Industrial Engineering to SaaS and tech.

22 minutes

Bridget Sauer, Coomunity, Teespring

Sauer shares her journey from studying art at Brown to working for Hermes in Paris, then using her design skills to excel in tech.

25 minutes

Brian Balfour, Founder & CEO, Reforge

Former VP of Growth at Hubspot Balfour talks about raising more than $30 million in venture funding and building successful growth teams.

36 minutes

Kimberly Kalb, Head of Marketing & Growth, Houseparty

Kalb discusses her history in entertainment media technology, working for HBO and NBCUniversal prior to her tenure at Houseparty, a group video chat app.

23 minutes

Mari Sheibley, Product Designer, Instagram

Sheibley shares her story of using her background in fine arts and design to working on the idea that would become Foursquare, then ultimately joining Instagram.

30 minutes

Rei Wang, Director, Dorm Room Fund at First Round Capital

Wang discusses her history in venture capital and investing in early-stage tech and the Dorm Room Fund, the largest student-run venture firm in the U.S.

31 minutes

Kelly Nyland, Director of Marketing, Spectacles

Nyland talks about her history in building huge marketing campaigns for emerging consumer hardware products and her experience with Spectacles, SnapChat's first venture into hardware.

33 minutes

Stephanie Engel, Product Designer, Cruise

Engel tells her story of internship for Secret, working for Profile at Facebook, then moving into the world of self-driving cars.

31 minutes

Hack to Start Podcast Key Information:

Premiere Date

October 15, 2014


Franco Varriano & Tyler Copeland

Last Episode Air Date

June 12, 2018

Total Number of Episodes


Hack to Start Podcast Can Be Found At:


Why should I listen to the Hack to Start podcast?

The Hack to Start podcast is unique in that it almost exclusively features interviews with founders and professionals who started their careers with a set of expectations then found themselves excelling in unexpected ways. The idea that you can take a chance on something new, you can pivot and be extremely successful and love what you're doing, runs through the episodes of Hack to Start.

"Hack to Start" refers to taking that first step, to following your gut instincts and, after much hard work, being rewarded in ways you'd not thought possible. Every story is inspirational, and Hack to Start is essential listening for founders at all levels.

Get started with our list of top 10 Hack to Start episodes.

How did the Hack to Start podcast start?

Co-Founders Franco Varriano and Tyler Copeland were both involved in tech and, having met lots of interesting people along the way, had been discussing starting a podcast for a while. They started Hack to Start based upon the idea of how many founders start moving in one direction, but keep themselves open to new opportunities and, as such, pivot and find success in unexpected ways.

Varriano and Copeland were also compelled by founders' burning need to apply creativity to problems and develop entirely new ideas that eclipse the original idea. The interviews in Hack to Start highlight creativity along with its most important component - a belief in one's self that drives ideas to new conclusions.

Learn more with our list of Hack to Start's top 10 episodes.

Why should I listen to a podcast that stopped being produced over a year ago?

Because, despite the fact that some of the founders and professionals have moved on and some of the companies are gone, the Hack to Start podcast is focused on the story of how someone started their career moving in one direction, then found they had untapped skills. They used intuition and grit to grow entirely new ideas, and in some cases helped transform entire industries.

That story is timeless, and of interest to anyone who's founding a new business or starting a new career. You never know where you're going to end up, so you have to be open to new, unexpected ideas and opportunities. The Hack to Start podcast celebrates that expansive mindset.

Get inspired with our list of top 10 Hack to Start podcast episodes.