FOMO Sapiens and Harvard Business Review:

Fomo Sapien and HArvard Business Review

Greetings, fellow FOMO Sapiens! By the time you read this, the FOMO Sapiens podcast you know and love will have partnered with Harvard Business Review Presents, a community of podcasts curated, sponsored, and produced by my alma mater. (You may have noticed some of my very favorites have made their way onto the 10% Podcast Club on Facebook and LinkedIn.) As the show moves into what I think will be the best season yet, I’m starting to realize that the evolution of my relationship to FOMO Sapiens has a lot of lessons for how to approach an entrepreneurial venture in general.

When I first launched FOMO Sapiens, I had no expectations- this is a trendy thing to say, but I really mean it: I literally started it just for fun and to see if I could do it. I was beginning the early work on the upcoming FOMO Sapiens book, I had a mess of friends and past associates that I knew would have interesting things to say about FOMO, FOBO, and entrepreneurship, and I saw it as a fun exercise to focus some of my thoughts and content for the book. And, okay, I had some FOMO because basically everyone on Earth has a podcast now. But basically, I wanted to try something new and learn- the 10% mindset.

As I’m fond of reminding people, the terms FOMO and FOBO came to life in a paper I wrote while I was at Harvard Business School. I’m surprised to report that, beyond the general zeitgeist around the FOs, they’re still very popular terms and topics at HBS. Not long ago, I even received a text from a student that dean of students Nitin Nohria “talked about you and FOMO three times today.”

As you can see, I have a lot of attachment to my school even years later, and that’s probably most reflected in how active I am in the alumni association. I regularly attend HBS alumni events, and it was at such an event that a friend, Irina Babushkina, SVP at Neuberger Berman, introduced me to the dean and said simply, “HBR is looking into podcasts. Try it out.” I pitched FOMO Sapiens in its then-current state, with season 1 under my belt, and was put in touch with Adi Ignatius, editor-in-chief at HBR, “the decider” when it comes to HBR’s growing repertoire of podcasts.

Adi asked me to write a memo pitching the show, and as I sat down to do so, I realized it was the first time I had really stopped and thought about what FOMO Sapiens as a podcast is really about, beyond me having some fun. Organizing the characteristics of my creation as a product to pitch made me think about it on a deeper level, and gave the project rigor- I wasn’t just screwing around, I was creating something a respected media outlet wanted more of.

HBR has already been an amazing partner, and my contact there, product manager Adam Buchholz, has been a wonderful guide thus far. There’s no question this partnership is going to net huge dividends for the show- better production values, better distribution, timely and efficient rollouts, and insights from some of the best minds from HBS on how to keep quality high.


I’ve got 3 takeaways from this experience:

  • I found an appropriate partner- functionally and emotionally. I’m going back to where I came from, and that gives me a level of comfort and confidence in the partnership that normally can take weeks or months to cultivate. I’m not just being sentimental, though- HBR is vetted from my own network and research, so I know they’ve got the bones to do right by my project. Follow your head AND your heart when you pick a partner- partnerships run on both.

  • This is all a product of a passion project. As I said, I started FOMO Sapiens with no expectations, doing it entirely for the love of it. I already had a main gig, and while monetization is certainly a potential outcome of a successful podcast, it wasn’t my first motivation- I had that covered. I’m (literally!) constantly surprised by what my random pursuits evolve into. Volunteer and do things you love- you’ll never know where they’ll lead.

  • Be humble.I started FOMO Sapiens not knowing anything about podcasts, and embraced it- I was eager to learn everything about the process, from how to give better interviews, pacing an episode, the technical process of recording and editing, and beyond. Learning as much as I did- and it was a LOT- showed me how much more I had to learn, and showed me that partnering with HBR was such a good idea if I wanted to take FOMO to the next level. Be comfortable learning how to improve; embrace what you don’t know.


I hope you’ll stay with me as FOMO Sapiens continues its journey ever onward and upward, and that you’ll participate- the show continues to thrive because of the tremendous feedback and suggestions of its listeners.

See you soon!


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