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Hannah Donovan: One Spark to Learn to Code Away From Creative Freedom

Hannah Donovan is a product & design leader in the tech industry. She creates consumer tools & experiences for self-expression, with a focus on collaborating with machine learning.

She is currently director of product at VSCO, a photo and video editing platform with a focus on creative wellbeing. VSCO acquired Han’s company Trash, an AI video editing app at the end of 2020. Han founded Trash in 2017 and raised capital from top tier VCs.

Before that, she was the General Manager at Twitter-owned Vine; led the team and product at Expa-backed music startup Drip (acquired by Kickstarter); was VP Design at Ripcord (a product incubator funded by MTV); co-founded the song-sharing service This Is My Jam while leading R&D design for The Echo Nest (acquired by Spotify) and was part of the original leadership team at early music discovery service Last.fm (acquired by CBS for $270M) where she led design and PM’d many features to market.

Han co-hosts a podcast called ‘It Just Got Real’ for creative women in business, and she’s spoken at conferences worldwide including TEDx NYU, and lectured at top universities including Imperial College London, Princeton, Parsons, and as visiting faculty at Cornell Tech. Her work has been featured by media such as the Guardian, the New York Times, Forbes, Variety, and the Today Show. 

Han is passionate about changing the ratio in tech for under-represented people. She’s also a startup advisor and has mentored through programs including Google’s 30 Weeks, First Round Capital’s Product Program. 

She also writes a newsletter called ‘Let Go and Haul’ about building consumer products for self-expression. You can find her on Twitter/Instagram @han or at hannahdonovan.com.

Takeaways:

  1. Self-awareness and empathy is critical for creative consciousness. Envision how your creative work could impact a population, good and bad.
  2. Expressing Creativity is about feeling fulfilled. These expressions are not always pleasant, but once we do it and let it out of ourselves, that feeling afterward of fulfilled-ness and satisfaction is freeing.
  3. Getting started is one of the biggest things that prevents us from creating. Using tech and more specifically, A.I., to help get us started, to invite some of that playful curiosity and low barrier to entry can be a really powerful and interesting tool.

Transcript:

Bryan Wish: [00:00:01] Hannah, welcome to the One Away Show.

Hannah Donovan: [00:00:05] Thank you, so great to be here.

Bryan Wish: [00:00:07] So, so great to have you here and excited to do this after reading about you and just all the creative work and product work that you have done, it’s very inspiring. I want to ask you the Question of the Day. What what’s the one away moment or the moments that you want to share with us in our audience today?

Hannah Donovan: [00:00:27] Sure. So the first moment. That put me on this path was a time when I was in college, I was studying design at the time, graphic design. And this was the early 2000s, so I started college in nineteen ninety-nine actually, and a lot was changing with technology, so much was changing that like even though I was learning how to develop photos in a dark room and there were like drawers of lead type in the design studio where I was getting my degree.

We also had a computer lab and as part of learning about computers, which I was deeply fascinated in, and had been since I was a kid, I was taking a class on designing websites. And it was that moment where I had this revelation that if I could learn to code, I could publish my work to the world. And that seemed like an unbelievable breakthrough, because for a designer, normally you need a publisher or a manufacturer or a printer, somebody that stands between you and your work, that brings it to the world.

And you have to collaborate with that person really closely to ensure that it gets out into the world the way you want it to be. And so being able to skip that step and just do it myself seemed like this incredible new freedom. Hmm. That was the first moment where I knew for sure, like this is what I wanted to do, this thing inside this computer box, this future like that was where it was at and skipping ahead to my graduation that later I remember standing outside the art gallery, which is was it associated with my college and where my graduating class had put up their portfolio work for the God show and standing around with a few of my friends who are students. This is a small class.

There are probably about 20 or maybe 30 of us. With our small glasses of champagne, like toasting each other, like here we go off into the world and we were chatting about what do you want to do and where do you want to be? And I remember them talking about wanting to shoot for really glossy magazines and work on beautiful annual reports with lots of fun information designed to do.

And like these sort of really like traditional beautiful design objects that have been throughout time, like the things that graphic designers think about doing, posters, stuff like that. And I was like. I’m going to go make websites and they were all like, you’re crazy, do you know that you can only use like five fonts? Do you know that there are like 20 colors and everything looks ugly? Do you know that, like, all of your work is going to look like garbage? And I was like, yes, but this is the future.

Bryan Wish: [00:03:46] Wow. Very beautiful story. You clearly took a path of divergence or intentionally went about that. I have a question about something you said very specifically, but before I left for the audience to say what year was this and maybe how old were you if you don’t mind sharing this?

Hannah Donovan: [00:04:05] Yeah, I graduated in 2003, and at that time I was. I guess like twenty-one or twenty-two years old, I was kind of young, I started school earlier than light because of the cutoff date, so I was always like a year younger than everybody else. I was that kid, the tiny one.

Bryan Wish: [00:04:24] Yeah, ok, cool. So you really want that then. They’re not really good for you were they. You said something really I think meaningful and I love to unpack it a bit. You talked about, you know, the printer, the designer, they were the people who stood in the way of your expression and maybe you like that.

I’m curious. You said finding this world was a newfound sense of freedom and based on kind of how you grew up, which I know you’re playing the cello at, I think three years older. Do you ever feel inhibited in your creative expression where for the first time you felt you could be your full self without constraints?

Hannah Donovan: [00:05:10] Oh, yeah, I feel inhibited in my creative expression all the time, I think everybody does, and I think the thing that I’m looking for always is like, a more fluid tool that feels like an extension of my body and, interestingly, you bring up a cello because that is that feels like an extension of my body and. It’s like it’s almost like when I fly Chelo, having started so young, it’s almost like this.

It’s like a part of me, it’s kind of like almost like a prosthetic or something like something that is as part of my body is the best way that I can try to describe it. It’s not like a different object. And when I was, like older, I would get into playing jazz and pop music and contemporary stuff and recording, and like actually during that time in college, I was doing quite a bit of it. I got to pick up and was playing electric cello and using pedals. And I have to say that, like putting it through, like putting that sound through those types of mediums never, never feels the same as playing acoustically. There’s something about it that again is just not quite as like. Mm. I don’t know.

It doesn’t feel like it’s a part of my body in the same way when it’s coming out of an amplifier, but I think it’s like really different for different mediums and different points along the path. And a funny thing, as is like, of course, technology has changed so much now that of course, I don’t code my own stuff anymore. I work with, like, vast teams of engineers that are working on these projects that I’m a part of. And so it’s funny, like the one the thing that, like, really drew me to it, in the beginning, is now the thing that I actually spent a lot of time on, how I collaborate with those engineers and scientists.

Like actually, to use a music metaphor, like really like jam together and improvise together and have that sort of really fluid conversation with one another to dream up and execute new ways of expressing ourselves in the world, understanding the world, new experiences, and products and software where it is required. Like you need that collaboration because I’m not going to I’m not going to be doing it all.

But that’s maybe like a good segue to sharing. Like the second point, that was another interaction with technology in my career that pushed me to where I am today. So skipping ahead, a few years after college, I found myself in my first job in Tech, which was working for this company called Last FM. The Last FM was the first big music recommendation service and they use collaborative filtering to understand what music you may like based on what your friends are listening to and based on similarity data. So very similar to what happens today inside Spotify when you find recommended stuff.

In fact, I later also worked for the company that got acquired by Spotify that powers all of those recommendations. So I spent a long time in this space after that, but. Something really changed how I thought about the world during that time, I was pretty young in my early 20s. I had just moved to London to work for this crazy new startup. We weren’t venture-backed yet. We were working out of like a really shitty studio in Whitechapel, East London, which is a very rough part of town, or it was back then. Not any more so much. And there were like for 13 or 14 of us in this room where like we had taken the walls down. So it was like it was a flat.

We’d taken the walls down in the flat so that we just had like one big room to be in together. So imagine the sort of like exposed walls and like fiberglass hanging out of it and just like racks of servers in the middle of the room, me and like 12 men. And I was the only woman working there. And I remember when we hired our first true scientists like PhD-scientist, somebody who was working on machine learning, which is a concept that had been around for some time, and computer science at that point. But it was just starting to make its way into consumer products.

And when I introduced myself to him on his first day of work, he looked at me and he said, Why do we need a designer here? I don’t understand. And I was like, wow, this is going to be a road of education. But that was the beginning of a very tumultuous but then extremely friendly and amazing collaboration with that scientist. And some months later, we were having another interaction where I was like, could we, like, do this thing that it was I was designing some interface where I wanted to be able to like.

I think it was something around comparison, like kind of showing how you were similar to your friend’s taste in music or something along those lines. And of course, that requires some science in the background to figure it out. And I went to him to ask if we could do this. And he had he was a very sort of like he is a very animated human being. And he was like, oh, we can’t do that. That’s too hard.

How can you come to me with these requests kind of vibe? And then as I go close the door of his office, like, let’s get out of there. And the next morning he comes over to my desk and he’s like, I think I found a way. And I’m like, ok, cool. So that kicked off this, like, really lengthy whiteboarding session where he just started like scrolling math all over the whiteboard and trying to explain to me how some of these things worked. And that was like my first crash course in understanding how, you know, understanding how the beginnings of machine learning and then eventually artificial intelligence works. And that was the point where I was like, wow, this is going to change the world forever; this is what we need to be designing for. It’s the next thing. And this is where I want to spend all my time.

That set me on this course to go deep on understanding how to collaborate with data scientists and machine learning scientists and use Emelle and me and the work that I do, which is now one of my primary focuses. And of course, today the word algorithm is in the vernacular. People throw it around all the time. They know that it powers their Netflix recommendations. They know that that’s how they get their music from Spotify. But this was back when almost nobody knew that word, like this was back in like 2006 when nobody was talking about algorithms.

And again, I had a similar experience with a group of designers in London; this sort of like “click” that I was really trying to get into because they were like the kids that had gone to like Royal College of Arts and stuff like that. They were like the cool designers in East London, and they were all again doing beautiful photography and annual reports and magazines and posters and all of this gorgeous stuff and fashion and was really sexy and beautiful. And I was like, I’m trying to figure out how to design for algorithms. And I just remember them looking at me like you’re insane and having that same feeling that I had back in college and feeling like I’m on the right path.

Bryan Wish: [00:12:52] Wow, I wrote down. Well, I want to share your experiences so neat using a machine, learning how it relates to design and products, because how can transform human experiences. It also reminded me of I was at the conference in Finland a few years ago and I listened to the Shazam founder and his story of four, five years. Twenty-three launching and two thousand eight when Napster came off his whole vision. He was told he was crazy to find this creative way to help people with music was.

Hannah Donovan: [00:13:33] Back in the day. It was wild. They were even using SMS shortcodes. I remember because I think Shazam had their headquarters, were in London for a while. I almost went to go work for a company, actually, but I decided not to. Then maybe I should have gone. But yeah, no, their technology is, is really incredible. It’s been such a long road for those, those people.

Bryan Wish: [00:14:04] He was saying, you know, their first year of profitability was twenty, fifteen, or forty-five years after. I mean, that’s an incredible vision. But I think to you at the overlap is they were seeing 10, 15 years out of technology where things could go. Something I wrote down and that’s really interesting that I think kind of encompasses maybe you not fully, but I wrote down that you’ve constantly been forging these creative underground tunnels before they’ve become mainstream.

They pushed against the grind because you’ve been able to see the future of kind of. The similarity between product technology and design, it sounds like, and my question to you is kind of based on these experiences and maybe having some future-oriented insights is what is in your opinion with what is the future of design with machine learning? And I like what do you see 10 years out like you maybe saw 10 years ago for this industry?

Hannah Donovan: [00:15:06] Yeah, I love that question. So, there are so many ways to answer this, because artificial intelligence is going to become a part of our lives in so many, so many ways, both really obnoxious in your face ways probably, really nuanced ways, and “I don’t even think about it” ways. It’s already making its way into our lives. This is something that people are becoming more and more aware of, but just sort of zone in on a specific field that I’m very personally interested in for design is how we can use algorithms for creation.

So, to date and between that period of when I started working on this, I kind of like around twenty-five to like I’d say 20 and 15. The industry was extremely focused on how we could use algorithms for recommendations. This was the rise of the feed, the algorithmic feed, and all of the problems, of course, that comes with that being stuck inside your own echo chamber of opinions or music or whatever it may be.

We’ve now come out the other side of that and are starting to see the very real effects of especially how that impacts our culture and our societies when it comes to news. But it’s also present in creativity and self-expression, which is the area that I’ve always focused on from like I mentioned earlier, the music we listen to the movies and TV, we watch to the clothes that are recommended to us to wear and express ourselves and so on. We are becoming used to having this stuff pushed to us instead of having to go find it, and that’s been like the last big, like sort of triage of problem sets that people in tech have been really interested in and will continue to refine and work on.

I really believe that where we are today is quite a coarse view. It’s like coarse in the sense that it’s not really refined or fine-grained yet and there’s so much more exploration we have to do there as humans. There are so many more things we need to investigate in terms of the ethics around it and how it impacts our lives. But setting that aside for a second, I think the next big thing around creation is this idea that we could use AI as a tool, as that extension of ourselves as a collaborator, to not just consume things, but actually create things.

And that’s what I’m really, really interested in, is how we use it to make stuff and create more culture in the world, create more diversity of opinions, create more stuff, and also add people where it might be quite difficult to create in a particular medium or create in a specific way for all different types of reasons. I see it as an opportunity to actually. Give people a voice, and I think that in general, the conversation right now around, Aiyaz, kind of a negative one in society for good reasons, but there’s so much more to this topic than just our news feed. And that’s what I’m talking about, is how do we harness this technology for more positive things in our lives. And so the last big thing that I’ve been working on for the last three years was my own company called Trash.

And what we do is we help you make videos on your phone using artificial intelligence. And so the seed of this idea started when I was actually working at Vine. I was the general manager there and I noticed that it’s just extremely difficult for people to make video and that this is something that is an incredible medium. It allows us to share our stories with the world. Everybody wants it. It’s absolutely exploding. Obviously, we all know this. But to do it well or to do it in a way where you feel confident or comfortable, sharing it with your friends and family is pretty difficult. And it’s also time-consuming. And sometimes you don’t always want to sit down and edit a video and to end.

Sometimes you just want to, like, throw something together really fast that can feel like an emotion or a feeling or like a vignette of that moment in time. And not to be a really heavy-handed act of editing and intentional creation, but something that just feels a little bit more playful and casual and in the moment, a little bit like. Like the way it feels to publish a story maybe today where you almost don’t even really think of it, you’re just like, shoot this thing, press this button, or do something a little bit more. Yeah, casual and playful. And so I was curious if we could take a bunch of video clips that you select and stick them together for you in a way that was pleasing and aesthetically interesting and culturally forward-facing.

That could be a rough video cut speak that then you could sort of fine-tune and play around with. And as I investigated this, the hypothesis grew that this could also be a way to help you over that initial creative hurdle. I think this is a really interesting and fascinating place for A.I. to be able to help us in the future where like getting over that initial moment of a blank canvas is so difficult for people and creative professionals spend their lifetime training themselves and understanding themselves so that they can attack that blank canvas with vigor and just like get the first mark on the page, whether it’s writing the first line of code, sitting down to write the first page of your novel or drawing the first thing in your sketchbook, all of those things are really hard.

Getting started is one of the biggest things that prevents us from creating. And so if we could use A.I. to help get us started, to kind of invite some of that playful curiosity and low barrier to entry and just like, oh, whatever, let’s just try this kind of vibe, that that could be a really interesting tool, creative tool to, like, kick start the process and get us going. And of course, once you got something, then you have opinions and opinions are beautiful because opinions mean you’re now editing.

You’re now in a creative space where you’re inserting your opinion onto something. You have a point of view whether it may be like, I want to change the music of this video. I want to change the filter on it like now you’re making. That’s awesome. And that was what we explored for the last three years. And it was really successful in the sense that eventually we were acquired by Cisco, which is a photo and video editing company for our technology. And I’m really excited to bring it to their platform next.

Bryan Wish: [00:22:14] Beautiful, something that stood out, which I think is such a common thread with all creators about what you’re doing. You approach a blank canvas and even more so. Well, after you hit the blank canvas, so many creators, I think, feel this an ambition to, like, share their work with the local, like how that’s received. So love your thoughts on that in a minute. But from work, kind of contextual understanding, just because of this connection that you are so drawn to and fascination of A.I. and tech and recommendation around, you know, making the creative experience better, what specifically in kind of year terms allowed the app to use AI to support the creator? Like, well, maybe like take us behind the scenes of the app as if you’re using it, because got to be really interesting.

Hannah Donovan: [00:23:05] Yeah, sure. So, I built this that the first prototype was in collaboration with my co-founder, Dr. Javier Patterson, and she’s has a Ph.D. in computer vision from Brown University, and she built all of the attacks in the science behind trash and let it, I should say. And so behind the scenes that it does a bunch of things. We used computer vision to look at the content of your videos to try to understand what may be in them from an aesthetic and like video editing perspective.

We also use computer vision to understand a little bit about the storyline, which is kind of a complicated concept but looking at it throughout time. So not just looking at a still, but really trying to understand what could the story be and trying to discover that. And then we also look at a bunch of other things, too, like audio analysis and things like that shot framing, for example, like is this a medium shot or is it a long shot? So there’s also sort of aspects of like traditional film understanding and video editing going in there as well. And then basically what you have is you have like a bunch of feature vectors.

You’ve got a bunch of floating points and a probability space. And based on that, then you can start to recommend a potential sequence for these video clips to go in. You can also potentially recommend the music that could go along to it. You could recommend the filter that you may want to put on it transitions and so on and so forth. And so it’s a similar kind of like, I think conceptually for to put this in like very easy to understand terms. It’s conceptually very similar to like the type of work that I was doing at last, a form where it was like, ok, how do we make a pleasing radio station? How do we assemble these tracks into a sequence so that this is a good playlist to listen to.

You’re looking at how do we assemble these video clips into a sequence that can potentially show a narrative or a story or hone in on the main character or like an interesting piece of action that’s happening or a specific moment? How do you try to understand and discover those things? Which is something that I think in the future kind of harking back to your other question about, like, what am I excited about next? We’ll start to see across like a lot of our mediums of creative expression like grammar is a great example of like an initial sort of taking on how we can use A.I. to collaborate with us as writing partners.

A video I love because it’s such a complicated medium that it just seems so ripe for lowering the barrier to entry for people with A.I. photography. I mean, this is already happening just like inside our phones. Like when we take photos, there’s stuff going on behind the scenes that’s like doing a bunch of different corrections for us to, like, offer us a better photo in very, very subtle ways before we even, like, throw it into another app and filter it and do something to it. And so where I get extremely excited is when we can start to personalize these things. Like then it can become an extension of myself and my opinions, my tastes, and my specific perspective on the world.

I love the idea that something could understand what kind of music I like to set my videos to or like exactly how I like to write. And we’re not there yet. We have a ways to go. And that will also have interesting ramifications on culture, of course. But I think it’s it’s an inevitable next step. And it’s a really fascinating place for us to go and potentially enter a new era as humans where we think more about like the creative side of how we can harness this technology instead of the consumption side, which I find vastly more interesting.

Bryan Wish: [00:27:08] Hmm. If such a. In-Depth and insightful set of experiences, which I think is really interesting to speak to because, well, you built the technology and your company. You can see the versatility across all forms of technology and then how that can benefit the creator and the creative experience kind of create things that are very I think what you’re seeing are authentic expressions and extensions of the creator themselves. Is that correct?

Hannah Donovan: [00:27:44] Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Like when you think about how you’re sort of the inverse is like when you think about the consumption side, how you’re like feed is personalized for you, like flip that inside out and imagine how creation tool could be personalized for you.

Bryan Wish: [00:28:01] Totally. Well, on that note, I do have a question, you know, I think this area of work I’m in, which a lot of overlap tech and the people were able to work with the tool that recently comes out, I think it’s called conversation. I was familiar.

Hannah Donovan: [00:28:21] Yeah, a little bit. But what’s interesting about it to you.

Bryan Wish: [00:28:25] Intriguing because Futureworld, a writing kind of through A.I. and machine learning is going to get so is going to start to understand, I think, who you are. So in-depth and the almost right for you, potentially, right, or I mean, that’s what I like because I’ve been reading about the future, I think of what these people are saying. Do you think, you know, are there any ethical kind of issues that you see with them, or do you think it is more of a progression of humanity?

Hannah Donovan: [00:28:57] Oh, there’s a whole host of ethical issues with it. There’s no question there’s with every new technology that we create, there’s a whole bunch of ethical issues. And that’s like a whole topic unto itself, which I’m not an expert in. And I, I always like to defer to the experts to talk about that, because while I have a surface level understanding, it’s just it’s so it’s such a meaty thing unto itself that that that is better to talk to a professional.

But it is something that as a designer and as an engineer, you do need to take into consideration and work in close partnership with those people that think deeply about the ethical issues around this stuff because at the end of the day, you’re responsible for potentially creating something that could end up being like the next mass-market tool or experience that everybody latches onto. And we don’t have enough of that happening today. But on the flip side of that coin. Like this convention space is it’s a kind of a weird one to occupy because you’re also trying to push stuff forward and experiment things and try stuff.

And if you’re constantly concerned about like, oh, could people use this for bad, then you can never make anything. And so, like, it’s sort of a delicate balance, I think, of being aware of all of those ethical issues, working in partnership with the right type of people that can advise on them, having the self-awareness and empathy to envision how this could impact a population while also still kind of like holding all those things to the side to keep pushing your experiments forward and keep pushing technology forward, because otherwise, it can end up being a bit, I guess, like, so heavy that it just sort of clamps down on a creative process.

And it’s easy to sort of, like, become frozen or paralyzed with fear of what could happen. And so trying to hold those things in your head at the same time and like, go forward and try to take like an optimistic or a maybe optimistic is not the right word, but like a. A measured approach that we could find a way to use this that could be beneficial and how do we do that? That’s the mindset that I like to operate in because it’s just there are so many shades. It’s like none of this stuff is good or bad. It’s not black or white. It’s like a million shades of grey.

Bryan Wish: [00:31:38] Well, you know, I appreciate you sharing your experience, how you feel about it because I. I find it so interesting, just like being a creator, being a writer, being a painter. Right. Is creation, in simplest terms, is a force for good, or is it a force for negativity? Right. And yeah. If what you’re saying is. I want to create and have a force for good and then in that, you know,

Hannah Donovan: [00:32:04] And then how do we get there is like that’s the challenge. But my goal is how do we. Yeah, make it a force for good. And when I think about history and the ways that we’ve created throughout time, like the stuff that I find fascinating is like I still use a pen and paper all the time. Like that’s one of the most expressive, simple tools that I have for directly sharing my ideas. And it requires skill. You have to learn how to wield a pen.

Well, and of course the better you can draw and write and express your ideas, the better faster people are going to be able to understand that sketch. But like that’s a tool that’s been around for forever. And then we have these other tools, like a keyboard or a camera or video editing software or AI that are vastly more complicated. And I just find it fascinating that creative professionals are just or even just casual creators can.

Can get curious about these tools and add them to their toolset and like sort of move easily in and out of them, and so that’s kind of how I think about the possibility of creating with A.I. as it’s this is not something that’s going to like take over everything and it will be the only way it will all become robots. Like, no, this is like this is a tool that will learn to reach for when it makes sense to reach for that tool and will continue to reach for a pen when it makes sense to reach for a pen.

Bryan Wish: [00:33:34] So simple and I think eloquent right now know the basics of creation pen and paper, and it’s still a big part of your life. And I think that’s, you know, beautifully stated. I want to ask one more question and then we’ll tell people where to find your creative endeavors for the creators like you out there. Right. It sounds like to you at the early parts of your career and as you’ve been building, you’ve had pushback against your creative ideas and you’ve had to continue to roll over the rocks, bring them to life, and kind of go against the grain where others want it. What would be your advice to the young, creative young entrepreneur who wants to express and go a different way but is scared to put themselves out to the world?

Hannah Donovan: [00:34:20] Hmm. Yeah, it’s a really tough question, it’s still something that I feel all the time like. I still consistently feel like I don’t belong, which is a funny thing to be talking about on this podcast, and I have felt like I, I, I don’t belong at so many times during my career. I really think and it’s so much more difficult to do this than to say it, but that you have to you really have to make it anyway, because if you don’t, it’s so hard to live with yourself.

Bryan Wish: [00:35:07] Powerful. I think that’s great. Just keep going, keep creating.

Hannah Donovan: [00:35:11] Like I you have to let those ideas out of your brain. Otherwise, they just get stuck in there and, like, rattle around, like, skeletons that haunt you. And I think everybody knows of the feeling of not living your truth or not living authentically or however you want to put that in your own words. It’s that feeling of knowing that there could be something else, but not having done it is the distance between those things is just like a space that is a really uncomfortable space to exist in as a human.

And so even though it is challenging and probably going to be really gnarly at times to go after that thing that’s tickling the back of your brain to take that less trodden path, it’s just absolutely necessary to feel fulfilled, and I think that’s what creativity and creating is about at the end of the day, it’s an expression of our ideas and our feelings that is not always pleasant. In fact, usually it’s very unpleasant, right? Once we do it and let it out of ourselves, that feeling afterward of fulfilled-ness and maybe a momentary satisfaction for some is a feeling that is much better than the other feeling of having it stuck inside of you.

Bryan Wish: [00:36:31] Totally love that. I couldn’t agree more. And you know, I’ll end by saying and then ask people where to get on you. There are some very close to my, you know, circle. And I was having a conversation with them a few months ago. And I could just sense, you know, the implicit of their feelings around not pursuing the playwright, the, you know, a few other endeavors that they always wanted to do, and you could just tell the kind of internal tension that created.

You know, I almost felt sad. Right. And for Christmas, I got this person an engraved journal that said it’s never too late to follow your dreams. Your creations, right. And I think what you just said sums it up beautifully. You know, that is always going to be that’s going to build up and they’re going to be skeletons rattling around one hundred percent. And it’s your job to release those out of the closet so they can morph into what they’re supposed to. So thank you for your wisdom is so beautiful.

Hannah Donovan: [00:37:38] Yeah, you’re welcome. Thank you so much for having me on the cast. This was a lot of fun.

Bryan Wish: [00:37:42] Oh, my God. You trusted a stranger in a random outreach. So what’s the best place to have someone who was inspired by what you had to say. Where should they reach out?

Hannah Donovan: [00:37:55] For sure. You can find me on Twitter or Instagram. I’m @han. That’s again, pretty easy to remember. Or if you want to dive into more of me behind the scenes, you can check out my website, hannahdonovan.com, where you can find my podcast and some of my writing and my work and my portfolio and all that good stuff.

Bryan Wish: [00:38:16] Yes, very in-depth website, lots of great articles on lots of things, and a great podcast as well. So check her out. And thanks for being here.

Hannah Donovan: [00:38:24] Thank you so much.

One Away Podcast
Leah Walsh

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