Member Spotlight: Samira Sohail
Searching for some quality content and inspiration? Want to hear about some forward thinkers, dreamers, and innovators? Look no further than Samira Stalks, the podcast that embodies all these qualities. We sat down with Samira, Founder of Samira Stalks and fellow Croissant Member to talk about her successful production, life, and everything in between.
What are 5 things that you would like our readers to know about you?
I am passionate about the intersection of the arts and sciences and have spent my 9+ year career working at the intersection of media and technology. I have worked across the public and private sector including as a venture capital investor, at the BBC working on the growth of BBC News, iPlayer and Sport and launched new online services. I started my journey at JP Morgan in corporate finance, covering the technology, media and telecoms industry.
I’m a middle child and consider myself a ‘mobile citizen’ having lived in London, Paris, Bali and New York - it’s the way the world is going as technology skills transcend physical borders. Hence why I love Croissant, I’ve been stationed at Rise and The Brass Factory in NYC.
I’m an ardent advocate for better representation within STEM fields. I experienced firsthand the isolation in these fields as was one of the few women to study Mathematics at Trinity College, University of Cambridge.
I love tennis - let me know if anyone wants to play?! Or knows Federer, personally.
I stalk people to voice insights on the technology shaping our tomorrow, by the people who make it. Seriously. See below.
What prompted you to create Samira Stalks?
Restless frustration. I felt there needed to a fresh and diverse voice on the world of technology, startups and innovation. It is an interview podcast series, sharing firsthand stories from ‘reckless dreamers’. It has a mission to inform, educate and inspire audiences to create a positive social impact through technology.
The podcast fearlessly champions tomorrow and explains the surprising ways we’ll get there. Audiences get to hear from riveting entrepreneurs, idealists, activists, investors and innovators from an eclectic mix of fields- technology, the arts, sciences, education, social enterprise, sport, retail- you name it! Alongside founder stories of the world’s best known brands, it frees trapped ideas from the upcoming generation. Think TED talks for young people with a cookier, quirkier set of characters.
Describing the series...
It’s an ‘edutainment’ series that weaves through a professional journey to glean business nuggets and a personal journey from face-palm to champagne-popping moments. BE HUMBLE! - the format also includes a segment of the guest reciting a fail story of who they have ‘stalked’ to get to where they are. For too long, tech lords have been elevated on a soap box - it is important to to hear about some of the grittier times! I write a weekly blog on company hustles and mishaps in the world of business, tech and startup culture.
"Pay it forward"
I had role models who mentored me from a young age. The podcast was a way for me to “pay it forward” by sharing inspiring and educational stories to a wide audience. It’s a way for me to meet and learn from people I am inspired by such as Pixar’s first female employee, the founder of Kano - a computer kit teaching kids to code and an astronaut going to Mars on a 1-way ticket!
There are so many topics to talk about and entrepreneurs to feature! how do you come up with what podcast topics to do next?
One of the distinctive features of the series is that the series is “evergreen” content. As such, I try to stay away from news fads and set my own editorial agenda. I want to create a timeless portfolio of interviews, akin to Desert Island Discs and TED.
The next topic is based on my own exploration of fresh ideas which comes from burrowing in weird and wonderful corners of the internet aka Reddit. I source through a combination of cold stalking people who peak my interest, referrals from scout firecrackers and mavericks making a noise.
Questions I am interested in answering at the moment include:
How will technology drive universal access to knowledge and education?
Is AI the new electricity and what are the societal implications of it?
Beyond bitcoin, what are the other use cases for blockchain?
What is the role of media, fake news and filter bubbles to ensure an informed democracy?
Where is my invite to Mars on someone’s rocket ship?
You created Samira Stalks while having a full time job. With that said, do you have any tips for anyone looking to start a side hustle?
Test viability as quickly and cheaply as possible
Tell everyone you are doing it - it will serve as an accountability tool
Pick something you care about. Free time for side projects is hard to find - making it enjoyable will better your chances of success
You took a 9 month Sabbatical in Bali. How did that trip help you rebalance your life?
It was time, headspace and a chance to play, reignite my creativity and be childishly curious again. I spent time meditating, doing yoga and carrying out life hacking personal experiments. I travelled solo which I thoroughly recommend to anyone as a life experience with a scooter and backpack. I love nature so it was a great place to reconnect with our Mother.
Lastly, here's a quirky question: Who are the three guests you would love to have on the show? Living and dead?
Living - Obama, Obama, Obama - Michelle, obvs
Dead - Ada Lovelace for 100011100001. I’m British and her dad was a poet
Fictional - winnie the pooh
It was great getting to know more about you, Samira! Thank you for broadening our horizons by introducing us to such successful and inspirational people from all walks of life through Samira Stalks. Readers, if you were to tune into anything, it would be this podcast. Be sure to also check out Samira's blog for more exciting content! Her credit for the cover photograph goes to: @zukiicreates