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The reality faced by women working in tech

Michelle Robbins
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While Michelle Robbins had incredible support by the people who gave her the opportunity to work in tech, she also faced a fair deal of distrust from other partners who couldn’t believe that women can own and dominate tech.

TAMAR: Hi, everybody. Today I am on episode 41 of the Common Scents Podcast. And I have an awesome guest, somebody I’ve known for over a decade now. It’s crazy how life goes by and all of a sudden, you’re like catching up again, basically. So, I have my awesome friend Michelle Robbins, from the other coast here. Thank you very much for joining.


MICHELLE ROBBINS: Thanks so much for having me Tamar. Great to see you and connect with you again. And I’m excited about podcasts.


TAMAR:  Yeah, yeah. So, give us a little bit of background what, wherever you come from, what do you do? What’s your life like? Where? What’s your career story?


MICHELLE ROBBINS: It’s pretty interesting because I’ve been working in technology, and programming development for the past more than 20 years. But I actually started in college. My major was not technology, it was not a computer science major. And in fact, I was pre-law. I majored in psychology and criminal justice because I thought I would go on into working as a criminal prosecutor, that was my path. And then I worked throughout college, at a law firm, and I was cured. Near the end of my senior year, I went to each of the partners and the law firm, actually, to the partners and the associates. And I asked them all, if you had to do it over again, considering after five years, double majoring all of that in college, then heading to law school was a big decision. So, I wanted to make sure it was the right next move. And I was kind of on the fence. So, I went to each of them. And I asked, if you had to do it over again, would you do something different? And to a person? They said, yes, there was one associate who didn’t, he said, I still do it and do it for the money. And I said, well, I’m not really motivated by money. So, that’s not a good reason for me. But I was really struck by how many of them would have done something completely different, but felt really stuck because of the choice they had made. And they’ve gone too far by that point, to turn back and do something different. And that made me consider, what do I want to do now? You can always go back to law school, right, you could always pursue it later. In fact, that’s what a lot of them suggested. So, I had been in college radio, in college as well worked at the radio station, had a lot of friends in the music industry. And after graduating went to work at Disney’s commercial record label in the radio promotion department. I went from pretty much a clear path to law to working in the music industry. And I spent about four years there, which was pretty incredible. I had a great time with so many of my friends from that industry. We have a lot of fun working with artists and traveling around. But the music industry was not a friendly place to women. Let’s say everything that we’ve learned in the Me Too movement went on a percent cosign true. So, I realized that wasn’t going to suit me in the long term. So, I, at that point, had been contacted by a friend that I had gone to school with to UCI, and some other friends of ours from UCI had started startup in Orange County. And it was a combination of a software development company and an online presence, digital agency. And that’s where I met Danny Sullivan. So, we work together and maximize software online.


TAMAR: So yeah, I want to talk about Danny because we know each other through this mutual friend. Well, not even just through the industry. Michelle and I really date back to the search engine marketing industry. It’s funny, I’ll probably share my story afterwards. I was taking a little bit of notes here. Like I majored in psychology and then in technology and here I am in fragrance. But it’s funny, I was a private investigator for a while and I was actually interested in criminal justice and looking into that as an option. My mother always had told me, you’re going to be the lawyer and I had pursued education that kind of was headed in that trajectory. But yeah, I also hear the same thing if you go so far. You feel like you have to do it. That’s why I majored in computer science, I struggled in computer science, but then even thinking about law school another three years, and then once you’re there, I mean, where I live, a lot of my friends are former lawyers, like they actually left entirely because of the same struggles that, you’re describing. And people are doing it for the money. I have a friend who left, settled down, then had kids, then she ended up becoming a single parent and said, I have to go back to law, but she was a teacher for a while. That’s the nature of the beast, everybody kind of has to make it work. But people end up having to do it for the money, but they realize it’s just not fulfilling. And it’s just long hours. So yeah, you have the flexibility technology there.


MICHELLE ROBBINS: Yeah, that’s what I saw working at a law firm. And I always say, and I do a lot of mentoring with young women, I always try to reinforce that you don’t have to have your life made up in college, right? You don’t have to have your life planned and everything said by the time you’re 18, or 22, or 30. We live really long lives and we can have multiple careers. Nothing’s written in stone saying you’ve chosen this; therefore, you must do that. And I think what I’ve learned throughout my life is that pivoting is possible. And if you want to go and do something completely different, you can. And I mean, you’ve demonstrated that with what you’re doing now. I met you in social media. Yeah. And now you’re in perfume.


TAMAR: It’s so weird. It’s funny, I had a friend talk to me. And I told him, I’m launching a perfume brand. And it’s a mutual friend, I’m not naming him here. He’s like, you do SEO, so you got to continue doing SEO. I never really was an SEO but we worked in the search engine optimization industry, the search marketing industry, it’s very close, especially the first two people who’ve been in it for the last 10, 15 years. It’s a very niche community, everybody knows each other. And the expectation is because I was part of that community was that I was able to perform, I’m not sure I felt that way. I love the community. But I never felt like I met that expectation. Some of these guys are just amazing, just to take notes and feel like I was able to suck in that, that knowledge and whatever. But I don’t think I could ever have executed as well, if I ever had the opportunity, which I never did, because I just like to learn but not necessarily to do.


MICHELLE ROBBINS: And that’s fair. I think that considering well, you’d like to do that then, right? But then maybe something new caught your eye, right? Well, now I want to go do this, I want to go learn that curiosity is an incredible thing, right? And feeding that curiosity and feeding your passion is so important. And not buying into the notion that you’ve decided to do this, therefore you are that, right? You’re not your job, you’re not your job title. If you’re passionate about something that’s completely has nothing to do with your job, and you want your job or to do whatever field you’re in to make the money, that’s fine, too. But not listening to that passion inside and pursuing it is where people then start to form regrets, right. They start to wish they’d done something differently. And then you truly do get stuck because if you’ve spent so much time, you almost can’t see a way to opt out of a certain industry if it’s the thing you’ve done forever. Whereas I tend to think that smart people can learn anything, right? And it might be something new and maybe something scary, but you can learn all about it.

TAMAR: Right.

MICHELLE ROBBINS:  You’re passionate about it, shift your focus to it.


TAMAR: Yeah, it’s funny. In 2018 I wrote a book on genetic genealogy, a deviation from marketing. I tell you; I had been enthralled by genetic genealogy. And I had been already giving advice to people for many years prior. But I had a story. The story was a few years into it, for a while, it was like five to 25 hours, 20 hours a day, learning and soaking in as much as I can as a sponge. And having written a book on genetic genealogy in 2018 I was met with a fair share of critics, she comes out of nowhere and she just swerves into my lane kind of thing, especially amongst the folks who had the credibility. But if you think about genetic genealogy, none of these people are a  scientist. Genetic Genealogy is a consumer product these days. It only became really accessible in the last decade, I think is 20,10 minutes commercially available, I think 2014, 2015 was when people started using it, and it became like more of a popular thing. So, when I started writing about it, I already had like three years, four years actually, in change of knowledge. So, all of a sudden in 2010, but doesn’t feel I’m going to foster this knowledge, things obviously had improved the algorithm, everything changes, and everything gets updated, and it becomes better and becomes more humanly accessible. And data points around it, there’s API’s and all these things. And, somebody finally is able to express it in a way that it’s identifiable, and it’s relatable to the common man, that’s my objective here, it’s me making sense of it for me, but obviously, helping other people in the process. It’s very difficult, that’s always been a struggle for me as well, to kind of make my way and show that you can totally become passionate, as you say about something, and you could totally learn these things. I don’t consider myself an expert, but you can totally become an expert. I consider myself an enthusiast who’s able to articulate how to use the science and the knowledge. But here I am in fragrance because the community didn’t really like that.  It was difficult, I will say. So yeah.


TAMAR: But tell me about your story because I know that you went into technology. And it was completely big deviation from your life, and you had your own kind of pain points in that story. So, talk about that.


MICHELLE ROBBINS: So, when I joined the software and online company, I worked for both sides. And ultimately, the founders of our company, had also founded the online side and sold it off to another company in Orange County. Danny had moved to England by that point to open his own consultancy. And I stayed working with him and his creative consultancy, but it’s a software company as well. And I wanted to understand because I’ve been doing sales and marketing for the software company when I joined. And I wanted to understand how they built their products, how everything works. I’ve always done better understanding behind the concept. So, I felt like I would do a better job selling and marketing the products that I understood how they were built. And I worked with just incredible people. I think this goes to the importance of having mentors, having people that help you on your journey, and that open doors and then show you yes, you can be better about that. Right. And I had that in the software engineers and boundary software company in particular, Spicer, who, when I went to him said, I’d like to understand what you do here when you guys are actually working on daily. And they said, Okay, great. How about set aside an hour a week in a conference room, pick a topic, and we’ll teach you. And I said, Okay, first topic, TCP IP, bring that down for me, what’s that all about? And they were incredible, they were generous with their time. And at no point did they say, no, this really isn’t something you should pursue, this really isn’t for you. I mean, I knew my background, and they knew me. And they said, yeah, absolutely, you can learn from us. And so, I started learning about how they developed the products and decided to go back to school, got back to UCI, and took some programming courses. Now at the time, all of the software company developed Windows Server, web server utilities. So, my primary, the technologies that I learned at the time were Windows 8. It was c, c++, ccc vb, all the Microsoft tech stack. And then when the company founder decided to move the company to Silicon Valley, I decided at that point to still go work with them, but open my own web development agency, because one of the people who would work in the online side had gone on to having his own digital agency for web development. And I would work with him. Essentially, I learned software development from the founders  in software company, web development from a guy who had worked on the online side. And then I went to work with him. He’s actually now an engineer. He’s been an engineer at Google for probably about 20 years now. So, I learned web development from him. And then of course, search marketing from Danny Sullivan. So, I had the best set of mentors. I think I was incredibly fortunate. I think they were incredible mentors with their time, will go to talent, encouraging me to pursue any of the direction I wanted to, and supporting me and then developing my own agency to provide the services. So, send me clients and things like that. So, I started that I had my own agency where I primarily did web development, front end and a lot of back end applications, some front end, getting traditional websites stuff. And then of course, it was early. This is the early 2000s. Search engine marketing was Jonathan’s aim. So, I went to providing SEO and things like that to my clients until 2006 when Danny reached out to me again because he was watching third door media. And so, he came to me and said, I needed somebody to run my technology. Do you want to join the startup? I’m, here’s what we’re doing. Here’s what we’re looking to do. And can you run all the tech? And I said, sure. I did it and joined the startup, and interesting because on reflection, I think about how significant that was, right? Because when you talk about overcoming issues, overcoming challenges in life and careers, they find that one of the challenges that I’ve had, throughout my career is being taken seriously as a woman in technology. Right. And specifically, as being a programmer and web developer and having a goal. And that, I would say, we’ll know we’ve reached parity, right? We know that that is no longer a problem. When we’re not treated like zoo animals, we’re not in curiosity when somebody says, what do you do? And I say, I’m a programmer and I don’t respond with oh, really, until we can get there we’ve got a lot of work to do. Yeah. So, I’ve been lucky in the internal support I’ve had from everyone that I’ve worked with, and I’m saying,  think back to 2000. It’s kind of crazy to consider this and Danny came to me and said, I’d like you to run technology. And that’s pretty significant. Right? Yeah.


TAMAR: Yeah. So, you definitely got people like Danny, who, by the way, is working at Google now. I mean, if you Google this guy, he’s like a big deal. And then you have the other people who look at you and it’s just like, what? Yeah, she said chicken technology. Just where does that come from? And I totally get it. So, I went to Columbia University. I actually  majored in computer science at Columbia University, but I actually was a student at Barnard College. Now, if you’re familiar with the Barnard- Columbia relationship, Barnard is the sister college at Columbia University. People will be refusing to give Barnard students access to the name that they said, I go to Columbia University, it’s sort of the same thing. The only thing for me personally, I was taking majority of my classes because Columbia Barnard did not have a computer science major at the time. So, I literally was like on the Columbia campus. And there was that culture as well. I remember when I first took CS, throughout  2007, I think it was that first class, I think I was one of two after like seven or eight freshmen all dropped out. So, only two of us stuck through it. I think my friend Robin and I did stick through with a computer science major, but it was extremely difficult. And I just said to myself, I was literally 13 years old, I’m going to major in computer science. Didn’t think it’s really not computer science. It’s science. It’s not computers, its theory, it’s heavy, heavy theory. I always say, I would rather had trajectory where I had a completely different minor stuff. That’s our major, criminal justice, psychology, those things that I was interested in. I majored in psychology.  So, I prefer that but I said to myself, I always wanted to learn how to program. And yet the coursework didn’t lend itself to learning that at all. So, I never came out of college knowing how to command like this, the c++ sort of the Java stack which was some stuff that was taught in school, but they expected you to learn the language on your own. And I was hoping to learn it in class, is very different than what I expected. It was hard. It’s definitely harder.


MICHELLE ROBBINS: Yeah. That is interesting, too, because I don’t know that I would have thrived in a computer science program fairly right when I was in the psychology and law, did really well. But I think what drove the interest in actually learning to program and learning technology was the doing of it, right? I was running in an environment where I could see things  being built, I could be dealing with learning, okay, this is how this works. And this is why you do this a different way. And then I went back to get the class instruction, not about theory of it, but about how you do it. When I went back to UCI, they didn’t come back to another degree in computer science or anything like that and just specifically to learn these languages, and be able to apply them. And then when I started consulting, most of web development at that point, one of the developed was on the LAMP stack. So, Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP, I had to learn that. Yeah, but I learned that by actually writing projects, build applications, PHP, MySQL, I did a lot of commerce, like early web commerce, porting some open source packages and things like that. So, teaching myself pivoting again to learning and technology to support the work I would do for my clients. Everything is interesting because you’re building.


TAMAR: Right. So, just to interrupt, for those who don’t understand what we’re talking about here, because I enjoy this conversation, and I understand it completely. But it’s like somebody has to learn Portuguese after they learned Spanish. So, you have the foundation of Spanish and Portuguese based on it, I think. So basically, you’re learning what we were talking about, like the windows stack is like Windows technologies, c++, or whatever. And that’s a late programming language. And then PHP is a completely different programming language, a complete foundation, so it’s easier to self-teach. But you probably could self-teach without it, you just need a lot more time. But if you have a foundation becomes a lot easier. Sounds like this is the path that I would have liked to do. Because I really wanted to learn how to code and not the theory behind it. And I would have been a lot happier. I’m glad I understand a lot of code. But I do have to sit there and look up 5000 reference guides and have the PHP website, it’s been a while up and try to figure it out. And I’m always googling my SQL, like, how, what is this code? How do I grant permissions for this? And all these things that I would normally know if I was actively and aggressively working on this. I’m just glad I have an understanding of it these days.


MICHELLE ROBBINS: I don’t overestimate programmers. I mean, just because you do something now regularly doesn’t mean everything’s right. Stack Overflow exists.

TAMAR: Yeah, that’s true. I’m living in that too.


MICHELLE ROBBINS: There’s a lot to know and you can’t know everything. And I think about certain things fair enough, like a magic formula that you need to have, every math formula memorized, you need to know where to go to find the formula and how to use formula. Okay. So, I think that sometimes when we made the barrier to entry for a lot of skills and knowledge higher than it needed to be and I think that can dissuade people.  So, I help people live in a way to visit their podcast, don’t get disappointed by things that you might hear in the culture about whether or not you’re going to be successful. You have to take a certain path for what do you assume the knowledge acquisition looks like?


TAMAR: Right? Yeah, I definitely feel that the culture has been a little more receptive to women getting involved. I think we’re a generation if not more away from complete immersion and acceptance.  We see that evolution in terms of tolerance. I mean, through our lifetimes, tolerance has kind of come slow. It’s a slow progression. It’s unfortunate, it’s kind of at our expense as we sit there and we kind of struggle through these clear misconceptions and preconceived notions of what we can do as a human species. What the heck come on, but that’s the nature of the beast. And that’s it. And hopefully one day there’ll be some massive programmer and not just a business person that come out there and shows off what they can do. But well, it’s going to be some time for that acceptance, to really kind of resonate throughout and to ripple through the industry.


MICHELLE ROBBINS:  I do think it is changing. I think that there’s so much more. Our focus and emphasis are an opportunity for young women to pursue more technical careers. I think then that’s a good time. In fact, I don’t think the problem is a lack of opportunity or a lack of ability. I think that what we have to focus on, the experience wasn’t there, you’re there, right? What is the experience? Wasn’t there a computer science course in a computer science program in college or in any kind of technical field? What is their experience? What are they? What are the messages they’re hearing from their professors, from their peers or anything like that? Are they being encouraged? Are they being given the same amount of attention and support as the males? And then they’re in work, right? I mean, every day, there’s another fortunate situation at a company where you hear about the difference between how female engineers versus male engineers experience working in that organization. So, I think we’re good on opportunities and the pipeline problem. I think we need to start focusing on the experience problem because I think that women can be driven out of the role of industries because they just don’t want to have to be on the line. Right? Like you said, it’s a big expense, how many of us have just walked away and said, man, I’m not here, I’m going to do something else. Yeah. And that’s what I worry about more than anything else. Probably a generation away or so?


TAMAR: Yeah. I mean, you see that in general, women step up, and really kind of show themselves in the forefront technology. Yeah, you see articles everywhere. I had leadership role at XYZ company. And I was groomed by the CEO, besides the fact that they talked down to because the expectation of women is going to be an abuse of power and performance, you get also the abuse, and yeah, I do hope in time,


MICHELLE ROBBINS:  Yeah. For me, not even about the harassment, now that behavior can be dealt with, it’s more about the other things, the microaggressions, right. It’s more about we’re going to look at your nose a little bit more carefully and we’re going to hear a little bit more strongly. What I mean, those kinds of things. And I don’t know that. I don’t know that the men are aware that that is happening, right? Because you’re part of a city that obviously things I feel are easier to overcome. That guy, he does anything that can be a little bit easier to address. I get it all the time. Exactly. A little bit more challenging.


TAMAR: Yeah, hopefully, we’ll get there. But yeah, you’re 100%, right. It’s completely unconscious bias that’s totally there, it’s present. And I don’t know if there’s a way to change that, besides addressing it head on like this. Or we just need the adults of our generation to teach the younger children that everybody’s equal, but unfortunately, that’s a lot harder to do. It’s because they have to step out of those biases themselves. I don’t know if I want to raise this, but at the same time, maybe I do, I teach my children. Yeah, I grew up in a very insular community and I wasn’t exposed to the diversity that I had been later in life. So maybe my children don’t look at skin color as anything. But of course, elsewhere, when you’re raised that way, things are obviously different. So, I don’t even know how to explain somebody who’s different than me, either culturally or whatever, because to me, every person is a person. How do you explain to your child  something you have to if they kind of do it, I don’t want to, but when you hear it in the other types of contexts, he’s just kind of feel like you have to, or at least, to articulate to explain why is this like this? Their belief systems look different, I don’t even know how to do it. And that’s what I hope, other people can do the same thing. But it really kind of comes down to the next generation to pick it up. Like if they had a computer class, where all girls were taught the same thing that boys were and that continued . I don’t know how to change the educational system. I honestly think it does come. It comes primarily inside the household, forget the institution. And so, I do the best I can. I know I’m definitely not perfect, but at the same time, I’m so glad that my children are living   a lot more diverse than I have because I’m sure everybody has these unconscious biases somehow in some way.


MICHELLE ROBBINS: The thing is that it’s hard to break through some of the noise and the trail around the topic because people think that you’re calling them, you’re a bad person, right? When it’s really been good work and attention to evaluate your unconscious bias. First of all, we all become what we came up with, right? If you don’t analyze some of the things you’ve been exposed to and how that might be another barrier that you can develop around understanding different people, different experiences. But I think if people ask different variances, depending on where they are, depending on what they’re doing and doesn’t happen to do a disservice to everyone. So, I think we have to examine it. And I think being intentional about it is the only way through it, right? It’s not going to get better; I think about all gone on over the past four years. And my heartbreak for the women who did this in the thick of it, right? Imagine if we remember, all the women that were out there marching for equal rights, equal pay, and access to health care, things like that, and then they were rolling around. And then here we are, 30 40 years later, and we’re out there on those line. So, it’s sort of how my Wi Fi and independent generation and I’m sure, it’ll be better for the next generation and in a way, right? I’m not going to say that there’s no ground game. I mean , how much we’ve been asleep at the wheel. And assuming things got better for me, therefore, things are better. And I think the problem things have gotten better for you and I. I think it’s better for women of color or for people who aren’t demographic and race the way we were in a segment of the population. And so, I think we’re going to write about it and not just hope.

TAMAR: Yeah, you’re right. Intentionality is really important. It’s about really addressing these things. And like doing the best you can, making sure that there’s an awareness, but the way that the response is, is observant, yet proactive to kind of push those mindsets away.  So, yeah, I’m thinking about that. And we talked before the podcasts recorded, I was telling you, I’m reading Gretchen Rubin better than before. And she talks about four types of people who have habits, some people’s habits are very easy to come by and creating habits is more difficult to come by. It’s all about everybody is different. So, for example, there’s people who are upholders, and they try to stick to everything. And then there’s rebels who totally do the opposite. And then there’s two different people in the middle of the spectrum, there’s observers, and then there’s obligers. Observers will do it but they’ll question everything, and obligers will do everything. And because they have to, they have to do it to be accountable to somebody else. And so, there’s everybody on all different types of spectrum. Reason why I mentioned that is because it’s all about  setting habits and kind of improving yourselves to be the best person that you are. And you have to figure out where you fit in that mold. And I said before it’s not necessarily science backed, but it really is like what she says is relatable, you completely identify it, I think everybody in all different for all four corners of this spectrum here. They can read that and be yeah, that’s me. I don’t know, I feel like I’m sort of in between, but at the same time I identify with it. So, I say that because of habits and becoming better version of yourself. And I know part of the podcast is talking about being focused on being your best self and doing self-care for that. So, tell me a little bit about that. I know it’s a little bit of a deviation, but I hope we’ll hopefully have bridged that gap a little.


MICHELLE ROBBINS: Yeah. So, you’re asking me my self-care habits?


TAMAR: Yes. What is your self-care routine? I’d say oh yes, she makes some really good stuff, you can follow her on Twitter. It’s some really good stuff.


MICHELLE ROBBINS: The thing that drives, I want to say it more. I can stress down in a cluttered environment, right, or where there’s not an aircon.  So, if I’ve got a project or a problem, you’ll generally find me reorganizing my toes, taking all my socks out and refolding them and immediately putting them back in my closet. My husband’s like, alright, what do you mean? Because he knows that I’m trying to work through a tough problem to a deadline.

TAMAR: Yes, declutter is a huge part of it. Just so you know, I just read this morning, really, like one o’clock this morning. Gretchen Rubin had even talked about doing something for health and exercise. And decluttering. She had four items I don’t remember because I read it too late. But decluttering was a big thing. And someone had said she had mentioned a quote saying that somebody cleaned out their fridge, and now that they felt comfortable changing jobs, and I completely identify with that. So don’t feel, you sounded a little hesitant, and you’re like, I don’t know if this is self-validating it.

MICHELLE ROBBINS: Meaning people think of it as a chore, where sometimes it can’t be a chore. For me, it’s like I bury my schedule. Just to make sure everything sorted okay, it’s time to deal with this cabinet in the kitchen and reorganizing it, just cleaning and I listen to podcasts. When I get caught up I listen to podcast, we clean the house. And then what I really liked about it, is that it provides an outcome, right? And then they feed the baby is the same thing if you create something with a creative exercise, as well as I think it is emotionally fulfilling. I think my mom growing up and my kids and they love new baby, so bathing  and cleaning. I say baby cleaning.


TAMAR: Listen, it’s unconventional. From what I’ve normally heard in this podcast, like everybody’s focused on, I’ll take a walk. I don’t know if I’ll do anything. But I’ll sit in the garden like, let’s bake and clean. I’m going to just call attention to your Twitter right now, Michelle Robbins on Twitter, and you just see some of these things. And I sit there and I drool. Like, there’s some great stuff there. So, by all means, listen. And cleaning by the way, decluttering is funny. I like to collect things, that’s why I’m taking this Coursera course right now from Laurie Santos on the science of being happy, the science of happiness. Let’s see what it’s actually called. The Science of Well-Being,  and I think she talks about how people anticipate material gain. But the anticipation is bigger than the x x actual acquisition. And she talks about why that happens. We’re based on reference point dominance, hedonic adaptation, the things that you could technically read about because I can’t give them justice by explaining them. But the whole idea here is that we like to collect things, but then most people want to get rid of it. And I actually follow a couple declutter groups on Facebook and on Reddit. And there was somebody who said, I tried to sell all of my stuff in a yard sale and I made like $10 and that it’s so valuable to me sitting here hugging myself. I actually realized that quote, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. I don’t identify with that in that context because most people don’t feel it’s not their trash. It’s usually still trash or they don’t want to get rid of it. Only, most people’s trash is other people’s trash. So, I guess I would turn that into, but yeah, I think that you’re right. I think it is therapeutic. And you could be like Marie Kondo with the whole Konmari concept.


MICHELLE ROBBINS: I get from Marie Kondo all of my clothes.


TAMAR:  I did too, but when she wrote in her book that my clients will never go back to this habit, I’m sorry to say she’s wrong. I mean, I did clean up my clothes. Yeah. I actually feel like I’m ready for a retail therapy session right now, especially today’s Prime Day. So, everybody knows, the listeners know, we’re doing this. It’s the 13th and I want to buy something. I’m sitting here, I want to buy something, I want to buy Earbuds, I’m not sure which Earbuds or the new Bose sports sound that just came out. And I’m sitting here, I need to do it. I don’t want to do it based on the science of what I’m learning right now. And I would want to declutter in the future. And so, you’re at a crossroads. I will say I envy the fact that you’re doing what I would love to be doing. So, even if you feel shy and afraid, don’t be I would say, yeah. Anyway, moving on, let me ask where can people find you and learn a little more about you and all that.


MICHELLE ROBBINS: On Twitter. I don’t really do a lot on Instagram  or Facebook or any of the other channel. So, I want to say Twitter’s get going as well as LinkedIn. I have not been good about developing my own portfolio. And I don’t have time for that. But think LinkedIn and Twitter.


TAMAR: Okay, cool. And it’s Michelle Robbins on Twitter. Okay. And LinkedIn. Hopefully, her Twitter avatar will match up because I’m sure there’s a lot of Michelle Robbins.


MICHELLE ROBBINS:  How many Michelle Robbins there are, either male or female. But yeah, you can find me there and on LinkedIn as well. But probably mostly Twitter, a community that is developed around the community.


TAMAR: Yeah, yeah, I definitely agree. That’s kind of why I came back. I took a hiatus for like, eight years, and I was gone forever. I couldn’t find my voice. I wasn’t socially anywhere, really, to be perfectly honest. I was on Facebook, but barely. I really didn’t feel like I can engage, being depressed. You just don’t feel like you can do anything. And that was sort of where I was. But yeah, so here I am and I’m trying to engage on Twitter, LinkedIn. I’m struggling with both of those platforms, just because of the visibility when you have 36.6 thousand followers, and all of a sudden you come back, like the algorithm doesn’t want anybody to see your content. So, just getting back there. It’s really harder than you think. So, I have a few regrets not maintaining it. But then again, I don’t think I would have been happy looking back at those moments and seeing what I would have posted about anyhow.


MICHELLE ROBBINS:  Yeah. You’ll be fine.

TAMAR: I’ll be fine. Yeah. The last question I would ask you is our Common Scents question. If you could tell an earlier version of yourself one piece of advice, what would you tell her? I love the hesitation. Never an easy question to answer.


MICHELLE ROBBINS:  Not an easy question. I think I have learn to be less trident,  try, I have matured, I always see there’s right or wrong. Right? I’m not a big fan of gray. I’ve learned to be a lot grayer.


TAMAR: Okay. That works.


MICHELLE ROBBINS:  Yeah. I think what I like more than anything throughout my career, because I’ve developed this alongside was having children, that  understanding your experiences and how you would handle something is completely different from someone else.

TAMAR: Yeah.

MICHELLE ROBBINS: To give an example that you got to figure out a way to relate this to career somewhere else in life, my first child was super easy. He was great, well mannered. Eat well, you could go to a restaurant, and he was great. And then my second, just a nightmare (laughing).  Nature gives you a good first one. Get it? I think he’s wonderful. He’s an amazing child, have wonderful friends but would come completely different. And so, after having my second when we could be in the restaurant back then, when we are in a restaurant and I see a family struggling with a child, I just do not be making a lot of noise out of my mouth, my response would no longer be, oh, they don’t know what they’re doing. They don’t know, they clearly don’t have children or whatever judgment you’re going to throw at them. Right.

TAMAR: That’s good.

MICHELLE ROBBINS:  You’re fighting a battle. Get him to have a drink.

TAMAR: Yeah.

MICHELLE ROBBINS: I think we should be more understanding. And I think that probably developing that earlier in my career would have been helpful.

TAMAR: Awesome. That’s great. Yeah, you understand the kids on the different spectrums. I get it. I’ve definitely have like that right now. It’s hard. I don’t think I’m ready to go to a restaurant COVID times. But forget COVID times, I mean, my youngest is four right now and I still think that we’re going to be a few years before we can go as a family to any eatery anytime.


MICHELLE ROBBINS: You think they’ve got it figured out, right. I mean, it’s not  every individual has the experience like you do. By the end of the day you do the best you can with what you’ve got.


TAMAR: Yeah, I love it. I love the example for sure. I don’t know if I want the drink but I feel like yeah, maybe I should have gotten the restaurant with Michelle. Yeah. So cool. Thank you so much for this has been awesome. And I am so glad that you were able to reconnect in this way and learn a little more about your background. I mean, I know you but I didn’t really know where you came from. And this has been really enlightening. It’s fun.


MICHELLE ROBBINS: Thank you so much for having me Tamar. And I’m so happy to see what you’re doing with your new empire, fragrance empire. I’m looking forward to it, bro.


TAMAR: Yeah, I can’t wait to share. So, you’ll see.

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