Ep. 228: Sydney Kjerstad – Leader of Smart Game Piano

Sydney Kjerstad is the creator and leader of Smart Game Piano, an online education platform that helps you learn your favorite video game songs on the piano in minutes.  As someone who hasn’t played video games regularly in probably a decade+, I had no idea there was such affinity for video game music.

But after talking with Sydney, it’s not hard to understand why. Video games are big business, and are very evocative. Due to their interactivity, it’s not hard to understand the affinity people would feel for their favorite games, and it’s only natural that if they’re musically inclined, learning some of those songs would be a great entry point for doing so.

On this week’s show, we talk about Sydney’s background in music, the development of Smart Game Piano, some of her favorite games, some of her favorite composers, a bit on film scores, the grind of entrepreneurship, and a ton more. Sydney’s got an amazing command of a lot of different subjects, is an absolute ray of sunshine, and this episode is a ton of fun.

Be sure to check her out on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook, as well as her website.

You can download this episode on iTunes, stream it on Stitcher, or listen at the Jon of All Trades homepage.

First Job: Sydney Kjerstad

Sydney Kjerstad is the creator of Smart Game Piano, an online education platform that helps you learn your favorite video game songs on the piano in minutes. Her full episode drops on Wednesday, October 9.

But first, she shares with me her first job at the age of 15 teaching younger kids how to play the piano. Enjoy!

Ep. 227: Risa Scott – Creative Entrepreneur, Nomad

The first time I ever saw Risa Scott, she was materializing seemingly out of thin air to blow away some ninjas in Jean Claude Van Damme’s Damn Van directed by my good friend, and constant artistic inspiration Brad Haag. So when Brad suggested I talk to Risa on this show, I jumped at the chance.

And this episode does not disappoint. Risa is currently traveling around the country in her custom built RV – which you can see her journey on Instagram – searching for good stories, chasing clients, and basically living her best life with her dog, Bread. She was goodly enough to sit down with me inside her RV outside a climbing gym in Denver on a beautiful, breezy day.

This is as easygoing, interesting and varied a chat I’ve had in some time. We discuss our shared feelings of emptiness in working for big companies, our social anxiety, the distinction between doing what you love for a living vs doing what you love to do for other people, why film sets are such a fun place to work, and a bunch of goofy stuff like how Justin Timberlake is like the wind, how Daniel Radcliffe might be the British Elijah Wood, and song mashups. This episode flies by, and I know you’re going to love it.

Risa has a ton of places you can keep up with her. Check out (and hire!) her photography business both on the website and Instagram. Find Risa’s personal Instagram page here, and her acting website here.

You can download this episode on iTunes, stream it on Stitcher, or listen at the Jon of All Trades homepage.

First Job: Risa Scott

Risa Scott is an entrepreneur traveling the country in her custom built RV, and is currently focused on her photography business. She’s had a fascinating journey and we touch on everything from climbing gyms to her time on American Ninja Warrior to living that van life and much more. Her full episode drops Wednesday, October 2.

But first, she shares with me her work as a 9 year-old raking leaves in her neighborhood, and then sails past the purview of this series and gives me like 14 subsequent jobs she’s had as well. Enjoy!

Ep. 226: Arthur Rawe and Kevin Batstone – Discussion Combustion Podcast

Arthur Rawe and Kevin Batstone are the creators and hosts of the Discussion Combustion Podcast, a new(ish) podcast on the Denver scene featuring two hardworking guys from different backgrounds, and the conversations they have a broad assortment of guests.

They reached out to me through friend of the show Paul Karolyi (who you can now find working at House of Pod), and we sat down to talk podcasting. We touch on everything from the importance of having two different personality flavors to play off of, what they’ve learned in the early going, what their show aspires to be, and, most importantly, why you should listen.

They’re a couple of good dudes, and they deserve your attention. You can check them out on iTunes, Stitcher, and, like my show, about a billion other places.

Check out Jon of All Trades on iTunes, Stitcher, or the homepage.

First Job: Kevin Batstone

Kevin Batstone (pictured left), is one of the creators of the Discussion Combustion Podcast, a new-ish podcast on the Denver scene. I sit down with them and talk all things podcasting this Wednesday, September 25.

But first, I ask Kevin about his first job and he tells me about his first gig bagging groceries, how he’s essentially never left the industry, and something that might surprise you about the grocery business. Enjoy!

Ep. 225: Jason Price – Select Communications, Former EMT

Jason Price is one of the head honchos of Select Communications, a firm where tell them your technology needs and they’ll do all the heavy lifting. Their team of product engineers brings you quotes from the top carriers and provides you with behind-the-scenes product comparisons and information that you will not get from any direct provider. Essentially, they’re like a personal shopper, but for information technology.

He’s also a former EMT and first responder who has developed training curriculum for other first responders. He’s had a fascinating journey, and this episode is an incredibly fun hangout.

Jason and I hit it off immediately, which makes this episode fly by. We riff on all sorts of stuff including legal weed, poor, embattled IT professionals, hitting the ceiling in various lines of work and how you pivot, and a ton more. It’s an easygoing chat that covers an awful lot of real estate. I know you’ll enjoy it.

Check out Select Communications at their website.

You can download this episode on iTunes, stream it on Stitcher, or check it out at the Jon of All Trades homepage.

First Job: Jason Price

Jason Price is one of the head honchos of Select Communications, a firm where tell them your technology needs and they’ll do all the heavy lifting. Their team of product engineers brings you quotes from the top carriers and provides you with behind-the-scenes product comparisons and information that you will not get from any direct provider. He’s the guest on Ep. 225 of the show, debuting on Wednesday, September 18.

But first he tells me about his first job working at a water park, having a radio (and how that made him drunk with power), and how one day he had to kick Metallica out of the park. Enjoy!

Ep. 224: Dustin Wendling – Global Citizen

I’ve known Dustin Wendling since I was 12 years old. I joined Ralston Elementary School in 6th grade, and we hit it off pretty quickly. In one of the only projects I remember from that year, he and I (along with another kid) formed a company called “Syco, Inc.” that sold stress balls (balloons filled with flour) and woven friendship bracelets in our little Society 2000. We made more profit than any other group in the class.

What I didn’t know was his incredible background. He grew up in Chicago, moved to Florida, was expelled in 3rd grade (hilarious story, btw), moved to inner city Denver where he was the only white kid, then joined me on the mountain with a bunch of rich white kids. He then started his post-secondary education while still in high school, graduated, and was basically a working professional before any of us could drink legally.

He’s since lived all over the world doing vital work in IT security for all manner of banks, insurance companies, and other entities we rely on as part of our global society. It’s a remarkable journey, and one he shares in some detail throughout our hour chat.

I went into this episode not having a real agenda of what we’re going to talk about. From having sparred with Dustin online for years, the lack of prep didn’t really worry me. And my faith paid off because this chat is tremendous.

We spend time talking about the emotional connection between perceived risk and real risk. We discuss how he came to forgive his father for leaving when he was a kid to become a born again Christian. We talk about the benefits and limits of capitalism, and why he ascribes to the social democrat political ideology. There’s a lot here. It’s never dull, it’s got plenty of laughs, and I think you’ll walk away learning something. I certainly did.

Download it on iTunes, stream it on Stitcher, or listen at the Jon of All Trades homepage.

First Job – Dustin Wendling

Dustin Wendling is an old friend of mine doing a complex and important job as an ex-pat living in Mexico City. Honestly, though, we don’t spend that much time talking about it on this week’s show airing Wednesday, August 28. We end up talking about big ideas because he’s one of the most fascinating people I know.

And this is but mere prelude to that great show. But listen as Dustin shares an insane story about being 6 years-old and swimming in gator-infested waters to retrieve golf balls that he and his brother then sold back to golfers on the weekend. Enjoy! I sure did.