Questions for Reflection
Each episode we offer you a few prompts to think about how that day's conversation applies to you. You might pause the podcast and answer them right then and there, but if you keep a journal (Steph and Beth both do), you might find one of these PDFs useful. Choose the orientation that fits best in your journal.
Beth Demme (00:03):
Welcome to the Discovering Our Scars Podcast.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:06):
Where we have honest conversations about things that make us different.
Beth Demme (00:08):
Our mission is to talk about things you might relate to, but that you don't hear being discussed in other places.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:14):
Our hope is that you're encouraged to have honest conversations with people in your own life. I'm Steph.
Beth Demme (00:19):
And I'm Beth. On today's show, we're going to have an honest conversation titled, "How Siri Taught Me to Ask For What I Want."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:26):
Then we'll invite you to reflect in the conversation in your own life with Questions for Reflection.
Beth Demme (00:31):
The show will close with Slice of Life. If you wonder what that is, stay tuned till the end. So, Siri can hear us. Can she hear us right now?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:42):
Let's start by saying, we're using the word Siri. But we're really talking about voice assistants in general. Google has an assistant, Amazon has an assistant, Apple has an assistant and they all have different names and Siri is Apple's assistant, but I personally use Amazon's assistant more often than Siri.
Beth Demme (01:03):
Same here. Same here.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (01:04):
Today's episode is more about really asking for things that you want and how that is accomplished. But we do it in a fun way with our title. But it's true, we're going to really dive in, in how I've really learned to be more forceful with what I say because of having some voice assistance in my life.
Beth Demme (01:25):
Are you telling me that Siri is not a real person?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (01:28):
Siri is an actual real person, the voice was a voice actress. She actually did record the voice of Siri. She's technically a real person, but she's a computer.
Beth Demme (01:39):
Is her name Siri in real life?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (01:42):
Beth Demme (01:42):
No, okay. My kids, for whatever reason, have chosen to go with the male version of the voice, and I totally do not support that decision. I don't think that's a good decision, because I don't really want to have a man telling me what to do or answering my questions.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (02:00):
Which is interesting because the default of all these voices assistants is a female voice.
Beth Demme (02:04):
Yeah, why is that?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (02:05):
I think it's because men have a problem... In my opinion, I'm going to put it out there, I think men have a problem being told what to do by another man, from a female, they don't have a problem with that. I know as a female, I don't want a man to tell me what to do.
Beth Demme (02:18):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (02:20):
I think women's voices are just more pleasing and calming, and it's just easy. It's an easy thing to listen to. When she doesn't understand what I say I get mad. I can't get too mad at Siri.
Beth Demme (02:32):
You get mad? You get mad when the voice assistant doesn't do what you want?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (02:36):
Beth Demme (02:37):
Give us an example. What does that sound like?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (02:41):
I've had Siri for a long time because it's been on Apple devices. A whole long story with Siri. The reason that it's named Siri is when iPhone first came out, the iPhone came out, there was an app called Siri and it was not made by Apple, but it was a voice assistant. It was like the very first voice assistant out there. You would open the app and you would say these different phrases, and it was the first version of this and I had it on my phone. All Apple employees did. New apps, we download them to show customers. But then Apple bought the company and kept the name. That's where the name Siri came from.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (03:17):
Apple didn't actually employ the voice actress, this app did. She had no idea what she was doing. You can find her, there's interviews and stuff with the real voice of Siri. She was just paid her normal wage because she was just doing her job, just said weird words. She was like, "Okay, this is what I do."
Beth Demme (03:34):
I never knew that, that was the history of Siri. Honestly, I didn't realize that it was an app that then Apple had incorporated into--
Stephanie Kostopoulos (03:41):
Apple's purchased a lot of apps as they grow and people adopt them and they see that... Like, Shazam, have you Shazam before?
Beth Demme (03:49):
Yeah, where you ask it what song is this?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (03:52):
You don't ask, you just push a button and it will tell you what song's playing around you. They bought that a while back. But yeah, that's how Siri came about. I've had Siri for a long time. I will say, I liked Siri but never really loved Siri because there are a lot of... You have to say stuff in a certain way, and a lot of times she doesn't respond and it's been kind of clunky. I'm not a huge fan of Siri. I use Siri every now and then. If you have an Apple device, you can say, hey, her name, I'm not going to say it, because it will make all of our devices go off right now. But that's how you--
Beth Demme (04:23):
It won't make my device go off because my device doesn't know your voice.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (04:26):
It still probably would do it though. It's not as sophisticated as we want it to be. Anyways, you say hey, her name and she will start listening to you and you tell her what you want her to do. But my favorite assistant... A couple of years ago I bought my first Amazon Echo device. Once I bought my first one I've been just exploded.
Beth Demme (04:48):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (04:49):
I love these devices and I'm an Apple girl. We know that, we talked about it, but Apple has really been way behind on this kind of technology. They have their Apple HomePod, but I'm not interested. I love my Alexa devices. Anyways, sorry, I'm trying not to say the A word because it will make my devices go. I have a lot of devices.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (05:10):
Anyways, when I got my first Amazon Echo device, which basically the device can play music, it can answer questions, I have one with a screen, it can play movies, it can do a lot of different things. It can--
Beth Demme (05:24):
It can tell you the weather.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (05:24):
Beth Demme (05:24):
It could tell you a joke.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (05:25):
It turns on my lights every morning. I say, "Good morning, A." And she turns on all my lights and she plays me my flash briefing. It's just very convenient. When I leave the home, I say, "Bye, A." And she turns on spa music for my dog. Mac knows that that's the sign that I'm leaving and she goes and chills out. It's like a whole thing.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (05:45):
As I've had my Amazon Echo devices, I've realized I have to really be clear with what I'm saying, and I have to be patient because... They've gotten better. It's gotten better every year.
Beth Demme (05:58):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (05:58):
Every year they do updates and it gets better and better. But it's really taught me that when I want something, I need to clearly state it. I need to say, "A, turn on the lights." If she doesn't do it, then I need to examine what did I do wrong? That's when I say, okay, maybe I wasn't super clear. Sometimes I have a lisp.
Beth Demme (06:18):
Is that what you say, or do you go, "You heard me?"
Stephanie Kostopoulos (06:21):
Oh, no. If I examine myself, and I did nothing wrong, it happens sometimes where it just isn't catching, rarely, but if I examine and I said nothing wrong, I will get angry. I'll be like, "A, do this." Sometimes I'll go over to her, look at her and be like, "A! Okay, thank you."
Beth Demme (06:40):
First of all, I totally do the same thing, and I also call her, her, even though I realize that this is a computer, and it actually doesn't have any... It's not a human, but I still think of the device as a her. We use it a lot to play music. We'll be sitting at the dinner table and we're wrapping up, I'm ready to turn off the music and I'll say, "A, stop playing the music." The music will keep going.
Beth Demme (07:10):
Then what's funny is my whole family will stop and they'll look at me like, what's she going to do now? Because the computer just defied her order, right? Which is so weird, because I don't think I'm that way, right? I don't think I'm really that tough.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (07:26):
Oh, you are sometimes. I would do the same thing. Ooooooh, Beth!
Beth Demme (07:31):
Then I say it, try to be more clear, try to be a little bit louder. Try to say it a little bit more clearly. But I don't really get mad.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (07:41):
Well, the toughest time is when it is playing music, because it's sometimes hard to hear you over the music. I don't get as frustrated when music's playing because I know that, that can happen.
Beth Demme (07:51):
Sometimes, she, or the device or it or whatever--
Stephanie Kostopoulos (07:55):
I guess I call it, it. I don't think I go fully with she.
Beth Demme (07:58):
But I will. She gets confused about which lights I mean, because we have a lot of our lights enabled that way, and that can be a little bit frustrating. Like I'll say, "So, turn on the lamps." She'll say things like, "There are several devices with that." Or whatever her phrases are." Then I have to go, "Oh wait, yeah." I wasn't clear about what I wanted this computer to do for me. It requires me to know what I want.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (08:26):
Yeah. That is something honestly, it sounds silly, but I have really noticed a difference in me. I feel like growing up and just as a woman in general, I feel like we're not really encouraged to speak our minds and to clearly state what we want. I just feel like that isn't how society is set up. I feel like men typically are, "Go get it, go." You want it, you tell them what you want.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (08:53):
I don't feel like I've really been encouraged to do that. I do it because I'm me and I don't let society rule my life, but I've just felt like I've never really been encouraged to do that. It seems so weird, but I've been practicing that. I never knew how important it was to practice asking for what you want, and these smart devices in my home have given me that opportunity. I have really noticed that I'm able to be more clear with my wants and intentions and also my value, which seems even crazy that that's part of just having a device. But we have sponsorships where we'll go back and forth with a sponsor about what the payment is, and I will stand my ground and say, "This is what we are worth." Nine times out of 10 we get that. They come back, "Okay."
Beth Demme (09:41):
Yeah. When you say sponsorships, you're talking about MDP. We don't have any sponsorships for Discovering Our Scars. You mean in your paid work?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (09:48):
In my DIY business, correct. Yes.
Beth Demme (09:50):
Well, it's interesting that you bring that up, because when you were saying that women aren't always encouraged and don't always know how to clearly state what they want or what they need, I do think that, that comes across in the workplace, and that is why oftentimes women are paid less than men for doing the same work, because we're not always encouraged to go in and to state our value and to know our value. It's more like, well, we should be accommodating or we should be grateful. Rather than, no, this is a business, and we're going to approach this like a business and try to make a business decision.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (10:22):
Yeah, I had that happen to me at Apple, actually, when I applied for the lead creative position. I was offered the position and they said, "And your salary will be 10% more." Doing the math, it was like $2 more. I knew people in that position were getting paid more than that. I stood my ground and I said, "That's not right. This is what I'm expecting, da, da, da."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (10:47):
At the time, I did get a little bit more, not as much as I should have had, but at that point, we were at a weird transition with our management. I was just like, "Okay." Ultimately, years later, I did get the biggest raise in the store because of recognizing my value. But it took a while to get that voice and to stand up and say, "This is what I deserve." I don't know, as much as it seems silly, just being able to practice daily by talking to my devices, I'm able to clearly state it. If she doesn't hear me, then I know I didn't clearly state it, and I need to say it correctly now.
Beth Demme (11:28):
It can be surprising to realize that you weren't clear, right? It's surprising to me sometimes when I'm like, "Oh, yeah, I could have said that more clearly, even to this device, where there are a limited number of things that even need to be said. I'm still not always clear. The question for me is, how does that then translate into my human relationships? Am I being clear in those relationships?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (11:50):
Yeah, I agree. It's definitely not a one for one transfer. Obviously, these devices are not humans, and they don't have brains, they don't have feelings, and I'm not pretending like, because I can talk to my device, I now know how to have every human interaction. But I know when I was an employee and I had managers, I remember being so frustrated when a manager would tell me to do something, but was not clear with what they wanted. Then they come back, they're like, "Is it done?" What do you mean? What did you want me to do? You gave me no guidelines, you gave me no instructions, how am I supposed to know what to do?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (12:25):
Then I'm frustrated as an employee. I think there's a lot that can be taken from this, in all of our roles, but a manager specifically, if I didn't do what I was asked, and you know I'm a good employee, then maybe you didn't ask me the way I needed to be asked. It can help really by having to be very clear with a smart device, or a voice assistant, it can help translate into what am I saying wrong in my business world? Because my employees aren't hearing me, aren't doing the things that I'm asking. Maybe I'm asking those things wrong.
Beth Demme (13:01):
I wonder if that's a universal experience, because I certainly have had that happen too where I would be at work, and someone would say, "Do you have this thing done?" I would be like, "What? I was supposed to do that? I didn't understand that that's what you were expecting." I really like to exceed expectations so I really like to know what's expected, then it's frustrating for me, but I'm sure it was frustrating for the person I didn't deliver for as well because they needed this thing that I hadn't gotten done, but I really didn't know I was supposed to do it.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (13:32):
It's so frustrating when a superior does not clearly state. I've been in so many meetings where it's just like, oh, this needs to be done. Okay, assign it to somebody. Even in small organizations I'm a part of, it's like, assign that to someone. Don't just put it out there. Then also managers, if it doesn't get done, or if no one steps up, then they'll just take everything on themselves, which is not okay, which is not good. It's like--
Beth Demme (13:59):
I've made that mistake too.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (14:00):
... just clearly state, "So and so, can you do this? This is what I need done." Yes, perfect. I love to be able to know exactly what I'm responsible for, what's being asked of me and doing it, check it off my list. But so many times I've had managers where it's just like, this needs to be done or we should look into this. Well, who is we? Who is we? When is that happening? What do you want? Tell me what you want. "Stephanie, file the papers in the drawer by tomorrow." That's what you would tell A and she would do it. Although that'd be crazy. She could do that--
Beth Demme (14:35):
That would be so cool if she could do that. I think the other place where I've seen this come up in my own life is when I need to have some work done. If I have to have something done at the house. For example, we're getting ready to have some painting done, and I had someone come out and give an estimate, but then it wasn't clear to me that the estimate included all of the work that I need done. So, instead of assuming that, oh, yeah, we need painting done on our back porch. Well, I really want the exterior doors included in that. But the estimate said it was to paint the trim. Do they include doors when they say trim? I don't know.
Beth Demme (15:14):
We also have columns out there. He didn't say anything about the columns. I need to know does this estimate include that? There was a time in my life where I would have just assumed that that communication had happened and then been upset when the work wasn't done to my satisfaction. I've learned that it's better to communicate that upfront and to say, "Actually, I'm going to need you to circle back and let me know does this include these additional pieces that I need to have painted?"
Stephanie Kostopoulos (15:39):
That's a huge place where that miscommunication happens when we're not forceful, us as like the person asking for the work done is not forceful, and saying, what does this cover? I had some tree work done and I got a couple of estimates in. One of the estimates was literally take the trees down, okay, great. One of the estimates literally said trim the trees, cut the thing, do this, removal. A line on everything, and I was like, "Thank you. That's exactly what I want." I didn't even have to discuss it, it was all in there, there was even the written contract of exactly what they're doing. Especially when it comes with trees, there's so many things to a tree, besides taking down the tree, there's the stump removal. Is that included? There's actually removing the tree parts?
Beth Demme (16:24):
The debris, who's going to be responsible for that?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (16:26):
Exactly. A lot of companies will just say, take the tree out, and then they don't do any of that. Or when you ask them... When this tree is just sitting there and you're like, "Are you taking this away?" They're like, "Oh, well, you didn't say you wanted that." What do you mean you didn't say... What do you mean? And we're the wrong ones.
Beth Demme (16:40):
Right, and we're relying on the professionals to know what's involved in this job. I've never done this before. I don't know what all needs to be done. So, I really do need a detailed estimate so that I can understand all of the work that you deserve to get paid for, because you're going to be doing a lot more than maybe I even realize.
Beth Demme (16:56):
I will say that this is something when my husband and I built our house, it's been a while ago, it was back in 2008. But he was really a stickler for this with the subcontractors, to the point that sometimes I was embarrassed because he was being so like, "No, I have to know exactly what you're bidding, I have to know exactly what you're including, I have to know what you're excluding, because I need to be able to compare these bids." We had a General Contractor, but also, Stephen, let's admit it, we micromanaged him a little bit, right?
Beth Demme (17:28):
Even though, when I reflect on that I remember that I was embarrassed sometimes I also know that we got an excellent product because he was so attentive to detail.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (17:36):
You have to when it comes to that kind of stuff. My mom had a remodel years ago, before we were even doing DIY and things like that, and she was taken advantage of. They didn't give her itemized list of things. She thinks she paid for things twice. She was really frustrated with a lot of the things that the contractor did. She knows now, but that's always frustrating when you have to actually go through that. That's part of why when we make DIY videos now, the whole point is not you need to do all these things that we're doing. No, we want to show you how it's done, and you can make that choice if you want to do it yourself, or if you want to hire someone. If you hire someone, you've seen how it's done, so you are a little bit more empowered to say, "Did you do this? Did you do that? I need to know exactly what you're doing, because I know how it's done, and that's not right." Or we all need to hire Stephen to come and take care of all of those inquiries for us.
Beth Demme (18:27):
I was just thinking that he... I never made this connection before, but he will do that. He'll watch a YouTube video before he hires somebody to do the work, and I'm like, why? But to him, it's meaningful research.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (18:38):
Beth Demme (18:39):
That he understands the scope of this work and could he do it himself? Or time wise, is it better to pay somebody else to do it? Anyway, I was just making that connection. That's why it was standing out.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (18:51):
It's so true, it's part of research and we do that, we will do that with projects. We will decide do we want to build this thing, do we want to buy this thing? We will watch how to do something. I had an issue with the corner of my siding broke in a big storm we had recently. On my roof. I researched how to do it. It's actually really complicated. You had to take down all the siding, and I would have to do it on my own on my roof. Mom was like, "No, you're not doing that. I don't want you on the roof." It was during the COVID lockdown.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (19:20):
I actually asked a friend, and he recommended a crew to do it, and it's done perfectly. But I had done the research to see how to do it, and I realized, nope, this is not something that I need to be doing right now. If it was on the ground, a whole different story. But yeah, I think that's all part of that process is educating yourself so you don't get taken advantage of.
Beth Demme (19:39):
Because you have to know what you want in order to ask for it.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (19:42):
Exactly, exactly, yeah. Because if you have someone come over and you're like, "This is broken. Make it better." What are you looking for?
Beth Demme (19:55):
I always try to assign positive intent. When I think about your mom's remodel, it is entirely possible that there were miscommunications, just assigning positive intent will be like, oh, it was just a miscommunication. But it's also possible that I think sometimes folks are vague when they're promising to deliver something, right? And then when you're not satisfied, they're like, "Well, it really wasn't clear. I did industry standard, I did the work here."
Beth Demme (20:24):
We have this project that we're tangentially related to through the church. It's a building that needs to be gutted and completely remodeled to make it safe and habitable for human beings. We're finding that. One contractor is like "I just want a bottom line number, and then I'll make this building everything you want it to be." We're like, "But you won't because you don't know what we want it to be. You might want to put in flooring that is not up to our standard, but then that needs to be figured into the cost." It gets very complicated when you have a project that's a big scope, it can be complicated to narrow down the details. But that can be time really well spent.
Beth Demme (21:08):
Which does relate to the idea of the voice assistant, because you could waste a lot of time and get very frustrated trying to tell a computer what to do if you don't really know what you need done.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (21:18):
I think part of it is sometimes we just haven't fully thought through what we want. I think that's part of the problem sometimes is there's so much we take in every day in our lives and so much that's happening, so much that has to get done. I think most of us would just love to be able to say, just do it, just make it happen, just to fix it. But that's not how the world works when you're working with other human beings, you have to be super clear with what needs to happen.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (21:45):
I think that's part of going back to, I can't just say, "A, I want to listen to music." If I tell her that she'll keep playing the stuff that she always plays and I want to listen to something new. I have to say things in a different way to get different responses.
Beth Demme (22:03):
I'll be like, "I don't want that music. Why would you think I wanted that music?" Oh, wait, because I didn't tell you what kind of music I wanted.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (22:09):
Beth Demme (22:11):
You have to know what you want, and you have to express that.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (22:13):
Just like what you said with your building, I want you to just do it, just do it, make the building great. Then you come in, it's like, "Why is there a green carpet in here? I don't understand." Because you didn't clearly think through what you wanted, and you didn't clearly communicate that. Then you're just kicking yourself for not having fully thought through it. And it's tough, it takes a lot of time. It takes a lot of time and energy to do that. But ultimately, you're going to get a better product and be more empowered after you've clearly stated and you get the product that you wanted in the first place.
Beth Demme (22:49):
But sometimes I feel like I'm being bossy and I don't like to be bossy.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (22:54):
Beth Demme (22:54):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (22:56):
I don't like that word. I feel like that's a word that--
Beth Demme (23:00):
I don't like being bossy.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (23:02):
Oh my gosh, I don't know what that word... I feel like that word is used to degrade women. Like, don't be bossy. Oh, you're just being so bossy now. I don't like that. First of all, what does that mean to you, bossy?
Beth Demme (23:16):
Well, I think maybe there's a line there that can get crossed. I think of bossy as being demanding or unreasonable. But I also know that it is possible to give clear direction and be perceived as being bossy. I know that it is a word that can be problematic.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (23:34):
Well, do you have a problem with the word boss?
Beth Demme (23:36):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (23:37):
Why adding a little bit to boss, what... To me, bossy is, you're being a boss, and you're saying exactly--
Beth Demme (23:45):
That's a good thing. I want to be a boss. That's like a compliment. Like, "Oh, you're the boss."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (23:47):
Why is bossy, "Oh, I don't want to be that?" What's wrong with... To me, bossy is... I hear them say it about little girls a lot, too. She's being so bossy. She's stating what she wants and she's going to get what she wants.
Beth Demme (24:02):
But sometimes... Okay, the little girl thing really helps, because sometimes a little girl is just bossing her friends around. Like, "You stand there!, You use this color—"
Stephanie Kostopoulos (24:13):
Is she being bossy or is she being a leader?
Beth Demme (24:16):
Well, maybe both? But maybe there's--
Stephanie Kostopoulos (24:18):
What's wrong with being a leader?
Beth Demme (24:19):
Well, because I think you can lead in a way that isn't unreasonably demanding. The voice assistants helped me understand this, because sometimes with my voice assistants, I don't mind being bossy, because I don't have to think about how it's going to be received, and I don't have to think about the feelings of the device that's going to receive it. I can just boss her around, like, "Play my music."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (24:45):
Do you think men in the situation, do you think they care whether it's a voice assistant or a human being? Do you think they care all of that about their feelings of the person they're telling what they want?
Beth Demme (24:56):
I think if they're good leaders, they do, but I also recognize that that is a gendered, cultural issue that when men do, it is perceived as strength, which is good. And when women do it, it's perceived as overly emotional, histrionic, unreasonable, inappropriate.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (25:14):
Do men get called bossy?
Beth Demme (25:16):
I think men get called bullies, and women get called bossy. What do you think? Do you think--
Stephanie Kostopoulos (25:22):
All I know is my experience with the word. I know when I worked for Apple, I had a team of men that I was in charge of, and they called me the B word.
Beth Demme (25:34):
Not bossy? The other one?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (25:35):
Not bossy, the witch with a B word, with a B in front of it. That really... They used that word to lessen me, to degrade me, to make me... They found a word that would hurt me and that's the word that they used. They would use that not to my face, but where they knew I could hear them and where they knew other people would tell me what was being said.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (26:00):
When I first was in the reality of that, I cried for hours when I got home, and I was just so defeated and so upset, like, "I don't want to be this. This is wrong to be this." Then I finally, after I was done crying, I was like, "You know what, if standing up and doing my job and asking for what is necessary in this job is a B, then maybe that's what I am, and maybe that's okay. You can call me that all you want, but I'm doing my job, I'm being a leader." Because they want to just stand around and do nothing and I'm asking them to go do something. Maybe I can hold your hand while I'm doing it, but I'm not going to, I'm sorry.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (26:40):
I definitely was not a perfect leader in any sense of the word. I was always trying to work on my leadership though. I was actively reading books. I read ridiculous books about leadership and in my off time, I was trying to learn, trying to grow myself to grow my team. I was actively working to better myself for my team, but there was team members that would just not care one bit about that.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (27:06):
I finally just embraced it. I said, "Fine, then I'm a B, and that's fine." Just like bossy, I could easily... They probably did call me bossy, and it's fine. Okay, if your definition of bossy is doing my job asking you to do yours, and to not let you just stand there and do nothing, then okay, then I'm bossy, I'm sorry, but I'm not going to let you tear me down. Because that's what you're trying to do.
Beth Demme (27:32):
On some level, you have to recognize that their response doesn't actually define who you are and doesn't define how you're doing your work. You know your intent, you know that you're not being a bully, you know you're not being overly demanding or acting inappropriately. Then their perception of it is really on them to own that and to do their own work to say, "Well, maybe I have a hard time taking instruction from someone who's a different gender."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (27:57):
Yeah. I think if you're being called harsh words, I do think it's important to examine and ask yourself. Examine, not just there being whatever, examine yourself, what are you doing? What are their major complaints? Is that something I need to change? Is that something I can change? Is that something that they're being reasonable about? There's a lot of things to ask.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (28:20):
I think we always need to be constantly growing, constantly asking, be constantly, okay, what can I do? Is there something I needed to change? But if you answer all those, and they're still just being them, then that's not feedback for you, that's just gossip and a sour employee.
Beth Demme (28:38):
Do you think that for the folks who are growing up with these kinds of devices and growing up with the opportunity to direct a device like this, do you think that this conversation will change over time?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (28:50):
I truly think this is helping people practice communication, clearly communicating. I think it's helping boys and girls learn to communicate. My nephew, my niblings were in town last weekend and my nephew, I just got a new light, this new Echo light. I named it the glow light. I told him the phrases to say to get A to change the color.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (29:16):
At first, he wasn't clear at every single word, and she wasn't working. But he didn't get frustrated. He kept trying, and he finally got her to do it, and he had this big smile when he clearly communicated to A and she did the response. He got so excited, and then he showed his brother. It's like, "Look, look what I can do." I think that's super empowering, and I think that... There's a lot of negatives to technology that maybe we'll talk about one day, but you're not stopping technology. It's going to start, but it's your choice on how much you integrate it into your life and how you use it. I feel like I have a ton of technology, but I feel like I have a healthy respect in connection with technology. But I think it's going to be super helpful for just that simple asking what you want and being clear with it.
Beth Demme (30:03):
I'm optimistic about it too, that it will have a positive impact. We had my daughter on a few episodes ago. I have a teenage daughter, and many times I have heard her father have this conversation with her, where he'll say things like, "You have to be very clear with boys. You have to be very clear about what your boundaries are. You have to be very clear about who's in charge of your body. You have to be very clear." It's not that he's down on guys, he just is protective of his daughter.
Beth Demme (30:36):
He'll even say things like, "You have to assume that the boy you're talking to is not getting it. You have to assume... " This makes him sound unkind ... I almost don't want to say, but, "You have to assume that they're not smart enough to understand what you're saying. So, you got to be so clear. You got to break it down." Just to try to empower her to be able to clearly communicate what is okay with her. I'm optimistic that that is a growing edge for us as humanity, this ability to really know what we want and to clearly state what we want.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (31:14):
It's actually really true, because I worked with a ton of guys at Apple, and I started to learn that. I started to learn that things that I think are so obvious, and other women would think are so obvious, guys don't. This is the gamut, this is everything. I had a really good friend that we would hang out all the time together, we're just friends. He was just a very kind and great friend to have, but there was things that I would get so mad because he just didn't understand the same way I understood, and I had to learn.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (31:43):
I learned from all the time we spent together, I learned how to communicate things to him that I never would have to communicate to a female because they just see things differently. It was like... I can't even think of any examples right now, but there were so many times I'm just like, "Are you kidding me? How do you not understand this?" I would just have to be like, "Okay, let me go back and then explain this." I think the more time you spend with guys, the more you understand that concept, guys outside of family, because--
Beth Demme (32:14):
Right, it's different--
Stephanie Kostopoulos (32:15):
It's totally different.
Beth Demme (32:16):
... family, yeah.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (32:18):
I definitely learned communication with men from working at Apple because there was a lot of them there.
Beth Demme (32:22):
Right. To know that spending time together doesn't mean that that's a relationship. To understand, we're friends, we're not--all of that requires communication.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (32:32):
Yes, lots of communication. Yes, yes.
Beth Demme (32:36):
I never have to worry about that with A. A knows I'm not looking for a relationship.
Beth Demme (32:45):
Some people really worry that the voice assistant is always listening and that the voice assistant is going to do something bad with what is heard. You have a lot of experience with technology, a lot of knowledge. Should I be worried about that? Because I feel like I don't have anything to hide--
Stephanie Kostopoulos (33:01):
This is taking a turn.
Beth Demme (33:03):
You can cut this out.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (33:04):
Number one, there's a button where you can turn where she stops listening, and you can also unplug completely if you're concerned about it--
Beth Demme (33:14):
But then when I say, "Play my music, she's not going to hear me."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (33:17):
Yeah. No, if you're paranoid that things are happening, that's the quickest way to shut it down. Can devices be hacked? Yes. Can a burglar break into your house? Yes. Can we take steps to stop that from happening? Yes. I highly, highly encourage anyone with a smart device to have a secure password on their devices to change it right yearly, every six months to a year. To have two step authentication turned on all their devices, specifically cameras, very much on cameras for the safety.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (33:53):
There was some issues like a year or two ago with the Ring system. It wasn't an issue with the Ring cameras, it was an issue where people weren't changing the passwords and people were logging in as them. That's when Ring required two step authentication. A lot of companies are doing that. Two step authentication means when you go to the website and put your password in, it's then going to text an access code to your phone, and it's just an extra security to know that you're the person that's supposed to access this information.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (34:26):
I have a ton of cameras, I have a ton of smart devices in my house. I'm not overly concerned, I know that there's potential for havoc in them. I know that there's a potential that someone could break into my house, but I take every precaution I can. Like I said with someone physically breaking in, I have cameras to watch, I have camera alerts and things like that.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (34:49):
To me, it's no different than keeping your house safe by locking your door, those kind of things. Just be very mindful of your password and don't use the same freakin password. Please, do not use the same freakin password. Password phrases are very good safe things to do. There's been research showing that those random like K12A da, da, da aren't as secure as a phrase. Phrases like, I love my dog Mac, that's a phrase. Some of it capitalized, maybe an exclamation at the end, as a phrase.
Beth Demme (35:20):
Right, maybe substitute a letter with a number, those kinds of things are most secure--
Stephanie Kostopoulos (35:23):
Those are more secure than others. You can also turn off the "Hey S" feature on your Apple devices as well in the settings. If you don't want that feature at all, you can turn that off. There are definitely ways to, if you don't want those things out there. But yes, your devices are listening. That's how they are getting better all the time, they are listening. There are times when I will not say A and she'll respond to me. I'll be like, "It's not what I said." But I've never had any major issues security wise in that sense. I don't live in a bubble where I think nothing will ever happen, but I'm doing my best to help prevent that.
Beth Demme (36:07):
At the end of the day, maybe we have somebody listening who isn't really into having the devices listen all the time. But as for you and me--
Stephanie Kostopoulos (36:18):
I love it.
Beth Demme (36:18):
... listen away because it's so convenient to be able to say, Alexa, turn on... Sorry, now she's talking--
Stephanie Kostopoulos (36:25):
She heard you. She didn't know what you said after that. I will tell you, I have music playing all the time. I can have music playing in every room with the devices. I actually have the Amazon music account, it's a paid account where you can listen to any song, any song anytime. It's great. It's super convenient, because I can just ask her to play any song that I'm like, "Oh, I want to hear this one." It'll start playing it. They have decent speakers on them. That's not world renowned. I have multiple different of the brands. There's Echo, there's a Dot, there's a Show, there's all these different. I have one of each almost.
Beth Demme (37:00):
Yeah, you could even say like, "A, I want to watch." Or, "A, play." Then on the TV, it will just be there. You don't have to go through the search, you don't have to type anything in. It's so handy!
Stephanie Kostopoulos (37:11):
I know. I really like the convenience. The convenience to me outweighs the other concerns you're talking about. It helps me like think through what I want, and she makes that happen.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (37:25):
Now, we have a couple of questions for you to help reflect on today's episode, Beth will read them and she will leave a little pause between them, and we also have them available in a PDF form on our website at DOS Pod.
Beth Demme (37:37):
After the questions for reflection, we'll have our Slice of Life. So, stay tuned. Number one, do you ever struggle with clearly stating what you want or need? How could more clarity help you in your relationships? Number two, when you clearly state your needs, do you sometimes feel selfish? Why? Number three, have you been the recipient of an unclear instruction? Was it frustrating? How did you handle it? And number four, have you ever used a voice assistant? Have you been surprised at how clear you needed to be? Slice of Life. What's your favorite of all of the voice assisted devices, do you have a favorite?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (38:26):
Well, Amazon Echo devices, which is A, a lady's name.
Beth Demme (38:30):
Right, or you can say computer or you can say Echo, but you have to--
Stephanie Kostopoulos (38:33):
You can change the wake word.
Beth Demme (38:34):
But you have to be clear, and you have to set it up.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (38:38):
Yes, I have devices pretty close to each other. I have them have different wake words because if not, they'll all go off and I'm like, "Huh, too many talking to me." My favorite is the Amazon Echo Show. The Show actually has a screen on it, and there's three different sizes. I have one of each size, the biggest size is at my mom's house. The smaller size is here in the office and then the middle size is in my kitchen on the bar area.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (39:07):
I love it because I can hear and see when she responds to stuff, and that's really helpful for me because I'm not super auditory. I really like having that device. I have pictures that are on the... It's almost like a photo frame too because you can put photos on it. At my mom's house, I put photos of my niblings and my dog and her friends. My mom loves it. My mom really likes the Echo Show as well. She has two Amazon Echo devices... No three, we have one in the garage. My favorite is the Show. What's your favorite?
Beth Demme (39:45):
Mine is just the straight up, Alexa. I do have a Show but I don't know that I fully have tapped into its capabilities. I use it as like a fancy clock. I have it on my desk in my church office. It's my clock there, and it controls a fan I have under my desk so I don't have to get down there, I can just tell her to turn it on. Then I use it as a speaker in that way, but I haven't really used the Show function of it all that much.
Beth Demme (40:13):
But I love that we have in our house lights that are activated that way and that we have it connected to our whole house audio system so that we can very easily... It used to be several steps. I'd have to get a remote control, I'd have to turn on the whatever and then turn on the whatever and then turn on the whatever and then set it to the music that I wanted. Now, I don't have to do any of that. I just say a few words and poof, there's magic sounds that I like coming out of the ceiling.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (40:43):
You're saying you just love the Amazon Echo. The regular, it looks like a cylinder device.
Beth Demme (40:50):
Yeah. Well, we have the Echoes--
Stephanie Kostopoulos (40:51):
And a dot.
Beth Demme (40:51):
... and we have the Dots and how they work together.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (40:55):
The Dot is the cheapest, entry level but it doesn't have a great speaker. I have one in my garage, which is perfect because we don't really play loud music in there. But the Amazon Echo is the gold standard. They also have a Tap, which I like. The Tap is portable. It's a portable device and that's really nice because I can bring it to different rooms. That was my first one I had, because I only had one in the house and I bring it to different rooms with me. It's nice, it's in my living room now. One thing we talked about in this episode was... Well, I was talking about sponsorships and I had mentioned my DIY business. I don't know if I've really talked... We've talked about it, I guess, before.
Beth Demme (41:31):
I think we've mentioned it in passing, but I don't know if people really understand what your business is?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (41:37):
I make DIY videos. Done. Me my mom we have a YouTube channel, website, social, all that called Mother Daughter Projects and we make videos once a week about just different, Do It Yourself projects that we've done. This week we actually posted, we bought a resin shelf from Costco, not shelf, shed, a resin shed from Costco and we built it. We showed how to assemble it, because there was a lot of steps but I really like watching visually how stuff goes together instead of reading it in a manual.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (42:08):
We read the manual so you don't have to. You can see in the video how it goes together. It actually was really well made. Then next week, we have a C—table. If you wonder what that is, you should watch our next video.
Beth Demme (42:22):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (42:23):
C—table. It's like a--
Beth Demme (42:24):
S—E—A or a C?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (42:26):
The letter C.
Beth Demme (42:26):
The letter C, okay.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (42:27):
It's shaped like a C, that's why it's called that. It was like a side table, or a TV tray kind of thing. We made it for my porch for when we eat out there. It's a place to eat on. IT looks like a cabin. It has rustic cabin feel. It was a fun one.
Beth Demme (42:43):
Well, why don't you also share about what else you just did on your porch because you just stained your furniture.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (42:47):
Well, the reason why we made the C table is because we just got a big sponsorship with the Home Depot to use this new product, or this number one rated product called the Olympic ELITE Solid Stain, and we picked the chestnut brown and I love the color. It looks like Mound Chocolate, it's awesome. But we had gotten contacted by them a couple of weeks ago when we stained all my other furniture, and then we've been wanting to do the C—table. So, we built that as well, and then we also built a succulent holder for display of succulents in there.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (43:19):
It was fun, it was like a whirlwind because it was raining, and we had to find the little spots when it wasn't raining in June in Florida and that's really hard.
Beth Demme (43:26):
But then what is Home Depot going to do with what you created?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (43:29):
That full reveal should already be on the Home Depot blog. You can go to the Home Depot blog, just search for that and you can find our project. We will link to it in the show notes.
Beth Demme (43:40):
Yeah, let's put a link to it so people can see.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (43:41):
There will be a video and a written post. Check it out, let me know what you think, because we spent a lot of time on it because we wanted it to be really good. We actually got feedback from them. We sent in the video for approval and the feedback was, "No feedback. This is great. Exactly what we wanted, thank you."
Beth Demme (43:57):
Excellent. They were clear about what they wanted, and you were to deliver.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (44:01):
Exactly, I love it when there's a contract and I can read everything I'm responsible for, I highlight it and I check it off when I do it. And I was done. We are very good at you tell us what you want and we'll make it happen and we'll make it organic because we do, we figure out how with our sponsorships. We would never take sponsorships with somebody that we don't believe in the product already. But we loved this product. We hadn't used the Olympic stain before, but we love it. It went on so great, way better than paint. The color's amazing. We loved it and we were able to share that organically in the video, in the written...
Stephanie Kostopoulos (44:35):
We love working with Home Depot because they are super honest and easy and their contracts never say, make this product look good. Say all these lines. Say it verbatim, even if you don't believe it. It's like if you don't believe in this product, if there's something negative you have to say, write it down. We'll want to look at it and prove it because it might be something that maybe you got a bad batch or something or da, da, da. But they want to hear that. They want to organically know those things about their product. They don't just want to blindly have... Because why hire influencers if... If they want something just look amazing, they'll just hire their marketing team to make a commercial, but they want us for a reason.
Beth Demme (45:13):
They're not hiring you to be an actor, they're hiring you to actually use the product.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (45:17):
Yes, and do it in our own way. They like our style. If you want to check out our stuff, we're at motherdaughterprojects.com, and on YouTube, Mother Daughter Projects. You can check us out.
Beth Demme (45:29):
Of course, we also always like to have your feedback about what's going on here at the podcast. We would invite you to, if you're enjoying the show, leave us a review. You can give us a five star rating, or we have a comment section on our website dospod.us. Head over there and give us a comment.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (45:45):
This has been the Discovering Our Scars Podcast. Thanks for joining us.