Anastacia Maggioncalda

Anastacia Maggioncalda
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Juliet: [0:04:30] Anastacia, welcome to The Ready State Podcast.

Anastacia Maggioncalda: [0:04:37] Thank you for having me.

Kelly: [0:04:39] Seriously.

Juliet: [0:04:39] Okay, so in full disclosure, we’re friends.

Anastacia Maggioncalda: [0:04:41] And neighbors.

Kelly: [0:04:43] I think that barely scratches it. In full disclosure, you’re one of the most extraordinary women in our life.

Juliet: [0:04:48] Yeah. And one of our dearest friends.

Kelly: [0:04:50] And you and I have even shared champagne in Paris.

Anastacia Maggioncalda: [0:04:52] We have.

Kelly: [0:04:53] You are the wing woman of all wing womans. When my wife is not there, you’re the best surrogate.

Juliet: [0:04:57] Can you tell me what the circumstance was that you guys were drinking champagne in Paris again?

Kelly: [0:05:00] It was a Tuesday.

Anastacia Maggioncalda: [0:05:03] I think it was a Tuesday actually.

Juliet: [0:05:05] What were you doing there?

Anastacia Maggioncalda: [0:05:06] I was watching him eat steak because I don’t eat steak. But that was the best part of the night.

Kelly: [0:05:10] Wait, wait, hold on. Let’s back up. I was teaching there. You were there for work. You couldn’t actually see me eat steak because of the cigarette smoke.

Anastacia Maggioncalda: [0:05:17] That is true. So what happened was I was in Paris. Actually, the way I remember it, I was on a hike with you, and I said, “I’m going to Paris,” and you said, “Kelly’s going to Paris.” So we would have never known we were both there if it weren’t for you. So you said, “You’ve got to hook up with Kelly in Paris.” And that’s it.

Juliet: [0:05:37] Am I right that he drank 75 cappuccinos in one sitting with you?

Anastacia Maggioncalda: [0:05:40] And he drank more champagne than cappuccinos. I was surprised. And then after dinner, we got crepes and more coffee. Although I think I got a glass of wine and watched him drink coffee and eat crepes.

Kelly: [0:05:52] Kelly bus, under.

Juliet: [0:05:54] One other interesting thing about my friendship with you is that we go to a lot of concerts together. And we are going to go to Billy Idol this summer. I don’t even know what to say about that, but I’m really looking forward to it.

Kelly: [0:06:05] Okay. So let’s swing back, because people are like, okay, they’re slipping down the way back machine. I mean your husband’s part of our bike club.

Anastacia Maggioncalda: [0:06:12] That’s true.

Kelly: [0:06:13] What is it you do? Juliet, can you explain what Stacia does that makes her so extraordinary?

Juliet: [0:06:20] I mean right now she’s the head of production for a small company called LinkedIn. And what she actually does day to day, I don’t know. But I would love to learn more.

Anastacia Maggioncalda: [0:06:31] Yes. So I work in San Francisco when I am in San Francisco, when I can be in the office South of Market at LinkedIn. And I run what is called the Creative Studio within LinkedIn’s brand and marketing team. So I run the studio where we actually create all the content for LinkedIn’s advertising and marketing materials. TV commercials, out of home, station dominations, social, all of that kind of content.

Kelly: [0:06:55] One of the things I want to get out of today’s talk is I maybe undervalued, underappreciated the power of LinkedIn for a long time. And you were like, “Hey Kel, I’ve just been on your profile here and it says you’re a PT student.”

Anastacia Maggioncalda: [0:07:11] Yeah. I was like, “Wait, Kelly’s 19 years old? What’s going on here?” And you also looked 19. I think the photo was from-

Juliet: [0:07:19] Well, he definitely had hair.

Anastacia Maggioncalda: [0:07:21] He had hair back then. Yes. No, but that is one thing you learn about LinkedIn. We all created our profiles back in the day when it was like the thing to do. You create a LinkedIn profile. And then many people continued with it and many people dropped off, right? So and then you go back and look at your profile and you’re like, wow, man, I haven’t touched this in 20 years, right?

Kelly: [0:07:40] The reason I wanted to open with that is we’re in a time right now, I’m going to call it peak fitness craziness, right? You’re a professional person. The internet is sort of, I don’t know, what did Lady Gaga call it? The cesspool, a trash hole. It’s really hard sometimes to parse out professional relationships there. You know, certainly, it’s a pickup truck where you have to play a good social media game, attention game. But I meet a lot of coaches and interesting people there, but there has to be a better way. And one of the things I think, a tool that I’ve come to appreciate more since Juliet updated my profile-

Juliet: [0:08:16] Thank you.

Kelly: [0:08:17] And you chose a very handsome photo, thank you. But a lot of coaches and a lot of people reached out to me as a way… And we were just able to go around the craziness. Like it was like we had a sub-route or a sneaky kind of we could go around this mountain of social media to have a real conversation again.

Anastacia Maggioncalda: [0:08:32] It’s true. And that’s why LinkedIn year after year always wins the most trusted social network and the safest place to be on the internet, especially to have professional conversations. And we’re trying to… We’re at the point now where we are moving and leaning a bit into the social world a little bit more, but still keeping it professional and safe. And so I do think that that’s what people appreciate about it. Nobody wants to put stuff about their career and stuff on Facebook or Instagram or whatever because they think people might not care as much. But to have that real conversation… We have a campaign right now called Conversations For Change about taking part in a conversation that’s out there, that’s happening in the world, but in a professional and safe place, as opposed to the cesspool.

Juliet: [0:09:21] The cesspool.

Kelly: [0:09:22] We call it the Wild, Wild West. I mean it really is. What’s really nice is that I also see people beginning to… They can support, they’re saying this is what’s in it for me. You’ve created loose networks. And I feel like a lot of entrepreneurs and a lot of people who are in business for themselves, you can relate to Juliet, I mean you’re the CEO of our company, J, and it must feel sometimes you’re on an island working it out by yourself. Is that true?

Juliet: [0:09:45] Yes, it is. Well, I mean for many years of my career I just had my head down and I was working. And you’re a coach so you’ve always had all these like easy professional relationships. But I didn’t have any professional relationships. It was really hard for me to find professional peers.

Kelly: [0:10:00] No, it’s true. I really feel like you were not in a CEO club and a powerful woman club where you were like I need these things, I need these resources. You know for me, again, you’re absolutely right. I’m in an incredible network of coaches. But I feel like a lot of people who are in business who maybe listen to this do not have the resources that I have as a coach.

Juliet: [0:10:19] I do actually want to keep talking about LinkedIn, but I want to go way… I want to come back to LinkedIn since that’s your present day job.

Kelly: [0:10:26] I just wanted to frame like I think what’s really telling or one of the interesting things about you right now is you really have solved a problem for us. And you just happen to be one of our besties.

Juliet: [0:10:34] So what I want to know is, I think all of our friends would say you’ve had this bonkers career. I think that’s actually the word everybody’s used to describe it. Tell me, I know you grew up in the Bay Area. But tell me a little bit about what your childhood was like, what your parents were like, and sort of how your childhood propelled you into this bonkers career.

Anastacia Maggioncalda: [0:10:59] Well, it’s funny that people say bonkers too because it’s just also when people don’t understand exactly what you do, it feels bonkers, right, because… And to me, it’s just very much a day to day. But I actually grew up in Boston until I was 13. So I lived outside of Boston. And my parents, very plain. They both grew up in New Hampshire. And my dad was the first person in his family to go to college. My mother never went to college. So I’m sort of half first generation college student back then. And so basically my dad was an accountant and my mom was a travel agent. And so very plain, very plain. But I do think the travel was a big thing for me because my mom, back in the day when travel agents were glamorous and it mattered to have a travel agent, she would get all these trips.

Kelly: [0:11:51] That was yesterday, by the way. Pre-internet was yesterday.

Anastacia Maggioncalda: [0:11:55] It feels like a million years ago in a weird way. Like imagine calling a travel agent for a trip right now. I mean-

Juliet: [0:12:00] No, I can’t even imagine.

Kelly: [0:12:02] I don’t know how these things get done. They just get done around here.

Anastacia Maggioncalda: [0:12:04] You just all of a sudden have a plane ticket on your phone. So I think I had that like travely bug thing as a kid. So I always was very intrigued about seeing the world and I have to see the world and I have to get out there. We moved to the Bay Area when I was 13. And that was from suburban Massachusetts. I basically moved to vacation. I was like, “We’re going to live here? This is like a vacation.”

Juliet: [0:12:27] Permanent vacation in Marin County.

Anastacia Maggioncalda: [0:12:29] It felt very strange. I mean literally coming from the woods in Massachusetts. It was like insane. So we got here and then-

Kelly: [0:12:37] That would have been what? Eight what?

Anastacia Maggioncalda: [0:12:39] Eighty-three. Yeah. So I was a full-fledged rocker from Boston who moved here and turned very fast into a Valley Girl. I think I had turquoise jeans and white sweatshirt with-

Kelly: [0:12:53] North Cal Valley Girl, just so we’re clear, if people don’t know what the geography is.

Anastacia Maggioncalda: [0:12:56] And I had like immediate spiky hair with colored ends or whatever. Like from my AC/DC t-shirt to that within a very short period of time. So that was my coming into my teenage years. So yeah, so then we moved out here. And I mean it was like ’80s in California. It was crazy. It was just… And again, that’s where music started for me because it was like ’80s full on music scene. So I was really involved in that. But immediately knew that I wanted to go to New York. I mean ever since I was 13 and moved here and lived here, I loved it. But never had any desire to move to LA or move here or move there. I just was like I’ve got to go to New York.

Kelly: [0:13:37] Let me jump in for a second because you went to the same high school my daughter goes to.

Anastacia Maggioncalda: [0:13:41] That is true.

Kelly: [0:13:42] I have seen your yearbook pictures. And if ever there was a human being in their late teens who was going to New York, it’s you. Like I compare you and I’m like, wow, my daughter… If this daughter showed up at my house, I’d be like, “Here’s your ticket to New York.”

Anastacia Maggioncalda: [0:13:55] Well, and the trajectory of my yearbook photos, because it’s funny you say this, because my daughter Lola, who’s exactly their daughter’s age, Georgia’s age, was looking through my yearbooks just the other day. And it was funny because she could not believe the difference between the four years, like how different the photos were, from just like crazy black, crazy spiky hair and like 14 million earrings. And then I had cowboy boots on the next year with like riding pants and never had been on a horse. What was I wearing? I have no idea. It was like going towards the late ’80s into that scary-

Kelly: [0:14:32] This is why I knew I was going to be fine in Paris.

Juliet: [0:14:34] Wait, so I’m assuming it was plainly obvious to you in high school that you were going to be a creative of some kind.

Anastacia Maggioncalda: [0:14:42] Well, I think in high school, that’s when I kind of first fell in love with photography and I was, I’m going to be a photographer. And I also really loved creative writing. So I had this idea that I was going to put those two things together and be a photojournalist and travel the world for National Geographic.

Juliet: [0:15:01] I think I had a moment of fantasy about that too.

Anastacia Maggioncalda: [0:15:04] I was like travel, writing, photographing.

Kelly: [0:15:06] That’s actually a small dream because you’ve actually exceeded that a little bit.

Anastacia Maggioncalda: [0:15:10] Well, I wouldn’t say I wrote and photographed for National Geographic. But no, I’ve done some really cool things. So I feel-

Kelly: [0:15:17] Yeah, like won Webbys. No big deal.

Juliet: [0:15:19] Okay, so you bounce out of Marin County and go to New York to Sarah Lawrence. Was that an all women’s college at any point?

Anastacia Maggioncalda: [0:15:28] Before the ’60s. Yeah. It was one of the Seven Sisters schools back in the day. And then it went coed like in the ’60s, late ’60s, I think.

Juliet: [0:15:36] And tell me what you were up to once you got to New York. I mean beyond college. What was your first job out of college?

Anastacia Maggioncalda: [0:15:45] Okay, so after college. Well, in college I studied under a really amazing photographer, first off. So that has a lot to do with what happened after college. But I worked under, studied under Joel Sternfeld. So anyone who is interested in photography, you might know him. But if not, look him up. And he’s in MoMA. And he had a show in San Francisco a couple years ago at the MoMA too. He’s amazing and his work is phenomenal and just unbelievable. And so he and I just really bonded. Like he was such a great mentor to me. And I really, I kind of owe a lot to him because I think he really believed in me in a weird way. 

Like I did this one set of images that I was really proud of and really into and he tore me apart in my critique. Like tore me apart in front of the whole class about how crazy it was and insane and I was out of my mind and all that fun stuff. Nice to have your teacher tell you all that. And then like a couple weeks later, this photographer Andres Serrano, who you might also know, but he came out with this big show in New York that was like my work but not as good, which is what my teacher-

Juliet: [0:16:51] Actually said.

Anastacia Maggioncalda: [0:16:52] He’s like, “I don’t know why I tore you apart because”-

Juliet: [0:16:55] This guy’s got a huge show. But let me just say, I mean I think it must go without saying that you must’ve showed some kind of mad talent to be able to start working with such a famous established person right off the bat.

Anastacia Maggioncalda: [0:17:07] Well, he was actually a professor at Sarah Lawrence. So I was lucky because he was the professor that was teaching while I was there. But what really helped me so much and I think kind of kickstarted everything for me was he helped me get my internship in college which was at Magnum Photos, which is the most coveted internship in the photography world. Like next to impossible to get back then and probably still now, I would think. But it is just the highest photography collective in the world, right, with all the most established, well-known photographers. So I first, while I was still in college, was interning there. And that’s kind of what just kind of got everything rolling for me. And it was really Joel who I think had a lot of respect from Magnum.

Kelly: [0:17:53] Here we are, there are a lot of kids coming in today and the media’s changing fast. You had a pretty… I mean looking at what you are now and your sort of bonkers experience… You’re welcome. Or bananas, did we say?

Juliet: [0:18:05] Maybe bananas.

Kelly: [0:18:05] You had a pretty hard set of skills though. I mean you were actually a working photographer. You know what I mean? You had some technical, hard skills that maybe doesn’t relate to what you do exactly day to day. How important is that to come out of college, if you’re going toward this direction, you hear this, to actually be grounded in some kind of technical craft around the creative? Because I think a lot of people, they kind of want to work backwards, right? They want the product first without any of the skills.

Anastacia Maggioncalda: [0:18:34] No, I think it’s hugely important, especially now with all of the social media work out there that people are doing. They want people to be makers and doers, not as much just like I learned this and I’m going to oversee it. I think now your chances of being successful are you’re multifaceted, you have all sorts of hard skills, and consistently upscaling.

Kelly: [0:18:59] Because we hear the generalist, is really a theme that we hear in some of our really successful friends. Anya Fernald who just had such a diverse experience in college and early, she kind of aggregates those things. They sort of coalesce into a more cogent whole. But we do see that people want to become the hyper specialist early on. And that doesn’t sound like your path at all.

Anastacia Maggioncalda: [0:19:21] No, not at all. I mean I think I majored in photography and minored in cultural anthropology because there was going to be my National Geographic side, right? So but what I think helped me so much is understanding cultural anthropology and understanding cultures around the world and globally. And it’s very psychologically driven too with culture and understanding, just having that sort of grounding understanding of people and the world. And a lot of what I do, honestly, day to day, feels like I wouldn’t be able to do it if I didn’t have intuition and understand a bit of psychology because that’s half of my job really. Even though I was going to be a creative and all this, now half the time it’s-

Juliet: [0:20:03] Managing people.

Anastacia Maggioncalda: [0:20:03] Managing people.

Kelly: [0:20:06] Throw back, if you want to… I think you are in our 60 Minutes piece. Is that-

Anastacia Maggioncalda: [0:20:10] I am. That’s right. 

Kelly: [0:20:12] So if you go back, you can actually see Stacia lurking around when you and I are on 60 Minutes, Juliet.

Anastacia Maggioncalda: [0:20:16] I think I’m also in your pelvic floor thing.

Kelly: [0:20:19] Oh bam.

Anastacia Maggioncalda: [0:20:20] Don’t go watch that.

Kelly: [0:20:22] You know what? Hey, I wasn’t going to bring it up, but you are a pelvic floor star.

Juliet: [0:20:25] You said it, not us.

Kelly: [0:20:25] That’s right.

Juliet: [0:20:27] Okay, so I’m going to ask you what potentially to you I think may seem like a very simple question, but a lot of the titles you’ve had have been head of production. And I think people kind of know what a producer is on a movie film, sort of. But what does it actually mean? I mean I see that you just said a lot of it is managing people. But really over the span of your career, how has that job changed? And I’m sure it’s very different depending on where you’re working. But what does it actually mean you’re doing all day, every day, during the day?

Anastacia Maggioncalda: [0:20:58] Well, I mean it also goes back to what I started doing. So in the beginning of my career from the photography into the film world, I was an actual producer, day to day producer, which is the person who like produces the project and gets the film made, or gets the photography shoot done, and gets that campaign created. But through learning all that and being deeply involved in the creative day to day on a small team, getting the work made, eventually evolving into a head of production role, it is about sort of overseeing an entire team and being a people manager. Really a lot of it is being a people manager. But also, it’s still at the roots of getting the project done. 

So a lot of times I am overseeing the creative brief and determining what the needs are going to be for the actual campaign, and what all the deliverables are going to be, and who the right vendor partners might be to work with, what director would be perfect for this campaign, what photographer would be great to shoot this in Mumbai, what person… You know, just understanding and having all these partnerships too. That’s huge for me. I think just having such a long, robust career between working in New York, San Francisco and LA for so many years, just knowing everybody, connecting, and having all of these amazing talented vendor partners to collaborate with, and having those relationships really enable me and my team to bring the best people together to create the best possible output, so-

Kelly: [0:22:25] Step one, Valley Girl Marin. Step two, producer music videos for people like NSYNC. Step three, rule the world. Is that right?

Juliet: [0:22:33] I think that’s kind of right. Okay, so I mean on that point, you did a lot of production for music videos for a lot of big artists. And as we talked about before we started recording, you probably signed a lot of NDAs around that. But tell us some stories about working with some fancy famous people.

Kelly: [0:22:50] Because I do want to circle around after I hear this.

Anastacia Maggioncalda: [0:22:54] I would say, well, the funny part was when I first moved, I had been producing in New York for a really long time and was working predominately in the commercial, film world with the occasional music video and a lot of work for Viacom back then. A lot of Comedy Central, MTV, VH-1 kind of work. When I moved out to San Francisco, really the scene out here, there was a real heavy visual effects world. And I had sort of dipped my toe in visual effects for finishing those kinds of projects in New York. But when I came out here, I ended up sort of evolving into more of a post visual effects role. 

And so that’s when I started to get really involved in the music videos. And it was a very interesting time in the music industry because it was that ’90s I would say the heat of the boy band scenario. I feel like I was working on the visual effects for every single boy band video. And that was back in the day when videos actually had real budgets.

Juliet: [0:23:52] And you could actually watch them on TV like easily.

Kelly: [0:23:55] You said VH-1, MTV. And I’m sure Georgia would be like, what.

Anastacia Maggioncalda: [0:23:58] Exactly. Like who watches that? And Comedy Central, all that. It was such a big deal back then. Yes, I feel like it was back-to-back to back music videos. It was like Back Street Boys into NSYNC into Ricky Martin into… It was just one thing into another. We did get to do some like Oasis and some more… Like Metallica, I did a lot of Metallica stuff. So but it was a real funny time.

I mean most of my stories would be like I was just up all night, never sleeping. And number of times where I worked on one NSYNC video where it was going to be launched on MTV, and this was back in the day where internet was so different, right? So we literally had to stream it over this very special box that could stream high res real time to get it to New York to launch on MTV where they were doing a behind the scenes of the making of the video, which I was in. And that was what they were going to show first, and then they were going to launch into the video. And we were finishing it about an hour before the launch. And we didn’t have internet the way we do now. It was like is it going to get there, is it going to get there. And we’re like watching it go across the stream box. It was crazy. But we had all also I think maybe hadn’t gone home in maybe seven days. I barely slept, maybe falling asleep on the sofa for an hour here or there. But it was a crazy time.

But I do have to say, shooting back then with I would say NSYNC was one of the most fun bands to shoot with just because they were a really fun group of guys. And it was a funny thing to look back on too because Justin Timberlake was so young, but he was just… I remember saying during that shoot… Well, I did four shoots with them, I think. But one of them I was like this guy is going to go… Like he is one of the most devoted to his craft of anyone I’d ever met in my life thus far at that time. He would just, he would stay until 4:30 a.m. in the morning doing the same thing over and over and over again until it got right. He would like pull you aside and tell you exactly like in your eyes five times like what he wants it to look like. Just so passionate. And those guys were just so fun.

And the first video I worked on with him was I think toward the end of his relationship with Britney Spears. But then she came by to visit on the shoot. And I sat mostly with Justin’s mom like half the shoot.

Kelly: [0:26:20] So say we all. So say we all.

Anastacia Maggioncalda: [0:26:21] But it was fun. Those were the fun times the ’90s music times. Yeah.

Kelly: [0:26:26] They were bananas, is that the right word?

Juliet: [0:26:28] Bananas.

Kelly: [0:26:28] So two things that I think are interesting here, especially young people, we have access on the phone to be able to publish pretty high level things, right? But I feel like people kind of, for lack of a better word, you can shortcut the process. But there’s two things that I heard you say that I think are really interesting. One is that the relationships you have and the network you created has taken a minute to create. Like that’s decades in the making. And one of the things that Juliet and I feel about Ready State and some of our friends is that we have been in the same spot doing the same business for a long time and people have gotten to know us. I feel like sometimes that’s undervalued, like how do you create a network. So you see young kids coming in because you’re the boss woman. Do you see them not appreciating that it just takes a minute to develop a career?

Anastacia Maggioncalda: [0:27:17] Yeah, for sure. And I do think it’s such a different world because I feel like younger people kind of get out thinking that they’re just going to start up here on top, right, and not understanding that there is a pathway to get to the top. And so I think a lot go in there thinking that they’re up here and then they fall real fast and have to start from the bottom. Whereas I think our generation, just because I’m older than you guys-

Juliet: [0:27:41] Barely. Barely.

Anastacia Maggioncalda: [0:27:41] But we’re kind of in the same. But I think it was just a given that you had to do… It was like grunt work all the way up, you know, for years, right? So I do think for me, I feel my greatest asset is my network and people I know. And so I sit on a lot of panels for young people, especially in like technology and creativity and just a lot of panels also for underserved communities, just talking to kids about careers. And they always ask me what my number one piece of advice would be. And it really is connect. Connect to everybody that you can. Just have lunch with people. Ask people out for coffee. Connect with people and tell them what you’re passionate about and see if they’ll mentor you. Connect with just other humans in general, even if there isn’t a direct benefit potentially to you. But just the more people you know, first of all, the richer your experience is going to be in life, but you’re also building that network. And so I think that’s something, like I said, my greatest asset because I did have this career, I started in New York, I worked in San Francisco, I worked between San Francisco and LA for multiple years, and I have traveled a ton for work. And so I just know people all over the world. 

Like if you said to me today, oh, I’ve got to go to Singapore tomorrow… Oh, in fact, that’s a funny story. I was in Singapore for a shoot and I was talking to this guy about where I live, and he said, “Do you know Kelly Starrett?” Of course. I’m like, “Of course I know Kelly Starrett. He’s in my network and my neighborhood. And he’s my friend.” But I mean wherever… I just feel like that has been a great asset. And it’s a great asset for my team and for Creative Studio at LinkedIn and everything as well because just if one of my producers comes to me and says, “I’m working with this creative team, we have this great idea, we just don’t know how to execute it, we don’t know who would be right for it,” like immediately I almost always have an idea or somebody I can call or somebody I can connect them with. And I think that that’s like kind of where the magic happens. 

Kelly: [0:29:44] The other thing, and I think you two share it, is that you can outwork everyone. And I know your work ethic. JStar, I’m sort of familiar with her work ethic. One of our friends described you as having the highest work pain tolerance of all time, right?

Juliet: [0:29:57] I don’t know. Anastacia may win if it’s a competition.

Kelly: [0:30:00] One of the things I’m interested in because there is some notion of how do I have a personal life because you just hinted at something, that you can take your personal life and actually make it really rich through these networks and connections, right? You have to take advantage of that. But you also work really hard. And I think it’s difficult to tell people who are not successful, who are already there, people who want to be successful, how hard the people who are at the top have worked. And now it looks like maybe it’s effortless. But definitely I feel like that’s a missing ingredient today. We just want to go, step one, have an idea, step three, retire, right? And there’s a little more space-

Anastacia Maggioncalda: [0:30:35] And we’re like yeah, retire at 98.

Kelly: [0:30:37] Do you feel like you do… You know, it’s interesting because right now I’m sitting at a table where women here, Lisa included, you all are at the peak of your power. You really have come into you’re the next generation leadership. And how do you sort of reconcile being family, having a personal life, being at the peak of your power, with needing to work hard and still never being home or not having interpersonal relationships. Can you do that?

Juliet: [0:31:08] I mean I’m going to answer for Anastacia.

Anastacia Maggioncalda: [0:31:11] Great.

Juliet: [0:31:12] One of her greatest qualities is she is always game for literally anything, which is one of the reasons she’s such a fun friend. Because I can be like, “Anastacia, you’re not much of an outdoors person but we’re going to go rafting.” And she’s like, “I’m in.”

Kelly: [0:31:26] You say yes. I mean you really are one of our friends who says yes more than anyone else. It’s pretty cool. It’s a superpower. 

Juliet: [0:31:33] So I just, I want to go back to that connection thing though because I also speak on some of those panels. And I always tell the story about one of the things I learned from my mom as a journalist is she always told me, “Just call people. They actually pick up the phone. You’d be surprised.” And I realize nobody really calls anybody anymore. But I know that if I had some ambitious young person reach out to me and say, “Can I take you to coffee and learn about your career trajectory,” I would happily do that. And I know you would.

Kelly: [0:32:00] Especially if there wasn’t something in there. I just want 10 minutes of your time. Can I buy you a coffee and talk about your life?

Juliet: [0:32:06] Yeah. And so I agree. I mean I think there’s so much to be learned from people maybe like us who are more I would say mid-career. I don’t know if we’re quite peak, but mid-career. And anyway, so I totally agree with what you’re saying.

Kelly: [0:32:19] You haven’t peaked out. I didn’t mean that. I just mean you have a lot of power.

Juliet: [0:32:21] Oh thanks.

Kelly: [0:32:22] You’re welcome.

Juliet: [0:32:22] Thanks. Okay, so what I want to ask you about is, and you alluded to this a little bit, so what is… Because here you are making this music video with a certain set of technology in the ’90s and then you’ve been around producing stuff and content-

Kelly: [0:32:39] Analogue film too.

Juliet: [0:32:40] Analogue film to what we have going on now. I mean what has there been like for you? Have there been periods in your career where it’s been hard to catch up on what the technology is because you learned when you took actual photos on film? What has that been like for you? And then I also know that I’m pretty sure you produced one of the first web film series. So I’d love to hear more about what that was and what that was like.

Anastacia Maggioncalda: [0:33:04] The hardest part for me in terms of catching up, I don’t feel like it’s the technology that’s been hard because that’s so learnable, right? Like you can just read and learn and work with the right people. But I think the hardest part for me now is just the evolution into the deep social content world and just not always understanding the mentality because I didn’t grow up in it. And I’ll watch my kids and they’ll show me something and they’re on the floor laughing. And I’m like I don’t get it. And I’m like, shit, I’m turning into my mom, you know? And it is that moment where I’m like, God, am I going to age out? 

And that’s why, again, you know your strengths and you know what your weaknesses are. And you backfill for it, right? Like I mean I have a lot of amazing people on my team who just live and breathe that world. So we can bounce off of each other because it’s a real learning curve if you didn’t grow up in it, right? Because just understanding the culture of TikTok, and I’m trying to learn it every day. But I find learning technology a lot easier than learning massive cultural change. 

But I do feel so much has changed since I started in this industry. Right now, it’s strange because there’s still this fabric of wanting to do things the way you traditionally did. You’ve got your brief and you’ve got your copywriter and your art director, and you’ve got your creative director and your producer, and you follow these processes. But now it’s like to sort of create, as some people at LinkedIn have coined, creating at the speed of culture, right? If we’re going to create that fast, you kind of have to break these old molds. 

And it’s hard because a lot of these people I work with, you were growing up being trained that way. You went to advertising school, you went to this school, you went to whatever school, or you were trained in a certain way. And so to be comfortable breaking everything you know and being like… You know, we worked with this amazing director who shot this amazing footage and it’s so beautiful. And so we created some LinkedIn stories from it. And at the same time, we worked with this illustrator. It’s during COVID so we can’t really shoot her directly. So we asked her to shoot herself on her phone. So we make these stories that were shot by this amazing director. The footage is amazing. The stories are beautiful. And then we have this one that this illustrator made of herself. And this one performed like a million times better than these because that’s what people-

Juliet: [0:35:28] Right. There’s an authenticity to it.

Anastacia Maggioncalda: [0:35:29] It’s authentic because it’s like she is being real and she shot it on her phone and there’s no fake lighting and there’s no stylized anything. And then we have these beautiful stories that we created with this amazing documentary filmmaker. And they didn’t perform as well because the people who are watching them weren’t as intrigued because they didn’t feel as authentic. So teaching people that the standard, the old standard-

Kelly: [0:35:55] How do you balance that between, I mean I’m going to sound 1,000 years old, like the greatest generation talking to the hippies, right? But internally, we struggle with this is the content I want to make, this is the way I want to do it, I think this is really important. And then how do we cut it down to catch people’s attention, right? How do you view that? Do you have an answer for that? Do you do both? Do you have to always meet people or is it just going to be a race to a three second soundbite that we compress?

Juliet: [0:36:00] Well, and let me just add some context to that question if I might. But we tend to make more long form videos. And that was actually sort of welcomed, like let’s say on Instagram for example, they launch IGTV, it’s sort of like make these longer form videos and everyone’s going to watch them. And then all of a sudden TikTok comes out, Instagram launches Reels. And we learn from our friends at Google that a long form video in Google world is a one minute and 30 second video, and that they really don’t make any videos that are more than 30 seconds. And so we’re actually struggling to kind of… Not struggling. We are transitioning as a company to say okay, the content that we’re going to put on social media needs to be short. And it’s a challenge for us, right? Especially for Kelly.

Kelly: [0:37:05] I have a lot to say.

Anastacia Maggioncalda: [0:37:10] It is a massive challenge too because then there’s all these results. If you want to follow all the best practices, it’s like have this in the first two seconds, have this, have it end here, and have a thing here. And basically like plug and play.

Kelly: [0:37:24] Where do you think that goes because you’ve seen it all, where you’re making videos and movies and you’re doing all this production, and all of a sudden, we’ve compressed it down. Are we just selfishly, are we going the way of the dodo? Will we just eventually not be able to recognize art?

Anastacia Maggioncalda: [0:37:40] I mean it’s just hard because the attention span is so different. Like even I who would feel that I’m older and have a great long attention span, I mean how often do you guys do this, you log in, you go to see something, and you watch the first 30 seconds, you scrub through a bit, and then you give up, right? I mean I do it all the time. I don’t watch things all the way through.

But then going back to I was also this year a judge on the AICP, which is the Association of Independent Commercial Producers, Award Show, which is advertising world awards. All the work that wins ends up in the Museum of Modern Art. And so I was a judge in the category for cause, which was the most amazing category, for cause marketing. And I literally spent two days watching and crying because this work was so good. But the most impact… It was all long form. Like there was nothing under 60 seconds that was winning the award. I mean obviously in the advertising world there are other categories, but to really tell an impactful, meaningful story, even if it’s a branded content piece, I mean you need some time, right? And so it’s really hard to tell a story like that in 15 seconds. There’s ways to do it. But and then when you watch something like that that’s 60 seconds or 90 seconds and it’s just got you, you’re like, is it over, I want to know-

Juliet: [0:39:07] You want more. Yeah.

Anastacia Maggioncalda: [0:39:09] More. So I mean and I do think it might swing back in that direction as people start to crave more story.

Kelly: [0:39:17] You mean the 18 seconds of the TikTok song that my kids knows?

Juliet: [0:39:21] We’ve already I think seen that in our own content creation because when we started it was all YouTube. And literally, I mean you probably remember some of our old YouTube videos shot by me on first generation iPhone, horrible audio, horrible video quality. My hand is all shaky all the time, the videos are shaky. But people really loved it back then, like in 2010 to 2012. It was authentic and people liked it and people were willing to totally overlook the audio and video crappy quality. And then like 2014, 2015 comes, and it’s like, oh no, I mean if you don’t have edited, and shing, and subtitles here and everything, right, then it wasn’t even worthy of putting on the internet. And now it’s kind of swung back where it’s like a video of someone holding a phone and talking to it is going to perform better than something made by a documentarian.

Anastacia Maggioncalda: [0:40:06] For sure.

Juliet: [0:40:07] You know, so I mean I agree. It’s kind of like your 90s wardrobe is back in now. We probably should have held onto that.

Anastacia Maggioncalda: [0:40:14] I did hold onto that. I have a very large closet. 

Juliet: [0:40:18] I’m coming over. Wait, so I want to go back and hear a little bit though about that web film you did. Clive Owen and many other fancy famous people were involved. But tell us what that was and what was it about.

Kelly: [0:40:30] Because that was kind of radical.

Juliet: [0:40:32] Yeah. It was kind of like very cutting edge. 

Anastacia Maggioncalda: [0:40:00] Yeah. And I think that’s why I always call it out when people say what was your favorite thing you ever worked on in your career, favorite project. It was just because it was so cutting edge and new and honestly nobody really knew, we didn’t really know what we were doing, right? So at that time, I worked at Radium which was a visual effects company. And I was the visual effects producer there. And we were working with the ad agency Fallon on the BMW films. And it was just so crazy because they called us on the first film. There was this idea of doing this series. And the first film was done by John Frankenheimer as director. So we were like what are we going to do with these films. And they were like, oh, these films, we’re going to make a series of films with different directors and they’re going to be branded content, really like long form. Nobody had really done like long form where you don’t really talk about the product at all except you see the BMW car in it. And then we’re going to have them on the internet.

First of all, there was not really an internet yet, right? People were on dial up. So I have all these memories of being in LA at the production company Anonymous Content and just like people, all sorts of different types of people in this room trying to figure out how this would work with stream. How are people going to watch this on a dial up and was it going to even be impactful in any way because the first few times I tried to watch it on dial up, it’s like-

Juliet: [0:42:04] Right. It’s the endless circle. The endless circle.

Anastacia Maggioncalda: [0:42:06] Oh my God. And the funny story is, is in the end, it ended up being a situation where at the website you could put in your address and you could get a DVD mailed to you to watch the films because I mean it was that hard. But we did make it work and we won all sorts of awards. We did get it online. People figured it out. It definitely was better if you weren’t on a dial up and there were some people who weren’t back then. Some offices had gotten sort of hard wired with fiber and stuff. But then it became so exciting for people to order this DVD. And it became… Just the press on it and the PR was amazing. And what was really fun for us is the visual effects. All the films were very, very visual effects heavy. And so just figuring them out and working with these directors about how they were going to shoot it and what the effects were going to be and how the whole thing was going to play out.

Kelly: [0:42:58] Yeah, there were some heavies. Ang Lee. I mean you may have heard of him.

Anastacia Maggioncalda: [0:43:02] Yeah, I know. There were a lot of-

Kelly: [0:43:03] Guy Ritchie, John Woo. I mean it’s crazy.

Anastacia Maggioncalda: [0:43:05] Yeah. The Guy Ritchie one was one of my favorites just because it was Madonna being like a total wreck of a person the whole time. And if you haven’t watched it in a while, it’s really worth watching again. But it was also funny because she was married to Guy Ritchie at the time and so it was just interesting to watch. But that was one of my favorite ones. Although working with John Frankenheimer was by far the highlight. You know, he did the initial one, the first one, and he was just so unbelievably, amazing.

Kelly: [0:43:33] I remember those.

Juliet: [0:43:33] Okay. So you have won two major awards: a Webby and a Bronze Lion. And for people who aren’t in your industry, what are those things, and for what did you win them?

Anastacia Maggioncalda: [0:43:43] So the Webby Awards are basically the awards for the best work on the internet globally. And so back in the day when I was head of production at Eleven, the ad agency, one of our clients was Virgin America when they were still around.

Juliet: [0:43:59] God, that was a great airline.

Kelly: [0:44:01] Touch anywhere to begin.

Anastacia Maggioncalda: [0:44:03] It was so good. We did this film for them called BLAH Airlines and it was the most crazy idea in the entire world. And I kind of can’t believe we pulled it off. But we really didn’t have much of a budget. And the creatives had this idea of like filming this terrible airline and just an entire film of how blah and boring it is to fly on bad airlines across the country. So we made like a real time like six hour film about flying on a bad airline. And it was all shot to look so depressing and miserable. And it was all with mannequins. It was hysterical. 

How we got this done… I mean it was kind of like I feel like the CMO was kind of like, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, you go make that. That’s not very expensive. Just go make it.” And we did. And it was crazy. We built an airplane down in a hangar, like part of… And we had all these mannequins. And we did all this voice work. And I mean the edit was insane. And then it became one of those crazy things, like I can’t believe you guys did this. And we created like blah, like fake peanuts and fake everything. It was so funny. We actually had them physically made for the shoot, so we had them all over our office afterward. But it just became really strangely viral. 

Then it became the sort of thing that there were some people who were doing YouTube videos of themselves watching the film. And they did six hour YouTube videos of themselves commenting on the six hour film. And so then it just became that everyone was commenting on that. Then it just became this big sort of viral thing that just got so much attention. And then it ended up being at the Dallas Film Festival and Virgin did a stunt that if you watched the entire film, you would get a free flight. So they had all these people watching the six hour film at the film festival to get a free flight. So there were just all sorts of stunts like tagged onto it.

Kelly: [0:46:01] Oh, I’m sure that can be made today. Fifteen seconds. So we have two minutes and you have to watch all two minutes and you win a free ticket.

Anastacia Maggioncalda: [0:46:09] Exactly. And it was funny because we did do these little snippet cuts down and stuff. But it did end up winning a Webby Award for just being crazy. And then another one… Or and that one I think won the Bronze Lion too, right? 

And then there was another Virgin film that we shot and it was called Departure Date, which we shot with some sort of well-known actors. And we actually shot the entire film in booked airplanes while flying in the air. So the stunt was we could only film while we were flying in flight with booked airlines. It was crazy. I mean we’d get on these planes and then the pilot would come on and be like, “Just letting you all know that we’re shooting a film while in flight today. Don’t be disturbed, don’t be worried.” But I mean I’m sure some people are like I don’t want a film being shot while I’m on this flight. It was a little strange, right? Especially we had Janeane Garofalo and we had some celebrities that people recognized too. So it was interesting.

But I flew from San Francisco to LA to Dallas to London to Sydney like without stopping. It was like we’d just get on the next plane. It was insane. It was totally insane. And then when we all got to Sydney we were like, ooh, that was crazy. But it was fun because then we had two down days in Sydney after that before we all had to fly home. But it was just one of those whirlwinds. And that also sort of went viral for the way it was shot and filmed and stuff. It was pretty-

Kelly: [0:47:33] Now everyone would want to be in it. Everyone’s famous.

Juliet: [0:47:35] Can I go watch those? They’re like on YouTube or somewhere?

Anastacia Maggioncalda: [0:47:38] Yeah.

Juliet: [0:47:39] Okay. I mean we’ll put links to them in the show notes. But-

Anastacia Maggioncalda: [0:47:41] Yeah. And I can send you links too. But yeah, there’s Departure Date. Yeah, enjoy that six hours of BLAH Airlines.

Juliet: [0:47:48] Maybe I’ll watch like 20 minutes of it. Twenty minutes, just to get an idea.

Kelly: [047:52] What are you working on now? What’s getting you excited? Where are we going? Where are you going?

Anastacia Maggioncalda: [0:47:57] Well, I don’t know. That’s a really interesting question right now because I feel like a lot of people are questioning where we’re going. 

Kelly: [0:48:04] Especially right now because just opened back up. COVID, creativity, what’s happening?

Anastacia Maggioncalda: [0:48:08] I know. And then especially you read all the articles in The Atlantic and The New York Times about how everyone’s quitting their job and everyone’s changing their careers, and everyone’s having sort of crisis around what they want to do with their lives now. And so I think it’s a real turning point. I can tell you myself at LinkedIn, I’m seeing so much change in terms of reorganization within the company and lots of people joining and lots of people leaving. And I can see it even in my own space.

For me, what I’m working on right now, I’ve been working on a lot of cultural moment campaigns. We just finished and launched our Pride campaign. And prior to that we had done International Women’s Day. And prior to that, Black History Month. And so those are the most recent campaigns that I’ve been most focused on. And right now, there’s a lot of work around returning to the office and returning to work and the sort of cultural moments around that, and even the sort of psychology around that, right? But it is, it’s like are we going back. I think there’s all these mixed feelings about physical office space and being back in it. And we’ve all sort of been thrown out of our norm into this strange year and a half. And now it’s like but do we want to go back to that. I don’t think anyone knows or I don’t think anyone wants to go back to exactly the way it was, right? So what is that in between? And it’s a very strange stage right now, I think.

Kelly: [0:49:36] One of the things you opened with was creating a network and having that experience. How do you think that will shape because I mean we are lucky that we work… We have a huge remote team, J, you know. But we also, our core group is here and we can see each other. That I think matters. But people are getting a lot of work done without seeing each other. Can we still have that same depth network effect if something has changed? What do you think will happen?

Anastacia Maggioncalda: [0:50:03] I mean I feel like there is definitely nothing replaces the face to face, right? And we’ve all been on video for a year and a half and I think we’re all really sick of it, right? I notice now in my big team meetings half the people don’t even turn their cameras on anymore. Everyone’s just over it, right? People are like I’m not even showering anymore so I’m not turning on my camera. But I don’t think anything can replace that true team culture and environment and feel when you’re all seeing each other and working closely. And there’s the hallway conversation and the eavesdropping and the things that sort of like help things coalesce and come together. And so I do think a lot of people really miss that and are eager to get back to that. And I think creativity wise, it’s been really tough. I mean I don’t fall into what would be called a creative in my industry, right? Like I’m more of like a manager, leader, head of a department. But the creatives I’ve seen really suffer because if you can’t sit at a table with your team and riff off of stuff and whiteboard stuff and draw stuff and get things, you don’t have that same sort of creative juice going.

And similarly with shooting. When we were able to get back to shooting a bit, it’s all been remote, right, so we’re all sitting on Zoom while the director’s sitting with the people. And so we’re like sending notes over Zoom, like can you have them saying it like… It just doesn’t feel… And at the same time, I’m getting messages from the creative director like, “This sucks. I need to just talk to the director.” And it just, it never… You just can’t get that same camaraderie feeling and that connection. So I do think that when… Everyone’s like, oh, it’s going to happen slow. But I think it’s going to happen fast. I think-

Kelly: [0:51:54] I had a big two-day production in October, which was very difficult because of COVID and standards. And then I just got back from a follow-up two-day shoot and it was very different. Just the connections, how we’re able to work. I think my experience was definitely feel like a different product, for sure.

Anastacia Maggioncalda: [0:52:13] One hundred percent. And think about this: We wouldn’t be sitting here right now. We don’t have masks on. I walked up to the café the other day where I get my tea and nobody had their masks on. And they’re like, “Today’s our first day with no masks.” And I was like I’ve never seen what you look like. I’ve been coming here for a year and a half, I didn’t even know what you looked like.

 Kelly: [0:52:33] I was getting by. I was looking a lot younger. 

Juliet: [0:52:36] What is LinkedIn doing? Are people going back? Is there a choice? Is there a mandate?

Anastacia Maggioncalda: [0:52:43] Right now we’re talking about going back into office in September. Different offices globally obviously have different timings. Right now, San Francisco is looking at September. There’s some soft openings potentially in July where people can go in. You have to sign up for a desk and stuff. But for the most part, they’re talking about September. And I think it’s a 50 percent go in 50 percent of the time. Some people will choose to go in all of the time for sure. There are the people that really want to be in the office. But for those of us that have to commute, a little different. That three hours of traffic time-

Juliet: [0:53:14] That’s the tradeoff, right? You lose I think a lot in terms of creativity and connection with other people. And then the flip side of that is to not have to commute every day. And in my case, buy a $14 salad every day for lunch that… Or maybe even these days like an $18 salad. There’s some serious benefits. I don’t know. I’m kind of of the mind that it’s going to become a real hybrid situation.

Anastacia Maggioncalda: [0:53:36] I think so.

Juliet: [0:53:36] And that people are going to go into the office because you just can’t replace that connection, but maybe not five days a week.

Anastacia Maggioncalda: [0:53:43] Right. And if you look on LinkedIn right now at jobs, if you’re actually on LinkedIn looking for a job, the majority of them are remote. A lot of these places aren’t even limiting their pool to the local areas. They’re looking at people all over the world, right? And so you can work from wherever, which I find really interesting because it’s really opened up the job too. Like for us looking for interns and stuff, you know like for your program, I’m like I can look anywhere. I can intern from Toronto. I can get an intern from Michigan. I can get an intern… It doesn’t have to be somebody in the San Francisco Bay area, which is really limiting. So that’s cool.

Juliet: [0:54:22] That’s really cool. Anastacia, it’s so awesome to have you here. Thank you for spending some time with us.

Anastacia Maggioncalda: [0:54:26] Thank you.

Kelly: [0:54:28] Yeah. Seriously, you are a boss.

Juliet: [0:54:30] You are a boss. You guys should all follow her. Oh, and also, where can people find you in the interwebs and on LinkedIn?

Anastacia Maggioncalda: [0:54:37] You can find me on LinkedIn. I’m on Instagram @staciamagg. I love my Instagram.

Kelly: [0:54:42] Your Instagram photography’s excellent.

Anastacia Maggioncalda: [0:54:44] Thank you. On LinkedIn I have all my contact info too, so if people want to find me.

Juliet: [0:54:50] If you want to find Anastacia and take her out to coffee, she’ll likely say yes.

Kelly: [0:54:53] Pelvic floor course.

Anastacia Maggioncalda: [0:54:55] Oh my gosh. Yeah. Find me there. Find me there.

Kelly: [0:54:59] Thank you so much.

Anastacia Maggioncalda: [0:55:00] Thank you guys.

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