Be Weird with Laurie Segall

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When we’re kids and teens, being called weird is an insult. But as we grow older, we realize so much of our superpowers come from allowing ourselves to be weirdos. Being weird is about following your quirks, strange esoteric interests, and inexplicable curiosities. Let’s face it: the best art and ideas come from the land of weird. 

This is the focus of today’s show with Laurie Segall, a Senior Tech Correspondent for CNN and Editor at large for CNN Tech. She’s also the host of CNN’s first CNN Originals – Mostly Human – an amazing six-part docu-series that explores sex, love, and death through the lens of tech. As an award-winning journalist, she specializes in understanding the impact of tech on our daily lives.

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Highlighted Excerpt:

Majo: Did you have a thought of, “Who am I to do this? Can I pull this off?”

Laurie: Yeah, I think I’ve always struggled with those things even as I get more confidence. You know, I’ve known… I joked I knew the minnows before the minnows turned to sharks, like with tech. I should have all the confidence in the world having been the go to person for a lot of people for many years. I don’t know if it’s a female thing but there is always that self-doubt. There’s always that, “But can I do that?” I want to but can I actually do that? And it’s so funny because for as much as like in my show, you’ll watch, I knocked on the third most dangerous member of ISIS’ door in Birmingham. I go to hacker circles; I’ve gone to sex parties that I can’t unsee some things and I didn’t want to think about it. 

Majo: So you’ve seen everything and you go into these dark places.

Laurie: And I can go in and I can be fearless and I can cold call and I’ve called hackers who have hacked into women’s inboxes and stolen naked photos and I’ve asked why and demanded answers and they’re in prison and it’s so crazy but, can I ask for what I want? You know, and I think that’s something that’s very human and for me personally, it’s something that I struggle with a little bit. I get that fear. I get in my own head. I put all these scenarios. I get emotional or angry about, “This is unjust! I do so much.” I think it’s like this idea of being like, “Segall, take a step back, you can do this.”

Majo: Do you call yourself “Segall” a lot?

Laurie: I do. I do. Not as much out loud but I do that.

Majo: In your head you’re like, “Okay, Segall.”

Laurie: Yeah, yeah, I do. I do. It’s like this Larry David thing in the back of my head that’s commenting on society and me by my last name all the time.

Majo: That’s great.

Laurie: But yeah, it’s so crazy that I can be so fearless in so many ways and I can be so afraid. And that’s why this narrative of success especially with women of, “And then I did this and it went to this and this led to this, and now I have a show.” It’s like, there’s a lot of stuff that happens in between, that gets put in the cutting room table. You know, I think there’s a lot of insecurity and doubt.

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Show Notes:

  • Laurie as a little girl: Weird and funny, a Southerner and of a Jewish background who felt she never fit in, loved talking to people who didn’t fit in. [4:35]

  • On her journey as a young journalist, her undercover mission with her father at a purity ball that led to her public declaration of her virginity. [15:20]

  • Laurie’s fundamental mind shift: “I want to work at CNN!” The steps she took to get to where she is now, starting out and doing anything she was told to do. [22:30]

  • On interviewing Ariel Castro’s daughter, realizing the power of technology to investigate, and doing a docu-series on “Sex, Drugs, and Silicon Valley”. [39:00]

  • Pitching “Mostly Human” to CNN President, Jeff Zucker: How Laurie used her experiences going into dark places to make the “Mostly Human” show possible and how people that surrounded her have contributed to her success through their suggestions and advice. [43:54]

  • Laurie’s realization about how people live their lives on social media, choosing how they portray life while masking the reality of pain and sadness. [49:45]

  • Her interest in AI and the creation of the Laurie bot shows the possibilities of the future through technology. Laurie shares how she has reclaimed her confidence and weirdness to be who she wants to be without trying to fit in. [56:12]

Subscribe and listen to the full episode here (you must subscribe to receive latest episode).


Learn more about Laurie Segall & Mostly Human


by Carolyn Pennypacker Riggs


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