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Arianna Huffington’s Thrive Global Teams With Former TED Execs for Mindfulness Podcast Series

Here’s the latest arrival on the burgeoning podcast scene: “Meditative Story,” which is part first-person narrative podcast and part guided meditation.

Thrive Global, the well-being startup founded by Arianna Huffington, teamed with WaitWhat, a startup founded by former TED media executives Deron Triff and June Cohen, to launch the new podcast series.

Each “Meditative Story” podcast (running around 30 minutes) provides a first-person story about a time and place where everything changed for them. As the story unfolds, mindfulness guide Rohan Gunatillake (creator of meditation app Buddhify) offers prompts to calm the listener’s mind and help them connect with their own observations. The podcasts feature music by the Holladay Brothers and sound design that shifts between music and vibration.

The podcasts combine “the power of personal stories with the science-backed benefits of mindfulness,” said Huffington, who in 2016, left Verizon-owned Huffington Post to run Thrive Global. “The stories allow you to immediately connect with yourself and reset, which is something we all need more of in our lives.”

The “Meditative Story” series will comprise 26 episodes in the first season. The podcast debuts Tuesday with Dr. Lucy Kalanithi, who shares an “extraordinary coda” to her late husband Paul Kalanithi‘s best-selling memoir “When Breath Becomes Air.”

Others tapped to tell their stories in the podcast in its first season include Arianna Huffington herself, as well as On Being’s Krista Tippett; restaurateur Danny Meyer; futurist Jane McGonigal; author Pico Iyer; “ABC Nightline”‘s Dan Harris; NPR’s Peter Sagal; Apple Music’s Larry Jackson; astronomer Michelle Thaller; actor Josh Radnor; transgender boxer and author Thomas Page McBee; photojournalist John Moore; and best-selling author A.J. Jacobs. Simon & Schuster executive director of publicity Cary Goldstein curated the first season of storytellers.

Triff, co-founder of WaitWhat and executive producer of “Meditative Story,” said the company believes the initiative will establish a new genre of podcast. “We hope to one day see thousands of well-known storytellers and newer voices share a Meditative Story with the world and in doing so, create the kind of global culture shift we helped build for TED,” he said.

The podcast series is exclusively sponsored by customer-relationship management vendor Salesforce.com. With the sponsorship deal, the project has already paid for itself, according to Huffington.

“Meditative Story” podcasts are available at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play, Overcast, Castbox, Pocketcasts, Breaker and other podcasting platforms. More info is available at meditativestory.com.

Cohen and Triff founded WaitWhat in January 2017 and this spring closed a $5 million funding round from investors including Burda Principal Investments, Reid Hoffman and Tony Tjan of Cueball Investments. WaitWhat has 15 full-time employees.

The New York-based company’s other podcasts include “Masters of Scale,” hosted by LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, and “Should this Exist?,” hosted by Caterina Fake, which unpacks what technology is doing for us and to us. Prior to WaitWhat, Cohen and Triff originated and executive produced the TED Radio Hour in partnership with NPR along with other projects.

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