Punk Rock HR Episode 99: 

This week’s guest has always inspired me not to be a sucker. Frank Roche is one of America’s leading experts on executive compensation and benefits. He is a baby boomer who had a portfolio career before it was cool. He’s been a writer and a journalist, a technologist, and a corporate advisor at very Senior levels. He’s also a podcaster with two podcasts, one about postcards, and another about his journey with pancreatic cancer. 

In this episode, we talked about the early days of the social web, what it was like to put yourself out there, and have significant and controversial ideas. Frank was there with me in the early days of Punk Rock HR. He’s always in my head when I get a little too big for my britches. He is also one of my biggest champions. I just love this conversation with Frank Roche, and I hope you do too.  

In this episode you’ll hear:

  1. The Wild West of conferences and blogging, circa 2009 and 2010
  2. Frank shares a little bit about his entrepreneurial journey and how he worked to keep people in work during the recession
  3. Why he left the world of consulting and went back to his roots as a writer and journalist
  4. The launch of his podcasts Postcardist and The Adventures of PanCan Man
  5. Frank opens up about his diagnosis and battle with pancreatic cancer
  6. We discuss Frank’s belief that science is the answer and why cancer rubbernecking sucks



During the dawn of blogs and the social web, conferences and people were thirsty for content. Here is how Frank remembered it, “I don’t know if it was just a sort of the advent of it, it wasn’t the very beginning of the internet, but it was kind of like a second wave. It was a time when people were paying attention. And it was easy to get attention because there weren’t that many people. There was also advocacy for one another, with terms like linky love mentioned a lot during the blogger days.”


Frank was diagnosed with stage three pancreatic cancer in March 2019. He shares his journey, good, bad, and ugly, on his podcast The Adventures of PanCan Man. And his outlook is not focused on negative. His perspective is realistic and is one perched on the seat of science. 

“Science is the thing. I went to the very best person in the entire world [for treatment]. I believe in the best possible protocols. I feel lucky that I’m living in 2020. I mean, if this had been 2010, I’d be dead now because they didn’t have these protocols. They’ve improved. I can’t plan too far in the future. I’m realistic. I don’t get into this anger about these things.” 

“I have honestly thought I’m just going to survive this. I know that seems weird, but I thought that from the day I was diagnosed. Well, for the first few minutes I thought about crap. Then after that, I thought, I’m going to make this thing work out, and I’ve been a lucky guy my whole life, somehow I’m still living the luck. I do believe in science, and that matters to me.”

Resources from this episode:

The Postcardist
The Adventures of PanCan Man
Frank Roche on LinkedIn
Laurie on Instagram
Laurie on LinkedIn
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