Can an interest in space and fantasy lead to a career?
Swapna Krishna is a presenter and writer. Krishna writes on the intersection of space, science, technology, and pop culture for outlets such as Engadget, Fast Company, The Verge, and Slate. He is also a PBS host and author Far, a YouTube show about the future of science and technology. Swapna Krishna joins Forbes to discuss her out-of-this-world career and writing journey.
Goldie Chan: Hi Swapna, thanks for joining us. What has your career path been like?
Swapna Krishna: Different, to say the least! It’s been a while since I’ve written professionally, but I’m always trying to do something new. I started writing and reading about books and grew as a writer until I moved to technology. That’s when I came out of my shell as a space reporter.
I was lucky enough to be able to move from books to technology, space, and science because I had experience writing for fun before I started writing professionally about these topics—basically, I could show that I could do it. Because I had already done it. I worked hard, but I was also incredibly lucky.
Chan: How did space and space exploration inspire your career?
Krishna: I’m a die-hard Star Trek fan and have been since I was a kid. This led to my interest in science, technology and space exploration. My passion for space is what I do. And as a bonus, I’ve been able to cover Star Trek for different outlets like StarTrek.com, which I never thought I’d be able to do!
Chan: What space project have you worked on?
Krishna: I really like the show we’re doing with PBS Digital Studios called Far Out, a YouTube show about the future of science and technology. I’m always happy when I learn something new, and the topics we discuss are interesting, from smart homes to cannabis. I learn something new from every script. Plus, I’ve never had screen talent before! Figuring out how to direct a shot, how to talk to the camera, feel natural, how to script and write for people reading my articles is very challenging and I’m learning a lot. I love it.
Chan: What is a space or science story that has inspired you?
Krishna: I think the images coming out of NASA’s newest great observatory, JWST, are really inspiring. I really enjoy breaking them out on TikTok – every time one comes up, I’m reminded why I do what I do.
Chan: How do you define your personal brand?
Krishna: My brand is really at the intersection of space, science, technology, and pop culture. I talk a lot about all these things, but what I hope people take away from their interactions with me (or whatever they see on the internet) is that I try very hard to be positive. I don’t judge things or anyone for what they deserve, but I don’t enjoy tearing things down, preferring to focus on what brings me joy.
Chan: What are you working on now?
Krishna: I write a weekly column for Wired called “Casual Gamer,” which is about playing video games as a super-tired parent. I also have a book coming out next year from the Chronicle Pocket Guide to Stargazing, and it’s a little book about using the night sky to help the mind. I’m working on a sci-fi novel that may never see the light of day, and of course there’s one or two things I can’t talk about, but I’m very excited for the day I can. .
Chan: What do you do to support others in your community?
Krishna: This is a very good and important question. It amazes me when people say something someone else is trying to promote isn’t their brand with a simple retweet or something. For example, if your brand doesn’t lift others, I’m not interested in it.
Throughout my career, I’ve benefited from people who have offered me great projects or suggested things to me when I couldn’t do something. Networking and personal recommendations can make or break a career, I try to remember that. Every time I succeed and go up, I reach back and try to pull someone along with me. I think it’s very important to uplift others.
Chan: The latest brand or career advice?
Krishna: If you’re trying to identify as someone you’re not, personal branding can suck. I’m excited to have a platform and interact with others because what you see is what you get. Of course I don’t talk about every aspect of my life online, but I am the person you see. My advice is don’t try to be someone else. People can sense a lack of authenticity, and it’s not fun to constantly maintain a facade.