November 9, 2018
Last night I had the opportunity to be on a podcasting panel at General Assembly in Seattle. I met and talked with a bunch of podcasters and future podcasters. It was great. I thought this morning, I would take a few minutes to write about some of my thoughts about the event.
First, I want to say that there needs to be more events like this. We had a good turn out last night. Even with a big protest outside and a Sounders vs. Timbers playoff game happening at the same time. I’ll be looking for more opportunities to help people with podcasting.
There are a ton of people out there that want to start podcasting. The medium is very healthy and growing nicely. I did not meet anyone with unreasonable expectations. Nobody thought that they would get rich doing this or they would become the next Tim Ferriss. Instead, almost everyone described their drive to be a podcaster as something that was compelling them. That is really good. You need to be driven internally to be an independent podcaster. You can not depend on external validation.
Sometimes it appears that the podcast industry is being dominated by big players. All those former and current NPR people. The venture backed networks. And the established names. This event reminded me that the true heart of podcasting is the individual. The independent podcaster that is making a show with no budget or media connections. The hosts with nothing but passion and grit. I like these people. As long as podcasting still has these independent voices the medium will stay strong.
The fear of starting is still the biggest thing holding back new podcasters. On paper making a podcast is easy. Get a mic, hit record, and put it on the internet. The hard part is inside. The psychology of creation is hard. Perfectionism is a huge barrier and a great excuse for inaction. It is scary creating something and putting it out there. It becomes even more scary when it is something you really care about. If you are a podcaster, you must be passionate about your subject. That means you are going to care. It is easy to have a fantasy about the perfect podcast in your head. That fantasy can stop you from taking action. People just need to jump in and do it. Your first few episodes are going to be bad. This is how everything works right? Nobody is a natural. You need practice to get good at anything. Don’t let those fantasies of perfection in your head get in the way of a good reality. AKA: Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
I forget how long I have been doing this. My first podcast was started in 2005. Pretty much as soon as I personally discovered podcasting, I started wanting to make one myself. I’ve done a bunch of shows over the years. Music shows, round table discussions, interviews shows, explainers, and a news reader type show. I don’t give myself enough credit. I look at many of those past shows as failures, but I learned so much from doing them. I’ve got knowledge to share. If I really care about the medium, I should do more to share that knowledge. Especially because I know how many scammers and charlatans are out there giving bad advice. We need more people helping the newcomers to the space with integrity. So, going forward, I’ll be working harder on this.