Alex Blumberg is trying to launch a podcasting start-up. Appropriately, he is podcasting his journey in his new show, also appropriately named StartUp. Blumberg is not just any podcaster. His resume includes a 15-year stint as a producer on This American Life and co-founding NPR’s Planet Money.
That means he takes a well-produced, narrative approach in his StartUp podcast. The first episode documents how he pitched billionaire angel investor Chris Sacca, but ended up being schooled by Sacca on how to do it better. Yet, even before heading to Los Angeles for the meeting, Blumberg records a discussion with his wife about the shoes he’s going to wear. It’s the sort of “life is in the details” storytelling that is the hallmark of his public radio work.
In that way StartUp stands apart from most podcasts, which are typically dominated by roundtable discussion or short-form monologue. Those that have more intricately produced narratives tend to be the download versions of shows that are broadcast-first.
Blumberg’s willingness to be bluntly honest and vulnerable in documenting his journey is both instructive and admirable. He’s even completely upfront about how he obtained the show’s first sponsor. During an read break in episode two he asks one of the employees of the sponsor, whom he’s visiting with, if sponsoring his show is a “wise investment” for her company. Her clearly off-the-cuff response: “Unclear, we’ll have to do a post-mortem.”
This series should be fascinating for any podcast fan, but especially for would-be entrepreneurs of any stripe. I’m already looking forward to episode 3.
National Podcast Day Is Coming
Podcasting now has its own day. A group of podcasters and sponsors have declared September 30 to be National Podcast Day.
In a press release, co-organizer Steve Lee said, “We need a day that we can educate the world about the wonders of podcasting.”
I can’t really disagree with the impulse, and I guess the best way to celebrate will be to listen to podcasts, make podcasts, or bug your friends and family about podcasts. Of course, there’s a hashtag: #podcastday
You have 20 days to get ready.
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