Podcasting FAQ

Q. How's my idea for a podcast?

If you're asking, it's probably too specific. Podcasts are unified, primarily, by the personalities of their hosts, not by specific subject matter. (I think I'm stealing that observation from somewhere, but I can't remember where; sorry!) When you narrow your explicit domain, the negative effects of constraining your possible topics hurt you more than the specificity helps you.

Q. So, should I do the podcast?

Sure! Podcasting is rewarding and there's a lot of unexplored space, in terms of both domain and structure. And you don't need a lot of equipment.

Q. What equipment should I use?

I use a Yeti Blue happily and have heard it recommended by knowledgeable people. But I am not an audio guy, so defer to others' recommendations if you have them.

I record interviews over Skype, use the native Skype call recording, and have a backup recorder running. There is probably a better way, but this works for me.

Q. Wait, what do you mean "there's a lot of unexplored space"?

People say that podcasting is hyper-competitive and that we're past the time when it was good to get into podcasting, but I don't hear good arguments for those claims. So, for example, people talk about "longform" podcasting, but we haven't seen as much real structural innovation as you would expect in a mature field.

I believe Ben Thompson made the point that when podcasting is mature, we'll see ads for something other than mattresses and Squarespace (as usual, he was saying something much more informed and nuanced than I can remember and express in a sentence).

And if you don't believe me, believe Patrick Collison and Tim Ferriss, who agreed on roughly this view here (Collison: "People keep feeling that spaces are too late when, in fact, they're not only not too late but in the first 10 percent").

Q. Is it hard to keep finding ideas and guests?

Nah. I can't think of any podcaster who has had a hard time keeping a show going for content reasons, except those who painted themselves in a corner by defining their shows too narrowly. After eight years of Thinking Poker, I'm much closer to thinking "we barely even got started exploring that world" than "we were scraping the bottom of the barrel."

I never would have guessed how high the conversion rate is when you ask people to come on a podcast. (When in doubt, send the email!)

Q. How do you stay ahead of your competition?

  1. I never thought of other poker podcasts as "competition." I actually suspect that poker podcasts are more complements than substitutes, and from talking to listeners I strongly suspect that, of the many reasons people have for not listening to Thinking Poker, "my scarce podcast-listening time is consumed by other poker podcasts" is quite rare.
  2. We (or at least I) started the show because something was missing in poker media. We were always doing our own thing, so that (i) I didn't much care what "competitors" were doing and (ii) I didn't know what would even count as a "competitor."
  3. Just keep showing up.

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