I’m going to continue updating this post with notes about podcasting alone.
Podcasting with Wally is still the most fun I’ve had making things in anything related to Active Recall. But we both got busy for a season in life and we still haven’t got back to podcasting regularly. (It’s like how Drake and the Weeknd are always supposed to do something together, but for a podcast with maybe 5 listeners.)
One key success to podcasting: consistency.
One key to consistency for me has been to do solo episodes. I’m going to collect quotes and episodes here that are good examples of solo podcasts and solo episodes.
Some quick notes for where I’ll try and search for quotes.
- Most large podcasts have some solo episodes to learn from: For interview podcasts, there are often solo Q&A episodes or celebration episodes (e.g. 100th episode special) where the person talks about their podcasting journey. On My First Million, they do short solo episodes on Fridays where Shaan or Sam will break down some kind of framework or mental model.
- Many podcasters do interviews on other shows: Even if they know the audience might not care about the topic, they’ll talk about podcasting for at least a few minutes.
- A lot can be learned from solo YouTubers: It’s more the norm for someone to be doing solo monologues over their video. One example: Ivan from Squat everyday shares solo thoughts every single day and probably doesn’t call himself a podcaster.
- You can still learn things from non-solo podcasts: For example, I learned from WVFRM where MKBHD talks about how they use the podcast to workshop video ideas. It allows him to do some divergent thinking to branch out and find what might be most interesting. This can shape the narrative before he and his team distill it into a video.
My personal goals with Active Recall for 2023?
- Input (completely in my control): Improve Active Recall by making 40 podcast episodes in 2023
- Output (less in my control): 1000 downloads per episode?
Some posts I’ve written previously about podcasting.
In the “Improving my solo episodes” post, I pasted a screenshot of a list of solo podcasts. I’ll write them out here with some quick thoughts.
- Bill Burr: He’s a stand-up comic—their job is to talk alone. He’s been podcasting for a decade. He could riff on whatever and it’d be great, but he still comes each time with topics in mind.
- Seth Godin: These seem to be scripted so writing is a key thing.
- Pat Flynn: He brought Dan John here and there and now the weekly show is always with Dan John. One of my favorite podcasts but it’s no longer solo. They always do some Q&A.
- Joe DeFranco: Seems like he does a bulleted list and goes through that along with Q&A.
- Mike Matthews: Often a main topic and sometimes some Q&A.
- Mark Rosewater: Writes a Magic: The Gathering topic down and then talks about it on his drive to work. Then he switched to just talking about it before going to his home office.
- Sean D’Souza: Writes his entire episode out before recording.
My main takeaway: don’t just ramble thinking topics will come to mind through the rambling.
A few more solo podcasters I’ve added to my regular rotation…
- David Senra: “Founders” is must-listen for me each week.
- Ben Wilson: “How to Take Over the World” is also must-listen.
- Andrew Huberman: Of course
I feel about their podcasts the way a lot of people talk about “Hardcore History”.
Main takeaway: Another reminder that research, writing, and entertainment is key
You can’t just spit out a bunch of information and expect people to enjoy that. Unless it’s completely unique and valuable information, the packaging matters.
(Dec 14, 2022: More to come)