Education How does automated transcription work?

Automated transcription has come a long way in the last few years. Whether you’re a podcaster, journalist, video editor, lawyer, student, or researcher, the need to convert audio or video to text is a part of your life. Transcribing audio and video, lightly put, is painful.

But now there is technology like Sonix that automates the entire process of transcription. Hence the term automated transcription.



What is transcription?

Transcription is the process of converting recorded speech into text. Transcription involves listening to a recording of something and typing the contents into a document. In many cases, this is an interview of some sort. It can take an inordinate amount of time to transcribe something especially if you are doing it manually.


What are the different kinds of transcription?

Manual transcription

The most traditional form of transcription is manual transcription. Manual transcription involves listening to audio or video files and then typing the words into a document. Many people choose this option because there is no associated cost. The cost equates to much an individual values their time.

Human transcription services

There are many human transcription services on the market but they can be slow and expensive. They are, however, more accurate than automated services. Human transcribers use technology to assist in the conversion of speech to text like a shorthand system. There are also a very small number of people like court reporters that can type in near real time. The accuracy of these transcripts is negatively affected because there is little to no time to correct mistakes as they occur.

In summary, human transcription has been around for decades, it isn’t the most efficient or effective way to convert audio or video to text.

Automated Transcription

Automated transcription, as the name suggests, is amazingly fast. While human transcription can take anywhere from 24 hours to 4 days, automated transcription can be completed in minutes. A 30-minute audio or video file can be transcribed in less than 5 minutes.
Another added benefit of automated transcription is security. No human ever sees the audio or video file, nor the transcript. It’s done entirely by machines. If the security of your files and transcripts is important to you, then automated transcription in many ways is better than human transcription.

Sonix uses the latest artificial intelligence and natural language processing techniques to derive the most accurate automated transcripts. Sonix has been independently reviewed as the most accurate automated service.

Once a file has been transcribed, you’ll receive an email notifying you that your transcript is ready. All the transcripts are centrally hosted in your Sonix account online for easy access. Just click on the link and you will see the time-coded transcript displayed in your browser. Because your transcript is online, Sonix stitches the audio to the text which makes it easy to edit your files. You can also easily search for keywords, share the file with another user, highlight and strike text, embed captions in video, and export in many different formats.

To be clear, automated transcription is not perfect. The technology continues to get with every day that passes, but there will undoubtedly be errors. And if your file is recorded in a loud environment, there are people talking over each other, or speakers aren’t articulating clearly, the resulting transcription will be negatively affected. On the other hand, with really clear, crisp audio, the accuracy of the transcript can be upwards of 95-98%.

Lastly, automated transcription is relatively inexpensive. While traditional human services can cost anywhere from $60 to $100 per hour of audio or video, automated transcription with Sonix is just $6 per hour with a subscription. The effective cost for those that transcribe regularly is substantially less.


What makes automated transcription possible?

Automated transcription is possible because of artificial intelligence and natural language processing. With each file that is uploaded to Sonix, each and every sound within that file analyzed and interpreted using artificial intelligence and natural language processing.

The next step is to match those sounds to words in our extensive and growing dictionary. Sonix works in different languages and varying English accents and continuously improves as more voice data is ingested into our systems.

There are four basic steps with automated transcription:


A user uploads an audio or video file and selects the appropriate language spoken (Sonix works in many languages and several different English accents).


Sonix then runs the file through its automated technology which combines artificial intelligence and natural language processing to derive accurate transcripts. Depending on the size of the file, this can take anywhere from 2 to 8 minutes.


When the file is complete a user will receive an email with a link that takes them to the online transcript.


With a browser-based transcript, users can easily edit problem areas.

The future of automated transcription

We are several years away from error-free automated transcription, but the technology continues to improve day after day. As more and more people turn to automated transcription, more voice data is collected and analyzed. The result is improved speech-to-text algorithms and more accurate transcripts.

In the meantime, there are many ways to get the most out of automated transcription in its current state. Most of that requires users to capture high quality audio and video. Reducing background noise, multiple speakers talking over each other, and swallowed words can greatly increase the accuracy of automated transcription.


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Education What are the benefits of using multitrack in Sonix?

Why use multitrack?

Hi Sonix users. Today we're going to talk about how to use multitrack in Sonix. I've got Bill here to explain some of the benefits. Hi Bill.

Hey Adam great to be here.

Bill can you tell us the benefits of uploading multitrack files versus singletrack in Sonix.

Sure. Many of us capture each speaker separately by using different microphones to isolate each person's voice. The result is a multi-track recording which has multiple benefits when using Sonix.

Ok what are those benefits?

Automatic speaker labels

The first is that you can name the speakers before you upload. This gives you near perfect automatic speaker labeling which saves a ton of time going through and naming speakers after the transcript has been returned to you.

Nice. That's a good one.

More accurate transcripts

Yes. And secondly you'll get more accurate transcripts because the voices on each track are isolated.

That's great too. Why wouldn't everyone use multitrack

Always capture speakers on multiple tracks if you can

While we always suggest capturing multiple speakers on different tracks. There really isn't any good reason to have multiple speakers on one track.

Great thanks for this bill. You are awesome.

I know that.

Automatically convert audio to text with Sonix


New to Sonix? Click here for 30 free transcription minutes!

Sonix Tutorials Introduction to Sonix

Just click on the player below to view the Introduction to Sonix.

You can also click on the burger icon to navigate quickly to key parts of the tutorial.

Sonix Tutorial – Introduction to Sonix

How to upload a file in Sonix

How to upload a file a Sonix

To upload a file to Sonix you simply click on the upload button. Sonix accepts multiple file formats listed here for both audio and video.

Sonix also accepts the following languages.

You can upload a file by dragging and dropping the file into this quadrant, selecting it from your Dropbox account, or your Google Drive account, or simply selecting it from your desktop which is what I'm doing here.

The green status bar shows the status of your upload. You can actually upload multiple files. I'm just going to add the same one again. You can see that this is uploaded as well but I've decided I don't want this file. So I can easily remove that here.

You can rename the file and then you're ready to transcribe.

The last thing is to make sure that language that you select is the language spoken in the audio or video file. In our case it's English American so we're good.

And then you just hit start transcribing.

From there you're taken back to your home screen. And you can see that this file appears. And the status is also here. Right now the file is preparing. It takes roughly five or six minutes for an hour of audio or video to transcribe. And once it's done you'll be notified from Sonix.

How to edit a file in Sonix

How to edit a file in Sonix.

Just click on the file and you'll be taken to the transcript.

It looks a lot like a word processor but the big difference with Sonix transcripts is that the audio is switched to the text. If you click anywhere in the transcript you can hear the voice behind the words that are spoken.

My name is Pete Combs and I'm a reporter for K O M O KOMO Radio in Seattle. I've been doing this for about 40 years and my life has.

This makes it super easy to edit your transcript and correct any errors.

Now there are tons of features around editing for your transcript. But in this tutorial I'm only going to go through 5 key thing. Number 1: using Heatmap to locate problem areas, 2: Sonix shortcut keys, number 3: Find and Replace, number 4: creating a new speaker, and 5: highlighting and strikethrough.

Using Heatmap to locate problem areas

Using Heatmap to locate problem areas

If you click on the tiny thermometer Sonix will highlight the areas that we aren't confident or correct. The lighter the text the less confident we are and the darker the more confident we are. This allows you to navigate around the transcript and quickly fix up areas that look more problematic.

Shortcut keys in Sonix

Shortcut keys

If you click the shortcuts menu item in the top now it shows you all the shortcut keys that can help you speed up editing.

An important shortcut key is TAB. TAB allows you to stop and start the audio while editing.

Find and replace

Find and replace does exactly what you'd expect it to do. You can find it under the edit dropdown or you can simply click this icon.

Enter the word you want replace. The word that you want it replaced with. Click replace all and you'll see a notification that shows how many times that word was changed.

Creating a new speaker

Creating a new speaker

If you have files with multiple speakers you may run into issues where we don't separate speakers perfectly. That's not a problem. You can easily create a new speaker by clicking anywhere in the text.

Say this was a new speaker here. Just click enter and create a new speaker by entering here. It's as simple as that.

Highlighting in Sonix

Highlighting and strikethrough

Highlighting and strikethrough are two features that are mostly used to prepare your file or sections of your file for export. To highlight word, sentence, or paragraph, simply click on a word and hold and drag until you've captured the section you want.

Then simply select the paintbrush. You'll see the highlight turns yellow and Sonix also identifies the time stamps for the start and the end. You can also see the highlight in the progress bar so it's easy to navigate.

Strikethrough in Sonix

Strikethrough works much the same way as the highlight. Simply select the area for the paragraph you want to strike and click the strikethrough icon. The text that's been struck through is highlighted in red and it also appears the progress bar.

Organizing your files in Sonix

Organizing your files in Sonix

Your Sonix account operates in a similar way to Dropbox or Google Drive. We store all your audio video and transcripts. It's all part of this subscription fee.

You can create update delete and organize your files in any way you want. The first folder is called "Shared with me". This folder keeps all the files that have been shared with you by someone else.

If you want to create a new folder simply select new folder. You can rename move or delete your folder. And you can drag and drop files inside of other folders.

How to share a file in Sonix

How to share a file in Sonix

You can easily share a file with another person so they can view the transcript. Just click share.

Here you have two options. You can copy this link and send it to anyone. But note that the recipient can only view the transcript.

You can also enter someone's email address. And select whether the recipient can view only or edit as well. There is also space here to write a personal note.

Just click invite and they'll be invited to the transcript.

How to export a file from Sonix

How to export a file from Sonix

Exporting a file is simple. Just navigate to the file you want to export and click export.

You can export your transcript audio or video in a variety of different ways. This makes it easy to get into your workflow quickly.

First you can export the transcript in text format into Microsoft Word or as a text file. And then you have several times stamp options. Include timestamps on every paragraph, include timestamps every 30 seconds, include milliseconds with the time code.

You can also export with or without a speaker names.

And lastly you can export just the highlighted section.

You can also export the transcript into audio and video editing software like Adobe Audition, Adobe Premiere, and Final Cut Pro.

If you want to include captions alongside your video you can do that by exporting an SRT file.

Lastly you can export the audio from your file. And you have three options here. You can export the whole file, just the highlighted section, or the audio with the strikethroughs removed.

Automatically convert audio to text with Sonix

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Popular Transcripts Full Transcript: Earning Your Stripes – The Knowledge Project

Sonix is an automated transcription service. We transcribe audio and video files for storytellers all over the world. We are not associated with the Knowledge Project. Making transcripts available for listeners and those that are hearing-impaired is just something we like to do. If you are interested in automated transcription, click here for 30 free minutes.

To listen and watch the transcript playback in real-time 👀, just click the player below.

Full Transcript: Earning Your Stripes – The Knowledge Project

Welcome to the Farnam Street podcast called The Knowledge Project. I'm your host Shane Parrish, the curator behind the Farnam Street blog, which is an online community focused on mastering the best of what other people have already figured out. The Knowledge Project is where we talk with interesting people to uncover the frameworks you can use to learn more in less time, make better decisions and live a happier and more meaningful life. On this episode I have Patrick Collison, the co-founder of Stripe, which he started with his younger brother, John, in 2011. While Stripe started as a company to make online payments easier, it's morphed into an internet infrastructure company. Patrick is one of the most well-read and thoughtful people I've ever met. After listening to this conversation, you'll realize his success is less about luck and more about thought. I'm pleased to have Patrick Collison on the show.

Before I get started, here's a quick word from our sponsor.

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Patrick, I'm so happy to get to talk to you.

Thanks so much for having me.

You have the unique background of having dropped out of high school and dropped out of university. Can you explain what went through your mind dropping out of high school?

Well I didn't, technically speaking, drop out although I sort of, practically speaking, did. But, you know, given my lack of education credentials elsewhere I should, for the sake of my parents, insist that I did, in fact, formally speaking, graduate from high school. But, I guess what happened is that I'd become very interested in programming and I, sort of, wanted to spend as much time on it as possible and Ireland, actually, has this, kind of, interesting thing called Transition Year, this year between the, sort of, two major exams of, kind of, high school, or at least Ireland's high school equivalent, and in Transition Year, it's, sort of, a formally designated year, that's optional, where you can go and pursue things that you might not otherwise, you know, naturally tend to pursue and the school tends to be, kind of, much more permissive of going and spending three months abroad or going and doing some work experience in this area or, you know, whatever the case might be. And so, in that year I basically decided to spend as much of it as possible programming and so, you know, I did that and then I returned to school for, kind of, the, you know, latter half of, again, Ireland's, kind of, high school system and it felt so much slower and less fun and so, I tried to see if – well, as part of the programming, I had visited the U.S. for the first time. I had gone to Stanford for the 2005 International Lisp Conference and there – it was a fairly small conference, and, it was very eye opening for me and I remember, you know, walking around Stanford and thinking man, American colleges seem great. And so, you know, back in high school in Ireland, I decided to see if there was some way that I could just go to college in the U.S. the subsequent year and, it's, sort of, a long story but I eventually figured out that I could not do it if I followed the standard Irish education path, but that I could do it if I did the British, sort of, terminal examination. And so, I, kind of, resumed my, sort of, self-education, except, instead of programming, I was now studying for these, you know, British exams and I did that for the subsequent year and ended up starting at MIT the next fall.

And, how do we get from MIT to where we are today, which is Stripe's offices in San Francisco?

Well, it's, sort of, a long and torturous story and I'll spare you most of the less interesting details. I guess, the overarching thing is while people in the U.S. have, sort of, grown up in an environment of which college attendance is, sort of, really prioritized from an early age and, sort of, you know, you're optimizing your extra-curricular activities from the time you're 14 and you're choosing your kindergarten on the basis of a thought that it's a downstream college acceptance rates look like and all that, kind of, stuff. Of course, growing up in Ireland that, sort of, wasn't part of the, you know, culture or discourse or environment at all. And so, by the time I got to MIT, and then just to college in general, it didn't feel like that big a deal, it didn't feel like, sort of, this was the terminal state that I'd, sort of, spend my entire, kind of, childhood and adolescence that I'm trying to pursue. And so, as a, kind of, other things and other ideas and opportunities, sort of, you know, crossed the transom, I think I was maybe more open to them than my peers, not because, I think, any differences in me, but just because of differences in the culture and environment that I come from. And so, my brother, John, and I – John, at this point, being a little bit younger, he was now in this transition year in Ireland, we decided to start a company six months after I got to MIT. And so, I'd really just started and I felt that I had some, kind of, time to spare because I'd started college a year younger than, you know, most of my peers, and that company, sort of, worked out ok and, you know, it's, kind of, a long story but it ended up becoming a small acquisition.

I went back to MIT because when I had started there I'd, sort of, been very interested in math and physics and had, kind of, been interested in this idea of, you know, potentially becoming, or, at least, attempting to become some, kind of, academic and, of course, at a place like MIT, that's, sort of, the default around you, you know, everyone is planning on, again, trying to get a Ph.D. or to become a professor or whatever and so, I think, you know, that that environment had some effect on me. And so, I went back and because I felt that I hadn't, sort of, really, you know, properly rejected the hypothesis that maybe I shouldn't try to become a professor, right? Maybe, kind of, physics is what I should be, again, at least attempting to spend my career on.

And, after a year back at MIT, I decided that that was not the case. Progress in physics really felt like it had, sort of, slowed down pretty substantially compared to the, you know, 1910s, 20s, 30s, the, sort of, the period in which so much of what we were learning about that, sort of, broader period of discovery. It felt like the period in which, sort of, you know, we existed in say, 2010, was that there really was just not the same rate of progress. And so, there's a little bit of that and then also some amount of, sort of, appreciation, myself, that I think I just enjoyed programming and software and technology more than I did math and physics, even though, to some degree is a little bit, maybe, painful to realize that.

I want to explore a little more about the cultural differences between Ireland and the U.S. and how that impacts you as the CEO of Stripe.

I think there's maybe a couple of things in that Ireland is very outward looking, necessarily so, in that, sort of, Ireland's, sort of, improbable rise from poverty over the latter half of the 20th century was very significantly enabled, maybe almost wholly enabled by exports, by, sort of, importing American multinational companies, having them set up factories and bases and, you know, hubs of different sorts in Ireland. One of the world's first special economic zones was created in Shannon, which was very close to, maybe 10, 15 miles from where I was born. Deng Xiaoping visited us and found us quite inspiring and so decided to set up special economic zones in China and so Shenzhen and the, sort of, the Pearl River Delta, that, sort of, special economic zone was in some ways directly inspired by, you know, what he saw in Western Ireland and, so I think the fact that, sort of, there's such a very visceral link between, kind of, betterment and progress and economic development and this, kind of, outward looking sense that the possibilities of the rest of the world are, sort of, much greater than, kind of, those internally. You know, that – that's very pervasive in Ireland. And, I think that's certainly influenced Stripe in the sense that, you know, we really are all trying to emphasize the, sort of, the imperative for and the potential of globalization. And, while maybe in the mid-90s that was, sort of, something that was uniformly accepted and, sort of, at least elite circles. Now, see that's something that perhaps is being questioned somewhat more but, I guess, the Irish experience is very much one of seeing it as an almost wholly unalloyed good. And, again, I think that's greatly influenced us here. Certainly me.

Well, it's interesting, too, from a cultural standpoint where Ireland has had very high rates of immigration, particularly post the expansion of the EU in 2004. A very large number of Eastern European immigrants moved to Ireland when those countries acceded to the EU and, that was really not accompanied by any material, social strife or conflict or a lot of the, sort of, challenges that we've seen in, sort of, other parts of the world, and, so again, I think that, sort of, an appreciation for borders that are more open or more openness to immigrants. More, sort of, facilitation of opportunity, things like that, again, I think that really is the Irish experience. And, of course, there's the reverse version where so many Irish people themselves have, sort of, benefited enormously from being able to go and, sort of, kind of, pursue lives in the UK and Australia and the U.S. and Canada and so on. And, that's again, just really a, kind of, part of the national ethos and then maybe more softly, I guess, Irish culture places a lot of importance on just a, kind of, warmth and the, kind of, a particular tenor to a, sort of, interpersonal dynamics and trying to have other people enjoy themselves and be at ease and have a good conversation with them and whatever else. And, I think, maybe that's something that's influenced us somewhat at Stripe, where we want Stripe to be a warm place. I mean, we play music at reception and in the kitchen to just try to put people at ease and to create enough, sort of, soft noise around them where they feel comfortable having just a good conversation and, you know, maybe that's because of entirely unrelated reasons or maybe, again, in some way, we were influenced by the, kind of, environment we grew up in in Ireland.

How would you describe the culture at Stripe? What do you actively try to achieve with that?

Well, I'll tell you that with a caveat and the caveat is that I'm pretty sure the answer I would have given to this would have differed in some material ways two or three years ago, right? And, that's in part, because I think we're coming to realize things that we just hadn't really appreciated or, sort of, seen the significance of two or three years ago. And, also in part, because literally what it is that we need today is just different to what we needed two or three years ago, right? And, so, I think there's a double contingency in the answer where it's a function of just what we realize at this point but, also, sort of, what it is that the organization – the company needs and the, sort of, challenges that we currently face. With that caveat, I think the things that we really prize and try to, you know, seek in the people we hire are a, kind of, rigor and clarity of thought, in that, I think so many organizations prize, sort of, smoothness as, sort of, interactions and trying to reduce – minimize the number of, sort of, ruffled feathers and that they, kind of, at least, sort of, inadvertently, if not deliberately, prefer cohesion over correctness and we really try to identify people who – who are seeking correctness and who don't mind being wrong and who are willing to at least contemplate things that seem improbable or surprising if true or really divergent as to what is, sort of, the generally accepted status quo. And that's hard to fight and I don't think most of the, sort of, educational institutions that we all tend to have attended, actually, do a great job of teaching that. And so, we look for that, kind of, combination of, sort of, openness and rigor. I don't exactly know what the right word is but a, kind of, determination and competitiveness and, I guess, willfulness in that just doing anything of significance is hard. I mean, anyone who's tried to do anything that they, themselves, consider significant knows that very viscerally, right? And, I mean, especially for a startup like, the default outcome is you're relatively near-term non-existence like the default outcome is that you do not survive to – to survive over the medium or, you know, even more difficulty over the long term. And that is like an unnatural act, right? And so, you need to find people who, not just are willing to, sort of, push against the, sort of, the expected trajectory of non-existence, but people who actually enjoy that, who want that, right; because if they're merely willing to do it but they don't actually enjoy it, then, you know, the work is probably going to be less fulfilling for them over the medium term.

And, I really don't think that is for everyone. I don't think that's a bad thing right; in that the cliche, of course, is that startups are extraordinarily hard and they just are and, you want somebody who's at a stage in their life where that's the, kind of, challenge that they want, where the fact that the particular area in which they're gonna be working is, sort of, undefined or significantly under built out or significantly broken or whatever the case might be, but that's what they're looking for, right? And then, we try to find people who just have a, kind of, again to return to this word, interpersonal warmth and a desire to make others around them better and just a degree of caring for others and a desire to be nice is a, kind of, anodyne word, but to be nice to them and to make them better off, right? We really try to find people who you just actively enjoy spending time with, right? You spend such a large fraction of your life inside the walls and under the roof of, you know, whatever organization, institution you're working at, and so, given that, I really think it's worth prioritizing this and I think, I mean, of course, don't know for sure, but I think we go to, sort of, some greater lengths to find these people than other organizations tend to do. And, there's other things as well. I mean, you know, it almost goes without saying but we really care a great deal about ethics and integrity in people. But, you know, I think so too do a lot of other organizations. I think the three that, kind of, really stand out to me are this, kind of, rigor and clarity of thought; this, sort of, hunger, appetite, willfulness, determination. And this, again, warmth and desire to make people around them better off. Those are three that really stand out to me.

Take me back to the early days of Stripe and the struggles you were having and maybe walk me through some of the things that you've learned since then or some of the mistakes that you had made.

Sure. I mean the, kind of, background context here is that by almost every, sort of, under almost every, kind of, ostensibly sane analysis, Stripe looked like a bad idea, right? This was a crowded market. There were tons of existing incumbents, there were significant regulatory and just, kind of, partnership institutional barriers to entry. We had no experience in the domain. We were very young. We weren't even U.S. citizens in an ecosystem that, again, just because the regulatory dynamics, you know, that, sort of, adds further complication. We had no, sort of, obvious mechanism for gaining, sort of, significant distribution. And we were not a, sort of, naturally viral product or, you know, we had, sort of, organic adoption the way, maybe, a social network or a consumer product might have. And for all those reasons, I think a lot of people, sort of, very reasonably, thought that, you know, Stripe was a bad idea or us pursuing Stripe was a bad idea. And they certainly didn't hesitate to tell us that and, you know, I think, to be clear, I think they were doing something reasonable by telling us that. I mean, they were giving us their, sort of, honest, and, again, you know, reasonably justified assessment. And so, it all started in the background context of that. I think the thing that primarily gave us the confidence to actually attempt it was it just seemed so strange that something with Stripe's character didn't exist, in that, we really looked for a Stripe before we – before we started it. It felt that it must be the case that there is some service, some company somewhere offering infrastructure and APIs and payments and economic tools that are straightforward to use for a developer, right? I mean, this is one of the, sort of, top needs that any business operating on the Internet has arguably by definition or, sort of, a business on the Internet must have access to these tools.

There are tens of millions of developers operating on the Internet and so just given the magnitude of that market and the, sort of, obviousness of the business model, it really felt like this had to exist. And so, we, kind of, forlornly Google for it, you know, with a different set of permutations of keywords and then, sort of, after a couple of months became, you know, somewhat resigned to the fact that, no, it did not, in fact, you know, probably exist and its non-existence was so, kind of, strange to us that it actually, initially, kind of, discouraged us where it was, sort of, such an obvious idea and such a surprising, you know, absence of a, kind of, solution, maybe there's some, kind of, latent force that we're not seeing that actually makes, sort of, solving it impossible, right, in that, you know, for example, we were also interested the same time in why, kind of, consumer banks were so bad in that just, you know, they weren't really keeping abreast of technology and the fees were really high and they were getting fined by the CFTB and, you know, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, and as we looked into it, it became apparent that actually there was a good reason as to why the problem had not been solved where (a) the banks were subject to, sort of, such onerous regulation where it's very difficult for them to do anything themselves, right, and so, for example, the difference between a checking account and a savings account which might seem, sort of, quite unfriendly from a consumer's standpoint that's actually, kind of, essentially mandated by law. And so, it's not, on some level, the banks' fault. And the second reason is the office of the controller of the currency, which is the entity that, sort of, issues federal banking charters had basically stopped issuing new banking charters post the financial crisis and so if you came along and you're like well I'm going to go solve all these problems in consumer banking, you are essentially blocked from doing so by the, kind of, regulatory apparatus. And so, we wondered in this, kind of, similar vein is there some force like that. Not necessarily regulatory, but just like there are some constraint that, kind of, we aren't observing or weren't.

And, after maybe a couple months of investigation we decided that no, there didn't appear to be, at least, of course, you can never, kind of, definitely reject it, but we really couldn't find one. And so, we decided to build a prototype and the prototype was built, sort of, on top of and with, sort of, existing payment systems and so, it didn't do anything, kind of, overly ambitious, it was almost like a, sort of, concept rendering of what a solution could look like rather than, sort of, a solution itself, but it was sufficient to get just a couple of our friends started using it and I think the particular thing we realized that caused us to, you know, really go take it a little bit more seriously and I mean concretely to drop out of college was the realization that the, sort of, problems that we perceived and, kind of, developers like us, people building some little side project or with this, kind of, very nascent, you know, startup or something like that, that the problems we perceived for that, kind of, at that segment of the market were actually the problems that larger companies had as well that, kind of, what we thought initially might be a little lake of opportunity was, sort of, more akin to an ocean, and when we talked to companies having hundreds of millions or billions in revenue or companies in other countries and so on and we just asked them to kind of, recount their problems and what they wished existed and everything else, they basically, give us the same roster of features. And, when we thought about it and just like looked at the, kind of, macro figures, we saw that, you know, about at the time two percent of all consumer spending in the world happened on the Internet. And, so even though we were, kind of, you know, 20 years into, sort of, the Web's evolution and even though, you know, we'd all engaged in lots of e-commerce and so on when you looked at it on a macro basis, it was apparent that, you know, we were still, kind of, barely off the starting blocks and so I think the combination of those things where, kind of, decided that there didn't appear to be some, sort of, some dark energy preventing a solution and that this set of problems we could see actually seems, sort of, very pervasive rather than just, sort of, a microcosm. And then, thirdly that actually this whole market and environment was still actually at a, sort of, surprisingly nascent stage when you looked into the full picture. Then we decided to drop out.

You guys went from two employees, you and your brother as co-founders, to 800, 900 now?

We're about a thousand now.

A thousand employees. And, what have you learned from scaling the business?

I think on some level, scaling a business is both relatively straightforward and extremely hard. Relatively straightforward in the sense that it's usually not that difficult to see what the problems are and to the sense that you don't see what the problems are, it's usually because there's some, kind of, subjective blindness, rather than it being actually difficult to see the problem, right? And so, it's more of a simple question of what are you oblivious to because of your own biases rather than what is particularly difficult to observe and, kind of, what are your corrective mechanisms to, sort of, account for that.

So it's, I think, straightforward in that sense. And, I guess, straightforward in the sense that usually solving the problems is not outlandishly difficult. I mean, it's not easy but you don't hire someone in this role, you need to figure out how to raise this capital; you need to build the system. Whatever the case may be, I mean, none of those are easy things but they're also not, sort of, scientific breakthroughs. There are other companies that have done it. There are generally playbooks that exist and file, sort of, your particular strategy might need some, sort of, correction, refinement and you might hit some walls along the way, it's rarely unprecedented. And, then, I think, it's extremely difficult in the sense that you don't get to really choose the clock cycle, kind of, and the time horizons. It's a category of, sort of, flash games and desktop tower defense games, where you're, sort of, building little towers that shoot missiles and all these little critters, sort of, scampering across the board trying to, sort of, break into your fortress, whatever the case might be, and I started to feel a little bit like that, where you fundamentally don't control the, sort of, rate of, you know, problem appearance and you just control the, sort of, other variable of the rate of which you're building defensive or mitigatory or mechanisms to deal with those problems. And sometimes the rate of the problem creation can outstrip the rate at which you can solve them even though in principal any one of them is relatively manageable, right? And so, I think that really adds a lot of difficulty.

I think even on this, kind of, very abstract level dealing with the problems is tractable, the character of having problems materialize at every level of the organization or at every, kind of, level of abstraction or, you know, at every, kind of, magnitude and so on, that's just a, kind of, a natural thing that I think is, just on a psychological emotional level, difficult to deal with and so while you might recognize, sort of, on some contemplative stoic level that this is how it goes, you know, that's not necessarily how it feels in the moment, right? And it, kind of, feels like that way every day and some days you almost have to smile at the, sort of, unreasonableness of the swathe of problems and challenges that have, you know, materialized on your desk or in your inbox and that, you know, in the same way that you see the constellations in the stars, you know, the, sort of, constellation of the problems looks so implausible and so unreasonable that, like, someone must secretly be screwing with you, right? And so, there's that, kind of, emotional, sort of, self-management. And then, of course, there's the challenges of dealing with uncertainty where, you know, it's, kind of, I guess – well, you're operating in, sort of, the weird zone where you're often making decisions that have, sort of, significant long-term impact or that are difficult to reverse or to course correct and in the face of great uncertainty, right? And, the uncertainty is often unnecessary in the sense that you could in principal go and significantly reduce the uncertainty. You could go and study the question more, you could go and obtain more information, you could go and run an experiment, you know, it's not like cosmic uncertainty where there is just – it's Truce of Nice and unknowability. And I think when it is, like, true deep unmitigable uncertainty, then I think it's not too hard to say well we're just going to choose something and, you know, make the best decision we can. I think it's a more frustrating, kind of, uncertainty where it's actually not necessary but the thing that, sort of, limited is essentially the cost of obtaining further information, reducing that uncertainty. And so, you're left in the, sort of, dissatisfying situation where I have to make a highly consequential decision. There's a lot of uncertainty. We could have less uncertainty. We could take steps to mitigate that, but we just don't have time to. And making a lot of decisions in that zone is somewhat dissatisfying, right? And, I think, kind of, correctly so in that, you know, when it's correctly reacting to the fact that it could be otherwise, right?

And then lastly, maybe, you're playing this, sort of, multi-armed bandit problem where you're, sort of, constantly trying to balance exploration and exploitation or, sort of, just optimization of that which already exists instead of doing it better and better with trying to figure out what are the things that, you know, we aren't doing or that we don't know or we haven't even considered or, you know, if we were doing would make this other part the organization to be vastly more effective and so on. So, it's very hard to know what the optimal rate of exploring those things is while also basically operating outside the system and operating inside the system or optimizing outside the system and optimizing inside the system. It's very hard to know what the right, kind of, rate of doing those things is. And so, again, I think a lot of the challenge of scaling the organization is, sort of, finding, at each, kind of, moment the right way to balance those things. But, without ever having, kind of, sat down before to try to, sort of, you know, and anybody to come to listen to any unified theory, I think that a lot of the experience of scaling an organization is, kind of, specific versions or specific applications of, sort of, those dynamics and just figuring out how you, yourself, or how the organization, or how your peers and colleagues, sort of, deal with that and what the, kind of, structural mechanisms for doing so are.

And then maybe very lastly, I mean, those are all, kind of, the structural ones. I think there is just also a personal version where you certainly don't start out being well adapted to or, at least, in my case particularly skilled in organizational management and leadership, and, I mean, depending on the rate of growth of the company you, sort of, need to acquire those skills, again, on a timeline that's largely out of your control and, you know, depending on the rate of growth of the organization, that might be a pretty difficult thing. And so, you know, certainly in my case, I think I've just had to accept my, sort of, managerial inadequacy relative to what either is required in the moment or, sort of, will in the near-term impending future be required and just figure out strategies to try to acquire those skills and abilities as rapidly as possible.

I wanna go back to the explore/exploit, kind of, comment that you made, which we can probably just relate to focus. How do you think about focusing on one thing and being exceptional at that or doing a variety of things and trying to be exceptional at all of them?

You mean in the organization or personally?

Oh, in the organization and maybe personally, if that's different.

I don't know a better answer other than using course heuristics and then being willing to revisit or make an exception if something seems, sort of, particularly promising right now. Roughly speaking, we invest most of our effort, the precise number, let's just say 70 or 80 percent, in optimizing that which we already have; that which we already know is producing returns; that which there is a, sort of, relatively clear line of sight from, sort of, the input, the work, the optimization, whatever to, sort of, the output improvement. And then, you know, some fraction of the work and the, sort of, a distribution of some fraction the work, let's call it 20 percent, into things that are more speculative, right, and I think that's, kind of, necessarily the case because that, call it again 70 or 80 percent, is devoted towards optimization of that which already exists. If we did not do that, you know, then this, kind of, default non-existence we just discussed would be guaranteed, right? It's very easy to sort of, fly the company into the side of a hill. And so, I think really the question is just do you spend 20 percent of your time on things that are more speculative or do you spend 0 percent and then, maybe secondly, to what degree do you allow those answers to be different, at different levels of the company, and then, sort of, in different places and, kind of, how much of a uniform answer and how much heterogeneity do permit or do you design for. And, I think as we've grown we've tried to shift into a model where it is somewhat less uniform and, in certain teams, less optimization of what already exists is going to be required; it's going to require more exploration and in other parts of the company, to be tilted in the reverse direction. And, I think, that, kind of, recursive decomposition, I think, is really required to avoid the diseconomies of scale that otherwise set in as you grow.

And you decide which speculative projects you take on, probably based on disrupting your business or these are things that I want to do or I want to strive to do or?

I don't know that there's a better answer beyond, given all of the axes of, you know, constraints and returns, which ones seem like a good idea, and, I mean, I think, it's, kind of, like investing when you ask, you know, what are the criteria for investing in a company. It's well, when you, kind of, normalize down from these, sort of, you know, really high dimensional space of market and founders and idea and, you know, all these things. You normalize all that down into, kind of, what do you think the return profile looks like. Well, you invest when the return profile looks good enough, right? I think, similarly you decide, you know, which ideas to pursue. Of course, on each axis there are many things you prefer or you don't want or whatever. And, for example, something that requires less effort rather than more or entails less downside risk rather than more or whatever, you know. Those are all good things, but I think, kind of, where it all nets out is well when you take account of all those factors which things just seemed like a good bet, right, and so, just, you know, to give a concrete example, Atlas, the service we launched for helping new founders incorporate companies and, in particular, sort of, without the geographic restrictions that tended to exist before so, it's essentially open to founders anywhere in the world, there was no, kind of, one reason as to why that was a good bet. There was no, kind of, you can't just measure that on any one axis, right, but, kind of, when you look at overall and you see that well, if it doesn't work and it's hard to see how it could cause that much downside for Stripe, it's not going to require an enormous, kind of, fixed cost investment in order to, sort of, learn as to, at least, whether it's initially working. If it did work, it seems like it'd produce, kind of, quite significant returns. The kinds of things we'll have to do for it are actually things that are quite valuable for us in other parts of the business and so on. So, we'll learn interesting new capabilities and skills in the course of doing it, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. I think the reason there aren't more good bets made in the world is because making good bets is difficult. And, again, I think you're gonna, in different areas …

Difficult in terms of recognizing them or difficult in terms of acting and executing on them, or what do you mean by difficult?

I think both. I think most organizations are, sort of, institutionally resistant to bets in that because most people are necessarily optimizing things that already exist. And, again, that's correct without making a mistake. I mean, things that are not optimized along the way, especially things that are not being, kind of, fixed and optimized and patched up and corrected as they emerge, I mean, those are going to break, right, and so, the optimization is critically important. I don't mean to, sort of, sound remotely, kind of, dismissive towards it, but banks are a very different character, right? And, you know, sort of, a continuum of betfulness and riskiness …

Is best.

Yes, exactly right, and, large institutions and incumbent organizations, sort of, dislike them right, structurally speaking, and find them difficult to understand and difficult to interact with and so on, and I think there's a whole host of reasons there in that, you know, people in startups are, sort of, less worried about the risk of failure; whereas, people instead of existing systems must worry quite a bit about the risk of failure. You know, newer things tend to operate on, sort of, faster, sort of, on clock cycles and so, you know, Dijkstra talked about the idea of the Buxton Index and the, sort of, time horizon upon which an organization makes its decisions and so maybe a university make its decision, you know, its decisions with a decade long time horizon; whereas, maybe a company makes decisions on a quarterly time horizon and maybe a, you know, an individual make decisions on a weekly or monthly time horizon, whatever. And, anyway, so I made the observation was that organizations with very different Buxton indices find it difficult to work together. And if an organization with a really long-time horizon is working with one that, sort of, rapidly updating and, sort of, rethinking, it's just like a fundamental, kind of, a hedon's mismatch. And so, I think that, you know, to your question are, sort of, why it's hard and why there aren't more good ones in the world. I think there are lots of different kinds hedon's mismatch like that. It's not just the time horizon thing, but I think there's just like a fundamental deep intrinsic difference between, sort of, of existing incumbent systems and the actions of the minds that require to optimize them, and, this, sort of, the exploration of figuring out that which is totally orthogonal different and you.

How do you keep that mentality, I mean, when Stripe started, the cost of failure was really low. Now, you have a thousand employees; they all have families; you have a business; you have people who have invested a lot of money in the business. How do you maintain that ability to place massive bets?

It's really a question of how do we make sure that we can place bets that don't have excessive downside or are, sort of, fatal downside, right? Or a cumulatively fatal downside across, maybe a whole portfolio bet, and I think that actually the impediments to placing good – well, again, I will caveat all this by saying it's not like Stripe has a long track record of, sort of, making really good, you know, investment bet decisions. You know, I am, we are, far from being the Apples or the Berkshires or whoever, you know, multidecadal, sort of, track record of …

We'll be back here in a decade. We'll re-evaluate.

If we are here in three decades which, you know, as established would not be the default outcome, and we have a great portfolio of successful such decisions then perhaps we can opine, you know, with some modicum of confidence and, but it feels to me and we'll see if it's right or not, it feels to me that actually the reason that organizations don't tend to make more of these or make more good ones is it's more sociological, more institutional and less that it's fundamentally too costly because in most cases, the downside cost is not that large and either in terms of, like, just direct financial cost or in terms of these, sort of, broader damage to the organization in whatever form that might take. It's much more the mindset of improving that which already exists is just quite different to the mindset of screw the old system and let's do something that's fundamentally new from scratch. And so, I think the challenge is in significant part, how do you reconcile these two mindsets. How do you have the – I mean, Stewart Brand, I talked about pace layering in buildings and different parts of the building have to change at different rates and how do you design for that. And I think that, kind of, analogous question for an organization is how do you do organizational pace layering. How do you have parts of the organization that can try to do something fundamentally different to and hopefully superior to that which already exists. And how do you have people who are basically disagreeing with people trying to do something new, who you think that no, the way we're currently doing it is in fact the right way we're going to do it better and better and because these people fundamentally, structurally disagree with each other and must have significant conviction of their effective approaches, otherwise, they do great work. How do you have those people, at the end of the day, have dinner together and fundamentally feel like they're on the same team.

How do you do that.

Come back in 30 years.

I think I recall one of the interviews that I was watching as prep for this where you talked about one of the first five or six people worked at Bridgewater.

No, one guy in particular, did and over time, we've hired more people who have, but, yeah, I would not say we were particularly Bridgewater influenced.

Did you come to this, sort of, notion of thoughtful disagreement. Before that influence. And, if so, how did you …

Well, it's hard to know exactly where to attribute it and it's probably, kind of, overdetermined and maybe there are just some, sort of, underlying personality traits that we each had, sort of, come to in a different part of our lives in, sort of, somewhat coincidental ways. I mean, for a start to your earlier question, Irish people are always disagreeing and always arguing, and so, again, maybe there's a cultural dimension to it. It's not something that people tend to shy away from.

Because they see it as an attack on – exactly, right.

Right. I think that there was just a common shared personality trait in a lot of the people who helped establish the culture of Stripe where they enjoyed some disagreement and tried to find the boundaries of an argument and the places where it's not the case, and what the exceptions might be and just trying to, kind of, get a feel for the topology of that space and, kind of, stumbling in the dark try to construct a map of where different intuitions and heuristics apply and where they don't and so on and I think when you have, kind of, deep minds, at difference in people is often those who enjoy finding the limitations of arguments and beliefs and those who don't. And Tyler Cowen talks about, I think, it's his second law, that there are no knock down arguments and there are no arguments are just uniformly completely true. There are always the limits to it. There's always the other side and I think that's, kind of, very deeply true but I think there's, kind of, just a question of, sort of, an affect, and, again, personality as to do you enjoy finding those limits and the exceptions and thinking about well maybe this is less true than I think or where it's less true than I think. Or is that just like a stressful process. And I think that, sort of, getting that, kind of, rigor and clarity of thought requires, sort of, a joy of discovery, like, this thing I believe, this rule that I thought existed, like it's actually not good in this place and having that be an enjoyable discovery rather than, sort of, something stressful and frightening. I think globalization is a good example there where, you know, as we discussed, I think that globalization is a net overall for the world, a fantastic thing and something that, you know, support is rising for a global basis and has propelled more people out of poverty than almost any other force ever. And yet, there are people like Dani Rodrik and others who are, sort of, prodding at the edges of that and showing well but not in this place or not in this way or Autor and these other folks at MIT, like maybe it has this, sort of, underappreciated downside and I think that's great. I think those are important questions and really interesting work. And I think that, kind of, again the underlying, sort of, sentiment is, sort of, interest in where the heuristics and the intuitions and the rules and the arguments are at.

I wanna come back to some of that a little bit later. I think one of the questions that people want to hear from you is what would you say is the biggest difference between the Patrick making decisions today and the Patrick making decisions maybe five years ago in terms of how you actually make those decisions?

There are four big differences. The first is, and I just place more value on decision speed in that if you can make like twice as many decisions at half the, kind of, half the precision, that's actually often better. And then given the fact that, sort of, the rate of improvement of decision making with additional time almost necessarily tends to, kind of, flatten out, I think that most people, certainly the Patrick five years ago and even the Patrick of today included should be, sort of, earlier should be operating earlier in that curve, make more decisions with less confidence, but, in significantly less time, right? And, just recognize that in most cases you can course correct and treat fast decisions as a, kind of, asset and capability in their own right. And it's quite striking to me how some of the organizations that I hold in the highest regard tend to do this. The second thing is not treating all decisions just, kind of, uniformly. I think the most obvious axes to break them down on are degree of reversibility and magnitude and things with low reversibility and, you know, great impact and magnitude, those ones you do want to, you know, really deliberate over and try to get right.

But, I think it's very easy, sort of, absent care to have this mechanism you put in place for those decisions to seep into decision making for the other categories and really in the other three quadrants you can afford to be, sort of, much more flexible and much more fluid and again really just a part a speed because obviously if it's very reversible then, you know, by definition you can always correct it later and if it's, you know, of low import then who cares, right? So, that's, kind of, the second one just being, kind of, cognizant of that and before making a decision, try to categorize well what, kind of, decision is it. The third thing is I now try to fairly deliberately just make fewer decisions in that why am I making the decision? And, for some kinds of decisions, there are some good reasons for that, and there's some decisions the CEO ought to make and is, kind of, fundamentally on the hook for, but, there are some decisions where if I'm making it or if I have to make it that probably suggests that something else organizationally or institutionally has broken. And I think the need for a decision from anyone not just for me is often like only a, sort of, an epi phenomenon and there's really some other underlying issue that's causing you to have to make it in the first place. And so, thinking like that and concretely doing more to push others to make decisions and, sort of, pushing them back, sort of, to people who ought to be the domain experts and then fourth, when I realize that I would make it a decision differently to have someone else making it, not even really discussing the decision itself but trying to dig into what is the difference in our models such that you want to make decision A and I want to make decision B. And one thing we're currently spending a bunch of time on your Stripe is having different parts of the organization, write down what they're optimizing for, essentially, like what their mission is, what the long-term key metrics are for, kind of, their part of the organization, what – who their customers are either internally or externally. And so, the things of this, kind of, persistent, ongoing underlying nature is such that, you know, hopefully, once there's agreement on those longer-term things, then maybe a difference on any future decision might just be well, we differ, sort of, on what the most instrumentally effective way to achieve this outcome is but we're still both really unified on what the desired end state is and there I think disagreement over, sort of, instrumental efficacy, you know, well, that's rarely that problematic a disagreement because well if you're right then we'll soon learn that, if you're wrong reality will probably, sort of, make that pretty clear in short order. I think the more troubling ones and the ones that tend to cause more, kind of, persistent friction in an organization are where, sort of, there is latent disagreement in what you're actually optimizing for but that's, kind of, never explicitly surfaced and uncovered and so now I guess again in decision making, I place, kind of, more importance on making sure that we have the right, sort of, foundational agreement such as the, kind of, disagreement that I intend to arise are of the, sort of, essentially more superficial sort and their agreement is actually less important. Part of culture is learning from the decisions the organization makes. What do you do at Stripe to make sure that people are learning and what do you do personally to make sure that you're learning from the decisions that you've made, both positive and perhaps ones that you in retrospect would have wished you could make differently.

I'm inclined to say, I don't know if I actually believe this, but I'm inclined to say in response to that question that decision making in organizations is slightly overrated in that organizations are not like investment entities or funds or advantages in that with investing, it's fundamentally very binary. There is a moment at which you either buy or don't do or sell or don't or whatever. And maybe it's somewhat more continuous in the case of say public market investing and so on, but given, sort of, constraints on just decision-making time I think you have to treat it more binary. You assess this stock and you make a buy or a or not decision. Whereas, in organizations everything is much more fluid and continuous it's much more about designing the feedback mechanisms, you know.


Yeah exactly and, you know, the famous, sort of, water model of the economy. You know, with the, sort of, circulating fluids and you can vary the interest rate or the inflation rate or whatever. But just try to get a sense for the overall, kind of, biological apparatus. And I think an organization is much more like that and so, I think that things to optimize are the incentive structures and the mindsets and the definitions of the goals and the feedback mechanisms from the outcomes to the inputs and the work and the operations themselves and all those things and less the binary decisions. I wouldn't kind of, completely dismiss, obviously the important decision making and that there are times where you have to decide well, are we going to launch this product or not. Or, are we going to start this project or not or are we going to replace the system or not and so on. So, there are, of course, real decisions but I think it tends to be much more – well, I guess, maybe it doesn't feel like the right unit of analysis to me. I think the right unit of analysis is that of the cell. And the question is, well in an organization what are the cells and what are the organs and how do they interact for the feedback mechanisms between them.

Let's geek out a little bit on the feedback mechanisms here. What sort of feedback mechanisms do you try to make sure are in place, what point in the process do you try to acknowledge what they are?

I really think that this is not the question but I really think it's too early to answer that in the sense that I mean I can, kind of, tell you what I think today and the, sort of, changes we've made over the last year and things like that. But like Stripe has been a thousand-person organization for or has been more than 500 person organization for just over a year, right? We're beginners at this and, you know, three years ago Stripe was under 100 people and I think either to opine as if or to even more problematically believe that we're gonna have it figured out would be real hubris. And so, it, kind of, in what we've been talking about I think that's gonna be some of, you know, where our thinking comes from them, but I don't know what the right answers are yet and we spend a lot of our time, sort of, scrutinizing other organizations trying to find out, in, kind of reverse engineer what works for them and why. And I think that part of what's interesting at the tech industry is that it's a kind of pure knowledge work that we're still, I think, quite early in sort of, figuring out in terms of how to optimally coordinate and collaborate on it in that you can, sort of, draw lineage of HP and Intel and Microsoft and Google and Facebook and so on, WhatsApp. And they're all these set of suggestive examples, but I think these, again, suggest that we may not have it all figured out. I mean, the fact that WhatsApp was such a miniscule team, and, Instagram too, of course, despite operating at such scale or the fact that …

In the wake of a new paradigm.

Yeah, yeah. And the way Facebook operates is very different to the way, you know, HP operated.

Under Stripe, which company cultures do you admire the most? Not business models, but culture. And why?

Well, I admire cultures that are strong, first off. Culture is that when you ask somebody who's in the culture, can you describe it, that they can expound on its merits for more than half an hour. And in almost every case, describe at some length all the things they don't like about it, right? Because if it's strong, I mean, it's improbable that every aspect of it is something that a person, you know, really agrees with or feels an affinity for. And so, whether it's the New Yorker or the military, a shared characteristic of those cultures is that they're strong, right? So, I think that's the first, sort of, thing and I don't think that describes most organizational cultures. I think most organizational cultures are some, kind of, milquetoast Afrojack, right. So, that's number one. The second is cultures of perfection. And so, both the economists and Apple have extraordinarily high standards for themselves and really, kind of, in both cases the work has a, kind of, primacy. And so, who designed the latest iPhone or who wrote that article. In both cases that's anonymous because there is such a belief that the work speaks for itself, right, and a lot of admiration for that. And then cultures that have longevity and really sustained success. And so, I think that one of our major investors is Sequoia Capital and Sequoia has been, you know, the top firm or in the top three firms. Obviously, it's a subjective ranking but call it, you know, a top, unquestionably a top three firm for essentially its entire existence. And there was no other VC firm that has been a top three firm for, you know, call it for decades. And so, I think the obvious question is well, why is that? What's different about Sequoia there's been tons of VC firms and a lot of different firms have had at any moment in time a strong claim to being a top three firm. But what are the underlying institutional characteristics that enable that to be sustained. And of course, you know, this applies to some of the other organizations we mentioned like, say, The Economist or the New Yorker or even, this is one that I began to read more about of late, Koch Industries, that, you know, Charles, of course, or Charles and David are most famous for their political activities, but if you just look at the company that has, kind of, compounded from 20 million in annual revenue to now according to public estimates 100 billion over, you know, call it five decades and there aren't that many organizations that have compounded like that for that long without there being, kind of, one driver of success there's no one thing that enabled that rise. They didn't like, stumble upon some resource that they, kind of, cornered. There was no, kind of, iPhone for them, etcetera. It's clearly something, kind of, deeper and more, sort of, institutional and the fact that that's been, kind of, sustained for so long I think is interesting in its own right. And what is it that Sequoia Capital Koch Industries and the New Yorker share, and I haven't quite unpacked the answer to that yet.

Can you give us an example of what you've learned from studying Koch Industries?

It's very striking to me how Warren and Charlie at Berkshire, and accounting for biases and mechanisms for clarity of thinking elected to a very striking degree I mean, obviously, if you read the public writings or you go to Omaha and you listen to what, you know, Warren and especially Charlie talk about, you know, it's, sort of, half investing and half applied epistemology, half philosophy, right? And that's been the case as well to a striking degree with Koch. And I don't know them well enough by any means to, sort of, opine in any deep sense, right. Like I've never been to one of their factories, I've never looked at one of their financial statements and so I'm not qualified to assess in any, kind of, comprehensive way, but just in terms of what it seems that the leadership prioritizes, it's strikingly consistent across two of the most successful, multidecadal institutions in the U.S. something to be said going back to your point earlier about learning from companies that have consistently demonstrated over a period of time without these huge, kind of, like one off hits that have caused most of that track record.

Right. You're a huge reader. Where did this love of books get started?

Well we had crappy internet when I was growing up, because our house was so remote, there's so much noise on the phone line and that we didn't have internet for years and then we got it and it was treacle slow and so on. And, you know, I was fortunate my parents were very willing to pursue all these harebrained schemes and so we eventually got an ISDN line, which was ferociously expensive, but God that, you know, that, sort of, the fiber of its day, at least as far as I was concerned. 7.6K a second was majestic. I could barely keep up with the speed. And then we eventually got satellite internet connection, which was really a game changer, but it effectively meant that for the first, I don't know, 14ish, 15 years of my life, there was no internet and we lived in a very rural part of Ireland. I was quite distant from even my friends at school. And so all there really was for us to do was to play in the garden, which we did a lot of, and to read and, you know, it's funny, I often wonder about this in the context of, you know, if I had kids or when I have kids, what's the optimal upbringing for them? And, of course, you think well you, kind of, want them to grow up in a stimulating environment and have all these experiences and extracurriculars and everything else and, but something that was not my upbringing.

My upbringing was I, kind of, get out of the house, go play. That and, I mean, there's plenty of stimulation around. You know, our parents had lots of books and so, you know, we can just, kind of, burrow our way, sort of, sequentially through the shelves, but you know, it was pretty unfettered and I think our parents had a, kind of, they followed our interests and supported them but they didn't choose them. It felt like they pushed from behind rather than pulling in front and so yeah, I think that's for the reading thing came from and I think that well I don't know, I run quite a bit and I don't even run because I enjoy it that much. I mean, I enjoy it but it's nothing, kind of, in the immediate moment. It's not like it's euphoric or anything close to that. I mean, it's pretty painful, and you know, the Greg Lamont quote about how, I mean, it's very dispiriting when you think about it. It is very deeply true that how it never gets easier, you just go faster. That's true of running. Like, if I stay running for the rest of my life, it will never get easier. I will just go faster but just it feels like something I ought to do and I vastly rather having run than not having run and so I continue, sort of, continue to do it. And, with reading, basically, I don't feel like I'm weird; I feel like everyone else is weird in that they're just like so much stuff to know and I guess I just feel stressed out by. Like, it feels important or it's obviously important and I don't know it. And so shit, like I better, you know, get to work. But it's not what I'm reading, I'm not in this, like especially blissful place. I mean, I enjoy it perfectly fine, but it's more like I am, I think there are extremely important things that I really should know and I don't. And that feels problematic.

How do you filter what you read? There's millions of books.


There's one of you.

Right. Well, I discard a lot of books. I like the insight that there's a set of great books that are really worth reading, right? And there's a subset of those books that are really enjoyable to read. Maybe it's like 10 or 20 percent of them say. And the subset, the intersection of really worth reading and really enjoyable to read is actually still more books than you can read than you can read in a lifetime. And so, I've, sort of, decided well I would read all the books that are really worth reading and really enjoyable to read, and then when I run out of those, then I'll go back to the books that are merely worth reading, right? And so, you know, very quickly you can decide if this is an enjoyable book to read or not and if not, discard it. I think reading, you know, should be treated as a, kind of, more active process, Sort of, you should skim, you should skip, you should backtrack. You should discard and potentially return, like the book. You know, you were not subject to the book, you're not a passive consumer. Like the book is there for you. You bought it, it's yours. And like jump back and forwards. Tear it in half if you want, annotate wildly like, you know, use it.

I wholeheartedly agree.

And, I maybe, you know, start half the books I get and I probably finish a third of the books I start. And that works out to, you know, finishing one to two books a week. But if I finish it then, you know, I guess, well, it's probably been recommended by somebody in the first place and then it looked interesting enough upon some very superficial skimming to start. And then, you know, if I finish it again it was quite interesting so there's actually like a lot of selection that, kind of, happens along the way. And then I think, just the other thing worth pointing out is, you know, the line from Basho about the Japanese poet and that you shouldn't follow the people you most admire but you should follow what they admired. And I try to do that, I try to figure out for the people who can be doing really great work or to have really interesting ideas or just who I admire in whatever regard. How do they get to who and what they are? What influenced them or what's upstream? And, often it's quite obscure. But I try to, kind of, disentangle that.

When do you typically read?

Always, I mean, in the morning, in the evening, while walking. While walking is a good one actually like your peripheral vision is such that you can actually quite function and read a book while walking. And there's other people that have started to do this and do it much more and faster than I do. But you just spend a lot of your time walking and so be able to do that, I've found to be quite valuable. Often while eating.

So, you're sitting at home on your couch. It's after dinner and you pick up a book for the first time. Walk me through how you process that book, what you look at.

Yeah, normally I'll jump, sort of, midway through it and just start reading and see like, would I, like to have ended up here and almost certainly, like a bunch of the terms I won't recognize or the antecedent ideas I won't be familiar with or whatever, but like do I want to be here or to have gotten here. And if for a couple of pages, it seems like the answer is yes then I might, sort of, backtrack to the start and start, kind of, pursuing it a bit more seriously. I mean John has this insight that, and it's related to the previous point, that at every moment you should be reading the best book, you know, in the world. I mean, I don't mean, kind of, the absolute best for everyone but, sort of, the best book for you. But like as soon as you discover something that seems more interesting or more important or whatever, you should absolutely discard your current book, sort of, in favor of that because any other algorithm necessarily results in you reading, kind of, "worse stuff of our time.".

Sub optimal.

Yeah exactly. And so I'll be reading the book on the couch and then, you know, maybe after 50 pages I'll, I don't know, be in my room and I'll stumble across something else. And I might just, you know, switch rails. The other thing that I think is actually quite valuable is just leaving books out. And so, when somebody recommends a book, I'll, you know, very often pick up a copy, ideally, a used hardback copy, cause the hardback books, you know, they're more durable and now with Amazon, used hardbacks are really cheap. And, I'll leave it out and so there's books in the kitchen; there's books in my bedroom; and there's books, you know, on my bed and just strewn everywhere. And surprisingly, commonly either or someone else will recommend the book or some aspect of the book whatever. And it's still salient, it's still around you and you're like oh yeah, I really should check out that thing. Or something else triggers its relevance. You read an article or you just start appreciating a point or a question or something, right? And so, I like part of the reason that I still really value physical books is because you, I mean, for now at least, we still exist in physical space and it creates a, kind of, idea space for you that makes, kind of, productive collisions more likely to happen.

What types of things do you typically mark up in a book and what does that look like?

So I tend to just make notes in the margin. So, I tend to underline stuff but, in the margin, and, I underline, you know, misusing the term, I annotate it, mark it, highlight it, in the margin because then you can flip through the book quickly see the party you marked, right? And then the other thing is, on the last pages, like on the inside cover at the end, I tend to very quickly note page numbers for particularly interesting points or things that jumped out or whatever, so, that I can easily go back to a book and, you know, I have the list of the 30 things that I found most interesting.

So you keep the book, a book that you completely read, that you have like?


How often do you come back to that book?

If I want to make a particular point or be reminded of a particular aspect or, you know, whatever. Maybe I will, but generally speaking, I don't, and I think, you know, part of the value of making annotations is, of course, to imprint them more firmly in your mind so that you, sort of, don't need to come back as much in some sense. If it's really good, I don't often do this, but if it's really good, I might write a review for friends and just maybe share an e-mail or a Google doc or something or just share snippets with friends and that's valuable both because again, so the act of a summary or summarization, sort of, aids a, kind of, synthesis and better recollection but also, of course, it triggers out pointers and for those suggestions from those friends and so, you know, if you want to identify candidates in adjacent or if I'm to form the flustering and figure out what type of adjacent candidates might, you know, be interesting for further exploration writing review is, you know, a good place to start.

What sort of books have you written reviews on for friends this year?

One that I really enjoyed was A Culture of Growth by Joel Mokyr and it's basically a book about why did the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution, really the Industrial Revolution, start when it did and where it did? And, he basically makes the case. I mean, there's obviously tons of different arguments that have been made for this and because it only happened once it's, sort of, we can never know definitively. And, you know, was it the abundance of, or was it the abundance of coal in the UK? Was it the setting up the intellectual property system and patents? Was it the high cost of labor in the UK that, sort of, created more, sort of, that made productivity enhancing improvements more valuable. Was it something about trade, you know, and so on and so forth and Mokyr basically makes the argument that it was primarily intellectual and more than, sort of, "economic." And, secondly, that it was, sort of, specifically a, kind of, synthesis of the importance placed in, kind of, scientific knowledge where we going to realize that scientific progress knowledge about the world, you know, exists and can be important and that progress is possible and that we're not just, kind of, imperfect imitators or receivers of the knowledge of the Ancients. And so a, kind of, a belief in scientific progress and coupled with a belief in, sort of, the practical importance of, sort of, engineering and of the more prosaic aspects of, you know, industry and of, kind of, practical pursuits.

And, you know, Mokyr offers the example of bacon through both, kind of, inspired the Royal Society was going to one of his followers who created it but also intended to catalogue the practical knowledge of all of the crafts people in the UK and the, kind of, implicit functional knowledge that they had. And, it's, kind of, this interesting combination of those that are really high minded and the very practical, right? And, so anyway, Mokyr, kind of, teases through all these arguments and the, kind of, republic of letters and the, sort of, nascent, you know, rise of science on the continent and so forth. But all in terms of this question of why the industry revolution then and there. And, you know, it talks about versions of it in China and so forth. And anyway, so, I mean, I think it's a very important question and Mokyr is, kind of, a discussion of it as I thought, you know, particularly interesting. And so, yeah, I summarized it for my friends.

That's awesome. Which book or books would you say have most influenced you?

So I asked this question on Twitter, back a couple of weeks ago, and some of the responses I got were really interesting, and a lot of people responded. Like, many more than expected to, I didn't actually, embarrassingly, I feel guilty about this. I didn't post the response myself and I thought about it and it's actually just a very hard question to answer. Like, I actually worried that it may not have been a good question because, like it's so hard to know. Did the book influence you or did you have an inkling or leaning and then you read something that really resonated but, sort of, it's actually not, like the book is just the artifact upon which you project the, sort of, the characteristic that had already arisen or the belief that had already arisen. And the book is not actually causal in and of itself, right? Now, maybe it's still interesting to talk about the book as a, kind of, symbol for the belief, but yeah there's that, kind of, question. And then also, what I've often found is, I think the books that perhaps did in fact influence me the most, in a causal sense, are often not necessarily that good, right? And that maybe I'll read a book that, sort of, triggers a realization of some idea or something. And the book, kind of, jolts me in some direction and then I'll go read better things about that question. And so, it probably would've been better if I had just started with the better stuff. But in some, kind of, truthful descriptive sense, it's yeah it was like the worse one that actually influenced me, right? And so like, you know, maybe a better version, the question is like which books do you wish you'd read sooner or something, right?

Let's answer that question.

Actually, I don't think I can even answer that one as I think about it.

This is yours.

Yeah, I know, I hoist my own petard. Like, it's also just, sort of, clusters of books in that, you know, I think of programming, for example, like, it would be hard for me to answer this question and not cite any programming books, I mean, kind of, so influential at least in my mind's eye, in my life. But, I can't really point to any single programming book, I can name ten that I think, in aggregate, work together like Paradigms of AI Programming by Norvig and Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs and, you know, K&RC books are about operating systems. The Tennenbaum book, you know, etcetera, and in aggregate, those like hugely shaped me. But I don't think I can single out just one, even two books on PHP, which were written by a guy who now works at Stripe. I mean, one of those books is the book that taught me to program and so answering this question, I could hardly not cite those, right? But it's not really the cluster or, you know, a similar cluster at science or economics or sociology or whatever and so they may all have to just get back with a better version of the question.

Switching gears a little bit, what's the smallest habit that you have that makes the biggest difference?

I reach out to people whose work I admire and tell them that, and often it leads to a dialogue and in some cases, I've gotten to know them pretty well. And, so I'm fortunate that Tyler Cowen, who I mentioned, is a friend but I was never introduced to him. I just randomly emailed him years ago. I actually invited him to a bitcoin meet up that I held in 2011, and I did not, however, buy any bitcoin, but I invited him to that meet up and he replied and, you know, apologized that he couldn't make it but we, sort of, ended up in, kind of, a dialogue after that. And, you know, when you reach out to the people, half the time they don't respond. But, you know, half the time they do and it's asymmetric. Doesn't really cost you much when they don't, and it can be incredibly rewarding when they do. And, so yeah, if I did not do that I would have missed out on a huge amount.

How would you answer a question about what are your personal values are?

Probably by evading it. I'm not about to. Do you think perhaps this just disproved that answer by actually answering it? But I guess I just think it's so, it feels like too important to question. It's, kind of, the big question. I feel like too important a question to answer simplistically and too complicated a question to answer briefly and thereby perhaps unsuited to something extemporaneous and I'm sure whatever answer I gave, you know, when I'm thinking about it in an hour's time, I'll kick myself and realize I'd left out, you know, this critically important dimension to it and I think, so I can cite some things I value. But the, sort of, the sense of giving a complete answer is very oppressive. I mean that's, of course, the value of Twitter where because of the constraint that there isn't the same because the system chooses when to cut you off rather than you choosing when to stop. That's quite liberating, so maybe, if you allowed me 20 seconds to speak on values, I could do that, but I could blame the constraint on anything I omitted.

We have 10 hours of recording left. What would you say is the most common mistake that you see people make over and over again that you wish you could correct in 140 characters?

Maybe not having the right peer group or not having the right mentors, isn't quite the right term, because mentor implies something, kind of, quite active but not striving to be more like the "right," people or not just being, kind of, in either case, deliberate enough about that, of course, who the right peer group is for you is, I mean, that's an entirely, kind of, personal and subjective question, but whoever it is, is going to be massively formative and influential in determining where it is that you end up. I mean, Drew Houston, has a quote about how you end up the average of your five closest friends. I think there's a very deep truth to that, right? But if you accept that then, of course, who your five closest friends are, I mean, choosing that and we do, though we may not think of it this way, we do choose the people, like you are choosing who you are. And, of course, that's a, kind of, a, sort of, bidirectional process where who you want to be is determined by who you're around which determines who you want to be around and so on. But …

These people that will accept you as …

Exactly, right. Right. But I think, like, certainly my mental model when I was 18 is that my five closest friends are, you know, people I ran into who kinda like me and I like them and there's a, kind of, we're cordial and close and all those things but that it's, kind of, fundamentally mediated by a, sort of, happenstance. And I think people should, kind of, invest more in it than they do and related, once you've found those people, you should really invest in it because if you accept they can shape you and you think they're the right people to shape you, well then embrace that shaping, right? And then, kind of, on the mentor point, or the latter one, you know, I think almost all of us, at least subconsciously, have a set of people we hold in really high regard or would like to be more like in at least some ways and so on, and I see people – well, in my opinion, they've, kind of, they haven't either found the right people or just like the right relationships and so on and if they had someone who was steering them more, or in better ways, could just be much better off.

I want to talk a little bit of what the future of e-commerce and maybe Silicon Valley culture and I know we've got to end soon but talk to me about how payments. Do you foresee see them changing from not only the customer perspective over from the merchant perspective over the next, you know.

Well, I think there's two levels maybe in that there's all this just like the basic mechanical stuff about payments and where we, kind of, forget just how much friction still exists and how many business models and transactions and businesses and everything, sort of, are impeded for fundamentally, kind of, stupid reasons, right? In that because micro transactions aren't possible both because the fixed costs are too high and because just like the friction too high than things that, would pay for it micro transactions just don't exist, right? It's not that they pursue a different monetization model, in some cases they might, but as a general matter, a significant number of them just won't exist, right? Or because maybe, it's hard to purchase things that are really expensive in a way where the, kind of, risk of fraud is officially low then, you know, you don't pay your rent online say, right? And so, and then, I think, maybe the most important dimension to that is the, sort of, geographic, kind of, balkanization and, sort of, inefficiency that ensues where it's extraordinarily difficult for somebody in Brazil to buy from somebody in Germany or somebody in Germany from somebody in India, etc. etc. And so you get this, kind of, unnatural set of sub-clusters existing not because of, sort of, you know, deep necessary limitations but because something much more arbitrary and contingent. And, you know, economists talk about the gravity equation and the fact that there's a proclivity of any two countries to trade falls off with the square of their distance. And, you know, there's always, like, big questions, like, wow, is that about something, kind of, fundamental in culture or about just surprising returns to proximity or what have you. Assuredly there's, you know, some of that stuff. But I think talking about the challenges and, kind of, complexities and hidden costs of pin methods. That doesn't feel like a very deep thing. It doesn't feel like something that is, kind of, significant enough on some level to have such, kind of, far reaching and deep consequences. But I think a lot of these, that have ostensibly "cosmic phenomena" are actually consequences of these very prosaic and straightforward limitations. And so I really think that solving this aspect of commerce on the internet like literally just making it easy for any two parties, a business and a consumer, in arbitrarily chosen countries making it easy for those two entities to transact, will have enormous consequence for the world.

And like that sounds like such a, sort of, a straightforward idea that it almost sounds cliched and the fact that it sounds cliched it should not blind us to the fact that it is still extraordinarily far from being the case today, right? We have had commerce on the Internet for decades to this point but it's still like 90 plus percent of Brazilian credit cards do not work online outside of Brazil. Brazil is not some backwater, it's not some inconsequential country, right? Obviously, one of the top economies in the whole world and Brazilian consumers basically cannot purchase outside of Brazil. And so, it's difficult to overstate the magnitude of that, sort of, limitations and inefficiencies that prevail today. So that's, kind of, the, kind of, payments level and then come on top of that. I think there is, or beneath it depending how you look at it. There's maybe just like a deeper question of what determines how many firms there are in the world? And what determines the character of those firms are they doing something innovative and novel or are they doing something prosaic that has existed for a long time. What determines who starts and why and the probability of survival? What determines the growth trajectory and the expansion rate into other markets in other products and so on? And, I think part of the tripe hypothesis is that things like that that seem very, sort of, one would think are very difficult to move are actually movable. And, really macro measures like the number of people who start a company, or who start a technology company, or again the success rate of those companies. And, you know, just to give some, kind of, illustrative maybe intuition pumps here, when we survey companies started with Atlas, 60 percent of them tell us they would not exist if not for Atlas. I know they could be wrong, like, maybe some of them actually secretly would, but maybe some of them are actually overstating their own resourcefulness or overstating. Maybe they're underestimating the challenges they would have faced and so I think that number could either be too high or it could be too low, right? But, let's be conservative and say that it's actually 40 percent. If Atlas is causing only 40 percent of those founders to start companies where they otherwise would not have. And if that, kind of, subsequent, you know, success rates look similar that's a huge deal, especially if Atlas itself gets paid, right.? I mean, over time, that can have real economic significance or, you know, if we can make it the case that businesses sell to twice as many global markets as they would otherwise sell to. I mean, again, integrated over an entire portfolio. That's a really big deal. Or Nick Bloom at Stanford did this really interesting work about management practices. Do management practices matter? You know, is good management merely correlated or, in fact, causal and in terms of leading to the advent of better outcomes? And they did an RCT, a proper trial, in India where they taught better management practices to a court of firms and did not to a, sort of, control group and saw double digit percentages in revenue over a multi-year period. I don't recall exactly, I think it was 13 percent over three years or something like that, right? That's an incredible low hanging fruit. Like all they did is teach better management practices 13 percent more revenue, like 13 percent more value provided by the company as assessed by their customers just from better management practices. And so, you know, when we think about Stripe and what to do in the future and the possibilities that exist and so on, it's much more, I think, about, sort of, how do we perturb this overall system to move some of these, kind of, macro outcome measures like number of technology firms started, survival rate of these companies, expansion rate of these companies, magnitude of the value provided to the end users, consumers, customers and so on? And, can be mediated by payments as this, kind of, foundational layer because it's something every business necessarily has. And because it gives U.S. good, sort of, understanding of the dynamics within the business and so on but it's on some, kind of, fundamental level not about the payment even though we think that, kind of, per the first point the impact of just solving the payments will itself be enormous.

Do you think reducing friction across the board is a good thing. Or, do you think friction in certain parts of it actually serves the system?

Well, serves it for who?

That's a good question.

Oh yes sure. I mean look, I think our Cross society I think so many of the things that looked like bugs are actually features from the perspective of somebody of some constituency, right? And ,of course, so much of politics is, you know, reconciliation of the countervailing interests of different constituencies and, of course, you know, the problem is that in so many cases the incremental gain of the constituency is substantially outweighed by the social utility loss of the rights of a society, right? And so, you know, bad teachers do great in the U.S. but almost certainly that's, kind of, a net bad trade for society. But the bet teachers care more about, sort of, their ongoing employment than the rest of society cares, evidently, about correcting that. And, you know, the same thing applies to fishing policy where perspective makes all the difference.

Well but, you know, people driving fishing stocks to extinction care more about their ongoing, you know, right to do so than the rest of society cares about sustainable ecosystems. I mean, I think that's just the character of political economy. And so, yeah, absolutely I think, I mean, to return to our earlier example. It's not even clear that the rate – well, one could look at the fact that essentially no new banking charters are being issued in the U.S. as a bug or, of course depending on your perspective, it's a wonderful feature. It's great for the regulators and it's great for the banks. Profits in consumer banks are higher than they've ever been.

Until they all get wiped out in the next crisis.

And, then because they're even more systematically important than they were in the past, they'll be needed. To the extent there was a systemic argument for bailing them out in '08 there presumably be an even stronger argument in the future.

It's almost like, we were talking about this earlier, but that's when you get big, you have more loss aversion. And so your goal is not necessarily to get better from your customers perspective. It could be to prevent competition prevent new entrants that might be a more, were there a moral judgment on it. It might actually be a more effective business strategy.

Oh for sure.

Innovating for your …

No question. And, you know, I think we're very, sort of, dissonant on this point as a society, where on the one hand we decry lack of innovation, on the other hand in our collective action, we do so much to ensure that it doesn't occur, right? And so, you know, on the one hand we decry the state of the, sort of, medical industrial complex and the 18-1/2 percent of our GDP that is spent on health care costs and the plateau or even decline in life expectancy and the declining rate of drug discovery and so on. And yet, on the other hand, sort of, two regulatory structures make it harder and harder to engage in drug discovery or to, I mean, you can't even start a hospital unless you've got a certificate of need. But, if you observe that well hey, you know, medical care in San Francisco doesn't seem so great and it seems extraordinarily expensive. You know, even though it seems like a very thankless undertaking I'm going to try to do better. Well first, you'd better get approval for that. You can't just enter the market and so I think that, kind of, and I'm not being, kind of, a normative judgment.

I mean I have my personal preferences but I'm not casting normative judgment that's, kind of, what we ought to do as a society. The thing that I feel strongly is that we're inconsistent in our stated desires.

There's like a perpetual, sort of, seesaw, if you will, where success sows the seeds of its own destructions. How would you make an argument right now that San Francisco or Silicon Valley is doing that?

Well the obvious one, the two obvious ones, I guess, are in culture and in housing and costs in general. I mean on the latter – well on costs and the latter everything is getting more expensive and nobody seems to quite understand exactly what's going on, right? And that is, I mean, if you if you take health care again, for example, I mean, the case has been made that this is not in fact a bad thing that what would you expect an enlightened society that has solved all of its other material needs to spend its money on but healthcare? It's, kind of, it's the last thing, it's the last frontier. And perhaps we are actually getting, sort of, commensurate improvements if you, sort of, disaggregate appropriately and you analyze the right way. Or perhaps not, right? And how much of this is some, kind of, Baumel cost disease where some things are getting more efficient and that higher productivity and higher wages are, sort of, causing cost increases elsewhere to pay for opportunity costs and all the rest. But I think, sort of, specifically in Silicon Valley and specifically on cost of living and housing, you know, Silicon Valley is the, sort of, greatest concentration of wealth creation that I think has ever existed in the U.S. on a per square mile basis. Potentially, that has existed ever in the world, right? Facebook, Google, Apple, Inktel, you know, they're all based in a fairly small number of square miles, right? And, if you, sort of, if you were to look at Seattle and the Bay Area, kind of, together right and look at the, kind of, aggregate urban zone, you know, separated as they are by a two and a half hour flight. Then, of course, you can layer in Amazon and Microsoft as well. And, obviously, what you see is that their rise in success was enabled in part by cheap mobility and cheap expansion. And again, sort of, through just, sort of, political economy and collective decision making that no longer exists. Cheap ability no longer exists and cheap expansion.

And you can see it now in this, sort of, latest generation of upstarts, you know, via, be it Twitter or Uber or Airbnb B or Lyft or whatever who are, you know, facing these really significant, kind of, structural headwinds. And so much of the wealth that's being created, this improbable fountain of wealth creation is accruing to the set of, lottery winners of the existing landowners rather than to the people who were actually doing the work. And because of that accrual the, sort of, the barrier to entry for newcomers is getting progressively higher and you see it in declining rates of mobility. And, furthermore, the other people in the city not in the tech industry who might otherwise benefit from it are, of course, getting priced out and, you know, this is not necessary. I mean, you can look at places like, obviously, Tokyo has, over the last couple of decades, been and improbable, well not especially improbable, but has been such an enormous economic success story and, you know, you had the boom and the bust and the supposed stagnation of Japan in the, kind of, early 90s on. But broadly speaking has done really well, but because of vastly fewer limitations on housing supply, have had very stable housing costs have not had the same displacement, right? And so the, kind of, the issues we face and we see year in San Francisco where it's getting ever, you know, 40 percent rise since we got temperatures in 2010. That's not necessary, it's not natural and it's a function of our, sort of, collective decisions rather than, kind of, some some secular and unavoidable economic force. And I guess I find it, sort of, dispiriting because it's a negative sum in the sense that it's not just that these gains go to go to these, sort of, existing landowners but actually will be fewer future gains. Like, I think you should be mad about this. You know, even if you don't live in Silicon Valley and you don't have the slightest interest in doing so because it's much less likely the next cool technology that you'd like to take advantage of will exist. It's, sort of, a suffocation of future potential and future gains and there aren't many places. Well, if you believe in increasing returns to scale that's, sort of, you know, this is, kind of, Paul Romer's work and others, that because of the, sort of, the collision of ideas and people in cities makes them more productive than if they were elsewhere. If you believe that to be the case, and there's like pretty good empirical data that it is, then you can't just move elsewhere. You can't just move to Nevada or wherever in the south, you actually will be less productive in those zones. And so again, I think it's a real loss in terms of spillover gains for the rest of society. You know, in service of not building six story buildings in San Francisco.

What do you think your role as a large employer and thoughtful citizen of San Francisco is in this?

Well I don't make any secret of the injustice, well the moral injustice in terms of the displacement that's occurring and the, sort of, economic wrongheadedness of the prevailing policies. And, you know, I'm a landowner in San Francisco John and I own a house together and I hope it's value declines in that, I think it's impossible to answer what the price of land should be. But I think it is very clear that on a marginal basis the social returns of cheaper land in the most productive productive region of the country would vastly outweigh the reduction in wealth, you know, to existing landowners.

But going back to banks everybody has a system that they want to protect.

They're totally right. Right. And, I mean, of course, you can try to estimate the magnitude here and so over at Berkeley this guy, and Enrico Moretti has estimated that 50 percent of U.S. GDP growth between 1964 and I think 2010 was left on the table as it were by, sort of, inefficient land use and land allocation. And, obviously, 50 percent is a high number and quite speculative and it's very difficult to measure the counterfactual. But even just the idea that one can, with a straight face hypothesize that it could be anything remotely in that vicinity I think gives you a sense for how high the stakes here are, right? And yes we can decide that, you know, we place such an enormous premium on the aesthetic appearance of the San Francisco of today recognizing that it is of approximately a third of the density of even just Greenwich Village in New York. Right? We're not, you know, the, sort of, the other extreme is not Hong Kong you can triple San Francisco and get to Greenwich. We can decide that that's our preference but, sort of, you know, sober estimates are measuring the cost of that in double digit percentage points of aggregate national GDP. And of course when you look at our Reveal preferences in terms of where we like to take vacations to, or where, you know, we dream of, I don't know, spending a summer or some day and things like that. It's to European cities which tend to be of very significantly higher density. Paris, London, much, much higher density than San Francisco. And so again, I'm hesitant to cast normative judgment but I personally feel strongly.

I think that's a great place to leave this. This has been a phenomenal conversation. Thank you so much for coming on the show. Where can people find more about you?

Well, if they want to start a business, they should head to But if they want to subject themselves to more of the particular detritus that I post, they can head to my Twitter account which is just Patrick C.

Thank you so much.

Thank you.

Hey guys, this is Shane again, just a few more things before we wrap up. You can find show notes from today's show at You can also find out information on how to get a transcript there. And if you'd like to receive a weekly email from me filled with all sorts of brain food, go to The newsletter's, all the good stuff I've found on the internet this week that I've read and shared with close friends; books I am reading and so much more. Lastly, if you enjoyed this or any other episode of The Knowledge Project, please consider subscribing and leaving a review. Every review helps us make the show better, expand our reach, and share message with more people. And, it only takes a minute. Thank you for listening and being part of the Farnam Street Community.

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Popular Transcripts Full Transcript: How to Start a Podcast – Equipment & Software – Pat Flynn

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Full Transcript: How to Start a Podcast – Equipment & Software – Pat Flynn

Hi my name is Pat Flynn and I'm here to help you get your podcast up and running in no time at all. And it's exciting because a podcast has changed my life in so many different ways not just with my business but also my personal life. It's helped me make a better connection with my audience. But more than that it's helped open up so many new doors and opportunities for me from speaking to writing books to selling courses and all kinds of other things too. So I'm excited that you're diving into podcasting too.

Now to start out with in this video, we're going to talk about equipment and software and all the things you might need to get set up and running on a budget. So I'm not gonna make you spend a bunch of money on all these big random boxes which – yes, they are useful, they will help – but actually you don't need that to get started. I want to remove all the overwhelm and distractions for you and just get you going right away.

And also make sure you stick around to the end because I'm gonna give you exactly what you need to figure out now the mandatory items for your podcast that you need or else you can't move forward. So let's just start right in with the equipment that we need.

So obviously we're starting a podcast here and people are gonna be listening to your voice. So you want to make sure you have the right tool that can help best send that voice over to that person's ear when they're listening to your show. You can have the best content in the world but if it doesn't sound great, people aren't gonna be listening to you for that long.

Now there's a wide range of microphones available to you to help you produce your podcasts. And you can spend anywhere between 20 dollars for a cheapo mic or even thousands of dollars for your best sounding broadcasting-type microphone. For your podcast though, again I want to make things easy for you and I want to make sure that you don't need any other external boxes and all these cords and other things that, yes, professional broadcasters use, but we live in a time now where you don't need all that stuff still to sound like a pro.

The microphone that I would recommend that you start out with is this one right here which is the Audio-Technica ATR 2100 USB. The price of this microphone is under 100 dollars which is great. It also comes with a stand a, USB cord, and an XLR connection. Now the beauty of this microphone is that you don't need this XLR cable and the mixers and all those other things that a professional broadcaster might need. All you need is a USB connection which comes with to your computer to help you sound great. It also comes with a little mic stand which I would actually recommend replacing with this next item.

Instead of using a stand, I would recommend using one of these boom arms for your mic. This allows you to connect your microphone, hook the stand on your desk using this little clamp here. This fits in and then you're able to bring the microphone to your face, keep it off your desk, and allows you just for more flexibility.

Now in addition to that, I would also recommend what's called a shock mount. Now shock mount, as you can see here, allows the microphone to be suspended sort of in midair. And what this does is it allows for the vibrations from your table and your computer and any other equipment, perhaps you might bang on your microphone a little bit, it allows the vibrations to be absorbed by these little rubber bands here and have the sound not in your mic.

Alright, and then finally the last thing you need is something that helps you reduce the plosives. What are plosives? Plosives are your B words and P words that when you blow into the microphone with those letters, it'll create a popping sound and you do not want that. So you can use what's called a pop filter or something like a wind screen to help stop the plosives from happening.

Okay so to recap those things one more time, we have the microphone, the boom arm, the shock mount, the wind screen or pop filter, and then of course you need to plug it in. USB. And if you need a dongle, you can use this dongle too. And then finally the links of these products are below this video.

All right so after you plug in, make sure that you fire the mic on, and then go into your systems preferences into your computer, and find the sound. And just make sure that the ATR USB microphone or the mic that you plugged in is the one that's highlighted, so that we know that the sound from our voice is going through the mic and into the computer.

Now that we're done hooking up our equipment, we're gonna dive into our editing software so that we can record our voice, chop off these audio clips, and also create what would be eventually a podcast episode. Now to start, you're gonna watch me do a super quick and basic tutorial on Garage Band which is for Mac users. So if you're on a PC, you can use Audacity which is also free too. Alright so I'm gonna keep this super short and sweet. However if you want a more detailed tutorial about Garage Band or Audacity, I have a tutorial for each of them both below this video.

OK so really quick, we're gonna open up an empty project here in Garage Band. And then really quick, we just want to make sure that the microphone that we have selected is the one that we want. So as you can see here, Input 1, it does say the ATR USB microphone. So we're clear there. And we are just recording using a microphone. So great.

We're going to hit create and you're gonna now see one track. This is a single track, and tracks work like layers. If I had a second track, which I could add down here if I wanted to, by hitting that plus symbol and doing the same thing, I can hit create. And now we see two audio tracks. And depending on the one that I'm highlighted on is the one that's gonna be recording.

Now why would you need separate tracks? You need separate tracks for different voices. Perhaps one track is just for the interview that you're recording, or maybe you have some music or voice-overs that you're just gonna drag and drop into this. Either way, it's nice to have it organized like that and not just have it all live on one line.

Now before we get going here, remember: we are recording a podcast, not producing music which Garage Band is primarily built for. So we're gonna change the settings here from bars and beats to time. And to do that we just need to click on this drop down menu here and select time. As you can see now we have an understanding of how long we would have podcasting for. And then we can turn off these other devices here like the countdown or the metronome.

And now we're all set to begin recording. And to record, all you have to do is hit the red button there and or R on your keyboard like this. And now I'm recording an episode. And as you can hear and see, as you're falling along you can see waveforms depending on when I speak and how loud I speak too. Now looking back here we can see a playback. We can actually drag this playhead all the way back to the beginning and hit play and we can listen to exactly what we just said.

And now I'm recording an episode. And as you can hear and see, as you're falling along you can see waveforms depending on when I speak and how loud I speak too.

As you can see there when I got a little bit louder, the waveforms are much higher. Now just some really basic editing tips for you. You want to make sure that when you're editing, you get as precise as possible.

And to do that you will need to zoom into those parts that you want to delete or change or move around. So let's zoom in really quick. You can do that a couple of ways by dragging the slider over if you wanted to or you can just use the pinch zoom on your laptop if you have one of those as well.

And what I want to do is get rid of that loud part. Let's say I just didn't want that anymore. So I'm gonna find that loud part and I know because of that waveform that it typically will start right there and if I were to play you'll hear that loud moment.

How loud.

But let's say I wanted to get rid of that because it just didn't fit into my episode, it maybe was a mistake, sometimes you might sneeze or cough during an episode. There are gonna be moments when you'll want to take something out.

And to take something out, all you have to do is essentially split this recording into two and then remove that part. So to do that all you have to do, really simply, is to move that play into where you want to make that split. You go to Edit and then hit Split Regions at Playhead. The shortcut here is Command+T. So I'm gonna do that right now and you should see it split into two. And now if I want to get rid of this one, I can just delete it and there it's gone. Now let's say I didn't want to do that. But I actually wanted to insert something in the middle.

So I'm actually gonna undo my delete there, I'm gonna slide this over, and then I'm gonna record something in the middle here just simply by pressing record like this. Hey this is the recording in the middle. Woohoo! And now I know there's a gap here so I'm gonna move this over just a little bit.

And now I'm going to play all of it starting from before that gap and then after.

-ending on when I speak and hey this is the recording in the middle. Woohoo! How loud I speak too.

Now before moving on, one more really important tip. When you are recording audio, the last thing you want to do is record audio that's too loud. The technical term for this is getting too hot with your mic, meaning it is so loud that when a person listens to it on the other end it sounds distorted. And the way that you can check to see if your audio is too loud is either by looking at these waveforms – if these waveforms extend beyond the size of this track here then it is too loud – or as you're recording you're able to see this green bar move into the yellow. Yellow is OK but if it gets ever to the red then that means that you were probably too loud. I'm gonna hit record here and do a little clicking noise that I know will fire off a red a red mark here and you'll see exactly what happens and also what it looks like on the waveforms here, like this.

You see how it bumped up to the red there. Now look at this mark here. It goes from all the way to the top to the bottom. That is too loud and it will never ever be processed in a way, even with as much editing as you wanted to do, in a way that sounds great for the user listening to your podcast. So the best practice is to play around with the audio volume before you record so that it gets as high as it can be without firing off to the red at your natural sounding voice.

Alright and finally I want to share with you how easy it is to import audio files from elsewhere into this podcast episode. For example, voice-over work or perhaps some music. All you have to do is download that music, and if it's music make sure it's royalty free. I'm going to drag and drop that file into this second track here. There you see the waveforms pop up and if I drag this over to the beginning now when I hit play here you're probably going to hear the music at first and then my voice come in. However I can already tell that the musics can be too loud. I'll show you how to solve that in just a minute. But let me hit play and see what happens.

You can barely hear my voice. So what do we need to do? We need to adjust the levels of both ourselves and the audio file here from the music. So to do the music really quick. Quite simply you just have to turn the volume down for all of them if you want to do that. In the more technical tutorial that I share with you, I show you how to fade out and do things like that but this one let's just turn this down maybe 15 decibels and play with that. A lot of what this is is just experimentation because you can always change things and keep keep going through to make sure it gets better and better. So let's hit play and see what happens now.

And now I'm recording an episode. And as you can hear and see, as you're falling along you can see waveforms depending.

It's getting a little bit better. Let's turn it down even more.

And now I'm recording an episode. And as you can hear and see, as you're falling along you can see waveforms depending on when I speak.

Sounds a little bit better. Now we can obviously continue on and make this perfect but we don't need to. do that right now. What we need to do is continue talking about the rest of this tutorial so we can get you set up.

Alright. So now you understand about your podcasting equipment and your podcasting software, you can go ahead and get set up with those now. You can place your order so you can have time for those things to come in. But really quickly, I need to share with you some important things that you have to nail down before you can actually get your podcasts published.

Alright, three things. Number one you need to pick a podcast name or a show title. Now a lot of people ask me questions about this such as, "Pat, can I use my name as the podcasts like the Tim fair show?" Absolutely. "Can I use the name of my brand to create my podcast?" Yes, like the Smart Passive Income podcasts. Or "Can I do something that's not my brand name and not my name, but it's just the name of the podcast itself?" Yes you can just like Amy Porterfield The Online Marketing Made Easy podcast. You want to pick a name that works for you. Now of course you could spend a year coming up with the perfect name and my biggest advice to anybody starting anything is that at some point you're gonna eventually have to just pick something and move on. Is it a permanent thing? No. You can always change it later. So that should help you out. Next you're gonna have to come up with some sort of show description. This is gonna be a summary and really your pitch for why people should be listening to your show.

This is what's gonna live on iTunes and other directories and it's going to be what people read to decide. "Yes, I want to listen to this!" or "No, this is not for me." And also keep in mind what keywords to include in the show description. Don't keyword stuff, don't make it sound unnatural. remember human beings are reading this but do include certain keywords that you know that your audience is going to be perhaps typing in because iTunes is also in addition to a podcasting directory. It's a search engine and then finally really important you're gonna need to create some sort of podcast artwork meaning a cover for your podcasts. And this is what people see actually before they listen to any of your shows. It's really important that you spend some time with this and so go into the categories that you think you're going to be involved with. Look at what's there see how you might be able to stand out from the crowd and eventually you'll need to create whether on your own or you hire somebody else to do it 3000 by 3000 pixel square image that has your podcast artwork and perhaps your show name or whatever other elements you want but don't put too much in there because remember people are looking and finding these podcasts on their phones.

You want to look great at a small scaled down level too. All right now there's a couple of things you can do from here. Obviously you can watch the next video which is going to walk through a number of recording tips how to do interviews exporting your podcasts those kinds of things. But I would highly recommend you also download the podcast cheat cheat free Gaida free. It's going to walk you through a lot of the more finer details of the start of your podcast like how to actually make sure your show stands out from the crowd. How to plan your first few episodes that kind of thing. The link for the podcast Chiki will be below. This video on YouTube here so just open up the description you'll see the podcast Shuichi right there click through you'll get access to it right away and we'll help you through a lot of these beginning stages especially here for the first video here in this mini course so awesome job. Keep up the good work and I'll see in the next video. Or if you have Dangal needed you can put those to

Use. Darn it. Just know we do vote we can do it perfect. OK one more time USP if you need dongle you can use this dongle to.

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Popular Transcripts Full Transcript: 7 Tips to Improve the Reach of Your Podcast – Neil Patel & Eric Siu

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Full Transcript: 7 Tips to Improve the Reach of Your Podcast – Neil Patel & Eric Siu

Get ready for your daily dose of marketing strategies and tactics from entrepreneurs with the guile and experience to help you find success in any marketing capacity. You're listening to Marketing School with your instructors Neil Patel and Eric Siu.

Welcome to another episode of Marketing School. I'm Eric Siu.

And I’m Neil Patel.

And today we're going to talk about seven tips to help improve the reach of your podcast. So,tip number one: if you have a social following, if you have an email list, this has been really effective for us. Push your content out to your channels.

This seems very obvious, but a lot of people tend to forget this. So for us, we use a podcasting host called Libsyn, and this allows us to push to multiple social channels.

We push to SoundCloud, we push to YouTube, we push to our Twitters, our Facebooks, and even LinkedIn, as well. That way, we’re covering more ground. And granted, the depots are not super optimized. But, you know, we're still in the early stages right now. We’re just trying to see how effective it is, and it is growing us across these different channels such as SoundCloud and Youtube.

So try doing that. I mean, also, you know, email blasts have been effective for us, as well; Especially with Neil because he has such a big list. Don't forget about your channels. Don't forget about social N, don't forget about your email channels.

Here's a simple tip: when Eric and I were doing podcasts, we found a browsing iTunes and it only showed the latest 100 episodes. I‘m like, “Why is it only limited to 100 episodes?” and then you're looking at some of the other podcasts in space and they all do the same thing. But then I found a few like Gary Vaynerchuk’s podcast, and he had 300 episodes and there is a few other people who also had 300 episodes. And I quickly learned that the max that they let you show is 300. I’m like, “Wait, why do we only show 100 when everyone has 300?” Or some other people have 300, right?

Most people only show 100, and the old content isn't bad, it’s not outdated, so I’m like, “It should still show.” So I told Eric. He’s like, “Oh, it's the feed. The feed is just limited to 100." He's like, "I can change it to everything." And once we ended up doing that, download rate according to Lipsyn doubled in the next 24 hours. Now what ended up happening is it fell back down because it just showed that the- when you produce a ton of content and you index really quickly, they just give you more love on iTunes, you get so much more search traffic.

And then of course it's going to go down again after that, but still you can get a really quick bump by just including all of your content. So don't just cap it at the last hundred episodes that you've done. Show every single one they you've recorded.

One other thing that we do is because we don't have a time to always consistently promote the old episodes that we have and a lot of stuff that we're talking about is evergreen. So we use a tool called the Meet Edgar- that's, and from there you can schedule basically a consistent feed of posts over time so it might be, for example, my Twitter might say: OK for each day we're going to share like a random Marking School episode and we'll have a different category for that specific podcast.

There might be a category for the growth everywhere podcast, one for the Marketing School podcast and we're just going to share content and you can share it more than one time per day. You can share even more if you want because Twitter, there's people that will share 10 to 15 times or so. So using a tool like that it makes our lives a lot easier so we don't have to constantly think about using a tool like Hoot Suite or Buffer to continue the schedule all the time because that just becomes a hassle.

Number 4. When I look at the Lipsyn stats, the biggest thing that I know the difference between popular episodes versus non-popular episodes it really comes down to the headline.

I know that sucks. Lipsyn doesn't give you stats on how far people listen in to your podcasts. So you don't know if people listen to the first 5 seconds or 10 seconds. So that doesn't really help you determine if the podcast episode is actually good or great. But it does show that the headline really impacts how many downloads a podcast gets. And we noticed that the attractive headlines do the best.

So Google copy blogger headline formula and they'll give you templates to create really attractive headlines. So when Eric and I are coming up with headline ideas, a lot of the listeners – you guys – are giving us ideas. Then we also come up with out own. We also use the copy blogger headline formula to try to craft attractive headlines. You can also use Portent's headline generator tool.

And then once you have a few finalized headlines, go to and plug it in there. It will fix the capitalizations, the flow, etc. like the grammar- not really the flow but more so the grammar of your headline. And now you should have a finalized headline that you should be able to use for your podcast and it will do better than if you didn't use, let's say, the copy blogger headline formula.

All right. Number 5. This one seems obvious but a lot of people aren't doing it. When you're doing a podcast. Also add a blog too. We also have a separate WordPress blog in addition to placing the podcast on our site with the smart passive player, but having a separate site like, basically we have the show notes automatically published to this WordPress blog and everything's included.

So Neil just talked about Lipsyn not being able to show you how far people are listening. At least with a blog you can see how engaged people are, how many page views, how long people are staying on a certain page, and things like that. So this is, I mean, this has been growing kind of in conjunction with what else we've been doing. But it's just good to have a separate- because the domain is- with a podcast called Marketing School, we have a site. And, you know, that allows us to dig a little deeper as that continues to grow.

Then number six. This seems really obvious as well, but I was looking at everyone who is doing well. Common element is they have a ton of ratings and reviews. So the more ratings and reviews that you have, the better off you're gonna be.

Especially when it comes to iTunes rankings, the higher rankings you have, more people find you and you get a ton more views. When I look at our data and Lipsyn and what causes the spikes, it's not email blasts, it's none of that. Most of it actually comes from people searching on iTunes. So iTunes- think of it as your version of Google, right? for SEO. If you can do well on iTunes with your ratings and reviews, you're going to get way more traffic from the searches which will cause way more downloads and listens.

So whenever you're publishing a podcast, make sure you mention- and we used to do this at the beginning when we didn't have a ton of ratings and reviews, we would ask at the end: "leave a rating and review." And Eric, if I'm not mistaken, I don't know whoever recorded our intro and outro, but did you have someone — I think you had someone add that to the outro, correct?

Correct. So this is Tim Page from Lead Pages.

So Tim Page from Lead Pages, I'm assuming, who recorded our outro — what he pretty much did was: at the end we directed him to say, like, "Hey, thank you for listening to Marketing School. If you like the episode, make sure you leave a rating and review," and whatever else is in the outro. But the most important part is just telling them to leave a rating and review. If you don't tell them to leave a rating and review, you will get very few of them. So the more people you tell, the better off you are.

Number seven: cross promote. If you know people — let's say Neil and I are mentioning a specific tool or mentioning somebody's name, we're going to tell them that we mentioned them and hopefully they'll re-tweet. And sometimes you can also cross promote similar podcasts too.

So a lot of different ideas here. You could think about the different influencers in your space and how you can take advantage of that. But also communities too. John Lee Dumas has a great community called Podcasters Paradise, and in here people are sharing different ideas on how to grow all the time and how to improve the reach. But also they do something on Fridays called — I think it's Pay It Forward Fridays or something like that. I forgot what it's called.

But basically there, you know, if people are allowed to share their podcast and if it's actually good, you can leave a rating and a review. And this helps everyone in the podcasting community kind of move up there. So that's one way to, you know, one little known way of growing. But, yeah. You don't even need to go to that community. You can go to other communities, too, and just share your knowledge there. So that's number seven. I think we're all done. That's it for today's episode of Marketing School. We will see you tomorrow.

The section of Marketing School has come to a close. Be sure to subscribe for more daily marketing strategies and tactics to help you find the success you always dreamed of. And don't forget to rate and review so we can continue to bring you the best daily content possible. We'll see you in class tomorrow right here on Marketing School.

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Popular Transcripts Full Transcript: How to get listeners for your podcast through paid advertising – Eric Siu

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Full Transcript: How to get listeners for your podcast through paid advertising – Eric Siu

In this video, we're going to talk about How to Get Listeners for Your Podcast Through Paid Advertising. I'm Eric Siu. I have a podcast called, "Marketing School."

We have over 6.5 million downloads on that one, and the one called, "Growth Everywhere," a little over a million on that one. And I want to talk about how you can grow through paid advertising.

A lot of people, even the two podcasts that I have, we've grown it mainly through organic, through our e-mail lists, through our social channels, kind of what we have already, but there's other ways to grow it too. So we have ran paid ads in the past, so you can use Facebook, for example.

And a really good example of this is, "Marketing in Your Car." So this is by Russell Brunson, who runs a company called ClickFunnels. Here's the amazing thing about ClickFunnels. I believe they do north of $40 million a year in revenue. They have raised no venture capital at all, and it's because they're really good at marketing. If you look at his podcast, it's called, "Marketing in Your Car.".

He has a podcast stick. And what he does is he drove Facebook traffic to that page, and once you got to that page, if you wanted the stick, you paid nothing for the MP3 stick, but you pay $9 for shipping, and then you get the product. This is amazing to me because basically he's controlling the growth that way. What happened was this for every single podcasts or podcast stick that he sold, which he basically gave away for free, he was able to get five subscribers, right. Five subscribers, and the people will get a great review.

So he's able to kind of manipulate the growth that way. He's spending about $15 per acquisition for the stick. He was actually profitable on that acquisition. So I think he was making about $32 or so, and that's the beauty of it. He's already making money. He's getting more subscribers. It's a no-brainer, right. So he's making money, he's getting more subscribers, and this isn't even factoring into his back end where he's selling $25,000 Masterminds, he's selling other courses.

If you can build some kind of funnel like that, which I highly recommend that you look into, you're able to kind of control and manipulate your growth. There's a podcast app called, "Overcast." That's what I use right now. It's faster than a regular podcast app, and you can actually run ads on there. You can do paid ads on Overcast, you can also do paid ads on Spotify as well, and try to look at other channels too.

In the future, this is what I'm guessing, this is kind of what I'm projecting too. People are listening to Marketing School and Growth everywhere right now through Alexa, and I suspect that we might be able to run ads in the future through Amazon's kind of paid advertising system on Alexa, for example. So that's it for this video.

If you want to get more videos on how to grow your podcasts or marketing or entrepreneurship, just hit subscribe, and we'll see you in the next video.

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Popular Transcripts Full Transcript: How to scale a podcast to 1 million downloads – Eric Siu

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Full Transcript: How to scale a podcast to 1 million downloads – Eric Siu

Today we are going to talk about how you can scale a podcast to one million downloads and beyond. If you like entrepreneurial and marketing content, just keep watching the video and hopefully subscribe.

So let's talk about it. A lot of people are talking about podcasts more and more and the fact of the matter is podcasting is great because you get to have a 100 percent of the listener's attention. For the most part. Unless you're like you're really ADD like me, sometimes you start to, you know, you just, sometimes you start to think about other things.

With Growth Everywhere which is my first podcast I've been doing that one for over four years. You know, we broke one million downloads, you know, over four years. But the other podcast that I'm doing, Marketing School, we broke 1 million downloads in about four months or so. Okay. And it's been about a year or so, I think we've broke about 5, maybe 5.5 million downloads. So you know, we've gone over to seven figure mark and these are some of the lessons I want to talk to you about in terms of how you can actually get a podcast to that seven figure mark and beyond. Because if you're able to do so, you can make a lot of money advertising, pushing your own product, whatever it is. You're building that audience and you're building the audience of people that like you.

So here's how you can do it.

Number one: make sure that you're consistent. You have to be consistent. It's like watching a TV show, right. You know when a TV show is going to pop up your favorite show. Game of Thrones for example. All the people that go crazy about Game of Thrones. "OH MY GOD IT'S SUNDAY. GAME OF THRONES." Right? So you want to be consistent like that. Game of Thrones. You have to be predictable. You can't just release one show and then wait two months and release another one, right? It doesn't work like that. If you're going to do weekly, do weekly. If you're gonna do daily, do daily. But the secret is being consistent. That's number one secret. It's not really a secret at all but just people don't want to put in the work, right? Number one: be consistent.

Number two: make sure that the… that you have a unique spin on what you're doing. So what do I mean by that? So for example the Marketing School podcast that I do, I do it with my co-host Neil Patel and it's both of us at the same time and we do it every single day. And that is a freaking grind. Most people aren't willing to do it every single day. That's going to set us apart. And the fact of the matter is both with his travel schedule mixed with mine, it's a nightmare when it comes to planning. But guess what. We make it happen. We don't cry about it. Right. So that's one way to go about it. That's a unique spin. John Lee Dumas, Entrepreneur on Fire does it every single day. The way he does it, he batches seven interviews on a Tuesday. Man he's blasted by the end of a Tuesday. But guess what? He gets it done, doesn't cry about it, right.

So just think about a unique spin that you can put out. There's so many different shows that I listen to out there and I listen to them because they have a unique spin or the content that they're talking about is really unique. So think about what you can do. Just, you know, it's not because you… it's not because people particularly like you, it's because they like the content that you're putting out. So I don't want to be a Debbie Downer but just think about how you can add value for the person, just like the fact that you're watching this right now. It's what are you going to get out of it. Right.

The audio quality makes a big difference because it's just like watching a video like this. Nowadays people can get, can do good video. Like your camera can do a good job with video. People are getting the, you know, these DSLRs. Video is table stakes for a platform like this, right. But look at this. I'm wearing a, I'm wearing a mic right now because I know that not a lot of people are going to invest in having a good mic, good sound quality. You have that good sound quality, you're going to be above, you know, a ton of people.

Now with podcasting, you should have good sound quality. Now what I'll say is this. With growth everywhere, over the first four years, we, you know, we have fast the sound quality. Okay. We kind of just plug in a Blue Yeti into a USB kind of plug. But now we have a mixer to, you know, make things sound better. Now, you know, with Marketing School as well, we… Actually last Saturday we went into a recording studio, we cranked out 40 episodes. 8:30 to 12:30. My God we just went through it. And you know, that's what it takes. You have to figure out how you can make yourself stand apart from other people.

Okay. Promotion is really important and here's an easy way to do it. When you are hosting your podcast. If you host them on the host that we host on which is called Libsyn. That's L I B S Y N. Libsyn will allow you to publish to your Twitter, your YouTube, your LinkedIn, your SoundCloud, your YouTube at the same time. You can publish a bunch of your other channels at the same time.

I'll tell you, our YouTube channel, now we're starting to do videos but the fact that we've got to 4000 subscribers without really having much video content, it's because of the audio content we kept pushing out, right. So that got us in the… that got us kickstarted and it's just good to be on different platforms out there, you know. I'm sure you have followers on Twitter. I'm sure you have some on Facebook as well. Make sure that you're pushing out there.

Now the fifth tip that I'll give you. The fifth and final tip for right now is make sure that you have some kind of shownotes going on too, right. Shownotes are strong because people can see what you're talking about. Don't be lazy about the shownotes. In fact when I did Growth Everywhere for the first year, I did all the shownotes myself. Each podcast took me six hours. I went through it, right. If you don't want to do it, you can hire, you can hire shownotes people. There is a ton of shownotes people out there. I think there's a guy called The Show Notes Guy. Right. So if you want to invest the money, you don't have time for it, pay for that time. That's the highest leverage thing that you can do.

So those five things should help you, put you on the path to getting seven figure downloads and beyond. And I certainly don't think I've done anything special. I think it's just because I stuck with these five rules that got me to one billion downloads and beyond and I think you can do it too. So if you like videos like this just hit subscribe and we'll see you in the next one.

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Popular Transcripts Full Transcript: Podcast Hosting & Submission Made Simple (iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play) – Pat Flynn

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Full Transcript: Podcast Hosting & Submission Made Simple (iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play) – Pat Flynn

Hey guys. It's Pat here, and I'm really excited because you are very close to finally getting your podcast ready for launch which is really exciting, but there's a few missing pieces which we're going to go over in this video. At this point, you likely have recorded an episode or maybe a few. You've exported them, you've tagged them properly and now it's an MP3 file that's ready for the world. So where do you go from here?

So in this video, I'm going to show you how to set up your podcast host. This is your media host, where you actually upload your files to. That's going to give you what's called your Podcast Feed Link. That is what then you will give to iTunes, and Stitcher, and Google Play. And then after a certain period of time, you're going to be approved and then you're going to be ready to get and share your podcast. Now you can also place your podcast on your website and have show notes. We'll talk about all those things in this video. But for right now, I'm going to show you the podcasting host that I recommend and we'll get it set up and I'll show you how it works.

All right, in terms of podcast hosting companies, meaning this is where you upload your audio files so that when a person calls for that file, this is where it's being downloaded from. It makes it very easy for you to manage all this versus having these audio files uploaded onto your own servers. You do not want that. That'll eat your bandwidth. That will cost you lots of money. This is why these services exist. So the top two that I would recommend are Libsyn and also Buzzsprout. They're both great. I've used them both. There are some slight advantages to each, but for this demonstration I'm going to use Libsyn. It's the one I use for the Smart Passive Income podcast and we're just going to show you how to get set up with Libsyn from here.

I'm not going to get into detail about account creation but I do want to share some of these plans really quick. There are a number of plans that you can get. I don't want you to be super confused. Really what most people get is the $15.00 a month plan which allows for 250 megabytes per month to be uploaded, which is sufficient for one or two episodes per week. And then it also gives you access to stats. If you do not get the S15.00 one, you get the $5.00 one, you don't get access to stats. So $15.00 per month for doing what they're doing is a huge deal and a great price. So that's the one I would recommend. But you can look at the details here if you want to go further.

Okay, so for right now, I'm going to log into a test account that I used to set up a podcast for demonstration purposes and it's already set up, but I'm gonna show you the bits and pieces that you need to know and how to set those things up so that you can get your podcast up and running, too. So I'll see you in there.

Okay so here we are in the back end of Libsyn and this is for a podcast called ChangED, with a capital "ED". This is related to education. I will be doing education related podcasts later down the road. But, again, this was just a test episode. However, it is live on iTunes right now if you wanted to check it out. What you need to do here is when you set it up, you're gonna register for a new show and if you haven't done that yet, you click up here on the triangle icon and click 'Register New Show'. After that, you then have to start to set up your show properly.

So first of all before we do anything with our MP3 file – those are the episodes – we need to set up our show first. So to do that, let's click out of that and click on 'Settings' and let's go to 'Edit Show Settings.' Here's where you want to include the things that you should already know, such as your show title for example; your show description, which is here; the website address where you want this show to live. So this is where people on iTunes can click over to when they are discovering your show.

And then here you can click episodic in terms of show type or serial. Serial would mean it's more like a storytelling type when, almost like a book with chapters, you don't start a book in chapter five, you start with chapter one. If you have a more episodic one where each episode can live individually on its own, then click episodic. Then you want to include some tags and keywords. Just try to think about the items that a potential listener would type in to potentially discover a show like yours. Then you want to have your public contact email and then you want to make sure that Libsyn Classic Feed is selected. You can even include a lot of these other things here that I have blank, but they aren't necessary at this moment. This is mainly stuff that's going to live on a page that Libsyn will give you that we don't really do anything with, but we do need a lot of these things for iTunes as well. So don't worry about all these other things. Just have this – what you see here – filled out especially the show title and the show description for sure, the tags and keywords, and those kinds of things.

Now when you go down here, you are also going to upload your artwork too. You can see the artwork for ChangED here, which is like a pencil on you know like notepad paper kind of thing. You can upload it just simply by using the tabs here. And then after that, you just hit 'Save' and you are ready to go with your show. Now that your show is successfully saved, now we need to go into where we can get our feed and we need to adjust our feed settings too. So to do that, you're going to go to 'Destinations' and then go to 'Edit' or 'View Existing'. Now when you scroll down, you're going to see something called the Libsyn Classic Feed. You're going to edit this right now by clicking on 'Edit'. Now here is where you select a lot of the items that are going to be really important for how you are viewed and where you are viewed in iTunes. So iTunes categories, you want to select a primary category. The number one category that you want to be found in and ranked in. And yes these can change over time but pick the best one that suits you, and you can pick two subcategories underneath that. Then you're gonna use an iTunes summary and this is similar to the description that you put earlier. The owner name, this is you; this is the contact host and then the owner e-mail and then iTunes Store Basics, the author, this is going to be also similar to the owner name and just make that the host name, obviously.

Subtitles – subtitles aren't used very often but when they are it's just, again, something that's nice to know. There may be a change in iTunes later down the road where they do use the subtitles so you want to make sure you include that just in case. We're clicking the same thing: episodic, show type. Language, English. You can select the content rating here: clean or explicit. Explicit, you can read some details related to what defines that there. Keywords, just copy and paste these keywords from before. Here in this section which is 'Episode Item' or 'Settings' you can actually create different podcasts artwork for individual episodes but that takes a lot of work and it's something that most people don't need to do. So if you just want, when a person plays an episode to be the same artwork as what is in your podcast, in general, your show, just click on this button – I have that on – and then you're good from there. Advanced options, you don't really need to worry about, so just hit save and then you are good to go.

Now the most important part of this whole process, you will be introduced to your feed. This is a link, a really important link that when you click on you're probably not going to know what it means. But iTunes and any other directories, that's what they use to understand what episodes are available, what MP3 files to serve and so forth. Whenever you upload a new MP3 file to this host, that feed will update. Any changes you make will update this feed and therefore those directories will be updated too. You do not actually upload individual episodes to iTunes or to Stitcher or to Google Play. They all read this feed so any changes you make, any episodes that you upload, it's all done here in your podcast host and that's the beauty of this. You just set it up once and iTunes and all those other directories, they kind of work automatically from there.

So let's go find your feed here. They've given it to me here since I just saved it. But it's also here as well. I'm going to copy this because that's really important. As you can see here, it's All right, a couple of things. Now that we have our show information ready, now that we have our feed ready, we have that link, tattoo that on your forehead. Don't literally do that, but you know what I mean like keep track of that link. That's really important. That's what you're going to give to the directory. So save that right now and you also know where to get it, it's in the Destination folder here in Libsyn.

Now we need to talk about your episodes. We're going to upload an episode and I'll show you exactly how to do that. Now to do that, all you have to do is go to 'Content' and then go to 'Add New Episode'. And here you can add that media file, the one that you saved. So I'm actually going to do that with our test episode that we did earlier and I'll show you how this works. I'm going to click on 'Add Media File', 'Upload From Hard Drive', and then I'm gonna click on remember the one that says 'final' on it because that's the final one that we want. We're gonna click 'Open'. It's going to take a moment to upload.

Okay so now that that file is uploaded as we can see here, we're going to go down to go to 'Details' and this is where we put again the title of that particular podcast episode, that's a subtitle for a description. Again, this is just best practice to copy and paste and add all these things here anyway. And then scrolling down, you can change some of these things so you can optimize your iTunes title. You can change the iTunes summary for this particular episode if you wanted to. And then you can even add episode numbers and season numbers. If you wanted to remove the episode number from the title of the podcast itself, you can just include that here and then just, again, any spot that is required it's always best to do it even though sometimes it pulls from one or another just because different directories pull from different places. It's always best just to have it all in there.

So after that's done you can go to artwork. Now, again, remember the artwork is already embedded into that file, but you can add new ones if you wanted to and then go to scheduling. You can schedule when this episode comes out. And then finally, you can hit either 'Publish' or 'Schedule'. Now if I were to hit 'Publish' right now, the feed on iTunes would then, within 24 hours – iTunes and other directories often take anywhere between 12 and 24 hours, sometimes sooner. Sometimes it's really quick, but give it 12 to 24 hours before it checks your RSS feed. It doesn't check instantly; it just checks every once in a while and then it goes, it says, "Oh there's some new stuff in there, let's add that to the mix." If it were to do that, it would take time, but it would eventually show up in there automatically. So it doesn't happen right away, you're gonna have to be patient, but that's how it works.

All right, so we have our podcast host set up. We have our show ready to go. We have our first episode on there and now we have also our RSS feed that, remember, we tattooed on our face. What do we do with it? Well now we have to let iTunes and the other directories know that this show exists. Now really quick I need to tell you because some of you might be like, "Wait, I'm going to tell iTunes now, I'm not ready yet. I just have one episode. I want to get more episodes up there," which is recommended actually. What do I do here? Why would I go and put my thing on iTunes right now? Can I wait till later? You can; however, I would recommend making sure to get up on iTunes right now. Yes, even with one episode. Not everybody is going to find it; it doesn't really matter. This is like the difference between building your house and your housewarming party. You're just making sure the house is stable and everything's connected. In case there's an error, you can fix it and then your housewarming party is like your launch party. When you make a big deal, you send everybody to the podcast. It's okay. So having that one episode in your hosting account is fine. And then you upload it just like we did and then you connect it to iTunes like I'm about to show you. And that way you know everything is set up and then you can tweak and change things, add new things, and then get ready for that big launch day like you will.

All right. So what do we do? Well to connect to iTunes, like with the other directories like Stitcher and also Google Play – I'll add instructions for those two underneath this video for you because I don't want to waste your time. It's basically the same thing for each one. But iTunes obviously is the big one. You're going to have to have an iTunes account in order to get access to this. If you don't have one, just set one up really quick. Then again go to and then you're going to be prompted with setting up a new show. And to do that, all you have to do is include your RSS feed. As you can see here, we are in iTunes Connect. I connected my account and all you have to do is paste that URL, the RSS feed, into this space. And now to test it, first we want to hit 'Validate' and this just makes sure that the podcast is set up properly. It pulls in the right artwork; it pulls in the right description and it's actually going to tell us what's wrong, if anything.

Now already you can see there's something wrong and the thing that's wrong is this feed has already been submitted. Other than that, everything else is okay and this is what you're going to see. If it's ready to submit, you will see that this Submit button is highlighted. Everything else will be okay. It will say 'Ready for Publication' or something like that. You'll even see the episodes that you have in there in your feed already. Again this pulls this in from Libsyn. If I were to add another episode in here and hit 'Publish; on that other one, it would automatically show here because it is actively calling for what is in that feed. So actually I wonder if I could do that right now just for fun. But let's go in here and click 'Publish'. Oh well, I can't do that because I haven't filled out all the details but that's okay. But you get the idea. If I were to do that and spend time filling out all the details for that test episode here in Podcast Connect, you would see it here as another episode here. Now if you're ready, you just hit submit and then you wait.

Now you can wait anywhere between four hours, eight hours, to sometimes a few days. It depends on the human beings over there at Apple who literally check this out and make sure it's okay and legit. So that's how it is and that's how you submit your show. Once it's ready, you will get an e-mail. You'll get an e-mail and it'll say, "Hey your podcast is ready and it will be up on the stores very soon," and then you can go find it using your keywords or just, you know, typing it in. Or you might get an e-mail that says, "Sorry, something is wrong," and thankfully they've been a lot better lately at telling you what is wrong so you can go in there and fix it. Sometimes it's a swear word in your description. Other times, it's something to do with the size or the quality of your artwork. They'll tell you what's up and they'll be able to help you fix it. So that's how you submit to Apple and iTunes. And it's basically the same thing for Stitcher and Google Play and like I said we'll have the links for those right below this video for you too.

Now one question I always get is do I need a website to actually host my podcast. Well for hosting your podcast, no. I just showed you how to host your podcast. You can even submit it without a website. But I would highly recommend having a website for your podcast because that's a place where you want people to come back, where people can discover new things, where you can have call to actions like subscribe to your email list and all sorts of things. You could potentially even sell products on your website, too, for your podcast listeners and you can have show notes. Show notes are detailed notes about each individual episode. Each episode would have its own essentially blog post where you can include a player and I'll show you really quick in just a moment how in Libsyn you can grab a player for each individual episode and just plop it right into that particular blog post. Super simple.

I actually have a blog, obviously Smart Passive Income, where I use a custom player that I built called the Smart Podcast Player at if you wanted to check that out. Once you get up and running, you can totally do that, but this is a player that we created and this is what hosts the podcast on the website and you'll be surprised. There's actually a lot of people who actually listen to your podcasts not on iTunes or Stitcher or Google Play, but actually on your website. Especially those who are finding you for the first time. So you want to make sure they're able to listen to a podcast and obviously within your podcast, you want them to be inclined to subscribe so they can get it automatically downloaded onto their device later. So I'll show you really quick how to get a player from Libsyn and where the code is that you can plop into your website.

Okay, and over time you're going to see your stats increase, and again, remember this is a test episode so that's why I'm only getting a couple downloads a day, if that. But once your podcast is up and running, it's really cool. You're gonna see these stats grow. Over time, you'll see that when you publish a new episode, you're going to get a giant spike from all your subscribers. It's going to go back down again, but not down as far as it was and then you're gonna get an even bigger spike and that's kind of the sequence of events that happens as you begin to get consistent with your show. It's really fun.

Now to go to your older episodes here, you just go to 'Content' and you go to 'Previously Published'. Here are the three previously published episodes for this test podcast and I'm just going to go and click right here where it says 'Link and Embed'. So I'm going to click on that and this will give you a number of different players styles if you scroll down below. So I can get for example the standard one or I can get the legacy one. I can get this custom one. Typically the standard one works out pretty well, but you can do the custom one with its own image, too, if you wanted to. Either one it's all good. What you do is you set these parameters for the embed code and then you hit 'Preview' 'Get Embed Code' and that will give you the link and you can get a preview for it up there. As you can see, it just automatically pulled in my artwork. And this is what you include in your WordPress or your Squarespace blog post so that you can actually play your episodes within your content, too.

And then in terms of the written content that goes along with your podcast episodes, you can be as detailed and summarize as much as you want. Remember a lot of people are coming to your website to see this and the more detailed it is, perhaps the better impression it will make. You can even make it very useful saying, "I talk about this at this timestamp", "I talk about this topic during this part of the podcast". You can even have information and links related to your podcast, which is really the big benefit there for us. Any links and resources that you mention on the show you can say, "Hey, by the way, all these links and resources are mentioned on the show notes over at my blog. You can go there by going here," and that way even sometimes those are affiliate links or product links so that you can even begin to start making sales and monetize your podcast too. So that's how you can get your podcast connected to your website and how show notes work.

Okay so sequence of events one more time: you get set up with your hosting company. You can try Libsyn or Buzzsprout; then you can get your show settings all correct. Collect your RSS feed. That's, again, what you submit to iTunes and Stitcher and Google Play. You also want to make sure you upload your first episode, put in all the details there and that way, there is an episode that lives on your feed. Actually, if you were to submit your feed without an episode already in it, you will be denied. So you will have to have at least one episode to get approved and then you kind of wait a little bit until you get that email from Apple and the other directories to say, "Yes, your podcast is live." Then you can go out there and share it with the world in whatever way that you want.

Wow! We covered so much across the last three videos here. I'm so proud of you for getting this far and getting your show just ready for launch. Now, obviously, there's a lot more to this podcasting thing than getting your podcast up and running and you're essentially there. But there's so much more to this. For example, the launch of your podcasts, how do you make sure that there are listeners there on the other end the day you launch. What about over time, how do you keep growing it. How do you get more exposure for the podcast. How do you connect with other guests who are going to share this. There's so much more to this. What about monetization and sponsorships and advertising, selling your own products. What about tactics for helping listeners stay and listen on further through that episode that you create. There's so much more to this, which is why I created my course Power-Up Podcasting for those of you who want to go all in with me on this. You kind of get a gist of the style of my teaching. If this is something you like and you want to get everything you need to know in a way that allows you to do it and execute and get results from it like the hundreds of other students who have taken this course, I highly recommend at this point you upgrade to my course, Power-Up Podcasting. In addition to that content, you're also going to get access to me in office hours and access to a community with all of those other students, alumni, and current students who are all there to help motivate and support each other.

So if that's something that sounds interesting to you, all you have to do is go to You can check it out right there. If not, that's okay. Perhaps you're just ready to go and that's totally fine, too. I'm just super thankful that you are taking action here and that you are committing to podcasting and Power-Up Podcasting will always be available to you if you change your mind in the future. For those of you watching this on YouTube right now, best of luck to you. I am so thankful and I'm excited to see your show up on iTunes and the other directories very soon. Good luck!

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Popular Transcripts Full Transcript: School of Podcasting – Switching Podcast Hosting Companies

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Full Transcript: School of Podcasting – Switching Podcast Hosting Companies

Today, on episode number 602, we're gonna talk about podcast media hosting, and, if you've ever thought of moving to a new host, when you should, why you should, when you shouldn't. We're gonna talk about that. I'm gonna share a story about a new media host that was really one of the worst experiences I've ever had. Speaking of bad experiences, I tried something, and it didn't work at all the way I thought it would, and I'm so happy I did it. Hit it, ladies!

The School of Podcasting with Dave Jackson.

Podcasting since 2005, I am your very own personal podcast coach, Dave Jackson, thanking you so much for tuning in. If you are new to this award-winning podcast, here's what we do. I'm gonna help you massage your message. I'm gonna help you tackle the technology. Today, we're talking a lot about technology. We're gonna get our geek on. I help you face your fears.

I help you flatten that learning curve, and get you on the road, not just to just podcasting, because look you can go out to YouTube, right now, and watch a lot of really old, outdated YouTube videos. and it's gonna get you going in the wrong direction. Today, I'm gonna stop you from going in the wrong direction. Wait til you hear about the fun I've had.

Our website is Use the coupon code "LISTENER," that's L-I-S-T-E-N-E-R, and, by the way, that coupon code is not on the website. I'm giving it to you because you took the time to click on play. It's my way of saying thank you.

Now, what we're gonna talk about today is moving either your podcast media hosting … You're gonna go from company A to company B, or maybe, you've been self-hosting, and you think you should start using a podcast media hosting company. We're gonna talk about that. We're gonna talk about should I move my webhost, and how do I do that, and why would I wanna do either one of those? I'm also gonna tell you one of the absolute worst experiences I've had with any podcast company ever.

That is coming up, right after I get done telling you about what I'm doing July 24th through the 26th, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. That is, of course, Podcast Movement 2018. This is where you're gonna have over 2,000 podcasters from around the world converge on Philadelphia, PA.

I was thinking about this today. I have met so many cool people at Podcast Movement. One was Seth Ressler. I met him at Podcast Movement. He's a guy that's kind of coming from the radio side. He's a really cool bridge guy. He talks radio, and he talks podcasting. There was a really big article that went out a couple weeks ago about is there a discovery problem in podcasting. Seth was the guy behind that, and I was included in that article. Why? Because I met him at Podcast Movement.

There is everybody there from … If you're a brand-new podcaster, starting out, if you're a seasoned podcaster, and you're having fun, but you'd like to maybe take your podcast, and start maybe monetizing it, things like that. This is a place where you wanna be.

Again, over 2,000 podcasters from around the world; over a hundred sessions on topics, ranging from the technical aspects of setting up your equipment, and the audio production, as well as the marketing, cuz it's not enough just to make it, you gotta market it. If you're into it, if you wanna monetize your podcast, there's gonna be some resources there for that, as well.

When you venture into the Expo Hall, you're looking at over 60 podcast service, and equipment providers. Whether you're in the mood for a new microphone, or you're trying to figure out which host is best for you … We're gonna talk about hosting today. You can do this face to face at Podcast Movement.

Again, it's in Philadelphia PA, July 24th through the 26th. Check it out –; use the coupon code "SOP," when you go over, and sign up. Thank you, Podcast Movement, so much for sponsoring The School of Podcasting.

All right, let's get intimate, shall we? That sounds funny. I wanna share a story. I have a course, it's called Podcasting in Six Weeks. If you're a regular listener, you've heard me promoting this. I did it about five years ago; it went gangbusters. In fact, I had two sessions of it. It was really cool. Kinda took it off the market, cuz I had to work on my marriage, at the time. I was a little overbooked.

Now that I am divorced – apparently, that wasn't the problem – I've brought it back, and I maybe didn't give myself enough time to promote it. Maybe coulda worked on the sales page a little bit, but can I … Since it's just me and you, can I tell you something? I only have one student. That's right. One person signed up.

I always tell you, you can't improve what you don't launch. Some of us wanna launch the perfect podcast, and I … You've heard me say this – if you're a new listener, it's one of my favorite – Your podcast is not a statue, it's a recipe, and here's what is so cool about this. I did something, and, in a way, some might say it was a … Could you give me air quotes? "A mistake." It wasn't, because, number one, this is my top-dollar program. It's not cheap. It's 1,499. Six weeks in a row, we get together; we plan your podcast. It's me and you, working side by side.

It was supposed to be group coaching, but here's the cool thing: I have one person sign up, and what I'm able to do is tailor this class. We didn't change it a whole lot, but I'll give you an example. He'd already recorded a podcast in the past, so, he didn't need the whole microphone thing, and some of the other things, but he was thinking of having an online course. I'm like, "Well, I can help you with that." We customized the class for him, and I was like, "Ooh, this is cool. This is actually making a difference in this person's life. This is changing … Okay, cool.".

Then, when I was doing this, I had probably, I don't know, a dozen people contact me; had a few of them on the phone, and they're like, "Ooh, I wanna do this. Oh, I wanna work with you. Oh, this is gonna …" but there was one thing – there was a schedule. The schedule. Oh, yeah … Soccer practice, whatever it is. I was like, "Okay, well … Hmm, okay."

So, here's what I'm going to do, and there's no sales page for this now. I'm just throwing this idea out there. If you're the kinda person that wants me to get in the mud with you, work side by side, I love this, because I am doing all the things that I do: help you find influencers, help you find places to shape your content, and work with you on equipment, and things like that.

I wanna test this a little more. If you're interested in this, just e-mail me, and put in the subject line: Podcast Mentorship, because what I'm … This is what I'm thinking, you buy six hours of podcast consulting, just like Podcasting in Six Weeks. You get a year's subscription to The School of Podcasting. Then, instead of me going, "Here's when we're gonna meet," what you do is you look at my schedule, and you tell me, you tell me, when we're gonna meet. You wanna do this in six-hour things? Great. You wanna do it in 12 half-hour things? Cool. You wanna do it in 30 15-segments. Fine. You have 12 months, from the minute you order it, to use your six hours.

I am not a phone company. I don't wanna get into the fun joy of tracking how much time you have left. I like that idea. Some of you, we may do a traditional Podcasting in Six Weeks. We'll go from zero to hero. We'll go through planning, and everything else, but some of you may just want that mentorship to, "Hey, Dave, can we really get into you listening to my show, and helping me improve it?" or whatever it's going to be.

Again, I like this idea. I like working in groups, but it's, to me … I remember when I was working in a corporate scenario, and we would have people come in, and I was teaching computer stuff. I helped three people get their GED. They came in with their GED, the paperwork, and just gave me a big hug, and said, "You know, I couldn't'a done this without you …" I remember one person … This one person could not do math. I just kept saying, "You got this. You can do this. Just a little practice. Breathe." I really helped her through … She had serious test anxiety.

There is something of working one on one, too, that is … For me, it scratches an itch. Let's just put it that way. It's something that I'm like, "Oh, wow, I made a difference in that person's life." I kinda like this idea, too, of getting down the mud with you, and working with you, together, as a team. If you're interested in that, simply email me: [email protected]

Again, I wanna go back to my main point. I threw this out there. Wasn't sure if it was gonna work. I got feedback from my audience. I'm listening to that feedback, and now I'm coming out with my new recipe, and saying, "Hey, for those of you …" and I hate the phrase 'handholding.' Some people say that, "I just want you to hold my hand," but for those of you that want a little more personalized approach, and you've got the budget for it, what do you think of this recipe? I'm putting the pie back on your table, going, "Take a taste of that." Does that sound … Does this taste more like what you're looking for?

You can do the same thing with your podcast, but you can't … There's only one way to know if your podcast is good or not, and that is you have to launch. In my case, I was like, "Mm, not sure if Podcasting in Six Weeks is gonna work. It worked five years ago. Let's throw it out there," and it works. It's working great for one person, but I had a buncha people that said, "Mm, like the idea. Can we switch the schedule?" Here's my recipe, let me know what you think – [email protected]

"Hey, let's talk about the elephant in the room, shall we? That is, for almost two years now … I was hired, in February of 2016, to work at Libsyn – – It's a podcast media hosting company. You can get a free month there, using the coupon code, "SOPFREE." That's "SOPFREE," all one word.

Today, I'm gonna be talking about media hosting companies, and a lotta times, people go, "Oh, Dave, it's just gonna be a show for Libsyn." If you go to, you'll see where there are a lotta things; that I have lots of screenshots today. I'm really trying to keep my School of Podcasting hat on, and just talk about facts.

There are times when people think about moving from one company to the other, and I wanna talk about what's involved with that. I wanna talk about what I look for in a media hosting company, and we'll kinda go from there. Behind the scenes, this is the third time I've recorded this. I have notes in front of me, and it's just really long, so I'm kinda trying to do a Reader's Digest version, without leaving out all the good stuff.

Here's my criteria, and this comes from me being a teacher for so many years. I think that's where [inaudible] here's the criteria. This makes it really easy to determine if I like a podcast host, or not. I've actually updated this.

The first thing is don't mess with my file name. There's an asterisk next to that one, and I'll explain why, here, in a second. Number two, don't mess with my file format. Don't change my bit rate. Don't mess with my ID3 tags. Number three, give me the ability to have an unlimited back catalog, so, unlimited storage. Number four, don't limit my audience size; meaning unlimited bandwidth. Number five, don't control my feed, and make it easy to leave, if I choose to do so. I need to be able to put in a 301 redirect.

Number seven, charge me for your service, so you can stay in business. I know some people are like, "Wait, don't you want it for free?" No, cuz free companies go out of business. I've seen it happen three times. Number eight, give me stats, so I can see what's working, and it would be nice if they were accurate. Number nine, this is new, support the iTunes serial-episodic season, and episode numbers. Those are the new fields that came out last year.

Then, number 10, be IAB-compliant. Now, please note, as I record this, on January 2018, nobody's compliant. We're all in line to be certified, but the certification process hasn't been unveiled yet. In the future, that's gonna be part of it. When you can be certified, I want you to be certified, so that I know my stats are normal.

The very first one – don't mess with my file name … I know that some media hosts offer the ability to inject MP3 files with an advertisement. In those instances, you get a pass, cuz I really don't expect you to take my file, split it in two, throw an ad in the middle, stitch back together, and not change the filename. If I'm not doing any kind of advertising, don't mess with my filename, doggonit.

Here are the media hosts I looked at: Amazon S3, Buzzsprout, Podomatic, Libsyn, Blubrry, Podbean, Spreaker, SoundCloud, Simplecast, Podmio, Pinecast, and Whooshkaa. Applying that 10 criteria, realizing that nobody can do number 10, yet, here's who made the cut: Libsyn, Blubrry, and Podbean. You're like, "But, Dave, don't you like Spreaker?" I do like Spreaker, but only in certain circumstances. They don't allow you to have an unlimited back catalog, but if I was a band, wanting to do live podcasts on the road, or record a podcast with my phone, Spreaker would definitely be in that conversation.

Why would you move your podcast to a new media host? In some cases, maybe you don't have an old media host. Maybe you were hosting your files on your web host. You go, "But Dave, my web host has unlimited bandwidth, unlimited storage." It's not a problem with the bandwidth, or the storage. It's the matter that all the sudden, hundreds of people, maybe thousands of people, are grabbing that one MP3 file at the same time, and their servers go [gasping], and they can't handle it. You will get a thing, "You're using up too many of our resources," and they will politely ask you to move, or leave.

In some cases, maybe you're using … Now, everybody knows, if you're a regular listener of the show, SoundCloud is a music company that does podcasting poorly. Squarespace is a website company that does podcasting poorly. In the case of SoundCloud, they came out with two improvements, like two updates, like, "Here's what's coming in at SoundCloud." Two of them, last year. Neither one had a single update to their podcast system. Meanwhile, Apple has thrown out these new fields – the serial, the episode numbers. Not even a mention of it at SoundCloud. They're really not a podcast hosting company, in my book. We could also throw on top of that, they've lost hundreds of millions of dollars. So that would be one reason to leave.

Maybe you're just not happy with somebody's service. Maybe you're not happy with their support. Whatever it is … Maybe, in some cases, they sold you certain features that you find out later that aren't entirely accurate. We'll talk about that a little later. Maybe you decide that you, just for whatever reason, you hear about a bright, shiny thing, and you wanna try the new thing. Well, that's what I kind of wanna talk about here.

Let's talk about what moving to a new media host will not do for you. This is one of those … It's kind of a gray area, but, if you're thinking moving my show from … Let's say you're self-hosted. Let's go that route. Let's do a specific example. I'm self-hosted, and I decide to move to Libsyn, using the coupon code, "SOPFREE."

Is that going to bring me more audience? Because, I'm already on iTunes, Google Play Music, TuneIn, and Stitcher. Is it gonna bring me more audience? No, probably not. Why? Because you're already listed in all the directories. What you won't have, now, is your web host going, "Hey, you need to move." What might happen is your website might – key point, there – might speed up, because you can use the Libsyn feed, now. Might … Maybe.

That would be something I wanna point out. If your podcast is not bringing value to your listeners, the fact that you have a new media host hosting those files is not going to grow your audience. Now, I realize that some podcast hosts have more opportunities to promote your show, on things like Spotify, and iHeart, and things like that, but let's just go … Let's kinda forget that for a second, and just say, look, media host to media host, that's not gonna grow your audience. I see people that think that. "Oh, if I move to somebody else, They're a more popular host. They're a more popular media host. No. It's really about your content. That's what's gonna grow your audience.

What is the process of moving from one media host to the next, cuz I just did this, twice, and I'm here to tell you it's not a lot of fun. Now, on the other hand, it's not that hard, but there is one step that's really, really not fun.

Here's the typical process. Number one, you take your feed … Well, let's go right there, cuz if you're new to podcasting, you're like, "Dave, what's a feed?" Let's use the analogy of radio. If you're a regular listener of the show, you've heard this before. Hang with me. That is, with radio, you have a frequency. Here in Ohio, I have a 100.7, and I can have different radios – a Panasonic, and a Sony – both tuned into that that station, that frequency. When I put on a new record, that new record is then going out to those radios.

Well, with podcasting, instead of having a frequency, you have a feed, and instead of radios, instead of a Sony, and a Panasonic, you have Apple Podcasts, and Stitcher. When you put out a new episode, it is syndicated out to those apps.

What we're gonna do here, is we're gonna take your feed that has all your information, your artwork, and all your MP3 files, and you're going to give it to your new host, and they're going to import it. In fact, a better way of looking at it, they're going to clone your feed. It's gonna look exactly like it. All the information, all the artwork, all the MP3 files – everything is there.

Then, you go to your current- you go to your new host, and you wanna put in a thing called a New Feed tag. It's just a little bit of code, you copy and paste it in there. This is per Apple, by the way. That step is from Apple, saying you need to do this. Step three is, then, you basically redirect your old feed. This is like saying, "Hey, we're no longer on 100.7," and when you tune into that station, it says, "Hey, we've moved to 97.5." That's basically … The techie term for that is 301 Redirect.

If we follow that, now … Let's say I'm a listener of your podcast. I fire up my phone. I fire up my app. It goes to your feed, to say, "Hey, is there any new episodes out?" Instead, your feed goes, "Hey, we moved. We're over here on this new media host." Your app follows the address, goes over to the new media host, and the new media host says, "Hey, check it out. We're new. We're brand new. Could you do me a favor, and update the app, and in the future, don't look at the old host. Just look at me, and I'll let you know if there are any new episodes." The app goes. "Okay," and it updates. This all happens behind the scenes. That's the cool thing; that's what happens, and that part is easy.

That is something … Again, you've gotta be very careful with this, because if you mess that up, and let's say you put in a redirect that says, "We moved over to 97.5," and put in 97.6. That could be bad. You just told people … You just sent people to … Let's say it's a house. You just sent … Instead of giving them the correct address, you gave them the wrong address. Be careful with this, when you're messing with your feed. If you're not sure, find somebody who understands podcasting. That could be me, or whoever, and they can walk you through this, cuz it's one of the things that's easy, but you don't wanna just like, "Meh, whatever …" and blow your way through it, cuz you can really shoot yourself in the foot.

The fourth step of this process is the one that nobody wants to hear. In my case, I had a hundred episodes, and I switched my feeds, because I was playing. Basically, me, as a podcast consultant, I like to play with a lot of different toys. I had to take all the episodes, and replace them on my website. If I wanna track all of my downloads, the feed thing gets all my subscribers, but what about the people coming to my website?

I had to replace all the old episodes on my website with the new files. It sounds much harder than it is. For me, it took about 15-20 minutes, having multiple tabs open – a lotta copy-paste-copy-paste-save-copy-paste-save-copy-paste-save.

Now, the other thing is Apple recommends that you leave that redirect, that kind of change of address … They want you to leave it there for four weeks. Why is that? That's because not everybody fires up their favorite podcast app, every day. If they fired up every two weeks, and you only left it in there for two days, they're gonna miss the note that said, "Hey, we moved," and they're gonna keep looking at your old … They're gonna keep tuning into your old radio station, when you move to the new radio station. They're gonna keep looking at the old feed, when you have a new feed.

Now, in some cases, Google Play Music, and TuneIn, you might have to contact them manually, to update your feed. You can go into, and update that yourself. You just go to the Partner Portal. In general, you go to all the places you went, where you submitted your show to these directories. You go to the exact same place. That's either a) where you can update it, or b) contact people to say, "Hey, can you put in here that I moved?" That's pretty cool.

Now, this whole redirect thing sounds kinda geeky, like how do I … 301-huh? In some cases, if your podcast is on your website, you can contact your web host and say "Hey, can you put in …" and that's the phrase you wanna use, a 301 Redirect … If somebody comes to my old feed, yada-yada-yada/feed/podcast, I want them to go to yada-yada- yada/newfeed/whatever-whatever. Your media host may do that.

Now, there's also a really cool, free WordPress plugin, and it's creatively named, you guessed it, Redirection. You can find it at It's from John Godley, who actually worked for Automatic, which is the company behind WordPress. Basically, you install this plugin, and I've got screenshots, and directions –

You put this in, and you save it, and your redirections should be in place almost immediately. How do you test that? You simply put the address of your old feed into your address bar. In English, you kind of go, like it's a website … You go to your old feed address, and you should see it switch to your new feed address, whatever that is. Now, if you're doing this in Chrome, you're probably gonna get a face full of code, and that's normal. We don't really care about that. What we wanna do is look at the top, at the address, and if that address is your new feed, then it's working.

What will happen, again, your app will fire up, and your audience will fire up their app. They'll go to the old feed. The old feed'll say "Hey, go to the new feed." The new feed will say, "Hey, I'm new. Update the app," and everything is cool. Then, again, you just have to replace your files on your website with the files from your new media host, and that's all you have to do.

Just keep in mind, again, that a) this may not help you grow your audience at all. In the end, it's your content that really gets your podcast going up the charts, and things like that, because you're inspiring word of mouth. Keep that in mind. If you are thinking of doing this, but you're like, "Dave, most of that just went right over my head," well, again, you can go out to, or just contact me: [email protected], and I can answer your questions on this.

Since I'm going to be talking podcast media hosting, I am gonna stick to the facts. That's how I do this, because obviously, I work for the competition. If I'm gonna do this objectively, here's what happened to me, in my case. This also stops me from getting sued.

The company I'm talking about is Podmio, and to pull back the curtain, I wasn't gonna review them at all, because I didn't wanna give them any exposure at all. They did something, recently, that I'm like, "Okay …" and this sounds weird, but I feel somewhat responsible for you. Like, if for some reason, two months from now, you joined them, and they turned out to be awful, I would feel bad that I didn't say "Hey, here's the experience I had with them.".

I'll tell you the final straw that I was, "Ahh, I gotta talk about these people." Here's the thing. They came out, and on their website, it says … Well, first of all, they contacted me. They contacted me, and so maybe that's rule number one: know who you're talking to. They have a statement on their website, "Podmio is the world's number-one podcasting platform that has everything you need for a podcaster of any level, at any affordable price.".

I interacted with a person via email; wanted to know if I wanted a demo. I'm like, "I really don't have time for this." On December 23, he came on Ask the Podcast Coach, which is a show I do every Saturday, with Jim Collison, from The Average He gave us a little demo, and we kind of called him out on that particular thing, and this is what it sounded like.

Go ahead.

You have the world's number-one podcasting platform?


Okay, cuz I'm like I'm thinking there might be-

Can you qualify that?

We are … When I show the features, and the services we have, you will realize that no one even comes close to what we do. I'm not going to name anybody on this [crosstalk] demo, but I will highlight some points for you.


Listen, you can't do this, Dave, but I can. I mean, it is a little … "The world's number-one podcasting platform" is a little misleading, because why. I guess, if you guys are gonna have your own definition [crosstalk]

Thinking of it this way … As a podcaster, who actually comes to the website, on sales pages, we have to convince them.

That's the reason they have that. He's trying to convince you that they're number one. I asked him how long they've been around. They've been around, he said, for two months, for the back end, and publicly, for two weeks. This was back in December, again. Let me just, cuz the first time I tried to tell the story, it took me like an hour.

Here's what happened. I jumped in. I wanted to test them. The first thing I saw is I went to import one of my old feed. This is where, again, and we talked about this at the beginning of the show, you want your new host to clone your old feed. Well, the first thing I see is, "Hey, thanks for your feed. It'll be imported in the next 24 hours." Now, again, from my chair, and I'm sure Blubrry can say this. I know I know Spreaker … I've done it on Spreaker. It doesn't take 24 hours. I've imported people from SoundCloud, and if you're on SoundCloud you can import your feed for free on Libsyn. Doesn't matter how many back catalog you have. I've imported people with hundreds of episodes, in 15 minutes, if that. The fact that I had to wait 24 hours, I'm like, "Mm, okay."

Then, it didn't have all my info, when it did import. Now, they said that wasn't their problem. It was the feed I was importing from, but they did fix it, so, let's talk about the bad, and the good. They did fix it, and they re-imported it. When I went to say, "Hey, this doesn't have all my information," they sent me to a ticketing system that didn't work. I went back to my original contact, and said, "Hey, your ticketing system doesn't work," to which he sent me to another ticketing system, and I'm not making this up, it didn't work. Screenshots at

They were saying, "We're innovative, and we have all these new things." Well, the one thing they have is a thing, and it used to say this on their website … They use the phrase 'ad insertion,' and they have since updated this, which is good on them, because ad insertion, to most people, means that you're going to take my file, and somewhere in the middle, or end, or the beginning, or something, you're going to insert an ad. It's called dynamic ad insertion.

I noticed they just updated their website to 'interchangeable advertisements.' What this is, is this has nothing to do with your subscribers. Their ad system only works on their website. Now, it is kinda cool, because you specify an image, you upload an MP3 file that has your ad, and you have a link. When people click play on your website – that's a key point here – this little thing pops up. They have to watch the ad. It's a little bit like YouTube, where you have to watch an ad, before you can listen to the thing. That's cool, to a certain extent. Then, it dawned on me, "Oh, that's right. About 80 percent of people listen to podcasts on a portable device, not on a website." I was like, "Hmm, okay …" There are no stats on how many times the ad is played, or things like that. Again, they're new.

The thing that, for me, I was like, "Wait a minute, you said, 'dynamic ad insertion,' and this is not …" It's dynamic ad insertion on your website, with their player. Wherever you embed their player, this little thing pops up. I was kinda like, "That's not dynamic ad insertion, at least not in the traditional thing." That, again, is where you'll see where I kinda go, "I don't think they get podcasting.".

This innovative, number-one podcasting platform, when I logged in – this, again, is in December – did not have the new iTunes tags. Now, they have them now, thanks to me, because I went, "Hey, where's the iTunes tags?" I'm talking about serial episodic … Episode numbers, serial numbers. Once they put them in, it messed up my show. It put that my show was season one. I don't have seasons for this particular show. When I went to delete the number one, it caused an error message. Back to the help desk, and again, they fix it. I'm doing Q&A for what is essentially a competitor of mine, and I'm not getting paid for it. I was, at this point, a little leery. I'm like, "Okay, I don't think I'm gonna actually use these guys.".

I thought, "Let's kill two birds with one stone." There's a new service called This is from Blubrry. If you've been around long enough to remember FeedBurner, it's FeedBurner with a different name. You basically put your source feed into PodcastMirror, and instead of submitting your source feed to iTunes, and Stitcher, you submit the PodcastMirror feed, and then later, if you wanna switch media hosts, you just change it in PodcastMirror, and it updates every place else.

I get it. It's time for my opinion. You ready? This is my opinion. I try to keep the technology between me, and my audience to only things that are essential. In this case, I was no longer really trusting the media host I was working with, and I had a feeling I was gonna move, so I moved to PodcastMirror. That was kinda weird. When I went to PodcastMirror, and put in the feed – again, screenshots, – it said "Hey, this applied URL is not a podcast feed." I went, "Well, that's odd, because I did go to, and it said it was valid."

I reached out to the lovely folks at Blubrry, who replied very quickly, and said, "Well, there's a couple of things. The iTunes category in your feed doesn't match what's in iTunes. The duration for the episode was in the wrong format." Again, this just led to me not feeling comfortable with their knowledge of the podcasting space. At that point, I went, "Okay, I'm done. I think I'm just gonna leave these guys," because, again, I'm kinda tired of doing Q&A. At that point, I quit telling them what the problems were, because quite frankly, I'm not getting paid to do Q&A. You guys figure out your own bugs.

They have a thing in there, where you can do a 301 Redirect. This was the one that I went, "Oh, okay. This has to go public." You typically put in this redirect … This is that change-of-address thing I was talking about before. After two days, it wasn't updated in Apple to show the new feed.

I went to my new host, and I said, "Hey, where do I put this new feed tag, because Apple says I should put that in the new feed, and you don't have a place for it?" In this case, this was Pinecast. I was gonna test them, as well. Kudos to Matt, from Pinecast, because he went above and beyond, and said, "Hey, I went back and looked at the Podmio feed that you were redirecting, and instead of being a permanent 301 Redirect, [we're gonna get kind of geeky here] it's a temporary 302 Redirect, and because Apple knows that's temporary, and not permanent, Apple isn't going to update." He says, "I've emailed the people at Podmio to let them know."

All right, that was on Thursday. Friday night, so it's been 24-hours-plus, I go into Apple. I find my podcast source, and it's still looking at Podmio. I emailed, again, the help desk at Podmio, with a screenshot from Matt, and said, "Hey, you guys are using a 302 Redirect, and I actually …" Plus, for the record, Matt had sent that to me on Thursday. It's Friday. I went out to and got the same result. Two different people, two different results. They're using the wrong redirect.

I emailed them, and – screenshots at – I got a reply that says, "The redirect type we use is also fine." No, it's not, not for a permanent redirect; not to have apps update. Then, they said this, "You can also update your new feed, directly from iTunes, as well." That's when I went, "Okay, that's just horrible advice." In fact, right now, if you go to their website, on their support page, they say this again. "All you have to do to update your feed in Apple is to go to Podcast Connect, and update your feed." You ready for this? I'm trying to stay calm, but this … It makes me mad. That's how you lose your audience. You will lose all of your audience …

Picture this, let me walk you through this … You're on podcast host A, and Apple is looking at podcast host A. You put in a redirect, and it doesn't work. Apple is still looking at podcast host A, and so is … All your subscribers are looking at podcast host A. You go to Apple, and you say, "Hey, Apple, you look at podcast host B." Well, that's great for anybody who subscribes today, going forward, but your old audience – all those people, all the months, and years that you've worked on getting that audience – they're still looking at podcast host A, and there's nothing there to say, "Hey, you need to go look at podcast host B." Consequently, you just drained the swamp of your entire audience, not that your audience is a swamp, but you know what I mean.

To say that publicly … I was like, "Hold on a second …" because, and again, for me, this, again, diminished my confidence in their knowledge. I've, since then, went to their support, and said, "How do I cancel my account?" To their credit, to their credit, they did refund my first month, because I found their bug in their import feature.

They are doing some things that are different. Let's point out the good things they're doing, things that they're trying that are new. They have a way to capture email addresses, right there on their player. Now, again, not really new. It's new that a podcast media hosting company is trying that, but if you have a Hani Simple Podcast Press, or Pat Flynn Smart Podcast Player, both of those players have the ability, now, to capture email addresses. They also have a way, if you use, a way that, right on the player, you can accept donations. Again, somewhat new that a podcast media host will do that, but Podbean has been doing that with their player, and most podcasts, now, either have a PayPal button – that's not new, at all – or they're using Patreon. Again, not really new.

For me, let's inject some opinion here, now, when it comes to … Cuz you can actually capture email addresses, and then, use them as your email list. That's new. For me – this is where I'm gonna inject my opinion – when I use an email-list provider, I don't wanna email-list provider that is also a etc., etc. I want an email-list provider that does one thing, and that's make sure that my email is delivered.

If we go back 10 years ago, there were times when it was hard to get your email delivered, and that's why you went to these lists, because if somebody on your network was a giant spammer, the whole network would not get their email delivered, or it would be much more hard to get it delivered. That's my only worry. That's my opinion about using somebody who is not an email provider to provide my email list. That's the only thing I have worried about that, but I will give them credit, that's new.

They also had something … It was a little controversial, that when you use their Donate feature, there is no fee to move your money to your bank, like a bank-transfer charge. When they were on the Ask the Podcast Coach, there were people in my chat room that said that is not true. Any time you transfer money to a bank, cuz there's a bank involved, they're gonna charge you for it. On their website, they're saying they can do that without a charge. So, all in all, it's not a …

The other thing that got me about this is … Let's go back to the facts, okay? The facts: their import feature is slower than others. You got to wait a day. Their advertising feature does not inject ads into the MP3 file. Now, again, they have changed their wording. They had bugs to work through. Whether or not it was a few, or a lot, there were bugs to work through, and those have been repaired. Again, end result, there are less bugs. Their feeds, based on the PodcastMirror example, are questionable. I'm sure, when they hear this episode, they'll go over, and fix it. They actually do change your file name. The original criteria that I sent to my original contact, I said, "Do you guys do this?" and they said, "Yep," and they don't. They changed the file name. If I'd known that, I wouldn't even looked at them in the first place. Again, to their credit, they did refund my first month, due to the fact that I ran into so many bugs.

Now, let me talk about my opinion. I do not feel, based on their advice of things like, "Change the feed in iTunes," or, "3O2 Redirects are fine …" Based on those statements, I don't feel their staff has a deep understanding of the podcasting space, or how RSS syndication works, in general. My opinion is their support was not bad. In fact, it was pretty speedy. It was just sad that I had to use them all the time, and about every other day, I was finding some sort of issue. Now, to their credit, when I pointed out the issues, they were resolved. Another opinion, I feel their statement of 'the number-one podcasting platform,' I think that claim … I agree with Jim. That's misleading. I also, in my opinion, would never, at this point, in January 2018, recommend them as a host.

Keep in mind, when you're gonna try one of these new … Like, "Hey, here's somebody new on the scene …" If you are a new podcaster, this really might've taken you out of the game, and said, "Look, it's going wrong …" For me, when they added the seasons, and my entire listing in Apple just went kablooey … It was still there, but it was all jumbled, and people were like, "Where's the latest episode?" I'm like, "Ahh …" Again, to their credit, when I pointed it out, they changed it, but I do not recommend them as a media host, especially now, until they get all their bugs worked out. Because I'm leaving, they're gonna have to have another new guinea pig to do this.

I am done testing media hosts. Here's the cool thing about this, because I have people like you, and you're out there in the podcast world, and because there are Facebook groups, and because there are all these other awesome podcast … If somebody comes along that truly is doing something new, because the whole thing about having an ad pop up on your website, that's not new.

Spreaker's been doing that. Right now, if you have ads in Spreaker, if you're using Spreaker … Now, granted, you're gonna get … When I was using it, it was .000. That's three zeros … Two cents per download. It would pop up a little thing, and say, "Hey, click here to go to the Home Depot," or whatever.

They've also had pre-rolls. If you listen on the Spreaker website, I actually have a pre-roll that says. "Hey, Spreaker listeners, thanks for listening., blah-blah-blah." That's not new. The whole getting payments on a website … Todd Cochrane's been doing that since 2004, with PayPal. That's not new.

Keep that in mind, sometimes, that sometimes the marketing can make it sound like they're really the bee's knees, but, in reality, they're not really doing anything new. That's my facts, that's my opinion, and that's why I don't recommend them.

Just keep in mind, when you're moving to these new platforms, it's gonna be hard to compete with Blubrry, with Libsyn, with Podbean, with Spreaker. Some of these companies have been doing it … Libsyn, since 2004; we're looking at 14 years. It's gonna be hard to really ramp up, and come up with something that's going to beat that. Be careful, when you're looking at hosts. That's why I have my criteria. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

What are you doing in February? I will be at Podfest. Check out I'll be celebrating my birthday by having my closest friends rip me to shreds. Yes, it's gonna be a lot of fun. I will be roasted at Podfest, as well as I'll be doing a presentation there. That's in Orlando, Florida, February 8th through the 10th.

Then, on February 28th, through March 2nd, I will be at Social Media Marketing World. This is in lovely San Diego. I've never been to San Diego; never been to Social Media Marketing World. I know the opening night is on an aircraft carrier. This is a really great … Both these are great places to go, but I've never been to Social Media Marketing World. I'm really excited about that, and the fact that people are gonna rip me to shreds.

If you're interested in these, go out to I've got links to both in the show notes.

I was making radio shows for fun. If everybody does it … Everybody I know … Shut up!

Speaking of fun radio shows, if you missed episode number 601, go to We were talking about how to be a guest, and how to find guests for your podcast. In the future, I'm gonna be reviewing the … This is a great piece of equipment, I hope … The PreSonus AR12 mixer. It is a USB mixer. It's got two auxiliary sends, and it's got a built-in SD recorder. I'm looking forward to that.

Today, we talked about moving your podcast media host. I found a really cool tool for web hosts. We'll save that for another episode. I'm going to be talking about … I found a theme for WordPress. In the past, I recommended Appendipity. I've have been playing with a theme. I really like it. We're gonna be talking about that in the future.

To get an episode the minute it's available, all you have to do go to, and I've got every kind of way to subscribe. [Inaudible] there if you're an Apple, or a Stitcher, or whatever, simply go to, and get the content, the minute it's available online, all for free.

That is gonna do it for this episode of the School of Podcasting. Remember, you can't improve what you don't launch. You may find out that by just throwing that podcast out there, that your audience may go, "This is good. Have you ever thought of doing this?"

I would love to help you with that. Simply go to, use the coupon code, "LISTENER." You can sign up for a monthly membership, or a yearly membership. Again, if you're looking for podcast mentorship, email me: [email protected] Put in the subject line: Mentorship, and I can answer any questions that you might have about that. I really look forward to working with you, no matter what format you choose. Thanks so much for spending your time with me. I deeply appreciate it. Until next week, class is dismissed. Take care, and God bless.

If you like what you hear, then, go tell somebody. If you like what you hear, go tell someone …

I'm not making this up. In the Podmio support, they have a section – How to Migrate Your Existing Subscribers. If you're moving from Libsyn … Now, here's the fun thing, you can go to Libsyn's support page, and get the exact step-by-steps. Instead, they say, "Put the iTunes new feed tag into your Libsyn box." That's absolutely incorrect. Proving, once again, that I feel that these guys do not have an actual understanding of how podcasting works. The thing that blows my mind is the directions are on the Libsyn page.

If you like what you hear, then, go tell somebody. Go tell somebody. Yeah, go tell someone.

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