I’m a podcast fanatic. As someone who works remotely and often by myself, I love having podcasts to entertain and educate me as I work (looking for interesting web design podcasts? check out my recommendations). I recently stumbled upon a newly launched podcast called Startup, which documents a man’s quest to build a new company from the ground up, and everything that entails.
What Makes Startup So Good?
Where Startup sets itself apart is with its openness. This is a warts-and-all experience, something that you simply don’t find very often. Usually, successful startups start mythologizing their early days as soon as they become stable. The unsuccessful startups tend to simply disappear. We don’t get to see what really happens to take things from a concept to a fully-formed business. And we very rarely get to see the mistakes, unless they somehow become a part of the public record.
Startup takes an entirely different approach. In the first episode, the company doesn’t even have a name, let alone a business plan, shareholders, employees, or a product. We start with only a concept, which is absolutely fascinating because we get to see how these things are developed over time.
This introduces some surprising twists. While the original focus of the company is producing narrative-driven podcasts, new ideas are introduced, often from potential investors. This leads to some pretty in-depth exploration of what the startup should be focusing on as it grows.
Not Quite an Everyman, But Close
Our host, Alex Blumberg, is no stranger to radio and podcasting. His resume includes such giants as This American Life and Planet Money. That said, while he’s an old pro when it comes to producing excellent radio content, running a business is something he needs to learn. Blumberg is no dummy, but, like all of us, makes the occasional mistake. What separates him from the masses is that he has the courage to record and broadcast it all. Indeed, he seems to almost revel in the screw-ups.
Every misstep, every painful conversation, every bad call gets recorded for posterity, and it’s exactly as fascinating and cringe-inducing as it should be. Interestingly, however, seeing these mistakes doesn’t make me judge Blumberg poorly. Quite the opposite, in fact. It takes a lot of courage to put everything out there; even if the rest of the content wasn’t interesting – and it is – this extreme candor would make the show worth listening to.
My Favorite Part of Startup
While there’s a lot of incredible insight on starting a business and all the challenges that go along with it, my absolute favorite part of the show is one of the smaller elements: Nazanin, the host’s wife. She approaches the subject from an interesting role: she’s not directly involved in the business, but is affected by it in myriad ways. It’s incredible to get her perspective on the various struggles our startup faces. The fact that she’s charming and hilarious (she reminds me a lot of my wife) is only icing on the cake.
Sound interesting? Check out Startup. You can thank me later.