Look at me, I'm a goddamn social butterfly. Maybe not quite, but I did talk to a few people yesterday, and it was awesome, and totally worth the initial discomfort. Almost immediately after I published that first post, that was quite literally written while hiding from the crowds in a bathroom stall, a couple of bearded gentlemen approached me in the line to get coffee. Obviously, big beards bring people together, and I'm used to the attention from other men (not my target demographic). These guys were crazy nice and seemed very interested in what I was doing and were very happy to introduce me to other people they think would be interested as well.
I met a guy who is a marketing and promotions expert who is looking for help with the production of shows, and was very quick to bring up a collaboration. Very cool.
I hung out with them for a little bit and then we split off until the "iHeartRadio Red Carpet Party" or whatever the hell they were calling it. I was walking around the room aimlessly looking for this guy Andrew Warner, who is a huge reason why this network even exists, and wasn't having any luck finding him. I saw a guy in the room who was dressed pretty similarly to me, who was sporting a similar overgrown mohawk as me, and I went up and talked to him. Super awkward, but whatever. That's why we're here, to network, isn't it?
I used my previous beard bonding experience to chat with him. I told him I dug the mohawk, and showed him mine. I then told him I've been approached by a couple different guys who claimed we were beard bros, but what I really wanted out of this whole thing was to find my mohawk bro. THIS SOUNDS SUPER FUCKING AWKWARD, RIGHT?!?! I felt awkward, but luckily this dude had the same sense of humor, and we started talking, and really hit it off. (I hope you're not reading this, Whit. I know we exchanged information, but I really hope you don't click on this blog post).
Anyways, the lively conversation we were having about his show "This is Actually Happening" brought in a few other people to the conversation, and over an hour went by, and I got to hear about peoples shows and businesses, and I got to share a little about what I was doing. I can't express to you, dear reader, just how significant this is to me. I hate approaching people and I find it terrifying, but I did it, and it was great.
The best part of this experience so far has been meeting Andrew Warner, the founder of Mixergy, and the host of their podcast. This guy is almost entirely responsible for helping me find my inner entrepreneur. His podcast contains VERY intense interviews with entrepreneurs and solopreneurs who run multimillion/billion dollar companies, and I've gained an incredible amount of knowledge from his show.
I was able to take him out for drinks last night, and he grilled me like he did the wildly successful people on his show. When I didn't have an answer (which was most of the time) he helped me work through it, offering advice along the way, and it was absolutely surreal.
He first asked what I am trying to build, and why. He kept asking for more and more and more information until he fully understood what I was going for. A podcast network is a pretty easy to understand concept, for those in the industry. The way I'm approaching this with Elemental is different however. Rather than adding growing and proven shows to a network where they'd reach a new audience with the listeners of other shows on the network, I want to take community leaders, and influencers in an industry or medium OTHER than podcasting, and help turn them into podcasters.
While others have criticized me for this business model, he seemed to really support it. That was encouraging, because sometimes, I really think I'm doing this the hard way, and doing a lot of work, just in the hopes of it working out. But he understood that my role as the network owner and producers wasn't to just collect a percentage of their ad profits and offer them cross promotion, but I want to serve as an unspoken member of the show and play an integral role in helping shape the podcasting, starting at the birthing stages.
So many things happened on day 2, I met a personal hero, I made some friends (which I'll talk about more in the next post), and I learned a lot about how Apple Podcasts works behind the scenes, thanks to Rob Walch from Libsyn who KILLED it on a Q+A session that went over by 90 minutes. Good stuff. Very good stuff.
Until next time,