Save for Later Because

I think albums of music and podcasts are very similar and I see both them very different from radio. Unlike Dave, I don’t want my podcasts automatically deleted, I would like the ‘Save’ or ‘Delete’ option just as I do on Tivo.

The iPod/iTunes assumes everything is precious (it’s not), automatically deleting assumes nothing is valuable (it is). Both assume a scarcity. Either a scarcity of storage space or a scarcity of access. 10 minutes from now, we’ll have neither. Any podcast I’ve downloaded over the past 3 year is more than likely in 1 of 2 places: my iTunes library or the Internet. Somewhere.

The scarcity we need to solve is context – a way to gesture why I saved something and kept it close.

Turning the Radio Off

Last weekend was Chicago Trip #1. The drive put a pretty good dent in my Unlistened Podcast playlist – down to 17.5 days (from a high of 24). There were a couple of spots near the Wisconsin/Illinois border and around Schaumberg where the FM transmitter couldn’t hold a frequency.

Rather than scanning the dial, I turned the radio off.

“Nowadays I prefer silence to NPR” – Dave Slusher


We’re in the early stages of exploring what to replace our 10 year-old Dodge Neon with. Looks like every car comes with an AM/FM CD deck. Three things I don’t want. At all. I just want an auxiliary jack. That’s it.

Can anyone out there help explain the tight connection between automakers and broadcast radio?


“i told the mpr people i wouldn’t pledge again until the current played a phish song.”- Dave Cecchi

Opportunitize, Not Monetize

30,000 feet up, on my way to a 3-day client meeting I took a tip from Doc Searls and stared at the landscape.

That altitude provides a pretty good view of the roadway branding our country like a waffle iron. While I speculate most of these stretches of pavement are unused most of the time, without them, our economy would evaporate.

From regular Joes carpooling to the office, armies of FedEx and UPS trucks making their rounds, high school kids driving to their first job interview, garage bands loading up their gear for a show. My car? It’s sitting in a parking spot awaiting my return.

All while Eric Rice‘s Future of Podcasting plays in my headphones. He snarks, “People always ask ‘How do you make money at [podcasting/second life/etc]?'”


Without a car, there are simply fewer opportunities. Opportunities to connect with other people. Opportunities to make money. While I don’t put direct pressure on my car to pay for itself, the inverse is true. Replace ‘car’ with ‘podcast’, ‘blog’, ‘laptop’, ‘telephone’, or ‘mouth’. The statement is still true.

Remember the bit from Dave Slusher’s Amateur Means You Do It For Love talk about how podcasting makes conversations and other opportunities happen? Opportunities that wouldn’t happen otherwise?

And remember when Doc rhetorically asked, “What’s the business model of my telephone?”

Yeah. Me too.

Opportunitize: to turn anything into an opportunity.
“No, my car doesn’t make any money, but I’ve opportunitized it to get a job.”

What an awful, corpspeak word, I just submitted to the pseudodictionary.

Podcasting’s Image Problem

I’m finally getting around to listening to the sessions I missed at last fall’s Podcast and Portable Media Expo. While there, all the sessions felt like we were prepping for a boom. Everyone looking for how to hit the mother lode.

Seven months later, listening to the sessions, that suspicion is confirmed. The tone, pitch, and demeanor (of all but Dave Slusher’s session) is one of snake oil pyramid scheme sales pitch.

From an aesthetic sense, even today, if ‘pod’ is somewhere a company’s name, the presence looks cheap, unpolished, half-baked, and feels as reputable as a payday loan provider.

This is a huge problem. For everyone that publishes enclosures via RSS.

It’s not a lack-of-money problem. It’s a customer experience problem. The latest Web 2.0 toysite is far more polished and thought-through from an experience perspective than people frantically digging for fool’s gold in podcastville.

Hopefully, we’re in podcasting’s dip. A lull. To shake out those that can be shaken out.

“There was no boom in podcasting technology, and there won’t be.” – Dave Winer

So, You Want to Be a Public Radio Star?

I had a great conversation with Tim Elliott and Phil Wilson this weekend at MinneBar, we started talking about the early days of podcasting and how Tim and I both saw podcasting as a farm league for broadcast radio in general – and public radio in particular.

The problem is by the time those institutions start asking, the podcasters have moved on. Realizing they don’t need the broadcast distribution model to be successful and podcasting is no longer the radio farm league, but a completely different game. Then, when the big league starts asking, you know something’s up.

“PRX has launched the first-ever Public Radio Talent Quest, a nationwide search for the next generation of hosts for public radio. Contestants can submit a 2-minute audio demo for their shot at $10,000 and the opportunity to produce a pilot show for public radio.”

How We Should Get Podcasts On Our Phones

There are a handful of services that bring podcasts to mobile phones over the phones data connection.

Unfortunately, navigating the phone that way is really hard.

I think there’s an easier way.

Update 31 Aug 2007:
I love the internet. If you wait long enough, the things you’re looking for will find you:
Podlinez is a free service that lets you listen to podcasts on your phone.”
via Dave Winer via Nathan Rein

Costco Connection: The Power of Podcasts

The March 2007 Costco Connection member magazine has a quick one-page article entitled “The Power of Podcasts” for marketing small businesses.

Definitely. Always glad to see someone with the reach of Costco is promoting podcast as an “indirect direct marketing” tool and “silent sales force”.

Initial Thoughts on the Rojas-Winer-Calacanis Podcast Device

I’ve been pondering the dedicated podcast devices tossed around by Rojas-Winer-Calacanis. The power and simplicity of it are quite attractive.

I’m on board with the following:

  • Data Input/Output: Wifi. No need for anything else.
  • Supported Media Formats: MP3, Ogg Vorbis, anything else open & cheap.
  • Pre-selling a small initial run as financing.

As an interface designer and podcaster, the biggest challenge I see in this device is the interaction to discover and subscribe to podcasts.

Even today, this process is fairly complex . The attempts I’ve seen to simplify it only add to the problem (TiVo, iTunes, etc) by creating a proprietary, artificially restricted silo.

Some initial thoughts:

  • A default link to the directory and Share Your OPML on some
  • A custom keypad specialized for RSS subscription. Maybe keys for ‘org/com/net’, etc. I’d be unfortunate to see a full-size keypad or a constrained phone keypad – neither of those work great for mobile devices.
  • Since we’re using WiFi, this device could have a web server baked-in and subscriptions managed through a web browser accessed from another computer. Even remotely – so others could recommend podcasts to their friends (via OPML?).

Measuring What You Can’t Automate

“[I] think how much better it would be if we could just measure how much people care.” – Dave Slusher

Like Dave, I don’t understand the fascination with measuring downloads. Well, I take that back – I understand it for producers trying to woo advertisers. I don’t understand why advertisers would want to base their ad buy on download stats. Downloads don’t equal listeners, fans, or impressions.

Requests for downloads are not full downloads.
Full downloads are not plays.
Plays are not listens.
Listens are not engaged.
Engaged are not customers.

And as Dave points out, download requests can be automated.

Kris Smith’s CastLock application provides unique feed urls and could be spun out to deliver a custom, complimentary ad (or other) message to individual subscribers – based on some measure of engagement (i.e. some bastardized quantification of caring).

As early-stage as it is, it still provides more useful metrics than download stats. Mapping individual listeners to customer purchases still needs some work, but the gap would be shorter.

The real question is – what’s the Effort/Engagement ratio of a publication like a podcast or weblog. I’m glad you’re reading this, and I’m glad you know who I am. That’s return enough for me.


“Any website that attempts to improve time spent on every page (or pageviews for that matter) is just wasting time. What matters is intent. Permission. Action. Retention. Likelihood that ideas get spread. Clickthroughs.” – Seth Godin