What My Podcast Is Not

Mitch JoelPosted by

I can run off at the mouth quite a bit… especially, if you let me.

I like to talk. I like to write. It’s what I do. It’s not for everyone. If you’re reading this, maybe it is for you (who knows). I get a lot of comments about my podcast, Six Pixels of Separation. I publish it weekly. I’ve been doing it since  2006. Every week. Over four hundred and twenty episodes. I won’t be stopping any time soon. I have written about why I podcast before. I’ll sum it up for you: I podcast, because it gives me the opportunity to corner someone whose thinking I like and appreciate. I get to ask them the things that I want to ask them. I’m lucky. The popularity of the show, has allowed me to have on some really serious thinkers. And, I appreciate the hour (or so) that we spend together. I publish it for everyone to listen to. I don’t edit it. It’s the conversation as it went down. I probably get so much more out of it than they do… I probably get more out of it than anyone listening does. I’m fine with that. I’ve said it before, and I will say it again: it’s probably the most important personal development activity that I partake in. Thinking about the person that I am going to speak with, researching the areas of conversation, and then spending the time cracking open the walnut with them keeps me super inspired.

Back to those comments about the podcast.

With all of the positive accolades that the show gets (and I do appreciate them, thank you very much), I’ve had a couple of people say that I should let the guests talk more or that I spend too much time talking. Maybe I don’t make it clear enough, but this isn’t radio. The thing that I love the most about podcasting is that it’s a new medium that allows us (yes, you and I) to experiment with audio. The problem with podcasting, is that most people only have radio to benchmark it against. I don’t want my podcast to sound radio. So, my show is a jam session for business thinking and business thinkers. It’s not an interview. It’s a conversation. I don’t consider the people on the podcast as guests. I consider the people on the podcast someone that I would like to have a conversation with. I don’t write down questions. I write down things that I’d like to have a conversation about. If you want to hear these people get asked the same questions about the same things, I am sure there are tons of articles, blog posts, tv shows, radio programs and even other podcasts that people can listen to. I’m doing my best to not have there be a guest and an interviewer. I’m doing my best to inject how I am feeling and thinking, because a conversation should have two sides. A conversation should have differing opinions. A conversation should be the meeting of minds. A conversation should never be someone with a list of questions and somebody answering them.

Markets are conversations.    

That was a seminal line from the seminal book, The Cluetrain Manifesto. I wish I could say that social media really has turned brands around, and that consumers are having conversations with brands, but there’s not much of that going on. Yes, there’s back and forth. Yes, there’s a semblance of engagement. But a real conversation? Something tangible? Something that goes on? Not so much. And still, in all of that, I’d like to think that my podcast is a small embodiment of the sentiment that markets are conversations. So, yes, those comments are valid. I’ve spent over twenty five years in the marketing and media space. I have an opinion. I have a vision for what I would like to see this industry become. I work tireless in expressing that vision. I do it with the clients at Twist Image. I do it on this blog. I do it on my podcast. I do it the articles I write for Harvard Business Review, Inc. Magazine and Huffington Post. I did it in both of my business books (Six Pixels of Separation and CTRL ALT Delete). I’m going to keep on doing it. I don’t have much interest in just being a talking head who asks someone else questions.

Are we cool with that?   

I’m open to criticism. I’m fully aware that giving up an hour – every week – to listen to these conversations is a commitment. I’m ok with it. Learning takes time. Aiming for personal development is a journey. I don’t see that sort of stuff happening on Twitter and, personally, I don’t feel much substance coming out of people’s Facebook feeds. Those channels are great and they serve a real purpose, but there’s not real depth. There’s no real time to listen… quietly… alone… to think… to take notes… to agree… to disagree… to be inspired… to get mad. That’s what my podcast is there for… but it’s not ever just another interview.

I hope.