If I had a dollar, or a dime, a nickel or penny or whatever small denomination of currency you wish to use for every time I heard someone say, We should start a podcast, I would be rich enough to never need to use that dumb cliche ever again.
That phrase should win an award of some sorts because its use has become almost interchangeable for the millennial’s American Dream. Because what kind of startup do you really have if you’re not chronicling it through Soundcloud, Facebook Live or at 280 characters or less? But the truth is that starting a podcast, just like the acoustic guitar you swore you were going to teach yourself to play, it’s damn hard. Sticking with it as a hobby isn’t going to cut it.
Such was the case, but to a nuclear scale, for Gimlet Media founder Alex Blumberg, who documented the process establishing a company from scratch, and in doing so, showed the emotional rollercoaster of founding your own company. But in documenting his heartache for the world to see, he made a few things evident for those serious enough to start a company.
Most importantly, every startup needs a driving force behind it. It needs conviction; somebody to treat the company like a baby, nurture the idea, change it to reflect the world around it so that it can be successful and become a useful product. Through Bloomberg’s experience, it becomes evident that startups that do not have a team behind it willing to lose sleep, starve and give up the roof over their head, it will be doomed before a finished product ever sees the light of day.
When formulating a startup and having the gall to pitch your idea to somebody with much more money than you in hopes they hand over some of that sweet, sweet capital one of the best things to convey is fear of missing out, or FOMO. FOMO creates a sense of urgency that your investor will be missing out at a unique opportunity at investing in the next silicon valley startup.
Although, what became apparent in Bloomberg’s search for funding was exactly how hard it can be to convince people to give them your money.
Because, obviously, any request for a lucrative amount of money is going to be met with a degree of pushback, so to maximize the probability of earning funds will come from a strong, short, clean pitch. You must explain why you — and only you — are positioned to be successful and why you’re better than anyone else. Determine your end game? Do you get bought from a bigger company?
Do you stand by your own?
3 thoughts on “Let’s start a startup (actually, let’s not and say we did)”
Everyone loves to podcast recently. My friend’s boyfriend is apparently starting a podcast, and I’ve only heard him speak for less than a minute at a time!
But in all seriousness, the StartUp podcast was really eye-opening because it showed how much work it was to start a lucrative, successful business. In a way, Alex Blumberg and Gimlet gained notoriety because he had the idea to make content for his new company ABOUT starting his new company. He introduced podcasts to many new listeners in 2014 and his brand became synonymous with the rise of streaming audio.
Love your intro. I’ve heard COUNTLESS people say, “I’m going to start a podcast about ______”. People look at podcasts as an easy feat. It’s just talking, right? But there is so much that goes into it, and you’re right. It must be nurtured. It isn’t just something you do in your free time – it’s something you must do at ALL times. The StartUp podcast showed just how much goes into something like this, and while it instilled a sense of fear in me, it also gave me hope. You don’t have to have all the answers, you just have to try.
Casey, I completely agree that there is nothing more imperative to a startup’s success than being willing to lay it all on the line. Blumberg makes this really clear, and it’s definitely not a career choice for the faint of heart.
He also really made it clear that, while money is so important, money can come from a lot of places. It’s not worth it to give away half your company or sell your soul for an investor. Especially in the early stages, it takes a lot of work to grow a business. His success with Gimlet is just one example of how it’s all about commitment. I’d love to say I’d have the tenacity to start a podcast, or anything for that matter, but I’m with you – let’s not and say we did.