Podcast Platforms with Zach Moreno and Deirdre Tshien - Episode 3

Podcast Platforms with Zach Moreno and Deirdre Tshien

The Chris Hood Digital Show
Podcast Platforms with Zach Moreno and Deirdre Tshien
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Podcasting has come a long way since its humble beginnings in the early 2000s. This digital medium that emerged from sharing audio files online has grown exponentially over the last two decades. Now, it is an integral part of our everyday lives. The past few years have witnessed massive growth in podcasting platforms, offering diverse content to users worldwide. 

On this week’s episode of The Chris Hood Digital Show, Zach Moreno, CEO and Co-Founder of SquadCast.fm, and Deirdre Tshien, CEO and Co-Founder of Capsho, sit down with Chris to discuss entrepreneurship, AI in media, and the growth of podcasting platforms.

The Podcasting Platform Boom

The growth of podcasting platforms can be attributed to various factors, including technological advancements, the ease of content creation, the recent changes to remote work, and the rising demand for on-demand content. People continuously seek ways to consume information and entertainment in more accessible and digestible formats. With their unique blend of storytelling, information dissemination, and entertainment, podcasts fit the bill perfectly.

Podcasting platforms have evolved with the changing needs of users. Platforms like Apple Podcasts and Spotify have made it easy for content creators to distribute their podcasts, while platforms like SquadCast and Capsho have reduced the barrier to entry to create new podcast content. This increased availability and accessibility have resulted in a surge of content and listeners, with an estimated 500 million podcast listeners worldwide in 2023.

The Role of Technology

One of the most significant drivers of the growth in podcasting platforms is the role of technology. The widespread adoption of smartphones and the ubiquity of mobile internet has made it convenient for users to access podcasts anytime, anywhere. 

Moreover, improvements in cloud recording and editing tools have made it easier for content creators to produce high-quality podcasts. This ease of content creation has allowed more people to enter the podcasting space, resulting in a diverse range of voices and topics available to listeners.

The emergence of artificial intelligence (AI) has had a profound impact on various industries, and podcasting is no exception. AI has the potential to revolutionize podcasting in several ways, making it an essential aspect to consider when discussing the growth of podcasting platforms.

We use the technology in order to enhance what it is that makes us more human. We want to be able to save time so that we can actually spend that time being more creative and doing things that make us more creative, whether that’s spending more time with family or doing hobbies or anything else. That’s the stuff that juices our creativity, which then goes back in the cycle of creating better content. – Deirdre Tshien.

Improved Audio Quality: AI-powered algorithms can enhance audio quality by reducing background noise, improving speech clarity, and adjusting volume levels. These improvements make podcasts more enjoyable to listen to and make it easier for creators to produce high-quality content without investing in expensive equipment.

Automated Transcriptions and Accessibility: AI has significantly improved the quality and speed of automated transcriptions. Many podcast platforms now offer transcriptions alongside audio content, making podcasts more accessible to individuals with hearing impairments or those who prefer reading. Transcriptions also make it easier for search engines to index podcast content, increasing discoverability and driving growth.

Voice Synthesis and Voice Cloning: AI-driven voice synthesis and voice cloning technologies enable the creation of realistic, human-like voices for podcasts. This technology can narrate podcasts, create engaging characters, or even produce entire episodes using synthesized voices, opening up new content creation and storytelling possibilities.

“I think it’s also fascinating that all of the predictions were that the creative fields were going to be the harder stuff for AI to tackle. And we’re seeing it kind of play out in reverse, where a lot of the business stuff, like Bing is going to create my PowerPoint for me, is much harder to do.” – Zach Moreno

The Human Elements of Podcasting Platforms

At the heart of the podcasting phenomenon lies the human element – the innate desire to connect, share stories, and learn from one another. Podcasts offer an intimate and personal listening experience that fosters a deep connection between the creator and the listener.

Storytelling and Empathy: Podcasts allow creators to share their stories, experiences, and perspectives in a way that fosters empathy and understanding. This storytelling format encourages listeners to step into the shoes of the creator or the subject, fostering a strong emotional connection and promoting a sense of community.

Authenticity and Vulnerability: Podcasts provide a platform for creators to be authentic and vulnerable, sharing their thoughts, feelings, and experiences without the constraints of traditional media. This authenticity enables listeners to connect with the creator more personally, building trust and loyalty.

The Power of Voice: The human voice is a powerful tool for communication and connection. Unlike text or video, listening to a podcast allows the listener to focus solely on the creator’s voice and message, free from visual distractions. This intimate experience can create a strong bond between the creator and the listener as they share thoughts, ideas, and emotions through the power of audio.

“The reason why podcasting is such a powerful medium is because you can’t get any more intimate, really, right. You can’t get closer to the brain than the ears.” – Deirdre Tshien

The Future of Podcasting Platforms

The growth of podcasting platforms shows no signs of slowing down, and the future of this medium is bright. Here are some key trends that are likely to shape the podcasting landscape in the coming years:

  1. Integration with Smart Devices: With the growing popularity of smart speakers and voice-activated devices, podcast platforms will likely integrate to offer a seamless listening experience. This integration will make podcasts even more accessible, and further drive their popularity.
  2. AI-driven Content Discovery: As the number of podcasts grows, platforms must invest in AI-driven content discovery to help listeners find shows that align with their interests. Personalized recommendations and curated playlists will play a critical role in assisting users in navigating the vast sea of content available on podcasting platforms.
  3. Greater Focus on Local Content: As podcasting platforms expand globally, there will be a growing demand for local content that caters to regional tastes and cultures. Platforms must invest in promoting and supporting local creators to capture the attention of diverse audiences worldwide.
  4. Podcast Exclusivity and Original Content: As the competition among podcasting platforms intensifies, platforms will increasingly seek exclusive content deals with popular creators and produce original podcasts to differentiate themselves from competitors. This trend is already visible with Spotify’s exclusive deals with popular podcasters like Joe Rogan and the launch of original shows by Apple Podcasts.
  5. Enhanced Interactivity and Engagement: Podcast platforms will continue to explore new ways to make the listening experience more interactive and engaging. Features like live podcasting, audience participation, and real-time feedback could become more common, bridging the gap between creators and listeners and fostering community.

“Indie creators are essentially bootstrap startups in a different arena. The amount of work is very similar but that’s where I think the barrier to entry has been lowered for podcasting.” – Zach Moreno.

The growth of podcasting platforms has transformed how we consume audio content, offering a versatile and easily accessible medium that caters to diverse interests and needs. As technology evolves and user preferences change, podcasting platforms must adapt and innovate to maintain their momentum. The future of podcasting is undoubtedly bright, and it will be fascinating to witness how this digital renaissance unfolds in the years to come.

Transcript

Chris Hood
00:00:00
Hey, everyone, great to have you listening. I started podcasting about eight years ago and since then there has been a massive change in how we produce, promote and grow podcast. With a 23 and a half year over year growth, it’s estimated that there will be over 500 million podcast listeners worldwide by the end of this year. And as of March 2023, there are over 5 million podcasts with 70 million episodes between them. Joining me today is Zach Moreno, co founder and CEO of SquadCast, and Deidre Tshien, co founder and CEO of Capsho. To discuss entrepreneurship and the rapid growth of podcasting platforms to support the show, visit ChrisHood.com show subscribe to the show on your favorite podcast platform, follow us on social media, or you can email me directly [email protected] I’m Chris Hood and let’s get connected.

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[VOICE OVER]
00:00:59
Connecting Access granted, it’s The Chris Hood Digital Show, where global business and technology leaders meet to discuss strategy, innovation, and digital acceleration. 54321 your digital evolution starts now. Here’s your host, Chris Hood.

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Chris Hood
00:01:30
Welcome to the show. I am so excited about today’s topic because it’s around something I’m passionate about and of course, something that you are currently listening to, podcasting. And we have two incredible guests to join us today to discuss this, so let’s get right into it. Zach, would you mind sharing a little bit about yourself and SquadCast?

Zach Moreno
00:01:51
Happy to and happy to be on the show again. Thanks, Chris. I’m the co founder and CEO of SquadCast FM. We’re a cloud recording studio for professional content creators and we have deep roots in getting our start with the podcasting community and expanding to video and YouTube and audiobooks and all of those things sort of like zoom on the surface, but way much higher quality recordings. And we have some unique technology that is patented that helps us deliver on that value proposition. So been at it close to seven years now and really stoked to collaborate and partner with folks like Deirdre and yourself. So thanks again for having me on today.

Chris Hood
00:02:28
Yes, and I have used SquadCast now for two years, I think, and we’re recording this episode right now with SquadCast, so it’s awesome. Deirdre, would you mind introducing yourself and sharing a little bit about Capsho?

Deirdre Tshien
00:02:41
Yeah, thanks for having me here, Chris. I’m super stoked about this conversation. So, Deirdre Tshien, I am the CEO and co founder of Capsho. Capsho is an AI powered podcast content writer. So essentially our users upload their audio file and in under ten minutes, we create title description, show notes, social media, captions, email, blog post, LinkedIn article, YouTube description. We pull out quotes, full transcript, all the things that a podcaster needs to amplify their voice and message.

Chris Hood
00:03:10
That is awesome. I can’t wait to dive into that. And what’s interesting, and I think maybe this is where we’re going to start because we’ve positioned this episode as podcasting platforms and so there’s a lot of people in my audience that are business focused. And if we think about a business that is trying to understand both of your technologies and what it really means to them, what would we tell them?

Deirdre Tshien
00:03:37
What it means to them? Yeah. So from our perspective, it’s very much about getting time back. Podcasting is hands down, I think, the best medium for you to grow that know like and trust. There’s debates about how effective it is in terms of generating leads and stuff. I myself, I started podcasting when I was a coach a couple of years ago, and it was the reason why I was able to do multiple six figures in my coaching business because of podcasting. So I’m a big believer in this medium in generating leads, in building know like and trust with your audience, so that by the time it becomes a no brainer for them to just buy into you, they’ve already bought into you with their time and their ears. It’s that one step further to buy into you with their money. And it’s just such a natural step to take. So, first of all, super pumped about this space and what it can do for businesses. And I think that with the advent of tools like Capsho, like SquadCast, like all of the others that we see coming into the space it really is to solve the problem of podcasting can take some time. Like if you’re not using these tools, if you’re not using SquadCast, your recording quality is going to be a lot lower than it should be. And that affects things like how long a listener how long you retain a listener for, but even how a listener even just wants to listen to you in the first place, if that makes sense. Like if in the first two minutes you don’t have audio quality, it is really hard for someone to stick with you. So things like SquadCast makes so much easier. And where we fit in is we want to make the whole copy part of publishing and post publishing that much simpler for people. We’re not 100%, it’s AI, so we’re never going to profess to be, but we’ll get you 70, 80% of the way there. You put your tweaks, your tone of voice overlays on it, and you have literally all those assets I rattled off, like at your fingertips, ready to go. And that is powerful in terms of because I struggled growing my podcast. So to get the word out there about your podcast, and importantly about what it is that you stand for, about your message, your brand, all of that, we’ve made it so much easier.

Zach Moreno
00:05:56
Yeah, and thank you for those kind words about SquadCast, Audrey. We feel the same about Capsho and I think quality is at the core of our focus at SquadCast. Our mission is to amplify collaboration. So we’re big on helping creators have those connections and not need to worry about the technology and feel that confidence that the quality is going to be there so that your post production AI can be that much more accurate. You can reach your audience that much faster with services like Deirdre’s. And I think we think of the platform, how we use it is in two real different ways. There’s the conversation as a platform which our technology can build interesting things on top of. Like to Deirdre’s point about the amount of time this can take, if you had to record the audio for your show and then record separate videos, that’s like double the work right there. Just in time, then how many iterations are you going to do on that in post production? Right? So that’s even more time. With SquadCast, you hit the same button, you get more files, you get the audio and the video, and it’s the same conversation at the core of it. I think that that emphasis on just kind of forgetting about it, but then getting the higher quality to work with for your audience. A lot has been said in podcasting about intimacy and how this is a very deep connection with our audience. Because our ears are so sensitive, we’re kind of to put on headphones or listen to something is to kind of focus on that. Even if they’re passed through or you’re in the car or something, you’re focusing a very sensitive sense. Like our ears are much more sensitive than our eyes are. And that’s why 30 frames per second versus 48 khz, right? Like this is something where our eyes are a little more forgiving. When it comes to the quality that we’re watching, our ears are far less. And I think that that intimacy is a big part and at the core of what a podcast can do in terms of audience connection over that feed, it just doesn’t come for free. And that’s when I think the quality can really become a distraction. If you have poor quality audio, it’s going to take you more time to fix and post when you can be using that time to your advantage to connect with your audience or add more production value. So I think there’s a number of benefits to focusing on the quality. You get that intimacy, you don’t squander that relationship with your audience, and you really are showing them that you care about their experience consuming your product. And that’s where I think those connections get even deeper.

Chris Hood
00:08:22
You both touched on the technology aspect of this and obviously the technological advancements we’ve seen over the course of the last just two years have completely transformed podcasting. When I produced my first podcast, we had no SquadCast, we had no AI tools available easily to be able to generate content for us. How has technology impacted these elements that we’re talking about? How are you thinking about that in both of your businesses?

Deirdre Tshien
00:08:55
So obviously, we are powered by AI that’s core to our offer and what we do. We were the first actually in the podcasting space we launched nine months ago. We went live and obviously since then, the likes of Chat GPT and has just really blown up what we know about AI, which is awesome. And since then, I’ve had to really think long and hard about what it is that our stance is in this AI space. Because it’s very easy to just think about the technology and lose sight of what it is. That where it is that humans, fundamentally, who we like, creators, play a part in that being in the AI space, we needed to take a stance. It’s like, okay, are we going to be one of those AI? It’s about the technology. And it’s like, hey, you can do everything with AI. You can script your podcast, you can get an AI voice, you can do all of these things. And we had to be like, no, the beauty about what it is that we do in terms of Capsho is that we use AI. We use the technology in order to enhance what it is that makes us more human, right? We want to be able to save time so that we can actually spend that time being more creative and doing things that make us more creative, whether that’s spending more time with family or doing hobbies or anything else. That’s the stuff that juices our creativity, which then goes back in the cycle of creating better content. And so when we think about our role from an AI platform perspective, it’s how is it that we can I call it and it takes a bit of you have to I have to spell it out, but it’s like we’re in this humanity era, right? This humanity, but with AI in it humanity era, where it’s like the humans and AI, how do we play together, in a way? And it’s like, fundamentally, as the creators, as humans, we need to be the ones. It’s our voice, it’s our expertise, it’s our experiences, it’s our stories that is us. Where AI then plays a part, and definitely where Capsho plays a part is just we kind of take hold of that and we amplify it. So I get this question asked all the time. What’s the difference between Capsho and chat? GPT Chat GPT is a general AI. It will just you ask it questions and it will go out into all of the data up until 2021, and it’ll bring back an answer for you. We’re a specialist AI, right? We focus very much on your content, which is all about your stories, your expertise, your voice, like, all of that. And that’s what we create content for. So when I say we amplify your voice and message, that’s what I actually mean. Like, Capsho, amplifies what it is that you put into it. And even the way that we’re about to actually launch Capsho 2.0 next week, at the time of this recording and it’s so exciting. And we actually rebuilt the way that users interact with Capsho because of this philosophy. So we’ve made it so much more customizable, way more flexible. It is in the hands of the creator. Like they control all the aspects of the content that they want to put out there. AI just makes it gives them that really solid first draft again anchored in their content to be able to then really supercharge that so they can be more human.

Zach Moreno
00:12:07
I think it’s similar for us and AI comes to life in our product in a number of different ways, but just advanced technologies in general. We’ve been pushing it with our recording engine. I mentioned our patent. We’re extending that even further with progressive rendering. The philosophy is very similar at SquadCast, where we try to get out of the way and not distract, and we try to connect real people and make it as close to reality as possible. Which is why our conversation provider on SquadCast is using some technology from our friends at Dolby because we felt that the quality gets you as close to the real life conversation as possible. With things like Spatial Audio, which is some of their AI fancy footwork. So I think that what we focus on is like providing creators with that human connection so that they’re not having to worry. There’s a ton of anxiety. Is a black box. Am I going to get my recordings after I click stop? And I think that’s another area where we’re proud at SquadCast to serve our creators with. Having pushed that boundary of the reliability forward in a number of ways, introducing things like backups and just progressive upload in general is much more bulletproof if the power goes out or something like that. And I think that in terms of enhancements to the points that Deirdre made is we have some of those capabilities too, to do things like loudness normalization and background noise reduction. These are all things that you can do nondestructively after you’ve recorded with just a second version of your file that has been enhanced with your settings. So it’s very human in the loop. Yes, there’s AI doing that signal processing to remove your dog from barking at that really important moment or just get your s’s a little softer and you and your guests sounding like you’re at the same level. We probably all listen to podcasts where the host is coming in at one volume and the guest sounds like they’re like a million miles away on a cell phone in a train. I think that that’s something that you can do. You can totally record from that train on SquadCast, but I think that the quality is going to be the focus there. So we can’t build AI that’s going to change your soundscape environment, but we can do things with tooling and controls after and post production to save you a ton of time, so you’re not having to fiddle around with Adobe Audition or Pro Tools presets and stuff like that. And when your file is the source of it is really that human connection. I think the technology just serves to enhance and amplify it thereafter. So it’s kind of like the right tool at the right step of the workflow. And at our step of the workflow, when we’re here in the SquadCast Cloud recording studio, it’s about the people. And yes, you should be able to get to your microphone settings if you need to adjust them. But we do a lot of things in our design work to make sure that we’re not introducing distractions.

Chris Hood
00:14:56
You both touched on it, the human element. And I think this is actually fascinating because if we really dissect it, even us as humans, as we engage with content, whether it’s watching or listening, we are now so quick to question if what we are listening to is real. So exactly to your point, whether it’s AI or whether is this a real conversation or has this been deep faked in some way? And the human element is so critical in building, basically in business and building loyalty and trust and connectedness. So the fact that we are talking about the human element of the technology is definitely something that I talk about a lot that we can’t lose and we have to keep a firm grasp of in order to be really successful with our listeners or customers.

Deirdre Tshien
00:15:55
I could not agree more. I am waiting, Chris, I did ask you if you’re going to use a video and you said maybe not. So I’m waiting for the deep fake video to come out. You just got us with the soundscapes that you’re going to find underwater or something. But yeah, I could not agree more in terms of and Zach touched on this, that intimacy part. The reason why podcasting is such a powerful medium is because you can’t get any more intimate, really, right. You can’t get closer to the brain than the ears. And it is such a nuanced. Sound is so nuanced in terms of pitch and undulations or all of that. And that is actually what connects us. In my first podcast, I remember when I asked a new client who’d signed up to my coaching program and I was asking her how she found out about us and was through the podcast, and she’s like, yeah, I listen to you so much that my three year old daughter is now speaking with an Australian accent. But it’s things like that where you kind of go, there is so much power in how it is that we sound. And when we make mistakes, when there is a little bit of arms and we do kind of stumble like, that is human. That’s the human part of us and that’s the bit that we connect to each other. We don’t want to be following. And listening to someone who’s like absolutely perfect, because it’s like, well, that’s A, that’s never attainable for us as again, as humans, but B, that’s just not fun. We want to see our idols and people that we follow make mistakes and things like that. So yeah, I think that the more that we can hold on to the human part, especially in podcasting, which is such a again, I’m a big fan of the medium itself. I think the more that we can hold back what’s potentially coming if anyone buys into the Dystopian view of AI, singularity, all of that, I have a Dystopian view of AI and as much as possible that we can hold that back by being more human in all of these things, then the better.

Zach Moreno
00:18:01
I think it’s also fascinating that all of the predictions were that the creative fields were going to be the harder stuff for AI to tackle. And we’re seeing it kind of play out in reverse, where a lot of the businessy stuff, this Bing thing, is going to create my PowerPoint for me. Now, that came after Mid journey. And Chris, I mean, you get the credit for being the first to show me Mid Journey. It just happened to be when we were together in Anaheim. We’ve been living through a pretty magical moment here with kind of the awakening of more general. I don’t think we’re too AGI yet by any imagination, but it’s starting to feel a bit more general, right? And that’s both concerning because these are very powerful technologies. But at the end of the day, it does come back to the people. Like we’ve all been saying in this conversation, technology is inert. It’s the people who make decisions with that technology to do good or bad things with it, who are at the center of it, similar to the debate on firearms or other things, right? There’s a person making a choice and I think that that’s where these agents extend that ability. But they’re a tool. And the human story has always been about the evolution of tools. And that’s how I think about technology just at its core is that fire a stick. And here we are on SquadCast and Capsho many, many years later, using more powerful tools that help us do more in less time, being productive, increasing GDP, all of that stuff. That was one of the fascinating things with the Svb banking collapse that I think came out, is just we forget how much GDP technology companies contribute to our whole nation’s growth. I’m proud to be part of that.

Chris Hood
00:19:39
So we talk about tools and at the beginning of the episode, I mentioned a stat. There’s roughly 500 million people worldwide listening to podcast. And if we think about that number and we think about all the tools and technologies and the platforms that are being built around podcasting, do either of you see a correlation with the ease of getting into the industry and the consumption of podcasting.

Deirdre Tshien
00:20:06
Yeah, I can’t say I’ve specifically thought about this question, so it’s a good one to try to wrap my head around right now, but just by nature of the fact that when there’s more content and there’s more people talking about it, then naturally there’s going to be more people who are curious. They find their first thing and then their second thing and it kind of snowballs from there. So I think there is a natural cause and effect relationship there. I just think as well, it’s kind of like any platform, really. When Instagram started and Facebook and now TikTok, it does need a bit of time to gain a bit of traction, but then very quickly there’s like an exponential uptake in it. So podcasting has been a little bit slower than these social media platforms, but I think it’s kind of the same thing. We’re hitting that point of like it’s absolutely taking off by way of listeners.

Chris Hood
00:21:00
If we think about something like YouTube, which is a platform that generated a mass amount of influencers, and YouTube stars, and now we’re seeing individuals like we’ll say, Joe Rogan, who are making massive amounts of money by podcasting, maybe there’s an influencer perspective that we’re seeing now. It’s easier to build podcasts, so I think I can be successful at it. I’m going to go do it as well.

Zach Moreno
00:21:27
Yeah, we’ve seen a momentum towards making podcasting easier and lowering the barrier to entry, and we’re proud at Squadcast to play a part in that. But I think coming back to the humanity of it, I mean, we’ve done experiments and there are other people in the other products in the podcasting space that do things like an async interview where you can pre record your questions or maybe you have a deep fake follow up question or something like this. It wasn’t human. It wasn’t human enough and it resulted in weird things and I know people who use that and it’s fine, it’s got its place, but I think that’s where we’ve seen experiments happen and also not work. I think that needs to be okay. That’s something that’s very core to the culture of startups in Silicon Valley. And I think podcasting being a medium born of the Internet and technology is a big part of that. Social media is its own platform and these influencers are the apps that are installed on top of them and they’re the ones who create meaningful, engaging experiences on these platforms for other people to engage with, much like the App Store did post iPhone. So I think that we’re in an interesting time because we’re also just got recent news that Chat GPT is adding plugins and SquadCast being the first, the only in our cloud recording studio category to have a public API. We’re absolutely going to plug into that. We’re on the waitlist. We’re stoked about getting that up and that’ll be really interesting to see what happens there. I think as another experiment, nobody knows if that’s going to work, but it does feel like this might be kind of another App Store moment. And a lot of people built a lot of really cool things on top of the iPhone and that’s still playing out. I mean, these are relatively recent experiences and devices still in terms of human history. So I think there’s a lot of creativity that will be expressed creators as apps on top of social as a platform, I think is a really cool way to think about it because then what is a collaboration between two creators, right? It’s a partnership similar to how Capsho and SquadCast have done webinars and created content and cool stuff for our creators together. So that’s where I think these are very exciting times. And yeah, Joe Rogan is just like the killer app, unfortunately.

Chris Hood
00:23:38
So let’s go back into our personal lives. What got you into podcasting and how did that influence your platforms that you both built?

Deirdre Tshien
00:23:48
I actually forget about this, but I actually attempted I tried podcasting for the very first time. Gosh, I think it would have been like 2017 or something. And it was incredibly complicated to try to work out. Like, I did not understand it, so I gave up. I did buy a microphone and then I just couldn’t figure out how to use it, how to do anything else. So that was like my first attempt. I forget that I tried to do that, but meaningfully. I actually going to podcasting. Not that long ago, like two to three years ago, I had just transitioned from an agency business to a coaching business, helping in digital marketing, actually helping ecommerce businesses. And all the experts say if you are in the coaching space or some kind of expert space, you’ve got to have a podcast because that’s just the best way to find your voice, but also to actually build a message and a platform. And so that’s why I got started podcasting. And it was a little bit of a I still hadn’t figured any of the editing stuff out. Luckily, there were more tools. So back to what you were saying before, Chris. Yes. Being able to access better tools has made it so much easier. So I did not give up just after actually, I think I had one episode back then, but I gave up. So I did not give up after just one, which is great. And it was actually the way that I built my coaching business. Because growing a podcast is like growing a business. You have to put all of the same marketing efforts into it. You have to be leveraging a lot of the same platforms. And it was through that process I was like, wow, this is a lot harder than it looks. How do I actually try to make this simpler for myself? And that’s really how Capsho came about.

Zach Moreno
00:25:31
We see the same parallels. We’ve talked a lot on our podcast between two mics, the remote recording show. My co founder Rock and I have talked a lot about this very topic where there are a lot of parallels between content creators. Indie creators are essentially bootstrap startups in a different arena. But to your point, Deirdre, the amount of work is very similar and that’s where I think the barrier to entry has been lowered. But the work was significant to start out with. I mentioned my co founder, Rock. He actually got me into podcasting as a listener back when I was in high school and he was in college. And I stayed that way for a long time because I just have a really insatiable addiction to learning new things and I like to go deep very quickly on a topic that I just found this morning or something like that. And I found that podcasting is the most efficient way to kind of go from zero to 60 on a topic because of the level of expertise and then the editing and crafting of this conversation that we get to consume is really efficient in that way. And it wasn’t until years later where I kind of wanted to do a startup and then gave up and was like, couldn’t come up with ideas that would stick, I would basically kill them all very rigorously, very quickly. And it wasn’t until I took a step back and was like, I need to get out of my comfort zone and create something in a new medium. And I wanted to do a science fiction audio drama because I had recently discovered that their fiction wasn’t really a thing in podcasting until around 2016. And that just blew my mind. Like, imagine if you were to walk into a bookstore and it was all nonfiction, so it’s like this whole other side to the coin that just seemed like it was completely untapped and it made perfect sense because of radio dramas and things like that that we’ve seen in the past. Really compelling creative experiences created that way. That’s where I made the jump from listener to creative. And we kind of assumed because in 2016, podcasting had been around for a little while at that point, we assumed that our problem was kind of a solved problem, that remote recording had to be a thing because podcasting had been around for a while. Surely somebody would have created something that made this easy and high quality. And we just kept not finding the answer and being really disappointed by the previous attempts of the technology that kind of preceded SquadCast. So that’s where honestly, it stopped us in our tracks. We were like, okay, we’re not going to do this. I’m going to do some other creative project. And then about a week later, I started to see that that was an opportunity to build something new, that had a focus on recording quality for people. Who didn’t have the luxury of being in the same room. And my co founder and I both had been exposed to remote work, and I have a creative background, having gone to art school and built a bunch of stuff. So it was kind of obvious to us that these two things would kind of intersect and that there would be more creators needing to connect from more places. Like, you’re going to run out of guests in your city eventually, and you’re going to need to connect with people in Australia and all over the world. And the more we can connect these people, the more that we get this rich improvisation of these conversations that you didn’t necessarily know where you were going to end up when you started that conversation, like we’re doing right now.

Chris Hood
00:28:43
I love the library bookstore analogy. Actually, I thought of an idea a couple of days ago. I haven’t done enough research on it, but I want to do a Choose Your Own Adventure podcast where the listeners get to decide what the next episode is. And I think the parallels that you’re saying between building a business and building content is exactly right. The number one comment that I often hear is, oh, it’s a podcast. That’s pretty easy. Let’s put one together. Are you kidding me? No, it’s not that easy.

Zach Moreno
00:29:16
Yeah, try it for ten minutes and.

Chris Hood
00:29:19
Get back to me, and so on that we’ve all been through this journey together in various stages. What are some of the lessons you’ve personally learned in building your companies and producing podcasts?

Deirdre Tshien
00:29:34
Oh, wow, so many. Where do I even start? Okay, well, why don’t I start with something that’s pretty topical, which is what happens maybe in an entrepreneurship journey when it feels like you’re kind of blindsided by this huge event that happens and then the increased competition that comes off the back of that. So that’s like, for me, very topical. For context. We went live with CapSho mid July last year, so 2022, and then basically Chat GPT came out gosh, January, February, around about that time. And I was actually really excited. So I’m an optimist, so I always see the good and I’m like, oh, yes, finally we don’t have to educate people on AI anymore. They’re doing all that for us. And then I remember going to a meet up, a local meet up here in Austin, and I was just having a really nice chat with someone and then they mentioned Chat GPT and I’m like, yeah, have you started using it’s amazing. And she kind of, like, taps me on the shoulder. She’s like, It’s okay, competition happens to everyone. And I’m like, what do you mean competition? And I was like and that’s kind of what started this spiral of me going like, is it competition? What’s going to happen to us? And I kind of came out of that stronger by way of having clarity around the important things, clarity around who it is that we serve first and foremost and our position in the space and what it is that we do. We’re big fans of Chat GPT, but since then, obviously, there’s been a lot more, I guess you could call them direct competitors in the space. A lot more content or copywriters in the podcasting space. And I get the same kind of immediate responses when I find out about anyone, which is like, oh no, what’s this going to mean? And even recently, for example, they’re using the same terminology as us, they’re literally using the same stories and the same points of view. And I’m like, you know what, they say that imitation is the best form of flattery. So I’m going to take it that way because I know that they’re on my list, I know that they follow our emails, I know that they’ve been following two pointer. A lot of them are trying to beat us with some of to the punch with some of the things that we’re rolling out. Soon all of this is happening and it’s like there’s a part of me that just kind of wants to curl up in a corner and hide away from the world. Just be like, why did I decide to do this? This is too hard, all that. But I think there’s a bigger part of me that believes in what it is that we’re doing and how we’re doing it. That is like, no, we stay true to who we are, we stay true to who we again, the same thing as who we serve, what our position is and what it is that we’re doing. And that ultimately should just drive us all the time, always as entrepreneurs or creators.

Zach Moreno
00:32:21
I really appreciate you keeping it real, Deirdre. We have a similar story, but for us it was COVID and a bunch of copycats because now every software needs to be remote, collaborative. So who did what first? Look it up. Yeah, I think that that’s where it’s validating. But to answer your question, from my perspective, Chris is really listening. I mean, it’s kind of counterintuitive because podcasting, we tend to think of people speaking for a living, being professional, communicators, but again, there’s a whole nother side to that coin, right? Like listening. And we are really big on listening to the creators that we serve. We have a tremendous gift being in podcasting that they speak for a living and they’re fairly articulate and know how to communicate. So we focus on listening and being a recording platform, right? Our platform focuses on listening when you want us to, when you control it. And I think that that’s where, again, it’s very human in our intentions of listening and kind of getting out of the way and building what people find value in and helps them create value for their audience. Because again, these are like startups. So we focus on that aspect of what we create is listening to these creators and having a dialogue and building tools that help build things for their listeners.

Chris Hood
00:33:38
I’ve had the privilege of knowing Zach and his co founder Rock for a few years now. We’ve met several times, and I can’t state enough how much they care about their customers. In this point of listening, it’s one of the things that I drive often, is you have to understand what your customers want in order to be able to deliver something of value to them. And I think that is a huge point for any entrepreneur out there to constantly be aware of, is not just what is your idea and how are you going to differentiate that idea into the marketplace, but also how are you going to be able to meet the needs and expectations of your customers. And you have to be able to continuously reset and listen to what they have to say in order to be successful. Thank you both. I truly appreciate your time, your perspectives. It’s been absolutely an honor and an incredible conversation.

Deirdre Tshien
00:34:39
Thank you. It’s been a privilege to be on.

Zach Moreno
00:34:41
Yes, and really appreciate your kind words there at the end. Chris this has been a fun conversation.

Chris Hood
00:34:47
And thanks to all of you who are listening. If you liked what you heard, please subscribe to the show on your favorite podcast platform and leave a review. Your feedback helps us improve, grow and reach a wider audience. If you have any questions, comments or ideas for the show, you can connect with us throughout social media and online at ChrisHoodShow or ChrisHood.com. And please share this episode with your friends, family, colleagues, or anyone else looking to grow their business and start their digital evolution. Until next week, take care and stay connected.
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