For starters, I’ll begin by staying this was my third year attending Podcast Movement. I’ve been with the crew since the very beginning and have made some incredible friendships with other podcasters in the community by making it a point to attend the past three shindigs. I’ll be covering what made this year special, my top 3 take aways and more. You’ll also get a recap of the “Slow Jam the Announcements” skip that had the crowd in stitches.
Underlying theme of this year’s PM: Diversity
Rarely do I attend a conference with such a diverse group of people from all walks of life. Podcast Movement has indeed been able to do something special here. Solopreneurs, science fiction fanatics and corporate executives all rubbing elbows in the back of an Uber swapping iTunes URLs. Let’s face it, it’s pretty damn hard to get 1,400 people in a room. Even harder when none of these people would ever cross paths outside of the Podshere. Which is what makes it so damn magical if you ask me.
Both PM14 and PM15 were held in Texas the past two years. Now don’t get me wrong, I love me some Texas (my ex’s live there) and mechanical bull riding rodeos, but Chi-Town was the jam. It’s a foodie paradise, shoppers dream and there was enough nightlife to keep you dancin’ until 3am. Great logistics for those traveling from the North East too. It was my first time in the Chi so maybe I’m a little biased, but I’m sure other attendees would agree.
My Top 3 Takeaways
1. Don’t talk about podcasting
It’s standard to ask people what they do at other events so I guess it would be standard to ask people what their show is when you’re at a podcast conference. Call me old and grumpy, but I kinda got sick of people asking what my show was.
Attendee: Hey man, what’s the name of your show?
Me: MicScience. You got an iPhone?
(I’m making him sub right here for asking :))
All jokes aside some of the best times I had were over coffee and Karaoke. Nobody asked either about our podcasts but we did chat about business ideas, places to eat and life back home.
2. Don’t be so rigid in what you think a podcast should be
Podcasting is very rare space right now. There are frameworks for hot shows being mimicked and genres being forged, but it’s still wide open. More executives are arriving at the party, advertisers are looking to cash in, and there are pools of undiscovered talent waiting for the right opportunity.
What does all this mean to me? The winners will be the ones who push the envelope of how podcasting is defined. That gets me jazzed! You should be too. Meg La Vu left iTunes all together. Shannon Cason may be one of the most underrated storytellers in the game. Stelli Efti is paving the way for startup founders. And they’re all doing it their way (see closing thoughts).
3. Podcasting ain’t going anywhere
As the saying goes, grab a Snickers if you’re not going anywhere for a while. I met a lot of people who are all in different verticals at this year’s conference. The were two commonalities I picked up on.
A. They see where podcasting is headed and they want in.
B. They’re already in with both and looking to push the envelope (see #2).
There was the nice woman from Deloitte (yes, Deloitte) who I got a chance to chat with in the cafe over my delicious falafel. I met Kwame from the American Negotiation Institute. Nico happen to run into Jonathan from The Good Life Project and introduced us. Again, all different industries. That’s saying something if you ask me.
Of course, no Podcast Moment would be complete without me giving a few honorable mentions (aka shout outs) to those who went above and beyond. It’s all about giving credit where credit is due.
Glynn Washington kicked things off. His keynote shed light on the back story of Snap Judgement and why he felt compelled to share stories about his neighborhood. I won’t spoil it. But the video he played almost had me in tears. It challenged what we’ve been led to believe about underprivileged urban communities in this country. It also reminded me of the duty to get this platform in front of people who have an important story to tell.
If you grew up watching Jay & Silent Bob, you already know the name Kevin Smith. I don’t need to tell the guy is hilarious, you know that. But what you may not know is that podcasting saved his career. It was an inspiring tale for anyone’s who’s ever dream to keep on fighting the good fight.
I’m not sure who came up with the idea to do a diversity panel, but it was a breath of fresh air to actually see a diverse audience show up for the occasion. What separates podcasting from many professional industries in America? Thanks to the low-barriers to entry, anyone with talent (or without) and the courage to put themselves out there have the ability to build an audience. It doesn’t matter what you look like, where you grew up or how you decide to dress. Talent reigns supreme.
I was hopping back and forth between helping out with Q&A for keynotes and didn’t get a chance to spend too much time in one single session. However, I did hang out for the diversity panel and popped in on a few others. Good thing I got that virtual ticket! Let me know in the comments which sessions delivered the most value so I can go back and watch them.
Podcasting is getting smarter
As a whole I think we’ve seen some majors moves in the industry since 2013. More people are coming in droves to see if the hype is real (we already knew it was) while others are in search of the linchpin to solidify their claim in the wild west of podcasting. Better analytics, advertising opportunities for mom and pop shows, podcast management tools… are coming to a feed near you.
You know what I love about this industry? You can’t hide. It’s way too hard to fake it. You either have talent or you don’t. I came from the entertainment business and there were a lot of fakes DJs masquerading as DJ Mag Top 100 Superstars, not here. It’s one of the very few places where the market will reward you for being 100% authentic. It’s actually your USP if you think about it.
Don’t underestimate the power of this medium
Stop looking what everyone else is doing and start going deep. In the future, I see whole curriculums being taught via podcasts networks. Internal corporate training and employee onboarding podcasts aren’t too far off either. Boutique App development solely podcast brands? You better believe it.
Special thanks to Jared Easley and Dan Franks! These guys work their arses off and most of it goes unseen behind the scenes. Please pull them aside next time you see em’ and show some love.
Catch you in Anaheim?
P.S. If you missed the “Slow Jam the Announcements” skit with Donald Kelly, Chris Murphy and I check out the video below. What’s funny is that people actually thought we went around doing this at conferences lol. Perhaps a future side hustle?
Did you attend Podcast Movement this year? Let me know your perspective in the comments.