A few weeks ago I received an email from someone telling me they’d just finished the whole season of the Tickets podcast.
There’s a mix of gratitude, pride, and slight trepidation in knowing someone has invested their time into something you’ve designed and created.
In this case, it involved 10+ hours of their time and a closeness and intimacy to the work that the direct voice of podcasting is rare in providing.
Having done a lot of live events and consulting work of late it also reminded me of the value of creating something that is able to live forever. It’s out there, anyone can access it, and it’ll stay out there, available, until I decide I no longer want that to be the case.
That’s empowering, and a little scary too.
This post is a summary of the 16 episodes of the podcast series I started in New York in the long Winter of 2017/18.
In the Spring of 1987, a group of music fans and journalists organized a small live event in Austin, Texas. They were pleasantly surprised by its success – around 700 people showed up.
That first edition of South by SouthWest has become a 10 day conference and festival with over 28,000 attendees heading to Austin each March.
It’s now one of the most recognised and respected live events on the planet, and its core tracks of music, film, technology and education inform as well as reflect what’s happening in modern culture.
Today on Tickets I’m joined by Todd Hansen, SXSW’s head of conference programming.
In this conversation, Todd shares insights into the programming team’s process, what makes for a compelling keynote, and how to handle one of the world’s most famous entrepreneurs showing up at 1 day’s notice. We also reminisce about a surprise gig from a member of purple royalty straight out of Todd’s hometown of Minneapolis.
I’ve learned a lot from creating a podcast series: from asking good questions and improving my spoken delivery; to sales, marketing, and audio engineering.
As much as podcasts are a hot trend right now and plenty of people are jumping on podcasting in part because of that, I do genuinely believe there are many skills that can be built by getting involved in podcasting. So much so, I’d like to see every school include podcasts on the curriculum.
One of my earlier learning curves in starting my podcast was figuring out what equipment I needed, especially as I was working on tight a budget (this was a side project after all, and I’m a lean startup kinda guy...)
After a couple of early recordings using just my laptop’s mic (surprisingly passable, but only just), I invested in a more robust setup which I still use today.
My main point of reference for deciding on my podcast gear ended up being this Kit list from Tim Ferriss. I didn’t buy the whole lot from this selection but it definitely helped me figure out how high-end I needed to go to get the results I wanted.
After being asked a few times of late what I use and how I got set up, here’s a quick post covering my podcast gear, as well as some background on how I edit and publish.
I’ll put together a follow-up on distribution and marketing too.
And if you’ve got any questions on any of this feel free to drop me a line!
Over the last 10 years Adobe’s annual 99U conference has captured the imaginations of creative thinkers from around the world through its 2 day programme of talks, workshops and collaborations, featuring a who’s who of both industry leaders and rising talent.
And alongside the New York conference, 99U has now grown into a year-round online resource for building a creative career.
Today on Tickets I’m joined by Adobe’s Head of 99U Andrea Rosen.
In this conversation we talk about the future of work, how anybody can tap into their own creativity, and where to find some hidden opportunities for creative innovation.
02:30 The beginnings of 99U
08:00 The secret sauce in the conference production
11:00 What 99U’s audience are gravitating to in 2019
19:00 Creativity: lowercase and capital case thinking
29:00 Creatives taking a seat at the strategy table
34:00 Andrea’s favourite talks from 99U
42:00 Why now for ‘the creative future’ at 99U in 2019
Spend some time around the world of startups and it probably won’t be long until you hear someone mention the term startup studio.
It’s recently become a bit of a buzz term for consultancies, ad agencies and brands, but New York company Betaworks have been working in and around this area for over a decade.
As well as their work building and investing in companies, Betaworks have recently opened Studios, their own membership space in the city’s Meatpacking district.
James Cooper is the company’s head of creative, working across a diverse range of projects from GIF sharing platforms to spatial design, voice recognition to meditation.
We talked about how we can use technology to escape technology, what Betaworks look for when programming live events, the future of the shared experience, and the benefits to looking outside to find inspiration in an always-on digital world.
04:00 Going from digital to physical products
07:00 Why now for building a brick & mortar space?
10:00 The thought process behind Studios’ live event programming
18:00 The role of a creative director in a startup studio
25:00 Inside Betaworks’ ‘Camp’ accelerator program
33:00 The future of the shared experience; from games, to meditation, live quizzes and beyond
37:00 Where James finds inspiration, and how he stays on track
40:00 Advice for people wanting to build something new
James has been Head of Creative at start-up studio Betaworks since 2013. His role is to explore creative opportunities for betaworks products and tell the betaworks brand story. Some of the betaworks brands include the no.1 game, Dots, which has been downloaded over 150 million times and won many industry awards.
Other betaworks products include GIPHY, the search engine for Gifs recently valued at $600M, Poncho, the most popular bot on Facebook and recent star of Apple’s, ‘Planet of the App’s and Dexter, a bot building platform. James also produced ‘The Intern’, a hit podcast about working in betaworks and the tech world.
Recently James launched betaworks Studios, a club for builders. Studios is a physical space where the new generation of builders can find one another and learn the secrets of sustained innovation betaworks has uncovered over the last ten years.
Before betaworks, James was a creative director in the ad world where he has won many awards including two gold lions at Cannes. He was a Creative Partner at Anomaly and ran Dare – named Digital Agency of the Decade in London and sold for $50m in 2007.
In a world that’s now full of influencers, thought leaders and keynote speakers, how do you know who’s worth paying your attention, or your money, to?
What sets the best education experiences apart from the rest?
And how do you know if your new business idea is worth pursuing?
Today on Tickets we delve into the answers to these questions and much more with Rob Fitzpatrick.
Rob has been working in entrepreneurship and education for over 10 years as a founder, author and educator.
His first book ‘The Mom Test’ has become a staple of the startup world, and next up is ‘The Workshop Survival Guide’ – debunking many of the myths about experiential learning, and giving a helping hand to those wanting to deliver workshops that…work.
In this episode we also talk about Silicon Valley accelerator programs, the importance of design in education, and the hidden reasons behind getting hired.
That app where you can instantly start learning anything from Spanish to Swahili, Hebrew to Hawaiian.
But what’s behind the enormous success of Duolingo, the language learning app that now has over 300 million users around the world?
Laura Nestler is Duolingo’s global head of community, bringing together learners and teachers from a multitude of countries and cultures.
On this episode of Tickets we get into the art & science of building global communities, the unexpected secrets behind preserving a Duolingo streak, and compare notes on London’s best cocktail bars and fried chicken shops…
Season 2 of the Tickets podcast is underway. With our focus on the intersection of experiences, education and entertainment, what better way to start than with the co-founder of a company that’s connecting all these elements through technology.
What have Harry Potter, Steve Wozniak, Los Angeles County School Board and the Indian Prime Minister got in common?
They’ve all been part of the story of Kano, a London based computer company intertwining technology, education and entertainment.
Today on Tickets I’m joined by Kano’s co-founder Alex Klein.
We talk about the future of collective experiences, overcoming the dark times as an entrepreneur, the key ingredients of a compelling Kickstarter campaign, and how a 6 year old’s question was the catalyst for what has become one of the most exciting new computer companies around.
Alex’s thoughts on using creativity to mobilise and empower people are inspiring – I hope you enjoy this conversation as much I did.
“When it seems the darkest and it seems the hardest that’s oftentimes the moment when, without knowing it, you’re creating that next great bolt out of the blue – that next great success”
“For us it’s about that sense of successive mastery – the fun factor”
02:30: Kano’s origin story 08:00: 3 key factors for a successful Kickstarter campaign 12:30: Assumptions in the early days of Kano 15:30: What’s in the box 20:00: Blending education and entertainment 25:00: Working with teachers and schools 29:00: Alex’s advice for entrepreneurs starting out 33:00: New forms of audience building and creating shared experience 37:00: What’s in store for Kano in 2019
In the middle of 2017 I had a conversation with a media lawyer about the commonalities and differences between the worlds of live music and promoting boxing.
There was so much to share from this conversation that it led me to creating a podcast series to connect the dots between disciplines and explore the world of live experiences.
I called it ‘Tickets’ – partly to reflect the method of admission to said experiences, and partly in homage to a rather good restaurant in Barcelona of the same name.
Initially my focus was on the media & entertainment world, but through various introductions, happy accidents and my burgeoning curiosity the scope of the series broadened out to include real estate, tourism and sustainability.
Tickets was my first foray into hosting and producing (and editing, curating, marketing…) a podcast.
The learning curve was steep, getting guests took some hustling, and my presenting style was pretty cringe-inducing at first, but I endured. Thanks to some wonderful guests Season 1 finished with 16 episodes and over 12 hours of stories, ideas, learnings from the past, and glimpses into the future.
As I had a big project over the summer it felt like a good time for Tickets to take a break, with a view to coming back in September.
But despite its success I thought that it may be a one season wonder. It was a pretty big undertaking and with so many podcasts out there now was it really worth continuing?
After looking at my own career path’s evolution over the past year or so, I decided it was.
Season 2 of Tickets will be looking at the future of education. At first look this may appear to be a significant departure from season 1 and the podcast’s raison d’etre, but I sense there is a fascinating shift happening – namely the rise ‘edutainment’ and the concept of lifelong learning now being a lifestyle choice.
Live experiences and emerging forms of technology and entertainment are changing the ways we learn, and having touched on these areas in season 1 with the New York Times, Sonar Festival and several others, it feels like a hugely rich and important area to explore further.
Some of the questions we will seek to answer include:
How can immersive learning experiences be delivered at scale?
What does the university of the future look like?
What can the worlds of education and entertainment learn from each other?
Do experts really make great teachers?
How will conferences and festivals evolve their learning tracks?
Could teachers become the next wave of celebrities?
The first wave of guests are now confirmed, and I have plenty of other ideas and conversations ongoing, but I’d love to hear your suggestions for guests. Do leave a response below or send me a message if you have someone in mind.
In the meantime, make sure you subscribe to Tickets via Apple Podcasts, Acast or Stitcher so you’ll be first in line for season 2’s opening episode.
On the guest list today is James Beshara, global head of concerts at Airbnb.
James leads Airbnb’s growing presence in the world of music experiences, providing guests, hosts and artists with new opportunities to share and enjoy live music.
Inevitably it was at our season finale that we finally encountered a ton of of technical problems.
Luckily James was more than accommodating – letting us overrun so we got a decent amount of time to chat and rescuing the episode by setting up the recording on his side as my laptop was misbehaving so much.
Listen on for James’s insights into the way Airbnb think about experiences, the importance of intimate concerts, and where to find the best green room in LA.
04:00 Airbnb concerts’ start point
08:30 The growth of music consumption in digital vs live
12:00 Scaling human connection through music
14:00 Learnings from Tilt into Airbnb
17:00 The Airbnb concerts business model -from early stage artists to international headliners