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How podcasting contributes to my personal legacy with Andrew Warner

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Episode Summary

The podcast space relies heavily on technology and every day we hear of a new innovation that aims to make podcasting easier and faster. However, there is one thing technology cannot do — it cannot improve your conversational skills. That’s up to you. Make the most of available tools and invest in them, but don’t obsess too much about audio quality. Instead, focus on bringing value to your audience through meaningful conversations.

In this episode of Recorded Content, Andrew Warner, the Founder of Mixergy.com, an experienced podcast host, and the author of “Stop Asking Questions”, joins our host Tristan Pelligrino.

Andrew and Tristan discuss the future of the interview format, how to improve it today and adjust it for tomorrow. They touch upon podcast production techniques and the steps Andrew takes when creating his episodes. And ultimately the two discuss the impact over 2100 podcast interviews has on Andrew’s legacy.

Guest Profile

Name: Andrew Warner

What he does: Founder of Mixergy.com and host of the Startup Stories – Mixergy podcast

Company: Mixergy

Noteworthy: Andrew just released a book “Stop Asking Questions”

Key Insights

  • Interviews are here to stay. Conversations about podcasting’s future and its development often involve discussions on whether the interview format will disappear. However, Andrew thinks differently. Interviewing, whether on a podcast, on television, or frankly as I’m seeing now even on TikTok where people pull clips, is far from dead. Interviewing is alive. It’s strong. The number one podcast now is in an interview format. It’s just that you have to put a little more effort into it and customize it to today and adjust for tomorrow.
  • Don’t obsess about audio quality; focus on a conversation’s value. Andrew says most podcast hosts, including himself, worry too much about the podcast’s technical aspects instead of focusing on providing value to the audience. Technology will continue growing and new solutions will appear, but a podcast’s quality depends solely on the host’s conversational skills. If you overhear a good conversation when you’re in a coffee shop, even if you can’t listen because they’re sitting a little far away from you, you’ll find a way to tune in because it’s shocking and you want to hear it. And it’s interesting and it’s informative. So I think we have to focus on that and understand that the software keeps getting better. The hardware keeps getting better. Even if we do nothing, Apple, Microsoft, Dell, and all these other companies will naturally improve our equipment. But nothing is going to externally fix our conversations better than us spending time thinking about what we care about and what our audience cares about.
  • Be laser-focused on one topic per episode. All podcast hosts aim to bring high-quality guests, subject matter experts who can tell their success stories. In addition, most of those people have gone through so many different situations in their life and it can be hard to focus on one. However, Andrew suggests focusing on one story and building an episode around it. It doesn’t mean you can’t spice it up with additional information. We have some context that makes us care about that and it doesn’t feel like we’re jumping all around. It feels like we’re adding color to the same picture instead of creating five different pictures and forcing people to look all over. So that’s what I try to do.

Episode Highlights

Mixergy No Editing Principle

The reason I lean in even harder on no editing is that I want the person to say the thing they don’t want to say but is super true. And they’ll eventually be glad about that.

Mike McDermott, the founder of FreshBooks, did an interview with me about how he built this multi-million dollar business back when it was just a few million dollars. Now it’s a huge invoicing software.

He said I tested different prices. Some people paid this price. Other people paid that price. And I don’t remember the exact details of what he said but essentially what he was revealing online for everyone to know forever was that he was charging different prices to different people for the same product as a way of understanding what to charge.

He had second thoughts about it and he asked me, Andrew, can you edit that out? And at the time I said yes. Eventually, it took me so long to edit that he said, Andrew just run with it. I think it’ll be okay.

And nothing bad happened. But look at what we learned. We learned that in the early days of software people were testing different prices and that they were not afraid to make decisions like that and that was incredibly informative to other entrepreneurs.

Bring the Entrepreneurial Approach to the Interviewing Process

Mike McDermott of FreshBooks AB tested and adjusted his business all the time because he was in the software business. So he needed to test his pricing software, the size of his buttons, and the way he was messaging.

I was like that about interviewing. I’m an entrepreneur at heart. I always have been. And so I said that I’m going to bring an entrepreneurial approach to the interviewing process. And I didn’t realize just how much I’d done it until I wrote “Stop Asking Questions”.

What I would do is, in a conversation if I ask somebody a question and they get angry, I would mark that off. I always had my interviews transcribed. So at the end of an interview if something didn’t work I would go to that part of the transcript and I would talk to my producer and say, What did we do wrong here? What could I have done differently?

I would talk to a coach who I hired. What could I have done differently to get this person to open up? And then in the next interview, I would try a different approach. And if it worked I would name the approach. I would then find the snippet of the conversation where it worked. And I would add it to a Google Doc and say now let’s try that again.

So now we have some way of getting somebody to open up. Some way to get somebody to reveal a number. Some way to get somebody to be emotionally connected. Some way that makes a guest feel so proud to be on the show that they want to refer it to their friends. And that would just go into this Google Doc that we just kept perfecting as a company.

And that was the heart of my book “Stop Asking Questions” but it’s also the heart of my process with everything including this interview process that you just asked about.

The Importance of a Pre-Call

I started telling my guests I want to make you look good. This is going to be on the internet forever. And I want you to look good. And so I would say, Let me have a conversation with you about what we’re going to talk about tomorrow and then we can move on.

I eventually started doing that before we started recording.

We’re set and scheduled for a noon interview. I would say, Thanks for coming on and by the way, I want to make sure you know where I’m going with this.

First it was me calling them up and asking them a question. Then before I hit record I would say, Look before I hit record let me ask you a couple of questions because I want you to sound good.

How to Find Guests: Look for Motivated Moments

One way to find a motivated moment is to look for authors who have upcoming books. You go to Amazon, see the list of upcoming books, and find out who is going to want promotion next month because Amazon will tell you whose book is about to be published next month.

And they’re going to look for interview opportunities. And other ways as you said like Product Hunt, a place where people publish new software, discuss the world of technology, and startup enthusiasts go to find their software.

And so if I see them on Product Hunt I could go over to them and say, Impressive that you’ve done so much. Let’s talk about what you’ve launched here on Product Hunt on my podcast. I want to hear about it.

And they’re in promotion mode. They’re more likely to say yes at that point versus if I talked to them a month before when they’re getting ready for the launch, they’d say no.

And every industry has motivated moments and every industry has directories like I just mentioned for Amazon or Product Hunt of people who are in launch mode, in promotion mode, or more importantly about to be in that zone.

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