Tech Spot with Jason Young

Tech Spot with Jason Young

Evaldas: Yeah. Play ’til the dawn. Nice, nice, nice. Alright, so we talked about from podcasting stories and other things. I also have a section I’m interested. Questions, I call it “Tech Spot”, and I’ll ask a couple of tech questions.

Jason: Sure.

Evaldas: Do you use any kind of analytics for your Podcast?

Jason: Yeah, we use Libsyn, which is who actually hosts the feed. Posting a podcast feed yourself isn’t necessarily difficult, but it’s easy to screw up, if that makes sense. So, we just outsourced that with Libsyn. They charge us, I think, like 15 bucks a month. They only charge you for what you upload, but they don’t charge you for how much you’re storing. So, basically, you can run your podcast forever for the same price. The nice thing is they provide the stats, so whenever we talk to potential sponsors, we don’t have to try to say, “Here’s how we figure out the numbers and here’s why you should trust us on these.” We can just say, “Listen, these are from Libsyn and pretty much everybody is used to working with those numbers, so we let them deal with all the analytics on there.”

Evaldas: Alright, and if you would have like a magic wand and make a wish of any kind of statistic you would like to see, what would that be?

Jason: Oh, that’s a good question. I mean, we get numbers on downloads and we’ve always wondered the feedback that we try to get from people is, “Is the show what you’re looking for?” So, do we have the right mix? Because, I talked about our news section and the actual guest that we have. We always want to know what mix should that look like. So, we kind of want to know how happy people are with the format that we have. So, if I did have that magic wand, it would almost be to, on a section by section basis, tell us, kind of give us a rating of what they think of that section from various aspects like is it the right link? Was the content what you were looking for? Those types of things. You know, do they mind my dog barking in the background, what you’re hearing on this side, because my wife just got home.

But, it’s really that. We want to make the podcast better. We want to make sure we’re not wasting people’s times. So, having that magic wand to know what kind of information, or knowing the details of why they’re listening and what we can do better, that’s what’s useful to us.

Evaldas: Yeah, so some kind of breakdown of an actual podcast and people who are listening to different sections.

Jason: Yeah, exactly. That would be incredibly useful. So, we even — our sponsor is Infragistics, and we made a deal with them to give us an Ultimate license every week. So, it’s basically their high end license that includes everything that they make. So, what we do is we actually pick one feedback item every week and we select that, we read it on the show, and then they win the license. What’s incredible about that is that that really motivates people to give that feedback. So, we’ll have most people just come and email us and say, “Yeah, everything is perfect. Don’t change it.” Sometimes we’ll get people like, “Oh, the news section sometimes go long, but I don’t mind it.” So, we’ll get that feedback a little bit, but we’re basically paying them in like a super expensive license.

Evaldas: You have to get it somehow anyway. The next thing I’m interested to ask you is do you use any transcriptions and do you see any value in them?

Jason: Yeah, we don’t. I’ve seen that in other podcasts and I would say I’ve seen TWiT do it, you know This Week in Tech. At one point, they had sort of community-sponsored transcription. They had it for a while and then they dropped it, which sort of leads me to believe that it’s a big hassle and I’m not sure it’s worth it. I am concerned with things like accessibility, so I don’t know if it’s an accessibility issue. The other thing is searchability. I would like to have a transcription for each episode so that when people search for certain things, they can find the podcast using those key words. That would be very interesting to me.

I’m actually more interested in automated transcription services that are really, really good. Today, with things like machine learning, understanding speech and being able to transcribe it is getting really, really good. So, I’m just kind of hoping that the right solution falls in our lap and has 99% accuracy, and I think that will get us most of what we want. But, we’ve never thought about spending the time to go manually do it. That would not be good. Because we optimize the podcast for minimal effort. We want to make it so that each episode takes us the least amount of time as humanly possible because we don’t want an excuse to not do the show.

So, if the transcription takes us two hours, then you know what? Next week, we’re probably going to be like, “You know, it’s a half hour prep, it’s a half hour of editing, if it takes us an hour to record, that’s two hours, plus two hours to transcribe, it’s going to take us four hours. You know what? I really don’t have four hours this week. Let’s just not do it,” and that’s how shows die. I want to be really careful of adding in things that will make it so that we don’t feel like doing the show anymore.

Evaldas: Yeah, too many commitments.

Jason: Yeah.

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About Evaldas Miliauskas

Evaldas Miliauskas is the founder of CastSource - a startup that provides transcriptions designed for podcasts. He is a passionate podcaster listener, host, and a entrepreneur.

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