The biggest challenges for Jason in starting his podcast

The biggest challenges for Jason in starting his podcast

Evaldas: So, let’s go back a little bit to the podcasting talks.

Jason: Yeah.

Evaldas: I’d like to know what kind of biggest challenge you had when you started your podcast and you’re running the show.

Jason: Yeah, so part of it was I consider or considered myself a terrible speaker without any kind of practice, and when I would speak, it was really intermittent. So, I could go a year without really speaking, and when you are doing development type things or talking to just other geeks, essentially, you get very much out of practice speaking and making it so that people can understand what you’re talking about. So, having a weekly podcast was huge because that forced me to get better, and also I would say Carl as well.

So, it’s kind of embarrassing. The earlier you go in the show, the worse we are at speaking and the less comfortable we were. So, if you go back to the first couple of episodes, it was a lot of uhms and it was just really difficult for us to speak eloquently. This was just a forcing function to make us get better.

Evaldas: Actually, I did listen to the first episodes and, yeah.

Jason: I just want to get rid of them.

Evaldas: It’s good to see your progress, actually. It was amazing. Like the first month plus.

Jason: Oh, yeah. They’re embarrassing, man. I hope nobody’s going back to listen to those. So, I find it much easier to speak unprepared now, which helps in everything. I mean, if you’re at a conference, if you’re just talking to developers on the street, it’s just so much nicer having that regular practice on speaking on technical topics to be able to just do it at a drop of a hat. Some of the other challenges, I would say, that we faced are things like scheduling, and that’s always been difficult. Just scheduling guests is just the biggest hassle in the world.

You know, this whole community now is extremely global. I mean, you and I, we’re not even on the same continent. It’s just crazy how distributed everybody is, and that means different time zones, and sometimes those time zones don’t line up at all. You know, I talked to not on the podcast, but on my professional life, I talked to some people down in Brisbane, Australia, and I’m here in the Central time in the United States, and we have exactly one hour a day where our business hours actually line up. So, for me, 4 to 5 pm is 8 to 9 am tomorrow for them. It’s actually a different day. The time differences is such a big difference.

So, imagine trying to schedule that, and then if they have somebody else that they want on it the same time — you know, we’ve had guests that are also in drastically different time zones. Sometimes there’s no times that work out, so then we have to start saying, “Okay, well can you compromise and can you do this at night,” or those types of things. So, that has never gotten any easier. There are some tools out there, but honestly, they’re all pretty terrible. I mean, they barely scratch the surface of solving the whole scheduling issue.

Then, the other big thing is that guests don’t follow directions. So, probably 80% of our guests, they do a terrible job at this, unfortunately. We have very specific instructions because we ask our guests to record their own audio track because we can do better processing on it. So, we have a separate audio track for myself, for Carl, and for the guest. So, the guest has to install a program, which takes about 20 seconds, and then they have to hit record, and then they have to pick the right microphone.

What ends up happening is they will — the program will default to the microphone inside their laptop, so they’ll have just a terrible track, and then a lot of times, too, it will record the sound coming from the speakers, and everybody will say, “No, no, no, I double-checked it. Everything sounds perfect,” and then I get their audio track and it’s just terrible because they were recording from the wrong source, and there was feedback, and every which thing went wrong.

So, we have some technical solutions to it. We record all the tracks on our side as well as a backup, and we have to go to that, probably, every six or seven episodes. We have to use our backup because their track is so bad. But, we found some other tools to help fix the track that they send us, things like that. So, that can be frustrating, but we also have to realize that the guests are taking time out of their schedule, they’re doing it for free, so we can only ask so much of them, as well.

We’ve even tried to solve this problem technically by writing our own software for doing the audio checks. I actually have a prototype of that on my computer, but it’s one of those things where I just don’t have the time to keep working on it. But, basically, an application for podcast guests that walks them through like, “Please check your audio and push this button and then we’ll check to make sure that it’s all good, and those types of things.” But, if they’re not going to follow directions, I’m not quite sure if they’re going to even barely get that application and run through it either.

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So, those were the biggest challenges, and I don’t know, honestly, they haven’t changed that much since the show started. You know, those problems are still there. We’ve just gotten used to dealing with them. You know, double-checking with the guests to make sure that their audio’s working properly. Have them tap their mic and do all these other checks, and then like I said, just having backups in place, so that, worst case, if they screw everything up, we’re still good to go on our end.

So, this call right here, I’m recording my track for you. I’m actually also recording the entire call, and my computer’s recording my track as well. So, I have hardware that’s doing it, I have a computer that’s doing it. We just do tons and tons of backup so we have lots of different options.

Evaldas: Yeah, you’re prepared for all kinds of situations.

Jason: Yeah, because the worst thing you want to do is just lose an episode, right? I mean, it’s just horrible, and then you got to go to the guest like, “I’m sorry. You know that hour of wonderful conversation we had, can we just like repeat that whole thing,” and that’s just not a good situation.

Evaldas: Yeah, you always want to be ready. It’s almost the same as the software Dell when you always have a backup. This is more like a human problem than a technical problem.

Jason: Yeah.

Evaldas: So, we users will always find a way to break your application.

Jason: Yeah, absolutely.

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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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