Why and how I started the Bits vs Bytes podcast

October 15, 2018

Around July of 2018 I started looking at doing a podcast. One of the reasons being that I had just discovered podcasts by listening to podcasts in my commute to work. I was amazed about how much quality content there is available in podcasts of 30 to 60 minutes. Some of the podcasts I listen to are Rework, The Joe Rogan Experience, Hodinkee and the Time Feriss Show.

Why did you start a podcast?

I’ve always been interested, especially the last few years, in public speaking and meeting new people. New people and new experiences always give you a new way to look at life, and to me that’s what it’s all about. Although I do talk to people that work for big companies that are already really ingrained in especially the Dutch society, to me, the real gems are the smaller companies that are doing really innovative stuff but don’t always get the spotlight they deserve. Highlighting those companies was also one of the reasons I started to do this podcast.

How did you start?

Starting the podcast was daunting, the following is involved:

  • Equipment, things like: microphones (I use the Samson Q2U, highly recommend it), mic stands, pop filters).
  • Podcast hosting (I use Soundcloud).
  • Submitting your podcast all over the place (Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn). This is mostly due to Soundcloud, I see that some other podcast hosters provide auto-submitting.
  • Creating a website to have a single point of entry to your podcasts.
  • Promoting your podcast (using LinkedIN, Instagram, Twitter).
  • Getting guests that actually have something interesting that they are doing. Funny enough, I thought this would be the hardest, actually one of the easiest things.
  • A recording spot, I have the generous support of Tevreden.nl. Especially to spend time on the podcast and also record in our meeting rooms.

After this initial setup phase I was pretty confident in doing the first podcast. But the question was, who was going to be the first guest? I thought long and hard and I thought it would be best to do the first episode with someone that I really knew well enough to be as comfortable as possible.

The first episode and feedback

The first episode was with Marnix Korterink, my co-worker and COO at Tevreden.nl. We basicly just started recording without a real idea of what we were going to talk about. After the first episode was out I asked a lot of people to look it over and give their feedback (thanks everyone, you know who you are).

The best feedback (apart from the intro being way too long) was that there should be some kind of structure. The next episode I started sending over a set of questions in preparation for the recording. I also felt like the listener should get to know the person a little bit, before the company, that’s the reason I usually ask the question about how they started out first (it also really helps with getting somebody comfortable with speaking, because it’s about themselves).

My tips

To wrap up, I would love to share what I’ve learned in the first 10 episodes:

  • I chose English as the primary language, but this is completely up to you, if you feel more safe in for example Dutch or German, then go ahead and pick that. I know that I’m going to have native English speakers at some point, and the range of listeners is broader when doing it in English.
  • Don’t buy the very best equipment straight away. A lot of podcasts are even recorded with phones, I chose the way to go for USB mics, it was as minimal as I could go without compromising audio quality. I record in Garageband, which is more than fine for what I need to do.
  • Preparation is everything, send your guest if you have one a set of like 8-10 questions to give a general direction to the conversation. Also, try to make these questions in an open fashion (use how did you do this or that). This gets your guest talking, and makes you think about new questions.
  • Listen, listen, listen! It’s really hard to listen while you are doing the podcast, but you still have to do it. When people explain something there are a lot of things you can go talk about further that generally people are interested in.
  • Let your guest listen to it before you put it live. I guess this is what you can decide for yourself, sometimes you have guests that don’t mind, but I always offer this option.
  • Take pictures for social media, so you can share it! It’s always fun to actually see the people behind the mic.

Thanks!

At the time of writing the 10th episode has been recorded, and it fills me with pride that we (me and the guests, I owe them a lot) came to that number, and I know that there are a lot of interesting ones coming. A huge thanks goes out to the guests:

Marnix Korterink from Tevreden.nl, Murat Özmerd from Flow.ai, Sander Bijl from BeterDichtbij, Niels Zeilemaker from GoDataDriven, Marjolein van der Aar from RTL Nieuws, Roger Tan from UNsense, Pepijn Schoen from Voya, Nick Kiran from TWTG, Olaf Molenveld from Vamp and Heini Withagen from Mirabeau, a Cognizant company.

Check out all the podcasts on the following link.

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