Evolution of a Podcast
Reflections after 5 years of weekly podcasting
The Big Picture, July 11, 2019
Has it been 5 years already? Tomorrow is the 5th anniversary of the Masters in Business podcast. We are coming up on episode 250, and this provides me with an opportunity to reflect on the pod, some future guests, and the direction I want to take the show.
First some background. Discussing possibly writing for a new property (Bloomberg View), I was given a tour of Bloomberg’s facilities including the television “backstage.” When that came up as a possibility, I countered with an idea for a podcast. (“Podcast? What’s a podcast?”)
My short pitch to the powers that be was “Mark Maron’s WTF meets Charlie Rose, for finance.” I wanted to turn the usual Wall Street interviews upside down, speaking with people who are the source of ideas that shape markets, drive portfolio management, influence the economy, and make the modern world of business and finance what it is.
But with a twist: Instead of focusing on the usual short-dated ephemeral stuff of the next 15 minutes, I wanted to discover who they are and how they got that way. Learn their philosophy, understand their worldview, get to their favorite books, who their mentors were, etc. This was not going to be the usual FinTV interview.
Oh, and no stock picks and no predictions.
WTF!? No stock picks or predictions?!
To Bloomberg’s credit, they took a chance, with the caveat that the first 32 minutes would be used for radio; whatever comes after that could go as long as anyone was willing to speak with me, and would be posted in the usual places online.
It is the most fun I have each week.
I use the pod as an opportunity to have a conversation with someone I want to chat with; whether anyone else listens or not is almost beside the point. The guests are people I am genuinely interested in and curious about their accomplishments and intellectual achievements and the work they do. I hope that comes across.
Over 5 years, there have been lots of changes. I was pretty terrible when we first started, like an excited puppy piddling on himself. I raced through my prepared questions, hardly listened to answers, talked over guests, generally was a rank amateur radio host. During the first year, Al Mayers, head of Bloomberg radio, used to pull me aside each week with some gentle pointers. “When the guest tells you he murdered his wife, don’t move on to the next question, follow up on that.” It may have been Radio 101, but it was hugely helpful to me. We also pulled out the intros and outros from the broadcast that were so annoying (Thanks, Madena!).
I am still not where I want to be, but I can hear a noticeable improvements. It’s a very specific skillset, one I have slowly learned on the job. I hope to keep improving over the next 250 shows.
There are some interesting new features to MIB coming up. Some giant guests in the queue (including those who eschew doing media); more “MIB Live” shows like the Dalio and Marks episodes this past year; and some other fun tweaks. A weekly email update related to the show is coming. More online access by category, and other helpful fun stuff.
Thank you for your guest suggestions, your reviews, and your encouragement. I hope to keep the show fresh and interesting, and make it essential to financial media.
Thanks for listening…
Coming July 12: Masters in Business on Bloomberg Radio (July 8, 2014)
100th Episode of Master in Business Podcast (July 25, 2016)