One of the very first podcasts I regularly listened to was The Talk Show, hosted by Dan Benjamin and John Gruber. Within a few months this list had grown to include Back to Work with Merlin Mann, Hypercritical with Jon Siracusa, and Build and Analyze with Marco Arment. All of these shows were hosted on the budding 5by5 podcasting network, and they all had similar themes depending on the time of year. A number of podcasting networks have come and gone since then. Some have evolved. Some have stagnated. But the wonderful thing about these shows is that just about anyone can make them so long as they put in the time and effort.
Over the last few months I have not been speaking into the microphone very often, though I have been producing a bunch of Japanese shows that are starting to see some mild success in terms of downloads. Many of these shows have several thousand downloads per episode, and a few have even been approached by companies who are looking for advertisement reads. A wonderful sign of success.
That said, I miss having my own shows. Ones where it's my voice that's going out on the Internet. The issue comes down to a lack of time, and this lack of time has resulted in a number of the projects I want to work on taking a back seat to responsibilities that must be taken care of. All this is fair enough, but I still look forward to the day when I can get behind the microphone again and start putting out my own shows.
But on what subject?
There are a number of show ideas that have been put down on paper over the last few months, but few seem to have a shelf life beyond six or seven episodes. Some of the show ideas include:
- having a kid in Japan
- buying a house in Japan
- a picture and 1000 words1
- interviewing Japanese podcasters
These are all things that I'm pretty much doing right now, though not as a podcast. Would any of these appeal to me long enough to invest the time into? The first two show ideas would be for others rather than myself, which is fine. Sharing information of this kind could be incredibly useful to expatriate parents who call Japan their home. Is it something that can carry for an entire year, though? The last show idea is essentially Show Me Your Mic but with a focus on the Japanese podcast community. The show wouldn't make sense to put out in English, though, as the podcasters would not really grow their listener base.
This third idea, though, is something I've unsuccessfully been trying to build into 10C as a feature called "Places". I say it's unsuccessful because the feature is not yet released and is not fully conceptualized. There are some gaps in the tool to make this something people might be interested in, though it's most certainly an "art project". As a podcast, it would involve taking a single photo of a place, and sharing that with a short audio description describing what is not in the picture. This could be historical references, common uses, or what popular location it's adjacent to. Theatre of the mind, so to speak.
Is this something people would listen to, though? Of the four show ideas, this is the one that I would find most interesting, even if the show didn't break 100 downloads per episode. One of the things that I tend to see online is a focus on what people can see, rather than what they cannot. Going in a different direction from what's expected would be quite unique, I think.
But then there's the time issue. Where would the time come from?
If something is important enough, a person will make the time to do that thing. The question I need to ask myself is whether this is important or not, and go from there.
- this is something I've considered for the longest amount of time, as it sounds like an interesting idea. Take a picture of an area and, in 1000 words, describe what's not in the picture to give the image context. ↩