Brad Smith launched Virb in 2006 as one of the first social networks that was easy to use and good looking. From there, it pivoted into more of a website builder in the creative space for photographers, filmmakers, musicians, and creators. Next, he founded Wayward Wild, a content and idea incubator focused on helping creators create better content.
Today, he offers similar creative support to podcast creators through his platform Simplecast. If you’re a podcast lover or listener, you may have never heard of Simplecast, but you’ve probably listened to many podcasts that are hosted on Simplecast.
Why Podcasts and Audio
Podcasting is only going to continue to grow. Audio is becoming a fixture in every part of our lives, from the smart dash in cars and smart speakers in homes to our Apple AirPods.
“I think it’s also one of the most… intimate forms of connection that we have…storytelling in general, interviewing in general, are better told with audio.”
With visual content, you can get distracted. From a business perspective, audio is a great extension of everything else you do as a business owner, from your social to your website.
However, audio still has a long way to go.
For listeners in general, podcasts need to be made more accessible. Discoverability is a problem that needs to be solved with efficiency, especially as the number of podcasts continues to grow.
Brad emphasizes that this improvement needs to come from all sides of the platform, from the hosting sites, apps, and creators of the podcasts themselves. One way podcast creators can step it up is by thinking outside the box when it comes to podcast format. From location-based ads and stories, varying lengths, and interesting guests, now is the time to push the boundaries.
Where is the line when it comes to privacy, content, and customer data in our digital age? Well, it’s complicated.
Brad offers Netflix as an example where data collection can create better experiences for the user. However, because podcasts are still housed on RSS feeds, there’s not as much data that can be gathered about listeners, which is a challenge. On the flip side, Facebook’s privacy terms allow Facebook to own your content as soon as you upload it which can hurt creators.
“That’s something that we’ve kind of taken a hard stance on from the very beginning. We (Simplecast) are a creators platform. We exist for the creator. And the content that you put on our platform is your content. We are not in any way taking that content and trying to monetize it.”
Brad encourages podcast creators to put serious forethought into their work. Look at what you want to create and who you want to talk to and stick to that. That throughline is important.
Make somebody’s day better.