Posts tagged “idea”

This American Life on selling your idea

Alex Blumberg has a podcast about his journey to start a podcast-related business. A recent episode of This American Life included an excerpt from this podcast (called StartUp), in which Blumberg is half-heartedly pitching his idea to investor Chris Sacca.

They talk for a while, and Alex is having difficulty in explaining his idea and what he’s asking for.

Alex Blumberg: So it’ll take a million and a half dollars, I think. And–
Chris Sacca: Take out the “I think.”
AB: Yeah. It’ll take a million and a half– I’m looking for a million and a half to $2 million in seed-stage funding.
CS: No, no, no, no, no.
AB: Yeah.
CS: You were looking for a very specific amount of money.
AB: I’m looking for– [LAUGHS NERVOUSLY]

Finally, Chris decides he’s just going to show Alex how to pitch his idea and he very masterfully riffs a confident and coherent bit of persuasion. It’s certainly worth listening to, but here’s the excerpt from the transcript.

Hey, look, can I get two minutes from you? So here’s the thing. You probably know me, producer of This American Life, been doing it for 15 years. You know it’s the most successful radio show, top of the podcasts in iTunes, et cetera.

So here’s the thing. I realize there’s a hunger for this kind of content out there and there’s none of this [BLEEP]. It’s just a bunch of jerk [BLEEP] podcasts. Nothing’s out there.

Advertisers are dying for it. Users are dying for it. And if you look at the macro environment, we’re seeing more and more podcast integrations into cars. People want this content. It’s a whole new button in the latest version of iOS.

So here’s the thing. Nobody else can make this [BLEEP]. I know how to make it better than anybody else in the world. And so I’ve already identified a few key areas where I know there’s hunger for the podcast. We’ve got the subject matter. We’re going to launch this [BLEEP]. I know there’s advertisers who want to get involved with it.

But here’s the unfair advantage I have. Because of what I’ve done in my past careers with This American Life and with Planet Money, people are actually willing to just straight-up pay for this stuff. And I’m not just talking about traditional subscriptions. I’m talking– we did this T-shirt experiment at Planet Money where we got $600,000 coming in, where people actually gave us money to buy a t-shirt with our logo on it as part of the content. It was integrated directly. And I know we can replicate that across these other platforms.

So here’s what we’re doing. We’re putting together a million and a half dollars. That’s going to buy us three, four guys who are going to launch these three podcasts in the next 12 months. We think very easily we could get to 300,000, 400,000 net subscribers across the whole thing.

With CPMs where they are in this market right now, I know on advertising alone, we could get to break even. But as we do more of this integration, we get people texting in to donate to this stuff, buying some of this product, doing some of these integrated episodes, I know that we’re going to have on our hands here something that will ultimately scale to be a network of 12, 15 podcasts. The audience is there. They want it. Nobody else can do it like we can. Are you in?

It’s so painful to hear Alex stumble and when Chris takes over, I felt a sense of relief and a certain excitement, to hear an idea presented in a way that was designed to engage and persuade. This is a valuable skill in many aspects of professional life, especially when we’re in the business of sharing ideas. The superlative example in this podcast is quite inspiring.

The relevant section starts at 19:21 in the embedded widget below.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • [from steve_portigal] – [Technology continues to trickle down, where image processing and digital printing previously associated with movie special effects and commercial printing now enable little businesses to crop up, offering fairly unique types of products] Gifts with personalized faces, including custom action figures, celebrity action figures, 3D portraits, masks, jewelry, papercraft, and ornamental heads.
  • [from steve_portigal] How to Have an Idea [Frank Chimero] – [A little comic that amuses as it inspires and teaches, suggesting that creativity is tied to doing, not just thinking or (gulp) talking. Manifests so adroitly while we believe user research really comes alive when you use it to start generating concepts for things to make and do] No one crumples a blank sheet of paper.
  • [from steve_portigal] The Medium – E-Readers Collective [] – [A Kindle feature takes advantage of the inherently digital nature of the medium, but has consequences for the experience] But many writers don’t write aphoristically, and many readers don’t read for aphorisms. In a popularly highlighted world, we all may begin to. The dotted line, like the distinctive hue or underscore that signals a word is clickable on the Web, may be a new kind of punctuation that affects contemporary style. (Amazon's most heavily highlighted books include Gladwell’s “Outliers” and Randy Pausch’s “Last Lecture”) Readers coming to e-books freshly purchased from Amazon might be taken aback to find them already marked up. Stumbling on a passage that other people care about, framed as though you should care about it too, can seem like a violation of virgin text. It’s bad enough that vandals have gotten to your “new” edition before you have and added emphases unendorsed by author or publisher. What’s worse is that they invariably choose the most Polonius-like passages.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • [from julienorvaisas] 2010 IDEA Awards [] – [One could easily spend days awash in inspiration – everything from forklifts to trash cans to hotel service design.] There are few awards in the world of design as eagerly followed and proudly worn as the Industrial Design Excellence Awards–or IDEA–given out by the Industrial Designers Society of America. This year, Fast Company and Co Design are happy to announce the winners–complete with detailed write-ups, images, a searchable database, and even an Olympics style infographic showing who leads in the medal count.
  • [from steve_portigal] DODOcase: A perfect blend of the traditional feel of a book with the technological power of the iPad. – [More collisions between traditional form factors and digital form factors. It's interesting to see conceptual explorations in the recent Kindle era becoming actual products in the nascent iPad era] The limited first edition iPad DODOcase is inspired by the journals of our favorite artists. Made by hand in San Francisco, California using traditional book binding techniques, the DODOcase brings a classic look to protecting your iPad. (Thanks, @elreiss)

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • One Hour Design Challenge: The Trapper Kindle – Core77 – A much better post on what makes the Trapper-Kindle such a great response to the Reading Ahead research. Nice concepting and nice storytelling, all!
  • An error from a previous edition has been corrected – A rather aspirational piece on the power of digital books to support corrections after publication. Although we've got this with news already and the argument presented about the amount of fact-checking doesn't seem to be relevant – even if you have the ability to post new corrections technically doesn't mean you have the human resource to find those corrections.
  • Core-Toons: The Trapper-Kindle – While intended as humor, this is also the sort of design concepts we love, as they take an observation, or an insight about people and visualize a solution. We asked Core77's community to make the book more sensual, and here's a great example! Looking forward to more great design ideas for Reading Ahead!

Nice freebie

Our Courtyard by Marriott in Houston had a nice little freebie – they would take a business card and laminate it into a luggage tag, while you waited. I appreciated the free thing and I got a kick out of the fact that it was travel-related; it reinforced the experience you were having with them. Just a clever customer service thing that someone decided to do.


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