A Year of Podcasting: What’s Next

I’ve been publishing my podcast, The Informed Life, since January of 2019. To celebrate the show’s anniversary, I’ve been writing about my set up: how I started, my recording gear, how I edit episodes, and how I publish the show so you can listen to it. In this final post of the series, I’ll reflect on what has worked well, what hasn’t, and what I expect next for the show.

Let’s start by discussing what has worked well. A few early decisions have paid off. The first is show length. Keeping episodes to around 30 minutes has made for a more focused show; I’ve received positive feedback from listeners on the high ratio of content to chit chat they hear. This focus is in part due to an editorial decision to keep episodes relatively short.

Another decision that’s paid off is having a loose arc for interviews. Episodes have a beginning, middle, and end. This arc isn’t accidental; I discuss it with guests before we record. We aren’t strict about it, but know our aim.

One final good decision I’ll call out is the every-other-week publishing schedule. Producing a podcast takes a lot of work. The two-week span is enough for me to put in the require time without disrupting the other responsibilities in my life. A longer gap between episodes (a month, say) would risk having listeners lose interest. Every other week seems to be the sweet spot.

As for things that haven’t worked as I expected, the most obvious is the focus of the show itself. My original intent was for the show to examine how people manage their information. If you review early episodes, you’ll hear lots of questions about personal information management tools and methodologies. Later episodes have focused more on how people design information structures in general, including doing so for other people.

I think this is good. If shows are to be interesting and useful to people, I must be interested myself. After I’d done several interviews, I realized that many of the folks I was speaking with had similar information management practices. I found myself more interested in their work than in how they managed their work.

So I’ve decided to focus more on this aspect of the show, while still exploring “how people organize information to get things done.” I now consider this refers not just to how they organize their own stuff, but also information environments other people use as well. Expect more shows about information architecture, systemic design, and effective management of complex information environments.

Some other aspects of my workflow are in flux. In the third post in this series, I discussed how I use the iPad app Ferrite to edit episodes. A recording mishap a couple of shows ago introduced me to the limits of this editing software. Since then, I’ve edited two shows using Logic Pro X, which is much more powerful. I’m still learning to use this (very complex) editor, but I’m already finding it produces better results. Eventually, as I become more proficient, it’ll also be faster.

Another aspect of the process that’s likely to change: I’m looking to hire someone to do some of the editing process. While I enjoy doing the “content” edit of shows, the initial step — fixing AI-generated transcription errors, eliminating verbal tics, etc. — is tedious and time-consuming. I’m also not great at it; I’ve gotten feedback that transcripts have errors. I want to get help doing this so it can get better, and so I can focus more on show content.

So things are in flux. I’m learning and growing as I go along. So far, I’ve loved doing the show. It’s a lot of work, but it’s also fun. I’m enjoying learning the craft of interviewing people and producing audio media. I’m also getting positive feedback from people who find the show valuable. I have a long list of folks I’d like to interview, so I plan to keep producing new episodes as long as you keep listening. I’m thankful for the opportunity to do the show and for the privilege of your attention.