Since finishing with the day job, I’ve been working to get Podiant to a place where it can stand on its own two feet. In fairness, it’s not been too busy a time that I couldn’t have updated the journal: it just becomes much easier to not do so after a week, and then another week goes by.
There have been minor little stories along the way, and stuff that it’s probably just as sensible to forget, rather than dwell on. There have been minor successes, minor letdowns, little hopes that have flared and died... all the usual stuff really.
I can’t help but wonder whether I should withdraw from public events for a while. If I can conduct most of my business online, and be the best me I can be in podcasts and live streams, maybe that’ll be enough. It’s hard to know whether the time, money and effort it takes to attend events is really worth it, when there’s not huge amounts of money to play with, and I have to keep my nose fairly close to the grindstone.
I know that it’s almost entirely certain that the awards ceremony I sponsored this year was not worth the money. I’d need something like 164 paying subscribers to justify the cost (although it doesn’t really work like that, as you have to take cost-of-acquisition into account), and then there’s the time, money and effort involved in traveling. And of course this time, I was paying travel and accommodation for two, which it turned out was entirely unnecessary.
I should mention though, that I did come across a bit of a hack for conferences like this. Having my Loda stickers and approaching people with the line “I wonder if you can help me? I’ve got these stickers and I need to get rid of them” (or words to that effect) actually did end up working, and allowed me to approach groups of people I’d normally be completely unable to approach. Definitely something to consider if I do find myself in a similar situation that I tell myself is going to be worth it.
People did like the stickers, so I’m really pleased about that. Although to be fair, I do think the awards thing I sponsored is not the place for Podiant. Most of what they’re celebrating are shows that have no real independent streak. The judges only really consider shows that are backed by the right networks, or have the right connections. I was pleased to see Caridad Lloyd’s Griefcast win, and I’m certain it was a deserved win; I’d just love to see some people win who actually edit their own stuff, work from a home studio, obsess over their mics and mic technique, and so on. As much as people like Helen Zaltzman are part of a network now, I feel like she’s kept the spirit of the indie a lot better than those who like the glossy broadcast thing.
I even ended up hearing “good stuff floats to the top, though” from a BBC guy, and I couldn’t help but challenge him on it, as it’s just not true. Good stuff that has an audience behind it floats to the top; good stuff from people who aren’t well-known comedians just doesn’t. But we know this.
I think I’m mostly just sore that I had to spend an embarrassing evening having my imposter syndrome thoroughly massaged. In all fairness, that’s only a thought that’s occurring to me now, but it is interesting, because I was almost quite literally an imposter, having no ticket and no formal invitation to be at the event, less still my friend who'd come to help me present the award. If ever you want to feel like you’re a fish out of water and you don’t belong in among the big leagues, attend an industry awards ceremony with no actual invitation, despite having paid to be there. Guh.
So, while I’ve got you, and while I have the time, here’s what’s on the cards. I’ll be launching Podiant’s production arm soon. I might have picked up a couple of nibbles at the awards, which is promising. I’ve made a quote builder that spits out PDFs, so I can start to figure out a game plan for marketing that... although again, money’s tight right now, and I’m nervous to spend more on marketing when the margins are already getting stretched. Let’s see how good of a month we have, I guess.
So that’ll probably do it for now. I hope to get back to keeping fairly regular updates again. I really can’t believe how quickly these last few months have moved. We’re over halfway through the alphabet on Leopard, and since we last spoke, I’ve launched Bitrate with Brendan, and that’s going great guns and getting really lovely responses. It’s produced and edited really well (if I do say so myself) but I think the responses are largely, or almost completely, down to Brendan. He’s certainly the man who’s getting us the guests and bringing some great discussion topics. A great partnership.