StartUp Podcast: #12 Burnout
January 20, 2015 6:20 PM - Subscribe

Alex learns the that the hardest thing about entrepreneurship is not the running business itself, but managing and supporting your employees.
posted by radioamy (10 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Episodes like this underscore why I love podcasts so much. Hearing the stress in his employees' voices (especially poor PJ) was excruciating. I feel like every single person running a company (startup or otherwise) should listen to this! A lot of CEOs would benefit from listening to their employees better.

I work at a startup and although we are more established than Gimlet and we fortunately don't keep those crazy hours, I definitely understood the stress that everyone is under. There is tremendous stress to grow, and often it's clear that there is a "make it or break it" period in which you need to succeed. Listening to this did make my own work anxiety rumble a little bit.

I hope Alex Goldman posts in this thread because I'm curious to know more about what's different at Gimlet vs WNYC. To the rest of us, ReplyAll basically sounds a lot like TLDR and I personally assumed that everything was similar behind the scenes. Clearly producing ReplyAll is a lot more difficult than TLDR and I'd like to hear more about why that is.
posted by radioamy at 6:30 PM on January 20, 2015

I work for a ten-year-old company, and I was thinking about how much I'd like my boss to listen to this episode. I don't think he'd hear it, but good goddamn, I wish he could hear Blumberg's revelations about listening to his staff.

Happy to hear a little about the second season of this too, following another start up and the addition of Lisa Chow as co-host.
posted by gladly at 6:46 PM on January 20, 2015

gladly: I agree wholeheartedly, all bosses should listen to this. Fortunately my CEO does listen to StartUp...I'll have to find out what he says!
posted by radioamy at 7:38 PM on January 20, 2015

Clearly producing ReplyAll is a lot more difficult than TLDR and I'd like to hear more about why that is.

I suppose it seems ridiculous, because there are some similarities between our show and TLDR -- same topic, same hosts. But it actually feels a lot different from our side. Each episode is about twice as long as TLDR was, and we're typically getting tons more voices in the mix. For example, for Colgate, I went to colgate, and I ended up interviewing 8 or 9 people for that, only some of whom I used. At TLDR we did all of our reporting from the station.

On top of that, if we had problems with episodes of TLDR, something we wanted to fine tune, we could put them out late, which is a luxury we don't really have any more.

We're just being more ambitious -- trying new stuff (a lot of which is failing), going through a much more rigorous (and much better) editing process, accepting more freelance pitches and, I think, making a better show. It takes more out of you. I guess that's where we're at. (I am writing this from the office at 11:40 PM...working on what is, at the moment, a 35 minute episode.
posted by Alex Goldman at 8:41 PM on January 20, 2015 [8 favorites]

Alex, it doesn't seem ridiculous at all! I forget that TLDR was more of a side project while Reply All is your main gig with a set schedule. Last week's episode was awesome and the extra effort you put in definitely shows.
posted by radioamy at 9:07 PM on January 20, 2015

Re season 2; I guess it hadn't occurred to me that at some point Startup would stop navel gazing and look at another company. It kinda feels to me like reporting on Gimlet will never stop being interesting.

I was also surprised to hear about the number of staff they have in house now. Wow. It really brings home the decision they're facing about growing. I recall from earlier episodes that they were aiming to raise around $1.5M in startup capital. Even with the cash flow they've created from their two shows, they have to be burning through that capital pretty quickly. So how does adding the capacity for a third show work? Such a tricky needle to thread.

Compelling stuff.
posted by dry white toast at 10:29 PM on January 20, 2015

I really enjoyed this episode and I've been shoving it in the face of every manager I know. It's really compelling audio.

I do hope as Startup continues and focuses on other companies that they'll occasionally come back to Gimlet and check in with everyone, introduce new shows etc. The transparency of Gimlet's first few months has been a big part of their success I think and it would be a shame if that went away in the medium to long term.
posted by Happy Dave at 4:02 AM on January 21, 2015

I'm sure we'll hear more about it on a future episode, but PJ just tweeted that he's at the dentist which made me feel way better.

Also I would love to hear him laugh while on nitrous oxide!
posted by radioamy at 11:28 AM on January 22, 2015 [2 favorites]

This was very, very interesting, and it's one of the reasons that I hope they don't completely move the focus away from their own growth.
posted by bq at 1:21 PM on January 30, 2015

I just put up a link to the recent Longform podcast interview with Blumberg in which he discusses this episode.
posted by bq at 1:55 PM on January 30, 2015

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