StartUp Podcast: You Can't Wear a Suit Here (Season 4, Episode 2)
October 15, 2016 10:44 AM - Subscribe

Growth. It can be exciting, it can be motivating, and it can be really stressful. In this week's episode, we take a look at the tensions that Gimlet's growth spurt is creating. We speak with the team producing one of our upcoming shows to see what it's really like to build a podcast from the ground up. Each of them is being asked to step up to the plate in a way that they never have before, and some are realizing that the support they expected, it just isn't there. People are pushed to their limits, emotions run high, and things that have remained hitherto unsaid are finally aired.
posted by radioamy (4 comments total)
My heart was breaking for Eric in this episode! It's the worst feeling in a job that there's no one to commiserate with or bounce ideas off.
posted by ellieBOA at 11:12 PM on October 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

Yeah it really seems like they need a middle layer between the producers and Alex. I'm surprised that Alex thinks he has the time to run the company and edit all those shows. It sounds like they're hiring at least one person, so that's good.
posted by radioamy at 1:48 PM on October 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

I really enjoyed this episode. It's always interesting when we get to see some of the actual radio production details. (I wish there was more of that; though I accept that I may be very much an outlier.) I'm also a bit shocked that they spend months producing a single episode. Perhaps that's just at the start.

I was also intrigued to recognize my on knee-jerk response to the topic. As an STEM-field academic who's spent a long time working in fairly competitive institutions, my day to day environment is pretty similar to SV startup culture. (Except for the stock options.) I don't think I've felt genuinely confident in my abilities since the first week of college, and I've never earned a dollar without either being bored or scared. Given a choice, scared is fantastic. You get to work with great people and accomplish surprising things, and it's a thousand times better than being bored. There's a nasty part of me that wants to say, "get used to it" to the producer who's unsure of himself. "If you're sure you're doing a good job, you're probably not trying hard enough!" I have to stop myself from giving similar advice to students.

At the same time, I realize it's no coincidence that my field - as well as silicon valley and the world of public-radio spin-off podcasts - are full of arrogant young white guys with an adrenaline habit and no family commitments. Most people on the planet would run from our work environment. And that's a very real problem. Being scared all the time is invigorating; it's the reason I enjoy going to work. But, it's not for everybody. Work-life balance and a culture of support and mentorship are really important, and not having them radically limits the talent pool from which we can draw. But, it's a hard concept to embrace at a gut level.

In short, startup remains interesting and thought-provoking.
posted by eotvos at 9:38 PM on October 16, 2016 [2 favorites]

I found it interesting, until we got to Alex Blumberg and his "how can you possibly consider me, the CEO and major shareholder, the person who decides on hiring and firing and compensation and the overall direction of the company, management?", which was so absurd I could barely keep my eyes from rolling across the ocean.

I am looking forward to next week, especially after the subtle shade Roman Mars has been throwing towards Gimlet in 99pi.
posted by jeather at 6:19 PM on October 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

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