Ep. 12 - Podcasting Misadventures
with Software Misadventures' Ronak Nathani and Guang Yang
Once upon a time, Arnab reached out to hosts of one of his favorite podcasts — Software Misadventures, an interview show about technology. We wanted to have a chat with Ronak Nathani and Guang Yang about their experience of starting a podcast and landing cool guests from the get-go.
We got no response and moved on until one day a few months later Ronak got back to us with a “yes”! A meta-point here is that things that need to happen eventually happen, but not always on the timeline you want. We didn’t force the river, went with the flow and it just happened. Just like any other good thing in life.
On the episode, we ended up talking about our Metacast t-shirts (which are awesome, let us know if you want one), remote work, traveling, landing guests, and of course podcasting misadventures!
Perhaps, the most unsettling part of the whole experience was that Ronak and Guang told us about their issues with SquadCast, a podcast recording tool that we love and advertise (or is it advertize?) pretty much in every episode. We even had SquadCast founders on the show (episode 8).
However, when we finished the recording, our recordings seemed corrupted, so we had to reach out to SquadCast support and get some help. It turned out that the audio recordings were fine but we freaked out because we understood the file upload indicator in the UI differently from what its creators intended. However, the video files did indeed get corrupted and we lost half of Ronak’s video.
That was very unfortunate. Maybe, we generated some bad energy during the interview, which made servers malfunction. We’ll be more positive next time Regardless, we’ll continue using SquadCast for recording because it never let us down with audio and their support is awesome.
Oh and by the way — they don’t pay us to say this. Our love to SquadCast has negative monetary value, which means we pay them $40 every month to use the product.
If someone big is complaining about your podcast, it’s a good problem to have. We occasionally joke about not being affiliated with Meta, not that they complained or anything… Not yet. But if they do, it’ll be an indication that we’ve made it big.
Some podcasts are generic and some are very niche. It’s hard to balance generic topics (e.g. career) with specific topics (e.g. Kubernetes) but we and the Software Misadventures guys try anyway… As long as you’re having fun, it’s fine.
Split the interview by sections and appoint leads and assistants per section (if you have multiple hosts). The lead is responsible for driving the conversation forward and the assistant helps with follow-up questions.
You can write down questions before the interview so you help formulate them in your head. But you don’t have to ask them during the interview.
Overprepare! It’s much easier to keep the conversation flowing and interesting when you are prepared to follow whichever turn it takes.
Record the first episode with someone who’s your friend to have a safe space. You don’t even have to publish it, the whole point is to get some practice before you record with someone you don’t know.
Get ready to get a lot of spam emails from people asking you to place people onto your podcast. Be careful with those engagements because they’ll have an agenda, which may not always be aligned with your values.
People are nice and ready to help. Seriously. When you need someone’s help or want them on your podcast, just reach out. You’ll be surprised how many people say yes just because they’re curious and want to help.
Nice personalized emails are more likely to get a “yes.” The inverse of this — there’s a special place in hell for cookie-cutter templatized emails that barely get any response (unless you use ChatGPT to make them more manipulative I suppose).
People will interpret your logo in all sort of different ways… Art is subjective. Just get over it.
Do a backup recording if the stakes are high. Take advice from SREs (site reliability engineers) — “Two is one, one is none.” Ronak and Guang did a backup recording for their first episode with a high profile guest and it saved them!
Knowing the right people helps. It’s always good to have people you can ask for help or pull favors from. Just take my word for it and meet more people.
Have a forcing function. Invite your first guest, arrange a date, and then scramble to make everything work for your podcast. There’s nothing so motivating like an approaching deadline with your reputation at stake.
Where to find Ronak & Guang
Shure SM58 — an indestructible and fairly cheap cardioid vocal mic that is widely used for live concerts. Ronak used this mic for this episode.
Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 — a nice-looking and powerful yet inexpensive audio interface for plugging in your XLR mic (or any other music instrument) and getting digitized output into your computer via USB. Ilya used this interface with his Shure MV7.
Focusrite Scarlett Solo — same thing as above but with only one input (which is perfect for most podcasters). Ronak used this interface with his Shure SM58.
Blue Yeti — an inexpensive USB mic that has multiple recording modes. Arnab recorded this (and all other) episodes using a Blue Yeti mic.
Blue Snowball — a cheap and compact microphone from Blue.
Shure MV7 — a dynamic mic with a direct USB interface. It is a smaller sibling of Shure SM7b (see next).
Shure SM7b — a kick ass condenser mic for podcasters and radio hosts. It’s pretty much the golden standard in the industry. It’s expensive and also requires an audio interface because it only has an XLR output (no direct connection to your computer’s USB port).
Samson SAGOMIC Go — a compact, cheap mic that Guang recorded this episode on.
Audacity — a good free DAW for beginners.
Auphonic — a webtool for post-producing audio.
Libsyn — a podcast hosting service.
Descript — a tool that can help you edit audio similar to editing text in a word processor. We use it for our editing.
Get in touch
We’d love to hear from you! Arnab is a Twitter guy and I’m on Instagram. Use the method that works best for you!
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (both of us get it)
Arnab’s Twitter: @or9ob
Ilya’s Instagram: @podcasthacks
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Bye for now.
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