When we launched Tusk Media, I thought if we got 10-15 clients downloading at least one daily podcast Monday-Friday, it would be a success. Given the size of our office I felt like we could probably double that figure by listening to the content that we created and getting a friend or two to join in. So, my early-stage goal was about 30 downloads per day during the work week. Through the first 44 days of the podcast (business days only; we don’t make content on weekends and hardly anybody listens on those days), I would have hoped for about 1,300 downloads. Well, we’ve hit about 40x my projection.

We released a formal press release yesterday, but we’re north of 50,000 total downloads now. 51,071 to be exact.

While I fully recognize this isn’t a massive total in the grand scheme of things (some podcasts get millions of downloads on every episode), it would be disingenuous for me to pretend to be anything other than blown away by these numbers.

It’s crazy.

Along the way we’ve charted at some lofty positions on the iTunes Charts (including the top spot for video podcasts in our category), learned a lot and had a bunch of fun. So as a random bit of reflection, here are three observations.

  1. We’re doing what we wanted to do. When we set off on this adventure we aggressively targeted three episodes per day. We knew we wouldn’t hit all three every day, but we hoped for the best. Well, through Monday this thing has been live for 44 days. We’ve posted 120 episodes. 2.72 episodes per day ain’t 3 episodes per day but it’s pretty darn close. Make no mistake about it: This is a grueling pace. It’s not always sunshine, rainbows and dad jokes about investing. But our intern squad (Joseph Ball, Austin Newsome and Scotty Valiani) make this possible. Their tireless effort in cutting, editing, uploading, describing and otherwise “making” the podcast make this thing work and allows me to…well…work. If you listen to a five-minute episode, it probably took me two minutes to map out and five minutes to record. When I was done, I went back to work while the interns spent an additional 30 minutes getting the episode up. We couldn’t do it without these guys, and without them we wouldn’t be accomplishing our primary goal – reaching clients. So thanks to them, and thanks to you, our clients, for listening. We appreciate your feedback and we appreciate you listening. While we’re proud of the big numbers (again, 50,000 is hard to comprehend), we’re mostly optimistic that such a large (and growing) subscriber base is validation that what we’re doing is worth people’s time. Though light-hearted in nature and rarely perfect, we care greatly that our content be worthwhile for clients. I think those numbers reflect that we are in fact doing what we wanted to do in the first place.
  2. We knew a thing or three when we got started. When we started this it was a great leap of faith built primarily on three assumptions: 1. Firms like ours aren’t doing anything like this. 2. We can flood listeners with content and turn a single subscriber into multiple downloads on a daily basis. 3. We can carve out a niche in the video podcasting space because that space isn’t crowded. Thus far those assumptions have proven correct. We are routinely praised for our creativity (by everyone from compliance advisers to guests on the show and listeners) in forging this path. We are increasing our exposure by putting out content on a consistent basis. And, we have made disproportionate headway in the video space because nobody does it.
  3. We knew nothing at all when we got started. Bond Week was an absolute disaster and the largest failure of the podcast to-date, in my opinion. What started off as a well-intentioned plan to dedicate a full week to one singular topic went of the tracks when the daily toil of actual asset management left us with far too little time to prepare a full week’s worth of content. We had no idea how hard that would be. We also had no idea how awful our videos looked when we started and how much better a change of venue could make them (see images below). And we had no idea that an episode about Pokemon would be one of our most popular recordings to date. We knew nothing. We still don’t know a lot. We don’t know how to turn investment meetings into discussions that are meaningful to the everyday listener – but we’re going to figure it out. We don’t know how to incorporate a co-host to the daily market updates, but we’re trying it out this week. We don’t know many high-profile names and we don’t know how to lock in guests on a steady basis, but we’re grinding through that process.

 

Left: Old studio. Right: New studio.

Left: Old studio. Right: New studio.

 

In closing, I think what’s been the most fun for me is exploring different topics with different people. I thought Matt Burton’s input on Common Investing Pitfalls was fantastic and relevant for any investor regardless of sophistication. I had a great time talking with Matt Krebsbach about his time at Narwhal and I think that was a nice introduction to clients and a well-informed sector-specific conversation about alternative energy. Doing the Bond Week Q&A with Ben Nye and Sam Frost just a few short days after they arrived was a great way to see what they’re made of. Having an outlet for instantaneous reaction to a “shocking” Brexit vote was a brand new possibility. The Investing Podcast was able to chat with three Narwhal interns about their time with the firm and then interview someone that Jay Leno once interviewed a few weeks later.

We’re having a great time with this. Thank you for your continued support. We’ll try to get better each episode.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-Andrew


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