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Thoughts on Workflow Changes

I spent the last week making significant changes—which I shared two days ago—to how I work on my personal project. The first was to my recording frequency. I decided to test recording an entire series in a single day instead of one part every day for five consecutive days. And I spent an additional day editing. The second change was in how I determine what content will be included in each audio podcast episode. I was reading my blog post and eyeballing what extra context I’d add to the recording. Now I’ve begun adding (to drafts of my blog posts) bullet points of the context I want to add to my audio recordings..

Today I finished publishing the audio podcast series on John H. Johnson using this new approach. A few thoughts:

  • Adding recording context by enhancing the blog posts was a positive move. This series sounds more concise, and the value per minute to the listener feels high (I’m biased, though). It took longer this week, and it was annoying having to manage various versions of the blog post, but I think with time I’ll see how the time is reduced.
  • The editing time for parts 1 and 2 was still high. Parts 3 and 4 took less time, and part 5 significantly less. I’m not sure if this is a function of my getting progressively better during recording. I need to do more to confirm this. I want to reduce the length of the raw recordings by 40% to 50% and the editing time by 50% to 75%.
  • I didn’t like recording an entire series in a single day and then editing it the next day. That was draining. It did help make the overall story of the series flow better and be more cohesive, though.
  • I like the idea of recording, editing, and publishing daily. Maybe I’ll end up doing something that’s a hybrid. Record daily, edit every other day, and publish once per week. I’m not sure if that’s feasible or not, but I do know that what I did this past week doesn’t work for my personality long term.

Overall, this is directionally accurate, but I’ll need to keep tweaking until I nail my content format and the process of creating it.

I was encouraged this week when I realized I’m close to the 100-episode goal! That will be a milestone I’ll definitely celebrate. It’s been a challenging journey, and when I started this in April, 100 episodes seemed like an audacious goal. But here I am, not far from it. As I marched, the path got clearer.

Prefer listening? Catch audio versions of these blog posts, with more context added, on Apple Podcasts here or Spotify here!

+ COMMENT

Weekly Update: Week Two Hundred Twenty-Four

Weekly Update: Week Two Hundred Twenty-Four

Current Project: Reading books about entrepreneurs and sharing what I learned from them via blog posts and audio podcasts

Mission: Create a library of wisdom from notable entrepreneurs that current entrepreneurs can leverage to increase their chances of success

Metrics (since 4/1/24):

  • Total audio recordings published: 85 (+9)
  • Total blog posts published: 105 (+7)
  • Average recording: roughly 16 minutes (+0) for a biography or autobiography

What I completed this week (link to last week’s commitments):

Content:

  • Audio content changes: I changed the intro to explain what problems it solves for entrepreneurs.

What I’ll do next week:

  • Read one biography or autobiography
  • Write seven blog posts and record seven audio posts
  • Continue reading one of the books about storytelling that I purchased; this is a carryover from last week
  • Complete three feedback sessions

Asks:

  • Listen to my most recent series on John H. Johnson and provide feedback on how I can improve.

Week two hundred twenty-four was another week of learning. Looking forward to next week!

Prefer listening? Catch audio versions of these blog posts, with more context added, on Apple Podcasts here or Spotify here!

+ COMMENT

Last Week’s Struggles and Lessons (Week Ending 7/14/24)

Current Project: Reading books about entrepreneurs and sharing what I learned from them via blog posts and audio podcasts

Mission: Create a library of wisdom from notable entrepreneurs that current entrepreneurs can leverage to increase their chances of success

What I struggled with:

  • Blog posts – I write my blog posts, and when I create each audio podcast episode, I read them and add context. I changed how I write my blog posts and add context to my recordings. These were two separate steps, but this week I combined them into a single step. Instead of loosely eyeballing context points to add during recordings, I started adding these points to my blog post drafts. This change slowed me down since I had to adjust to doing something different, but I’m hoping it will make my recordings more concise.  
  • Recording frequency – Instead of publishing both a blog post and audio podcast daily, this week I published a blog post daily and will publish the audio versions of all five parts of the most recent series in one day. This was a big change in workflow: I’ll be doing heavy days of recording and editing multiple episodes. Before, it was a little bit of everything every day.

What I learned:

  • I’ve been complaining about editing taking too much time. A big part of this issue is likely that I’m not being as concise as I could be. Before I get assistance editing, I want to make my recordings more concise. This is what drove the recording frequency change I mentioned above. This pain is forcing me to constantly think about ways to communicate more concisely, which is good. If I offload editing to someone too early, I’ll miss the opportunity to improve this.
  • Sharing a founder’s journey via a compelling and distilled story resonates with people in my feedback sessions. Jumping from lesson to lesson in their journey without knowing the founder’s complete journey makes it harder for the lessons to stick with people.
  • Many entrepreneurs fail to maintain healthy personal relationships while building their companies. This problem isn’t talked about enough, and I want to highlight it more in the stories I share about entrepreneurs. If the most notable entrepreneurs couldn’t figure it out, then countless current entrepreneurs are likely seeking wisdom to help them navigate it.

Those are my struggles and learnings from the week!

Prefer listening? Catch audio versions of these blog posts, with more context added, on Apple Podcasts here or Spotify here!

+ COMMENT

Last Week’s Struggles and Lessons (Week Ending 7/7/24)

Current Project: Reading books about entrepreneurs and sharing what I learned from them via blog posts and audio podcasts

Mission: Create a library of wisdom from notable entrepreneurs that current entrepreneurs can leverage to increase their chances of success

What I struggled with:

  • The holiday – I didn’t publish audio podcasts on July 4 and two days after it. No excuses. I’m catching up now, but it’s been painful.  

What I learned:

  • The two-day podcasting conference was eye-opening. It confirmed that the market for people actively seeking to fill their knowledge gaps around entrepreneurship is growing rapidly. I got concrete numbers from podcasters and made valuable connections with podcasters, agencies, and service providers.  
  • Extremely successful podcast entrepreneurs are struggling to manage growth and add structure to their businesses. And so are the service providers and agencies supporting the podcasters.
  • Podcast entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs providing services to podcasters were excited to talk about how they learn and hear about new ways to learn.
  • I need to get to the point where I have a larger buffer of podcasts ready to publish so I’m not playing catchup during holidays or days when I need to take time off.

Those are my struggles and learnings from the week!

Prefer listening? Catch audio versions of these blog posts, with more context added, on Apple Podcasts here or Spotify here!

+ COMMENT

Weekly Update: Week Two Hundred Twenty-Three

Current Project: Reading books about entrepreneurs and sharing what I learned from them via blog posts and audio podcasts

Mission: Create a library of wisdom from notable entrepreneurs that current entrepreneurs can leverage to increase their chances of success

Metrics (cumulative since 4/1/24):

  • Total audio recordings published: 76 (+5)
  • Total blog posts published: 98 (+7)
  • Average recording: roughly 16 minutes (+2) for a biography or autobiography

What I completed this week (link to last week’s commitments):

  • Read the autobiography of John H. Johnson, founder and publisher of Jet and Ebony magazines  
  • Attended a two-day podcasting conference
  • Had one additional feedback session
  • Compiled and sorted feedback from sessions completed the week of 6/24/24
  • Updated all links to books in all blog posts (4/1/24 and after) and podcasts with Amazon affiliate links

Content:

  • Audio content changes: I lengthened each recording by two minutes by adding more context and comparisons to other entrepreneurs

What I’ll do next week:

  • Read one biography or autobiography
  • Write seven blog posts and record seven audio posts
  • Start reading one of the books about storytelling that I purchased; this is a carryover from last week
  • Complete three feedback sessions
  • Identify two candidates who can help edit recordings

Asks:

  • Listen to my most recent series on Sam Zell and James Dyson and provide feedback on how I can improve them

Week two hundred twenty-three was another week of learning. Looking forward to next week!

Prefer listening? Catch audio versions of these blog posts, with more context added, on Apple Podcasts here or Spotify here!

+ COMMENT

Last Week’s Hurdles and Lessons (Week Ending 6/30/24)

Current Project: Reading books about entrepreneurs and sharing what I learned from them via blog posts and audio podcasts

Mission: Create a library of wisdom from notable entrepreneurs that current entrepreneurs can leverage to increase their chances of success

What I struggled with:

  • Missing a post – Friday, I didn’t do a great job of managing my time and didn’t publish an audio podcast. It was recorded but not fully edited in time. I caught up over the weekend, so I’m back on track.  

What I learned:

  • I researched entrepreneurs who’ve successfully built businesses by sharing “knowledge” about entrepreneurship on various content-distribution platforms. I didn’t assess whether what they’re sharing is of value; rather, I focused on their visible platform metrics and made some assumptions. The likely size of the businesses they’ve built is shocking. I thought about it from a market perspective. People are actively seeking to fill their knowledge gaps around entrepreneurship, and that demand is growing rapidly. From the outside, the space looks unattractive and unsophisticated. I saw this as a sign that the market is in its relatively early stages and growing quickly but that savvy entrepreneurs are capitalizing on these characteristics.
  • Creating a set of questions to answer before I start reading a book was helpful. As I read, I can note passages that help answer the questions. It also helped with distillation. I still have work to refine the questions, but this feels directionally accurate.
  • Atlanta has a large community of content-creator entrepreneurs, and events are focused on this community.
  • Content-creator entrepreneurs struggle to manage their growth and add structure so their businesses can continue growing.
  • I need to start looking for ways to reduce my editing time, maybe by being more concise when I record and/or finding an editor who can help.  

Those are my struggles and learnings from the week!

Prefer listening? Catch audio versions of these blog posts, with more context added, on Apple Podcasts here or Spotify here!

+ COMMENT

Weekly Update: Week Two Hundred Twenty-Two

Current Personal Project: Reading Books about Entrepreneurs and Sharing What I Learned from Them via Blog Posts and Audio Podcasts

Metrics (since 4/1/24):

  • Total audio recordings published: 71 (+8)
  • Total blog posts published: 91 (+7)
  • Average recording: roughly 14 minutes (+2) for a biography or autobiography

What I completed this week (link to last week’s commitments):

  • Read the autobiography of Sam Zell
  • Had four additional feedback sessions: I exceeded my target by one
  • Compiled and sorted feedback from sessions completed the week of 6/17/24
  • Drafted questions I want to answer for every book I read

Content:

  • Audio content changes: I lengthened each recording by two minutes and tested increasing my energy level by using lots of hand motions as I record

What I’ll do next week (holiday week):

  • Read one biography or autobiography
  • Write seven blog posts and record seven audio posts
  • Compile feedback from sessions completed the week of 6/23/24 and identify insights
  • Attend podcasting conference
  • Start reading one of the books about storytelling that I purchased

Asks:

  • No asks this week

Week two hundred twenty-two was another week of learning. Looking forward to next week!

Prefer listening? Catch audio versions of these blog posts, with more context added, on Apple Podcasts here or Spotify here!

+ COMMENT

Last Week’s Hurdles and Lessons (Week Ending 6/23/24)

Because I’ve received feedback that others got value when I shared the struggles from my current personal project, I’ve decided to build this project in public and share my ups and downs openly.

Current Personal Project: Reading Books about Entrepreneurs and Sharing What I Learned from Them via Blog Posts and Audio Podcast

What I struggled with:

  • Frustration – Sunday I relistened to everything I created this week about Wayne Huizenga. The content quality isn’t where I want it to be or what I’m capable of. That frustrated me because I’ve put a lot of energy into this over the last three months. I went back and listened to episodes from early May—and cringed at how bad they were. It dawned on me that I’m making progress, but it’s hard for me to see it because I’m doing this every day. I’m in the weeds. I need to focus on improving each day. Over time, small improvements should compound.

What I learned:

  • When I meet with entrepreneurs, I listen to their current situation and struggles. If applicable, I share journeys and lessons learned from books I’ve read that apply to their situation. This tailored feedback excites them about the book and my project, and they want to learn more. Not sure how to replicate this broadly, but I’m seeing a pattern.
  • I did a five-part series on Wayne Huizenga. I could have stopped at four, but I did a fifth episode focused on my insights and takeaways from the entire book. In the other four episodes, I shared parts of his journey related to specific book sections (e.g., pages 0–100). Creating the fifth episode forced me to zoom out, think about his entire journey, and answer the questions I wanted answers to when I began reading the book.
  • Publishing a five-part series on a book Monday through Friday and publishing reflections about it on Saturday and Sunday felt like a good, sustainable pace.
  • Adjusting my reading schedule to finish a book in five days instead of seven was beneficial. It gives me two buffer days in case life happens. If I finish on plan, I can get a jump start on the next book and get ahead, which gives me more processing time before I start writing or recording.
  • Creating outlines from book highlights and notes is helpful in the distillation process. It takes more time than I’d like, but it improved my distillation process and helped me discover insights.
  • Podcasts spread more easily by word of mouth. A childhood friend texted me asking for a link to my pod. I’ve had this podcast for three months and my blog for four years. I never had that happen with my blog.
  • I stayed up late one night working on this project. When I woke up early the next morning to start reading, it was a struggle. My reading comprehension and pace were significantly diminished compared to the day before. I didn’t read as much as I’d planned and fell behind on my plan for the week. Being mentally fresh every day is important for this project. I can’t pull all-nighters to catch up.
  • Amazon affiliate links on iPhones have a known glitch. For whatever reason, users can't stay in the Amazon mobile app after clicking the link. Linking to product pages opens the mobile app, but the user is quickly redirected to the Safari web browser, which breaks the data tracking of the affiliate link. I learned to get around this by linking to the search result page (example), not the product pages (example). It’s not 100% foolproof, but it’s a good enough hack.

Those are my struggles and learnings from this week!

Prefer listening? Catch audio versions of these blog posts, with more context added, on Apple Podcasts here or Spotify here!

+ COMMENT

Weekly Update: Week Two Hundred Twenty-One

This is my two-hundred-twenty-first weekly reflection or update.

Four weeks ago, I changed my weekly reflection to a weekly update on a current project. For more on why I made this change, see here.

Current Personal Project: Reading Books about Entrepreneurs and Sharing What I Learned from Them via Blog Posts and Audio Recordings Distributed as a Podcast

Metrics (since 4/1/24):

  • Total audio recordings published: 63 (+7)
  • Total blog posts published: 84 (+8)
  • Average recording: roughly 13 minutes (+1) for a biography or autobiography

What I completed this week (link to last week’s commitments):

  • Read a biography of James Dyson
  • Had two additional feedback sessions—I missed my target by three; it was the fourth straight week I’ve missed this goal
  • Compiled and sorted feedback from sessions completed the week of 6/10/24
  • Implemented hack for Amazon affiliate links to resolve data-tracking issues when iPhone jumps from mobile app to Safari web browser
  • Finished editing Jim Simons series using Descript
  • Published a blog post explaining my decision to use Amazon affiliate links

Content:

  • Audio content changes: Continued testing doing five episodes for Wayne Huizenga  
  • Tweaked podcast titles and descriptions of older episodes

What I’ll do next week:

  • Read one biography or autobiography
  • Create a draft of questions I want answered about each book
  • Write seven blog posts and record seven audio posts
  • Compile feedback from sessions completed the week of 6/17/24 and identify insights
  • Complete three feedback sessions (reduced from five)

Asks:

  • Please test the links in my podcast and blog. Please let me know if the link takes you directly to the book in the Amazon app or web browser
  • Listen to my most recent audio recordings and provide feedback on how I can improve them

Week two hundred twenty-one was another week of learning. Looking forward to next week!

FYI: I’m still playing with the format for this weekly update. I’ll add and remove stuff until I settle on a format I like.

Prefer listening? Catch audio versions of these blog posts, with more context added, on Apple Podcasts here or Spotify here!

+ COMMENT

Last Week’s Hurdles and Lessons (Week Ending 6/16/24)

Because I’ve received feedback that others got value when I shared the struggles from my current personal project, I’ve decided to build this project in public and share my ups and downs openly.

Current Personal Project: Reading Books about Entrepreneurs and Sharing What I Learned from Them via Blog Posts and Audio Recordings Distributed as a Podcast

What I struggled with:

  • Distillation – I shared my thoughts in this post a few days ago. Identifying the most valuable wisdom and formulating insights is the key to providing maximum value per minute to entrepreneurs who read my blog posts or listen to my audio recordings.
  • Editing – Editing makes a recording concise, increasing the value per minute to the listener. Editing one recording per week—I’d be OK with that. Editing one recording a day was frustrating and required more time than I wanted to allocate to this task. It slowed me down in other areas of this project; specifically, distillation.

What I learned:

  • I read the biography of Wayne Huizenga last week, and this week I’ll create blog posts and recordings about it. It helped to remove the pressure to write and record about what I read the same day I read it. It gives me more time to process and a buffer for the unexpected.
  • Kirk Kerkorian’s journey as told in the biography was complex. Three blog posts or recordings wouldn’t have done it justice. Some books won’t fit into a three-part series, and that’s okay as long as I stay focused on providing as much value per minute as possible to entrepreneurs who read my blog or listening to my recordings.
  • I’m now editing as the last task of the day. It’s mindless work. It doesn’t make sense to do it earlier, which wastes the time of the day when I’m mentally sharpest.

Those are my struggles and learnings from this week!

Prefer listening? Catch audio versions of these blog posts, with more context added, on Apple Podcasts here or Spotify here!

+ COMMENT

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