Why Everyone Creative Should Be Listening to Gimlet Media
I’ve known about the podcast Start Up for a while now. Josh listened to it as each episode went up and encouraged me to do the same. But I’m not a business person. I’m not interested in business. I’m not interested in listening to people talk about investors and legal wranglings and everything that goes into making a lucrative endeavour. I like money insofar as what it can get me, but I don’t really want to hear about it. At all.
But the twins’ camp is an hour and a half roundtrip drive, twice a day, so I needed something to fill those three hours. I listen to two other Gimlet Media productions — Reply All and Mystery Show — and decided to give Start Up a chance.
I really wish I had listened to this sooner*.
It’s about starting up a media company, but it’s not really about starting up a media company. It’s more about finding the energy to believe in your idea, in taking big risks without knowing whether you’ll totally regret them in the future. It’s about getting other people to buy into your vision. It’s about letting other people in and being creative and finding your audience.
It’s about being really really really vulnerable.
There are so few times in life that someone holds open the door and allows you to see the stumbles and falls that brought them to their success. I mean, yes, there are plenty of artists and entrepreneurs who give a line or two in a larger interview alluding to the fact that the road wasn’t smooth. You get a sense that they may have had nights here and there where they were filled with doubt.
But this is an entire podcast where the emotions on every step of the journey are laid bare. It can be confusing when we only see the highlight reel from someone else’s life and it doesn’t match with our experience. So I’m grateful for this podcast; for letting us peek inside and see it all.
Alex Blumberg allows us to listen to him bumble through his first attempt at securing an investor. He tells us all the naming ideas that ended up in the reject pile before they settled on Gimlet Media (and how they even came to that name in the first place — hint, sometimes you need to turn to outside help despite feeling like you should do everything yourself). We get to hear him negotiate a relationship with the man who became his business partner, and both of them give us access to their private conversations with their wives, discussing their feelings.
As you listen, your insecurities begin to feel normal, like they’re part of any creative process and their absence would be detrimental to your success.
My friend, Jill, tried to convince me recently that all of us are entrepreneurs. That I’m a novelist entrepreneur, and other people are breastfeeding advice entrepreneurs or depression support entrepreneurs or baking entrepreneurs. That getting paid is what separates work from a hobby.
I’m not sure I agree with her, and I still wouldn’t call myself an entrepreneur, but there is a lot of crossover between creating a business and creating anything else in this world. So I’m really grateful for Alex Blumberg for putting all of it out there over the airwaves because it has definitely made me feel more confident in my endeavours, or, at the very least, not so alone when insecurity hits.
* If you do start listening to it, they’re on their second season. So go back to the first episode of the first season to hear how Gimlet Media came to be.