Alex Blumberg of Gimlet on the rise of podcasts
What was the vision behind Gimlet?
I was making podcasts and seeing the audience grow every year. It seemed obvious that people wanted more of it, and there wasn’t really a place to make more of it. So we started Gimlet. I felt there were so many different kinds of stories we could tell.
How’s it been to go from producing to the business side?
That’s been crazy. When I started the company, I still thought of myself as someone who makes the thing. Now I’m the person who creates the conditions so other people can make it. That’s a profound change and it requires very different skills.
Your podcast Startup is about starting Gimlet. What’s been the biggest challenge?
The minute the company achieves any type of scale, you get thrown into a completely new world. Just expecting and understanding it is really important, and realising that you’ll make so many mistakes and having to be really open to criticism.
Podcasts are the innovation disrupting terrestrial radio. What opportunities does the medium present?
You can target people more closely because you don’t have to rely on everyone being there at the same time. It also has a longer tail, so it doesn’t need such broad appeal. So it means we can adopt types of programming that you never could have imagined before.
Fiction podcast Homecoming is an example of that. What else are you planning?
Audio drama is having a renaissance. But audio can now also go places that it couldn’t before, with technology that enables you to do new things. This is just the beginning. We’re going to see all sorts of adventurous, interesting, groundbreaking types of fiction.
Many people haven’t discovered podcasts yet. What’s special about the medium?
The intimacy. You’re hearing the actual words but you’re also creating a part of the experience in your mind. It’s some of that active imaginating that you do when you’re reading a book but it’s also blended with what they’re saying. It allows you to inhabit their worlds in a different way so listeners are more empathetic to the message. I think that’s really powerful.
What’s the best advice you’ve received?
An early investor told us to get an executive coach. We were going through so much, and my partners and I needed to be on the same team. Without somebody to help you negotiate that stuff, it can be a real challenge: emotions can bounce around pretty quickly, and then it cascades throughout the company. So that was great advice.
當年我還是播客製作人時，聽眾的目數 按年遞增，顯很明 大眾對播客有需求，可是我們卻缺少一個可供製作更多節目的地方，因此我們創立了Gimlet，讓們以我可盡情訴說各式各樣的。故事
那真是一段翻天覆地的經歷。司公 成立之初，未我還 能擺脫製作人的身分和想法，但現在我已成為一個策劃者，我需要創造一個讓其他人能製作播客的環境。這個轉變相當大，而兩個角色所需的技能也是南轅北轍。
當公司開始稍具規模，你要面對的就是一個截然不同的，必世界 所以 須去面對和了解它。同時你亦應該明白自己會犯下許多錯誤，必而且 須坦然接受批。評
播客讓我們不再受時間和地域限制，可以更為密切地針對目標聽眾。而且它更有 佳的長尾效益只（ 要銷售渠道通路夠大，冷門商品的銷總 量也能與熱門商品銷量匹敵） ，讓我們毋須太迎合大眾口味，可製作更多前所未的目有 節 類型。
你的首部播集客劇 《 》是就其中一個例子吧。你未來還有什麼計劃？
Homecoming 現在音訊劇集正經歷復興時期，而隨著科技，發展 音訊亦可踏足更多過往從未涉足的領域。隨著《Homecoming》開創先河，日後我們將會帶來更多前所未聞而新奇有趣的播客劇。日
親密感。聽可眾 以一邊聆聽故事，一邊想像故事的世界。這跟閱讀時的像想 方式類近，但當故事內容與音訊融合，聽就眾 能夠以一種新方式進入劇的，中人 世界 並且代入其中；這就是播客引人入勝之處。
某位早期投資者建議我們聘請企業教。練那個時候我們正面對很多挑戰，而我和合夥人需站要 在同一陣線。若果沒有人扮演調停者的角色，情勢就很容易變更得 為危險，因為情緒一旦缺堤，就很容易蔓延全公司，所以聘請企業教練絕對是一個非常好的。忠告