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Do Better – Thoughts on a Review from Dave Jackson

For me, feedback is one of the most difficult things to get from a podcast audience. In the nearly six years I’ve been making GEEK THIS, I’ve had a handful of comments or responses to any given episode. Naturally, that would be grounds for me to believe everything’s OK and the show is fine the way it is.

This week I employed Hall of Fame podcaster, Dave Jackson, to review my podcast for his, Podcast Rodeo. The results were not what I expected, but they were a learning experience and have given me some good pointers on what I need to improve on. Below is what he wrote about the Shaun of the Dead / Halloween Double Feature episode which was released on 10/24/18:

I liked the way the show started off with the introduction. You explain what the show is about, and then what you would cover in the episode. You did a good job of explaining how to subscribe and then got right to the content. Then after the introduction explained what the show is, you did again (quickly, just an FYI). Then after explaining what was coming on the show before the subscription part, you explained again what was going to be on the episode (not needed). Then when you bring in your co-host you use the “two people – one microphone” recording technique and it really makes your audio take a turn for the worse. You can easily buy two microphones and a mixer or a Focusrite interface and boost your audio quality.

Then the conversation sounds a little like you’re not sure where you are going. I would advise you both know what points you want to make and then share the bullet points so you can keep the show moving. It sounds a bit like a planning session with alot of “I don’t know,” or “I didn’t see that.” You shouldn’t be finding this out with the recorder going. While I understand you want this to be a conversation (and I admire that), I would still have a clear idea of where you were going, what points of view you wanted to share, and then start recording. The current version seemed a little lost.

As I said before, this is a learning experience for me. Dave has brought things to light and, frankly, some of it is hard to swallow, but I want to talk about what I’ve learned from not just the notes above, but from the actual audio file he sent me of the Podcast Rodeo episode.

1. Avoid Repeating Your Intro

This particular problem occured simply because I wasn’t paying attention during my editing process. Also, if I would have planned better – an issue he discusses later – I would have had no problem moving into our conversation flawlessly.

2. Use The Microphones

I’ve never wanted to go back in time more than when I heard Dave’s reaction to the change in audio quality. I went from my solo-recorded intro which has this close “in your head” feel, then it transitions into an echo chamber. OK, maybe not that bad, but there’s a lot of room noise here, simply because I didn’t want to set up the two microphones I brought with me. I just turned on my H4N Pro and recorded. I won’t be doing that again. I had two good, trusted microphones, and I left them in my gear bag out of laziness.

3. Plan Plan Plan

Typically, when I’m doing a solo episode, I have everything written out. I know where I’m going and what I want to say. Group episodes always trip me up because (a) I don’t do them that often and (b) I want it to feel natural. The sheer lack of planning for this episode was felt right off the bat. I know David (my co-host) and I felt it as we started, which hurt us in the long run. I should have written notes and shared them with David so we were sympatico.

4. Get Some Dang Energy

I record episodes – in this instance, the intro – when my wife and daughters are in bed. That means I’m not as loud or excited as I should be and I finally know that it translates the exact same way in the final audio. I can be an excited and energetic person. Unfortunately, this episode (and most likely many others) don’t show that. Maybe I need to go back to a standing desk? Maybe I need to determine a better schedule and record at some other time that midnight?!

These are all things to be considered. Instead of crawling into a hole and crying about how bad of a podcaster I am, I’m going to step it up, make changes, analyze everything again, and then get a full review from Dave Jackson again via Podcast Review Show.

Have you listened to GEEK THIS? I’d love it if you could give me some feedback on the show. The goal is to make the podcast better, so any little bit helps.

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Stop the Debate

I’ve worked part-time for Blubrry since late January 2018. In the time since then, I’ve joined several podcasting groups on Facebook. I think it’s great that new people are entering the podcasting space.

One thing that I see a ton of is the constant debate over which media host is “the best” or which one is most liked. While I could easily jump into every single discussion and proclaim my love for Blubrry’s array of services and help with my own job security, I think this debate and this discussion needs to stop.

Here’s a little secret: most media hosts will give you a free trial for their services, all you have to do is ask. Some even have affiliate links for the podcasters that use their services so they get a little kickback. The point I’m trying to make is extremely simple: try everything and see what works for you.

I picked Blubrry before I ever started working for them. I started with their PowerPress plugin and free stats service. Once I got serious about running my podcast, I got a hosting account. And, no, this isn’t a sales pitch for Blubrry. I’ve tried Libsyn and Podbean and Anchor and other services. In the end, I went with the one that made the most sense and was the easiest for me to use! And never once did I ask for anyone else’s opinion.

I wish more people would get into podcasting this way, by experimenting and seeing what works for them. Am I a proponent of doing things in a way that builds your own brand? Of course, I am, but some people can’t afford to pay $12 per month to have a hobby podcast. I was there once. I get it. In the end, you really have to do what works for you and you alone.

Go. Try every single hosting company out there. Get a free trial of their services so you can snoop around and see how things work. Some systems are easier to use than others. You won’t know until you do the research. Maybe one company’s way of doing things is too technical for you, fine. After your month trial is over, cancel your service and move to the next one. Even better, talk with their support team, read through their support documents, and get an understanding of how it all works. Maybe you just didn’t understand something.

Please do your homework! I cannot emphasize that enough.

Rant over (for now).


If you want to try Blubrry out for a month, you can use my code, GEEKTHIS. It’s an affiliate link, so I’ll make a small commission if you decide to use it.

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Why I Make A Weekly Podcast

This week my flagship – and really my only – podcast came back from a hiatus.

I’m notorious for getting excited about [random cool idea], making a loud noise about how “I’m gonna do it” and then doing nothing. I say words, but take no action. Bringing the podcast back with a weekly schedule was me enacting change on myself and anyone that was willing to listen. I was challenging myself. I wanted to push myself to commit to a project.

More or less, with the exception of a couple times where it simply wasn’t possible, I produced a new episode each week.

Those who listen to GEEK THIS will no doubt remember when it would vanish without a word and reappear, promising to be more consistent, then disappear again for long stretches of time. This time, though, I planned the break and let everyone know ahead of time.

What I didn’t tell everyone was why I needed to take a break.

The biggest reason is that it was starting to take a toll on me mentally. I didn’t have a great production schedule. The majority of the time, episodes were written the afternoon before I had to record. I recorded late at night so everyone in my house was asleep. This caused me to edit until 2:00 AM just so the episode would be released on Wednesday.

The other reason I took a break was because I was burning out and feeling like my efforts (re-read the above paragraph if need be) weren’t panning out.

I hear you asking, “What do you mean? How so?”

Simply put, my average per-episode download was 20. (Still is, too.)

That stings a little. It plays into depression I already battle.

I needed to re-evaluate why I was even doing the show if no one would listen to it.

Thanks to my fantastic wife, Wendie, she made me realize that I make my show every week because I like talking about geeky stuff. Do I want more interaction? Absolutely! Do I want to have people tweeting about how much they like my show? Sure!

For the last year I’ve tried to nudge friends (Adam, Mike, David – I’m talking about you) into becoming a network of creators and I’ve pushed a little too hard. I’ve wanted GEEK THIS to be this big thing that maybe it isn’t meant to be. It doesn’t matter if I’m making for myself, though.

In the end, though, I’m making every episode, every week, because I want to. It isn’t about numbers. It isn’t about sponsorship opportunities. It’s about making my thing and putting it out there for others who might like the same stuff.

If you’re a creator who makes a thing like me, let me know. I want to see what you’re making.

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Bacon Is Life

I’m fat.

No, don’t tell me to stop degrading myself.

I’m fat.

My height is 5′ 10″ and I weigh 260 lbs. I can barely bend over to tie my shoes without feeling like I’m going to pass out.

I’m fat.

But I’m working on it.

Bacon Is Life

Last year, around July, my wife and I started the ketogenic diet. To give it quick and dirty summary, it’s a high-fat, low-carb diet that let’s you eat burgers, bacon, and greens. (And coffee… oh how much I love coffee!) There’s much more to the diet than that, but if you’re interested in it, I suggest you follow the link above and learn more there.

From July 2017 to early November 2017 I lost around 30 lbs while on the diet. Unfortunately, once the holidays hit, beginning with my oldest daughter’s birthday, I fell off the wagon and gain all of it back. While it’s been nice to eat whatever I want, I’m feeling the consequences.

The Consequences of Being Fat

I feel tired, but when I crawl into bed and fall asleep, I’m restless and tend to wake up while I toss and turn.

That whole shoe-tying debacle? It’s totally real and it has become so bad that I’ve tied all of my shoes in a way where I can slip them on with minimal effort.

Mowing the lawn isn’t just a chore, it wipes me out for hours afterward. I drink plenty of water and take breaks, but the physical exertion takes a toll on me every single time.

I don’t feel like doing anything, ever, including interacting with my daughters. Sitting on the floor to play with them rarely happens and the look on their faces kills me.

What I Want Out of This

I want to go from my current 260 lbs down to 200 lbs and see how I feel. If I need to drop more weight, then that’s what’s going to happen. While losing that weight, I want to strengthen myself by lifting weights.

Obviously, all of the consequences of being fat are problems that need to be fixed. Most importantly to me on a personal level is becoming active with my girls without being exhausted afterward.

It’s Time to Start

The hardest part about any kind of change is starting the process. In this particular situation, I’m not going to over-think things. I’ll have one last hurrah and jump in. I’ve done this before, so the main focus is to quell the FOMO that made me quit in the first place. I’m not missing out because I can’t eat those chips or have a bun with my burger, if anything I’m missing out by continuing to live my current lifestyle.

It’s time to start, it’s time to change, it’s time to be honest with myself. The journey officially begins on June 4, 2018.


If you want to follow me on my journey, I’m @mrdaveclements everywhere on social media. Help keep me accountable and ask how I’m doing.

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Unintentional Isolation

While I was scrolling through Facebook recently, I came across one of the many groups I belong to. This one in particular is centered around movies. It’s a very active group, yet I rarely participate. For whatever reason, I suddenly realized this fact. So I started thinking.

I think the reason I don’t participate is due to what I call “unintentional isolation”. I don’t mean to not get involved, but I’m not ready to get involved in a conversation online, no matter what it’s about.

It’s built on the idea that there is a chance someone might disagree with me or – even worse – they might call me out for being a fraud.

Pardon me for a second while I give myself some advice:

KNOCK IT OFF!

I am a chronic over-thinker. Ask most anyone that knows me and they’ll tell you about the time I was asked to make a decision. It took me FOREVER because I thought about the ramifications of my choice.

If I get Mountain Dew, will that be too much caffeine for the day? I had six cups of coffee this morning. I don’t feel twitchy, but will that 20 oz bottle of Dew put me over the edge? What if I get a Coke instead? Does a Coke pair well with what I’m getting ready to eat? I don’t know. If it doesn’t, I’m stuck with this choice until I finish eating. I should get a Moutain Dew, it was my first choice. But I haven’t had a Code Red Moutain Dew in ages, so should I get one of those?

This kind of conversation happens way too often in my head and I promise that it goes on for much longer than that paragraph.

I over-think PLUS I over-think about what others think about me. Using the situation above, if I did choose a Mountain Dew, what is the opinion of the people around me? Do they judge me for drinking so much caffeine or sugar? Are they disgusted by my choosing of a Pepsi product over a Coke product? On and on and on it goes.

Eventually I realize that I’ve been standing in front of the gas station door for way too long and there’s some lady impatiently waiting on me so she can get her healthy water. Then I make my decision and check out. But not without going back and swapping it out for the other thing. Twice.

All of this plays into how I interact in social media groups. The people in those groups are typically great and knowledgeable, but they intimidate me. I’m afraid to chime in because I don’t want to be challenged. I don’t want to be asked why I hated Batman v Superman and why I think Avengers is the superior team-up movie. I don’t want to create drama so I stay out of the way. I watch from the sidelines and give my opinions to brick wall next to me.

So maybe calling it “unintentional” isn’t quite appropriate. Maybe that’s just an excuse to keep you from looking at me and asking why I’m watching from a distance, even though I do have two cents to share.

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Lessons Learned from Blubrry

Disclaimer: The thoughts in this article do not represent Blubrry or Rawvoice and are purely the author’s opinion. Employee names have been removed, as they may or may not share the opinions expressed.

If you’ve known me for any length of time, it’s fairly obvious that podcasting is a pretty big deal to me. For the last 5 years I’ve hosted and produced my own, GEEK THIS!, which returned in 2017 after an unintentional 8-month hiatus.

Since that return I’ve been much more adamant about bringing podcasts to the forefront of who I am. I’ve been talking more about the industry as a whole and chiming in more often on Facebook groups to give advice.

At the end of January 2018, I was lucky enough to be hired as a part-time Support contractor for one of the top podcast hosting companies out there, Blubrry. For me it was really a fluke that I even got the job, since I essentially tweeted at the man who owns the company. All I did was ask how often Support Team jobs become available. Within a couple of hours I was on the phone with the lead Support guru.

That still amazes me and I’m extremely grateful to be having the opportunity.

Now that I’m entering my second full month on the job, there are some things that I’ve learned from my position and I wanted to share them here. (I mean, it’s my blog. I can do what I want, you know?)

EVERYONE STARTS SOMEWHERE

It’s been five years since I started my podcast, so it’s very easy for me to roll my eyes at some of the silly mistakes or questions people send in frequently. Taking this job is exhausting at times, but there is something at the core of it all that makes each interaction valuable.

The idea that everyone starts somewhere isn’t new, but in this scenario, I have to humble myself and my view of people who are just getting their feet wet in a world I’ve been a part of for so long. (5 years is a long time in internet years.)

I see it as me “re-learning”. I don’t remember what it’s like to set up PowerPress for the first time or upload that first episode, so I have to take a step back and say, “OK. How does this work again?” Each time I have to do that, no matter what the issue, I tuck that re-learned thing away for the next time.

Would it help if new customers would go through the Getting Started section? Absolutely. But there’s a pretty good chance they won’t and I have to be ready for that.

I DON’T KNOW AS MUCH AS I THINK

I don’t know about you, but I suffer greatly from Imposter Syndrome. When I told my wife, Wendie, that I had been brought into the Blubrry fold, I immediately had this sense of “what if they find out I’m not as good as they (or I) think?” It lingers back there every single day and I’m always waiting for someone to email me or message me on Slack and tell me to pack my bags. How dumb.

One of my favorite moments in Support was when my friend, Zach, decided to start a podcast. He had all kinds of great questions that helped me do that re-learning thing again. But there were also plenty of questions where I just had to say, “You know what? I’m not totally sure how that works” and I had to dig into the resources Blubrry has to figure it out.

Not knowing the answer to a problem shouldn’t cause fear to creep in. It should, instead, make me step back and analyze the situation, figure out a way to solve it. The Imposter Syndrome needs to take a back seat in these instances. Heck, it really just needs to be run over by a car and then backed over in a gruesome death scene.

I don’t need to know everything about podcasting just because I have a Support job. I need to learn and grow. It’s impossible to know it all right off the bat.

PEOPLE LEAVE FOR WEIRD REASONS

You should never be happy that a customer doesn’t want to use your services. And I’m not saying I am, but dang. Some of the reasons people give for leaving are downright hysterical. Sadly, I can’t share any of them here, but you’ll have to trust me.

PODCASTS ARE BOOMING

It amazes me how many customers I’ve interacted with since I started Just over a month ago. Blubrry is growing, yes, but podcasts are growing, too. It used to be this thing that wasn’t easily accessible because few people understood RSS feeds and all of the technical jargon and processes that went along with it.

Now that you have companies like Blubrry out there that will help you out – whether that’s through their Getting Started guide or Podcasting Manual or even Support – people with less know-how are able to start their own show and get their voices out there. It’s an awesome thing to be a part of.

I WANT TO KEEP DOING THIS

I didn’t realize how much I liked helping people start and maintain a podcast. It brings me a lot of joy and satisfaction. Will it be like this a year or two from now? I really hope so.


If you want to start your own podcast, you can use my promo code GEEKTHIS at checkout and that’ll score you a free month of hosting and professional stats. I do make a small affiliate commission if you use my link/code.

Also, this isn’t a sponsored post. I just wanted to share my thoughts.

More coming soon.

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Opening Remarks

I have started many blogs and a couple of podcasts. Each time I sit down to write for each new project, there’s some kind of electricity in the air. My wife would say it’s because I am addicted to trying new things and I don’t think I would disagree.

The problem with that kind of addiction is that once the newness wears off, it’s easy to let the project crusty and moldy. It’s kind of like that hamburger you grabbed while you were out running errands by yourself but didn’t want her to find out, so you shoved what you could in your mouth and saved the rest in its wrapper until the next time you had the chance to go back out to the car and sneak a bite.

That is entirely hypothetical and I promise, my love, I would never hide my secret eating habits from you. Our marriage is based on truth!

This time, though. This time I’m sticking with it! Considering there will be a companion podcast to this blog, there is a good chance that last statement is true and I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

So, please, friends, keep checking back as I write more short post like this and record new episodes of my podcast. I’ll link to my podcast trailer once it’s made so you can get a feel for the show. After that you’ll be able to subscribe and avoid missing any of the fun rambling I have planned.