The PIT Show Post Mortem
I recently did a post-mortem for the PIT Show (formerly known as the Productivity in Tech Podcast). I wanted to break down the takeaways I got from it.
Let's talk about what success was in the show. At its peak the show got about 1,500 downloads per episode. The show ended with approximately 250 downloads per episode.
Short Term Success in Cliches
The show started out talking about the apps that people I saw on the internet used. I soon became bored feeling that the show was exactly the same, but the numbers didn't lie. There was a significant drop off after the topics shifted.
In the future, projects like this should limited in length. Each run, try to get unique uses and a connection between the episodes to be cohesive.
Long Term Success in Knowledge/Relationships
I was able to do interviews for several years. I made amazing friends and connections to people. Those connections lead to bigger projects. My current boss mentioned my interview skills made me a good candidate for my current role.
In the future, remember the people you connect with. Make friends and have great conversations. It's these things that will make you more money/exposure/etc.
Never Nuke a Project Twice
I blew up the feed when it could have been an archive. When I brought the show back I could have put it all on the original feed.
The second time I announced a rebranding and change to the format. This did not work.
After a year I brought it back under the old name. People asked many times why I was announcing new shows but they weren't showing up on the feed.
In the future, DO NOT MAKE YOUR BRAND THE NAME OF THE SHOW. Also, beware of nuclear options.
People Ask Great Questions
Guests loved the ability to interview me. The best interviews always had great questions. The most memorable after shows were well over an hour.
In the future GIVE PEOPLE PLATFORMS! Let them do things they've wanted to do. Make space for that, because it will produce some great results.
Learn from What They Don't Show
Good interviewers get good answers from their guests. The best interviews get answers no one else has gotten. The best way to do this is avoid the obvious questions and dig deeper.
In the future, be selective about who you interview. Really push your interviewee to answer questions never before asked.
It's Hard to Go at It Alone
This show would have been better with a producer, editor, artist, and social media manager. trying to do all these things by myself lead to burnout.
In the future, limit your role on the show. Don't do things on your own unless in very limited scope (limited run shows with a lot of prep-work).
Prepare, Don't Over Prepare
A big change was adding the questionnaire. It made the prep-work easier. That said pre-loaded questions made the show feel boring.
In the future, prepare for the show but don't overdo it.
Experiments are Good
I tried many things. some worked and some didn't.
In the future, have a place to try things. If they go well keep doing it. If not, oh well.
You Won't Please Everyone
I ran several polls asking about the interview format vs the solo-reflection format.
In the future, make your project single-focused. It's okay to have many projects especially if you have help.
Just Ask (Sometimes More Than Once)
It did take a couple of asks to bring people onto the show. Sometimes they were down but not available. In the future, be patient and do (unless they say "No" then respect their wishes)
Engagement > Listeners
Engagement gives you insight to what your most engaged fans want. You will make more money per engaged person vs those listening but not engaging.1
In the future, focus on your audience. Make content for them. Growth will happen until it doesn't. It's the folks that support you that you should be connecting with and learning from and serving.
Communities are best when small
The community around PIT's podcast was at its best when it was never about PIT.
In the future, if your podcast is in service to a community, just serve the community. If they feel a podcast is necessary, then do the podcast.
It Would Have Been Better as More Than One Show
The PIT Show was full of experiments and conversations that I wanted to have. In the realm of productivity, that show died several years ago. If I wanted to interview amazing people, I could have made a show doing so. If I wanted to have my own reflections show I should have done (and I did do) that.
The show would have ended in a more concise and consistent experience.
This calculation could fall apart if ad-revenue is introduced. Usually at that level you have a lot of engagement still. ↩