Creativity Drought

Over the last couple years I have spent a lot of spare time working on various creative projects including this blog, setting up and hosting my own website, drone videos, and the Kilobyte podcast. They each managed to challenge me in different ways, whether it was finding the right equipment for podcast recording, learning about setting up a Linux server, or understanding how to build and pilot a quadcopter. It was also difficult trying to find enough time in my schedule to work on each thing in a meaningful way. Somehow I managed to find the time and was quite happy with my first pass at all of it.

Going into this year I hoped to adopt a yearly theme as was discussed on Cortex #62: 2018 Yearly Themes. The basic idea is to find a theme for the year (or season) and use it as a guide for decisions throughout the year rather than setting a bunch of goals for the year you are likely to break. I spent several days thinking about the past year, what I had accomplished and the direction I wanted to head for the upcoming year. It was really important that I build on the previous year’s learning, but step it up in some way. Initially I was leaning towards creating content more consistently, but I think before that I need to make it easier for me to actually create and post the content.

I was getting close, but just as I started to narrow down on a theme something happened and I got distracted. It is hard to say for sure what happened, but my creative output went down to zero. Thankfully I have recognized it and have started down the road to correcting course. Here is my first step in creating more content again with hopefully more to come soon.

Introducing the Kilobyte Microcast

Last night I published the first episode of my new podcast, Kilobyte. It is a microcast where I will be talking about my thoughts on a wide range of my interests like technology, life as a software developer, the parenting and hopefully some funny anecdotes about my life. Initially I want to post 5–10 minute long episodes a couple times a week. Although I am looking forward to seeing how it evolves over time as I learn my voice and start to get better at audio editing.

Here are a few ways to subscribe:

Creative Opportunity Cost

On the last episode of Analog, #76 Well, I Drive a BMW , there was continuation of a previous discussion about creating a new fan community for Relay FM using Slack or some other tool for creating communities. Initially, I thought how much fun it would be seeing the various Relay FM hosts communicating with each other and also with fans. After listening to the entire discussion on the podcast and then thinking about it for a few days my opinion changed. A community would provide some new content and might allow me to interact with the hosts of the podcasts I listen to everday, but at what cost to those very podcasts and the hosts who have spread themselves out very thin across many different projects.

You have to look no further than Upgrade co-hosts, Myke Hurley and Jason Snell, to see an example of podcasting work horses with a lot on their plate. Mr. Hurley, co-founder of Relay FM, appears on at least 8 different podcasts and as far as I can tell handles the marketing and personnel for the network. Mr. Snell, founder and writer at Six Colors, runs The Incomparable podcast network and is a host on at least a half dozen podcasts across both networks. On top of all that work they are always replying to tweets, chatting on Slack and oh yeah, then having their regular lives too.

Asking them to also converse in special forums with fans will not only be more stuff on their plates, but it runs the risk of taking time away from projects which push the network and the medium forward. If given the choice I would much prefer Mr. Hurley work on another special series like Behind the App than see him rehash the same topic from a podcast in some chat room somewhere. The hosts only have a limited amount of time and creativity to work with and it shouldn’t be squandered.

My other concern is how the podcasts themselves may suffer if the hosts spend time disussing topics in a community forum. As soon as podcasts start referencing these online discussions during the podcast it is going to alienate any listeners who haven’t been following along online. Right now any tweets or feedback from listeners is always shared during the podcast and everybody is kept in the loop. I would also be concerned about the hosts getting burnt out on a topic from discussing in a community forum off air. Keeping these discussions mostly limited to podcasts helps keep them fresh.

It would be great to hear my favorite podcast hosts chatting away in some community forum, but not if it prevents them from working on new creative projects or improving their existing ventures. I would rather them focus on what they are great at and keep moving the podcast brain ball down the field.

For the Love of Pod-casts

An ATP Mention

The last six months of so have brought a major change to my life, it all started when my good friend Alex (@alexredsox) posted a tweet about a mention he got on the Accidental Tech Podcast. At the time I saw it, quickly listened to his moment in the sun and then continued moving down my Twitter feed. It would take me about six months to fully appreciate why he was so excited about being referenced on a podcast.

My Podcast

I had been aware of podcasts for quite a while, including the production of my own podcast called “Keeg’s World”, which was a companion to my LiveJournal back at the turn of the century. I attempted to start the one guy talking to himself show, but it didn’t really pan out and only lasted a few episodes. I never really checked out any other podcasts, probably because it required so much leg work to the iPod up to date. I was also very excited to be listening to music during my commute into Boston on my fancy new 3rd generation iPod

My other love besides music has been the Howard Stern show. I have been a listener since the late 1990’s and continue to listen today on Sirius/XM. Say what you will about him and his sometimes controversial show segments, but I find him to be an amazing entertainer. His ability to know exactly what his audience will find entertaining is amazing, he somehow puts himself in the position of the listeners and can immediately tell if something is entertaining or not. He is the greatest interviewer I have ever heard, because he goes beyond the standard questions and digs deeper with people. You can have little or no interest in somebody, and after a short 90 minutes you can’t wait to buy their album or see their new movie. My favorite part of the show is usually the beginning of the show, because it is just Howard talking about his everyday life. Some mornings it is a lengthy discussion about his evening at home and other times he might talk about a dinner he had with his parents. The first hour of the show never fails to keep me entertained, because it is just a couple of people talking about nothing in particular.

A New Interest

Fast forward to the Spring of 2015 and something changed, I can’t say for sure what triggered the interest, but I started listening to a couple podcasts. Right around the time the Apple Watch was released I checked out either the iMore show or The Talk Show. I was hooked right away, because I found people that talked about something I was passionate about, Apple. I quickly consumed these podcasts each week and then the cross pollination began. First, Rene Ritchie mentioned another show he was on called, Debug. I checked it out and added it to my growing list.

It wasn’t long before I found the Accidental Tech Podcast(ATP) again. I loved the banter between the guys and how they discussed all facets of technology, it was nice to also hear them go back and forth on various topics. I was especially intrigued by John Siracusa, his quick wit, knowlege and critical perspective on all the things really spoke to me. I had to know more so I delved into the archives of the old 5x5 podcast network and found the 100 episode run of Hypercritical Naturally I started at episode 1 and started to learn more about Mr. Siracusa. Luckily around that time he started Reconcilable Differences with Merlin Mann, which really dove into the mind of Mr. Hypercritical.

I cruised a long with a nice set of shows for a few months and was able to keep up with the new episodes, thanks to Overcast and its Smart Speed feature. I learned that September is a ridiculous month as all the podcasts first predict what Apple will announce, discuss what Apple announced and finally try out the products Apple released.

Hello Internet

Right around this time on The Talk Show Episode 132 with Marco Arment they kept talking about a show called Hello Internet, I hadn’t heard of it before, but when John Gruber and Marco Arment recommend something (both Howard Stern fans I believe) you should go listen to it. They couldn’t have been more right!!

The fun thing about podcasts is that you can pick and choose the order in which you listen to the shows. In the case of Hello Internet I decided to listen to the first several episodes to learn the full story of CGP Grey and Brady Haran and their little podcasts of two guys talking. I was immediately hooked. The balance between their personalities is perfect, very much like the perfect balance found on ATP between Marco, Casey and John. The added bonus for me was that it was not a technology podcast, so my wife enjoyed listening too. Of course being a completionist and once again being intrigued by one of the hosts, in this case CGP Grey, I sought out more information and found the Cortex. I was fortunate enough to find this early enough that I was able to complete the entire backlog in a few weeks time.


So why did I make this post about podcasts I like? A couple weeks ago I came to a realization that finding podcasts was bittersweet for me. It has been great finding people in the world that care about the same things as me like, Apple, technology, work styles, etc.. However, it also made me realize I don’t have people in my everyday life with the same interests. OK that is not entirely true since there is one guy at work with the same views, but he doesn’t share the same love of podcasting. It might be time to start my own podcasting network so I can find others with similar interests.

Other Subscribed Podcasts

Here are some other podcasts I didn’t mention above, but subscribe to.