Is Podcasting For Real?

Podcasting was once considered an obscure techie method of sharing audio information. Times have changed, and now podcasting has become a recognized medium for distributing audio content by news media companies, corporations, and individuals. Podcasts are similar to radio programs, but they exist as audio files which can be played by listeners on any device, anytime, or anywhere. Podcasts can be by one person, but most are interviews by well known personalities. Research by PodcastHosting.org showed as of June 2021 there are more than two million podcasts and more than 48 million episodes or programs.

Having arisen from obscurity, 75% of the US population is familiar with the term “podcasting” and 50% of all US households are podcast fans. 155 million of the US population has listened to a podcast, 104 million listen to podcasts at least every month, and 68 million listen to podcasts weekly. About half of the listeners are 12-34, about a third 35-54, and 20% are more than 55.

Podcasting started in the early 2000s. I started podcasting in 2005. One of my first podcasts was called “1-800-FREE-411”. You can listen to it here. I published a half-dozen or so episodes on my website about different topics. I cannot say they were a big hit. I was a bit ahead of my time with the new concept.

Today podcasting is anything but new, early, or obscure. In fact, it is arguably the rage and a lot of money is pouring in to the medium. Joe Rogan is a podcaster, comedian, and commentator. He has interviewed Elon Musk a few times. Spotify is a Swedish audio streaming and media services provider founded in 2006 by Daniel Ek. It is one of the world’s largest music streaming service providers, with more than 356 million monthly active listeners including more than 150 million paying subscribers. In May 2020, Rogan signed a $100 million deal which gives Spotify worldwide exclusive rights to his popular podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience.

Podcast revenue, which is mostly from advertisers paying to advertise or sponsor podcasts, grew 19% in 2020 to hit $842 million, up from $708M in 2019 and $479M in 2018. Analysts predict revenues are set to exceed $1 billion this year and then double the following year. This is why all the big media and tech companies are jumping in with both feet.

In 2002, armed with a credit card and a dream, two Australian college friends, Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar set out to create a software company called Atlassian. Their team has grown to more than 3,000 Atlassians worldwide with offices around the globe. In 2020, Atlassian entered the podcasting sector with the launch of “Teamistry.” The focus of Teamistry is the chemistry within unsung teams which have achieved the impossible.

On April 5th, I received an email from Isabella Zavarise, a podcast producer at Atlassian. She had read an article in the Harvard Business Review called “Waking Up IBM”. The article was about how my colleagues and I got IBM fired up about the Internet. In the early 1990s, IBM saw the Internet as a threat to its highly profitable propriety networking business. I was a pain in the side of the executives who ran this part of the company, but I had no doubts about the future of the Internet and evangelized it day and night. Isabella asked if I would be willing to share the experience for a Teamistry podcast. I said yes, and the next day I was interviewed by Rehmatullah Sheikh, Story Producer from Atlassian in Dubai. The interview lasted a couple of hours and I suggested he also interview two of my colleagues who were key members of my team.

The final 30-minute podcast went live on June 8, hosted by Gabriela Cowperthwaite, documentary and feature film director. You can listen to the podcast or read the transcript here.