After a couple months away from Timetable, because I’ve been focusing so much of my time working on Micro.blog, I’ve finally returned to the microcast for a sort of second season. Timetable will be published daily now, Monday through Friday, to chronicle the actual release of Micro.blog and the Indie Microblogging book.
I started my microcast Timetable a little over one year ago. I’ve recorded 35 episodes, so fewer than 1 a week. My goal is still 2-3 a week, so hopefully I’ll work up to that for 2017.
This podcast is one of my favorite things to do right now. It’s so much easier to record and publish a 5-minute podcast than a 1-hour podcast. All I need is something to talk about.
Here are the feed descriptions for each episode over the last year, starting with the earliest. Reviewing these provides a neat snapshot into the journey of building Micro.blog. You can subscribe at timetable.fm.
1: On the first episode, I introduce the idea behind the show and the topics I hope to cover.
2: On this episode, I talk about trying tea instead of coffee, how I named this podcast, and my work schedule as I wrap up the week.
3: On this episode, I talk about finishing some work and the new iPhone microphone I bought.
4: This morning I was downtown to work at a coffee shop for a few hours before lunch. I talk about getting out of the house and last night’s icon sketches.
5: Today I stopped at the post office to pick up some stamps to mail stickers for the new microblogging app and platform I’m working on.
6: I start with some thoughts on basketball, my potential Kickstarter campaign, and whether it’s better to start strong or finish strong. (Go Spurs Go!)
7: This morning I was distracted a little with backups, ordering a new hard drive, and thinking about my iOS app, which was just rejected by Apple.
8: Recorded in 3 segments, I set my alarm early this morning to get some coding done before the day starts slipping away.
9: Today I mention the iPhone app rejection, talk about why the iPhone app itself is secondary to the web version, and reveal more about the Kickstarter.
10: I take the iPad Pro and my microphone out to the front porch, to think through what work I need to focus on for today.
11: Back from a sick day or two, I talk today about Twitter’s algorithmic timeline change and why it would be nice to launch a product when your competitor has some bad news.
12: Back from a quick trip to Portland, today I’m thinking about the music for my Kickstarter project.
13: I finally drop the stickers in the mailbox at our neighborhood post office. Thinking this episode about what it means to be lucky.
14: At my 10th new coffee shop in as many days, I write a few blog posts. And on this episode I talk about it.
15: I reflect on 6 months as an indie, think about stealing time for projects, and plan how I can use working from a coffee shop in the morning to provide a better structure to my day.
16: This week I’m thinking back on how Staple! Expo went over the weekend, and why it never helps to panic when something isn’t going perfectly to plan.
17: It’s spring break week, which means the kids are out of school and SXSW is taking over downtown.
18: I’m playing Nintendo’s new iPhone app Miitomo, watching my Mii character pace around the room as he (and I) wait for our iPhone SE delivery. Also talk about the library routine and Rails 5.
19: I finally record a video for my Kickstarter project. Now I just need to edit it and do everything else.
20: I talk about receiving the Loish art book and my current thoughts on Kickstarter goals and rewards.
21: Today I take stock of the last few weeks of client work and recovering from 2 months of focusing so heavily on my personal blog.
22: Last week was stressful. This episode is about being mad at nothing and everything, and why fireflies are magical.
23: I play a clip from the Upgrade podcast and then talk about my struggle to wind down a product correctly.
24: I summarize my week in San Francisco from the perspective of not just the WWDC technical news and events, but also of using the trip to refocus on my priorities for Riverfold Software.
25: Back after a summer break, on this episode I talk through what we can learn from Tim Duncan’s incredible 19-year career.
26: I talk about getting derailed with home repairs, the U.S. presidential election, and writing about the Dash controversy.
27: One week after the election, I react to Apple’s design book announcement and talk about why social networks may be broken.
28: Not enough sleep yet still focused on getting work done. I review today’s blog post and play a clip from the Moana soundtrack.
29: I got a new domain! I talk about the .blog registration process and my evolving plans.
30: From a listener question, I talk about steps in November to wrap up old projects and finish new ones.
31: I try the new WeWork location at the Domain, listen to a singer at the car dealership, and remember that I need to get out to talk to real people about my work.
32: I share some thoughts on the first day of Super Mario Run and how my work week is wrapping up.
33: The morning after Christmas, I give a quick update on Micro.blog plans and Kickstarter’s Launch Now review feature.
34: Happy New Year! I talk about the first day of the year, and the final day to finish my Kickstarter project for Micro.blog.
35: A week after launching the Kickstarter, I talk about its success so far and why I believe I can build Micro.blog, with a clip about optimism from Gary Vaynerchuk.
I’ll be in San Francisco for WWDC, although as usual in recent years I won’t be staying all week. While out there I’ll be attending AltConf and other events, recording a podcast or two, and catching up on some writing.
I probably should take my MacBook Pro to code on projects, but I never have time. And I’ve been working so much lately, I probably need a break from Xcode for a few days. So I’m going to travel light this time and only take my iPad Pro with me.
I used my iPad Pro often when working from coffee shops and libraries earlier this year. I think I have a pretty good sense of what I’m productive with on it. iPhone and Mac app coding is out, but email, chat, writing blog posts, and even light web site maintenance are all fine, and those are the kind of things I do while traveling.
That leaves podcast recording as the only question mark, but actually I’ve recorded every episode of Timetable using my iPhone specifically so that I could get used to recording away from my office. I wrote a few months ago about my microphone for Timetable. I’ll do the same thing when Daniel and I record our WWDC thoughts after the keynote, with editing on the iPad Pro.
I’m excited about the conference. I’m looking forward to catching up with folks, the news from Apple, and — because I won’t even have my laptop — a bit of a break from the stress of thinking I should be programming.
When my family was visiting New York City a couple of years ago, we took a train out of Pennsylvania Station on the way up to Montreal for the second half of our vacation. It was raining a little as we walked from the hotel, but I thought we’d still have no trouble finding the station. After a few minutes we gave up and had to ask someone where the entrance was.
We couldn’t find it because it looked like every other street corner in Manhattan. But it wasn’t always like that. It used to look like this:
In the 1960s, facing declining train usage and financial problems, the Pennsylvania Railroad sold the rights to everything above ground and the incredible station pictured above was demolished. It was only afterwards, when it actually happened, that everyone fully realized what they had lost. Determined to not let other beautiful architectural landmarks get destroyed, the city passed a law to restrict similar demolition. Grand Central Terminal was preserved because of the lesson learned from letting Pennsylvania Station go.
I was thinking about this story — failing to do the right thing, but applying that knowledge to the next thing — while re-reading Marco’s excellent post on the future of podcasting. In it, he lays out the technical details for how podcasting works today, and makes the case for leaving it alone. I especially like this part, on his determination to keep Overcast a sort of pure MP3 client:
By the way, while I often get pitched on garbage podcast-listening-behavioral-data integrations, I’m never adding such tracking to Overcast. Never. The biggest reason I made a free, mass-market podcast app was so I could take stands like this.
I should have realized it earlier, but I don’t think I really connected all of Marco’s goals with Overcast until Daniel Jalkut and I had him on Core Intuition episode 200. We talked about many of these same themes as Marco was finishing up Overcast 2.0.
In a response to Marco on MacStories, Federico Viticci writes about the parallel trend in the web industry toward centralized services like Facebook and Medium that allow “content professionals” to monetize their writing. In doing so, those writers give up many of the benefits of the open web:
While the open web still exists, we really dropped the ball protecting and strengthening it. Fewer people’s first choice for publishing is to start a web site hosted at their own domain. Like the destruction of Pennsylvania Station, sometimes you only know in hindsight that you’ve made a mistake. We were so caught up in Twitter and Facebook that we let the open web crumble. I’m not giving up — I think we can get people excited about blogging and owning their own content again — but it would have been easier if we had realized what we lost earlier.
Reading posts like Marco’s and Federico’s, and listening to Jason and Myke on Upgrade, I’m convinced that podcasting will remain open because we know better now. As a community we can learn from the mistakes with the web and the threats of closed platforms, making sure that podcasting is preserved as a simple technology that no one controls.
When I went to Open Coffee Club during SXSW week, I met several company founders and investors in Austin, and one was also an iOS developer. I usually do a poor job of promoting my own work in person, but I somehow managed to plug my Core Intuition podcast.
He hadn’t heard of the show before, and when he pulled it up to subscribe his comment was something like: “wow, you’ve been doing this for a long time”. It’s true. Daniel and I started the podcast in 2008. We only have 225 episodes, because we published episodes less frequently back in the old days, but I’ve always been proud of our consistency with the show format going back to the very beginning.
And it made me wonder: is there another Mac or iOS developer-focused tech podcast that has such a long history? Or really, many tech podcasts at all? The ones that come to mind are The Talk Show, which started in 2007, and This Week in Tech, which started in 2005.
It’s another reminder to me that a big part of success is consistently showing up to work. If you’re always starting over, you can’t build on anything and take it further. The secret with the “version 2.0” of most apps isn’t that it has new features; it’s just that it exists at all.
In a couple months, just as WWDC is about to roll around, we’ll celebrate our 8th anniversary of recording Core Intuition. Our audience keeps growing, which is amazing, but there are still a lot of people who have never heard of the show. If you like what we’ve been doing, consider telling a friend, or posting a tweet or blog post about the show.
We expanded to 2 sponsors per episode this year because we wanted to grow the podcast — to commit more time and resources to both recording and to companion web sites like the jobs site. I think 2016 will be a great year and I’m happy that Core Intuition is a key part of helping me stay independent. Thanks for your support!
Casey Liss summarizes the excellent first year of new podcast network Relay FM:
“Last year, I was deeply honored to be invited to be part of the launch shows on Relay. This year, I’m deeply honored to be a part of a network that not only airs some of the best spoken word programming on the internet, but also cares so deeply about being more inclusive.”
Congratulations to all the podcast hosts, and of course to Relay founders Myke Hurley and Stephen Hackett. Stephen posted about how his time as an indie is going:
“The hours break down about how I felt they would break down, with Relay FM taking up about half my time and everything else going down from there. I suspect that consulting number will shrink as I wrap up some stuff for my former employer, but for now, I think this balance works. It’s a decent reflection of where my income is, which is encouraging.”
Rewinding a few weeks, this is what he had to say about the shift to indie work:
“It’s profoundly surreal, but incredibly freeing, to be focused on my writing and podcasting full-time. There’s still lots to work out with budgets and time management and extra things I could take on, but it’s all under the category of my work. That’s what makes it so much fun, despite the unknowns.”
It’s fun to watch the rise of podcast networks. It has now been a little over 5 years since I first wrote about the 5by5 launch. Daniel and I will probably keep Core Intuition independent forever, but I hope that the continued success of larger networks means that the overall podcast market is still growing.
I first met Dan Benjamin in 2005, at an off-site meeting for VitalSource in Telluride, Colorado. I don’t remember much of what we talked about over the course of those few days, but what I do remember, as the team was riding in the back of a jeep heading up the mountains, is that he kept talking about radio and podcasting.
In the five years since then he’s started a couple successful podcasts, and now he’s launched something bigger: a podcast network called 5 by 5 with a strong lineup of new shows.
“I started planning. I didn’t want to do it part time or half way — I wanted to do this for real, meaning full-time. I wanted to create an Internet-based broadcast network, a place where I could create and host shows for myself and with my friends.”
I love seeing someone’s passion, only loosely related to how they earn a living, go from something in the back of their head to a full core business. Good luck, Dan. It’s off to a great start.