Tag Archives: podcasting

Only taking my iPad Pro to WWDC

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.

Podcasting lock-in and the lesson from Penn Station

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:

Pennsylvania Station in the 1910s

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.

There’s also a great discussion on Upgrade about this. It starts about halfway through.

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:

But the great thing about the free and decentralized web is that the aforementioned web platforms are optional and they’re alternatives to an existing open field where independent makers can do whatever they want. I can own my content, offer my RSS feed to anyone, and resist the temptation of slowing down my website with 10 different JavaScript plugins to monitor what my users do. No one is forcing me to agree to the terms of a platform.

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.

Podcasts, showing up every week, and why 2.0 succeeds

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!

Relay FM’s first year

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.

5 by 5


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.