Earlier, I levelled a serious criticism at technology podcasts: They’re toothlessnessly nice and waste our time recapping their guests’ projects. Technology podcasts make all their guests sound like smashing successes, steering clear of any and all discussion of their lives and what and how they are as people. These podcasts are all business, staying resolutely on topic and constructing a mythology of triumph unsullied by personal characteristics.
Things have actually gotten worse since I wrote that. As an example, the man with more personality per cubic centimetre than anyone in the industry, Mike Monteiro, has proven to be a crashing bore in podcast form. Talking about work quite simply is not his forte. But he’s just the tip of the pyramid. Nobody who works in computers is all that interesting when talking about working in computers. I could not care less what your new project is or what you think about a certain inanimate or virtual object.
I am now proposing to solve the problem. Of course it won’t work and is a failed exercise even before it begins, but I want it known that an alternative has been proposed.
What I have in mind is a limited series of podcasts, perhaps six, assembled under the strictly factual and unironic title Feelings: The Technology Podcast About People. I would interview luminaries about everything but what they do in their line of work. There would be no specific duration for each episode; we’d talk until we were done.
And you’d pay to listen to it. Free podcasting is an orders-of-magnitude-worse model than free blogging. I’m sure you could pony up $5.99 for a six-pack. You’d get them all at once, not in instalments. Transcripts would be included, and likely would be separately published for free and unhindered reading.
Just to get this to work would require access to equipment I don’t have. Setup alone would be a lengthy process. But I have a great deal of confidence I could get people to talk. And this would be an actual conversation, not an interview. Because I would be asking my guests to do the same, I would put myself out there.
I’m willing to give this a try despite the quite serious risk it poses to me personally. But you’re going to have to pay for it if you want it to happen. And I’m offering a free lifetime subscription to the first person (by UTC timestamp) who points out how badly this sort of thing has turned out before.
But let me ask you something: Who else stands a chance at making this work?