Don Burnside

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Too Busy Being Awesome

A question posed to me this week by one of the White Roof Radio boys had me thinking, and researching. And, well, I’ll just come out and say it.

Holy Crap

I have been posting words to the internet, in some fashion of a blog or another, since about 2001. I can’t verify that however, so I have to dig through the archives. did you guys know that dbmini.us went ‘live’ on or about 9/24/_2002? That is the date of the first post. It might have been at blogger, but it’s there, so it counts.

WRR went live on August 1st, 2005. The show started a few months before that, on June 30th, 2005, which means I have been podcasting for 12.5 years. Let’s go back to the title question for a bit and have a proper, very long time in coming, rant.


Podcasting, at it’s core, is very incestuous. I’m on a few of the groups on Facebook and have listened to a few of the podcasts about podcasting, and they are nothing more than circle jerks of people telling each other lies about how big their shows are, and how many millions of downloads they have gotten. Each one of them, of course, is also an expert in podcasting, blogging and social media, as you would expect.

I guess my ego isn’t big enough.

Easy there kids. My ego is plenty big, trust me. And, as you probably know, I do have a bit of diva in me. I’m not trying to kid anyone. I just don’t think my ego is that big. I have a hard time showing off my work (not to you guys, but to strangers) and flaunting to a group of people that I can only imagine do not give a shit. These are the people that are popular. The yellers, the screamers, the ‘look-at-me’-ers. They are the ones with the shows that have triple digit downloads getting nominated for awards and crap like that.

That’s just not me.

Another thing that those people are really good at is burning cycles. Checking stats like it’s the end of times, constantly fussing with their website, trying to figure out why they aren’t getting any traffic from Facebook, and checking stats. A few of them can actually keep this up for more than a month before they burn out and stop making their show. Which is usually ok since their shows aren’t that great anyway. Oh, c’mon now, you know I’m right.

The thing that I learned, a very long time ago, is that all of that is crap. The trick is to focus those cycles on things that matter. The thing that matters is making a show. Fine tuning the show to something that is awesome, made with awesome people and listened to by people who have become fans because it’s awesome.

Why are we not more popular? To the contrary my dear Watson, I would argue that we are very popular. I would guess that there are very few MINI Cooper owners in the United States and Canada that have not heard about WRR. Do you know how many MINI Coopers there are in the United States and Canada?

Why are not getting awards and recoginition for being podcasting pioneers and producing a show for almost 13 years? That’s easy, it’s because we are too busy being awesome.

4 thoughts on “Too Busy Being Awesome

  1. I know you’ve known that podcasting is incestuous… If for no other reason that in the early does of both WRR and The Mail Buoy we used to leverage that very nature of podcasting – you had listeners that came from us, and even with The Bloke and A Bird Show we have listeners today that came over 9 or 10 years ago from WRR.

    Now, when it comes to being more popular (not to be confused with if you are popular) that’s a different story and actually a topic PB and I have had discussions about with Bloke and A Bird recently. Those folks you speak of – how many of them have or are trying to monetize their shows? How many of them are still trying to find their fortunes through internet content? It’s an important question, because if you need your show to generate revenue those stats matter. We haven’t talked logistics for WRR in a long time, but with Bloke and A Bird we’re still doing the show for fun. While we’d like to grow the audience, money isn’t a driver for it. On the other hand if you’re tied to a media company for your show, or your podcast is your job – those stats are the lifeblood of your revenue stream. 13 years ago the podcasting world was dominated by independents putting things out there with cheap recording rigs or worse – recorded on their cell phone and relying “pod safe music”. Now, media companies have seriously moved into the space and brought with them professional studios and all the other goodies that come with it.

    As for the awards thing – today just like 13 years ago any podcasting award is worthless crap. They’re made up and bring no value, and they sure as hell don’t mean that a show is anything other than published on the internet.

    All that said, independent shows like WRR and Bloke & A Bird will always be a niche in the podcasting world. That’s true more today than 13 years ago as more big media companies get behind podcasting. The only way to build that niche is to do the same thing we used to do 13 years ago – self-promote and encourage our listeners to self -promote. How much your willing to self-promote to build your audience is the question, although in the case of WRR – you’ve also got to wonder why should you? You’ve said it, WRR is known to every MINI enthusiast and odds are most owners have hear of WRR. How big can WRR’s audience realistically grow outside of the MINI Community?

    Now, all that being said. 13 years ago did you think that you’d be hosting not one, but two different podcasts, and not just about MINIs but also about bikes? Hell, when we kicked off Mail Buoy we would have laughed you out of the room if you told us that 12 years later we’d be hosting a show about Formula 1 and motorsports in general…

    1. The folks I’m referencing above aren’t the big media companies that are hyper dependant on stats for ad revenue. I’m talking about the normal folks with 100 – 300 listeners that hope to monetize but never will because they are too busy not being awesome.

      Yea, no way I would have thought I’d be making 2 podcasts, no matter what the topic! Funny thing about that, is I’m actually bumping that to 3 next month with The Hollywood Car Show coming back on as a monthly show, will have details about a 4th that WRM will be producing and hosting soon and I’m still shooting for one more about, if you can believe this, nutrition. Just as soon as I talk the host into realizing that they need to make a podcast. It’s a long con that one.

      Thanks for stopping Michael! Really appreciate your comments!

  2. Love this.

    I think what you’ve identified here is an extension of an even larger snake eating its own tail in the entrepreneurship space (after all, a podcast is an entrepreneurial pursuit, regardless of scale). The space is full of “experts” with listicles of a zillion ways you can improve your #hustle. Yet for the life of me I can’t figure out what they’ve actually accomplished in terms of real business or real results. They seem wound up in the why and the how and spend all their time sharing philosophy instead of actually doing real work. I have to admit, I fall into this trip a lot.

    Looking back, I’m so proud of the time I spent on WRR. I miss doing it. I miss chatting with you guys every week. That feels like forever ago. So glad you guys are still doing it.

    And yet, I can also look up from my seat here at the office and spot Gabe about 20 yards away. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

    1. Thanks for stopping by good sir! It was rad having you on the show, but I am so proud of what you have accomplished since and the coolness you have coming.

      Keep making the awesome brother!

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