Sir Gene Speaks

0044 Sir Gene Speaks Special - Interview Mitch from Podverse

May 11, 2021 Gene Naftulyev Season 1 Episode 44
Sir Gene Speaks
0044 Sir Gene Speaks Special - Interview Mitch from Podverse
Chapters
0:14
Intro
1:27
Background
2:42
Joe Rogan
7:03
YouTube and Twitch
9:56
Podverse History
15:21
Podcasting 2.0
19:32
Soundbites
34:30
Gene Suggestions
39:01
Adam Gopher Story
42:55
Gene hates ads
44:21
V4V
49:01
Bad HD Story
51:04
Open Source
54:42
Wrap-up
Sir Gene Speaks
0044 Sir Gene Speaks Special - Interview Mitch from Podverse
May 11, 2021 Season 1 Episode 44
Gene Naftulyev

I recommend listening at 1.25X
NOTE: This was recorded before the Apple announcement about podcasting.
Story Images and Links are only visible to Podcasting 2.0 Apps :
Get Podverse
Get  Breez
Get Podfriend
Get Sphynx
See all the latest APPS for Podcasting 2.0

Produced by:   David L

Donate via Bitcoin or Lightening strike.me/sirgene or


Move to the same Podcast Host I use!
Get some credit on Buzzsprout! $20 Amazon Gift Card

Support the show (https://bit.ly/39tV7JY)

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

I recommend listening at 1.25X
NOTE: This was recorded before the Apple announcement about podcasting.
Story Images and Links are only visible to Podcasting 2.0 Apps :
Get Podverse
Get  Breez
Get Podfriend
Get Sphynx
See all the latest APPS for Podcasting 2.0

Produced by:   David L

Donate via Bitcoin or Lightening strike.me/sirgene or


Move to the same Podcast Host I use!
Get some credit on Buzzsprout! $20 Amazon Gift Card

Support the show (https://bit.ly/39tV7JY)

Gene:

This episode, like several others in my interview series with Podcasting 2.0 developers. was recorded prior to the Apple podcasting announcement. And unfortunately it was also recorded with the noise gate turned off. So I apologize in advance for a little background noise. I hope you enjoy the episode. I'm joined by Mitch Downey, who is the creator of pod verse. How are you doing today, Mitch?

Mitch:

I'm doing great. Thanks for having me, Gene.

Gene:

Yeah. And in fact, I think you were one of the first podcast app developers I reached out to, but ironically, you're one of the last ones I'm actually interviewing.

Mitch:

That's probably my fault.

Gene:

Yeah. It's totally your fault. You were on other people's podcasts, dammit.

Mitch:

Yeah. When Adam and Dave called, I had to respond.

Gene:

Yep. For sure. For

Mitch:

I also had to prepare, I hadn't really thought through how to explain what we're doing here with pod verse. So I needed a little time to get ready for this.

Gene:

Oh, okay. Got it. Got it. Before we jump into talking about pod vers, I always liked to find out a little more about developer behind the product. So can you talk a little bit about what you've done in the past? How did you end up working on a podcasting app in the first place?

Mitch:

Sure. I, it was a long road to finally get into software development in the first place. I didn't get into it until I was 28. And before that I was a liberal arts major English and philosophy and not sure what to do with myself graduated after the housing market collapsed economic weight and Yeah, it was kind of a winding road of just doing odd jobs until I finally decided to pick a career and I loved open source software and heard that software engineering is one of the, like the jobs that people love the most and started teaching myself. And it's stuck with me ever since. As for podcasting, I got into that around 2011. I was listening to a lot of people on YouTube. Like some of my favorite thinkers were Robert, Anton Wilson, Terence McKenna Marshall McLuhan. And so there was like a psychedelic philosophy like niche on YouTube. I was listening to and somewhere along the way, I came across Joe Rogan's Epic DMT rant, where he explains what it's like to have a DMT trip. And that was my first introduction to Joe Rogan. And I found out he had a podcast and I found out what a podcast was and started listening around episode a hundred and just loved how different it was from mainstream media, that this was somebody who could talk about anything he wanted with his guests for hours interrupt without interruption. And it was the polar opposite of what you get on TV. And he spoke for himself, he wasn't controlled by corporate interests and it was just really refreshing. And yeah, that was how I started down the podcast rabbit hole there. And from there branched out to all kinds of, non-subscriber like 150 different podcasts. It's a serious problem.

Gene:

Boy how times have changed where Joe Rogan's working for the man though.

Mitch:

Yeah. Yeah. I have mixed feelings about it. I mean, I'm happy for Joe that he is cashed in and he's doing great. He deserves it. At the same time, what he's doing now, the show can't really be called a podcast because to be a podcast, it has to be available in any podcast app. And so what it is now is it's a Spotify exclusive and that doesn't undermine the quality of the show. It's still his show, but I do think it's important. We make a distinction that in order to be a podcast, it has to be available in any podcast app.

Gene:

Yeah, I think that's a very good point. And I certainly watched a lot of Joe's shows. I certainly, I don't think I watched all the episodes, but I generally watch the ones that had scientists on them. Of one variety or another and kooks. So kooks and scientists, those were my favorite types of the, although I've been a fan of MMA, literally since the first UFC one before they had any kind of rules in that. I've been watching that for boy, what, 30 years now? Probably. But but I was not a fan of just like people sitting around and talking about MMA. So I didn't generally watch those episodes. And I also watched Joe Rogan rather than listening to him on YouTube. But it's interesting that you actually came to podcasts from YouTube, right?

Mitch:

Yeah, like I said I stumbled across his a video of his and decided to look more into him. I knew him as the fear factor guy I didn't.

Gene:

Right. That's right. Yeah. Back before he became internet famous, he was a TV host. And the comic too, but. Most people probably knew him from the TV hosting.

Mitch:

Yeah. And so he's, a great interviewer and he talks to people all across the, this comic friends, MMA people, and then public intellectuals and kooks. I just thought it's so cool that with podcasting, you can have this open-ended conversation and we'll go three hours or longer, and he can, you can really get to know people in a way that you just cannot in traditional media where you have these interruptions they're scheduled in

Gene:

Interruptions in cost. Imagine paying for a three hour television program every day. I mean that you it'd be crazy. You'd have to have so many ads in there that you'd still, if you want three hours of content, it'd be a six hour show.

Mitch:

yeah. It's not possible. And also when you are taking all that money from sponsors, And you have these schedules interruptions. It's just not given the freedom to say what you want. One of the things that I thought, what I liked so much about Joe Rogan is how he moved the decriminalization of marijuana forward and also drugs in general, because I think that the drug war, the war on drugs has been one of the most disastrous policies in American history. And I think he pushed the discussion forward in a way, maybe more than any single individual in American society, because he was open about it and talk to people about it. And I think he changed a lot of people's minds that to see that it was unjust. And that was an opinion. You just wouldn't hear on TV. Somebody expressed that on TV. They probably wouldn't be on there very long.

Gene:

Yeah, no that's certainly not a mainstream type person. You had Cheech and Chong. You've had plenty of references to people using marijuana for many years, but there was a general attitude that. We can make fun of people that use drugs, but we can't really talk about anybody having successful drug use. So drug use always had to be mentioned in a negative light.

Mitch:

And there wasn't conversation around that there may be medical applications or that there may be people who are highly successful individuals who.

Gene:

Yeah. You would think to some extent, Joe Rogan, I had a combination of talking about this on a platform that was at the time, not particularly mainstream YouTube these days, YouTube does have bigger audiences than any television networks. It's not even like more than some it's more than any, and they're earning the money as well. There are there are a lot of people in their twenties on Twitch making a hundred thousand dollars a month and on YouTube making a million a month.

Mitch:

Yeah, it's incredible that people are able to do that from their bedrooms

Gene:

Yeah. And I think the only reason that is possible is because people are switching off networks and turning on YouTube and other platforms, but mostly YouTube

Mitch:

yeah, I don't even really know who watches TV

Gene:

Yeah. My, my dad watches TV. That's about it. I think it's keeping

Mitch:

them how to find podcasts yet?

Gene:

Yeah. He's he grabs a lot of like old movies and stuff. He, I tell you he probably pirates way more than I do. But he's pulling stuff down that is just not going to be on television. That's, stuff that he watched when he was young that is just not going to be on regular television these days. But yeah, as far as podcasting, I think a lot of people like Jordan, Peterson's another good example that really started gaining a lot of traction by being guests on Joe Rogan show, by being guests on other podcasts and eventually getting their own. But that big push towards the notoriety that people have was not because of mass media. It was because of what we used to refer to as alternative media.

Mitch:

It wasn't manufactured by powerful, rich interests. It organically arose from what, what was compelling for people. And Rogan in particular was able to launch people's careers, basically as public intellectuals or pariahs or whatever they may be.

Gene:

yeah. He took people that are interesting, but we're not really. Publicly facing, they were, maybe they wrote some papers or books on their subject for their peers. But they never had the kind of exposure that he brought to just a mass market audience.

Mitch:

Yeah, absolutely.

Gene:

with you getting into the listening side of podcasting now, where is your day job programming or now?

Mitch:

Yeah. I am a full-time front end developer and I work almost exclusively with JavaScript and do like my day job consists of like survey collection, people providing feedback online and making a library that allows us to collect data from our customers websites. And yeah, I've been doing that with the same company for about seven years. We've been acquired along the way. So I've, it feels like I've worked at multiple different companies, but it's been really very good to me.

Gene:

And when did you start working on the pod verse project?

Mitch:

I started all the way back in 2013, as I was graduating from NIU with a master's degree, I went to NIU to study. I had an idea that I wanted to build software. I wanted to build educational software, but I didn't think I would ever be a programmer myself. I went and I studied user experience design. Mostly it's like an independent study because they didn't have a formal program for that there, but I rolled it into my own master's program there. And along the way, I tried working with other with computer science students to work on open source projects, I thought, okay, I'll design it. I'll put everything together except for coding. And that like maybe 20 people said they might help and along the way, it just didn't stick. And then by the end of that, I was like I really want it built software and I'm not sure I'm going to cut it as just a UX designer. So if I want to make these projects come to life, if I'm going to have to teach myself to code. And yeah, I started around 2013 and I had this idea at the time it was called pod cast quotes, and it was basically likely to be a Reddit clone, except you would type in quotes from podcasts. And they'd be organized by podcast, title and episode. And then you'd see what are the top rated ones quotes from each individual episode. And my friend Vince, who I met from you by ArcSight NIU went to both schools and he,

Gene:

which school is that? I don't know what that stands for.

Mitch:

Oh university of Illinois, Urbana champagne.

Gene:

okay. Got it.

Mitch:

Yeah, there's a million you advise, just say like that. And NIU is Northern Illinois university and anyway, Vince is one of the top students there and just an amazing programmer. And he basically convinced me I could learn how to code. So anyway, I lost my train of thought there, the origins

Gene:

So you were starting on it. Was this a web-based stamp or a standalone app, or what were, how were you doing

Mitch:

I remember how it, okay. So podcast quotes originally was just supposed to be a web app of your, the most popular quotes from a podcast. And then my friend Vince told me, Hey, you can just play the actual episode and set timestamps from, this time to that time. And then you can actually hear them and not. Just hear not just read the, a text version. And that sent me down a path I've been working on for seven years ever since.

Gene:

Okay. So you were really not trying to build an app to play episodes. You were building an app to create clips.

Mitch:

It was the original throughout was just focused on the quotes because I wanted to make, I wanted to share podcast content with people. I spent so much time. I spent, if you just listened to every Joe Rogan episode, that alone is like 10 hours of your week. I consume so much podcasts content that I wanted to share it with other people, and there wasn't an easy way to do so. And the options that existed didn't seem to fit seamlessly enough in with my listening experience. Like it might be a third party tool or something that's outside of the app. And so I wanted to make an app that was as complete and did everything you want a podcast I have to do, but also had as its core feature to make it as easy as possible to create and share podcast highlights.

Gene:

got it. Okay. And what, when did the move happen from a web based app to a mobile app?

Mitch:

It happened over time. I think around 2015 as my skills progressed and it became, it was, I wanted it to replace my actual app. I didn't want to have to use Apple podcasts anymore. I wanted to have a totally self-sufficient full, fully featured podcast app. So I was dabbling with some iOS development and started working on. The version 1.0 of the mobile app and that I did that for about a year and a half and took it as far as I could. And it was a big mess. I didn't know what I was doing. It was very difficult. And Vince put me in touch with Korean. Who's another pod verse co-founder and Korean is an excellent iOS developer. And he started working with me on it and we eventually became co-founders together. And yeah, that's since then we have torn down the app completely and rebuilt it. This is actually the third version of the mobile app. We started working with iOS Swift and the time's changed. And with the react native coming out, you could write one application code and have it deployed to both Android and iOS. So we eventually shifted into that and that's what we're doing right now. So we have our mobile app written in react native for iOS and Android, and our website is written in react. So it's really nice that the code has, it's really familiar when we can have services that are cross compatible.

Gene:

Nice. Nice. So you've obviously maintained the feature of being able to create these clips through a three-year web app or through your mobile app, I should say. And you were doing that prior to podcasting 2.0, so how has podcasting 2.0 changed what you're doing and how you're building the app?

Mitch:

The core direction hasn't changed too much other than the fact crypto is in the mix. But there are features that are being added that we couldn't do on our own without podcasts in 2.0 in particular. So we all for the past few years, we have had our own podcast database that we have been maintaining. And then we were limited to about 50,000 podcasts in this database. And if we needed to add new stuff, we would have to manually add it. Basically there's other tricks people use where you basically scrape the Apple and you don't say you're doing it, which we weren't doing, but that's how the industry has worked for a long time. And so podcasting 2.0, came out and worked with Dave early on. He added some end points that allowed us to expand our database. So we still maintain our own database separate from the podcast index. We can now support over 2 million podcasts and at no additional cost to our old way of doing it. It's really amazing, like light years ahead of where we were before. And I love their goals that they're a non-corporate they're motivated by their principles more than trying to make money and trying to monopolize an industry. And that's part of what draws me into podcasting. That's what I love so much about it. They could not have showed up at a better time for us because we were finally starting to put an app together that was like pretty stable and ready to be shared with the world. And then podcasting 2.0, comes out and just was a huge advancement for us. And beyond that, there's all the tags. So we've got chapters, soundbites funding, these other namespaces that are only available now because of podcasting

Gene:

Yeah. So which of the namespaces are you currently supporting and what's on the horizon.

Mitch:

we have chapters. And like I said, soundbites and funding. Chapters, you are one of the best chapters users. I have to say. You have you're making full use of it. You as a episode plays that the it's broken into chapters and there are images and links associated with those. So you can get extra context for what's being talked about, and it fits in perfectly with our clips focus because the chapter in a clip, or pretty much the same thing just with different purposes. And we also have a sound bites tag, which is, as I said, on a podcasting 2.0 recently, the most under appreciated, maybe there's a huge potential with this tag. We have over 180,000 soundbites in our database. And those are clips that are created by the podcasts are themselves. The clips that are provided in the RSS feed. By the podcasts or ourselves risk pod verse has a, like it's crowdsourced our clips. These would be created by the podcast or themselves, but so we have over 180,000, but only 25 of them have titles. And without titles on these, they're almost useless for us because if you provide a title, we feature it on our homepage, but without a title, we're not going to just spam our home fade with untitled clips.

Gene:

So I actually understand, I think, a little better, a listener creating a clip. Why would the podcast or create a clip?

Mitch:

For the sake of making shareable content for, to go viral with content, if. Especially a podcast or they may not have an author, a big enough audience. That's creating crowdsourcing the clips for them. It, they may want to create them themselves. And by them sharing it through their feed, it is like an official clip of the show. It's not just created by who knows it's officially by the podcasts are. And that means that could be, that could appear in any app, not just poverty, it could appear anywhere on the internet. So it's a way that podcasters could feature their content and help direct people, to introduce people to their show.

Gene:

so can you walk us through what that process would be like?

Mitch:

Sure. Podcasters have RSS feeds and the RSS feed is what you subscribe to in your podcast app that allows you to. Connect to that podcast to download the episodes, to know when there are new episodes available. So the RSS feed is like the center of truth for the podcast. And it's full of what we call tags, which are just different little blocks of information. And one of those blocks of information is soundbite. So you have an episode in the feed and then you can have an unlimited number of soundbite tags within that episode. And all it requires is a start time and end time and a title.

Gene:

okay. So

Mitch:

then we're able to programmatically read that and load it on any of our services.

Gene:

so it's really very similar to. To chapters just presumably much shorter.

Mitch:

right. Chapters, conceptually, it would be, you have, let's say an hour long show. And you might break it up into 10 chapters that cover the whole duration of the show. Sound bites might just be you've picked two or three moments from the show that are the most shareable.

Gene:

okay. And now to get these sound bites, I would still need to be a subscriber to that podcast.

Mitch:

That is one way to access them more easily. But as I mentioned on pod versus homepage, we will feature soundbites that are created by podcasters and the sound bites that get listened to the most. They have a currently with the way our algorithm works, we'll move to the top of our sorting. So if you are subscribed to it, it would be much easier. Like we have all of our apps have a view where you can limit it by subscribe so that you can just see the clips that are from the shows you're subscribed to. But it's not limited to only the shows you're subscribed to you could be browsing a category. Let's say you're browsing the comedy category. You can see what sound bites are most popular from any number of podcasts

Gene:

okay. And how will those let's say I wanted to submit a soundbite to be in your catalog and just blow up and sit on top of your first page. So what would I do for that?

Mitch:

These days, I believe you have to manually create your own RSS feed. Sad to say, because I believe maybe fireside supports it. I'm not sure, but the only RSS feed provider I'm aware of that supports soundbites partially is a Buzzsprout. But to my, from what I've heard, they don't yet offer the ability to set a title on it. until we can set titles on it, They're not going to appear on our home page now about twenty-five people have made soundbites, but they've all said that they're manually creating their own RSS feed.

Gene:

got it. Got it. So people are adding that tag inside the feed to create these soundbites then. Okay. And you guys are pulling them in from. All the RSS feeds that you're getting, you're like looking for that tag to pull out the sound bites that right.

Mitch:

Yup. As we are parsing because we have our own podcast database, we parse every feed completely. And that includes looking for chapters and soundbites within it.

Gene:

got it. Okay. That makes sense. So really your site is a, if you're in the mood to listen to something new somebody could go there and listen to a bunch of sound bites, then maybe find the podcast to subscribe to.

Mitch:

yeah, that is the goal. Long-term is hopefully more clips are crowdsourced and hopefully soundbites will have titles then. Yeah. There could be, this will hopefully be one of the hubs for people to find highlights, to be introduced to new content.

Gene:

that makes sense. Now, is there any special functionality within your app to be able to do that?

Mitch:

Yeah. So we have the ability to browse clips and but we have the the main clip button, which is prominently on the player screen. It's just peers of some scissors. You tap that button. And you set a start time and end time for whatever you're currently listening to add a title, press save, and it'll give you a link. You can send that link to anyone. They open it and it'll start playing the clip from there

Gene:

okay. Does that also go to your index as well or not?

Mitch:

that goes to our database that is saved in our database. We require people to log in to create shareable clips because we can't just allow anybody to do it without logging in without spamming our database. So that gives us some recourse. If somebody decides to make a hundred thousand clips, we could just see, Oh, that one user did that

Gene:

and do you have different categories in there then? Cause obviously, a podcast for comedy with an adult's tag would have very different clips than a kid's podcast.

Mitch:

Yeah. We do support categories that are defined from Apple, these standard yeah, Apple categories. We do not have a much of a filtering system for not safe for work content.

Gene:

Okay. So you're not looking at the mature tag or anything.

Mitch:

See these tags exist, but they're not really reliable. So it's not something I want to tell people like, Hey, this is safe for work. And this is not, we actually tried to do that a couple of years ago. And it's there's all this content that is definitely not safe for work, but it doesn't have the tag. Cause it's like the honor system, the podcasts, or puts it in the feed themselves. So we do display the, not safe for work tag, but we don't have any kind of filtering based around that.

Gene:

that makes sense. And then these clips, are they also just extracted and living somewhere as sound files or are you purely referencing the start and stop times? From whoever's hosting the original podcast file. And the reason I asked that is because, a lot of podcasts will only last for a year or less, and then people keep paying for their hosting services, but they're not creating new content.

Mitch:

Yeah. That's a great question. The approach we are using is just to reference it within the original episode file. And part of the reason for that is to respect the intellectual property. That under fair use. If we were to start chopping up the actual audio files and hosting them on our servers, that has benefits it's efficient in ways and you have more control over it, but it's also costly. And, it might violate the, a fair use for those podcasts. And it was important to me to be able to share unlimited length clips. Like I didn't want to arbitrarily, okay it's gotta be 90 seconds and that's it

Gene:

right.

Mitch:

like that. I wanted to share what I'm looking for completely. Okay. So this reference-based approach gave us that option. You can do it in web browsers can also do it in mobile apps. So there's, trade-offs associated with it. One of the biggest problems we have is with dynamically inserted content, also known as dynamic ads in most cases, And so what these dynamic ads will do is they're injected into the file and they'll, there'll be a varying length. They might be a minute long. They might be five minutes long. And so if you make a timestamp that is just based on a reference, it won't be accurate. It'll be off by however, the differences of the dynamic content that's

Gene:

Yeah. That makes sense. I hadn't thought about that. That's true.

Mitch:

Oh, it's like the bane of our existence with pod verse.

Gene:

and there are a lot of people using that dynamic and inserts

Mitch:

it, I would say that of the most popular podcast that the frequency goes up, so it is pro is quite a lot. I don't have numbers, like the more popular shows are more focused on optimizing their monetization. The less popular shows are not

Gene:

yeah, I guess I'm trying to think. I think literally every single podcast I listened to, if it has ads at all, the ads are, they're in line with the host, just speaking about the product. So they're like host based promoted products.

Mitch:

yeah, most of them are for me to so I'm not sure how to speak broadly, but at least half of podcasts still do not use dynamic ads. So this approach of clip sharing holds up perfectly fine. If you don't have dynamic ads now there is still the problem though of those episodes can go offline in the future. As you mentioned,

Gene:

So do you have a pruning mechanism in place?

Mitch:

we have a, yes, we will hide clips from the main pages if an episode disappears from the feed, but it should be retained in the user's profile. So they could still refer back to those timestamps that they saved previously.

Gene:

okay. That sounds like, some fairly unique stuff. Is there anybody else really doing this the way you are?

Mitch:

Of all the podcasts. So I probably don't do enough research to be honest. Like I'm so buried with our own features. Like it's not that I'm not curious. I just don't have the time to look into other people's apps very deeply. And I use my own app because we have to QA our own app. have to test it to make sure it works. But to my knowledge, I have not seen a podcast app that is clip focused. There's someone Lehman, I believe from podcast index has created a podcast clips based website that is using the soundbites tag. But there's, there, there are apps that have clips sharing, but none of them make it central to the experience. And that's like our defining quality with pod versus that this is first and foremost eclipse sharing app, but we add as much as we can to be your one-stop shop for podcasts listening.

Gene:

Yeah. No, I it's a very nice UI. I'm a big UI guy and I always like to compliment people when they've done a good job, because there's so much crap out there. And your app is on my front page of my iPhone for that reason is because the UI is good and it's pretty much replaced my overcast.

Mitch:

Awesome. Oh, overcast has been the gold

Gene:

Yeah. I've been a paid customer for many years of our CAS, but they seem to be, and by day, I mean, it is, I think it's also a one man shop. So I don't think it's a huge company but he seems to be moving exceedingly slow with the new features. Like he had chapters, but only chapters that are inside the the actual audio file and not looking at external chapters. Which is fine for me because I, again, I'm utilizing. Like maximizing all the features for my podcast, because it's also a test spot guest, not just an informative one. And I use, like you mentioned chapters links, images monetization, Bitcoin everything's in there. So my podcasts works fine for chapters and images overcast, but a lot of people don't do that. They strictly use the external stuff that is the standard in podcasting 2.0. And so it's not, that doesn't work for them. And I think just recently I looked at overcast and they added a, there was one other feature that I think just popped up. I'm not even, I can't even remember what that feature was, but the bottom line is that app has been being updated extremely slowly. With the functionality. And aside from the fact that I've got every podcast app on both platforms now for testing purposes, but I also, after doing testing with the brand new apps, going back to the app I've been using for years, just feels like climbing into a 1980s car with no automation. It was like, man, I remember I used to drive this thing, but that is so far behind the curve from everybody else. And you guys your app was it came out fairly early on, I think, because it is a mature app. You weren't just creating something from scratch. You were like, you had your version one what? Three, four years. Years ago.

Mitch:

For the mobile app maybe five

Gene:

Five years ago. Yeah. So it's definitely a mature product, but I do have to ask you though about the the mobile streaming Satoshi payments. Do you have that on your plan to add that feature?

Mitch:

Absolutely. We are in the midst of working on it right now for the past two

Gene:

Okay.

Mitch:

And at the current rate, we're hoping to get it out for testers by next week.

Gene:

Hey, no. Wow. Okay. Make sure you, you got me on that test or list.

Mitch:

yeah, absolutely.

Gene:

Yeah. Cause that's a, that's certainly, there are very few podcasts currently doing that. So are very few, I should say there's few podcasts as well, but there's fairly few podcasting apps that allow you to do that. So absolutely want to make sure that as that functionality goes in, that you guys get all the help you can to. Make sure that since you're dealing with money, even though it's tiny amounts of money, it's like a penny usually. But to make sure that everything works smoothly.

Mitch:

We appreciate your help. And yeah, it's also to just get this in motion so that we're moving towards this direction of direct payments between listener and the artist.

Gene:

Exactly. So let me give you one bit of advice on that front, and I'll give you a separate one that I'm giving to all the podcasts app creator. So as far as advice on the Satoshi's value for value payments what's, I've found, and I don't know that anyone's even really looked at it from the user perspective people are sucked into just making sure from a technical standpoint, the stuff's working. But what ends up happening is you set the value distribution. Based on the percentages, right? So typically you'll have the podcast index getting 1%. The the app will get 2%. Some of them are doing 1%, some are doing 4%, somewhere in that range and there might be another percent for the actual transfer fee that ends up getting pulled out of there. And that model gets completely distorted when you have instant payments that are below 100 sets. And so what ends up happening is the index gets 10%. The podcasting app gets 20%. The transfer fee might be 10% and the POS podcasts, or it gets whatever's left. And while I don't think there's anything wrong with setting a higher value in your app, if that is a goal. And if your app has so much functionality. That you think it's it's worth getting a bigger percentage of the donations. I do have a problem with people saying one set of rates and an actually executing a different set of rates. And to avoid that there's two solutions. One is easy, the other one is harder but more accurate. So the easiest solution is to have a default rate of a hundred sets per minute, because at that rate you're 1% is one set. So the app is absolutely following the whatever rate you end up doing the split with. But also all sat transactions on the lightning network are technically beta. And subject for loss. W which is a reason why a lot of apps want to drop it down to 10 SATs because it's if you're just testing this, there's no point in putting more money in there. The other way to do it. And the way that I think breezes currently doing it, and the way that pod station is doing it right now is to escrow the SATs until you get to that a hundred Mark. So even if you're streaming at, let's say 10 sets per minute, it could be one set per minute for that matter. The app is calculating that time and the value that you would be sending, but only doing one transaction. Once you get to that point where your splits are accurate amongst the percentages, which would be at about a hundred sets and above, obviously. So I, like I said, one of those methods is easier, but it's more limiting in terms of you're telling the user, Hey, don't go too cheap on this. Even though I think a hundred SATs is what it's like I think

Mitch:

cents now,

Gene:

it's like 1.70 cents say it's pretty damn well. And it all fluctuates every single day as Bitcoin goes up and down and too, so we could get to a point where 10 sets is actually a buck that could happen in the future as Bitcoin keeps raising. We have to find the even smaller unit of measure, but but I think obviously the long-term best solution is to do the second method, which is you set any value per minute transaction, but then you just escrow it in order to minimize the fees. And then just do transactions on a, every 10 minute basis or something.

Mitch:

yeah, it makes sense. You're exactly right. And these are problems that we've already been thinking about and are working on solutions for we are going with Epic moment both of those options that you've described. The boost, we're going to recommend be a hundred SATs minimum.

Gene:

Yeah. Yeah. And I've seen from a thousand to 5,000, 5,000 might be a little on the high side, but when I boost personally, it's usually going to be either one or 2000.

Mitch:

Yeah. It's for everyone. It will be different. It's also nice to just press it a bunch of times.

Gene:

See, I'm lazy. So I'd rather just press it once.

Mitch:

there you go.

Gene:

Yeah.

Mitch:

to each their

Gene:

You could also, in your app you could actually tie a boost to creating a clip as well.

Mitch:

Yeah. We had discussed that on a podcasting 2.0 that since the clip creator is a content creator and the process that they might be able to fit into the chain there.

Gene:

Yeah. Yeah. That's true.

Mitch:

I think we might need the podcasts there's permission to do that, but. We'll have to see, because if we're diverting funds that the podcasts are intended to go one way, like maybe, I

Gene:

well, not really because the clip is played separately from the podcast. So if somebody is listening to the whole podcast and they've got the streaming turned down, they're going to get paid for that. But some people can, might only listen to the clip. So you're not, I don't think they would be really divert. I dunno. Consult the lawyer. What do I know? But my gut says you're not really diverting. You're just adding.

Mitch:

yeah. It's all unexplored territory and we'll find the we'll find what works at this point. I think everybody that's using it, there's a community spirit that we're all just trying to make it succeed.

Gene:

And that's the really fun part. I don't have an app that I'm working on. I am working on, I'm starting to do some development on an app that does statistics and stuff from the index. But but what I really love is the, everybody come together and share ideas, share code, share positive and negative experience. And I really, I haven't felt this since the beginning of the internet for which I was around. Like I w I was telling on another episode to another person I was interviewing that I remember every lunchtime loading the front page of the internet, which was a static site that. You could send in your newly created website, HTML site too. And then they would add it to that front page. And that was run by mosaic. And yeah, the internet was so small that I could literally look at every new website that came online that day.

Mitch:

wow.

Gene:

Yeah. It's not an experience that I think most younger people can appreciate because the internet is just ubiquitous right. These days, but it absolutely started small. And I remember when we first had the conversations about can there be commercial content or does it have to be nonprofit only because the internet was really created with money from universities and the federal government. And so there's this big question of are you allowed to use all of their routers and all their equipment? In order to send commercial stuff through or do you have to pay for that somehow? And who do you pay? And I know Adam's got a story about the university of Minnesota wanting to charge him a license for using gofer because it had mtv.com and that com meant it was a commercial entity and all commercial entities had to pay back for the use of traffic because the internet was really for educational systems. Having lived through all of those experiences I have a similar feeling right now about podcasting with podcasting 2.0 is that we're getting to define the standard, have these debates and discussions about what goes, where, and what's fair, and what's not fair and codify this stuff for future and probably for the next 20 years. So we better get it right.

Mitch:

Yeah, absolutely. I'm a child of the nineties. So I, my introduction to the internet was through AOL. And eventually like a couple of years later, I got the internet Explorer and Firefox and Netscape that's,

Gene:

yup. That's scape.

Mitch:

And yeah, there was, it was a very different experience back then. It was so exciting. Seemed like limitless possibilities, new things were happening all the time. And that was where I got introduced to open source software was I'm just a kid looking for some free software basically. And it was a different type of work. Whereas today people assume things are going to be free because they're going to extract value out of you by ads or selling your data and all that stuff. At the time free and usually a man, you had to find something that was open source. And I just thought it was amazing that you're able to create something of value and give it away for free to everyone in the world. Instantly, basically like that sort of thing existed.

Gene:

Yeah we have w what was it called? Public domain software, which most software ended up when it first came out and being public domain, which is that it was free to use, but the author usually it had their email in there or something. So if you wanted to chip in and send them some money, they were happy to get it like most podcasts are these days. And the idea of having commercial software was somewhat cost prohibitive, because if you wanted your software sold at the local micro center or whatever the physical computer store was that, that had substantial costs. For putting together the packaging for printing the disks for all this other stuff. So if you just want it to distribute your stuff online, your fastest easiest way to do that with minimal costs was to create a a public domain package and then the term shared or came about, which is really the exact same thing. But with a little bit more emphasis on I'd really like to get paid for this, not just simply you can use it for free and if you want to send me money. So yeah, there was a progression. And like you said today, I think most people have an expectation that everything is free to use, but you're going to end up paying for it either through advertising or they steal your data or some other means of exchange that's other than simply charging you money. And I'll I know we're deviating a little on topic, but I want to give you this example is. YouTube which is pretty ubiquitous at this point. But even five, six years ago, I found myself watching a lot of YouTube and I hate advertising. So I was always using that blocker. And then you do announce this yeah. YouTube bread program. They were starting where they were going to produce a YouTube only content, which I didn't really care about. Because I like watching my cat videos. But but one of the benefits of that program was that you would never see a commercial on a YouTube videos. And I thought this is great. So I signed up for it and it was nine bucks a month and I've always had it. Like I still pay YouTube every month. Now it's up to, I think, 13 bucks once a month, but I'm one of those people that pays YouTube for watching videos that are quote unquote free, but guess what. I haven't seen a YouTube ad in five years and it doesn't matter if I watch it on my iPad, or if I watch on a computer, I just don't have ads. And I don't have to try and subvert those ads by downloading additional software to do it. It's just that the value that YouTube would have derived from me that would have cost me probably 20 or 30 hours of advertising per month is $13. I'm like, dude, that's a no brainer. Of course, I'm going to pay the $13 in that I have to watch ads.

Mitch:

Yeah. I don't use YouTube specifically that much to justify that, but I, my whole life, I disliked advertisements at least the ones that just interject and interrupt. And it's been like a rule in our house growing up that when commercials come on TV, we mute them. And I think that's carried over into just my. You know how I feel about ads in general? They don't offend me as much with podcasts. There's doing them like organically within their show. But yeah, I would love to pay to not see ads or just to not be tracked. Like, how are you monetizing me? I'll maybe pay to just not have you do that and maybe pay a dollar more or something, if Facebook makes 10 bucks off us individually a year I'll give you 11, just

Gene:

exactly. Exactly. And it's, I'm somewhat surprised they haven't figured out that's a way for them to get paid just as much or more. And once people, and especially for this type of rate, even, let's say, I think a lot of people would pay 10 bucks a month to Facebook to have no ads and no tracking.

Mitch:

I think

Gene:

I, because they use like hours and hours of Facebook. I'm not on Facebook. I deleted my account long time ago. So I don't have that issue, but I do watch a lot of videos. And like you mentioned, Joe, Rogan's there are guys now like Lex Friedman, who I think picked up the torch from Joe Rogan. He's doing these three hour long, long form interviews with scientists, with mapping initiations, with philosophers, with very interesting people. And the whole thing's sitting there on YouTube and I can watch the whole thing with no ads interrupting it. So it's well worth it for me to do that. And I think to some extent, this kind of. Having Satoshi streaming while you're listening or watching a podcast model could very easily transition to the, if you turn on that button, then you get the stream with no ads at all. And if you're, if you turn it off or if it goes down to zero stars, Satoshi's then your stream flips over. And you're now getting the version with the ads built in I think that's not going to happen this year, but that could very easily be adapted by the next generation of content. And it has to be done obviously on both sides on the creative side and on the the app side. But I like right now, I think we're all thinking that this is great because it's another channel for people to donate and it absolutely is, but there are absolutely going to be other people that are thinking. Looking at the technology and going, this is another great ad revenue stream. And we're creating the tech right now. We're solidifying it, but it is unpredictable. What the uses of these things are going to actually be like two, three, four years down the road.

Mitch:

Yeah, the donations is just the tip of the iceberg here.

Gene:

The donations prove the model. That's what the donations are doing there. They're proving this model works. They may help to one of the other things I talked about is the idea that donations, even small donations, they're like streaming encouragement. They're like those. Oh, what was that app? That a Twitter bot, like the little video app that came out a few years back. That what,

Mitch:

what's it called vine

Gene:

No, that's not the one I'm thinking of, but it's for live streaming stuff. But I don't know. Maybe it's fine, but it came out. I don't

Mitch:

I can picture what you're

Gene:

Yeah. Yeah. But you can see those little hearts flowing up. Every time somebody hits a little hard button on their phone while they're watching it, then there's the only reason for that heart is encouragement for the creator, and so that's what these stream of Satoshis is it's a stream of encouragement flowing towards you to say, make another episode, create more content. People are appreciating this, they're liking this. And it's so easy to do because it's just the button and the player now that it's a no brainer and it doesn't cost a whole lot. And so more people, I think we're going to do it. And I think the reason that most podcasts die before their 30th episode, Is exactly that it is a lack of encouragement from the listeners. It's people that are listening and maybe enjoying it enough to hit the subscribe button, but they're not enjoying it enough to go to PayPal and type a bunch of information in.

Mitch:

That's an interesting, I hadn't thought of that. Yeah. That the encouragement can mean a lot, because like with pod verse, like our numbers are modest compared to people who are doing this full time. But every email we get where people say positive things about it or encouraging it it really means a lot. And it directs like it's our motivation. It also helps like shape the direction of the app. We add features based on what people request. So I could see that if you're a new podcast or you have, you see some boosts coming through your way, that's like a good sign. You can even see what. Parts of the podcast, what you were saying at that moment, when the person decided to press it,

Gene:

Yeah we're getting there anyway. I don't know if we can see that today in most apps, but yeah, we're certainly getting to that point. That's going to be very useful to see when people are appreciating you the most and having written mostly API related stuff myself where, something that I wrote in a couple of weeks ended up getting used by hundreds of thousands of people over the course of five years. That I totally forgot about it until I shut down the server and started getting hate mail because it's like, Hey, we're using this commercially, what the hell are you doing with the thing we're using? It's you ain't been paying for this buddy. This was done for me. And I just shared it with the world for free and I forgot to turn it off. And now I'm turning it off. I've had that experience. I've done multiple game mods and, you get 20,000 people downloading and using your mom in the game and then you get no appreciation, but you get the comments that tell you about all the bugs, all the stuff that's not working. And eventually you're just like, yeah, I stopped playing that game like half a year ago. So I don't know why I'm even maintaining this stupid thing. Screw it. And I did the exact same thing with I had a mod for the game called Ark survival evolved. And I literally did the same thing that I swear to God, most developers end up doing, they're doing mods. I said, Oh, my hard drive that had all the source code ended up getting corrupted. So I lost it all. Sorry guys. No more updates I'm done. And I don't know why we feel, we have to justify quitting, but it somehow makes it like, it's not our fault. But so I seen a lot of messages like that in the past as a user. And then I'm like, man, there's a lot of bad, hard drives out there. And then once I did it myself, I realize, Oh yeah, this is actually probably like the easiest scapegoat that you can pin things on is bad, hard drive. Not my fault. Yep. No, I totally makes sense. And I married, I was still doing game mods. I've got one that I did for Kerbal, which is a space game. That's really fun that I enjoy. And there was the same thing. It was like super simple little hack that just like API to a few things together. And then you just watch those downloads going crazy, but the only messages that are coming out by her, Hey, how come this isn't working? It's open source is like that too. You go to get hub that's the majority of your stuff are issues. You don't have a whole lot of people leaving messages and issues of appreciation. Right.

Mitch:

You. Okay. So we have had a lot of positive comments along with bug reports, which has

Gene:

You guys are fricking unicorn then.

Mitch:

I, yeah, I think it has to do with podcasting 2.0 and no agenda. And it's a friendly audience that is mostly hearing about it. Also because we're open source, we pretty much are focused on open source crowds and people appreciate it for that reason. They tend to be like, they understand that this is a labor of love. This is not simply, we're trying to make, we're not trying to make a fortune here trying to do the best we can with for a podcast app. Yeah.

Gene:

Let me give you, I know we're running along here, so let me give you my second suggestion that I'm telling everybody about and hoping it becomes a standard for all podcasts apps, because it's fricking brilliant, even though I didn't come up with it. So here's the deal? So most apps, both for video and audio, they have a like 30 seconds skip forward, or one minute skip forward and back. And they, I think majority of them are 30 seconds and historically most of have been the same number front and back. So 30 forward 30 back, I ran across a I think it was a website that had something like that and they had 30 seconds forward, 10 seconds back. And when I started using it, it just hit me like a ton of bricks. It was like, this is what everybody needs to have, because this is so much more useful because inevitably when you're searching for some beginning, which is why you'd be using those controls you go forward until you get just past the thing you're looking for, because you can tell you're past it. Cause it's, you're hearing the content that you were searching for. And then it's time for you to backtrack to where that section begins. And if you have the same number of seconds forward and back then, you're left in this weird position of either I hit the back button and Murphy's law, it'll be 27 seconds later. So I go back 30 and now I have to listen to one X speed for the next 27 seconds until I get to that beginning. And if I miss that if I miss it. And I have to redo that back again. Then I have to go back another 30 seconds and listen to it. And so having an asymmetric relationship between the forward skip and the back skip works really well. It allows you to narrow down that search a lot faster. So you go 30 forward, you get 10 back, maybe you did another 10 back, but then you're, probably five or six seconds away from the thing you were searching for. And if you missed it, your penalty is only 10 seconds at most. I think that's a it's a much better approach. I would encourage you to play around with that and then ultimately implemented because it really cuts down on how long it takes to backtrack and forward track and find things. And frankly, for your app, where part of your unique functionality is being able to create clips and to do that, people are going to need to go back and forth to find just the right place to begin it. And just the right place to end it. Having that asymmetric front and back motion, I think is gonna,

Mitch:

Yeah, you're exactly right. From a user experience standpoint, that is an improvement

Gene:

yep.

Mitch:

listen to podcasts. So we have been intending to add that for some time has not happened because of our priorities. Like the past couple of weeks, we have really prioritized the streaming stats and boost. But I think we should get that in the next raise at the bare minimum. What we can do is make the asymmetric numbers. So it's easier, like maybe 10 seconds back, 30 seconds

Gene:

Yeah. 10 30 is a really nice standard. And I, since this whole week I've been interviewing developers that make apps, I've been mentioning it to everybody. That's why I'm hoping this will just be a standard thing. Moving forward, at least for the group of people that are doing podcasting 2.0, because it's just, it's a logical. Progression in creating a simpler UX that is consistent with what the user's ease of use and expectations are. And if you're not going to have a slider that the person can move their finger across and slower, slow down the speed of backtracking or forward by moving their finger, which is a lot more complex. Do, if you just want a button, then at least having an asymmetric button makes low.

Mitch:

Totally agree. And I'll send you some extra boosts for that

Gene:

Cool. Thank you. I'll take the boost say anywhere I can get them that's for sure. So with that, let me wrap this up. And I would like to thank you for coming on and spending an hour with us that's great. And certainly wish you a lot of success on the next update. I'll be downloading it as a beta users, as long as I know where to sign up for that. And then playing around with sending SATs back and forth.

Mitch:

awesome. Thanks Gene. Thanks for having me.

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