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42: Hand-Curating Your User Interface with Jeremy Sinon and William White of PodMN.

Published August 4, 2020
Run time: 00:43:02
Listen to this episode with one of these apps:

Minnesotans love to talk about Minnesota, and nothing proves that more than PodMN’s collection of over 760 Minnesota-focused shows. Jeremy Sinon and William White of PodMN join the show to discuss the custom podcast platform they built to help Minnesotans discover all the great audio entertainment Minnesota has to offer. They talk about what it took to build a podcasting platform from scratch, how they deal with a huge amount of data to create a curated, personal touch inside the app, why they chose to build their apps natively, and tricks they’ve learned from the radio industry on how to retain listeners.

In this episode, you will learn:

  • Ideas for incentivizing user retention within an app
  • The importance of hand-curated data and the element of human touch in app development
  • Benefits of focusing on a smaller footprint for your business model

This episode is brought to you by The Jed Mahonis Group, where we make sense of mobile app development with our non-technical approach to building custom mobile software solutions. Learn more at https://jmg.mn.

Recorded May 28, 2020 | Edited by Jordan Daoust | Produced by Jenny Karkowski

Show Notes:

Episode Transcript:

Tim Bornholdt 0:00
Welcome to Constant Variables, a podcast where we take a non technical look at all things technical. I'm Tim Bornholdt. Let's get nerdy.

Today I'm speaking with Jeremy Sinon and William White of PodMN. Jeremy is the VP of Digital Strategy and William is the lead developer. PodMN is a podcast platform which helps Minnesotans discover all the great audio entertainment that Minnesota has to offer. In this episode, we talk about what it took to build that podcasting platform from scratch. One of the big takeaways is how they deal with a huge amount of data to create a curated, personal touch inside the app, which I think anyone that's running an app can take away lots of valuable insights from that discussion. So without further ado, here is my interview with Jeremy Sinon and William White.

Jeremy and William, welcome to the show.

Jeremy Sinon 1:02
Glad to be here.

William White 1:03
Yeah, thanks.

Tim Bornholdt 1:04
So why don't we kick things off by just talking about, you know, who is Hubbard Interactive? And what do you guys do to help build out that PodMN platform?

Jeremy Sinon 1:13
Sure. So well, first of all, Hubbard Radio is the parent company. Hubbard Radio is a locally owned broadcasting company here in Minneapolis. And we have radio stations all across the US. If your listeners are local, they would recognize some of our stations like KS95, MyTalk 1071 and Score North. But we've got... I always blank on the number. William, is it like 30-40-some stations across the US?

William White 1:43
Yes. 40, 50, something like that. Yeah.

Jeremy Sinon 1:47
And all different kinds of formats, mostly music, some talk. And in Minneapolis, here, we have two talk stations producing a lot of content, which kind of propelled us into a lot of, you know, podcasting. Like looking at podcasts from really early on, those stations have been podcasting for probably, boy, 15 plus years, you know, before podcasting was even really a thing that anybody talked about.

And PodMN, to fast forward, PodMN really was born out of our own frustrations about discovery surrounding local podcasts. You know, we have these radio stations that produce a lot of great local content. And, you know, when you go to typical podcast platforms like Apple Podcasts, or Spotify or Google or what have you, what are the podcasts you see when you log into those platforms? You see Joe Rogan and Mark Marin and, you know, the biggest national podcast and there's really not a great way to find loca. And that was our mission was to, you know, is we sat around and went, is there a way that we can put a spotlight on local podcasts and help people to discover all the great local content that there is out there. And when we did that, I don't think we really knew what we were getting into, quite honestly. And we built this platform. And we discovered that there's way more local content out there that we even do.

Tim Bornholdt 3:29
Yeah, I believe that. I know, that's been a frustration of mine as well has been trying to find local shows. For example, I listen to the Beer Show, which is on Score North, and I know I wouldn't have found that had I not been walking through... There's a liquor store that's one of the sponsors of the podcast, and they had like one sign up behind a pallet of beer boxes. I just barely saw the word "podcasts" and you know, it caught my attention, but that's the only way I would have known about it. I would have not known that there was local Minnesota beer related podcasts had I not seen a sign in the middle of the store. So I can see why that would be such a big frustration when you produce so much content that no one can can find because of Apple and all the other players.

Jeremy Sinon 4:18
Yeah, I mean, and so what happens then is people's ears, you know, start to go towards that more national content and local gets forgotten about. So that was our mission to try to figure out if there's a way. And so, you know, the idea of the PodMN app came about and we said, What if there was one place where you could find everything local? And we didn't even know what that meant honestly because, you know, local meaning what? Podcasts that are local in content? Local in that they're produced here? Because podcasts are all over the place as far as the type of content that they have. So right now, PodMN is, I want to say, we're over 760 podcasts that we have in there.

William White 5:15

Jeremy Sinon 5:15
And it's a mix of both. It's podcasts that are produced locally and podcasts that are local in content. The best podcasts on our platform are ones that are both, you know, that they're produced locally, they're local in content. And those are, you know, the ones that are really easy to highlight. Because we want people when they open up that app that just have a real sense of Minnesota. When you open it up, it feels like home. It feels like, you know, here's everything that's going on in my community and topics that are important to me.

Tim Bornholdt 5:50
With the shows that you get on there, how do you actually... So we all have a problem finding them right? How did you guys end up finding them? How did the directory grow to be almost 1000 podcasts at this point?

Jeremy Sinon 6:04
Yeah. So when we started, you know, we didn't really know how we were going to do that either. And, you know, you start with simple Google searches. And eventually, you know, you kind of go down these paths and you find there's different resources out there and websites that have listed Minnesota podcasts and you find one and it's like, oh, that one's connected to these five other ones. And Listen Notes has been a site that we've used a lot. Listenotes.com is a great search engine for podcasts. You type in the word Minnesota, Minneapolis, and you start to see, you know, as long as people have those words in their descriptions and their titles, it's really easy to surface those.

So yeah, it's been hundreds of hours, honestly, from Beth Gibbs, our senior editor, of doing that research and then also, you know, networking and then curation. She's not just putting up every podcast, she sees. She listens to them, you know, she makes sure that they're a good fit. We check the podcasts to see if they've gone dormant or not because that's also an issue in the podcast space. And you got to constantly stay on top of it cause they can go dormant at any time. But yeah, just a ton of research and networking and trying to get the word out. And now we're at the point now where podcasts are discovering us, which is great. So they're coming to the site, and they're submitting their shows and saying, Oh, hey, we'd love to get this on PodMN. So we feel like we've done at least something right to get to that point.

Tim Bornholdt 7:43
Oh, yeah, that was one question I was curious about was how big of an audience do you have that are then turning around and listening to the shows? Are you seeing that a lot of people are using the PodMN apps to actually listen to podcasts or do you see it more as kind of a directory that then people can look for podcasts and then take them into a different app to listen to them? What's your strategy around that?

Jeremy Sinon 8:07
Sure. Yeah. I mean, that was kind of one of our fears, too is, well, what if we just list all these podcasts in here, what's stopping people from just finding their podcasts and then going and listening in a different platform. Which is fine. We'd rather them listen on PodMN, but you know, we'll take listening however we get it. But our strategy around trying to get people to listen on PodMN, if you've looked, we have a tab for rewards. So we've brought in some gamification into the app, which is an old radio tool of trying to give away prizes to get people to listen. And that's actually worked really well. We put up prizes every month. And we've built... William been talking about the great rewards platform that his team has built. But we built ways that you can, or we can, put prizes associated with just listening, period, to any podcast on the app. Or we can put a prize specific to a podcast, like listen to this podcast for chance to win. We can put a prize on a specific episode. Listen to this episode for a chance to win. And we can say, you know, for how long, listen for 20 minutes, listen for an hour, what have you. And that's worked out really well. We're seeing a lot of reward entries. And people, when they're on the app, they're listening, and they're getting those thresholds. And they're entering to win. So that part has been working out for us.

Tim Bornholdt 9:39
So, William, speaking of building out the platform. I want to get to that. When you were initially coming up with the idea for the playback side of the app and just for the app in general, what were some of your inspiration for the different things that are already out there? Because they're already are a ton of podcast apps out there, so where you kind of looking at what's already on the market and trying to find the best of all the different apps and put them into one? Or was there one that you were like, This is the gold standard, we're going to just focus and try to mimic this, or did you come at it from, you know, nuts to what's out there, we're going to just go from scratch and see what we can do?

William White 10:21
Yeah, so I think, I mean a hybrid, probably of all those because of our experience with radio, and already handling podcasts and our radio station apps and in some of our partnerships too that we've had with other podcast companies, including Podcast One for Hubbard Radio. We kind of took a survey I think of apps and how they worked and we definitely looked at kind of the best methodologies for certain things. We knew we wanted an ability to search for podcasts, subscribe to podcast. Even something like getting notified via the app when a podcast you're subscribed to gets updated, right? Like that's so helpful.

And, you know, there's certain apps, but there wasn't a perfect app that we found that had all these things, but kind of starting from scratch gave us the ability to pull the best features from the ones that we liked. And then especially too, our team, being very technical anyway and then also being in the audio space. In our industry, we were already kind of attuned and accustomed to many of the podcast apps out there. I think each of us, as we were building this thing, would bring in suggestions from the particular app that we used primarily before this happened and said, Well, hey, I'm using this app, and it has this feature where I really like this UI. I like the screen. And honestly when we were developing this, I want to say we saw the rise and fall of maybe eight different apps while we were building it. You know what I mean? Like, there would be a new one. Literally we would come in and someone would say, Hey, this new podcast app just launched. And then three weeks later, we'd say, Hey, this company is gone now. Because it's just really hard to incentivize people to stay in your platform.

And so I think for us, it was how can we give the best value to people to stay in and design something that's going to give users those features they need most involving podcasting and involving listening and subscribing and being notified and personalization and all that stuff. So I think it was safe to say it is kind of a hybrid of many apps and many experiences, with our own spin, using some of the technologies we've already developed and kind of tried and tested with our other radio station apps.

Tim Bornholdt 12:56
That definitely has to put you at an advantage being in a radio station and having that breadth of experience working with audio. You probably already have all the tips and tricks. I know, for example, with the Beer Show, Chris Rivers basically records it. And then like five minutes later it's live in the app because you already have all the infrastructure in place to just push, hit record, hit stop, put in the sponsored breaks or whatever, and then shoot it out to everybody. So that has to definitely help keep a big advantage over the competition.

Jeremy Sinon 13:33
Yeah, having a pretty close knowledge with how the podcast industry works and producing a podcast and publishing a podcast. We've got hundreds of RSS feeds that we manage, you know, for our own podcasts throughout the company. And, you know, we're still learning, we're still trying to fine tune those processes and get better everywhere in all of our markets in that area. And I think everybody is.

Tim Bornholdt 14:02
Oh, for sure. William, you made a point about keeping people inside the app. And I know, Jeremy, you were talking about the rewards being a really big part of trying to keep people to stay in the app. But I was wondering if there were other tips or tricks or things that you were doing to try to convince people to stick around and stay in the app for longer? I, again, I gotta imagine rewards is the biggest thing. But are there any other things that you find are working really well that are keeping people coming back in?

Jeremy Sinon 14:31
Yeah, I mean, like I said from the beginning, when we started this, the core components are going to be having a killer interface that's easy to use, and is competitive with those other apps and things that we're talking about. And then rewards. And then bringing some of our own twists and features, and like William was talking about the notifications and sending people alerts when new episodes come out.

I think we've done a good job at getting people into the habit. Once they listen then we remind them, Hey, the new episode is out. The new episode is out. There's rewards attached to the podcast. We actually haven't had a whole lot of trouble of people, once they use the app, continuing to use the app. I think there's something inherent about the nature of being a Minnesotan and caring about things that are from Minnesota. For those of us that that live here, we know that Minnesotans love nothing more than a little bit of us, you know, we love Minnesota, we love talking about Minnesota, we love telling people about Minnesota. And so if that podcast feels like home, I mean, that's our core thing that we want to drive home is that when you open that app, it feels like Minnesota. And I think that is really welcoming to people that are from here and people that care about here.

So once they start using it, we haven't had a whole lot of trouble of keeping people using it. Right now our biggest hurdle is just awareness. You know, just trying to get the word out and get people to discover us. We've got a good track record so far of once they do discover us, they they continue to use it.

William White 16:25
I would speak too, one of the main components of this app as well which we worked a lot on and we spent a lot of time on and I think is one of the more powerful features as well is our discover screen, really. So part of what Jeremy's saying in keeping it relevant and keeping people inside the app, I think having a fresh look at relevant audio content every time you're coming into the app is a huge piece as well.

So you know that homepage you see on the app, it's curated, you know, most of it. Beth works really hard on that in keeping that information relevant and really applying listening habits and what's going on in the world, what's going on in Minnesota. And being able to come in, you know, you can use any app you want for podcasting, but the information that's changing day to day, maybe it's relevant to you, maybe it's not. It's probably more likely not, but to be able to come in and see local news that's contextual and curated to the happenings going on around you, like even down to your street in the last few weeks, being able to see that and listen to that content, I think that's extremely powerful too. And that's updated sometimes many times a day, but usually every day. It's like many apps, coming in and seeing your feed updated, here's fresh content, here's new content you may have not discovered beforehand. I think that's huge.

Tim Bornholdt 18:04
I think that's a good thing to mention about podcasts because I was thinking about how there's certain curated parts of the app. And then there's obviously with podcasts, you can scrape an RSS feed, you've got the ability to automate a lot of things. But I think that's one thing that, generally speaking, a lot of app developers don't... If there's people that are coming in to build an app for the first time, they don't appreciate how important it is to have that hand curated data, and that the data can sometimes be the most valuable part of the app. I would think that discovery screen, like you said, would be huge. If Beth is going in almost hourly, keeping that up to date and making it look good, those are the types of things that I think a lot of newbies to app development don't understand is that, there's not a whole lot that you can do to automate that. Building the software, it takes a certain amount of time, but then it's just continually coming in and keeping the data fresh and up to date.

Are there certain things inside the app that you have been able to figure out, using like machine learning or something like that to do automated or is it just really you have found that it is that people coming in and reporting things and Beth going in and curating it, giving it that human touch, that's really what's driving a lot of the value of seeing that updated data?

William White 19:31
Yeah, I mean, and I think Jeremy could probably speak to more of the front facing side, but I know we definitely have the data to build more automation into what people are seeing. Certain things we rank and there's some automation involving, you know, search results and relevancy. There are, I believe, a few components on the Discover page that you can set up to be displayed based on a person's information, their history, other analytics and metrics we're collecting in the app. But I think, for the most part, I want to say that Discover screen is curated. And there's a human touch. Now, not to say Beth's not using data we're collecting to curate those things, right? It's not as if she's going in blind and just posting a random podcast that we think may do well. There's a little bit of that experimentation. But she's going in with a creative angle, a relevant angle, but then also going in with some data backing her as to what would be relevant, what will be successful, what's trending, what are people going to want to see and what's going to be relevant to them.

Jeremy Sinon 20:48
A neat feature actually that these guys built into the app that was a Beth suggestion when we hired her was the ability to bring in single episodes from podcasts that aren't necessarily Minnesota podcasts. But if that episode was Minnesota in nature, and that was a technical challenge, because the way that we built it was all surrounding, you know, inputting RSS feeds and populating the app that way. So these guys had to come up with a way to be able to pull in a single episode from an RSS feed. And that's actually a really really nice feature. Now that she can go in and you know, she can create, on the Discover screen we call them Drawers, where you can put in different content and lay it out in that screen drawers and in a drawer, she can put in, you know, if Joe Rogan does a live show from Minneapolis, or, you know, episodes surrounding the George Floyd story from around the country, but they're Minneapolis in nature. We can go and pull that content from anywhere in the podcast sphere, just pull in single episodes. I think that's been a really, really great feature.

Tim Bornholdt 22:01
Yeah, that has to be really nice. Especially, like you said, if there's something outside, like I don't necessarily want to subscribe to the daily New York Times podcast and see it every day. But yeah, if there's something specifically Minnesota about it or Twin Cities about it, I can see that being hugely valuable. And, William, from your end, my background is in back end development. So I definitely am thinking, as soon as you said that you had to restructure the back end to not just scrape an entire RSS feed, but be able to pull out an individual episode, yeah, I could see that being a technical hurdle to jump over.

William White 22:36
Yeah, this was one particular problem that solving the technical piece in the back end and solving the UI was almost equally difficult. Because, you know, like Jeremy said, our system was engineered to pull in podcast episodes, you fetch feeds, and you create those objects, and so the idea of fetching a feed but showing the contents before actually fetching, right? Because our system needs to, you need almost to prove it. Right? So yeah, it was quite a technical challenge. But I think we were able to really get a hold of what we were trying to do and work out the UI. And we're at the point now where it's extremely successful and easy to use. So it definitely is not a typical way RSS feeds are processed. But it's been a really, really, really cool feature, especially one to work on and develop and see out in the wild, it's been extremely rewarding, to be honest.

Tim Bornholdt 23:39
One question while we're still kind of on the technical side of things. With the apps themselves, like the iOS and the Android apps, did you build them natively? Or are those like a hybrid, something with React Native or Xamarin or something like that? Which approach did you take for building those out?

William White 23:57
So those are built native, those are built native apps.

Tim Bornholdt 24:00
So how come you chose to go native instead of trying to do a cross platform sort of thing?

William White 24:06
Honestly, I think you can take either of those approaches. You know, I think we get more native features out of going with a natively built app. I'm sure there's going to be increases in performance. And, I mean, anytime you can eliminate almost a layer of complexity on top of the app already, then you're probably going to be better off. And I think, you know, with the way we kind of develop apps, we had the bandwidth to go that route.

Tim Bornholdt 24:37
It was a little bit of a leading question because I much prefer native app development versus the hybrid apps. And I thought, in this case, specifically, one of your big advantages might be, and this might be getting really into the weeds for our users, but I want to go there. With processing the audio files themselves, with things like doing like the 1 or 2x playback or variable speed so you can speed it up or slow it down, I know that there's certain apps that can do things like cut out silence in between talking or things like that, did that factor in at all? Are there plans for doing any kind of audio processing like that within the app? Or right now is it really focused on getting the curated feeds and then just kind of adding on things like that if people are requesting it?

William White 25:27
Yeah, I mean, I think there's a slew of features surrounding audio and playback on the UI and even from the consumption level that we'd want to implement and are definitely coming down the road. The specifics, I'm not sure. Like a 1 ,2 times half speed playback I think is definitely something a lot of apps have and we will look into implementing. We've talked into implementing them. I think one of the more technical things that we have to kind of almost code around in a sense is this ability to track and record playback for tracking for rewards for listening time. Right? And so that is one of those things that, you know, that's kind of our first and foremost, goal for the app that we have, because that's our biggest driver for incentivizing retention. We've talked through it for sure. But right now, I think our focus is on being able to keep track of the time based on episode podcasts and notify and unlock these certain things for specific users and devices. So, it definitely would help, and make it a lot easier as these apps are native to dig into the audio, even get into the operating systems, you know, those functions, methodologies for how they expect audio to be played and how they expect you know, certain encodings and all that. Right? So, having it native is definitely going to help in that route.

Tim Bornholdt 27:04
Right on. Jeremy, a question for you. Now recently in the podcasting world, Joe Rogan announced partnering up with Spotify, and Spotify has basically been going around and eating everybody's lunch, like taking up Gimlet and taking up all the big podcasting networks and kind of consolidating them into the walled garden that is Spotify. How do you see that as impacting what you guys are doing at PodMN? I know everything is, like you said, it's built around RSS feeds. It's built around kind of the open podcast nature. How do you view companies like Spotify that are trying to build these kind of siloed, I guess can't really call them podcasts if they don't have an RSS feed that it's open to view, but you know, how do you see Spotify and all the other players that are in this space? How are you kind of dealing with that with PodMN?

Jeremy Sinon 28:00
Yeah, it's interesting. I mean, I think probably like most people I had mixed reactions when that news came out about Joe Rogan, because, you know, on one hand that goes against just podcasting by its nature, being singular to one platform is not an open RSS feed. That's not what podcasting is. But at the same time, it's really hard to blame Spotify for making a move like that. And it's hard to blame Joe Rogan for accepting a move like that. Right?

Tim Bornholdt 28:32

Jeremy Sinon 28:33
I mean, if I worked for Spotify, I'd be trying to do the exact same thing. That's really a key cog, I think, in their growth. I mean, it reminds me of the Howard Stern deal years ago when he signed on exclusively to Sirius XM. Right? And if you wanted to listen to Howard Stern, you had to have XM radio and it still is like that to this day. So, you know, it's like I said, it's really hard to blame them. And Spotify, honestly, their mission is the same as our mission. And that's trying to get people to use their platform to consume podcasts. Because they know how powerful that is when people use their platform exclusively, and they've got way more tools and way more, you know, ways to monetize, than we do right now with our little PodMN app. But, you know, the thinking is the same on our side, just on different scale, right? I mean, we're trying to drive listening to our platform. We're trying to find ways that someday, hopefully, we'll be able to monetize people listening on our platform. And that's the same thing Spotify is doing, but it's just on a way smaller scale.

Tim Bornholdt 29:53
And like you said, you can't blame Spotify for doing what they did. And I mean, honestly if somebody wanted to back up a dump truck full of 100 million dollars into my driveway and make Constant Variables exclusive to their platform, I'm not going to say no. Everyone's got a number. But it is interesting to see, you know, like Luminary was another one. And there's all these different, you know, companies that are trying to do to the podcasting world what Netflix has done to the video world, and there's so many other cases of that where now like online video specifically, it's like YouTube. Do you think of any other company that has monopolized video other than YouTube? Online, that's where you go to to watch things that people create. So it is kind of like a double edged sword with that. But yeah, PodMN is really, like you said, you know, Joe Rogan, unless he's here doing a live episode in Minneapolis, that's not really the point of it. It's a lot more local and it's hard for venture capital firms to kind of take advantage of the addressable market in Minneapolis. So it I guess it's a little bit different of a problem.

Jeremy Sinon 31:11
Yeah. I mean, honestly we feel right now that, you know, we're kind of zigging while everybody else is zagging. Everybody else seems to be going after, you know, the big shows, trying to get the biggest numbers. And we'd love that too. But right now, at least with the PodMN initiative, it's a focus on local. It's a focus on, you know, a smaller footprint, but a more passionate footprint. And it's a business model that we know and understand from a radio industry that we've had for decades and decades and decades. And honestly our industry is built to be able to best monetize when everything is local. Right? When the listening is local, the consumers are local, the content's local, the advertisers are local. We feel like we can figure out a way to make money. Right? Because we do that on the radio side. So there's not a whole lot of reason why the podcast side should be much different.

Tim Bornholdt 32:20
I would agree completely with that because I think that, yeah, when companies, when big venture capital firms or Spotify or whoever has billions of dollars to play with, of course they're going to try to get as many ears as possible. But I kind of find that the more local you get and the more grassroots you are, it's like podcasting in general, a lot of the shows that I listen to maybe only have a few hundred or a few thousand listeners and that's it. But the people that advertise on them, for example, keep coming back again and again and again because those thousand people are so diehard that if a host recommends something, they're all going to go and check it out. And most of them are probably going to like it. Because, you know, most podcast hosts live or die by their word and their recommendations. So they're not going to take a sponsor that's shoddy or whoever. So it's kind of a win win win for everybody in that ecosystem. And I think it might be kind of difficult to scale that up to a national and international. Not everybody cares about the same things the bigger and further up you get.

Jeremy Sinon 33:26
Yeah, which just kind of brings me back to if we can grow local podcasting. You know, that was our mission. How do we grow people listening to our local podcasts? And if we can pull it off, we don't know when but someday we think that'll turn into dollars.

Tim Bornholdt 33:45
I sure hope so. One last question for both of you guys. What's next for PodMN? What are you working on? What are you excited that's coming down the pipeline that you can share with us at this point?

Jeremy Sinon 33:58
Yeah, we've got, I guess we have a long Wish List, I'd call it right now. We're actually horribly busy right now with projects on the radio side. So PodMN has taken a temporary backseat. So we don't have really anything really big I guess as far as an active project right now. Stuff that is kind of being constantly worked on are more back end things, reporting type things. Like we just finished a podcast dashboard, which is really helpful for us, now that we can we can see stats and metrics on individual podcasts. I can pull up, like the one of ours, the Garage Logic podcast, and I can see how many listeners they've had in the last 24 hours, week, seven days, 30 days, what have you. And then I can see podcast starts, podcast streams. I can see time spent listening. I can see who the listeners are because it is a platform where we have registration. So we actually have names and email addresses of who these listeners are and how much they've listened. And so I think probably diving more into that data and probably getting some better processes and figuring out what we could be doing with that data. Because we've got a lot of it. And right now it's just building and we're not really doing much with it. But there's a lot of powerful data there. We can see, you know, people that listen to this podcast are also listening to these other podcasts and what can we do with that information? You know, could we reach out to those podcasts and say, Hey, let's do some cross promotion type of things. So a lot of the stuff that we're talking about and trying to figure out right now, I guess it's not platform related, per se. It's more, now that we have the platform, how do we start to try to figure out how to make it more powerful for us. But there are some long term wishlist items, for sure.

Tim Bornholdt 36:16
And what about you, William? What what are you looking forward to?

William White 36:18
Yeah, I mean, I think down the road, I think we're looking for just more customization. I think more automation for sure. And, you know, giving relevant content to people to keep them inside the app, like we talked about almost mixing that kind of machine learning with the custom curation. I think we've got some UI updates and things we want to sketch out and get going. And yeah possibly looking into some of these audio playback features and functionality and sharing. And then as always, from my side is scaling and performance and making sure things are running smoothly. So looking at, you know, traffic trends and database performance, API, response times and all that. So that's an always constant project there.

Tim Bornholdt 37:13
Yeah, ain't that the truth and it does always seem, to Jeremy's point, once you have the platform built, it does seem like the hard work really does begin then of actually using all this stuff that you've built and scaling it up and making use of all that data to just continue to iterate and iterate and have a better experience for the users.

Jeremy Sinon 37:36
But the beauty is, once you get that platform built, now you have a launchpad. You know, now you have something that you can build on top of and that's something we learned, you know, building out our own platform on the radio side too, which William's team did, is we built our own platform for our radio stations for listening and streaming online. Yeah, that's one of the benefits that we learned early on is, God, now we have this thing. And we can continue to innovate and iterate and come up with new ideas and new features. And I think that is the best part about putting in all that hard work and time and investment into creating a platform is not only being able to launch it into habit, but then now you have this base, now you have this thing that you can always evolve and continue to put work into. Right?

Tim Bornholdt 38:33
I love it. I can't really think of a better way to end it. But I did actually have one more question. And maybe this is unfair but I think since you both work with podcasting platforms that you have to at least listen to some podcasts. So last question is, what are your favorite podcasts right now? What are you guys listening to?

Jeremy Sinon 38:54
It's hard for me because most of the podcasts I listened to our sports podcast, which there's not a lot of sports going on right now.

Tim Bornholdt 39:03
Fair enough.

Jeremy Sinon 39:04
So that's probably my biggest hurdle. But yeah, you know, I listen to like fantasy football podcasts and some stuff on Barstool. There's some tech podcasts that I can't even name right now. I should get my phone out that I listen to but, honestly, lately I've been listening to Garage Logic a ton, just because that's one of our own that is very much every day I can pull it up and I can hear about what's going on in Minnesota, especially with everything, all the unrest right now and Coronavirus, and all the things that are happening in the political sphere. It is so helpful for me to have that right now to be able to listen to.

Tim Bornholdt 39:57
How about you, William?

William White 39:58
Yeah, so, honestly, I mean, most recently, I think for me has been, there's one called the Techmeme Ride Home, which I listen to quite a bit. It's a short one that just talks kind of tech. Being the dev that I am it's nice to get updates. And yeah, I listen to some sports ones, which to Jeremy's point, are kind of not the best right now as there's not much going on. Yeah, I mean, that's a big one for me. So a lot of tech ones and then just some basic news ones, but that's probably my favorite most consistent one right now, is Techmeme Ride Home.

Tim Bornholdt 40:37
I always love asking people the favorite podcast question because it seems that everyone kind of has like one podcast that you would say everybody listens to, but then you get really into the weeds with like, you know, I listen to a couple of running podcasts and I listen to a couple of beer podcasts. And you know, like I said, they maybe only have a couple hundred listeners, but you just kind of find these random podcasts all over the place, sometimes through platforms like PodMN. And you find these new hosts and new topics that you get weirdly nerdily into, and that's what's so cool about this space that we're all working in right now.

Well, Jeremy, William, thank you guys so much for joining me today. How can people find out more about the PodMN platform? And more about you guys as well?

Jeremy Sinon 41:26
Sure, probably easiest thing to do is go to PodMN.com. It's a pretty simple website, directs you straight to download the app on iOS or Android. And that's probably the best thing you can do is just go check out the apps, download them and play with them there. It's a great, great app.

Tim Bornholdt 41:45
Awesome. Thank you guys both again so much for joining me today. I really appreciate it.

Jeremy Sinon 41:49
Yeah, thank you. This has been great.

William White 41:50
Yeah. Thanks, Tim.

Tim Bornholdt 41:53
Thanks to William White and Jeremy Simon from PodMN for joining me today on the podcast. You can find out more about PodMN by visiting PodMN.com. Oh, and we're on the app too. So make sure you download it and check us out there.

Show notes for this episode can be found at constantvariables.co. You can get in touch with us by emailing Hello@constantvariables.co. I'm @TimBornholdt on Twitter and the show is @CV_podcast. Today's episode was produced by Jenny Karkowski and edited by the jovial Jordan Daoust.

If you have one minute quick before you leave, we would really love it if you left us a review on the Apple Podcast app. It shouldn't take much time at all. And it really does help new people find our show. So just head to constantvariables.co/review. It will link you right there.

This episode was brought to you by The Jed Mahonis Group. If you're looking for a technical team who can help make sense of mobile software development, give us a shout at JMG.mn.