Putting The Time In With Eric Boduch
Lindsay Tjepkema: Are you a wizard? Or, perhaps a superstar. All right, let me back up. Podcasts are a lot of work. Even for the most engaged, most enthusiastic, evangelistic, expert- type hosts. Even when you have a long list of guests who are willing and able to be part of your show. Even when you have an effective and efficient process. It all takes time, and work, and the right tools and technology, and dedication to making it great. It also takes the right people in the right roles to make it all happen. So what's the secret to making a really great show run smoothly? A wizard, someone behind the curtain while your host is behind the mic. Someone who manages guests, focuses on distribution and promotion of the show, oversees the whole podcast production process and promotion. They direct traffic, so to speak. It also takes a superstar of a host. Someone who really knows the space, who really knows the guests, and can therefore guide really interesting conversations naturally. So I'll ask again, who's the wizard behind your podcast? And who's the superstar host. I'm Lindsay Tjepkema CEO and co- founder of Casted, the first and only podcasting platform created specifically for B2B marketers. And this is our podcast. Product Love is a popular podcast among folks in the product community, including the product team here at Casted. The superstar behind that show's mic, Eric Boduch. Co- founder and Chief Evangelist at Pendo. He knows the subject matter, community, and guest list better than anyone. And as you'll hear, he's got a wizard on his team making the magic happen to keep the show running smoothly.
Eric Boduch: My name's Eric Boduch, I'm one of the founders and the chief evangelist at Pendo.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Thank you so much for being on the show, Eric. I'm really excited to hear your behind the mic story.
Eric Boduch: Absolutely this should be fun.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Yeah, absolutely. So tell me a little bit about how you became a podcast host. I mean, you're a founder, you've got a lot going on. How did podcasts get landed on your plate?
Eric Boduch: Sure, sure. So, I mean, one of the big pushes for me was to kind of become more external. To do more work around community, and best practices, and making sure the craft of product management as a whole was elevated. So as I was taking on that role, I thought podcasting would be a great thing to experiment with, to reach the product management community. And we really wanted to focus on kind of authentic conversations with product leaders, and authors in the space, and kind of give them a voice. Let them tell their story and deliver that message out to the product management community as a whole. With the goal of spurring some thinking, some planning, some new ways of doing things that would help them elevate their craft.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Yeah. Okay. So how did that end up being something that you ended up being a host of? I mean, did it always seem like this would be you? Or did it ever occur to you? Was there anybody else that this might've landed with? Or was it always you?
Eric Boduch: Yeah, no, as soon as I took on this role of Chief Evangelist, and building out that community, and that thought leadership position, it was a natural kind of extension of what I was doing. In addition to speaking at different events, and representing Pendo at different events, and helping push out best practices for product management that we've seen. Based upon both our personal experiences and experiences we've had with clients, it seemed like a natural extension of that, from a distribution standpoint, would be creating a podcast. And we decided to start in the first direction with the podcast of just taking the great content that's out there already in the community, these great people that have a lot to say about product management, and giving them a voice via podcasting.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Yeah, no, I love that. I mean, going right to the source and just having great conversations and turning it into great content. So tell me a little bit about what that looked like when... So you had the idea, you knew this was a thing you wanted to do. It made sense for you, for the role that you play at Pendo. How did it come together? I mean what was step one, two, and three?
Eric Boduch: It's funny you mention that because I had never done a podcast before. I had been on a couple, but you kind of show up, you know what questions you're going to be asked, sometimes, and you just talk, right? So I had never thought of, or even looked at, doing one from the other side. From being the interviewer. And what technology, what the stack looked like. And I was a little disappointed to be honest, there wasn't, and I guess there's starting to be now, more technology. But it felt like," Wow, this is all there is? This is my options that are out there?" It didn't really seem really geared to B2B podcasts. It seems like the attribution, and reporting, and feedback mechanisms were really maybe antiquated or insufficient. So it seemed like," Oh, it's a cool thing to do. You can get the viewers." But as far as the technology behind it, it seemed rather limited. It was like," Hey, do this, sign up for one of these hosting providers, buy yourself a Yeti microphone, and you're good to go."
Lindsay Tjepkema: So it sounds good. So here you are, you're piecing together the different tech solutions to create a show. Was it just you? Did you have outside help? Was there any sort of team internally, externally? How'd you put it together?
Eric Boduch: Yeah. So first it was just me, and because I was relatively well networked in kind the product management space, I just reached out first to people I knew like. My first guest, I think, was Dan Olsen, who I had met before kind of through industry events. And then Nir Eyal, who had written Hooked. We were introduced, and he did some work that I was familiar with. So, I think he was the second guest. And so we started just adding people from there. But I had a good group of people that I knew through my experiences at Pendo, that I could leverage as early guests. And so that became the basis. And then it just became a little bit of a logistical nightmare, just organizing everything. You underestimate kind of the backend side of things, of just getting things scheduled, getting things edited, and getting things published. And with Product Love, which is the name of the podcast that we do for product managers, it's pretty simple. I mean, it's a simple interview process. But at the same time, even though it is simple, and it's not extremely edited, it's pretty raw, there's still a lot of work on the backend, to get this consistently delivered on a week over week basis.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Yeah. No, absolutely. So tell me more about that. I mean, again, going back to the fact that you are a founder, you are an executive at a fast growing successful company. And you've got a lot going on, and podcasts are not something you can just do. It takes a lot of work. So for people who are listening, who are in a similar situation, how does that fit in? Actually, logistically, how does that fit into your day, your week, your month?
Eric Boduch: Yeah, so I mean, we started by just keeping it simple. I think we started as with the idea of doing one a month, and then one every two weeks. And then we decided that a regular, weekly cadence was the best. So Product Love publishes every Wednesday morning. And we keep it pretty simple. I mean, there's minimal editing. I'll have a guest, we'll go through a series of questions, and we'll use the question script as a loose guideline of what we're going to cover. But we'll often take it based upon where the conversation goes. And it's a lot easier for me because I'm a product person at heart, even if I'm not running product currently at Pendo. But all four of the founders here had product experience. We all had run products before. So we're all product people. And, as an interviewer interviewing product people and product leaders, it's a lot easier, I think, for me to do, given that I understand their areas of pain. I understand what's important about the conversation, I think. And I can guide that, the things that I think will be very interesting to our listeners. So I think that makes it easier. And then we don't really overly produce it. I mean, as far as editing, we go through and we try to clean up some of the audio. If someone wants to re answer something, or didn't like what they said, we'll just edit that out. We try to remove their ums and ahs. It's not like a Masters of scale or something like that, where there's a team of 12 running a podcast. It's myself, it's Natalie, who handles all of the logistic, publishing, social and everything around that. And then it's an external audio editor we use, that's just going through and just cleaning up the audio to make it sound as good as possible. Now, Natalie was a life changing event. There's no way I could publish on a weekly basis without Natalie being here. No way I could do a good job promoting it without her being here. So she takes a lot of that off of my plate. She handles all of the logistics, the scheduling, the back and forth with the guests. She'll put together a first draft of questions and script, and we're take it in. She'll write and put together a first draft of kind of my intro. And she actually writes the little write up that we publish along with the podcast of just an overview. So without her doing this, without her helping out on the team, things would be a lot harder for me, but she's just been a great boom to the podcast, and the reason we're able to publish once a week, with everything else going on.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Awesome. Well shout out to Natalie. That's amazing.
Eric Boduch: Shout out to Natalie.
Lindsay Tjepkema: A lot of people that might be listening are, and I get asked all the time," What does this look like? What do I need? What does my team need to look like?" And I think that that's a really great structure, is to have you as the host and Evangelist, that's your role. And I think that that's a role that a lot of podcast hosts for branded podcasts play. And then to have somebody who is that superstar behind the scenes. Because guest management takes a lot of time doing the research for and about the guests ahead of time, rescheduling quite often, and just doing all of those logistical things. I think it really is important, whether it's someone internal or external, that's doing all that behind the scenes stuff. Because as the host, if you tried to take that all on, especially if you're someone like you, or like me, or a lot of other hosts, that have a lot of other things going on, it can become overwhelming really quickly. So how would you translate that to advice for others who might be looking to set up their team for a podcast from crosstalk perspective?
Eric Boduch: Yeah, I would just say unless you're doing it full- time or close to full- time, it's definitely great having a guest manager. And someone that helps out with distribution, like Natalie does. With the social, and the promotion, and et cetera. I think we could probably do a lot better. It's an asset inside ProductCraft, which is a digital magazine for product managers, that Pendo sponsors, puts together. But we could probably take it in and give it its own external presence, and we'd probably get a lot more traffic than we do today. But just having Natalie here, and a person like that in general, around to do that guest management, to help with the distribution, and the promotion, and to oversee kind of the whole process is super helpful. But it really just comes down to a person's time. I mean, when I was doing this on a monthly basis, it wasn't really a big deal. If I was publishing one a month or even two a month, it was manageable. As it moved forward, trying to do it on a weekly basis, it became unmanageable without her as an asset. And then having a good audio engineer that makes the sound quality as good as you can. One of the things I always struggle with is decisions around doing them over Zoom, like we're doing this one today. Or trying to do ones in person. And ones in person, I think, ended up coming out a little bit better. But it's just, with limited budgets, like a lot of us have in order to do podcasting, it's hard to either fly guests in or fly out in order to record podcasts. So, there's trade offs.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Yeah, for sure. And I think it's important to note too, that that's a different technical setup too. I mean, you go from one mic to two mics. You go from a room that's fine for just one person to one that can seat two, three, four people. Going back to something else you said that I think is also really important for people who are thinking about creating a show. And that is aligning the host with something that naturally aligns with their subject matter expertise. I mean, you are, as you mentioned, your background is product. So you're the host of a product podcast. So that makes perfect sense. The question, the dialogue, the conversation is something that would come naturally to you over lunch, over coffee, over drinks anyway. Whereas you take someone who just happens to be the face of the brand or the natural forefront, front person, and you put them on a podcast just because they're the front person doesn't necessarily mean that it's going to come naturally. So tell me a little bit about your thoughts on that, and aligning the host with the subject matter of the podcast.
Eric Boduch: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, that's a very good point. Now, I think for me, it's a lot easier to interview product people because I get them. If I was interviewing, say, someone in biotech that's creating new cancer drugs. I get the high level of that, but I don't get the details of that, because I've never been involved in that space. And for me to then do a better job of interviewing them, I have to do a lot more research. So one of the great benefits of me interviewing product people is that the level of research I have to do is... It's still there. You want to be knowledgeable about what the person likes to talk about, where their passion lies, all those kinds of things. So research is important. And I think often neglected in general by interviewers, not just on podcasts, quite often on things like fireside chats and panels, at speaker conferences, and I can go on a 20 minute rant there. But generally interviewers do a shitty job. And it just comes down to not doing the research and the preparation. Now, if you know the domain space, the research and preparation is a much easier process than if you don't. And often, if you're not prepared, and you don't know the domain space, the interview, whether it's a podcast, or a fireside chat, or a panel, is not going to come off very well. Where you can wing it a little bit more if you really know the underlying domain space. But I think if you want to be a good podcaster, or you want to be a good interviewer in general, research, research, research, research, be prepared.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Yeah, no, absolutely 100%, because it comes through. You can hear it in the episode. Anyone who listens to it can hear it, whether it's canned questions that you're jumping in between meetings, or if it's something that you looked into ahead of time and you're passionate about, and you're excited about, and you can hear it.
Eric Boduch: Yeah. Yeah. I just wish more of these speaker organizers took the... I think podcasters do a better job, but you often go to conferences and it's like," Oh." You have this great panel, and then they ask such horrible questions. And you're like," Interviewing is an art." But to just put someone up there, the host, to moderate a panel because they're a VP of something at a business, people know if they don't prep, they're just going to do a horrible job. And it's not good for the audience. It's kind of like you take something, it could be amazing. You make it blah.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. You're so right, because we've all been there. We've all sat at an event, or anything. And you can tell it's the person who by title is up on stage. I would much rather have someone that no one knows who's really, really great at moderating that panel, or conducting that interview, than the person who I recognize.
Eric Boduch: Yeah. I think so, as a consumer, right?
Lindsay Tjepkema: Yeah. Yeah. For sure. So, okay. So tell me, how has being a podcast host, among everything else you're doing, how has it impacted you? Kind of behind the scenes and from a personal brand standpoint, what's it done for you?
Eric Boduch: From a personal standpoint, let me answer that first. I get to meet some great people. And I wish I did better keeping in touch with a lot of them, there's just a lot. But I do try to keep in touch with people. You just meet really interesting people doing really interesting things. We published one a couple of weeks ago with Benjamin Evans from Airbnb, who does inclusive design. And he's just an amazing guy to talk to. And so I get to meet these really cool people, whether it's people like Nir, or Dan Olsen, who I mentioned before. People like Benjamin, or I have an upcoming one that I'm looking forward to with Scott Belsky from Adobe. There's a bunch of great people and great stories you get to hear. That I think that exposure has been really interesting and invigorating for me personally. Just meeting some really good people that are really passionate about, in my case, product management, which is a passion area of mine too. So from that standpoint, personally, it's been great from that aspect. Just the quality of guests that we've been able to connect with, the quality of conversations we've been able to have, and the things I've taken away and learned from it has been awesome. And then I think it's just great as a give back to the community more than anything else. Part of the reason Pendo was born to solve problems that we had as product managers, as product leaders. We wanted to help elevate the craft of product management. We wanted to give them a real tech stack that was built for them. So those are the reasons we started the company. And when you think about it, ProductCraft as a whole, and Product Love as a podcast are really just about giving back to the community. Trying to connect them with great ideas, with things to think about, or implement in their own company. And just ways that they can improve their craft, their capabilities. And so the podcast is really an opportunity, I think, to do that from a professional and brand standpoint. Just love to be able to give back to the community. I think the community of product managers has been great to me personally, and great to Pendo. And this is a way that, hopefully, we're creating valuable content that helps those in the community.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Yeah. And I am so glad that you said that, because that's hugely important. I think, especially when you're doing a branded podcast on behalf of your company, and it really truly is content marketing, it's so easy to fall into the trap, or accidentally misstep, and tell people what you want them to hear. Not give them what they want to know. And coming at it from that perspective that you just talked through of giving back. And serving your audience, truly. That is a perspective that is forgotten quite often. Well, anything else? Any other takeaways that you would leave our audience with? Whether they have a podcast or are considering one, what's something, or a couple of things that you feel like people should know before they jump in?
Eric Boduch: So what should people know? I mean, I think if you're going to do it, you should commit to doing it. It's like anything else, like blogging or writing, you need to commit to doing it, and know that it's going to take part of your time. And know that if you want it to be good, whether you have a ton of money that you can push behind distribution, or whether you have none, if you want it to be good, real content that people like, you need to put the time in. And you need to put the time in on the research, you need to put the time in with the guests. You just need to put the time in to do it right. You need to make sure you have that steady cadence in schedule. And if you're willing to do that, I mean in Product Love's case, we've not put in money to distribution at all. Most of our growth comes from word of mouth, from other product managers being like," Oh, you should check this out. You should listen to this podcast. This podcast I found interesting." And that's great. I'm glad people enjoy it. I'm glad they're getting value out of it. I'm glad they're telling their friends about it. So even if you don't have the money to put into it, I would say you can build and do something if you're delivering good content.
Lindsay Tjepkema: That's it for today's show. Thank you so much to today's guest. And to learn more about them, and see Casted in action, with clips of today's show, and related content visit casted. us. Thanks so much for listening.