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    • Please join me in welcoming Michael Sacca, the director of business development and marketing at Dribbble by day and the co-host of by night, the podcast that inspires tens of thousands of entrepreneurs each week. Along with Rocketship. Michael has another podcast that he cohosts along with Mike Belsito, called This New Economy, focused on exploring humanity through economics.

      Michael and his co-hosts have been working on since 2014 where they’ve been interviewing people and talking about all things business & startups. They’ve recently entered their 6th season of the show - and we are excited to have them join us for a Cake Panel! New episodes of are released every Thursday.

      Welcome, Michael!

    • So you’ve built out a very successful podcast that’s gone on for 5 years. Congratulations! When you started Rocketship.FM, did you have any idea you’d keep going for 300 episodes?

    • When we started it, we were going to do it for 3 months, and then write a book. But the podcast took off, it had a life of its own. We started interviewing people to write a book on growing a bootstrapped startup, and so we decided to release a few of these interviews for fun, and they got a great response. So we went from there, and continued with the podcast. We never ended up writing the book, we only intended to do it for a couple months, but now it’s been five years!

    • You’ve had the chance to interview such exciting guests as Arlan Hamilton, ProductHunt’s Ryan Hoover and Seth Godin. How do you identify the guests you invite on your show?

    • It’s changed over the years. Before we’d just look for big names and try to get them to come on. But now we’re more tactical, in that we have stories we want to tell upfront, and we try to find people who an help us tell them. So for Seth Godin, we were trying to do research on Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hours rule, and so Seth Godin has a similar concept called “The Dip” so we called him up to compare and contrast his methodology. For Arlan, we were doing a series on diversity. So we wanted to hear her story: she obviously is a very powerful voice in the land of venture capital and equality, where that money goes, so that’s why we reached out to her, to interview her. So we had a very specific perspective we wanted to hear from them on, and it was much easier to get them to say yes to that, as opposed to doing a general interview. The fact that we were interested in what they wanted to talk about really helped.

    • I guess? I never really thought about it that way, so thank you. We actually thought we were a bit more on the dull side. We wanted to be more like NPR than a radio host, so we’ve tried to find our balance. But Josh Buccio, who hosts The Pitch, gave me advice once, because we were getting a bit too boring. He said “Whenever you’re recording, have someone else on the line.” I used to record my overdubs alone, but now I record with Mike on the line, and it really seems to work - you can hear the difference between season 3 and season 4 when we started to do that, as your voice has more energy when there’s someone else listening.

    • In your newest season, season 6, you kick things off with a special series about Cleveland, Ohio’s quest to become the capital of blockchain, all led by car salesman, Bernie Moreno. What made this story catch your interest? What kinds of themes did it inspire in these various segments?

    • What about it ISN’T interesting? You have a progressive technology like blockchain, which is experimental. You have a notable car salesman pushing it through. And you have it being adopted into the government because of this car salesman. That alone is fascinating. A lot of people, when they hear that (myself included) Bernie Moreno is the one bringing Blockchain to Cleveland doesn’t really add up. Why is he the guy bringing Blockchain anywhere? Why Cleveland? That’s why it’s so fascinating. Mike (my cohost) is based in Cleveland, so when I was there, I was talking to some of the people involved in the initiative and they didn’t even know what Blockchain was. So you have this situation of government employees tasked with making Blockchain work inside a city, and that’s completely opposite of where crypto and blockchain started, which was this very anarchistic ideology. They wanted governments to fail, they wanted fiat currency to go away, they wanted to replace it with something that’s open and ungovernable. And now you have this city who’s using Blockchain inside the government where it will be regulated and legal and governable. So the story is filled with conflicting points of view, and that’s what makes a strong story. The next installment drops tomorrow, on Thursday, March 21. In the second episode, we’ll explore some of the history of blockchain and where these communities are popping up- Puerto Rico, Las Vegas - and interview some people who are using Blockchain technology in actual businesses today.

    • In your recent SPRINT WEEK series, you literally got to listen in to a real design sprint for AJ&Smart for Kevin Rose’s app Zero. That’s a pretty unique concept. What kind of feedback did you get from your guests? And your listeners?

    • The guests were really excited to open up some of the process they were doing. AJ&Smart was the agency that led the design sprint, and we were happy to share that behind-the-scenes. From our listeners, it was one of our most listened-to recent series, and I think that’s because so often on a podcast, you’re teaching based on perfect scenarios - there’s a lot of methodology, a lot of “This is what I did.” But rarely do you get to see how the work happens, which is messy. So with this recordings, you could hear what it’s like to actually work through a problem, versus discussing a methodology to work through a problem.

    • You’ve developed an incredibly passionate listenership (and in fact, I’ve just subscribed to your newsletter). How do you keep your listeners engaged beyond dropping amazing episodes of the podcast? Your work with Dribbble is so meaningful to the design community. Would you say that Rocketship.FM is a multiplatform community as well, with articles, newsletters and social media?

    • I don’t know how we keep anyone engaged beyond dropping episodes! We could do a lot better, but it’s a side project for us, and it’s something we do because we’re passionate about creating. We want an outlet to tell these stories that’s authentic for ourselves. I wouldn’t say we’re building a community, we’re building a media company. It’s a one-directional community focused on the audio. So that’s where I see Rocketship. It’s a time constraint on our end. At Dribbble, my work is a bit different: Rocketship is less of a community and more of a media company.

    • I feel like you’ve gathered together such top minds to share their best pieces of advice, such as “how to retain more users with value-based onboarding.” Would Rocketship.FM ever write a book?

    • Maybe! I think right now we’re more interested in telling stories. So unless one of those stories was big enough to be a book, then we might do it, but right now, focusing on telling great micro-stories is more important to us than I think some of the actionable content we focused on in the past. So if we ever wrote a book, it would be more a story about technology, versus a how-to.

    • Not as big as Industry, but we are looking at doing some physical events in New York City, where we’ll be interviewing some of the local tech scene there in-person. So probably something much smaller, but we’d definitely love to get more of a physical presence in cities where we have a large listenership.

    • We’ve got 8 episodes for season 6, launching on each Thursday, on BlockLand. We’re going to dive into the Blockchain ecosystem a bit, we’ve talked to most of the civic leaders in Cleveland, we’ve talked to Bernie himself about what they are doing and what the future of this initiative will be. And we even interviewed some folks who believe it’s not going to happen. After those 8 episodes, we’re planning season 7 right now. I can’t say too much, but we’re looking at experimental product development, and how we can showcase the work that people are doing outside of the tech industry.

    • I think there are times when we haven’t been inspired, and those are hard. When we kept doing the same thing over and over, trying to crank out as many interviews as possible, it got really hard. We weren’t inspired. So what we did about 2 years ago now was we stopped caring about the metrics, and started making content that we liked. It means the show changed drastically, we lost listenership, luckily we’ve gained it back, but some people started listening for what the show started out being and didn’t like how it changed. We keep evolving the show, as storytellers, as people. We pay less attention to constant growth, and pay more attention to stories and what we want to tell, versus what people want to hear. And when we did that, it became fun again. We were ok losing a little bit of following to create something we were actually proud of.

    • With the many incredible individuals you’ve spoken to - what words of advice would you have for others, whether they want to start a similar podcast or endeavor, or are looking to start a new business or idea?

    • If you’re looking for a podcast or endeavor, you have to ask “What is your goal?” is it to be an influencer? A journalist? And figuring that out first. I think a lot of people start an interview podcast without a real direction, or a direction that’s been done a lot of times, and unless you can do it significantly better than what’s out there, it’s hard to grow your following. It’s about finding a unique angle on what you’re interested in, that excitement will come out. For a new business or idea, I think it’s kind of the same, we see so much around being passionate, and pursuing a dream, but I think it’s more realistic to actually look at the business model, at what you’re trying to bring out into the world, talk to customers and talk to people before starting anything else. There’s a lot of great ideas, but if you want to start a business, you have to start a business. It’s about the market, or it’s about the model, a unique spin on one of those.