Feedback on my new podcast?

I quietly started a new podcast called Brains 🧠

In it, @Julian and I have fun 4-person discussions with some of the coolest people we know:

  • Tim Urban (from Wait But Why) and Jason Silva on storytelling
  • James Clear and Mark Manson on writing books
  • Tim Dodd (from Everyday Astronaut) and Liv Boeree on aliens
  • Shaan Puri and Jason Calacanis on podcasting
  • Sam Parr and Anthony Pompliano on personal finance
  • Eric Kripke and Mark Miller on making film

I'd love to hear your thoughts! What can we do to make the show better? Who would you like to hear from, and on what topics? And how would you monetize a show like this, if at all?

  1. 7

    I absolutely love that it's not just based around the startup/indie hacker bubble.

    The only critique is that it'd be great if the cadence of episodes was more consistent.

    I'd also love to hear episodes with best-of-class athletes, musicians, and public figures.

    Either way, I'm looking forward to hearing more ✌️

  2. 4

    Love it, just listened to the one with James Clear and Mark Manson, 2 of my favorite authors.

    The good stuff -

    • Very cool that it was just 30 minutes
    • You guys got straight to the point, no lengthy intros or context setting
    • As a fan, I consume everything these 2 produce, so it was fantastic for me🤩

    Possible Bad stuff -

    • There are no action items for the average listener after listening to the episode.
    • This is more entertainment than Insight (which is not necessarily bad)

    Some interesting mashups you can explore -

    • Stephen Dubner and James Altucher on asking interesting questions
    • Scott Adams and Naval on the simulation hypothesis
    • Sahil Lavingia and David Perell on Business Writing
    • Neil DeGrasse Tyson and MKBHD on Racism
    • Dan Ariely and Rory Sutherland on Irrationality.
    • Morgan Housel and Yuval Harari on Modern and Ancient History.
    • Vitalik Buterin and Balaji on DeFi
    • DHH and Daniel Vassallo on the future of work
    • Gabriel Weinberg and Shane Parrish on Mental Models

    Monetization would be hard, especially early on. Podcasts are hard to monetize anyway.

    But if you can get viral with a few episodes and get great numbers then sponsorships are the best way to go as I understand.

    1. 2

      I love your reply. Upvoted!

  3. 3

    Cool podcast @csallen!
    Really liked the topics and guests. Looking forward to giving it a proper listen.

    Since it's a 4-person crew each time, a video could help determine who's speaking but it's nothing major. I'd also appreciate a more detailed episode show notes and/or add timestamps/transcripts.

    Monetization can always be tricky, but since so many high-profile guests are involved, I suppose landing a sponsorship deal would be easy (or at least, easier?)

    I liked the Webflow site but seems like it's missing on a few important podcast-related things like reviews, contact/voice messaging option, controls around the audio player and more. I just quickly created a site using my own product (Podcastpage.io) to give you a few ideas -


    (if you want to use it, I'd be happy to send you a free account for Brains)

  4. 2

    As if I didn't listen to them all in one day

  5. 1

    Really enjoying Brains – about halfway through! Great mix of entertaining informal conversation with some actionable ideas sprinkled in.

    The moments that made me lean in the most so far are "introspective" moments – for instance when Courtland was predicting what factors motivate the people on the call, why Shaan and Jason good podcasters, issues dealing with stalkers, stuff like that – an enjoyable "behind the scenes" conversation that you don't get when you are supposed to be staying "on topic."

    As for monetization – I'd make it as personal and introspective as people are willing to go, and just straight up charge money for it. Release it as a series of 8-10 conversations ("Brains - Season 1") that can be bought all at once for $25. Similar to https://absolutelymental.com. After listening to the first two, I'd buy the entire season, for sure.

  6. 1

    @csallen, I love the Indie Hackers podcast, and the job you do hosting it, SO much. It is the only podcast I listen to religiously (with How I Built This coming in a distant second).

    I have listened to a few episodes of Brains now, and I like it. But not nearly as much as IH. The main problem (compared to IH) as I see it is that the Brains discussions do not have as clear of a guiding aspect – it is just 4 people talking (vaguely, with – it feels – plenty of tangents) about a general topic. On IH, with just you and a guest, it is easy to see a thread that the two of you are following (especially because you, as a seasoned podcast host, are helping the guest deliver an interesting story). On Brains, with 4 people, it feels like there is less narrative and more intellectual ping-pong. It does not seem like you and Julian are controlling the conversation as much – though I'm not sure I would want you to try, either.

    Perhaps as a result of this lack of clear narrative, the show is, as another commenter said, more entertaining, but maybe less insightful than IH.

    All this being said, Courtland, I think I will listen to every episode of this show, since I can't get enough of your podcasting content. I've been an IH listener since mid-2017 and have since listened to every episode multiple times (sometimes several). I've found the discussions so interesting and I've learned so much – I'm sure I will from this podcast too.

    Curious to hear what you think of this feedback...

  7. 1

    Holy smokes! I just listened to the Writing Books episodes and I absolutely loved it! I’m really looking forward to the others. 👍

  8. 1

    Stephan Livera and Dominic Frisby on the Austrian School of economics, the problems of a world based on fiat currency since Nixon closed the gold window in '71, and how it will play out.

  9. 1

    What can we do to make the show better

    More episodes! I agree with @LachlanKirkwood. I wish it were more consistent.

    what topics?

    Interested to hear more from folks in the crypto space, maybe Vitalik?

    how would you monetize?

    Affiliate deals. I mean I assume everyone on the show so far has had some type of brand, business or product. Why not offer a deal with them and ask for a % of the sales?

  10. 1

    Nice, congrats on shipping a new project! One observation - I don't see a way to change speed directly on the webpage. This could be on purpose though, to prevent people like me from rushing through all interviews at 1.5x to 1.75x 😄

  11. 1

    Also love WBW cant wait to hear.

  12. 1

    Wait.. did you just reveal that Aella is Pomp in disguise or is that episode still to come?
    Also lions can climb trees, so I’d look into alternative solution (re: ep1) 😃

    On a serious note though I enjoyed it a lot. The reason I love MFM is because both Shaan and Sam make it feel like you just get to eavesdrop on two normal people having a real conversation. You and Julian give me the same vibe. Little bit of education with little bit of entertainment is what had me subscribe.

    Once a week would be nice, I like consistency without being overloaded. For monetisation it’d make perfect sense for Stripe to create a similar network like Hubspot did, include you guys and just advertise Stripe the same way MFM does, right? Those little intermission ads don’t ever bother me at all and it’s still pertinent to vast majority of your audience.

    Either way I really like it, I hope you guys stick at it.

    1. 2

      Pomp episode is still to come!

  13. 1

    Pretty good podcast. Only listened to half of the recent ‘Alien’ podcast. My only negative feedback would be for one of the guys on the show (not you) to stay off the soapbox a little bit. As far as topics: I think it would be highly interesting to bring on a Christian Apologetic and talk about the existence of God.

    1. 1

      Sean McDowell would be an excellent guest for a podcast on God’s existence

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