Over a year ago we started our podcast called Collective Wisdom. Our team spent over 40 hours editing, listening and re-editing the show. We paid a few thousand dollars to rent a studio near Penn Station. We took many takes as I peppered Nick Taranto of Plated with questions behind a half foot thick wall of glass.
Podcasting has never been more popular, despite it being one of the most persnickety mediums to create in. We learned that creating high quality, engaging podcast take a lot of effort and time. Interestingly, my colleague Joe Flaherty, had the idea of creating short form versions of our longer episodes. People starting to listen to these 5 min “best of” clips at a rate 10x the full episode. People liked sound bite podcasts, just like they preferred tweets to long form.
It turns out if you want to produce a semi-professional show and get it onto iTunes, it requires serious dedication. You need to prepare remarks, find a partner to banter with, record 30–60 minutes of flawless audio into the microphone, spend hours learning to edit (and even more time editing), produce an RSS feed and set up SoundCloud, Libsyn, and iTunes accounts. One night I found myself in a hotel draped under the sheets to drown out ambient noise, re-cording an intro over and over again. Not to mention, you have pray someone will click your link, subscribe to your show, actually listen review it so you’ll move up the leaderboard…you get it.
That’s a lot to ask of anyone. Despite the success of Serial, Gimlet, and Earwolf, the ROI just isn’t there for most people.
When we met Ian, he explained that Bumpers solved this
I had this vision of recording audio on the go. I had tried it with little success. But when our team met Ian, we felt like kindred spirits. He was building the app I had been dreaming of.
If you’re recording a podcast you either use a tool like GarageBand, Audacity, or a pro tool like Logic or Audition. The learning curves vary, but none are Twitter simple. Bumpers is.
With Bumpers you simply talk into your iPhone. Once you’re done recording, you pick out the chunks of conversation and all the side chatter and tangents are cut. You can add in sound effects and music. When you’re done, you can share the finished podcast on Twitter.
As Twitter is to blogging, Bumpers is to Podcasting. It lowers the barriers and allows more voices to participate.
I Hope Bumpers Brings Audio to the Masses
The inherent hurdles in podcasting keep the quality level higher than almost any other medium, but they also keep great voices off-line. This is a shame. I know plenty of brilliant people who never stop to blog or podcast, but who regularly dispense wisdom in-person. Bumpers can capture those interactions.
One of my favorite podcasts is Hallway Chat, hosted by Nabeel Hyatt and Bijan Sabet from Spark Capital, (which has also invested in Bumpers). The show is basically two brilliant VC reviewing trends, responding to news, and so on.
They don’t use the app (yet), but their workflow is very similar to Bumpers. I’ve heard episodes where they’ve said they’re recording directly into an iPad. The audio quality isn’t as good as an episode of an NPR show, but you do get access to two of the smartest thinkers in the business.
Bumpers could help more shows like that premiere and turn the existing ones to 11.
A Quick Word About Ian Ownbey
You may not know Ian by name, but if you’ve seen a screenshot of text embedded in a tweet, you can thank Ian’s prior app, OneShot, for making it look pretty. He’s a prodigiously talented engineer with an eye for design who worked at Twitter and learned from Evan Williams.
When I first heard the pitch for Bumpers and could appreciate the appeal of a better podcasting tool, but wasn’t sure about the product. I was, however, exceptionally confident that if anyone could make it work it would be Ian. Like the team at Periscope, Ian perfectly combines eccentricity and clarity.
Next Up on Bumpers
Beta testers have shared everything from confessionals that would fit nicely on the Moth Radio Hour to romantic stories worthy of the Modern Love podcast. You’ll hear comedians worthy of Comedy Bang Bang and political rants worthy of Keeping it 1600.
It’s easy to imagine a Bumpers account being an MVP for a more polished show, or just a place to workshop ideas. Personally, I hope to hear more entrepreneurs and VCs sharing their thoughts. Like Twitter, I expect to see a wide range of creative people make Bumpers their own. You can be on the air in 3…2…1.