We sat down with Shamanth Rao, the founder of https://howthingsgrow.co/, to talk about the challenges and rewards in producing your own content as well as his advice for those looking to build their own projects.
1. What made you decide to launch the podcast as a project? Why the podcast format instead of a blog or video project?
I was inspired to start the How Things Grow podcast as a way to meet and speak with cool & interesting people - and in many cases ask them questions that I was curious about.
For instance: I got to speak with folks I’d already known - and have them share stories from parts of their careers that were fascinating but wouldn’t come up in business or personal conversations: for instance Adam Lovallo spoke about his time at LivingSocial seeing the daily deal space implode, Wilson Kriegel spoke about how Draw Something hit 50 million installs in 50 days, Sean Ellis spoke about his life before he helped Dropbox go viral, and Sahil Lavingia spoke about how he had to give up on hopes of being a billionaire.
In many ways, these were stories I always wanted to hear - and this inspired me to start the podcast. The long-form nature of the podcast as a format is more suited to conversations - and this felt more natural than a blog or video project.
More recently I started a new shorter-form podcast, The Mobile User Acquisition Show. This has been much more tactical in nature - however, much like How Things Grow, it has been a way for me to get actionable advice from folks I admire(one of the episodes I enjoyed was with Anish Shah, who spoke about the intricacies of hiring for growth roles).
2. Have you ever felt like the demands of maintaining an active podcast have been in conflict with the demands of your consulting work? Has the podcast translated into more attention and business?
Definitely. :). I learnt very soon that editing and producing a podcast is a lot of work. This is also because I take the time to not only include notes & highlights but also a full transcript of each episode in the show’s website(each episode of How Things Grow takes about 8-10 hours to produce - from outreach, research, recording, editing and publishing - and the Mobile User Acquisition Show takes 2-3 hours per episode). Thankfully I have my team at RocketShip HQ now taking on most of the behind-the-scenes work of the podcast now.
While it’s hard to attribute new business entirely to the podcast, it has absolutely translated into attention that I believe has absolutely helped grow my business. I’ve had many prospects and clients allude to the podcast - and tell me they enjoyed it.
3. What recommendations would you give to those in the growth world seeking to launch their own content projects?
I’d tell folks in growth to follow their curiosity, and find their niche. I think these are all the more crucial because content projects are hard work - and you’ll end up quitting quickly if you don't enjoy what you’re doing.