Written By: Matt Stenzel, Intern, Iowa State University Research Park
“Let’s start a podcast.” – pretty much everyone in the last 3-5 years.
That’s precisely what went through my head when Alison suggested starting a Research Park podcast focused on entrepreneurship and innovation. There are a million podcasts out there for folks to listen to; how will we attract anyone to listen to ours? Also, how do you even start a podcast? Don’t I need thousands of dollars’ worth of equipment? I called my friend Joe Rogan, but he was no help.
Research Park events (of the in-person variety) have been slow with the pandemic. We wanted to try a new outlet, so I put my concerns aside, and we started researching what it might take to do a podcast. As it turns out, it’s not as expensive as you might think. We pay a monthly fee (~$20) to a website to “host” our podcast, and we bought a few condenser microphones that plug into our laptops. In the financial category, that’s about all it took.
The next part was a bit more complicated. Who do we interview? And what do we talk to them about? Well, we want to highlight stories of people who are “Innovators,” the namesake of our show. So naturally, we started with some of the best entrepreneurship stories we know: Clayton Mooney with Nebullum, Jim Fay who invented the Diaper Genie, and Judi Eyles from the Pappajohn Center were some of the first to come to mind. During these podcasts, we discovered the conversation part is pretty straightforward. These people all have such deep wells of knowledge that it’s almost impossible to record a podcast in under an hour.
During the first few shows, I typed up long lists of notes to make sure we hit all of our “talking points” but have since relied more on my own curiosity and whatever questions pop into my mind. Once you convince an Innovator to tell their story, they’ll talk as long as you let them because their businesses are their pride and joy. My favorite part of doing this podcast is the energy I feel after each recording. You can see and hear the passion in their eyes and voices. It makes me excited for the Ames, the ISU, and the Research Park communities.