Andrew Walpole

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May 31, 2022

Do it for Context

In 2019 I made a ten episode podcast series called Code Snippet. The idea of doing a podcast had been rattling around in my brain for many years prior, but I just didn't have the ingredients that pushed me to take action on it. A few lukewarm ideas, no one to co-host with, mediocre equipment. But those were just excuses, not real reasons why I couldn't make a podcast. Finally, the thing that got me to do it was this simple idea:

Do it for context.

Context informs the shape of the lens with which we perceive things; it is the key to understanding with confidence.

I had no further expectations other than to learn how to make a podcast, and in hindsight, this was an amazingly wonderful reason to get started.

  • How do I publish a podcast?
  • Do I need a script?
  • How do I come up with topics?
  • How should episodes be structured?
  • Do I even sound good?
  • How much editing is involved?
  • Will people listen?
  • What else am I missing?

All of these things had to be answered in a practical manner, so instead of leaving it to theoretical punditry to solve each question, the solutions had to be accessible, and easy enough to fit into a reasonable amount of effort. On top of that, I had chosen to ignore two issues that had previously held me back:

  • I dislike most podcasts with a single host
  • and mouth-blogging code is awkward and hard to follow along with.

Since it was just me, and the topic I had chosen had exactly these two characteristics, I plowed ahead in spite of my extreme hesitation. And I did it! I used anchor.fm to do the heavy lifting for publishing my podcast, Adobe Audition for editing, learned that I really need to work on my umms and uhhs, but otherwise, I gained an entirely new outlook on what making podcasts was all about.

In the end, I decided that my goal was accomplished and the content wasn't worth keeping going. But I got a more-than-expected amount of listens and gained a wealth of knowledge and understanding.

And so, the larger takeaway for me was really that some things are just worth doing for the experience of it; for the understanding of the little details that can easily go unseen until you're in the thick of it. So the next time you're unsure about getting started, or allowing excuses to stop you, go into it with a simple goal: To gain understanding; for context.


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