We have Brad Smith and Brad Wilson here. Brad Smith is the Founder and CEO of Audios Inc. He does some very interesting things with podcasts. I’m very interested to talk to him. Brad Wilson worked as a professional poker player and now does podcasting and he has written a new book.
Listen to the podcast here
Simplecast: Podcasting Made Easier with Brad Smith
I am here with Brad Smith who’s an entrepreneur and professional daydreamer who splits his time between the concrete jungle of Manhattan and the foothills of the much less anxious Catskill Mountains. He’s the Founder and CEO of Audios Ventures. It’s the home of Simplecast, which is a podcasting platform empowering audio creator with the tools they need to share their stories, evolve their craft, and connect with the world of listeners. He has dedicated his career to supporting creators. He’s the Founder of content incubator, Wayward Wild, the publisher of The Great Discontent magazine, and the Founder of VIRB, a DIY website builder for creatives, which was acquired by GoDaddy in 2013. It’s so nice to have you here, Brad.
Thank you, Diane. It’s wonderful to be here.
Let me tell you a little background on my website. We have not only audio, but we have a blog. This show will not only be in audio form, it’ll be transcribed into a blog that has tweetable moments in it and different things throughout the blog. That was fascinating to me that my website was able to do these little bits and pieces of Tweetable words. Then I saw something that you had done where you were having more Tweetable audio files and things that you couldn’t just take bits and pieces and you don’t see a lot of people taking bits and pieces. Usually, you just take the whole thing and redo it. I’m curious how that works and what led to your interest in it? Before you answer those two questions, give me a little background on you.
I won’t give you too much background on myself. I’ll give you a little bit of background on the platform currently and then that will get into answering the question that you had about the sharing of audio snippets. The company that I operate is for podcasters and it’s called Simplecast. What I mean by for podcasters is if you are a person needing a website, then you can go out and sign up for a Wix or Squarespace if you say you wanted to publish your own. Let’s say you’re an audio creator and you run a podcast, Simplecast is the content management system for putting your podcast out in the world. Our platform makes it very easy for podcasters to distribute to all the different phones and devices and computers around the world.
It gathers analytics back on your listeners, how they’re listening, how long they listen, and how they’re interacting with your show. We’re this toolbox for the audio creator to get their audio out around the world and we try to make it very easy to use, hence the word simple in our name. In addition to the distribution and gathering of data of how people listen, our platform is in the process of launching a lot of sharing tools. Let’s take a step back and let’s look at Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and a lot of social platforms, like audio, is having a moment in the world. We’re seeing an explosion. We’re seeing hardware being invented and introduced into homes everywhere that weren’t there one, two, three years ago. This new hardware is in the form of speakers and smart speakers and we’re finding more and more devices without screens.Audio connects in a very different way with us as humans. Click To Tweet
Because there are more interesting ways to consume audio now, we’re having a big growth moment in podcasting and audio and audio-on-demand in general. When you start looking at the social media platforms that we interact with every day, there’s no platform out there that’s friendly with sharing audio clips. If I have a video clip, I can post that on Twitter and make it live. I can put that on Facebook. If I have a photo, it’s very easy to share. If I have long-form editorial content, it’s very easy to share, but I just can’t take an audio, a snippet of your show and share it on Twitter if I wanted to. That’s been a problem with the podcasting world for over a decade now because social platforms don’t support audio. How do you get audio onto those platforms?
Audio has been shared on social platforms for a while in the form of video and those have been called audiograms. It’s just a 30-second, two-minute to five-minute clip of your show that is delivered over Twitter, over Facebook, in the form of a video. The video doesn’t do anything. There might be a little wobbling waveform on it. Maybe there’s transcription showing the text of what you’re saying, but the video is not the focus. It’s the way of packaging audio to get it onto those platforms. Tools like this had been around for quite a while. When you got in touch with me, we had just launched a feature of Simplecast and we call it Recast. You can retweet a tweet, you can share something on Facebook and we thought in the vein of retweeting, “What if I want to share a podcast and reshare a podcast?” That’s where the name Recast came from.
What we’ve done differently is let’s say six months ago you wanted to share a clip of your show on Facebook, audio only. You could go out and create an audiogram for your show and share it on Facebook. That technology has been around for a while. There are ways to do it, but here is why we, as a company and a business, had a vision problem with that. If you take a step back and look at audio, audio connects in a very different way with us as humans. It is one of the most intimate ways to speak and when you’re listening to the radio, you’re in a car by yourself. When you’re listening to a podcast, you’re probably with headphones or in a car and it’s very personal. It doesn’t require a screen. There is no face with it. It is the human voice to the human ear. It’s very intimate and very personal.
The problem with how the audio was shared in the form of audiograms over the past decade is they’re typically made by the show’s creator. Let’s say you had a two-minute clip you wanted to share from last week show, you can go make an audiogram or video of it and put that on Facebook or on Twitter for people to share. What you’re doing as the show’s creator is you are basically picking the segment that you think is going to connect with your listeners most. You put it out there on social media hoping that it will connect and then they will retweet it and they will reshare it and it will spider out from there.
What we wanted to do is take a step back and go, “If audio truly is this intimate personal medium for communication, shouldn’t it be up to the people consuming the audio and listening to it of what point connects most with them?” You may have shared a segment of your show that started at say five minutes in, but I might listen to your show and I loved what you said at twenty minutes in. What Recast does is it allows listeners of a podcast to very easily make their own shareable video clips for social media but based on the time chunk of the show that they want. We didn’t reinvent the wheel, we just put a different person behind the wheel.
Instead of me doing it, anyone can do it. How long of a clip can they share?
It is anywhere between 30 seconds and three minutes. The platform has been in beta for a while and we’re getting ready to increase that length even more. In addition, it will also cross-publish to YouTube because the show publisher may want to have an entire 30-minute show on YouTube if they want to.
I could see that with guests on my show because sometimes they are not the first guest on the show. It would be able to capture it and instead of having to listen to the first part, you can listen and go right to mine. That’s something that you could do with this eventually.
All this is happening because in the rebirth of the audio and spoken word, from radio and podcasting, there’s a lot more content out there so it’s getting harder and harder to discover all of this content. Go back ten years ago and let’s think about video on the web. There weren’t a lot of places to find video content or consume it. Now in the world of YouTube that we live in, there is unlimited video content about everything. I could find a video that would teach me knitting right now if I wanted to. I could find an entire series of videos that would teach me that. It’s less about, “Is the content there and is the content discoverable? Can I find it?”
What we have learned and what the podcasting industry is learning is a lot of people aren’t discovering new shows to listen to because of what’s recommended in an app. They’re discovering what they should listen to and what shows they might like from their friends and from social media and where things get shared. The whole idea behind Recast is putting the control of the things that you love in audio in the hands of the people listening to that audio.
If somebody wanted to share the last three minutes of this show, how would they go about doing it?
Through the Simplecast service, there are audio players that you would put on your website. We make it very easy. It’s one little snippet of code and you paste that into Wix, Squarespace, WordPress or wherever you host your website. That puts a little audio player into your page. If somebody doesn’t want to listen to a podcast, say through Apple podcasts on their phone, they can listen through your website. We’ve made it as simple as say, I click play on your last week’s show and five minutes in, I hear something I like. By moving my mouse over that player, there is a button on the audio scrubber that says Recast. I click that, and it launches me into a very simple editor to where I refine the time that I want to share and then I create it.
The look and feel of it, the aesthetics and the design are all controlled by you as the owner of the show. You can have custom artwork in your video. You can customize the colors of your video. That’s up to you as the show’s creator to control the brand and the feel of what your videos look like on social media. The only thing that I as the listener can control is literally the length of the clip and what section of the clip I want to share.
Most podcasts already have a play button on their site. Is this something that they have to now host with you? You said it was just code they put on. Do they have a new play button? Does this replace the old play button?
For the time being, it would be a new play button. This Recast is a feature of Simplecast, meaning to gain a lot of these sharing and promotion tools that we’re launching now throughout the next year, to gain those, you have to use the platform. It’s like to share a tweet, you have to use Twitter. To use Recast for all of your listeners, you would need to use Simplecast. That being said, we are exploring the option down the road of opening this technology up to where you theoretically could be using the Simplecast player to Recast without the show being a customer of Simplecast. As of right now, to get access to it, you would need to be using the Simplecast platform for your podcast.
There are so many podcasts out there. I’d like to get your opinion on this. Who is listening to all this? Who has time to listen to all this? Everybody has their own show. This is not just a podcast. This is a radio show. I have a combination of things. There is so much content out there and I think of how many people contact me. I feel bad because I have to turn down so many people every day who want to be on the show because there are just so many people who want to be on the show and everybody’s already waiting months and months to get on. There’s a point where you can’t keep up with all of it. Do you think that it is almost like the book industry? The book is the new business card, the podcast is the new business card, or is there too much of it? Will it finally be supply and demand and survival of the fittest?
It’s a little of both. If you were going to launch your podcast, one; focus on the content. What’s it going to be about? Are there listeners that will be intrigued by this? Two, focus on the quality. The quality rises to the top. If somebody makes a podcast and they record it with what sounds like on their phone versus going out to a store and just spending $100 on a decent microphone, those are things that elevate you as the quality of a creator. I could talk to you for an hour about that right now, just about the importance of the quality of audio and focusing on what you’re telling versus putting it out there in the world.You are the average of the five people that you spend your time with. Click To Tweet
Let’s flashback to early 2000s of the live journal and the launch of Blogger. Services were out there and people were saying, “Not everybody needs a blog. There’s no way that there’s going to be ten million blogs by 2008.” What happened? The internet opened a door for us to be able to communicate with the entire world, but at that time, it was written editorial. It was you type, you publish, you listen. Then the internet advanced and bandwidth advanced and camera technology became more internet friendly. Then you get into late 2000s there and you start seeing the birth of platforms like YouTube, and storytelling became less about blogging then. It became more about video content. All this is a little backwards because if you think about what is the most basic form of communication and storytelling, it’s the human voice. It is the easiest thing to do. I did not have to sit down and type out what I’m saying to you. I did not have to make sure my hair fixed for a video. We just speak, and we have a conversation.
For that reason, audio is “seeing” this moment to where podcasts are becoming what we saw blogs became in early 2000s. Will everyone have a podcast? No, but will there be a lot more in two and three and four years than there are now? The answer is absolutely yes. You are seeing brands begin to create content and audio content around things. We host thousands of podcasts and customers on our platform and there are podcasts out there for things that you didn’t even know that there are podcasts out there. It’s much like YouTube. If I find this neat show on the sci-fi channel that I like, more than likely, there are probably a dozen podcasts that talk about just that television show. That’s what’s very interesting about all this content. Not everybody is going to have a super successful interview show like yourself. Some individuals will literally just podcast about their favorite comic book or the book that they read that week.
I heard a podcast and it’s basically a book club. The host reads a book every week and then discusses it with two other people on the show. I might not listen to that podcast for the next five years because I don’t have time to read a book every week to follow along, but it’s interesting because I discovered that podcast because I was searching Google for a review on a book and I was like, “That’s great.” Maybe I’m not a forever subscriber to that podcast because I don’t have the time to read a book every week, but for me reading that one book, it was very useful to be able to read the book and then listen to that podcast episode.
It is interesting to have options. I do mine transcribed because sometimes you want to look and read and grab and have the blog option too. There are so many podcasts, just issues of people that a lot of people want me to be on their show and a lot of people want to be in my show, it’s never ending. We always talk about how you are monetizing. It’s a lot of time, a lot of effort, and it’s very hard to show ROI. How are you helping people with that?
Podcasting, in general, is seeing this moment but it is still not the easiest thing to do out there. I can shoot a video on my iPhone right now, I can edit it iMovie on my phone right now, and I can publish it to YouTube and you could be watching it for five minutes. Podcasting is not there yet. I can go into YouTube and turn on their ads and you can start monetizing granted pennies at a time, but you can start monetizing my views if you wanted to. That’s why I say podcasting is not there yet. That is what we’re working on.
We as podcasting service providers, we’ve taken a step back and we’ve looked at the past decade of audio and we’re thinking about what needs to make this easier to carry it to the future. It’s not just new ways to listen or new ways to advertise. It is a full rethinking of the infrastructure underneath the industry that runs it and empowers it. Why is it so hard to get analytics back from certain platforms? You want to understand where people are struggling, where they’re dropping off, where they’re listening, and where they’re engaging with most. A lot of that data is not there. That’s not because of iTunes. That’s not because of Apple podcast or Spotify. It’s the underlying infrastructure that drives and powers how this audio gets from our platform where it lives to your phone.
What we’ve done over the past year and a half is taken a step back and thought about how do we become not just the platform for audio creators to publish and share the work, but how can we move the industry forward and create better tools for monetization and growth. At the same time, making it as simple as possible so the individual that doesn’t know the first thing about, “I recorded a podcast, how do I make money?” That’s the long-term solution that we’re building and the problem we’re trying to solve.
That’s a huge problem and there are so many people, even the people that do it all the time, they may get 100 people a month or something listening. They’re not getting the numbers. You can show the numbers and they all want to be Tim Ferris and make a lot of money to that point, but how do you monetize it in the meantime until you get the numbers? A lot of them are using it as a platform to be a consultant or a speaker and they take that as a loss but then there are people out there who want it to be what they do.
We have thousands of those people that use our platform and they are trying to find a way of, “I love what I do with my podcast. People love it and it’s growing. I want to make this my thing and how do I make money off of it?” What I would say to that is steps have to be taken to move audio content monetization forward. What we have done to this day to help people make money off of audio is the exact solution that we have thrown at problems for the past 80 years. How do we monetize television? “Let’s put ads all over it and we’ll change those ads out dynamically depending if you live in Des Moines or in Seattle.”
Then the web came along and it’s like, “People are reading our website and they’re looking at our blog. We’re CNN and we get 100-million-page views a day, how do we monetize that?” “Let’s dynamically put banner ads all over it.” Those banner ads will be tailored to websites that people looked at and where they live. The same thing that happened with video and YouTube advertising is banner ads. They show up on your video and there will be a pre-roll and then an ad while you’re listening.
The reason that it is so difficult with audio is that we’re trying to solve this problem in the exact same way but if we look back at history over monetizing media over the past 80 years, it hasn’t worked. It’s not working on television. It is not working on the internet right now. It never worked with print. We’re trying to patch that hole in the road in the same way we’ve patch it in the back. I truly believe that that the podcast industry, being at the forefront of the boom of podcasting, it’s happening at the same time that there is a boom of new ways to listen to podcasts and smart speakers and screenless devices coming into our cars and everywhere else. It’s a big task for us to think about how is audio content monetized, and we have a lot of big ideas there. How you can offer a subscription service, how your individual listeners, much like Patreon, can come in and say, “I love this show. I want to give them $3 a month and they’ll give me a bonus episode every month.”
There are going to be a lot of more unique and innovative ways that you’re going to see come about over the next several years of how this content can be monetized. I do not believe that slapping banner ads on audio are going to work for everyone. It works for Tim Ferriss. It works for some of these shows that move more traffic than any other show on the planet. If I have 100 listens a month and I am making $.01 for every listen, I just made $.08, and that is not going to build a podcast around that. We need to stop looking at audio like we did with the web. The more impressions it gets, the more ads that you hear, and the more ads that you hear, the more money they make. We need to find innovative ways to connect advertisers directly with podcasters. At the same time, we also need to find ways to innovate and connect to listeners directly with podcasters, so they can financially support the shows that they love.To affect real change, look at what needs to change in the process. Click To Tweet
Recast, to go back to that, is that example. We saw a problem and we were like, “How can we make sharing snippets of podcasts more personal?” Recast was our early solution to that problem. Recast is brand new. It is in beta. It has a big life ahead of it and big plans for where we’re taking it. Just how we tried to solve that problem with sharing audio, we’re doing the same thing for making it easier to make a podcast and making it easier to monetize that podcast once you create it. If you are an individual that wants to work directly with an advertiser, we’re going to make it easier to put your show in front of advertisers that are willing to write the big checks to grow those shows.
There are probably a lot of people who want to know more about your product and how to do all the things you just said. Can you share your links and how they can reach you?
Our product can be found at Simplecast.com. Just like podcasts, but Simplecast. We have an entirely new updated platform. Meaning we’re about to upgrade. Every year a new iPhone comes out and it gets a ton of upgrades. We’re about to do the same thing to Simplecast. When you go to our website or if you go to Simplecast.com/new, there’s a letter on there from me that talks about our vision as a company, a lot of the things we’ve talked about, and it even shows some sneak peeks of a lot of the new things that we’re launching.
Thank you so much, Brad. This is very fascinating to me and a lot of people have their own podcast or they’re thinking of doing their own podcasts and this is helpful to them. Thank you so much for being on the show.
It was my pleasure. Thank you, Diane.
You are welcome.
Achieving Goals Through Actionable Tactics with Brad Wilson
I am here with Brad Wilson, who has been a professional poker player for more than fourteen years and is now the host of the podcast, The Process with Brad Wilson, where his mission is to provide the community with inspiration and actionable tactics. He made a public declaration that by July 14th, 2019, he’s going to inspire one million people to live a life that is more true to themselves, which is the number one regret of the dying. He’s the author of A Thoughtful Gift: Reflections on Our Love. It’s so nice to have you here, Brad.
How’s it going?
It’s going great and it’s very nice of Marcel Kuhn Bamert to introduce us. I was looking forward to our chat. I get so many people who have podcasts on my show. I’m interested in your background and you went from being a poker player professionally to running this podcast. Can you give me a little of your background before we move on?
For fourteen years, I’ve been a professional poker player, my sole source of income. I’ve had many students. I am still contracted by a major poker training website to create content for them as one of their sponsored coaches. Poker has been a huge part of my life, but my mission is to inspire a million people, which is a large goal that I set for myself. I believe in large goals. Once you set them, you start finding a way to make it happen. You start seeing opportunities with a cognitive bias. The transition to podcasting was my love of podcasts. I love talking to interesting people and I’ve often wondered the process behind what makes an Olympian. What makes somebody who gets a lot done in a 24-hour span, how do they do it? This is something I’ve been curious about for a really long time. I decided to explore that.
That’s interesting because I’m writing a book about curiosity. Your curiosity is inspiring to me and some of what you talked about remind me of some of the people who have been on my show. I had Mo Gawdat who used to be a big guy at Google who now got the One Billion Happy goal that he’s working on. Annie Duke was a professional poker player. I’m sure you’ve probably heard that name. I had Molly from Molly’s Game, the movie, where she was running those big poker tournaments with Matt Damon and Ben Affleck and they made her life story into a movie. I’ve had an unusual number of people involved in poker one way or another on this show. It’s got to be an interesting way to make a living.
After 2011, I went from an online player to a live player. I was living in Los Angeles, living in a casino playing 60 hours a week. I had the opportunity to meet a lot of interesting people. I got to play probably 40 hours with maybe the most famous pop star in the world. I made friends with a billionaire who’s a fashion designer and we spent time together. Just spending time with him, I got to see like he’s a normal person. He’s insecure, he puts his shoes on, he goes through his day, but he’s been able to build this massive thing through a series of processes and that just fascinates me.
It is amazing how when you see behind the curtain of people you finally get to meet. I’ve interviewed quite a few billionaires on this show and they’re so normal when you’re talking to them. You would think that would be something different. I was kidding around with Craig from Craigslist and I said, “What do you do with all this money?” He’s like, “I watch TV,” and he was so normal. Everybody get these different goals and passions of what they want to do with their lives. That is what interests me and what you’re doing fascinates me because you’ve made this declaration. Once you’ve made something very public like that, it holds you to it a lot more. You’re going to inspire people to live a life that’s more true to themselves. What does that mean exactly and how are you going to do that?
I feel people get caught in these restrictions they have on themselves. They have this unhappiness that they feel when they wake up and go through their day and what they spend their time on. I felt that myself with poker particularly. After doing it for quite some time, I didn’t look forward to playing cards. One of the common questions that I get that I find hilarious is, “Are you addicted to gambling?” I tell people that I’m a professional poker player and I’m like, “No, if I can make an excuse to not play poker, then I’ll make the excuse. I have to strap myself into a chair and make myself do it.” That’s a symptom of not living a life that’s true to myself.Part of living a life that's true to yourself is analyzing your belief system. Click To Tweet
If my story ended now, I got a meteor came and struck me in the head just wiping me out, what would my life story be? How would I be remembered? I’d be a professional poker player. That’s how people would remember me. That’s not the story or the legacy that I want to live. For people that are living a story that doesn’t resonate with them, that if they got wiped off the planet today and their story was written and they were like, “I don’t love that.” How do you go about changing that? How do you go about analyzing what matters to you and then take actionable steps towards doing more of what matters to you?
That’s important and that’s what I’m researching with my work with curiosity. Many people don’t do things because they have things that hold them back from being curious. Either they have fear or they assume they’re not going to like it or they’re not interested, that technology keeps them from it or does things for them or their environment, their family, their friends, their parents, their teachers or whatever. There are so many things that keep us from asking questions and focusing on the next step. A lot of people exist more than live. They go on and do the same thing over and over and I’d like to see more people actually live, which is what you’re talking about doing something that makes you excited to get up and go and work in the morning. How do you determine what that is?
We all have passions in life. There are things that resonate with all of us and what resonates with me may not resonate with you. What resonates with you may not resonate with somebody else, but the things that you think about, if you had a billion dollars, what would you be spending your time doing? Would it be volunteering? Would it be helping people in various aspects of life? As children, we have dreams. We think about doing things and then we grow up and our priority changes. It’s not always that we’re not living a life that’s true to ourselves on purpose. It’s maybe the things that we’re doing are like fifth or sixth in the order of priority and we never get around to them because there’s just so many other things that are taking our time and attention.
I did an interview with a guy, Bob Babinski, and he sends me a link to an interview with this guy, Daniel Gottlieb, who is a therapist. He broke his neck in a car accident, paralyzing him and he became a quadriplegic. His words stuck with me and it was that when he broke his neck that his soul began to breathe. What you would assume is a limiting thing and a horrible thing that somebody has to go through. In his situation, because his neck broke, he didn’t focus on athletics for one thing. People had put that pressure on him to do that or have that aspect of his life and he did it, but he didn’t love it.
Then growing his practice and spending his time networking and all of these things took away from his real passion for helping people and serving people. He wanted to write a book so he wrote a book because his priorities had changed. He was very limited in what he was able to do now, so he started doing the things that allowed his soul to breathe. I dare say that it’s been probably 30 years since that happened, but it ended up being a blessing in disguise.
There are so many stories like that where you hear people who have overcome the horrible things. I’ve had several people on the show that had gone blind one way or another and have done amazing things that maybe they wouldn’t have done. I’m sure their first initial reaction wasn’t that they’re so thrilled with what happened to them, but it takes some time and then you adjust. What you’re saying is there are people who want to look back at what they’ve done and felt that they have a sense of meaning. Now that you’re working on this public declaration, is this a lifelong thing that you want to do as a change? Do you think people have just one thing that they should be doing to have a meaningful life or does it constantly change what motivates us?
That’s a question that I’m unsure of. When I was nineteen, all I dreamt about was being a professional poker player and I wouldn’t have imagined that changing. In a few years, I don’t know. It’s just how I’m feeling, how the project’s going. If I feel as if I’m getting burned out if I feel I can do more good or there are other things that I get exposed to that I feel are a better way to spend my time and energy. Basically, as long as I’m making an impact and as long as it resonates with me and as long as I wake up in the morning and I’m like, “Let’s go get some stuff done,” then I’ll continue doing it.
Are you a Millennial? What group are you in? Do you know?
I’m not sure. I think I’m on the Gen Y.
That’s the same thing. Do you feel like you relate to the wanting to make a difference in the world that you weren’t getting that sensation from working in Corporate America?
I don’t know.
You have an interesting background. Have you done anything other than poker playing or has that been your main source of income prior to this?
When I was nineteen, I worked at Applebee’s. I vividly remember working at Applebee’s and the restaurant being dead. I was a pretty hard worker at Applebee’s and the restaurant was dead and I was grateful for the break and my manager was like, “Brad, the restaurant’s dead, take a rag and clean the artifacts in your section,” which is like the crap on the wall. I remember vividly at that moment thinking, “No, this is not how I’m spending my life.” I just had this sense of unfulfillment and poker was a way that gave me autonomy over how I spend my time and how I spent my hours. That very much appealed to me and I was fortunate too.
As these things go, I had a friend whose mom was a poker dealer and he was also moving towards becoming a professional poker player. As they say, you’re the average of the five people that you spend your time with. I started spending more time with that friend and we both had the same passion and the same goal. We grew with each other and I credit him with my success in the poker field. That’s all I’ve done for income.
You’ve written a book though. You’re the author of A Thoughtful Gift: Reflections On Our Love. That’s a very moving title and you might not think that that would come from a poker playing person to write that book. How did this come about that you wrote this book?
If I do the Myers-Briggs test, I’m an INFJ. Whether the validity of the test is 100% or not, I’m a fairly empathetic person and you wouldn’t think empathy when you think poker player. There’s a huge element of understanding what my opponents are thinking about, how they’re thinking through their decisions, reading their emotions, getting in their head. That’s translated throughout my whole life. It helps with interviewing people. A Thoughtful Gift was born. I had an idea. I was in St. Louis with my wife’s family over Thanksgiving and we’re talking about our future and projects we’re going to do. I said, “I’m going to make a book that is basically a reflection of a couple’s journey together from the beginning to the middle to the end on the past, present future. I’m going to do that.” My brother-in-law immediately said, “Brad, that’s a thoughtful gift.” I was like, “I have my title.”
Then from there, I hired a virtual assistant. His name is Clyde and little did I know that he was also graduating with a degree in graphic design and illustration. With Clyde’s illustrations, I put the book together and we just worked on it basically for three months, iterating and doing it. It was something that allowed my soul to breathe. It was something that I thought a husband and wife can do together. They can create something tangible and they’re going to put it on their bookshelf and they’ll look at it years down the road and it’ll make them smile, and that’s a good thing.
Did you include any of your interviews within the book? I’m curious who you interviewed or who do you choose for your interviews in that case?
The book is more prompt-guided. They are questions that the people who buy the book feel in themselves. What are the undeniable truths about you? What’s your favorite memory with me? What were your thoughts? It’s an activity, that’s why I say I created a book instead of authoring a book. It’s a fun date night activity that hopefully brings joy to couples for years down the road.
On your radio show, who do you interview? It’s about the process. What do you mean by the process?
These things change over time, at least for me. I’m constantly reflecting and iterating and changing. At the beginning of my show, I wanted to break down a 24-hour period of people who I felt, in my opinion, were high achievers. Olympic champions, spiritual leaders, these types of people, bestselling authors. What did they do with their time? Not like a theory or a model of how you’re supposed to spend your time, but what do they do specifically? It’s basically opinions of who I feel are high achievers. The change that’s happened over the course of my show is now I look at life as a process. One of my guests said something that I found pretty profound and he said that a bad process beats a good person every single time. He was saying it from a leadership business standpoint, a company has bad processes and you put good employees in the bad processes. I thought about that in all facets of life.Question everything but have your own opinion. Click To Tweet
I’ll give you a prime example. I was watching a documentary on Netflix called The Bleeding Edge and it’s about basically tech that gets implanted or inserted in you. One of the medical devices they talked about was Essure, which is a birth control device. There were all of these complaints about women and how it was negatively affecting people. What’s the process for getting Essure and these medical devices approved and on the market? The thing that stood out to me was there were 15,000 or 16,000 women in a Facebook group who basically had crowdsourced all the symptoms, all the things themselves because the company’s not going to do that. They were going after the manufacturer, which is Bayer. They would picket, they have these protest signs and all these things and their whole mission was to get Bayer to take the product off the market.
I was thinking after watching the documentary and during watching the documentary that Bayer isn’t actually the problem. The problem is how these medical devices are getting approved in the first place. It’s a process problem. You could remove Bayer, you could bankrupt Bayer, get them out of the equation and five more companies are going to spring up there just like Bayer that are going to do the same thing. You’re not solving the problem and that’s how I look at life. When these problems are occurring, I look at the process and I say, “What needs to change in the process in order to affect real change?”
Another process that I’m very passionate about that may get me in trouble is the process for gun acquisition in the US. I think it’s a problem and you got to look at the process when these things happen. Why are they happening? Whenever somebody shows up at a school and shoots somebody, they go to jail. That’s solving that person, but it’s not solving the issue. It’s solving a symptom. That’s what I’m passionate about. I try to look at big problems and see the underlying processes and how can they be changed and how can we affect the world in a positive way.
There are all big problem and issues that you get very divided opinions on, which can be very challenging. Do you have a discussion where you get both sides, like point counterpoint? Do you get experts from both sides to give their opinion or do you just analyze it from your perspective?
This is more self-revelation. When I mentioned living a life that’s true to yourself, a part of that is analyzing your belief system, analyzing what you believe in and what was just taught to you from your parents or from an outside source. We make these assumptions in our lives and then we live a life based on these assumptions. We never questioned them because the more authority figure gave them to us. My thing is to question everything and have your own opinion. I don’t care if it is pro-gun control, whatever it is that’s opposite me, but if that is your stance, make sure that it’s your stance because of you, not because of somebody else.
That’s right out of my book. I created this assessment to measure what holds us back from curiosity and one of the four parts that do hold us back is our assumptions, but also our environment, which are two of the things you were talking about there. You do need to ask questions, you do need to look at it from different perspectives because many people only repeat what they’ve been told their whole lives or what they were taught from such a young age. A lot of things need to be questioned and revisited and analyze to ask why. That’s important and I’m glad to hear you’re doing some of that with what you’re writing and with your show. I’m sure a lot of people want to know how they could find more or if they want to follow your show or buy your book. Can you share how people can get in touch with you?
My website is MentallyInvincible.com. If you want to listen to my podcast, just search for Brad Wilson.
Thank you so much for being on the show, Brad. It has been interesting.
- Brad Wilson
- Wayward Wild
- The Great Discontent
- Audios Inc
- The Process with Brad Wilson
- A Thoughtful Gift: Reflections on Our Love
- Mo Gawdat – previous episode
- Annie Duke – previous episode
- Molly Bloom -previous episode
- Craig Newmark – previous episode
- Bob Babinski interview with Brad Wilson
About Brad Smith
Brad Smith is an entrepreneur and professional daydreamer, who splits his time between the concrete jungle of Manhattan and the foothills of the much-less-anxious Catskill Mountains. Brad is the founder and CEO of Audios Ventures, the home of Simplecast; a podcasting platform empowering audio creators with the tools they need to share their stories, evolve their craft, and connect with a world of listeners. He has dedicated his career to supporting creators. Brad is the founder of content incubator, Wayward Wild, the publisher of The Great Discontent magazine, and founder of Virb, a DIY website builder for creatives which was acquired by GoDaddy in 2013.
About Brad Wilson
Brad Wilson has been a professional poker player for more than 14 years and is the host of the podcast The Process with Brad Wilson where his mission is to provide the community with inspiration and actionable tactics. He recently made a public declaration that by July 14th 2019 he’s going to inspire 1 million people to live a life that is more true to themselves (The #1 regret of the dying). He is the author of A Thoughtful Gift: Reflections on Our Love.