EnterpriseJoy, 9 steps for launching a Podcast, and the Rise of OKRs
Finally, after months of perfecting the idea (read procrastinating), I finally launched theEnterpriseJoy Podcast on 15th June 2020 at 2:00AM (yes, my LinkedIn profile headline now readsProduct Strategist & EnterpriseJoy Podcaster). So, what is EnterpriseJoy? What are the steps for launching a Podcast (if you wish to launch one yourself)? And what is the Rise of OKRs? Yes, that's what this article is all about, so enjoy reading. The sections are a little long so there's a TL;DR for each, feel free to skip a few sections if you're looking for something specific.
I. EnterpriseJoy - Educating Organisations to be Awesome!
EnterpriseJoy is an educational Podcast hosting episodes that teach values, principles, and practices to organisations that make working with them a satisfying experience for its people. The topic of discussions are not aimed at persuading organisations to adopt the discussed ideas, rather it is to impart holistic knowledge about a subject so that organisations can decide the most suitable options for their people.
The idea is to invite 4 guests from any part of the world who wish to learn a topic aligned to the theme of the podcast. One can be a guest on an episode by submitting their request on the EnterpriseJoy website. The guests are selected by me (the host) from these received requests; although there is no selection criteria for the guests, it is expected that the topic is relevant to the guest's professional affiliation and the guests are expected to have basic awareness of the topic of discussion even if they haven't practiced it themselves. This ensures that even though the intent of each episode is to teach the guests about the topic, it happens as a healthy dialog.
The aim of this Podcast is to release one episode every other Sunday; a schedule with the details of the upcoming episodes can be found on the EnterpriseJoy website. This Podcast is currently available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Anchor, Breaker, Pocket Casts, RadioPublic, and YouTube. You can also enjoy this Podcast on your Amazon Echo & Alexa Devices via TuneIn; just say "Alexa, play the EnterpriseJoy Podcast".
You can also become a patron on Patreon and join EnterpriseJoy in its quest to make every organisation's culture an awesome experience for its people and it is only possible through an ample amount of support from professionals (like yourselves) around the globe. Consider this as a personal invitation to help build awesome organisations.
The Long Version:
The story begins on the evening of 11th January 2018; I had driven down to (kind of) Mumbai to spend a weekend with my parents. Of course they are senior citizens with a knack of following a routine which meant that the lights were out by 10:00 PM and everyone (but me) was off to sleep. So there I lay on my bed with my eyes glued to my mobile phone and this was a time in my life when I was habituated to buying and selling web domains. But this habit was not random, I had a system; purchase domains that contain high value keywords (yes, there are services that provide the estimated $ value of domain keywords) and the domain name must be something that I can use in the future, if ever.
As of that time, six months earlier I had started my professional trainer journey by teaching a few certification batches on Coaching and Testing skills (thanks to my wonderful mentor Naveen Singh). I have always enjoyed teaching - imparting knowledge, education, improving the collective wisdom of a community is something that has been a motivating factor for me. For me, it's my expression of growth, my Why, my purpose; to teach an idea to someone means I need to learn and experience it myself without creating a bias from my outcomes - it's pure knowledge work. And over the years, this interest had grown towards professional education that helped individuals and organisations to improve. With this in mind, I navigated to a name generator website and entered a bunch of high value keywords that I could associate myself with to see what options I received. I guess I entered this: Enterprise, Agility, Business, Agile, Organisation, Coach, Maven, Joy ... putting Joy in the mix was very random, it's my son's name.
And in the bunch of hundreds of pages of search results, the one that caught my eye on the first page last column was EnterpriseJoy. And I felt a connection because this compound word had everything that I stood for - to educate organisations to be a joyous place to work by imparting knowledge that helps its people get a sense of satisfaction & growth (plus it had my son's name). I could relate this vision to a quote from Simon Sinek:
Happy employees ensure happy customers. And happy customers ensure happy shareholders – in that order.
How I would achieve this was still unclear but I knew the "Why" and I knew the "What", which were good enough for me to make this name (and domain) mine. And at 11:48 PM that night, the transaction was completed. EnterpriseJoy was born.
A year later, early 2019, I attended a training conducted in my organisation that introduced me to Holland Codes. It's a classification around six areas often called RIASEC with a simple idea (backed by research obviously) - personalities seek out and flourish in career environments they fit and that jobs and career environments are classifiable by the personalities that flourish in them. I took the test, I saw my results, and I was stumped. I was quite and deep in my thoughts when my trainer (Priya Kher) asked me during the lunch break of what I was thinking and that's when I said - I know where my strengths lie and I know what motivates me, my job however isn't completely sufficient to motivate me. I missed my Why!
Then came the year 2020, the dream of educating organisations to be awesome was still alive and breathing as we faced one of the toughest challenges of our era; the COVID-19 pandemic. The world came to a stand-still, people were forced to stay home (work if possible), support systems were shaken, losses were everywhere, and in the middle of everything, organisations struggled to flourish. I believe it's luck that I'm employed with ThoughtWorks right now; it's one of the few organisations I've witnessed that takes care of its people in unique ways. I've been in organisations that have frowned at the idea of working from home because a few have exploited the policy, I've seen my friends carry their desktops home because their organisations lacked a business continuity plan for pandemics, and I have been in organisations that have had zero budget for professional development (to list a few); this shouldn't be an experience for any professional in any organisation, and that's where EnterpriseJoy could make a difference.
I can now connect the dots; podcast seems a good feasible platform for me during these times (and otherwise) to connect with and educate professionals (my strength and my interest) around values, principles, and practices for organisations that make working with them a satisfying experience for its people. The EnterpriseJoy Podcast - Educating Organisations to be Awesome!
Who is this for? Practically anyone - Leaders, Frontline people, Human Relationships (not resources) professionals, and others - building awesome organisations shouldn't be the responsibility of a few. Awesomeness can take birth anywhere and it is contagious.
Why should EnterpriseJoy exist when there's possibly other podcasts with similar objectives? That may be similar to asking why do we need one more college? Education comes in various flavours and every individual has certain preferences. EnterpriseJoy is happy to be in this pool that amplifies its objective.
How does this work? Please refer to the TL;DR of this section.
II. How can one launch their own Podcast?
A simple Google search will yield a number of results explaining a step-by-step process to do this. There is no short version for this section, however here I explain my steps and experiences with launching the EnterpriseJoy podcast.
Theme: The first step for me was to decide the theme of the podcast; this was fairly easy since I had spent months thinking about it as explained in the long version of the above section. A lot of the podcasts that I'm subscribed to have themes however some revolve around generic talk shows as well.
Record: Next is to record an episode, at least an audio format if you don't wish to host on platforms like YouTube. You may decide to do it all by yourself, or as a pair, or as a group. For EnterpriseJoy, it made more sense to do this as a group, this however may not be the only format for all of its episodes.
Adjust: Editing a podcast, although optional, can make a difference with the quality of your recording. Since EnterpriseJoy episodes are to be recorded online with the guests, I used iMovie to make necessary adjustments like reducing the background noise, enhancing the voice, and improving the light settings (for YouTube). It's also good to have some fillers and an introduction recorded to give your podcast a more professional touch or to enhance the branding. Certain broadcasters (like Apple Podcasts) pay special attention to the audio quality before accepting a podcast submission to their service, so this may be a necessary step.
Host: The above steps were actually the easy parts for me, what came next was surprisingly not very straightforward (YouTube was an exception). My first assumption was that I will have to submit a request to a broadcaster (like Google Podcasts) with my recording and they will host my podcast. That is NOT how it works. What you need is to find a file hosting service for yourself (like SoundCloud) and create an account where you can host your podcast. So a broadcaster (especially the more popular ones) is not necessarily a hosting service. And most hosting services are chargeable, which for me was not very attractive since I needed assurance from myself that I'm going to continue with this for a long time before making that investment. With some research, I finally found Anchor.fm, a free service for hosting & broadcasting podcasts, and that's where EnterpriseJoy found its home. Anchor.fm however does have some negative criticism on the web especially with their terms of service that allows for reproduction of content, and with their tools for producing low quality podcasts. I didn't have a problem with either so it suited my purpose. And Anchor.fm was acquired by Spotify in 2019; being a Spotify user raised my confidence with their service.
Broadcast: Once you've hosted your podcast and uploaded your first episode, you can then reach out to broadcasters to make your show available to your audience. The way to do this is by copying your RSS feed from your hosting service and submitting it as a request to a broadcasting service. This can be a painful process because many broadcasters (and surprisingly Apple & Google included) do not provide very straightforward process or documentation to do this. Apple for example does it through confusing steps in iTunes and Google recently moved its podcast platform away from its music platform but the search results may not direct you to its new Google Podcast Manager. This is where Anchor.fm was useful again since Anchor.fm takes the responsibility of distributing your podcast to broadcasters, I didn't even have to raise a finger. All I needed was patience to wait as I received acceptance of my podcast from various platforms. As of publishing this article, EnterpriseJoy is live on a dozen platforms including its website, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Anchor, Breaker, Pocket Casts, RadioPublic, TuneIn, and YouTube.
Amazon Echo & Alexa, Google Home, and Apple HomePod : Apart from broadcasting a podcast on popular platforms, a super delighter for sure is to listen to a podcast on voice command. As long as your podcast is broadcasted by Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts, this should be handled well by Google Home and Apple HomePod (I'm not very sure if this works though because I don't use either of these devices; if you do then do leave a comment, I'll be happy to hear from you). Echo / Alexa is what I use and I wanted to give it a go; Echo devices use the services of TuneIn for their radio and podcast services. This was the only broadcaster to which I submitted the RSS manually and the podcast was live within two days. So now one can enjoy the podcast by simply saying "Alexa, play the EnterpriseJoy Podcast".
Patreon: Patreon is a service that helps creative artists to be independent by linking them to their fans as subscribers who are paying patrons. Patrons can have a monthly payment subscription or a pay per creation model based on a provided plan. This has been a very popular service amongst content creators since it allows them to spend more time in doing what they love while getting their financial needs fulfilled. Although as of now I don't have any such requirement, it's good to have a Patreon page for EnterpriseJoy as an analytical tool to see the active fan base. If you're looking for monetisation services, Anchor.fm also provides a service to link advertisers to podcasters, this service however is available only in the US right now and I haven't explored it. One can also monetise their YouTube accounts up on receiving a minimum of 1000 subscribers.
Analytics: Finally comes the measurement, it makes sense to have one for yourself to see your reach and acceptance by your audience. Anchor.fm gives me one out of the box but it also makes sense to set one up on independent broadcasters like Apple & Google. As mentioned above, a part of the analytics also comes from subscribers on services like Patreon & YouTube. Analytics can also be used as an indication to check if you should pivot the theme or structure of your podcast to attract more listeners, or worst, to decide when investing in the podcast doesn't make sense anymore.
(Bonus) Equipment: Yes, a good quality podcast needs good quality equipment. For me, this has not been a priority as of now. I'm more in a MVP stage so I searched for a free hosting service (Anchor.fm) and I have been using the equipment that I already owned: a MacBook Air, Apple iPad, Apple AirPods, iMovie (for editing), and Google Meet (paid Basic GSuite). Eventually I will invest in good audio / video recording equipment and lighting mechanisms, but only after I've successfully launched 21 episodes (minimum to form a habit I guess) and at least 500 active listeners (long term OKRs).
That's it, that's my nine steps for launching your own podcast and I hope to see many great new creators to become podcasters like myself.
III. EnterpriseJoy Episode #1 - The Rise of OKRs (1h, 38m)
OKRs or Objectives & Key Results is a structured goal setting and performance management method pioneered by Dr. Andy Grove that has gained tremendous popularity in the past few years. This was the topic of the first episode of the EnterpriseJoy Podcast. The topic is very relevant to organisations that want to align their objectives throughout an organisation and the system (OKR + CFR) provides a framework that allows individuals to grow and get a sense of satisfaction, everything that an awesome organisation stands for. To listen to this episode, follow any of these links (EnterpriseJoy, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Anchor, Breaker, Pocket Casts, RadioPublic, YouTube, and TuneIn; or just say "Alexa, play the EnterpriseJoy Podcast") or watch the video below. If you like what you're listening to then don't forget to subscribe and join EnterpriseJoy in its quest to make every organisation's culture an awesome experience for its people.
As mentioned in the first part of this article, I had been thinking of launching a podcast since the beginning of 2020 and for most part of it I guess I was just finding excuses to not starting one. However, as we entered the period of lockdowns and work from home, the feeling of missing out on things just became stronger; I wasn't meeting many people anymore, not having water-cooler conversations, and the avenues for me to do what I enjoyed doing the most (teaching) was not happening as much as I wanted. And then I was presented with an opportunity by my friends Vijay Dhatrak and Rahul Sharma.
I tell this story during this podcast episode in detail, here's the gist: one of their conversations led to the creation of a new group on Telegram named the Product Management Tribe. The first rule of the group (no Fight Club references please) is to have active members that conduct knowledge sharing sessions at frequent intervals. I signed up for the first one with an intent to utilise this platform for launching EnterpriseJoy and the members welcomed me with open arms. With that, we got along with three more friends - Sri (the AgileAmigo), Rucha Kapare, and Mayuresh Athalekar; I got help from Deepti Ranade with regards to sound proofing a.k.a. keeping our son occupied - and we recorded the first episode titled "The Rise of OKRs" on 14th June 2020 which went live on YouTube early next day.
This however is just a part of the story. Although this topic fits the theme of the podcast beautifully, EnterpriseJoy is no stranger to OKRs; in fact it has its origins as OKRs. EnterpriseJoy exists with the purpose to educate organisations to be awesome! And in order for this journey to begin, it has an objective for the period ending 30th September 2020. The objective is to inspire professionals to join EnterpriseJoy in its quest to make every organisation's culture an awesome experience for its people. Below are the expected key results:
Launch the EnterpriseJoy podcast on popular platforms before 1st July 2020 (1.0)
1 new episode released every other Sunday (1.0)
An estimated audience size of 170 listeners measured via Anchor.fm (0.6)
500 YouTube subscribers (0.7)
2 patrons on Patreon (0.5)
If you haven't seen an OKR before, let me break it down for you. An objective is a specific goal that's relevant to a mission; in case of EnterpriseJoy, the mission is to educate organisations to be awesome and the objective for the first OKR cycle is to inspire professionals to join it on this quest. The key results are the time-bound measurable outcomes which when achieved as a whole means the objective has been achieved. So for EnterpriseJoy to achieve its first cycle's objective, it will have to complete all five key results mentioned above. However, they have numbers in the bracket next to each key result which denotes a confidence score.
The first two key results have a confidence score of 1.0 or 100%; these are the committed quantitative goals. Under no circumstances can EnterpriseJoy deviate from achieving these two key results. They have to be achieved in order to be marked as successfully completed. The first key result will be marked completed when this article gets published and shared on various social media platforms. The remaining three key results are qualitative goals and the confidence score suggests that these are stretch goals. A stretch goal may not be achieved; let me re-phrase that - although the commitment is to achieve it fully, the circumstances may not allow that to happen. A confidence score determines what will be a good end state and can then be used to determine the OKRs for the next cycle. For e.g. 500 YouTube subscribers has a higher confidence score (70%); this is because I already have 139 subscribers currently (not very impressive since most of them are my extended relatives). Having an estimated audience size of 170 and 2 patrons is a different ball game and will require additional efforts to be achieved - and it's worth it.
And this simple yet powerful method has become synonymous with the biggies of the world like Google, Adobe, Gates Foundation, MyFitnessPal, and so many more; it's this simplicity that possibly has led to the Rise of OKRs and to know more, I invite you to our discussion on the EnterpriseJoy Podcast. Cheers!
(The EnterpriseJoy Podcast is currently available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Anchor, Breaker, Pocket Casts, RadioPublic, and YouTube. You can also enjoy this Podcast on your Amazon Echo & Alexa Devices via TuneIn; just say "Alexa, play the EnterpriseJoy Podcast").