In this final lap of Samantha Postman’s conversation with Casey Juanxi Li, they finally get into Casey’s cool initiative called Podding Labs, a cross-promotion community that connects indie podcasters with each other so that they can get the tools they need to thrive so that they can rock at what they want to do. Why did Casey choose to create a platform like Podding Labs instead of starting a podcast on her own? What does creative vision mean to her and how does this initiative fit into it? Tune in to learn more.
2:53 – How to Pursue Creative Vision for the World
15:05 – Takeaways from All These
21:37 – Series Conclusion
⬅️ Part 1: The Whys of Podcasting, Challenges of Remote Work, and Bold Perspectives on Women, Careers, and Progress With Casey Juanxi Li
⬅️ Part 2: Stereotypes, Pivoting, Healthy Discussions, and More With Casey Li
Watch the episode here:
Listen to the podcast here:
Creative Vision And Connecting Podcast Creators With Casey Juanxi Li, Part 3 Of 3
Samantha: I want to ask you some things about yourself. What I wanted to know is why you aren’t doing a podcast and you have decided to work on an app instead?
Casey: Opportunity costs of time. I have a full-time job as a software engineer. Someone needs to build this app. My cofounder has spent an entire year running his own podcast, producing episodes, editing, doing the whole shebang. He didn’t hire a company. He recorded and edited all this stuff. He handled it himself. He knows how much work it is. He’s putting his podcast on hold too to prioritize this project. I have my creative outlets in a lot of other forms. Mine specifically is writing. I have been writing since I was fourteen, a long-formed blog about my deepest thoughts about the world.
I don’t want to say it’s easy for me because I’m always getting better at it but it comes quite naturally at this point, whereas podcasting is something I have to start a brand new from scratch. I don’t know that it would necessarily be, to use your point, the highest ROI, the next hour that I spend. If I write code or if I write a blog post, whatever I produce will probably be more valuable than if I tried to go make a podcast myself. That’s a fair question. The people who are most well-equipped to solve a problem are the ones who understand it. Through my cofounder and conversations like this one, I can get a pretty good understanding of the problem.
Samantha: You are equipped for the problem. It fascinates me what people choose to spend their time on. This isn’t your main bread and butter. Why would you spend your extra time on this? It gets my curiosity going. I’m like, “What is it about her that she’s like, ‘I want to spend my time doing this?’” Do you want to help grow people so that they can step into their skin? Something is grabbing you into it and that’s what I’m trying to figure out. What’s the grab? What’s the satisfaction for you?
Casey: I get a lot of value out of podcasts. I’ve got a lot of value out of sharing an episode with people, connecting over some ideas that we have had. Podcasts change lives. There’s one super famous podcaster. I don’t know if you have heard of him. His name is Naval Ravikant. He’s got this one super famous episode, a bunch of people has heard of it. He talks about realizing that if you are always working for a paycheck and if you are always working for a salary, you will never own your time. Some people get rich. Doctors or lawyers get paid high hourly rates. At the end of the day, they are still someone else’s hourly slave wage. They are well compensated. They are comfortable. They’ve got a nice house but their time isn’t truly theirs.“Podcasts change lives. @sometimescasey @SamanthaPostman” Click To Tweet
It was this whole paradigm shift in the way that I started thinking about how to spend my time. For example, it’s the reason that I turned down a high-paying job at a prestigious VC firm to focus on this project. It’s not something of value if you don’t sacrifice something for it. I need to put my money where my mouth is. I want to ultimately own my time. That means that I have to make sacrifices in terms of the career that I could be building and the jobs that I could be having. I do want to have a creative vision over something that produces value for the world. Does that make sense?
How to Pursue Creative Vision for the World
Samantha: Yes. What I hear you saying is, “This is my creative expression of who I am and I want to invest in that.” You are investing in your creative expression and this is how you know how to do it. I love that. You have acknowledged something beautiful in yourself and you are like, “I want to invest in that beauty in me. I’m willing to give up other opportunities because that beauty inside of me is important to invest in and grow it.” Sometimes I think of people like flowers. Not because you are female. I like photographing flowers. It’s therapeutic for me. You see a flower and when they bloom, they need the right amount of sun. They need the right amount of fertilizer and everything else. I love to see people bloom. When I hear you talking about it, it’s almost like I could see your inner self go like this and you want to go all the way out. That’s what I could see when you are talking about it.
Casey: I appreciate that. Thank you. I do love working on this project and it’s not just because Tom and I get along well, although we do. It leads to conversations like this, for example. At my normal day job, I would not be going and hunting strangers down on Twitter to chat with them about their podcast. It was not in the scope of things that can happen. To me, it almost feels like a more authentic way to live. I’m going to have to do the other stuff in terms of paying rent and keeping myself going and all of that until Tom and I can get this machine running enough that it can sustain itself. This feels like real work. You’ve got to pay the rent. You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.
Samantha: You have the potential to take this far. What you do matters. A lot of people have trouble with math. The podcast doesn’t do all the work for me but they are doing some of the work for me. I’m going to go back to the flower analogy. There are a lot of un-bloomed flowers out there, budding or sitting in the ground. They are like a bulb sitting in there. They need someone like you to come along and help them with the water or some sun so that they can come out and shine and bloom for everybody. We all have to find a way to do that. If you have to do all the things yourself, you are never going to. A flower can’t water and fertilize itself. A flower can’t give itself its sun. If we can find other sources to help with that, they can bloom. You are one of them. You are somebody’s water. Water gives life. If you can give a podcast a life, you can help a lot of people bloom.
Casey: I like the way you are putting that. If I can tweak the analogy a little bit, I don’t think it’s quite that we are the water. We are digging the trenches in the Earth such that all of these separate rivers, which never would have touched each other before, end up crossing. I have talked to a lot of folks in Ship30for30. One theme that I hear over and over again is that they wish they could find other people who are interested in what they are interested in because that’s what drives them. It’s awesome that you have these super big ambitions to be massive like Tim Ferriss level podcast or Elon’s going to DM you. Do it.
Samantha: I was being a little cheeky there.
Casey: You’ve got to dream that big. For a lot of people, the podcast because they love something so much. They want to talk to other people who also love it. Life is so haphazard and random. Especially if you live in a small town somewhere, what are the chances that you are going to encounter someone else who loves bass fishing as much as you do and cares about the same things? There’s someone else in the world who does. Technology has made it possible for those connections to happen. Weirdly, there are many tools focused on analytics, advertising and download numbers. There are a lot to be done in the space of connecting podcast creators. That’s my take on the matter.
Samantha: You are using Hypefury for Twitter. People go on Hypefury but the power of it is when you can tap into the analytical part of it. If you can help people’s voices be directed in the proper places where they are going to be heard, that’s important work.
Casey: We want to take content that someone has made. They put love and tears into making this thing. There’s someone who is going to love it. That person exists. There are many people, diversities of thoughts and experiences. There’s going to be someone out there who wants to hear it. It’s hard for those two things to come together. That’s the problem we want to solve. It’s a hard problem to solve but it’s worth doing.
Samantha: If anyone is reading this, would you want them to reach out to you in any way? I want to see you do well with this because it matters. You are freaking awesome. Who wouldn’t want to invest in that? Are you looking for people to invest in you and your project as well financially? Are you looking for people to go on your website and sign up for beta testing? What do you want people to do? What does great success look for you?
Casey: I have three concrete things. Investing? Sure. There’s a cost that comes to taking VC funding because the thing is not yours anymore. There’s another party that’s invested. That said, “Would Tom and I, love to be able to quit our day jobs and work on this without worrying about the rent?” Absolutely. If there’s someone out there who’s shaken by this and wants to put some money behind it, we would love to hear from them. More importantly, what we want is a base of users who will tell us what their pain points are and the tools they wish they had.
If there’s someone out there and if you have a podcast and you have ever thought to yourself, “I wish I had a tool that would do X.” I wish I could know this about my users. On the other hand, you found something that worked incredibly well for getting your podcast in front of other users but maybe you had to work hard to set it up. Cross promotions are a great example. There are so many. You have to find the person. You have to chase them down on LinkedIn. You have to email them. You have to call them up. You have to butter them up and try to get them to work with you.
If you have found things that work particularly well for that, that’s something we would like to know about. The third piece is if you are thinking of starting a podcast or you currently have one, sign up for offers. We’ve got an MDP. We will be opening it up soon. Yes, it’s full of flaws. It’s the first version. It’s going to have bugs. It’s going to crash. If you are willing to get in there and take a look at it, try it and give us feedback, that would mean the world to us.
Samantha: Do you have a typical form or anything where people could fill out those questions for you? Have you thought about doing that where you ask those three questions and get people to submit their comments to you?
Casey: How they can give us feedback?
Takeaways from All These
Samantha: Yes. You said we want to know what are your pain points, what is it that you are looking for or something you want us to know about you. Have you thought about doing a type form entry for people to be able to do that on their own?
Casey: We have a beta sign-up on the website but that’s an email. You are right. We should stand that up.
Samantha: It would probably streamline some things for you, too, for conversations. When you are starting up, it’s easy to have a two-hour call with somebody. You can go through there. It gives people an opportunity to speak in their timeframe. If they’ve got fifteen minutes and they want to tell you something or be part of your project so they can help you grow in the right direction, they can do it without having to book time in. They can respond. How can they tell you all this in a way that’s efficient for their time as well? I don’t think you can do this in a type form but it would be nice if they could even submit audio of their speakers. It’s like, “Answer this question in under two minutes. Give me an answer in three minutes.” That might even get more responses. You are appealing to speakers, not writers.
Casey: I will take your suggestion for the best way to allow people to submit that. We can stand up an open email. Email me Casey@PoddingLabs.com. My email is on all the support things anyway. Anything that goes wrong with this site, it’s directed to my email.
Samantha: I feel like I could talk to you forever but I’m fading, which you are too. I can tell. We are not as all chipper as we were at the beginning.
Casey: I think you are quite different from me in many ways. At the same time, I have learned so much in this conversation just by listening to you speak. I can list the ways where it’s almost not the point. I’m not a religious person. I don’t have a farm in Alberta. I’m not a mother. I don’t have kids. Living in Toronto, especially around the people that I’m around, it can get to be a bit of an echo chamber. Imagine a generic Toronto yuppy tech worker. This has been super eye-opening for me. This conversation would never have happened if not for Ship 30 for 30. There wouldn’t be someone like you walking down the street that I would start talking to.
Samantha: I would probably talk to you, to be honest. I go to coffee shops and I start chatting up with people and two hours later, we are still sitting in a coffee shop and we are strangers.
Casey: What is the probability that I can go out on the street now and there’s somebody from Lethbridge who has a farm? It’s almost zero. I’m going to go talk to my boyfriend about this afterward. This has been cool.
Samantha: I would love to know what’s one thing or something that you were like, “That hit me. I need to think a lot more about that,” or grabbed you. I always find it fun to talk to somebody in here. I was in the Roam Research book club before this. I made friends with somebody who teaches in Poland. The next thing you know, I’m teaching his high school class in Poland about farming. Who gets to do that, by the way? I’m pulling out little samples of canola and explaining how it works. The most fun thing was at the end, I asked all the students, “What did you learn the most or grabbed you?” It was fascinating to hear what little story or what little thing grabbed them. That’s the kind of feedback I like. It’s like, “What connected with you and why?”
Casey: I don’t have some specific thing or gimmick that grabbed me. However, I do have a meaningful answer to this question, which is I think and feel deeply. My parents weren’t super-rich but I wouldn’t say I grew up on the wrong side of the tracks. I came here and my parents are immigrants. We didn’t have that much money but they worked their way up. Eventually, they bought a house. All things considered, pretty well. I have a sister that struggled with drug addiction. I have my own mental health, just like everyone does.
To hear you describe all the things that you have experienced, I could see when you were describing your childhood and other girls at the school, you’ve got a little emotional. I saw that. I empathize with all of those things. There’s a part of my brain that goes into imagining what the pain of that would be like. Contrasting that to the person that you are now, you are full of energy. You suggested this incredibly creative idea too. Everyone else answered my questions, which are super appreciated. Yet you came up with a super creative thing that turned into something else entirely.
All the experiences you have had with your kids, I admire that so much. Not everyone goes that way. I don’t even blame them for it because the world’s a hard place to live in. Many people end up bitter or they end up being hurt. They are thrashing around in their own hurt. They don’t have any room in their hearts for other people. I don’t blame them for that. I don’t know what it is that gives people or you specifically, the strength to do that. I admire that so much.
Samantha: That’s sweet. I don’t know what it is either. When you were talking about that, you are like, “People are this.” I’m like, “I want to go over and hug them and say, ‘It’s going to be okay.’” Help them with their first steps. Sometimes people won’t let other people help them. It’s a huge deal. It’s a huge pride thing. I don’t know that I had a lot of help. I have helped a lot of people. I call it the first paragraph. I even have a little thing for it. When you are writing a paper, the hardest part is writing the first paragraph. Once you write it, it’s so much faster.
I even remember writing a Master’s paper. We went camping for the weekend. We came back and my brain was on vacation and went, “I have a paper due tonight.” I looked and I had done the first paragraph before we left. I forgot I had done the first paragraph. I was like, “I could go. The hard part was over.” Call us. Be that for other people. Even if we are hurting, try to help somebody with their first paragraph. What’s your thesis? Who are you right now? Let’s figure out where you will go next. What’s the next paragraph going to look like for you?
If someone comes along into your life and says, “I don’t mind helping you figure out your first paragraph for a bit.” Let them in. That’s the difference between people who are going to thrive and the people who aren’t. When you are like, “No. I don’t need it. I can handle it or I’m hurting.” You’ve got all these excuses. You need to let people in and try. Some people are not good to let in. I get claustrophobic when I help people. They are constantly asking for help more and more. I’m more of a first-paragraph person. I will help you with your first, give you the tools, get you going, send you in the direction. You can come back for support here and there. I’m not going to keep holding your hand for the next five years until you get out of this. That’s the difference.
If anyone out there feeling stuck and are like, “How the heck does what Samantha did?” A lot of it is attitude. It’s funny because I’ve got asked to be on the theological panel for young adults a while ago. What they want to know is, “Why does God allow suffering?” That was the topic of the night. Great question. I was like, “Everybody has been wrestling this from the beginning of time. We are not going to answer this in an hour to your satisfaction. We will have a discussion but you will not be fully satisfied, just so you know.” What I said to them was, “We are all surprised when life doesn’t go the way we want it to. Stop being surprised. Honestly, life is going to be tough. That’s how life is.” It’s an attitude.
I see things as hurdles, not as roadblocks. A hurdle, you can jump over, go under, go around. If you see a wall, you might not get through a wall. Everything that’s in front of you is a hurdle. If you are short, you are going to have to work a little harder to get over that hurdle. You can see through a hurdle. You can’t see through a wall. When you see a wall, you are going to go, “We are going to hit the wall,” and you are like, “I can’t see past this.” After that, you put all the walls around you. You can’t see past your pain. You can’t see past anything. However, if you have hurdles around yourself, you can see where you want to go and you will get there. Give yourself some time.“You can see through a hurdle. You can't see through a wall. @SamanthaPostman” Click To Tweet
It’s important to accept help when people offer it. With young adults, I’m always like, “Sometimes I offer to help but they are not ready to hear it.” I then have to wait until they are ready and then come back. Also, if you have a low EQ (emotional quotient), nobody is going to invest in you. If you find that you are going through trouble after trouble, you probably need to read about the emotional quotient. You are probably defensive, a know-it-all. You are stubborn. Those are all the things. The emotional quotient is high for success rate.“If you have a low EQ (emotional quotient), nobody's going to invest in you. @SamanthaPostman” Click To Tweet
It was great to get to know you a little bit. I could tell despite your responses that you are a person of intellect. I love the way you responded. I was like, “I will ask these questions. Do you want to do them in the podcast?” You are like, “That’s so creative.” I love how you have the energy coming back. This wouldn’t have been it if you weren’t responding with equal energy. You have this amazing energy about you and I definitely could even pick it up in the communication that we had before this.
Casey: I’m glad. I would say you brought more than half, at least half more than the energy as well. It was a good back and forth.
Samantha: Let me know if we can connect again about something else. If you want to hear anything else, let me know and we will be in contact. Thank you, Casey. That was an amazing show. We talked about everything under the sun. We talked about life, relationships, personal, professional life, life, and dreams. Especially, we talked about your cool initiative with PoddingLabs.com. I’m super excited to see where that goes for you. It’s cool that you want to help podcasters do a great job of meeting their audience using analytics and giving them the tools they need to thrive so that they can rock what they want to do. They have a lot that they have to offer the world.
I want to thank you so much for everything that you brought. You have this beautiful energy about you. I’m honored and privileged. If this is the only time we get to speak in the universe, I want to tell you that you made my day. I feel privileged that I’ve got to walk with you for a little while in your life. Look out, world because this girl is going to rock the world. She’s got so much to offer. I wish you the best. Thank you for letting me go off on tangents and for everything you brought and for being organized. It’s super organized.
Casey: I am glad that you didn’t just respond to my Slack message and that you suggested that we do this. This turned out to be way more than I bargained for. It was rewarding. This will not be the last time we speak, I promise. Thank you, Sam.
Samantha: Thank you so much, everyone. You’ve finished reading another episode. I hope you will join us at the next show. Who knows what we are going to talk about? I’m pretty sure you are going to love to learn about it. Until next time.
⬅️ Part 1: The Whys of Podcasting, Challenges of Remote Work, and Bold Perspectives on Women, Careers, and Progress With Casey Juanxi Li
⬅️ Part 2: Stereotypes, Pivoting, Healthy Discussions, and More With Casey Li
- Podding Labs
- Podcast Nuggets
- Andreessen Horowitz
- How the #MeToo Movement Cheats Women from Essential Mentorship by Samantha Postman
- Elon Musk
- Mercedes Benz Avatar car
- Rachael Harder, MP
- The Tim Ferriss Show
About Casey Juanxi Li
Co-founder and CTO of Podding Labs
Podding Labs is a cross-promotion community for indie podcasters. Advertising and marketing can be exhausting! We want to help podcasters get back to what matters: create quality content and get it in front of creators and listeners who LOVE your topic as much as you do.
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