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🔑 Key Takeaways

  1. Starting small and growing steadily with consistency and dedication pays off in pursuing genuine passion, as demonstrated by the popular podcast Acquired's journey from an innocent idea to industry success.
  2. Building a successful podcast takes time, passion, and dedication. Key engagement metrics include monthly listeners, paid subscribers, and active community members. Gradual successes and passion for one's craft can lead to sudden realizations of impact and fostering a core, engaged community is key.
  3. Building a community of listeners is crucial for podcast success and monetization. However, navigating the fragmented ecosystem and limited control over user experience requires innovative approaches, like Patreon.
  4. To own your audience, deliver value through hardcore content, build a community network, and leverage relationships for revenue streams. Avoid the tip jar model and opt for a native business approach for podcast success.
  5. Focusing on a niche market with quality content can help online media businesses amortize fixed costs and become more profitable, while also providing a valuable go-to-market strategy for startups.
  6. Investing time in building relationships with your community can lead to future success through investment opportunities, co-investing, or collaborations. Utilizing independent media channels and social platforms can help capture new audiences and engage with existing ones.
  7. Modern Treasury wants to be the go-to software for people looking for a streamlined, user-friendly experience in managing payment operations, without getting involved in the flow of payments itself.
  8. Modern Treasury offers an easy-to-use payments system for companies, simplifies debugging and ensures ACH and check processing. The payments industry will continue to evolve, and Modern Treasury is keeping pace with the changing landscape.
  9. Modern Treasury's focus on authentic, self-written content and understanding of the needs of both technical and finance buyers allows them to offer innovative solutions with a unique perspective in building software for specific jobs to be done.
  10. Modern Treasury prioritizes effective communication and collaboration between different personas, invests in self-serve options and developer tools, and focuses on understanding the nitty-gritty of moving money to provide a strong product and address customer concerns.

📝 Podcast Summary

The Power of Pursuing Passion through Podcasting

Acquired, a popular podcast on business and technology, started as an innocent idea between two friends who shared their passion and curiosity about the industry. Interestingly, their podcast journey began in 2014 when Ben predicted that podcasts would be a thing and they decided to start one. They were not aware that they would be on the tip of a wave that would see the industry grow to 1.5 million podcasts in 2021. Their story is a testimony to the power of pursuing a genuine passion for what you love. Even if it means starting small and growing steadily, your consistency and dedication will eventually pay off.

Leveraging Existing Assets for Product Line Success and Building Engagement Metrics for Podcasts

Successful businesses often leverage existing assets to develop multiple billion-dollar product lines. Building a listener base for podcasts takes time and passion to improve the craft with limited external indicators of success. Monthly active listeners, paid subscribers, and active Slack members are important metrics of engagement for podcasts. Gradual successes like being featured in a few podcasts client apps and hosting meet-ups could lead to a sudden realization of how impactful the podcast is becoming. Passion and enjoyment of doing the craft drives creators to improve without external indicators. Having a core group of active listeners who are also paid subscribers in limited partnership programs foster a stronger and engaged community.

From Numbers to Community: How a Podcast Changed Its Perspective and Monetized Effectively

The hosts of the podcast initially viewed their listeners as just numbers, but meeting real people at meetups and live shows changed their perspective. They began to see the podcast as a community and realized that they had built a one-way relationship with their listeners. The asymmetry of more people knowing about them than they know about the listeners made them feel strange but also helped them see the potential for scaling the podcast. Monetizing through advertising was limited, so they explored alternative methods and eventually started an LP program on Patreon. The podcast industry's fragmented ecosystem, lack of data, and limited control over user experience made it challenging to build a real business and ecosystem.

Building a Native Business Model for Podcast Success

Acquired did not opt for a Patreon-like model that would have required them to hold out the tip jar. Instead, they built a native business model, which became Glow, a company powering Acquired and many other podcasts today. They wanted a subscription-like model to own their audience and give them value through hardcore delivery of VC fundamentals and pricing product episodes. They also wanted to build a closer relationship with their audience and have a community mesh network rather than a hub-and-spoke structure. Over time, they built revenue streams from LP subscriptions and show sponsorship. The internet favors centralization, and Acquired was able to successfully build its business model on the internet by leveraging playbooks and tight relationships with their audience.

Returns to Scale and Niches: Key Factors in Profitability for Online Media

Returns to scale are key on the internet, especially for fixed-cost businesses like media. The bigger the audience, the more you can amortize the cost of content, making it better and more profitable. Niches are a game-changer on the internet. A quality element matters too; if you specialize, have an opinion, and occupy a niche in online media, you can win. Media business and software business share a lot of similarities in terms of zero marginal cost and repeatability over time, which makes them both great businesses. Content is the most underinvested and high-return thing startups can do for getting to market. Investing in building content and community could be a great go-to-market strategy for startups.

The Power of Investing in Community for Startups

Investing in community is an under-invested go-to-market strategy that can be a secret weapon for startups. It may take time for returns to show up, but building the right set of people with knowledge of your domain and company can lead to success. Independent media channels like Substack and Clubhouse are growing, and while they may not fit into everyone's ecosystem, they could serve as a top funnel to capture new audiences. Building relationships with your community can lead to investment opportunities, co-investing, or even working together in the future. Twitter spaces may be more effective for engaging with existing audiences, while Clubhouse is a more unpredictable platform for capturing new ones.

Modern Treasury: the payment operations platform aiming to provide an all-in-one software experience for payment operations.

Modern Treasury is a payment operations platform that aims to provide a software experience that ‘stitches it all together,’ as there haven't been any single products for payment operations before. The team behind it is focused solely on the tech side of fintech, which means they plan to be the best software to provide the ‘magic view and experience for all those people who are spending their day looking at the mechanical payments of what makes up these businesses.’ Also, the team doesn't want to get into the flow of payments as it will become more vertical, and there are other legal and regulatory implications. Ultimately, Modern Treasury wants to be like Excel, something that everybody can use.

Modern Treasury's Innovative Solution for Payment Operations.

The internet has disrupted the payments industry as the rise of companies innovating in real estate, health insurance, and education have led to more companies requiring payment infrastructure and payment operations. Furthermore, the rise of new customer verticals has led to many companies realizing they require a payments system. Modern Treasury solves this horizontal problem for many companies with their ACH and check processing system, and their technology makes debugging easier for those who need to figure out payment issues. Despite this, innovation in payment systems has been halted since the 1980s as investment has shifted away. In the future, the payments system industry will continue to evolve and change much faster than 3000 banks.

Modern Treasury's Content-Focused Go-To-Market Strategy and Unique Perspective on Building Software for Jobs to be Done

Modern Treasury relies heavily on content as a part of their seven different motions for their go-to-market strategy, focusing on writing about the uniqueness of how money moves in America. They read and write everything themselves and emphasize authentic content that comes organically from their culture. Modern Treasury targets both technical and finance buyers, recognizing that technical teams need innovative solutions while finance teams need to be responsible for controlling the money. The founders' core insights into the product offer features to both and reflect on their experience in an in-house lending home, giving a unique perspective to their customers. Modern Treasury understands the importance of building software for jobs to be done instead of for personas within a company.

Modern Treasury's Approach to Collaboration and Customer Success

Modern Treasury understands that communication and effective collaboration between different personas, such as finance people and developers, is necessary to succeed in a complex sale. The company invests in self-serve options and developer tools while also focusing on controls and features that make the finance side easier to understand. Modern Treasury's dedication to understanding the nitty-gritty of moving money and helping their customers scope and learn is what gives their product a magic feeling. They prioritize doing non-scalable things while still keeping in mind LTV and CAC. By becoming experts in understanding how different businesses work at a mechanical level, Modern Treasury gains confidence in having a strong opinion about why they are the right answer and can address any concerns on the product side.