Mark Asquith is one of the UK’s original podcasting experts, known primarily as ‘The British Podcast Guy.’ He is the Managing Director and co-founder of the podcast hosting analytics and monetization platform, Captivate.fm. Mark is known worldwide as an insightful, thought- provoking and actionable podcast industry keynote speaker.
Today, Jonathan and Mark discuss Mark’s funny relationship with money, the connection between brutal authenticity and success, and why Mark has remained steadfast with his definition of success. Mark speculates on the future of the podcasting industry and provides advice for anyone thinking of entering the space.
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00:57 – Jonathan introduces today’s guest, Mark Asquith, who joins the show to share his funny relationship with money, his professional journey and what led him to podcasting
11:19 – Launching his own digital agency and how Mark became known as ‘The British Podcast Guy’
15:05 – Why Mark’s definition of success has never changed
17:00 – Effective versus Efficient
21:15 – Mark provides his thoughts on the emergence of the podcast industry
27:14 – Speculating on the future of podcasting
32:02 – Encouraging others to start a podcast and building an audience
37:32 – One piece of podcasting advice to implement and one to avoid entirely
41:09 – What makes a great podcast host
43:58 – What came first: Brutal authenticity or success?
44:34 – The last thing Mark changed his mind about and one thing that he would like people to know about him
46:24 – Jonathan thanks Mark for joining the show and let’s listeners know where to connect with him
“I think the biggest lesson you can have in money is not having any. There’s only one thing that can really teach you about money and that’s when you’ve got just about enough of it, and sometimes not enough of it. That was just a lesson from my life from pretty early on.” (02:50)
“When I used to coach people, I would tell them, ‘When you’re building a business and when you’re doing something that you enjoy doing, you hold yourself to a standard that’s much higher.’ And so, when you give your perceived seventy percent you’re actually giving ninety-five percent of what anyone else would do because you hold yourself to a standard of excellence.” (12:38)
“If you love what you do, you never stop wanting to do the twelve hours. It’s just that you want to do your twelve hours, if that makes sense. The definition of success has really not changed. It’s a very strict thing for me.” (15:50)
“Podcasting became an industry when people like my mum understood that it was alright to get what you want when you want it as enabled by technology.” (21:29)
“The podcasting industry right now has a tendency to basically just say, ‘You shouldn’t start a podcast if you’re not gonna carry on with a podcast,’ which is complete rubbish. Yeah, there might be tens of thousands or millions of dead podcasts out there but who cares? There’s loads of dead YouTube channels. I can’t go watch Firefly anymore or Jericho on TV. That’s done, it’s finished. What am I gonna do? The Godfather hasn’t been remade. It’s done.” (33:17)
“The only way to succeed at anything is to be very good at it. That’s it. Money comes from being very good at something. And the only way you can become good at something is by becoming confident in that thing. And the only way you can become confident is to become competent in it. And the only way to become competent is for it to be the thing that you do all the time without needing to think about doing the thing. You’ve got to enjoy it. You’ve got to love it.” (36:59)
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Jonathan DeYoe: Hello and welcome back. Today on the Mindful Money podcast, I’m speaking with Mark Asquith Mark is known as that british podcast guy. Mark is one of the United Kingdom’s original podcasting experts. He’s the managing director and co founder of podcast hosting, analytics and monetization platform Captivate FM, which is where we host our podcast as well. It was acquired by Global in 2021 and is known worldwide as an insightful, thought provoking and actionable podcast industry keynote speaker. Mark has educated on podcasting and delivered thought provoking leadership at events including podcast movement, Podfest, Harvard, sound education, and many more. His focus is on helping people to achieve their own podcasting goals and improving the podcasting industry for the long term. Mark, thanks for joining me on the Mindful Money podcast.
Mark Asquith: Oh, it’s a pleasure. Thank you for having me, Jonathan. Yeah, good to be around.
Jonathan DeYoe: And I know an accent. Mark, where do you call home?
Mark Asquith: I’m from England, right in the center. Well, I’m from a place called Barnsley, which is a really broad accent, so I, uh, have to dumb it down for interviews, otherwise you wouldn’t understand what I was saying. But we live in between Manchester and the hills, so we’re in the hills of Yorkshire.
Jonathan DeYoe: So, cricket or football?
Mark Asquith: Golf.
Jonathan DeYoe: Golf.
Mark Asquith: I’m a golf guy. Yeah, cricket. I was brought up in like a cricket environment, and it wasn’t for me. And then football. I used to live like a mile from the Barnsley football ground. So I’ve had my fair share of disappointments with that. So I exited early.
Jonathan DeYoe: My son adopted Man City as his team, like, I don’t know, ten years ago when he was like six years old, not knowing that it was the highest budget. So I just was curious if that.
Mark Asquith: Might be, uh, an interest.
Jonathan DeYoe: So I’m just curious.
Mark Asquith: I had a little brother that did that.
Jonathan DeYoe: You had a little brother that did that?
Mark Asquith: Yeah, he supported Manchester United when they were.
Jonathan DeYoe: Oh, yeah, when they were winning.
Mark Asquith: Yeah.
Jonathan DeYoe: Fair weather. So when did you start learning about money and business, and did you have lessons growing up?
Mark Asquith: I think the biggest lesson that you can have in money is not having any. There’s only one thing that can really teach you, uh, about money, and that’s when you’ve got just about enough of it and sometimes not enough of it. So that was just a lesson from my life pretty early on. I don’t come from an affluent background, come from a mining village up here in Yorkshire, which was very poor in the born in 82. I remember the miners strike, I remember people scrambling for food, I remember picket lines. I remember people m not being able to eat. So that was sort of my first relationship, I guess, with money. So there’s no real lessons other than when you have it. Don’t be crazy with it. And it’s interesting, when I did the TEDx talk, I don’t know, four years ago now, and that was sort of the theme of it, but it wasn’t. It was sort of a bait and a switch, actually. It looked like it was the theme of it until later. And money. I’ve got a funny relationship with money. It’s interesting. But the earliest lesson and the earliest memory of it was just genuinely it being scarce. It’s been an interesting influence throughout my 40 years so far.
Jonathan DeYoe: Yeah, I mean, this is one of the things that I’ve noted about many of the people that I’ve chatted with is, if you grew up with it, it’s like, it wasn’t a thing that you chased or a thing that you thought about, or a thing that was even an issue, but if you didn’t grow up with it, it became an issue and you learned about it, and you tried and you started chasing. But then often we learn lessons chasing it as well. Right. Give us an idea, just in terms of background, what you were doing before you got into podcast or media, because I don’t think you started off in podcasting. It’s more like a media.
Mark Asquith: Yeah. So I started working for myself, um, when I was 21, which was interesting. But this is way before podcasting. This is 2003, I think. RSS wasn’t invented till, I don’t know, maybe around there, maybe 2004, 2005. I remember it starting RSS 1.0, and it was. My background was always talking. I didn’t realize that was a skill. So I’ve always been reasonably confident. I’m pretty introverted, actually, even though I speak all over the world, and I went on countless podcasts and playing bands, and I’m on stages, but I am actually really introverted. I’ve got, like, a fuel tank full of extroverts. And once that’s dwindled, like, if you ever see me at a conference, I disappear for an hour at a time just to refill that glass. So my background has always been in kind of communication, just chatting to people and getting to know people. And I didn’t do college, didn’t do university, didn’t do any of that. It was all too. A little bit slow. Um, I’m probably a year into ADHD diagnosis, so my brain’s always been off, and it’s been a real strength. My brain’s moved so quickly that I couldn’t keep. College was just pointless because it was too slow. And the same with university. So I quit my job because it was boring and didn’t like the people. They were just managers for the sake of it. And so my background became training. I used to train people. I’d go through your defense. I’d go and train banks on systems and train the air force on systems and all sorts of things. This is like age 22 years old, 23 years old. Which then got me into coding. I got into building stuff. You’ll see if we’re talking on the video. And for anyone listening to the podcast, there’s a 2010 Getty Lee jazz bass behind me, which was the thing that led me to coding, because I was in bands and there were friends that were. I was in it doing training, and there were sort of adjacent friends that were sort of into web coding, and we needed a website for the band, blah, blah, blah. And I just thought, wait a sec. Actually, I can probably do it myself, rather than waiting for people, which led me to coding. Bring those two things together. Being a communicator, being someone that’s been on stages, being someone that has been, I suppose, in it, I’m a very lucky. Generation 82 was a really good time to be born for tech, because there wasn’t that much of it until there was. And I’ve got a foot in both camps, so I was really fortunate. So when I put all those things together, I became this owner of this design and digital agency. We scaled it, we did well with it. It was nice. And I was sort of the guy that always knew plenty about plenty, if that makes sense. Which led me to podcasting, eventually.
Jonathan DeYoe: So was it more a pull to the digital agency or was it a push out of the old job? And what was sort of the last straw? What was it that gave you that final push?
Mark Asquith: This is a deep rabbit hole again. Um, this sounds like I’m promoting TEDx. I am really not. I’ve not spoke about that for about two years. But this is sort of what I did. The TEDx talk on it was really about. The talk is called choose happiness, choose control. And if you think about a story, there’s some Joseph Campbell books behind me, there’s, um, some Stephen King on writing books. It’s all about the art of storytelling. I had an inciting incident, which was someone, I may as well tell the story. I was like ten years old, I think, just discovering girls, just discovering. Did I want to be popular? Probably not very good at that. But what did I want to do? Well, I didn’t want to be someone that stood out as being unpopular. Um, so it was really important at that age, it’s like your formative years to sort of fit in and just have a group of people. So I turned, I think it was eleven, just as I went to this school disco. And we turned up at this little event, they have these little balls at the schools. And I showed up and we’re all in line for these hot dogs and these drinks and so on and so forth. And I was sort of, if you imagine two groups of people in a line, I was the connecting person between my friends in front of me and some other friends behind me. And the person connecting the groups together was me. And on the other side, right next to me connecting the other group was this girl that I just had, um, a massive crush on. So we end up in this line. We end up basically going down the line asking for this hot dog and every school disco for years. I’m talking all of my time at school. All these hot dogs had just been free, free, free. This one wasn’t. So she gave me the hot dog and she said, that’s $0.30. Author. Yeah, about 20 pence. I, uh, just didn’t have it. Literally had no money back to what we said earlier. So I had to give in front of everyone. I had to give it back in front of everyone. Like, she took it off me. And that was my inciting incident, which taught me that I wanted to chase money, but actually we’ll probably get to this. Money wasn’t the thing I wanted to chase. And so to answer the question about the job, it was actually the pursuit of the thing that I was really interested in that led me to doing, and the overlying ADHD as well led me to trying so many things. And the thing that I was seeking just kind of. Let me preface this with when I was 21, I was earning 20 grand. 21 grand. When I was 21 and a half, I was earning 190 through freelancing. And then when I was 22, maybe 23, I was back to earning 20 grand because I’d given that money up. Now, the reason I say that is there was no push, there was no pull for me. It was dodging. And what I was dodging was people being able to control what I did. I was earning, I don’t know, 20 od grand. And then I started earning this 100 and 9195 grand. I remember one client wanted me to invoice them up front, 42,000 pound, and just paid it. And then I was like, wait a second. This is perfect. Problem is, they said, you got to be site doing this thing. We don’t need you. We’re not even ready for you yet. But you got to drive 3 hours each way, and you’ve got to be on site. And if we need you, we need you, but you still got to be there. I was like, well, this is silly. What if I had a kid? What a silly thing. And that’s when I set my stall out. I said to myself, look, we’ll have kids one day. I do want kids. And the last thing I want to do is someone to say to me, I have bought your time. Doesn’t matter how much it is, I’ve bought your time. So you can’t go to that concert. You can’t go to that football match. You can’t do this. And so I quit. I said, that’s it. I’m done. Worked the month and hours out, and it was never a push or a pull. It was always, uh, will this situation hand over control to someone that is frankly just going through a tick box exercise because someone else who controls their life has said that they’ve got to do it, and the cascading elements above them and so on and so forth are happening at a higher level? I thought, this is ridiculous. So that’s why. No push, no pull.
Jonathan DeYoe: I think that the thing you’re pointing to is the idea of, well, it’s control, but it’s the idea of autonomy. And one of the things we talk about when we talk about earning money is exactly what you’re saying is the reason it’s a good idea for people to have their own business or their own practice or their own side hustle or whatever is, it gives them a sense of that control and what’s possible even if there’s less money involved. If you make 20 grand, that’s harder to live on today than it was ten years ago, 15 years ago. But if you make 30 grand or 40 grand, but you get to live your authentic life, do the things you want to do, you have time, control, then, wow. Right? That’s fantastic. But if you make 400 grand and you’re the banker, right? You got to go in at 08:00 a.m. You got to be there till 07:00 p.m. You don’t have any time for family. You got no time to build something. You got no time for friends. You got no time for anything but work. I don’t know if that’s not fun. I totally see what you’re doing. So when did you actually launch the digital agency?
Mark Asquith: 2005. I want to say we launched it went through a number of iterations and so on, and we built it up from there. Yeah, we did that for about twelve years, which was interesting, and it was funny because getting me into podcasting, it got me into podcasting, which I’m sure we’ll get to. But I do a lot of startup mentoring. I’m known for podcasting, but actually, I am in podcasting, and that’s what I do every single day. But what I really do is build tech, and I, um, make that tech make money. And it just happens that that’s in podcasting.
Jonathan DeYoe: It didn’t start out that way, though. So first you became known as the british podcast guy, right? So how’d you get known as the british podcast guy?
Mark Asquith: Well, I was actually known for doing startup mentoring and all sorts before that, which then led me to podcasting because I was starting my own podcast, because people asked me advice, and I was like, this is ridiculous. I’m just going to record it. So guess what? I’m going to start a podcast. Which then led to all sorts of other things and a few other things going on. The reason I got that british podcast guy, Monica, was because I was just the only british podcast person there. That was quite literally it. I was probably. I started my first podcast in 2012 with Gaz. We did pop culture stuff, and about six months later, I started my own sort of startup businessy podcast called Excellence Expector, which is inspired by a Steve Jobs quote. And the notion of that was that certainly people like me whenever I was coaching, so I don’t do coaching anymore. But when I used to do coaching for people, I’d always tell people that when you’re building a business and when you’re doing something that you enjoy doing, you hold yourself to a standard that’s much higher. And so when you give your perceived 70%, you’re actually delivering 95% of what anyone else would do, because you hold yourself to a standard of excellence, and it’s expected. So I started that up, and by going out to speak at podcast movement and new media Europe, uh, when it was in Manchester, like four, five, 6 miles away, just there was no one else. There was probably like maybe Ant McGinley, there was maybe Colgrey and a couple of those, but I was the one on stage speaking, and people had said, have you spoken to Mark? Which one’s Mark? It’s that british guy. Oh, okay. And that’s how it came about. I mean, I was doing Jared at podcast movement with one of the founders. He used to joke with me that I was, like, breaking international law or something because I was there that often. I was clearly not sticking to the visa limits. Um, I clearly was if anyone was listening in. But I was getting stopped by Border patrol every time because I was in the US that often. And it was. A lot of people say, and this sounds like a digression, but it’s not. In order to make anything, whether it’s product, whether it’s money, whether it’s control, success, happiness, diversity, whatever you want to build, you’ve got to be there while this thing is developing. So, uh, I’d be at Swedesborough, New Jersey, in the Holiday Inn with 40 people having flown from England to go do that conference, and people say, why the heck are you doing that? That’s crazy. And it’s not. Now I know everyone, and it’s because I was there. And that’s where the british podcast guy came from. And then when we launched captivate, and we already had a couple of businesses in podcasting, but when we launched Captivate, we didn’t do anything marketing. It was just like, oh, Mark and Kieran are launching this new hosting platform. We’re going to buy it. We’re going to sign up for it, because I’d done thousands and thousands of hours in it. So that’s where the british podcast guy thing came from. And it does directly pertain to, like, a genuine approach to building business. Just being out the old school way and walking the floors.
Jonathan DeYoe: I’m curious, how has the. You’ve gone through lots of different phases. How many podcasts have you hosted personally?
Mark Asquith: Oh, episodes 1400, easily.
Jonathan DeYoe: Yeah, lots.
Mark Asquith: Yeah.
Jonathan DeYoe: And then you transitioned in sort of an industry leader out of. You don’t host a podcast anymore, do you?
Mark Asquith: Yeah, I do a few. I’ve got a pop culture one called Spark of Rebellion, which we do Star wars stuff, and I’ve also got a, uh, podcast education one called the podcast accelerator, which is nice.
Jonathan DeYoe: So, in all the different iterations, how has your definition of success changed in these different stages?
Mark Asquith: Oh, it hasn’t. It’s always been the same m. It’s just about doing what you want to do when you want to do it. For me, I take my little girl swimming on a Thursday. Who asks where I am? It doesn’t matter, because they know. Even though we got acquired by global and now, theoretically, we’re back to having jobs, we’re trusted. It’s not like it used to be. Where you’ve got to put the 8 hours in, we’ll put 10 hours in. We’ll put 12 hours in, but we might do six on a morning and six on a night. And the beauty of that, it’s the perfect marriage of control and loving what you do, because if you love what you do, you never stop wanting to do the 12 hours. It’s just you want to do your 12 hours, if that makes sense. So, no, the definition of success has really not changed. It’s a very strict thing for me, to the point that I’ve kicked clients off platforms. I’ve gotten rid of plenty of customers. In fact, the first thing that got me into this, into sort of the online world, if you like, was I wrote a piece for a big publication about what it’s like to run an agency, and it was a big 11,000 word piece, and I spent ages and ages and ages on it, and they didn’t publish it. In the end, they went another direction. I was like, you know what? Why would I waste my time with you guys? I’m going to publish it myself and inside. But there was a whole subsection on when you, especially if you’re a service based business, there is a misconception that if you work for yourself, you don’t have a boss, but actually, if you let them, every client tries to become your boss and that you’ve got to be firm on. So that’s why that definition of success has not changed. That’s always been my metric. Does this thing or this decision or this person cross that line, and if it doesn’t, you can stay. And if it does, we leave.
Jonathan DeYoe: So does making money or building something cool or family time, do those things, factor in as sort of a guiding light ever? Or is it always, hey, now I want to do this, now I want to do this. Now I want to do this. And how do you maintain some kind of a disciplined structure if it’s. I just want to be able to do what I want to do when I want to do it.
Mark Asquith: A, uh, discipline structure for someone with ADHD is wildly over. It is completely the latter. I’ve always done what I wanted to do, but what I want to do is the thing that we do. Yeah, we went through an acquisition and we don’t have to do what we do, but we’d love it. Kieran and I are my co founder. We still put in 8910 hours a day because we absolutely love it. So for me, it was never the structure. It was very much about understanding what my strengths are and knowing how to use them effectively. So a great example of that is the old effective versus efficient mindset. I’ve got ADHD and my brain’s all over the place. But guess what? It’s brilliant at ideas. That’s why captivate has got anything you can think of has come from there, like quite literally everything. Because I don’t stop. I’ve got like three ideas just from talking here. What can we make this easier? What can we do? And so what I understood pretty early on about myself was that it was pointless me trying to be efficient, which generally leads to structure. Efficiency equals structure. Structure equals efficiency. My brain doesn’t work like that. I can create a thousand to do lists, I can time block. I can get a tomato shaped timer and do pomodoro. I can do absolutely. I can read the four hour week till Tim fresh is coming out my eyeballs. None of it will matter. What I’ve got to do is say, I’m probably going to be good for an hour, and then I’m going to want to do something else. What is the thing that is going to be most effective for my business in that 1 hour? And I’ll do that. And there has been days in the past, certainly in the ancient days, where I didn’t do anything but that 1 hour. I was a lot younger than. I’d not sort of handled it, not come to terms with it so much. And it was, I’d just do the 1 hour. But that 1 hour would get us a 1213 grand a month retainer. And, uh, that was it. That’s all I needed to do. That was plenty. So for me, everyone said, you need structure. You’ve got to have this. I tell you the biggest misconception in all business and entrepreneurship. Morning routines. Pointless. It is pointless for someone who is like me, not for everyone, but for someone with ADHD. I’m going to wake up and I might want to go running. I’m going to wake up. I might want to go hit some golf balls. I might just want to have a pile of breakfast and chill. I might want to write something. We just do not know. So what happens is that we were saying before we were recording, I’ve cleared all of my business books. They’re in the attic now. I don’t want to touch them. I’m going to read Star wars. It’s going to be brilliant. Read some more Stephen King. It’s going to be s. I’m going to read some Joseph Campbell. It’s going to be brilliant. I love doing all that stuff because generally most business books teach you how to do the thing that has worked for that person. Now, if I wrote a book about that, uh, people would be like, this guy is crazy. So, yeah, structure is such a weird thing when it is someone else telling you what the structure should. And I’ll tell you this straight as well. I know a lot of entrepreneurs and what they say they do, having shared houses with them is not what they do. And so we talked earlier about authenticity, but that’s become a sales term online. That’s another rabbit hole. But the structure for me never worked. It was about impact and it was about laser sight in a sniper shot of action per day. Ah. And don’t get me wrong, I do get a lot of other things done. The ideas never stop coming, and that’s what I do. That’s my job.
Jonathan DeYoe: Uh, it sounds to me like the simplest thing to start with with is just know who you are, know what you need, and then sort of build on top of that. If you build on someone else’s book or idea about how something’s going to go, that’s never going to work, you got to know how you work and how you’re going to. I’m a fan of the morning routine, so that’s just me. I’m very list oriented. But it’s interesting to have a conversation with somebody that’s you’re a lot more like my brother. My brother was way more just whatever’s a sense of the moment, that’s what he’s going to do. Right. And he was totally successful doing it that way. So how do you think podcasting shifted from a bunch of people doing podcasts to an industry. There’s a lot of money in podcasting. There’s a lot of equipment. There is structure behind it. Now, uh, how did that happen?
Mark Asquith: Podcasting turned into an industry when people like my mum understood that it was all right to get what you wanted, when you wanted it, as enabled by technology. So there was a few different things that came together in my mind that allowed podcasting to become the industry. The first one was that it didn’t matter that RSS feeds existed. Like, my mom doesn’t care. I run a company that builds RSS feeds. That’s what we do. That’s it. Plain and simple. My mom doesn’t care. She’ll just say, I listened to that new podcast. Did you? Yeah. Oh, good. How did it get delivered, mum? Was it via RSS 2.0? Uh, what namespace were you looking at? She doesn’t care. And so that was the first thing. And that was brought about by a few preceding factors, which led, I’ll use my mum as the quote unquote avatar, because she’s such a perfect example of it. So the things that happened in my mind were this. Uber happened, so I could go from a to b, and I didn’t need to look up from my phone. That was it. I had to do the walking for a cab. Now, the taxi came to me, so that was the first thing. And that was the on demand sort of instigator, if you like, for the mass populace. Because Uber came to Barnsley, a mining town in the north of England that no one has heard. You know, let’s think. Deliveroo. We still don’t have deliveroo in Barnsley. That’s fine. We had it in London, but we didn’t have it in Barnsley. Not everything got to people like my mum. So that was the first thing. The second thing was that people stopped sending through mail their Netflix dvds, and instead they were able to press their remote, their little zapper, on the tv, and they get the thing. What do I want to watch today? I don’t know. I don’t have to be in front of the tv. And, um, I’m just, wow, look at these tv shows. What’s this binge? They’re now being dropped all at once. There’s a series. I don’t have to go to the store and buy a box set. So that was a second thing, from a tech perspective, that enabled my mum to go away a second, actually, this tv here, I know how to work. If I pick my phone up, I can log into Netflix and the interface is exactly the same. And if I press the thing that’s normally highlighted on my tv, I can watch the thing that I like whenever I want it. And then someone called Spotify came along and went, you can do that with audio as well. Not podcasts. I don’t want to. If anyone’s listening to this, it’s, uh, an OG podcaster. I don’t want you to break out in sweats. They did not invent podcasting, but what they did do is they said streaming exists. So all that radio stuff, just get it when you want it. So it was those things for me that enabled the mass population to start thinking about it. Plus, I think there’s a different set of subsets, which I know is very obvious phrasing, but there’s a range of sets of people within podcasting that each found podcasting together. You’ve got your know, someone like John Lee Dumas eo fire, who was going on about the golden age of podcasting, and that opened up that market. And people like Ducker and Pat and all these kind of people over here doing what they did, rameet and all. Everyone, everyone. That was like, personal brand. And let’s put Gary Vee right at the top of that as the figurehead of it. So that was that market covered. And then you had, like, you know, the NFL guy, he did a podcast, and it didn’t last for very long, but, uh. Oh, my word, look, there’s a sports podcast. And, know, Jay Soderberg did the ESPN network, which opened up all this sort of stuff, and then serial threw this big banner around it and got the people that wanted stories involved, and a lot of people won’t like that. A lot of the Ogs were like, cereal didn’t invent podcasting. No, it didn’t, but it got a lot of press. I know that’s a long answer, but it was those three things. And then I do also think that. So I do a range of interviews like this, and there are always two types of people. There are the people that use podcasting to build something, or there are people that build podcasts. There’s only those two types of people. There’s nothing wrong with either. I do both. I’ve got a podcast that I build because I love talking about Star wars and pop culture, and I get free invites to comic cons. It’s amazing. I get merch. I get stuff sent. Brilliant. But I also use the podcast accelerator, uh, to make sure people know that I know a little bit about, you know, people like Pat Flind’s a great example of this one. He will build a podcast because it’s a channel of content marketing, whereas someone like Aaron Mankey, who’s building law, he goes on to get a tv deal with Amazon and so on and so forth. That, uh, podcast is the product. And I think those two types of people existing bring a different set of audience together. And it just so happened that this started coming together at the same time. And then we got a pandemic and suddenly everything is. Yeah, it did. The creation certainly was accelerated. I don’t know about the consumption. I’d have to look at the data on that. But the consumption probably don’t know, maybe wavered because of the commuting. And then people figured out new routines. So I would imagine it was a little tumultuous. And now we live in this on demand world. Last night I got some noodles from a place that’s like a drive through place. It’s amazing. And just did it on Deliveroo on my phone. And that’s the world we live in. So, yeah. Long answer, I realize. But to sort of just quickly touch on the industry side of it, why has it become an industry? It’s because the egg and the chicken both arrived within weeks of each other. The egg turned up and it’s that, look at us, we’re creating stuff. And then universal and so on started sponsoring things like cereal. I remember driving back home from London in 2016 and hearing a trailer for a DiCaprio movie on cereal. Lying fire. You kidding me? And then the startup crew got involved and the vcs got involved and the big brands, so that perpetuated from there. But, yeah, that’s long answer, but that’s what I think happened.
Jonathan DeYoe: What do you think? Uh, if you could forecast, if you could say, okay, podcasts ten years from now, what will change? I mean, you’re designing the software and the technology, so I hope you have an idea.
Mark Asquith: Oh, I’ve got a lot of ideas. It’s what perspective to take it from, right? Someone will tell you nothing will change. There’ll be people that tell you nothing will change. Podcasting will always delivered via RSS feeds. And if it’s not a podcast, that’s rubbish. Because guess what? I watch Star wars on Disney plus now, but it’s still a movie just because it’s not on vhs. So that’s one element of it. But in terms of the industry, what I think will begin to happen is, in fact, it’s already happened. I wrote a piece three years ago on this called indie versus big, uh, podcasting. And basically why we don’t need to worry, because podcasting is fractured already. Podcasting, as we know, podcasting is still 99%. The 99%. It’s us doing what we do, getting some downloads. That’s cool. Probably monetizing in a bit of a niche or just getting Comic con tickets because it’s badass. Doing whatever we want to do. All right, that’s just podcasting. And that’s all right because it’s either, again, back to what we said earlier, it’s either a content marketing channel, and you wouldn’t be too hard on your SEO, you’d just work at it. You wouldn’t be too hard on your blogging or your YouTube content or your short form video content or your LinkedIn content. You would just keep working on it. And podcasting is a marketing channel for a lot of those people, or it’s something that we do because we like doing it. I like playing golf. I’m not going to be too hard on my golf because I’m crap at it. I’ll just still play because I enjoy it. So that part of podcasting will just remain, and that’s the 99%. And what’s already happened is that, uh, podcasting has just become a catch all name for media that is on demand and delivered via audio. That’s fine. Again, I wrote a piece about this in 2018. Why Spotify? Why anchor? Maybe isn’t the villain in podcasting? I got hammered, like trolled big time by some properly, quote, unquote, top people in the industry who said, oh, I said in the piece, podcasts don’t need to be delivered by your it. And I got, you know, literally got hammered. And I was, we’ll see. We will see. And sure enough, Spotify doesn’t need to deliver its podcast via RSS feed. And yeah, there’ll be a thousand people that say, well, it’s not a podcast then. But guess what? They don’t pay for the advertising. My mum does when she listens to the thing that’s not really a podcast, but is a podcast because she thinks it’s a podcast because she pressed play on Spotify. So that’s the difference is that part of podcasting, the 1% will become the 2%, it will become the 3%. And that is not podcasting as it once was. That is podcasting that’s broken through from the chrysalis. It’s broken out into the world, and it’s just media. It’s just audio. It’s just great stories. That are delivered and can be taken on demand by anyone. And so that, I think will be the big fracture that continues to happen. I think the industry will shrink a little bit. We’re starting to see less money flying around in industry. Acquisitions are less hot. We’re seeing, uh, cpms are holding, advertising rates seem to be holding. But I think personally, advertisers are going to want some more genuine metrics than just impressions, because try selling three campaigns to the board when the second one failed and just gave us impressions, but no decent ROI. That’s a difficult sell for brands. I think the tech will sort of evolve, but I think it’s a difficult one. This, because it’s evolving to a degree into more of an idealistic style of tech. So what I mean by that is there is a lot of innovation going on in podcasting 2.0, which is like how we’d love podcasting to be, but the vast majority of where the money is, I don’t think will use that tech, if that makes sense. So the big players at wondering, do they really care whether you can do value for value and send sats around via web three? No, uh, they just want to keep signing their advertising. So I think the tech is a funny one. The tech is a funny one. But yeah, I think that’s where the industry will get headed. And I think we’ll start to see more. We see this a lot already, but like Universal IP, so people like Aaron Mankey, who’s taken law and developed it into the law network of podcasts, but also the law tv show and the movies that people are doing from podcasts and so on. And I think we’ll see creators start to think about like, uh, what Q code does start to think about. Actually, let’s cast this voice drama, but if it goes to tv show, who would we really want to play that part? And can we get them for just the audio version of know, which is what we’re starting to see with people like Qcode. So, yeah, there’s lots more to it, but that’s sort of the high ish level.
Jonathan DeYoe: So you kind of said in there that the podcasting universe is shrinking a little bit there. You’re talking about the tech universe or you’re talking about the number of podcasts.
Mark Asquith: I think the overall readiness to get involved regardless of outcome, I worded that very carefully. So what I mean by that is, on the tech side, vcs funds, they’re much less likely now to take a bet on tech. And when they are taking a bet on tech, they seem to be taking a bet on profitable tech. They’re not taking a bet on revenue. They’re not taking a bet on hockey stick growth. Right. They’re taking a bet on profit, actually, is this sustainable as an industry? So that’s the first part of the tech side.
Jonathan DeYoe: And by the way, that’s happening everywhere. I mean, that’s rising rates. That affects that across the board.
Mark Asquith: Absolutely. Yeah. You can see that even from the accelerator world. Everything from people raising series a and series b down to people doing precede, everything seems to have got harder, which I totally get. It’s the world right now. The number of podcasts I don’t see slowing down.
Jonathan DeYoe: So there’s room. There’s room for us to start one. I mean, there’s room for people to start one.
Mark Asquith: Yeah, well, so that’s a different question. Yeah, very quickly, finish that last bit off. Right. So basically, the podcast industry right now has a tendency to basically just say, you shouldn’t start a podcast if you’re not going to carry on with a podcast, which is complete know. Yeah, there might be tens of thousands of millions of dead podcasts out there, but who cares? There’s loads of dead YouTube channels. I can’t go watch Firefly anymore or Jericho on tv. That’s done. It’s finished. What am I going to do? The Godfather’s not been remed. It’s done. So they better not remade the Godfather. So the point know, that’s all right. We want people to keep doing. Now I’m going to create a YouTube channel about my new golf sim that I’m building. I don’t care how many YouTube channels there are, how many blogs there are, any of that sort of stuff. But there’s a lot of people in the industry of podcasting that will say, unless you’re consistent and you publish every single week until you’re 72 years old, you shouldn’t start a podcast. And that’s absolute rubbish. Now, when it comes to should you start a podcast, is there room for starting a podcast? Of course there is. What is the 4 million with maybe a million of them active right now? 50 od million YouTube channels? Is that what it is? 200, maybe 300 million blogs? It’s a big world and people like what they like. And you can always build an audience. You can always build an audience. The thing you’ve got to do about building audience is back to, uh, what got me that british podcast guy title. You’ve just got to be around and you’ve just got to like it. So of course think everyone should do it. Yeah. Build the tribe up. And I think just the opportunity in podcasting, and it has been an opportunity for such a long time, and I don’t think it will go away, is just to genuinely be yourself. Like, if you’re an entrepreneur, let’s use this great example. You don’t have to be Gary Vee, all right? Gary Vee is Gary Vee. And when you see him on his videos, he’s Gary Vee. When you see him in real life, he’s Gary Vee. You eat with him, you drink with him. He’s the same man. Uh, do you see know? Because he loves it and he believes it. And so the point that I’m getting to with that is that a lot of people will go into podcasting and think to themselves, I’ve got to build a tribe. I’ve got to be myself. But the myself is not genuine. It’s not the genuine authenticity. It’s the thing that they think works because they’ve seen it elsewhere. Now, the problem with that is it becomes a job. It’s hard to maintain. It’s a facade. The tank empties really quickly, and then you die a death because you can’t do it. So we’re not taught to do that. We’re not taught to do that. We’re taught to be one of 20 in a class or 40 in a class these days. We’re taught to be someone at college that gets grades that are the same as other people. We’re taught to all read the same books. And there’s nothing wrong with that because you get ideas from each of them. But what no one ever tells us is take the book, whatever the book is. Let’s say the one thing by Gary Keller, take whatever that book is, all right? Forget all those pages, except for that half a paragraph that you can take and assimilate into the other stuff that you do. Do that a thousand times. And you get your own way, you get your own routine without a routine, in my case, you develop your own intuition. And when it comes to podcasting, you have to be able to turn on the microphone. And yeah, you’ve got to plan it. Yeah, you’ve got to outline your questions, but you’ve got 1000 questions and look how much I talk. You’re not always going to get to them. So when you start a podcast, you have got to be able to go. You’ve got to be able to go. And the only way to do that, the only way to be able to turn on the microphone and go or to get on a stage and go. If someone said to me, mark, it’s 06:00 UK time, can he do us a 50 minutes talk on podcasting or startups or whatever now with no slides, I will be able to do it because I love it. So if you can do that, you will never get bored of it and you will always find the people, because this comes, oh, look how animated I am. As I’m moving, I’m talking, and a lot of people don’t, that comes across. So I think to kind of finish that bit off, I think the only way to succeed in anything is to be very good at it. That’s it. Your money comes from being very good at something. And the only way you can become good at something is by becoming confident in that thing. And the only way you can become confident is to become competent in it. And the only way to become competent is. So that is for it to be the thing that you do all the time without needing to think about doing the thing. You’ve got to enjoy it, you’ve got to love it. So there’s room for everyone.
Jonathan DeYoe: I love that stack. From love to competence to confidence to success. I think that’s a fantastic stack. If someone was listening today and said, yeah, I’m thinking about running this podcast, Mark says it’s possible. There’s lots of room. I think I have a good idea for it. But they’re listening to all these gurus. Like, I was really lucky to find Harry to help know, sort of put in a voice what it was I wanted to talk about. Right. But there’s so many other voices out there that I had to ignore. So what’s like the one got, someone’s got an idea, they want to pursue it, what would you tell them? What’s the one positive thing that they should do? And then what is some of the stuff they’re hearing that they can just ignore?
Mark Asquith: Oh, I think anytime a guru’s got a course on sale, you can ignore that.
Jonathan DeYoe: Yes. Thank you for that.
Mark Asquith: Huh? There’s no way on earth that your course is down to 97 books from about three grand today only. Not a chance. No chance. We all know that works. We’ve all read the book that says teach scarcity. We’ve all been there, silly. So that’s the first thing. Ignore that one. But I think podcasting, it’s crested the wave of needing things like that. It’s popular enough now that there’s enough free resource out there. I’ve got a microphone somewhere in this room that I can plug into this computer or into my phone or whatever, and it’s a good mic for like $80. It’s an, uh, ATR and a Samsung. I’ve got 1000. But you plug them in, they don’t cost any money. And that’s the mic sorted. And it sounds just as good as this one does. So you don’t need a course on that. That’s fine. You’re good. Just do some googling and find that thing. And don’t worry about what everyone else likes or dislike. Just get the thing that you can afford. Now, a lot of people will also say things like, you got to record an episode zero, and you got to do a trailer. And I’m a big proponent of trailers and structure, and we got a whole course which is free. It’s an antiguro course. Don’t even need an email. I won’t promote it. But what I will say, the reason I say that, is that in that I talk about segments, I talk about everything. I’m a big fan of structure, but what’s the point if you’re just not going to do it? If you see this thing and it looks too overwhelming and it’s too much, there’s way too much. I just want to start a podcast, literally turn the mic on and talk about the thing that you love talking about. Get someone to ask you a question about it, and off you go. And if you put that out, you will realize that you don’t have to worry. The structure comes later. A great example of this is, like, when I was, I don’t know, uh, eight, nine years old, I was used to swing a seven iron around a field near my house. So it was two electrical pylons. Me and my friend Scott, we used to hit them. When it hit them, we used to hit balls between them. And no one ever said, your ball connection shoddy. No one ever said, you come in a little bit over the top, you’re a bit steep, or no one ever said, you got to turn through your hips more. I was just, like, whacking the ball. It’s only when you realize that you want to get serious or you want to get better at it that you start looking at the things that you could do better. But if I take my daughter out to the golf course and I say to her, there’s your first golf club, make sure your angular attack is minus three with this seven iron, and that your launch angle is perfect and you need this kind of Rpm on that, your back spin, she’d be like, dad, I’m going back to mum because she’s more fun. So that’s the same with podcasting. I would always just say, and this comes back to the confidence, competence. All been predisposed through love. Love the thing, because all you need is one open question. That’s the art of good interviews, as you demonstrate. And you just give me the thing and I’ll run with it because I love it. So you’ve got to do the same thing. Get your mom, get your dad, get your partner to ask you a question. If someone put a microphone in front of me and someone said, right, why do you like star wars? That’s an hour. That’s a podcast.
Jonathan DeYoe: So is there something that makes a podcaster stand out? Like, you can talk to, like, five people and you can say that that fifth person, they would be a great podcast host. Can you tell?
Mark Asquith: I think a great podcast host has got experience in going over the top. So what I mean by that is this, when you’re on karaoke, have you done karaoke before? So you do karaoke, right? I don’t know what your song is, but let’s assume you pick, let’s go for living on a prayer just because everyone sings it. It’s loud, everyone knows it. All right, classic. So you pick a nice jabonji owi song, you get up on stage and you think to yourself, I’m going to give it my all. And so you give it your all. You stand there, uh, you sing it, you deliver it. It’s pitch perfect. And what people see is, oh, that person’s a good singer. You put the microphone in John Bon Jovi’s hand, or you put a mic and a mic stand in Freddie Mercury’s hand. They do the singing because that’s their job. It’s like a plumber turning up and just doing the plumbing. That’s their job. But what they do is they absolutely blow you away with everything around the song. And it’s back to what we said earlier. If you give 100%, when you are delivering anything vocally or visually, you will come across as giving 70%. And you know why? Because that’s the perception of other people. It’s the age old thing on karaoke. You can be feeling it, but unless you’re bouncing around going crazy and they’re just going to think, well, he’s just singing a karaoke song. It’s not a performance. And it’s the same for podcasting. You have to, uh, articulate everything. You have got to lift your voice. You’ve got to bring your voice down when, you know, I want to be a bit sneaky and say something I shouldn’t do. So you’ve really got to go to the extremes and to the levels. If listen to any. It doesn’t matter the type of podcast, listen to any type of podcast, whether it’s Jordan Harbinger doing interviews, whether it’s Aaron Monkey delivering a story in a narrative format, or whether it’s a scripted audio drama like first action bureau or Doctor death or something like that. It’s acting, it’s performing. And that’s the difference. Now, yeah, granted, it might be the fifth person out of five that gets good at that, and that is good at that. But the beauty of this is that if you love the thing that you talk about, that’s not the bit you have to practice. And anyone can get good at the performing because that is just repetition and practice. That’s just learning. And that’s why that love is so important. Because if you’ve got to learn to love the thing that you’dare to talk about, you can’t learn everything else. You can’t learn to become a great podcaster because you’re too preoccupied with do I really want to talk about this? And that’s so vital. So, yeah, the art of performance, that’s what it’s all about.
Jonathan DeYoe: Yeah. So I want to get a little bit more personal here as we get towards the end, and let’s try to make these quicker answers. All right? So, first thing, and I read this on your website, and I love this. I remember where I saw it. But what came first for you? Brutal authenticity or success?
Mark Asquith: Authenticity, yeah. By accident. By not really caring. Uh, I’ve got a problem with authority in that it’s an inverse problem, actually. It’s not a problem with authority. It’s a problem with respecting everyone. The same. And that never went down well with managers, but it did go down well when you’re talking to a CEO that you’re trying to sell a website to, and you’re just like, look, mate, your idea is terrible. And he wants that because no one else does it. And that was just by accident. That was just me. So, yeah, always the authenticity.
Jonathan DeYoe: Brutal authenticity. What was the last thing you changed your mind about?
Mark Asquith: The last thing I changed my mind about was whether or not, uh. Yeah, it was earlier. I said whether or not to take the rain cover for my daughter’s pram out with us, and I didn’t think we needed it, and we did. So we got wet.
Jonathan DeYoe: So you had it in your hand, and you were going out, you were like, nah, we don’t need it.
Mark Asquith: Yeah, pretty much. That’s bad time.
Jonathan DeYoe: Uh, you get wet, that’s okay. You dry off after that. And this is actually one of my favorite questions to ask people, because I think it sort of gives us insights into who you are. So, is there anything that people either don’t know or don’t remember about you that you really want them to know and remember?
Mark Asquith: That’s a good question. I think a lot of it comes from, uh, probably that kind of where we started in podcasting in particular. I think that’s big thing from a work perspective. A lot of people forget that we did because of the pandemic and so on. A lot of people forget how much of that trouble we did. A lot of the red eyes. I’ve sacrificed a heck of a lot, and so did Kieran to do that. We were everywhere at all times. There wasn’t an event that we weren’t at. And I think a lot of the time, certainly when we were going through the acquisition, a lot of people didn’t remember that we’d done that. They were just like, uh, certainly some people have come into the industry, given themselves a voice, and then sort of they’ve done that. After the pandemic started, they sort of seen us as tech guys that came into podcasting and got an exit within a couple of years. What they never saw was just the ten years preceding that. And that’s always the thing. And people are always surprised we do it. A podcast movement. People are always surprised by the sheer amount of people that we’re just genuinely friends with because they don’t remember that we did all that. And we just do know these people now. That’s how we met through Mary and, yeah, that’s a big thing, I think. So that’s probably the work answer, I think.
Jonathan DeYoe: Yeah, I love that. So, just as we wrap here, how do people get in touch with you? How do they find out what you’re up to and follow your next thing?
Mark Asquith: Oh, just on Twitter. Here’s a podcasting tip for you. Never give too many calls to action. Always the one. Just on Twitter at mraskrith, that’s, uh, where I do all my engagement, and, uh, it’s where I’m most present, and I can point you in the direction of anything else from there. So, at mrascrib on Twitter.
Jonathan DeYoe: Awesome. Thank you, Mark. Appreciate having you on.
Mark Asquith: Always a pleasure, Jonathan. Thank you.