The dude will not yield

(Reading time: 4 minutes, 22 seconds)

Oops. After sending yesterday’s poll on podcasting, I realized that in my rush to create the landing pages to tally votes, I forgot to add an “I never listen to podcasts” option. I love listening to podcasts, so that would be an easy mistake for me to make.

I asked about your listening habits for two reasons:

1. I’m still searching for museums that are putting out content for a particular segment of their audience while expressing a clear point of view.

Since it seems there may not be that many museums putting out newsletters that meet that criteria, I thought they might be doing that though podcasts. (If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, you can catch up here and then here.)

I didn’t want to straight-up ask if there were any good museum podcasts out there, though, because I wanted to go broad and see where you all would lead me.

2. I’m considering producing some audio content in the future.

Notice I didn’t say I’m considering making a podcast. That sounds too official, and I don’t need all those rules cramping my style, man.

But, seriously, there’s no better way to kill an experiment than to saddle it with an official name like Podcast or Newsletter. (This isn’t a newsletter — these are just letters from me to you and sometimes from you back to me, remember?)

I’ve been thinking about audio ever since I started interviewing museum folks early this year. Then I got in touch with Dr. Ari Zelmanow by phone a few weeks ago and found myself wanting to write about that conversation. (Which I did, with his permission, here and here.) I wished I had a recording of it for reference, and from there it was just a short skip to the idea of interviewing in public.

Since then, I keep thinking of other people I’d like to interview and how that conversation might be interesting to share with you, either as a recording or as a written summary with commentary. (Obviously, all this would be done with the other person’s consent in advance.)

“Cool. What’s the topic?”

The same stuff I talk about here — Design research for cultural organizations. I’d be asking questions around how museums use and don’t use different kinds of research to influence their decision making.

And I actually think that may be too broad. I’d likely start with very short conversations — maybe just 5 or 10 minutes long — asking just one or two questions.

I’m still thinking about it. Maybe you have some questions you’d like to hear others answer? I’d love to hear them — you know where the reply button is. Let me know.

“Got it. And — why do you want to make a (don’t call it a) podcast again?”


  • talking with people is a great way to learn new things and get new perspectives
  • a structured conversation with clear boundaries is an easier way for an introvert like me to connect with other people
  • I’m always looking to improve my listening skills; Public conversations should sharpen that skill
  • the idea feels a little risky — there’s a decent chance I’ll fail — which gets my blood flowing

“Neat. But I don’t really listen to podcasts.”

One reason I’d want to keep the interviews super short is because it sounds like the time commitment is something that keeps at least some of you from listening to more audio.

I can understand that — I usually only listen to podcasts when I’m on a walk, or late in the evening (which for me is like 8pm), or when I’m doing some mindless chores. And I’d probably listen even less if it weren’t for the Overcast app’s fancy playback options, like smart speed, which automatically edits out silences.

Based on what I heard from you yesterday, those of you who do listen tend to listen to news or entertainment podcasts. I didn’t get any feedback indicating people were listening to any industry-specific, interview-based podcasts.

Now, I’m not working from a huge sample here, but that’s not a terribly encouraging result.

Maybe I should take this feedback as a sign that I should abandon the idea.

Or …

Maybe you don’t listen to audio for the same reason you don’t read newsletters by or for museum professionals.

Maybe we’re in a classic green-eggs-and-ham scenario: I’m asking you if you’d like an interview-style podcast about design research for cultural organizations and you’re like, “I do not like it, Sam I am.”

Maybe you would like to listen if you heard people talking about things that matter to your work — or if you heard your coworker being interviewed — or if you were being interviewed.

See, I’m not giving up that easy.

So, I’ll ask you one more time:

If you didn’t vote yesterday, tell me — How would you describe your podcast listening habits?

And, whether you voted yesterday or not, I’d love to hear what you think about the idea of super-short audio interviews of museum and research professionals.

  • Would you rather read post-interview written commentary, like the letters I wrote about my chat with Ari?
  • Would you rather listen to the interviews?
  • Or would you not like them here or there?
  • Would you not like them anywhere?

Thanks for reading,


PS. What podcasts do I listen to? Too many to keep up with. Here are just a few:

Plus a whole lot of tech and business/consulting podcasts.

It occurs to me that I don’t really think in terms of “not having time” to listen to podcasts because that would be like saying, “I don’t have time to read.”

Sometimes I don’t have time to read books or listen to podcasts, but for me these things are part of my job — I have to do it to stay current and deliver value to the people I work with. Some of the podcasts I listen to are for entertainment/geeking out purposes, but many are to sharpen my skills and exercise my brain. We all do that in different ways — maybe you do it by attending conferences or maybe video is your preferred medium — but I hope I always have time for that.

Kyle Bowen