A podcast series featuring interviews with startup founders and tech community leaders discussing what it is like to build a startup – and a startup ecosystem – in a small city.
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Unlocking Stories to Grow an Industry - Podcasting.
Stories are locked up within so many organizations. These tales of success, growth, and learning are important to the identity of the firm, stakeholders, clients, authorities, the marketplace and wider communities.
My belief is simple, everyone has a story to tell and a right to have it heard. This aligns with my colleagues at Martin Charlton Communications where the strapline and MO is “we tell your stories”
One of the reasons I chose to move to Saskatoon over other locations in Canada was because I truly believe that there are hundreds of untold stories which a global audience will care about. The greater the level of international attention outside of sector-specific echo chambers, the greater the opportunity for stories to matter to decision makers in different markets.
In February 2017 I met with Mike Wolsfeld about creating a monthly international live-stream discussion with other innovation parks around the world facilitated by me. The idea was to share high level ideas and help the locations build relationships. At a follow up meeting I discussed with Mike the limitations because of time zone, connection issues and people not being able to make a time/date at either end would mean that dates would move around and sometimes you may risk having an audience in place at both ends with one of the speakers dropping at the last minute. No, a pre-recorded route was the way forwards.
My former life in the world of radio made my brain sizzle as the idea of podcasting came together. What if we had experts talking about innovation, the idea still hinging on a local panel and someone international (or at least out of province).
At this point I mentioned the Takeout Podcast from CBS, it’s a podcast which is a relaxed format interview between Major Garrett and a political guest once a week in a restaurant, giving it that more informal feel.
Time went by as Mike sought approval from the management of Innovation Place. I went to Calgary to The Post Forum and I came back with the format which we implemented (so thank you to them for the inspiration).
At the forum, they had two people from different industries, both entrepreneurs at different stages of their journeys and treated it like speed dating (which was a great way to have quick-fire questioning).
I was clear that I didn’t want it to be exactly the same, we wanted more of a free-flowing conversation between two people with me asking each of the kick off questions. However, a few things were very important to me.
- I didn’t want prescribed questioning to detract from an organic free-flowing discussion.
- The conversation can become stunted if people practice and prepare their answers. So no one saw any questions in advance, which suited most people, but a couple felt less relaxed.
- My role is not to be an expert. It was so important to me to come from the position of knowing nothing. Even in cases where I knew the full context, my role was to have no previous knowledge for the listener.
The audiences. From the start we wanted to make this enterprise valuable to multiple audiences.
- People within the tech ecosystem within SK – those who have a relationship with Innovation Place or the firms themselves.
- Investors / Entrepreneurs regardless of location – possibly outside of the tech sector, but interested in the world within the community.
- Audience in the tech sector, but not local.
- General population, regardless of location.
Each of the expert contributors spoke eloquently about the people, community, their firms and journeys. I ensured that everything within the podcasts had context, so we avoided acronyms and any assumed knowledge of processes.
I want to say a big thank you to Mike Wolsfeld and those whom enabled him to support and be a part of this project. His vision of each episode enabled us to have a production which offers value to listeners, whether that be in regards of lessons shared, processes relayed or places for tech entrepreneurs to get started. Another thank you goes to the graphic designer at Innovation Place, the ideas that you came up with for the visual identity were brilliant. You really pushed us to focus on how the brand comes together.
Without the contributors, we would not have a podcast at all. Thank you.
When I speak about the importance of telling stories as an organization, that importance expands to storytelling for a sector and location. Startupville does that. It is a useful production, packed full of personality, lessons and useful advice. As the presenter, I knew that if I learned something useful from each episode, then the listening audiences would as well.
For each organization, this is another avenue to reach people or cement relationships. The podcast is an opportunity to give back to others through sharing advice and leveraging experience. It is also the epitome of content marketing. No one was here to sell anything, but through storytelling, it will certainly help awareness and demonstrate expertise.
For Martin Charlton Communications, we are proud to partner with Innovation Place to bring these stories to life. We always enjoy speaking at Innovation Place, engaging with our existing clients and building relationships with all tenants.
As for me, Dan Gold, what do I gain from this? Unlocking those stories is important to me and the podcast is another tool for me to share with investor audiences in the UK. This market is an untapped resource and I want to see more international inward investment. Organizations such as the Provincial Government, STEP and EDC do a fantastic job with the resources they have. we're simply adding to the share of voice that SK has on the world stage.
I also enjoy sharing production skills, Mike is new to audio editing, program making and production. To help him learn new skills and understand the reason why production happens in a certain way or an editing technique, that makes me very happy. He has picked up pre-production and post production skills to add to the CV, I can't wait to see how he uses them in the future.
Thanks for reading this. I could go on about KPIs, stats, audiences, reach and marketing, but I am going to enjoy overseeing the edit on the next episode.