Failure to Launch
We dive into a conversation with Zac, our Content Coordinator, about the struggles of launching this podcast. From the many pitfalls to the moment we decided to grit our teeth and just do it. Zac's advice? Working with what you have and adapting along the way is better than trying to get everything perfect before episode one.
- 3 mint leaves
- 1/2 oz simple syrup
- 2 oz white rum
- 3/4 oz lime juice
- Club soda, to top
- Garnish: mint sprig
- Garnish: lime wheel
- Lightly muddle the mint with the simple syrup in a shaker.
- Add the rum, lime juice and ice, and give it a brief shake, then strain into a highball glass over fresh ice. Alternatively, you can use pebble ice instead and gently swizzle it all together.
- Top with the club soda.
- Garnish with a mint sprig and lime wheel.
Rich Well great.
Catelin Welcome back.
Rich Maybe we start that over.
Rich Go ahead.
Catelin We say welcome back every time.
Rich Okay. I think-
Catelin What if this is the first time?
Rich Except, well it might be, but I think that what we should do is have Zac just keep that whole front on there. So if it sounds like we're really unsure about who's saying what-
Catelin It's because we are.
Rich And it's great for this episode, whose topic is failure to launch.
Catelin We're going to think too hard about it and never start.
Rich Right. So we just really overthought that intro and just stumbled across it and, yeah.
Catelin There's not enough rum in this mojito.
Rich Yes. Let's just get right to the drink. So let me pull up my beloved recipe here.
Catelin Let's see how close I can get. But it's an ounce and a half of rum.
Rich It is an ounce and a half of white rum.
Catelin Because everything is an ounce and a half, everyone. That's the standard spirit measure. Ounce and a half of white rum, simple syrup, and club soda with a muddled mint.
Rich Yes. And then also a squeeze or an ounce of lime juice.
Catelin Spitz of lime. Yep.
Rich So this one has one and a half ounces of white rum, an ounce of lime juice. This one has two teaspoons of sugar. So we use-
Catelin Because you muddle with the mint, yeah.
Rich Turbinado sugar, you put it in with the mint, you muddle it, it chops it up and breaks the mint oils all out.
Catelin The best mojito I've ever had was in Cancun at Casa Del Habanos, which is like a, it's a cigar shop, but it's also a little cocktail bar. The man, whose last name I have since forgotten, his first name is David and his business card literally says "the mojito man on it."
Rich Wow. I mean...
Catelin It's like a world renowned mojito. But he muddles the mint with an actual sugar cane stock.
Rich Oh yeah, yeah.
Catelin In the glass. It's the most delightful. If you ask nicely, he'll also draw you a map of where to buy a very good hat in Cancun.
Rich Okay. So he's the mojito guy and the hat whisperer apparently. I think that, so when you say that, I'm remembering that in Cabo where we went to the all-inclusive club that was definitely not a swinger's club, but when we got there we realized that any time it says that, that means it is what it is. So that was very-
Catelin We don't have time for that today.
Rich Very awkward. We don't have time for that tangent, but just know the warning. If the reviews say-
Catelin The content warning is too long for that.
Rich If the reviews say, "definitely not," it means it definitely is. But it's still all inclusive.
Catelin That seems like the worst code ever. How do you decide?
Rich I don't know. It was because friends of ours booked it.
Catelin How good of friends?
Rich Really good friends. Not that good. Not that good. Wow. This tangent has gone off the rails. Anyway, while we were in Cabo, I was just going to say, one of the bartenders did muddle mojitos with a sugar cane.
Catelin It's so cute.
Rich Yeah it's a Mexican thing.
Catelin And because the collins glass is the perfect diameter and the... Yeah.
Rich Yeah. And you get the sugar.
Catelin Also, it's a sugar, but then there's an extra little earthiness to it from the actual cane that you lose when you refine the sugar.
Rich They didn't wash it or what?
Catelin No, it's just because it's like-
Rich Just Earth, because it came out of the Earth.
Catelin It's much closer to the earth than white sugar.
Rich Well, yeah. I mean we always use Turbinado sugar when we do mojitos, and I kind of having that crunchiness in the bottom of the glass. It's kind of nice. So yeah, that's the mojito.
Catelin And there isn't enough of it.
Rich And it's an easy enough one that you cannot fail to launch that mojito right into your mouth when you're done having it.
Rich Okay. So our topic's failure to launch, which is basically like you need to do something and you just keep, not procrastinating really, but you just-
Catelin Just like perfectionism is the enemy of progress.
Catelin Times 378,000.
Rich Correct. It's one of those where, sometimes just getting it out the door is better than having it be perfect.
Catelin I struggle with this so much in my photography business. It is unbelievable. Unbelievable. And not even with the actual product of photos or the creation of photos, but social media just is the bane of a small business owner's existence. And I get hung up there every time where I'm like, "Oh, maybe I have this colon in the wrong place and maybe this isn't the right words to say and what hashtag should I be using?" And so I just don't...
Rich Oh wow.
Catelin It's like, yeah.
Rich Well the good thing about that is you get enough business from repeat customers and word of mouth.
Catelin I have the best clients.
Rich Yeah. And you also don't then have to deal with random stranger wanting some sort of weird photograph because you could just be like, "I'm sorry, I'm booked."
Catelin Not anymore.
Rich Yeah. That can get really weird.
Catelin It's right up there with not a swinger's club.
Rich Oh, bringing it back around. Yes. Do not do that kind of photography. Thank you.
Catelin I had a man call me twice for like-
Rich For boudoir, right?
Catelin Intimate photos for his girlfriend. But he was very explicit on the phone.
Rich Intimate photos of him to give to his girlfriend, not like female boudoir which is an entire genre and is beautiful and wonderful.
Catelin Yeah. I wasn't ready to celebrate that particular human form by myself with a stranger.
Rich I mean, I can see that. I could absolutely see that.
Catelin I need a very specific referral, and then I also never need to see you again.
Rich Yes. So you need to be from out of town and a current client must recommend you and you may never come back to town after your photos.
Catelin I need three references and a promise that we will never look each other in the... No, that's probably not true at all.
Rich Yeah. I mean, and it's just your specialty isn't that anyway. It's families and kids and head shots and things like that. It's really, it's people, but people with clothes on.
Catelin My preference.
Rich That's my preference in most things in life. It's just easier that way.
Catelin It seems less awkward.
Rich Yeah. I think the other thing is sometimes the planning piece, you don't even get to perfection.
Catelin No, because there are so many choices.
Rich Yeah and you over plan it. And we talk a little bit about that. So oddly enough, producer Zac is our guest for this one. And we talk about launching the podcast and the pitfalls that we ran into and how we finally just decided to grit our teeth and do it.
Catelin And five minutes ago I'm like, "Hey, maybe we should try this next time."
Rich Correct. We are still improving.
Catelin It's the flywheel.
Rich Yes. So there are things that we still process improve, on notes and on prep work and other things, because some of it's still a little bit thrown together. And I think that by the time we get through maybe 15, 20 episodes, which I think we're getting close, probably at 15 by now or close to it.
Catelin I've lost track.
Rich With the ones we've recorded, not necessarily what's out there. But we'll be in a much better place and they'll go faster and they'll be easier. I think the other thing is, us not taking ourselves too seriously. If you were wondering about that at this point and you've listened to the podcast, I'm confused, but the beginning of this intro should also tell you that we don't take ourselves too seriously.
Rich Okay. So swingers and male boudoir photos are not the topic of this podcast.
Catelin Neither of those things will be launching in this next segment.
Rich No. Those will both fail to launch.
Catelin Shelved indefinitely.
Rich And continue to fail forever, for us anyway. Not that there's anything wrong with either of those, it's just not our thing.
Catelin That's not my yum. I'm not going to yuck someone else's yum, but that is not my personal yum.
Rich Well, and also if you're going to get into it, you kind of want to know upfront that that's what you're headed into.
Catelin Up frontal.
Rich Yes. Up frontal. Well that'll be a new term, up frontal. We'll see if Christian can get us to rank for that keyword, which has like four people searching for it probably. All right, so failure to launch. Let's just put a pin in this intro and dive into the topic.
Well hey there, Zac. Welcome back for another episode. You were in one recently I believe, or maybe not yet. Wait, has your episode aired yet?
Zac Yeah it just aired-
Rich A couple weeks ago?
Zac At the time of recording this, like a couple weeks ago. Yeah.
Rich Okay. Good, good, good. I thought so, but then I'm like, because I do listen to them after the fact when they're out in the wild. But yeah, so today we're here to talk about something completely different though. So you talked to us about content, and I guess it can be related. So as we talked in the intro, we're talking about the age old problem of failure to launch.
Zac Yes. Something I'm pretty familiar with, especially with this podcast. That's kind of, I think, why I'm on here is because putting together this podcast was a whole ordeal. But yeah.
Rich Yeah it was. And I think that what's been interesting about that is when you listen to the early episodes, the equipment we were using is very different than what we're using now. And actually some of the early episodes will air after this, so you may hear some differences then. But it was one of those things where when you're doing something new or you're trying something new, or even if you're doing something familiar, you can hit that point where you're just stuck and you just can't get it out the door.
Zac Exactly. Yeah. I think one of the things that I definitely struggle with is not overthinking things like that, like not overthinking a million different things and preventing something from getting out the door. But yeah, definitely want to get into that today.
Rich Right. Yeah. So I mean a good example with the podcast, we don't need two years worth of topics and all of the talking points written to be able to record an intro or an episode or a teaser, that type of thing. Or even to start recording two or three episodes. You also, we didn't even need to have the order of the episodes because the order we record them in isn't necessarily how they're actually going out there, right?
Zac Nope. Yeah, we just pulled together a lot of different episodes with a lot of good topics and then went from there with how we were going to order it out.
Rich So talk to me a little bit, because getting the topics is also hard because then you've got to figure out the research and everything. So I know that that was something we were kind of overthinking in the beginning, so how did we actually get over that hump?
Zac So with the topics, I think we just really tried to get really good in depth topics at the beginning. And I think, because of that, I kind of overthought like, oh, every topic needs to be well thought out and researched. But as long as we have a good topic with people that know what they're talking about, we can just pull together things a lot faster. Instead of writing out a whole list of questions and maybe potential answers, we can just write talking points down, which is actually kind of what we did for this episode.
Rich Right, because I remember when I interviewed Christian, it was two pages of questions and he had actually taken notes on answers and had those on a card. And then the most recent ones, like to your point, this is not even a half page, it's really five bullet points-ish on this about things we want to talk about. So I think that was one thing. I think the other thing was, just go to those things that people know really well and that they can talk about. So things that don't require a lot of research, they don't require a lot of prep or planning for the answers. And I think some of those became some of my favorite episodes so far. Like when Catelin and I went off on our culture rant, it ended up being two episodes because we just wouldn't shut up. And that ends up being really relatable I think.
Zac Yeah, for sure. I think you got to let people talk about what they know best. You got to let people drive the topics and the discussions themselves. You don't want to lead the discussion too much, because at the end of the day this has to be very conversational and fun, and it's not fun if we're just sitting here like, "Yeah, I really think social media is good because of this answer I wrote down." No, I think social media is good because... I don't know. I like the in the moment answers more than scripting everything now that we've gotten through this.
Rich And you don't want it to sound like people are reading things.
Rich And the easiest way to do that is to not read from a script, to do things that you know about and talk about and can really just kind of vamp on, I guess. I think the other thing is, and I know we talked about this in the beginning, we did a lot of research on how to make it perfect or how to make it really great. So like, what microphones should we use? What software should we use to record it? How do we filter it? How do we do this, how do we do that? And we finally just hit a point where it's like, okay look, we've got a couple of Yeti mics, we can sit in the office, we can figure out whether the air conditioning is a problem or people walking by. Let's just record something and see what happens.
Zac Yeah, I think that's a great point. Ideally, we could have gotten the perfect podcast room with [inaudible 00:13:25] on the walls and all this stuff, but I think working with what you have and then adapting is a lot better than trying to get everything perfect right away because you can make a lot of mistakes and you can overthink a lot of things that way. I think it's easier just to learn on the fly. Like going from our original setup and learning what worked and what didn't, and then these mics now, I think we wouldn't have gotten to this point if we didn't go through a lot of trial and error. And I think that's really important to do.
Rich Yeah. I think that's definitely true. And I'll go back to the episode where I interviewed Christian, it was one of the first ones. We were in the same office already, he was ready with the topic, I know about the topic enough to ask questions. So it was a really good one, but we just sat at our community table where we eat lunch, we had a Yeti mic in between us, we told everybody to shut up, we turned off the overhead AC, set the thermostat way higher, way low, I can't remember if we recorded that in winter or in summer, so we wouldn't have the fan blowing and it came on anyway at one point, and we just recorded it to see, what do we get? How is that? And it was fine. It was good. There isn't anything in that episode that necessarily makes it unlistenable or we wouldn't have put it out. But to your point, it was better for that to be good and ready to go and ready to launch than to be perfect and sitting on your hard drive or sitting as an idea because we hadn't gotten the perfect microphone or we didn't have a sound barrier, that type of thing.
Zac I think a lot of people when they're trying to launch big things like this, they'll overthink every little detail. And it's important just to do the best with what you have and strive for perfection, but don't expect it, I think is a good way of thinking of it.
Rich Absolutely. And I think we didn't cut corners necessarily or try to do a bad job. We did the best we could with what we had, and we also had a plan. So we had a huge plan and we really just cut that back and it was like, okay, let's use the mic we have, let's use these four topics, and let's just get them recorded. And we kind of trialed and errored it. We tried recording in our pod in Omaha as well to cut back on background noise, and that worked pretty well. We did some remote recording with software, that worked pretty well. We recorded in Catelin's attic bar, and that worked pretty well. And now we've actually got it down. So with the mics and the noise barriers, we can have multiple mics, multiple channels, multiple people, and actually the quality just has improved significantly. But again, there's like, I don't know, eight or 10 episodes out there that are that experimental process and that really pushing forward. And I think that's perfectly okay. It's great.
Zac Yeah, I think the setup we have now is definitely more adaptable. I mean, I don't want to say we can take it anywhere, but we can take it a lot of different places now and it'll probably turn out just as good.
Rich We could take this almost anywhere I think. And it was important for us also to kind of get that figured out before we started working on client podcasts and doing this for other people. We're doing it for ourselves. And I think that's another thing with failure to launch, is look at your risk. The risk of doing it for a paying client who's out there and expecting our expertise and fudging our way through it is a lot greater than the risk of us recording our own. I mean, worst case, we look at it and go, "Well that didn't work. That's a piece of crap." And we rerecord it or we reset it or we just scrap the whole idea. And so that risk piece is, sometimes getting over the failure to launch piece can just be trying it in a low risk environment, seeing how it goes, to get you a little bit more comfortable with just doing it.
Zac Exactly. Yeah. I think doing it for yourself is definitely a good test because if you can't do it or you can't accomplish what you want to accomplish, then maybe it's not something that you want to do.
Rich Yeah. Absolutely.
Zac Yeah. And I think us doing it here has really helped me streamline our process a lot. And every problem that comes up with, maybe somebody's tapping their boots or something like that, every problem that comes up is just a new challenge for me and a new thing that I learn so that if that problem ever comes up again, I can just adapt and overcome it. And I think with failure to launch, some people if they come into contact with those problems, they want it to be-
Rich Oh, it just stops.
Rich Like I'm just done. I won't move past this problem.
Zac They're like, "Oh, well that sucked. I don't know how to get rid of that." But like I said, I think the low risk encourages learning from your mistakes rather than putting everything into one big gamble.
Rich And I know on some of the earlier episodes, and we've worked to edit it out a little bit, but I have allergies, my breathing was super heavy and the mic was picking it up really heavy and I was super self-conscious on it. Had a bunch of people listen to it and they're like, "Yeah, you notice it, but it's not something distracting. I still get what's going on there." But now I'm a little bit more conscious of my breathing, but we also have better software, better microphones, that don't pick that up as much. So I think that's good. I do want to take us down a little bit of a rabbit hole because we do need a good tangent.
Zac Oh, of course.
Rich So when you talk about, try it for yourself and do it in that low risk environment, so it's kind of like if you're learning to cook a new dish. So I love Dan Dan noodles and I think it's one of my favorite dishes and I've always had to get it at a restaurant because I've never known how to make it. Well, I finally was like, "This is ridiculous. I shouldn't pay $18 for noodles." So I found a recipe and I tried it at home, just for us at home, and made it. It was pretty good. It was a little bit too spicy because I misread the ingredients, and also the Asian market sold us the chili flakes in oil that are the ones that native Asian people get.
Zac Oh no.
Rich And they didn't really warn us that they're more potent. We actually used the Google translate to scan and the label actually has something like fire or whatever, warns you that these are crazy hot. So I did that first and it was tearing our mouth apart and we were great. So then the next thing though, we had two friends come over who are really, really forgiving and really close friends, and basically told them, "This is our second experiment with this," and went through it there. I cut the spice in half and it was still like, tear your mouth apart, but the flavor was so good. And so everybody was chugging water and milk and bread. But I want to keep eating because the flavor's really good, but it's burning my mouth apart. And so before I do it for more people, like people at work or whatever, which I've never done, I might, I kind of got it down. You would probably like the previous super spicy.
Zac Definitely. I love spicy food.
Rich But yeah, it's that whole, do it in a smaller circle and then you can move out from there, which is good. So you talked about the challenges as well. So I think one of the challenges that I had as someone who understands that we make money based on the time we spend on things was, in the early days, the time you were spending editing podcasts, it was like, Zac, hello? You need to cut this back. You can't spend this many hours on it.
Zac Yeah. And that's definitely something I was conscious of, but I think that was also a part of the failure to launch.
Zac Yeah. I was very focused on perfection. But I don't regret spending the time I did because I learned a lot from it, and now I can edit a podcast maybe an hour, maybe two hours, if I'm really into it an hour, anyway. But I think because we did it in a low risk environment, I was definitely able to streamline that. And I think, yeah, that was just a part of our failure to launch at that point. Maybe I was a little too focused on perfection, but I definitely learned from that. And I think from it came, definitely good process.
Rich It took us quite a few hours to get those first couple of episodes edited. And again, part of that was the equipment and those background noises. Like somebody walking behind us sounded like you were stomping on the table.
Zac And then learning the software and how to use it and how to solve those problems. It was definitely a learning experience.
Rich Yeah. And I think that gets you to a point where, you're listening to it and you're over critical. You want it to be perfect. But you can find that person that you trust, the person is going to give you an honest answer, and have them listen to it. And when they go like, "I think you could launch this," it's like, okay, I'm really overthinking this. I'm really over perfecting this. It's probably fine.
Zac Yeah and I think that's something that I definitely learned. I would show it to Jesse and he's like, "Oh, this is good. There's one little thing that I would fix, but other than that." And I was like, well, I thought there was a lot more to fix in there.
Rich I hear 20 problems, but I guess I don't need to go micromanage and fix all of those.
Zac It's just over analyzation is something that's so tough to get over. It's like, when you're making something creatively or even technically, it's just like you want it to be the best it can be and you hyper focus on things that nobody would even hear. Like you're breathing, for example. I never noticed it until you pointed it out either.
Rich Yeah. And for me, that's all I heard. But even my mom listened to it and other people listened to it and they didn't even notice if I hadn't said anything.
Zac And that's how a lot of those things are, I think. I think, especially another challenge of running a podcast is getting comfortable with your own voice and being able to listen to it objectively and not be like, "Wow, my voice sounds horrible." I think a lot of people can relate to that. It's like, nobody likes hearing their own voice. And if you do, it's a special kind of person for sure.
Rich Well yeah. And that's something that... I mean, I have a background in radio. I did that for a long time in high school and college. But you learn really quickly that the voice you hear in the headphones and that you hear on the recording is actually what everybody else is hearing from you. That's your voice. The only one who's hearing the your voice the way you do is you, because you're hearing it more from your internal residents and whatnot. So it does take some getting used to, but I think that wearing headphones a lot, listening to yourself over headphones, the more you do it, the more you get kind of numb to that.
Zac For sure.
Rich But yeah, so I think those personal pet peeves that you have that no one else is going to notice are another, watch out from a failure to launch.
Rich You're probably the only one preventing this from launching because you're the only one being critical of those things.
Zac And it's like you said, I think a good solution to a lot of these problems is getting someone else to listen to it so that you can get someone's perspective that isn't over analyzing and doesn't have any opinion that... They don't want it to succeed as much as you, they're just coming in from the outside not knowing anything. So that's kind of the best feedback. I think just doing the best you can and then getting that honest feedback is probably the best way to go.
Rich Yeah. I think that's a great one. I think the last point, because I think we're kind of getting there on time here shortly. I'm just guessing, I forgot the timer. My bad. Again, you don't have to be perfection. We don't actually have our little timer, but I know Zac's watching the computer time. Is, you may hit a point where you're not the one to get this over the hump to launch. So you might have hit your limit, you might not have time, you might have hit your expertise limit, and you actually need to go get outside help.
Zac Yes. And I think that's another reason I probably took a lot of time in the beginning because I didn't want to rely on other people. But that's great about Antidote 71 too, is you can basically rely on anybody because we all have a diverse range of skill sets. It's kind of reminding me, we just had an internship interview, but that's all what they said about our company as a whole is they notice that anybody can ask questions and anybody can get help from anybody and it's such a chill environment. But yeah, definitely relying on others and not just yourself, because if you rely on yourself, you're going to hit the point where you can't do anything more. Even if there's a problem, you need to take a break from it, look things up or get someone that does know.
Rich Yep. Yeah. So I mean, there's the perfection issue. There's the hitting a block and just stopping, and I've seen so many people do that. You give them a list of five things and number four is something they can't do and they just stop. They don't even look to see the number, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, or whatever on the list, are things that they could do and they could come back to number four, that type of thing. So I think those are blocks. Basically getting that outside opinion is a great way to get over that hump and then ask for help. We don't have to do everything ourselves.
Zac Yes, exactly.
Rich Definitely ask for help. So those are really great ways to kind of jump over that failure to launch.
Zac Agreed. Yeah.
Rich Any other parting thoughts?
Zac Yeah, I think if you could take away one big thing is to just definitely get feedback from people. Because even if you're over analyzing, even if you're running into all these problems, getting someone else's opinion is going to give you that clarity you need. And I think, honestly, that's what helped me was getting Jesse's opinion on creative. Well, what's his official title?
Rich Chief Creative Officer.
Zac Chief Creative Officer, yes. And vice president.
Rich Yes. He's also a vice president. That's true.
Zac Yeah. He definitely helped me get clarity. Riley, Christian, all those guys.
Rich Yeah, you guys have a good network of people that you have that kind of casual feedback, where it's not a formal review process necessarily with the three of you kind of being in school together and you've known each other and you came in at about the same time for all of you. So yeah, I think that's great. And we'll wrap this episode up and leave it there. And hopefully you don't hate hearing your own voice while you're editing this, because it does need to be edited and get out the door.
Zac Yeah, I was just thinking about that too. When I was editing the content episode I was like, "Oh, I sound kind of cringy."
Rich But you don't, you just sound like Zac.
Zac Exactly. It's just not used to my voice.
Rich Understandable. All right. Well, thank you so much for joining me for this one. It was a really fun topic and the time just flew by, so.
Zac Oh my gosh, yeah. We're almost at, I think 20 minutes.
Rich Oh no. Oh no.
Zac But yeah, no, thanks for having me.
Rich All right. Talk to you later.
So when it comes to launching something new, remember that done is better than perfect, and launched and good is way better than stalled while it waits for perfection. The easiest way to get over this is to get a second opinion from someone you trust. Odds are, it's ready to go and you're just overthinking it.
That's it for another episode of Cocktails, Tangents, and Answers.
Catelin We hope it was as much fun to listen to as it was to make.
Rich You can find me on Twitter or Instagram at @RichMackey. I try not to make it too difficult. It's just my name. And you can find our agency at Antidote_71, that's A N T I D O T E_ 71 on Twitter and Instagram as well.
Catelin And you can find me at home sipping a craft cocktail prepared by my in-home bartender. It's my husband.
Rich We'll be back with another episode every other week and a whole new cocktail recipe, plenty more tangents, and of course, answers to those pressing marketing questions.
Catelin And if you'd like to send us a question, you can go to CTApodcast.live to send us an email.
Rich Or you can call our hotline at (402) 718-9971 and leave us a voicemail. Your questions might be used for future episodes of the podcast.
Catelin For now, like and subscribe and tune in next time.