Alex Blumberg was only vaguely familiar to me when I listened to an interview with him on a podcast series that accompanied my early morning bicycle rides in late 2015. I had listened to Planet Money on occasion, and found it amusingly interesting most of the time. I had rarely, if ever, listened to This American Life, though many friends had recommended it.
Blumberg caught my full attention in this conversation recorded in October, 2014 as he described the process of sharing his experience starting up a new company. If you have been reading these pages for a while, you will understand why. I have now gone on to listen to all episodes of the StartUp series that he described in that interview. Whether or not you are an entrepreneur, I heartily recommend the series for the humanity it demonstrates. In their own words:
StartUp is a podcast series about what it’s really like to get a business off the ground. In Season 1, Alex Blumberg told the story of launching this business, Gimlet Media, a podcast network. In Season 2, Alex is joined by co-Host Lisa Chow, to follow an entirely new company.
The business is Dating Ring, a dating company that combines technology with old-fashioned matchmaking. The founders are women in their 20s, outsiders in the male-dominated world of Silicon Valley. And over the 10 episodes, we’ll take you inside that world. Some of the challenges they face are different from Alex’s: founder disagreements, hellish fundraising, and sexism. But just like the Season 1 story, theirs is also a transparent account of something that happens everyday in America, but we rarely get to see firsthand: starting a business.
In case you decide to try it, go back to the first episode here.