Audience Engagement Digital Publishing Top Stories
3 mins read

“All our money was in Silicon Valley Bank”: Podcast of the week

Welcome to the first in our series of ‘Podcast of the Week’ – a chance for us to curate and serve up those podcasts we feel are deserving of your time. 

Or, to put it bluntly: we’ve listened to them, so you don’t have to! 

In all seriousness, it would be a brave analyst to dismiss the high quality of media podcasts on our curation list – all of which truly are excellent in their own way, not least in terms of content, production values and, crucially, insights.

Moving forwards, what we aim to do is to bring you one key podcast a week, along with a few choice timestamps and insights of our own. 

If you’re still craving more, we’ll also include two or three other podcasts that are ‘bubbling under’ and worthy of a listen on your commute or whilst cooking dinner.

Right, down to business…

Podcast of the Week:

We’re huge fans of Rafat Ali, Founder and CEO of B2B travel vertical Skift. A serial entrepreneur, Rafat is a champion of ‘the slow route to growth’ and in this podcast with Media Voices he goes into detail about his method of building a robust B2B business in a considered, painstakingly slow, non-VC fashion. 

And by ‘robust’, he means it – Skift has withstood Covid where in his own words, “we lost three years” (travel being the hardest hit vertical), the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank, as well as many other curveballs that have hit the travel brand squarely in the face. 

TL;DR: Become the best specialist you can be within your vertical. Nail it. 

Critical timestamps: 

17.06: “I’m not a data led entrepreneur, I’m a very instinctive entrepreneur. If you asked me the monthly traffic for Skift I couldn’t tell you off the top of my head, but I can quickly find it for you. I have a good business head otherwise we wouldn’t have come this far.”

18.17: “We have survived everything – including not being able to raise money; Covid (which should have been a death blow because 100% of our revenues came from the travel industry); And all of our money was in Silicon Valley Bank which was a three day nightmare….I feel we’ve passed the rubicon where we will fail.”

21.10: “Many media brands, especially in B2C, raise too much money and the expectations become warped. You can’t be a one trick pony, you must bring all business models along and have multiple revenue streams.”

22.50: “A lot of companies don’t know what their core is, their reason for existence. Maybe they knew when they started but they have lost it along the way. Eleven years in, we think a lot about this, how do we stay relevant?……I speak to two people in the industry every single day to keep on top of the industry.”

If you enjoyed Media Voices’ podcast with Rafat Ali, then you might wish to take a double measure by watching a pre-record interview he gave prior to the FIPP World Media Congress 2023 in June. Entitled, ‘Building a multifaceted vertical media business from scratch’, you can watch the video here.

Bubbling Under

Unmade Start the Week: Grim outlook for marketing industry; Media’s ‘biggest horror decisions.

Former Mumbrella founder Tim Burrowes started Unmade in 2021 and it offers a solid twenty minute insight into media and advertising Down Under. Many of the challenges facing Ozz media are no different to those in Europe or across The Pond, not least the cost of living crisis, password sharing, etc.

The latest podcast is a good example of the Unmade genre, with an interesting look at Ozz media’s biggest horror stories, although as Burrowes remarks, “there are no stupid people at the top of media, and often we don’t know the full story behind events.” It’s a chilly time in Ozz, and the July/August winter doesn’t help.

EmpowerUnleashing potential: Hannah Ajala’s Impactful Mission for diversity and empowerment in journalism.

Wempower is a London based media platform focused on stories of ordinary women that are powerful, inclusive and inspiring. In this episode, we get to hear at first hand how black journalist Hannah Ajala perceives the media environment she works in. 

For UK publishers, it’s a rude awakening – diversity and inclusion might make for good brochure copy but at the sharp end, the results aren’t feeding through – only 1% of UK journalists are black. 

It comes at a time when many media candidates are asking potential employers as their first question, “What’s your DEI policy?” Let this podcast serve as a warning.