OutlierHQ is a podcast, festivals, and a podcast network that was launched last week. The next Outliers Podcast Festival, one of three this year, is May 17 and 18 in Austin. Ever Gonzalez is the founder of this growing company. We had a chance to pick his brain about what he’s up to with of this Outlier stuff.
After selling a company he started, Ever launched his Outlier podcast back in 2013. When he first launched the show six years ago it was a daily. In 2015, Ever switched it to a weekly. The podcast is Ever interviewing founders, disruptors, and mavens who are breaking the status quo and changing the world. He refers to them as Outliers of course. It’s a behind-the-scenes look at their personal journey to success. And the podcast has launched other products in the podcasting space. Here’s our chat with Ever.
PBJ: What was it like doing a daily show?
Ever: It was nuts. In the beginning I had two professional hosts doing the show. They would trade off to give them a break. Every day would be a different episode with a different host but the same concept. We were spitting out so much content that it was hard to keep track of and give it the attention and polish it needed in order for it to be as effective as we wanted. Then a year into it, these two hosts went on to do their own thing. In the beginning I was thinking maybe I should hire someone else because I was the guy behind the scenes, but as I am waiting for the perfect person to take over I will do a few shows. After I did my first interview, which was Chris Rogan, a well-known entrepreneur, I loved it. It was laid back conversation with a good guy talking about cool things. Ever since then I have been hosting the show myself for the last 3 1/2 years.
PBJ: Are you doing the editing?
Ever: No we outsource it. I have a few part-time people we use for the music and editing. It is a very lean operation. We focus on the content and they focus on the editing.
PBJ: Back in 2013, how were you getting the word out?
Ever: Like everybody, we were obsessed with the downloads. In the beginning, we were getting 250 downloads per episode and we thought that was great. If it is the right 250 it is a great show. It got up to about 500, steadily climbing ever since. In the beginning, we spread the word through social media. We had a few followers, our newsletter kept growing. We shared our episodes that way. People are obsessed with downloads, which is great and important, but for us I do not even look at the downloads. I keep telling people even if no one listened I would still keep doing it for the benefits I get personally from having these amazing individuals (authors, musicians, entrepreneurs) on my show. They give me 30-45 minutes of their time and I get to talk to them. I have become good friends with some of these guys. A lot of them, because they had a good experience on my show, come and speak at my events — my entrepreneurial events and podcasting events, for free. They like the community and who we represent and they had a good experience. I do not have any sponsors on my show. We do not make money because on our podcast we make money because of our podcast. That is our marketing arm.
PBJ: What is the outliers community?
Ever: With the events we host, we are looking for and trying to bring in those that are doing different things than the norm. They are not usually working 9-5, they are running their own lives. We try to bring them in with the podcast, events, newsletters, and meetups, which is where the magic happens. Whenever we bring speakers and attendees together in one room, that is where we shine. People get to network and truly make business happen. They find clients, partners, friends, because of what we have been able to put together. We are spreading this outlier community digitally through everything we are doing, but for us, more importantly, it is through these live events we host on a regular basis.
PBJ: So it looks like you are trying to build a big business from the different arms of the podcast?
Ever: Yes. Everybody asks about downloads and sponsorships but that does not matter to us. Not only is the podcast a fun thing for me to do personally but it is our marketing arm. A lot of people know us because of the podcast and truly get to know us because of our live events.
PBJ: Talk about the festival May 17 and 18? Tell us what your vision is?
Ever: Last year we had two festivals: one in Utah and one in LA. They were a great success. We cap it at 250 attendees. We are trying to make it an intimate setting. This year we decided to host three events: one in Austin in May, one in Denver in July, and LA in September. We are bringing in speakers, panel discussions, live shows. We are also having a podcast pitch competition. People who have new ideas or a show that is six months or less can come and pitch their ideas. We are giving away cash and prizes, software, production services. We are looking for the outliers in podcasting. Those who are doing amazing things are not necessarily the big names, but there a lot of podcasters that have their heads down producing amazing shows. We are trying to bring them all together so they can learn and help each other. Two festivals in and I think we are accomplishing our goals. We are getting these podcasters out of their basements or closets coming to these events and mingle them with professional podcasters and companies, and beautiful things happen.
PBJ: What do you want people to walk away with when they come to these events?
Ever: I want them to walk away with a sense of community because podcasting can get lonely. There is a community out there that wants to help. We have had 200-plus entrepreneurial startup events that we have done in the past but when it comes to these podcasting festivals, these podcasters are very open and sincere about their willingness to help each other. I want the attendees to walk away feeling they are part of a group that wants them to succeed. We are not competing for downloads even though we have similar shows or bigger newsletters. Those who have been doing it for years at a high level to those that are just starting, the connection at our events is what makes it happen. We want them to know they are not alone and find resources to start, grow, or scale their podcast. That is why we do it.
PBJ: You recently made news with FutureX. Tell us about that.
Ever: We started a podcast network — a futurist podcast network. We’re bringing in some of these scripted shows that have to do with the future of food, or society, along with new shows, interview shows. We are launching the podcast network with a few shows in the pipeline. We are going to announce it and celebrate it at the festival. We are going to talk about the pros and cons of starting a podcast network but also joining a podcast network. We are going to unveil a lot of our shows.
PBJ: Will you be looking for new hosts for the network?
Ever: Yes. We are always looking for sponsors for the podcast network but more importantly we are looking for new shows and hosts. We have some shows that we want to produce and we are looking for the right fit in a host or production team as well as new ideas. Shows that are already out there focused on futurist-type topics that have been doing it for a year or so that are quality shows, we think we can help get to the next level. We are looking for those individuals at our events.
PBJ: What are your three favorite podcasts?
Ever: It changes every week. I get overwhelmed because there are many good shows. I really like Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard. He is lively, funny, with good guests. I like Girl in Space with Sarah Werner. My third would be Jason Calacanis with This Week in Startups.