Tue, 30 December 2014
It's funny how a little thing can begin. We're just two tech writers who, after completing a day job project that ended in sending one of us to a new job and the other caught in the layoffs, said "Wouldn't it be cool to do a podcast together?"
For so many people, ideas go no further than that: the talking stage. We know people who have talked about podcasting for years...we know people who have talked about wanting to write (or do other things even longer), who never reach the day where they say:
In our case, we did it...podcasting not even half a year after a job went belly-up and we settled into new jobs long enough to say, "We're in the swing of the new gigs, so...let's do this!"
One hundred episodes later, here we are! If you listen to us, you know we're some of the last people to boast about an accomplishment, but seeing other podcasts start up and die (and start up again and die again) in the time we've been doing Men in Gorilla Suits, we hope that what we've done -- if nothing else -- inspires others to do what they want no matter the results.
We know results matter to many. We see podcasts start and relaunch under different names (doing the same thing, over and over), until they get the numbers they crave.
This is not to say we will see a day when we have millions of Men in Gorilla Suits followers, but...it's to say that when we say "This matters to us," we're not giving lip service as we wait for huge numbers to roll in. Our best month saw a little over 500 downloads. Our worst month: 143. To put that in perspective, Christopher's fiction podcast once saw over 13,000 downloads in a month, and typically sees around 2,500 - 3,000 a month, but...that is a done deal and does nothing for Christopher. Men in Gorilla Suits has rewired the brain of a dyslexic, enabling Christopher to speak much better than any time in his life. While many would bail on the numbers we get (and probably not be as honest as we are about numbers), we do this because we love doing it. And, fortunately, a few big handfuls of people love this, too.
We can't thank those people enough...
So here we are, 100 episodes into Men in Gorilla Suits. Doing our thing for no other reason than it's what we like doing. Before barreling into the next 100 episodes, we decided to dedicate an episode to talking about what the first 100 episodes have given us...
We begin the 100th episode of Men in Gorilla Suits talking about if we thought we'd even get to episode 100. After that, we discuss if any episodes changed our minds about beliefs we've held dear to us...and what's surprised us most about the podcast.
There are so many podcasts out there. We dedicate some time to talking about what makes Men in Gorilla Suits unique, and what we've hoped would happen with the podcast that has not yet happened.
We create every episode from scratch. In creating a show totally from nothing, we sometimes roll show ideas around for quite some time. Find out what topic we've not been able to tackle yet -- and then find out our favorite episodes...and why they are our faves.
We've joked about the podcast going on until one of us finally dies. Were such a tragic thing to happen, what would the survivor do with the show? Also, find out if there's anything we'd do differently if we could go back and start over, knowing what we now know.
We've created enough content that you'd have to spend almost 5 days straight to listen to what we've done. It's easy to sometimes forget what we've talked about until looking back at our list of shows. We talk about episodes we've forgotten we've done before discussing what we hope for in the next 100 episodes of the show.
We're coming up on doing this for two years without ever missing a week. We close the 100th episode of Men in Gorilla Suits out by talking about the most interesting developments in our lives since we started doing the podcast.
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Whether you've listened to every episode we've done, just a handful, or maybe none at all but said, "It's cool you guys do that regularly," thanks for your support. We'd do this if we were the only two listeners, but knowing there are at least some people out there listening regularly means a lot to us. So...thanks for that!
Wed, 24 December 2014
Once upon a time, there were two guys who worked for a massive bank. These two guys wrote mortgage procedures -- because they found the world of tech writing that exciting. They had an idea -- they both found themselves saying:
And so, after completing a project to keep Uncle Sam from fining the ever-living-hell out of the big bank for not having certain procedures in place -- and after the layoffs arrived -- these two recorded their first podcast. And now, just one week away from episode 100, they have recorded this episode...one all about one of their favorite things: storytelling!
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We begin this episode with a trip to the past, recalling the first stories we ever remember hearing. From there, we move on to talking about the first stories we remember making up and writing.
We'd argue that stories are vital to being human. We discuss why people feel such a drive to tell stories...and then we talk about whether we prefer stories told to us by others in person...or crafted stories meant to entertain or enlighten.
Stories are so common that many of us don't even stop to think about them. We share some of the benefits storytelling has on society before talking about some of our all-time favorite stories. After that, we talk about whether or not some stories inherently have more merit vs. other kinds of stories (e.g. literary fiction over genre fiction).
Want to know our feelings about jokes? If you listened to the Comedy episode you probably already know, but if not -- we dedicate some time to something many people live for [that Christopher generally cannot stand!]
We've talked about advertising before. (An episode in which Shawn found himself hanging out with Molly Hatchet.) Marketers love to "tell stories." Find out our thoughts on that. (And take a look at this video by Stefan Sagmeister.)
We imagine a world without any stories before discussing what stories we're currently working on...and why they are the stories we're working on, instead of any others.
We close out the episode as we always do: looking toward the future. This time, we talk about what the future has in store for stories.
Have a favorite story you'd like to share, or maybe some thoughts about anything from this episode? Feel free to share in the comments below.
Thu, 18 December 2014
What do books, brains, and the Internet have in common? They're full of all kinds of data.
We are so surrounded with information that data often doesn't even register with us as anything special. Data has become ordinary, something we become linked to more and more each day. Technology has even allowed us to wear items that track data about how much we move, where we've been...so many things. Hell, this podcast is full of data. Granted, it's usually talking points about Star Trek and many other things, but when you stop and think about data, it's hard not to be amazed by the time in which we live.
Obviously, this week, we're talking all about data.
We begin with the first time we were aware of the massive amount of information out there -- when we realized there was more data out there than we could possibly know. After that, we talk about right now -- how all this data affects us as a species. Are we better off...or worse? We also discuss the first time we experienced data overload.
What humans do with data is always interesting. We talk about whether or not we make more decisions based on data or on feeling...before asking if, given enough data, if it's possible to predict future events.
We provide a lot of data to social networks. If someone were to die suddenly, how feasible would it be to make an accurate facsimile of that person in virtual space, using only data collected from the Internet? We give that thought some time before moving on to how concerned we are by how much data is collected about us on a daily basis -- and how much personal data about us is online.
It's no secret that personal data is big business. Marketers salivate for data. We talk about some of the slimiest uses of personal data we've seen and whether or not we'll reach a point where too much data about us will be out there.
We end the episode discussing the future of data and how it will be used.
As always, feel free to provide data about this episode in the comments below!
Thu, 11 December 2014
"I'm just not comfortable around people who aren't like me..."
"Hold my beer and watch this..."
Three statements many would attribute to rednecks...but are they entirely true? That's what we're talking about this week on Men in Gorilla Suits.
We begin by talking about the first redneck we ever knew. Recently on the show, we talked about stereotypes. After our first redneck encounter, we discuss whether or not rednecks live up to all the stereotypes.
After that, we talk about what we admire the most (and least) about rednecks, before moving on to whether or not rednecks are inherently neo-conservatives hellbent on talking about their beliefs at every turn.
Find out if we've ever considered ourselves rednecks. (Hint: Christopher has been noodling.) One doesn't have to be a redneck to have appreciated fine, redneck culture like tractor pulls, dirt track racing, or blowing shit up with dynamite. Find out what rednecky things we've been part of.
Rednecks and pop culture go together like Jack Daniels and pork rinds. Find out our favorite redneck depictions in pop culture before we talk about our all-time favorite redneck(s). And jumping back to pop culture, we share what we each deem to be the ultimate redneck tune -- and then jump to our all-time favorite stories about rednecks.
We close out the episode asking if other countries have rednecks and what the future for rednecks in America looks like.
As always, you're more than welcome to chime in about anything related to this topic in the comments below.
Wed, 3 December 2014
Christopher's first novel is about a car. Shawn's series of novels, while not containing traditional cars, feature all kinds of cool vehicles. We're not the only authors who feature vehicles in our stories. The automobile created the American landscape. Nations grew up and together because of cars. We're amazed it took us 96 episodes to finally dedicate an entire episode to cars.
We begin with the first cars we remember...and then talk about our first cars. Being geeks, we know too much about cars in pop culture -- so we talk about our favorite vehicles in movies, books, and television.
Cars turn heads: find out what cars we would have if we could have any cars we wanted.
When we record episodes of Men in Gorilla Suits, one of us drives to the other's place...in a car! Find out what cars we drive -- and if we like them.
We all have memories of events happening in cars. We dedicate some time to our favorite car memories before talking about the one car we've absolutely hated!
Car people are a different breed. Find out if we get along with them or if we find them a bit too odd.
We both love the Simpsons episode where Homer gets to design the car of his dreams. Find out what features we would add to cars that are currently unavailable.
It's easy to take cars for granted; we talk a bit about what society would be like without them. After that, we discuss self-driving cars and if we lose something as a society when self-driving cars become the norm.
We wrap it all up, as always, looking to the future with our predictions of what is in store for our beloved vehicles down the road. (Get it, down the road?! We crack ourselves up! (Right now, Shawn is shaking his head and saying, "I had nothing to do with that pun -- that was all Christopher!"))
What was your first car? Have a favorite car story or want to chime in on any of this week's points -- have at it in the comments below!