Chris Enns hosts multiple podcasts, so many in fact he had to start his own network: Goodstuff was launched by Enns, Adam Clark, and Tim Smith in early 2014. The programing comfortably inhabits the sweet spot between technology and culture without alienating non-techs or indoor kids — to borrow a term. Enns put the mic away for a few minutes last week to talk to me about himself and his role in the “podcast boom.”
Tell me a little about yourself, career, hobbies, origins, etc.
I’m a guy who has loved technology in various forms for most of my life – from begging my dad to buy a computer to play King’s Quest, building my own PC to play Castle Wolfenstein, running digital hockey drafts with whoever I could beg to join me to recording music, podcasts and video production – I’ve loved being involved in and using technology to be creative.
In a more practical sense, I’m a husband to my beautiful wife for 15 years in 2014 and father to three kids. They are the reason I’m trying to build a business and lifestyle that allows me to see them off to school, help out at home and in general be around as much as possible.
As a web developer, you’ve said you love helping get technology out of the way of people accomplishing things. How does podcasting play into that ethos?
That’s one of the great problems facing podcasting in 2014 (and beyond): how to get normal, everyday folks into podcasting without the difficultly. It’s something we’re thinking about constantly at Goodstuff. But in the meantime, having interesting discussions about technology in a way that’s interesting to people and helps them disseminate what’s worth looking into or worth skipping, whether it’s a new Apple product or a movie that’s just came out, is all part of that ethos.
Exactly how many podcasts are you currently producing and would you mind breaking them down for me?
http://goodstuff.fm/dailyish – Daily(ish) is my personal podcast that I do. 10 minutes or less. More of a podcast playground for me to mess around with formats and ideas.
http://goodstuff.fm/smym – Show Me Your Mic is a podcast where I interview other podcasters. It started as a way to geek out about gear, but it’s turned into more of a discussion about the why’s behind podcast.
http://goodstuff.fm/tirp – The Intellectual Radio Program is a fun discussion show I do with Adam Clark and Tim Smith, my co-founders of Goodstuff. We talk about some of the usual geeky stuff (Apple, tech, etc.) but also push ourselves into other areas such as work/life balance, future planning, money, and rants about life.
http://goodstuff.fm/nbsp – The Non-Breaking Space show is a podcast that my primary role has been of intro-voice-guy and editor. It talks to the best and brightest folks on the web about how and why they do what they do with a focus on web developers, designers, content strategists and other folks involved in creating the sites we all use.
I think that’s it? I feel like I’m forgetting something but that’s a lot of stuff.
New media is probably one of the most ephemeral disciplines people have ever claimed expertise in; What do you see your core capabilities as and how do you apply them to what you do every day?
Yeah it’s tough to figure out what to call yourself these days when everything changes so quickly. I don’t know if “new media” is a good term or not for what we do. I really enjoy dabbling in audio and video and so working on the web is a natural canvas for those disciplines these days. The instant feedback (or lack thereof) is almost an addictive drug for the creative side of my brain.
Where do see podcast in general in two years?
I see it shrinking and growing as most things do – similar to the way blogging has. There will be the core group of people who continue to podcast (or whatever it becomes called) no matter what – but I see a large number of shows disappearing in a year or two simply because people will run out of things to say or people to interview. We’re in the middle of a bit of a boom right now where everybody and their dog seems to have a podcast which is great for the industry. It helps us all figure out what’s working, what’s not and what we need to change in order to grow. Growing not necessarily in number but in quality and listenership.
Sponsorship of podcasts is another whole beast. As the quality of shows increases, and hopefully the listenership follows then you’d think the sponsorship dollars should flow as well. But imagine if Squarespace decides to stop sponsoring podcasts? There’s certainly other companies that would take its place in some form, but the sheer number of podcasts Squarespace supports right now is mind boggling. I really like what Lex Friedman and the folks at The Midroll (http://www.themidroll.com) are doing.
What shows are you listening to these days?
The Talk Show, Accidental Tech Podcast, Mac Power Users, Back to Work, CMD+Space, The Incomparable, The Fizzle Show, Shawn Today, Shop Talk, DLC with Jeff Canata, Hired – and of course everything on Goodstuff.fm.
Follow Chris on Twitter @iChris