22 March 2022

Why I’m adopting Packy McCormick’s
Not Boring podcast style

Packy McCormick takes a simple approach to podcasting.

On most episodes of his Not Boring podcast, about web3 and startup strategy, he simply reads his latest newsletter.

This works for me as a listener. I don’t have much time to read. I do have time to listen: while I’m driving, while I’m doing the dishes, while I’m working out.

Simply by reading what he’s written, Packy widens his audience to include me and countless other podcast-first people.

But a wider audience isn’t the only reason I’ve adopted Packy’s podcast style.

Writing helps you think

If you think you know your thoughts on a topic, try writing them down.

You might find that they’re not as clear or as precise as you imagined.

Writing your thoughts helps you think your thoughts. It allows you to go over them again and again until they’re well honed, well reasoned and well ordered.

I know that if I take the time to write out my thoughts on a topic before recording a podcast, I’ll be much surer of what I want to say on that topic.

Writing helps you talk

Have you ever tried just talking about a topic?

It isn’t so hard if you have someone to talk to. The conversational podcast style works well.

But for solo podcasts, it is hard.

You’ll find yourself endlessly fumbling, rambling, losing the thread.

Reading what you’ve already written on a topic, on the other hand, makes for a much clearer, denser podcast.

The number of ideas per minute is much higher. You won’t be wasting a moment of the listeners’ time.

As a podcast listener myself, I know that I want that clarity and density. Reading what I’ve written helps me deliver it to my listeners, too.

Talking helps you write

And it goes the other way.

Writing helps you talk, but talking helps you write, too.

If I know I’m going to be reading my words on a podcast, I’ll work hard to make them more conversational.

If I don’t, I know they’ll sound awkward when I speak them. Stilted writing makes for even more stilted speech.

And since words are so much easier to read when they’re conversational, all that work I put in makes my writing better.

I stop at smoke alarms

I won’t be adopting every aspect of Packy McCormick’s Not Boring podcast style.

For a few episodes, Packy’s podcasts were punctuated with the occasional piercing beep of a smoke alarm. I spent some time waiting by each of the smoke alarms in my house in turn, trying to determine which of them had a low battery, before I realized that the beeps were coming from Packy’s house, not mine.

I’m recording my podcasts in the deepest corner of my basement, insulated from the sounds of logging trucks and ambulance sirens on the highway, as well as the softer clicks and purrs of my fridge and my furnace.

Still, when it comes to reading what I’ve written, I’m with Packy all the way.

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