Have you ever listened to a podcast and asked yourself, what would it really take to make a successful career of out podcasting?
Spoiler alert: It takes listeners. Lots of them.
The thing is, how are listeners supposed to find YOUR content in a vast sea of 30 million podcast episodes (and counting)? Unless you used to live in the White House, how are you supposed to stand out amongst 850,000 other podcast creators?
2 years ago, we started to wonder exactly this. It kept us up at night, actually.
We wanted to address the problem of podcast saturation and give creators a better chance at turning their side hustle into their main hustle. So we did. We built LISN. LISN is the world’s first podcast clipping platform, built to make the podcast world a better place for listeners and creators. LISN allows listeners to discover, clip, and share podcasts to social media — enhancing creator visibility and voice.
We’re thrilled to be introducing LISN to the world soon in the name of revolutionizing podcasts, but we want to share our story first.
It Was All a Dream
It all started 2 years ago, the Summer of 2018 — a time when people went to the office and hated their corporate jobs for reasons not related to a global pandemic. One of these people was our first co-founder, Matt.
Matt was working as a Financial Consultant at the time and was planning what could be considered as one of the earliest exit strategies from a Finance career. It was the perfect time to dream up something crazy.
Around this time, podcasts were becoming an increasingly popular method of ingesting information — from mundane political theory and investment advice to the raunchiest(non)secrets of NYC influencers, to Elon Musk’s wildest weed-infused musings. Podcasts were emerging as the place to learn anything on demand.
Matt became hooked on podcasts the quintessential way: segueing from a Joe Rogan DMT story to a Guy Raz interview with James Dyson. It was a classic example of how much you can learn through a podcast. That’s all it took to form the inciting incident in the story of LISN: “I should make podcasts my job”.
An entrepreneurial idea is always a solution to a problem, so Matt thought “What do I hate most about podcasts?”
Bingo: Podcasts are great until the host pulls something up on their laptop and you feel like you’re watching a concert from outside the arena. An app to show listeners what podcast hosts were talking about was to be the first iteration of LISN.
That’s when Matt looped in our second co-founder; Taylor. Just like that, there were two guys with an idea and no clue how to make it happen. So they just started doing things, trying to find a coder and a designer, taking their idea to anyone who would listen, even Matt’s old high-school teacher.
Nobody was completely sold on the idea and they soon realized this dream of LISN was not enough to be a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) — sorry what? Cue Google. They were then hit with some advice and another start-up term: pivot.
Nobody gets stoked when they have an epic vision and are forced to go back to the drawing board, but did you know Youtube started as a video-based dating service in 2005? Woah. Major-key pivot. Let’s do this.
So LISN’s co-founders decided to turn their attention to market-research: what’s working and what’s going to be hot for a while? Twitch. That’s what’s up, LISN is going to be the Twitch of podcasts.
We wanted to emulate Twitch because our core vision has always been to allow the average podcaster to monetize their podcasts and get notoriety organically. Twitch is successful because they’ve built a community and leveraged social networking, and we figured we could do the same.
The idea seemed legit. Flash-forward to December of 2018 — our team finally accumulates a proficient programmer: our third co-founder — Zameer. We were finally ready to start changing the world of podcasts.
Honestly, what could go wrong at this point?
Well. I guess we should have known that with an idea so legendary, there would be like-minded people after it. Yes, you guessed it. Someone already figured out that monetizing podcast creators is where it’s at. We discovered that two other companies were already achieving this end, and both backed with over $100 million in funding.
You know what they say about pivots, the second one is always harder than the first. Ok. so nobody actually said that… we made that up… but it’s true.
Although it was somewhat relieving to achieve market validation of epic proportions, LISN needed to bring something fresh and new to the podcast monetization scene. We were back at the drawing board, again.
Our brainstorming session led us to continue to research the podcast market and the behaviors of listeners. We realized that people love to share what they’ve learned or something they really enjoy, for a myriad of reasons.
The top two being:
- To share valuable content with others
- To define themselves
Existing social media platforms allow users to share pretty much anything quickly and effectively — except podcasts. The average podcast episode is 43 minutes long. If you share this with your followers, how will anyone know which part you thought was important? How will anyone get your message?
We dove into this a little further to validate the need for a more effective method of sharing podcasts. It was then that we realized something big. On Youtube, the JRE (Joe Rogan Experience) channel, established in 2013, had accumulated 2.4 billion views, but the JRE Clips channel? 3.2 billion views. In less than 3 years.
People like clips. They’re quick, neat, and easy to share. We wanted to build on that while still staying true to our mission: allowing creators a better chance at the monetization of their passion.
So LISN, as we know it today, was born. The world’s first podcast clipping platform designed to make creators money by letting listeners easily discover, clip, and share.
From Mid-2019 to now, Team LISN has been working to bring our vision to life, while continuing to ride the crazy pre-launch rollercoaster of highs and lows.
We built a team of profusely motivated and talented coders, marketers, and product designers, while also managing to assemble an experienced advisory board to guide us.
Despite grappling with the unpredictable nature of life (severe mountain biking accidents, original team members dropping out, etc.), Team LISN has been on fire like never before, and in early 2020 we acquired our first lead customers.
At that point, we were finally feeling like a real company, about to bring real change to an industry we passionately stand behind.
As the world became engulfed in the throes of a pandemic, Team LISN was perfecting the build of our podcast clipping platform. We were proud to beta-launch to a small group of creators and listeners on July 31st, 2020.
We hope that this group of LISN’ers will provide us the feedback we need to bring our solution to podcast saturation and profitability to the rest of the world.
LISN UP — Join the Revolution
Whether you are a creator or a listener, we’re inviting you to sign up on LISN’s website to join the podcast revolution. You’ll be the first to know when LISN is available for download.
We’re excited to change the world of podcasts with you.