2020 was the year of the podcast, at least for Instil.
Like many other organisations, we found ourselves in disparate places, working in makeshift offices in spare bedrooms or at dining tables. While for many those makeshift workspaces have been professionalised over the last 10 months, we find that we're still disconnected from our colleagues, our friends, our community.
In an attempt to retain some of that community feeling, we searched for tools that would let us share some of the office experiences we were missing. A podcast lets us replicate the random coffee-machine conversations that used to punctuate our days.
Weeknotes, a podcast by Instil, was born.
I've long been interested in the concept of weeknotes; a practice common in digital circles of journaling your week and for several years I recorded personal achievements, failures, loves and hates in a private Evernote notebook. Sadly that practice has been lost during 2020… We are applying this concept of weeknotes to our podcast efforts.
On a weekly basis, but not every week, we publish a conversation between three or four Instillers. I have accidentally become the host, mainly because I said I would organise the first one. I aim to produce something that's shorter than 20 minutes; I've missed that target more times than I've hit it.
Our topics are chosen by the guests, each one bringing something they've been working on recently, or that they're interested in and want to share with everyone. I'll occasionally add one of my own to the pot. Often, the best part of the conversation is the bit that we didn't plan for. We chat for an hour over Zoom, I save the recording and chop it down to size. I do quite a lot of editing to get it the way I want it.
Right now, the target audience is “people who work for Instil”. I'm relying on insider knowledge of the team and the pleasure of hearing someone we haven't spoken to in a while for our success. We've only on episode 9 though, so we're still finding our feet. I do think non-Instillers will find it interesting, and I want to find a space in your podcast subscriptions.
I'm keen that we don't make it too “corporate”. This isn‘t a sales vehicle, but we're not naive, it is a marketing one. We're unlikely to feature outside guests very often, and we won't use it to directly promote our services or a specific product (so no, we won't do ad reads or sponsored slots). We definitely will talk about the products we build (when we're contractually allowed to), the way we build them, the processes we follow and the tools we use. We are opinionated, and I expect our opinions to shine through.
I expect you to disagree with us sometimes. Please let us know. I expect to hear opposing opinions on different episodes, perhaps even in the same episode.
A Podcast? Typical…
There's an ongoing meme about the collective noun for a group of young, white men being a podcast (here's one story). Here's a reasonably common tweet with the same sentiment. Well, 2020 came calling and we succumbed. However, I'm aiming for a wide range of voices and opinions. And not a lot of me.
Diversity in tech is a big issue. Diversity in Northern Ireland is a big issue. Diversity in Instil is naturally in a similar position. Because of our geography and our industry it's difficult for our podcast to not be filled with the voices of young, white men; that's the majority of staff here at Instil. We'll try.
Also, please let me know if we sound like this
Weeknotes, by Instil is a podcast hosted by Ryan Adams featuring the staff of Instil Software. Published most weeks on a Wednesday it features 20 minutes of chat about code, technology, product and other stuff that has been interesting the Instil team recently.
Subscribe to the podcast from podcast.instil.co, or find it on most Podcast Directories.