Last year, former This American Life producer and Planet Money co-host Alex Blumberg launched a business of his own: Gimlet Media. In true journalistic fashion, Alex decided to document the entire process of starting Gimlet — from botching a pitch to legendary venture capitalist Chris Sacca, all the way through finding his business partner Matt Lieber and negotiating their equity in the company — and release it as a podcast of its own.
Thus, StartUp was born. Alex best described StartUp as a podcast series “about what happens when someone who knows nothing about business starts one.”
Fast-forward to today, and Gimlet has hired 20 full-time employees and brought in $2 million in revenue. They’ve also launched three new shows (including StartUp) that are routinely at the top of the charts on iTunes, attracting an audience of over four million people each month.
Yep. All of this from a guy who knew nothing about business.
This week, Alex and Matt join me on The Growth Show to tell the story of Gimlet and their growth over the last year. Here are a few highlights from this episode:
- Background on Alex, Matt, and Gimlet Media [1:30]
- Behind Gimlet’s growth [4:00]
- The secret to making content that people want and the quest for product-market fit [5:30]
- Gimlet’s new business model [8:00]
- Why they believe that ads don’t need to suck [10:00]
- What they’ve learned about business since pitching legendary VC Chris Sacca in the first episode of StartUp [12:45]
- Gimlet’s three core values, culture, and emphasis on transparency [18:20]
- Hiring and maintaining culture as they continue to scale [23:00]
- Burnout [24:00]
- Alex’s experience as a first-time CEO and the adjustment from always being “the nice guy” [27:00]
- One way to get better at storytelling and the biggest mistake people make when trying to tell a story [29:40]
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