07. Podcats with Niels de Hoog & Katie Macoy
We're back! Thanks for bearing with me through that week of silence. As luck would have it, I got sick on my first day of vacation, and promptly spread it to Lauren, so we were both out of commission and in the bitter cold of Colorado for a few days. So the break was needed on many levels. I'm really excited about this week's episode, though, and I think you'll see why.
We've said it previously on the show: There are great apps out there for listening to podcasts, but there's next to nothing by way of discovering new apps that are actually good, short of word of mouth.
Niels de Hoog and Katie Macoy saw the same problem. There are great podcasts out there that everyone knows, but how much good content are we missing on a regular basis? Luckily, they happen to be iOS developers, and they happen to be dating. The logical conclusion: spend their free time making their first app together: Podcats. Podcats is a podcast discovery app-- so far as I can tell the first of its kind-- that allows users to share and up-vote shows that they like. It's kind of like the podcast version of the Reddit front page. Popular shows rise to the top, and you can pretty quickly see what people are listening to and liking any given week.
Niels and Katie were incredibly generous in this interview, and were a joy to talk to. Plus they're from Amsterdam, and their accents are fantastic. To check out their app, you can look them up in the iTunes App Store (no Android yet, sorry), or check out their website! (http://podcatsapp.com) Drop them a review or comment on iTunes, they'd appreciate it!
Working with your significant other? Defining your roles is apparently the trick to not breaking up.
Podcasts are incredibly global, and one of the things that Podcats is trying to solve is that people (no matter where they're from) are only really familiar with the big-budget podcasts like This American Life. What non-English shows do you listen to?
Apple provides a search API that you can use to look for Podcasts in your app: https://www.apple.com/itunes/affiliates/resources/documentation/itunes-store-web-service-search-api.html
Niels wrote the app using Objective-C, but Apple's got a new programming language called "Swift" that they're really proud of. (https://developer.apple.com/swift/) They make it look pretty fun, so maybe check it out if you're interested in learning about iOS app development.
Podcats actually keeps an up-to-date database of their podcasts on their own server, allowing for faster (and more accurate) searching for the podcast you want.
Podcasts are funny because we kind of want to say, "FUCK THE MAN!!!" (the man being iTunes), but we kind of need the man to make listening to podcasts work well. One day, maybe there will be many podcast providers and many podcast aggregates, lessening our reliance on a big corporation as the backbone of the system?
Katie brought up a really good point of starting with a minimal viable product for your app-- start small, so you can get your app out there, and based on public interest you can decide to grow the app where necessary.
If you're looking for an interesting podcast community, I recommend checking out the podcasts subreddit (http://reddit.com/r/podcasts). That's how I discovered podcasts, and there are plenty of people talking about the shows they make and love.
There are some great podcast-player apps out there. For instance: Downcast, Overcast, and Castro.
Support Podcats by downloading it and recommending it to friends! The more people use it, the more fun it will be for everyone.
Shows We Talk About:
This American Life
Niels and Katie's Recommendations:
This American Life
Love + Radio
"Pretty Much Every NPR Podcast"
Dan Carlin's Hardcore History
I'll say it one more time, go use Podcats! It's a lot of fun, and you can find some new interesting podcasts through it. That website once again is: http://podcatsapp.com
Next week, I'll be chatting with Craig Shank and George Drake Jr. of Everything Sounds, a show about sound design in important and unexpected places. Check it out and tune in next week! http://everythingsounds.org
Keep listening to podcasts!