Behind the Scenes: Podcast Interview with Greater Than Code

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Two months ago I did an interview with the Greater Than Code podcast. We talked about leveling up as a programmer, improving the value of meetings, and evaluating employees on their teamwork skills.

Other fun nuggets you can learn in this podcast: how to pronounce the word “coxswain”, what to say to an adorable child in an Arabic-speaking country, and what I think of Elon Musk.

Here is a link to the recording and the transcript:

090: The Journey with Chelsea Troy

Behind the scenes, here’s what it took for me to do the podcast:

Intro

A friend/mentor of mine introduced me to podcast coordinator and sound engineer Mandy, and I knew one of the hosts fairly well (see recording). I am fortunate in this regard. That having been said, if you think you’d like to appear on a podcast, my recommendation would be to do the following:

  1. Listen to a few episodes on their website or on iTunes and consider whether you’d like to do an interview like that.
  2. Think about which topics you would like to cover. It’s an hour(ish) interview, so I recommend having at least three topics so that you feel comfortable that you have enough things to say.
  3. Become a monthly patron of the show or make a donation via PayPal. This serves a few purposes:
    1. It helps support the show you like so they can keep recording!
    2. You get an invitation to the Greater than Code Slack. The Slack is full of thoughtful people having insightful conversations in several different channels like #conferences, #wellness, #politics, and #polyglot. You’ll get to meet other folks who are interested in the same topics as you, which can help you out with my next recommendation.
  4. Start thinking about how you would articulate your topics in a conversation. You can practice by talking with colleagues or chatting in online communities. I find that blogging helps me articulate my ideas much better than I do if I am speaking completely extemporaneously. If you have never done something like this before, that’s OK! But I would recommend some practice as described here.
  5. At this point it may make sense for you to reach out on Slack about interviewing for the podcast. There might not be a slot immediately (mine was planned almost half a year in advance)—which gives you some more time to practice!

podcast microphone

Scheduling

The Greater than Code staff helped me select a date for us to record. As I mentioned before, we chose the date several months in advance.

Preparation

The team asked me to send over any specific items that I wanted to cover in the conversation. To pick my topics, I looked back through my blog for posts I either was really proud of, or thought were really important, or thought miscommunicated my message such that I wished to clarify it.

The team also asked me to send over a headshot. I’m not a huge photos person, so I sent over a painting of myself :).

Recording

To record, we scheduled about an hour and a half on a Wednesday morning. I happened to be visiting another company that day, but my colleagues there generously arranged for me to record inside of one of the executives’ closed offices. I also borrowed a headset with a microphone from my colleagues. We connected and conversed over Slack.

As we connected to the call, I felt just a little nervous about saying anything that sounded awkward on the recording. I don’t run into that on the blog because writing allows me to edit what I said. The hosts allayed those fears. As we were chatting before we began recording, Coraline mentioned: “This podcast is pretty heavily edited, Chelsea, so feel free to say something over if you need to.”

Funny story: about halfway through the recording, an executive assistant came in to tell me that the executive whose office this was now (unexpectedly) needed it back. So I picked up the laptop and my bag and darted to a corner of the open office. The Greater than Code staff were incredibly accommodating, and the headset I was using managed to block most of the ambient noise in the office. I noticed this especially because I was in the market at the time for my own headset and mic to record voice over for a screencast on RubyTapas (post forthcoming on that). Sam, one of the hosts, had a set that looked and sounded great. I asked him which one it was, and he sent me the link! I now own this headset. I love it. Thanks, Sam!

Afterward

I did not have to do anything after the recording was over. Mandy took care of the editing (thank you!) and the podcast episode came out a week after we recorded.

Conclusion

I took some time to prepare for this podcast interview. Overall, I had a fantastic experience doing it!

More behind the scenes posts forthcoming: I’m shooting to do one every month.

If you liked this post about appearing on a podcast, you might also like:

This ongoing series about leveling up as a programmer

This ongoing series about refactoring our software toward processes

This post about seniority as a technologist

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