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.
Behind the scenes, here’s what it took for me to do the podcast:
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:
- Listen to a few episodes on their website or on iTunes and consider whether you’d like to do an interview like that.
- 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.
- Become a monthly patron of the show or make a donation via PayPal. This serves a few purposes:
- It helps support the show you like so they can keep recording!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
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.
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 :).
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!
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.
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.