I had the opportunity to chat with Paul Kemp, host of the world class App Guy Podcast. On his show he interviews app founders inspiring listeners across the globe. Kemp has successfully launched dozens of apps, web services and products. He is top 10 in the world on Product Hunt, and has been involved in an app launch that made it to top 2 (beating apps such as Minecraft & Grand Theft Auto). Here is our discussion:
Jennifer Spencer; Tell us about your career before you got involved with hosting a world class podcast show. You held several CEO positions how did this shape your perspective on entrepreneurs and mobile apps?
Paul Kemp; So, before I got into hosting the podcast, I had a very different career. As it happens, I worked for the Queen’s stockbroker. They were called Cazenove and I was based in London, next to the Stock Exchange. Life was really how you would imagine a city job to be. Just think of the Wall Street type films. It was pinstripe suits, city bars, michelin chefs cooking lunch, butlers taking your coat. It’s what I thought I wanted out of life. I thought money and material things were the sole purpose in life.
After over a decade of working in the city, I quit everything to start my own business. It was a transformational change in my life. I talk about it all on my hobby podcast called ‘The Entrepreneur Dad Podcast.’
As for the Role of CEO shaping my perspective on entrepreneurship and mobile apps, it was actually the reverse. You see, working in the city means you tend to become obsessed with job titles, positions and status. Setting up your own company, all this superfluous stuff means nothing at the end of the day. It took a while for me to switch. When I set up my first limited company, after leaving my city career, I went through a phase of awarding myself different grandiose titles such as CEO. After a few years of startup life, the novelty wears off and you focus on other more important things such as helping other entrepreneurs, networking, building your influence, reputation and brand.
JS; Now let’s transition to podcasts. Where did the name App guy podcast come from and more importantly where did the inspiration come to host a podcast?
PK; Ironically, the name of my podcast came from a podcast. I was listening to a show called email marketing podcast (or it may have been another show). In any event, the host was talking to the guest about his online nickname ‘The Autoresponder Guy’. They discussed how easy it was to remember, how simple it was to refer business. You just say, hey – you need the autoresponder guy. It was effective at helping people spread word-of-mouth.
Now, I knew I wanted to do an entrepreneurial show about apps. Therefore, I coined the term The App Guy Podcast. It’s not very creative I know, but 380 episodes later – I’m still using it.
So, where did the inspiration to host a podcast come from? It was when I got my first iPhone, the 3GS model. I’d listened to podcasts before, such as the comedian Ricky Gervais, but I never knew they could be about entrepreneurial stuff. Since the iPhone made it much easier to consume podcasts I began to listen to lots of shows. At some point, I remember an inspirational chat about the guest transitioning from a ‘consumer’ mentality to a ‘creator lifestyle’.
As it happens, I was in Dubai at the time of finding these podcasts. I was living a digital nomad lifestyle with my wife and young twin boys. My entrepreneurial journey was getting me a little down. I was tired of working for clients that wouldn’t pay me. I was tired of working with people I had zero connection with in life. So, I had two objectives in mind. First, to start creating more than I consume and, second, to become an authority in the app world. Since I struggled to maintain my discipline with writing and blogging, it seemed that audio was the perfect choice for me.
Also, I’m good at networking, building relationships and I’ve been told I have a good radio voice, so an interview format podcast show seemed like the perfect choice for me.
JS; I can see you have reached an international level with your podcast, how were you able to pick up momentum and go global?
PK; Reaching an international level with a podcast is actually extremely easy. As soon as you’ve created an episode, uploaded it to your website, submitted it to Apple iTunes and published it, then you’re already global. Millions of people from every part of the globe can listen to you through their podcasting apps or on your website. However, because of the low barriers to entry, you’re competing for attention with hundreds of thousands of content creators.
So, picking up momentum for your podcast is the hard part. Initially, you get a good flow of new subscribers and listeners because Apple will feature you on their new and noteworthy section. This typically appears at the top of any podcast list in the podcasting app. However, The App Guy Podcast soon fell off Apple’s new and noteworthy. This meant growing the podcast without the clout of Apple promoting you. It took a while, but the show gained in popularity and, at one point, I had the podcast at the top of the charts with enormous influencers such as Tim Ferris.
My first year of running the show involved a lot of reaching out to people to request interviews. For anyone who has tried it out as an entrepreneur, you’ll know how challenging it is to send emails cold and expect someone to respond. Well, this is the beautiful aspect of reaching out cold when asking people to talk on a podcast. As you can expect, almost everyone I was emailing was more than happy to come on a talk show to talk about their story and their projects.
My next lucky break with The App Guy Podcast took several months of hard work. I was creating, editing and publishing a daily show on my own. The schedule was brutal (it still is). However, it started to pay off because many of my amazing and influential guests would promote their own recorded episodes. This would get people to listen and my show began to gain momentum. My guests would share their episodes on social media, blogs, email lists and anywhere else that gets attention.
I’ve now had hundreds of thousands of downloads and streamed episodes, over 14 million views of my show related tweets and the number of views of The App Guy Podcast daily quotes has grown from 35,000 per month to over 100,000.
Nevertheless, what’s more important is that I’m able to make a personal connection with hundreds of amazing app entrepreneurs and startup people.
JS; Let’s talk about the rewards that come with speaking to influential people each day. Did you have the chance to talk to anyone that really left an impression on you?
PK; The reward of running a successful show is that you get to speak with so many influential people at the top of their game. Everyone reading this should consider this question – would you rather be reaching out to someone in order to sell them something or reaching out to ask for an interview?
Let me tell you, asking someone to talk about their own story, promote their own projects and do it in a 30 minute chat is so much easier than trying to sell them something from a cold outreach.
So, the reward is that you get to speak one on one with top entrepreneurs, founders, CEO’s who you would only normally see speaking at an event or reading about in a blog.
On The App Guy Podcast, I frequently chat with founders who have 200 to 10,000 employees underneath them. You learn so much from speaking directly with founders. All the advice starts to rub off and you pick up amazingly powerful golden nuggets as you are going on your own journey. You can take successful themes from all the founder conversations. In fact, I’ve written about the five biggest themes I’ve learned from my 380 episodes and it’s available for free on my website ( http://www.TheAppGuy.co ).
Okay, you are asking me to try to pick the entrepreneur, founder, author or influencer who has been on my show and is the most inspirational. This is extremely difficult! It’s like picking between your own kids (all 380 of them). I’ve learnt something valuable from each and every guest on my show.
If you really want me to look over my huge collection of interviews and choose a favourite, I’d probably say episode 97 with Andreas Kambanis. It’s been inspirational for a number of reasons. First, meeting Andreas and recording this episode led eventually to becoming involved in a #2 Apple App Store smash hit. The app launch beat Minecraft in the charts, it’s that amazing. Episode 97 also resulted in me eventually living in Bali for a few months as a digital nomad.
My podcasts are totally unscripted – I want people listening to feel like a fly on the wall. As a result, many of my regular listeners pick out their own favourites and each is unique it it’s own way. So, I’d suggest readers of this simply have to go through my archive of podcast episodes themselves. All the episodes are free and found in podcasting apps or at TheAppGuy.co
JS; You are very involved with start ups outside of your podcast as well. Tell us about what you are up to these days in the start up world?
PK; You’re right, I am heavily involved in the startup scene. The digital world and apps is relatively a new industry, especially relative to TV or print media, so most apps are a result of a start up or independent app entrepreneurs.
The App Guy Podcast has dramatically increased my network and circle of influence. Some of the biggest startup projects I’m currently involved with, including my current project ILYS, are as a result of the show. In fact, Ilys, meaning I Love Your Stories, is as a result of episode 97 above. So, I’ve teamed up with my digital nomad friend Mike Gurevich to launch a creative writing tool. As it happens, I’m using Ilys.com to create this series of answers to your questions. Ilys enables the user to free their creative mind to experience pure writing flow. Since Mike and I teamed up, Ilys has gone from under 100 daily views to now over 20,000 views (and that’s in only 10 days). We’ve had several hundred people sign up. Also, we’ve been written about in the tech press by lots of top journalists. It’s been a big hit (so big, it crashed our server with flood loads of sudden traffic). More important though, it’s a helping change people’s lives. Helping people create more than they consume which is what I talked about earlier.
What else? Well, I’m also becoming extremely good at launching apps. I have had a #1 smash hit with a music app, a language app that achieved tens of thousands of downloads over 72 hours during a launch and even helped an app powered smart water bottle on kickstarter raise around $80,000 in 48 hours.
In any event, I’m still focussed on recording and publishing great episodes for The App Guy Podcast because it’s my true passion. I love the connections podcasting brings, the trusted relationships it helps me to build and the awesome appster tribe listeners who go on themselves to change the world and their own lives as well.
JS; What goals do you have for the show? What impact do you see it having on entrepreneurs in the years to come?
PK; The goals for the show are to continue to grow and build out a community. This means attracting more listeners and creating more app entrepreneurs by writing about and promoting the show and my amazing guests.
The impact the show is having on entrepreneurial listeners is significant and meaningful. For example, I’ve got a listener who’s quit his job, is now travelling the world as an appreneur and digital nomad. I’ve got another listener who’s quit to start a startup in Thailand with his girlfriend (who also quit). I’ve inspired listeners to create apps and helped save them making expensive mistakes.
The astonishing thing nowadays is that people can listen to entrepreneurs with a single click of an app. They get to experience an app entrepreneurs lifestyle, the challenges and get a real encounter, not just some overblown headline hype. My listeners get a real glimpse into someone else’s life and they get to share my own app journey. The potential of digital technology is staggering. You know, prior to the explosion of podcast listening, you’d have little choice but to consume mainstream media, with all the fear and uncertainty that’s the focus of modern news.
Instead, you can now listen to exciting and hugely positive app entrepreneurs crushing it with their app businesses and digital lifestyles.
The world is changing! I foresee a world where people can, and choose to, take control of their own destiny rather than relying on a corporate salary. A world where digital entrepreneurs work wherever they like. A world where they work whenever they like. Digital entrepreneurs working on whichever projects they like.
There is a digital and technological revolution in working practices with more people seeking a life of freedom and an explosion of choice.
We are living in a digital age. We have amazing online tools, software and apps at our disposal to be enormously productive. We can do so much with our phones nowadays. For example, I record a podcast. Digital app entrepreneurs are shaping the world now and will continue to change the way we live for years to come.
JS; Taking away from your success, what is your advice for aspiring entrepreneurs today?
PK; My advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is to work hard and focus on one thing that they are passionate about (no matter how small or niche). I’d suggest to aspiring entrepreneurs that you learn how to communicate effectively and with brevity. No one who’s busy and is influential wants to read very long emails or go through tedious presentations.
Definitely, aspiring entrepreneurs need to build a network of influencers and seek to first add value before wanting something in return. My advice is to also be open and talk about the big challenges you face.
The world is changing and people expect online bloggers, podcasters and app entrepreneurs to be genuine, truthful, engaging and offer massive value. Also, be as transparent as possible because you’ll attract like minded individuals who you’ll want to work with, do joint ventures with and have as clients.
Finally, be human! I’ve sent thousands of personal audio messages to people to help me reach out. So, try to cut down on automation; especially for social media. Learn how to connect with people on a personal level. For example, although I quoted some big numbers earlier, such as 14 million views to my show tweets and quotes, I think it’s more important to personally connect with 100 true fans.
That’s my advice to aspiring entrepreneurs. So, you’ve consumed this article. Now it’s time to create something in the world that solves a pain point! Create, create, create!
By the way, thank you and with love from ilys who helped me create this. Please reach out to me at TheAppGuy.co or @paul_s_kemp on twitter.