Building a Media Company In The Age Of Podcasting with Alex Blumberg

Social Media Week

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Alex Blumberg, CEO of Gimlet Media, and Toby Daniels, the Founder and Executive Director of SMW, discussed audio storytelling and the current state of podcasts at Social Media Week in New York.

Alex founded Gimlet Media in 2014, which is a digital media company and podcast network that produces various high quality narrative podcasts. Gimlet produces various popular podcasts, such as “Startup”, which is a “series about what happens when someone who knows nothing about business starts one,” according to its Twitter bio.

In their discussion, Alex spoke about getting Gimlet off the ground from scratch. He mentioned how he had a good tract record before launching his company, but it wasn’t until the first episode of “Startup” came out that he had a model for investors of what he wanted to do. “Telling people about your idea is so much less powerful than showing people your idea,” Alex said.

Alex spoke about the innovative branding and advertising his company uses in their podcasts. “We’re constantly pushing the brands we work with to go past their line of comfort.” He mentioned how Gimlet uses creative types of advertising during their podcasts, like conducting a funny interview with the CEO of a company they’re doing advertising for.

Alex also discussed the importance of the medium of audio. As he said, when we listen to audio, “we are more empathetic to what people are saying.” Audio is a medium “that allows for and actually wants understanding. Audio is a just a little better than other mediums at helping us understand each other better. That’s our mission.” When Gimlet first began to make and launch series, Alex said it felt like they had so many possibilities for shows to create.

Alex concluded his talk mentioning companies such as Pixar, Disney, and Apple – which are models for Gimlet. “Those companies took an art form, or something involving a lot of artistry, and then built a business around that. They continued to pay attention to the artistry as they grew.”

It’s nice to hear Alex wishes to continue such a legacy with Gimlet Media.

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Yale Buchwald

Contributing Writer , New York University


Yale is a Contributing Writer at Social Media Week and The Drum's Found Remote. He is currently a student at New York University and is majoring in Media, Culture, and Communication. Yale aspires to pursue a career in the field of communications, and has an affinity for tech, social media, television, and music.

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