How Tech Will Influence the Future of Podcasting with Chris Hill

Episode Summary

Chris Hill, owner of HumblePod and host of the We Built This Brand podcast, joins Corey on Screaming in the Cloud to discuss the future of podcasting and the role emerging technologies will play in the podcasting space. Chris describes why AI is struggling to make a big impact in the world of podcasting, and also emphasizes the importance of authenticity and finding a niche when producing a show. Corey and Chris discuss where video podcasting works and where it doesn’t, and why it’s more important to focus on the content of your podcast than the technical specs of your gear. Chris also shares insight on how to gauge the health of your podcast audience with his Podcast Listener Lifecycle evaluation tool.

Episode Show Notes & Transcript

About Chris

Chris Hill is a Knoxville, TN native and owner of the podcast production company, HumblePod. He helps his customers create, develop, and produce podcasts and is working with clients in Knoxville as well as startups and entrepreneurs across the United States, Silicon Valley, and the world.

In addition to producing podcasts for nationally-recognized thought leaders, Chris is the co-host and producer of the award-winning Our Humble Beer Podcast and the host of the newly-launched We Built This Brand podcast. He also lectures at the University of Tennessee, where he leads non-credit courses on podcasts and marketing.  He received his undergraduate degree in business at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga where he majored in Marketing & Entrepreneurship, and he later received his MBA from King University.

Chris currently serves his community as the President of the American Marketing Association in Knoxville. In his spare time, he enjoys hanging out with the local craft beer community, international travel, exploring the great outdoors, and his many creative pursuits.

Links Referenced:


Announcer: Hello, and welcome to Screaming in the Cloud with your host, Chief Cloud Economist at The Duckbill Group, Corey Quinn. This weekly show features conversations with people doing interesting work in the world of cloud, thoughtful commentary on the state of the technical world, and ridiculous titles for which Corey refuses to apologize. This is Screaming in the Cloud.

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Corey: Welcome to Screaming in the Cloud. I’m Corey Quinn. My returning guest probably knows more about this podcast than I do. Chris Hill is not only the CEO of HumblePod, but he’s also the producer of a lot of my various media endeavors, ranging from the psychotic music videos that I wind up putting out to mock executives on their birthdays to more normal videos that I wind up recording when I’m forced into the studio and can’t escape because they bar the back exits, to this show. Chris, thank you for joining me, it’s nice to see you step into the light.

Chris: It’s a pleasure to be here, Corey.

Corey: So, you have been, effectively, producing this entire podcast after I migrated off of a previous vendor, what four years ago? Five?

Chris: About four or five years ago now, yeah. It’s been a while.

Corey: Time is a flat circle. It’s hard to keep track of all of that. But it’s weird that you and I don’t get to talk nearly as much as we used to, just because, frankly, the process is working and therefore, you disappear into the background.

Chris: Yeah.

Corey: One of the dangerous parts of that is that the only time I ever wind up talking to you is when something has gone wrong somewhere and frankly, that does not happen anymore. Which means we don’t talk.

Chris: Yeah. And I’m okay with that. I’m just kidding. I love talking to you, Corey.

Corey: Oh, I tolerate you. And every once in a while, you irritate me massively, which is why I’m punishing you this year by—

Chris: [laugh].

Corey: Making you tag along for re:Invent.

Chris: I’m really excited about that one. It’s going to be fun to be there with you and Jeremy and Mike and everybody. Looking forward to it.

Corey: You know how I can tell that you’ve never been to re:Invent before?

Chris: “I’m looking forward to it.”

Corey: Exactly. You still have life in your eyes and a spark in your step. And yeah… that’ll change. That’ll change. So, a lot of this show is indirectly your fault because this is a weird thing for a podcaster to admit, but I genuinely don’t listen to podcasts. I did when I was younger, back when I had what the kids today call ‘commute’ or ‘RTO’ as they start slipping into the office, but I started working from home almost a decade ago, and there aren’t too many podcasts that fit into the walk from the kitchen to my home office. Like great, give me everything you want me to know in about three-and-a-half seconds. Go… and we’re done. It doesn’t work. So, I’m a producer, but I don’t consume my own content, which I think generally is something you only otherwise see in, you know, drug dealers.

Chris: Yeah. Well, and I mean, I think a lot of professional media, like, you get to a point where you’re so busy and you’re creating so much content that it’s hard to sit down and review your own stuff. I mean, even at HumblePod, I’m in a place where we’re producing our own show now called We Built This Brand, and I end up in a place where some weeks I’m like, “I can’t review this. I approve it. You send it out, I trust you.” So, Corey, I’m starting to echo you in a lot of ways and it’s just—it makes me laugh from time to time.

Corey: Somewhat recently, I wound up yet again, having to do a check on, “Hey, you use HumblePod for your podcasting work. Do you like them?” And it’s fun. It’s almost like when someone reaches out about someone you used to work with. Like, “We’re debating hiring this person. Should we?” And I love being able to give the default response for the people I’ve worked with for this long, which is, “Shut up and hire them. Why are you talking to me and not hiring them faster? Get on with it.”

Because I’m a difficult customer. I know that. The expectations I have are at times unreasonably high. And the fact that I don’t talk to you nearly as much as I used to shows that this all has been working. Because there was a time we talked multiple times a day back—

Chris: Mm-hm.

Corey: When I had no idea what I was doing. Now, 500-some-odd episodes in, I still have no idea what I’m doing, but by God, I’ve gotten it down to a science.

Chris: Absolutely you have. And you know, technically we’re over 1000 episodes together, I think, at this point because if you combine what you’re doing with Screaming in the Cloud, with Last Week in AWS slash AWS Morning Brief, yeah, we’ve done a lot with you. But yes, you’ve come a long way.

Corey: Yes, I have become the very whitest of guys. It works out well. It’s like, one podcast isn’t enough. We’re going to have two of them. But it’s easy to talk about the past. Let’s talk instead about the future a little bit. What does the future of podcasting look like? I mean, one easy direction to go in with this, as you just mentioned, there’s over 1000 episodes of me flapping my gums in the breeze. That feels like it’s more than enough data to train an AI model to basically be me without all the hard work, but somehow I kind of don’t see it happening anytime soon.

Chris: Yeah, I think listeners still value authenticity a lot and I think that’s one of the hard things you’re seeing in podcasting as a whole is that these organizations come in and they’re like, “We’re going to be the new podcast killer,” or, “We’re going to be the next thing for podcasting,” and if it’s too overproduced, too polished, like, I think people can detect that and see that inauthenticity, which is why, like, AI coming in and taking over people’s voices is so crazy. One of the things that’s happening right now at Spotify is that they are beta testing translation software so that Screaming in the Cloud could automatically be in Spanish or Last Week in AWS could automatically be in French or what have you. It’s just so surreal to me that they’re doing this, but they’re doing exactly what you said. It’s language learning models that understand what the host is saying and then they’re translating it into another language.

The problem is, what if that automation gets that word wrong? You know how bad one wrong word could be, translating from Spanish or French or any other language from English. So, there’s a lot of challenges to be met there. And then, of course, you know, once they’ve got your voice, what do they do with it? There’s a lot of risk there.

Corey: The puns don’t translate very well, most of the time, either.

Chris: Oh, yes.

Corey: Especially when I mis-intentionally mispronounce words like Ku-BER-netees.

Chris: Exactly. I mean, it’s going to be auto-translated into text at some point before it’s then put out as, you know, an audio source, and so if you say something wrong, it’s going to be an issue. And Ku-BER-netees or Chat-Gippity or any of those great terms that you have, they’re going to also be translated wrong as well, and that creates its own can of worms so to speak.

Corey: Well, let me ask you something because you have always been one to embrace emerging technologies. It’s one of the things I appreciate about you; you generally don’t recommend solutions from the Dark Ages when it comes to what equipment should I have and how should I maintain it and the rest. But there are a lot of services out there that will now do automatic transcription and the service that you use at the moment remains a woman named Cecilia, who’s remarkably good at what she does. But why have you not replaced her with a robot?

Chris: [laugh]. Very simply put, I mean, it kind of goes back to what I was just saying about language translation. AI does not understand context for human words as well as humans do, and so words are wrong a lot of times in auto transcription. I mean, I can remember a time when, you know, we first started working with you all were, if there was one thing wrong in a transcript, an executive at AWS would potentially make fun of you on Twitter for it. And so, we knew we had to be on our A-game when it came to that, so finding someone who had that niche expertise of being able to translate not just words and understand words, but also understand tech terminology, you know, I think that that’s, that’s its own animal and its own challenge. So yeah, I mean, you could easily get away with something—

Corey: Especially with my attentional mispronunciation where she’s, “I don’t quite know what you’re saying here, and neither does the entire rest of the industry.” Like, “Postgres-squ—do you mean Postgres? Who the hell calls it Postgres-squeal?” I do. I call it that. Two warring pronunciations, I will unify them by coming up with a third that is far worse. It’s kind of my shtick. The problem is, at some point, it becomes too inside-jokey when I have 15 words that I’m doing that too, and suddenly no one knows what the hell I’m talking about and the joke gets old quickly.

Chris: Yep.

Corey: So, I’ve tried to scale that back. But there are still a few that I… I can’t help but play with.

Chris: Yeah. And it’s always fun bringing someone new in to work on—work with you all because they’re always like, “What is he saying? Does he mean this?” And [laugh] it’s always an adventure.

Corey: It keeps life fun though.

Chris: Absolutely.

Corey: So, one thing that you did for a while, back when I was starting out, it almost felt like you were in cahoots with Big Microphone because once I would wind up getting a setup all working and ready for the recording, like, “Great. Everything working terrifically? Cool, throw it away. It’s time for generation three of this.” I think I’m on, like, gen six, or gen seven now, but it’s been relatively static for the past few years. Are the checks not as big as they used to be? I mean, if we hit a point of equilibrium? What’s going on?

Chris: Yeah, unfortunately, Big Microphone isn’t paying what they used to. The economy and interest rates and all that, it’s just making it hard. But once you get to a certain level of gear, it’s going to be more important that you have good content than better and better gear. Could we keep going? Sure. If you wanted to buy a studio and you wanted to get Neumann microphones or something like that, we could keep going. But again, Big Microphone is not paying what they used to.

Corey: When people reach out because they’re debating starting a podcast and they ask me for advice, other than hire HumblePod, the next question they usually get around to is gear. And I don’t think that they are expecting my answer, which is, it does not matter. Because if the content is good, the listeners will forgive an awful lot. You could record it into your iPhone in a quiet room and they will put up with that. Whereas if the content isn’t good, it doesn’t matter what the production value is because people are constantly being offered better things to do with their time. You’ve got to grab them, you have to be compelling to your target audience or the rest of it does not matter.

Chris: Yeah. And I think that’s the big challenge with audio is a lot of people get excited, especially I find this true of people in the tech industry of like, “Okay, I want to learn all the tech stuff, I love all the cool tech stuff, and so I’m going to go out and buy all this equipment first.” And then they spend $5,000 on equipment and they never record a single episode because they put all their time and energy into researching and buying gear and never thought about the content of the show. The truth is, you could start with your iPhone and that’s it. And while I don’t necessarily advise that, you’d be surprised at the quality of audio on an iPhone.

I’ve had a client have to re-record something while they were traveling remotely and I said, “You just need to get your iPhone out.” They took their AirPods, plugged them in and, I said, “No. Take them out, use the microphone on the iPhone.” And you can start with something as simple as that. Now, once you want to start making it better, sure, that’s a great way to grow and that does influence people staying with your podcast over time, but I think in the long run, content trumps all.

Corey: One of the problems I keep seeing is that people also want to record a podcast because they have a great idea for a few episodes. My rule of thumb—because I’ve gotten this wrong before—is, okay, if you want to do a whole new podcast, come up with the first 12 episodes. Because two, three, four, of course, you’ve got your ideas. And then by the—you’ll find in many cases, you’re going to have a problem by the end of it. Years ago, I did a mini-series inside of AMB called “Networking in the Cloud” where it was sponsored by, at the time, ThousandEyes, before Cisco bought them and froze them in amber for all eternity.

But it was fun for the first six episodes and then I realized I’d said all I needed to say about networking, and I was on the hook for six more. And Ivan Pepeinjak, who’s his own influencer type in the BGP IP space was like, “This is why you should stay in your lane. He’s terrible. He got it all wrong.” Like, “Great. Come on and tell me exactly how I got it wrong,” because I was trying to approach it from a very surface topical area, but BGP is one of those areas where I get very wrapped around my own axle just because I’ve never used it in anger. Being able to pivot the show format is what saved me on that. But if I had started doing this as its own individual podcast and launched, it would have died on the vine, just because it would not have had enough staying power and I didn’t have the interest to continue working on it. Could someone else come up with a networking-in-the-cloud podcast that had hundreds of episodes? Absolutely, but those people are what we call competent and good at things in a way that I very much am not.

Chris: Yep. And I completely agree. I mean, 12 is my default number, so—I’m not going to take credit for your saying 12, but I know we’ve talked about that before. And—

Corey: It was a 12-episode miniseries is why. And I remember by ten, I had completely scraped the bottom of the barrel. Then Ivan saved me on one of them, and then I did, I think, a mini-series-in-review, which is cheating but worked.

Chris: Yeah. I remember that, the trials and travails of giving that out. It was fun, though. But with that, yeah, like, 12 is a good number because, like, to your point, if you have 12 and you want to do a monthly show, you’ve got a year’s worth of content, if you do bi-weekly, that’s six months, and if it’s a weekly show, it’s at least a quarter’s worth of content. So, it does help you think through and at least come up with any potential roadblocks you might have by at least listing out, here’s what episodes one, two, three, four, five and so on would be. And so, I do think that’s a great approach.

Corey: And don’t be an idiot like I was and launch a newsletter and then podcast that focus on last week’s news because you can’t work ahead on that. If you can, why are you not a multi-billionaire for playing the markets? If you can predict the future, there’s a more lucrative career for you than podcasting, I promise. But that means that I have to be on the treadmill on some level. I’ve gotten it down to a point where I can stretch it to ten days. I can take ten days off if I preload, do it as early as I possibly can beforehand and then as late as I possibly can when I return. Anything more than that, I’m either skipping a week or delaying the show or have to get a guest author or artist in.

Chris: Yeah. And you definitely need that time off, and so that’s the one big challenge, I think with podcasting, too, is like you create this treadmill for yourself that you constantly have to fill content after content after content. I think that’s one of the big challenges in podcasting and one of the reasons we see so many podcasts fade out. I don’t know if you’re familiar, but there is a term called podfade, which is just that: people burning out, fading out in their excitement for a podcast. And most podcasters fade out by episode seven or eight, somewhere in that range, so to see someone go for say, like, you have 500 episodes plus, we’re talking about a ton of good content. You’ve found your rhythm, you’ve found your groove. That can do it. But yeah, it’s always, always a challenge staying motivated.

Corey: One thing that consistently surprises me is that the things I care about as the creator and the things the audience cares about are not the same. And you have to be respectful of your audience’s time. I’ve done the numbers on the shows that I put out and it’s something on the order of over a year of human time for every episode that I put out. If I’m going to take a year from humanity’s collective lifetimes in order to say my inane thoughts, then I have to be respectful of the audience’s time. Which means, “Oh, I’m going to have a robot do it so I don’t have to put the work in.” It doesn’t work that way. That’s not how you sustain.

Chris: Right. In and again, it takes out that humanity that makes podcasting so special and makes that connection with even the listener so special. And I’m sure you’ve experienced this too. When you go to re:Invent, like, we’re going to have here in just a few short months, people know you, and they probably say things and bring up things that you haven’t even thought about. And you’re like, “Where did you even learn that I did that?” And then you realize, “Oh, I said that on a podcast episode.”

Corey: Yeah. What’s weird is I don’t get much feedback online for it, but people will talk to me in depth about the show. They’ll come up to me near constantly and talk about it. They don’t reach out the same way, which I guess makes sense. There are a couple of podcasts that I’ve really admired and listened to on and off in the car for years, but I’ve never reached out to the creators because I feel like I would sound ridiculous. It’s not true. I know intellectually it’s not true, but it feels weird to do it.

Chris: One of the ways I got into podcasting was a podcast that just invited me to—you know, invited their listeners to sign up and engage with them. And I think that’s something in the medium that does make it interesting is once you do engage, you find out that these creators respond. And where else do you get that, you know? If you’re watching a big TV show and you tweet at somebody online that you admire in the show, the chance of them even liking what you said about them online is very slim to none. But with podcasting, there’s just a different level of accessibility I find with most productions and most shows that makes it really something special.

Corey: One thing that still surprises me—and I don’t think I’ve ever been this explicit about it on the show, but why the hell not I have nothing to hide—Thursday evening, 5 p.m. Pacific time. That’s when the automation fires and rotates everything for the newsletter and the AWS Morning Brief. Anything that comes in after that, unless I manually do an override, will not be in the next week’s issue; it’ll be the week after.

That applies to Security as well, which means 5 p.m. on Thursday, it seals it, I write and record it and it goes ou—that particular one goes out Thursday morning the following week. And no one has ever said anything about this seems awfully late. Occasionally, there’s been news the day before and someone said, “Oh, why didn’t you include this?”

And it’s because, believe it or not, I don’t just type this in and hit the send button. There’s a bit more to it than that these days. But people don’t need the sense of immediacy. This idea of striving to be first is not sustainable and it leads to terrible outcomes. My entire philosophy has not been to have the first take but rather the best take.

Chris: Mm-hm.

Corey: Sometimes I even get it right.

Chris: And I mean in podcasting, too. Like, it’s about, you serve a certain niche, right? Like, the people who are interested in AWS services and in this world of cloud computing listen to what you say, listen to the people you interview, and really enjoy those conversations. But that’s not everybody in the world. That’s not a very broad audience. And so, I think that those niches really serve a purpose.

And the way I’ve always thought about it is, like, if you go to the grocery store, you know how you always have that rack of magazines with the most random interests? That’s essentially what podcasting is. It’s like each podcast is a different magazine that serves someone’s random—and hyper-specific sometimes—niche interest in things. I mean, the number of things you can find podcasts on is just ridiculous. And I think the same is true for this. But the people who do follow, they’re very serious, they’re very dedicated, they do listen, and yeah, I think it’s just a fascinating, fascinating thing.

Corey: The way that I see it has been that I’ve been learning more from the audience and the things that people say that most people would believe, but… I make a lot of mistakes doing this, but talking to people does tend to shine a light on a lot of this. But enough about the past. Most of my episodes are about things that have previously happened. What does the future of podcasting look like? Where’s it going from here?

Chris: Oh, man. Well, I think the big question on everybody’s mind is, do I need a video podcast? And I think that for most people, that’s where the big question lies right now. I get a lot of questions about it, I get people reaching out, and I think the short answer to that is… not really. Or to answer a question I know you love, Corey, it depends.

And the reason for that is, there’s a lot with the tech of podcasting that just isn’t going to distribute to everywhere, all at once anymore. The beauty of podcasting is that it’s all based on an RSS feed. If you build an RSS feed and you put it in Apple Podcasts and Spotify, that RSS feed will distribute everywhere and it will distribute your audio everywhere. And what we see happening right now, and really one of the bigger challenges in podcasting, is that the RSS feed only provides audio. Technically, that’s not accurate, but it does for most services.

So, YouTube has recently come out and said that they are going to start integrating RSS feeds, so you’ll be able to do those audiogram-esque things that a lot of people have done through apps like Headliner and stuff for a long time, or even their podcast host may automatically translate a version of their audio podcast into a video and just do, like, a waveform. They’re going to have that in YouTube. TikTok is taking a similar approach. And they’re both importing just the audio. And the reason I said earlier, that’s technically not accurate is because RSS feeds can also support MP4s, but neither service is going to accept that or ingest it directly into their service from what you provide outbound.

So, it’s a very interesting time because it feels like we’re getting there with video, but we’re still not there, and we’re still probably several years off from it. So, there’s a lot of interest in video and I think the future is going to be video, but I think it’s going to be a combination, too, with audio because who wants to sit and watch something for an hour-and-a-half when you’re used to listening to it your commute or while you do the dishes or any number of other things that don’t involve having your eyeballs directly on the content.

Corey: We’ve tried it with this show. I found that it made the recording process a bit more onerous because everyone is suddenly freaking out about how they look and I can’t indulge my constant nose-picking habit. Kidding. So, it was more work, I had to gussy myself up a bit more than dressing like a slob like I do some mornings because I do have young children and a deadline to get them to school by. But I never saw the audience to materialize there and be worth it.

Because watching a video of two people talking with each other, it feels too much like a Zoom call that you can’t participate in, so what’s the point?

Chris: Right.

Corey: So, there’s that. There’s the fact that I also have very intentionally built most of what I do around newsletters and podcasts because at least so far, those are not dependent upon algorithmic discovery in the same way. I don’t have to bias for things that YouTube likes this month. Instead, I can focus on the content that people originally signed up to hear me put out and I don’t have to worry about it in the same way. Email predates me, it’ll be here long after I’m gone, and that seems to make sense.

I also look at how I have consumed podcasts, and times when I do, it’s almost always while I’m doing something else. And if I have to watch a screen, that becomes significantly more distracting, and harder for me to find the time to do it with.

Chris: I think what you’re seeing is that, like, there’s some avenues to where video podcasting is really good and really interesting, and I think the real place where that works best right now is in-person interviews. So, Corey, if you went out and interviewed Andy Jassy in person in Seattle, that to me would be something that would warrant bringing the cameras out for and putting online because people would want to see you in the office interacting with him. That would be interesting. To your point, during the Zoom calls and things like that, you end up in a place where people just aren’t as interested in sitting and watching the Zoom call. And I think that’s something that is a clear distinction to make.

Entertainment, comedy, doing things in person, I think that’s where the real interest in video is and that’s why I don’t think video will be for everybody all the time. The thing that is starting to come up as well is discoverability, and that has always been a challenge, but as we get into—and we probably don’t want to go down this rabbit hole, but you know, what’s happened to Twitter and X, like, discoverability is becoming more of a challenge because they’re limiting access to that platform. They’re limiting discoverability if you’re not willing to pay for a blue checkmark. They’re doing all these things to make it harder for small independent podcasts to grow.

And the places that are opening up for it to grow are places like YouTube, places like TikTok, that have the ability to not only just put your full podcasts online now, but you can actually do, like, YouTube shorts or highlighted clips, and directly link those back to the long-form content that you’re producing. So, there is some value in it, there is a technology and a future there for it, but it’s just a very complicated time to be in podcasting and figuring out where to go to grow. That’s probably the biggest challenge that we face and I think ultimately, that just comes down to developing an audience outside of these social media channels.

Corey: One thing that you were talking about a while back in a conversation that I don’t think I’ve ever followed up with you on—and there’s no time like in front of a bunch of public people to do that—

Chris: [laugh].

Corey: You were talking to me about something that you were calling the Podcast Listener Lifecycle.

Chris: Yes.

Corey: What’s your point on that?

Chris: So, the Listener Lifecycle is something I developed, just to be frank, working with you guys, learning from you all, and also my background in marketing, and in building audiences and things, from my own podcasts and other things that I did prior to building HumblePod, led me to a place of going, how can we best explain to a client where their podcast is? How does it exist? Where does it exist? All that good stuff. And basically, the Listener Lifecycle is just that.

It’s a design—and we’ll have links to it because I actually did a whole podcast season on the Listener Lifecycle from beginning to end, so that’s probably the easiest way to talk about it. But essentially, it’s the idea of, you’re curious about a show, and how do you go from being curious about a show to exploring a podcast, to then becoming a follower of the podcast, literally clicking the Follow button. What does it take to get through each one of those stages? How can you identify where your audience is? And basically, it’s a tool you can use to say, “Well, this is where my listener is in the stages.” And then once they get to be a follower, how do I build them into something more?

Well, get them to be a subscriber, subscribe to a newsletter, subscribe to a Patreon or Substack or whatever that subscription service is that you prefer to use, and get them off of just being on social media and following you there and following you in a podcast audio form. Because things can happen: your podcast host could break and you’d lose your audience, right? We’ve seen Twitter, which we may have thought years ago that it would never go away, and now we don’t know how long it’s going to be there. It could be gone by the time we’re done with this conversation for all we know. I’ve got all my notifications turned off, so we’re basically in a liminal space at this point.

But with that said, there’s a lot of risk in audiences changing and things like that, so audience portability is really important. So, the more you can collect email addresses, collect contact information, and communicate with that group of people, the better your audience is going to be. And so, that’s what it’s about is helping people get to that stage where they can do that so that they don’t lose audiences and so that they can even build and grow audiences beyond that to the point where they get to the last phase, which is the ‘true fan’ phase. And that’s where you get people who love your show, retweet everything you do, repost everything you do, and share it with all their friends every time you’re creating new content. And that’s ultimately what you want: those die-hard people that come up to you and know everything about you at re:Invent, those are the people that you want to create more of because they’re going to help you grow your show and your audience, ultimately. So, that’s what it’s about. I know that’s a lot. But again, like, we’ll have a link in the show notes to where you can learn more about it.

Corey: Indeed, we will. Normally I’m the one that says, “And we’ll include a link to that in the show notes.” But you’re the one that has to actually make all that happen. Here’s another glimpse behind the curtain. I have a Calendly link that I pass out to people to book time on the show. They fill out the form, which is relatively straightforward and low effort by design, and the next time I think about it is ten minutes beforehand when it pops up with, “Hey, you have a recording to go to.” Great. I book an hour for a half-hour recording. I wind up going through this entire conversation. When we’re done, we close out the episode, we chat a bit, I close the tab, and I don’t think about it again, it’s passed off to you folks entirely. It is the very whitest of white glove treatments. Because I, once again, am the very whitest of white guys.

Chris: We aim to please [laugh].

Corey: Exactly. Because I remember before this, I used to have things delayed by months because I would forget to copy the freaking file into Dropbox, of all things. And that was just wild to me.

Chris: And we stay on you about that because we want to make sure that your show gets out and—

Corey: And now it automatically transfers and I—when the automation works—I don’t have to think about it again. What is fun to me is despite all the time that I spend in enterprise cloud services, we still use things that are prosumer, like Dropbox and other things that are human-centric because for some reason, most of your team are not also highly competent cloud developers. And I still think it is such a miss that something like S3, which would be perfect for this, requires that level of engineering. And I have more self-respect than that. I’d have to build some stuff in order to make that work effectively on my end, let alone folks who have actual jobs that don’t involve messing around with cloud services all day.

But it blows my mind that there’s still such this gulf between things that sound like you would have one of your aging parents deal with versus something that is extraordinarily capable and state-of-the-art. I know they’re launching a bunch of things like Amazon’s IVS, which is a streaming offering, a lot of their elemental offerings for media packaging, but I look at it, it’s like wow, not only is this expensive, it doesn’t solve any problems that we actually have and would add significant extra steps to every part of it. Thanks, but no thanks. And sure, maybe we’re not the target market, but I can’t shake the feeling that there are an awful lot of people like us that fit that profile.

Chris: Yeah. And I mean, you bring up a good point about not using S3, things like that. It has occurred to me as well that, hey, maybe we should find somebody to help us develop a technology like this to make it easier on us on the back end to do all the recording and the production in one place, one database, and be able to move on. So, at some point I would love to get there. That’s probably a conversation for after the podcast, Corey, but definitely is something that we’ve been thinking about at HumblePod is, how do we reach that next step of making it even easier on our clients?

Corey: Well, it is certainly appreciated. But again, remember, your task is to continue to perform the service excellently, not be the poster child for cloud services with dumb names.

Chris: [laugh]. Yes, yes. And I’m sure we could come up with a bunch.

Corey: One last question before we wind up calling in an episode. I know that I’ve been emphasizing the white glove treatment that I get—and let’s be clear, you are not inexpensive, but you’re also well worth it; you deliver value extraordinarily for our needs—do you offer things that are not quite as, we’ll call it, high-touch and comprehensive?

Chris: Yes, we do actually. We just recently launched a new service called Quick Edit and it’s just that. It’s still humans touching the service, so it’s not a bunch of automated, hey, we’re just running this through an AI program and it’s going to spit it out on the other end. We actually have a human that touches your audio, cleans it up, and sends it back. And yeah, we’re there to make sure that we can clean things up quickly and easily and affordably for those folks that are just in a pinch.

Maybe you edit most weeks and you’re just tired of doing the editing, maybe you’re close to podfading and you just want an extra boost to see if you can keep the show going. That’s what we have the Quick Edit service for. And that starts at $150 an episode and we’ll edit up to 45 minutes of audio for you within that. And yeah, there’s some other options available as well if you start to add more stuff, but just come check us out. You can go to and find that there.

Corey: And we will, of course, put links to that in the show notes. Or at least you will. I certainly won’t.

Chris: [laugh].

Corey: Chris, thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me. If people want to learn more, other than hunting you down at re:Invent, which they absolutely should do, where’s the best place for them to find you?

Chris: I mean@HumblePod anywhere is the quickest, easiest way to find me anywhere—or at least find the business—and you can find me at @christopholies. And we’ll have a link to that in the show notes for sure because it’s not worth spelling out on the podcast.

Corey: I would have pronounced it chris-to-files, but that’s all right. That’s how it works.

Chris: [laugh].

Corey: Thank you so much, Chris for everything that you do, as well as suffering my nonsensical slings and arrows for the last half hour. We’ll talk soon.

Chris: You’re welcome, Corey.

Corey: Chris Hill, CEO at HumblePod. I’m Cloud Economist Corey Quinn and this is Screaming in the Cloud. If you’ve enjoyed this podcast, please leave a five-star review on your podcast platform of choice, whereas if you hated this episode, please leave a five-star review on your podcast platform of choice along with an angry, insulting comment that I’m sure Chris or one of his colleagues will spend time hunting down from all corners of the internet to put into a delightful report, which I will then never read.

Corey: If your AWS bill keeps rising and your blood pressure is doing the same, then you need The Duckbill Group. We help companies fix their AWS bill by making it smaller and less horrifying. The Duckbill Group works for you, not AWS. We tailor recommendations to your business and we get to the point. Visit to get started.
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