Maxime Lenormand - Minds Behind Maps

Why I want to record more podcasts in person

published3 months ago
4 min read

Hey there,

First of all, thanks for signing up for the newsletter! ✉️
I'm not quite certain on the format just yet, but it (hopefully) will be a place to share some thoughts & behind the scenes of the podcast

🎙Recording in Person

My goal is to try to make these conversations as interesting & engaging as possible. I do believe doing more & more recordings in person is part of that goal. It might sound like a counter-point to the move towards remote work in a post-pandemic world, especially when tools like Zoom allow us to record from the comfort of home.

There are a few reasons why I'm leaning into the in-person recordings:

- It's just nice to talk face to face with another human, ya know?: As a lot of us have witnessed, spending our day on Zoom gets real tiring real fast. My goal with these is to have a genuine conversation with people about their lives, how they think and just get a chance to understand them better. I think that happens best when we can look at each other in the eye; I can show people I'm actually listening to them, and they can see it, no screen, no latency, just two people having a conversation.

- Making people more comfortable: I get to spend a bit more time chatting ahead of the recording with the guest, this means that by the time we actually sit down & hit record, we've already been chatting for a little while. I've seen this make people a little bit more relaxed. When recording online it's very easy to jump on the call 1 min before the recording, and still be half thinking about the previous task at hand. Recording in person usually means slowing down - both for the guest & myself - and taking more time to get into the head space of a recording.

(Also, I'm probably the one that's most stressed, so having a chat with whoever I'm going to chat with also help me.)

I'm trying to optimize the gear I have to also be easy to carry around while robust & that doesn't get into the guests
It's nothing fancy but I want it all to fit in a backpack to go record anywhere.

My current audio recording gear: A couple of Shure MV7s + a h5 Zoom recorder
This picture is missing the tripod & iPhone combo I'm using to record video & the boom arm I use to hold the guests microphone in recent interviews.

That being said these take more time (and money) to record & edit, but I hope they're worth it. At the end of the day, I want to go full in, and try to go the extra mile. These conversations will hopefully be listened to for years to come, so I want to give them the best treatment. And then I just love this stuff, it's fun traveling around, hanging out with people! I've even grabbed some food and/or spent more time with people after recordings!

While I'm all nerdy about the tech, the data and everything, I do think the most important are the people and the relationships. It just feels more real, and tangible in person. I hope that makes it all the way through in the recordings.

📹 Minds Behind Maps on YouTube

If you didn't know already, the podcast is also available on Youtube!

It's one of those things that sounded really simple at the beginning "Just point your phone and TADAAA you have video" but which ended up pretty much doubling the post-processing work for any given episode, who would have thought?

But again, I want to go full in, heads first with this podcast, and I do think there's an additional element with providing video on top of audio.

I ran a poll on Twitter & Linked out of curiosity:

I was kinda expecting around 5% of people to say they preferred video over audio, but I'm genuinely suprised! Sure each poll has less than 30 votes each, but I'm a Data Scientist so trust me I work with numbers.

So why double the amount of editing work I do?

  1. Improve the production quality: I really do want to make this podcast as best as I can. I think this is part of improving it. Providing a higher quality output that people want to watch more, and that might also make potential guests more interests. This is the first thing someone not familiar with the podcast might see, so I think of the production quality as the vitrine of the podcast in a way.
  2. Fun: I just love learning this stuff. I (mostly) write code all day. Figuring out cameras, mics, frames per second and file formats, I won't lie it's genuinely fun!
  3. Reach: Do you know how hard it is to get people to find your podcast? It's been a bit of a slap in the face actually. I thought "I'll make something cool and people will flock towards it in the gazillions!" (Okay maybe not quite but you get the idea). Podcasts don't (really) have recommendations algorithms, because no single platforms really owns podcasts (which might be one of the best things going for podcasts). As opposed to YouTube, which basically owns online video at this point, so they can add their own algo, stats and even removing the dislike button if they want! In short, I wanted to expand the reach of the podcast & try to see if I could tame the Youtube Gods.

You can for example see my conversation with Barbara Ryan on her instrumental role in making Landsat free & open in 2008, and how that 100x the number of tiles downloaded from the USGS in a few years.

video preview

By the way, I've only recently started uploading videos to YouTube and the channel recently passed 1k total views! 🎉

Regardless of whether you watch on YouTube or simply listen to the audio only, thanks a lot for spending some of your valuable time with me on these conversations!

So feel free to take a look and consider subscribing if you'd like to watch episodes instead of just listening.

📝Hearing your thoughts

I'd like to finish this first edition of the newsletter asking turning the microphone (or well keyboard in the case of this newsletter) around and hearing a bit about yourself!

Please feel free to answer this and tell me:

  • What do you like about the podcast / what makes you come back to it?
  • Are there specific topics / people you'd like me to bring on?

Right now there really isn't that many people following this newsletter which means if you answer me I can guarantee you I'll have the bandwidth to answer back :P

That's where your feedback can help me improve! Podcasts don't have comment sections or even like buttons so it's quite hard to know what people think about the episodes!

Finally, if there's some specific questions you have about how I make the podcast, something you'd like to hear more about in a next edition of the newsletter, let me know!

Thanks a lot for taking the time to listen to the podcast!
I hope to see you next time :)