Open Podcast Directory — A proposal to globally enable auto-discovery of podcasts

tl;dr:

Meet the Open Podcast Directory (OPD).

  • create a DNS record for host “_opd” in your domain
  • record type TXT
  • record data is the URL of a podcast feed
  • multiple TXT records are permitted, to enable auto-discovery of multiple podcasts within a given domain

Why?

Content creators are currently dependent on directories. Apple’s iTunes directory is the de facto standard. We are already seeing a splintering of the podcast space…

Not all shows are podcasts, by John Gruber
The podcast monetization problem…, by Tanner Campbell

Each podcast’s content creator can use the existing DNS system to “publish” their show’s feed URL.

Later we can expand the directory by adding “opd:” XML namespace tags to standardize things like Seasons, etc without relying on existing directories’ namespace extensions.

$ dig txt _opd.moversmindset.com
; <<>> DiG 9.10.6 <<>> txt _opd.moversmindset.com
;; global options: +cmd
;; Got answer:
;; ->>HEADER<<- opcode: QUERY, status: NOERROR, id: 15816
;; flags: qr rd ra; QUERY: 1, ANSWER: 1, AUTHORITY: 0, ADDITIONAL: 0
;; QUESTION SECTION:
;_opd.moversmindset.com. IN TXT
;; ANSWER SECTION:
_opd.moversmindset.com. 86101 IN TXT "https://moversmindset.com/feed/podcast"
;; Query time: 1 msec
;; SERVER: 10.0.1.1#53(10.0.1.1)
;; WHEN: Fri Apr 26 09:34:04 EDT 2019
;; MSG SIZE rcvd: 91

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Why storytelling is a big deal

https://www.gapingvoid.com/blog/2019/01/15/the-real-reason-why-storytelling-is-a-big-deal/

But forget business for a minute. Stores are much bigger than that, they’re central to our human existence. The way we shape reality is through storytelling. If we can tell a story about it, that means it exists. And this explains our species’ unique capacity for metaphor…for that is how we turn abstract ideas into stories.

~ Gaping Void

As I mentioned in the meta-interview of me for the Movers Mindset podcast, I love stories and story-telling. But helping others tell their stories is what I enjoy most about the interviews. Everyone is so incredibly different—yes, I too thought that was obvious before I started interviewing people. ;) Some people, I have nothing more to do then press the ‘record’ button. Some people, have something they need to say but it takes hours of conversation to figure that out before I can press ‘record’.

I’ll be candid: The podcast is incredibly painful to create. Until you’ve tried it—I urge you to never try it, by the way—you cannot understand how much time, effort, and money it takes to do it well … did I mention the time? Worse, the more I work on the craft of story-telling, interviewing, and the countless nuances of producing a show. Bottomless, hopeless, endless, thankless, merciless.

But then I randomly listen to an episode from the catalog, one from a while ago that I’ve sort of half-forgotten and I remember why it would be inconceivable to stop this early in the journey.

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A conversation with Mandy Lam

(Part 2 of 2 in The interviews from my perspective)

27 — Mandy Lam

rabbit. hat.

This conversation with Mandy was the first time I tried simply recording a long conversation [which we published with almost zero editing]. I had been talking to people on our team about trying this form of recording, but at some point, you just sort of have to jump in the pool.

I don’t remember where or when I first met Mandy. I don’t remember if someone said, “you should interview Mandy.” “Who?” “Mandy, over there— here, I’ll introduce you.” …or maybe we first met training. I really don’t recall. But I do recall that after a conversation we were like, yeah, let’s do an interview. At some point. Somewhere. Somewhen.

Then a few more conversations. Then a few stories at Gerlev, and then we were at the 3rd Évry Move event and we were like, we better make time for an interview…

Aside: I promised snapshots and stories… not coherency.

So after dinner one evening, Tracy, Mandy and I kicked our feet up in a hotel room overlooking the fountain in front of the Évry Cathedral.

…and talked for more than two hours trying to decide what to talk about in her interview. Two terrific hours of great conversation. We kept looking out from the 4th floor, with the big window swung open wide to the warm night, and thinking, “This is Évry. We’re just casually chatting about communities and life and everything… in the middle of Évry.”

…and the huge water fountain in the plaze sounding like a waterfall.

…and we really should press record soon.

“…ok, so, we’ve now been talking for 2-and-a-half hours. We should maybe press record soon. Maybe.”

Finally, I was like, “fuck it. ready?” and I hit record… and then we talked for another two hours. We recorded this sleep-drunk sort of rambling conversation, and the whole time I’m thinking, “omg this is going to be so bad. No one will ever want to listen to this.”

Weeks later, I finally listened to it.

There’s a team of people behind the podcast and they always want to know how each interview went. I bet you’ve heard the phrase, “like pulling a rabbit out of your hat,” used when—with a touch of panache—you manage something akin to snatching victory from the jaws of defeat.

rabbit. hat.

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The interviews from my perspective

(Part 1 of 2 in The interviews from my perspective)

This ongoing series of posts will contain my memories and thoughts from the interviews which I have been doing for the Movers Mindset podcast.

You can—obviously—listen to each interview. But in this series I want to share things about the interviews. I realized that I have begun to tell stories about the interviews, and people are fascinated by those stories as much as by the interviews themselves.

And so I want to share snapshots—imagery and ideas conveyed through storytelling—from the interviews. The podcast is about, among other things, sharing stories and for every interview I have at least one great story I want to tell.

Stories from before the interviews, or after. Or the people in the room you didn’t hear, or beautiful spaces I get to visit, or the time of day, the light, the vibe, the orgin-story of how I first met the guest, how they affected my life or my journey, …

I’m already 27 stories behind and even the most cursory romp down memory lane has brought countless stories to mind.

So, Craig, “Is there a story you’d like to share?

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Desperate to sign anything

https://www.gapingvoid.com/content/uploads/assets/Moveable_Type/archives/000896.html

They just assumed I must be just like all the other people they represent- hungry and desperate and willing to sign anything.

~ Jason Korman

People sometimes ask, when the Movers Mindset podcast isn’t available in their favorite podcast-player app, why not?

tl;dr: odious clauses in click-wrap contracts.

You should see some of the things! Obviously, there are “hold harmless” clauses obsolving them of any possible responsibility—sure, ok, that’s fine, I am deriving benefit from having our podcast distrbuted through your thing. But some of them want the right to insert ads—not just run ads before or after. Sure, ok, again, you need to pay for your thing; I get that. But insert ads in the middle? Or how about clauses that bind me to defend them in any lawsuit. Not even just related to the content we created—but any lawsuit. Or how about my not being allowed to mention in our advertising that we’re being carried by their thing . . .

sorry
i digress

These odious cases have arisen because it’s a lovers’ triangle: The thing/app convinces the users that everything is rosy. The users lean on me because they can’t hear the podcast, and then the thing/app extorts me. Which is all very closely related to Jaron Lanier’s comment about “our society cannot survive, if…” (And that’s a link to the web site where you can always listen to the podcast, for free, because we control our web site.)

Please—you reading right now—please start paying for things. Choose a podcast player app which is not free. That makes you the customer, and enables them to build a great app. Then they don’t have to strong-arm me. Choose a messaging system, choose a source of information, choose everything(!) by being part of a fair trade with another party.

If you find yourself in a position, where you’re thinking, “this is great and free!” please look around and try to figure out who is actually being taken advantage of… it’s clearly not you, but I assure you, it’s someone else.

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Interview with Jesse Danger

This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend a Winter Immersive retreat hosted by the Movement Creative. There I finally got a chance to sit down with Jesse and record an interview. Be sure to follow the Movers Mindset on the web site, or wherever you prefer to listen to podcasts!

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Podcast Backstory

Why doesn’t someone…

Hopefully, you’ve discovered the the podcast project. (Originally it was called “Parkour, They Said”.) The original project was entirely based on the written word and was inspired — ironically — by podcasts in general.

In late 2015, I was lying on the floor slow-roasting myself before the wood stove. I had stumbled onto a new-to-me podcast — yes I remember which one, no I’m not telling — and I was starting from their first episode. The episodes were horrible, but I knew they would get better, since a recent episode is what had drawn me in.

But listening to those early episodes left me with a litany of ideas:

I can’t even understand them with this crappy audio. Why aren’t all podcast episodes fully transcribed and available?

But honestly, no one would read the entire, long transcript of this horrible ramble-session. Why not break that large interview apart into its basic themes? Then people can read the entire interview, or just a part.

Why not have a standardized set of themes on the site? Then the “chunks” of the interview can be organized under those themes, and people can read just the material on a particular theme.

Why not add translation functionality? That’s way better than a podcast because people can read the interviews in many languages.

So wait, why bother with podcasts at all?

Why not just open it up with a form where anyone can write anything? Then people can contribute their writing in any source language, and the site then facilitates communication by translating everything to/from every language.

…and why not make it a generic project, conveying whatever everyone contributes? Well, what would we call that? It’s just a collection of whatever it is that people have to say…

“They Said”.

…and why not make several sites, each on a particular topic. How do we name and label each site?

“Parkour, They Said.”

(Bully on you for reading this far! You now know that the “Try Parkour they said, It’ll be fun they said,” meme is not in any way related to “Parkour, They Said”. :)

What could possibly go wrong?

I know, right… that whole project above is a TERRIBLE idea. (I’m not being sarcastic.) There are at least two, major problems:

  1. Writing is hard. People don’t like to write. Actually, it turns out that writing well is also very much harder. It’s as if one could make an entire living if one could write well. :P So this project’s success depends on… Oh, that’s a problem.
  2. The way the project works, and its purpose, are not the least bit obvious, and the name is downright obtuse. Worse, the name uses a wonky grammatical construct, (“topic, more information”) which is uncommon generally, and a straight-up Unicorn in spoken language. And the meme does not help. So, go ahead, say, “Parkour, They Said” out loud. Did you manage to convey everything about the project? Oh, that’s a problem.

But, whenever I spent 10 minutes blabbing about the project, people seemed to think it was a good idea. (This was probably the conversational equivalent of Beer Goggles on my part.) So, after many months of talking about it, we built it anyway.

“You should write something for Parkour, They Said!”

“Huh? What?”

I spent more than a year, randomly in my spare time, talking about the project and trying as politely as possible to repeatedly nag a few hundred people into writing. I learned at least two things:

  1. Writing is in fact really hard, and people already know this.
  2. “Parkour, They Said” is a strikingly unhelpful name for an already non-obvious project. If the project had been called Snorklewacker, (yes, yes it is, yes I did,) it wouldn’t have been any harder for me to explain, or any harder for everyone to remember. And just for the triple-bonus, start in the hole, difficulty score, we put it on a “.world” domain.

Surprisingly, a number of people actually managed to write some really interesting things. This made me very happy.

“Craig, why don’t you just make a podcast?”

I really like talking. (Everyone who knows me just laughed and thought, “collossal understatement there Craig.”)

Via a perfect storm of things not worth the deep dive, I wind up in a ton of fun, wide-ranging, interesting, and educating conversations. That’s not just me being hyperbolic; I regularly find people glommed onto my conversations. (I literally have a new friend who — their words — “was just eavesdropping the shit out of that conversation”, and we started talking when my original conversation partner moved on.)

People — often the people who were eavesdropping my conversations — started saying “that conversation should have been a podcast episode.” So the idea of making a podcast was gaining some footing in my head space.

But, I have a problem. It’s called shiny thing syndrome, or ADHD, or whatever. (“Get off my lawn! We didn’t have all these fancy acronyms back in my day.”) So I was really, REALLY, determined to not add “podcast” to my list of things to do. I already had this crazy “Parkour, They Said” web site sucking up time.

In one last-ditch, Herculean effort to avoid the inevitable, I started offering to help people write by recording Skype calls and passing them the transcripts. I think I did three recorded calls before I had convinced myself that-

oh! SHINY!

“Hello, I’m Craig Constantine…”

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The trusy Puffin

Where’s the Puffin? Chillin’ in Newark as I work on episode 7. If you zoom and squint, you might be able to make out episode 7’s guest’s name…

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