Transcript for "Practice - with Adam Ashton"

(Interactive content will replace this message when viewed in the Forum.)

00:00.00
Craig
Hello I’m Craig Constantine today I’m talking with Adam Ashton. Welcome Adam, thanks for coming to me from the future!

00:07.90
Adam Ashton
…thank you. It’s ah yeah, it’s good. The future is looking bright ah in about 16 or 17 hours ahead of you all all’s good.

00:17.24
Craig
Ah I was confused I’m like wait. How can you be in the sun and I’m like oh right Craig it’s a great big ball and there are people all over it which is which is part of the joy. I think of podcasting right? because it’s like global and.

00:33.72
Craig
Yeah, what’s going to happen when they figure out how to translate these things on the fly like if you know the automated machines could read you know just turn Craig into anyway. So Adam and Craig know each other from the podcasting workshop shout out to what it used to be called the podcasting fellowship.

00:51.34
Craig
we were doing that when was the last time we saw each other. But even though we did a bunch of those together. It’s been like a year and a half since we had a chance to talk so I was tickled pink when you said yes when I said would you so thanks for taking the time. You’re like way you know those of us mere mortals who are podcasting you know like.

01:04.51
Adam Ashton
Anytime at any time.

01:11.43
Craig
You’re like demotivating us all. But I think you you’ve got a really good. I want to say like cadence like you’re smart about working ahead and doing seasons and taking breaks and, just people who aren’t paying attention. Go look up. What you will learn as a podcast and then you’ll know what the heck we’re talking about what are you looking forward to when you’re getting into the next batch of recording or next season. However, you think about what you’re gonna be doing in the next couple months like what’s like yeah, come on. We need to we need to push record like what we we want to do.

01:45.99
Craig
You know is it about the book is it about spending more time with its Rory right? spending more time with Rory do I have it right? Oh I’m not even close I’m sorry. So what? What are you guys looking forward to?

01:49.54
Adam Ashton
The other Adam actually both Adams Adam and Adam yeah, ah so I don’t even know how this whole season thing came about ah I would I would like to say that we were geniuses and like this was just it was the perfect way to do it but it just

02:08.25
Craig
Um, clearly you were geniuses. I’m not being sarcastic.

02:09.44
Adam Ashton
Kind of happened where we’re like we just I did it. We somehow did a year and then we were like I don’t know. Let’s just like pause for a few weeks and then start again and we’re like it kind of worked right? We had like a good bit of a rest. So then every year we kind of took a month off which was good and then over. So we started in June 2016 and then over 2020 and the start of 2021 we we were writing a book whilst podcasting so we’re podcasting and and writing a book at the same time so we kind of like added like all this extra time into our days and.

02:42.85
Craig
I was going to say how was that I know it worked out. It worked out really well. But how was that.

02:48.34
Adam Ashton
Worked yeah worked out all right, but it was ah thankfully we had covid and we weren’t commuting into the city and we were working from home and we had we weren’t allowed to go in more than five kilometers from our house so we had plenty of ah, plenty of free time sitting around at home. So timing wise was actually perfect. But then we…

03:06.35
Adam Ashton
Finished writing the book launched the book and then I think we just kind of replaced that book writing time with extra kind of podcast prep time and then just like accidentally managed to get seven months ahead so we weren’t even like it wasn’t like we like pushing push and pushing trying to rush it. It just kind of ah naturally sort of happened that. Got seven months ahead so now we get to have a seven month break which is which is good. Then to answer a question to get back into it. I’m personally looking forward to the the types of books we’re doing because we’re kind of because we’ve kind of forced ourselves to do one book every week for an episode sometimes it means reading. Super short book. Sometimes it means reading pretty average sort of books to get that to get enough to get that episode in. But now that we’ve got seven months we kind of like we don’t have to read crap I’ve been able to I’ve got to pile there 1 2 3 4 first

04:00.15
Adam Ashton
I’ve got six six books on my did not finish lists that I thought oh these look interesting and I got a third of the way through or halfway through and thought no this is not working so I was able to put them down normally I’d have to like push through to get to the end so that we could do an episode so I’ve been doing some bigger like. Like a 700 page book here gonna and.

04:19.42
Craig
Holy Jesus have you ever seen the Fred Flintstones Tv or the Fred Flintstone’s cartoon where they put the rack of ribs on the side of his car and it flips over? …he just waved this tome at me.

04:26.23
Adam Ashton
Ah, it’s ah we got another… this is only five fifty so I suppose rather rather than reading those 160 page. You know someone did it. Ah, 18 minute ted talk and it got tens of millions of views and they turned it into a hundred and eighty page book that could have probably been 60 pages like instead of reading notes. We get to read some big heavy ones.

04:43.86
Craig
Um, book. So why not slow down and why not slow on and do the big. Yeah so I’m curious about about cadence and scheduling and I don’t mean like the the button pushing of scheduling I mean like. You’re you’re like on the on the hamster wheel you’re on the treadmill of like are you got to do this every week. What happens if you don’t do it every week

05:04.54
Adam Ashton
Ah, nothing happens. But we’ve kind of at this start, we definitely could not do every week so when we first started we did like our first ever episode was super easy. It was literally a so eighty page book. We both read it. We didn’t really take any notes. We kind of. Ah, gen z actually did a few notes I just kind of like was flicking through the book reading out like quotes that I’d circled as we were going hit start talk for 20 minutes hit stop uploaded it that was it so it was super easy to get into it and we’re like cool we can do that again. So then the next week we did like 100 page book. Then we’re like cool. Let’s read this book next and it was like a 250 page book and then we got to the next weekend and we’re both like man. We did not finish that book. So we what do we do? We did? Ah ah at the time we were normally going to record like on a Saturday morning. We just like watch the 1 hour documentary and then like did ah a. You know, 15 minute chat about our thoughts in that documentary and then I think that was one time we missed two weeks in a row of books because we read ah a 400 page book. So we ended up doing like a movie and then we went to this event or something and we talked about that. So ah, early on. We definitely were not doing one a week. Ah, now that we’ve kind of built up. We’re at the point where we could do way more than one a week in terms of like our reading time and our prep time and how we’ve kind of worked out how to do this thing that we could reckon we could easily at the rate we’re going last time without really trying if we wanted to we could do instead of doing 4 or 5 a month we could probably do 8 to ten a month but we kind of don’t really want to do that. So I think we’re at a we’re at kind of a good pace now where we can you know put some shitty books down and just focus on some bigger ones or pick ones at where we are really interested in and even if they turn out not to be that interesting then it’s not the end of the world if we if we skip it because we’re kind of far enough ahead now.

06:58.44
Craig
Yeah, this might sound disconnected because maybe it is ah do you think if do you think of yourself as a podcaster or a book reader because I have a follow-up question I want to ask but I you know the answer that first.

07:09.25
Adam Ashton
Um, yeah yeah I think even as I almost six years in now and well really, we’re 6 years in because we’ve got three months in the can and we’re three months off hitting our six months so six years so we’ll claim that we’re 6 years in um. Yeah I soon wouldn’t if someone’s yeah, that’s right or world war three yeah, as long as ah, ah, ah, as long as um, ah yeah I think I still don’t I don’t know someone says what you do.

07:29.65
Craig
Barring meteor strikes right? Knock on wood. Oh don’t say that don’t say knock on wood knock on wood I’m gonna work that out peacefully.

07:48.41
Adam Ashton
I would say I I do a podcast or I make a podcast but I’ve never said I’m a podcaster so I don’t know what that is I don’t know if that’s like a tall poppy humility thing or if it’s just I don’t know not sure.

07:57.51
Craig
Because what I’m wondering about is it seems to me there’d be a danger of having um, picked the horse you know like you picked a horse in the race and and now like well you’re a podcaster a podcast about books.

08:15.23
Craig
And Whoa I don’t know what to tell you if you actually secretly really wanted to do a podcast about flowers and you’re actually a gardener because that’s it, you’re pigeonholed as a book guy now. Um, do you do do you feel that do you feel like people only see you? yeah or you guys as. Only doing book reviews or do they or do you feel like no I’m just loving this get out of my way, give me more books.

08:34.86
Adam Ashton
Good question. Well I have done other podcasts none of which really had any so significant traion and I kind of do like other podcasts I Guess consulting ah type of stuff with other podcasts where I’m the behind the scenes guy. Um, so the book. So the book side of it ah doesn’t obviously impact on that I think ah I think like whilst we are a book podcast where kind of more like we kind of like to share. It’s almost like what we.

08:54.97
Craig
That’s smart right.

09:11.98
Adam Ashton
Kind of wanted to do was almost like not really like a self-held personal development type of thing but it kind of is like we’re like okay, we’re kind of reading and learning all these cool things we know other people should kind of read and learn it too. But we’re just like 2 dudes who were 23 and 25 when we started like we don’t really know we’re talking about. So instead of saying hey you should go and set goals. So you you can do better in your life in your career because we’re at the start of our career. It was more like okay, let’s read this book on goal setting and then say hey you know Seth Godin or Tim Ferriss or whoever famous author Oprah Winfrey you know these people said you should set goals. So. It’s kind of like it was like our easy way out. It was kind of saying what we want to say without it having to come from us. It was like okay it was kind of like it’s not like where these king you know leaders at the top of the mountain.

09:58.74
Craig
Yeah, but I think you’re downplaying The fact that you’re actually showing your work. So there’s a lot to be said for it, all right? I guess I’ll pick up the book and read it and I’m going to say that out loud. You know like oh I read this book and then…

10:05.53
Adam Ashton
Unknown.

10:16.28
Craig
Obviously that means you hadn’t read it before and how’d you go 30 years without reading Victor Fra’s you know, search meaning or something and I think there’s a lot to be said for showing your work about like every week we’re going to pick up something new I mean if anybody throws shade because you’re not picking up 700 page homes every week that’s nuts like their reality has to set in here.

10:18.54
Adam Ashton
Yeah.

10:35.62
Craig
But I think that says a lot because ah I mean here, we’re not recording video I’ll swivel my video camera so you can see the problem I have with books I got a stackg of books next to mee with Bookmarks sticking out of them like crazy. Everybody wants to read more. Maybe not everybody I wish everybody wanted to read more. So I think maybe you’re not giving yourself enough credit for.

10:55.39
Craig
You really did pick something that’s actually rather hard which is to be open to self-improvement or open to new ideas. That’s just me.

10:59.99
Adam Ashton
Yeah, well hopefully hopefully it is I think like we we probably were like okay we’ we’re kind of going on this crazy book a week which is probably more like a book and a half a week now. Um, trying to read more and more and we figured that if if somebody picks up. You know a book a month or something or they pick up instead of reading 2 books a year they read 5 books a year then we’ve kind of done our job. We reckon.

11:24.76
Craig
Um, yeah yeah I think that’s great. Um, oh there’s so many obvious questions. But let’s see what’s a question that’s not so obviously superficial about books. Um, what? what is something that you think that you guys do particularly well like you I mean maybe you didn’t have the idea. Maybe it was his idea but 1 could imagine doing this show by yourself. But but what is it that you think makes the 2 of you. Um.

12:00.37
Craig
It’s clear that you’re good at it right? like like what’s the magic that you think or what do you think the magic isn’t?

12:03.93
Adam Ashton
Yeah, definitely we could have theoretically done this you know at 90% the same as a individual without doubt if it was me I would have probably done somewhere between 7 and 15 episodes and then that would have been it and so.

12:21.14
Craig
Um, that’s a good point accountability partner.

12:23.13
Adam Ashton
The first thing about I guess like the actual yeah, the the podcasting side of it is like if we’ve got 2 people doing it like if 1 person I’m sure we’ve both gone through like waves where we’ve wanted to pull the pin. But thankfully they’ve never like coincided at the same time when everyone’s up.

12:41.11
Adam Ashton
Another one’s down the other one’s up. So So so far so good on that front. But then I think the other part of it as well is like there’s there’s kind of plenty of other ones out there I don’t know if either of us could do it or would even want to try to do it to to try to be that one. Person for us. It’s kind of easier rather than like I think it probably Gt comes back to like we don’t want to be like whether the genius is the masters at the top of the Hill speaking down to everybody listening that hey we we know everything and you should listen to us which I I feel like you could slip into as ah as an individual person or I definitely could if I was doing it by myself. This way like speaking with somebody else. It kind of keeps it at that. Ah more friendly level I Guess the more relatable level where we’re just kind of talking between ourselves and other people are listening to it um feeling like we’re sort of talking to them as well. Not as like a teacher-s student thing but more as like. Ah, few mates sitting around the pub type of thing.

13:40.10
Craig
Um, what do you think it’s something that people get wrong about the show itself like you know they probably have the right idea about how much work is it? Well, you got to read the book and then you go do a notes but like what’s something they probably get wrong.

13:49.33
Adam Ashton
Yeah, as in if somebody wanted to recreate what we did.

13:55.60
Craig
Maybe to recreate or just maybe like an avid listener who really likes the show you know and like the kind of person who would want to hear the outtakes if you had them and publish them but like what’s something that they get wrong about you know what goes on around the actual recording thing.

14:11.30
Adam Ashton
Gotcha Yeah, definitely much more fighting than than we let on definitely much more arguing about what what’s a good book and what’s not and about what should get in the episode and what should get caught. Um, ah so definitely some of that.

14:20.96
Craig
No.

14:26.51
Adam Ashton
But I think mostly like it’s probably like at the start it was definitely very much. We would go through the book in sequential order in the order that it was kind of written in the style that was kind of written and just talk about the main stuff whereas now we do a lot more. Ah, engineering we call it so we might move sections Around. We might chop entire sections entirely instead of the author said this story to set up to get to this point.

14:56.63
Adam Ashton
Might keep the point but change the story. So instead of using their story. We’ll sub in a personal story or we’ll take a story from a movie or a Tv show or something. Um, and so I think there’s a lot more now where we’ve kind of straight away from exactly kind of verbatim. What the book is trying to do and trying to. More put our own spin on. Okay, what’s going to be enjoyable to listen to and informative and what are kind of the the 3 main things that we can kind of talk about and how can we best deliver that same message not necessarily in the exact same way that the author did but in the the way that we think is is going to be best.

15:32.68
Craig
There’s a lot of insight in there about about how to talk about a thing that you want to share with other people and I was also thinking just before that you were talking about the but I’m going to say pushback the you know conversation to discussion between you and Adam.

15:47.65
Craig
Know if 1 of you is Adam 1 or 1 of these Adam 2 if you’re just Adam him and Adam ah, but also when I asked about like what’s the magic sauce it occurs to me that like yeah, a lot of times I feel like I’m struggling because I don’t have somebody else to tell me oh that’s good. That’s bad. Keep this drop that like a lot of times I’m operating in an echo chamber um, and I think that’s a very wise…

16:07.26
Craig
…point about having another person who’s gott skin in the game intimately involved in the thing who’s going to say to you like no this this should go over here. We should change that around or that book sucks or this books. Let’s do this one so a lot of great stuff in there Adam ah.

16:25.50
Craig
I Don’t know what’s ah probably I like to make space for people to throw random crap up in the air and see what we want to do with it. But yeah I’m still I’m still trying to wrap my head around like not having an exit strategy because I don’t have an.

16:40.74
Adam Ashton
Ah.

16:41.89
Craig
Strategy either and I keep thinking oh am I ever going to stop this show. Um, but on the other hand I can always just pretend that the guests don’t want to talk to me anymore. Um, do you do you admit.

16:49.60
Adam Ashton
Ah, um, who who’s who’s ah, who’s listening and what do they? What do they want are they are they starting podcasts are they already podcasting. Are they? what’s what’s.

16:55.63
Craig
I had no clue who’s listening I think most people who are listening are already podcasters so they’re probably most interested in peeking over the fence into someone else’s backyard. You know like they’re doing a serious. Host on Mike’s show and they want to know what it’s like to be just 2 mates hanging out you know and having a conversation making a podcast like so I think it’s probably the people who do some amount of podcasting and are interested in like.

17:17.18
Adam Ashton
Um, me.

17:26.40
Craig
What is this other guy’s you know whoever it would be on the show. What is this other person’s podcast, like what is the magic sauce for this other person.

17:28.96
Adam Ashton
Yeah, nice. Well I think probably for me for me as well like the the other part that’s kind of interesting in retrospect is sort of like the journey I guess we started off at first super raw super quick and easy like literally the the. Easiest way we possibly could that would ensure that we couldn’t not do it type of thing well like okay, let’s just let’s just buy you know one hundred and fifty dollars mic free software whack it in the middle we hit. We’ll hit record we’ll hit stop. We’ll upload. It. We won’t edit it. We won’t. You know do a Facebook post and an Instagram story and a Linkedin message and then like this and then you know we’re not doing. We’re not gonna do a blog post. We’re not going to do you know all this stuff that you theoretically could and should do to promote your show. We didn’t bother with that and then we said we’re just going to do for 10 episodes. That’s it and then we.

18:08.68
Craig
It’s no mastering. No mixdown right.

18:24.58
Adam Ashton
We kind of got into like 6 or 7 and we’re like okay, let’s keep going um but that was kind of how we started as easy as possible and then eventually we kind of stepped it up. We started taking a bit more seriously we started putting more time into notes beforehand. We we got some more equipment.

18:35.10
Craig
Yeah, because you’ve got like Linkedin posts and images and you got a rating system in your website in the bookshelf and everything’s like whoa this got complicated sorry.

18:43.31
Adam Ashton
Yeah, built up big time and then probably the the other part of that is then we stopped doing it all ourselves as well. After 3 after like so we did 3 years as a full hobby then we got like our first small sponsor. Um. And then probably ah another year or nine months after that was when we first got somebody else to edit it. Um, so rather than us spending two three hours a week editing which was kind of like our least enjoyable part of the process we got somebody else to do it. Um, which is which is good.

19:15.61
Adam Ashton
And then ah yeah, like you, you’ve you’ve gone the the nowhere that approach which is exactly which is the the way to do it that was ah yeah, that’s right and then ah yeah, so then we got someone to do that then we were were doing blog posts every week but we weren’t really taking that Seriously, we’re just kind of doing it as quick and.

19:21.38
Craig
Yeah, it’s almost live right? yeah.

19:35.29
Adam Ashton
As effortlessly as possible which ah, generally meant pretty crap stuff so we got somebody else to help with like the writing of those then we got somebody else to run the social media again because neither of us really want to do that So we’ve just kind of put the systems in place that somebody else can do it without us and now really we? um.

19:53.81
Adam Ashton
All the things that we felt like we should do at the start we didn’t do and then we eventually once we’re kind of committed to the podcast. We started adding those things in and then we kind of go to the point where we’re like okay we know we should do them. We don’t really want to do them. We’re not really good at doing them. So let’s find somebody else who does want to do it and who is good at it who can help us out. So. Um, now we’re really just focused on reading books taking notes making the episode ourselves and then everybody else kind of does other stuff in terms of the editing the blog posts social media, the promotion all that other stuff and then we can. We can just focus on really the core stuff that is sort of within our wheelhouse. But that’s like that’s the 6 year version that’s not the that’s not the six week or the six month version

20:33.38
Craig
Yeah, but it does make the point about what’s that phrase. What’s the work that only I can do and like what if I just did that like what would happen and that’s kind of where you guys started I think that’s great Adam as much as I hate to say it. We’ve reached the point where.

20:40.40
Adam Ashton
Um, yeah.

20:52.76
Craig
We should bring this to a close. So um, that was way too long to wait to get a chance to talk to Adam we did like 4 years or something. Um, but anyway nonetheless congratulations and thanks so much for taking the time. Um and for phoning it in from tomorrow. Thanks Adam.

21:09.21
Adam Ashton
Yeah, no worries mate, it’s looking… the future is bright and rosy. It’s all good for at least at least seventeen more hours

21:16.50
Craig
Ah, terrific. Thanks.