My God, it's full of Hand-Axes.

Every year around this time, I re-read a motivational article on the Cracked website in order to pump myself up for the next year.  The article's premise is this -- you are only as valuable insomuch as what you contribute to the world.  It's a good read if you want to get motivated to get off the couch.  Somewhere around 24 million pages views over the last four years concur this fact, apparently.

Tucked into the final paragraphs of that article is interesting video clip from Matt Ridley.  In it is an interesting little anecdote about an Acheulean hand-axe and a computer mouse.  The clip is a great one to watch, and it's relatively short and to the point.  But if you'd rather not bother, here is the synopsis:  in the distant past, a single person would make all the tools he needed by himself (or herself).  But in today's world, a huge amount of people work on separate pieces or processes for modern tools.  For the computer mouse example, there are growers who made the coffee for the oil well driller to drink while supplying petroleum to someone who molded the plastic for someone else to assemble the parts that someone else designed and so forth.

That's progress in a nutshell.  While before, one person made all the tools by themselves, now teams of people who don't even know each other get "together" to make what we use.  It allows for specialized knowledge and leveraging individual strengths.  It allows us as a species to be relatively wealthy and more productive.

So, I watched that clip, and I immediately thought about my podcast.  Here I am, trying to do this all myself.  Here are some of the tasks that I do to make an episode...

  • Root out episode ideas (networking, reading, researching, etc)
  • Research said ideas
  • Interview people
  • Transcribe the interviews
  • Write the episode
  • Perform the narration
  • Edit the interview audio
  • Find royalty free music and audio to find
  • Add said music and audio to the piece
  • Master the final audio
  • Export the audio to iTunes
  • Promote the episode
  • Write posts for these blogs
  • Find appropriate royalty and attribution free images for the blog and podcast

Now wonder it takes so long to produce each episode!  This is particularly true considering how much I hate transcibing interviews.

In other words, I'm not producing a computer mouse.  I'm producing a hand-axe. 

I kind of touched on this during a previous blog post, but what if I did indeed get people to collaborate with me on Random Waves?  What if I found someone really into producing audio that is looking for a project to have as a hobby?  Are there folks out there looking to practice their voice work?  Any writers out there looking for an interesting project?

The biggest question of all of them is this:  as I'm doing this as a hobby with zero profit, are there other people looking for the same zero profits???

Over the past two years, I rejoined Toastmasters after a long hiatus.  It's not just a public speaking club; you can also practice leadership skills there.  I'm currently testing out my powers of delegation, so my questions above are coming at a good time for me.  Can I delegate parts of Random Waves to make the episodes come out better and more frequently?

I'll need to meditate on this...