I have a show called Unsupervised Learning that is released as both a podcast and newsletter.
This post is an exploration of how those mediums differ, and how each should be optimized. In other words I’m going to think out loud here, not give a final opinion.
The purpose of the newsletter is to give people a quick view of what’s happening in infosec and tech, expose them to some of my own ideas, and then give a list of the best stuff I’ve found online during the week.
For the newsletter, the aesthetic of the email is key. I generally don’t subscribe to many newsletters, but when I saw a great one I knew I wanted to make one as well. The difference is minimalism (in my opinion), being concise yet providing enough data to get by on, and giving a perspective that’s different from other places because its yours and in your voice.
For the podcast, I think it’s mostly consumed in the car. And for that I think the key is more about personality and delivery. This is something I’m just now starting to understand. Yes, they want the news and to hear some cool content, but if you’re not being somewhat unique and interesting while presenting it then people might not want to partake—even if they like the material. Again, that’s just an opinion that I’ve adopted recently.
It’s weird to me that I’m trying to do a single show, but in two formats, and it’s turning out that they do need quite different things.
The original idea was to simply have a line or two in the newsletter, and then just go free-form off of those two lines for as long as I wanted. I had a few of those that ended up at over an hour.
Then my idea more recently was to make it more pro by writing more in the newsletter and more or less delivering what I wrote. It goes fast, and it gets the content out there, but I don’t like the way it sounds. Humans have an uncanny ability to tell whether someone is reading or not, and when I’m reading I’m not enjoying the story or the idea. And it shows.
So I continue to evolve things as I go.
I have made some major upgrades to the production of the show, so that helps, but I’m obsessed with searching for my perfect mix of content for both the podcast and the newsletter, but also figuring out the proper mixture of professional and ad-hoc delivery.
At first I thought the podcast was the main component, and that the newsletter was just a supplement. But now I’m starting to wonder if it might be the exact opposite.
Either way I’m going to keep working on both and just enjoy the content. I’ve made some more changes to the newsletter which I really like, including adding some additional sections, and I’m looking forward to putting that out on Sunday.