Thank God it’s…Monday?
Caitlin LambTuesday,16 February 2016
If the name of Shopify’s new podcast makes you laugh and say “as if,” then TGIM might not be for you. But if you’re thinking of striking out on your own and starting a business, then stay tuned. TGIM is Shopify’s first podcast and is the first step in the company’s move towards broadening their offerings to consumers. In an interview with The Globe and Mail, Shopify’s content marketing manager said that the podcast’s goal is to catch new entrepreneurs who are just starting out, in the hopes that they’ll choose to use Shopify’s e-commerce platform to launch their business. With a mix of interviews, business tips, and success stories, the first episode is titled “What They DON’T Teach You in Business School and What They DO Teach You in Prison.”
The podcast was actually produced by the Vancouver-based media company Pacific Content, and the quality is exactly what you’d expect from the company that created Slack’s Variety Pack, which aired last May. The sound is crisp and balanced, even when the hosts take their interviews to the field. Background music and sound effects fill the empty space without overdoing it. The hosts change a couple times throughout the show, and go nameless.
The topic of the show was “Three crucial lessons they don’t teach you in business school.” After describing the first lesson, the show then launched into an in-depth interview with a successful entrepreneur who didn’t go to business school. Robert Nava, the creator of the outdoor supply company National Parks Depot, spent much of his youth in juvenile, and the better part of his 20s in prison. His story is inspiration at its finest, especially for those who are thinking that they can’t become entrepreneurs for one reason or another. Even if you aren’t planning on starting your own business, the mix of Nova’s story and Shopify’s commentary is entertaining.
Unfortunately, the rest of the show didn’t carry the same emotional inspiration. Shopify brought a couple kids on the show and asked for their ideas for new businesses. It was cutesy like a TLC special, but without a video feed, it kind of dragged. They also asked random people whether they would buy some of Shopify’s odd product ideas, including meat smoothies, children’s safety razors, and a cell phone that runs on nine-volt batteries. I fail to see how this is inspirational for future entrepreneurs, but the ideas were pretty humorous. Shopify also interviewed Joanna Griffiths, the entrepreneur behind Kickstarter’s most funded fashion project of all time, Knix Wear, who gave some great advice to anyone thinking about using crowdsourcing to get their business off the ground.
TGIM runs smoothly and stays on track because the hosts are reading script rather than giving their opinions, and if you’re in it for the business stories and tips, it’ll have your attention from start to finish. Not entrepreneurial minded? You’ll probably like the interviews, but the tips and side stories drag on a bit, and you’ll be tempted to turn it off. However, the show is meant to be a guide for new entrepreneurs, not entertainment for the masses, so this isn’t too surprising.
As for conciseness, my only complaint is the format of the show. It plays like a prime time television show that’s trying to make its money back; Shopify is continuously stopping to give a “here’s what’s coming next” recap. Considering the entire podcast is only thirty minutes long, this gets old pretty quickly. I’m hoping Shopify was concerned that listeners wouldn’t be impressed with their first episode and wanted to make sure they listened through to the end, and that this trend will end with episode two.
A quick Google search for business podcasts will show you that TGIM is definitely not alone in this market. The fact that the podcast itself is meant to be a marketing tool for Shopify tells you that they aren’t really out there to produce something unique. That said, the interviews on this episode were entertaining and inspirational, and if Shopify continues that trend then they will have found an interesting niche. If you’re in the process of or considering starting any kind of business, say hello to your new Monday evening, motivational commute soundtrack.
Criteria Scores: Entertainment Factor: 7/10. Sound Quality: 10/10. Conciseness: 9/10. Engrossing: 6/10. “Je ne sais quoi” factor: 6/10. Overall score: 7.6/10.