In Malcolm Gladwell’s bestseller, Outliers, it says it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become a master of any skill.

According to a quick search on Podchaser, Guy Raz has published over 1,294 podcast episodes 🤯.

He is one of the most well-known creators and on the episode, Guy shared several industry secrets to help level up your content. 

The tips Guy shares can be used to level up any conversation, regardless of if it’s being recorded or not. 

We sat down with world-renowned podcast host, Guy Raz, at the first Rally conference in Indianapolis earlier this year.

Guy Raz is the founder and CEO of Built-It Productions. The company behind some of the most well-known podcasts like How I Built This and The Great Creators. 

Guy has interviewed and profiled more than 10,000 people including Bill Gates, Condoleezza Rice, Jimmy Carter, Al Gore, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Eminem, Taylor Swift, and many, many others.

Guy was a keynote speaker at Rally, the largest global cross-sector innovation conference, and stopped by for a quick episode of Get IN. 

Get IN. is the show focused on the unfolding stories and most extraordinary innovations happening in the heartland today. Get IN. is brought to you by Powderkeg and Elevate Ventures.

In our conversation with Guy, you will learn about:

  • Keys to creating amazing content
  • How to grow from failure
  • Tips for conducting a good interview

This conversation took place at Rally, the Largest Global Cross-Sector Innovation Conference. Rally forges and celebrates cross-sector connections between companies, entrepreneurs, investors and universities from across the globe and features a $5M cash IN-Prize pitch competition, 1:1 investor meetups, a demo arena, content sessions and more. 

Rally 2024 will take place from August 27-29, 2024 in downtown Indianapolis. Register now for early bird prices >> 

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Episode Transcript

Matt: I’m really excited to talk to you just a little bit about your experience talking to so many great entrepreneurs.

Some based here in Indianapolis like Angie Hicks. Yep. But then also all the great creators that you’ve talked to. You yourself are a creator. And so I wanted to ask you, what are some of the common themes that you’ve seen other creators have that you’ve tried to adopt yourself in your own creations.

Guy: I, I think that the most important and the key thing that I focus on as somebody who makes, creates content is to make content that brings value to people, right? So we all have like roughly 14 waking hours of the day, let’s say 16 depending on the person, right? And so most of that time is spent working or.

Getting ready for work or commuting or eating or spending time with family. And we have like maybe two, if we’re lucky, three hours of time for ourselves. And so me as a creator or any creator is asking you to give me one of those hours of your time. And so that’s a lot. For me to ask you for that time is asking you for a lot.

And so my job is to make sure that I’m not taking advantage of you, that I’m bringing value to your day. And so everything we do, whether it’s how I built this, or the great creators, or my kids show, or, kids show, Wow in the World, or the other shows we do, it’s always, is this value add for somebody, or is it not a good use of their time?

And if our answer is, this is not a good use of our time, We kill the episode, we don’t run it. Or we go back to the drawing board and we start, we re edit it. Because we need you to walk away from that episode, whether it’s Wow in the World, you’re gonna learn something new about science, if it’s How I Built This, you’re gonna feel inspired or energized, you’re gonna learn about how an entrepreneur built their business, the mistakes they made, and what you can avoid.

If it’s a great creators, it’s how, actors and musicians think about creativity where they find it and how you can as well. And so that is really, it’s like first, second, third, and last principle. It’s all there. It’s, are we wasting your time? If the answer is yes, we don’t make it.

Matt: That’s a great answer. And you’ve talked to so many people probably thousands of interviews at this point. What makes a good interview if someone here is appearing on their first podcast or going on TV for the first time? What are some of the things that people should keep in mind?

Guy: I think it’s really important to be vulnerable.

I think it’s really important to open up about challenges and struggles. I think in, in, we’re programmed in our in, In media, in the media world, to think about promoting and promotion and to talk about all of our accomplishments and achievements. And that’s fine, but success is not, success alone is not that interesting.

And it actually doesn’t help, if you are there to serve the viewer or the listener. Your job is to actually talk about, in addition to your successes, to talk about your failures and mistakes, because that’s actually serving that’s serving the audience. That’s helping them to understand a, what to avoid and also be to relate, what, especially if you are, if you’re a successful person, if you’re an entrepreneur or if you’re running a business people who are starting out are, they want to learn from you and it’s very helpful.

when they can hear the challenges and the failures and the setbacks and the challenges and the struggles and the lying on the bathroom floor crying at three in the morning stories, like that’s really valuable for people. And so I think what makes a great interview and what I always recommend to people who come onto the show is to just open up, don’t be so guarded, and and think about.

That experience is serving the person watching or listening.

Matt: Trying to learn from the master here. What are some of the biggest failures or challenges that you have faced in your own career?

Guy: I have faced many and continue to face them. So I think that failure is like… Here’s the first thing I would say.

If you are not failing semi regularly, you’re not innovating enough. Okay? All great companies… You know anybody who makes content anybody who does this if you don’t have a if you’re not trying something That’s just a dog once in a while You’re not challenging yourself. So I’ll give you an example.

I have been really reluctant to like to do video stuff because you know a lot of people said why aren’t you doing more YouTube and My answer is well, I make six hours of content audio content a week. I don’t have time and you know My audience, we have a very big audio audience. And I have a very good friend who has a massive YouTube audience.

And he’s really encouraged me to try and create more video content. We’re starting. We’re, I’m, it’s very humbling. Because we have, 20 million people who listen to our podcasts every month. And, we might get, a few thousand views on a video. But it’s exciting to, it’s exciting to experiment and to see how people respond to it.

And so that is, that’s, and if it fails, that’s okay. And look throughout my career, many of my most important, like the reason why I do what I do now is in a lot of ways because of failures. Like my dream was to be. The weekday anchor of a national news broadcast, like that’s what I wanted to be in my life.

That’s what I thought I would be doing. But I didn’t, I wasn’t picked for the job. I was not the person that they wanted. I was on television, I was a CNN reporter. I was not going to, be the person in the studio anchoring the news. That was not the vision that, the powers that be had for me.

And In my case, I felt like I hit a wall and a limit with what I could do in radio. And that really forced me to pivot into podcasting and to start my business and to eventually start how I built this. At the time, was that failure hard? It was very hard. I remember the night when I was told I wouldn’t get the job very clearly, 2010.

I was really sad. But if that happened, my life would have been very different. And so failure it’s hard to, it’s hard to remember at the moment. But it’s often a hidden blessing that leads to opportunities that you just didn’t anticipate.

Matt: Do you remember what you did to pick yourself up off the floor after that big rejection?

Guy: I do. I was really sad. I was really down. And and I, what I did almost immediately, Was to start to think about how can I recapture this narrative? How can I take control over my story? Because at that moment my story felt like it was in the hands of others who had decision making power And I thought what are small things I can do To start to think about my career where I have a little bit of control over It might not be the biggest job.

It might not be the biggest thing. But what are ways that I can start to explore and I started to have conversations with people. I started to meet people. I started to talk about my dreams and desires and failures and ask for advice. And it’s hard, when you make yourself vulnerable and you go to people and you say, can I just get advice?

And that was really helpful. I just started to talk to people and ask them for their opinions and pick their brain. And that was really helpful.

Matt: You do it for a career now too, which is great. Tell me a little bit about how people can support you and what you’re doing right now as you dip your toe in the waters of YouTube and video.

Guy: Thank you for asking. By listening to how I built this and the great creators, it’s hugely helpful for us and hopefully it’s helpful to you. And if you want to see some of the videos we’re putting out, you can check out my Instagram account. So that would be great. I think we’re also, I say I think, we are, I am on other social media channels too.

I just don’t pay as much attention. Instagram’s the one, huh? But look, I only want people to listen to my shows if I’m bringing you value. And that’s my job. The burden is on me. And if I can do that, and I hope it does, then it’s, we both benefit from it. You get something out of it, and you’re a listener, and that also helps me.

Matt: You have so many fans, all over the world, so many fans here. How does it feel to hear that Sting is a big fan.

Guy: Who knew, right? Who knew? It’s, it’s it’s just, it’s crazy, I think for me the most gratifying thing is to meet people at conferences like this, and to come to places like this and to meet founders and early stage entrepreneurs who are like, I just met one backstage, she was like, I’m starting a business, I’ve been listening to your show for the last seven years and it has helped me so much. It’s helped me, it inspired me to start my business, it helped me.

Think about how to build it. It helped me in times when I’m wanting to give up. And that’s just such an amazing feeling, when I hear that.

Matt: I can tell you guy I’ve talked to a lot of entrepreneurs and I always ask them, what are your favorite podcasts and how I built this is always in the top three.

Almost always in the top three. So I have been a big studier of the show. You have helped me indirectly. And as a result, everyone who listens to our shows, Get In, and the Unvalley podcast in some way, shape, or form is benefiting from your work. Thank you so much for the time today. We’re at our favorite part of the show.

This is a two, three minute rapid fire section. I’m going to introduce Nate Spangle here to the stage to ask a couple rapid fire questions. Let’s bring the energy back up again as we welcome Nate Spangle, head of community here at Powderkeg.

Nate: Thank you, Guy. Thank you.

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Nate: Guys, pleasure. Pleasure. This is my favorite part of the show.

Rapid fire lightning round. Okay. Quick questions. Gotcha. First, ready? What was your first impression of Indiana?

Ssssss. Flat. Flat. All right. What was your first impression of Rally? Energetic. Energetic. Yeah. I love that. There’s tons of fun stuff going on. Two more questions for you for the lightning round. One being, in 2016, you had hometown hero Angie Hicks on How I Built This, right? What have you learned about creating content and podcasts since 2016 when you had Angie on, now almost seven years later?

Guy: So much. So rapid fire. One quick tip. One quick tip. I have learned to connect with people emotionally through the storytelling. People, when people connect to the guest emotionally, that helps them learn and develop on their own. And that has been a really important lesson.

Nate: I love it. Final question, Guy.

Yes. Every, almost every day, someone says, Hey, I want to start a podcast, but I’m scared. So to the person that has the podcast microphone in their Amazon app, but hasn’t checked out yet, what would you say to them?

Guy: I would say, start it, don’t stress about it, just get it out there, put something out there.

Even if you have 5, 10, or 15 listeners, ask yourself this question. If you went out on a street corner and 5 people gathered around you and listened to you for an hour, would you talk on a street corner? And probably you would. If you have 10 listeners, even better. If you have 15, eventually 100. Those are all force multipliers.

Those are people who will talk about the book you write or talk about an event you appear at. Just don’t make excuses. Just start and don’t worry if it’s just your grandma and the dog listening at the beginning. It’s okay. That’s okay. It’s going to take some time to grow, but ultimately if you have even a small captive audience listening.

It’s incredible to have to build that. And so I wouldn’t, I would encourage you or whoever’s doing that to just to just do it.

Nate: I think there’s a company with that slogan. I think there is. Guy, thank you so much. You’re an inspiration. The stories that you capture are inspiration to entrepreneurs everywhere.

I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you. My best friend is a farmer in northern Indiana. And every harvest season, he listens to all the How I Built This. In the combine while he’s harvesting. I love it. That’s a, I don’t know if you’ve ever got that one before, but farmers in Northern Indiana are listening to your show.

That’s awesome. Thank you. Appreciate it. Thank you so much for coming on. Hope you have a great time in Indianapolis. Thank you.

Guy: Thank you everybody.