Make status reports a habit in your organization; it will help you stay on track with projects and “unstick” projects that are stuck because you have a time and place to discuss it all.
Dave Newmark began his career in advertising after graduating from Stanford University. His agency, Newmark Advertising, specialized in radio advertising in his home market of Los Angeles. After focusing on all formats of radio advertising, he discovered the power of endorsement radio advertising, and began to hone his direction in that area to serve his clients. In 1998, Dave and his wife, Patty, also a Stanford grad in psychology, brought radio endorsement advertising national. With the expansion of audio formats in the mid-2000s, the Newmark agency extended its expertise in all areas of audio, including terrestrial and satellite radio, streaming audio and podcasts, for his client roster. In 2016, noticing a “discovery” challenge for podcast listeners, Dave developed an online directory exclusively for podcasts, called PodSearch, launching it in 2017. Dave has been asked to speak at various audio industry conferences about the state of podcasts and its forecast for growth. PodSearch has become so popular, so quickly that Dave and Patty decided to weave the ad operation into the platform, calling it PodSearchAD. PodSearch has already reached millions of page views, resulting in hundreds of thousands of listeners and advertisers of all types discovering great podcasts.
Where did the idea for PodSearch come from?
My background is in radio and podcast advertising so up to the summer of 2016, that’s how I thought of my business: an ad agency. But over the course of that summer, I was beginning to perceive a gap between podcast publishers and listeners, as well as between podcast publishers and advertisers, both of whom were finding it increasingly difficult to discover podcasts. So, to satisfy my curiosity, I asked a colleague to look up how many people were searching for phrases like, “how do I find podcast” and to my shock, there were over 20 million online searches conducted per month! Then, I thought, why not create a platform to help podcasters find listeners and advertisers? And, since this involved helping both listeners and advertisers search for podcasts, the name PodSearch just came to me so I bought the URL.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I use collaboration software as much as possible to keep on top of projects and manage team members. I also use productivity software like the ToDoIst app to jot down ideas or tasks as they come to mind and, later in the office, I’ll organize, categorize and prioritize those tasks. I read once that Colin Powell used to have once-a-day meetings with his top aides when he was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and kept those meetings to 20 minutes to force efficiency and productivity. Similarly, I hold daily meetings with my VPs to ensure that all projects are in line with our company objectives.
How do you bring ideas to life?
First, I talk a lot about them with others on my team. I find that by talking things out, the problems with the ideas surface before any money is expended. Second, I think about the UX for all involved and try to think how it can be a win for all sides. If it’s not a win, I won’t do it. Third, I try to think of the best people or team to accomplish something, even if it’s an unusual or unconventional choice.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The explosive growth of podcasting. I believe we will look back at this period of our history – at the enormous output of creativity that has been unleashed by widely-available technology for production and consumption of content – as a period of expression no less significant than the invention of the printing press.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Scheduling status report meetings with our advertising clients and software teams. By making sure we have these meetings, projects and ideas don’t slip through the cracks. Moreover, when action items are stalled because someone is stuck, the group can brainstorm ways around that obstacle, and we move on.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Don’t compare yourself to others, just enjoy the ride and be grateful for the family, friends and colleagues with whom you get to share this life.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Our country will come together to fight climate change. As a student majoring in Human Biology at Stanford, I was learning about the effects of growing populations and environmental degradation back in the late 1970’s. We knew there was a problem then but nothing major was being done to address it. Now, with climate change being documented throughout the world, I’ve seen a sharp increase in people’s outrage that I believe can and will motivate individuals with their own actions and leaders of this country to rise to the challenge.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Listen for clarity and understanding. Whether it’s customers/clients or internal team members or vendors, if there is something being said or explained and I’m not clear about the objective or explanation, I will ask for clarity. I’m not ashamed to say, “I’m sorry but I am not clear about what you said or that explanation. Please help me understand your objective”. Very often, I find that the ideas are not well-formed in the person’s mind and my forcing them to reiterate what they have said gets them to re-think it for a better outcome.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Watch the numbers. Whatever metrics guide your enterprise, whether it’s actions that bring in customers or the P/L or any other numbers that drive a business, watch them regularly (I do this with my team every Friday). Don’t think you need to do this alone. Get others on your team to help you.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
The year was 2007 and we were two years into a fast-growing second business I had started (semi-related to our main ad agency business). It was at this moment that I made a poor decision: add about 6,000 square feet of office space to accommodate the expected growth of this new, second business. Unfortunately, the Great Recession hit in late 2008, and revenue tumbled, just as we were about to move into that space. In the years following, I have overcome the “how-much-office-space is right” question in several ways: First, I take on much shorter leases to allow for maximum flexibility; second, we use a combination of on-premise and remote staff; third, we leverage technology wherever possible to minimize the need for headcount.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I think a great business would be to become the “Billy Graham” of podcast live events. Right now, podcasters have tours and must figure out all the arrangements by themselves. If there was a national company able to handle all the logistics, those podcasters would be able to leverage the experience and connections of that company and just focus on putting together the content of a great show.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
My wife bought me a FitBit recently and I’m hooked. I’m a total sucker for the little nudges it gives me to walk around during the day and when I hit my steps goal, it gives me this little graphic of a rocket ship. It’s a simple, funny, yet effective “nudge” to get me to do what I know I need to do.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
OneNote. I used to use Evernote but the infinite number of categories and sub-categories I can create with OneNote is far better. I use it to file meeting notes and emails from Outlook (there’s an easy integration in Outlook for it). On the iPad, the OneNote app allows for use of the Apple Pencil so I can handwrite when I’m in a meeting and don’t want to disturb anyone around me by typing. I’ve also diagrammed business ideas and structures using the Apple Pencil on OneNote.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I urge every American to read “Washington’s Crossing” by David Hackett Fischer. This is a gripping real story of George Washington, the Revolution and the forces working for and against the ultimate formation of a nation. This book not only highlights Washington’s incredible fortitude, strategic vision and leadership skills but also illustrated how we’ve always had internal divisions and challenges, yet ultimately were able to unify behind a good and just common cause.
What is your favorite quote?
In “The Power of Habit”, Charles Duhigg explores the power of the mind to create habits that make a huge difference in one’s life. One of several quotes from this book that continues to inspire me is: “Small wins fuel transformative changes by leveraging tiny advantages into patterns that convince people that bigger achievements are within reach.” I strongly believe this to be true; in personal and in business life, setting and celebrating small wins as milestones toward a greater vision is a true path to success.
• Don’t be afraid to try out cloud-based collaboration apps/platforms that can help you and your organization work together more seamlessly.
• Make status reports a habit in your organization; it will help you stay on track with projects and “unstick” projects that are stuck because you have a time and place to discuss it all.
• Talking with your team about half-formed ideas will help you and them work out the pros, cons and changes to those ideas so that when they are ready for implementation, they will have the greatest chance for success.
• Stay on top of your numbers – all of them – and bring key team members into the process so that everyone feels invested in making those numbers great.
• Enjoy the ride of your business but don’t let it dominate all your time and energy. You are not your business. You have a life, friends and family – do not take them for granted.