Invention-related podcasts take inspiration and education to new channels
“Podcasts are a vehicle to connect directly with your audience. Unlike other forms of media, video or blogs, podcasting is highly intimate.”
—Ginni Saraswati, owner of podcast and content production company Ginni Media
BY REID CREAGER
A targeted red light therapy device. Cutlery built into a tumbler. A portable blackout curtain.
Roy Morejon hasn’t seen everything in product innovation as host of Enventys Partners’ Art of the Kickstart since 2015, but he’s game. His podcast interviews with inventors offer insight into their experiences with crowdfunding and other aspects of the creative and entrepreneurial journey.
Inventing-related podcasts have exploded with the popularity of the format in general.
According to Ginni Media, a “one-stop-shop” podcasting studio, there was a 42 percent increase in exposure for podcasting from 2006 to 2020. Podcast listeners total an estimated 116 million this year, with more than 2 million podcasts.
The increase in smart speaker ownership—up 22 percent between 2020 and 2021, according to digital marketer Convince & Convert—presents more opportunities to listen to podcasts at home. And the COVID pandemic’s presumed longstanding presence all but ensures in-home products and activities will remain strong indefinitely.
In terms of attracting audiences, the podcasting format is a natural fit for fledgling and accomplished inventors seeking real-life reassurance and cautionary tales from those who have been there and sold that.
“As the leading crowdfunding marketing agency in the world, it made sense for Enventys Partners to enter the podcasting space, and Art of the Kickstart was a natural entry point,” Morejon said. “For me, speaking with creators has always been the best part of working in the crowdfunding space.
“Hearing how they’ve overcome challenges, what surprised them about the industry and learning more about the ideas they’ve brought to life is thrilling.”
Tell me a story
Gabby Goodwin was starting to feel sorry for her mother.
In a June 30 Stroke of Genius® podcast, the 14-year-old from Columbia, South Carolina, recalled when she was little how her mom would arrange her hair for 15 or 20 minutes every day before school.
“She would drop me off at school and then I would look all pretty and nice, and she would pick me up after school and I would look a hot mess,” she said.
“My twists were undone because my barrettes kept falling out. And she was not only wasting time in the morning but also wasting a lot of money, just going inside the store and seeing her pile up the barrettes over and over again.”
Gabby and her mother, Rozalynn Goodwin, have been an inventing team for seven years. They created GaBBY Bows, the first patented, double-faced, double-snap barrettes—now a big commercial hit.
Jessica Landacre, executive director of the Intellectual Property Owners Association, said Gabby’s story exemplifies how the IPO Education Foundation’s podcasts use storytelling to connect with the audience.
“It allows the listener to tap into their own imagination and go on a journey with our guest to share a moment in time. Trust and believability must be established to keep the listener tuned in.”
The IPOEF started Stroke of Genius in 2018 and began focusing on underrepresented communities this year. It has ranked in the top 10 under Education podcasts on Apple.
Landacre notes that the podcasts aren’t just interviews; they are more like presentations.
“Techniques like different textures of voices and music help to maintain the attention of the listener and bring the story to life. We try to be creative in our delivery and include details that engage the listener and create a connection.
“Humor goes a long way. Conventional interviews can do these things as well, but we believe podcasts are more effective because of the flexibility of the format.”
The Gabby podcast delivered its share of laughs—courtesy of an enthusiastic, bright, witty girl who is well ahead of her years.
When explaining the early challenges she and her mother had in finding backers for her invention, she said: “I’ve gotten told ‘no’ so many times.
“I’ve gotten big ‘no’s, little ‘no’s, small ‘no’s, tall ‘no’s, short ‘no’s, fat ‘no’s, skinny ‘no’s, all different types of ‘no’s.” She says that for her, NO stands for Next Opportunity.
Relatable and intimate
The most successful podcasts exude a comfort level between everyone who is being heard, in an informative context. A host who makes a connection with the inventors’ goals adds to the value and memory of the experience.
In June, Enventys Partners’ Morejon interviewed the cofounders of the Sleepout Curtain—a patented, portable blackout curtain that blocks light with a goal of providing a more restful sleep and the myriad health benefits associated with it. He told Hannah Brennen and Mark Coombs that because he gets up at 4 a.m. or 5 a.m. every day and sleep is crucial for him, he uses products such as a smart ring to track sleep, a cooling pad, and a gravity blanket.
This kind of relatability is a key driver of the format. It lends itself to more of a conversation than being talked at.
Ginni Saraswati has long been attracted to this.
A veteran Australian FM radio host, she launched her own podcast, The Ginni Show, in 2016. It was nominated for Best Comedy Podcast at the Australian Podcast Awards. She now runs New York City-based Ginni Media, a podcast and content production company with team members in more than 14 countries producing for Fortune 500 companies and entrepreneurs.
“Podcasts are a vehicle to connect directly with your audience,” Saraswati said. “Unlike other forms of media, video or blogs, podcasting is highly intimate.
“People listen to podcasts on their own time, by themselves and on headphones usually. This means podcast hosts are literally in their audience’s ear.
“Inventors seeking to market their products have a vision, a creation and a hope to impact the world in a positive way.”
The enormous range of invention-themed podcasts is another major draw for the format.
Although successful product stories are a linchpin—Morejon notes an Art of the Kickstart podcast involving the OYO Nova Gym, for which Enventys Partners raised more than $4.4 million in crowdfunding to make it the most funded fitness product ever on Kickstarter—podcasts about world-changing innovation and intellectual property’s increasing impact are among the compelling listens.
Saraswati mentioned podcasts such as How I Built This, which “take you through a founder or creator’s journey of how their idea and vision impacted the world with what they created and the movements they built.”
Megan Nadolski hosts and produces the Stroke of Genius podcasts. She recalls her interview with 2018 Nobel Prize winner Tasuku Honjo, who established a new principle for cancer therapy using humans’ immune systems.
“It was not only a privilege to talk to such a brilliant mind, it was truly a learning experience,” she said. “He explained immunotherapy in such a simple way, one that was easy for everyone to understand. And that was surprising to me, given the very specific focus of his work.”
Nadolski said that podcast resonated with her not just for the information but for its feel.
“Narrative nonfiction podcasts, when done right, are the audio version of a long-form magazine article. The listeners get in-depth learning about a subject through great storytelling.
What’s different about a podcast is, it’s a very personal experience.”
One of Landacre’s favorite Stroke of Genius podcasts is “Patents in a Pandemic,” which views COVID-19 through the lens of intellectual property.