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Virgin Group: Richard Branson

Fuelled by frustration with the status quo, Richard Branson built his Virgin Group empire attacking verticals that had long been dominated by lumbering legacy companies.

Jason Ankeny

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Sir Richard Branson is in a reflective mood. Almost 40 years after the launch of the Virgin Records label vaulted him into the global consciousness, Branson is in Los Angeles to collect a special Grammy Award celebrating his contributions to the music business, and the honour finds him looking back on his transformation from industry interloper to institution.

With his black leather jacket, manicured goatee and signature long hair, the roguish Branson still looks uncannily like the London-born hippie kid who gate-crashed the music biz four decades ago. And he retains the energy and intensity that fuelled the Virgin Group empire as it expanded its reach to embrace air travel, broadcasting, publishing and mobile communications.

But Branson has changed: Now 61, he devotes much of his time to personal passions like The Elders, the international human rights group chaired by Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

“A lot of my entrepreneurial skills are now spent in setting up not-for-profit organisations,” he says. “We’re a little more secure now, so we do things a bit differently.”

Galactic travel

Branson has always done things a bit differently. It’s a philosophy that is central to the Virgin brand and ethos, and it’s the catalyst behind the project he calls “the most exciting thing” the company has ever pursued: Virgin Galactic, the commercial aerospace business devoted to providing spaceflights to everyday (albeit deep-pocketed) citizens.

With suborbital test flights taking place in 2012 and passenger service ready by December, Virgin Galactic had already signed up nearly 500 customers willing to fork more than  $200 000 each to reach an altitude of about 110 kms above the earth’s surface by mid-2012. 

Like all Virgin efforts, the Galactic unit emerged out of Branson’s deep dissatisfaction with the status quo. However, unlike other Virgin initiatives, Galactic is not an alternative to slow-footed, self-satisfied legacy corporations that have lost their way; it’s the vanguard of a nascent industry, with no rules to break and no establishment to topple. For Branson, this is a new frontier.

“First we’re taking people to suborbital space travel, then orbital, and then we’ll be able to put satellites into space at a fraction of the price it currently costs. One day, maybe even hotels in space – who’s to know?” Branson asks. “Whatever happens, it’s going to be ridiculously exciting. It’s the start of a whole new era.”

The roots of Virgin Galactic lie in Virgin Atlantic Airways and Virgin America, the latter of which began flying out of San Francisco five years ago. Renowned for their candy-coloured onboard mood lighting, plush leather seats, expansive in-flight entertainment systems and passenger-to-passenger messaging tools, Virgin America aircraft now serve 18 locations across the US and Mexico.

“If you’re going to launch an airline in America, you need to make sure it’s far and away the best airline, and make sure you do it with panache and style and fun and flair, and really shake up the industry,” Branson says.

“Your brand needs to make its mark, and making that mark means that when you do offer space travel or something, people will say they’d like you to be successful at that as well. So one thing leads on to another.”

Breaking down the status quo

Branson built the Virgin Group brand by targeting business verticals “where things are not being run well by other people,” and he remains driven by a compulsive desire to do things the way he believes they should be done. Seemingly all of Branson’s stories of entrepreneurial success begin as tales of consumer discontent.

In the case of Virgin Records, he formed his own label because no established company would agree to release multi-instrumentalist Mike Oldfield’s hypnotic Tubular Bells; the album inaugurated the Virgin imprint in 1973 and went on to sell more than 16 million copies worldwide.

In the case of Virgin Atlantic, Branson and 50 other passengers found themselves stranded in Puerto Rico when American Airlines cancelled a flight to the Virgin Islands; he chartered a 50-seat plane, sold all the tickets for $39 apiece and not long after acquired a secondhand 747 to launch an airline in earnest.

“I did a blog the other day saying, ‘If you didn’t know how old you are, how old do you think you would be?’” Branson says, sipping tea over brunch at the Sunset Marquis, the legendary West Hollywood hotel favoured by rock ‘n roll royals. “I feel like I’m still in my 20s, although I’m obviously not. I still enjoy life enormously. I throw myself into it as much as I did when I was in my 20s.

“There’s no point in going into a business unless you can make a radical difference in other people’s lives,” Branson says. “To me, it’s like painting a picture: You have to get all the colours right and all the little nuances right to create the perfect picture, or the perfect company.

I know that there’s a need for Virgin to come in and attack a marketplace, because I know that I’m frustrated by having to experience bad service in that particular marketplace.

“So I’ll throw all the paint up and get all the best people in. By the time it sticks on the canvas, we’ll try to start getting some order into it. Every little single detail has to be right.”

Does it float your boat?

Branson embodies Virgin’s target demographic across all its endeavours, says Chip Conley, founder and CEO of the Joie de Vivre Hotels, international speaker and author of books including Emotional Equations: Simple Truths for Creating Happiness + Success.

“[Branson] once said to me that his mantra when starting a new business is, ‘I am the market,’” Conley says. “He won’t jump in unless he’s thrilled with the product. As a customer, if it doesn’t float his boat, he won’t do it. Focus groups and marketing consultants are only worth so much – it’s your gut that tells you what to do. He doesn’t pursue things unless he feels passion for them.”

Entrepreneurs can make a mint by making a difference, Branson maintains. “All start-ups should be thinking, ‘What frustrates me and how can I make it better?’” he says. “It might be a small thing or it might be a big thing, but that’s the best way for them to think. If they think like that, they’re likely to build a very successful business.”

Maintaining an upstart identity

About ten kilometers south of San Francisco International Airport sits Virgin America’s corporate headquarters. Located in an otherwise nondescript business park in California, the offices mirror the postmodern aesthetics of the company’s aircraft:

The walls are painted iPhone white, complete with industrial accents that evoke the rivet heads protruding from a fuselage skin. A photo timeline of Virgin Group milestones stretches throughout the space, commemorating Branson’s greatest entrepreneurial achievements and his most outrageous public relations stunts.

Every January through April, Virgin America mounts ‘Refresh,’ a series of daylong training and team-building exercises that are mandatory for all the airline’s employees, regardless of rank or position.

Close to 100 staffers are attending Refresh on this Thursday morning; over the course of the session, they learn the subtleties of body language from a San Francisco Police Department detective, hone their salsa dancing moves, do their best to imitate IndyCar pit crew tyre changes and prepare their own lunches in silent tag-team relays, a process that yields unholy mélanges of tofu, Nutella spread, Tabasco sauce and Pop Rocks candy.

The Refresh programme is essential to maintaining Virgin

America’s youthful, anti-establishment identity as its business grows and matures, Branson says. “The challenge as you get bigger is not to become so big that you become just like another one of the big carriers,” he explains.

“Trying to stay small while getting bigger is very important. Any company that has more than 250 people in a building is in danger of starting to become impersonal. In an ideal world, 150 people are the most that should be working in one building and in one organisation, so that everyone knows each other and knows their first names.”

With Virgin America having turned five years old in August and profitability finally within its grasp, the airline is at a turning point in its evolution, says president and CEO David Cush.

A two-decade veteran of the air travel business who joined Virgin after serving as senior vice president of global sales at American Airlines, Cush acknowledges that the structure of the industry mandates that Virgin America begin serving a larger number of locations to remain competitive with its legacy rivals. However, he recognises that too much growth too fast can strangle the company’s upstart spirit and culture of innovation.

“What is the delicate balance between the scale you need to be profitable and to earn enough money to continue to reinvest in your product, versus being small enough to still feel like a small airline?” Cush muses. “A lot of what we think about is how to replicate this [business model] for 4 000 employees instead of 2 400. That’s why we feel we have to bring them back in every year to reconnect.”

Empower your great employees

Virgin America is not the first Virgin Group unit to face this crossroad. “In our record companies, when the business got slightly too big, I would get the deputy managing director and the deputy sales manager and the deputy marketing manager and say, ‘You are now the managing director, sales manager and marketing manager of a new company,’” Branson says.

“We’d split the company in two, and then when that company got to a certain size, I’d do the same thing again. That’s something that can be done within an airline – you can break departments in two, and that may be a way for Virgin America to go in the future.”

Branson expresses deep admiration for what Cush and his staff have built at Virgin America. “With every Virgin company, I make sure we have the best people running them and make sure that if I’m run over tomorrow or if my balloon goes down or whatever, the company is going to run fine without me,” Branson says.

“In the case of Virgin America, all the hard work has been done by David and the team there. I will jump in when asked – I’ll come in and sprinkle some magic dust on every new route we do to give it the best chance of success. Whatever else needs to be done, I’m happy to oblige. But I’m a great believer in finding great people, and letting them get on and do their job.”

Although Branson calls himself “a hands-off parent,” Cush says his philosophies exert a profound impact on Virgin America’s momentum and direction. “Richard preaches, ‘Don’t manage by incrementalism,’ for lack of a better term – to keep the bigger picture in mind, and recognise that sometimes it is a slippery slope,” Cush says. “That’s what we’ve done here. The key thing is to stay focused on the company’s values, and not to stray from them.”

This is not to suggest that Branson has always played it safe – nor that he has always come up a winner. Not all Virgin efforts have disrupted their target markets: Virgin Cola failed to quench consumers’ thirst over Coca-Cola and Pepsi, for example, and apparel brand Virgin Ware quickly fell out of fashion.

Critics also question Branson’s daredevil proclivities, like his attempts to circumnavigate the globe via balloon or his record-setting English Channel crossing in an amphibious vehicle.

“Virgin is an adventurous company because I am an adventurer as well as an entrepreneur,” Branson says. “We were the first to cross the Atlantic in a balloon, and we’ve broken lots of other world records. That’s been part of the spirit of building the brand and building the company, and set it apart from the more staid companies we compete with. On the other hand, one could analyse it and say it’s very irresponsible. But we like to break the rules occasionally.”

Asked to describe the differences between Branson’s entrepreneurial philosophies and his own, Conley says: “He’s got bigger balls. He’s willing to roll the dice over and over again. In the past, he showed willingness to maybe experiment too much at times. But I think he’s learnt his lessons.”

Going for top 5 status

Time will tell whether Virgin Galactic falls on the positive side of the ledger. That company “again came out of personal frustration,” Branson says. “I thought when I saw the moon landing all those years ago that one day NASA would be able to fly me into space.

I waited and waited, and soon it became apparent that government-run companies don’t have any interest in worrying about you or me going to space. They have other things on their minds.”

Virgin Galactic will launch commercial services on the wings of SpaceShipTwo, a six-passenger, two-pilot spacecraft designed and trialled by Scaled Composites, the aerospace firm founded by famed engineer Burt Rutan (designer of the Rutan Voyager, the first aircraft to circle the globe without stopping or refueling) and now owned by Northrop Grumman.

As of February, SpaceShipTwo, the first vehicle in the company’s proposed five-ship fleet, had completed 31 atmospheric test flights in all: 15 attached to its carrier aircraft White Knight II and 16 glide tests.

“From December of this year, Virgin Galactic will be offering people trips into space,” Branson says. “Virgin is already one of the top 20 most respected brands in the world, and I suspect this could propel us into the top five and will be a wonderful sort of halo effect for everything else Virgin does.”

It’s unclear what the suborbital spaceflight market might be worth, but Virgin Galactic competitor Xcor Aerospace estimates a potential value of $3 billion within the next few years. Xcor is just one start-up battling Virgin Galactic to dominate the space tourism market; other rivals include Armadillo Aerospace, Space Adventures, Orbital Sciences Corporation and RocketShip Tours. There is no incumbent.

Branson welcomes the challenge

“Every single person in a company has to be empowered to be open to new ideas all the time,” he says. “You’ve got to have a yes mentality, rather than a no mentality. You’ve got to be willing to take risks and allow people to fall flat on their face on occasion. Don’t criticise them when they do, or else they won’t take risks the next time around. Screw it, just do it – get on and try things.”

In other words, Grammy Awards and lifetime achievement honours are all well and good, but Branson isn’t calling it a career anytime soon.

“I enjoy life too much to become complacent,” he says. “I was on the phone a few months ago with the president of the Maldives – there had been a coup there, and I was trying to see if I could help him not get arrested. I’m in a position where I can make a difference and I think I shouldn’t waste that. Life is far too much fun and interesting not to throw myself wholeheartedly into it, and I suspect I’ll keep doing so until I drop. Hopefully we’ll make a little bit of difference in the process.”

A brief history of Virgin

  • 1968  Youth-culture magazine, Student, is created and published by a sixteen-year-old Richard Branson.
  • 1970  Branson starts his Virgin Mail Order business selling cut price records by post.
  • 1971  The first Virgin Record Shop opens in London. Behind the till, Branson sells the first record – Tangerine Dream.
  • 1972  Virgin opens Britain’s first residential recording studio.
  • 1973  The Virgin Records label and Virgin Music Publishing launch in the UK.
  • 1978  Branson buys Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands for £165 000 – mainly to impress a girl called Joan Templeman. It works and she marries him.
  • 1979  The first Virgin Megastore opens in London. Plus, Virgin Books is launched to publish music titles to complement the record label.
  • 1984  Virgin Atlantic Airways and Virgin Cargo are born. Richard and a whole host of friends, celebrities and media are on board the inaugural flight.
  • 1986  Virgin Atlantic buys another Boeing 747 to launch its second route from Gatwick to Miami.
  • 1987  The Virgin Airship and Balloon Company (later to become Virgin Balloon Flights) takes off. It becomes quite hard to keep Richard’s feet on the ground.
  • 1988 Virgin Hotels (later to become Virgin Limited Edition) launches an exclusive hotel range.
  • 1991  Virgin Publishing (later to become a new incarnation of Virgin Books) is formed. Richard Branson signs Janet Jackson to Virgin Records for $25 million for just one album (Janet – her fifth). This makes her the world’s highest paid recording artist.
  • 1994 Virgin Cola, Virgin Vodka and a range of soft drinks are launched under the Virgin Drinks banner.
  • 1995 Virgin Direct Personal Financial Service (later Virgin Money) opens for business. Virgin Cinemas open up its big screens for the first time in  the UK.
  • 1996 Virgin Express airline takes off. Virgin Atlantic makes its inaugural flights from Heathrow to Washington DC and Johannesburg. Virgin Trains is launched as the Virgin Rail Group is awarded the CrossCountry rail franchise across mainland Britain.
  • 1997 The Virgin Cosmetics Company launches with its first four flagship Virgin Vie (later Virgin Cosmetics) stores.
  • 1999 Virgin Mobile launches Virgin’s first consumer telecommunications venture. Virgin Cinemas is sold for £215 million. Digital station Radio Free Virgin begins broadcasting over the Internet. Richard Branson is knighted.
  • 2000  Virginmoney.com, a financial services supermarket, is launched. Virgin Blue, an independent airline in Australia (which goes on to be the fastest-growing company in Virgin’s history) takes flight. Virgin Cars begins retailing online. Virgin Wines is uncorked – raise your glasses… Virgin Energy begins selling gas and electricity to UK homes. Virgin Mobile Australia launches.
  • 2001  Virgin Active launches in South Africa, taking over the ailing Health and Racquet Club at Nelson Mandela’s request. 2004  Virgin Galactic – the first commercial space tourism company – is launched. Virgin Unite, Virgin’s non-profit foundation, is established.
  • 2005  The Virgin Atlantic Global Flyer successfully breaks ‘round the world’ record. Virgin Cars ceases trading. Virgin Electronics and Virgin Ware close their doors.
  • 2006  Virgin Fuels (later to become Virgin Green Fund), an independent private equity firm investing growth capital in the renewable energy and resource efficiency sectors in North America and Europe, is launched.
  • 2007  Virgin Digital pulls down its virtual shutters in the UK. Radio Free Virgin stops playing.
  • 2009  Virgin America becomes the first airline to offer Wi-Fi access on every flight. Virgin Atlantic celebrates its 25th anniversary.
  • 2010 Virgin Galactic takes its first test flight.
  • 2011 Fire breaks out on Necker Island and the main house is burnt down. Guest Kate Winslet helps save Richard’s mother from the fire. Virgin launches Virgin Oceanic, a deep sea exploration submarine.
  • 2012  Virgin Galactic reveals its plans for LauncherOne, a revolutionary satellite launch vehicle, at the Farnborough Airshow in the UK, marking an historic moment for satellite research. Richard is named the most influential person in Britain on Twitter by The Independent newspaper.

Chicago-based writer Jason Ankeny is the executive editor of Fiercemobile content, a daily electronic newsletter dedicated to mobile media, applications and marketing.

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Entrepreneur Profiles

10 SA Entrepreneurs Who Built Their Businesses From Nothing

Remarkable stories about local entrepreneurs who built big businesses and well known brands up from humble beginnings.

Nadine Todd

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Lebo Gunguluza

Ryan Bacher

NetFlorist, SA’s largest online gifting company, was launched by accident

ryan-bacher

Ryan Bacher

“Our plan was to run the site for one day to prove that we could do it. And then we got R30 000 worth of orders. That was the equivalent of a whole month’s revenue at a flower shop.”

Ryan Bacher, Lawrence Brick and Jonathan Hackner; launched NetFlorist on Valentine’s day in 1999.

The founders of NetFlorist had no intention of starting an online floral and gifting company – they just wanted to prove to Makro that they could design and run an e-commerce site. But Valentine’s day came and went, and the ‘test’ site did unbelievably well, so they didn’t shut it off.

“What’s really crazy is that people were paying for us to provide a service. We had no stock and knew nothing about flowers. We just sent the orders to a flower shop in Sandton,” says Ryan Bacher.

How did they make it work? “We knew our best bet was to get the website out, hack it, and keep changing it. We would learn more from the site being out there in the market than we could ever learn in-house, trying to develop a perfect product. It was basically always a work in progress.”

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Entrepreneur Profiles

From Silicon Valley To SA: How Online Marketplace for Developers OfferZen Was Born

OfferZen was conceived in Silicon Valley but launched in Cape Town. The company founders discuss the advantages (and disadvantages) of starting a tech business in South Africa.

GG van Rooyen

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Philip and Malan Joubert of OfferZen

Vital stats

  • Players: Philip and Malan Joubert
  • Company: OfferZen
  • Established: 2015
  • Visit: www.offerzen.com
  • About: OfferZen is a curated online marketplace for software development talent. It has over 500 companies since it launched, including big industry names like Barclays, GetSmarter, Takealot, FNB, Superbalist, Allan Gray, and 24.com. Founders Malan and Philip Joubert have been included in Quartz Africa’s annual Africa Innovators list for 2017. The list features 30 of Africa’s leaders in technology, business, arts, science, agriculture, design and media.

As soon as they graduated from university, brothers Philip and Malan Joubert entered the start-up scene. Their first business, FireID, met a rather swift and ignominious end, but they kept the name and launched an incubator under the same moniker in Stellenbosch.

This endeavour was far more successful, helping to launch local start-ups like SnapScan and JourneyApps. Soon, a few of the businesses in their incubator were scaling and in need of funding, so the Jouberts relocated (with the start-ups) to Silicon Valley.

While living in the world’s most famous tech hub, the idea for OfferZen was born.

1How did you get the idea for OfferZen?

We enjoyed running the incubator, but we also knew that we loved start-up life and wanted to launch our own business. We identified education and recruitment as two areas where a tech start-up could be particularly successful and have a real impact.

Related: Meet The 40 Richest Self-Made Entrepreneurs On Earth

We settled on developer recruitment because of how skewed that marketplace is. Companies are so desperate for good developers, that they get spammed constantly on sites like LinkedIn.

We decided to create a site where developers could upload their details and companies would approach them — the opposite of your typical job or recruitment site.

2Why launch in South Africa instead of Silicon Valley?

We knew the South African recruitment market well, so we felt more confident launching locally. Also, South Africa is home to some great developers, as well as many large companies in need of their services, so we knew that a market existed for what we were doing.

Another big reason was the fact that we could bootstrap this business in South Africa, while we would have needed to raise funds if we wanted to operate in Silicon Valley.

Living and operating there is extremely expensive, so you need a lot of runway. There’s also a lot more competition, so you need big names and big money behind you.

3Is visiting a place like Silicon Valley worthwhile if you want to launch a tech business in South Africa?

It is definitely worth it. There is an unbelievable concentration of talent and expertise in Silicon Valley, and people are very willing to speak to you. While we were there and preparing to launch OfferZen, we spoke to countless similar recruitment businesses.

Figuring out what could be handled via software/computers versus what we would need people for was one of our major questions, and it was great to discuss this with experts on the ground. So, yes visiting Silicon Valley can be very useful, but you should be working on a specific project.

People there don’t mind engaging with you, but they want to address specific issues and challenges. They don’t want to chat in general. If you’re not actually busy working on a business, you won’t find it as useful.

Related: Edward Moshole Founder Of Chem-Fresh Started With R68 And Turned It Into A R25 Million Business

4How did you manage to attract enough developers and companies to create a viable marketplace?

It really is a chicken/egg situation. You need a bunch of companies on the site to attract developers, and you need developers to attract companies, so how do you build up your database to a point where the whole thing becomes viable? That was one of the biggest challenges we had.

Our advantage, though, was that good developers are so sought after. Companies are desperate to find developers, so they were quite keen to support what OfferZen was doing and join the marketplace. We started by building up a solid database of companies, and then started signing up developers.

Once we had the companies, it was easier to convince the developers. We also offer developers who find employment through OfferZen a R5 000 bonus. Importantly, we started off quite small. Initially we just focused on Cape Town and created a viable marketplace there.

Once that was up and running, we expanded to Johannesburg. If we threw the net too wide, we ran the risk of not having enough developers and companies in one place.

5You have a very impressive developer-centric blog on your site. Why the focus on the blog?

We realise that only a small portion of developers are actively searching for a job at any given time, so we wanted to create something that would allow us to engage and offer something useful to the rest.

Ultimately, we want all developers to be aware of OfferZen and its website, and a great way to do this is to generate useful content that drives traffic to the site. But we don’t think this would work if the whole exercise was just a thinly-veiled marketing exercise.

So, we decided to create genuinely useful content that would interest local tech entrepreneurs and developers. Creating this kind of content takes time and money, but we believe it’s worth it.

6You’ve grown massively over the last twelve months, from five people to more than 20. How do you make good hires when having to fill roles that quickly?

We’ve posted an article on our blog where we go into the minute details of our hiring process, which people can read, but I would add that people should seek out the book Who: Solve Your #1 Problem by Geoff Smart. It’s a fantastic book on the hiring process.

Another thing worth mentioning, which OfferZen does, is to have what we call ‘simulation days’, where a candidate comes in and does actual work for a few days. It requires time and energy from the rest of the team, and it is also risky, since the candidate is doing real work and interacting with real clients, but we find that it’s an excellent way to gauge capability and culture fit.

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Gareth Cliff Shares His Tips For Starting Your Very Own Podcast

Here are Gareth Cliff’s tips for starting your very own podcast.

GG van Rooyen

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Well-known South African DJ Gareth Cliff left radio a few years ago to start his own podcasting company, CliffCentral. The company celebrated its third birthday in May of 2017, and has shown steady growth, both in terms of content and listeners. CliffCentral has definitely shown that there is a South African market for this new medium.

Here are Gareth Cliff’s tips for starting your very own podcast.

1How easy is it to start a podcast if you don’t have a large team/company behind you?

Anyone can start a podcast. You don’t need staff, a studio or expensive equipment. The hard part is delivering quality content and being consistent.

Related: When Gareth Cliff Met Bill Draper – The First Skype Funder

2What advice do you have for people looking to start a podcast? What are some of the dos and dont’s?

What can you do that nobody else can, or what can you do better than anyone else? That would be the start of the content plan for the podcast. Also, be prepared to grow the audience slowly. Building a solid listenership takes time. It isn’t something that happens quickly.

3More and more companies (like Dell and McAfee) are launching branded podcasts. What do you think of this as a content marketing strategy?

We think it’s terrific, as long as it’s relevant and interesting. Take a listen to what Gimlet Creative are doing for Microsoft and Virgin Atlantic. They’re not ads, they’re great to listen to. AutoCentral on CliffCentral is our motoring show, hosted by the guys from AutoTrader — and it’s really good, because they are so passionate about cars. T-Systems also host their own podcast during which they interview ‘disrupters’ in the industry.

4What does the local landscape look like? How is the local popularity of podcasting growing? Do you need to aim your content at an international audience?

Local service providers have told us that podcasting in South Africa doubled from 2014 to 2016 and keeps growing incrementally. In the US, podcasting has increased by 70% year on year for the last three years. That makes it the fastest growing medium of all. Our audiences are local and international. They choose us, we don’t target them.

Related: Celebrity Jen Su On Building Your Brand

5What is it about podcasting that you think sets it apart from other channels/mediums? What are its strengths, and what are its weaknesses?

Podcasting is replacing long-form journalism. People don’t have time to read reams of stuff. You can listen to a podcast while you’re driving, cooking or training. Also, mainstream media try to be everything to everyone. As Dion Chang recently told me in an interview, individuality is the way of the future — and niched content will become much more sought after than bland content crafted to appeal to the masses.

6What are some of the challenges of doing a regular podcast that people don’t tend to think of starting out?

Keeping content fresh, unique and relevant. That sounds easy, but it’s hard to consistently up your game and keep delivering. Listening to podcasts is an active choice — people don’t stumble upon them like you stumble upon a music radio show. That means the audience are discerning; they understand all the choices they have.

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