Episode #143 – Josh Muccio On Pitching Secrets From The Podcast “Shark Tank”
Josh Muccio is an entrepreneur with a few notches in his belt.
Including a couple previous podcasts.
When an angel investor and business founder approached him to team up…
He couldn’t say NO.
The project? A podcast version of “Shark Tank”
With one season in the bag and the second just released…
It’s “all in” for Josh and his partner as they navigate the
world of angel investing and venture capital.
From getting s— done and pushing publish…
To making business contacts, finding collaborators and securing sponsorships…
It’s been a wild ride.
Josh has a few expert lessons to pass along.
In this episode, you’ll discover:
- How to go from ground zero to published podcast in less than a day (Without worrying about perfection!)
- The one critical element about pitching the “Big Vision” of your product or service…so angel investors will be beating down your door!
- Domain name secrets the Registrars don’t want you to know (rake in money with your own domain extension)
- How Josh monetized his podcast and set himself up for success (without selling products!)
- The “slight edge” advantage that will help you build your own online business (and how to make use of every single day while doing it)
Intro and outro backing music: Forever More by CREO
Josh Muccio: Hey, I’m doing really great, thanks David
David Allan: It’s awesome to have you on the show. I’ve listened to a few of your podcasts and done alitle research about you as an entrepreneur – seem you had a few prior…you had a different podcast earlier…
Josh Muccio: Yeah, I’ve done a few stuff
Dave Allan: Yeah, you’ve been around for a bit and this is the first time I’ve heard of you – it was interesting sort of reading about you and I listened to some of your stuff. So, what can you tell us about – First, et’s start with “The Pitch”, because it’s your current project I presume…and what that’s about.
Josh Muccio: Sure – So about a year ago I was working on a different podcast – there was somebody that listened to the show that was an investor and he had it in his mind that it would be cool to have a podcast the TV show “Shark Tank” – so he was an investor himself and he reached out. So, we ended up talking on the phone, it took about three or four months but we decided hey, let’s do this thing. So, this is actually about a year and a half ago now – we’ve done 50 episodes so far – that would have been Season One of the show – but we never had anyone commiting to invest real money on the show – and that’s the whole premise of “Shark Tank” so, I felt like we were just failing and letting people down right off the bat. So, we kind of drew a line in the sand last October – we stopped recording new episodes and we just planned this event. 12 startups come in – we found four or five investors to commit to invest in an hour and we did it, we recorded an entire season. I don’t know when this episode is going to go live, but those episodes won’t start airing until January 11th, 2017.
Dave Allan: OK, awesome brother – this will be right about the same time I imagine…
Josh Muccio: Well, perfect!
Dave Allan: It should be coinciding. I was looking through some of the episodes you guys had up online, and there are some very interesting products, I’m from Canada originally so I’ve watched “Dragon’s Den” and associated shows – so maybe tell us about some of the interesting and weird products. I scrolled through and listened to some of the episodes and there’s some very interesting stuff going on there. Email encryption for healthcare was one that sort of caught my eye as an email marketer, so maybe talk about a few of those exciting things.
Josh Muccio: So, we’ve had a whole variety of companies on the show so far, and then tend to focus on tech, because my co-host and co-founder is based in San Francisco, Sheel Mohnot of 500 startups is a partner there, and he didn’t when we first started the show so I guess the show is working for him. So, we’ve had a lot of tech deal-flow come through the show. It’s been real interesting. So, I’m trying to scroll through, we’ve had a company that’s building something that is competition for- oh, shoot what was the name of that app – track expenses and miles…MileIQ is a company…email encryption for healthcare…
Dave Allan: That’s really cool, that’s a good idea…
Josh Muccio: We’ve even had somebody that’s like creating this laptop where you plug in your Android phone and instead of it running its own operating system, it just boots up the operating system on your phone and then essentialy puts a UI layer for desktop on it. It’s for people in third world countries that have Android phones but can’t afford a computer. Which is really very interesting to think about. But, I mean yeah, there’s been a bunch. We had “Dollar Beard Club” – if you’re familiar with “Dollar Shave Club”, this is kind of the antithesis to that and that was a real interesting episode, and I don’t want to give too much away but response from investors wasn’t what you’d think it would be after you lkistened to the episode.
Dave Allan: I’ll have to check that one out, I missed that I think. So, when you were first satrting this up it was you and the co-founder, the guy with 500 startups, and you guys wnated to make a “Shark Tank” podcast…
Josh Muccio: I mean it sounds fun, right? We thought it sounded fun.
Dave Allan: Yup, when I first heard about it when you guys reached out to John, I thought this was an exciting thing I want to hear more about this. When you first dedcided, OK, we’re going to do this, you had contacts already within the startup community and so forth?
Josh Muccio: So Sheel did. Because he’s based in San Francisco. His forst company, he sold to Paypal. Then he started another company, this is super interesting…So, you know all those new top level domains that came out across the last three years essentially, .club, .app, .xyz – there’s hundreds of ’em. Well, you can apply at any point in time, essentially to make-up your own – I don’t know if there was a certain amount aavailable or you could just make up any word – But I think the cost was like $150,000 to apply. So, you could do that and if nobody else applied you would own it. You could sell .app domain names across all the registries, rake in all the money and all you paid was $150,000 to ICann, the company – I don’t know what they’re called – the entity that handles all that stuff. If there were multiples parties that wanted that, ICann would say – figure it out amongst yourselves. Well, that didn’t always work so he essentially launched a company that handled it – it was like an online, reverse bidding, it was real interesting stuff and I don’t fully understand it to be honest and then he sold that company. So, he’s been kind of angel investing out in San Francisco for awhile before he joined 500…So, I say all that to say he’s been in it, he’s been in the mix for awhile now and had quite a few contacts to help us get the show off the ground.
Dave Allan: Now, when you first started, the original podcast was called…
Josh Muccio: Daily Hunt.
Dave Allan: yeah, Daily Hunt, right. How did you get satrted with that. What were you doing at the time that you decided to jump into the podcast?
Josh Muccio: Sure. We’re going through my story in reverse and I’ve never done that before, this is interesting. Daily Hunt was a project I started because of a dream – This sounds super weird but – I had a dream that morning and I woke up and it was like, Oh, a daily podcast. Like, I should do a daily podcast about the website Product Hunt. Which is a cool tech website and products get upvoted to it – this was a couple years ago – I was obsessed with the website, checking it out every day – super involved with the community – and so, creating a podcast for someone else’s thing sounded fun but who does a daily podcast? So I tweeted out at the founder of Product Hunt, Ryan Hoover, the guy is super accessible on Twitter, and he says “You should do it”. And I’m like, “What?”, and so I made sure I could use the name “Daily Hunt” even though your website is called Product Hunt and he was like “Yeah, that’s fine, whatever” – and so literally that day – you mentioned before we turned this on that you like to just dive right into things and figure out the details later so that’s essentially what I did, but it’s kind of a tribute to what’s possible today – The fact that I spun up a website, dailyhunt.co, and essentially bought hosting for the podcast, recorded the podcast that afternoon and published the podcast that evening. So, you know a dream to a real podcast in less then 24 hours. This show ended up not going anywhere at all – Unfortunately it didn’t pan out. So, that’s one of the reasons when Sheel reached out to do the “Shark Tank” podcast, I was definitely interested in trying something different. An dtruly within the first 24 hours of the new podcast, we had more downloads of the preview episode – I don’t think there was any episode that even came to half that of the previous show, Daily Hunt. Yeah, that was kind of what got me into podcasting in the first place.
Dave Allan: That’s awesome. So, you basically found a starving crowd looking for something for startups because your podcast, The Pitch, jumped right up the charts kind of thing…and gave you the fame and fortune you have now.
Josh Muccio: [laughing] Fame and fortune, if that’s what you want to call it.
Dave Allan: Let’s talk more about…most people who podcast, myself included, you sort of quickly find out that the podcasting itself you may be able to monetize it in sort of a long game, perhaps with sponsorships other things like that, that most of the people have made money in podcasting through productizing their services – whatever it is they do.So that’s what you guys did with The Pitch, you cam eup with…
Josh Muccio: You talking about our coaching?
Dave Allan: Yeah, the pitch coaching…
Josh Muccio: Yeah, you know and our goal honestly is I don’t want to hawk very much of our own stuff on the show because the nature of the show is companies coming on hawking their stuff. Now, they’re not necessarily pitching it to the listeners, they’re pitching it to an investor, so it’s a very interesting conversation, very interesting way to hear about a company that’s unique in itself. So, I’m cutting it a little bit short by saying people are hawking their own stuff – it certainly doesn’t feel like that when you’re listening to the show. But, there is enough “Hey, here’s this new product”, “Here’s what we do” – that it doesn’t feel right to then go “Hey, I’m the maker of this podcast also check out my thing”. And so, we wanted to kind of step back from that a bit and that’s why we focused mainly on sponsorships, that’s been our main revenue stream. We will occasionally in an episode say, “If you need help crafting your message to investors – we can help you get out of your own head and do that effectively” and essentially, and we can go into more details if you’re curious, but we didn’t realy set out to become pitch experts – it’s just that there were enougb people asking for help with that – by listening to the show, they wanted to learn more – So, that’s what we did.
Dave Allan: I mean a lot of our audience is freelance copywriters and new business people. Maybe some people in the throes of starting their own startup perhaps or solopreneur idea and when it comes down to pitching things you find a lot of cross-referenced…whether its pitching something on the street…I’m a street magician…or pitching something at a fair, or its pitching the miracle brush at a shopping mall – whatever it is – They all have a lot of the same tactics and strategies…What have you learned about pitching something for investing? It’s kind of a whoe different arena. Personally, that you can pass along to people who have to pitch clients and so forth for marketing strategy…
Josh Muccio: Yeah, I think the first thing that people need to understand is that its really all about the audience you’re talking to and this will obviously apply no matter who you’re talking to – its where are they coming from, what are they interested in – and investors, they need to understand the opportunity you’re building. So, not really the product necessarily – You have to understand the product first – What this widget is – But, they have to understand what it means long term, why this is so huge for them and tech investors and venture capitalists are a unique bunch particularly because they’re looking for the outliers – they’re looking for the Ubers, they’re looking for the next Facebook and so for them they’re looking for – “How big can this thing get?” – And once you start seeing it through that lens it changes how you talk about your product because the death trap that most pitches fall into is, “Oh, we’re building this thing for this specific type of person that does this” – It sounds too small, but most products initially are small, they need to be that way, they need to be focused – it’s how you’re supposed to build a company, but it doesn’t translate well to a pitch. When you sit in front of somebody and you pitch them and say this is our big vision, this is how big this can get, this is how big the market is, and right now this is where we’re starting – here’s our beach-head essentially in this market with this product that we’ve created that sort of thing and we give people a bsic overview of what they can do to enhance their pitch.
Dave Allan: Yeah, that sounds great. It is the same when you’re pitching clients on marketing strategy or copywriting services or whatever, because a lot of people, unfortunately, and like you said you’ve seen yourself – they’re pitching what we’d say, the features of the product – like this widget does this, it grinds this up or walks across water or whatever – but reality is, the big…really big idea is the value that it brings of course and so the same with copywriting services – it brings alot of value to people because not only does it solve the problem of selling the widget to whoever, but also can go on for years ad infinitum where you don’t have to have sales people or whatever – its going to do the selling for you and I see people make this mistake all the time where they’re trying to push what the widget can do instead of the problem it solves.
Josh Muccio: Yeah, that’s really great…
Dave Allan: You personally, you’ve got this pitch, this new season coming up with The Pitch, where you’re going to release therse new episodes and this was made at an event…
Josh Muccio: Yeah, I say event to say we brought everybody together in the same room, but it was a private event. We didn’t want to optimize for the people in the room, we wanted to optimize for the listening audience later and there was just too many variables the first time. It’s possible that we will open it up and will be a paid event, semi-private, in the end. But this first one was completely private, just the four investors and the founder in a room and then the tech guy and me the producer, listening in – in another room. And then there were a few miscellaneous people listening in too. Yeah, it was real interesting, I had just met the tech guy that morning – before we recorded the entire season so it was pretty nuts.
Dave Allan: You seem to follow the jump off the ledge and build the parachute on the way down idea…
Josh Muccio: We tried to plan as much as we could ahead of time. My wife’s an event planner and I really leaned heavy on her for that, but at the end of the day we basically just had to show up and figure all the details out.
Dave Allan: Now, in terms of finding your friend, your co-founder, and for people looking to find people to start stuff with. How did you meet and how do you get into a community like that – how do you meet these kind of people? Where do they hang out? Where do they go?
Josh Muccio: This is an outlier, the fact that I met Sheel because I didn’t meet him in person until we went out to record the first season – or the first few episodes of the first season. We’d already decided to do this thing at that point. It was juts a couple of conversations – he’d met me, reached out to me, because of the podcast I was doing. So, I’d say the lesson there is actually pushing publish and doing things to put yourself out there. You could say that by going to events, you know, locally. By blogging, if that’s something you can do, I mean there’s so many ways to put yourself out there right? Even emailing a bunch of people – that may be less effective because it’s hard to get…well, I dunno that would be an interesting topic to explore – how would you find a co-founder via email outreach? I’ve never seen that email from somebody yet. Hey, Josh…I need a co-founder for what I’m building – I thought of you [laughs] I would like to schedule a quick call to see if we’re soulmates.
Dave Allan: Yeah, you’ll be on my list now if I ever undertake that. No, that’s a good point, I think that I’ve got jobs from meetups, even from meetup.com – from meetups based on there – from different networking events in different niches and stuff and the podcast for – I have my own podcast and now I’m working with John on his and already it’s returning some dividends in terms of people getting to know who you are and what you offer,so basically its just getting some content of some kind into the world. It doesn’t have to be 18 different kinds, I think people get bogged down – for you personally, you’ve started a number of things now – worked on a number of different podcasts. For you, how did you keep the momentum going forward and not get bogged down – seems people get bogged down with analysis and trying to make everything perfect – like the Daily Hunt podcast you got all done in one day and published – that’s obviously someone taking massive action. How do you stop yourself dfrom being a perfectionist?
Josh Muccio: I don’t know that I do, to be honest, and Season Two is an effort to get closer to that perfection. We’re probably that quality over quantity side of that coin – We’re really betting on creating shorter content that’s way more interesting rather than more content that’s less interesting. There’s obviously use cases for both but tips for being less perfectionistic – I would say push publish. To my mind there’s a limit for me – We already committed – Season Two is going to start January 11th and so by doing that I’m going to get it to a certain point on January 11th and its not going to be perfect – its going to be way closer to perfect than anything we’ve done before and its going to hopefully really drive the needle for us. But,at the end of the day because I’ve set that date and I’m talking to people like you about that date – that’s something that’s real and so at the end of the day, on the 11th – Hopefully actually earlier on the day – We’re going to push publish on that episode and its not going to be perfect but I’m going to push publish.
Dave Allan: Yeah…maybe that’s one of the things you’re looking at in terms of setting a deadline. Having a dealine is something that has helped me in the past and usually on a copy job there is a definite deadline if you’re working for a client. I think for me personally I’ve had ,ore problems when there’s a lack of a deadline when I was doing my own podcast- so I tried to do it by setting it up so that I would record every Monday and put it out every Tuesday. SO, it was one of those things where you kind of had to force yourself into some sort of little box, and then it becomes routine…
Josh Muccio: I think you have to do it, especially as an entrepreneur becasue you don’t have anyone else looking over your shoulder and saying “Here’s your schedule”, “Here’s what we need done by this time” – You kind of have to be that mean boss to a certain extent I mean, depending on who you are. Some people drive themselves way too hard. But, for me, I need those deadlines. Once that goes January 11th, there’s another episode droping the following Wednesday and the following Wednesday after that. So, we’ll be on a very quick episode release cycle, well…relatively quick – some shows obviously quite a bit more – For our show that’s going to be a challenge but it will be good.
Dave Allan: Right. Now, for your particular podcast, you’re doing all the editing? Or you have other people helping you out?
Josh Muccio: So, that has been the most challenging part. I don’t come from a public radio background – I’m an entrepreneur – And obviously thought the “Shark Tank” podcast would be a really cool thing to do, but I’ve become keenly aware of how much I don’t know in this space so when we made the leap and tried to create Season Two – After we recorded it one of the things I did was each out to as many people in the industry that I respect, those shows that I love like Radiolab, ReplyAll, HowSound – there’s a bunch of really good, well produced shows that I knew we could benefit from if we just learned a little bit from them. And so reaching out to them and saying who can I work with – essentially saying I need to bring another person on the show, I need to bring on an editor – All these different things, which I didn’t know what to ask for in the beginning – I was just saying “Hey! I need help”, and they connected me with people in the industry. So right now, we’ve got two producers working with us and an editor and I still do the final mixing because that’s somthing I’ve gotten quite good at myself. Someday, we will find someonewho’s better than me at mixing these episodes and I’ll stop doing that but for now, for Season Two, I’m going to be mixing them.
Dave Allan: Awesome, awesome dude, no that sounds good. I think everyone sort of reaches that point too when they realize they require help and its hard to relinquish for some people, myself included, hard to relinquish some of those reigns because you have a certain ideology in your mind and a certain standard and its hard to find people to meet your own standards sometimes.
Josh Muccio: You know, and I’ve always preached that as long as you can get let’s say within 5% – I mean that’s kind of an arbitrary number but like 5% of what you could hit, like, that’s good. You have to accept something less than perfect when you outsource anything for the most part or delegate anything. The problem for me is when its more than that 5% – Its really hard for me and knowing that you have to train that person over time and maybe they can get closer to that 5% – I dunno, for me its been harder building this podcast than anything to really let go of certain pieces – But the actual episode planning, having an editor look over my shoulder and saying, “No, this narration is not working at all” or “This section of tape, just cut it out”, because people are going to drop off when they’re listening to it” – Things like that, that I need secondary opinion on from peole who know this stuff more than I do – That’s been great because that’s an area I’ve been weak on. Knowing your strengths – I found out that I’m actually pretty good at mixing podcasts, who knew?
Dave Allan: Now where do you see this going? Where’s The Pitch going to take you in the future?
Josh Muccio: Ah, good question. We’re kind of in the middle of this decision. I think, we’ve high hopes for Season Two and we”d like to continue so obviously – Well, we’ve actually sold out all of our ads for the entire seaason up front and that’s something we did to help finance the show – to kind of cast the vision – And it helped us get with someone we can essentially call a partner for this next season, and that’s proved to be extremely beneficial and its going to work out really well for them. But we’ve locked in our income potential for this next season and that’s a lot of time how you do sell sponsorships on podcasts, is upfront. So, we’ll have another opportunity to renegotiate, raise our prices, to reach out to new sponsors after we know how Season Two is going. So, we’re going to continue doing this show assuming things go well. Assuming response to Season Two is well, is good. Then we do also have aspirations to create the premier podcasting network for entrepreneur-style shows. So for small business people, people interested in entrepreneurship…You know I don’t know what the percentage is but there’s a lot of shows in the business category – A lot more than in the other categories. But ther really isn’t a podcast network t at’s focused on finding the best of these shows and , you know, curating them in one place. And podcast discovery, as I’m sure you know, is a real challenge. So, its something we’ve got on the road map. I do feel that we need to figure out a few more things in the world of podcasting before we can have a definitive edge on the space, but…I can’t say anything just yet but its something we’re thinking about.
Dave Allan: Awesome. Now if you had to give our audience, who are entrepreneurs mostly, a single piece of advice you feel like you’ve been given that worked for you – that’s particularly profound or however you want to think about it – What would that piece of advice be?
Josh Muccio: It’s actually a combination of a few things that I try to live my life by. Number one was inspired by a book called “The Slight Edge”, adn the principle of this book is that its small things done every single day that lead to a highly successful life. This is porbably the best example in the book and its one of those business books that’s highly repetitive, but the lesson of the book is so good if you can digest it. For example, you’re 20 years old and you go to lunch with a co-worker – everyday you have a hamburger but the guy next to you doesn’t. They get something healthier, whatever that thing is. There is going to very little difference between you and that person for possibly 10, 15 or even 20 years – but 25, 30 years down the road there will be a massive difference in the one person’s health who is eating the hamburger everyday. This applies in so many different areas whether its relationships or professionally, and so for me I’m trying to find those small things that I can do every single day – whether its reading something that’s going to challenge me or listening to a podcast…OR, this is porbably the best piece of advice I have to give someone who is wanting to break into some sort of online business is to create something every single day and yes, creating something could be a page of something much larger – You don’t have to finish it that day – But spend some time creating something because ultimately you’re trying to add value to somebody, somewhere and so, you have to do more of that and even if you don’t have it figured out – Even if you don’t have the end game figured out – A lot of people spend time trying to figure out the end game, the overall strategy and how are they going to be the best. And you really don’t know how you’re going to be the best until you start. So I always tell people start creating something every single day, and if it is something you can push publish on, lke a small blog post or a podcast epsiode you can push publish on, then great! You’re going to be setting in motion things that down the road will cause the next thing to appear. Because let’s not be naieve and assume that the genius idea we have right now is the idea – Because its probably not – Its probably not the thing that takes you to the top…so…
Dave Allan: Awesome. That’s really great advice. Now if people want to get ahold of you Josh, where should they go?
Josh Muccio: So, my name is spelled J-o-s-h M-u-c-c-i-o, and that is my username on Twitter, on Facebook, adn of course you can check out the pitch at thepitch.fm or just seaarch for the show in iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts. Or you can shoot me an email – If you have something personal you wanna share, its [email protected]
Dave Allan: Awesome. Thank you very much, that’s Josh Muccio – You heard him here at the Email Marketing Podcast – Its been great having you on the show Josh, you gave a lot of good information.
Josh Muccio: Thank you David, I really appreciate it man.
Dave Allan: Yeah, and I really wish you the very best in your future endeavors, especially with Season Two coming out on January 11th.
Josh Muccio: Hey, thanks, I am a bit bummed, though, I was expecting to learn a magic trick.
Dave Allan: [Laughing] Well we’ll have to do an episode and delve into…now that I’m doing some of these solo, I’ll probably have to include some of that in the future…
Josh Muccio: I dunno, maybe it should be an email magic trick? Instead of tips for email marketing what about a magic trick for email marketing?
Dave Allan: Well, there is a lot you can learn…by studying deception there’s a lot you can learn about marketing. We’ll hear you next time on the Email Marketing podcast, thanks to Josh again and we’ll be back next week.