What I Learned about Social Entrepreneur from Mechanical Turk

What I Learned about Social Entrepreneur from Mechanical Turk

As Social Entrepreneur passes it’s 50th episode, I want to know what people really think about it.

The podcast, Social Entrepreneur has received its fair share of praise. It has been simultaneously ranked the #1 podcast in four iTunes New & Noteworthy categories. That’s an amazing accomplishment. We have well over 100 reviews on iTunes, 99.9% of which are 5-star. Even the person who left a 4-star review made positive comments.

But I wanted to know what people really think of Social Entrepreneur. No, I mean really, really think. I have been asking people I know for feedbackbut let’s be honest. These people are my friends. When your friend asks you for feedback, isn’t there a little piece of you that wants to preserve the relationship? It’s not easy to tell someone that their baby is ugly, right? I have received some constructive feedback, but mostly I have received polite praise. So, I decided to go another route.

Amazon has a service called Mechanical Turk where you can hire people to do “Human Intelligence Tasks.” Want to know the Twitter handle of the top 200 people who talk about your favorite football team? Hire some people to find out. Need someone to suggest edits to your blog post? Ask 3 people to give you feedback.

I decided to hire the Mechanical Turks to review episodes of the podcast and to give me unvarnished feedback. I hired 5 people to listen to the first 10 minutes of an episode. I asked them to tell me which episode they picked and to answer 3 questions:

  1. What strengths did you notice?
  2. What can be improved?
  3. Would you recommend this podcast to a friend?

Components of a Social Entrepreneur Episode

Before I go into what I learned, I want to describe some of the components of each episode so that when you read the feedback, you understand what is going on. My interviews are currently running around 35 minutes from intro to outro.

  • At the beginning of each episode there is the stinger (“This is episode x of Social Entrepreneur with…”). That is followed by a quote from the interviewee. I then launch the intro (prerecorded music and voiceover telling my story and the story of the podcast). This all takes less than 2 minutes…which according to the feedback may be a bit long…but more on that later.
  • That is followed by the setup which is where I describe what listeners are going to hear. The setup is around 2 minutes long.
  • We then go into the interview. To start the interview, I usually have the interviewee state their name, the name of their business and their role. I ask a little about their current role, and we spend about 1 minute there, but then we dive into their back story. What was their path that led to today? I have to be honest: this is one of my favorite parts of the interview. Others have told me that they like it.
  • About 10 – 12 minutes into the interview, we get into the interviewee’s current business and social impact.
  • In the last few minutes the interviewee gives advice for aspiring or early stage social entrepreneurs followed by the best way to find them on the web or social media. We end each interview with the interviewee giving us a call to action – something we can do right away.
  • That is followed by the outro, which is fairly standard but changes from time to time. Fadeout with music. I love the outro music. I usually dance in the studio as the music plays, but no one can see that…thank heavens.

What I Learned about Social Entrepreneur

I gained some important feedback from the Mechanical Turk reviews:

  1. I need to add excitement to my voice. I guess I knew that at some level, but it comes through clearly in the feedback.
  2. Related to #1, I talk too slowly. This is true. I hear it in the playback, but I’m rarely aware of it during the recording. I need to be more aware during the interview.
  3. The intro is a bit too long. Bummer. I also received feedback that the intro is important in establishing the subject and my credibility. I like the intro, but I’ll look into it. They may be right.
  4. I need to establish the “why” benefit better in the initial setup of the podcast.
  5. I need to get to the current business of the interviewee sooner. I tend to like the back story that led the interviewee to where they are today, but some listeners thought that went on a little too long. Keep in mind that the reviewers only listened to the first 10 minutes of a 30 minute interview.

How Social Entrepreneur Will Evolve

Here are the adjustment I’m going to make:

  1. I’m going to try recording some interviews while I stand up. This will hopefully add energy to my voice. I’ll just have to remember to not walk off while wearing my headphones. I’ve done that before. Not good for the laptop.
  2. In the setup, I’m going to focus on why listeners will want to hear the podcast. I’ll also try recording the setup while standing up. That might help.
  3. In the interview, I’ll extend out the story of current company and their impact. I’ll make the back story shorter.
  4. I’m going to review the intro of a dozen podcasts that I admire and consider re-recording the intro to Social Entrepreneur. If you hear a different intro, you’ll know why.
  5. Maybe I need to drink a cup of coffee before an interview? At the very least, I need to be conscious of my slow, southern pace.

My Invitation to You

I’m still looking for feedback. This is your podcast. I want to know what you think. Feel free to email me with your feedback or leave the feedback in the comments below. Of course, an honest rating and review on iTunes never hurts.

Thanks for being with me on this journey. You are the reason that I am here.

About the Author
Tony Loyd is a TEDx speaker, podcast host and the author of Crazy Good Advice: 10 Lessons Learned from 150 Leading Social Entrepreneurs. He is a former Fortune 500 executive with extensive experience in strategic planning, talent management, and leadership development. Tony is the host of the podcast Social Entrepreneur where you can hear the stories of changemakers who are making an impact on the world.

1 comment on “What I Learned about Social Entrepreneur from Mechanical Turk

  1. Shelli Corkery says:

    Tony those all sound reasonable. I think in dealing with younger audiences they like to get right to the point and move quickly! I found in my last year of work I was challenged with a new way a speaking and I was never very good to begin with!!

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