If I had to point to one of the handful of podcasts that served as inspiration to start the Cool Idea! Podcast, one would most definitely be The Pitch, hosted by Josh Muccio. It’s fair to say that when I grow up, I want to be just like Josh. I first discovered the show a few years ago, back when the show was independent and Josh was still tinkering with the format. First, it was just people talking about their ideas, then “experts” would weigh in on the idea. But Josh wasn’t satisfied. He wanted to have real investors. He tried to convince them to at least commit to take a meeting to add an element of realism. Eventually, Josh got his wish, and when he sold the show to Gimlet media, it was turned into the format we hear today. While I love the show, what I really love is Josh’s story. He created the show from scratch, then had the grit and determination to find a way to sell the show, and ultimately turned it into the revered juggernaut that it is today. If you like Shark Tank, then you’ll love The Pitch.
There are a few elements to The Pitch that really set it apart from other podcasts:
- The Investors – They’ve followed the Shark Tank formula of having a stable panel of judges (for the most part), which gives us some consistency. They are actually better than Shark Tank because they aren’t mean. If they don’t like an idea, they respectfully state why, and that’s it. They are also better then the Shark Tank judges because they are investors first, and celebrities second. You definitely feel like investing in businesses is their day job, and being a judge on the Pitch is ancillary.
- The Storytelling – This is a Gimlet Media trademark. They don’t just do interviews. They tell stories. Every episode is weaved together with a tight narrative, with Josh jumping in where needed to explain a detail that the audience needs to know or have explained. By doing this, the show goes from what could be a disjointed conversation, to a perfectly paced story that we are gentled shepherded through by the host. Josh is kind of like a sports referee, and like a good ref, he doesn’t try to be the main focus but instead steps in only when it’s appropriate to do so.
- The Founders – With very few exceptions, the founders that pitch on the show tend to be ridiculously smart, driven people. It actually makes me mad. Mostly, because I’m jealous that I lack the skills needed to launch such impressive ventures. I’m not a hacker. I didn’t attend an Ivy League college (although I was an academic All-American back in the day, along with a former NY Yankee who I won’t name, but will gleefully show off below), and I’m not a 20-something that has 18 hours per day to spend on my business. Looking at you, two beautiful daughters of mine.
If you are an entrepreneur, or just like business oriented podcasts, the Pitch is definitely worth a listen. For some, it’s simply a form of entertainment, and for others like me, it’s a source of inspiration.