elevator pitch: What is Pod Save Africa?
We want Africans to tell the story of Africa. When aliens touch down on Earth 100 years from now and look back at what we left behind – the recordings and the written documents of how Earth was or is. I want the story of Africa to be told through the eyes of the people that live there.
What was the need that you saw in the market?
Initially, the need was personal.
When we started the podcast I was a broke college student in my last year of undergrad living in the Southside of Chicago. My roommate was a guy from Kenya with a supreme mind in data analytics. We would have these long debates on Wednesday evenings where we would argue about issues on the African continent about things like “How to think about corruption as a citizen of Africa?”. I wished other people could hear these discussions. We were putting things in perspective and context, and friends kept begging to come over to join the conversations.
I started listening to podcasts when I got my first iPhone. I was in awe of the amount of information and impact this media style could have. When I looked for African content in the podcast store, there was only BBC Africa. For that to be the only collection of African stories on the largest audio platform was a problem. I had an inkling that lots of others were seeking out content and conversations about the continent so I decided to start the podcast.
It took a while to figure out what our style is going to be. The African landscape is so vast, that it was hard to figure out exactly what we wanted to talk about. We spent a lot of time iterating, capturing a variety of stories. Everything from: country profiles, how do you see the place that you came from, put me in the space, to what are you optimistic / pessimistic about in your country. We get people to discuss ideas from marriage, to polygamy to institutionalized structures to civil societies.
More importantly, we also wanted insights into what entrepreneurs are doing on the continent, because the problems that they’re solving are of the highest magnitude.
These profiles and conversations make me more optimistic about the army of innovators focused and working only on these problems to lift the continent up. We debate ideas because that’s what inspired the podcast. We’ve continued to do it pretty successfully so far.
Why is this podcast so important right now?
- It is impossible now more than ever at any point in human history to ignore that Africa is going to be a big deal. This is a continent with the largest growing group of young people, one of the largest square footage of area, and is the most resource rich continent on the planet. Right now – Africa has the most potential.
- We all seem to live in different bubbles. I live in America now. The news cycle here can easily be a bubble and can insulate you from the rest of the World. Nobody paid attention to what was happening in Myanmar. It’s our mission to talk about what’s going on in our countries in Africa. Our readers felt like they were in a hole, but now they have access to a whole other world of things that they knew nothing about. Now they can see how Africa is a place where people are building the future, even though it doesn’t have that position in the news cycle.
- Africa is just so interesting. Some countries have had 2 presidents at the same time! If you’re looking for the mess and the drama- you’ll find it there. Across the 57 countries, it’s messy, it’s fun, it’s entertaining and most importantly it is making progress. We try to put it together in sound bytes that can’t possibly do it justice, but we try very hard. At a minimum our listeners enjoy listening to the content. If not – they wouldn’t come back.
Who is your target Listener ?
I wish I could say that it is everybody, because I think that everybody should be listening. But, my target listener is any person, at any age, who at any point at time has thought about how to make the world a better place. We talk to so many people who are making their parts of the world a better place. If that excites you, then you would be a person that enjoys my podcast.
How Big IS the Team:
Our team has two halves:
Execution Team – There are four of us who build and maintain our content, websites, merchandising, and how “Pod Save Africa” projects itself inside and outside the digital. I handle the creative direction of the podcast. We don’t have formal awesome titles.
Creative Advisory Board – people that have been involved with the podcast operationally or with ideas. We formalized the relationship so that they can act as a steering committee.
Who have been the Podcast’s biggest supporters?
My family by quite a margin. Both my wife and my sister are on my team. All the members of our creative advisory board, the individuals that joined us, the guests that have shared our mission. It’s still humbling.
We have gotten some really remarkable people to share their stories on things that they care deeply about and for some have committed their lives to. We’ve had people reach out willing to share their knowledge, because they love it so much.
The people that listen week to week. Our fans are great and we love y’all. Our 5 year goal was to have 100 listeners every week. We are multiple x’s that and it’s unbelievable and humbling. It also means that I have a responsibility and it’s slightly terrifying because people care and I have to deliver.
WHAT TYPE OF TALENT / HELP / CONNECTIONS ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?
- Technical side – individuals that have skills with editing social, audio and video content . Our in-house expertise is limited. If you care deeply about African stories, we will use your skills!
- If you want to start an Africa related podcast – let us platform you. Let us put our brand behind you, let us help you script it out. Let us help you – we need your stories to be told. Join us. We are willing to help in any way that we can.
- Now we want to become a business – i thought this would be a passion project for the rest of my life. The truth is podcasts take resources. Turning non-profit ideas into self-sustaining entities is hard. We need experience with people that understand the ecosystem.
- We are currently looking for people interested in focusing on specific topics on the continent. We are currently working with a senior correspondent on medicine in Africa and we would like to use that model to really hone in on developing content on specific subject areas and grow the podcast moving forward. .
If you can help us in any way, we are open.
what do you see in Pod Save Africa’s future?
We want to grow based on what people deeply care about. We do that by finding individuals that have interesting stories to tell. We hope to do limited series in order to start a lot of smaller podcasts, so that we can ultimately evolve from a singular podcast to a network of podcasts and content from across the continent. I would like us to become an integral part of the support network for people building the future. We will leverage our resources to help creators and entrepreneurs!
Many platforms have entrenched advantages in distribution models. We want to be able to license out our content – rather than having our stories being told through perspectives that are not ours. .
5 years from now I would like us to 10x again. I want to blow our previous growth projections out of the water. People that hear these stories will find remarkable recurring value. People’s understanding of the world is bolstered by the ideas we present and we want to grow this influence further.
How can WE support Pod Save Africa?
- Give us feedback if you have ideas, deep interests and thoughts on Africa and you think your ideas will be valuable to our listeners.
- If you have story to tell – please tell it. especially if you are black or brown. Our stories need to be told because they are terribly underrepresented. And if we can help, let us know.
What is the most important question that you ask each week?
People tell you what the future, potential rewards and true risks of the country or continent are. These paint the clearest pictures of what Africa can potentially be. It is inspiring.
ORiginated In: Lagos, Nigeria
Institution: Illinois Tech – college of architecture
major: architecture , masters in construction management
Job Before Booth: construction project management – i built pretty buildings
why do you care?
Our stories will always be important, our dreams will always be valid, we want to support people that are building better lives for our people.
We’re only 4 years old. 5-6 listeners have already started their own podcasts and are starting to record and crystallize their own uniquely African and African American stories. Our stories aren’t told enough. At the end of this ride, if I have zero listeners, but a ton of other people record their stories – then I would call this a success.