Crying in public? It’s just part of the journey.
I’ve never really been an outwardly emotional person. I’m pretty stoic, and my family prides itself on emotional moderation. That’s a good thing in times of stress and challenge. At my second wedding, my dad talked about being proud of how I’m able to take life’s punches and keep getting up off the mat to fight another day.
It also can be maddening when you’re unable to muster tears at your grandparents’ funerals.
All this to say that what happened tonight is remarkable. I cried, in public, after hearing what our software could do. And, on behalf of our team, I can’t wait to share it with you.
This evening, just before heading out to meet new colleagues of my wife, our lead engineer, Ryan posted this in the company’s Slack product channel:
“It” refers to Auto Production and Auto Assembly, two of our core technologies. Our tech takes all the elements of a podcast: intro, outro, ads, monologues, interviews, and music, and performs a proprietary series of audio adjustments, edits, fades, music mixing; and assembles the whole thing into a finished podcast automatically.
So, I tried “it” out, and after setting up a new episode and recording some chapters, I pressed the button to engage Auto Assembly, and… our system threw up a whole pile of errors. I copied and pasted them into Slack and didn’t give it much more thought. I figured Ryan had gotten overambitious, and that he’d get back to me Monday with a new version.
LATER ON, AT DA CLUB
We headed out for cocktails with Emily’s colleagues and settled into great conversations about the business she’s building. A couple of hours in, I excused myself and stepped away for one last email check before officially agreeing to call it a week, and I saw a couple of emails from our system saying that my podcast was ready.
Ryan had resolved the problem I’d created by naming the episode, “98% Inaudible” and assigning in Episode Number “&1” (a tribute to Reply All #140), and Auto Production and Auto Assembly had worked! I took a breath, walked toward the edge of the balcony and pressed play, holding my phone up to my right ear.
Listening to the recording, my voice sounded clear and easy to listen to. My intro chapter completed and music faded in, and then out. Next, a commercial, followed by a main content chapter. Music entered and receded, and then I heard myself wrap up the show.
Was it perfect? No. Ryan had fixed the bug I’d discovered. And timings weren’t quite spot-on.
But as I listened, I noticed the feeling of heat, or maybe swelling in my face? I don’t really know how to describe it, but suddenly tears began to form in the corners of my eyes. That’s when I knew it. Software had made me cry.
Somewhere along the journey from customer discovery to market segmentation to writing product specifications to pitching investors, you build up a thickness in your skin. This is battle. This is war. And being soft or emotional isn’t usually helpful in battle or war.
But this was different. This was validation of my vision. Literal, visceral, audible validation. And I could hear it loud and clear through the speaker of my iPhone SE, the other ear plugged with an index fingertip. And that validation is undeniable.
We’re building something really special, meaningful, and durable. We’ll share it soon after a little more fine-tuning this weekend. But just know that right now, our platform can engineer and assemble your raw podcast episode automatically, fairly instantly; and it’s fucking awesome.
I’m proud of our team and the hard work they have put in to make their founder cry in public, cry in the car on the car home, and choke back tears while writing this article.
You can hear this test episode, a proof-of-concept, produced by the software that made me cry. We can’t wait to hear what you’ll make, with what we’re making for you.