Our episodes are designed to help empower everyone to transform into the person they want to be.
Jason & Jordan, two recognized thought leaders in the data, analytics, and business strategy space, dig into the process of personal and professional transformation through their podcast, Transformation Nation, where they share stories, lessons learned, and break down strategies and tactics to maximize your potential.
Can you tell us a bit of your “personal backstory? What is your background and what eventually brought you to this particular career path?
Jason: My whole career I have gravitated towards tech and data. As a finance person at heart, numbers are how I tend to look at the world. I discovered at an early age that the traditional “gatekeepers” of data (IT) had numerous challenges in enabling businesses to fully leverage the power of data.
There was one experience in particulate that crystalized the power of data for me. I was just a few months into my first job and our SVP asks me to join an executive meeting. He asks me to be ready to talk about an analysis I had prepared for him to highlight an opportunity I had found.
Once in the meeting, I see it is full of very high-level executives. This was a Fortune 500 company, so to get everyone in the same room was a big deal. To say I was a bit intimidated is an understatement.
When my turn came to talk I delivered my findings and recommendations to the group. To my surprise, I had the attention of everyone in the room. Apparently I had discovered something quite significant that had eluded others. All I did was look at the data from a different perspective.
Since then, I have built my career off the very idea of looking at data from a different lens.
Jordan: My backstory is a unique one. I have an industry nickname: The Godfather of Data Literacy. My journey here really stemmed from ideas of empowerment for individuals to utilize data more effectively.
Before my current role, I ran a large BI team at one of the world’s largest financial services organizations. While there, the first ideas of data literacy came to me. I thought “let’s create a learning plan that helps this large group of users develop better skills within analytics”.
When presented to our leadership, they said no, they aren’t ready. Maybe in the future. I didn’t realize what I was stumbling upon about 6 years ago.
I came to Qlik because they offered a role I wanted and saw huge potential in. It was a very different, non-product specific role. We decided to not charge for our courses. I was hid in the “basement” until we had a proof of concept. That proof of concept turned out to be game changing.
Now data literacy dots the globe, taking me all over the world and helping organizations from many industries. It truly has become a passion and world for me.
Can you share a story about the most interesting thing that has happened to you since you started podcasting?
Upon launching our podcast we got a few interesting notes from people. By far the most common was essentially “another podcast”? People asked how we were going to get the word out. They also asked why what Jordan and I had to say was any different from what others had to say.
We found this perspective interesting because it was the complete opposite of how we looked at the opportunity.
Can you share a story about the biggest or funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson or takeaways you learned from that?
Before we recorded our first episode we did a test recording just to hear how we sounded. Once we listened to the audio, we heard that we talked over each other quite a bit. Both of us are high energy guys, so it was pretty hilarious once we stepped back and listened to what we were saying from the perspective of a listener. We quickly realized we were going to have to slow things down to avoid talking over each other. The biggest lesson from this was learning conversational patience and being ok with some quiet spots.
How long have you been podcasting and how many shows have you aired?
We started our podcast a month ago and have four published episodes out.
What are the main takeaways, lessons, or messages that you want your listeners to walk away with after listening to your show?
Many of us have visions for what we want to do or who we want to become in our personal life, family, career, or more. The great thing is each of us has the power to transform and bring these visions to life.
Taking the first steps in that transformation can be daunting. Where do you go? How do you start? What does progress look like?
Our episodes are designed to help empower everyone to transform into the person they want to be.
The goal of our podcast is to highlight practical, real-world frameworks that have been proven to work. We share our personal stories of implementing these strategies and highlight how they have helps us grow into the people we have become and are also serving as the road map to take us where we want to go.
In your opinion what makes your podcast binge-listenable? What do you think makes your podcast unique from the others in your category? What do you think is special about you as a host, your guests, or your content?
We talk about a wide variety of topics, with the common thread being the process of growth and transformation. We literally cover everything: relationships, data, analytics, exercise, you name it.
Additionally, we talk in everyday language, using an approachable, conversational tone.
Our topic of transformation is one that is applicable to a lot of people. Many of us are looking to better ourselves in some manner.
Doing something on a consistent basis is not easy. Podcasting every work-day, or even every week can be monotonous. What would you recommend to others about how to maintain discipline and consistency? What would you recommend to others about how to avoid burnout?
Record in bunches. Jordan and I generally target a 30–40-minute episode. A strategy that we are testing is recording 2–3 sessions in a row. That enables us to stay in the flow and keep rolling on different topics.
This approach helps ensure a relative consistency in tone. It can also give you the confidence that you have one of the hardest steps (recording content) taken care of. That also frees you up creatively to focus on listener feedback and helps you maintain a fresh mind.
What resources do you get your inspiration for materials from?
We’ve found our conversations on LinkedIn to be a major source of inspiration. Both of us are very active in the data, analytics, strategy, and business communities there.
Data/analytics and business strategy are worlds that don’t usually spend too much time together. We are constantly seeing massive value in facilitating conversations between these two worlds.
Along with the conversations of LinkedIn, our conversations with organizations helps us to discover the trends and needs that are out in the world. By following both types of conversations, you can hear the little things that people truly need.
Is there someone in the podcasting world who you think is a great model for how to run a really fantastic podcast?
We’ve always been a fan of Tim Ferriss. About 60% of his content really resonates with us. The other 40% we can take or leave, but we usually listen because we like the way he frames up his conversations. He has a way of drawing you in, even if you aren’t very interested in a subject at first.
We know all of our content will not resonate with every listener. Our hope is that we can connect with our listeners in the same way Tim does and persuade them to give some different topics a listen, expanding their mind and perspective in the process.
What are the ingredients that make that podcast so successful? If you could break that down into a blueprint, what would that blueprint look like?
Real conversation is key. There are a number of podcasts that have a fairly manufactured vibe to them. This artificial feeling makes it difficult to connect with the listener. A little bit of empathy goes a long way too.
Presenting the blueprint as a formula:
A topic of interest to a specific audience + organic conversation + empathy + asking and discussing hard questions
Can you share with our readers the five things you need to know to create an extremely successful podcast?
- Be sure you have a perspective to offer the listener. With so much competition for attention, you need to give people a reason to tune in on a regular basis.
- Be willing to take a position. Everyone won’t agree with you, but respectful disagreement is the foundation for progress.
- Be consistent. Show up on a regular basis.
- Don’t let the numbers deter you when starting out. We use our social media journeys as examples. When we first started posting publicly we got little (if any traction). After showing up consistently for 2 years we now get millions of views of our content every month. The key is sticking with it! You will likely start slow. Know that is part of the journey.
- Pursue your podcast for passion. Don’t pursue it for fame. The former will allow you to persist when things get tough or you don’t have motivation.
Jason Krantz & Jordan Morrow share the best way to:
1) Book Great Guests. Jordan and I have a very strong presence on LinkedIn and have robust networks, so getting great people on our show is a function of all the work we have done over the years to build out these relationships. We suggest that you are always networking to build relationships. That opens a lot of doors both from a professional and podcasting perspective.
2) Increase Listeners. Making the podcast is the easy work. Marketing it is when the real work starts. Make marketing a key part of your podcast growth strategy. It takes a sustained effort to grow your following.
3) Produce in a Professional Way. Learn from experts on how to produce a great podcast. This is perhaps the most challenging part as this is not something most of us do on a regular basis.
4) Encourage Engagement. Be sure to help facilitate conversation and engagement in your episodes. This may manifest itself as direct questions asked to the listener or specific positions you take on a topic. We encourage our listeners to engage with us directly on LinkedIn also. The key is to welcome different perspectives with open arms.
5) Monetize. We don’t currently have any desire to directly monetize our podcast. The benefits to us are helping others grow and building awareness of who we are and what we do.
For someone looking to start their own podcast, which equipment would you recommend that they start with?
We started very simply, using just our phones and headsets. We did it all using equipment we already had. We chose that route because we were focused on just getting started. As we grow we will step up our game in this department.
If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
Listen to people with perspectives and world views that are different than yours. You don’t have to agree with them but put forth an honest effort to understand their perspective. This approach is anchored in respect. We believe mutual respect is how great conversations (and progress) happen.
How can our readers follow you online?
Connect with Jason
Connect with Jordan