Wayward Wild Acquires Simplecast
A new journey begins for the podcast hosting and analytics platform
This week marks the anniversary of Wayward Wild. These quickly passing twelve months have offered their fair share of mountaintops and valleys — successes, wins, mistakes, a few utter failures. The mountain top highs are always invigorating, but always fleeting. The valleys, at least for me, tend to always offer up what they most often do for any business: the opportunity to evolve, the chance to adapt.
Over the past year, this evolution has been paving the way to Wayward Wild’s digital product studio.
Wayward Wild was born of a two-pronged mission. While one flag flies to incubate growing media brands, the other is deeply planted in tech and digital products.
Our product studio was created to support growing content creators through software. Not only Wayward Wild brands, but creators everywhere, and we decided to embark on this journey in an industry our team is extremely passionate about: Podcasting.
And what better place to begin than with a great product that already has a great foundation in Simplecast. Although this happened a few months ago, we’re excited to finally pull back the curtain today and chart the course forward.
Hosting and syndicating a podcast may be one of the most laborious parts of launching a podcast. You’d think this were not the case, but it is. This was true in 2007, and even still in 2017. What’s more, the audio podcast player market is greatly segmented — new listening apps are constantly appearing on phone screens. There is not one single platform to distribute to, nor is there one platform to consume from. Instead most podcasters scatter episodes to the wind, casting a broad net to hit as many app audiences as possible. This creates a unique problem: dozens of platforms to manage, dozens of unique data points to gather for listener metrics (poor ones at that), and so on it goes, segmenting further.
Despite the podcasting revolution has been perpetually gaining momentum since the mid 2000’s, hosting, distribution, and discovery are all still in their infancy. I acquired Simplecast to not only see it continue as a hosting and metrics platform, but to expand its capacity to solve the problems I just mentioned. While we vow to stay true to the vision and simplicity of the platform, the team and I expect to make quick, broad strides to advance the platform (and the industry) for both podcasters and advertisers alike.
As we have gotten to know our customers, we hear their immediate need for innovative tools to not only share and distribute content, but to improve analytics and ways to monetize that content. One thing we’ve learned through the last year working with content brands is without monetization, consistently publishing original content is difficult to maintain. The values of Simplecast will always fall into one of two buckets: (1) does it help our customer grow their listener base, or (2) does it facilitate our customer’s path toward potential revenue. If it’s both at the same time, even better.
To begin implementing all the necessary changes, we’ve been asking ourselves a lot of questions. Why is audio still not easily indexable by its spoken content? Why are global metrics and stats — across all platforms — nearly impossible to amass (iTunes and Google Play included)? Are permanent, static ad placements truly the best long term solution for the content creator and the listener? These questions are only a small handful of the ones we plan to answer with Simplecast. But in doing so, we won’t forget why Simplecast exists — to build one of the easiest, inexpensive, well designed ways to host your podcast.
This vision is somewhat reminiscent of what we set out to do with Virb. Our goal there, too, was to bring an easy-to-understand, cost effective, beautifully designed content delivery tool to the masses.
Stephen Hallgren, my Lead Engineer on the Virb platform for nearly eight years, has once again returned to my side to help craft this vision and see it through. He is leading the charge as CTO of Simplecast (and the future of Wayward Wild digital products).
Only a few months in and Stephen has been busy-busy, quietly behind the scenes. Just in the past six weeks, we’ve rolled out a fully re-architected hosting infrastructure, a robust global content delivery network (CDN), and made improvements to our customer’s RSS feeds, by way of a snazzy CDN API. We even spoke transparently on, well, the importance of transparency. These may not be the upgrades that garner vast fanfare, but they are vitally critical to the future scalability of the platform.
Dane Cardiel, who has been at my side from the very beginning of Wayward Wild, is also bringing his skills to the Simplecast team as our Head of Growth. He will continue to do what he does best, listening to members of our community to ensure what we’re building is relevant and future focused.
Yet as we embark on our redesign plans and first waves of feature deployments, there are still a few missing ingredients. Beginning today I’m kicking off our search to locate a few more team members — a Product Designer and a Senior Developer.
Together, the new Simplecast team will strive to offer our customers industry-improving tools to grow their listener numbers while generating revenue for their hard work. We will strive to build the important relationships with podcast industry leaders to see this through. We promise to take this young platform and create an unparalleled toolbox of resources for podcasters everywhere.