This story started five years ago, when Alex Blumberg, who used to be a producer for public radio's This American Life, decided to try to start a podcasting company. 

His first effort? Startup, which was a podcast documenting his real-life efforts to start a podcasting company. 

Blumberg was a novice at starting a business, but he was a master editor and producer. He knew how to make the show "refreshingly sincere," as a reviewer put it, by being willing to "let us hear him fumble and bomb."

Case in point if you have the time: Episode 1, which includes his hilariously inept first attempt to pitch noted investor Chris Sacca. 

But there's another reason why it worked -- one that just became doubly resonant. 

It's that while Blumberg documented the ups and downs (and more downs) of his effort, the story ultimately had a neat, happy ending.

In other words, Blumberg's company, Gimlet Media, worked. It got funding. It produced some other excellent podcasts, like Reply All and Crimetown

(Disclosure, I've only actually listened to Reply All, which I like, but Crimetown gets good reviews.)

It hired more people. It produced more podcasts.

And just recently, the news got even happie forr Blumberg, his partner and company president Matthew Lieber, and the rest of the Gimlet Media team.

This week Spotify announced it's acquiring Gimlet for around $230 million, along with Anchor, which is reportedly the advance wave of a bunch of other potential content creator acquisitions. (The news was first reported by Recode.)

It's worth nothing that five years ago, when Blumberg launched Gimlet Media, it was hard to see how his company would ever exit, even if it could grow big. It would have taken a true fortune teller to suggest that Spotify would be the white knight here, too.

But that's part of what makes this way of life so interesting and fun to write about -- and frankly, to live. It's that most of us who start companies are at least partly dreamers and explorers. 

We don't know where we'll end up. We have faith that it will be a worthwhile journey, and that the destination will be something bigger than we can imagine.

James Cash Penney (better known as J.C. Penney, founder of the eponymous department store) famously said: "Give me a stock clerk with a goal, and I will give you a man who will make history. Give me a man without a goal, and I will give you a stock clerk."

So let's update that for the 21st century. Give me a podcaster with a goal, along with some incredible timing, hustle, and drive, and I'll give you a path to millions.

Here's what else I'm reading today:

  • You're probably using both Uber and Lyft. That's not good enough for either of them.
  • Starbucks fails to learn a lesson McDonald's learned 25 years ago about super hot coffee
  • Facebook's employee bonuses will now be linked in part to the company's progress on things like privacy and misinformation
  • Hey, 2009 called, it wants its brain teaser interview style back
  • Don't get too excited, but Calm is now worth $1 billion
Published on: Feb 7, 2019
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