Roasted Reflections is a collection
of writings I’ll be proud of forever
and this is the finishing touch…

As I think back, I was never much into reading or writing. I did what was required to play the game of school. Back in 2004, after earning a computer science degree from Loras College and as I started building my career, countless website proposals and client emails had to be where my proficiency with creative writing started to form. This was when the Internet was new, so every business owner began to realize they needed a decent website, even if they didn’t know why. My ability to translate nerd to normal (and normal back to nerd), helped me collaborate with leaders in countless industries. Hearing how people built their companies and helping to compile stories made content creation an indirect, but ongoing element to my early practice.

Writing was also important in my entrepreneurial ventures. It helped me launch The Iowa 3v3 Soccer Challenge and then a global social network for video game enthusiasts. The amount of content I forged into Gathering of Gamers and Tournament Seeker was epic. When I retired from web development after 8 years and  $1M+ in sales, a multimedia marketing move into home building also had me creating a castle of content and with each new side hustle, more words were always required. For instance, I designed everything on FliteBrite, OpenOpen, and Chatty, just to name a few.

I stretch back into the past, because it reveals how writing is fundamental to modern communication. AI and ChatUX is transforming how it’s done, but content creation has enhanced my career in digital marketing and has fueled all of my innovative aspirations. Along with articulating ideas in compelling ways, my writing has been focused on entrepreneurship for a long time. My own creative seasons have been enlightening, but all that I’ve learned from leaders like you, has been monumental in understanding the entrepreneurial lifestyle. Along with career nirvana for myself, I’ve seen how building a business activates an abundance of lasting purpose, shared motivation, and personal growth!

Alright, fast forward to January 1, 2020.

As I started writing my first book by copying the Table of Contents into a blank document, there was never a doubt I could articulate deep understandings into tight spaces. From start to finish, writing You Don’t Need This Book and building Pour Over Publishing to support the publishing process took 1.25 years. Toward the end of this journey, it became clear that BenMcDougal.com needed to be a more prominent place. Thanks to a lifetime of building online, as my personal website came together, I had a stockpile of content. Along with everything on different websites and throughout social media, I had crafted (37,456 words) for YDNTB, which delivered a wonderful well of my very best writing.

Extending my book with a blog was not the original plan. It felt important to make my website shine, but I had never published art on such a rigid timeline. Seth Godin suggests we ship art every day, so while I considered a daily blog, I had to be realistic. Everything I write about are relics for people who mean the world to many, so delivering on a promise was my only option. As I considered how often to publish new articles, feedback kept me grounded and I’m glad I chose to pursue a weekly cadence.

Over time, RoastedReflections.com has become a treasured library. Each writing is a chemical reaction. I thought deeply and challenged myself to write less, but to mean more. The challenge of compressing countless characters also led to many short titles. While my titles may not be obvious for first-time readers, I appreciate the allure of such mystique. Short titles deliver a punch and I’ve enjoyed forcing big ideas into tiny titles.

The organization of this library will continue to pay dividends as well. There are countless links between all 160+ writings. Primary categories kept me focused on timely/evergreen value for the right audience, while topic-based tags were applied for more precise exploration. Thoughtfully associating a unique emoji to each writing was fun as well.

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Listen to WHY I build.

What started as a marketing engine for my first book, soon became a part of my routine. Knowing an email would automatically pull from my blog every Wednesday morning, meant I needed to meet my deadline every week. The occasional glitch had me scrambling once in awhile, but I never missed a week. Such consistency required sacrifice, but significant learning was experienced along the way.

I learned how reading helps us understand the world, while writing helps us understand ourselves. I learned to feel when it was time to find direction. I learned to appreciate the release of articulating something everyone was going to see. As distribution channels grew, I learned how to counter the feelings of self-righteousness. I learned a lot of new words and that it usually took more than one pass to get each writing perfect. I learned the value of indexing my thoughts. I learned how writing helps improve the way we listen and speak. I learned that when we create something we’re proud of, external validation becomes inconsequential. I learned more about how generosity builds trust and what it means to be an author.

There are more takeaways, but it’s clear why I encourage everyone to write. If you’re afraid to write in public, start by journalling in private, but know this has layers of unrealized potential. Writing helps us organize, execute, and release ideas, but it’s not “art” until it connects with those we seek to serve. The best of intentions mean nothing until we ship it.

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“Change is inevitable.
Don’t fall in love with a medium.
Fall in love with the mission.” -Seth Godin

I’ve shipped my art and RoastedReflections.com will live on to nourish leaders who make a ruckus by fueling positive change in our connected era.

This may be the end to an epic streak, but the title of this closing chapter (PolyOmega) reminds us that endings are a beginning to what’s next.

I’ll continue to lead by speaking nationwide, over 5,000 copies of You Don’t Need This Book have been sold, You Don’t Need This Podcast is in full-effect, BEN BOT is online, fellow leaders are collaborating on Discord, community events are happening, and ecosystems are evolving.

Cheers to all who make work look like play and as we each pursue career nirvana, let’s keep building and stay connected in all that we do

Producing a Podcast

When are ya gonna start that podcast?

We all have stories to tell and wisdom to share. Translating the key knobs that are turned when creating content, writing a book, recording an audiobook, minting an NFT collection, and installing conversation AI have inked insights that are very valuable to have indexed.

This detailed guide goes behind the scenes of You Don’t Need This Podcast and delivers a friendly narrative brewed to help you pursue your own podcasting ideas!

If you’ve wondered how someone says “yes”, then proceeds to build a pro-grade podcast and records 52+ fascinating episodes in just 3 months, refill your mug, strap on a seat belt, and enjoy the ride.

Why + Who + Value

Like any new initiative, think and talk through why a podcast is something you want. If you could snap a finger and have a solid collection of excellent episodes available everywhere, what would they be about? What might be the format and how does each episode sound? Who would listen to your podcast, how would you get the target audience to follow along, and overall, what value can you consistently deliver the audience you seek to serve?

It’s not hard to start a podcast, but it will require extra gears and lasting commitment to deliver art beyond your existing network. Don’t let mental hesitations become too heavy, because you’ll either succeed or learn, but there’s underlying value in being realistic with something that will require time, thought, money, resilience, and even more time. Anyone can buy recording equipment, find a space, push record, and throw audio files into a podcast hosting platform. Clarity comes when you collide your why, who, and value against the opportunity cost of saying yes.


This is not a race, it’s a dance, but ambition fades and holding on to desire invites unhappiness until a future state is achieved. This means there’s value in making decisions.

As you work toward an answer, to snowball trust with consistency, determine your target duration for each episode, as well as, an obtainable cadence for releasing new episodes. For me, the ambitious task of shipping a brand-new episode every single week felt heavy, but within reach. I also took on the challenge of tightening each episode to only 30 minutes. Longer formats are cool too, but as a listener, ~30 minutes feels about right, even for busy listeners with short attention spans.

I’ll share how to facilitate interesting interviews in the Execution section below, but in short, building creative pieces to my own forever puzzle looks like work to some, but feels like play to me. This was something that could be built with care, so I first called it an “experiment” and then a “creative season”. I take pride in making nice look nice and I knew this was going to be a serious undertaking, but calling such exertion a “creative season” reduced the weight compared to this new podcast being my latest project or new venture. I was okay if this didn’t work out, but also knew that it would, so twas time to press PLAY.


Before you fall in love with your own ideas, look for podcasts that may be similar to what you have in mind. Explore related genres, listen to different formats, and save yourself from a taken title that may cause future tension. Before you select a title, review the content guidelines for each podcast platform. They are generally the same, but there are a few difference between popular podcast platforms like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube, iHeart, and Amazon. Fortunately, the podcast hosting service (which is described in the Groundwork section) helps make efficient distribution easy.

Okay, so as you consider the name of this podcast, it’s wise to avoid the fog that rises when we build akin to existing art. Unknowns will reduce your confidence in building something you value. A perfect name feels important, but who else thought it was perfect before you? When it comes to this early research, don’t hope something doesn’t exist. Try to find it!

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I made this noob mistake! It felt like “Roasted Reflections” could be cool, but also confusing when my written library and NFT collection share this accomplished name. There were other interesting title ideas, but “Caffeinated Conversations” also felt perfect. Instead of being brave enough to find the handful of podcasts with the same title and a few more established YouTube channels, I began building with this working title. A few weeks in, I was scheduling special guests and even started recording with this title front and center. Thankfully, a decision was made to change the title to “You Don’t Need This Podcast”. This meant I had to spend time shifting the title, but also listening and dubbing over a fair amount of mentions in the early episodes. The pain was worth it though. Ever since this early move, I’ve loved the freedom my own art has to grow.

To start, jump out to Apple Podcasts on your computer or iPhone. Try Spotify if you’re an Android fan. Search your title ideas and click beyond the first page of results. Look at all that comes up! The world is not lacking podcasts. With 3-4 million podcasts, it’s imperative to understand the existing landscape while staying humble in your goal setting. If you’re trying to go big, time with an IP attorney adds additional safety nets as well.

Alright, so with a solid genre, title, and vibe in mind, have fun creating visuals to represent your podcast. Like cover art for a book, the quick look for a podcast matters. Think how fast you scroll! The cover art that represents your podcast should look it’s best as a small square thumbnail. You can design differentiating depth into your podcast’s branding, but less is more when it comes to the primary artwork for a podcast. The first cover art concept for YDNTP had more text and smaller graphics. Thanks to feedback from others, we landed on a cleaner look that was all it’s own, but also strategically connected to You Don’t Need This Book., which is my book that was published by Pour Over Publishing in 2021.

There will be increased marketing needs as things progress, but there will be time for that as this idea evolves into reality. With an early identity for your podcast in place, it’s time for groundwork to connect a few primary pipes that will become the automated distribution engine.


Like a name and logo activates a sense of reality for a new startup, you feel energized by this progress. Use that momentum to get nerdy. Like nesting a home for this creative season, plan details and setup a few key podcasting tools.

If you’d like to follow the path I took, start with the primary place where your podcast will live. There are many great podcast hosting services, but Libsyn has served us well. Libsyn pricing is based on the size/hours of content you upload each month. This allows you to pay less and grow into more resources, so budget $5-$20/mo. for this important homebase. This is where your podcast lives. As you compile each episode into one audio file (.mp3 is most widely accepted), you’ll start by creating a new episode in Libsyn. This homebase will also provide interesting analytics and other features that can enhance your effort.

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Use our Libsyn promo code for your first two months free – YDNTP

Now it’s time to align. Libsyn will help establish many RSS connections to the major podcasting platforms, but you’ll need to compliment these easy connections with related accounts. For instance, here’s an Apple Podcasters Program Overview, which has links to account setups that completes the loop between Apple Podcasts and your primary feed from Libsyn. Many podcast players have a submission form for podcasters, which you’ll need to complete so each podcast can be automatically heard as it’s scheduled and published in Libsyn. Once again, the primary podcast platforms I made sure were online before we launched, was Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube, Amazon, and iHeart.

There’s a lingering question. Even after a few primary distribution channels are aligned, where do you want listeners to land? It’s easiest to just share direct links to a podcast platform like Apple Podcasts, but that’s traffic you’re generating without much ownership. This is your art and I’d suggest having a branded URL that takes most people to a place dedicated to your podcast. YouDontNeedThisPodcast.com forwards to an internal page within a larger environment that is BenMcDougal.com. This allows anyone to stumble into YDNTP, but more important, I have one link that takes everyone to the same place. I manage this podcast page so while it may not be Hollywood, I’ve worked hard to invite someone to stay awhile. I like to think the most rich experience would be starting with EP1 and listening all the way through, but it’s nice to let people choose an episode to try just by seeing a few quick details for each episode. Knowing many people follow podcasts on their own favorite platform, having links to where you know your podcast is listed is also a key attribute of your podcast’s evolving command center.

Featured Guests

Many podcast hosts invite special guests into the mix. More shared perspectives create diversified value for listeners. It’s also a community-driven marketing tactic, as new dots can be connected between different people’s trust channels.

In tandem with early artwork and pipping groundwork for the distribution engine, use a scheduling tool to make booking guests smooth. Different podcasts hosts were using the same studio I was in, so we used Google Calendars to keep our studio time organized. I then used Calendly as the front-facing experience for my invited guests. A good looking, shareable Calendly link could be included in a friendly text or emailed invitation. As guests secured their preferred time, I kept the scheduling organized.

This was a juggling act, but with a few online tools, it was a passable test. With my small booking system connected, I kept inviting more remarkable people to plug in. Any invited guest could select a time from their own device. With my recent 3-month podcast recording blitz, I chose to dedicate 3 hours every Wednesday. I would attend 1 Million Cups downtown, and with the podcast studio nearby, I would scoot down to get setup for back-to-back special guests and two separate episodes. I would have given myself a bit more space between the two guests and this turned into a being lot some days, but the basic structure was helpful. There were many one-off recording sessions outside these set times each week, but this consistent block made it easier to juggle and kept space to pack in more episodes along the way.

The nature of you engaged network is often the wild card when it comes to curating special guests for any podcast. I had stitched together transparent technology to leverage my own real skills, then began introducing the fun to strategically remarkable people. These forever friends and ecosystem allies were all able to translate timeless insight from all that is entrepreneurship in our connected era. I share this not to boast, but to mention the anomalies of this wild path. Also, to thank each one of my special guests who make every episode of You Don’t Need This Podcast so compelling. If your engaged network is still growing, you may need to slow down on trying to schedule guests. This brews room for better connections and reduces the slimy transactional vibes of an ask that feels one-sided. People’s time, experience, and willingness to share is valuable. Like writing a book that started many years before an author writes it, network and human capital is invaluable when it comes to naturally curating, hosting, and celebrating featured guests.


Find a space that vibes. Ideally it can remain the same to build consistency into the listener’s experience. If you’re inviting special guests, this should be a public place. While you can combine a few key things to build your own studio, there may also be existing studios to get started faster. This may become trading time for money, but if you’re serious, this can motivate you to use the time wisely. If you decide to consider renting a studio, be ready to start scheduling recording times. Explore a few coworking spaces and ask about podcasting with local entrepreneurial support organizations if options aren’t obvious. A professional studio is not required, but it was really nice having a friend, a savant from radio/podcasting/PR, and a partner on the equipment.

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Special thanks to Justin Brady for prompting the ambitious initiative that evolved into YDNTP. Justin, your friendly reminders to feed listeners with value, your impactful articulation of trust channels, an opportunity to share space with the Iowa Podcast network, and your experiential wisdom was significant and motivating.

If you build your own recording rig, do your own research on different options. Be bullish on quiet, soundproofing areas with enough room to host thoughtful interactions. Here’s a quick list of components that feel required:

  • Laptop
  • External Hard Drive (3TB+)
  • 4-6 Channel Mixer
  • 2-3 quality microphones + mounts
  • 2+ Headphones – not required, but good for quality control and definitely more rockstar.
  • Soundproof Space – as much as possible
  • Video + Lighting (optional, but recommended)
    • Even with no plans to edit footage, you can’t use video if you don’t shoot it. Go big with multiple SLR on tripods, but one small action camera on each guest may do the trick. If video is a part of the plan, include good lighting for each guest. Like rich sound for the podcast, lighting makes video look it’s best.

In the studio, everything comes together.

With all that goes into podcasting, these are the moments hard work is rewarded.

AM radio vibes are felt between people intentionally having a stimulating conversation brewed to share. Before each episode, I spent time forging a few prompts for each featured guest. I emailed conversation sparks to help people arrive ready to jam. They included when and where to arrive, shareable links for the podcast, estimated release dates, and a catered outline for us to reference during our time together.

I’d arrive early to setup the studio. With headphones hung on each mic, I’d pour ice water and hot coffee, then lay out a few small thank you gifts. I reviewed the conversation sparks and brought up relevant links that may come in handy during the discussion. As you’ll hear, BEN BOT installed a fascinating #ChatUX twist into the YDNTP experience. This is conversational AI was trained on the entire Roasted Reflections library. This creative twist was kind of a joke, but it did add some cool hints of remarkability. Instead of a third human in the room (which adds a pleasant depth to interviews), BEN BOT contributed occasional insight that was engrossing and amusing to riff with.

As special guests arrived, they appreciated the professional setup and really leaned in once their headphones went on. We’d warm up by catching up, then I would go over the basic format, timing, and answer any questions.

When flow was felt, I took a deep breath. I had always planned ahead and I knew my guests well, but we never knew how any episode was going to go. In that micro moment, I’d come up with my unscripted opening remarks. The big red record button was pressed. We were ON.

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The closer your podcast is to a single take, the less editing is required during post-production. While YDNTP was not live streamed, it was two single takes with almost no editing within each conversation. Wow!

As the host, you must bring your best and guide each episode. This does not mean you dominate the discussion. It’s actively listening to fuel inverse charisma. It’s being quick to expand on ideas, but also keep topics shifting. No matter the target length of a podcast, time will fly. It’s actually easier to have longer episodes, so while conversation sparks were extra work and not required, they always helped us take flight, popcorn value, and then land in style.

After the mic was dropped on each episode, a bit more inventive effort was required to create assets that could be used to promote each podcast. Photos are awkward, but everyone likes having them, so these goofy gifts became a fun finish after cherished space was shared. These collisions are now minted through a conversation that is destined to be art, but only when it ships. It’s time to stitch together deliverables, sequence the launch, have a plan to keep building, and developing different types of momentum with contagious self-belief.

Sound Engineering

Composing something you’ll be proud of for life is usually challenging. Different types of capital are also required to go the distance.

Up until now, the excitement of something new, a hope that’s felt in saying YES to adventure, securing a studio or recording equipment to execute the plan, and recording good stuff with people you respect has been thrilling, but purpose will be lost if you’re unable to ship this art.

It’s not advanced audio engineering, but you won’t have podcast episodes to upload if you’re unable to keep a growing amount of raw audio files organized, originate a royalty-free soundtrack that adds juice, maybe design areas to highlight sponsors providing financial support, and polishing everything for an eargasmic experience.

There are tools to do this yourself, but the ongoing editing of new episodes for any podcast can get heavy. There are also podcast editing services where you can expect to invest $50-$250 for each episode, but that adds up fast, especially when you’re experimenting with something that may not have money to burn. If financial capital is tight, get creative with the other six types of capital (intellectual, human, institutional, physical, network, and cultural) to find partners who embrace the vision as much as you do.

It’ll take time to find a groove within a shared workflow, but as you consider an ongoing collaboration, when a new episode is recorded, what will the process be for sending large files? How might show notes add efficiency/accuracy when the podcast is being edited by someone other than you? How will the final version sound and what are average turnaround times? Linchpins build without a map, but good communication up front gets elephants in the room. Agree that surprises will come, but when everyone is motivated, incentivized, and understands expectations, lasting partnerships exponentially extend what’s possible.

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After considering a few different directions, I was blessed to reconnect with the talented sound engineer who polished the YDNTB audiobook back in 2021! The raw audio quality was excellent, but another special thanks goes out to VYBBEZ. This was my wizard behind the curtain of YDNTP’s therapeutic sound. Based in LA, this artist a hip-hop musician, songwriter, and producer. While he’s tickling the keys of a piano for many chart-topping groups, his first full-length album, Black Souls, was released in 2023.

Partnering with a talented friend to produce a finished podcast was critical in making YDNTP feasible. It took an ongoing effort to organize large files and time to review/tweak on each episode, but we pushed through all 52+ episodes. Along with getting the first few episodes scheduled before we launched YDNTP in June 2023, we stayed ahead of the release schedule and eventually a flywheel effect delivered all 52+ podcast episodes, each beautifully remastered and ready to sequence!

Snowball Marketing

When you have 5-10 episodes ready to be released, you’ll have enough propulsion to launch loudly. There’s no rule that says you must stick to a planned release schedule, but humans are creatures of habit. If your podcast hits the ears of someone who like it, attention will fade fast if you stop delivering fresh content. Unless you already have a large audience, consistency is needed to snowball awareness (and analytics) that will help podcasters decide how a podcast should evolve.

Stabilizing a podcast so awareness can grow often takes at least six months. If you’re willing to push to hit milestones, you’ll start to realize the true potential of a good podcast. A few cool episodes are fun to have as part of your overall content creation, but podcasts are mighty when there’s a shared interest curated between the host, special guests, and the audience. Make your podcast easy to share for listeners, but organic virality occurs when your special guests are inspired to share their episode of a podcast. To fuel this flame, deliver clips made for social media and keep them updated as their episode is scheduled. Trust is unmatched when a friend shares something with a friend. The more excited special guests are to share their episode of your podcast, the deeper and faster word can spread.

Sequencing episodes keeps a podcast diversified, interesting, and timely. Generous storytelling that resonate with the right audience at the right time is what marketing is all about. There’s always more to do, but as we connect dots with each episode, a snowball effect can occur. A growing library of marketing materials and more followers will help ideas spread, but professionals play the long-term games. It’s hard to find, let alone regain momentum, so stay honest in what you’re trying to deliver with a podcast. Keep the promise by delivering value long enough to understand if the abundance of time spent is worth pursuing another creative season.

V1.0 - 100% HUMAN

Interested Introductions

Early in my career, leaving a networking event with a pocket full of business cards felt like a success. After collecting piles of business cards, why did these relics from past interactions feel more like rubble? I learned it was because they were more proof of a transaction, than a signal of true connection. That changed as I stopped trying to be interesting and instead, became interested.

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“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” -Dale Carnegie

When meeting people, it doesn’t matter what I’m working on, what I’ve done, or how interesting I appear to be. A first encounter is about focusing on who I’m with. It’s about making mental links between them and others I enjoy connecting. It’s about conjuring inverse charisma, leaning into playforce principles, and genuine storytelling. Along this path of being interested, deeper conversations have sparked emotion in more first encounters.

These emotions strengthen your memory, which makes it easier to stay in tune, even as your network expands. In fact, the brain is neurologically programmed to remember experiences that evoke emotion. These experiences are easier to remember because they activate the amygdala and hippocampus simultaneously. The emotion-focused amygdala increases the hippocampus’ ability to store memories. This means the stronger emotion(s) you have, the stronger your memory will be of that experience. If your first conversation with someone sparks emotion, your memory of meeting them will be improved.

For me, excitement is usually the emotion I feel in a first conversation. As I learn about who I’m meeting, the opportunity to connect them is fascinating. Excitement helps me store the memory of who I’m meeting while connecting stored memories of others I’ve met. The emotions that come with being interested vs. interesting, makes each experience more memorable and suddenly, no business cards are required.

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This caffeinated contribution was written by Nick O’Brien. Nick is a community builder, engagement strategist, and co-founder of Milwaukee Founders Community. His purpose in life is to connect people to people, people to place, and people to potential.

Even as we get interested in connected dots, it can be hard to avoid the common tendencies of others, which can decrease the likelihood of true connection. After years of intentionally observing the ways people approach meeting someone new, I’ve noticed a few trends based on different types of people. Introverts are more careful with what they say. They’ll share experiences, perspectives, and opinions, but typically not without being asked. Extroverts are more likely to stand out, as they share their experiences, perspectives, and ideas more openly. While there’s a complex conversation required to further understand extraversion, introversion, and ambiversion, let’s zoom in on how introverts and extroverts encounter those first moments of impact.

When two introverts meet, they typically stay on the surface. The hidden intent here is to not stand out, especially if what they say or do is going to make them seem less interesting. While this reserved approach to a first interaction might lead to an easy, free-flowing conversation, it’s not conducive to getting below the surface where unique experiences, perspectives, and insights can be exchanged. This play-it-safe approach actually decreases the chances they’ll remember each other, because very little emotion was initiated.

As two extroverts exchange a first impression, they both dive right in. With an intent of being interesting to the other person, they soon begin to subtly one-up each other to earn attention. Both extroverts may be energized, but the emotions of this memory are built on comparisons to the other person. Instead of potential progress between peers who feel intrigued by what’s possible, confident people are left dwelling on their own shortcomings.

When introverts and extroverts cross paths, it’s natural for an extrovert to dominate the conversation. Unsurprisingly, both personality types are typically comfortable during these interactions. The introvert feels good because they are less worried about standing out when all they have to do is listen to what the extrovert is saying. The extrovert shares a lot about what makes them interesting, which makes them feel comfortable too. As a result the introvert learns a lot about the extrovert, but true connection is a two-way street. Without the extrovert learning about the introvert, the exchange was transactional. The introvert may have experienced emotion to help them remember the extrovert, but it’s unlikely that the extrovert feels much connection when they did all the talking.

No matter the environment, when you want to meet new people, it’s about maintaining an interest in perpetual learning. With practice, you’ll become more knowledgeable and better at recalling what you know about who you know.

What you know about who you know can become a super power when it comes to making introductions. A good introduction can be boiled down to a compelling story that includes 5 elements – exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution. The goal is for the introduction to be concise, aligned, and engaging enough to not only have sticking power, but also generate immediate action as a result of the conversations you help curate.

  1. Exposition – Name the Story
    Simple and important. The name of who you’re introducing becomes the title of this story and creates a new mental folder for the information you’re about to share. Many struggle to remember names, which correlates with why we struggle to remember what we’ve learned about people. As you evoke emotion with your introductions, you’ll find yourself remembering the names and related details of more people. One common go-to are the emotions of having fun. People do business with people they like and most people like to have fun. Including a fun fact about people is an easy way to support memorable introductions while strengthening your memory of those you’re introducing.
  2. Rising Action – Build a Connection
    Be quick to explain why they’ll want to keep listening. This is when you briefly explain how people spend their time and/or what they care about. Remember, what someone consistently cares about is rarely found in a company logo or professional title. As you evoke intrigue in this rising action, customize the story with knowledge of the audience and attempt to align both parties with shared potential. By personalizing introductions, we increase the enjoyment of each interaction and welcome more emotional variety that deepens the memory. Another trick that adds early trust layers, is to mention someone else both parties respect, who may find this intro especially interesting.
  3. Climax – Share in Celebration
    Now’s the time to celebrate! This takes the initial connection to the next level by inviting awareness around a recent milestone for the person you’re introducing. Ideally, the milestone is related to something you’ve already shared about the person, and is also something the audience is familiar with. This can be tricky if you don’t know people well, but get creative with small wins to always have this option. Large or small, professional or personal, a shared celebration prompts complimentary emotions. If possible, highlight a milestone that others have also experienced themselves, which can add even more collective emotion.
  4. Falling Action – Align our Focus
    After sharing a name, why this introduction is interesting, and sharing a moment of celebration, your audience is eager to learn how else they can engage. You’ve just highlighted someone’s win, which creates room to shift the shared focus toward what may be next. This is often a milestone someone is trying to reach, an obstacle they are trying to overcome, or a current project they’re passionate about. If you don’t know much about who you’re introducing, pick something less specific and more general based on the environment. The quick ideas you weave in here are all about inviting feedback, experiential wisdom, and interesting insights into the conversation.
  5. Resolution – Invite fresh Action
    The stars of this story feel less pressure to act interesting, because you’ve done it for them. Now finish your 15-20 second story and encourage a longer sequel! To do this, mention (types of) people who may be able to connect more dots. Ideally, someone who the other person can easily make an introduction to. Either way, like with the previous elements of this introduction, it doesn’t matter who you list as potential connections. If the suggestions are genuine, a sense of being in the right place at the right time, inspires emotions that come with action.

That’s it! We’ve set the stage for a memorable, emotion-based conversation by including relevant information that makes any personality type feel significance. This introduces equitable, level-setting hooks for a conversation to flourish without you as a constant conduit between them. When the beauty of this method sets a virtuous tone between the people you introduced, be quick to graduate gracefully from the group. This selflessness is rewarded as connectors become connected and more people are invited to lead together.

As these unique interactions are personified by emotion, mutual memories lay a foundation for true connection. When true connections show up, follow up, and keep adding diversity through a positive-sum mindset, the exponential value of a community can be realized.


Cross-checking helps determine distance, maneuver around obstacles, and identify missing objects. Alongside the math, a triangulated team diversifies real skills and increases dependability.

With more distinct perspectives, entrepreneurs add synergy that accelerates forward movement and increases confidence when the same problem is attacked from multiple angles. This nimbleness can be leveraged as co-founders also create an invigorating culture that makes each person feel significant. With back-to-back episodes of You Don’t Need This Podcast featuring my two co-founders in FliteBrite, what a wonderful chance to reflect on talented friends who build as one.

Extra Shot
“One’s company, two’s a crowd,
and three’s a party.” -Andy Warhol

If you’re on the prowl for co-founders, consider the value of triangular patterns. Connectors become connected, so show up and be quick to make interesting introductions. Even when the first degree of contact lacks obvious opportunity, remember it’s often the second and third degree of connectivity that delivers more precision. Over time, generosity within an entrepreneurial ecosystem will expand and tighten engaged networks. Instead of forcefully recruiting co-founders, the open-ended activity of a serendipitist will have us colliding with friends we simply haven’t met yet.

When it’s time to build, bonds that formed naturally will support lasting collaboration with people you already respect. That said, established trust is not an excuse to get complacent. From start to finish, be honest and transparent. Every story ends, so invite difficult discussions early and often. Agree on terms, leave space for change, structure the business, maintain an operating agreement to ensure clarity with less tension, and lead by nurturing the power of triangulation.

  • commit to abundant communication
  • invite responsibility, keep the promise
  • remain attentive to details
  • take blame, give credit
  • celebrate in style

Lone wolves can move mountains and rare resources are required with more human capital brewed in, but the expanded capacity and ongoing resilience makes this odyssey worthwhile. When long-term players play long-term games together, the chemical reaction is an affinity toward work that feels like play. Cheers!


“How’s the weather?”

Who cares! Why do we talk about the weather? When there’s nothing else, the weather offers an early bond between strangers. This is because everyone has experience, and can therefore relate to different atmospheric conditions.

The weather is always changing and may be one of the easiest forms of small talk, but it’s just so boring. We can’t change it, so what does it matter? If you’re catching up with someone you already know, talk of the weather is even more pointless! Besides meaningful topics like climate change, the danger of severe weather, and the impact our environment has on shared activities, I propose we skip all the weather talk.

Next time you’re asked about the weather, breeze past the status quo. Make it rain with thoughtful questions to forecast more compelling bonds that last.