How can we Listen to 80 Years of Podcast Recordings? Smashnotes Creates Bite Sized Podcasts with Kirill Zubovsky
The Milestone Hackers Podcast

Full episode transcript -


a lot of other episode of milestone hackers. I'm here with another guest by the name of girls, Dubovsky, who is the founder of Special. So I just wanted to welcome Ah, you two punk ass and and thank you for having availability to to be a guest today. Thank you very much for coming here. Oh, no problem. And so, getting right into it, um, I wanted to just discuss your ah, founding business, which is smash notes, um, and for the audience and for myself, maybe explained, you know what that is? And sort of one of the benefits as a potential customer or someone who would like to describe to that service.


Sure smash nose for it. Listener is a place where you can get snack Kable podcast. So instead of listening to a full 30 minutes of this episode, you can go there, find segments from what we're gonna talk about, see if you like it, listen to bits you like first and then, if you like it, then die into the entire episode on your phone or wherever else. If you're listening to the podcast normal. So it's a way to quickly experience a podcast and to find things that really resonate with you. And it's a tool for podcasters to segment the podcast that way so you can share with different audiences. So, you know, if we're gonna talk about smash notes, intra prin ownership and maybe, you know, life in Toronto right now, some of those things would be applicable to everyone, so you'll be able to split it apart and share with different audiences.


Wow, that was great. So basically, it's a way of just condensing Ah, podcasts to a snack. Stackable sides bit that would be Maur gonna be interesting to that potential person. Whoever's listening to that audio. Exactly. Perfect. And so just out of curiosity, how did this idea sort of come to life like, was it just something that you thought up? Or was it a personal? Maybe some of that you thought of that could benefit yourself and unsettled? Maybe I can, you know, make this into a product, for example.


Exactly. So I head up podcast. I still have it. It's called Rad Dad. You confined it. Granddad show dot com Great. It's a podcast where I interviewed dads and very often intra prin yours. But not always entrepreneurs. Dads who you know are fairly involved with their Children. And I talk about how they think about, ah, you know, they kid's education, work and all kinds of things. And so one time early on, I interviewed the guy named Chris Balu, who goes by the name Casper Baby Pants.

He lives here in Seattle, and he used to be the elite singer for the president of the United States. But then, after something like 15 years on, you know, MTV and having this ah punk rock career, he quit and he started singing songs for kids. It's a really cool story, and we recorded an hour long episode with him, and I thought, You know, I'd like to share that with all my friends, but some of them appearance, who really like his music. But they don't particularly wanna hear about the divorce part, you know, or his MTV Korea. And so I needed a tool to do this. And that's how I thought about doing smash notes so that I can segment my own podcast and then share with different audiences.


Well, you know, and that's such a important thing. So so being a father myself with two young kids. I mean, the time that I have the element of time has really sort of conducts. You know, it's not a bad thing. I'm not complaining at all. But something like smashes, I think, would be beneficial for me as well, because I don't necessarily have the luxury of, you know, sitting and listening to hours of different various podcast, for example. So So,

yeah, that's extremely applicable. And it's a great idea, actually. And so there's this idea like, How did you validate this? Is there something that you just sort of put out there in the Internet and people sort of subscribe? Or How does that work?


Yeah. So, to be honest, it actually took probably almost a year from the time where I thought this was a good idea to the time where I had time to build it. Ah, but well, I like building stuff, so for me, it's not a chore. You know, I can do it fairly quickly, and I like validating actual products. I don't like the idea of putting out a landing page and see if somebody clicks on it. I know it's very popular. Late be right, but it doesn't resonate with me, and it's actually a lot faster for me to just give people a product.

So I build the first version of smash notes and just email it to some friends. Subscribe them to the list of Hey, can you look at it? See if some this is something going to use and, well, yeah, yeah, and you know, validation. I don't have millions of users yet It's been about six months, and I have between five K months visitors on one months and 75 K visitors on the other months when something you really hit And, um, there's something there, but it's such a new market. Still podcast existed for something like 2030 years, but this particular experience is super new.

So I'm creating new features, tweaking it every day and showing two people to get actual user feedback to see what really resonates with people because there's no silver bullet here yet, right? So I'm constantly the rating on that. But as far as validation, it was easier for me to just create a product, put it in front of people and say, Hey, what's what we know is this working for you?


Yeah, exactly. And so it's a good way to sort of get some get some initial feedback from someone who's interested in in the possibility of, ah, subscribing to this type of product, which is important. And so are you a like technical co founder here? Or is this just something you have? Like maybe some help on the side or,


well, im everything founder here I do both front end I can and design Ah, and reaching out to customers and talking to users. I don't have a co founder in this yet, so, but this is where it helps to actually know how to code. Let's say for everyone out there, you know, thinking of starting start up if you if you already know how it's how to code, I think it's a big advantage. There's now a bunch of tools you can use if you don't know how to code, but just being able to move pieces around and in terms of design and your ex and just putting things in front of people. For me and people like me, it's a lot easier to see it in code like I don't have to go in the design tool, for example, or plan something. I can just go right and co make it, see it on the screen and then decide if it works.


And I think that's ah, such an important thing as well. And so, um, learning how to code? Is that something you studied in school? Or is that something that you just sort of ah was interested in and sort of took like some side courses or what have you to build up that type of knowledge?


I didn't take any courses, but after finishing school sometime around 2010 I I really wanted to learn to code and to start my first startup. And so I moved out here to Seattle from East Coast because I just needed, you know, some six months alone to learn how to kill it. And I basically spend the next 6 to 12 months reading books, reading blog's learning to cope myself and ah, asking people for help. At some point, I rent at a desk at a local start up for a couple of months, and while there I would occasionally walk over to the, uh, you know, lead engineer and black. Hey, this isn't working. Do you know why?

And you know, I remember is a newbie he looking and be like, Yeah, like you missed the comma or something very small, right? But Yorkshire, that was so helpful. Just having somebody who knew what they were doing to just like, Okay, cool. I can go


back to coating now. Exactly. He was like your personal Google, if you will. Yeah, yeah, it's funny you mention because you know me myself. I'm actually like a non technical person. At least that wasn't and so not until probably early this year. I started to dive into it myself. Um, and I was just thinking, like, some free courses or whatever in Washington videos is that try And and although it's I don't know if the words difficult or not, I just take time that you have to constantly at least try to up with some type of code to keep getting better. Um, is there any like,

advice at all you would give to someone who's maybe starting are finding it a little bit challenging, like just continue doing it every day? Or is anything else that you use that would help you. I mean, aside from the renting of DesCartes, I think that's a great idea. By the way, Anything else at all that you can think of?


Uh, you know Google a lot. That's definitely if you think that's like professional developers just know stuff that's a lie. Most people spend their half of their day on Google and Stack overflow, you know, looking for the same answers all the time. Ah, you don't have to know a lot of this stuff now. It's all available on Google. You just what you need to learn is what to search for. All right, so you have to get familiar with the term analogy and what you're doing enough to be able to find the answers. But all the answers are available out there and now. But if you're just starting out and you're learning, I mean, just keep doing it. You know, there's like, there's really no other solution toa learning something than just doing it and learning it. No one's gonna show up with just answers and give them to you for free. You have to find them.


Yeah, I I agree as well. And you know of course, there's times where doing this personally myself, I mean at occasion it does get a little bit frustrating when you can't figure, Ah, problem. But your rights in terms of, you know, Google's extremely helpful, of course, stock over Flora's well, and I've been resorting to YouTube a lot lately. Just I'm more of like a visual learner, I guess. And so I find that helpful, which is which is fine.

Um, yeah, thanks for sharing that. I think that's important for anybody out there who's sort of contemplating on quoting and technology is ever changing and ever growing so quickly, I think, for someone who may be contemplating it, especially just starting out. I mean, I don't think Why not go for it right? I can only be beneficial in the long run, and so,


yeah, and it's obviously going to take time. You know, you you should also realise that everything takes time. I mean, you could be faster or slower it it, but, uh, just because somebody else already knows how to do it, don't expect your experience thio replicate. There's right. You might take twice or three times as long to do something, but that's okay, You know, you'll be faster. It something else?


Yeah, exactly. And I totally, totally agree. Okay, So getting back into Ah, Nationals. So right now, Is this service like a free service? Or is this some type of scripts subsection or payment model


or anything? Yeah, it's It's free right now. So any part Castaic and sign up and had their podcast to smash notes on and you can find it on smashing dot com or fine Twitter. It's mash notes and as many questions as to how to do things if you but, um, anyone can sign up and start eating their notes. There will be a paid plan later with a couple of premium features that have been talking about with different podcasters. But I really want no part of. This has also created a Wikipedia of sorts where all this content is actually available cause I love learning, and I'm really curious about things, and I think there's so much audio hidden in podcast side note. And Jason Horowitz released this report. They said there's 700,000 podcast out there and you know, growing. And if your average that to be one hour per our podcast episode. That means there's something like 80 years in tight,

you know, 80 years worth of audio in podcasts like we're never gonna listen to it. But smash notes is a way to go and learn something that somebody said before and you just didn't know about. And I think the cool part is it is backed by the source, right? So if you go and listen to an investor like one of my favorite podcast now is below the line by James Bishara. He's interviewing a lot of entrepreneurs, you know, if you go and find something that somebody said about, say stress or, you know, learning to code or ah, you know how you feel after selling company for a $1,000,000,000 or what have you? Uh, you can listen to it right there. Right? So not only do you get to learn something, you get backed up by, like,


an actual credible source. Yeah, absolutely. And yeah, you're totally right. I did read that article about the number of parkas out there and how it's growing so quickly. Apparently, we're in or near, like the pinnacle in terms off contribution out there, so I mean, the number of 700 cases gonna keep going. Ah, up for sure in the next few years. And so you touched on my next question, which was monetization, which is great. Um,

what about? Have you ever advertised the product yet or the service? Oh, are like anything on product hunt, for example, And all that sort of a little bit, um, being used quite often nowadays. But anything like that to help get your name out there help get the word out there.


I have appeared in a couple of podcasts, but I haven't really put a lot of effort into heavy advertising yet because I'm taking it slow where I really wantto understand what works best for both listeners and broadcasters. And when I hold on it, you know, then I Congar go public. Um, there's no point of giving people something that kind of works right, because then they'll come look at it and leave. I want them to come and have the exact flow that is great for them so they can stick around. And for now, I'm okay with having, you know, word of mouth and occasional blog's and forums where the user's air coming from


good okay sounds really, really enticing, which is good. So just so that the listeners can have an idea. So let's just say I'm interested. I go to the Web site's nationals dot com. I subscribe. Then what happens exactly am I getting e mails like Hard y receives this snippets in May I get, you know, get notified essentially,


right now you receive about a weekly email, you know, with my summaries of what I found interesting from all the pockets that appeared on smash notes. Ah, and you give those segments where you can learn something. So just to pique your curiosity and get into their you also get about once a week A podcast which actually plays those notes back to you so you can get it in your years. And my audience so far is very divided where some people only read, and some people only listen, which is really cool, you know, and I'm having to produce both types of contents, but basically is a podcaster. You get to get your podcast into both mediums, both newsletter and the podcast. And, uh, this is about to change a little bit in the coming weeks.

where you'd be able to get more specific, like Taylor, a podcast. So you'll be able to go and see. You know, I just want to hear about business, entrepreneurship or health and signs. And then your feet will change to just those podcasts.


Oh, that's great. That's that's a good feature. And so as you let's just say I'm interested in business today and then tomorrow you know what? Maybe I want to learn about, I don't know, something else like being a father or entrepreneurs are a father. Can I tweet that stating somewhere or does this How does that work?


Oh, yeah, for sure. You'll be ableto tweak that and get something else, you know? And ah, you'll be able to follow other people like So if you want to go and create your own feet of what your subscribed to and what you know, start taking notes on your own. You can do that. And then your friends can follow you and discover something


through you. Okay. Got it? Yeah. So let's see how that works. Oh, perfect. Perfect. Okay, So, out of curiosity, how did you become like, What sort of sparked the entrepreneurial like inside you. Is that something that you've always had growing up, for example, like was there or just something just sort of that you thought of one dates? I know what I'll take my challenges. I'll try and see if I can make something work like, How does it where did you get this inspiration to create? Something will build stuff.


I think it's probably I was feeling a little restless when you know I'm giving a problem. And to me, if a problem has a solution that you know you can get to, it's not that interesting of a problem anymore. Because the the steps kind of to get to a solution of more or less obvious, not like the challenge of creating something new that is most likely going to fail. You know, that's that's the reality of startups. But I think I like that idea of like, how can we take something that's most likely guaranteed to fail and make it succeed? And, um, I had, you know, during college I had an internship for about a year and a few months at a large company, which was, you know,

good job, but at a job you're just giving it tasking. You do it and then you kind of like this very little reward from a task. And I think when you when you're doing something in your own building a startup, then like you have to you have to solve all the problems, you know. But you also have control off. What problems coming your way and what you know what you give to, the users said. There's a very quick feedback loop. If you give something that works, you know you see more usage. Is just magnitude more exciting to work on something that just be a cog in the system?


Exactly. You're right, like the typical 95 is or can be ugly stick, mundane and sort of robotic in terms of, you know, it'll be there a certain time and this is their task, and you'd be home on a certain time rush right that there's so many reasons why it's it's It's so much more exciting when you have something that you say you can build that you can sort of see for yourself from the beginning today and it's Oh my God, I can't believe I built something that is solving some issues, or at least potentially, is having some issues and then taking those things as as Tamiko sign. So, yeah, that's that's, um that's great. Um,


one second there because you mentioned something really important as time, which I think is the only resource we're not going to get more off like, You know, this The reason smash knows exists is because with more podcasts, you get more. Ah, I order you to listen to, but your time is set. You're never gonna be able to listen to more. You just have to get your segments shorter if you want to consume more. Yeah. Really? Yeah. And the same applies to work. Though it's just like typical work says, Well, you you know,

you have to go to the office between this and that, you have to commute. You have to waste all of this time. And I'm like, super glad that now they're a whole generation of companies that are moving work remote and just saying just focused on work. I don't care if you do it a two o'clock in the morning, five in the morning, doing after whatever, right? Just get the work done, then have the rest of your life because we can. We can get so much better at, like, efficiencies you around our life and just enjoy life more while building companies.


Exactly. And, you know, having that flexibility like, at least in my own opinion, that would be such a motivating factor. Like I'm not stuck fighting traffic and wasting, you know, just an hour commute on the way in an hour, in the communal way back. Um, you know, it's more like that remote work. I think for these, for me and my personality type, I would be so much more excited toe work on the certain projects and, you know,

complete things and whatever it is. So I think time you're right is such a valuable asset that I think you know, when you're into that 99 to 5, you kind of become dull twit. And it becomes like an everyday every day. Just normal part of the day. Like UK today, I'm gonna get up and have to fight traffic. And there you go. You just a certain time. Excellent sense. You don't even think twice about it until until you realize Oh, my God, I don't have time Thio, come home and spend two hours with my kids because I have to fight traffic or after work late tonight. You know the storm of the reasons why so,

yeah, extremely important. And I'm glad that you mentioned the aspect of time and especially on national sex, I think that would be extremely beneficial. You know, just there's some podcasts out there that are, like three hours in length, for example, which is great. I just have to divulge that is just too much. So I think, you know, smashed out, sort of streaking. That took a bite sized bit where I can fit it in. You know where I like makes so much more sense. And so


yeah, and we've experimented with this. Where James Bashar, from below the line had this podcast was the hill living it from gum Road, Anything. It was over two hours long, and when he first posted a people looked at That's timing and like, Whoa, two hours like that's a lot of commitment, right? Especially what happens if it the beginning for the first half an hour, you talk about who the person is blah, blah, blah. If they already know the person. Then people lose interest in and drop off. And then we put a bunch of smash notes out and people say,

Oh, you know what? The minute 45 or, you know, hour and 1/2 that's that's interesting. I haven't heard that before. And so it gives them a way to experience that very long podcast. And, you know, all the downloads still counted podcasters. So you still get all the credit like your content still gets out. They're just people, like, we need to admit that maybe not all of that content is actually relevant.


Yeah, absolutely. I mean, it's different, you know, wide range of topics that are discussed, especially for these longer type podcasts, where it kind of goes from one subject another that, yeah, you're right may not be what you're looking for or may not be beneficial to, you know, at that time or what happens, So, yeah, definitely. And so going forward then, for nationals,

like, is there any, like, milestone that you've sort of one hits or, um, or maybe something that you've committed to that say. Okay, well, in six months from now, I want to grow this much or anything along the lines of that, there's


no specific milestone. I don't know if that's may be bad, but, uh, I want to get to the point where podcasters come repeatedly and keep uploading the notes and start sharing it right. And when I see a good amount of usage of that, that's gonna be a milestone. And same for listeners, right once. I mean, I'm tracking analytics. Obviously, when I know that there was a good segment that comes over and over and over again and consumes Ah, I think that's gonna be a big milestone because then we'd be able to learn. You know exactly what people are using us for. And then we can go to massive audiences and give it to them.


Yeah, absolutely. And so, in terms of like, ranking on Google, I came across one of your articles, actually, about, um, how you became like number five. I think it is on Google. Is that is that accurate?


Yeah. At some point, there's ah, podcast called. My dad wrote a porno, which is it's, by the way, hilarious. Ah, and people, you know, people who listen to it love it. It's It's comical and you can look up on Smash knows there's some notes about you know what it is, but ah, it's some point. It ranked on Google for first. I think number five and then in two weeks have got to number four.

Sold the traffic looking for that was coming Thio smash notes. I mean, there's a lot of also porno traffic coming, which was not it's it's in the article there as well. You know, some of these users like it doesn't matter that they came because they don't convert. That's not the stuff that we're looking for. But to me, it was really exciting because within two weeks I got tens of thousands of visitors and it got 3.5 million impressions on Google. Uh, I mean, impression doesn't mean you know, you you got a user, but it means, you know somebody. It was there,

like the front page, which is really cool. And to me, that's part of the power that once you said, take the segments out of podcasts, every bit becomes searchable and become something people confined. Kind of like the core questions. Right now, they confined podcast bits.


Yeah, exactly. And So this type of scenario was just like the first time that it happened. When you notice that big spike in traffic. I mean,


keep in mind, the whole thing is only six months old, right? So, yeah, that was the first, like, massive spike in traffic. I've seen this for other terms. Ah, and you know, I'm not gonna dive into what the other terms are. The other terms get a lot less for now, but that's that's already happening. People are searching for a specific topic or specific question, and then they end up on smash notes, and they can consume that content this instead of whatever the block poster we're going for and the cool thing to do.

If you have a blogger and a podcast, what happens to a lot of people is they have, ah, podcast. And, you know, maybe you like 90 episodes by now. What do you do with all those 90 episodes would? Well, you can do a smash noses, take the pieces out, put it on the block post, and now you can create another layer of content. Right? So you're really okay? Okay.

Yeah. So if you're writing something about interpreter ships say mental health Now you can go and say, Well, let me see What's a hill living, Justin con and program and a bunch of other people thought about mental health. You can go and smash nose, and you can type mental health in search. You'll get you know, all the results there, and then you can put those bits into your block post. You can embed them right in the block post, so it could be a combination of your content and podcasters content. And now it creates this like, multi dimensional, completely new, you know, piece of knowledge,


you know, And that's a such a unique spin on it that I don't think I've heard. So that good. Congratulations on that. That's actually interesting subway that you know, personally for me, This sounds interesting. And I'm gonna tell you I'm gonna set up myself for special. It's actually because it sounds like a great idea, and I think it'll be beneficial for me, but also for, you know, the audience as well.


Yeah, again, for for the listener, it's It's a way to get podcast, but it's also a way to learn, like event. Eventually you know, Imagine you want to hear something about nuclear physics and you can go and say, Well, who who said something about nuclear physics? And you'll get exactly those bits and podcasts and you'll listen to the segments and you'll know something real quick without having to read pages of Wikipedia or go read the books. You know you can. You can do that as well, of course, but that's the cool part. We can blend those two, and now you can have long form content with short bids, too.


Wow, yeah, No, I mean, listen, I'm quite excited about it personally, Um, so I definitely think it's a It's a great product and okay, so would just about out of time. So before we let you go, you tell people you know where they confined maybe yourself or smash Nell's on where they can sign up things like that.


It's smash nose dot com, and there you can sign up to get an account with a site in Sign up for newsletter. You can also find us on Twitter at smash notes, and Twitter Feed is a data daily, so you can actually get some of these bits in your feed, which is, I think, a very cool way to experience that. You know, you can play them right out of your Twitter feed to, So if you see something interesting you just played there. You learn something, you instantly and ah, you know, you can find me at kid eligible skate on Twitter or kiddos belski dot com and buy. You know, definitely.

If you interested. If you have some ideas, you know, someone talk about this more email me feedback at smash nose dot com. And I'd love to talk to you.


Perfect. Thank you so much for again making the time. And I wish you all the best and hopefully in the future things go extremely well. And I would love to have you back on a some point Just discussed where things are And maybe that transition between where you are now


and you know where you'll be in the future. Looking forward to


think as much of the opera to your time. Thank you.

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