Neil Cybart is one of my go-to people that I read and listen to when it comes to figuring out what is happening in the world of Apple. Neil runs the Above Avalon podcast that I featured in Edition # 24 of the newsletter. This one-man show has provided me, analysts, tech fans, and Apple aficionados with terrific insight as to the products, and business behind the company’s ever-growing empire and how they relate with the broader world of technology. Since then, Neil has launched a new daily paid podcast, appropriately called Above Avalon Daily.
Here is my interview with Neil Cybart.
What do you think makes the Above Avalon podcast unique?
Neil: My perspective. While my delivery style is on the rare side for podcasts (one voice), ultimately the thing that separates a podcast from the rest of the pack is the perspective found on that podcast.
Why did you start Above Avalon?
Neil: I sensed a lack of relevant Apple analysis from a financial and business point of view. AboveAvalon.com was launched in 2014 with both weekly articles and the corresponding Above Avalon podcast. Six years later, I just launched my second podcast called Above Avalon Daily, which is a paid podcast exclusive to Above Avalon members.
Tell me about your process and the things that go into producing each episode?
Neil: For the podcast that is accessible to everyone, episodes are usually born a few weeks before recording. Since podcast episodes are based on written articles published at AboveAvalon.com, the research behind every article also supports the podcast episode. By time I’m ready to sit down and record a podcast episode, I have been thinking about a topic for a few weeks, possibly longer. This makes it easier to talk about the topic for 30 minutes. For my new daily podcast, episodes are based on that day’s written update that is sent out to members.
What have been the most challenging aspects of producing the show?
Neil: I had no experience with podcasting prior to launching the Above Avalon podcast in 2014. I handle all aspects of the podcast myself – recording, editing, publishing, and marketing. Nothing is outsourced. Accordingly, it’s taken time and experience to learn best practices for what works and doesn’t work.
I don’t have a recording studio for the two podcasts (yet). Finding the right time to record is probably the most challenging aspect. The last few months were especially difficult with the pandemic. A key objective had been preventing screaming and yelling from two toddlers in the background.
From a personal standpoint, why do you do the show? I know that your business is fully sustained by memberships, but aside from the financial aspect, what do you get out of producing the podcast?
Neil: I like sharing my perspective. After doing a podcast for a few years, you develop a rapport with your audience so that every new episode is the latest in an ongoing discussion that you have with listeners.
Do you ever think about the lasting impact of your podcast? What would you want it to be?
Neil: My focus isn’t so much on what happens to older episodes but how my two podcasts can help people think differently about topics like business, technology, finance, and design.
How do you promote your show? What have you found to be the most effective?
Neil: I primarily use AboveAvalon.com and Twitter for show promotion. With the new Above Avalon Daily podcast, there are various avenues through which I can remind members that there is a podcast available.
Word of mouth has proven to be the most effective form of marketing. Finding and building an audience through a different medium (like Twitter) and then leveraging that medium to promote a podcast is easier than letting people know about a podcast just through podcast players.
What advice would you give to a podcaster just starting out?
Neil: Set goals and don’t feel compelled to do what everyone is doing. Depending on what you want to achieve with your podcast, your subsequent actions and strategy can help you achieve those goals.
What do you think the future of podcasting holds? More walled gardens like Spotify or open RSS feeds?
Neil: There will likely be paid silos where podcasters with mass market appeal (politics, sports) and the capability of generating revenue directly from having a massive podcasting audience will reside. The long tail of podcasters will continue to use the “open” route and be found on various podcast players. I also think there is a bright future for paid podcasts with which a relatively small number of listeners can provide financial sustainability.