Ask Me Anything with Chris Castiglione, Columbia University faculty, Host of the Learn to Code Podcast,Teacher at and Noonies nominee

@dora Hi! Social development, as in our ability as humans to learn skills and communicate? Or are you thinking more about social impact, such as addressing issues of poverty, education and community building?

@community_nick Hi! Google is this HUGE thing. So off the top of my head, I feel that there are just so many ways in which Google has helped make the internet a better place. Everything from:

  1. Inventing a model for search that was 10x better than all its competitors in the late 90s…
  2. GMAIL with it’s free storage and innovations that upgraded how the whole web thinks about email…
  3. The Chrome browser which has truly pushed for innovation online (before Chrome we were more or less stuck with IE, and the internet wars which were so slow to innovate).
  4. It’s impressive that they left China, and were a leader in the move to stop censoring search results for their regime

One more thing that comes to mind, is that Vint Cerf (one of the founders of the internet) works for Google, and has given many talks about how he thinks about his work at Google helping push forward a better internet in the future. Check out one of his talks, he’s brilliant!

Hi @David! Thanks for having me! Great question.

Collaborating with other people who have an audience has been helpful! On my On Books podcast, I saw large audience climbs in the months after having celebrity authors like Kevin Kelly and Neil Strauss on the show. My guess is having these names on episodes helped our ranking in iTunes.

I also think having a niche audience is super important. To be honest, I think my book’s podcast could have been a lot larger if I had focused on one type of book, or a very specific theme. For me, it was never about that though. I enjoyed chatting with authors and friends about the books that I found inspired me — so it wasn’t necessarily about growing the audience. I’ve never had an advertiser on the show.

But I learned my lesson with that podcast, and since then have seen 4x the growth with our Learn to Code podcast. Coding is a bigger market opportunity than books, so maybe the comparison isn’t apples and oranges, but I like to think it helped being more specific in what we were offering.

I like to ask myself, “How would a listener describe the podcast to a friend?” I try to imagine what that wording or phrasing might be, what stands out? And then I’ll say that phrase as much as possible on the podcast to help broadcast that idea. For example, the Learn to Code podcast is for people looking to learn to code in 30 days. And who “want to learn to code, but not necessarily become developers.” So I repeat that at the top of every episode.