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This is the one hundred and forty-third episode of the Average to Savage podcast featuring entrepreneur Aaron P. Woods. Paul Guarino talked with Aaron P. Woods discussing his road from engineering to the technology world, why he founded Podpal, and what's next for Podpal.
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This podcast interview with Aaron P. Woods was originally recorded on September 24, 2021
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Aaron P. Woods | Average to Savage EP143
ABOUT THIS EPISODE
Follow Aaron P. Woods and Podpal
This podcast interview with Aaron P. Woods was originally recorded on September 24, 2021
...this is the average to Savage podcastwith paul Guerrino, everyone in anyone athletes, celebs andmuch more what's up everybody, I'm back for another episode of the averageSavage podcast. Our special guest today is Aaron P Woods erin, how's it going?There's really good, how you doing good, Yeah, I appreciate you coming on. Soyou're the founder of pod pod pal, could you give me a brief background ofwhat pod palace and then how you came about it for sure man, Pop how is theonly one podcast management platform? We make it easy for podcast, was theplan publish and promote the show without all the stress and clutter man.And I know you can relate with that because you're one of the people that Iinterviewed when we first kind of trying to go through the problemanalysis and understand what podcasters really wanted. Uh and so you know, howthis idea came about actually was you know, my wife Tonya was starting herpodcast and she was trying to get to show off the ground and ran into someof those administrative burden of podcasting, you know, and a lot ofpodcasters are burning out because of all the stuff, there's there's there'snot just sitting down behind this mic recording the show like we're doing now,you have to schedule me, we have a line, a line, our calendars, you know,there's there's making sure that you have your show notes in place and youknow, releasing on time, there's a lot of bookkeeping and a lot of sort oforganization for a for a very productive show, you know, and showthat releases regularly. And so what pop out does is really bring thatorganization management productivity uh to the forefront of of our applicationto make it easier for people to stay on track and keep making awesome contentlike we're doing right now. Yeah, definitely. Like I could just, evengoing back to when I first started, it was just like funny because I justbought like a mike and then I was literally, I was just doing audio atthe time and I was literally calling people and then I just put the mic upto the phone, like straight up, like it's great, it's crazy to think aboutnow because it's just like funny but um that's how I was doing that first andthen, you know, just like learning stuff. I mean the same thing like yousaid, like just like there's so much stuff like even I don't remember howlong our session was, but I'm pretty sure it ran over because we talked forlike probably like an hour or more just about everything. And and so yeah, justlike crazy. And and then, you know like the other like I guess uh myth is thatpeople think like podcasting is easy to do. So that's like that's like pretty,pretty funny like yeah, it's easy once you get set up and miked up and allthat, but then like you said like the after publishing and editing andgetting it already and timing everybody up and things like that. Um So yeah, Iknow you uh I know you have a tech background and you have an engineeringbackground, so tell me, tell me a little bit how you got into, well I'massuming you went to school for engineering and then you got into tech.Yeah, exactly. So you know, it's funny I guess average the savage that relates,I relate to that that phrase quite a bit, even though I don't, I don't Inever considered myself average didn't point, but uh you know, I always seemto be above average but um with respect to technology, you know, I was veryaverage, you know I would I started out here and uh engineering, you knowstructural engineering, civil in the civil discipline. And so I was doingbuilding design out in Seattle. Um actually one of my first projects wasto help design amazon's headquarters out there Seattle which was pretty dope.Um but you know that that's a completely different way of utilizingthat problem solving background than where, you know, people are codingdifferent languages, there's product management, there's all these otheraspects of, of technology that I didn't really understand and so I had toreally grow and and that and the way I did that was really just starting,starting my own business is you know being an entrepreneur getting out thereand actively putting and put it into practice the things that I was readingabout, the things that I was studying on the side, you know, while I wasworking for these other big engineering company.
Yeah, for sure, yeah, I even did someresearch and, and there's an article and says not your average engineer, soit backs up what you said, huh? Yeah, because you know, at the end of day Ido feel like engineering and it boils down to this, boils down to being aproblem solver and being understanding problem well, and then putting togethera solution in a unique way that actually solves that real problem,right? And so as a, as a structural engineering, as a researcher back incollege when I'm doing my message and stuff back, you t you know, I would bein the lab and how to do experiments and you know, uh iterate and try to tryto continue changing different controls of the experiment to determine what wasthe actual solution. And so all of that has really helped me when it comes tothe development pop out because you know, actually do have thosefundamental skills, it's just that, you know, I wasn't utilizing them in thatparticular field, right? So it's just like somebody who plays, you know, toplay soccer, you know, who might have the agility, but they've never playedamerican football, you know, but they also have a lot of agility andswiftness because of the type of sport that they play. So I'm trying to be anathlete, you know, and I consider myself that so that's where they're notmuch average here comes from is just being able to play multiple positionsand use that knowledge in in a very unconventional way. So that's whatwe're doing now. Yeah, for sure. Yeah. I mean that's funny that you said that.So just like I saw the, you know like the quote that it says like uh Jack ofall trades, master of none. Right? But then like the full quote is like a jackof all trades is a master of none but often better than a master of one. MmYeah. So I like that and I like that you said that because like I feel likeyou know with all the things you've already done you, I mean you're Jack ofall trades so and then just going into all this, I know you've been, you'vebeen doing it since 2018, right? You created it. Yeah. So now like what isthe, what is the journey been like just um starting up your own business and umlike what are some obstacles that you overcome and and things of that nature?Yeah, that's a good question um ah I don't even know how to really, really,really start with that because like being as you know, founding anythingand bringing up something from the dirt is very difficult. One of the biggestdifficulties that I found is getting other people to believe in your visionright? Like especially in today's society where everybody wants to be anentrepreneur, everybody has a side thing that they're doing theirinfluencer of this, they've got, you know, this concentration channelthey're doing over here, this podcast. So you know, going out and find anothertalent to join you in the beginning phases. I find it's pretty challengingbecause people are pretty ambitious these days. That's just like, you know,the dream that's being proliferated all over our, you know, society and media.So that was really difficult. I was fortunate to find a couple of humbleindividuals to say, you know, Ariel, see what you see and I want to, I wantto wake up with you to help build this. Um, so, so, and that's a huge part ofwhy we, while we're sitting here today with the actual working software versuslast time I talked to you, which was still prototypes and you know, we wereclicking around and basically screenshots and so I'm really gratefulfor that part of the journey and learning how to basically put my visiontogether in such a way that others could get excited about that. Theycould get inspired and see that, wow, this isn't just, you know, some idea,you just kind of came up with, this is pretty full, Fully fleshed out. Like Idid quite a bit of research with folks like yourself, you were like one of 12people that I sat down and talked with at length to really formulate theproblem statement, for for that right? And so when I was going out andrecruiting some talent, I showed them all that video, I actually put it acondensed version of that together set where they could see, wow, this is thisis actually pretty bedded like you and talk to people who did research, youspend some money on this. You know, if you don't invest in your business, youcan't expect other people to invest in your, and that goes all the way down totalent, all the way up to investors,...
...you know, so you have to put in thework and you know, do some of that, do some of that grunt work and back legworks that way. People can really see the vision that you see in your mind.Um, so that's been one of the things that really been a big part of thejourney. Um, I don't know, I guess secondly, uh, learning, you know,obviously to hear, no, uh, you know, being okay with that, being okay withthe fact that everybody is not going to see it. A lot of people are gonna say,you know, I don't, I don't really get it, everybody doesn't have to get it,it comes down to you getting it and um really making sure that you, you dotake a, what I call it this passionate evaluation of your ideas, right?Because ideas are a diamond doesn't everybody has ideas, but it's going outand validating. Is it a real problem? And is this something that you'resolving in a way that people want, you know, you can't get caught up and just,oh, I love my baby because I had the baby you have to see, do other peoplereally understand mostly your customers and your customer understand what it isthat you're trying to deliver and do they see the same value in it that youdo? Um, I think that's really important in terms of all the other the stairs orfriends or investors or other people who may or may not see it, that reallydoesn't matter? Does your customer understanding? Do they see it? Do theyagree with? Yeah, yeah, for sure. I'm sure you've got somebody said andsaying like, yo, what's the podcast or what do I need a podcast management?Yeah. You know, once you get into it deep enough, you'll know, I mean, ifyou had to ask that question, then you haven't done it enough times to, youhaven't done a podcast enough to, to see it? Uh, Yeah. So what about like,say, what were your goals like when you first started in 2018, like. um, andlike what, what goes like, what are the new goals? Like what has changed sincethen, like since launching and things like that? Yeah, I think the initialgoals had to do with proven to myself whether or not this was an actual, uh,I need, you know, was this a real market need because again, if somebodydoesn't actually need it, then you're actually fooling yourself, You know,you built, people are doing everyday, inability, something people don't need.And then they wonder why doesn't sell where they can't get to market or getthe, get the adoption or what happened is because they never really did it athorough needs announcements to figure out that they were even solving theright problem. So that was goal number one and my solving the right problem.Um, and then second one was to grow a team around it and actually get peopleto build it with me. And so we got, I got that far. And so now the next stepis really getting customer acquisition, getting people on the app, you know,getting people helping people through through what we built, you know, havingthose testimonials of people saying, man before I started podcasting withpop how, you know, I was only releasing an episode a month and now I'mreleasing an episode every week. You know, those are the type of testimoniesI'm looking for moving forward so that we can, you know, hopefully convinceinvestors and stuff that a well they should come along this journey with usreally, really blow it out the water. Yeah, yeah, definitely. And I knowyou've been to a lot of different like conferences and things like that. Whathas been, um, feedback you're getting from, from the people? Yeah. You know,um, it's really interested in the first conference we went to uh in 2019 wewent to a conference called podcast movement and during that conference,all we had was a screenshot of the software, um, has some little, you know,flyers that we were handing out, but we didn't have anything that was working,anything that people can actually sign up for. But that was again part oftesting the theory of is this a real problem? Is it is this something thatpeople need a solution to? And during...
...that conference, I think over thecourse of like three or four days we had almost 200 people sign up for theapp. Just personal interactions that we have with folks. And then we didn'teven having it. It was just like, man, I want to be on the wait list for this.So there was a lot of excitement around the idea of this type of solution. Sothen fast forward a year later are two years later and we went back to thatsame conference as a presenting uh company And hosted an event where wehad another 200 podcasters show up and we're even more excited. And if you goto pop out on Instagram page, you can see some of those testimonials of whatfolks have to say how, they were. you know, really grateful to see anapplication like this come online and um that they've been struggling withthis sort of podcasting management, project management, becoming anadministrator of their show and not being able to release as much contentas they really could if they have a system in place. And so a lot ofpositive feedback, we've had people sign up for that. Since then I've got aton of emails and um, and BMS asking, you know, the meat with man to learnmore about the application. So I think we accomplished our mission, you know,this last conference are really getting the word out there and we're justhoping to continue to grow off of that. Yeah, yeah, for sure. And um recently Iknow you got to, to separate um awards or grants, maybe you want to say um yougot the Hennessy never stopped that, never settle um society and then the, Iknow you just, you literally think you literally just got the google one too.So tell me, tell me a little bit about both of those and like how those cameabout and like what was like the application process or things like thatabout? For sure. Yeah, Well big shout out to Joey well matt from gettingnation for putting me on to some of these options out there areopportunities that I would say also joe berks, google for startups. Um you know,the Hennessy Grant came about because I got an email from Joey who was big inthe black tech community, was like, hey erin check out this opportunity, youknow, this might fit, you gotta do an email, looked it up, it was like, man,this like a dope, looks like something that really um, That I think I have achance of winning. So I put in the application online, went through acouple interview process and next thing I know, you know, I was gettingnotified that we were one of 20, companies to be selected in the us forthis, this uh, awesome award. Um, and then the google for startups award,it's really funding more than his award award, they don't really consider thisone, their brand as much as it is actual investment pop out. Um, that one,I was part of something called google for startups at Atlanta foundersAcademy, in which several founders in Atlanta uh, community joined up. We'regoogle for eight months. Uh, someone like an accelerator program where they taught us about sales andmarketing and uh, ad placement and how to grow your team and all those sortsof things. Uh, and at the end of that eight months you become eligible toapply for one of their, one of one of their Black Thunder founder fund. Uh,and so last year the black founders fund was $5 million investment across,I think 60 plus founders and then this year they did another $5 millioninvestment into 50 founders. So each of us receiving $100,000 in funding fromgoogle. So that's a pretty big deal, you know, have the, The branding andthe association and also the, the financial backing from such big brandslike Hennessy and Google, the Hennessy Grant was a $50,000 grant. So in onemonth we just brought in about $150,000 of capital to help push this businessforward. And that's a big deal given...
...that up to now, we haven't had a singledollar come in the door. Um, you know, the folks that I brought onto the team,I exchanged equity to them. So they were working for equity exchange fortheir time. And so none of us have had any kind of paycheck from this, youknow, I've been running this off of me and my wife's investment, you know,from my own bank account basically, You know, from day one uh running up creditcards, paying them down and all that sort of thing because we believe indivision, so to uh, to finally have such big names in, in, in the industrycome behind us and, and you know, give us some good press as well as some,some coins in the bank feels good. Yeah, for sure, yeah, and congrats on that. Idon't know if I said that before. Um, but yeah, that's big. I mean, Iremember I saw it. Um, I don't even know, I think, I don't know if thegoogle one came out. I think the google one came out right after I messaged youguys, let's get you on the pod. So that was, that was dope to that. Thathappened. Uh yeah, like Even like the Hennessy one, I believe we talked, Ithink I thought it was, I thought it was just like a sponsorship. So that'sawesome that it was bigger than that. Yeah. Yeah, it was actually funding aswell. Um, yeah, so with those two grants, like what I know you kind ofjust mentioned, but what's your like big plan to use, use that money. Yeah,a big part of that is marketing. Um, you know, user acquisition. Um, wefortunately been able to pay down a little bit of debt with that. Like Isaid, we didn't have any cash flow coming into the business for threeyears. So you know, basically get us to the place where we can have the type ofcustomers and attraction that we need to attract a bigger investment toreally, you know, run this company the way it should be. So, um, that's the,actually the core focus. Yeah, definitely. And then what's your,what's your approach, I know you just said you're investing more money intomarketing, but what's your approach to acquire? A new customer. And like,where can people go to sign up? Yeah, absolutely. I mean what's great is thatyou can sign up right now online at Paypal dot com uh for free. That thatmay or may not last too much longer. We have a free free plan where if you signup now for the first six episodes that you publish are hosted on pot Powelland distributed, all that kind of stuff. Absolutely free. So, and if you have anexisting show, we allow for you to import that show, like average savagescoming over after this call, uh We can import your so literally in about 30seconds from whatever from whatever host that you're on today. So we'regoing to be running part of that money that we will be running like to switchto pop out campaign. So people understand just how easy it is toswitch. Um so yeah, Yeah, I might have to become some kind of ambassador, likemaybe I need like 1% or something. Uh Yeah, and then um like what, like howmany is there, is there a number of podcasts like on the, on the platformright now? Yeah, we have a think over 100 people already for podcasting onour platform. We we just, we just came out like two weeks ago with the launchand haven't put any big marketing push yet, but it will be a lot more beforewe know it. Okay. And what what advice would you give to another fellowentrepreneur, young entrepreneurs like trying to start their own business Yeah,that's a good question um read definitely get some good books onyour hand that you got to feed your mind first, it's all about the mindset,you know, if you don't have the mindset of entrepreneur, you really can't walkin in the spirit of one, so I feel like it starts with your where you atmentally first and some books that I would recommend include Rich dad, poordad the millionaire mindset um start with Why How to Win friends andinfluence people. Um and also uh one of...
...the books I'm reading right now we'rekind of poking through is called The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek. Um thoseare all really good starters um just to kind of get your mind around howentrepreneurs think, you know, they're they're not thinking about, you know,they're not overly consumed with risk, um they're not overly consumed withpeople's opinions, you know what people have to say about things and so just tokind of get that sort of sort of mind setting, you will help you along yourjourney. So I would say definitely be a voracious reader, I wasn't that before,you know kind of starting these companies and once I started readingsome of these books that really started kick started me into into reallywalking into that purpose. Um The other thing I would say is um you know, take a bet on yourself, evenif it's a small bet, it doesn't have to be huge. You know, I think a lot oftimes people think oh I got to have X, Y. Z. Amount of money before I start mybusiness, I just take $100 bet on yourself. You know honestly that wasthe first, the first bet that I made on pop out was interviewing you andseveral other people and if you remember I said when I hit you up ininstagram I was like, hey man I'll give you $25 amazon gift card. If you'lljust spend an hour with me talking about your problems and podcast, Thatwas an investment, it was very small, but you know across the 10 people thatadded up to whatever it was, $250, right? So that was a $250 investment. Imade into my idea at that time to figure out it was worth anything, youknow, and small little investments like that uh really help you keep going whenit comes down to it because then you start your, your belief goes furtherwhen you're when it's attached to something. So um investment of yourtime, your money, your energy um and also finding ways to like to, to addvalue, you know, your business as an entrepreneur, everything shouldn't beall about, you, you should be looking for ways to add value to others. Soeven on all those calls is initial calls and even this call all the way upto this very day, you know, our mantra, you know, in our shirt popped out thispodcast, his best friend. So the entire brand is around being friendly and makesure that we're the ones extending ourselves to others. So if we're not,if I'm not doing that, then I'm really not living more the belief in themantra and the vision behind the brand. So you know, have your brand have whatyou do go beyond you, you know, and if it goes beyond you, I think it can gofar, you know, if it's just in the context of you being being aninfluencer, you know, you're being great, you know, you're being lifted up,you know, I don't, that's, that's just not how I get down, you know, and Ithink that most of the successful on entrepreneurs that I know are much addmore value than, than they receive and that's, that's really the name of thegame. Yeah, definitely. And uh, I'm kind of,I'm kind of upset. You never told me that you played football atJacksonville State or Yeah, so, so tell me how, tell me how like maybe sportsand like business helped you out or just like the mindset because I knowlike, you know, they always say like athletes have like the best work, workethic. Yeah, it's absolutely 1 to 1 with everything that I do. Uh, I playedcollege football at Jacksonville University play free safety, I wasnumber 27 definitely came downhill, you know, and then what I needed to do, uhyou know, but uh yeah, that mindset man, uh I can still hear coach patrick,strength conditioning coach, I guess, I can hear them in my ear every day, likeliterally and everything that I do, same finished, you know, you know,finish strong kind of strong execute results, you know, those sorts of uhthose sorts of mantra is that you just here around the waiting room and withyour teammates, you know, last forever, you know, even though those days arewell gone for me, you know, um the...
...vision of the memory and the experiencethat never leaves you and so I definitely carry that into work andinto how I run my teams and just the spirit of teamwork. Um you know,collaboration is everything, I think that a lot of people try to get stuffoff the ground on their own. They don't realize the value of getting input andinsights from other people, so working very hard to find teammates mentors,which is anybody of that nature who is willing to share even a little bit of anugget with you is extremely important, you know, coaching is, it can't be, Ican't emphasize that more so as an entrepreneur, you have to like go andcreate that atmosphere for yourself and that's difficult to do, but you know,reaching out to someone who has more experience or you know, a little timeon their hands, like kind of give you that that little jolt of of energy orhold you accountable is really really valuable. So um So yeah, I've seen aman, I couldn't I couldn't do what I do without that sports history in thebackground, you know, not everybody's going to have that, but you can stillcreate a lot of that for yourself, you know? Yeah, Yeah, for sure. All right.You ready for some fun questions? Yeah, let's go. Alright. What what's yourfavorite food? Right. Um Yeah, I mean, I'm from the South man, so, you know, Ilike fried chicken, greens, mac and cheese. All that soul food is reallygood. My favorite absolute favorite food, I guess is is really a sweetpound cake. All right. Uh What, what's your favorite song right now? Probablyprobably dedication by Nipsey hustle. Even though that's kind of old, thatone drives me. That's what I wanted to get ready for a meeting and that's theone. Mhm. Uh What do you what do you like to do in your free time? Uh spend time with my kids? Uh and playacoustic guitar. All right. You're playing guitar. I'm all right. Yeah.There's some stuff on my page. Not average. We'll probably have everything.Uh What's something uh what's something else like you want to do, like anentrepreneur riser, like uh, just like, anything like any other goals oranything like that. Like another, another venture or something. Well, uh,personal goal would be to like, um, I want to climb mount Everest, but dosomething very adventurous like that skydiving or, you know, uh, you know,I'm a pretty adventurous person, but I don't have any big ones on my list.Like, you know, like going, I wouldn't go bungee jumping or something crazylike that. But I might do, I might just got out of it. Um, in terms of like abusiness goal or another venture. Um, I think it would be really cool too, uh, to create like basically my, my sonis on autism spectrum and so he goes to a school called the Lion High School,which is a school that caters specifically. It's in the needs ofpeople on the spectrum and it's awesome school, but it's really expensive toattend and we're just now finding a position as a family, like send themthere. But way back this journey, you can really benefit from them. So Ithink a really cool thing to do would be able to stand up more schools likemine heart that would be like completely free. So the same expertise,same level of service and commitment and all that. But like the students whoattended the families who will send their kids there could do it at a very,very, very like subsidized rate, you know, or if not free because There's,uh, I think the last stat was like one and 45 kids are diagnosed with autismtoday. And so there's a lot of kids around here who need that kind of help,but and, and the, and even adults on the spectrum, we need that kind ofsupport and don't have it. So that's a, that's a big goal of mine. Yeah, That'sawesome. Well, erin, I appreciate you coming on and could elect listeners andwhere they can follow you on social media. Yeah, man, you can follow me onthe air and the woods on all channels,...
...twitter linkedin, uh, instagram. Andthen you can follow pop how atpa Power on those same channels where we are atpop out eight point some channels, but you put in pop that will come up brick.
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