Looking Back to Soonish's First Year, and Forward to the Future

Dear Friends,

Before we all turn off the computers, put away the smartphones, and settle in for a long week of holiday relaxation, I wanted to reach out to all Soonish mail list subscribers, Patreon supporters, Facebook followers, and blog readers and thank you for helping to make this an amazing first year for the podcast.

I launched the show on January 13, 2017, at the beginning of a year that has brimmed with political tumult and natural and human-made disasters. But with your help and encouragement, I've been able to stay focused on making the show, which reached a series of big milestones.

—I produced 10 episodes in the show’s first season and five (so far) in the second season. With each episode, the show’s audience has grown bigger. I’m in a great position to reach lots of new listeners in 2018.

—I’ve been able to test and refine the basic ideas driving the show, zeroing in on a motto that, I think, expresses its essence: “The future is shaped by technology, but technology is shaped by us.”

—I was lucky enough to find a few other independent audio makers who believe in the power of ideas and high-quality storytelling. Together we formed the new podcast collective Hub & Spoke. Through cross-promotion and mutual support, we’re building up the audience for all of the great shows in the network—including Soonish, The Lonely Palette, Ministry of Ideas, and the newest addition, Hi-Phi Nation.

—I’ve learned a huge amount along the way from all of my new friends and colleagues at Hub & Spoke; the Sonic Soirée, Boston’s monthly potluck of the edible and audible; and of course the PRX Podcast Garage. The Garage is far more than a recording studio—it’s a community. I couldn’t be more grateful for all the great talks, workshops, and professional support they’ve offered this year.

—I've had lots of fun exploring diverse topics for the show. The first season ended with my admittedly quirky episode investigating what Apollo 13 can teach us about the Trump administration. For the second season, I made it to Illinois to see the great American solar eclipse in August, and I scored exciting interviews with book authors Tim O’Reilly and Kelly and Zach Weinersmith.

—I was thrilled to be able to attend the Third Coast International Audio Festival in Chicago, where I met radio and podcasting idols from shows like Radiolab, 99% Invisible, and Outside/In.

—I've performed live versions of Soonish episodes for audiences around Massachusetts, including groups in Boston, Brookline, Cohasset, Sudbury, and Winchester. And I produced a short version of the Soonish pilot episode—the one that asked why 2001: A Space Odyssey got the future so wrongfor WHYY's The Pulse, a terrific broadcast/podcast about science and health.

—Thanks to the generosity of my supporters on Patreon, I’ve raised close to $2,000 in donations in 2017, which helped cover the show’s basic hosting and equipment costs and a couple of reporting trips. Thank you so much!

(If you haven’t donated to the show, that’s totally okay. I make it out of my love for audio and stories about the future, not for the money! But if you do want to give and you just haven’t gotten around to it, there’s still time to help meet my goal of hitting 30 supporters on Patreon by December 31. Right now I’m just five people away! For more info head over to patreon.com/soonish.)

I’ve been paying the rent here in Cambridge mostly through freelance and consulting jobs, including a fun gig editing Twelve Tomorrows, a science fiction anthology coming from MIT Technology Review and the MIT Press in May (more news on that later).

But my big resolution for 2018 is to spend less time on freelance work and more time on the show—both on the production side, so that I can get onto a more regular publication schedule, and on the not-so-fun but utterly necessary marketing and promotions side.

I’m incredibly grateful that so many listeners have discovered the show and helped to spread the word about it. I’m going to be counting on even more of that kind of support, not to mention listener feedback, in the new year. So, please be in touch—you can always reach me at wade@soonishpodcast.org. Thanks again, and stick around. There’s some great stuff coming...soonish!

Wade

P.S. Oh, by the way, I got a puppy! That's him in the picture below. (Thank you to Graham Ramsay for taking the photo.) His name is Gryphon, he's an Australian Shepherd, and he's just shy of 12 weeks old. But he is not shy in any other way. I'm sure you'll hear him on the podcast at some point.

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