Founder depression, “going independent,” and the future of podcasting

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On this episode Abadesi talks to Justin Jackson. Justin is a founder, author, and podcaster. He is co-founder of Transistor, a platform for podcasters, and runs his own podcast called Build your SaaS. He is also the creator of the MegaMaker community for developers.

In this episode they discuss...

Going from side hustle to full-time founder

“The truth is that where I’m at now is that where I’m at now is the result of years and years and years of investigating things, being curious and being naturally passionate about radio and audio in particular.”

Justin followed a circuitous route to becoming a founder. He grew up in rural Alberta, Canada, and didn’t get his first job in tech until he was 28 years old. He recently started working on Transistor full-time, and explains the progression from working a regular job, to working remotely, to starting a side hustle, and finally to becoming a “solopreneur.”

His candid recounting of his experience with depression

“I got hit hard, like I had never been hit before. I have to admit I had a bad perspective on mental illness. I thought that people who were depressed were weak. I remember that time — I felt like I had been punched down into the ground like the Incredible Hulk.”

Justin opens up about what it was like to experience depression for the first time, how it impacted him and how it changed his perspective on work, life, and mental illness generally.

How to take care of your mental health

“If you think of our lives as an application, we’re really good at maintaining the front end code. The front end code is everything that people see — the house, the degree, the job — all the external stuff. It’s the stuff we post on Instagram, it’s the stuff we talk about when we’re with friends, it’s our public face we reveal to others. But we have this back end code that we are gradually writing things to but not refactoring or caring for it the way we should.”

He explains how he got himself out of his depression with the help of a therapist, and talks about some of the important mental shifts he needed in his life. He also talks about the importance of separating your sense of self and your identity from your professional projects.

The future of podcasting and “mindful technology”

“Increasingly, people are looking for mindful technology, technology that’s not designed to keep you on the platform forever, that’s not designed to be addictive or maintain your attention forever. It’s difficult to track, it’s difficult to sell your data, and podcasting right now fits — it’s mindful.”

Justin has been passionate about audio since he was a kid riding in the family pickup truck in Alberta. He talks about the changes he’s seen in the space over the last decade and what the future holds for podcasting. He also explains his theory of mindful technology, why people want their technology to be mindful, and why podcasts fit the category perfectly.

And of course, they talk about some of his favorite products for desktop and mobile.

We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Big thanks to Copper for their support. 😸

Companies, Books and Products Mentioned In This Episode

Adobe Fireworks CS5 — Adobe’s bitmap and vector editor (from a long time ago).

Daylio — Mood tracker and micro-diary.

The Mom Test — How to talk to customers

Visual Studio Code — Microsoft’s cross-platform text editor for developers.

186 episodes