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26 One Year Report Card With Jerod Morris

Steve Seid & Kurt Dupuis
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The Whole Truth Episode 26

Kurt Dupuis:
Welcome to the Whole Truth where two wholesalers help financial professionals build great practices and thrive in a rapidly changing industry. We'll bring you the stories and voices from those on the front lines of this change. And we'll have some fun along the way.

Steve Seid:
This is more than a podcast. We're building a community of financial professionals who are growing, forward-thinking and want to get better. Thanks for listening and contributing to the discussion.

Disclosure:
The views expressed herein are those of the participants and not those of Touchstone Investments.

Steve Seid:
And welcome everybody to the Whole Truth. From the Bay Area, California, I am Steve Seid.

Kurt Dupuis:
And from Atlanta, Georgia, it's Kurt Dupuis. Really good episode here today. We have our friend, our mutual friend now as he's a recurring guest, Mr. Jerod Morris. He's coming on to give us our one year report card. Can you believe we've been talking to these microphones for a year already?

Steve Seid:
It's been a year. Happy birthday Kurt.

Kurt Dupuis:
Yeah. Same to you, buddy. And if you want to get us a gift, make sure that you subscribe and tell two friends, two other colleagues down the hall or colleagues that are your peers in the area that you know would benefit from what we're doing here. So if you haven't listened to Episode Five when he was on the first time, definitely check that out. Jerod's an expert in the podcasting world and he's going to fire some evaluation questions at us and grade us. So we'd love to include you all in discussions about building the show and the vision. Steve and I are just leading the conversation. Our audience and community, you're what's going to shape it.

Steve Seid:
So the report card will be Segment Two. Segment One, we'll ask Jerod about some topics you'll appreciate. He runs a community for entrepreneurs called Unemployable. Given most of you listening are entrepreneurs, Kurt and I picked out some really powerful and relevant topics. We spent the most time discussing the concept of building communities. And finally, in Segment Three, I take over, probably the word is hijack the Costanza corner…

Kurt Dupuis:
Correct.

Steve Seid:
…to do a segment that is going to be uplifting to maybe only me, maybe.

Kurt Dupuis:
And Jerod.

Steve Seid:
And Jerod. Jerod and I are going to talk some IU hoops as he is the host of the Assembly Call, a super popular podcast on IU basketball. If you have no interest in college basketball, in Indiana in particular, you can go ahead and skip that last segment. However, we did get a community member and friend of the show, Mike from Sand Hill Road, who sent me a mailbag question that gave me just enough opening to do this segment. Let's get into this must listen episode with Jerod Morris.

Steve Seid:
All right. Super excited to have back Mr. Jerod Morris. Never thought I would say that about 18 months ago. Welcome back, man. Great to see you.

Jerod Morris:
Man. It's awesome to be here, Steve. Thanks for bringing me back on.

Steve Seid:
Of course. If you haven't listened to, which episode, Kurt? Was that episode four we had him on?

Kurt Dupuis:
I think it's actually five, but yeah.

Steve Seid:
Check that out because that still remains one of my favorite episodes. Jerod was a big inspiration for this show, so delighted to have him on. And so we're going to have you on for a while, man. We've got some ground to cover. The first we're going to start with is some of the concepts, you belong to Unemployable, you lead the community there, you're a partner there. I want you to talk about that. I spent time in that community. We've got a couple of concepts there that we think will be good for our audience.

Steve Seid:
And then the core of it is you're coming on to give us a report card. You were so much a part of the creation of the show, the thought process, the vision. Now here we are a year later and we want to get evaluated. Where are we? So that's going to be fun. And then I'm hijacking our final segment, whether anyone likes it or not, because the last time you were on, I held myself back. I did not talk about IU hoops. I can't do it again. So I'm hijacking our final segment to do five questions about IU basketball. Is that reasonable, Jerod?

Coach Woodson:
I like everything about that.

Steve Seid:
There ya’ll.

Kurt Dupuis:
I don't know what just happened though that was awesome.

Steve Seid:
Well, you should know about this because that is Coach Woodson and it is good times for Indiana basketball right now, mostly because of that man.

Jerod Morris:
It is. We have a coach and no games have been played. So all things are possible and no losses have piled up. So things are good.

Kurt Dupuis:
Nirvana for a sports fan.

Steve Seid:
Give us the background on you again.

Jerod Morris:
I don't know, I tried to count up all the different podcast episodes that I've hosted over the years because we're well over 700 with the Assembly Call. We did a hundred and some with the Showrunner, I hosted a couple hundred of podcasts on the Brink and then there's others that have started and stopped along the way. Some well over 1,000 podcast episodes somewhere in there which is something that I started doing, gosh, like 12, 13 years ago when I was running a site called Midwest Sports Fans and my business partner was a big audiophile. And so he like set up this closet we weren't doing anything with it. He put up all this sound deadening foam and this really nice microphone. I'm like, "What is he doing?"

But he's a musician and so he just kind of had fun doing that stuff. And so when I'd started to hear about podcasting and I was like, "Oh, well, maybe I'll try recording some stuff." Did some interviews, did some fantasy football podcasts. They're all horrible. I go back and listen to them now and it's like, oh my gosh. It's like a bad mic, so my voice sounds like really high pitched and it's just, it's bad. But it's like, hey, that's where I started and everybody kind of starts out that way. If you're not terrified by your first few podcasts, you probably weren't putting yourself out there enough.

Kurt Dupuis:
Well, one of my first questions Jerod is, because I'm not there yet and I likely never will be, when do you get that podcaster cadence that you have down so well.

Jerod Morris:
I don't know. That's an interesting question. It just takes practice. It's like one of those things, it just takes reps to do it over and over. I was having a conversation about that with someone on Unemployable the other day. They were talking about, because we do these happy hours.

So everybody gets on Zoom and we kind of hang out and it looks like, you're really good at hosting these. It's like, how did you get good at it? Doing it a lot. There's no real secret behind it. It's just kind of doing it a lot and you get more comfortable and you kind of realize what works. But as far as like a particular cadence behind the mic, it's just, to me I think what happens is the more hours that you log behind the microphone, you start to recognize less and less that there is a microphone there and it just becomes like a part of kind of how you talk and you become comfortable behind it.

For me at first it was like, oh my God, the microphone's here. I would almost freeze up and not know what to say. Now, having done a lot of live shows and just having done a lot of recordings, it's just kind of second nature. My rule of thumb for new podcasters back when we were coaching podcasters with the Showrunner was like 50 episodes. Like you've got to get through 50 episodes to kind of get comfortable, which is a lot. I know.

Kurt Dupuis:
We're halfway there, Seid.

Jerod Morris:
Yeah, to kind of feel like yourself back there. Well, and it's awesome because we always used to say like, okay, a lot of podcasts start and then they'll kind of fade out after eight to 12 episodes. There's just a graveyard in Apple podcasts of all these shows that have great ideas in the first few episodes where people are excited and then it's like episode nine is the last one. It's like, well, what happened to that one? It's like, well, they had a great idea, but they didn't have the follow through and there must not have been enough enthusiasm there, or something in their life took them in a different direction. So that's kind of the first hurdle that you get past. And then the next one is kind of like 25. And if you get past that, now you're kind of rolling.

And then to me, it was always about 50 episodes, about a year, folks really start to understand kind of who they are behind the mic and who the audience is that they're talking to. You guys are off to a great start but there's no real way to fast forward it except it's like, I mean, I always think about it like sports, it's just reps.

Steve Seid:
Kurt, I probably have told you, I've been getting a lot of compliments lately on people saying, "Wow, you actually sound like a legitimate show. You don't sound like…

Kurt Dupuis:
People are shocked!

Steve Seid:
…two people trying to figure out, like --" So that's nice to get those comments.

Kurt Dupuis:
And do you talk to your wife and kids the same way you talk on podcasts?

Jerod Morris:
Oh, absolutely. Oh, no question. All right. And it's time for dinner. Okay. Here's what we're going to cook today.

Kurt Dupuis:
When you turn the radio on in the car and your daughter goes, "Dada!"

Jerod Morris:
Actually my wife will say that sometimes. She's like, "You're in broadcaster voice. Okay. Let me back out of that.

Kurt Dupuis:
She needs that toggle to turn that on and off.

Steve Seid:
So you were doing the Midwest Sports site.

Jerod Morris:
It all started back with Midwest Sports Fans because that's when I first podcasted, that's when I first got into doing sports stuff and really kind of learned how you start to build an audience online. Did not understand email though. If I'd understood email and to get people onto an email list, I really could have done something with Midwest Sports Fans, but I didn't. And so at the end it was just like we had this viral traffic, but if I don't put another viral post out tomorrow, our traffic is basically zero. And the linchpin, the missing piece for me was when we got acquired by Copyblogger and I started learning from Brian Clark, it's like, oh, you build the email list, that's the asset, so you actually have an audience, not just a bunch of traffic. If I had my own alternate history, I would love to see what I could have done with that site if I had understood that because that's been a huge part of our growth for the Assembly Call.

Steve Seid:
Yeah. That's awesome. And so Brian Clark, he's your partner at Unemployable. So talk to us a little bit about that.

Jerod Morris:
Yes. Basically Unemployable, the initial tagline was this is for people who can get a job, they're just not inclined to take one. So for freelancers and solopreneurs, people who just don't want to work for somebody else, they want to do their own thing. And so he spent a good two years just writing a weekly newsletter. Not really having a business plan behind it per se, just an idea and a brand and a topic that he was really interested in pursuing and kind of helping people out with. And he would send out every week these resources for freelancers and solopreneurs.

We started that probably about two, two and a half years ago, because at that point, like he had the audience. He had an email list. He had people that were responsive on the email list and it was like, okay, now we've built this audience, we've kind of built some trust with these folks, we've learned from them, what's the next step? Well, now it's time to start developing products. And we had the idea to put a community together. He had some ideas on what he wanted to teach about curation as a way to build an audience that's then going to help you build your business.

And so we built that community, put a course together, it's called the 7-Figure Small Intensive, and so that up becoming the revenue model for Unemployable. And so we've kind of gone through that cycle and now we're getting ready to kind of do a new part of the course, expand the community even more. So it's worked out really well. And it's been great for me because I've learned a ton from him.

I mean, he's one of the pioneers in content marketing and using the internet to build an audience, build a business. So it's an education for me every single day. And I think that's one of the things that's helped us with the Assembly Call is that's not a space where most of the people who have shows, have podcasts, are really thinking that way. And I just do it naturally because it's what I do for work. And I think that's really helped us kind of build an audience and build loyalty and do a lot of those things. And it's kind of been a fun place for me to like try different stuff and learn different things. So somehow it all kind of fits together.

Steve Seid:
Like podcasting while driving in a car, that was one I saw you do recently. I was like, first of all, let me just tell you the last year. The last year I thought to myself, where the heck is this guy? This is the most annoying Indiana basketball season that I've watched in a while. I hated this year.

Jerod Morris:
So did I.

Steve Seid:
Couldn't stand it. And then you weren't there, so we were missing that perspective. And then now you're back and you're doing so many podcasts, you're doing it in a moving car. So kudos. It's nice to have you back.

Jerod Morris:
Hey, it's good to be back. It was hard last year because we were moving and some of the other projects that I have going on were really taking up more of my time and my wife was pregnant. And so it was like all this stuff converged and it just, because the problem with the Assembly Call is we have set times when we do shows. We do shows on Thursday nights at 9:00 Eastern and we go live right after games. So there's no wiggle room. I can't be like, "Oh man, I got to do bedtime tonight, let's record at 11:00." It's like, "No, the game ended at 7:00. We're going live right now." So fortunately, Andy and coach and Ryan, my co-hosts there, were awesome in being able to pick up the slack. It was just kind of one of those like all hands on deck, let's just make sure that we have shows when we say we're going to.

But since then, and none of this would have happened without the coaching change. We had a conversation right when the off season started like, should we take the off season off? Like is anybody going to care if they bring the coach back? I don't know if anybody's going to care about content this off season legitimately. Maybe we just like go to a show every other week or we take the off season off. Cut to two weeks later, they fire the coach, everybody's excited.

But when there was breaking news stuff during the day, one of the benefits of kind of doing my own thing and managing my own time is, okay, we just got this new commitment. Let's go live for an hour and talk about it. And so we kind of found this new niche where it's like, all right, we're not just going to go live right after games, maybe we'll be like the breaking news folks. That when news breaks, we'll just get on there and react to it and give reactions. And the driving one happened because I had to go pick up my daughter right then, but then news broke. So I was like, well, let's try this on the phone. It was just an experiment. I thought it could fail miserably, but it ended up being okay because people were so…

Steve Seid:
Yeah it was impressive.

Jerod Morris:
…hungry for just anything. It's like, just talk IU Basketball, we'll be there to listen. I was like, okay, we'll do it.

Steve Seid:
We'll do it in a moving car.

Kurt Dupuis:
I want to connect the dots really quickly between the kind of Unemployable project of yours and how that might make sense for our audience, because I'm just looking at some of the topics that you guys have been talking about, which if you are a financial professional and fancy yourself an entrepreneur, especially in the digital age, like how to build an audience from scratch in 2021. The art of selling your business, very pertinent as people kind of phase in and out. And the smart way to think about scaling your digital business. But to the topic of community, does it make sense to build an audience around your current client base? I guess the alternative would be your prospective client base. So, how would you think about that?

Jerod Morris:
I mean, I think if you're really committed to building community, it makes sense to build any type of community because in so many ways, community is kind of what separates people and brands now, because content is just kind of a commodity. Like almost any topic that you want to write about, there's probably stuff out there about it already. You may have a new twist on it. You've got your own take on it, but there's already so much stuff out there. People don't need more content, what they really need, they need to know who they can trust and they want a community, they want a sense of belonging. These are the two things that people really, really want.

And so I think when you can bring that to people, that's going to connect people to you. And when it's time for them to figure out like who are we going to hire, who are we going to do business with, people want to do business with someone they feel a sense of belonging with and someone that they trust. And so to me building a community is just, it's one of the best ways to do that. The issue is of course building community is hard and you have to be really committed to it. It's one of those things like you don't really want to half-ass it because it's almost like kind of starting a community and then letting it fade out. 

Kurt Dupuis:
More than eight podcast episodes.

Jerod Morris:
It can almost sometimes hurt you more than it helps you. But I just think it's such a differentiator these days.

Steve Seid:
Let's say you have your own client base. So they're already your clients. Is there a big benefit to creating a community around that current client base? I suppose and I think the answer is yes because the chances of you losing clients probably decreases, the chances of getting greater wallet share and things like that increases, the chances of getting referrals increases. Those are the things I think about is how do you think about that in current clients versus like prospects?

Jerod Morris:
No, I think all of those things. I think you can do both. I don't think it necessarily has to be one or the other. I think you can create a community where there's a lobby that prospects can kind of come in and can kind of see what you're doing and there's certain things that you show them. But then there's a little walled garden beyond that where the customers go and it's a different level of engagement, it's a different level of information. But I think sometimes what people miss when they think about community, because you're right, like all those things that you said are right.

Like if you want people to be stickier, to stick with you and not go with someone else, community is a great way to do it because now not only would they be leaving you, they'd be leaving your community. And in a good community, people actually become friends. Like they kind of care about each other. And so there's more there. Referrals, definitely. Again, now it's not just, oh, I'll talk to this guy who gives me financial advice. It's more like, "Hey man, I'm part of this community that has helped me in all these different ways."

But I think the other thing that you don't fully appreciate until you actually get into it is how much you learn from being in a community. Because it's one thing to like being able to jump on a one-on-one call or maybe to be able to email someone back and forth, but to have the ability to interact with individual people within a community, you get to see them in different situations and you get to interact with them in different situations. And sometimes you just get to sit back and see what questions they ask, how the other people answer, what the gaps are and what they know and it gives you this incredible insight into, what do my people really need from me right now?

And you can almost just like come in as the Oracle with the answer to this question that they may not have even known that they were thinking about, but it kind of came out in what they're talking about. Like I try to do that with the Unemployable Initiative is we try to like plan sessions and figure something out. Like the other day, NFTs and cryptocurrency and all this, this is a big topic right now. And so we hadn't talked about it a ton inside of the Unemployable Initiative, but this guy just happened to open up a conversation about it. Like it was kind of off topic even. It was almost like, "All right, you're putting this conversation?" But all of these people started commenting on it. It's like there's a real interest here and there's a definite angle for how content creators can use NFTs.

So it was like, okay, maybe this is actually something that we should talk about a little bit more. So it's just, there's just a special magic that happens when people get together. But you have to do your work as a community leader to make them open and feel safe and to kind of encourage the conversation. It's not a passive activity at all. So it's not right for everybody, not because I don't think everybody could benefit from it, but because I don't think everybody would truly be committed to doing it the right way. And so you have to make that decision. But I think what you learn from the conversations that happen, it can just help you serve that audience so much better because it gives you so much insight into what they're thinking, what they're feeling, what they're fearing, what their goals are, all those things, which are so important.

Kurt Dupuis:
What is the engagement that you're looking for specifically? Is it email banter back and forth, is it a forum where people can type messages? Is it actual phone calls?

Jerod Morris:
It'll depend on how you want to interact with folks. To me, I don't think about email as much with community. I think of email as the step before community. It doesn't mean you couldn't do it, but I would just never think about having a community until I kind of had an engaged email list because to me that's how I always kind of engage with people and kind of figure out, okay, if our audience attraction is a podcast or doing social media stuff, well, what's the goal of all that. Well, it's to get them on an email list because now if I have them on an email list, I've got an audience asset, I can communicate with them on my terms whenever I want to, so let me work from there.

And whether I have a newsletter or something else that I'm using for regular engagement, I've got something there with email that's giving everybody the same experience, but they're all having it just individually with me. And hopefully I'm getting some one-on-one interaction. And hopefully people are interacting with your content also outside of that. But then once you kind of get some signals that, hey, this group of people is ready for the next step, then I would go to a community platform. And the reason to use a platform like a Mighty Networks or a Circle is essentially to give people part of what they like with a Facebook or with a social media site, which is the ability to go post, the ability to have discussions, the ability to just interact, but only with our people and not with the distractions of Twitter ads and Facebook ads and all this other stuff. Like this is ours and we can design it how we want to.

Jerod Morris:
But what I do really like having are events. Like events are a big thing for communities. So whether it's a recurring happy hour or whether it's a webinar that's educational in nature. There's lots of different types of events that you could have. You have to think about, okay, why are these people engaging in a community with me? Because if it's just for discussion amongst themselves, now you can kind of have a traditional forum. But the best way to use community, especially I think for the people who listen to your show, is you're also trying to build your own authority at the same time. So you want to provide education, help them come up with whatever transformation they're trying to have. Like with Unemployable, it's really simple. People are trying to build businesses. They're trying to build lifestyle businesses that basically allow them to live the life that they want to live. So they're coming to us at a point where they're not happy with that or they have questions and we're trying to get them to that next point where they've got this lifestyle business they're crazy about, like there's a very specific transformation.

The Assembly Call community is a little bit different because this is IU sports fans, like what's the transformation. But the transformation is, for a lot of people, they don't want to just experience IU basketball on their own. They want to experience it with friends. They want to have a group of people to experience it with. So, that transformation to go from being a fan on an island to being a fan that's part of something greater, that experiences a sense of belonging. And you kind of want to think those things through so you know how to design it.

Steve Seid:
I think for our audience, that's exactly it. It's building it around events and the educational content. And then if you could get the people in your client base together and create some kind of dialogue, you're really kind of leading edge. So Jerod, we have to transition a bit to the podcast report card where you're going to help us evaluate ourselves, which is going to be a lot of fun.

Kurt Dupuis:
I have crippling anxiety right now.

Steve Seid:
Before we do that, anything else that you kind of high level you think like concepts that you guys talk about in Unemployable that are universal that are worth mentioning? I know I'm putting you on the spot, but we dove into this thing with community because we thought it was relevant. Anything else you think our audience should think about?

Jerod Morris:
I think the other big thing is just the concept of unretirement. This idea that we work and work and work and work to save up for this retirement when then I guess we're not going to work anymore. But then what do you do? Like what is the thing after that? And I think Brian's big thing is stop dreaming about this time after you're 65 when you're retired and you're going to live this ideal lifestyle because what a lot of people find out when they "retire and stop working" is they've also kind of lost their purpose and they're not really happy and no amount of money that they have saved is going to help them do that. So why not just try to live your ideal life right now, design your life right now to do that.

All of these things that you kind of wish you could be doing, how many of them could you incorporate into your life right now? Which to me, even someone who's not close yet to retirement age, it's an inspiring idea to think about it. Very empowering.

Steve Seid:
It is. And I see a lot of our clients and prospects, a lot of times they're leading these businesses where they have to work lots and lots of hours because growth is always the thing they want to take it to the next level, and then ultimately sell it. But you can envision a situation where maybe you don't keep the business the size that it is. Maybe you take it down to a point where you don't have to retire, but you've got something that's a whole lot more manageable. That's what I thought about for our audience when I heard that concept.

Jerod Morris:
It's about taking your future into your own hands and not being beholden to somebody else and not waiting to do it. The line Brian always likes to use is life is not a dress rehearsal. Like this is it, like this is the show. So don't wait around. Design it how you want it to be right now as much as you can. 

Steve Seid:
Yeah. That's great. You guys are doing a great job with Unemployable. I joined last year after you were on the show. It's not our industry, but I'm like, hey, let me check this out. Man, I got a lot of cool ideas from it because our clients are entrepreneurs. Okay, cool. Let's transition. As I mentioned up front in the intro, Jerod was a huge inspiration for the show. He helped us think through our vision. It was kind of amazing we had that aha moment last time he was on and here we sit a year later. As Kurt said, we've got 20+ episodes. And so we want you to evaluate us.

Jerod Morris:
Let's do this. Okay. Remind me again, in your words, what is the goal for your podcast? What are you trying to achieve with it just kind of in a macro sense. And then in a more specific sense, like when someone listens to an episode of your show, what do you want them to do?

Kurt Dupuis:
We are of the opinion that the industry in which we work is changing quickly and a lot of people are not well suited to adapt to both the speed and the magnitude of change. So we want to have a platform and a community of people that want to improve, they want to get better at their craft and be a resource to help them do that. Is that succinct enough, Steve Seid?

Steve Seid:
The community part is really important to us, so it would be awesome and it is going to be awesome if we get 8 million listeners per episode. What's more important to us is that we have engaged people that listen consistently, and then we're just leading the conversation, and so that we benefit by engaging with each other. And it's those two kind of things that have driven the show so far. Does that make sense?

Jerod Morris:
Totally. You used a really interesting phrase there, which is leading the conversation, which I always like. And I think if you're going to actually create a community, you have to think in that way because if you're just going to dominate the conversation, you're just looking to talk to people, well, now you're not letting anybody into the conversation. I always try to think about that with the Assembly Call same way, like we're leading the conversation and we're here to lead it, but we want to provide avenues for other people to join in. So if that's really one of your goals, what other avenues do you have where you can get feedback from listeners and are people providing that feedback? Because I think now that you're 20 some episodes in, if that's really one of your goals, you probably should have started to see some of that.

Steve Seid:
Yeah. So there's two ways. One is we've got email distribution lists of people that we're distributing the show to. We also use LinkedIn. Linkedin is more of just like an announcement. Hey, here's the show. There's not a lot of engagement via LinkedIn. And then we're going out and we're seeing our clients and prospects all the time. And a lot of time, those are the people that are listening to our show. So through those two things, we're getting feedback, we're getting input on new shows, things like that. To your question about are we getting, like how's the input been, good. But if I had to be critical, I would say narrow.

We know the number of people that are listening to our show, has been phenomenal. Me and Kurt are like, wow, really? It's just like, it's surprising the amount of people who listen. But when I send out an email and I'm asking for feedback or something, we get a lot of the same people that respond that and I'd like to expand that out.

Jerod Morris:
I have two responses to that. I mean, it's a great goal. You want as many people to respond as possible. No question about it. I would not be critical though. You guys are what, 20 some episodes in. So you're sending out emails asking people for replies and they're doing it? That's pretty awesome, actually.

Steve Seid:
Thank you.

Jerod Morris:
I'm not sure that a lot of podcasts after 20 episodes get that because that was actually going to be one of my questions, which is like when you ask people a question, when you ask people to do something, do they do it? Like if you're on the podcast and you say, "Hey, send us a tweet to let us know X," do people actually do it?

Jerod Morris:
You're not going to get a ton. There may be people who are interested and their reading, but they're just not going to actually reply. That's just not kind of what they do. It might either just be that they're not that close with you yet or they're just, they look at content as, okay, these guys are doing this podcast out here, I'm going to consume this, but I'm not breaking that wall to make a connection with them. And that's fine. Like there are always going to be those people on your downloads list. That's okay. But the fact that you're getting some that are replying I think is actually really good. Because once your audience gets really big, you've got a beast to feed and it takes a lot of time to feed that beast. You don't always have the time to interact one-on-one with people. What you have now in the early stages of a podcast is actually something that a lot of podcasters or audience builders when they get down the road wish they could get back to, which is a small audience with a few people to engage with because you can go one-on-one and you can kind of do some of the things that don't scale to help you get your podcast to the point where it does.

Jerod Morris:
And so for every show I've been a part of, there was always a small group of people in the beginning that really liked it, they got on board with it, they were excited and they're emailing to respond or whatever. And I think if you really invest some time in those people, they can become ambassadors that help share your podcast and get people on board and bring other people in. And so instead of being critical, number one, I'd just be really, really proud that you've built something that's getting responses because most people don't, and then figure out what the best way is to further those relationships.

Jerod Morris:
So building a really tight core early on can be so huge. And hopefully you get to the point later on where it's like, oh my God, there's almost too many people to connect individually with. I struggle with that sometimes on the Assembly Call because I want to connect with every single person, and sometimes there's so many emails coming in and I can't give each one like the actual time to reply that I want. But it's a good spot to be in. And so I think if your goal is really community, then really doing everything to build those relationships with those early not just listeners but people who are actually engaging, it's huge. 

Kurt Dupuis:
Seid, I can't remember the last time we actually plugged ourselves on the podcast. Like we said, hey, if you like this, tell a friend down the hall or something. We don't even do that.

Steve Seid:
Yeah. We should be better at that.

Kurt Dupuis:
We should. Well, and that's one of the things that I'm taking away is a clear course to chart from here. We each email kind of our respective parts of the country, but there's sort of a Chinese wall in between that. So we could help bridge that by doing events where people from the Southeast can meet people out West that they don't know and begin to share ideas. What we’ll be challenged to figure out is that kind of real time, I think of like forum type engagement, just for compliance reasons. That's going to be a tougher thing to figure out. But if we did more events together on our east coast time and west coast time and ask people to participate, I think that's a really good next step for us.

Jerod Morris:
Are you talking about like Zoom events, like live online events?

Kurt Dupuis:
Yeah.

Jerod Morris:
Okay. What do people come to you guys for? Are you a curator that's bringing interviews in, so they're coming for the expert advice from interviews. Are they coming for the advice from you? Because that's going to kind of determine what kind of events that you can do, because you could do... If they are looking at you as experts, you could obviously do Q&As and answer people's questions. If they're looking at you as someone who's more, okay, they're doing this podcast and they bring us awesome guests, you can even do like a virtual summit, like a one day virtual summit where it's like, hey, we've lined up these four awesome guests. Sign up for this. Why do people come to you? Because I always think that's important. People either come to be entertained, they want to be educated, they want to be inspired, or I think any more, those are always the three that we talked about on the Showrunner.

But I think any more there's a fourth one, which is they just want to feel connected. I don't know why, I ask myself this all the time. Why do I listen to the Bill Simmons podcast? Because I don't really like Bill Simmons that much, I don't really trust his opinions that much. And yet I listen to it. And there'll be some times I'll unsubscribe from it because I'm annoyed by something that happened. And then I'll be like, a couple of weeks later I'm like, I don't want to think deeply about a podcast right now. I just I want something that's on while I'm cooking and I'll end up subscribing to his show because there's just something about him talking and the banter back and forth. It's like I'm eavesdropping on friends. And I guess I just want to feel connected for that moment around people talking about sports. It's weird. I don't even know why I do it. So there's that fourth element of just feeling connected. That's my question is why do people come to you guys? Do you have a sense yet?

Steve Seid:
Yeah. We definitely want the entertainment piece. I'm going to answer your question the main point. I just want to make sort of a comment up front that we consciously wanted the show to be funny and entertaining and kind of something we would listen to. And in fact, we got feedback recently from a consultant that was like, hey, you're doing this podcast to financial professionals who don't have time to listen to an hour show. The feedback, well, I'll shorten it, but we were like, no, because we want it to be fun. We want it to be something and that's what would happen. If we had to cut it, we'd cut the stupid fun stuff that we like to do that's the reason that people listen to it.

Kurt Dupuis:
It would be sterile.

Steve Seid:
Yeah. I mean, so we're just not going to do it. But to answer your question, it's both. Kurt and I are experts because we are out there engaging. Think about this. Our industry has problems and opportunities. And so we're out there, Kurt and I, meeting with all these teams and figuring out and helping with problems and opportunities. So we're in this unique spot to bring all that up and say, okay guys, here's everything, here's what we're seeing, here's what we're doing. And so we're doing the work. And so we're going to be a part of that expertise. But having said that, we also are going to be guest driven because we know where our expertise ends and we know that we're going to need people to fill in that gap. So the answer is both because we need both.

Jerod Morris:
No, that's good. I mean, I think it's good to have a blend of the two. Some people, you listen to shows and it's like just an interview show. It's like, okay. There's an interesting example, I've been trying to eat healthier. And so the other day I was out for a walk with my son and I was like, all right, I need a podcast. I eat too much sugar. The sugar cravings are just like insane. And so I put a search into my podcast app for sugar addiction. And so the first podcast that comes up, I'm just like, "Fine, I'm going to listen to this." And it was an interview. And so the guy who was running the show, he's like a dietician, something or other.

But he had a guest on. And so I'm listening to the guest and the guest was unbelievable. And I was like, yes, these are the answers I've been looking for. Went to her website, signed up for her little two week sugar reboot type thing that's been awesome. But point being, it was his show but I didn't subscribe to his show. I went and followed her because she was the guest. So in that case he probably could have done a better job of kind of putting himself forward as an authority. But if you're just doing interviews, well now people are just going to look to you for like, who's this person bringing me? So I think when you can blend it, that's awesome. So the fact that you have that mindset is great.

And the other thing I want to say is I love that you told that person, no, you're not going to shorten the show

Steve Seid:
Thank you.

Jerod Morris:
Because people give advice and it's fine and it's always good to listen to the advice, but it's always got to come back to what your mission is. And so it's got to come back to what is the unique space that we're trying to carve out here, because this is going to be the other question I was going to ask you and you kind of answered it, which is how are you making yourselves different from the other shows that are out there? Because if you're not different from the other shows that are out there, there's tons of financial shows out there. Like there's tons of podcasts about everything. So, do you theoretically tighten the potential market of people who might be interested? Yeah, I guess so, because there's probably going to be a lot of people that won't listen to an hour long show, don't find you funny, yada, yada, like start checking these things off.

But it's like, okay, that's fine. You want the people who do want all of those things. And it's like it's a smaller circle, but those are the actual people who would join a community. So if your goal is we've got to get as many downloads as possible because we're going to advertise on this podcast, then maybe you don't do it that way. But if your goal is we want our people who are going to join the community and be really tight members and we think we can find a thousand of them, which is really all you need, that's the number to shoot for, well then doing it your way is good because you've got to create a reaction and you created a reaction with that person. It was a negative one, whatever. Fine, he wasn't one of the people. But there's probably other people that are saying like, all right, these guys are funny. This is a little bit different. Let me get some information while also kind of being able to have some laughs and connect with these guys too. So, I think that's great.

Also what makes good audio. This is the thing that people don't think about enough for podcasting. It's an audio medium. What makes good audio? Walking someone through a spreadsheet doesn't make good audio. Now, it might make a great upsell or a great opt-in incentive, like "Hey, remember the Excel thing we were joking about? Well, that actually is kind of serious. Go to our website, download it. We've actually got a 10 minute walkthrough video for that. We just, we're going to bore you with it on the podcast."

It's like audio is about conversation and comradery and connection and sounds. It's like people forget about that and want to have these real technical conversations. Like the technical conversation may be really useful, but this may be the wrong medium for it. And you're not going to get someone coming back to your podcast if you bore them for 10 minutes or they're going to be daydreaming while they're washing the dishes. You got to keep people engaged in what you're talking about. So that intuition is spot on.

Steve Seid:
Good.

Jerod Morris:
So far everything sounds great. It sounds like you guys are doing awesome. And I mean that, because some of the questions that I've asked are questions that people either don't have an answer to because they haven't thought about them or they have very rigid answers to, and I like that you've thought about it beyond just categorizing it in one way because almost all of these, there are shades of gray between them. A podcast like yours can't be all information. It can't be all education because there's already that stuff out there. It's got to be combined with some of the other stuff. So I mean, for being 20 episodes in, it sounds like you guys are doing an incredible job.

Steve Seid:
What I'm hearing is we've got an A+ from you.

Kurt Dupuis:
Yeah, what's our rating system?

Steve Seid:
I mean, that's...

Jerod Morris:
A+?

Kurt Dupuis:
Ooh. Uh-oh.

Steve Seid:
Oh yeah right, after 25 episodes, I'm not sure if A+ is possible. That's probably right. I don't know what kind of grader you are?

Jerod Morris:
I mean, no. I don't see any reason why it wouldn't be an A. I mean, I guess the real question is, how satisfied are you with it? And I guess the last question would be, you had a certain level of enthusiasm when you started. Any podcast is only as good, it's only as sustainable as the enthusiasm of the host behind it because eventually the obvious next guest is going to run out and eventually you're going to be sick and tired of responding to people's emails. And eventually there's going to be other things that seem more important for you to do and the podcast and get left on the back burner. Is there something pulling you back to it that's going to keep you there 700 episodes later, after 10 basketball seasons, and like all this stuff.

It's like, why do you keep coming back? And so I guess that's the other question that would determine it is have you exhausted yourself getting to this point or do you feel like you're just getting started and is yourr enthusiasm building? It's an important question to be candid and honest about not to lie to yourself about, because there'd be no shame in being like, "Hey, this was a good experiment, but now we're going to walk away from it because I just, I'm not really feeling it.

Kurt Dupuis:
There are clearly ebbs and flows, but what gets me enthusiastic is having engagement. So if you don't hear from somebody for a couple of weeks and suddenly you just get an email out of the blue, "Hey, I just listened to your podcast episode," or, "Hey, I haven't listened to it in a while, but I saw this topic and..." That's the stuff that just hits the T&T button. It's like, yes, this is why we're doing it. As long as people are engaging with us and it, I don't see why we can't continue.

Steve Seid:
I got a real kick out of I'll be talking with a client or a prospect. “Oh, I was listening to your show” and it's like, people actually do listen to this thing. And that's cool because at the end of the day our job, Jerod, is sales. We sell investment products to people that invest. And so we get a certain amount of time with them. But now you've got all this other time with them that you didn't know when you're not even there. Man, I get a kick out of that. I really do. So I'm as excited even more so now than I was a year ago. I think we're better. Definitely better.

Kurt Dupuis:
We're definitely better.

Steve Seid:
There'll be some times I'm sure where it's like things will get busy and it's like, "Oh man, what do we have?" But I don't know, man, I'm pretty amped up about it. No one's doing what we're doing. So that's exciting too.

Kurt Dupuis:
I still think we have a grace period to screw up for awhile because there's a lack of competition for our particular niche because no one is doing it. 

Steve Seid:
Yeah. It was funny. One story I'll tell you that was a little bit kind of, we're talking about the ebbs and flows. It wasn't like mass this response, but we did something that was a little edgy. I got some negative feedback once and that was kind of interesting too. That's like, okay, all right, there is where the line is.

Jerod Morris:
Good. You want to know that. You want to know where the line is, how far can you push it?

Steve Seid:
I remember like I sent this specific segment to this guy, I'm like, "We just had the funniest thing. You got to listen to it." And he was like kind of offended by it and I was like, "Okay, all right. Good to know."

Kurt Dupuis:
He thought it was the opposite of funny.

Steve Seid:
Can we transition to the IU stuff or do you have any other questions on the podcast? Cool.

Jerod Morris:
No, it sounds like you guys are doing awesome. It really does.

Steve Seid:
Thank you man. We're having a ball doing it. My company hasn't told us to stop yet, so here we are.

Jerod Morris:
That’s always good.

Steve Seid:
Hey everyone. Before we get into the fun segment on Indiana basketball with Jerod Morris, I kind of want to set the stage for everyone who doesn't follow the team as closely as we do. Indiana has this long rich tradition of winning basketball, but lately it's been kind of a mess. Four years ago, they hired a guy by the name of Archie Miller out of Dayton who was supposed to be the next great coach. Did not play out that way. And in fact towards the end of last year, Archie's final year, they got booed off the court with the few fans that they allowed in the stadium.

So he gets fired. The program's kind of in disarray. And then all of a sudden we hire a guy by the name of Mike Woodson, who was an NBA coach for a lot of years and went to Indiana and some amazing short term things have happened. A lot of the players came back, big time recruits, et cetera. So we went from a point of utter frustration to a point of, hey, this is going in the right direction. And that's the context. Enjoy.

So this is my Costanza corner. Costanza corner, are you a Seinfeld fan, Jerod?

Jerod Morris:
Of course.

Steve Seid:
Of course. I mean, I just assume everyone else is. There was this one episode where George Costanza is in the conference room and I think it's Kruger Enterprises. He starts to realize over time that if he says something good, he better leave just at that point because it's only going to go downhill. We like to leave on a high note, we do something positive, something uplifting, something good, and then just get the heck out of there.

Jerod Morris:
I like it.

Steve Seid:
But I'm hijacking this, this is my Costanza corner. I've got five questions on IU basketball.

Jerod Morris:
Boom, let's do it.

Steve Seid:
Hang around with this for this or not. Okay. For the reason I was able to do this is I got an email from a listener of ours, happens to be a Purdue fan.

Jerod Morris:
That's unfortunate.

Steve Seid:
We have these battles on the west coast as well, Jerod. That rivalry travels. But this is a listener, we'll call him Mike from Sand Hill Road, who sent me an email right after we had lost the Rutgers game, and remember how that felt, things were kind of coming apart. You remember this was many weeks ago. He sent me an email and said, "Yeah, here's a mailbag question. Is IU a football school now?" So is IU a football school?

Jerod Morris:
It's a really fun question just because the notion of IU's football program, even being good enough to ask that question, is amazing.

Kurt Dupuis:
It's kind of a sick burn and I'm not even a basketball fan.

Jerod Morris:
Yeah, I mean, well look, normally if you ask that question, it would just be a total burn because it's like just kind of a joke because Indiana's football program has for the most part been a joke. But now they're like a bonafide top 25 team with a Heisman candidate at quarterback and this coach that is like kind of a national sensation. Yeah, it's crazy. So it's not as much of a burner as it normally would be because our football program is actually good. But the answer to this question, and all IU fans know this is, no, we're not a football school. We just have a basketball program that's been really in the dumps for four or five years. But when basketball is rolling, it is the number one needle mover at IU and it will be again once we get going.

But it's been nice to have football kind of carry on some momentum and look, if this keeps going, things could eventually change, but it hasn't changed yet. And so I think that's why you see all this excitement with Mike Woodson being hired and it feels like there's hope again. It's just like been this enthusiasm coming out of the woodwork. It's all this like pent up, like just can we have a winning team? So the football program is much better, but no, we're not a football school. This is the basketball school in the basketball state. Purdue always wishes that they could be that. But even when they're better than us, they're still not that. So that's the... Sorry to Purdue.

Steve Seid:
Well, they do what they do. They have good teams that embarrass themselves in the NCA tournament. That's kind of their thing. 

Jerod Morris:
But they've beaten us nine times in a row, so whatever it is.

Steve Seid:
Shhh, shhh don’t….no no.

Jerod Morris:
So let's just say that that is going to end soon. Just acknowledging the elephant in the room, but that's going to end soon.

Steve Seid:
Listen, you're a nice guy. I'm going to tell you what, I can't wait for our freshmen to run over Trey Kaufman this year. That's why I can't wait. Okay. And here is why I say by the way just quickly why it's a basketball school because I stop what I'm doing in the middle of my day to listen to an hour and change podcast about the third assistant coach that's being hired, and we're all like really excited. I mean, who else does that? And I'm not the only one obviously. Okay. So question two on my five questions on IU basketball. Why is it different this time with the coaching change? I think it is, but I thought the last coach was a good coaching hire. I'm sure people felt the same way about Crean. Why is it different this time?

Jerod Morris:
I mean, obviously we're going to have to see if it's actually different with the results, but the reason why it feels different is because it's just it's a different template for hiring a coach than they've ever used. With Archie, it was let's get the young up and coming basketball coach. With Crean, it was kind of the same thing. Let's get the young up and coming basketball coach who's kind of proven himself in an NCA tournament. Crean had been to a final four, Archie's been to an elite eight. But those guys didn't have ties to IU and I think what we found over time is that their personalities didn't really fit IU. And so maybe with a more lengthy vetting process, which you don't have in these cases, we would have figured that out.

The reason why it feels different is it's Mike Woodson. It's a guy who really understands kind of the Indiana basketball culture. But even more important or as important than that is he's got this NBA experience and it's a total shift in the program. Instead of trying to prop up the past with kind of a new young coach, it's let's honor the past but let's fully bring it into the future. This is going to be a program that acknowledges that kids want to get to the NBA as they win college basketball games. It acknowledges that we've got some great traditions, but maybe not all of them are sacred cows. Let's figure out which ones still work and which ones should be in a museum. And so that ability, which I think could only have happened from someone who was actually part of the program like Scott Dolson and like Mike Woodson, that ability to say, hey, this program is special, but we got to bring it into a modern context, that is why it feels so different. And so we're going to see. 

Steve Seid:
Guys, it's been a good couple of months out. Phew! I mean, it's been a lot of fun. When was the moment that you knew that Archie wasn't the right guy?

Jerod Morris:
I mean, the moment when I was officially done was the first Purdue game of last year, the home game, when we were basically non-competitive in that game and there was so much riding on it just because we had lost to them so often. That was such an important game in the season. It's not like it was a complete blowout, but we were never really competitive, never in control of the game. At that point I was done.

Steve Seid:
Yeah. Okay. We're going to go a really quick list. Are you buying or selling? And when I list the people here, if you're buying, you're buying not just like a kind of minor role player that affects the game, I'm talking about a legit player on the team, like big step in where they are right now.

Jerod Morris:
Just for this year or for the future?

Steve Seid:
Let's say next two years. How about that?

Jerod Morris:
Next two years. Okay.

Steve Seid:
Jerome Hunter?

Jerod Morris:
I'm selling Jerome Hunter. Begrudgingly. I love Jerome. I want to see it happen, but I don't know, I have to sell based on what I've seen.

Steve Seid:
I agree. Galloway?

Jerod Morris:
Sell.

Steve Seid:
That's a surprise to me. Anthony Leal? I'm giving you the hard ones. I'm not giving you the easy ones.

Jerod Morris:
I know. I'm going to sell Anthony Leal also.

Steve Seid:
Wow.

Jerod Morris:
The reason why, it's not that these guys don't have skills or couldn't succeed, but I think we're going to be recruiting at a level that's going to make it hard for them to see the court. In both those guys or Indiana guys, I hope I'm wrong on it and I think they work hard enough that I could see them totally flipping this on its head, but with the recruits that we're targeting, if we're getting some of these guys, the athletic ability, the talent these guys are going to have is going to make it really hard for those guys.

Steve Seid:
Rob Phinisee?

Jerod Morris:
I'm buying Rob Phinisee as a senior. I have to buy my senior guard.

Steve Seid:
I know that. I know it.

Jerod Morris:
But different role, better role that I think will be more conducive to him just blending into the background and kind of being a role player, which is what I think he's better suited for.

Steve Seid:
Are you buying or selling Dane Fife being the next head coach after Mike Woodson?

Jerod Morris:
I'm going to sell that.

Steve Seid:
Whoo! These are surprising answers. Okay. Kurt, first of all, I want to thank you for allowing me to do this as you're staring and probably not knowing any of this. Thank you. Last question and we'll get you out of here, Jerod. Give me a range of where you think, what's your pick for where they'll finish in the Big 10 next year?

Jerod Morris:
Top four.

Steve Seid:
Oh wow.

Jerod Morris:
I think we're going to be good, I'm buying. Look, we were bad last year, but we weren't that far off. And all of the things that were just glaring holes, a point guard that can attack and do stuff, guys who can make shots, other shot creators. Like guys who actually play with some passion and some energy. They went and like hand-picked guys that fill all of those roles. Now, hopefully we get someone who can play the four and actually make some shots outside. That's still to be seen. But that combined with the fact that the Big 10 is just not going to be as good, I'm buying, because I think Woodson's... I don't think the on-court coaching stuff is going to bother Woodson that much. I think he's going to be fine with that stuff. And so the fact that they've put together a roster that's really good, really talented and balanced, yeah, I'm buying. I think they'll finish in the top four.

Steve Seid:
I love it. Thank you my friend.

Kurt Dupuis:
Let me just throw out there guys. As JV basketball player, I won both the three-point and the free throw competition for my really small school. And I still have four years of eligibility. So just keep that in mind, we need shooters, we need shooters.

Jerod Morris:
We need shooters.

Steve Seid:
I don't know why it's so hard to make a jump shot, I don't know why it's hard to make a free throw, but we've proven it's actually kind of a difficult thing to do.

Jerod Morris:
Yes we have.

Steve Seid:
Thanks man. Appreciate you coming back on the show.

Jerod Morris:
This is awesome. Thanks for having me.

Steve Seid:
Yeah, of course, man. Awesome to see you. We appreciate all the comments, the guidance, the wisdom, all of it. We'll let you run. Thanks everyone for listening and we'll see you next time.

Kurt Dupuis:
You can find the Whole Truth and subscribe for free on Apple podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app. We'd love it if you took the time to rate and review the show on Apple podcasts. It helps others find the show. And for more episodes of the Whole Truth, go to www.touchstoneinvestments.com/thewholetruth. That's touchstoneinvestments.com/thewholetruth, all one word.

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