Start Up is a show about starting a business. There are several things that make it really unique in the world of podcasts. The first season is actually about starting up Gimlet Media, the production company that makes Start Up and several other shows. Episode 1 actually starts with Alex Blumberg pitching an investor his idea. There’s no company, no name, no employees. All of that comes later as the season progresses. You get a very personal look into this process as Alex records conversations between himself and his wife as well as tough conversations with investors and advisors. Listening while the first season was being released was terrifying at times because you were afraid the next episode might be the “It’s not working so I’m giving up” episode. Now we all know how it’s worked out so it’s not quite so stressful.
Season 1 is exclusively hosted by Alex Blumberg who has worked with This American Life and Planet Money. He has high standards for production and quality that show in Start Up. As the company grows, Lisa Chow, who also has experience with Planet Money and WNYC, takes on hosting duties.
There are still periodic episodes about Gimlet and the changes it’s going through. Those episodes are the ones I look forward to most because I feel so invested at this point that I want to make sure everything’s going good. Each season so far has been pretty different. Season 2 followed the creators of the service Dating Ring and Season 3 included stories from several different businesses, some with names you would probably recognize. Season 4 is looking to be interesting with a disgraced former CEO starting over from scratch.
If you have any interest in business or the stories behind them then Start Up is riveting. You’ll be pulled into each show, each story, and experience the emotional ups and downs right along with the entrepreneurs.