Brian Hayden leading podcasting meetup

On a chilly afternoon, in what was formerly
Mighty Good Coffee, a small group of individuals gather for the first time to discuss podcasting. About 15 people sit in a large circle with notepads, iPads, and laptops jotting down notes as everyone goes around the room introducing themselves and their projects.

Topics range from Michigan sports history to life as a dad, following your dreams to reviewing various brandies, leadership styles to the afterlife. Several of the projects involve entrepreneurship, either directly or indirectly. 

Led by two CFE instructors, Brian Hayden (CFE’s current Entrepreneur-in-Residence) and Rishi Narayan (co-founder of Underground Printing), the goal of the meetup was to find like-minded individuals in Ann Arbor who have podcasts, are thinking of starting podcasts, or simply love listening to podcasts and want to learn more about what goes into creating them.

“I’ve always wanted to be a great storyteller because it’s the best way to stand out and be remembered,” said Brian.

“I’ve been a podcast fan for over 10 years now,” said Rishi, “and have been wanting to find a way to get into the podcast game for the last 2 years.”

Homepage for South U Stories Podcast

The two created the meetup as a way to share resources, collaborate with others, and act as a sounding board for problems they’ve encountered with audio or video recording.

Rishi said he’s found being active in a startup helps to keep current in new tools and technologies, “With so much of e-commerce and search being focused on content, understanding and learning content strategies is very important.”

As the instructor for the CFE’s e-commerce course, it’s no wonder that Rishi has a vested interest in this side of podcasting and its benefits.

“‘Constructive alignment’ is when all of the lessons, homework, and content point toward the same knowledge and skills. I use podcasting to create that constructive alignment without compromising on the fun or entertainment value,” Brian said. He also mentioned that his students loved it when he replaced reading assignments with short podcast episodes for his ENTR 410 – Finding Your Venture class.

Two other CFE instructors, Dr. Dawn White and John Hennessy, were also in attendance at the meetup. While John hasn’t recorded any podcasts (yet), he said he incorporates podcasts as a preparatory material for class sessions.

“All of my ENTR 411 class sessions involve active learning of entrepreneurial topics,” said John. “I’ve found that coming prepared — by listening to specific podcasts I’ve chosen and/or reading specific articles — is a fun and engaging way to learn and retain the topics I focus on.” 

While Brian interviews fellow entrepreneurs and other CFE instructors for his own podcasts, John utilizes other entrepreneurial podcasts to illustrate the topics he is focusing on that week in class. Rishi, meanwhile, isn’t utilizing his podcast for his classes, but is instead using the process used in producing a podcast to illustrate entrepreneurship and customer discovery, which is extremely important to startups.Homepage of the Finding Your Venture Podcast website

John discussed a recent podcast he asked his class listen to saying, “Many students were quite impacted by the topic itself and how it changed their perceptions on talking to strangers. Over the years, I’ve noticed that many students are quite reticent to talk with strangers for the purpose of our Customer Discovery project. But this hesitation also comes at another cost (closing oneself off to strangers when we’re in line, choosing to look at our phones on the bus, etc.).  It’s interesting to see students wrestle with this potential trade-off, and I was pleasantly surprised by how many of them took it upon themselves to get outside their comfort zones and strike up a conversation with a stranger for the purpose of customer discovery or otherwise.”

Both Brian and Rishi have mentioned that through their podcasts, they also feel more connected to their students.

“I have gotten positive feedback from students resonating with the fact that I am elbows deep in a startup again,” said Rishi about his South U Stories podcast.

With regard to feedback from Brian’s podcast, Finding Your Venture, Brian said, “I also notice students feel more comfortable reaching out to me. Maybe it’s because they get to know me better by hearing me on the podcast.”

Ultimately, isn’t that the point of most podcasts. For people to listen to you and maybe come to know you, and possibly themselves, a little better.


Keep an eye out for CFE’s own podcast coming soon.