Like many serial entrepreneurs, JJ Ramberg had thrown out a few startup ideas and was actively working on one in particular – an app for podcast fans – before the pandemic began.
Now that 95% of the country is stuck at home, she and her co-founder, her brother Ken Ramberg, have decided to launch the app, dubbed Goodpods, which acts as both a podcast player and a social network where you can see the podcasts. that friends, influencers and podcasters listen to.
Ramberg, the former host of “YourBusiness” on MSNBC, said the timing seemed right. A beta version of the app has been available for a few months, and both were planning an official launch in the not-so-distant future. But with the shelter-in-place rules in place – she is currently locked up with her husband and three children – people are actively seeking out reliable sources of information and entertainment.
So, without further ado, Ramberg kicked off Goodpods in an Instagram post last Thursday, asking followers to spread the word and sending everyone a âbig hugâ. She even got her kids to create a Goodpods ad as a home schooling project. âWe changed our marketing message because the ones we wrote before had a lot of exclamation marks,â she says. âWe’re talking to a different world now. “
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Make podcasts discoverable
Ramberg says she was inspired to create the app because she knows – as a former podcast host herself – how difficult it can be for people to learn about podcasts. According to research, there were around 900,000 shows and 30 million podcast episodes in January 2020.
During his 12-year run on Your company, which ceased airing in December 2018, she had her own podcast distributed by NBC News, but still struggled to get the word out. âThese are not traditional media. It’s a whole different thing, âshe says. While she mentioned particular podcast episodes on her TV show, “by the time you go out for a run, you forgot the name of this one.”
Enter the app, which allows a user to view other people’s profiles to see which podcast series or episodes they like, and then listen to them immediately through the app player. A user can also share favorite podcasts, with comments, on a feed – something akin to a “Twitter for podcasts,” according to Ramberg. She and her brother used logins to sign up a number of prominent users, including Kim Karsdashian, ABC News’ Dan Harris and popular author Rachel Hollis.
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Brother and sister founded
The adventure is not the first for the brother-sister team. In 2005, the two launched Goodsearch, a Yahoo-powered search engine that raised money for charity. They eventually extended it to a socially responsible coupon aggregator called Goodshop, a 30-employee site whose day-to-day operations are now managed by a CEO.
Goodpods is self-funded, and the Rambergs relied on a team of internal and external designers and engineers to build the platform. “I wish I could do it on my own, but it’s not my strength,” Ramberg says. “We’re still in version 1.0 – every week we’re adding new features.” They’re also still working on the Goodpods Android app, which they plan to release in the coming weeks.
In the past, Ramberg has juggled a career in television and a life of a startup. After her MSNBC show ended, she spent part of 2019 hosting a BBC documentary series called “Follow the Food”.
But these days she doesn’t work on TV anymore. As a mom, Ramberg jokes that her current job during the coronavirus quarantine is ‘home student and short-term cook,’ but other than that it’s Goodpods all the time.
âI’m 100% focused on making it work,â she says, in part because she’s a user herself. âThere is so much going on in the world right now – so much sadness, so much heartwarming. When I’m desperate for information or some sort of entertainment, it helps to see what my friends are listening to. It’s super useful.
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