The First Million Downloads are the Hardest

After I received my monthly report from PodcastOne Australia, I did a bit of math and realised – sometime over the last 24 hours – I’d cross the one million download mark for THE NEXT BILLION SECONDS.

I can’t begin to express how chuffed (and shocked) I am by this.

THE NEXT BILLION SECONDS has always been a team effort – back in 2011, when it was just a book, Paul Bridgestock gave me excellent editing suggestions, and kept me encouraged.

In 2017, when my agent Phill McMartin approached me to pitch the newly franchised PodcastOne Australia, I had both something to refer to, and something to launch off from.

That’s when I got to meet Grant Tothill – who runs PodcastOne Australia – and started to work with my fantastic producer Alex Mitchell.

It took some time to figure out exactly what I was on about. I had energy, but very little direction in the first series. It was all over the map, precisely because there was so much territory to cover, so much of the future to explore.

In series two we settled down a bit, and dived into some of the deeper issues surrounding modern connected culture. It wasn’t as optimistic as I might like – and a few listeners did tell me that at times it was very rough going. Lesson learned: it’s not about hiding from the future, but neither is it about drowning in it.

The transition from show to channel includes many shows on future themes…

Last year I realised that I had the opportunity to turn a single program into a channel of programming: CRYPTONOMICS, THE NEXT BILLION GADGETS and THE NEXT BILLION CARS are the first examples of a ‘broadening’ of the kinds of shows you’ll find under the banner of THE NEXT BILLION SECONDS. Each are concerned with the future, but each also sees that future through its own filter.

There’s much more of that still to come.

It seems a bit surprising now that I had to pitch hard to get everyone onside for “1968: When the World Began”, the miniseries I got to create with my great friend Dr. Genevieve Bell. But they trusted us – and already that series sits very comfortably among the most downloaded episodes of THE NEXT BILLION SECONDS.

We’ve noted your interest – and there’ll be more where that came from.

Right now I’m learning how to coordinate and ‘show-run’ a podcast created on three different continents. THE NEXT BILLION CARS co-host Sally Dominguez lives in California, while special correspondent Drew Smith lives in Sweden. It takes a bit of coordinating (and FaceTime and clever mixing by Alex Mitchell) but somehow we’re managing to pull off a truly global view of the future of transportation.

And it feels as though all of this is just getting started. Podcasting is taking off, and the ability to create and share great stories at scale is growing with it.

That’s all because of you – because you keep listening and sharing and responding. Thank you for that.  

A million times thank you.

Mark Pesce
18 March 2019

THE NEXT BILLION CARS Episode 1: The Next Billion Problems

CES portrays a futuristic auto industry. Detroit holds onto past glories. Everything automotive is changing: can problems become opportunities?

Meet the experts joining Mark Pesce for THE NEXT BILLION CARS…

Sally Dominguez is a multi-award-winning product designer and architect of the Adventurous Thinking innovation strategy which she has implemented at organisations including NASA, Stanford and Breville. Sally was a judge on ABC TV’s  The New Inventors,  is a co-host on Foxtel’s upcoming Great Aussie Inventions, host of a yet-to-be-named Foxtel Innovation Challenge, and judges design and innovation internationally.  She has over ten years of Car of the Year judging experience with Wheels magazine and Drive and is passionate about innovation in materials, sustainability and transportation strategies.

With a background in automotive design and design research, and a role as a lead strategist at one of the industry’s most exciting brands, Drew Smith is the consummate industry insider. Indeed, he’s helped shape the future for the likes of Lexus, Jaguar Land Rover and Audi. He’s not without critical faculties however, and has long held the industry to a higher standard when it comes to designing for a environmental and commercial sustainability. He is a visiting lecturer at the Royal College of Art, advising automotive design Masters and PhD students, and founded the Automobility Group, a global community of people exploring the future of urbanism, design and mobility. He is also the co-founder of Rising Minds, a global lecture series that explores the intersection of technology, business and culture.