Episode 28

Published on:

7th Oct 2022

028: Mark Asquith - Autonomy, Brutal Authenticity & The Evolution of the Podcasting Industry

Mark Asquith is one of the UK’s original podcasting experts, known primarily as ‘The British Podcast Guy.’ He is the Managing Director and co-founder of the podcast hosting analytics and monetization platform, Captivate.fm. Mark is known worldwide as an insightful, thought- provoking and actionable podcast industry keynote speaker.

Today, Jonathan and Mark discuss Mark’s funny relationship with money, the connection between brutal authenticity and success, and why Mark has remained steadfast with his definition of success. Mark speculates on the future of the podcasting industry and provides advice for anyone thinking of entering the space.

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Key Takeaways

00:57 – Jonathan introduces today’s guest, Mark Asquith, who joins the show to share his funny relationship with money, his professional journey and what led him to podcasting

11:19 – Launching his own digital agency and how Mark became known as ‘The British Podcast Guy’

15:05 – Why Mark’s definition of success has never changed

17:00 – Effective versus Efficient

21:15 – Mark provides his thoughts on the emergence of the podcast industry

27:14 – Speculating on the future of podcasting

32:02 – Encouraging others to start a podcast and building an audience

37:32 – One piece of podcasting advice to implement and one to avoid entirely

41:09 – What makes a great podcast host

43:58 – What came first: Brutal authenticity or success?

44:34 – The last thing Mark changed his mind about and one thing that he would like people to know about him

46:24 – Jonathan thanks Mark for joining the show and let’s listeners know where to connect with him

Tweetable Quotes

“I think the biggest lesson you can have in money is not having any. There’s only one thing that can really teach you about money and that’s when you’ve got just about enough of it, and sometimes not enough of it. That was just a lesson from my life from pretty early on.” (02:50)

“When I used to coach people, I would tell them, ‘When you’re building a business and when you’re doing something that you enjoy doing, you hold yourself to a standard that’s much higher.’ And so, when you give your perceived seventy percent you’re actually giving ninety-five percent of what anyone else would do because you hold yourself to a standard of excellence.” (12:38)

“If you love what you do, you never stop wanting to do the twelve hours. It’s just that you want to do your twelve hours, if that makes sense. The definition of success has really not changed. It’s a very strict thing for me.” (15:50)

“Podcasting became an industry when people like my mum understood that it was alright to get what you want when you want it as enabled by technology.” (21:29)

“The podcasting industry right now has a tendency to basically just say, ‘You shouldn’t start a podcast if you’re not gonna carry on with a podcast,’ which is complete rubbish. Yeah, there might be tens of thousands or millions of dead podcasts out there but who cares? There’s loads of dead YouTube channels. I can’t go watch Firefly anymore or Jericho on TV. That’s done, it’s finished. What am I gonna do? The Godfather hasn’t been remade. It’s done.” (33:17)

“The only way to succeed at anything is to be very good at it. That’s it. Money comes from being very good at something. And the only way you can become good at something is by becoming confident in that thing. And the only way you can become confident is to become competent in it. And the only way to become competent is for it to be the thing that you do all the time without needing to think about doing the thing. You’ve got to enjoy it. You’ve got to love it.” (36:59)

Guest Resources

Mark’s LinkedIn

Mark’s Website

Mark’s Instagram

Mark’s Twitter

Mark’s Facebook

Captivate Website

Captivate Twitter

Captivate Facebook

Captivate Instagram

Mark’s Podcasts:

Spark of Rebellion

Podcast Accelerator

Mindful Money Resources

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It was acquired by Global in:

Mark Asquith: Oh, it’s a pleasure. Thank you for having me, Jonathan. Yeah, good to be around.

Jonathan DeYoe: And I know an accent. Mark, where do you call home?

Mark Asquith: I’m from England, right in the center. Well, I’m from a place called Barnsley, which is a really broad accent, so I, uh, have to dumb it down for interviews, otherwise you wouldn’t understand what I was saying. But we live in between Manchester and the hills, so we’re in the hills of Yorkshire.

Jonathan DeYoe: So, cricket or football?

Mark Asquith: Golf.

Jonathan DeYoe: Golf.

Mark Asquith: I’m a golf guy. Yeah, cricket. I was brought up in like a cricket environment, and it wasn’t for me. And then football. I used to live like a mile from the Barnsley football ground. So I’ve had my fair share of disappointments with that. So I exited early.

Jonathan DeYoe: My son adopted Man City as his team, like, I don’t know, ten years ago when he was like six years old, not knowing that it was the highest budget. So I just was curious if that.

Mark Asquith: Might be, uh, an interest.

Jonathan DeYoe: So I’m just curious.

Mark Asquith: I had a little brother that did that.

Jonathan DeYoe: You had a little brother that did that?

Mark Asquith: Yeah, he supported Manchester United when they were.

Jonathan DeYoe: Oh, yeah, when they were winning.

Mark Asquith: Yeah.

Jonathan DeYoe: Fair weather. So when did you start learning about money and business, and did you have lessons growing up?

Mark Asquith: I think the biggest lesson that you can have in money is not having any. There’s only one thing that can really teach you, uh, about money, and that’s when you’ve got just about enough of it and sometimes not enough of it. So that was just a lesson from my life pretty early on. I don’t come from an affluent background, come from a mining village up here in Yorkshire, which was very poor in the born in 82. I remember the miners strike, I remember people scrambling for food, I remember picket lines. I remember people m not being able to eat. So that was sort of my first relationship, I guess, with money. So there’s no real lessons other than when you have it. Don’t be crazy with it. And it’s interesting, when I did the TEDx talk, I don’t know, four years ago now, and that was sort of the theme of it, but it wasn’t. It was sort of a bait and a switch, actually. It looked like it was the theme of it until later. And money. I’ve got a funny relationship with money. It’s interesting. But the earliest lesson and the earliest memory of it was just genuinely it being scarce. It’s been an interesting influence throughout my 40 years so far.

Jonathan DeYoe: Yeah, I mean, this is one of the things that I’ve noted about many of the people that I’ve chatted with is, if you grew up with it, it’s like, it wasn’t a thing that you chased or a thing that you thought about, or a thing that was even an issue, but if you didn’t grow up with it, it became an issue and you learned about it, and you tried and you started chasing. But then often we learn lessons chasing it as well. Right. Give us an idea, just in terms of background, what you were doing before you got into podcast or media, because I don’t think you started off in podcasting. It’s more like a media.

ay before podcasting. This is:

Jonathan DeYoe: So was it more a pull to the digital agency or was it a push out of the old job? And what was sort of the last straw? What was it that gave you that final push?


r, right? You got to go in at:

Mark Asquith::

Jonathan DeYoe: It didn’t start out that way, though. So first you became known as the british podcast guy, right? So how’d you get known as the british podcast guy?

I started my first podcast in:

Jonathan DeYoe: I’m curious, how has the. You’ve gone through lots of different phases. How many podcasts have you hosted personally?

Mark Asquith: Oh, episodes:

Jonathan DeYoe: Yeah, lots.

Mark Asquith: Yeah.

Jonathan DeYoe: And then you transitioned in sort of an industry leader out of. You don’t host a podcast anymore, do you?

Mark Asquith: Yeah, I do a few. I’ve got a pop culture one called Spark of Rebellion, which we do Star wars stuff, and I’ve also got a, uh, podcast education one called the podcast accelerator, which is nice.

Jonathan DeYoe: So, in all the different iterations, how has your definition of success changed in these different stages?

Mark Asquith: Oh, it hasn’t. It’s always been the same m. It’s just about doing what you want to do when you want to do it. For me, I take my little girl swimming on a Thursday. Who asks where I am? It doesn’t matter, because they know. Even though we got acquired by global and now, theoretically, we’re back to having jobs, we’re trusted. It’s not like it used to be. Where you’ve got to put the 8 hours in, we’ll put 10 hours in. We’ll put 12 hours in, but we might do six on a morning and six on a night. And the beauty of that, it’s the perfect marriage of control and loving what you do, because if you love what you do, you never stop wanting to do the 12 hours. It’s just you want to do your 12 hours, if that makes sense. So, no, the definition of success has really not changed. It’s a very strict thing for me, to the point that I’ve kicked clients off platforms. I’ve gotten rid of plenty of customers. In fact, the first thing that got me into this, into sort of the online world, if you like, was I wrote a piece for a big publication about what it’s like to run an agency, and it was a big 11,000 word piece, and I spent ages and ages and ages on it, and they didn’t publish it. In the end, they went another direction. I was like, you know what? Why would I waste my time with you guys? I’m going to publish it myself and inside. But there was a whole subsection on when you, especially if you’re a service based business, there is a misconception that if you work for yourself, you don’t have a boss, but actually, if you let them, every client tries to become your boss and that you’ve got to be firm on. So that’s why that definition of success has not changed. That’s always been my metric. Does this thing or this decision or this person cross that line, and if it doesn’t, you can stay. And if it does, we leave.

Jonathan DeYoe: So does making money or building something cool or family time, do those things, factor in as sort of a guiding light ever? Or is it always, hey, now I want to do this, now I want to do this. Now I want to do this. And how do you maintain some kind of a disciplined structure if it’s. I just want to be able to do what I want to do when I want to do it.

y co founder. We still put in:

Jonathan DeYoe: Uh, it sounds to me like the simplest thing to start with with is just know who you are, know what you need, and then sort of build on top of that. If you build on someone else’s book or idea about how something’s going to go, that’s never going to work, you got to know how you work and how you’re going to. I’m a fan of the morning routine, so that’s just me. I’m very list oriented. But it’s interesting to have a conversation with somebody that’s you’re a lot more like my brother. My brother was way more just whatever’s a sense of the moment, that’s what he’s going to do. Right. And he was totally successful doing it that way. So how do you think podcasting shifted from a bunch of people doing podcasts to an industry. There’s a lot of money in podcasting. There’s a lot of equipment. There is structure behind it. Now, uh, how did that happen?

ving back home from London in:

Jonathan DeYoe: What do you think? Uh, if you could forecast, if you could say, okay, podcasts ten years from now, what will change? I mean, you’re designing the software and the technology, so I hope you have an idea.

I wrote a piece about this in:

Jonathan DeYoe: So you kind of said in there that the podcasting universe is shrinking a little bit there. You’re talking about the tech universe or you’re talking about the number of podcasts.

Mark Asquith: I think the overall readiness to get involved regardless of outcome, I worded that very carefully. So what I mean by that is, on the tech side, vcs funds, they’re much less likely now to take a bet on tech. And when they are taking a bet on tech, they seem to be taking a bet on profitable tech. They’re not taking a bet on revenue. They’re not taking a bet on hockey stick growth. Right. They’re taking a bet on profit, actually, is this sustainable as an industry? So that’s the first part of the tech side.

Jonathan DeYoe: And by the way, that’s happening everywhere. I mean, that’s rising rates. That affects that across the board.

Mark Asquith: Absolutely. Yeah. You can see that even from the accelerator world. Everything from people raising series a and series b down to people doing precede, everything seems to have got harder, which I totally get. It’s the world right now. The number of podcasts I don’t see slowing down.

Jonathan DeYoe: So there’s room. There’s room for us to start one. I mean, there’s room for people to start one.

r questions, but you’ve got:

Jonathan DeYoe: I love that stack. From love to competence to confidence to success. I think that’s a fantastic stack. If someone was listening today and said, yeah, I’m thinking about running this podcast, Mark says it’s possible. There’s lots of room. I think I have a good idea for it. But they’re listening to all these gurus. Like, I was really lucky to find Harry to help know, sort of put in a voice what it was I wanted to talk about. Right. But there’s so many other voices out there that I had to ignore. So what’s like the one got, someone’s got an idea, they want to pursue it, what would you tell them? What’s the one positive thing that they should do? And then what is some of the stuff they’re hearing that they can just ignore?

Mark Asquith: Oh, I think anytime a guru’s got a course on sale, you can ignore that.

Jonathan DeYoe: Yes. Thank you for that.

ATR and a Samsung. I’ve got:

Jonathan DeYoe: So is there something that makes a podcaster stand out? Like, you can talk to, like, five people and you can say that that fifth person, they would be a great podcast host. Can you tell?

Mark Asquith: I think a great podcast host has got experience in going over the top. So what I mean by that is this, when you’re on karaoke, have you done karaoke before? So you do karaoke, right? I don’t know what your song is, but let’s assume you pick, let’s go for living on a prayer just because everyone sings it. It’s loud, everyone knows it. All right, classic. So you pick a nice jabonji owi song, you get up on stage and you think to yourself, I’m going to give it my all. And so you give it your all. You stand there, uh, you sing it, you deliver it. It’s pitch perfect. And what people see is, oh, that person’s a good singer. You put the microphone in John Bon Jovi’s hand, or you put a mic and a mic stand in Freddie Mercury’s hand. They do the singing because that’s their job. It’s like a plumber turning up and just doing the plumbing. That’s their job. But what they do is they absolutely blow you away with everything around the song. And it’s back to what we said earlier. If you give 100%, when you are delivering anything vocally or visually, you will come across as giving 70%. And you know why? Because that’s the perception of other people. It’s the age old thing on karaoke. You can be feeling it, but unless you’re bouncing around going crazy and they’re just going to think, well, he’s just singing a karaoke song. It’s not a performance. And it’s the same for podcasting. You have to, uh, articulate everything. You have got to lift your voice. You’ve got to bring your voice down when, you know, I want to be a bit sneaky and say something I shouldn’t do. So you’ve really got to go to the extremes and to the levels. If listen to any. It doesn’t matter the type of podcast, listen to any type of podcast, whether it’s Jordan Harbinger doing interviews, whether it’s Aaron Monkey delivering a story in a narrative format, or whether it’s a scripted audio drama like first action bureau or Doctor death or something like that. It’s acting, it’s performing. And that’s the difference. Now, yeah, granted, it might be the fifth person out of five that gets good at that, and that is good at that. But the beauty of this is that if you love the thing that you talk about, that’s not the bit you have to practice. And anyone can get good at the performing because that is just repetition and practice. That’s just learning. And that’s why that love is so important. Because if you’ve got to learn to love the thing that you’dare to talk about, you can’t learn everything else. You can’t learn to become a great podcaster because you’re too preoccupied with do I really want to talk about this? And that’s so vital. So, yeah, the art of performance, that’s what it’s all about.

Jonathan DeYoe: Yeah. So I want to get a little bit more personal here as we get towards the end, and let’s try to make these quicker answers. All right? So, first thing, and I read this on your website, and I love this. I remember where I saw it. But what came first for you? Brutal authenticity or success?

Mark Asquith: Authenticity, yeah. By accident. By not really caring. Uh, I’ve got a problem with authority in that it’s an inverse problem, actually. It’s not a problem with authority. It’s a problem with respecting everyone. The same. And that never went down well with managers, but it did go down well when you’re talking to a CEO that you’re trying to sell a website to, and you’re just like, look, mate, your idea is terrible. And he wants that because no one else does it. And that was just by accident. That was just me. So, yeah, always the authenticity.

Jonathan DeYoe: Brutal authenticity. What was the last thing you changed your mind about?

Mark Asquith: The last thing I changed my mind about was whether or not, uh. Yeah, it was earlier. I said whether or not to take the rain cover for my daughter’s pram out with us, and I didn’t think we needed it, and we did. So we got wet.

Jonathan DeYoe: So you had it in your hand, and you were going out, you were like, nah, we don’t need it.

Mark Asquith: Yeah, pretty much. That’s bad time.

Jonathan DeYoe: Uh, you get wet, that’s okay. You dry off after that. And this is actually one of my favorite questions to ask people, because I think it sort of gives us insights into who you are. So, is there anything that people either don’t know or don’t remember about you that you really want them to know and remember?

Mark Asquith: That’s a good question. I think a lot of it comes from, uh, probably that kind of where we started in podcasting in particular. I think that’s big thing from a work perspective. A lot of people forget that we did because of the pandemic and so on. A lot of people forget how much of that trouble we did. A lot of the red eyes. I’ve sacrificed a heck of a lot, and so did Kieran to do that. We were everywhere at all times. There wasn’t an event that we weren’t at. And I think a lot of the time, certainly when we were going through the acquisition, a lot of people didn’t remember that we’d done that. They were just like, uh, certainly some people have come into the industry, given themselves a voice, and then sort of they’ve done that. After the pandemic started, they sort of seen us as tech guys that came into podcasting and got an exit within a couple of years. What they never saw was just the ten years preceding that. And that’s always the thing. And people are always surprised we do it. A podcast movement. People are always surprised by the sheer amount of people that we’re just genuinely friends with because they don’t remember that we did all that. And we just do know these people now. That’s how we met through Mary and, yeah, that’s a big thing, I think. So that’s probably the work answer, I think.

Jonathan DeYoe: Yeah, I love that. So, just as we wrap here, how do people get in touch with you? How do they find out what you’re up to and follow your next thing?

Mark Asquith: Oh, just on Twitter. Here’s a podcasting tip for you. Never give too many calls to action. Always the one. Just on Twitter at mraskrith, that’s, uh, where I do all my engagement, and, uh, it’s where I’m most present, and I can point you in the direction of anything else from there. So, at mrascrib on Twitter.

Jonathan DeYoe: Awesome. Thank you, Mark. Appreciate having you on.

Mark Asquith: Always a pleasure, Jonathan. Thank you.

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About the Podcast

Mindful Money
Do you struggle with money? You’re not alone.
Money is a means, not an end. It’s a necessity of life for sure, but more money does not always guarantee a “good life”. Money enables many aspects of modern life, but as a dominant consideration it becomes destructive. 
The paradox is that more time and energy spent on personal finance does NOT create better outcomes. Unlike many other parts of life, we can’t create better outcomes by being smarter, spending more time, or putting in more effort.
Join Mindful Money author and experienced 40-year investor Jonathan DeYoe as he shares stories from artists, authors, entrepreneurs, and other advisors about how they mindfully minimize their need to think about money and get more out of life.
If you aren’t happy with your finances, feel like money takes more time that it should, or want to place your financial decisions into the broader context of your life, this show is for you. 
Each episode will draw the line between the “enough” activities that the academics tell us are additive to family outcomes, and those “little bit more” efforts that take time and sap energy, but do NOT improve outcomes.

About your host

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Jonathan DeYoe

Jonathan DeYoe is a best-selling author, speaker, financial advisor and angel investor. He is a husband, father and a practicing Buddhist. His simple underlying message brings a welcomed sense of order to financial chaos and restores a calm center to your financial life.