How Ben and David bootstrapped the Acquired podcast

Fast Company called Acquired "the #1 tech podcast sensation." I've been a huge fan of the show for years. So, I was surprised when they contacted me and wanted to switch to Transistor for podcast hosting!

Since switching, they've had a breakout year. Their clips started showing up everywhere on my social media feed; they had chart-topping episodes on Nintendo, Nike, and Costco, and they interviewed the CEOs of NVIDIA, Uber, and Charlie Munger. 

And this was the year that Ben Gilbert and David Rosenthal (the co-hosts) both went full-time on the podcast. Podcasting is now their job.

With all of that activity, I thought Build your SaaS listeners would be interested in hearing my interview with David about their entire story:
  • How they got started, how they built momentum over time,
  • how they were able to double their audience every single year since 2015, 
  • And how that momentum ended up Attracting an incredibly valuable audience that they've now monetized through sponsorships. 
This interview has so much that podcasters, creators, and indie entrepreneurs will find super helpful and inspirational.

🔥 Key moments:
  • (0:00:00) – A breakout year for Acquired
  • (0:01:45) – What is the Acquired podcast about?
  • (0:02:40) – How the Acquired podcast got started (origin story)
  • (0:07:23) – How Ben and David's co-hosting relationship works
  • (0:09:00) – The 3 big goals that made them want to start Acquired
  • (0:11:38) – How did listeners respond to the first episodes?
  • (0:14:55) – The best reason to start a podcast
  • (0:15:30) – The secret to how Acquired attracts new listeners
  • (0:18:13) – How they got featured in Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Pocket Casts, and Spotify
  • (0:24:18) – How they got their first podcast sponsors (and why it wasn't about making money)
  • (0:27:58) – Why they give their sponsors a white glove, 11-star experience
  • (0:34:13) – How to get more word-of-mouth referrals for your podcast
  • (0:37:00) – Acquired's unconventional approach to podcast ads
  • (0:41:54) – How the Acquired podcast's growth machine works
  • (0:48:05) – Why their NVIDIA podcast episode went viral
  • (0:50:48) – Why they switched from Libsyn to Transistor for podcast hosting
  • (0:57:18) – The rise of the "independent, boutique podcaster."
  • (1:02:27) – "The future of podcasting doesn't belong to Gimlet, NYT, NPR..."
  • (1:06:22) – David Rosenthal's advice to aspiring podcasters
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Creators and Guests

David Rosenthal
David Rosenthal
Co-host of the podcast
Joseph Pinheiro
Joseph Pinheiro
Writer/Director/Editor Visual & audio storytelling. Creative vision. Passion driven. Videos. Documentaries. Podcasts. Reels & shorts.
How Ben and David bootstrapped the Acquired podcast
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