Kurt and I are two guys who like Star Trek, but we’re kind of embarrassed that we listen to “The Greatest Generation”, a Star Trek podcast hosted by two guys who are kind of embarrassed to host a Star Trek podcast. Not only is our consumption of thoughtful episode-recaps and witty banter between hosts Adam Pranica and Benjamin Ahr Harrison enjoyable, but we’re also learning valuable life and career lessons. Here are seven professional lessons from The Greatest Generation podcast.
Find your niche
The Star Trek universe is a busy place with many voices. I like the show, but I’m not a Trekkie, nor is Kurt for that matter. So, this podcast’s tagline speaks to guys like Kurt and I – casual fans who enjoy comedy and empathize with Adam and Ben’s minor levels of embarrassment.
#PROTIP: understand the gaps that exist in your workplace or for the underserved members of your community and think about ways to add value to their lives.
Adam and Ben have combined podcasting ability with authentic fanboy-ness to deliver a listening experience that even a nerd-basher and/or Star Wars enthusiast can objectively appreciate. I appreciate that the hosts respond when I tweet at them, too – they have a lot of fans (and day jobs and partners), but investing time in online relationships is important because people notice when folks make simple, genuine connections.
#PROTIP: be awesome and make your enthusiasm contagious like we see in Episode 73: Nice Implants, where our dynamic duo takes on the mother of all Trek Episodes – the Best of Both Worlds. It’s pretty clear how passionate they are about their project in this episode.
Have learning agility
Having learning agility means being able to solve different kinds of complex problems in an ever-changing world. One minute you’re adapting your non-profit’s fundraising strategy and the next you’re advocating for your child’s extracurricular activities at school amidst scathing budget cuts. For Adam and Ben, this complexity was found in a perfectly mediocre run of the first, like, dozen episodes of what is now an award-worthy podcast.
Don’t take things too seriously
I like that Adam and Ben make fun of their own nerdiness and that they love Star Trek. Such an approach fosters inclusiveness and fun among listeners. These days I find myself working very hard to exude calmness and fun in my job and at home, as there is enough pressure and stress already – balancing earnestness and passion with perspective helps a project and people to realize their potential.
#PROTIP: few things in life are as serious as your wellbeing; rethink your life if you’re getting into Twitter battles about Star Trek or Saturday Night Live at 3am.
The Greatest Generation just finished their tour of a series of live shows on the West Coast. Yay! To prepare, Ben and Adam took meetings with folks from the Maximum Fun community (and others, I imagine) in order to learn what makes a great live show. Sharing such stories on the show highlights the team’s vulnerability as well as the fact that, while they might be a bit embarrassed by their show, they are serious about adding value for their fans.
#PROTIP: take unfinished ideas to friends, family and/or mentors so that they can give you feedback so that you can make your “final prototype” even better!
Engage your community
I found “The Greatest Generation” through one of my favourite communities: Maximum Fun. It’s an organization and/or movement of comedy and culture programs and events that are artist owned and funded by community members. Hearing a promotion for “The Greatest Generation” during an episode of a favourite podcast instantly gave the show credibility.
Adam and Ben are incredible at rallying fans to create cool content, debate perspectives, and connect authentically with each other. Kurt learned this personally when he submitted a greeting to be read on the show acknowledging the birth of his brand new (uniquely named) son Sagan. Turned out there was another guy named Sagan who lived in Philadelphia who also listens to the Greatest Generation. Philly Sagan was so inspired by this connection, he bit the bullet and paid a hundred dollars to send a personal message to baby Sagan in Vancouver. Listen to it all on Episode 77: the Gordian Sock.
Have an edge
The competitor in me likes how Adam and Ben talk shit to other Star Trek podcasts, citing The Greatest Generation’s popularity as greater than all other Star Trek pods.