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May 4, 2018

The Next Chapter

by shiftyjelly

Not to wax too nostalgic on you all, but back in 2008 when Philip and I started Shifty Jelly (and picked that ridiculous name) we didn’t really have any lofty goals or ambitions. We just wanted to build an Australian Weather app for iOS in our spare time after work, so we did. Somehow this little weather app rocketed to #1 in the Australian charts and surprised us both. At one point I think we were on 1 in 5 iPhones in Australia. I mean let’s be honest, that’s crazy, right?

Two years later in 2010 we decided that we liked this whole app development thing, so we quit our jobs and went full time. We needed a new app to make use of our newfound skills and our now full-time roles. Finding that app wasn’t hard: both Philip and I loved podcasts and there were no podcasting apps available. Syncing podcasts over to our iPods or iPhones manually was way too much of a pain and we decided that this was something we needed to fix.

Fast forward to 8 years later and our little baby, Pocket Casts, is now available for iOS, Android, Web, Mac & Windows. Literally anywhere you want to listen to podcasts (except your toaster sadly) you can. It’s been an amazing journey and the product has grown so much over the years. One thing hasn’t changed though: Philip and I still use Pocket Casts every single day to listen to our favourite podcasts. It’s hard to describe but there’s always been something supremely special about that.

But Russell, you ask, why are you leading me down this rather long path of self introspection for 3 whole paragraphs is there a point to all this? Well dear reader, I’m glad you asked because yes, yes there is!

pocketcasts-nextchapter@2x

Today we’re excited to announce a partnership with some of the biggest producers of podcasts in the world to take Pocket Casts to the next level. We’ve had a lot of companies in the past contact us about acquiring us and or Pocket Casts and we’ve always had one simple answer for them: thanks, but no thanks. In talking to each of them it was obvious that they didn’t have the best interests of our customers or us at heart and as much as cashing out and walking off into the sunset is a nice ideal, it’s a crummy outcome for all of you and in turn for us. You see we care so damn deeply about what we’ve built and our relationship with each and every one of you that we know deep down inside that would just eat away at us. That’s why when a combined group comprised of WNYC, NPR, WBEZ and This American Life approached us with the goal of partnering for the good of the entire podcast industry, we knew that this opportunity was something else entirely. Everything from their not for profit mission focus, to their unwavering belief that open and collaborative wins over closed walled gardens resonated deeply with us. Together we have the passion, scale and laser focus needed to achieve some truly great things. We’re not ready to talk about what those are just yet but we do want to quickly cover some questions you might have.

OMG ARE YOU ABANDONING US?!
No, the whole team (Russell, Philip, Chris, Priya & Simon) are joining the new venture.

OMG ARE YOU TOTALLY GOING TO RUIN THE APP AND MAKE US HATE YOU?!
No, today nothing about the app is changing. Going forward our aim is to make it better, like we always have, year in, year out.

OMG IS THIS GOING TO BE A PUBLIC RADIO APP NOW?!
No, we’re still all about podcasting, and still about the entire world, not just the US of A. We do live in Australia after all.

OMG I JUST PAID FOR THIS YESTERDAY!!
Good news, it’s still a paid app just like before, and the price is identical. Not sure if you’ve picked up on the theme yet but: nothing has changed.

OMG IS EVERYTHING CHANGING?!
No, nothing is changing. Same app you know and love, same team working on it but now with more resources than ever before.

I MEAN YOU KEEP SAYING THINGS WON’T CHANGE BUT THEY TOTALLY WILL RIGHT?!
Wow, you really won’t let this one go, huh? Ok, the point we are trying to make is that as of today, nothing has changed. Going forward things are going to be different. We’ll be moving faster, we’ll be more ambitious in the things we do and we’ll have some amazing insights from the top podcast producers in the world to help guide our future steps. I mean if you’re not excited by that, then you’re just not hooked up right.

OMG ARE YOU GOING TO GO ALL CORPORATE ON US?! WILL THE RELEASE NOTES JUST BECOME ‘bug fixes’
As tempting as that might be, I suspect if you’ve read this blog post you’ve got a taste for how we intend to keep the core part of what makes us, well, us.

WHAT ABOUT US BRAIN DEAD SLOBS?
You’ll be given cushy jobs!

Can I join you on your new private yachts?
Firstly, thank you for calming down and no longer shouting, really appreciate it. Sadly we chose to not sell our souls or you all out for crazy amounts of cash money, which means that you owe us one. So following this solid line of logic: can we join YOU on your yachts instead? There’s enough of you out there that at least one of you must have a decent size yacht. Call us.

I’ve run out of questions?
That’s an odd question, but yes, this is a great time to wrap this up.

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