By: Gimlet Media
A series about what it's really like to start a business.
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Mokhtar Alkhanshali is trying to produce the perfect cup of coffee. And he’s trying to do it with beans grown in the midst of an active war zone in Yemen. Despite those challenges, his company’s first batch earned rave reviews, and sold for $16 a cup at one of the fanciest coffee chains around. But can he turn that early success into a profitable business, or will the challenges of trying to achieve perfection using a supply chain that starts halfway around the world do his young company in?
This is a series about what happens when someone who knows nothing about business starts one. It's called StartUp. In episode one, Alex Blumberg botches his pitch to Silicon Valley billionaire Chris Sacca.
Two years ago, Gimlet released its first fiction podcast: Homecoming. Now, this November, a television series based on the hit podcast and starring Julia Roberts is launching. Alex Blumberg was behind the scenes as Homecoming went from podcast to TV production. In this first episode, Homecoming creators Eli Horowitz and Micah Bloomberg recount the journey, from concept to podcast to pitching the show to bigtime Hollywood producers. And we hear from some of the celebrities they met along the way.This is the first part of a four-part mini-series on the making of the Homecoming TV show.Want more StartUp? Check out our newsletter! You can sign up at: gimletmedia.com/newsletter.To find a list of our sponsors and show-related promo codes, go to gimlet.media/OurAdvertisers
The Story:Alex is back in the host’s chair today to introduce a new show from Gimlet - his own! It's an interview show called Without Fail where he talks to people who have made a big bet and either won.. or lost.When Sophia Amoruso started selling vintage clothing on eBay from her tiny San Francisco apartment, she had no idea that one day she would be at the helm of a fashion brand valued at 350 million dollars. And once venture capital came into play, it seemed the sky was the limit for Sophia and her company Nasty Gal. Find out how Sophia went from bankrolled to bankrupt—and what she's doing differently with her new company, Girlboss.The Facts:This episode was mixed by Peter Leonard. Theme and ad music by Bobby Lord. For a list of our sponsors and show related offer codes, go to gimlet.media/OurAdvertisers
The Story:Alex is back in the host’s chair to introduce a new show from Gimlet - his own! It's an interview show called Without Fail where Alex talks to people who have made a big bet and either won or lost.When Andrew Mason started Groupon 10 years ago he was in his mid-20s, fresh out of grad school, and running a company for the first time ever. Within 2 years Groupon was called the fastest growing company in history. And then just as rapidly. And just as dramatically. Its fortunes changed. This dream rise, the nightmare fall, all in this incredibly short time-span - it’s like a startup fable. But it actually happened. To a real guy! In part one of this two-part conversation, Andrew talks with Alex about Groupon’s rise. How it started as a website designed for something completely different, what it felt like when it finally caught on and started to grow, and Andrew’s own conflicted feelings about being a CEO. The Facts:Peter Leonard mixed the episode. Theme music by Bobby Lord. For a list of our sponsors and show related offer codes, go to gimlet.media/OurAdvertisers
The Story:At the end of the last episode, co-founders Justin, Emmett, Michael, and Kyle had a big problem on their hands. Streaming Justin's life 24/7—the very idea their company was founded on—turned out to be kind of boring. Pretty soon people stopped watching. In this episode, the four friends try desperately to extend the life of their company by making some risky but important decisions. In the process, their scrappy startup catches the eye of some very powerful people who challenge everything they’ve built. The road of a startup is a bumpy one and, as Justin and his team are finding out, they have only just gotten started. This is the second part of a two-part story that originally aired in April of 2016. Listen to Part 1 https://gimlet.media/2N80DUE. The Facts:Matthew Boll and Peter Leonard mixed the episode. Our theme song was written and performed by Mark Phillips. The special ad music, Microliters, was written and performed by Build Buildings. Additional music by Kevin Sparks and the band hotmoms.gov. For a list of our sponsors and show related offer codes, go to gimlet.media/OurAdvertisers
The Story: A group of friends moves across the country to launch an unlikely website that they think could replace television. The media loves them. They just need to figure out how to get their users to feel the same way. This is part one of a two-part series that originally aired in April of 2016. The Facts:Matthew Boll and Peter Leonard mixed the episode. Our theme song was written and performed by Mark Phillips. For a list of our sponsors and show related offer codes, go to gimlet.media/OurAdvertisers
The Story: In the evangelical world, there are very few female church planters. In 2012 only three percent of all conservative churches had women as lead pastors. In large part because one of their key theological beliefs is that women, according to the Bible, are not meant to lead churches. But there are other reasons too — maybe even bigger reasons. This is the story of one woman’s quest to do what all the boys were allowed to do… and how she tried to square what she wanted, with what lots of others said that God wanted. This is the sixth and final episode in our series on church planting. The Facts:Peter Leonard mixed the episode. Build Buildings wrote and performed our special ad music. Additional music by Haley Shaw.For a list of our sponsors and show related offer codes, go to gimlet.media/OurAdvertisers
This is our fifth and final episode following pastor AJ Smith, who has been trying to grow a new church in Philadelphia. It’s a process that has come with all sorts of existential problems, but also… some very practical ones. In order for Restoration Church to become self-sustaining, it needed to double in size by the end of the year. We’re now half-way through that year and the big question is, how close are they? To cope with the stress of starting a church from scratch, and to seek clarity on how to move forward, AJ takes a trip into the woods with reporter Eric Mennel.But over the course of the day, Eric finds himself reflecting on his own relationship with God, confronting a question he has been trying to avoid for months: Why has he stopped going to church?Hear about the future for Restoration, and a bit about Eric’s fraught relationship with faith, in the fifth episode of our series.
Hell, homosexuality, and the role of women in church — these are some of the most sensitive topics in Christian theology today. And the implications are huge: where an individual church stands on these issues can have a major effect on who does or does not attend, and … who gives money.A common critique of church plants is that they present as progressive, but at their core, many still hold very conservative beliefs. People can attend for months or even years without understanding where their church falls on topics like gay marriage or the ordination of women. So on this week’s episode, we sit down with pastor AJ Smith and ask the tough questions.This is the fourth episode in our series.
In the world of church planting, every Sunday counts… but there are a couple Sundays each year that can truly change the fate of a church. One of them: Easter. If you want to grab somebody who is open to church, but for whatever reason isn’t going, Easter is the time to do it. AJ and Leah need to double the size of Restoration by the end of this year, so they need this day to go well. They don’t have a fancy egg dropping helicopter or an egg shooting cannon like some churches do, but they do have a plan… one that involves 100 frozen chickens. In this week’s episode, we follow AJ and Leah as they give everything they’ve got to make their plan work.This is the third episode in our series on Church Planting. Listen to the first episode here.
It takes more than just a calling to start a church. You need a following. You need money. And to get that money, pastors often have to pass a kind of test. Welcome to the wild world of assessment. There’s whole industry of professional assessors who use psychological tests, behavioral interviews, role-playing scenarios and more, to try to determine if a pastor will be able to create a successful church. In this week’s episode, AJ goes to assessment camp — but he doesn’t go alone. Spouses are required to get assessed too. Just imagine an intense round of couples therapy, but as part of your job interview. That’s what assessment can feel like. This is the second episode in our series on Church Planting. Listen to the first episode here.