Alex Carter certainly wasn’t the first to see the potential of the podcast.
January 6, 2016
How This Raleigh Entrepreneur Became Product Hunt’s Podcast Guru
His Raleigh startup Knomad paused, Alex Carter takes on new vertical for Andreessen Horowitz-backed Silicon Valley media startup.
But he was willing to sacrifice a management consulting career to bet that the medium wouldn’t be a fad, but a new way of listening to news and commentary.
Now, with his podcast discovery app Knomad on hold, he’s helping Product Hunt, one of the tech and media world’s most talked about brands, build out a regular stream of content around podcasts.
Carter’s responsibilities include curating a new user-submitted and upvoted list of podcast episodes for the Silicon Valley startup, encouraging users to form collections of relevant podcasts and episodes, as well as hosting live chats with the biggest names in podcasting. So far, those include Durham’s own Phoebe Judge and Lauren Spohrer of Criminal and Alex Blumberg, the former This American Life producer who launched the podcast business Gimlet Media. Coming soon is an interview with Radiotopia co-founder Roman Mars. Though he makes regular trips to San Francisco, he’s doing it all largely from a home office in Raleigh.
When we sat down last fall after Carter wrote this piece announcing Product Hunt Podcasts on Medium, he told me the relationship with Product Hunt began like many. His company was a finalist for a media startup accelerator called Matter, and during a January 2015 visit to San Francisco to interview, he reached out to a handful of people he thought might be interested in learning about Knomad.
One of those was Bailey Smith, a fellow NC State University grad who launched a podcast called LocalHire about the film industry in North Carolina. Now, she’s in San Francisco leading a startup that archives sound-based media and makes it easy to be found and used by journalists and producers. And she’s well connected in the emerging field. The pair attended a panel discussion on the future of audio together, and also met Erik Torenberg, a Product Hunt founding team member.
Carter and Torenberg stayed in touch, with Carter sending sporadic updates about Knomad and his perspectives on the podcast world. Eventually, Torenberg came back with an offer. Product Hunt wanted to begin curating podcasts and podcast episodes. The founders hoped Carter would launch and run it.
It was a difficult decision to move away from day-to-day focus on his startup. After graduating from The Startup Factory in May 2014 and several months teaching themselves to code, he and co-founder Michael Crouch launched the Knomad app in October 2014. It was in perfect timing with the launch of Serial, the popular crime saga that has earned more than 100 million downloads, averaging more than eight million per episode. In fact, it was the crime series that got Knomad into top search results and what led to several hundred users early on.