Overview/What is Keepin Kozy
I started Keepin’ Kozy (sometimes written out with the apostrophe sometimes not, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯, I guess it’s official name is “The Keepin’ Kozy Podcast”) back in April 2020. Actually, the first episode was released on my birthday April 18th, 1998. I’ve always been relatively superstitious so I was super keen on releasing it on my birthday.
Ten episodes later and we really have done some crazy things. According to my friend Aidan, we’ve “gotten better guests than Joe Rogan,” hit 1000’s of unique viewers and listeners, and most recently just got a pretty boss knowledge panel (that for some reason only shows up on phones, not desktop-Google: help me out guys)
It has been a rollercoaster of an experience. Through Keepin’ Kozy I have gotten a chance to likely record one of the last interviews that John McAfee has given as a free man, but I also lost a pretty promising job at a hotshot startup.
However, even though it is not just highs, this has been such a baller experience and the highs far surpass the lows.
So… without further ado, here’s the story of how I started my podcast
How it began:
The reasons for starting the podcast were slightly varied, but they probably ranged from: wanting to demonstrate my communication skills, perhaps networking ability, a desire to start to build my online presence, and etc. That said, I think the main underlying motivation behind it was I was just bored, and starting to feel miserable finishing the semester off at home.
I think the human mind has a natural disposition towards toska (trust me worth learning what this word means), and the way we get ourselves out of that mental quagmire is through just doing/starting projects. That’s easier said than done, but trust me if you have a creative idea that you want to start, just start doing it.
Our first guest, John LaMattina, I had met back in my Freshman year at Boston College, and I knew that he would have some fascinating insight on the Covid-19 pandemic that was and is going on (he is the former head of R&D at Pfizer). So I shot him an email, and we set up a time. I was surprised by how much positive energy I got from friends and acquaintances after posting this first episode. I then set up my next one, and then eventually pivoted from mainly using the anchor platform to going big on posting to youtube. Since then, we are still on every platform, but I mainly promote/measure success by how well our youtube videos do.
The biggest highlight so far is the fact that we’ve done pretty well in terms of listeners and viewers for a podcast that has our budget (literally 0). Plus, it’s not like other podcasts in which the host has a lot of clout, no I’m just an average 2020 graduate. So given those constraints, I think we are doing alright in having a couple of videos over 1000 views.
The other big win is with curation. I’ve really made a big effort to get top caliber of speakers for the podcast. No matter what, it’s super cool that I have gotten a chance to speak with a lot of the speakers that I have spoken with.
Specifically, the John McAfee interview comes into mind, for it not only opened a lot of different kinds of doors but it also perhaps is a bit of history as his recent legal drama may preclude him from continuing to give interviews.
This is also probably one of the coolest things that happened with the podcast-we got a self-generated knowledge panel by Google. (Google Keepin Kozy)
These are super hard to get, though from what I’ve read is musical artists and businesses have it slightly easier? Not sure, don’t take my word for it.
Anyway it just randomly generated and I am actually so proud because 1) it gives us an appearance of pseudo legitimacy and 2) it’s just pretty cool, and it means that we are actually on our way up.
The lowlights are also diverse. The biggest one in terms of the podcast is the fact that despite being up for almost a year, we only have 163 subscribers at the time of writing this. It sucks and sometimes leads to testy conversations with people I work with, but also can be a self-esteem hit-causing me to wonder if the work that I am putting into the podcast is actually worth it.
Getting top speakers is hard and requires a lot of behind the scenes work on my end. Grinding hard to set up an interview, get it recorded, and then not do stellar on views, and especially subscribers sucks.
Moreover, I think I lost a job almost directly because of the podcast. I was in the final round of interviewing with a really big baller startup, and I ended up getting rejected in part, I believe, due to this podcast.
Another “lowlight” was when I got duped by an Instagram page that said it loved my content and wanted to give me a shout out to their 300k followers for 50 bucks. These guys turned out to be a total scam, and sent me bots that gassed up our following for legit one day, then either got deleted or unfollowed, haha, leaving us with exactly what we had before we started.
That sucks, but as we keep growing we keep hitting a couple of new subscribers per episode or per Instagram post (I think my direct circle of friends has been totally tapped out in terms of interest, haha). A pro tip: join follow groups on Instagram, they’ll be roughly 10 real people in them who will follow you and you guys can help each other with your posts!
Such is life. I think back to the advice that Lil B shared during his interview: if you even have one fan, that itself you should make you proud. We are all lucky to have anyone care about us.
Guests… Is there a secret sauce?
This is the big question I always get from people. Without a doubt, the most popular frequent that people ask me about the podcast is some variation of “How are you getting these super cool guests?”
Well, the simple answer is through networking. The more complex answer is targeted networking.
Firstly, starting strong with two very respectable speakers who I had gotten a chance to meet while at Boston College.
That’s probably what led to getting some legitimacy when reaching out to other guests. They kind of build on each other. When I message someone I sent them my list of previous speakers, and I think that creates a form of legitimacy. I also think that there’s a fascinating line between the social media people of prominence and the real world people of prominence. Like social media people are fascinated by the power of real big-name brands, like Pfizer, and corporate people are fascinated by people who are able to build an online reputation for themselves. I think these phenomena play on each other.
The other thing worth noting is that sometimes people go on speaking tours. Meaning, they will be spending some time speaking with pretty much anyone who is willing to listen about what they are up to. I think McAfee was going on a speaking tour right prior to his arrest. That is how I probably landed him.
If there is one tip you take from this- take advantage of being a college student while you can. Everyone likes helping kids out, and it’s probably the only reason you even go to school to have an institution help guide your entrance into the nebulous that is adulthood. Part of the guidance is introducing you to people who can be helpful: networking.
Networking should be a class that they teach you in college since it is pretty much universally accepted to be the most important aspect of most people’s careers, something I mention during the Mooch interview, so much of success is related to being in the right rooms.
Where do we Improve?
I’ve got no clue as to how the name Keepin’ Kozy came into mind. I guess it just made sense since my last name is Kozhipatt (pronounced Cozy-pat).
One thing I have noticed, however, is that having a podcast with a name closely intertwined with my own may be hurting us. Most up and coming podcasts use names that are catchy, that will lead people to want to subscribe or better understand what the podcast/channel is about. With Kozy, it creates a bit of a question for the listener/viewer who isn’t aware of who I am.
Beyond that, I think that while I have grown a lot in being more comfortable in front of the camera, there’s still a lot of room for improvement in how I phrase questions and carry a conversation. Funnily enough, I actually don’t consider myself a great conversationalist in general. While I do end up frequently having some interesting conversations, they are almost always because I am speaking with someone who pretty much all but agrees with my point of view. So not the best in terms of conversations with just anyone.
As of right now, we have some real big baller speakers coming up later in October and November.
Outside of that, I think we are just going to take things as they come. Perhaps we’ll shift around the way in which the content is released or the format of the videos, pivoting more to video essays. It’s really hard to tell, but I think that the main thing is that I have to just continue to keep making episodes and releasing them to the public.
I think a major decision going forward will be related to ads and promoting the content. While we are still a very young podcast, and the secret to success is that cliche sticktoitiveness, haha, there may be some smart ways to promote our content that actually helps build our brand.
That’s the main lesson that I think most of the speakers give, but then also what I have learned is that you have to just get started and you’ll notice that things start to fall into place. What still sucks is that even with small gains, there are still a lot of setbacks.
Also, with a lot of other people stepping into the podcast space, I wonder if I may be entering a field that has too many competitors. That said, a lot of competition means that there is a place in the market for killer cool success.
Just to summarize some key points of advice:
If you are thinking about a creative project, just start doing it. Once you start, don’t be afraid to promote it everywhere try to start owning the real estate that you’re on.
You have a question: Do you focus on anchor, or do you focus on Youtube? I think Youtube provides the best opportunities for growth, but anchor pays out faster.
I wanna give shout outs to people who have either directly or indirectly been instrumental to the success of the podcast: Brian Oh, Andrew Rabinowitz, Dev Malhotra, Jeffrey Terra-Salomao Vineeth Joseph, Jacob Small, Madison Mariani, Ronan Kelley, and my parents/family/friends who have been so passionate in helping get this from idea to reality!
Also a huge thanks to everyone who has been a speaker on this podcast, it really means so much to me.