Most podcasts exist to make the audience laugh or think. The PopupCast does too, but its not-so-secret mission is to seed friendships among the guests.
How it works.
It’s pretty simple. I gather four compatible people from the same city and give them a surprise topic to talk about for twenty minutes.
As soon as the podcast recording is over, I toss all the participants into a chat group, so they can keep the conversation going, exchange links mentioned during the recording, or plan a coffee.
The surprise topic.
It could be anything. A Richard Feynman quote. A photograph of a crowded local subway platform. A YouTube clip of Bobby McFerrin.
What makes the guests compatible.
I’m always encouraging friends, colleagues, and past PopupCast guests:
“Introduce me to someone who (1) is palpably kind, (2) has a very high tolerance for outright silliness, (3) is a good listener, and (4) is the-same-on-the-inside-as-they-are on-the-outside. And I’ll invite them to be a guest on the PopupCast!”
Over the many years I’ve been seeding friendships, I’ve learned that two people with those four characteristics — and a decent excuse to talk — have a really good chance of hitting it off.
I pick a city, a date, and a time. Then I blast out an invitation to everyone in that city on the PopupCast guest list. The first four who sign up are the guests for that episode. I reveal the topic right before we start to record.
Below is the episode from December 18th. The surprise topic for that episode was a NYTimes article about the 2016 popular vote.
Beyond the podcast and after-chat.
Hopefully you go on to make friends with one of the other three folks from the podcast. But I also start thinking — right after we record — about folks you’d really enjoy going on a blind friend date with.