Who’s behind the curtain making the Market Dominance Guys the great podcast that it is? It’s Austin Finch, an editor at Funnel Media Group, which produces Market Dominance Guys. In listening to this conversation between Austin and our host, Chris Beall, you would never know that Austin is the youngest guest ever interviewed for this podcast. Currently 17 years old, he has edited Market Dominance Guys for several years and has recently added Helen Fanucci’s “Love Your Team” podcast to his editing responsibilities. In talking with this intelligent, thoughtful, and insightful young man, Chris asks about the challenges of podcast editing, including the pruning and grafting necessary to increase a podcast audience’s understanding and to decrease the distractibility caused by any audio glitches or guests’ faux pas. Austin loves his job and sees his editing work as that of a translator for the hosts’ and guests’ messages, and his goal as “Helping to Get the Message Across,” which just happens to be the title of today’s Market Dominance Guys’ episode.
About Our Guest
Austin Finch is an in-demand podcast editor for Funnel Media Group. He is currently a senior at Beaverton High School in Beaverton, Oregon.
Full episode transcript below:
Chris Beall (01:22):
All right, so here we are with another episode of Market Dominance Guys and this is Chris Beall flying solo on my side today without my wingman that I normally am with, although we've flown solo a couple times each direction. Corey Frank is off gallivanting around in Greek Islands, or God knows what. I get a video from him every once in a while and wonder why he's there and I'm not there, but that's just the way it is.
And I'm here today with a very, very special guest, Austin Finch. And none of you know Austin probably, unless he's secretly more famous than he lets on. But Austin has actually been I think the most important member of the Market Dominance Guys team, because he's worked, not behind the camera, but in this business on the other side of the screen turning whatever junk Corey and I spew out of our mouths into those episodes that people have been saying nice things about. So Austin, welcome to Market Dominance Guys, funny thing to say to the guy who actually causes it to go from a bunch of raw stuff to finished production material.
Austin Finch (02:30):
Thank you for having me on the show.
Chris Beall (02:31):
Spectacular, what fun. We in the form of I, came up with this idea at lunch the other day in Portland. I got to ask a preliminary question though because the audience is going to be all over this question which is, Austin, so we have a bunch of grizzled business people on, and then we have some lovely business people on, and then we have even some fairly young business people like Tom Yang has been on so that's been interesting. But I have a feeling that you might be the youngest guest we've had in terms of chronological age, although I think in terms of perhaps wisdom and maturity, you got Corey and me both beat. I don't want to ask you your name unless you're comfortable spitting it out, but are you roughly speaking 50 years younger than me?
Austin Finch (03:15):
I don't know quite how old you are, but I'm sitting at 17 right now.
Chris Beall (03:20):
50 years it is. I got five decades on you. The audience can be stunned that I've learned so little in five decades, or you've learned so much in 1.7. But just an opening question, I've told people for a long time that you're the guy who makes our show real. Susan, your mom, says, "Cut it here, cut it there," and then you go and go way beyond cut it here, cut it there and turn it into something. When did you get started, because we're going to talk podcasting here for a while, a subject about which more than I. When did you get started editing podcasts?
Austin Finch (03:57):
In the summer of 2019, I had just bought a computer for the first time, a desktop computer and I was looking for jobs I could do at that age, which are pretty limited around here, almost everything wants you to be at least 16. And for years, since I was old enough to understand what she did, I'd always talked to my mom about what she did for work, or she'd asked me questions about, "Should I make this choice, or this choice?" And she goes up to me one day and she goes, "Well, do you have any interest in editing podcasts, that's the way a lot of people are getting interested in the business right now?" "Sure, I'll give it a shot." And she asked me what I'd want to do in terms of content and this one sounded interesting, because she said you guys were very knowledgeable and that your topic was cool and I'd have to agree. So it's been a little over three years.
Chris Beall (04:46):
Well, lucky three years for Corey of me, and for everybody in the audience who's been enjoying these podcasts. What was it like? That sounds like, "Hey Austin, here's a diving board and down there, somewhere, we're calling that a swimming pool. There's no water in it yet, but if you dive off we'll get some in before you hit." What was it like? Was it like, "Oh my God," or was it like, "Oh yeah I could do this while doing three other things?"
Austin Finch (05:10):
Well there's always that safety net of my boss being my mom, so she's not going to just fire me for no reason. So that's one plus. And then the other nice thing was that she would teach me all the tips and tricks as I was going along. So I was learning more about it. It wasn't just hopping into a software I'd never used, because the Adobe Suite is not exactly self-explanatory.
Chris Beall (05:34):
I will tell the folks at Adobe that. I have tried to learn a couple of Adobe products in my life and I have concluded that I'm a no-hoper when it comes to that stuff. I mean even the simple ones, they're just entirely beyond me. They seem to have a mental model that conflicts with my view of the world. Was that part challenging for you, or did you pick up the mental model of the... And what are you using? You're using the Adobe Creative Suite, is that what it's called?
Austin Finch (05:58):
Yeah, the Creative Cloud. I'm using Adobe Audition for all these.
Chris Beall (06:02):
I showed my age there.
Austin Finch (06:05):
I'm still learning something new every once in a while, but I feel like I've got most of the things I need for podcasts down.
Chris Beall (06:12):
So what's the routine part? So we get done with the podcast, like we're recording right now. I record it in Zoom into the cloud. Susan, your mom, read me the Riot Act 2, 3, 4 times about how I should set up the recording correctly so that the fidelity is good, and the sound is decent. I don't have a fancy setup here. I don't even have headphones. I probably do, but I think they're sitting on the window sill behind the piano in the Seattle house and we're down here in the Arizona house so you can only have so many of everything.
And I just talked to this here, Microsoft Surface Pro and I don't know, it seems to do an okay job with those array microphones it has on them. Maybe it's because it's got a couple of them and they got some distance between them. I don't know why it works so well, but I just record and then when I'm done there is a link that shows up and I send it off to Susan and copy a couple of people including Corey and my sister Shelly so that they can have it for some reason.
Then what happens in your shop?
Austin Finch (07:11):
Between Shelly and my mom, Susan, they read the transcript and Shelly makes an intro and then one of them gives me somewhere to break it, into two episodes or three, depending on how long it is. Sometimes only one. And beyond that it's pretty much just make their message clear and don't let them cough into the mic.
Chris Beall (07:34):
So what do you do about that? It sounds like there's an easy part with just, "Okay it goes from here to there." But then there's another part which is, "Okay, but it's got to be right," because Corey and I, God knows what we do. Whether they're drinking whiskey and doing all manner of things. So is there a part of it that's that's really challenging where it's like, "Oh my God guys did you have to do that?" And then you've got to figure out what to do.
Austin Finch (08:00):
The hardest part is to probably audio glitches and when two people are talking over each other and one says something that you really don't want to in the other one says something that if you take it out the sentence makes no sense. And what usually happens there is I have to take words from other parts of the file and piece them together by copy and pasting them, which you have to choose from the right area. So you end up with a completely different pitch or volume and it just sounds like you slammed a bunch of pieces together instead of repurpose them well.
Chris Beall (08:29):
I had no idea you did that. That's fascinating. So we should just spit out a bunch of words said in a sort reasonable way just in case. We should make a word library for you. Have you ever gone so far as to choose a word from a different podcast like something Corey or I said and go steal it from another episode entirely?
Austin Finch (08:49):
I've never had to do that, but maybe I should have a file of you guys reading the entire dictionary and I can just go grab him catalog perfectly when I need to.
Chris Beall (08:58):
The Oxford English dictionary. We might get Corey to do that. Corey has beautiful elocution. I think he speaks much better than I do. So I love listening to him and it's one of the reasons that I do this. Fascinating. So I didn't know you did that. That's really interesting. Do you do audio wave form trickery to go, "Oh well this was a little quieter and I don't like the way it sounds. I'm going to take it from here to there," and I'm here everybody who's not watching this on video and I'm going to turn a knob, it's a figurative knob, maybe it's an actual knob, I doubt it, and make it match up. Are you using your ear in order to blend stuff together?
Austin Finch (09:39):
Yeah, sometimes I'll pull up the graph of the frequency. So the normal one it just shows volume and then I'll also pull up the pitch under that. So I'll take out the low notes or something, to make it sound more like it was part of this sentence. Or maybe take out the high notes because someone got a notification on their computer. So it's a lot of that. And then sometimes I have to close my eyes, or turn my head away from the computer so I can't see the audio in front of me so I can only hear how it would hear to the audience.
Chris Beall (10:08):
Wow. Okay so hello does it take to do one of those, because they tend to drop the next day. We're always stunned. It's like your mom is going, "Come on Chris, get the recording to me, get the recording," because for those who don't know me, I tend to do things, Oh shall we say, when the opportunity arises. And so that's the polite way of saying it at the last minute. And so she would rather have a schedule that, or they're dropping on a regular basis, because audiences are used to that and so forth. You seem to turn these things quite quickly. How much time goes into making a 20, 25-minute episode from us yapping to something ready to go out the door with the bumper music on it, mom's intro and the commercials in it and all that good stuff.
Austin Finch (10:52):
Well I tend to edit when the opportunity arises as well. So I get where you're coming from. And it really depends a lot on what the subject matter is and who the guest is, because oftentimes a guest who have never been on a podcast before, or they have very little experience. So every once in a while you'll get a guest that's been on radio for 20 years and they speak perfectly and eloquently and sometimes you'll have a guest that's never had their voice recorded with you can't expect them to be doing perfectly. And the other thing is if it's a three-part episode, the first part will be worse than the second, which will be worse than the third, because you guys warm up to each other and you get more in the groove of that back and forth, especially getting past technological issues.
Chris Beall (11:34):
Oh that's really interesting. I hadn't thought about that, so that's really interesting. So as we get going we become more regular conversationalists and less the stilted scared bunnies that we are as we began episode 142 or whatever. But it is interesting, because the guests do need to get in the groove. I think Corey and I might start in a groove, but I'm not sure, maybe we don't, you would know, because how can we be objective about this? That is really, really interesting. So do you know anybody else's podcast? Your mom runs a podcasting company, so are you like the guy?
Austin Finch (12:12):
I'm not quite the guy but I have my two shows that I manage yours and the lovely Helen Fanucci.
Chris Beall (12:19):
Ooh yeah, lucky me. Lucky you too. We'll see what goes on with Helen's. Helen is not quite as enthusiastic a podcaster as I am. For me this comes completely naturally and while it shows that I never prepare, it turns out to be okay, I guess. She I think is more of a craftsman. She works at what she does, which is why she's so much more successful than I am, I think. Plus she's smarter and better looking and a whole bunch of other things. But I didn't know you did her show also, so that's pretty cool. Without saying anything too bad about Corey and me, just be gentle with us. But what do you see as of the differences between the two shows that you work on?
Austin Finch (12:59):
Well I thought it was really interesting to see when you had her as a guest here on Market Dominance Guys. It highlighted where hers is mainly an internal conversation and yours is a whole lot of external output things, in regard to business and sales. And hers is a lot more... It's called Love Your Team. It's a lot more about internal teams and how you manage those and it comes through in how you guys talk about other topics too, that hers is more focused on that aspect of it.
Chris Beall (13:28):
Yeah, it's really interesting. The distinction with regard to direction was one that I hadn't actually thought of until I ambushed her the other day and asked her to be a guest, because quite frankly your mom was putting a lot of pressure on me to get the show out and I said, "Hey Helen, want to be my guest?" She goes, "Yeah, sure." And so we just set up and did it and we do it from opposite ends of the house so we can't hear each other, which I think is pretty important, because as she says, I am really, really loud no matter how non-loud I try to be. And I just thought of that first question, second questions. We got past the bit where I asked whether it was true that she had something big happen in the summer. And for those of you who don't know, Helen Fanucci and I got married on July 2nd and then promptly went off on a long trip, a working trip, mostly working only nine weeks.
So I suddenly realize, my goodness, we've been talking about talking to customers and prospects for 140 whatever episodes and here's somebody who's coming and trumping all of that and saying, "Yeah, that's all nice. But a really important conversations are the ones you have with your team." And so here you are, somebody who's listened to in detail 60 hours, or something, taking you, you didn't answer the question of how long it takes, but I'm going to guess it takes an hour to put out 20 minutes, but maybe it takes two hours. I don't know.
Chris Beall (15:40):
You have like 150 to 200 hours of interacting with our material, which is all about out talking to customers, talking to customers, and suddenly here's this person who comes along saying she's not saying that's not where it's at. She's saying your team takes care of that. You need to take care of your team. Was that a surprise to you? I bet to a lot of people it would be. That would be a big difference. How'd you feel about that?
Austin Finch (16:04):
Well a lot of what I've learned about business, because I haven't really been in that scene at all, has been from you and Corey and all your esteemed guests. So then when I started editing Love Your Team, because that was so much newer, I hadn't even thought of it that way. It was a completely new perspective and I thought it was really interesting at how well you guys obviously get along with extremely different approaches to a similar topic.
Chris Beall (16:32):
It's interesting isn't it? That's good. Well I think that happens a lot in relationships. Our economic strategy is similar, we call it a dumbbell strategy. It's got a lot of weight [inaudible 00:16:42] not a lot in between. So she's a very successful executive who her earnings are commensurate with her responsibilities and I'm an entrepreneur who's basically hanging out on the edge looking for the big wins. And so I guess that can happen a lot. It's interesting to see that in the context of as you pointed out in business and in relationships.
So as you think about either one of those podcasts and you think about, okay, so you're, roughly speaking, 17. You've done well in your career already. You've got real work, you do real stuff, people esteem your work, in fact worship it. You've accumulated enough capital, I've heard, to get a two wheeled form of transportation that would scare the living daylights out of me, which I love the way you described it.
You can drive a car with one finger, but once you're on a motorcycle, you're on an animal, on a wild animal and you got at tame it. As I look at it, I think about our audience. I think our audience tends to be people who are probably kind of well along in their careers, not everybody, but kind of. But you seem to have benefited from listening to this stuff. But maybe you haven't, maybe it was like I'm stuck listening to junk, but would you think that, should we try to expand our audience to people in your demographic, or would they just go, "Yeah, I'm not. Austin, screw you guys, this stuff's not interesting." TikTok me up maybe.
Austin Finch (18:03):
I think as much as people want to easily lump a certain age group into that category, I think the vast majority of people I'm friends with and talk to would want something like this marketed towards them where they can actually learn about entering the workforce the right way. Not just going into a job that you don't care how it progresses your career. Because like you said, a lot of the people that listen to the podcasts and come on and share their thoughts are far into their careers and have done a lot of development. But it's also interesting to see the side of it of how did they get there? And not just in like, "I worked hard," in all that sense, but also what were the stumbles and the missteps on the way.
Chris Beall (18:48):
Well that's really interesting. I think you make me think about what Corey is doing down at Branch 49 from where I am up at Branch 49, I'm now down south of Tucson. So that's going on in Phoenix, where they actually do listen to Market Dominance Guys, it's part of the curriculum. I think it is at this part of Grand Canyon University, Branch 49, where they're learning by doing. But also there's classroom learning and there're books that they're reading and all that kind of stuff. I've given an impromptu guest lecture up there, which just means somebody got me in a room with people and didn't tell me to stop talking and seemed to me, and these people are just a little bit older than you. There may be two years, three years, four years older. It seems to me that among those people there's a great hunger and appetite to get real but also get underneath what's real, really know what's going on.
Not just do a job, because you're told to do it, but to understand it and not just progress like, "Oh I'm being promoted," but progress like, "Yeah, I get what's going on and I could go do this in another setting. I could go start my own business," that kind of thing. Is it just that old people, like people my age just don't remember, do you think? Or is it that they always are trying to figure out how to put younger people in a box so they can feel better about themselves? What do you think is going on there?
Austin Finch (20:05):
I think a lot of younger people, as soon as they're coming out of high school, like you said, they're looking for something more real. They've done years and years of, here's a textbook way to do this. And I'm not saying textbooks aren't valuable, but you need the hands on with it, because with that pair then you have real experience. And after you do years of textbook learning and reading about what other people have done, you want to get your hands dirty and really see what your capabilities are and what you're interested in, because it's hard to tell if you're just reading about other people doing it.
Chris Beall (20:39):
Yeah, man do I believe that. And somebody wants to ask me one evening in Des Moines, he was a guy that we were considering to be CEO of one of our branches at this company. It's called Finish Line Floors that I started with a couple of ladies in Des Moines, Iowa. And this wonderful guy, Rich Emery funded it out of his business. And here we are coming along and I'm in an interview with this guy that we think of hiring and he says, "Would you take me through your entire resume?" I looked at my watch, it's like, "Dude, it's 9:00, this bar shuts in two hours. I don't think we're going to pull this off." And when we got finished and it did take the full two hours, he said, "Why did you do all that stuff?" And I answered the exactly what you just said, which is, "How do you know what you're really going to love until you just try a whole bunch of things?" Because there's always positive surprises and negative surprises.
Like in this whole podcast editing thing, what's the biggest negative surprise? Do you sometimes just go, "Oh geez, do I have to do this? I'd rather do X, Y or Z." Or is there a piece of it that you've grown to hate over time, or do you just like it. You seem very adaptable to me. You make a point out of liking what you're doing, if I'm guessing correctly. How does that go in your world?
Austin Finch (21:55):
I don't know if I agree about always make it a point of liking what I'm doing. I'd say I'm pretty close-minded at things I don't enjoy. But I do genuinely like doing the podcast, because I feel like it's a type of media I rarely consume and I feel like I'm skilled at interpreting what people are saying even if they're not wording it in the form of a speech, or something super formal and presentable. So I really like being able to get their message across to anyone who would listen, whether they have that skill or not. So I think that's the cool part to me, is almost being a translator for a message.
Chris Beall (22:31):
I love it. I love it. And a message with ideas in it. I never would've described your job like that. So anybody's listening to this, I think it's often the case by the way, when somebody really is doing something that they've learned to do, that they know how to do, and that they love doing, it's often surprising what the actual job is if they were to describe it. I love that as a description of the podcast editing job as you're helping people who are just having a conversation, maybe they're nervous, maybe they're not used to this kind of speaking, they're a guest for the first time or whatever, but helping them get their message across.
I told people when they're a guest on Market Dominance Guys, before we hit record, I say, "Look, just relax. Austin's going to make us sound great." And I mean it, because it's hard to relax when you're being recorded. You want to make somebody sound horrible, just tell them they're being recorded and immediately they'll go into robot mode and sing-songy or God knows what. And so that's really interesting. So your job really isn't just cut it up and make it work, technically, so to speak. It's actually to listen and to have the finished product get the message across that you are hearing. So it's funny, the podcast is going in through your ears and coming out through your hands in a way.
Austin Finch (23:51):
Essentially, yeah. So I guess if I'm interpreting what you guys are saying wrong, it could go a completely different direction than what you had in mind.
Chris Beall (24:01):
I'm you blaming from now. "Oh, I'm not a total idiot. That's Austin's fault. He didn't get it. What I meant was..." No, I don't think that's going to happen. Well that's pretty interesting. Would you recommend this, or have you recommended this kind of thing, editing recorded media to anybody that is in your circle of friends? Does anybody else do it?
Austin Finch (24:23):
I don't know anyone else who does it. I don't know if it's for everyone, honestly. I think if I was editing podcasts of a subject I didn't find interesting, or people I didn't find interesting, I wouldn't really enjoy it. But I like you and Corey, and I like Helen, and I like all the guests you guys pick out. So it makes it a whole different story, because you're there in the conversation when you're able to hear the tone and all the different pauses and everything. It's totally different from reading the transcript, or a book of someone trying to summarize all their thoughts, because you hear all the little nuances of how you speak to other people that convey way more than just the words you're saying.
Chris Beall (25:03):
But that's interesting too. I really appreciate that, because all of Market Dominance Guys is actually about how to use the human voice, not the words so much. The words are part of the game, but the human voice in order to pave markets with trust and then harvest that trust at your leisure and completely dominate markets as a result. Only we hesitated to use that dominate word.
But the fact is it's a zero-sum game out there in business, especially when you have innovation that you're bringing to market. It's going to be you or somebody else. And now it's a race, who's going to be first to the finish line And the question is, "Well what's the magic?" And the magic is that point where somebody trusts you. And then what's the magic behind that? People ask me what's Market Dominance Guys about? I was just asked this the other day, I said, "It's about how we can dominate markets with the magic of the human voice." And what you've just said is, it is about the voices. It's about not just the words, it's not the beef jerky, it's the dripping stake with the blood still coming out of it.
Austin Finch (26:07):
I think that's another thing that I've learned throughout the few years I've been editing the podcast, is not only the importance of the way you speak. When I first started I didn't quite understand that some pauses needed to be long and some need to be short. I would just try and make it concise. And I've learned since then, because through listening to it and the experience of editing it, I feel like I've learned a lot about that language that's separate, completely from what you're actually saying.
Chris Beall (26:37):
They talk about that in music. That's really interesting. And when I was growing up, I had an opportunity to learn to play the piano. It was called, I took piano lessons because I had to, but I was very, very young. I was four and change when I started playing the piano. And what my second piano teacher really emphasized was the white space, was the pauses. And I've never gotten good at it, by the way. I think there's something very juvenile in my playing. But hey, and you heard me play for the wedding as far as I go. When I think about it though, with regard to holding conversations with people, the pauses, the hesitations, that moment when somebody's thinking before they speak, that thing that we do when we're not speaking ballistically, we're speaking thoughtfully. I think that conveys a lot. And I think a lot of people sort of don't get that.
They think you can squish it all down. And I object to, myself personally, I know some people love to do it. To listening to podcasts at one and a half or two times speed. To me it loses the feel of the thing better to me to spend the time and let your own mind and your own feelings flow along with the conversation, because if it took that long to say it, maybe it's okay if it takes that long to listen to it. In your case it probably takes twice as long, or more, because you have to do a bunch of stuff with it. But that's a really, really good point. So I got to ask, obviously you're not on camera doing this. Have you had any friends hang out with you while you were editing?
Austin Finch (28:09):
No, the extent of my audience has been, when I first started, my mom emails me the file for a episode and comes in and sits and watches me edit it. She goes, "I think you'll do all right." And that was a pretty quick trial. So for the last two and a half years, there hasn't been anybody keeping me in check, I guess.
Chris Beall (28:32):
Well you've been doing great. Where does this sort of thing lead? I'm not saying you should predict the future of your life, but I'm a huge believer in working real jobs when you're in your teens. And for me, a big part of my life was having a real job with real responsibility when I was 14. And the responsibility was taking care of a bunch of animals. It was a small, medium and large animals, if count horses as being large, and I thought they were. It was a display of all things. It was a marketing piece at Hall Craft Home in North Scottsdale. They set up these two model homes and said to my sister Cresta now, Cindy at the time, and I, "Would you like to take care of these animals?" And we're looking out and going, "Well what animals?" And they said, "Oh well you'll go and buy them and you'll get all the pens built," and you guys are experts this stuff, because you have so many animals, because we had horses and goats and this, that, and the other thing in a million dogs.
And I look back on that as the most important part of my career. That responsibility, and we were thrown into it just like you were. We were thrown into it. We weren't allowed to go and drive to all the way to wherever it was. It was actually south of Mesa in order to pick up a goat, because she was 15 and I was 16. You couldn't drive by yourself until you were 16. But the rest of it was just ours. And I still think of a long entrepreneurial career. Sometimes an executive at a real company, every once in a while I try to avoid, that it came back to that first job. And it's something that happens I think in your teens when you're working and it's real. Do you experience it that, because you're really responsible for this Market Dominance Guy's show. All we do is yap. You turn it into an actual finished media product that is out there now. If you Google it up, it's like everywhere, these things spread like crazy. What has it done for you, or to you, if anything, to take on this responsibility?
Austin Finch (30:36):
It definitely makes me consider more where a job will lead me than just what it is in the moment, because this one, I feel like I'm gaining a lot of experience both in the actual technical part of it and the computer software and all that. And of course the conversational knowledge and the business knowledge. But it makes me want to avoid any job that isn't going to give me a skill. And I understand that skills can be really different from what it seems like they're applicable for. But I don't want to do something that I worked the job for a year, go off to college and forget about it. It never impacts my career again.
Chris Beall (31:16):
Yeah, that makes sense. That really makes sense.
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