After months of talking about “doing something with audio,” we finally used the SpaceX post as an excuse to actually try something. A few days ago, I asked readers on Facebook what kind of audio they’d like to hear regarding the SpaceX post. There were two clear answers:
1) People who hadn’t read the post yet wanted an audiobook-esque verbatim audio version of the post.
2) People who had read the post preferred to hear a podcast-esque discussion about the post and about the topic.
So we decided to try both. We’re not starting an official podcast yet—just using this as an opportunity to get a couple audio experiments under our belt and hear some feedback from readers about them. Here’s what we tried:
1) An audio version of the SpaceX post, painstakingly read by me.
I have a new respect for audiobooks. It turns out that narrating a piece of writing is grueling as fuck. But simultaneously kind of fun. The post is 40,000 words, and the recording ended up clocking in at 3 hours and 43 minutes. I split it up into five parts that mirror the five pages of the written post. I also created a merged version for anyone who just wants to deal with one file.
This is for people who haven’t read the post yet and would prefer to consume it by audio, or for people who read the post and liked it enough to get into it twice.
It’s a totally unabridged verbatim version, other than the blue circle footnotes, which I left out, and the images, which I described in my own words when they were critical for understanding the post and left out otherwise.
Word of warning: I spend a solid 12 minutes at the beginning of this rambling through a bunch of preliminary stuff about the recording and reading the pre-post note that’s part of the written post—if that sounds uninteresting and you want to jump straight to the beginning of the actual post, start at 11:57.
Here’s the whole thing as one file:
And here it is in parts:
1) Part 1: The Story of Humans and Space
2) Part 2: Musk’s Mission
3) Part 3: Colonize Mars—Phase 1
4) Part 3: Colonize Mars—Phase 2
5) Part 3: Colonize Mars—Phase 3
2) Andrew interviewing me about the SpaceX post.
As Andrew and I discussed what would be best to do here, we decided that Andrew interviewing me would be a good way to draw out some of the interesting behind-the-scenes info from the SpaceX post. In what turned into a 90-minute discussion, we get into a lot of topics, including the process of researching and writing the SpaceX post, the experience of working with Elon Musk through the process, a bunch of stuff about Mars and how colonization actually might work, the SpaceX internet satellite project, mass extinction events and why they suck, the best toys to take to the International Space Station, why I think it’s fine never to exercise.
It’s kind of an interview, kind of a discussion, kind of me going on long monologues, kind of on topic but kind of not. Yeah.
The bad news about doing all of this is that procrastinating on doing it took time, and then actually doing it took time, and coupled with me moving apartments last week, it has delayed the next post, which I’m starting working on now. The good news is that doing these made audio seem a lot less icky/daunting and paved the road for more of it to come.
If you listen to either or both of these things, we’d love to hear what you think.
Also, in case you missed it, you can buy a fancy PDF of the SpaceX post here.