Dan Mall on The Businessology Show

Dan Mall and Jason Blumer have started a new podcast about the business of running a design practice

.net: What inspired you to start The Businessology Show?
DM: While talking to my CPA [certified public accountant] and co-host Jason Blumer, we both realised that there's a huge desire for people to learn more about how to effectively run their design practices. People tend to think about business as a scientific process with hard and fast rules. It's certainly not; it's as much an art form, a skill that requires practice and trial and error to make sure you're providing the most value to your clients and charging for it. Jason and I both have a passion for evangelising that, and The Businessology Show seems like a great opportunity to do so.

.net: Tell us a bit about your business background and that of your co-host.
DM: I'm a designer by trade, but have always been involved in the business aspect of what we did at every agency I worked with and for. I was the nerd who read through the boring statements of work and master service agreements to make sure I understood what we were promising. Now that I have my own design studio, I can take that knowledge to make sure I'm providing excellent service at a premium.

Jason's done some pretty awesome things in the accounting industry. Over the last few years, he's converted his CPA firm to a remote one and decided to focus specifically on creative people, and augmented his services with creative coaching courses. All pretty radical for an accountant, if you ask me.

We talk about our backgrounds in a little more depth in our pilot episode.

.net: Launching podcasts seems to be quite a trend at the moment! What do you see as the big advantages of the format?
DM: One of the great things about podcasts is the ability to engage with it as passively or actively as you'd like. They can serve as background noise or a very compelling production. You can listen while driving, eating, or even working. That's very different from, say, reading a blog post or a book. I love having the ability to use this form of communication to hopefully help enrich people's lives.

.net: Andy Clarke and Anna Debenham have also recently launched a business podcast, so they've seen the same demand at the same time. Why is it such a hot topic?
DM: Yes! I'm so glad to see that there are a lot of people who think this topic is important. Unfinished Business by Andy Clarke and Anna Debenham and BizCraft by Gene Crawford and Carl Smith are just two great examples of that. Our industry has always been willing and eager to share tips and tricks of our craft. We publish Photoshop tutorials. We comment our code for others to read and learn from. We speak at conferences and give our "competitors" inside-looks at our process, failures, and successes. I think we all grew up and realised we helped each get good at craft, but we never really spoke much about what that means in a larger community of landing the business that allows us to hone that craft. I think it's time that changes, and I'm glad to see others feel the same way.

.net: What's the difference between yours and the other design business ones?
DM: I can't really speak for other podcasts, but The Businessology Show will specifically be focused on topics that we think people want to hear about. We'll probably steer away from interviewing guests and more towards addressing issues at hand. Jason and I aren't big on banter, so our shows will tend to be meaty and packed full of content. We tend to choose topics first that people want to hear about and then find guests that would be great in that conversation, as opposed to the way around.

.net: Can you give us a sneak-peak at what we can expect from upcoming episodes?
DM: Sure! We just had Ben Blumenfeld (of the Designer Fund and formerly from Facebook) on the last episode, talking about startups, equity for designers, and getting funded. Next up, we'll have Tim Wiliams, author of Positioning for Professionals, talking about positioning strategies and how to distinguish yourself from your competition. We've got a list of a lot of great people, not to mention shows that will just be Jason and me. I'm excited for where the show will go!