IN THE HEADING "COMMUNICATIONS" WE TELL ABOUT WOMENwho came up with a common cause and achieved success in it. And at the same time we expose the myth that girls are not capable of friendly feelings, but can only compete aggressively. Today our heroines are journalist and producer Lika Kremer and journalist and writer Yekaterina Krongauz, who launched the Either / Either podcast studio. The company will release its own projects and work in partnership with other organizations and media. We asked the creators of "Either / Either" about their project, their friendship history and their love for audio stories.
About the first and second acquaintance
Catherine: Lika and I met several times. The first was in 2000 or 2001. Then I got a job on an advertisement on the job.ru website - I came to the interprogram broadcasting department of the Russia TV channel to make announcements for programs. We filmed an announcement for the TV show "Private Life", which Lika hosted together with Vladimir Molchanov. It was on Tverskaya in some expensive cafe - the idea was that the presenters were talking in a cafe, and they were filmed through the glass. In general, some kind of dregs.
Lika: Before filming, Katya helped me change into some very expensive costume in the gateway.
Catherine: But in fact, this was not the beginning of our acquaintance - after this incident we did not communicate for many years. Once more we crossed paths at work in 2008, when Lika worked for the Snob magazine. But in 2016, when Lika came to Meduza, we really got to know each other, much closer.
Lika: At first it was not easy - we constantly quarreled and got irritated at each other.
Catherine: We just had a very different approach to work. Lika believes that you need to constantly do something and deliver a product. When you come to work, please, show some result in half an hour. And I like to sit, comprehend, think about how best to do it. I believe that you don't have to be a workaholic to do a job well and to have meaning in it.
Lika: But in the end, we understood everything about our disagreements and learned to use them to work together. This is how I usually describe our interaction: we are like a submachine gunner and a gunner. I am an excellent bullet without stopping, and Katya tells me where to shoot.
Catherine: Each of us has our own superpower, and if you apply and direct them correctly, you get movement. Today we no longer argue about who is doing what wrong: both of our abilities are important for the cause. In addition, we both really want to make a cool project, and this is the main thing now. Then, when we come to the result, we can wave our hands and figure out which of us was right and who was wrong.
How the podcast studio came to be
Lika: I have been fond of podcasts for a long time, I was in charge of podcasts at Meduza and hosted a telegram channel about them. About six months ago, when I was still working at Meduza, my colleague Sasha Polivanov wrote a script for a cartoon - it was a native advertisement for a banking service for startups. There was a heroine in the script - I think Olesya. She dreamed of opening a podcast studio, but she was afraid that she would not have enough experience. Polivanov said: "Lika, this is about you." Before that, it had never occurred to me that I could open my own studio. But then I thought.
Catherine: Lika and I started making podcasts together at Meduza, and it turned out that we were good at it. We managed to do two seasons of the podcasts "A Case of Chance" and "How to Live". But then it turned out that they were closed, and I stopped working at Meduza. On December 26, 2018, my family and I returned from Riga to Moscow. We were not here for four years, it was not clear what to do next, where to work. It was a very strange condition.
Lika: I also ended up in Moscow - I flew in to celebrate the New Year. Well, then it turned out: as you celebrate the New Year, you will spend it.
Catherine: Lika invited us to work a little.This is her position in life: in any incomprehensible situation - work. We recorded the first episode of the podcast "It Happened" - it was a sequel to "Case of Chance" - and published it on the evening of December 31st.
Lika: It turned out that not everyone likes to work on holidays, as I do. iTunes was on vacation and we were unable to upload the podcast. So they just posted it on iCloud and gave a link.
Catherine: I also had the idea a long time ago for a podcast with presenter kids. In February, we launched The Dog Ate Diary. And then we got an investor, and it became obvious that we had started our own business and the process was already in full swing, we just did not immediately realize it. This usually happens: you plunge headlong into the business, and then suddenly you realize that you have a startup.
Lika: We were not looking for an investment. Once entrepreneur Lev Leviev called me for advice. He said he wants to make a podcast platform. I told him everything I think about the future of podcasts, that technology without content won't do anything. First, you need to come up with interesting stories and develop the market. And no one needs a platform with nothing to listen to. Leviev listened and invited me to draw up a business plan.
About the name
Lika: For a month I consulted with everyone, consulted, figured out how to draw up a business plan. When it was finally ready, we realized that we had no name. It was such a moment in my life when I was faced with the need to make decisions, to choose. And also my telegram channel is called Let it be square. I began to twist it this way and that, cut it. The abbreviation turned out to be "libs". And this feeling of choice and the strange word "libs" formed in "Either / Either". Plus, I use this construction a lot. When I offered Katya such a name, she replied: "We need to think about it." And then she wrote: "No, I don't like it at all." We agreed to call and brainstorm together. I came up with about seven more options and was sure that I would have to defend them in front of Katya, and it is very difficult to argue with her. And so, we call each other, and Katya says: “Okay. Let it be Either / Either."
About the life of startups
Catherine: I already have experience in entrepreneurship - a service for finding babysitters Kidsout. He taught me a very important thing: you need an office to work. People should sit in one place, communicate. When everyone is in different places, it is very difficult to do something. Now we do not have premises yet, we are recording podcasts in Lika's apartment. We all get together for planning meetings on Mondays and Thursdays: everyone tells what stage his projects are at, what the difficulties are. There are also separate briefings from partners and meetings at which we present ideas to each other. Our team has an editor-in-chief, two sound engineers and a project coordinator.
Lika: The team assembled magically. For example, our sound engineer Ildar once wrote to us: “Hi, you have a cool podcast, but the sound is not very good. May I help you? " So he stayed with us to work. Polina is a project coordinator. She interviewed me about podcasts for her thesis. I really liked her questions, it was interesting to talk to her, and I invited Polina to join us. Someone prefers to work mainly with friends and acquaintances, but there are many new people in the team with us. But not only. For example, editor-in-chief Andrey Borzenko is my godfather.
Katya: After all, we have already discussed our own ideas with friends a hundred times, we all know each other well and know what can come into our heads. It is interesting to invite new people to work, to hear unexpected ideas.
Lika: If all goes well, we will move from the apartment to a real office in July. We want to make our own recording studio, a place of power. A lot of our colleagues make cool podcasts but have to record at home. Now they will be able to come to us. We are now discussing in detail what our studio will be like.
Catherine: Recently, we almost quarreled over the length of the sofa.
Lika: Yes, I believe that it should be at least two and a half meters.
Lika: I think we loved podcasts at the same time. Around 2010-2011, they became wildly popular in America. My colleague Masha Gessen told me that Slate makes cool podcasts, and I started listening to them. In one of them, three editorial staff members shared their impressions of trends and everything new in general, discussed what they themselves write about. For example, once the theme of a release was the intonation of hashtags on Twitter. I listened and a lot of new ideas came to my mind. There was also the podcast The Double X Gabfest - they discussed gender, sexuality, ethics. It was like a Wonderzine audio.
Catherine: And I listened to Savage Lovecast. The host was there - Dan Savage. The listeners called him, and in such a cheeky manner he gave them advice in the style: “You are a fool, he’s not a match for you,” or “Never mind your parents, everything will pass”. And in 2008, the Russian publishing house Pink Giraffe launched the Pocket Scientist podcast. In it, children asked questions: why is the sky blue, why, when sad, tears flow? And the science journalist Ilya Kolmanovsky answered them. It was a great podcast, well ahead of its time.
Lika: There are already many podcasts in Russia now, but more often than not they are conversational - like talk shows. We set ourselves the task of starting to make other formats as well.
Catherine: After all, there are, for example, investigative podcasts. There are script twists in them, the listener remains tense all the time. I love the story of Oliver Sipple from the Radiolab podcast. It all starts with an elderly woman who goes to kill the president: here she is going, takes the child to school, parks, goes out to the square, pulls out a pistol. Then this Sipple rushes at her. He saves the president and becomes a national hero. And at night a man calls the newspaper and says that Sipple is gay. Then his life collapses.
Lika: His relatives turn away from him, he writes a letter to the president and asks to help him, but does not receive an answer. It all started with this letter: the journalists discovered it and decided to conduct an investigation - to restore Sipple's story.
Lika: I don't think podcasts are a hobby of the day. People have become accustomed to choosing what to watch and listen to. We connect streaming TV, choose a series and watch it whenever we want. Television switched to such a scheme, and after it radio is also moving - this is not a tribute to fashion, but a natural process. Soon the podcast market will become more developed and a solid niche will be formed. This is a very relevant way to consume media. A lot of information falls on us, and all media claim our eyes: texts, videos, push notifications. We cannot perceive visually any more. But our ears are free. People want to isolate themselves from the hustle and bustle, sounds, go into their world. At the same time, people practically live in headphones. I saw statistics somewhere: 17% of AirPods owners have had sex in them at least once.
Catherine: Once we rode the subway and looked at other passengers. But now everyone wants to take a break, to isolate themselves. Create a capsule around you that no one can fit into. The podcast is part of the capsule, no one can overhear what's in your headphones. You listen to your own, what you have chosen yourself. This is not a traditional radio that broadcasts to everyone. On a longread, people spend about five minutes - run over it with their eyes and close it. But podcasts run for half an hour or forty minutes, and 70-80 percent listen to them.
Lika: The texts are clicked more often. But they are often closed. By including a podcast, a person makes a more informed choice. And often remains true to this choice.
Catherine: So we spend a lot of time with our listeners and it is as if we are becoming close friends to them.
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