I hope that this celebration of the rotation of the calendar finds all PEL listeners/readers in good cheer, looking with unbridled optimism and hope at a vast array of positive opportunities in front of them. As it is customary to reflect upon the past and project into the future on this occasion, I propose to do just that and ask you to indulge me.
When Mark first contacted Wes and I almost two years ago with the idea for PEL, I said 'yeah, sure', thinking nothing would come of it, or at best, we'd struggle to do an episode in a couple of months and maybe it would work out, maybe it wouldn't. Instead, three weeks later we were recording the first of what would be 30 episodes (and counting). 30 doesn't sound like a lot in almost two years, but when you consider that we actually read the texts and prepare for each podcast, coordinate the schedules of three otherwise employed and occupied people, record around 3 hours of stuff per episode, edit out at least an hour and a half (usually), maintain a blog and try to respond to feedback - it's fucking amazing.
What's more amazing to me is that we've found an audience - you. If we were a business and someone had pitched this as a product, I guarantee you no one would have bought it.
Schmuck: OK, picture this. Three grad school dropouts from the most academic of academic fields (Philosophy), get together and talk about subjects that should be but aren't of interest to most people (identity, ontology, epistemology, ethics, mind, language, Being), trying to recreate an atmosphere almost no one ever experiences (post grad school seminar bullshitting) and -wait for it - each episode is easily longer than the attention span of most English speaking mortals.
Executive: STOP! You had me at "dropout".
There are a 1000 reasons why this shouldn't have worked, why someone else should have done it, how it could be better, how it could be more accessible, etc. But it does and we've done it - only because there are people out there - you - who enjoy it, are stimulated by it, share it with others, get engaged and maybe even inspired. If our listenership hadn't grown, if we hadn't thought anyone cared, I don't think we'd have had the energy to carry on. But here is our reality: the PEL site gets over 300 hits a day, we've had around 75,000 since we put it up. Our episodes have been downloaded over 100,000 times!
Surely some of those stats are bloated, but if even a small % of folks that download actually listen to and get something out of the podcasts, it's significant to me. But I'm curious and I want to know more. So in this new year I want to ask for something from you - tell us why PEL matters. The reality is that we don't know how many people listen, why they listen, what kind of backgrounds they have, what they like from us and what they want to see changed, etc. We've talked about doing a survey, and maybe we will, but for now I'd love to get some feedback in the comments to this post from folks. Share a bit about you and why PEL makes a difference (or not) in your life. It's my New Year's wish and I would be extremely thankful.