Green Element Weekly Podcast Interview with Woon Tan, Founder of Podcast Publishing  

Woon Tan, founder of Podcast Publishing shares his journey from insurance into sustainability and podcasting. Podcast publishing helps impact business share their message by launching and growing their podcasts. In this episode, Woon also talks about the Malaysian sustainability scene.

Highlights:

  • Why podcasting is growing
  • How to get started in podcasting
  • Woon’s career from insurance into sustainability
  • Are all financial companies as bad as everyone thinks
  • Advise on getting involved in an impact career
  • Influencing change using podcasts
  • Sustainability, climate change and environmentalism in Malaysia

Useful link:

Podcast Publishing

Full Transcript:

[00:02] Will: Hi Woon, brilliant. Thank you so much for joining the Green Element podcast. I’m really looking forward to learning more about your business and what it is that you’re doing. And obviously, I know that you help companies with podcasting, which is becoming more and more important, as we carry on. And I think it’s a really good way to introduce subjects and etc., you know, my thoughts on that, and you’re helping highlights areas of improvement for people, you’re helping them with that quality control, sound issues etc. And, I mean, we’ve now been working together for the last six weeks or so. And but you tend to only work with purpose driven businesses, sustainable businesses, and it’d be great to explore that, and explore what it is that you’ve learned, and how, and the journey that you’ve been on, and what’s taken you through that as well and trying to understand a bit more about who you are, and where you’re from as well. So, welcome to the podcast, thank you.

[01:10] Woon: Yeah, thank you for having me Will. And yeah, it’s been great working with you. And yes, I basically help impact entrepreneurs set up and launch their podcast, and really, my purpose is to help share their message and sort of accelerate the impact that you guys bring to the world. So, yeah, so, what we do, we sort of work with you guys so that you can just sort of focus on the content, you just send me the audio files and I take care of the rest. And, like you say, I work really with, impact entrepreneurs, and that’s been my focus. And yeah, so, any, you know, any particular angle you need to sort of elaborate on.

[02:12] Will: Yeah, that’s pretty, I mean you’ve been, just having you on board and having you, I’ve mentioned a few times the Sunday night feeling no longer has dread, and I quite enjoy Sunday nights now, it’s so much nicer than it was before. And its splint to have something like that in the running in the background, and also to help have the inputs as well, and your networks. Your network is really important because you help a number of different podcasts, podcasters, or podcastees anyway, whatever, you have a number of podcasters with their podcast.  And you’ve networked us in to talk to people and it’s been really interesting listening to who you work with, and what you work with, and see, what kind of drives you to work with purpose driven businesses and like why would you not– So, if a fossil fuel company came along, would you say to them yeah, no, I’m not going to work with you or, you know, what drives you through that and why? 

[03:27] Woon: I mean, I think, I have been quite curious to learn more about this sort of space of making a difference in the world. And I think doing the podcast in itself is inspiring to me, because I get to listen to all these amazing stories. And most of the time, the podcasters are doing, sort of, interviews, then and so, I get to learn through the conversations that people are having. And I think that, you know, it’s good to be, it’s a good feeling to be, sort of, working on things that are actually making the world a better place. So, you know, I mean, just to give you a bit of my background, my background is actually in insurance, and I was working for a bank for 10 years ago, and I’ve been doing that for 10 years. 

[04:28] Woon: And I started my own podcast about four years ago, where I interviewed the founders in environmental sustainability, tech companies in London, and I realized how useful podcasting was as a tool to, sort of, grow your personal brand, but also to learn more about what’s happening in the world. And that itself was what really gave me a lot of hope, and really inspired me to go on this journey. And since then, my previous role, prior to founding podcast publishing, is, I was a community manager for a co-working space called Sustainable Workspaces, and I was organizing events in networking, instead of really helping people to collaborate in this space, and I realized that there was a big opportunity in podcasting. And so, I started this company to help people set up and run their podcast more efficiently.

[05:33] Will: Okay, so, working for a bank, did that change your life for you? And was it just like, oh, my God, I can’t do this anymore? Or was it, what was your tipping point? Was it– You grew up in Malaysia, didn’t you? And so, was its stuff that happened when you were growing up? Or what was your tipping points, what made you turn into a more sustainable human being?

[06:06] Woon: I mean, I think there wasn’t any particular one tipping point. But I definitely saw a lot of things that I didn’t enjoy while working in the bank. So, I was studying to qualify as an Actuary, and it was a very technical, very unethical environment, which I knew I wasn’t in, I wasn’t that type of person. And also, I found it, I found I just needed a lot more people interaction, and more, sort of creativity in the role that I was doing. And that got me sort of, to explore what sort of options there were. And I think just working, so, I was working in insurance, and I was actually working, I was doing pricing of home and motor insurance. And so, I was actually seeing a lot of you know, weather events, extreme weather events. And obviously, this was linked directly to climate change and global warming. 

[07:09] Woon: And it really got me thinking, and I was seeing how the insurance industry was always helpless in trying to affect change in this space. And in so, I, as you know, seeing all these opportunities happening, in terms of, where things need to be moving towards, what it’s sort of, you know, being more sustainable, in terms of being more circular, being more, using more clean energy. I think that, sort of, got me realize that there’s this massive wave of movement that is growing and I thought I should be part of this. That was my, sort of, that was the point where I realized like, you know, if I get the opportunity to leave my previous career and that I wanted to go into sustainability. 

[08:08] Will: Okay, are all insurance and are all financial companies as bad as everyone? Am I allowed to ask you that?

[08:22] Woon: Well, I mean, personally, I think the financial service sector serves a very important role. And, without finance, you know, the whole monetary system wouldn’t work. And, you know, there’s so much that happens that depends on money flowing. And also, things like insurance, you know, without insurance with the sort of modern financial system wouldn’t possibly, you know, come into existence. And so, it definitely helps having the finance sector do what it does, but it needs massive change. Especially moving towards more, sort of, environmental, more sustainable, more sort of conscious capital, things like impact investing, those sorts of new areas where finance needs to move towards, I think it’s the exciting place of where the industry is heading.

[09:31Will: And how do you think you can influence change through what it is that you’re doing? 

[09:36] Woon: Yeah, so, I mean, I love doing podcasting because it’s just good to be, you know, listening to all these amazing stories to be inspired by it. But I think really, because podcasting is such a growing medium, form of medium, what I can see is that, where the internet is heading is definitely heading towards more voice and more audio content. So, you know, just to give you an idea, this car needs, something like less than 700,000 podcasts, and bought 50 million YouTube channels, and 550 million Blog posts. 

[10:19] Will: Wow. 

[10:21] Woon: So, for every podcast that’s 70 YouTube channels and 700 Blog posts. And so, we’re still really at the early stage of where podcasting is, and if you look at the number of audiences, the number of listeners, it’s increasing by day, and the level of engagement on podcast is also increasing. So, just the growth of this medium itself means that the opportunity is huge, and the ability to influence change using this medium is enormous.

[10:52] Will: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, some of the podcast and we were chatting earlier on this week, woken confused, we’re on a sustainability group, which is how we met each other, and working confused on the same thing. And it’s just, genius, it’s brilliant. I mean, I love the podcast, and I’ve done two episodes so far. And there are also many good podcasts that you’re able to explore, you know, where, and stuff to do, and anything as well. And it will only get better, won’t it? I mean, if you’re, I’m started listening to the guy who set up LinkedIn. 

[11:29] Woon: Oh yes.

[11:30] Will: He’s got a podcast list, it’s interesting, listening to him. And you know, you listen to your own interests, as well. And then you’ve seen some of the most theatrical podcast that was one, or as a play on Brexit, where it was all about capital punishment, or what it was called. But there’s some brilliant podcasts out there, aren’t there? That, you know, that are for free, it’s just free entertainment, it’s awesome.

[12:00] Woon: Yeah, I think so, I think it’s a massively, it is a growing medium, the diversity of content is also increasing. And that’s actually very exciting.

[12:14] Will: I do remember typing environment, one of the reasons why I started this podcast was I was typing environment on a regular basis, and not finding anything in particular that words was saying, there’s this stuff going on and you can learn from it. And I guess it accentuates the points that you’re making. Interestingly, I wonder if someone will listen to ours and go, I could do a better job and they’ll do a better job and then you know, because and that’s how everyone gets better, isn’t it? By listening to what other people are doing, I know what they’re doing, but I can do it better.

[12:52Woon: Yes.

[12:52] Will: Not to say, but just make us get better. 

[12:57] Woon: Yeah. I mean, especially with podcasting, the, you know, the likes of Google, it, they are very British with podcasting. And Google is starting to index audio content that’s out there. Which means that every time you do a search on Google, in the future, the podcast itself, will show up so that itself is a really important trend to be aware of. And especially with things like smart speakers, Google Home, and Amazon alike, it’s all voice poet. And so, the trend is just going to keep growing.

[13:39] Will: Interesting, so, how do you think our listeners can get started and

how do you think they can sustain? What sort of things could you learned through your podcasting and listening to people? What sort of big things do you think people can do?

[14:01] Woon: I mean, I think with podcasting, it’s such a sort of democratic platform that anyone can start a podcast. And I think, you know, working in this space in sustainability in this impact space, it’s, I think, if you feel that you have a good message, and you have a good sort of story to tell, I think you should start doing a podcast. And also, with podcasting, you don’t need to be famous before you start. Your kind of just need to start, and anyone, most people are sort of willing to be interviewed and most people who was doing something important, recognize that, you know, being interviewed on a podcast is a really powerful way to connect with an audience. So, you know, just getting some sort of audio equipment in, start recording the show, getting it uploaded, and then promoting that show. That’s kind of the steps to how to get your podcast up and running.

[15:11] Will: So, just doing it, just basically doing it, without thinking rather than thinking about it too much, procrastinating for months and years and then never getting around to doing it.

[15:20] Woon: I think so, I think the, you know, we’re still at this stage where you know, it’s easier to procrastinate and, you know, there might be some sort of challenges around getting the best audio equipment or getting the best guests or getting your show perfect, but the sooner you start, the easier it becomes. That’s what I find.

[15:48] Will: And we, do you think, and this is slightly off topic as it were, but you’re from you’re from Malaysia, and do you think that you can see a difference between two countries? You know, you’re in a really lucky position where you live in the UK, and you go back to visit friends and family in Malaysia. Is there a massive difference between the countries on the thoughts behind climate change and sustainability and what you’re seeing with how people are addressing it? Or, you know, what are your thoughts on that? 

[16:26] Woon: I think people are becoming aware of it in Malaysia, and I think there still needs a lot of education to happen. I definitely think from a sort of business point of view, definitely certain types of businesses in the more sort of basic circular economy. Businesses are appearing, I mean, Malaysia is a tropical country. It’s, you know, right in the middle of the equator. So, it is definitely getting a lot of sunlight but it’s not, you know, renewable energy is still really very new.

[17:07] Will: Right. 

[17:08] Woon: And it’s, it means historically it’s an oil country. And if you look back at the way the country has developed, it’s one of the earliest Southeast Asian countries that sort of industrialized. And so, as the you know, as we move to sort of industrialization, Malaysia as a country went into having lots of rubber plantation and so it rode the wave of the growth of the automobile industry. And when palm oil was discovered to be so useful and a lot of the timber, you know, the rain forests were cut down and turned into palm oil, instead plantation, and that itself was a massive growth for the country. But we all know that it’s been it’s such a big issue, in terms of the loss of biodiversity in the rain forests in Malaysia on the islands of Borneo.

[18:15] Woon: And so, I think people are becoming aware of it. And definitely, it’s been difficult for local Malaysians to create change from within, and partly because of the economy. So, entangled in this system. And I think, also partly driven by corruption. So, a lot of the sort of local authorities is tied into this and the rich and powerful is sort of tied into this system. So, it’s difficult to change, so, it’s very similar to the UK in the sense like this, there’s a lot of vested interest, that is keeping things the same. But, definitely, Malaysia is a very young population, and a very highly educated population. So, people are aware of what needs to happen. And I think this is it, yeah, I’m actually very hopeful of what’s going to happen in Malaysia. 

[19:25] Will: And do you see, you know I’ve been seeing in our media a lot, and at the moment, which is brilliant, because it, we, I think we’re going through a massive peak at the moment of how much the environment climate change, sustainability, etc, is going through the media, do you see that as well? Do you see that in newspapers, on TV, the radio?

[19:47] Woon: I mean, to be honest, I kind of can’t give you a good answer on that, because I’m not paying as much attention to that.

[19:53] Will: Yeah.

[19:55] Woon: And but, I think in terms of innovation, things are happening.

[20:00Will: Okay, so, what’s the one thing that you’d like the people listening to this podcast, our listeners, to do after this podcast? What would you like to see them do?

[20:17] Woon: Yeah, I mean, I think there are two things I was going to say. So, one of them is that if you enjoyed this podcast, or if you enjoyed this, the Green Element podcast, please do let someone else know about it, please share the content.

[20:33] Will: I wasn’t expecting that, but yeah, that’s cool. Thank you. 

[20:36] Woon: And, yeah, I guess the other thing is that, you know, if you’re interested in getting involved in this growing sector, just get involved, you know, get a job in this space, speak to someone who’s working in this sector. You know, if you’re working in a big company, try and find out how you can green up your company. You know, if you’re thinking of doing a podcast in this, you know, in tech space, you know, speak to me. You know, I think there’s plenty of opportunities out there. I would say that, you know, if you’re doing something that is not purpose driven, I think it’s good just to sort of, you know, take a step back and think about what you know, what you’re doing instead of, take some sort of baby steps towards what drives your mind, what, sort of, is more purpose driven. 

[21:43] Will: Yeah, good points, really good points. And I’m actually on that note, if people do want to get in the contact me, I’m really happy to speak to anyone that wants to get into the environmental sector, because I think the more driven people are, and the more people are that want to get in and do it, it is from all parts of business as well. It’s really important that, to not just have sustainability professionals. In fact, I mean, you know, you want actress, you want to have accountants, you want to have lawyers, you want to have so many different types of people understanding sustainability in their sector, because that’s how we can drive change and move things forward. So, I guess–

[22:31] Woon: Yeah.

[22:33] Will: Brilliant, well, thank you so much for talking to me today. And, yeah, it’s great, really good talking to you. Thank you. 

[22:40] Woon: Awesome. I really enjoy it, thank you Will.

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