How the Naval Podcast Team Distills Hour-Long Conversations Into Four-Minute Episodes

September 16, 2019

Babak Nivi agreed to let us peek behind the scenes at the process for turning one free-flowing conversation into many short episodes of the Naval Podcast. Here’s how they do it:

The team
Naval Ravikant (@naval) is the CEO and co-founder of AngelList and Babak Nivi is the co-founder of AngelList and Venture Hacks. Together they create the Naval Podcast.    

Their work
The podcast delivers nuggets of wisdom in very short one- to four-minute episodes.

Their process
Edit an hour-long conversation into succinct, thought-provoking ideas on a single topic.

Start with a rough outline and a mic

The creative concept behind the podcast series is a conversation between Naval and Nivi, where the two talk about new ideas on success, wealth creation, investing, and much more. “Our podcasts are short and information-rich, with no ads and no guests. We’re trying to make timeless material that is customer focused,” says Nivi.

“Every podcast recording session starts out with a rough outline and then we use our intuition to guide the conversation.” For one recording session, Naval’s popular tweetstorm How to Get Rich (without getting lucky) served as the outline. Using one microphone, the two usually record about an hour’s worth of discussion. Nivi says that the duo almost never has to do multiple takes. 

Naval and Nivi used this tweetstorm as a recording outline

Edit heavily for succinct episodes 

After the recording session, Nivi and his team uses Descript to break the hour of audio into 10–15 episodes, each of them about two to three minutes long. To create the topical episodes, Nivi pulls from different parts of the interview as needed, rather than adhering to the original chronology of the conversation. “Descript makes this process pretty easy,” says Nivi.

“I couldn’t do it without Descript.” — Babak Nivi

Next, Nivi removes filler words and other irrelevant content. “Each podcast is heavily edited to keep it fast-paced and interesting,” says Nivi. 

Picture 2
Editing the Naval Podcast in Descript

Once Naval and Nivi are happy with the episode in Descript, it’s exported to ProTools for final clean up by a sound engineer. 

Publish the audio and the text

With the audio editing done, the team then edits the text. A copyeditor polishes the transcript, and the text interview is published in addition to the podcast. The team supporting the Naval Podcast (Jason Sanderson and Russ Rizzo) use the transcript as captions in short Twitter videos

The corrected transcript is published in addition to the podcast

According to Nivi, the Naval Podcast-style of digestible concision depends on their editing approach. “Our style of podcasting and editing wouldn’t be possible without Descript,” says Nivi. 

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