Podcasting for a Brighter Future, with Nico Johnson, Founder of SunCast Media
Podcasting for a Brighter Future.
Welcome to another episode of The Solar Podcast. Today Dave is talking with the one and only Nico Johnson, accomplished producer, podcaster and founder of SunCast Media. Join us as they discuss the world of solar entrepreneurship and explore topics such as the Inflation Reduction Act's impact and Nico's journey of growing SunCast Media into a platform with over 600 episodes, and three quarters of a million downloads. Let's get right into it on The Solar Podcast.
All right, welcome back. We're thrilled to welcome Nico Johnson to this episode of The Solar Podcast. Nico Johnson, I'm thrilled to have you on. Most people that listen to the podcast are going to know who you are and have consumed some amount of your content, but he's a business coach. He's the owner of SunCast Media. He's a producer. He is obviously a, I would call it world famous podcaster. He's putting out two podcasts every week. He has thousands of listeners, with close to half a million downloads. He's also an entrepreneur himself, something that I'm actually passionate about, and obviously we're going to talk about that, starting his own solar startup back in 2006.
He's got over two decades of experience in renewables, specifically in solar, broad experience across solar PV landscape. So we're going to talk about all these things. It's your involvement, certainly as a content creator. That's one of the things that I'm passionate about. Obviously here we are on a podcast doing this, but I also want to talk to you about your experience both on the entrepreneurial side as well as on the business side. Nico, there's any number of things. I'm sure I'd left out. Anything that you think our listeners need to know about you before we get started?
Nico Johnson (01:37):
Well, in a recent few years, I am also an investor. I wouldn't have called myself an investor, but I was invited along by my friend Kyle Sherik, to be a venture partner in a syndicate and now rolling fund called Climate Avengers, which we've, as I was telling you a little bit earlier, has now become a product inside of our Resource Labs Network as a podcast. But before all of that, and there are many things that we could talk about. I want to say kudos. It's so hard to start a podcast, and to keep it going, and to bring on guests like I know are coming onto your podcast right now.
I won't ruin it for anybody, but the guests that are coming after me are actual legit industry investors and luminaries. So my hat's off to you being a successful CEO, running, merging companies that are meaningful, recognizable companies, and scaling a business that is addressing climate change in specific ways with domestic manufacturing. All of the things that like the IRA wants to see are part of what Complete Solar is. And The Solar Project as an extension of that is a brilliant move by you to do what is not an explicitly branded podcast, but a place where you can share with your friends, advisors and colleagues and peers and other aspirational peers, thoughts about how we do this together. So I genuinely want to say, as someone who's done this for seven years, this is hard work. My hat's off to you, man.
Well, thank you. That's high praise coming from you. I appreciate that. And also unsolicited, so thank you. It's very flattering to hear you say those things, and we hope that they're all true. We're hoping to bring all of those things to pass, certainly, so thanks Nico. But the hour is about you, Nico. So please help our listeners understand who you are outside of being an investor, entrepreneur, producer of FinTech, fantastic content, all these sorts of things?
Nico Johnson (03:42):
The question that I avoid most, and that for what it's worth, I think is the worst question to be asked when you don't know what to say and you're at a dinner party, but everybody inevitably says it is, "Well, what do you do?" And I ask that question in the way that, so I always want the answer to my response to be one thing, three words, "Tell me more." And I would advise everyone, your goal in a conversation is not to tell everyone everything you do upfront. That's poor storytelling. You don't get that in Hollywood. You shouldn't get that in a conversation. Your goal is to get them to say, "Tell me more." So when someone comes up to me and eventually inevitably say, "Well, what do you do?" I say, "I'm a professional question asker."
Nico Johnson (04:30):
You have to ask a question after that, right?
Nico Johnson (04:33):
It's like, "Well, what do you mean? Tell me more." And I'll usually follow it with something like, "Well, I have the privilege of running my own independent podcast, and I have become a bit of a thought leader in a very small niche that is growing called solar energy. Have you heard of it?"
Nico Johnson (04:51):
And it's just finding those little pauses in conversations that are really important. And what I've learned over seven years of podcasting is not to own the mic, have presence and poise, but to let your guest unfold, leave moments of awkward silence if you need. And I genuinely love, I have an insatiable curiosity about people and their path, and where they have questioned and doubted themselves, where that has led their curiosity, and how that has brought them to success, how success is defined. So I'd say the seven years of almost 600 episodes, and actually three quarter million downloads of the podcast are a testament to how to help people be vulnerable, and open up, and tell their story.
Shame on my research team by the way, for underselling you in terms of your-
Nico Johnson (05:51):
It's okay. My LinkedIn title image still says a half a million, so it was to be expected, and I didn't send anything over to your team.
Well, as a content creator, you have to be fantastic at self-promotion. So that's one of the things that you need to immediately go change as soon as this test recording's over.
Nico Johnson (06:06):
Yeah, thank you. We have a campaign internally called 750, and it is because we're going to hit 750,000 downloads on... Right now, it is targeted at May 8th, and we're going to hit episode 600 on May 18th. And I have said to my team, "Guys, I've been asking for this since 600,000 downloads, can we please just update the image so I can throw it into LinkedIn? Or do I have to go to Canva and do it myself?" Sometimes the latter answer is the best option.