Setting The Bar High

20th February 2015

All things come to an end.

Over a year ago, fan of the show and future regular guest-host Marco Arment said to me that I’d probably last another 20 episodes before I burned out. Well, he was wrong about the duration but…

It’s time to end Pragmatic.

There are so many reasons why it’s hard to know where to start. Let’s be clear though: it isn’t for the want of topics to dive into. There are plenty of things left to discuss.

Ultimately though I’m a professional engineer - that’s what my job is - not podcasting and not teaching. I did this because I thought it would be fun and for vast majority of the time it was. Truth is though, I’m burning through my personal time doing something that’s more and more of a chore each week.

Fundamentally in order to be a show I’m proud of I need to put a lot of time into prep and it just wasn’t happening due to site development/improvements, family and increasing work pressures and in recent months I think it’s showed. I’d set the bar high for myself and that wasn’t hard to maintain for a few months, but it became harder with every subsequent month to continue and I won’t persist in creating something I believe is sub-standard under the same banner just to go through the motions.

I also wanted to create something that wasn’t just a bunch of guys offering their opinions about technology, games, movies, TV Shows or comic books. I wanted to add value, to make a difference, to help other people to make pragmatic choices that fitted the real-world use cases, not emotionally and opinion-driven choices, picking to pieces the more ridiculous conjectures and speculative rumours that seem to prevail elsewhere in this bubble.

I’m not convinced I succeeded all or even most of the time but at least I tried rather than just blindly copying the tired and tedious podcast formulae in this tech-bubble of ours. I resisted the urge to make it "more normal" just to get more or higher-paying sponsors, be on a big network etc and rather, I chose to do it my way.

Those choices have cost me listeners (believe me, I heard from them) and whilst some lament that in this podcast space "we all sound the same" I was determined NOT to be one of those shows, consequences be damned.

I honestly believe that splitting out show follow-up into separate episodes, minimising chat-room disruption by having a Q&A after the live show and not tackling "news of the week" topics made Pragmatic a far better podcast than most in the Tech Sphere. Certainly one of the most focussed you’ll find.

But here’s the rub: It’s not about what I believe and the truth is that the vast majority of listeners aren’t interested in a show structured like Pragmatic.

I’m not an entertainer. I’m an engineer. I make things work. I fix broken things. I solve problems.

It’s high time I got back to focussing on that.

The last episode will be posted at the end of March, 2015 and I will keep the feed up for a few months after that. At the end there will have been 63 episodes in total not including follow-up spread over a year and a half.

To the shows sponsors I am truly grateful for your support but I’d like to specifically call out James Smith of LIFX, Rob Griffiths of Many Tricks and Matthew Philips of Sapient-Pair for your continued, unflinching support of both the podcast and myself.

To my two primary co-hosts during the course of the show, Ben Alexander (thank you for giving me a chance even though I know you considered it a long shot at the pitch) and more recently to Vic Hudson (thank you for putting up with my neuroses).

To my guest-hosts thank you all but especially to Marco Arment, Russell Ivanovic, Joel Housman, Seth Clifford and Guy English for your friendships beyond just recording the episodes you appeared on.

To my super fans who would write every week, tweet at me all the time and basically were the high-point of making the show: My most heartfelt thanks you. Though a special mention to Russ Newcomer, Tristan Lostroch, Nicholas Radcliffe, Kyre Lahtinen, Clinton Philips, Ali Marton, Dave Liggat, Scott Willsey and Jarrod Whaley, though to be fair there were too many to list: You know who you are.

Whilst Pragmatic will soon be over that doesn’t mean I’m giving up podcasting completely as I intend to reboot Tangential in coming months. I’ll also be writing more on the site and spending more time on Enginerd and a new coffee-specific site section in coming months.

To my loyal listeners thank you for sticking with me, and thank you for trying something different.