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Exclusive audio: StartUp’s Alex Blumberg explores professional failure in new podcast series

Exclusive audio: StartUp’s Alex Blumberg explores professional failure in new podcast series
[Image: courtesy of Gimlet Media]

Winston Churchill famously said, “Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.” Now a podcast from StartUp‘s Alex Blumberg is mining notable business failures to find the stories of those brave enough to continue.

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Without Fail is joining Gimlet Media’s lineup of new fall shows. Each week, Blumberg will interview a person who’s taken a big bet and either won or lost. Guests for season one include Andre Iguodala of the Golden State Warriors, Andrew Mason of Groupon, and Sophia Amoruso of Nasty Gal, and Girlboss—all people who have risked a lot to try something new.

That is something Blumberg is very familiar with. Just four years ago, he left an enviable positions as an established NPR journalist and a contributor to This American Life to start a podcast company, back when podcasts were new to people’s earbuds. In Without Fail, Blumberg and his guests will do a postmortem of the sorts of the ventures that looked poised for success, only to fail spectacularly, leaving the business leaders to learn how to live with their ghosts.

Without Fail [Image: courtesy of Gimlet Media]
“The experience of founding Gimlet taught me a lot, particularly how little I knew,” says Blumberg. “Since then, I’ve met tons of other leaders, inventors, and entrepreneurs and am constantly asking them: How did you do it? Was it as hard and scary for you as it was for me? Always, these conversations lead to fascinating and emotional stories that I learn a lot from. I thought they would make for a great podcast series.”

While Blumberg is a veteran of the podcasting world, there is still a learning curve with the new venture. “This is Gimlet’s, and my, first straight interview series, and honestly, it’s been kicking my ass,” says Blumberg. “I got used to being able to script things, but after working for so long in the audio world, I’m excited about trying something new.”

The new show won’t interfere with Blumberg’s regular appearances on “Yes Yes No,” the segment of the Reply All podcast where hosts PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman explain the stranger corners of the internet to their boss. “There is just far too much on the internet that I don’t understand. I need all the help PJ and Alex are willing to offer to get us to yes, yes, yes,” Blumberg says.

Without Fail begins Monday, October 1, on Apple Podcasts. It joins a slate of returning (yay, Heavyweight is back!) and new fall shows coming to Gimlet, including The Cut on Tuesdays, the first podcast from New York magazine’s The Cut, which kicks off Tuesday, October 16, and The Horror of Dolores Roach a scripted drama starring Daphne Rubin-Vega and Bobby Cannavale. That entire series will drop October 17.

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