BY SUNG JAI LEE
Stacey Higginbotham says she doesn’t have an entrepreneurial spirit — she just works hard.
That work ethic led her to leave her job as a technology journalist and launch her own project: The Internet of Thing’s Podcast. Higginbotham’s podcast explores the increased use of advanced gadgetry in everyday life and has a small but dedicated following of tech enthusiasts.
The phrase “internet of things,” or IoT, was originally coined by Kevin Ashton, co-founder of the Auto-ID Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Simply put, it describes the world of electronic devices that are connected to the internet or each other. That includes anything from cellphones, refrigerators and lamps to jet engines and manufacturing plants.
The internet of things is a fairly niche topic. But Higginbotham saw an opportunity to attract tech-savvy listeners to her podcast by reporting on and reviewing the latest innovative products.
The IoT Podcast was born out of Higginbotham’s own interest in technology following years of reporting on the topic. In 2013, she left her job at Gigaom with the desire to tell stories in a fresh way.
“I see the process [of podcasting] as a fun way to tell a story,” Higginbotham said. “The speakers can keep the right to their words, and all I do is edit the recording.”
But Higginbotham hasn’t abandoned the written word. Her website, Stacey on IoT, complements the podcast with reviews, tech industry news and upcoming events. She also has a column at PCMag.com called “Get Smart with Stacey,” where she reviews and explains different gadgets and devices.
Higginbotham believes that all forms of reporting are necessary, and the way the message is conveyed depends on the content of the story.
“Everyone says that the newspaper is dying, but that’s not exactly correct,” she said. “Society is adapting, and people just want to consume news in different types of ways. Every form of reporting is necessary. Long-form writing, video, photos and podcast all have their place in journalism today.”
Podcasting is Higginbotham’s medium of choice, however. She finds that the format allows guests to have natural, organic dialogue that doesn’t sound rehearsed or artificial.
Higginbotham records most of her podcast episodes in the comfort of her home — no fancy attire necessary. She talks with her guests over Skype, records the interview and edits it down to an engaging episode. She spends about six hours each week just editing audio, then immediately starts prepping for the next week’s podcast. She schedules meetings in advance for the upcoming month so she’s amply prepared.
To date, Higginbotham has released 110 episodes, with roughly 30,000 downloads from her website. She feels like her project has a lot of room to grow.
“Not much has changed since I started [Internet of Things],” Higginbotham said. “I guess the only thing is that I’m frustrated that it hasn’t been growing faster.”
But for now, she seems content with the path her career has taken. She values the process of discovery more than working for a boss, and the IoT Podcast allows her to create her own content at her own pace.
Higginbotham doesn’t know where the future of the podcast will lead, but she does know that she still loves reporting.
She offered some advice to those seeking to go down a similar path. “Own your brand,” she said. “That will lead you to entrepreneurial success.”