Caila Litman: ...how about we put the listener first, keep in mind who's on the other end of the airbuds and make sure that they're having any experience that they like, not just in the editorial content. But thinking about how the podcast sounds holistically with the ad product included in that.
Dessa: That was Caila Litman from Vox Media. Caila and her colleague Katie Sprenger took the stage at Werk It to shed some light on the challenges ahead for producers of all kinds as podcast advertising continues to evolve in the context of the broader digital advertising landscape. I’m Dessa, and this is Werk It: the Podcast, a compilation of some of the best moments from the live event.
Caila Litman: Are you ready to go beyond underwear and mattresses? So--
Katie Sprenger: This is a big stage.
Caila: Yeah, we're super excited.
So my name is Caila Litman. I work at the Vox Media Podcast Network. If you're unfamiliar, we have a ton of podcasts. We're about 200 podcasts right now, and that includes Vox.com, Recode, The Verge, Eater, Curbed, Polygon. Is there anything I'm missing, Katie?
Katie: Is, there’s a lot. Yeah. There’s some new stuff that coming up.
Caila: New stuff. It rhymes with “schmoomerk mag,” we'll see what that looks like. Um, and I head up audio revenue operations, which I think might be a fancy word for doing things that other people don't want to do when it comes to ad sales.
Katie: And I am the supervising producer of branded audio. So I lead the production team that creates all of the ads across all of our network. So uh, host reads, produced reads, uh, branded segments, et cetera.
Caila: Yes. And Katie is prolific. It's only October and she's already produced more than 500 audio assets when it comes to advertising.
Katie: It feels like a lot more than that.
Caila: Pretty big deal. Um, so that's who we are. And you know what, maybe you've noticed, but there's been a lot of buzz about where the podcast advertising space is going. Has anyone noticed that? Anybody?
Katie: I’ve noticed that.
Caila: Okay. So according to a PWC study done in conjunction with the IAB, they are projecting that by 2021, we're going to hit $1 billion dollars in podcast ad revenue.
Katie: So while you're letting that sink in $1 billion in a, what’s that two years from now? We'd thought it would be interesting to sort of quantify this rapid growth because we're all sort of living on this podcast rocket. You guys know how it feels just as much as we do. So we wanted to take a look at some numbers so that we can really put like, some numbers behind how quickly we've grown.
So the first one I want to talk about is in 2005, there were about 3,000 podcasts on Apple Podcasts. We found a press release that said so. So it's true. Now, now it's 2019, there are 700,000 plus podcasts in the world. And so that is 10, sorry, 15 ish years and a 23,000% increase in content.
Caila: Pretty crazy. I wonder where that's all coming from. Oh, I don't know. Everyone's sitting in this room who's making amazing podcasts? That’s you guys out there.
Katie: Mic check. Oh, that's good. Okay, thank you. Um, and so while content is absolutely exploded, so to has the audience. So, uh, according to the most recent Edison dial in, sorry, the Edison Research Infinite Dial Survey, in 2009, about 11% of people, 12 plus in the United States, that's usually how you measure people, 12 plus, um, listened to a podcast every month. 2019, that number is 32%, which is a 190% increase in five years, sorry, 10 years, uh, in audience, monthly audience.
Caila: Which is insane. We were doing this math and I literally had to phone a friend. Um, the friend was my dad. Um, but I was like, “is this number correct?”
Katie: Yeah, I found like, um, uh, like an online tool where you can just like, put in the, the first number in the second number and then it tells you what the percent change is cause we really didn't actually trust it.
Caila: Like it has to be, that's too high. But that's a huge growth in just such a short period of time. And then the final number that is most interesting about the growth story is how much money we're making in advertising revenue. And you know, no one really cared up until recently because it wasn't a big business. It was sort of a cottage industry. And we found a number from 2015 that indicated that it was about a $100 million business at that point, which maybe coincidentally is the size of Casper mattresses revenue just from a few years ago.
Katie: There are no coincidence.
Caila: Yeah, no coincidences. And so now in 2019 they're projecting that it's going to be over $600 million in podcast ad revenue. And that is about a 540% increase in ad revenue in just four years. Pretty crazy.
Katie: Yeah, it's absolutely bananas. And so while you sit there and you let that sink in, that 540% increase in four years and some change. It really makes you wonder, how do we scale? That's the question we're asking, right?
Caila: Yup. And you know, if we're gonna make it rain money in this industry, we have to look at it through two critical lenses.
Katie: That's right. And we also have to consider our key constituencies, right? So we've got listeners, totally key, advertisers, and then we also have you guys, we have the creators. And all of those three have sort of competing interests and goals. And they have to be working in for this thing to actually scale properly. And we don't mean necessarily just making $1 billion. What we mean is making $1 billion while serving listeners, while serving the creators, and while serving the advertisers.
Caila: So this is how we're going to do it. This is our point of view here. Um, we think that in order to do it, we need to look at the data. First, how are we going to have enough data to make it enticing and interesting for advertisers to continue to flow into the space? And then also the advertising creative, which is Katie's wheelhouse over here. So we're going to talk through those two lenses and share with you what our point of view is based on what we understand the in, the industry to be moving in.
Katie: So first the data! This is a very interesting thing. In the beginning we had the download. Caila, what does a download tell us?
Caila: Oh, I don't know Katie. A whole lot of nothing. It really doesn't tell us very much. It really just says that, “Oh, someone tried to access your podcast.”
Katie: So what doesn't a download tell us?
Caila: Ooh, I don't know who listened to it, where they're from, what they're interested in, what they like to eat, um, and pretty much anything about them, or if they--
Katie: If they actually heard the damn podcast, if they listened to the ads, if they did anything after listening to the ads, we don't know very much.
Caila: We really don't. And also up until recently, the download data wasn't universally the same. So there's this thing called a measurement window. Does anyone know? Have you heard the term? So measurement windows are the period of time in which a download is counted. So there's five minutes, an hour and 24 hours. And so the IAB, which is the,
Katie: I wrote it down Interactive Advertising Bureau.
Caila: So they're basically like the Ministry of Magic for advertising. So they, they decided that okay, in order to clean up the data and to ensure that everyone's measuring their downloads the same way, we're, we're gonna need to make this a standardized measurement window, which caused about a 30% haircut across the board in what download numbers a lot of podcasts were seeing.
Katie: And just to let you know, the current IAB standard is a 24-hour download window, which means when a person from one IP address, I think, uh, downloaded the podcast and listened to in a 24-hour window. So at this time, Caila, what else wasn't there?
Caila: Oh, you know, we really didn't have ad tech. We didn't have sales agencies or specialists who really knew how to sell podcasts advertising. It was a lot of folks who were coming over from radio and it really wasn't apples to apples. And then we also didn't have content networks the way that we do today 10 years ago. It wasn't a collective of people who were saying, “Hey, you can come to us and we know how to serve your ads across a bunch of different shows.”
Katie: Exactly. But then--
Caila: Then, ooh!
Katie: We hit a couple of really important inflection points and the first one we want to talk about is 2009-2010. So at this point there is a couple of thousand podcasts out there and they start sort of like collecting into networks. So you had Earwolf and Feral and things like that all coming together. And then you also had a couple of really big major podcasts that we're getting monster download numbers. And additionally they were getting a ton of just like media buzz. And then because of that, you get an audience. The audience starts to build and people start to realize that this is not just an audience, it is an audience that is committed and passionate and here -- and they want to support the people who are like talking to them through their earphones.
Caila: And that's when the direct response advertisers started to take notice. And this is very similar to the growth of the television networks. As soon as direct to consumer products, say, “Hey, maybe we can reach the types of folks that we're trying to buy our products through this channel,” then it's setting the groundwork for other big brands to start setting spending money.
Katie: They were the canary in the coal mine.
Caila: Exactly. And so, um, some of the early advertisers that you're probably familiar with, um, are Squarespace, which entered in 2009. And then MeUndies, which followed suit in 2010 and really started to test out podcasts as a place to share their message and acquire audiences. Interestingly, um, MeUndies as of last year, I believe it was a Bloomberg article reported, that 50% of their revenue comes from podcast ads.
Katie: It's completely insane.
Caila: What! Okay, so this is my favorite part, I guess to--
Katie: Audience participation!
Caila: Quiz the audience. Um, so what do you think the year that is the next critical inflection point for the podcast business? Anybody?
Katie: Shout it out.
Caila: 2014! And why is 2014 a big deal?
Katie: Wow. You guys must be podcasters.
Caila: Yes. So in 2014, Serial came in and at the time like MailChimp didn't know how well Serial was going to do. They were like, “Okay, this guy Ira Glass says it's going to be cool. I'll sign up. I'll put my ad on this show...”
Katie: Just this guy.
Caila: Yeah, just some guy. And so, uh, you know, it really proved out the point that a brand advertiser could have. We reached millions of people through podcasts as a channel.
Katie: And that wasn't the only thing that happened in 2014. Radiotopia and Gimlet both launched in 2014. And then this is when you start to see this audience just grow and grow and grow and grow. So this is another, this is another, uh, what are they called again?
Katie: Kind of signal, Graph! Graph, Thank you. This is a graph also from the Edison Infinite Dial poll. And what you see there, you can see, I mean I'm looking at here, you guys are looking at it there, but it's sort of flat, flat, flat, flat, flat, flat, flat, flat. And then you hit 2014 and it does what our boss call likes to call the...
Caila: The up and to the right dance
Katie: up and to the right dance.
Caila: Hate to bring a man into the conversation, but he's right. It is doing that dance.
Katie: And it's just going to keep going.
Caila: Yup. And so then we found ourselves today, Oh, excuse me. One quick thing I want to do before we get to our next inflection point, so I don't know who here works in the advertising environment, but I feel like it's just important to recognize the different buckets of advertisers. First we have the direct response advertisers, which I just mentioned. Those are your Squarespaces, your Stitch Fix’s, your Everlane's of the world, and they have different goals than maybe the brand advertiser does. And direct response advertisers still make up about 70% of the ads within the podcast market. And what they're looking for is people to immediately do something as soon as they hear an ad. And they're measuring based on conversions and based on acquisition and that's what's important to them. Whereas brand advertisers have a different set of goals, Katie. What they're trying to do is maintain their dominance as the household name, it makes you want to think of McDonald's or Audi. Like sure, it would be great if someone heard a podcast ad and immediately hopped online in order to $100,000 car.
Katie: www dot Audi slash pivot
Caila: Yes, exactly.
Katie: Go get your car today.
Caila: They would love that.
Katie: 25% off.
Caila: But their goal in mind is not that as much as just continuing to maintain awareness. But within digital advertising, they have a ton of data at their disposal and they're not about to jump full in to podcasts unless they know that data is available.
Katie: Okay, and so what kind of data do they need to feel comfortable here?
Caila: So they really need to know like, who's listening, when they're listening, did they complete the ad, can they confirm that an impression was actually delivered. And we really didn't have that up until recently.
Katie: So we're behind, we're behind the is behind the eight ball. Is that when you're behind things? I don't remember what that one means.
Caila: Yeah, that’s a pool term. That works. We'll take it.
Katie: So we're behind, but we are in another inflection point right now, or at least we think that we do. And so this next section is, it’s going to be a little dense. I'm not gonna lie to you, it's another, it's a bit dense. But we think that we're in another inflection point and we're gonna explain why.
Caila: Yes. So the reason we think we're in another inflection point is there's been a lot of game changers in just the past 18 months and they are a whole boatload. So hang onto your hats. This is going to be a namedrop-y slide, but we're here to share, share the knowledge.
Katie: So I think the first big game changer is ad tech--advertising technology. Uh, we saw in the last couple of years the, um, sort of like wider adoption of dynamic audio insertion, dynamic advertising insertion.
Caila: And raise your hand if you'd know what dynamic ad insertion is.
Katie: Okay, cool. We've got a couple. I'll just sort of say it briefly. It, basically what it means is you can digitally insert an advertisement into a podcast in real time instead of serving it as part of the audio file in your RSS feed. Right? So there's that. There's also just like a ton of new infrastructure that just sort of like undergirds our industry. It’s good. Um, and then also we have metrics and we have data now. We have a lot that are coming from um, the hosting platforms that we all use, like Art19 and Libsyn and uh,
Katie: And Megaphone and all of these places. Um, and additionally, uh, we have of course Apple Podcasts and that definitely like understanding what your audience is doing at any given time is like, deeply important for all of us.
Caila: And that's recent. So Apple just recently opened up a little bit more information about what these audiences look like. And so what these platforms have done is really given us a glimpse into who and where and when someone is listening to not only a podcast but also that ad placement in the podcast.
Katie: That information that those brand advertisers want.
Caila: And so then we also have agency specialists that have entered the game. And they've really set a blueprint and the groundwork that is necessary for brand advertisers who might have more money to spend in the space to come in because it's been set up for them. And some of those agencies that are the most dominant within the space include Oxford Road, Ad Results and Veritone. And they have some of the biggest spenders in the space, like Zip Recruiter, who spends the most in podcast advertising to date. And so they've set it up in such a way that it makes it easier for them to plug into this media channel, whereas 10 years ago that didn't exist.
Caila: And then I would also like to say that there are folks who are currently kind of turning that up on its head with like right side up, which is more of a consultancy firm that takes somebody and embeds that into a Stitch Fix or a Roman’s office and they help develop what the podcast strategy is while being embedded with that client. And so it's just a different way of doing things.
And then there's the programmatic marketplaces. So programmatic marketplaces are the way 70% of digital ad buying is happening. So a lot of the questions that we field from a day-to-day is “how can I buy audio programmatically?” And you know, there's a lot of things that are different about that. It's not just plug and play. As you know, there's a lot of production that happens when you're dealing with a human voice and it's not just like a banner ad somewhere.
And so some of the programmatic marketplaces that are making it more plug and play where an advertiser could buy into an audience or a contextual alignment of shows are ART19, which is developing a marketplace, MTM through Megaphone and also Adswizz. So some of this stuff has really come to the fore within the past nine months that never existed prior to this point.
Katie: Yeah, and if you needed more evidence and I'm sure you guys did. If you needed more evidence--
Caila: You want more? You want more information?
Katie: That we're in another inflection point is Pandora and Spotify and other, other distribution platforms getting into the game in really major ways with technology, acquisitions, content acquisitions, et cetera. Um, and I think the, that the, the big takeaway from me is, uh, Pandora has what they call the power of the logged in user. And so what that means is that they know every single thing about the people who log in and use their platform. And that is extraordinarily valuable for advertisers, but it's also extraordinarily valuable for a platform itself who can then build content that they know an audience is going to enjoy.
Caila: And then finally I want to highlight, and I promise this is the final thing on this slide.
Katie: This is it!
Caila: We're almost there. So, um, brand study partners have also developed out ways that they could measure the efficacy of ads. And this is a big deal because they can do it for a lot of other ways of advertising. But for podcasts, because it's so new, they hadn't developed the methodology yet. But newcomers like Podsites and, and also Baremetric and Chartable have been able to come in and build out the methodology for seeing how well your ad performed. And that's been mission critical for big advertisers to say, “Okay, yes, we can say yes to your advertising plan because we know we can measure it.” And that's the difference between today and even like eight months ago.
Katie: Well, and I will say too that uh, while other inflection points were about content I think, this one is very much about data and technology.
Caila: So some pretty exciting stuff happening here.
Katie: It’s exciting, right? So in other words, we're getting there, but this really does bring us to the advertising creative because if we're going to scale to $1 billion, we are not going to be able to do it on the back of a host read. That's not gonna be possible. So what we have to do is we have to adapt podcast advertising creative to go beyond the host read.
Caila: And on the host read will always be the foundational ad for this medium.
Caila: But in order to scale, we're going to need to add a little bit more to that offering.
Katie: Absolutely. And this is something that I spend a lot of my time and creativity thinking about. And so -- sorry, just to back up real quick, there's a reason why podcast ads sound the way they do and it's because we didn't have a lot of other choices way back when. So we didn't have ways to serve ads other than in the audio file in the RSS feed. And we didn't have a way to measure them, advertisers didn't have a way to measure those ads except by giving an offer code so that you could then go and measure how many people click because it's digital media and you can actually measure things if you're not a podcast.
Caila: But the offer code was the way you measured if someone actually listened to your ad.
Katie: But we have more choices now.
Caila: Yeah. And so let's talk about some of those choices. And this is a lot of what Katie spends her time thinking about from day in and day out for Vox Media.
Katie: So it's basically like how can we capture the magic of a host read in a format or a formula that is scalable and replicable and you can play it across networks, so it's not just something that can only play on the Ezra Klein Show? It's something that can play across all of Vox Media. And so that's something that we think about a lot is, okay, yes, of course there's a produced read, but maybe there's sort of like even more creative options that we can be thinking about. And it's really just sort of like, I think incumbent upon all of us, not all, probably not all of us, but you know what I mean.
But if we're going to try and figure out ways to get to $1 billion, a lot of that is going to be in iterating and innovating on what ad products we have and what ad products we can offer to larger scale advertisers.
The other big and important thing about innovating on the ad product is once you get past a host read, you get to a place where you can allow the brand advertiser to like have an approvals process, which is not something you can really do with a host read until after the fact. And that is also pretty huge. So we do have an example of some of the work that we are working on and these are something that we try to sort of create like a show within a show feel so that the advertising creative fields as smart and as thoughtful and as well put together as the editorial content does.
Caila: Okay, Ricardo, hit it.
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Caila: So that's Katie's work right there. Thanks, Katie.
Katie: Um, so what we're trying to, Oh, thank you. That's a lovely little smattering of applause. Uh, so basically what we're trying to do there is think about, “okay, what does the listener need?
What's going to be like compelling and interesting for them? What are the goals of the advertising campaign?” Because the fact is is like it's fucking advertising. Like, they have goals and we have to meet them. And then also like how is it going to fit in the greater context of the rest of the programming that it will appear in? And how will it sort of like match tonally? And that sort of thing.
Caila: And you know, the way that we're thinking about this really is a lot of folks have thought, “Oh I want to do a branded podcast and go all in.” But what if there's a way to do that without having to build out the audience for our branded podcasts and embed that, those sorts of storytelling opportunities within the body of existing podcasts with existing audiences.
Katie: Right. Leveraging an existing audience to tell it like a fun and compelling and you know, cute or interesting or exciting brand story.
Caila: So, you know, these are the ways that we think that the, we're at this inflection point and that we're scaling this business and that we're finally primed to hit $1 billion. But Katie and I also wanted to give a shout out to six values that we feel are going to be mission critical for us to scale to $1 billion, while also maintaining our credibility, maintaining our creativity, and just not losing our soul in the process.
Katie: Yeah, we would like to keep our souls.
Caila: Yay to souls!
Katie: A hand for your soul.
Caila: So first invest in quality producers and creators. Yes!
Katie: This I think is so huge and so important because we need the creativity and the beautiful work that everybody in this room does. Like I want to bring that level of passion and intensity and creativity to the ad products. Maybe that sounds silly, but I really think that it's possible. Um, and to do that, we need to invest in people like you. Invest in them properly and um, and show how important that work is. Like it's not just slapping a voice, slapping some music on top of a voice. It's so much more than that.
Caila: And then the next thing that we need to do as we scale this business is really think about the hosts and the creators. Um, we were talking to someone who works on our really popular podcast, who's a producer there. And there's this concern sometimes that we're maybe over leveraging the host’s voice in order to call out a product or an ad initiative.
Katie: There are only so many hours in a day. There's only so many words that can be said. There's also sort of a world in which you know you can't like everything. You just can't. So we have to consider their time. And also a lot of uh, hosts and creators now are absolutely important journalists who should not be touching ad copy.
Caila: It's something to think about too as we scale. And then also, how about we put the listener first, keep in mind who's on the other end of the airbuds and make sure that they're having any experience that they like, not just in the editorial content. But thinking about how the podcast sounds holistically with the ad product included in that.
Katie: And taking them seriously, taking them, cause we are all podcast listeners and we are all, uh, consumers of this product and we can all smell bullshit from a mile away. So if we build ad products that don't -- that take our listeners seriously and respect their intelligence, that to me feels like the right move.
Caila: And then also I just wanna say that representation matters and it doesn't just matter in an editorial capacity, but it matters with the voices that you're using within your ad products as well.
Katie: There's a typical VO voice and I think that we've all heard it and we need to get past and beyond that. Um, and that it definitely takes a commitment. You have to go find those voices and then you have to hire them and then you have to pay them. Um, and I think that that is like, also completely critical. Also, I have a single lens by which I view the world and I can't build the ad products for everybody, and so we need to make sure that we are speaking to our entire audiences.
Caila: Yup. It's important even in advertising. Um, so yeah, when I say representation, can you guys say matters?
Katie: Oh she’s doing this.
Caila: Yes. It’s important.
Katie: We had a conversation backstage, I was like, are you doing that? Okay.
Caila: I'm going to do it. Call and response works people.
Katie: She’s right. It was fun.
Caila: Also, innovate on how the advertising sounds, new formats, new ways of thinking about it. It's not always going to just be a standard read. It can be more than that.
Katie: This actually goes back to sort of investing in producers. We don't know what this stuff is supposed to sound like. It can be anything. We're at such a beautiful, magical moment where we get to decide and learn from history and figure out how advertisements work and sound and we can do whatever the hell we want and we are not constrained by anything except for the fact that we have three things that we can work with: the human voice, music and sound effects. Beyond that, like the sky is the limit.
Caila: Yes ma'am. And then, oh, finally and most importantly and with caps lock involved, stay authentic people.
Katie: Yeah. This I think is super critical because again, we get to learn from like a wealth of history. I think that podcasts are intimate and they are authentic and yes, of course there's scripted podcasts, but I think for the most part it's people telling authentic stories, being real, exploring that more sort of authentic side of our ourselves and our world. And I think advertisements should do the same. Like I don't think that it makes sense necessarily to have fake testimonials. There's not even a place where you can put like a, this is not a real person, like little, you know, Chyron thing.
So I feel like the ads should stay as authentic as the content does. Uh, it should be authentic to a show, it should be authentic to a network, and it should be authentic to the hosts as well.
Caila: Yes ma'am. So that's our story. We're sticking to it. Thank you so much for coming. Thank you to Werk It for having us.
Katie: Oh my god, yes.
Caila: And to Denise, who's an amazing, amazing woman and Dessa. Um, we are open to questions. We have a few minutes if anyone has a question that they want to ask and we'll also be available in the lobby to chat as well. Oh, hi!
Katie: Oh, I wasn't expecting a question. I'm so excited!
[Audience member]: Hello! My name is Elena and I am starting a podcast called Only in San Jose. It's about city planning. So it’s dense stuff. Um, but I'm taking comedic approach. But besides that, my ad campaign revolves around uplifting businesses only in San Jose.
[Audience member]: Like small businesses. And so I was wondering if you had advice on how to approach using this. I know it’s not like a $1 billion industry for a small business, but I think about how we can help uplift like the--
[Audience member]: --them. And sorry, one more thing was like in instead of a supporting like Amazon, like I can support a woman-owned businesses and women made craft and like the impact for those businesses.
Katie: I mean, I think that there's a lot you can do, which is sort of just personally go down there with a microphone and maybe that's sort of like how your ads sounds, which is like tell me why you do this, tell me why your business is exciting and important for the, for the community. And I think that like hearing those voices and including those actual voices can make the ad sound just lovely and sweet and authentic. And also provides, in a really dense podcast, maybe sort of like a break, even.
Caila: And also work with them on what the price point might look like. You know, meet people where they are. Like if you're going in and you're like, give me $30,000 shout out your opportunity to work with them as a partner. So be mindful of that for sure.
[Audience member]: Thank you.
Caila: Thank you. We've time for one more question.
[Audience member]: Well I'm happy to ask it. Um, okay, so something you talked about that, I'm wondering if you could expand upon a little this dynamic ad insertion. Are you, one thing wasn't clear to me, are you talking about this is sort of like targeted Facebook ads where you're literally, you know the demographics of the person who is listening at that moment and you can insert an ad in the same way or is it different from that? It wasn't clear to me.
Katie: So I wouldn’t say, Yeah, it's a little different. And I don't think we are by any means experts. I know that there are some experts floating around here somewhere who could probably answer that question that even closer. I don't know that you can necessarily get quite that granular at this point. Like I want to target, uh, you know, women 45 to 60 who own an Audi in, uh, Texas. I don't think you can get there just yet. However, like, that is absolutely the goal.
Caila: Yeah. Um, yeah. I would also say that dynamic ad insertion is really just kind of mirroring the way digital ads are served, where if you go to a home page and there's an ad on that homepage, as soon as the ad campaign ends, those ads come down and new ones are replenished. So it's similar in that way, where as soon as a campaign ends, it's stripped out and then it helps people monetize their back catalog as opposed to maybe being baked in.
[Audience member]: Okay, I get it. Now I understand. Thank you.
Caila: Awesome. We'll be in the lobby and happy to chat if anyone has any questions. Thank you so, so much.
Katie: Thank you!
Dessa: That was Caila Litman and Katie Sprenger, speaking at the 2019 Werk It festival. Both the festival and the podcast are produced by WNYC Studios and are made possible by major funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting with additional support from the Annenberg Foundation. Event sponsors include Luminary, Spotify, Spreaker, Acast, Himalaya, and the Women’s Foundation of California.