I'm not an audio engineer.
I'll be the first to say the production quality of the Vegan Startup podcast is terrible compared to most podcasts we listen to.
Transitions are rough, voice quality is all over the place etc
But you know what? Despite that, it still works.
The content can still be understood and can be listened to by anyone for free.
And the reason is because of a little program I've been learning over the past few months, that lets me edit and produce the episodes myself. It's called Audacity.
What is it?
Audacity is a piece of software for editing audio, initially developed by a couple of Carnegie Mellon students back in the year 2000.
Sounds pretty normal so far right?
But what really makes this special, is that Audacity was released as a free, open-source project.
Meaning, it's 100% free to download, fully transparent (including all source code - the details of how it works) and open to community involvement.
It doesn't exist to make the founders rich, it exists to serve a mission.
And it works!
Now many years later, Audacity is a thriving project with many developers and contributors, worldwide adoption (including translation to over 50 languages) and a huge community of free tutorials, tips, support groups and more.
It now powers millions of vloggers, podcasters, streamers, musicians, karaokers (I'm going to assume that's a word) to create, for free! Whether for a fun hobby or a commercial work.
There's something radically powerful about this type of open project.
Thanks to it, anyone with a wifi, device and desire can learn and start to create.
And there are hundreds of opensource projects like Audacity covering a huge range of topics, from education, to productivity, to creativity to entertainment.
Fascinating. So what does this have to do with vegan food?
Well, sadly, not much up to now.
See, there are no examples I could find of opensource food projects, with food businesses committed to truly transparent sharing, to the "source code" level.
As I'm coming to learn, in this industry, food companies, from startups to megacorps, tend to put their shields up, revealing little and focusing on competitive advantage and intellectual secrecy.
Not that there's anything wrong with that approach in an capitalist system, which can generate a great amount of innovation.
But when it comes to encouraging and helping a lot more vegan food entrepreneurs and products, there's a great opportunity to add the equivalent of an opensource food company.
A truly transparent project that could exist, not to make the owner rich, but to help accelerate the mission.
Sharing all the information and learning along the way - from finding co-packers, to working with food scientists, to navigating trademarks to dealing with retail channels, to budgeting, to running focus groups, to designing a brand and packaging, to avoiding mistakes etc And all the financials, the good and the bad and the struggle to creating a vegan food business. There are so many things we shouldn't each have to reinvent the wheel along the way.
I truly believe that would be incredibly valuable to other vegan founders, especially those like me doing this for the first time (most of us).
Gee - I know if something like this existed I'd be all over it to learn as much as possible for my own project.
So if it doesn't exist today, let's create it.
So, that's what Bite Society is all about.
That and tasty vegan chocolates ;)
ps - if this sounds exciting or if you just want to chat do get in touch