This is a story about engaging with artists and creators, and how absurdly easy it is to make their day.

Today, I published the first three episodes (one, two, three) of my new podcast, Baggage Claim. I've been working basically nonstop, twelve-hour days for eight months to launch this thing. It's enormous (though the episodes average a crazy-short 10-15 minutes). It's the biggest project I've ever taken on, by far. Even still, with the podcast's first cut out the door, I'm shaking. Terrified. Nervous and desperately craving insight into how it's landing. What people are thinking when they listen.

In my episodes, I ask people - if they like the show - to text POD to (332) 877-9540. It's a silly ask. I don't even ask people to subscribe! I mean I want you to do that, too, but my main ask is texting. I learned today - on the very first day of my launch - exactly how cool that is. 

A whole handful of people have texted. Not a lot. But enough. On the first day of a podcast, that feels really good. And yeah, some of them are my mom and my brother and a few close friends. But some of them are complete strangers. I had a conversation with a guy named Jay from Oklahoma this morning who found my podcast on Reddit. I spoke to an older woman named Donna who apparently knows my aunt. I talked to a former coworker who now lives in Portugal and I haven't spoken to in five years. My middle school girlfriend texted! Guys. Guys. Guys. This is so cool.

The sensation of talking to strangers about your art is bizarre and unbelievably satisfying. The sensation of the dopamine hit of seeing someone so inspired by your work that they take out their phone and say "I want to have a relationship with this person" is the coolest thing I know exists.

So the point is this: you may be used to text keywords on the front of big signs at Biden rallies or seeing some Geico ad with a nifty text thing. But when it's just some dope recording a podcast in his bedroom? You better believe you're going to get a personal phone call. And you better believe you made his day.

Also, feel free to text CONNECT to (332) 877-9540. Just ya know, leaving that there.

Will Conway


Former political software guy. Now a traveler and adventurer, which isn't a job, and host of the @heybaggageclaim podcast, which really isn't either. Travel stories no one tells.