TBP Podcast Sneak Peek with Alan Cross

Welcome to a sneak peek of our new podcast “The Backstage Project with Mark Silver.” On today’s show, by means of an introduction, renowned interviewer, speaker and The Ongoing History of New Music Host, Alan Cross will turn the tables on Mark and interview him about the new show. Take a listen.


The Backstage Project EP 000 Trailer – Alan Cross 


Alan: Hello, I’m Alan Cross and your listening to The Backstage Project Podcast hosted by Mark Silver but for the purposes of an introduction I’ve done a quick interview with Mark about the show. 

First, a little bit about Mark. Mark has been a digital product leader for 20 years spending most of his career in the sports and entertainment industries. He was the head of digital for TSN for a pivotal time leading its transformation into a truly multi platformed integrated media brand he was also the head of digital for CTV’s Olympic games broadcast for London 2012 after leading digital product for Vancouver 2010. 

Mark is currently the managing partner for Ready Set Go a digital user experience in design consulting practice. I hope you enjoy my interview with Mark and the Backstage Project series. Thank you for listening. 

Mark: Hello Alan

Alan: Are you hunkering down, are you maintaining your social distance? 

Mark: We’re doing that, we’re trying to maintain a little bit of routine around the house making sure that we’ve got activities planned with lots of screen time, which I think is the norm for anyone these days, whether your kids are young or old.  

Alan: this is actually a pretty good time to launch a podcast, as of last week over 100 million Americans say they are monthly podcast listeners and you can probably infer that these numbers would be similar in Canada. That’s a lot of people and like everywhere else because of COVID-19 people are looking for good, engaging audio-based content. So why did you create the podcast and what’s unique about it? 

Mark: Well the podcast is something I have been thinking about for a long time. I didn’t get into podcasts like going back years and years ago. I’ve really gotten into them over the last few years. I have a few, as most people do, a few go tos week in and week out that I look forward to and through that listening which I immensely enjoy, I found that there is a part of the technology, entertainment, sports ecosystem which really doesn’t get talked enough about and i think that’s where the name for the podcast really comes from the concept of backstage and behind the scenes because there are people like me, there are many many people like me who are really deeply involved in what goes on behind the scenes so that what happens front of stage, front of house is flawless, it comes out perfect if those are athletes or actors that we are thinking about were those exceptional skills are put to the test in the moment but behind the scenes when we think about business strategy, operational strategy, planning, obsessing about the details, its kinda the area where I’ve made my career over the last twenty plus years and there are lots and lots of stories that i know people would like to tell and i know a segment of the population who are very much intune with being behind the scenes and being apart of what allows front of house to be as successful as it is. Those people want to tell their stories and people want to listen to those stories, that is my belief. I’ve recorded podcasts myself as a guest and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed talking about those stories and while I’ve thought for a minute perhaps that they might be boring to some, the feedback that I received through that process really made me appreciate that although it might seem boring to me these are things that I’m really passionate about, others are really passionate about, and people just really want to hear what it takes not just for a person to be successful but for an endeavour a show or a sporting event to be successful. And that’s really what this podcast is going to be about. 

Mark: You know I get a lot of mail through my Ongoing History of New Music project and people are really really interested in the behind the scenes machinations of these big entertainment projects like music festivals and movies and the Olympics. People love the behind the scenes stuff. 

Mark: That’s exactly it, and we’re not going to be too particular about technology. I know a lot of what we talked about today is around digital product, digital businesses, digital economy, many many podcasts to deal with that and strategy and very specific topics around the use of things like AI or blockchain or the other very popular topics to dive into and understand but I think that’s great and we’re not going to try and compete with any of those audiences at all were going to really try and appeal to people that are interested in what actually goes into executing and not just in the moment but in the lead up to, because I think that’s where most of the excitement for people who are camera shy like myself, were doing this now and this is a podcast but the reality is I’m a shy guy and talking about myself and talking about others around me and what they do, we’re not used to doing that, we prefer to be more humble absolutely. You know we enjoy praise and recognition but as we all know when it comes to those sorts of things the recognition is more geared towards the performers. Again, especially if you get out of the world of music and movies and television and the stage where all of the disciplines are really recognized through the various awards shows that they have, when you get into more sports scene absolutely the behind the scenes people are really not recognized and that recognition would always skew towards the live production people anyway. And that was not something that I looked upon negatively during my time working for large media companies on massive initiatives like the Olympics for example. That was just the way it was, and that is the way it continues to be. The recognition of specifically digital people who are apart of all of these productions are not looked upon to the same degree as the people who are really geared towards the live part of both entertainment and sports.

Alan: That’s great. We hit a lot. Maybe too much information about the people in front of the camera and too little about those behind it. 

Mark: Exactly, exactly. 

Alan: You’ve been around for quite a while in this space. I would imagine then that you have access to great guests? 

Mark: The guests are plenty. I mean that we are very lucky that over my twenty-plus year career more than half of that spent in the sports, entertainment, media, and technology space, that’s a mouth full, I have a whole host of people who not only have done amazing things but are doing amazing things. We’re not going to skew towards people who might have an amazing job right now in the moment. We’re certainly going to look to have those people in as guests on the podcast but were going to couple that with people who maybe we had forgotten about because they did something in the past but they potentially were a real innovator and created a new path, a new way of thinking, maybe opened the door because they tested some new technology. These are the kinds of people we want to bring back, we want to really tell their stories. We’re not trying to take a trip down memory lane in this podcast but we will when we have too, to make sure the audience has a well-rounded perspective on the world that I know and that people are passionate about.

Alan: I’m really excited about what you guys are doing and I will be listening. Thanks for chatting with me today.

Mark: Great speaking with you. Thanks so much for doing this.
Alan: The Backstage Project Podcast is brought to you by Ready Set Go, they help organizations create extraordinary digital products. To learn more, go to readysetgo.design if you would like to get in touch with Mark and the team at The Backstage Project Podcast please email us at info@tpbpodcast.com

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