My First One-Star Review, I've Finally Made It!

A Life Worth Living | Apr 27, 2024

“You can’t handle the TRUTH!”

Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men

When I was in grade school I started taking drumming classes.

Out of all the instruments, I was drawn to percussion and a good beat. It’s no surprise that years later I would be pulled into the world of DJing.

And for a bit of clarification, I know it’s all referred to as ‘EDM’ or electronic music, but I started out as analog as you can get, turntables and vinyl. So when people ask about my passion, I always refer to my love of House Music. 🪩

But in typical neurodivergent fashion, I digress…

I don’t remember how many classes I had taken, but one day my instructor became a bit agitated with my inability to drum a certain pattern.

He took a hold of my drumsticks and, as he began to furiously show me what to do, he ended up breaking one of my drumsticks.

You would have thought he would apologized and offered to replace them… but he didn’t.

It’s such a small insignificant action, and in retrospect I can see it from the perspective of the shy kid I was at the time, but unfortunately, that was the end of my drumming career.

It’s crazy that I still think about it all these decades later. I can see now (thanks therapy!) how that and other early experiences influenced my current approach to feedback and resilience.

As I enter my 10th year of podcasting and 9th year in business for myself, I’ve certainly had my share of negative feedback. I think what helped early on was hearing the stories of experienced entrepreneurs talk about putting early failures into context. The key is failing forward, and learning quickly from your mistakes.

So, in light of perceived failures and handling negative criticism I thought it would be helpful this week to share a recent 1-star interview I received on my 2nd show, Vertical Farming Podcast.

I started it in 2020 as I had an interest in the industry, and have had over 120 interviews with CEOs and Founders of the leading vertical farming companies from around the globe. It’s now the #1 show in its niche!

Overall the podcast has been incredibly positive, with listeners raving about the casual nature of the conversations.

So needless to say, I was a caught a bit off guard when this interview came through. I had to read it through several times and it was definitely hard not to take it personally. But the more I read it, the more I realized this person is not ‘my people’.

Here it is:

Vertical farming + identity politics

This podcast starts off excellent. It's very informative about all the ins and outs in vertical farming. Product lines, methods, science, logistics, environmental impact, health etc.... Harry Duran does a very good job at showing the listener this. I'm a partner at a VF and Harry does showcase the industry well. However.......... He really likes to talk about how his family is from el salvador. I think he does this because he sounds like a waspy country club kid from Connecticut, not Yonkers as he also likes to mention. He really wants his listeners to know he's a person of colour trying to capitalize on the leftist pandering.

Harry doesn't believe in freedom of speech as he likes to complain about how Elon Musk changed Twitter back to a freedom of speech platform. Harry often says he looks for people of colour to bring on the show ( to use as props not because what they have to say ) as he often states " if it's between a guest who is a person of colour or a woman or a white man I will bring on the person of colour" . This detracts from the qualifications and brilliance of some of his guests he has had on because he likes the boxes they tick.

I would rate this podcast a five star if it wasn't for the pandering and anti white male sentiment. I would suggest that Harry keeps his opinions on non VF related topics to himself.

That being said I've listened to 93 episodes and now call it quits. Eric Levesque is a good guy and in this episode he gives great advice for the starting entrepreneur.

Sooooo, there you have it. Clearly my reviewer and I are not on the same page and he was triggered enough to take the time to write this review.

Now for some context, in the 10 years I’ve been podcasting the number of positive reviews have definitely outweighed these few outliers. And I make it a point to read these reviews out on my shows as I truly appreciate it when a listener take the time to support their favorite show.

My hope is that sharing this publicly will remind you that your content, style, personality, etc. won’t be for everyone. And that’s OK.

With gratitude,


This week’s newsletter recommendation:

Be Like Animal, Be Like PlantMake work better for everyone around you

What I Created Recently

As a podcast host i am eternally grateful to the guests that give so generously of their time to appear on my shows.

I feel it’s the least I could do to share their stories every chance I get. As such here are a few recent conversations from my 2 shows.

Podcast Junkies

In Ep. 341 I had the opportunity to chat with Kevin Chemidlin, the mastermind behind "Grow the Show." Kevin's journey from a stable 9-to-5 at Cigna to becoming a full-time podcaster is nothing short of inspiring. He opened up about the highs and lows of his career, from building a successful local podcast in Philadelphia to facing the challenges of entrepreneurship and the impact of COVID-19 on his business. Kevin's story is a powerful testament to the resilience required in the podcasting world and the entrepreneurial spirit. His transition from corporate America to podcasting offers valuable insights into the importance of following one's passion and the realities of making it in the competitive world of podcasting. This episode is a must-listen for anyone interested in the behind-the-scenes of podcast growth and the personal growth that comes with it. LISTEN/WATCH HERE.

In Ep. 342, I chatted with Seth Silvers, the founder and CEO of Story On Media and Marketing. Seth shared his intriguing journey from starting a nonprofit in high school to diving deep into the world of marketing and eventually finding his passion in storytelling, which led him to the podcasting universe. We explored the significant shifts in podcasting, including the importance of quality content and the evolving landscape of podcast discoverability. Seth also opened up about the challenges of building a business and the personal growth that comes with navigating the entrepreneurial path. This episode is a goldmine for anyone interested in the intersections of storytelling, business, and the evolving tech of podcasting. If you're curious about how to leverage storytelling in marketing or want to hear a firsthand account of adapting and thriving in the dynamic world of podcasting, this is the episode for you! LISTEN/WATCH HERE

In Ep. 343, I speak with Brandon Eastman, host of the Be Better podcast, and what a journey it is! Brandon shares his incredible transformation from working at Walmart right out of high school to becoming a top salesperson and eventually finding his true passion in helping others improve their lives. His story is a testament to starting where you are and using what you have to get to where you want to be. It’s not just about the destination but the growth and learning along the way. Brandon’s insights into personal development (including a chat on benefits of magic mushrooms) and creating impactful content are not only inspiring but also filled with practical advice for anyone looking to make a change in their life or career. LISTEN/WATCH HERE

Vertical Farming Podcast

In Ep. 129, I welcomed Whit Allen, the founder and CEO of Spectragrow, a company specializing in LED lighting solutions for vertical farming. Whit shares his journey from a DJ (which I loved!0 and lobbyist to an entrepreneur in the agricultural tech space. WATCH/LISTEN NOW

In Ep. 130 I had an in-depth conversation with David Flynn, VP of Business Development at AmplifiedAg. We delve into David’s journey from his military service to his current role. David shares the story of AmplifiedAg's evolution from a tech company to a leader in container farming, emphasizing the importance of hyperlocal food production and the challenges of energy costs in the industry. WATCH/LISTEN NOW

In Ep. 131 I welcomed Kaylee South, an assistant professor and extension specialist for CEA at Virginia Tech. Kaylee discusses her journey from a rural upbringing to her current role, emphasizing her lifelong passion for horticulture nurtured from early experiences in family gardens and school greenhouses. WATCH/LISTEN NOW

😅 That was a big recap! If you made it this far, thank you.

Looking for support with your podcast idea or existing show?

When you’re ready, here are a few ways I can help:

Done-For-You. Are you a business owner that’s clear on your messaging and ready to launch your own authority-building podcast with the full launch, production and marketing support of our team? Watch this video.

Done-With-You. Do you have a concept in mind and looking for the support of a community and a little hand-holding from me to keep you accountable? Join The Stage.

Do-It-Yourself. Are you more of a self-starter and want some help understanding the basics to get started? Sign up for Podcast Blueprint 101 today!