Celebrating Two Years of Behind the Product, a Software Development Podcast

July 28, 2022
podcast guests being interviewed at mics

We’re celebrating two years of our Behind The Product software development podcast! Since July 2020, we’ve taken you behind-the-scenes on software stories from engineers, innovators, and thought leaders.

Read on for an insightful Q&A with SEP’s podcast host extraordinaire, Zac Darnell, and for a peek into the future of Behind the Product.

New to the show?
Tune in now to our “Best Of The Podcast Sampler” episode »

Before we jump into this fun interview with our host, Zac, about the podcast’s history, accomplishments, and future, let’s acknowledge that it takes a village to produce a podcast. From our wonderful internal co-hosts to clients and thought leaders who have joined us on the show, we say a hearty “THANK YOU!”

podcast host at mic with guests on video chat on monitor
Zac Darnell, Behind the Product host

Q&A with Our Host, Zac Darnell

We recently sat down with Behind the Product host Zac Darnell, Podcast Host and Engagement Manager at SEP.

Q: Why did you start a software development and design podcast?

A: It was 2020. The world had just gone into COVID lockdown. And I, an enthusiastic extrovert, was going bonkers working from home. With my work at SEP and previous podcast experience, this new medium to connect with people and tell software stories was a natural fit.

Q: Can you expand on the concept of “connecting” through a podcast?

A: From the start, we planned to use a co-host model that would engage different personalities and backgrounds within SEP. In addition to sharing more about what we do with the world, we opened a channel for passionate makers (engineers and designers) to tell us their stories.

We also connect with outside voices, such as clients and industry leaders, to explore different perspectives.

Q: Why is it important to you to tell these stories?

A: We don’t often hear about the people behind the ‘things’ (software) we use daily. We use apps, databases, tools, and equipment without thinking about it. This show allows us to tell some of those stories by spotlighting the software development challenges and opportunities behind the scenes.

Q: How do you determine content topics for episodes?

A: As a software development consultancy, we have the opportunity to build a broad swath of different products. Because we’ve been doing this for over 34 years, there are a lot of circumstances we’ve had to navigate and have a lot of stories inside our walls. Our topics are primarily influenced by our guests and stories we can relate to from our history.

Q: What episodes would you recommend to someone interested in working at or with SEP?

A: Oh! Two great episodes to get started are–

  1. Our “Best Of” episode – Listen to snapshots of some of our favorite episodes.
  2. “Peek Behind Our Walls” – Get a glimpse at how and why we do what we do.

Celebrating two years of "Behind the Product" podcast with new logo

Q: And as you look ahead, how is the future of Behind the Product shaping up?

A: We’re still going strong! We plan to continue building on our strong foundation from the past two years and explore new horizons as well, including:

  • Incorporating more video
  • Playing with the release cadence (increase to 2x/month)
  • Testing out limited topic series that span 2-3 episodes
  • Hosting more panels from local leaders

Q: It sounds like a lot of exciting opportunities are coming up! One more question for our more technical podcast audience—what technologies do you use to create podcast episodes?

A: Ahh, good question. We record in a couple of ways.

For an in-person interview, we record on Zoom H6, Shure SM7B mics and publish via the Casted hosting platform.

For a remote interview, we use all the same gear, but we also record it via Zoom.

And an honorable mention for Zencastr, a tool we used in early episodes.

Thank you for taking the time to share with us about the podcast, Zac. We have some final rapid-fire questions just for fun. Ready? Let’s go!

If you were the captain of a pirate ship, what would be the name of your ship?
Funnily enough, I already know this one! A few years ago, my wife and I had a black car and a small white dog named Pearl. The car became The Black Pearl, which would be my pirate ship name.

Who was your favorite teacher in school, and how did they impact you?
Mrs. Young was my high school English teacher. At the time, I hated English, and she helped me build a lifelong love of reading.

When did you get your first computer? What kind was it?
It was 1991, and I was six years old. My mom and I went to L.S. Ayres to pick up my very own Hewlett-Packard computer.

If you had to delete all but three apps from your smartphone, which ones would you keep?
This is tough! I would have to keep:

  • Text Messaging
  • Camera
  • Overcast podcast player

What is your Hogwarts house?

What was your first job?
I was a bagger and stocker at Atlas Supermarket.

What is your favorite podcast?
Currently loving The All-In Podcast (investing, geopolitics, start-ups)

Behind the Product is a software development podcast by SEP, where we believe it takes more than a great idea to make a great product. We’ve been around for over 30 years, building software that matters more. And we’ve set out to explore the people, practices, and philosophies to try and capture what is behind great software products. So join us on this journey of conversation with the folks that bring ideas to life.

We put the spotlight on those practices that guide decision-makers to solve some of the toughest challenges and the people who make it happen.

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