“When I Started Podcasting I was Stealing Everything I Could”

How Jack Rhysider Built Darknet Diaries

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When Jack Rhysider started Darknet Diaries, he had a blog that got a few thousand hits per day, 3,000 Twitter followers, and a full-time job as a network security engineer. Now, nearly three years and over 70 episodes later, the podcast has been downloaded over 8 million times. The show, which tells “true stories of the dark side of the internet”—including disturbing tales of hacking, data breaches, and cybercrime— is now a full-time job  and pays for a production team.

Rhysider is not only humble about his incredible success—he says you can grow a successful show, too. How? He breaks it down into three steps: Make an excellent show, grow your audience, and monetize it—in that order.

Make an Amazing Show

Rhysider quickly realized that part of what made his show stand out was not just the stories he was telling, but the way he told them. “We all have different ways that we've grown up and the way we look at the world,” he explains. Owning that singularity was one key to Rhysider’s success.

When he launched the first four episodes in the fall of 2017, he didn’t see any other podcasters in the high-drama cybersecurity stories space. As soon as he launched, however, he recalls, “I found four shows that were doing the same thing,” which made him “furious” and nearly [...]

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