About Listen Notes

Listen Notes is a podcast search engine that actually works. It's like Google, but for podcasts. You can search 376,013 podcasts & 20,912,078 episodes by people, places, or topics -- (almost) all podcasts you can find on the Internet.

1. Who build Listen Notes?

A self-funded one-person team builds Listen Notes :) I am Wenbin, a Software Engineer in San Francisco.
I quit my day job 309 days and 14 hours ago (Dec. 2016) and started a company with a former coworker. Things changed recently. I just left the company that I cofounded on Sep 15, 2017.
Right now, I'm working on Listen Notes full-time. I'll see how big Listen Notes can become before I run out of my personal savings in a few months.
Please feel free to reach out to me to say hi or bounce ideas: [email protected]

2. Why do you build Listen Notes?

I'm an avid podcast listener. I listen to several hours podcasts everyday. I subscribe to only a few podcasts, but I couldn't listen all episodes of them -- not every episode is worth listening in the same podcast. If I'm interested in a certain topic, I would just find a lot of episodes from different podcasts about this topic, and binge listening all of them.
Think about this: In the early days of web, people bookmarked websites on their browsers and regularly visited those few websites. When Google became a verb, fewer and fewer people need to bookmark websites. We just search for web pages. Oftentimes, we don't care what websites these web pages belong to. A podcast is like a website. An episode is like a web page. I bet that the "Subscribe to a podcast then listen" model will change. Listeners will search & find individual episodes to listen, if there's a podcast search engine that actually works.
There are some fancy podcast search engines on the Internet, where they use fancy machine learning / AI techniques to do voice search or whatsoever. However, their database is way too small, because of the limitation of their fancy techniques.
Life could be simple and happy. Let's have a complete database and just index the text description. So I build Listen Notes and iterate from here. The server fee is around $100/month, which I can afford.
Listen Notes is yet another "I can build this in a weekend"-ish project, so are Facebook in 2004 and Twitter in 2006. Listen Notes is an ElasticSearch-back web app, for now. However, there will be tons of optimization opportunities in the future, e.g., improving search quality, autocomplete, related queries, using AI techniques when they become mature...

3. Why there are Ads on this website? Why do you need to make money?

I'm a human being, so I need to make money to support my family :) Technically I'm unemployed (aka being an entrepreneur) right now. It won't be a bad idea to make $100/month to at least cover the server fee of Listen Notes (~$100/month).
If you have better ideas for monetization, or you want to advertise on this website, or you are an investor, email me: [email protected]

4. I'm a podcaster. I don't see my podcast on Listen Notes / I want you to delete my podcast from your site...

If you don't see your podcast on Listen Notes, please tell me by filling this form: Submit a missing podcast.
If you don't want your podcast to be listed on Listen Notes, tell me and I'll remove your podcasts within 12 hours: [email protected]

5. What technologies do you use to build Listen Notes?

Visit ListenNotes.com on desktop browser and open JavaScript Developer Console. You'll figure out there :)

6. Do you provide API for developers to access podcast data?

I haven't built an API yet. If there's a huge demand of an API, then I'll build it. Please tell me if you are interested: [email protected]

7. What's next for Listen Notes?

Before I run out of my personal savings, I'll improve the core search feature as much as possible. If I figure out how to extend my runway (e.g., better monetization or getting VC funding), then I'll start exploring some community features (e.g., Goodreads for podcasts).

8. Are you looking for VC funding?

Yes. If you are an investor and you are interested in this podcast search engine thing, email me: [email protected].
This should be a capital efficient business. Technologies become commodity. A tiny engineering team can easily build something simple but useful on multiple platforms, thanks to technologies like React Native, Docker, AWS...
When Instagram got acquired, it has only 13 employees. I won't be surprised if there's a way smaller team that has comparable exit nowadays.

Updated: 2017-10-20