Finn Blake’s podcast Project Next lets the Trinity student pick the brains of some impressive names from different fields (chef Matt Moran and AFL star Chris Judd to name a couple) in an attempt to work out his career direction … and to hopefully help others do the same.
After a year of lockdowns, I realised at the end of 2020 that I didn’t really have a firm idea of what I wanted to do with my career. I had the realisation that no one was going to figure it out for me, so I acknowledged that I was going to have to look around and catch up for coffee with people in various industries to find out where I wanted to head professionally.
I decided that I wanted to have a little bit of fun in doing it though, so I leveraged my previous experience in the media to come up with the media business Project Next.
I figured that other young people who have faced the same confusion as me might get something out of listening to the insights I get from catching up with accomplished professionals over coffee.
Well, I somewhat strategically label Project Next as a media business, as I refuse to limit it to podcasting if I see opportunities elsewhere. However, the focus of the business as of now is the podcast.
The podcast is all about uncovering success stories to empower the next generation. The interviews are held over a 'coffee date' and bring to light the hidden ups and downs of icons from tech, media and entertainment, before and after finding success.
The interviews are all about discovering the insights and knowledge that will help up-and-coming talent realise the opportunities that lie across industries. I’ve also found that they are helpful in discovering the best ways to achieve success as a professional and a person more generally.
I’ve been incredibly lucky to have a cohort of incredible guests in my four episodes so far. My debut episode was with Chris Judd, one of the greatest AFL players of all time.
I then spoke to the incredibly inspirational former managing director and partner of Goldman Sachs in New York, Josephine Linden.
In my third episode, I interviewed Cam MacKenzie, former Australian Olympian runner and co-founder of Four Pillars Gin.
Then, world-famous celebrity chef Matt Moran joined me for my latest episode.
They have all had such different but incredibly engaging stories. I have really enjoyed hearing from such a diverse group of success stories so far and this underpins exactly what I wanted to get out of creating this podcast. There are plenty more to come, which I am super excited for.
I’ve previously worked in TV and radio production, so I think that doing my own podcast was always going to be the most natural medium for me to use for this concept. Podcasting is obviously a huge market these days due to its convenience, so I felt as though giving other young people this content in such an on-demand format would hopefully help drive the most positive outcomes.
After some hesitation and apprehension, I decided to bite the bullet and launch Project Next in March 2021. Of course, there was some careful consideration as to how I went about building this brand, as I didn’t want to make a fool of myself. But after I decided that I wanted to launch the business, I put a lot of processes in place to make sure it was going to be as successful as I could possibly make it. My sister, a professional graphic designer, was pivotal in guiding my brand in the early days and that certainly legitimised what I wanted to do with this concept.
The process has been a lot more challenging than I first anticipated, but in a good way. I’ve come to the realisation that I am not only the host, but also the CEO, head of marketing, head of strategy, head of partnerships, lead editor, producer and the barista too. They are coffee dates after all, so I had to learn the craft!
But throwing myself in the deep end has been the best thing for me. I’ve learned so much about different important elements of launching a start-up, like marketing, data analytics and most importantly, nailing down your target demographic.
I know I’ve got so much more to learn, so I’m really excited to continue picking up learning lessons along the journey.
As I mentioned earlier, I’ve strategically marketed Project Next as a media business rather than just a podcast. I’d love to continue refining the podcast to make it as good as it possibly can be. I thoroughly enjoy producing and hosting the podcast, so I look forward to continuing to grow that side of the business. But I’m also super excited to see what else I can bring under the Project Next banner. There are clearly an incredible amount of opportunities to innovate in this space. I’m always searching for ways to use this platform to make the world a better place. So stay tuned!
To view the full episodes, jump on and subscribe to our YouTube, Apple Podcasts or Spotify (search Project Next Podcast). We also publish shorter snippets across Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn and Facebook, so don’t forget to follow us there too! Visit Project Next for more.