RWDevCon Inspiration Talk – NSBrief by Saul Mora

Hear first hand from Saul Mora how the popular podcast NSBrief got started and some lessons he’s learned along the way. By Saul Mora.

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Note from Ray: At our recent RWDevCon tutorial conference, in addition to hands-on tutorials, we also had a number of “inspiration talks” – non-technical talks with the goal of giving you a new idea, some battle-won advice, and leaving you excited and energized.

We recorded these talks so that you can enjoy them, even if you didn’t get to attend the conference. Here’s our next talk – NSBrief by Saul Mora – I hope you enjoy!


Hey everyone thanks again for joining me for another NSBrief. How many of you here have heard me say that on the podcast? Maybe a couple of you here? Alright, I’ve got a few listeners in the audience.

For those of you that might not be familiar with NSBrief the podcast, it’s a pretty popular podcast on the internet these days. We’ve got a nice little website here that’s fairly easy to read by now.

We’ve got global reach. We touched a lot of different countries.

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This kind of change definitely from month to month and this particular month, I think, China was scraping a little bit of extra sites than normal this time.

Over the years, NSBrief has definitely grown from a little hobby of mine to something that is actually fairly popular and fairly well respected in the community, in the IOS community. It’s been really nice. This is a number of our total downloads just for the last couple of years:


It’s a lot of people listening to stuff that I say and my guests say, so that’s kind of nice. It’s nice that people actually hear me talk. NSBrief does get popular on iTunes. You can see me up there in the “What’s Hot” category.

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It’s amazing to be among all these other shows that I know have far higher production value than what I’m able to put in to NSBrief, again just as a hobby.

Now I took this one a few days ago.

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I looked at the software category in the How To section and I looked at just the top podcast, if you notice there at the bottom, I’m ahead of some other podcasts you might not have heard of (hehe). So yeah that just happens to be that way.

It’s a lot of fun, but one of the things that I was really proud of (and I don’t really cruise iTunes for podcasts all that often) was that last year in December there was this whole Hour Of Code thing going on. iTunes had a whole section about the Hour of Code and in the podcasts towards the bottom there’s a lot of really awesome podcasts, and NSBrief is included. This is definitely an honor to be in really good company with all these other really great podcasters.

The thing that I’m really proud of, as a producer of show and content that people really like to listen to, is the star rating. You can see here, this is an aggregation of all the iTunes stores all over the world.

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They’ve got 103 users rating stuff. I got a 4.9 star rating on the iTunes app Store, I got a lot of really great reviews. It’s really nice to know that people really like this show, so if you haven’t listened to it, I guess this is your sales pitch to go give it a try. It’s really helpful and insightful.

My Start In College Radio

How did I get started with all this craziness with talking to people and starting a podcast? It turns out that when I was in college, I actually was on this student radio station. I did a little bit of crappy DJ-ing as you do in college, and did a little bit of sportscasting going to some of the sports games. That was a lot of fun.

I’ll let you know though, this was towards the end of the dot com 1.0 bubble. There was just a lot of new crazy web technology and our student radio station, we only had 1 kilowatt radio, so we had to extend our reach. We were so advanced that we had our own RealAudio server, so we could expand beyond our campus just a little bit.

Deciding On A Name

So podcasting. What do you need to get started with a podcast? The one thing that you really need is a good name.

How do you name a podcast? Especially, now that you know NSBrief, how do I come up with these crazy names?

At the time I was listening to a lot of podcasts who were really popular back in the day.

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Late Night Cocoa was a really influential podcast for me. It really got me interested in iOS (it was iPhone OS development at the time and Cocoa development) and hearing Scotty just doing what he does, talking to people and asking questions was cool. That was a really cool name, but that was taken, scratch that one.

Core Intuition was another popular podcast at the time. I remember listening to the first episodes of that one and hearing Manton and Daniel just talking about the things that they do. I thought, “Well Core Intution is kind of techy and nerdy and stuff, so why don’t we follow that vein and call it CFPodcast?”

It was a little too niche. As you can see the reaction right here. There’s nobody laughing at that one. A little bit better, a little higher level abstractions might be in NSPodcast.

I was also listening to a lot of rails stuff at the time and I had come off of a lot of rails development. Rails Envy was a fairly popular podcast. I thought, “Well maybe I could do that.” That didn’t really fly.

It turned out CocoaRadio was actually already taken by the time I had decided to do a podcast. Justin Williams actually kind of stole it from somebody else. It was kind of weird.

I thought, “Well it’s going to be a technical podcast, so I should really make a technical name right?” So I came up with “CocoaBytes” but it had the connotation that Cocoa sucks, if you said it wrong and didn’t see the spelling, so that was kind of not good.

I took a step back and kind of wondered. I had this description. It was me and a friend of mine that actually thought we should do a podcast. It was at a conference in San Diego in 2010 and we were like, “Well we just want to do a short podcast, very brief podcast talking about really technical bits.” Then as we were reiterating what we wanted the goal of this podcast to be, this word “brief” stuck out to us.

It stuck out to me anyway. I was like, “We should do this and call it NSBrief.” It’s great because Brief has two connotations, because if we actually don’t succeed on the whole short thing we can just say, “We’re just being informative.” Hence NSBrief was the chosen name of the podcast.

Saul Mora


Saul Mora


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