In the past few weeks, news about the Anchor app has spread like crazy in creative circles. And this makes me so excited. A bit concerned, but mostly excited. Let me explain.

A brief history on Anchor

The mobile app Anchor was born back in 2016. Anchor launched as a short-form audio production tool. It was awesome because it was easy—create a podcast-like experience with just your phone. Entrepreneurs and social media experts got very excited about this. Here’s what Gary Vaynerchuk had to say in February of 2016:

In this video, Gary talks about his obsession with voice. And his thoughts totally resonate with me: there’s something super special about audio. It’s intimate. It’s behind the scenes. It’s human.

But even in this video, some huge limitations about Anchor came to the surface. Among other things, an Anchor recording could only be 2 minutes long. Since its launch, I’ve chatted with several business owners and mentors about it. The general consensus: Anchor had a lot of potential but was also a huge time suck without a neighborhood who hung out there or a real ROI.

Fast-forward to March of 2017. As this article from the Verge describes, Anchor launched a new 2.0 version. These powerful updates are tricky to put into words, and I’m still learning the Anchor lingo, but they include the following:

  • the ability to create recordings from your phone without the 2-minute limit
  • the ability to let your recordings expire after 24 hours
  • the ability to turn your recordings into permanent episodes on your station
  • the ability to let listeners leave comments, call into your station, and easily share to other platforms
  • the ability to upload existing audio and video files and convert them into Anchor episodes
  • the ability to turn your Anchor station into a legit podcast

Tides start rising

A couple months ago, after removing a buttload of unused apps from my phone, I decided to leave the Anchor app on my phone.

And I’m glad I did. Because a week or so ago, I received notifications that the Rising Tide Society’s Natalie Franke, and her vlogging sidekick Kent Heckel, had favorited my Anchor station. Over the past week, Natalie and Kent made a MASSIVE effort on social media promoting their excitement about Anchor.

This renewed interest in Anchor has swept the creative entrepreneurship space like crazy. Natalie is currently listed at #8 in the Anchor station ratings. Number 8!! Facebook groups are going nuts with shared Anchor episodes and questions about the platform.

It is official bandwagon season for Anchor among creatives right now, and tons of new faces are jumping on. Anchor is turning into a space for creatives to connect and build community. I hope this save effect is happening in other niches of entreprenership and business, but I’d also be totally content if Anchor turns into “the creatives’ territory.”

My thoughts

Don’t get me wrong. I’m very excited about this. I think Anchor is building something awesome. And I’m so grateful to the Rising Tide Society for taking the time and effort to intentionally carve out a space on the platform for creatives.

But I’m also being cautious. I spent most of 2016 struggling to just stay above water as an entrepreneur. If I learned anything, it’s that your business can’t afford to invest time into something with no payoff.

Are you jumping onto Anchor for your business or to have fun on your off time?

If you just want to play around, great.

If you’re doing it for business, you need to think strategy and you need to think minimum viable product. What is the least amount of time you can put into Anchor to get a powerful return?

As a business owner, time is one of your greatest assets. And Anchor has the capacity to be a huge time suck. Hey, I’ve already fallen victim to it—it took me about 20 minutes and 15 takes to have an “intro” episode that I was comfortable with.

Here are my recommendations. Test the waters with Anchor. Embrace imperfection and release first takes. Keep track of your time, and hop off before it feels pruney.

Anchor profiles worth following

What about you?

If you’re on Anchor, share your links in the comments!


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