It started as a simple curiosity.
Having watched Seattle transform so dramatically in the decade since moving here, Jeff Shulman, the Marion B. Ingersoll Professor of Marketing at the Foster School of Business, decided to explore the implications of his adopted city’s unprecedented and unabating growth. And that exploration became the Seattle Growth Podcast.
After four seasons and dozens of episodes, the Seattle Growth Podcast has now surpassed 100,000 downloads.
The legion of listeners has been drawn to this unique compendium of Shulman’s recorded conversations with Seattleites of every stripe—civic movers and culture shakers, entrepreneurs and educators, nurses and fire fighters, athletes, artists and musicians (the focus of the most recent season of the podcast).
And Shulman has emerged from his ongoing inquiry as a kind of expert observer of all things change in Seattle. The local and national media have noticed, tapping into his observant expertise on matters of Amazon’s HQ2, Microsoft’s planned expansion, the future of Nordstrom, Seattle’s campaign to develop an NBA-ready sports arena, its homelessness crisis and the hotly debated business head tax that was recently passed and quickly repealed. He has been interviewed by many of Seattle’s newspapers, television and radio stations, as well as the Washington Post, USA Today and Inc.
“I knew Seattle had company among other cities also experiencing rapid growth, but I did not anticipate the level of interest locally and nationally that Seattle Growth Podcast would draw,” says Shulman. “The success of the podcast is all because I’ve been fortunate enough to have an incredible set of distinguished guests including former mayors of Seattle, city councilmembers, all-star NBA athletes, CEOs, and Grammy-nominated musicians as well as everyday artists, activists, residents and other business and city leaders. They entrust me with their stories because I am eager to learn from diverse perspectives and allow their voices to be heard.”
The upcoming fifth season of the Seattle Growth Podcast will examine the city’s growing homeless crisis in depth, featuring King County Executive Dow Constantine, former state Attorney General Rob McKenna and a host of activists, home owners and homeless people.
“The goal,” Shulman says, “is to build mutual understanding of the challenges various community members face with this issue, and start a dialog to address them.”