#Asia #Japan 124: What They Don’t Teach You in Language School – Peter Galante Japanese Pod 101


Twenty years ago, we all thought that starting a startup required a special and rare kind of talent. It was something you either had or you didn’t. Today, founding and running a startup is considered more of a learnable skill. It has its own best practices,  industry standards, and common knowledge.

And, in both startups and enterprises, I find it refreshing to talk to people who have succeeded by going against those industry standards.

Peter Galante started what would become the wildly successful Japanese Pod 101 with no clear idea how to monetize and no clear business plan. He did, however, have a firm conviction that what he wanted to build had value and the people would flock to it.

And he was right.

Peter and I talk about how his unconventional business plan and his rejection of VC advice and standard best practices, actually resulted in a rapidly growing startup in a market protected from even his best-funded competitors.

It’s an interesting conversation, and I think you’ll enjoy it.

Show Notes

Who is really studying Japanese online
Why most Japanese language learners fail
What you need to know about turning a hobby into a business
What happens when your startup start changing for free content
Why podcasting is dying [Noooo!!!!] and video is rising
How content creators can get paid when so much content is free
How to defend your business against better-funded startups

Links from the Founder

Everything you ever wanted to know about Innovative Language Learning

JapanesePod 101
JapanesePod101 on YouTube

Connect with Peter on LinkedIn
Friend him on Facebook

 Leave a comment
 Welcome to Disrupting Japan, straight talk from Japan’s most successful entrepreneurs.

I’m Tim Romero and thanks for joining me.

Today, we’re going to sit down and talk with startup founder and fellow podcaster Peter Galante, founder of Japanese Pod 101, and if you study Japanese, then you’ve probably already listened to more than a few of those episodes.

When I went over to their studio for the conversation, Peter mentioned that he was actually a little bit nervous about coming on the show. That came as quite a surprise to me. I mean, I’m a friendly guy and I genuinely love learning about business models and taking them apart, you know, breaking them down into their individual movies parts, holding them up to the light to see how they work. I think that subject is endlessly fascinating and I learn something new every time I do it but that’s my approach and not everyone thinks this way.

Not everyone approaches startups as an exercise in business model design where you have a system of interacting components that need to be optimized in underserved markets that need to be served. Some people, in fact, probably more founders that are willing to admit it start out with a vision of what they want to be doing and then figure out how to backfit some kind of sustainable business model onto it.

This is exactly what Peter has done and as we’ll see during the interview, this is exactly what has not only led to the success of Japanese Pod 101 but it is also what is preventing even well-funded competition from entering this space. We also – and as a podcaster, this breaks my heart – we also talked about the ongoing and transformative shift from audio to video content.

Oh, yeah, and Peter wanted to make sure I let you know that about the same time this podcast is released, Japanese Pod 101 will exceed 1 billion downloads. That’s pretty impressive for something that started out as a hobby but you know, Peter tells that story a lot better than I can. So let’s get right to the interview.


Tim: I’m sitting here with Peter Galante of Innovative Language Learning who is redefining online language education but is more famous and I think well known by a lot of listeners for creating Japanese Pod 101. So thanks for sitting down with me.

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