My Digital Life: Kate Hutchison, Co-Founder & Chief Strategy Officer at Lasso Audio & Tink Media
Kate Hutchison is the digital entrepreneur behind podcasting companies Lasso Audio and Tink Media. We chat to her about her career in publishing, the evolution of podcasting and book Instagramming.
Former Editor at Amazon Kindle, Events Director at Rizzoli Bookstore and now at the helm of a growing podcast empire with Lasso Audio and Tink Media, Kate Hutchison's impressive CV both belies her age (she's only 33!) and affirms her talent and passion for publishing in all its forms.
I met Kate over a decade ago. I was an editor at an online magazine, and she was the smart, wickedly funny, Californian girl spending the summer in London on a work placement. She had an encyclopaedic knowledge of literature, an excellent sense of style and a tattoo inspired by Brett Ashley from Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises. I knew we were going to be friends. Kate now lives in New York City (in a gorgeous, book-filled apartment in East Village) which means our friendship is largely long-distance, but thanks to Instagram she never feels too far away. She documents her love - and prolific consumption - of books via @bookishkatenyc and makes me cackle with laughter with her DMs (did I mention she's wickedly funny?).
As a digital entrepreneur with a career in publishing and passion for words on paper, Kate has unique insight on the evolving landscape on publishing and podcasting. I grabbed an hour of Kate's time one afternoon, before she headed off for a rare long weekend in Montauk, book in hand (of course).
NH: How did you get to where you are today, as Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer at Lasso Audio and Chief Strategy Officer at Tink Media?
KH: I moved to New York City right after college to become a literary agent. I soon realised that I wanted to learn as much as possible about the publishing industry before settling down into any set career path. I spent the next decade working with books in so many different positions! I spent time being an assistant at a talent agency, an editor at Amazon Kindle… I even lived out my You’ve Got Mail fantasies and even worked as the events director at Rizzoli Bookstore! What I ultimately decided, though, was that I was too forward-thinking and fast-moving for publishing and that’s how I ended up in podcasting. It combines my love of storytelling and technology. Plus, I love being my own boss!
NH: Tell me more about your companies!
KH: Lasso Audio and Tink Media are complementary podcasting companies that help creators use audio to amplify their message. I know what you’re thinking-- “Ok, but what does that actually mean?” and the answer is-- EVERYTHING! Working as an entrepreneur in the podcasting space means constantly evolving to meet the current demands of the industry while also anticipating future needs. Right now, Lasso Audio is a development and talent agency for audio creators while Tink Media specialises in podcast PR and marketing. Both companies are built to be full-service so that we can make our clients' lives as easy as possible. Podcasting is the wild west (which is why we named our company 'Lasso'!) and we strive to be experts in the industry.
NH: What are the ways in which you've seen the podcasting space change during your career?
KH: It never isn’t changing! And that’s why I love about it. After being in book publishing for as long as I was, it’s refreshing to be in a space where change is embraced and encouraged, rather than feared and avoided. The biggest thrill that I’ve been privy to is the role that Spotify has started to play. They’ve really pushed other podcasting companies to be more aggressive when it comes to mergers and acquisitions and that’s a trend that you’ll be seeing more and more in the future.
NH: What are your favourite podcasts?
KH: My all time favourite podcast is Everything is Alive from PRX. My business partner has the most amazing taste in podcasts and she recommended this one to me. It is a show where a journalist interviews inanimate objects. I don’t want to say anything else. Just please listen! I also love American Hysteria, Invisibilia, The Dream, Mija, Moonface, and Happier with Gretchen Rubin. I could go on and on and on but if you want more recs, you can follow @heytinkmedia .
NH: You have grown a highly engaged following on Instagram @bookishkatenyc - what are your tips for growth and engagement on the platform?
KH: Honestly… for me, it was DON’T TRY! I really got lucky with my following and don’t understand it completely? I don’t put effort into growing it or feel forced to post. For me, it’s purely a way for me to talk about books and engage with fellow readers! I love chatting with people from all over the place about what we’re reading. And maybe that’s why people like it? Because it’s 100% authentic.
NH: You are a self-confessed bookworm. Do you ever consume books using digital devices or only in paper form? And do you tend to buy your books online or in bookshops?
KH: Definitely don’t do e-books and dabble with audiobooks. I listen to self-help and spiritual books on Audible but everything else I read is a physical book. I’m a big fan of local indies and always buy books when I’m traveling.
NH: How do you balance running two companies? And do you use any digital tools to help?
KH: My business partner [Lauren Passell] is my angel. She and I had been acquainted for years because we both worked in book publishing (which is a very small industry!) but only became friends after launching our businesses together. She is truly the only reason I’m able to do what I’m doing. If I had to say a digital tool that’s helped, I’d say the Headspace app. Meditation has really been helpful for me in terms of managing work stress. Same goes for anti anxiety medication, if I’m being honest! Health is the most important part of life. If you don’t have health, you can’t enjoy the rest.
NH: What advice would you give to those wanting to work in digital and/or start their own business?
KH: Oh, I’m SO not the person to ask. Being an entrepreneur wasn’t something that I expected to be. I sort of fell into it. Who knows how long this will last but I’m having a blast while I can!
NH: What are your favourite social media accounts to follow, for work and inspiration?
KH: Um… @natalie_hughes and @thefashiondigital of course! [Editor's note: oh shucks, thanks Kate!] I’m also into health and wellness accounts like @deliciouslyella and @melissawoodhealth. @garancedore has also been my favourite for ages! Oh, and any Olsen fan account is obviously worth checking out.
NH: What are your favourite brands to follow? And are there any brands you've discovered via social media?
KH: I find a lot of food and wellness brands through Instagram. I also love using it to discover restaurants! In terms of foodie brands, I really like what @dailyharvest is doing. They did a great post during the protesting in NYC that I think a lot of other brands can learn from. It’s hard knowing what to post when the world is going through heartache. @hungryroot is another food brand I found on social media that I like to follow.
NH: What was your first email address?
KH: KATIEDISCODIVA@aol.com ALL CAPS ALL THE TIME.
NH: Which apps have you recently downloaded?
KH: Twitter. After this long without it, COVID finally pushed me over the edge (in more ways than one!).
Interview by Natalie Hughes