Camila Victoriano — Founder of Sonoro on Building LA Times Studios, Latinx Podcast Innovation, and Following the Story VS the Medium

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By RockWater Industries and Chris Erwin. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

This interview features Camila Victoriano, Co-Founder and Head of Partnerships at Sonoro. We discuss how fan fiction taught her to see nerds as heroes, being in the room when Dirty John was pitched to become a podcast, her crash course to figure out the business of podcasting, becoming a first time founder during COVID, why the Mexico audio market is like the US four years ago, Sonoro's growth to a global entertainment company, and why there are no limits to Latino stories.

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Interview Transcript

The interview was lightly edited for clarity.

Chris Erwin:

Hi, I'm Chris Erwin. Welcome to The Come Up, a podcast that interviews entrepreneurs and leaders.

Camila Victoriano:

So in 2017, we had a meeting with the editor in chief at the time, and he was like, let me sit you guys down and read you this out loud. And it was what would become Dirty John. That's when we realized there's something here that I think could be our first big swing in audio and in podcasting. And we got to talking and at that point we were like, I think we can do something here. And I think there's a story here to be told in audio. When it launched, it took us all by surprise with how well it did. Obviously we knew it was a good story, but I think you never know when something's going to be that much of a hit. Today, it probably has over 80 million downloads.

Chris Erwin:

This week's episode features Camila Victoriano, co-founder and head of partnerships at Sonoro. So Camila grew up in Miami as a self-described nerd with a passion for books and fan fiction. She then went to Harvard to study English, literature and history, which led to her early career, starting at the LA Times. While there, she became a founding member of their studios division and a “audio champion”. Then in 2020, she went on to co-found Sonoro, a global entertainment company focused on creating premium, culturally relevant content that starts in audio and comes alive in TV, film and beyond.

Sonoro collaborates with leading and emerging Latinx storytellers from over a dozen countries to develop original franchises in English, Spanish, and Spanglish. Some highlights of our chat include how fan fiction taught her to see nerds as heroes being in the room when Dirty John was pitched to become a podcast, her crash course to figure out the business of podcasting, becoming a first time founder during COVID, why the Mexico audio market is like the US four years ago and why there are no limits to Latino stories. All right, let's get to it. Camila, thanks for being on the podcast.

Camila Victoriano:

Yeah. Thank you for having me. Excited to be here.

Chris Erwin:

For sure. So let's rewind a bit and I think it'd be helpful to hear about where you grew up in Miami and what your household was like. Tell us about that.

Camila Victoriano:

Yeah. So I grew up in Miami, Florida, very proud and loud Latino community, which I was very lucky to be a part of, in the Coral Gables Pinecrest area for those that know Miami and my household was great. My dad, he worked in shipping with South America. My mom was a stay at home mom. And so really as most kids of immigrants, I had obviously parents I loved and looked up to, but it was very different than folks that maybe have parents that grew up in America and knew the ins and outs of the job market and schools and things like that. But really great household, really always pushing me to be ambitious and to reach for the stars. So I was, yeah, just lucky to have parents always that were super supportive. Questioned a little bit, the English major, that path that I chose to go on, but we're generally really happy and really supportive with everything that I pursued.

Chris Erwin:

Yeah. And where did your parents immigrate from?

Camila Victoriano:

My mom is Peruvian and my dad was Chilean.

Chris Erwin:

I have been to both countries to surf. I was in Lobitos in I think Northern Peru and I was also in Pichilemu in Chile and yeah, just absolutely beautiful countries. Great food, great culture. So do you visit those countries often?

Camila Victoriano:

I visited Chile once, much to the chagrin of my father, but Peru, I visited so many times and yeah, they both have incredible food, incredible wine. So you can't really go wrong. I did Machu Picchu and Cusco, and that sort of trip with my mom once I graduated college, which is really great just to go back and be a tourist in our country, but they're both beautiful and yeah, I love going back.

Chris Erwin:

Oh, that's awesome. All right. So growing up in your household, what were some of your early passions and interests? I know yesterday we talked about that you had an early interest in storytelling, but in some more traditional forms dating back to the ‘90s, but yeah. Tell us about that. What were you into?

Camila Victoriano:

I was always a huge reader. It's funny because my parents read, but not super frequently. My grandparents were big readers, but I always, always gravitated towards books. I remember, like many people of my generation when I was six, I read the first Harry Potter book and that was just mind blowing for me and I think...

Chris Erwin:

At six years old? Because I think I learned to read at like five.

Camila Victoriano:

Yeah. I had help with my mom a little bit but I remember we read it together and we would just mark with a crayon every time where we ended on the page. But I remember that book was like, I think when I first really understood how detailed and how enveloping worlds could be. And I think starting from that point, I just went full on into fantasy, YA, all sorts of books. I was just reading obsessively. It also helped that I was a classic nerd in middle school and high school and all throughout childhood, really. So I think for me, books, literature stories were just a way to see the world, see people like me, a lot of times in fantasy books or in sci-fi books in particular, you have the nerds as heroes.

And so I think for me, that was a big part of why I gravitated to those genres in particular. But yeah, I just read all the time and then I did light gaming. So I played the Sims, again, similar idea though. You're world building. You're living vicariously through these avatars, but that was really how I spent most of my time, I obviously played outside a little bit too, but I was a big indoor reader always.

Chris Erwin:

Got it. This is interesting because the last interview I just did was with Adam Reimer, the CEO of Optic Gaming, and we talked a lot, he was born in the late ‘70s. So he was like a 1980s self described internet nerd as he says, before being a nerd was cool. So he was going to web meetups at bowling alleys when he was just a young teenager. Over through line with you because he was in Fort Lauderdale and you grew up in Miami. So two Florida nerds.

Camila Victoriano:

Yeah. Nerds unite. I love it.

Chris Erwin:

Nerds unite. You also mentioned that you also got into fan fiction. Were you writing fan fiction? Were you consuming it? Was it a mix of both?

Camila Victoriano:

A mix of both. So that's really in middle school in particular, how I really bonded with my small group of friends. I remember my best friend and I, we connected, we were on the bus reading a Harry Potter fanfiction on at that point it was fanfiction.net. And that is also again, similarly because in person with people, it was just like, we weren't really connecting that much. And so that community online was huge for me and my friend. We read all the time, people had comments, you had editors that you worked with and we wrote them ourselves too. And I think, looking back in the retrospective for me, that's where I think I first started to realize the potential of world building really in storytelling and in media and entertainment. It’s like, it didn't stop with the canon text. You could really expand beyond that.

We loved telling stories about Harry Potter's parents and how they would go to Hogwarts, like super in the weeds, deep fandom. I don't know. I think for me that was just a real eye opener too, of like, oh, there's a whole online community. And I don't think at that point I was really thinking business. But I think for me, that's where I started to redirect my focus much more seriously too of, oh, this isn't just like, oh, I like books for fun. There's people all around the world that are incredibly passionate and spending hours upon hours of time, oftentimes after hours of school to just write and to really immerse themselves in these universes. And I remember writing them and reading them, just realizing how badly I wanted to be a part of creating things that caused the same feeling. And so for me, that was huge in that respect too.

Chris Erwin:

Well, thinking about fanfiction, literally there are now companies and platforms that are worth hundreds of millions of dollars that foster fanfiction, the communities around them. I think of Wattpad where you have film studios and TV studios, and a lot of the streamers that are now optioning IP from these fanfiction communities to make into long form premium content. Pretty incredible to see. So you go to high school and then you end up going to Harvard. I think you end up becoming an English major at Harvard. Was that always the intent from when you were in high school, it's like, yes, I'm going to go and get an English degree? What were you thinking? How did you want to spend your time in college? And then how did that evolve after you went?

Camila Victoriano:

I was typical good student in high school, right, but I think the older I got, the more I realized, oh no, my passion really lies in my English classes, my history classes. Obviously, I think math, once I got to calculus, I was like, all right, this might not be for me. And then science never really gravitated towards, so for me, it was always very clear that even though I tended to be a generalist in many things, my passion and my heart really was in writing and reading and stories and in history too, in the real world and how they intersected and how they affected each other. And so I remember when I was applying to schools again, my parents were like, are you sure you want to do English?

Because for them, it was in Latin America, many of the schools don't have that many practical degrees like that. You pick something a bit more technical. So I remember I would tell them, oh yeah, don't worry. I'm going to do English, but I'm going to minor in economics, which never happened. Once I got there, I was like, absolutely not, but that's what I would tell them because I was like, oh no, I'm going to be an English major, but I'm going to have some business acumen to go with it. And I think at that point when I was going into college and applying to schools, what I wanted to do was go into book publishing. And I really wanted to, I remember I had seen that Sandra Bullock movie, the proposal where she's an editor and I was like, that's what I want to do. And so at that point I was talking to, we have this really awesome local bookstore in Miami called Books and Books.

And I went and met with the owner, Mitchell Kaplan had a conversation with him. And I remember I told him I wanted to get into books. I wanted to get into publishing. And he's like, look, you're young, you're getting into college. I run a bookstore, but I would tell you, don't worry so much about the medium, just follow the content where the content's going. And that was a huge eye opener. Even though it seems now obvious to, sitting here saying that, I think for me at that age where I was, so it's easy to get one track mind of like, this is what I want to do, and there's nothing else, to get that advice from someone who was running a place that I loved and went to so frequently growing up.

And I think that for me, gave me a bit more flexibility going into college, just saying, okay, let's see where I gravitate towards. I know I want to do something creative. I know I want to still study English, but maybe he's right and I don't have to just stick to publishing. So when I got into Harvard I still, again, focused my classes, really liberal arts, right, like film classes, history classes. But I was a bit more, when I got there, unclear of what that would actually lead to in an exciting way, I think. But that was probably a really great piece of advice that affected how I thought about what would come next after Harvard.

Chris Erwin:

Yeah. So following that thread, I really love that advice of, don't worry about the medium, just follow the content. Clearly I think that really influenced a later decision that you made about doubling down on audio. But before we get there, in terms of following the content, at Harvard, it seems like you dabbled in a few different things where you did an internship with the LA Times, which is maybe news and journalistic reporting. You're also a staff writer for the Harvard political review. So what did following the content look like for you when you were at school?

Camila Victoriano:

So Harvard can be a really overwhelming place. My mom had gone to college, my dad hadn't finished. So it was a semi first gen college experience where I was like, whoa, once I got there. It was incredibly, the first semester and a half were really, really overwhelming. And I had to get my bearings a little bit, but I think once I got there I tried to dabble in a lot of things. And I think there was literary magazine, there was the Crimson, which is a classic. And then there was a few other organizations like the Harvard Political Review at the Institute of politics. And so I sat in a few things and it's crazy. For people that don't know, once you get there, you still have to apply to these things.

You haven't gotten there and then you're done and you're good to go and everything's set up. There's a pretty rigorous application process for most of these clubs, which makes it overwhelming. And so for me, what I ended up finding a home in, in terms of just the community and the way they welcomed you in when you came into the club was the Harvard Political Review. And as one does in college, you get a bit more political, you get a bit more aware of what's going on around you, world politics. And so I think I was in that head space already and wanted to flex a little bit of my writing skills outside of class. And so there I was able to really pitch anything. So I would pitch, I remember like culture pieces about the politics of hipsters, of all things, and then would later do a piece on rhinos that are going extinct.

So it was really varied and it allowed me to be free with the things I wanted to write about and explore outside of class and in a super non-judgmental space that was like, yeah, pursue it. And we had all these professors that we had access to, to interview and to talk about these things. So it was just a great place to flex the muscles. But I think mainly my focus in college was building relationships with my friends, if I'm totally honest. I think as someone that's super ambitious and super driven, I was very particular and followed step by step exactly what I needed to do in high school to get into the school I wanted to get to. And then once I was there, I was like, let me enjoy this for a second. Let me meet people and have fun and intermurals and just...

Chris Erwin:

Wander a bit.

Camila Victoriano:

Wander a bit, 100%. And I think especially freshman year and sophomore year was very much like let me just wander, take random classes. I took a computer science class, which was a horrible mistake, but just giving myself the opportunity to make mistakes. And I think then by junior, senior year is when I realized, okay, no, I still like this path that I'm going on. I like the storytelling. I like literature. I like writing. Maybe I'm leaning a bit more political. Again, that's why I applied junior year for the LA Times internship because was that through line of, I still want to be in storytelling. I still want to be in media, but now in this college experience and getting into young adulthood, I'm becoming much more aware of the political and socioeconomical world around me. Let me go into media, that's maybe pushing that forward a little bit and a bit more public service.

Chris Erwin:

Clearly it was a positive experience because I believe that after graduation, you decided to commit to the LA Times full time.

Camila Victoriano:

Yes.

Chris Erwin:

And just to go back on a couple of points you noted just about wandering. I think, when I review resumes for people that are applying to my firm, RockWater, my first internship was right before my senior year of college. The summer before senior year. I now look at resumes where people start doing internships literally in high school, and they have six years of working experience before they graduate. It's super impressive. My little brother took a gap year before Harvard and I think that wandering around and figuring out what he likes, what he doesn't like is really valuable. And I always tell people, like my own professional career, I did some things early on that I didn't love, but I learned a lot and it helped shape to where I want to point myself later on. So I think that's really good advice for the listeners here.

Camila Victoriano:

Absolutely.

Chris Erwin:

I'm curious, so was there any kind of gap period, or did you just get to work at the LA Times right after you graduated?

Camila Victoriano:

I went straight into it. I took the summer after college to travel a bit. That's when I went to Cusco with my mom, I went to Columbia. So I went a little bit around Latin America, but other than that, that fall went straight into it. But I think to your point, and again, taking a step back a little bit like freshman summer, I went to study abroad in Paris for the summer. So just again, I had traveled outside the country maybe once or twice, but not a lot. And so for me, that was a really, I was like, let me utilize some of these resources that I have. And so it was, again, that wandering and then the sophomore summer I worked at a literary magazine. So again, going more deep into literature. So I did dabble in a couple things here and there before fully committing, but after graduating pretty much went straight into work.

Chris Erwin:

And so you get there and are you, again, working in the publisher's office?

Camila Victoriano:

Working more broadly, for the “business side” of the company, right. So I'm working on business development really broadly. What that started as was how do you diversify revenue streams? How do you develop new projects from the journalism? Basically, what are new ways to make money in a digital space? We pursued projects at this time, and I actually got to see through to fruition because I was there full time, an event series within what was called the festival of books. We developed a new zone focused on digital storytelling. So we brought on VR companies, audio storytelling companies, just thinking about how to expand what the company was putting forward as storytelling, which was cool to me.

And also an interesting dynamic for me as someone that loved books to be like, let me throw VR into the mix and into the book festival, but it was really fulfilling, and after pursuing a few different things, developing a couple of platform pitches internally, what really stuck with our team and with me was in 2017, a year into that job, audio as a real business opportunity for the newsroom and for the media company. So in 2017, we had a meeting with the editor in chief at the time and he brought us this story and he was like, let me sit you guys down and read this aloud to you. It was very cinematic, but it was what would become Dirty John.

Chris Erwin:

The editor in chief read this story out loud to your team?

Camila Victoriano:

Yes. So just literally, it was a team of me and my boss and that was it. And he was like, let me sit you guys down and read you this out loud. And it was what then Christopher Goffard had the journalist had written as what was going to just be maybe a series online for the paper. And I think that's when we realized like, oh wait, there's something here that I think could be our first big swing in audio and in podcasting. And we got to talking and at that point, Wondery had just gotten started to another podcast company that obviously now sold to Amazon music. And so we met with [Hernan 00:17:57] and the early team there and we were like, I think we can do something here. And I think there's a story here to be told in audio.

And so again, a year out of college, I'm there helping put together the production team that would create this massive story or what would become a massive story, we didn't know at the time. And what I was able to do was basically help primarily the launch strategy and help the marketing teams and the sales teams put together what's this actually going to look like when we got this out, there was the first time we had done anything like that. And so it was a pretty wild experience. And then of course when it launched, it took us all by surprise with how well it did. Obviously we knew it was a good story, but I think you never know when something's going to be that much of a hit. And I think today it probably has over 80 million downloads and it's been adapted both scripted and unscripted on Bravo and oxygen and had a season two ordered on Bravo.

So it was a crazy experience. And I think for me, it was just like the ding ding ding of, oh, hey, remember what Mitchell told you in high school? Which was, follow the content, not necessarily the medium. And for me I had never really explored audio at that time. My parents were not people that listened to public radio in the car. That was not something I grew up with or that environment. So that was really my first entry point into audio and into podcasting. And as I started to dig into it more, I remember I was such a late listener to Serial and to S town. And I was like, oh my God, this is unreal and something that I've never heard of. I've never heard anything like this before. I probably never read anything like this before. And so I remember I asked my boss at the time, I was like, can I do this full time? I was like, can I just work on building out this audio division and this team? And I think at that point, luckily because Dirty John had been such a huge success, everyone was like, yeah, this is worth doing in a more serious way.

Chris Erwin:

Before we expand on that, this is a pretty incredible story. So you are in the room as your editor in chief is reading you the Dirty John story. So just remind me, with Dirty John, it was initially just a story. It wasn't like, oh, hey, we created this because we want to make this into an audio series or anything else. It was just, hey, Camila, you're looking at different ways to diversify revenue for the company, looking at different mediums for our content. Here seems to be a pretty incredible story. And was your editor in chief recommending that you make it into a podcast or is that something that came up in the room in real time?

Camila Victoriano:

No, I think he had already been thinking of it and that's to his credit. Right. And he was like, I think this might be it. And how do we get this done? And then I think Chris Goffard in particular is a great journalist. And he writes these amazing, more feature length pieces. And so his style of storytelling really lended itself to that as opposed to a breaking news reporter. And so he had already thought when he got the piece, this might be a good podcast or it might be our good first podcast. And I think he brought us in because we were the R&D crew of two that existed in the organization to really help make it happen. And so again, once we connected with the Wondery team and put the LA Times team together, it was a match made in heaven, I think. And it worked really, really well.

Chris Erwin:

It seems like you went right to Hernan and the Wondery team, were you like, hey, we should talk to some of the other audio and radio companies that are out there, or did you just go straight to Wondery?

Camila Victoriano:

We just went straight to them. And to be honest, I think that was something else our editors suggested. And I think to be honest, it did end up working really well because I think, we were coming from a very journalistic perspective and that's where I started to learn a bit more of the different ways to tell stories in audio, right. Start very character driven, really narrative as if you're making a movie. And so I think that it was a great match honestly, and I don't think we may have maybe looked at other things here and there, but it felt like a good fit right off the bat.

Chris Erwin:

You said you were working on the marketing strategy and the launch, right, of the series. Do you think there was any special things that you guys did? Obviously it's incredible story and it really resonated with audiences at scale, but were there any initial marketing tactics or buzz that really helped tip that into the mainstream?

Camila Victoriano:

I think what we decided to do, which was perhaps different than how some podcasts had been marketed before, because till then it had really been public radio driven, was I forget who said this, but it was basically like let's market this as if it was a movie or what would we do if we were launching a film? And so we really went all out in splashing our newspaper with these beautiful full page spreads. We were the LA paper, and so we had all this FYC, for your consideration advertising that would, you'd see those spreads for movies all the time. And so we were like, why don't we just make one of our own? And so it was a full team effort with the designers, the marketing team, me and my boss at the time and just putting together this plan where we really went all out.

And I think that definitely caught the attention of our subscribers, which obviously were the first touch point to this story. And we did similar things online where we had, what's called a homepage takeover where basically everywhere you look online, you're seeing advertisements for Dirty John for this story. And so we had newsletters and I think a lot of that 360 approach to promoting it online, in print, although that's not as common, but on social newsletters and really just hitting all the touch points is something that definitely I have taken with me in my career. And I think is also just becoming much more common across podcasting as we launch and others launch more narrative nonfiction, fiction series, that sort of thing where they're becoming really entertainment franchises beyond just a really great maybe non-fiction or reported story. But I think absolutely the way we thought about marketing it helped to change the way that our subscribers and then the listeners that came in through more word of mouth, saw the show and understood it for, oh no, this is entertainment. It's journalism driven, but it's entertainment.

Chris Erwin:

It's a really good note because an increasing challenge for any content creators or content market is how do you stand out through the noise? There is more content across more mediums today than ever before. And so how do you really cut through the noise, drive mass awareness, but also be focused and really go after a niche community as well? It's not an easy formula. Sorry. I wanted to go a little bit back in time, but that was really helpful context. But then to the point where you said, okay, you're talking to your boss, your leadership. And you're like, I think there's something really big here in audio. I want to focus my efforts here full time. I also think this is interesting Camila, because when we were talking yesterday, you said that you took an atypical path in some ways where you followed the content, you followed your passions.

It wasn't like, I'm going to go to school. And then I'm also going to get a dual computer science degree or economics or some quantitative math. And then I'm going to go do two years at McKinsey or an investment bank. And I think you following your heart it then puts you into these serendipitous moments, like being in the room when your editor in chief comes with Dirty John, and then you're like, hey, I've been working on these passion projects. I think there's something to do here in audio, let's go forth together. And then you just happen to be in the room at these incredible moments and then you're raising your hand for where your heart is telling you to go. And it's obviously put you on an incredible path, which we're going to talk more about. That's something that I'm just taking away here from hearing your story.

Camila Victoriano:

Thanks. That's a great way to put it. It's following my gut a little bit, and I think it just goes back to again, how I was raised and I think my parents were always, there's this funny saying in Spanish, [foreign language 00:25:29], which is like, if you don't cry, you don't get fed, basically. And so I took that to heart and like, yeah, I have a passion. And I think that part of me, the inclination is like, oh, if I work really hard, it'll get noticed. But sometimes it is like, no, you have to really actively say it out loud. And I think sometimes for people that are younger, like I was the youngest by like 10 years in a lot of the spaces I've been in, it's hard sometimes to do that and to raise your hand and say, I want this. But I think when I really felt that I did it and I think it's something I've just been working on in general.

Chris Erwin:

So you raise your hand and you say that you want to focus on what you perceive as a big audio opportunity for the LA Times. What does that look like for next steps?

Camila Victoriano:

Really, what that meant was I was the only person working full time on the business side, on this project, which was daunting, but also great because I got to have different touchpoints with all the teams. And so for me, it really became, how do I build essentially a mini startup within this legacy organization and how do we make something that moves quickly and can be nimble and can be experimental in an organization that, as I said earlier is nearly 140 years old at this point? So it was really exciting and really daunting. And so what I did first and foremost was figure out a good cadence to meet with my colleagues in the newsroom. And what it allowed me to do was really focus on offering them insight into the content that was really working well in the space that perhaps is maybe a bit more data driven, I would say.

I was really looking at what was working well and also working with our data and product teams to see what were the types of stories that listeners or in our case, readers were gravitating towards and offering that insight to the journalist and to the editors and really working hand in hand with them to figure out based on that, what were they excited about turning into audio or what were they excited about putting resources behind? And so I was focusing a lot on content strategy in the very beginning of how do we follow up this phenomenon, which was also, I think for everyone, you have this huge hit, you want the sequel to be just as good.

Chris Erwin:

And to be clear. So the data that you're looking at is both in terms of the content that the LA Times is putting out. Like your articles, I'm not sure if you were also doing video as well, looking at who's consuming that, how often are they consuming it, is that type of content performing well relative to other content? In addition, looking at metrics for just podcasting overall, what genres are performing well, what do the formats look like? Is it short form or long form audio? So you are taking that for your own understanding and then educating a lot of the writers and the journalists in the newsroom. Because then when you put that information together, better ideas can start to germinate within your business. Is that right?

Camila Victoriano:

Absolutely. Yeah. And then what they would be able to offer me was insight sometimes into maybe investigations they were conducting, or they would be able to tell me, yeah, that is a great story, but maybe the sources aren't going to speak on audio. So it was a really wonderful collaboration between the business side and the newsroom in a way that was really organic and really respected the work that they were doing, but also offered them a bit of insight into, hey, we're exploring this new thing together. Here's how we might do it in the best way. And so I was doing a lot of that in a lot of that more high level content strategy, basically to guide the editors into figuring out what might come next. And then also just doing everything else, basically that the journalists weren't doing, right, or that they couldn't do because they were busy reporting amazing stories, which was building on an actual business model for what this might look like, which was difficult, because it was very early days and our sales team had never sold a podcast before.

They had sold digital, had sold print, had sold events. And also marketing is like, how do we replicate what we did with Dirty John in a way that was sustainable and in a way that, how do we replicate that by tracking what actually worked well from that experience? Right? Because we could always splash all of our pages and flash all of our online presence with images and with links to the show, but figuring out how to basically make a report of what actually worked to drive listeners. And so it was a lot of in the very beginning, trying to digest and figure out what are the things that we could replicate and what is the “formula” that worked in Dirty John and others. Some of the stuff is hard to quantify and you can't measure, but trying to measure as much as I could to be able to build out a plan for, okay, we think we can make this many more shows and they have to hit these particular metrics. And I was doing a little bit of everything. Literally, like I said, my sales team or the sales team at the LA Times, they had never sold podcasts before. So I was literally calling podcast agencies and selling ads.

Chris Erwin:

You were selling ads yourself?

Camila Victoriano:

Yeah, I was. I remember I called ad results. We were doing a show about Bill Cosby, which is not an easy subject to pitch to sales, but I was getting on the phone, calling people and selling ads into the show. So it was really scrappy.

Chris Erwin:

Yeah. So essentially a one person team where you're creating the vision and the business plan and then also executing against it as well. That's a lot. Did you have a mandate from your leadership, which is like, hey Camila, we believe in your vision here, but we want within one year we expect like X amount of revenue or within three months. Come with a clear business plan and how much capital you need to grow it and then we're going to green light it. What were the expectations from your boss?

Camila Victoriano:

Yeah. It wasn't anything that specific to be honest, I think mainly the main mandate very broadly was like, Hey, this needs to make money after a certain point. Right. And it can't go on for so long of just, because a lot of people while making podcasts is cheaper than making a pilot, it's also very resource intensive. So while maybe it's not a lot of cash out the door, it's a lot of time from a lot of people to make something that is high touch investigative, like a year of reporting sometimes. And so I was asking a lot of the newsroom and the journalists. And so I had to work with our finance team at the time to build out a model that basically showed at least break even for year one and then started to make some profit after that or some revenue.

And so it wasn't as super strict thing, but I think obviously they wanted it to be revenue generating and relied on me and my counterparts on finance department to put that model together. And again, I was an English major. I had never made a spreadsheet. I had never made a model V lookup, it was very new to me. All of that was the first time I was doing any of that. So for me, those next three years or so were an incredible crash course into all of the practical skills that perhaps I hadn't learned in the English major was those were all learned in that time period of building a business model, putting together business plans, content strategy, and then executing marketing plans and sales plans at the same time.

Chris Erwin:

So I have to ask, clearly your love and your passion is for storytelling, right? So now you're figuring out the business plan for how can you actually create a new sustainable business that's going to tell stories in a different way on new mediums. Did you enjoy doing some of that business work or was it more of like, eh, I don't mind doing it because it allows me to execute towards this primary goal or were you starting to see like, oh, I actually like using both sides of my brain, operating on both sides of the house. What did that feel like for you?

Camila Victoriano:

I think it was definitely the latter. I think I never expected to “business” as I had always thought of it. Right. I think there were certain things that I could really do without, I did not love sales calling and pitching. I was like, I could do without ever doing this again. But I think for me, what I realized during that time period and working with the folks on the finance team, our COO, our sales, I was like, these guys are all really creative and actually figuring out how this is going to work and how this is going to be sustainable is actually weirdly fun and interesting and challenges my brain. And it's funny to put it that way, but again, as an English major, as someone that didn't grow up with parents or in a community where people were doing really traditional jobs or working as high powered business executives, I had never been in that space.

And so I think for me, the brainstorming of what are we going to do, what types of shows are we going to make? How is it going to make money? How are we going to make stuff that's meaningful and powerful and makes a difference, but also not go broke? That was actually really fun for me and really creative in a weird way. Business can be creative. And at the same time, I got a lot of joy from just sitting in newsroom meetings and hearing their stories that they wanted to tell and working with, call them creatives, but the journalists really.

And I think that's when I realized, oh, I can be in this space. I can be in this creative space as a facilitator of all these people that maybe have the boots on the ground, making the stories. And I actually really enjoy the operational part weirdly. And I think my brain does like being in both sides where I can brainstorm stories and I can be a part of green light meetings and I can have my opinion based on obviously personal taste, but also what I understand about the market and at the same time, really enjoy putting spreadsheets together, which sounds so lame, but it was fun.

Chris Erwin:

Hey listeners, this is Chris Erwin, your host of The Come Up. I have a quick ask for you. If you dig what we're putting down, if you like the show, if you like our guest, it would really mean a lot if you can give us a rating wherever you listen to our show. It helps other people discover our work. And it also really supports what we do here. All right, that's it, everybody. Let's get back to the interview.

I think you're hitting on a couple notes, which are important. So just one, I think I can just sense from our listeners, some tears of joy, we are calling finance professionals and the FP&A teams at these media businesses that they have creative aspects to their work. I think they really appreciate that, but I think it is true. And I think, look, I've seen this because I started after my banking career, I was very early in the YouTube MCN, digital video days. And there's all these incredible visions of how to build these new modern media businesses, but the actual business fundamentals of how do we make money? How do we have sustainable profit where we can keep doing this year over year? I feel like a lot of those big questions were not addressed. Now that's fundamentally changed 10 years later, but I think people with your mindset is there's a chance to bring great content to these new audiences that want to consume content in different ways.

But we got to find a way where there's business sense here, right, where there's going to be money pouring in from partnerships and from brands or from investors or from the fans themselves. And that allows you to keep building, to keep iterating, to create something beautiful and great and different. So clearly you have a really sharp mind for this. This is a good transition to talk about how you ended up going over to Sonoro and meeting Josh and being a co-founder of that business. To tie a bow in your LA Times experience, where did you essentially eventually take the business before you decided to do something else?

Camila Victoriano:

By 2019 or so, we had launched about eight or nine different shows. They were true crime limited series, but also what was important to us was to have some more recurring community driven projects. We did a really wonderful show called Asian Enough with two of our reporters, Jen Yamato and Frank Shyong. And it was just about what it means to be Asian enough and how that question is something that they asked themselves a lot and other people in the community asked themselves a lot. And I think that's an in general question that I, as a Latina can relate to. So there was a lot of also really, I don't want to say public service, but really community driven projects as well that I was really proud of. And then also of course, we had Chasing Cosby men in the window, Detective Trap, all these really awesome, true crime series that were our bread and butter by the end.

And luckily all of them did really well. They all would hit the top of their charts. A couple of them I believe are in development for TV. And I was just really excited to see more than anything too, that the process of brainstorming those ideas and of bringing them to life was so much smoother by the end. Our sales team was total pro that's selling podcasts by the end. Now they still have a podcast salesperson. I think what I was most proud of from year one to year three basically, was that it wasn't anymore a struggle to push these things through, it was very much LA Times studios as we called it was really embedded in the organization and podcasts were a real serious part of the business of the LA Times and still are.

And we got to make some amazing shows. All of them had advertisers when they launched, which was again for us a huge success metric. We were able to sell things before they even came out because advertisers trusted us to make it successful. And I think that was a huge success point for me having been on those calls in the beginning. I feel like that's a little bit why too, again, making this jump into Sonoro, why after that point I felt good about leaving because I was like, I feel really great about what I've built and what I've helped set up here. And I feel okay that I can step away now.

Chris Erwin:

Okay. And so were you planning on transitioning out or did this opportunity to work with Sonoro come up and you're like, hey, this is hard to turn down?

Camila Victoriano:

It was a little bit of both in my head. I was itching for something bigger, a bigger challenge, how I mentioned LA Times studios was really this mini mini startup within a legacy organization. I had gotten the itch of building something from the ground up and feeling really excited about that. And so I think at that point, I had been at the LA Times total, including my internship probably for close to five years. And so it had been a really solid run. And I think I was ready to look for my next challenge and as I was in that head space, just so happens, got introduced to Josh through our mutual friend, Adam Sachs. And when I met him, I think our energies, just to jump right into it, but our energies really, really matched well. We met over zoom a couple times.

Chris Erwin:

And when was this Camila?

Camila Victoriano:

This was in early, early, early 2020. So gearing up for what was to come unbeknownst to me.

Chris Erwin:

It was right before COVID.

Camila Victoriano:

Yeah. Yeah. And so we had met a couple times and I'm a real detail oriented person. And I think what was exciting to me about working with someone like Josh was he came in and had a really inspirational vision for what he wanted to achieve. And I got very excited and felt very aligned with that vision and what I had been thinking about recently over the last few years, just being in the audio space and in media.

And I thought, might as well go for it. I felt like it was the right time for me to do something from scratch, to take honestly a risk. And what seemed like a risk at the time, because I had been working in a very sort of traditional company that probably wasn't going anywhere. And in general, I think in my life had been pretty risk averse. I think I had just done everything the way I was supposed to do it. Right. And so I think that for me this was, okay, I'm going to take a risk. I feel like I've gained a lot of confidence over the last five years and a lot of skill sets and I'm ready for the challenge. So, yeah, chose to jump in it with him.

Chris Erwin:

Camila, what's the quick elevator pitch or overview of Sonoro?

Camila Victoriano:

So, Sonoro is a global entertainment company that creates audio content with the goal of developing it into TV, film, books, other audio derivatives, and our community focus is 500 million global Spanish speakers and US Latinos. So our entire shows are made by Latinos and our entire team is a hundred percent bilingual and bicultural.

Chris Erwin:

In terms of being inspired by the vision, were there things from the outset where you're like, hey, Josh, I love this idea, but here's what I would do a bit differently? Was there any of that in the beginning?

Camila Victoriano:

What I was able to offer was the experience being in the industry. Right. And so I think my eagerness really came from wanting to try shows that were outside the podcast norm "a little bit". We had done a lot of true crime at the LA Times, but I was really excited to try stuff that would resonate. For Sonoro, it's really our core consumer are the 500 million global Spanish speakers and the US Latinos. Again, I came from Miami. I'm a Latina. What was exciting to me in general about creating stories that were empowering Latino creators was let's not set a boundary about what the narrative that they have to tell is. Let's let them tell sci-fi stories, fantasy stories, horror, thrillers, that maybe don't have anything to do with being Latino, but are just feature Latino characters in it like they would any other sci-fi.

And so I think for me, what was really exciting was pushing those boundaries a little bit and leaving that creative flexibility to the creators and trusting them and their experiences, knowing that if we really relied on the specifics of their experience and their story, inherently, that would have a universal impact. What we Josh and I talked a lot about in the beginning was the success of shows like Money Heist, and those that hadn't come out yet reaffirmed our point later in the year, like Squid Game and Lupin, that more and more people were consuming global content.

That was, if you're a French person watching Lupin, there's probably so many inside jokes that I totally missed, but I still really enjoyed it. But they're going to enjoy it even more because it's culturally specific to them. And so I think that's what a little bit what I was really trying to push forward in the early shows that we made and still today of we can be really culturally specific, so that if we're making a show set in Mexico, Mexicans, they're like, oh yeah, this is really made for me, and I get this, and this sounds like where I'm from and who I am. But someone that is listening in the Bronx can still really enjoy it and have a sense of cultural community with the story, but it's more universal in that sense.

Chris Erwin:

Got it. Very well said. So, you align on visions with Josh, but you also have your distinct point of view. And then is it like, hey, within one to two months of meeting, you joined the Sonoro, and you helped co-found the company and build it to what it is today, or was there a longer [courting 00:43:24] period?

Camila Victoriano:

I think we literally talked on Zoom twice.

Chris Erwin:

And then it was like, all right, Camila's on board.

Camila Victoriano:

Yeah. I don't know. We just, we really got along really well and we clicked really easily. And I was like, I think this can work. I think we have a good rapport. We always joke, we're both Capricorns, so I think that that helps.

Chris Erwin:

What are the attributes of a Capricorn?

Camila Victoriano:

Very driven, very type A, very low BS. So I was like, okay, I think we can understand each other. So I don't know. It just felt right. It felt like everything was aligning. I was getting that edge to go and build something and start with... In general, I was just saying, I want to start with a really young team. That's what I wanted to do. That's as far as I had gotten in my head space about it, and then to get this connection from Adam, literally as that was happening, it just felt way too serendipitous to pass up.

And also then to have honestly such an immediate connection with Josh of like, oh, okay, I think we can work well together, and I think we understand each other and how we like to do things and how we like to work, that still to this day nearly three years in is true. I think it checks so many boxes that I was like, I just have to, again, it was the first big risk I've taken, honestly; career wise or school wise, if I'm looking that far back. But it felt right, and it felt like the right time to do it. So I just went for it.

Chris Erwin:

Well, so it's funny that you say all this. I've known Josh for a few years now. And in terms of how you describe him of like he's very ambitious, very driven, very direct, no BS.

Camila Victoriano:

Yeah.

Chris Erwin:

And as I'm getting to know you, I get that sense as well. And literally just, I think we spoke for the first time yesterday, but I'm also seeing just how complimentary the both of you are in working together. So I think that explains a lot of the recent success that we've seen with Sonoro over the past few years, not surprised. After a couple Zoom meetings, you guys partner up and then what do you first start working on?

Camila Victoriano:

So the first year that we really started, and we really formally kicked things off, kid you not, March 2020. So it was weird timing. But really what we were first trying to do is test out if we could actually make things that people loved. That is all we cared about. We were like, can we make shows that people love, that people binge into the deeps in the middle of the night? And can we do it well? And can we do it at a high quality? Because I think that was important to both of us is in general when you're seeing, especially in Latin America and the US, content for Latinos, like traditional telenovelas, the production value just isn't there. And so that was really important to us. And so the first year we launched a lot of traditional bread and butter podcast, chat shows that really quickly climbed up the charts.

Personal interviews, comedy, wellness, your traditional categories in Mexico specifically, and started to build out our network there really quickly, because I think a lot of the creators that were more independent there saw us as a reliable resource to help them grow their shows and to really be; for us, it was like, we want to be the partner of choice for any creator podcast or media company, executive director that wants to work and make really great content that just so happens to be created by Latinos.

And so that along with let's make stuff people love were our two big mandates in the beginning, and it worked really well. Our first original scripted series launch that we did was a show called Crónicas Obscuras. It was a horror franchise that we launched in October. And that came off of a similar premise, which was Latinos over index and horror. We love horror movies, horror shows, anything. But most of the horror shows or movies that do really well are either based on European legends and European horror stories or feature zero to no Latino characters that, and if they're there, do they make it towards the end? Maybe not. And so-

Chris Erwin:

They get killed off early.

Camila Victoriano:

Yeah, definitely not the final character left. So for us, it was like, this is one genre that we know already has a huge gap in terms of how Latinos consume it and how it's being made. And so we said, this is going to be our franchise where we're going to tell Latin American legends, set in Latin America with Latin American characters. And so our first season of Crónicas was about these things called Los Nahuales, which are basically werewolves, but they also turn into other characters like snakes and things like that. And the show, we did it super high production value. We recorded with this thing called binaural audio where you literally have a mic that looks like a head and people can walk around it. And so if you're wearing headphones, the show, you can feel things coming up from behind you, but it's just because of the way that we recorded it with this special mic.

And we had the voice actor who's done Homer Simpson in Mexico for 20 years. That was our big celebrity for that season star in the show. And the show ricochet up to number one podcast in general in Mexico. And it did really, really well. And that was our first success of this is an original show that Sonoro produced fully in-house, wrote, direct, production, casting, marketing. And we were able to launch it and people really, really loved it. Next few months after that, we launched a few similar series. The big one, of course, is a show called Toxicomanía, which launched in April of '21, which was, again, similarly mission driven, but always entertaining. It was based on a true story. A Mexican doctor in the 1940s that convinced the president of Mexico to legalize all drugs for six months, which no one knows happened.

For six months in Mexico, all drugs were legal and you could get them in government mandated dispensaries. And it was this doctor's way of saying, hey, this is how we build a progressive society. This was an obvious one. Again, it's like the combination of our mission, which is, this is a story about Latinos, in particular Mexicans and drugs that you haven't seen before because when you think Mexico or drugs in media, you think Narcos, but this was actually something very different. But then what we did is we turned it into a really entertaining dramatic thriller. We were inspired by movies like The Big Short and things like that, where it was like it was teaching you something about history, but in a way that was really, really entertaining.

And then we partnered with the actor, Luis Gerardo Mendez, who's an amazing Mexican star and really starting to come into his own in the US to executive produce and star in the project. And that show did insanely well. We launched it on 4/20. So again, it was the combination of mission, entertainment, production value, the right partner, and also a really strategic marketing launch of this is obviously a story that people are going to love and it's about drugs, so we're going to launch it on 4/20. And it did really, really well. It was number one in Mexico across Latin America. Number two in the United States in fiction, even though it was only in Spanish.

And now we just announced earlier this year that it's going to be developed into a film at Paramount+. And so that to me is a perfect case study of what we really tried to do that first year is let's partner with the best creators. Let's make the best content and see if people love it. And I think we proved that to ourselves that first year, year and a half.

Chris Erwin:

When you entered the, call, the Mexican creator and audio landscape, was it competitive? Were there a lot of other production companies that were either Latin America based, Mexico based, or from the US that were trying to operate in that market? And two, follow up question, was there a sense of with the creators that were there, did a lot of them want to create in audio and to expand their creator ambitions, or was it something like, oh, we didn't even know that we can do this, but then after talking with you Camilla and your team, they're like, oh yeah, typically, I just create a bunch of videos on YouTube or whatever else, but I'd love to do something in a more scripted or [premium 00:50:55] or narrative form in podcasting. Let's figure out what that looks like together?

Camila Victoriano:

Yeah. I think in terms of the landscape, there were very few to none established. There were a lot of independent creators. So we actually are head of production; Andrés Vargas. He is this great heart of the Mexican podcast creator network. He was really a first mover there for sure. And I think we worked together really to bring on a lot of these early chat show podcasts into our network to kickstart that, but there wasn't a lot of established companies there. There weren't any. And so for us really, it was a mainly an education challenge, not so much the creators. I think there were, like I said, independent comedians or wellness experts that had already started to realize, oh, this podcasting thing is makes a lot of sense for me to expand into. And we focused on working with them, but really more so for the talent.

So for our scripted projects is explaining that, hey, you don't have to have hair and makeup. You can just go into the studio for literally four hours and you make a whole series. And I think for us, that was how, especially when we were early on unknown, reaching out to these huge stars like Luis, being able to pitch it as this is still a really... And this is what I love about audio, right? Is like it's still, even though it's been around for a good chunk of time and you could argue all the way back to radio dramas and radio plays, it still feels like such a creative and experimental space. And I think that's what got a lot of the talent in particular that we were speaking to for our scripted projects excited, that they could try something different. This wasn't your traditional production, where you had to go in with a 5:00 AM call time.

It was very much, especially in early COVID days. It's like you could do it from your house. We'll send you a kit. No worries. We'll do it over Zoom. But it was a lot of education really for them, for their managers, but people were excited. I think they thought this is a chance for me to play and for me to have fun and for me to do something different and which made the whole experience, especially of those early recordings, just really special.

Chris Erwin:

So going back to a point that we talked about with your experience at the LA Times, it was follow the content, but then figure out the business model. How do we make this sustainable? So what did that look like for you working with Josh and the team of like, okay, we found this incredible creator community. We have these shows that are becoming number one in their local markets and they're crossing international borders into the US and more. But how do we actually generate sustainable revenue for this? And what are the right revenue streams beyond what everyone just talks about for podcast ad sales, et cetera? So what was some of the initial work? What did that look like for you guys? And where does that look like going forward as you think about the medium and monetization differently?

Camila Victoriano:

Yeah, absolutely. I think in Mexico, in particular, again, it was all about education, education, education. And I think for us, since we focused that first year really on just launching great shows and making sure that they were hits, then our counterparts in Mexico were able to go to brands and say, hey, look, we already know this works and explain a little bit the medium and how to interact with consumers and how to write an audio ad. So it's still early days in that market, but we've been able to work with really amazing brands like McDonald's, like Netflix. A lot of CPG brands in particular are really excited about this space. And so I think we're really, the more we talk to brands every month, it gets easier. And I think where the podcast market in the US was maybe four years ago is where they're at right now.

And I think we're reaching those innovators in the brand space that are excited to try something new and it's working really well for them. And we're getting a lot of people that come back, come back again because the audience for podcasting is the traditional ones that you see here in the US. They are younger, they have more disposable income typically. And so I think a lot of the brands are really excited about that. And then the US, of course, it's a totally different game. You have your direct response advertisers, which are the bread and butter of podcast advertising, but what we're really excited about is bigger brand presenting sponsorships, especially in our fiction series. That is where we're really looking to double down on in this year. For example, we had a show called Princess of South Beach, which was a 36 episode telenovela in English and in Spanish, and [Lincoln 00:55:02] came on as a presenting sponsor. And we produced this really incredible integrated piece into the content itself.

So it was a funny telenovela set in Miami, and we created a chat show or a TV show basically like an Enews called Tea with Tatianna, where she was talking to people around the family that the show was about while integrating Lincoln in a really seamless way. So for us, it's always about thinking a few steps ahead of what's the market going to look like in a year or two, and how can we get ahead of that? And how can we be really, really creative about the way that we integrate brands, so that it doesn't disrupt the content; number one, but also it gives them better value and it gives them much more seamless integration with the content that we already know listeners are loving. And so that's really what we're focused on in the US in particular is those bigger integrations into, in particular, our scripted content.

Chris Erwin:

Camila, as a young rising leader, where you raised your hand and essentially got to be at the helm of what is the new LA Times studio division, where you're helping to tell stories in different ways. And now you're a co-founder at Sonoro. Looking back on your young career, what are some of your leadership learnings to date, upon reflecting of you as a leader earlier on, maybe a few years back to the leader you are today? What have you learned and what do you want to keep working on?

Camila Victoriano:

The main thing I've learned has probably been more about human interaction, how you work with people and how you build a team. I think at the LA Times in particular, newsrooms are tough, because it's the business side traditionally and over the years has never... hasn't always been super friendly. And so what I learned really well there and also building a team over Zoom these last few years is communication is critical. And over communicating and making sure everyone knows what they're supposed to be doing, why, and just offering up the opportunity to answer questions and to be there as a leader that listens to people and to listens to maybe questions they have about work, about their life. I think for me, that's always really important and something that I've valued from mentors in my life of they're there to listen and they're not going to... I was a very precocious early career person.

I was always like, why is this happening, or what's going on? And I wanted to know as much as possible. And so communication, I think, is something that I always valued as a younger employee or as an early career. And so that's always what I'm trying to communicate or to convey to our employees now and to back then the newsroom is like, I want to be someone that they have a lot of FaceTime with and that communicates a lot with them about strategy and about what we're doing, what we're doing and gets them really excited.

Chris Erwin:

I like that. I run a lean team, but I realize, I can never overcommunicate. So things that I just assume that the team knows, the reality is that they don't. These things are in my head. And so every day it's important to just remind the team, what is our mission? What are we focused on? What were wins from yesterday? What are learnings and what are we maybe changing? That is literally a daily conversation. And I would much rather over-communicate than under-communicate. So I think that's very well said. Another point here is you now have investors. You raised a round of capital a couple years ago from some blue chip firms. And what have the learnings been there for you where you're following the content, you're building community around your shows. You're figuring out the business model and driving new revenue, but you also have to answer to a board. What is that like for you?

Camila Victoriano:

I think that's been the most exciting thing for me, honestly. What I have learned from working with our investors is just really relying on them to jump in when we have questions and using them as experts in the field too. And I think that's, they're there to help us and they're there to work with us and to partner with us on this venture. And so for me, it's really, in particular, we have some younger people that we work with and younger investors that are my age and collaborating with them on how to be leaders and how to build this business. And just, again, having that open dialogue and open communication of not being afraid to ask them questions, I think, has been the biggest learning for me and the part that's been most exciting about working with them.

Chris Erwin:

Realizing that good investors are really allies and partners through your business. These are not overlords that are micromanaging or only coming in when things are tough. They're there to be there for the good and the bad. And when you have a really great set of investors that can really amplify your business an incredible way. Look, a final note before we transition to our rapid fire segment is, Camila, what are you excited about for what's next at Sonoro, for what's coming up in the rest of 2022 and beyond? Tell us about the future vision and what that looks like for you.

Camila Victoriano:

First and foremost, I'm really excited about all of the shows that we have cooking for this year. Earlier this summer, we launched a romcom called Love & Noraebang, which was a really beautiful story that featured a Mexican-American character and a Korean character falling in love that was just incredibly well done with an amazing cast. We have so many other shows in the works that I think are going to get people really excited. I'd also say that we have a lot of really great announcements coming up in terms of derivatives for our projects, that I'm excited to get out into the world, and really honestly, for this year and next year to really bulk up that part of the business as well. We've launched some incredible, incredible podcasts, but now I'm excited for those to start cooking as TV shows or films and for people to start hearing about that and hopefully watching them soon. That is definitely what I'm very excited about.

Chris Erwin:

Awesome. Before rapid fire, Camila, I'm just going to give you some kudos. So I've known Josh for a few years now and spent a decent amount of time with him. I've also known Adam Sachs for about a lifetime, right? He was actually the first person that I interviewed on The Come Up podcast. Both of them have said amazing things about you, but we have never met in person until literally just yesterday. And now I understand why they say such good things. I think hearing how you stayed so true to your heart and passionate about following content and exploring different mediums, how you've then followed this exciting serendipitous path to put you at the forefront of this incredible new media industry like in podcasting and all things audio. I think it's an incredible story for you. And I understand why you are one of these young up and coming leaders because you have such incredible content vision.

You have a very clear understanding of what fans want and how to delight them. And I think you do marry both sides of the media brain of having really strong creative intuition, but really strong business savvy and just leaning in to get stuff done. So I give you a ton of accolades and I've already been excited about Sonoro's business well before this conversation, but walking away from this interview, remain even more excited and I'm pumped to have the rest of this business community and listeners spend more time with the shows that Sonoro's putting out into the world. So, job very well done.

Camila Victoriano:

Well, thank you. I really appreciate that.

Chris Erwin:

Yeah. You're welcome. All right, so we're going to move on to the rapid fire. This is the final segment. Very simple rules, Camila. The rules are as follows. So I'm going to ask you, I think, six or seven questions and the responses are to be one sentence or maybe just a couple words. Do you understand the rules?

Camila Victoriano:

I understand and I'm wary of the rules.

Chris Erwin:

Okay. Here we go. Proudest life moment?

Camila Victoriano:

I think founding Sonoro, closely followed up by, and this might be lame, getting into Harvard was a pretty big deal for me.

Chris Erwin:

Those are both fantastic. What do you want to do less of for the remainder of 2022?

Camila Victoriano:

Less reactivity, more proactivity.

Chris Erwin:

What one to two things drive your success?

Camila Victoriano:

I think our employees, and the work that they do drives me a lot, and also my family.

Chris Erwin:

Advice for media and podcast execs going into the second part of this year?

Camila Victoriano:

Listen to the consumer, listen to the listeners. I think they have... I'm using too many words. I'm going to follow your rules. Listen to the listeners.

Chris Erwin:

I dig it. Any future startup ambitions?

Camila Victoriano:

Oh boy. My heart and soul is in Sonoro right now. So we'll see what happens after, but that's all I can think about at the moment.

Chris Erwin:

Maybe you can have a conversation when Josh isn't listening.

Camila Victoriano:

Yeah, exactly.

Chris Erwin:

I actually want to go back to one of the rapid fire questions. When you say you want to be more proactive. Just tell me a little bit more about that.

Camila Victoriano:

I think when you're building a startup, it gets very easy to get caught up in the day to day and the little fires and the things that pop up and exciting new opportunities. And I think for me, it's really, it's similar to... I meditate quite a bit and just staying present and saying, okay, what am I working on right now? And staying focused and just being more proactive, I think, about thinking of solutions, new ideas, new projects. We do a lot of that, but I think especially in the moment that we're in, it's easy to get caught up in what's happening day to day and what comes up. I think sitting more with thoughts and with our strategy and our content and being more proactive about what's next and those steps that we're taking.

Chris Erwin:

Easy, final question. How can people get in contact with you?

Camila Victoriano:

Well, they can reach me on email, probably; camila@sonoromedia.com. Maybe I'll regret that, but feel free to reach out.

Chris Erwin:

I would say that we have some pretty great listeners. So the quality of reachout should hopefully be good.

Camila Victoriano:

Yeah, I'm not worried about it.

Chris Erwin:

All right, Camila, that's it. Thanks for being on the show.

Camila Victoriano:

Yeah. Thank you so much. This was awesome.

Chris Erwin:

That was such a fun interview with Camila. Like I said, I had never met her before yesterday. So it was really nice to spend time with her on the podcast and hear her story. It truly is remarkable, and I'm really pumped to see what she does next at Sonoro. All right. Quick heads up that our company has a new service offering. We just introduce RockWater Plus, which is for companies who want an ongoing consulting partner at a low monthly retainer, yet also need a partner who can flex up for bigger projects when they arise.

Chris Erwin:

So who is this for? Well, three main stakeholders. One, operators who seek growth and better run operations. Two, investors who need help with custom industry research and diligence. And three, leadership who wants a bolt on strategy team and thought partner. So what is included with RockWater Plus? We do weekly calls to review KPIs or any ad hoc operational needs. We create KPI dashboards to do monthly performance tracking. We do ad hoc research ranging from customer surveys to case studies, to whitespace analysis. Financial modeling, where we can understand your addressable market size, do P&L forecast, ROI analyses, even cash runway projections.

Chris Erwin:

We also do monthly trend reports to track new co launches, M&A activity, partnership activity in the space. And lastly, we make strategic introductions to new hires, investors for fundraising, and then also potential commercial strategic partnerships. So if any of this sounds appealing or you want to learn more, reach out to us at hello@wearerockwater.com. We can set a call with our leadership. All right. Lastly, we love to hear from our listeners. If you have any feedback on the show or any ideas for guests, shoot us a note at tcupod@wearerockwater.com. All right, that's it everybody. Thanks for listening.

Chris Erwin:

The Come Up is written and hosted by me, Chris Erwin, and is a production of RockWater Industries. Please rate and review this show on Apple Podcasts and remember to subscribe wherever you listen to our show. And if you really dig us, feel free to forward The Come Up to a friend. You can sign up for our company newsletter at wearerockwater.com/newsletter. And you could follow us on Twitter @TCUpod. The Come Up is engineered by Daniel Tureck. Music is by Devon Bryant. Logo and branding is by Kevin Zazzali. And special thanks to Alex Zirin and Eric Kenigsberg from the RockWater team.

29 episodes