42 episodes

Candid conversations with entrepreneurs, artists, athletes, visionaries of all kinds—about their successes, and their failures, and what they learned from both. Hosted by Alex Blumberg, from Gimlet Media.

Without Fail Gimlet Media

    • Careers
    • 4.9, 212 Ratings

Candid conversations with entrepreneurs, artists, athletes, visionaries of all kinds—about their successes, and their failures, and what they learned from both. Hosted by Alex Blumberg, from Gimlet Media.

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
212 Ratings

212 Ratings

MarilouEmard ,

Uplifting and thoughtprovoking

As always, Alex Goldberg produces intelligent, positive content! So many interesting tips and life/work hacks. Thank you!

R'nRollJo ,

Honest truth-telling

I have listened to some of the most emotional, honest interviews on this podcast on topics I never thought I would be interest in. The executive coach episode on July 14 is amazing because the host’s empathy in the interview leads to a breakthrough with his subject.

imnotnicole ,

I love you, Dapper Dan

This week I listened to podcast Without Fail, hosted by Alex Blumberg. Each episode has a different guest, where he interviews them on an extraordinary experience. The show first aired on September 20, 2018 and has posted a new episode every Monday since. If you’ve never listened to Without Fail before, you still might recognize it the voice of its host. Alex is a radio journalist who is affiliated with many other podcasts such as StartUp, This American Life, and Planet Money. He is also the co-founder of Gimlet Media, who produces this show and twenty-nine others, some similar and different from Without Fail.

Every guest that comes through the show has something in common, they’ve all attempted extraordinary things, some accomplishing what they set out to do, and some don’t. In the first episode Alex interviews designer, Dapper Dan, who revolutionized high-fashion and Hip-Hop in the 1980’s. In a loose interview structure, Dan takes us through the story of how he made a name for himself, by redesigning luxury items for drug kingpins and rappers. The second episode is an interview with Jenny and Ron Doan, a couple who lost their life savings in the US financial crisis, right before their planned retirement. They happened to stumble upon an untapped market: tutorials on YouTube on making quilts and started an empire. The loose structure of the interview made the conversation flow naturally. In both interviews the guests seemed comfortable, and you could tell Alex is an experienced interviewer.

I liked the podcast, but with no co-host they feel very long. Alex’s voice is monotonous, and the intro and advertisements drag on. The first episode worked better than the second. With the ‘candid’ nature of the show, it leaves room for big personalities, like Dapper Dan, to guide the story. On the other side of this, it can also backfire and have no real hook to it, like I found in the second episode. While the story of the Doans’ is compelling, I found my mind wandering, and if I knew I wasn’t going to be writing about it, I would have stopped listening.

The advertisement in the first episode was for LinkedIn and was played three times. The ad was first played in the beginning of the show for ten seconds, then in the middle for about a minute, then once again at the end for about ten seconds again. Alex reads the ad from a script and it matched the tone of the show. It also seemed to fit the target audience for the show.

The advertisements for the second episode were for Squarespace, a company that develops websites, and Mogul, another podcast produced by Gimlet. The first ad played in the beginning of the episode and then the ad for Mogul, played at the end. The Squarespace ad was read by Alex, and the ad for the podcast was provided. All the ads were relevant to the podcast and their target audience.

I give the show a rating of four out of five stars. The podcast was well put together, and I enjoyed the subtle touches, like the music used. While the loose structure didn’t work for the second episode, it did wonders for the first. In my opinion, what makes a good story are the characters, and Dan was compelling. He told stories within his story and had my full attention from the beginning.

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