The Shorty Awards honor the best of social media and digital. View this season's finalists!

Special Project

Special Project
From the 15th Annual Shorty Awards

Ahead of Its Time by Setapp. A show about tech underdogs no one knew would shape the future.

Finalist in Science & Technology Podcast

Audience Honor in Branded Podcast


Setapp’s business objectives for the podcast were the following: 



Setapp’s editorial goals were: 


Aimed at innovators and creative entrepreneurs, the 8-episode series explores the mysterious origins of today’s most popular technology that was invented and forgotten before it changed the world.


Today, the world needs to prioritize innovation more than ever to address global challenges and keep up with the pace of rapid digitalization. The inventor of facial recognition software was years ahead of the competition but never got credit for his work because it was kept secret by the CIA. The first VR glove was a groundbreaking piece of tech that would eventually become one of the gaming industry's biggest flops. And when Kodak execs were shown an early prototype of the first digital camera, they flat-out rejected the idea.


Hosted by Julia Furlan (Vox Media’s Go For Broke and NPR’s Life Kit), the Ahead of Its Time podcast talks with the inventors of these technologies who struggled to get their ideas off the ground as well as modern-day innovators building on the work of the tech underdogs who came before them. Each 25-minute episode delves into their past, relives their eureka moments, and investigates their latest projects that are, today, ahead of their time.

Strategy and Execution

Ahead of Its Time was developed by two teams across the world. Setapp teamed up with Pacific Content, a leading podcast services company in North America, to bring the remarkable stories to life in the Ahead of Its Time series. 


Ahead of Its Time had been in the making for 18 months (1.5 years). We held 20 sessions to work out the podcast’s goals, audience, content, design, and channels for promotion.


Setapp is developed in-house by MacPaw, located in Kyiv, Ukraine. Because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, MacPaw’s team is spread around the world and has been working on the podcast from 4 time zones, and 6 different countries — adapting to hard challenges and new cultures. We decided to move forward and release the podcast at a difficult time but also at the right time because we believe in the power of innovation and creativity to fight the darkness.


With Ahead of Its Time, the team aimed to create quality audio content to increase brand awareness and favorability among key audiences. 

The show met the basic benchmarks for podcast success provided by our partners at Pacific Content. Ahead of Its Time had 81% completion rate (benchmark 80-95%) and a 7% conversion rate from social media to download (benchmark 5-15%).

With almost 50,000 downloads and 4.5/5 star listener ratings, Ahead of Its Time was featured prominently on Apple Podcasts in the US, Canada, Ukraine, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. The show charted in the top 10 on the tech charts on Apple Podcasts and in the top 20 on the tech podcasts on Spotify around the world. With an average of over 5,000 downloads per episode, Ahead of Its Time entered the top 8% of all podcasts.

According to the Brand Lift conducted by Signal Hill, the podcast delivered a significant lift in aided awareness and familiarity for Setapp. The proportion of listeners who had never heard of Setapp dropped from 34% (66% aware/heard of) in the control cell to 20% (80% aware/heard of) among listeners. Those at least somewhat familiar with Setapp went from 42% in the control sample to 58% among exposed listeners. 77% of exposed listeners said that Setapp’s role in making the podcast available makes them feel much or somewhat more favorable towards Setapp (well above Signal Hill’s 59% benchmark).

The 56% ‘loved it’ score exceeded Signal Hill benchmarks by 21 points.


Entrant Company / Organization Name

Setapp by MacPaw


Entry Credits