Jonny Miller is the creator behind the Curious Humans podcast and newsletter, and teaches the nervous system mastery bootcamp. Jonny covers how to foster curiosity, his satisfyingly simply workflow, and the income from his latest course cohort.
Tell me about Jonny. Where are you? Where did you grow up?
I’m currently based in Boulder, Colorado. Originally from Hertfordshire in the UK, but have been semi-nomadic for the past decade or so — hopping between Bali, Morocco, Mexico and the US.
How did Curious Humans come about?
Curious Humans was a project born from a desire to create a forcing function for my own learning, desire to connect with others whose work I respected, and to hone my skills in the crafts of writing and interviewing.
What else are you working on?
My main project is called Nervous System Mastery — this is a 5-week bootcamp designed to cultivate greater calm and somatic self-awareness. The current cohort has 300 students and we’re wrapping up this week!
How many subscribers do you have, right now? What have you done to grow the audience? What worked? what didn’t?
I had to look this up and was surprised to see the number has gone up to 4300! Honestly growing the audience isn’t something I’ve put much energy into, that said, I know many subscribers have come from being relatively active on twitter and appearing as a guest on other podcasts. I’ve also launched some side projects like reflecting forwards or the emotional resilience report which have tended to draw in new readers.
What’s your big goal for the newsletter? How does it fit in with your other projects?
I’d say there are just two goals, to foster serendipitous connections with others who resonate with my work and as a forcing function to share what I find interesting — currently that looks like a mix of exploring: modalities for introspection and embodied wisdom, AI-related philosophical questions as well as courses or books that I’ve appreciated.
I’m obsessed with other peoples’ processes – how does your newsletter come together? What’s your workflow? What tools do you use? Who else is involved?
Gosh, my workflow is probably relatively boring, I copy links that I find interesting throughout the week into a plan text file, and then roughly every two or three weeks, when that list feels like it’s over-flowing, I put it into a newsletter! It’s horrendously un-structured. In fact I’d probably fire myself as a CMO if this was a startup 😉
What’s your business model for the newsletter
Follow my own aliveness, keep learning, share what I’m learning in a distilled and thoughtful manner — giving others the invitation to pay me for that. Keep iterating. This strategy seems to be working so far, the last cohort of the course made ~$170k in revenue.
Why is Curiosity such a force? How can we become more curious as individuals, as a society?
Curiosity is the birthplace of creativity & aliveness! It’s also the antidote to boredom, disconnection and depression. I view it as the gateway to wonder, and even awe and rapture.
I sense that the more interesting question is why as individuals do many of us lose our sense of curiosity during adolescence? Why do schools reward students for giving correct answers rather than asking more interesting questions? What gets in the way of the innate sense of curiosity that we’re all born with? I actually interviewed a curiosity researcher on the podcast exploring this question and discussed how to shepherd in a new age of curiosity as an engine for both artistic and scientific enquiry.
What’s the last thing you changed your mind about?
The first thing that comes to mind is that we have a friend of a friend staying over who was showing us the amount of EMFs and Wifi present in our bedroom, and some of the research that he’s done into the potential long-term health effects of this. I’m not yet convinced, but I’ve certainly heard enough to fuel my curiosity and desire to learn more.
What big idea would you love to work on if you had unlimited time and money?
Honestly, I believe it would just be a bolder extension of what I’m currently doing. I would hire a small team to assist with the editing and logistics of the podcast, and also create an independent research arm for the nervous system mastery training to fund multiple citizen science experiments and create fellowship grants for fellow creators early on their path.