On #PodcastDay, we’re making recommendations about some of our favorite podcasts, so it’s time to jump into the fray here with a quick rundown of the ones I find myself listening to most often.
As an on-again, off-again podcaster for many years, I’ve long enjoyed the medium. In fact, I’ve been a fan of old-school radio-style entertainment since my childhood. There truly aren’t enough hours in the week to listen to all the great stuff I would thoroughly enjoy. So, as a busy entrepreneur, I find that I have to truly prioritize my listening habits with a view toward balancing what informs my work, what truly makes me think, and the pure entertainment stuff.
With that in mind… here are my top listens.
Hundreds of episodes later, I still haven’t learned a lot about Google’s search algorithm, but I have learned a ton of other valuable stuff and probably look forward to TWiG (as it is abbreviated) more than just about any other show. This is the only show that I try to watch (live, when I can pull that off).
Hosted by tech journalist Leo Laporte (of “This Week in Tech” and “The Tech Guy” fame) and his other “regular” co-host, CUNY journalism professor and author, Jeff Jarvis, the show is about far more than Google. In fact, this show seems like it would be the simplest to nail down in terms of subject matter, but discussions regularly run the gamut from all things directly and indirectly related to Google itself, to tech journalism, to issues around freedom of speech, all things Silicon Valley, privacy, Facebook, Twitter, Apple, the #IndieWeb, and whatever else comes up.
Until just a few months ago, Lifehacker founder, software engineer, and serial entrepreneur Gina Trapani was also a “regular,” but she’s busy working on some other projects like ThinkUp and MakerBa.se which have caused her appearances to be a bit more sporadic. (She’s sorely missed, for the record!)
But that leaves a rotating cast of recurring characters that are always enjoyable, including Matt Cutts, former head of Google’s Web Spam team (currently on leave from Google), Danny Sullivan, founder of SearchEngineLand and MarketingLand, and the ever interesting Kevin Marks, who is software engineer, former Googler, and entrepreneur.
Why I Listen
The show is first and foremost thought-provoking. Discussions around public policy, free speech, and privacy (to name a few) among the regular cast of characters provide perspectives that I’m simply not hearing elsewhere. A bonus for me is that the show covers enough tech news and gadget stuff to satisfy my need to stay reasonably informed about all that. But the biggest reason I stick around is that it involves a bunch of really smart people.
iTunes RSS Hosted by Dubner, one half of the 2-Steve duo that wrote the massive bestseller Freakonomics and the subsequent related books, this show is again a great mix of information and entertainment. The topics are random, much like the content of the books, but always interesting and often thought-provoking.
This show has a super-high production value, like RadioLab and other shows produced by WNYC, the public radio powerhouse based in New York, which makes listening almost as much about the ear candy as about the brain candy.
Why I Listen
This one is mostly about stimulating topics, but don’t miss my comments about production value (above). Occasionally, I pick up a hugely valuable business lesson (especially as a marketer), but mostly I pick up a ton of social currency.
iTunes RSS Chalk this one up under “guilty pleasures.” Josh Clark and Charles W. “Chuck” Bryant are two members of the How Stuff Works team that started podcasting many years ago. I found this show on a road trip with my wife and young daughter a couple of years ago, and it remains a family favorite.
In our house, we’re sorta science nerds, and this show allows us to indulge the need to know something about just about everything while enjoying the casual, conversational, and fun-loving approach these guys use.
Why I Listen
This show shortens road trips, is amusing and fun for the family (it’s mostly a family-friendly show, although it doesn’t necessarily try to be), and exposes us to topics that we would probably otherwise discover on marathon Wikipedia-surfing sessions.
iTunes RSS This one I listen to every single week… but mainly because I’m there for the recording sessions! My co-hosts, Josh Muccio and Rod Thomson, are both entrepreneurs and marketers who provide great insights and a fun environment for focusing on all things that produce revenue for small business owners, entrepreneurs and there teams.
Yes… this is a shameless plug, but we have a lot of fun producing it, and if you’re navigating the murky waters of modern-day marketing, we hope to help get you through them to bigger and bigger successes!
A Couple of Important Mentions
My aforementioned friend and colleague, Josh Muccio, launched The Pitch a few months ago with collaborater, Sheel Mohnot. It’s a bit like “Shark Tank” in podcast form, but with a few arguably truer-to-life twists. Pitches come from real startups and are evaluated (on-air) by real venture capitalists. Definitely fun to listen to!
Because I have limited time, I don’t get to enjoy these quite as often as I would like, but these definitely get loaded up and I check in regularly on
- iWork4Him, hosted by my good friend, Jim Brangenberg, and
- Transforming Leadership, featuring Jim Brangenberg and Dr. Steve Steff
- The Modern Musician Show, hosted by Colin Thomson, geared toward indie & up-and-coming musicians trying to make a go of it.
- TEDTalks Audio, which probably doesn’t need a lot of explanation
- The Phil Vischer Podcast, hosted by the one & only creator of Veggie Tales, who turns out to be quite the philosophical guy
- Science Friday, another public radio hit turned podcast.