Of late, there has been a welcome resurgence of podcasts. I think this has to do with content quality and with an abundance of content available on the web - the good stuff will breakthrough (it's shocking but we produce as much content in bits and bytes in less than 2-days than we did from the dawn of civilization until 2003 - this per Google CEO Eric Schimdt in 2010, so I'm sure it's even more pronounced now).
I have a little bit of a history with podcasts. In college, my undergraduate studies changed significantly when I did a project with Evan Leong and Greater Good Radio. I met Evan through a CSU-Chico Students in Free Enterprise President, Erik Hormann (who, by the way, runs Vantigo in SF - check them out!).
So random, but providentially that connection got me involved with Evan and his wife Kari on their mission to interview all the major business leaders and investors in the State of Hawaii asking them how their businesses benefited from a mindset of giving back to the community.
Through my internship with GGR, I got to video tape many a session, and I listened to pretty much every single interview. Many benefits have stemmed from that, including Evan concocting a plan to help me graduate college 1-year early and thus save $15K (the subject of a much longer post)... and I've been challenged and mentored by Evan ever since.
But this post is not about Evan, not directly at least. This post is about startup podcasts.
I recently have begun a resurgence in my podcast diet. So. much. good. stuff. It's hard to weed through the fluff and find the gems.
So I've created this list to help.
My Top 10 Startup Podcasts
- Startup Class by Sam Altman: This podcast is a collection of video recordings on How to Start a Startup by YCombinator President Sam Altman. Originally recorded to a Stanford class of computer science students in 2014, it's veritable gold. Should be in the coffer for all startup enthusiasts and wannabe founders. Twenty episodes in total, and not a bad one in the bunch. It's chocked full of guest lectures by the likes of Dustin Moskowitz, co-founder of Facebook, Aaron Levie of Box, Peter Thiel of PayPal and Palantir, and Ben Horowitz of Andreesen Horowitz.
- 20 minute VC hosted by Harry Stebbings: I can't say enough good things about Harry. The headline says it all, he packs a ton of value into 20 minutes. He's got some great variety, and killer talent on there. Make sure and stick around for the quick-fire round at the end of every episode.
- The Pitch hosted by Josh Muccio: I like the concept of this show, especially the variable reward of hearing other entrepreneurs pitch; learning what to do and what not to do. Interesting because they record the reactions from the Angels / VC's as well which is super valuable. A Blue Startups Alumni, Benjamin, was recently on the show.
- 99% Invisible hosted by Roman Mars: Not startup focused podcast per se, but man, sooo good! Professionally done and on point Roman looks at design in every day life and it features great, highly intriguing topics. My favorite episode so far was on the Game Monopoly and how it's bad design helps it be addictive as a game.
- Andreesen Horowitz Podcast hosted by Sonal Chokhsi and other A16Z Partners: This is consistently in my queue. Love the content and variety. I could listen to this one alone and it would be so packed with value I wouldn't need to look anywhere else. Check out episode 30 which is a podcast episode about podcasts.
- This week in startups hosted by Jason Calcanis: A long-standing stellar content fire hydrant. Best guests, bomb dialogue, and Jason is super real. If Jason could interview himself, it would be valuable stuff. Seriously, I'll bet he would totally do that if he physically could, but not sure if the ego could fit in the room at once. But really, I love you Jason, don't change.
- This is Product Management an Alpha-UX podcast hosted by Mike Fishbein: I met Mike briefly at the Alpha-UX office in NYC this past November. Had the chance to listen to about 5 episodes so far, and I dig it. A little bit of a different take with every episode labeled "Product Management is x", where they talk about how being a Product Manager relates to UX, Hiring, Design, etc.
- Startup hosted by Alex Blumberg and published by Gimlet Media: First episode with Chris Saaca is absolutely awesome when Chris talks and does his pitch for him. I haven't found this one to be sticky for me and I lost interest after the first episode. But comes consistently recommended from others when asked what startup podcasts they listen to.
- Carpool.VC by The Ludlow Ventures dudes: Not a podcast in the stictest sense - they record themselves in their car while they drive into the office and interview VC's and entrepreneurs. They've had top-tier talent on the show and it's very entertaining. My only critique is they don't post very often.
- Build and Launch by Justin Jackson: Great concept and he's gotten good notoriety from his podcast. Super respect this guy as I believe he's in Montreal, and he's building stuff and making a name for himself. Well done mate. Per the last episode, however, he is winding down Build & Launch, but teases a new show for 2016.
- BONUS: Startup School Radio hosted by Aaron Harris: How could I leave this one out? I absolutely love this podcast and it goes up there with a16z and 20 Minute VC as my top 3. Aaron is a great conversationalist, and he gets some great stories and gems from interesting founders. All YC alum braddahs and sistahs.
My tip on how to find great podcasts:
Listen to podcasts. Many of the podcasts I found above were talked about by others on podcasts I liked.
New Finds and Honorable Mentions
The Slack Variety Pack podcast I've heard is good but the one episode I listened to was boring to me. Will have to revisit and give it another shot.
Product Hunt Radio hosted by Ryan Hoover is bomb per what I've heard. I haven't gotten into it yet, however.
Some of the above podcasts are marketing related, others are by guys just having fun (and marketing themselves / their brands at the same time, let's be real). A few of the above dare to be brave and are a "podcast businesses", although Paul Graham doesn't know if those two words belong in the same sentence. But ALL of them have something in common: People love their content.
Not all podcasts are for all people and that's what makes them flippin awesome: they're unique. Sometimes you get the feeling you're listening to a private conversation between famous people and you're going to get caught listening in... that's when it makes the boring and crappy episodes oh so worth it.
But hey, whatever, you're doing other stuff while listening: like driving, etc. If I find a podcast I don't like, I remove it from my queue and if enough people say it's good I'll give it another shot.
There's another beauty about podcasts: it's an activity that can be done "in addition" to other things. It optimizes your learning cycle and is more efficient with your time.
My podcast listening will likely change over time, as I grow and progress and expand to other interests.
Would love to hear what other podcasts you like. Hit me up on Twitter.