Over my career, I have spent an inordinate amount of time in a car or on a plane. As someone who enjoys reading and self-edification, traveling so often made it difficult to do so.
Audiobooks were a great way to fill this time, and I still contend that Jim Dale’s narration of the Harry Potter series is what got me hooked on audio storytelling. The problem is that audiobooks are big commitments, and a boring narrator or dry subject will kill your interest by the end of chapter one.
Enter podcasts, a digital medium that delivers content via web syndication or streamed through a computer or mobile device. Podcasts are typically much shorter than audiobooks, and you can find a variety of topics including, but certainly not limited to, news, politics, self-help, music and even home brewing.
Unlike radio, you can listen on your own time and at your convenience.
While on-demand digital media has been around for years, the quality and quantity of content has increased significantly over the years. With so many choices, finding good content is difficult and can often turn away new listeners.
I personally subscribe to more than 20 podcasts. For entrepreneurs and business professionals who are just starting to explore podcasting, however, here are a few starter recommendations that will provide pertinent content while getting you hooked on the experience.
Started in fall 2014 by longtime public radio producer, Alex Bloomberg, the Startup podcast follows Bloomberg’s journey as he pursues his entrepreneurial dream starting (what else?) a podcast business, Gimlet Media. Season one documents his trials and tribulations as he meets investors, develops his pitch, finds a co-founder and even decides on a name for his business.
As a startup entrepreneur, I find his brutally honest and often painful narrative of his journey hits right at the core of the personal and professional pressures, sacrifices and challenges that startups face. The Startup podcast is released every couple of weeks and is serial, so it is best to listen to each episode in order.
2. The Accidental Creative
Created by Todd Henry, the weekly podcast provides tips for fostering and nurturing your creativity. As Henry points out, if you are an entrepreneur who regularly relies on problem-solving skills, then you are by definition a creative. The Accidental Creative, which often features great and insightful interviews with influential creatives from a range of industries, is weekly and, at 15 to 30 minutes, is a quick source for inspiration.
3. 99% Invisible
Created by Roman Mars, this radio show is about design, architecture and the invisible activity that shapes our world. In addition to telling great stories, 99% Invisible is a great podcast because it often inspires the listener look at things that affect our lives from a completely new perspective. Because the best new business ideas and solutions often come from looking at problems and challenges this way, this podcast is a great source for inspiration.
Related: 5 Steps to a Successful Podcast
4. TED Radio Hour
TED (Technology, Education, Design) is a conference that is held regularly around the world and features speakers and professionals who discuss and explore a wide range of interesting topics, including business. Each TED Radio Hour podcast focuses on a specific topic and highlights individual TED “talks” to support and provide insight about the topic. The podcast is long at an hour each, but you can be selective and find topics that pertain to your interests.
5. The Gist Podcast
The Gist is an addicting daily podcast by Mike Pesca, a veteran radio reporter who got his start in sports. His podcast covers daily business news and politics in an easy-to-consume 30-minute format. It moves fast and, for sensitive listeners, can be explicit, but Pesca’s reporting style is sharp, witty, intelligent and introspective, which makes for an entertaining synopsis of current events.
Bonus: StarTalk Radio
Featuring the incredibly talented, well-versed head of the Hayden Planetarium, Neil deGrasse Tyson, this podcast explores topics in science, physics and astronomy. Unlike other radio shows that cover science topics in a dry manor, each episode of StarTalk Radio pairs Tyson with at least one comedian, who adds an entertaining element that helps to keep complicated subject matter grounded.
While it does not pertain to business per se, the fascinating and highly entertaining exploration of everything from the founding of the universe to evolution will provide a refreshing relief from the daily grind of business.
While not all of these suggestions will be pertinent for every entrepreneur, if you are new to podcasts, these suggestions will help provide you with entertaining options to get you started. As you listen and explore new options, I believe you fill find that podcasts are a great way to consume useful content – especially if you find yourself on the move as often as me.
Do you listen to podcasts? Please share your recommendations with others in the comments section below.