I just caught up on a bunch of my favorite podcasts today while going around the house cleaning.
Podcasting has become one of my favorite methods of consuming information that I enjoy. That, along with listening to books on Audible, takes up a huge amount of my day.
If I’m not talking to someone, I’m probably listening to Apple Music, a podcast, or Audible. My life, career, and personal interests have been shaped by the spoken word, and I love it.
My podcast player of choice is Overcast, but if you’ve never use a podcast player before Apple or Google’s defaults are fine.
Consuming the world through audio isn’t for everyone, some people prefer to consume video or text on a screen in longform or short form. All of those are fun for me, but pale in comparison to the joy I get from listening. If you’re new to podcasting, I’d like to recommend some of my favorites:
I’ve listened to this one for years, and rarely miss an episode. The dynamic of three friends talking about tech, and often waxing poetic on very random topics, is endearing and makes catching up on the news a lot of fun. I love Casey Liss as the narrator, walking us through the show, and sometimes playing the “normal” person on the team, someone who (at least when I started to listen) had to watch his budget, couldn’t buy every toy they talked about, and often didn’t have the deep knowledge one very topic; but knew enough to explain it to the rest of us. Pair that with Marco, his childhood friend, and person with enough money to buy every toy, along with his incredibly background as a developer and lover of technology, and it’s enough to pull me in every week for their dynamic.
However, the piece that pulls the whole thing together for me is the added element of Siracusa, the third member that completes the trifecta. John is the Eeyore to the Tigger and Pooh of the show, the one to really dive into things, almost always be right, and whose topic tangeants are never too long, even if they go on for a half hour. If you are feeling overwhelmed by this entire list, but have a passing interest in technology, I’d start with ATP.
Also, I’ve been a member on and off, and the member specials are hilarious and worth paying for.
Whenever I’m into a popular new television show, such as The Last of Us, I’ll often check if Bald Move has a feed just for that show, and I’ll follow them for the length of the season. It’s two friends who love to geek out on movies and shows.
Three friends who talk about tech. That’s the tagline. However, the reason I stay is because of the inside jokes, the cultural differences between an American, Italian, and Britain (British?), the game shows, and so much more. This pairs well with ATP above, and is a fantastic compliment each week. Even when both shows touch on the same topic, they do it in a different enough way that I find a lot of value. Also, I started listening to podcasts back with Myke on the Pen Addict. That, along with Leo Laporte’s Twit was my introduction to podcasts, and anything Myke’s done since has been so fun to follow.
I love everything Jason Snell does, and when he started a podcast to talk about the streaming players I knew I had to listen. It’s been such a joy to follow, and unexpectedly became related to my day job (a story for another day).
I don’t know Merlin, so if he ever reads this I hope he won’t take offense, but I struggled to get “into” him as a podcaster for a while. All of the rabbit holes, inside jokes, strange sense of humor, and seeming disconnected story lines, made him hard to follow. However, between this show and Reconciliable Differences (shared below) I’ve come to love his style of storytelling and talking. I’ve followed long enough to track where he’s going with things, and really love the tangeants he takes.
That’s a LONG way of saying I really like this podcast now, and he and Alex Cox nail some incredibly important and touchy topics while having fun and navigating the human experience together.
Dan is a storyteller at heart. If we lived in a cave thousands of years in the past he’d be the one commissioned by the tribe to spin tales around the campfire at night. It doesn’t matter the topic, if Dan is going to dive in I’m ready to listen.
If you enjoy hearing stories of history, and losing yourself in hours upon hours of content on specific stories and eras, then this podcast is for you. If you’re not sure what to start with I’d recommend the Wrath of the Khans or the Death Throes of the Republic. Both of them are older, so you’ll have to pay, but they’re worth every penny. If you’re not sure feel free to listen in on the more recent ones for free.
I’ve bundled these podcasts together because they’re all part of a bundle. You have to pay to listen to all of it (although some of it is free to listen), but with a single monthly membership you get everything. I love listening to each of these, whether it’s hearing Ben Thompson and John Gruber dive into the latest tech news, hearing Andrew Sharp and Ben Golliver talk basketball each week, hearing Ben Thompson and Andrew Sharp talk tech, or listening Ben Thompson’s daily updates in audio form. Because Ben has bundled these together I get it all for the same price, so I consume most of it, and even tried Sharp China for a while (I stopped because it felt too much like normal world news, which I’ve tried to avoid to reduce my stress).
If I’d recommend ATP as the first podcast, I’d recommend the Stratechery Plus bundle if you’re interested in paying anything. I’ve found it’s helped me in my job as a product designer in the startup space, giving me a way to contextualize tech news from the lense of a fantastic analyst.
The next four podcasts I’ll list are all part of a bundle from Ben Thompson. Also, Ben and I both worked at the same company; separated by almost a decade of course, but I’ll still count it!
This, along with Do by Friday, were what finally won me over to Merlin. He jumps into the show seemingly unprepared (except by 50+ years of life experience) and rambles on while John (from ATP) tries to keep him in line. It’s a perfect pairing of two fantastic hosts, and I love hearing any topic they go into.
This is one of the hardest formats to pull off. While every other show has a two or three hosts to pair off each other, John (at least now, he had a co-host in the past) is the only host, and each episode he brings on a new or recurring guest to chat. It’s a format that could be boring, where each interview feels like the last. But John has a charm to him, he has the ability to make an interview not feel like an interview.
Now, granted, sometimes it means he does most of the talking and really dives into topics he loves, but it works well. One of my favorite guests is when Craig Hockenberry comes on and gives John a run for his money in terms of talking over John. It’s hilarious. This show does such a great job of spending hours on a topic or a theme and the guests just enjoy the time together. While I’d welcome being a guest on any of these fantastic podcasts, this would probably be the greatest fanboy moment for me to make it on the talk show.
This is one of the calmest podcast I listen to. It’s two indie iOS developrs who talk about the process and philosophy behind building businesses based on Apple’s ecosystem. It’s such a delight to hear their anecoddates, and David feels like a wise sage walking through the dos and don’ts of making a great app.
Two of my favorite hosts of other shows come together to talk about tech, what could be better? This is almost like a bonus show, since I regularly listen to content from each host on other podcasts. But I enjoy upgrade and usually catch each one.
I’m so dissapointed that Rocket has ended. I’m not sure why they stopped, but I loved listening to each episde as these fantastic hosts walked through the tech news. I’m hoping at least one or any of them will start up a new show soon.
While this may seem like a long list, there are actually more podcasts I listen to. However, these are the ones (except for Bald Move, which is a special case) where I catch nearly every episode they come out with.
One trick I’ve used over the years is to sometimes listen to a show at 1.5x or 2.5x speed. This is where Overcast does such a great job of handling the speed change. When I do speed up the shows it’s often to passively listen (like the radio of old) while working.
If you’ve gotten this far I’d like to also recommend my own podcasts. One is a tech podcast, inspired heavily by ATP, Connected, and Under the Radar, and the other is a topical podcast; focused on remote work culture and working in tech in general. I am also working on a few other podcast ideas, including one shaped more like The Talk Show (I love the idea of different conversations each week with different people) but don’t have anything to announce yet.