Podcasts. They’re a thing.
Of course podcasts are a thing. I know. They are relatively new to me.
I love listening to content and I love books, so audiobooks seemed like a great idea. 90% of the books I heard were non-fiction, since I believe these are the easiest to consume, and if you lose yourself in thought, it’s easy to just continue listening and understand what you missed.
Last year I decided I would stop listening to audiobooks (sorry Audible) and start listening to podcasts. I realized that even with brand new audiobooks, the time it takes from something to happen until it becomes a book that I can read or/hear, is very long. I wanted to listen thoughts and ideas on things that were occurring right now, and audiobooks weren’t the option.
So I decided to try podcasts for a while. It’s not like it is the first time that I listen to podcasts. I jumped in the SERIAL bandwagon in the past, and I really recommend it, but in this occasion I was looking for several podcasts that were interesting and relevant.
I started by asking people in Techstars in our watercooler channel in Slack, what are some of the podcasts they enjoy the most. A couple of the ones that were mentioned included ‘How I Built This’ and ‘Revisionist History’. I went to Twitter and asked the same thing, and ‘Exponent’ was suggested to me by my friend Mak Gutierrez.
Since then I’ve curated some podcasts that I really love. Some of them I like so much that I’ll take an additional (or two) lap around the block just to finish them.
Here‘s 3 of them that I really like:
Exponent is a podcast about tech and society hosted by Ben Thompson and James Allworth. Ben Thompson is the author and founder of Stratechery, a blog about the business and strategy of technology. James Allworth is the co-author with Clay Christensen of How Will You Measure Your Life and a writer for the Harvard Business Review.
What I love about this one: Ben is brilliant and he has great insights of the tech world and startups. At the beginning I kinda disliked James Allworth, but he has grown on me. I really like that they have episodes that are very relevant and very insightful. For example, the same week that the purchase of Wholefoods by Amazon was announced, they had a great episode talking about what this meant. A+
Suggested episode: ‘Amazon and Avocados’, as mentioned above.
99% Invisible is about all the thought that goes into the things we don’t think about — the unnoticed architecture and design that shape our world.
This is the podcast that made me understand the power of journalism and podcasting, and probably my current favorite. Roman Mars, the host, is an amazing storyteller.
What I love about this one: The way the episodes are crafted is brilliant. The work editing them is amazing. You get to hear different voices and tapings new and old. The stories are very interesting and make you think about stupid little thing that you might’ve never thought about, such as how do need emojis are created or how was the birth control packaging came to be.
Suggested episodes: I’m biased because of my nationality, but you definitely have to listen to the Mexico 68 episode. In this episode, they tell the story behind the logo and image of the Mexico ‘68 Olympic games. (I thought a lot about you on this episode, and on this one even more, Lucía Tróchez & César Salazar)
Also listen to the ‘Person in Lotus Position’ episode which tells the story of how somebody got a new emoticon accepted by Unicode. (the regulator of Emoji’s. Didn’t know that existed, huh?) It’s fascinating.
And finally, the episode of ‘El Gordo’, the national lottery in Spain tells the story of a whole city that hit the jackpot… except for one man. Amazing storytelling. (Since Galicia is mentioned, you need to check this one out, Jose Iglesias)
‘A podcast about the internet’ that is actually an unfailingly original exploration of modern life and how to survive it.’ Or at least that’s how The Guardian describes this podcast. Kind of subjective, isn’t it?
What I love about this one: First of all, whenever I listen to this podcast I feel like I’m sitting at a bar with some friends and their telling me a great story. The narrative is great. Closer to 99i than to Exponent in the way they bring you with them to explore a new theme. Whether it is discovering phantom callers, harassing a call center in India dedicated to scamming people in the US, or tapping their own cellphones to see what can be uncovered by somebody that does that to you, you’ll have a great time listening to the Reply All team.
Suggested episodes: You definitely should start with the ‘Zardulu’ episode, where they discover that some famous viral videos like Pizza rat or Selfie rat where faked by the mysterious Zardulu, to is here to make you question your reality.
‘Long Distance’ and ‘Long Distance Part II’ where a telephone scammer calls Alex Goldman, part of the Reply All team. Alex makes it his mission to understand what’s happening with these scams, which ends up taking him across the world to meet the scammers.
Check those 3 out and I’ll be back soon with other suggestions. Feel free to leave some comments bellow if you end up listening to any of these.