The best podcast episodes on VC, entrepreneurship and business leadership

It’s peak vacation time in the U.S., with people setting their out-of-office replies and heading off to enjoy the final days of summer. But being off the clock doesn’t mean you can’t still enrich your career. Here’s a list of our team’s favorite entertaining and educational podcast episodes, on topics dear to our hearts.

How I Built This: Sara Blakely, Spanx

Sara talks about how she went from selling fax machines door-to-door, to becoming the founder of Spanx and the youngest female billionaire in America. From developing the prototype with no prior experience in design or manufacturing, to bagging Neiman Marcus as her first account, Sara’s is an incredible story about going for it. You’ll admire her hustle, nerve and ingenuity.

StartUp: Dear Music Fans

This episode tracks the complete journey of Grooveshark, once one of the largest music streaming platforms in the word. From idea to peak to dramatic end after 10 years of business, the story’s told through the eyes of some of the company’s earliest employees. A lesson in the importance of thoroughness in business, and a rollercoaster ride that anyone who’s worked at a rapidly growing startup will appreciate.

The Twenty Minute VC: Interview with Peter Fenton

20VC has a reputation for packing in useful insights on venture capital and entrepreneurship, from some some of the best minds in the industry. This episode provides testament. Benchmark’s Peter Fenton talks about his journey into venture capital, what separates great VCs from the pack, and how entrepreneurs can get the most out of their board members.

Occasionally Awesome: Geoff McFettridge

An artist and designer for over 20 years, Geoff McFetridge is a poster child for following your passion and carving your own path. In this funny, thought-provoking conversation with hosts Nick Youssef and Kevin Christy, Geoff covers his career path, from how he got his start to how he became the highly respected and prolific artist he is today. His work ethic and (sometimes insane) commitment to his craft and creativity is inspiring, whether you’re a designer or not.

Freakonomics Radio: In Praise of Maintenance

Host Stephen Dubner asks, is the maintenance of the systems we’ve already built more important than continued innovation? Stephen talks to economists and preservationists about whether our country’s high value on innovation is at the expense of critical upkeep of our cities, homes and infrastructures. Venture capitalist Martin Casado weighs in on how modern investors think about maintenance versus innovation.

The Hidden Brain: How to Build a Better Job

Do you see your work as a job, a career or a calling? Host Shankar Vendantam examines the difference between these three viewpoints, and how each can impact not only individual performance, but how an entire organization is perceived and operates. Discovering one’s calling is often portrayed as blind luck, but this episode argues there are deliberate strategies we can use to find our calling, and feel more engaged in even the most mundane of tasks.

The DesignBetter.Co Podcast: David Kelley on creative confidence and aligning teams

As the founder of IDEO and Stanford, David Kelley has been instrumental in developing design thinking. The method has become a standard for solving complex problems in the business world, and an effective way to align engineering, product and design teams around a common goal. In this podcast David talks about what it takes to bring designers and engineers together, how our workspace influences our work, and how we can encourage creative confidence in our companies.

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