I’ve recently developed a renewed love for podcasts, providing me with the opportunity to squeeze in more into my day as I cycle to work.
Find below a list of some of the spoken podcasts that I’ve been enjoying and shine a bit of light on the world we live in. What it doesn’t include is the countless musical podcasts I follow via Soundcloud and Mixcloud which occupy those moments where I need something requiring somewhat less thought.
Society, Culture and Economy
The Moth provides spoken word performances which are great examples of how stories can send you on an emotional rollercoaster.
Roman Mars hosts a regular podcast looking at an entertaining range of topics covering humans’ interaction with design. Among the topics covered are Youppi!, guerilla sign making and Penn Station among many others,
Radiolab puts the spotlight on a different subject each week, providing a critical and entertaining perspective. A case in point was a recent episode looking at the role of American Indians in the early history of American football, which was fascinating, even for someone with little to no interest in the sport.
Freakonomics like Radiolab looks at a different topic for each episode, using a mixture of Economics and Sociology, providing a follow on from Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner’s book with the same name. Recent issues have looked at terrorism, energy efficiency, job security and the flu vaccine. More engaging than the description might suggest.
The Economist’s Soundcloud page provides bite sized episodes that come in around 3 minutes in length. Valuable windows into different topics but frustratingly short when it comes to providing a companion when you’re travelling from A > B.
StartUp provides a window into the ups and downs of founding a startup. It’s worth going back to their first edition as this is one podcast where you get a sense of a journey and the traversing of the many obstacles that founders typically face.
Produced by Gimlet Media who also produce StartUp podcast. Reply All looks at a different subject each week relating to internet with subjects covered including the origins of email, the demands of hosting photos of Kim Kardashian’s derrière and France’s Minitel among other things.
TLDR provides a similar format to Reply All, covering a different internet related topic each week but with a more activist agenda highlighting issues of discrimination and bias whilst keeping it entertaining.
Digital Economy and Strategy
Talk show hosted by Ben Thompson of Stratechery fame and strategist James Allworth. They look at a broad range of issues relating to digital strategy typically using Ben Thompson’s writing as a starting point. Among the issues covered are copyright law, the internet of things, blogging’s future and a review of the strategy of leading digital companies including Apple, Google, Xiaomi and Microsoft.
A16Z is venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz’s regular podcast profiling . Like Exponent, the show, looks at the internet with a more business focused lens than either Reply All or TLDR. Shows cover a range of digital trends bringing in key opinion makers from Silicon Valley. I’m a particular fan of their coverage of the impact of growing use of smartphones, with Benedict Evans’ commentary proving particularly worth a listen.
Jack Thurston provides a window into the many different aspects of cycling culture including history, activism and the large and small adventures of people on their bikes.
Richard Moore, Lionel Birnie and Daniel Frieve provide a window into the world of professional cycling for those of us frustrated by the lack of coverage in the mainstream press.