Back Into The Podcasting Groove

If you’ve read this blog for a few years now, you know I love podcasts and radio. That passion drove me to work at Swell, a product that I used a ton. It was jarring to see it go. After that product died, my podcast consumption went down, too. Almost to zero. Lately, however, after deciding to try all the podcast apps and nothing clicked, I submitted to the Apple overloads and put the newer Apple Podcasts app on my homescreen. And, lo and behold, I got back into the groove, though not as smooth as with Swell.

I tweeted about this a few weeks ago, that I listen to more podcasts now about tech and investing than I read posts online. I am quirky in this way, in that I learn by audio, and specifically through conversation, not lecture. When I tweeted about this, a whole bunch of people asked me what I listened to. I didn’t have time to reply one by one, so wanted to write this post:

Podcasts I Listen To Often: In no particular order, I am listening to Reboot.io hosted by Jerry Colonna, Decode by Re/code’s Kara Swisher, Meet The Press on a weekly basis (I am trying to ignore the general election, but I am a junkie), Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders at Stanford, the a16z Podcast, This Week In Startups, and Exponent. All of these are better (for me) in podcast form. I don’t need to watch the Stanford series or Meet The Press by video; the a16z podcast is so well produced and educational; Ben Thompson of Stratchery is the single best tech analyst mind right now; Jason’s weekly shows and interviews are always informative; Jerry’s conversations are on another level of insightful; and while I don’t read Re/code as much, Kara can pull in great guests and she has to be one of the best interviewers out there, period. I believe I learn more because these folks share their knowledge openly. Thank you.

Podcasts I Wished Existed: My #1 vote goes to The Information. I hear they may be considering this! A while back at Swell, we were able to syndicate the SoundCloud stream of AVC, which was powered by VoiceBunny (human voice). I know that Pocket added text-to-speech, which is an awesome feature, but I know my radio and audio habits, and I can’t listen to computer voices. My other vote would go to the partner team at Y Combinator — there’s so much knowledge in that partnership across so many disciplines, it would be great to hear it come out beyond the walls of the accelerator.

Why Don’t I Do A Podcast? Many people ask me this. The quick answer is (1) I don’t want to do another series of rotating guests, because I don’t have the time anymore to line up those people. That takes a lot of work. And, (2) I would prefer to do something on a regular, weekly basis with the same person, but that requires a commitment of the other person, and that both participants know each other well to have a natural conversation. That is what I love about podcasts — on radio, a clinical Q&A works for sharing information, but to me, podcasts are about conversation, and that requires familiarity. When I find that person who wants to do that, I’ll start a podcast. Until then, I have plenty of stuff to learn from others.

Haystack is written by Semil Shah, and is published under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA license. Copyright © 2018 Semil Shah.

“I write this not for the many, but for you; each of us is enough of an audience for the other.”— Epicurus