For the Love of Podcasts

Posted on 2 CommentsPosted in Digital, Life+Work, Personal

~7-9 years ago

In 2007, I produced and sometimes co-hosted Refurb Radio, a podcast about the secondary IT hardware market. I worked for Vibrant Technologies at the time, and my boss Corey was a doer and a dreamer. He loved to dream up fun new ways we could get the word out about the biz, and Refurb Radio was just one of those ways. (You can hear my intro and cringe-worthy cohosting effort in an interview with Kristine Harper, IBM Mainframe developer, here.)
If my memory serves, producing Refurb Radio was really my first foray into the world of podcasts—aside from the limited free audio releases of the The Ricky Gervais Show back in ~2006.  It felt experimental, and listening to podcasts thus never really cemented itself as a thing I’d carve out time for in my day-to-day life. Since then, I’ve been an occasional guest (audio missing, wah wah) and a sporadic listener to various shows.

~1 year ago

That is, until Serial came along. In case you’ve been living under a rock, Serial is from the creators of This American Life, and is a Peabody-winning nonfiction story about the murder of Hae Min Lee, an 18 year-old student, and the imprisonment of her ex boyfriend, Adnan Syed. My feelings about Adnan’s story are loaded enough to warrant their own post, but in short, the most horrifying issue for me was the blatant corruption and lack of due process our criminal system. Adnan, guilty or not, did not get a fair trial—and I believe corruption and prejudice are to blame, in addition to an absolutely insane defense attorney who should not have been allowed to practice (and as such, was disbarred just two years after Adnan’s trial). The good news is, the appeal process seems to be moving along, albeit slowly because government, you know? (If you’re interested in getting into all the minutiae, check out Undisclosed and Reddit.)
Listening to Serial allowed me to find the pockets in my routine that were otherwise silent, or filled by public radio or Spotify playlists. And while I’m still a frequent MPR listener and member and premium Spotify subscriber, I’ve found that spending drive time and laundry folding hours (the worst!) listening to podcasts helps me feel informed, and entertained, and inspired in a way that wasn’t happening before. Particularly in the morning—hitting play on a businessy podcast (like some of the ones below) while I’m getting ready for the day helps kickstart my synapses and gets me motivated to have a productive day.


I’ll stop rambling now, and get to the goods. Following are some of my & some of my pals fav podcasts, sorted by mood.

When you need brain food:
  • StartUp Podcast (start from the beginning)
  • The Tim Ferriss Show (start with the Naval Ravikant interview from August 18 … this one’s a little bro-ey but I love the recurring questions and interviewees)
  • Planet Money (start with #652 The Hydrox Resurrection)
When you’re bingey and want to be pissed at the justice system:
When you’re curious:
When you have 15 minutes:
When you want to be inspired:
When you want to laugh:
Honorable mentions from people I respect
Full disclosure: some of these came from 1-on-1 convos, and some came from Meghan Wilker’s treasure trove of a Facebook post asking her network for recommendations. That post is totally public and has way more than what I’m listing below or above, so head over and see what people have to say.
Go forth and podcast.