Seventeen percent of Americans listen to podcasts at least once a month, according to Edison Research. And with the popularity of break-out hits like Serial and 99% Invisible, that number is expected to rise.
Podcasters are extremely prolific in the tech space. Which ones are worth listening to, however? Here are seven podcast suggestions for local listeners.
StartUp launched last year as the first program by fledgling podcasting company Gimlet Media. The first season provided a behind-the-scenes chronicle of Gimlet Media’s creation, making StartUp the most meta podcast possible: A startup podcast about a podcast company starting up.
Hosted by former This American Life reporter Alex Blumberg, StartUp has the production quality of an NPR program. It’s a surprisingly intimate look at the trials and tribulations of launching a startup, from failed fundraising pitches to sensitive co-founder equity negotiations to dealing with bad PR.
Spoiler alert: The first season was a huge hit, and the second season covers a different startup from Y Combinator.
TechStuff is a technology-themed show produced by podcasting behemoth HowStuffWorks, which creates a suite of "edutainment" shows on a given theme, such as history, conspiracy theories and feminism. Like HSW’s other programs, TechStuff sounds like a talk-radio show, with two co-hosts bantering casually about that day’s research topic.
TechStuff covers the history and technology of inventions (ex., “How Coffee Machines Work”), as well as the history of tech companies (ex., “The Microsoft Story"). Other episodes cover nitty-gritty Internet FAQ like, “Why is the Google Algorithm So Important?” and “TechStuff Looks at HTML5.” These episodes are helpful in getting up to speed on tech topics you’ve heard about but don’t fully understand, and the company profiles are great case studies for entrepreneurs.
3. Seth Godin’s Startup School
Famous blogger, author and marketing guru Seth Godin launched a single-season podcast that’s a must-listen for anyone curious about starting a company. Seth Godin’s Startup School is a raw recording of a series of lectures Godin gives to aspiring entrepreneurs. Each episode is packed with practical hacks for business and fascinating case studies.
4. The Mistake Podcast
So many podcasts are interviews with successful people telling their stories. The Mistake Podcast offers a fun spin on that format.
Hosts Peter Shankman and Peter Keller interview CEOs and celebrities and ask them to dish their biggest career mistakes on air. It’s reassuring to hear about failures of successful people; it’s a healthy reminder no one is perfect and that failure is only temporary — stories that are important to hear if you’re a struggling entrepreneur.
The Mistake Podcast ran for 28 episodes and ended in 2014, so it’s great for a binge listen.
5. How to Start a Startup
Like Seth Godin’s podcast, How to Start a Startup is a single-season series of recorded lectures on entrepreneurship. Recorded at Stanford, this podcast features a who’s who of Silicon Valley guest lecturers, including PayPal founder Peter Thiel, VC Marc Andreessen and Twitch co-founder Emmett Shear. This podcast is one of the best ways to garner insider advice from the biggest names in tech.
6. Tech in Boston
The Boston tech scene is different from Silicon Valley, and the Tech in Boston podcast highlights what makes our community unique. HubSpot marketer Dave Gerhardt is behind the bimonthly program, which features an interview with a Boston-area tech or startup mogul, whether a founder, startup employee, consultant or investor.
Every episode ends with a question about how we can make the tech community in Boston better. Guests talk candidly about tackling issues of affordable office space, funding availability, brain drain prevention and diversity in tech.
If you need some lighter listening, Reply All is a fun, short Gimlet Media podcast about the Internet. It gives you a taste of tech nerdiness with a mix of humor. My favorite episodes cover a grown man who has never used the Internet and a guy who dedicates hours of his free time to correcting one grammatical error across Wikipedia.
What is your favorite podcast? Let us know in the comments.