Podcasts We Love

I’ve been giving my mom my castoff MP3 players. Recently I bought my parents His & Her’s iPod Nano’s. New ones even. And that’s when Mom discovered the joy of podcasts. She’s got her own faves, but they’re mostly (all) French, which doesn’t really jive with my readership (yep, the same three dudes). So I thought I’d tell you about some of the podcasts I listen to on a regular basis.

(BTW, if you’re not clear on the whole “podcast” thing, don’t sweat it. Check out these resources:

Tucows: How to Listen to Podcasts
Tucows: Tell Me About… Podcasting
butterscotch: Tune In: A Novice Guide to iTunes)

But first a quick rant about why podcasts are important, and should be part of your life. You’ve got limited time to expose yourself to content. You can choose pre-packaged, pre-digested, top-40’s content, or you can consume interesting, thought provoking material. You are what you ingest.

We’ve spent the greater part of our lives consuming content curated for us by others. The promise of the Internet was that we could assemble our own content feed. Is this good or bad? If you seek out content which agrees with your opinions, you’ll have no challenging opinions. No counterpoints. That’s probably not a good thing. So, I recommend finding content from a wide spectrum of sources. You may disagree with some of the views, but at least you’ll have exposed yourself to challenging opinions, and will be better able to articulate objections to those views. (OK, rant off.)

The main podcast I’m listening to right now is from Stanford. It’s the Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders lecture series: once a week they get someone really interesting to come talk openly and candidly about their career, successes and failures, training, life and so forth. I find these talks informative, educational, motivational and inspirational. I’ve downloaded over 70 hours of these, and have listened to about 10 hours so far. I’m still very enthusiastic about them. Here are a few I recommend:

  • Carly Fiorina – CEO of HP
    Introduced in her second job after graduating from Stanford as “our token bimbo”
  • Mark Jung – IGN
    Phases of the startup
  • Gregory Waldorf – eHarmony
    5 Must-Haves of an Entrepreneurial Career
  • William Perry – Former Secretary of Defense
    It’s Your Ship
  • Mitchell Baker – Mozilla
    Community-based organizations

Start with these five. But definitely listen to others. Well worth your time.

I’m also fond of The Economist‘s podcast series. This one has really opened my eyes to what is happening throughout the world. This is information you wouldn’t get from our local stations, and a perspective unique to an European publication. Although they present their content online, I think you’ll find the iTunes store has a better organized selection.

The New Yorker magazine also has a complete series of podcasts to entertain, inform and delight. They consistently present interesting stories from off the beaten path. Well, off my beaten path, anyways. Highly recommended.

In his short career, Jesse Brown has had a fair amount of turmoil. His Search Engine show bounced around from CBC radio, to CBC podcast, and finally out the CBC door and into TVO‘s august stable. He covers important topics such as copyright in the age of the Internet, human rights, net neutrality, freedom of speech and freedom of assembly, and conspiracy theories. You can find Search Engine’s blog and podcast at TVO; but CBC has kept their Search Engine archives, as well.

I could’ve stopped at three outstanding podcasts, and it would’ve been a really good blog post. You wouldn’t have wasted your time reading it. But this fourth one is such a delicious, intellectual treat, I couldn’t resist adding it to the list.

Radio Berkman comes to us from the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. From their mission statement:

The Berkman Center’s mission is to explore and understand cyberspace; to study its development, dynamics, norms, and standards; and to assess the need or lack thereof for laws and sanctions.

We are a research center, premised on the observation that what we seek to learn is not already recorded. Our method is to build out into cyberspace, record data as we go, self-study, and share. Our mode is entrepreneurial nonprofit.

Clearly, their content is scholarly and authoritative. It’s also exciting and leading edge. You don’t listen to this to relax. You’re going to have to pay attention. But it’s worth it. I’ll leave you with one I’ve just listened to: an interview with Cory Doctorow on copyright. I’m hoping you’ll be inspired to listen to more.

These are just a few of the podcasts I listen to. More coming. Probably not “soon”.

Do you know of any podcasts I may be interested in? Please send me links in the comments.

3 thoughts on “Podcasts We Love

    • Thx Andrew. I had, in fact, a much longer section on SE, which did include my appearance. Then decided it didn’t move the post forward, and slashed it mercilessly. But a link in the comments is OK. 🙂

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