Podcasts are enjoying a bit of a revival it seems, with their consumption growing at a rapid rate, and particularly within the business category.
According to Edison Research’s recent Infinite Dial study, 21% of Americans aged 12 and up have listened to a podcast in the past month (up from 17% in 2015), which is on a par with Twitter’s active user base. Monthly podcast listenership has also increased by 75% since 2013. In the UK, figures provided by RAJAR at the end of 2015 found that 3.7 million adults listen to podcasts, which equates to around 6.5% of the adult population.
Mobility is at the centre of this resurgence. Historically podcasts were listened to on a computer, but in 2016, 64% of podcasts are being consumed on a smartphone or tablet. This comes as little surprise, and for a business or entrepreneur audience in particular, podcasts offer a convenient way of tapping into the wisdom and expertise of business leaders around the world, maybe during their daily commute to work, or while working out in the gym. The fact that the large majority are free has also inspired a new generation of listeners to start downloading them regularly again.
But since there are no default podcast listening devices or software out there, nor an easily digestible podcast directory, finding, downloading and subscribing to podcasts requires a fair amount of technology know-how and patience. To ensure you don’t miss out, here are 10 of the best business podcasts, which we believe are really worth tuning into (in no specific order of importance).
In his new podcast series for BBC Radio 4, Oliver Burkeman explores the busyness epidemic facing the industrialised world, and questions why many of us feel so overburdened with work, at the expense of time with family and friends. He claims that although it seems like we have so much more to do than previous generations, the total time people are working has not increased in Europe or North America in recent decades. Furthermore, modern parents who worry they’re not spending enough time with their children, are actually spend significantly more time than those in generations past.
Burkeman’s podcast series, currently made up of five episodes, seeks to debunk the busyness paradox and consider what’s really going on, as well as offering up some solutions. So if you’re feeling overwhelmed and unproductive, this could be for you.
This regular podcast has been running since 2012, hosted by Ashley Milne-Tyte, a British-born writer and public radio reporter based in New York. It pitches itself as “a conversation about women, the workplace and success”, and although important topics concerning women are often the focus, it’s just as relevant to male listeners. If you’re interested in themes such as empowerment, equality, authenticity versus conformity, feminism in the workplace, starting a business, money and what women should be paid, among many others, then there is much to choose from.
In her explanation of why she started the show, Milne-Tyte says: “We all define success differently, and having a sane, balanced existence is important to a lot of us. But many women are ambitious, yet we don’t quite reach our full potential. There are many reasons why. Often they are boiled down to one thing: babies. It’s more complicated – and interesting – than that. I wanted to bring some nuance to this topic.”
The ‘How I Built This’ podcast series which launched in September, is about innovators, entrepreneurs, and idealists, and the stories behind the movements they built. Hosted by Guy Raz, each episode focuses on one business story, told by the founders of some of well-known companies and brands. So far, interviewees have included Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx, a hosiery brand that eliminates panty lines; Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, founders of Instagram, and SurooshAlvi, a recovering addict who set-up VICE Media, which is now a multi-billion dollar company.
If you’ve ever built a business from nothing, or dream about doing so, this could be the podcast for you!
If you’re a creative, intrigued by the world of business, this podcast could be of interest. Creatives are an integral part of the business world, and Profit. Power. Pursuit is focused on exploring what it means to build a business and life on your creative drive. It discusses both the strategic and the tactical components of how creative people make money, take control of their businesses, and pursue what’s most important to them.
The podcast showcases business experts such as Nir Eyal and Michael Port, entrepreneurs like Srini Rao and Laura Roeder and artists like Julia Kelleher and Sue Bryce, all sharing the secrets that propelled them to success.
If you’re already a fan of TED Talks (you’d be crazy not to be!), these business podcasts are likely to become a firm favourite. Delivered weekly, they capture the most extraordinary presentations delivered from the TED stage, capturing trusted voices and convention-breaking mavericks, icons and geniuses.
The podcasts are designed to inspire, intrigue and stir the imagination. No where else will you have such access to some of the world’s greatest innovators, entrepreneurs, and business researchers, sharing their fascinating stories and insights.
If you’re new to TED Talks, the non-profit organisation recommends that “for best effect, plan to listen to at least three, from start to finish. (They have a cumulative effect.) If you have a curious soul and an open mind, we think you’ll be hooked…” We couldn’t agree more!
If you’re short of time but looking to up your game as a business leader, the $100 MBA is a daily podcast that promises to help listeners “get better at business with daily 10 minute business lessons for the real world.”
Host Omar Zenhom promises “no fluff” content “packed with only the pure business building training you want”. Also featuring top industry experts as guest teachers, each episode is focused on educating listeners in business, marketing, technology, and more.
Both of the show hosts, Omar and Nicole, have a decade of education experience. If your personal development is a focus, you could really gain some useful learning from The $100 MBA Show.
Into its fourth season, the StartUp podcast talks about what it’s really like to start a business. Each series follows one successful startup, and tackles the most pertinent issues facing them such as balancing their work life, naming the company, pitching to potential investors, dreaming big, avoiding burnout and the art of conducting fundraisers, among other topics.
This podcast has a big fan base, and host Alex Blumberg from TAL and Planet Money has much to do with that. While it’s pretty easy to come up with a business idea, turning it into something tangible and rolling it out successfully is the hardest part of becoming an entrepreneur. If this is something you truly want to learn more about, these podcasts offer the perfect learning and mentor materials.
8. HBR IdeaCast
According to its website, “The HBR IdeaCast is our weekly audio podcast, bringing you the analysis and advice of the leading minds in management.” Although the Harvard Business Review website requires a paid subscription in order to view unlimited content, the podcasts are free! Often featuring Harvard professors and other academics, authors, scientists, and business guests such Eric Schmidt from Google, these podcasts are an archive of wisdom and knowledge from some of the biggest business brains out there, and much can be learnt from them.
If you’ve read the book ‘Freakonomics’, you probably finished it wanting more. If that’s the case, you’re in for a treat, as this podcast show is inspired by the book and hosted by Stephen Dubner, with co-author Steve Levitt (although nowadays he’s less present). From five minutes to 59 minutes, every show is packed with enlightening and useful information, which covers wide-ranging topics within the broad field of sociology, social issues, headline news, science, pop culture and the human condition. An interest or knowledge of economics is definitely not essential.
The show pitches itself as exploring “the hidden side of everything”. Available weekly on demand, it’s well worth a try.
“Ever wonder how inflatable men came to be regular fixtures at used car lots? Curious about the origin of the fortune cookie? Want to know why Sigmund Freud opted for a couch over an armchair?” If you have a curious mind, and wonder about the thought that goes into the things we don’t tend to think about, including the unnoticed architecture and design that shapes our world, then 99% invisible could be the podcast for you.
Hosted by the show’s creator Roman Mars, 99% invisible is a completely independent production. Funding comes directly from listeners, including its Kickstarter campaign and from podcast underwriters.In addition to the great content, it’s also really nice to see a podcast series with a beautiful and usable website, which is a rare treat in this space!
Are you addicted to a business podcast which isn’t on the list? If so, we’d love to hear about it in the comments below.