The Podcast Wanderer

The Podcast Wanderer

On March I listened to 73 episodes from 45 different podcasts. Many of those shows were new to me, and there’s a good chance I won’t come back to many of them again. That’s not because those shows were bad — It’s simply because only one particular episode intrigued me, so I already got what I wanted from them.  

I like to think of myself as a “podcast wanderer.” This is a term I came up with to describe people who listen to standalone episodes from many different podcasts.

(I also considered “podcast nomad” or “nomad listener” but right now I like “wanderer” because of the song by Dion which describes the way I treat podcasts so well)

I’m much like Dion, but instead of being capricious towards women, it’s towards podcasts.

Where an episode comes from does not matter to me. What matters are the topics discussed or who the guests are. That’s why I’m not very loyal to any particular podcast.

I think sticking to a few shows increases the chances that I’ll listen to mediocre episodes. Or, if not mediocre, then episodes that I’m just not that interested in. So I jump from podcast to podcast to maximize my enjoyment.

Of course, that’s not the case with story-based shows which are meant to be fully consumed. I’m talking about the majority of podcasts that are standalone interviews.

I wonder how many people treat podcasts the way I do. Are you one of them?

Right now, there are many companies in the podcast industry, whether it’s an app or a site, that are focused on helping me discover new shows. However, not many are focused on helping me discover specific episodes!

I think there’s a missed opportunity there.

Edit: to try and fill this need in my own little way, I’ve decided to create a Twitter account that helps people find good episodes. It’s called The Podcast Wanderer. Follow me there if you like!

Surrounding yourself with successful people (through podcasts!)

Being around successful people is empowering. It causes you to expand your idea of how far you can reach. This is why I believe growing up in big cities — specifically places with a high concentration of successful people and an abundance of opportunities — can be a huge boost.

I often hear the quote, “you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.” I couldn’t agree with it more.

I wasn’t around many successful people growing up. In fact, I was around people who were the opposite of successful. As a result, I had a hard time believing I was capable of much.

I’m barely waking up to my potential and it’s largely thanks to podcasts.

Through the medium I’ve been able to fill the hole that my immediate environment neglects. Thanks to podcasts, I’ve been in the room with hundreds (if not thousands) of highly successful people in the startup world. This has expanded my idea of what I’m capable of.

Even if I never reach their level of success, I will still go further than I previously thought possible.

Podcasts are so awesome.

My Favorite Podcasts of March 2019

My Favorite Podcasts of March 2019

I love podcasts. I often say they have educated me more than school ever did. The more time passes, the more this is true. The problem is that the more time passes, the more podcasts there are, and the more podcasts there are, the harder it is to choose what to listen to. That's why I started publicly documenting all the podcasts I listen to in the hope of helping people make more informed decisions. (see table above)

I wish everyone did the same. In an age where information is basically unlimited, we need more curators! Well as they say, be the change you want to see in the world.

I'm already documenting the podcasts I listen to, but I think I'm going to take it a step further and post about my favorite listens at the end of each month. Because why not make it easier for you?

On March, I listened to 72 episodes from 45 different podcasts. This added up to 63 hours worth. (Though I listen to a lot of them at 2x speed, or more)

Here are my 5 favorite episodes in no particular order:

Mike Solana: Problems inventing the future, Problem Sighted

Mike (@micsolana) is the vice president of Founders Fund, a venture capital firm founded by Peter Thiel. This was my first time hearing about Mike. Now I'm a fan, and not just because he's a libertarian. 

This episode showcases a view of the future from the perspective of a story teller.  And let me tell you, it looks awesome.

He argues that there's a disconnect between how technology is perceived and how great the possibilities are. He challenges the all too common, pessimistic view of our future. I found this refreshing.  

The part that stuck with me the most was Mike's argument that wealth grows. He brought up the fact that there are thousands of billionaires when, not too long ago, there was only one. (I just looked it up. There's 2,208!) And this has not resulted in us having less wealth. In fact, we have more.

Eric Weinstein: Revolutionary Ideas in Science, Math, and Society, Artificial Intelligence

Seemingly in response to the previous podcast, this conversation between Lex Fridman (@lexfridman) and Eric Weinstein (@EricRWeinstein) has a more pessimistic take on technology (particularly AI). Eric expresses a strong concern about AI. He argues that even if things seem to be going fine, the bad things are still there, only in the form of potential energy. That idea really grabbed me.

Despite the gloominess, I think this episode has best-of-the-year potential. It was full of interesting ideas and it was challenging. I think Lex and Eric make a great duo — I would love to see them together again. Maybe they should even start their own podcast!

This episode touches on way more topics than AI — it also covers capitalism, Kung Fu Panda, academics, 14 dimensional observerse (whatever the hell that is) and more. If you're looking for an intellectual rollercoaster, then this it. But first, I should warn you it can get pretty mind-bending. Basically, you must be this smart to ride 👉 160 IQ.

Daniel Kahneman: The Map of Misunderstanding, Making Sense With Sam Harris

This podcast is very much like the one above — it presents interesting after interesting ideas. Ideas that are so unique and yet so simple in retrospect (my favorite kind!). This is my first time ever hearing about Daniel Kahneman. How that's possible I do not know. 

In this episode I learned that some of the most celebrated studies are riddled with bias, and therefore not replicable. "The more surprising a result is the less likely it is correct."

I also learned that our intuition betrays us when making moral decisions. For example, showing a picture of a poor girl in need makes us give more than if we were shown a picture of the same girl and her brother. And the amount we give drops drastically when we are shown many more kids in need. This is a very interesting revelation, which I think explains why there is moral panic about (in my opinion) small things and indifference towards (imo) big things. 

This podcast is 2 hours long, so you can be sure to hear many more interesting ideas. 

Dave Gerhardt: Legendary Marketing Lightning Strike, Follow Your Different

This podcast introduced me to three big things which I'm now very interested in: Dave Gerhardt and David Cancel (my new favorite people to learn from), category design, and conversational marketing (aka chatbots).

This podcast gave me a new understanding on marketing: now that companies pretty much have the same technology, it's the relationship between you and your customers that makes you stand out.

Ever since hearing this episode, I've gone down a rabbit hole of chatbots and conversational marketing. At this point, I'm fully sold that this is the future of marketing and I'm excited to learn more. 

It's also worth mentioning that I really like the chemistry between Dave and the host, Christopher Lochhead

If you like this episode, you should listen to the one with David Cancel too.

Mike Solana: How Capitalism Will Get Us to Mars and Beyond, Reason Podcast

After listening to Solana for the first time on the Problems Sighted podcast, I knew I wanted to hear more. So I did. 

Even though it's a repeated guest, I feel the need to include this episode on the list because it includes the story of how he got to meet and work for Peter Thiel. It was a cool story of right place, right time. Of course, this is not to take away from his proactive past that got him there in the first place.

In this episode, I learned a bit about Thiel's peculiar personality. I loved it.

It also includes an awesome rant about capitalism vs socialism at the end. 

Because you get to know more about Mike as a person, I recommend you listen to this one before the other one.

So thats the best of the month according to me. What about you? Let me know. I really love getting recommendations. You can reach me through my Twitter or however else you see fit.

My Favorite Podcast Eps (of This Week)

My Favorite Podcast Eps (of This Week)

The Minimalists, "Direction"

I listen to The Minimalists from time to time, but when I saw that TK Coleman guested on this one, I couldn't devour it fast enough. This episode did not disappoint. It was packed with advice that was very pertinent to me, as I often feel directionless. This episode calmed my fear over feeling directionless by putting it into perspective.  

One piece of advice that I implemented as a result of this episode is Joshua's idea of using "simple triggers" to create a new habit. Like him, I'm also doing pull-ups every time I pass by my pull-up bar.

Here's a short clip in which TK explains why we sometimes can't motivate ourselves to do what we love:

Waking Up, "Universal Basic Income"

This is an interview Sam Harris conducted with serial entrepreneur Andrew Yang, who is actually running for president in 2020. I've heard a bit about UBI in the past but I never took it seriously; I thought implementing it would immediately lead to disaster. Now I'm not so sure. Yang is proposing a policy in which everyone would get 1k a month. I'm still against the idea on moral grounds, but this episode made me realize that this is not such a ridiculous idea compared to what the government is doing right now in terms of welfare, and it could be pulled off fairly easily. 

It also had me thinking that what AI is doing to the workforce is unlike the industrial revolution and that there won't be a solution other than UBI. Maybe.

This podcast always makes me happy. Just a bunch of singing and silliness. This is a podcast where the two hosts and the guest improvise a whole musical. Yes, it is as crazy as it sounds. This episode had Eugene Cordero, who is one of my favorite improvisers. Not much else to say about this. Just listen to it if ever you feel like smiling. 

Here's a clip after they're done with the main story and do a fun little rap involving working out and the alphabet:

This is a podcast that I just discovered. I listened to all episodes in one day. They were all so interesting to me, covering topics from dating apps to extraterrestrial life. For such short episodes the host, Derek Thompson was able to pack it with so much information. I really liked how he approached the same topics from multiple angles, giving us a nuanced perspective: not too optimistic and not too pessimistic. 

I had to choose one episode but I highly recommend the rest. Listen to "Why Haven't We Found Aliens?" if you want to get your mind blown.