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.

Pocket Casts: My Favorite Podcast App

When the podcast industry was at its infancy, you had to go through the iTunes music app in order to subscribe to podcasts.

Now that the podcast industry has blown up, there are many ways you could listen to podcasts. If you go to your app store and search for "podcast," what you'll see is a seemingly never ending list of options. On top of that there are things like Spotify or Soundcloud. Even video recordings on YouTube are becoming popular. 

Over the years I have tried more than a handful of podcast apps. I wouldn't say that one app is objectively better than all the rest since they are designed to meet different needs for different people. But the one that I like the best is Pocket Casts.

It's funny, this is an app that I tried a few years ago but immediately abandoned because it was too simple for me. Recently it won me back when I discovered that they now have a desktop version that seamlessly syncs up with the mobile app. That was the deal-maker for me. 

This tool is very convenient for me because, while on my computer, I often find a certain podcast episode that I want to listen to. Now I don't have to locate and open up my phone, look up the name of the podcast and put that episode on my playlist. Instead I can go straight to the desktop app and start listening to it. And if I decide to stop, it'll be waiting for me on my phone with the progress synced up. 

There are many other features that make this app great. Some of my favorites are that it gives you stats about your listening history and it has a feature called trim silence, which automatically reduces the length of the podcast. 

It also has a smooth and elegant UI. 

Pocket Casts is available both on android and iOS. 

The mobile app costs $3.99 and the desktop service is $9, but with a 14 day free trial. Both are just a one time payment. 

One interesting thing about Pocket Casts is that it recently got acquired by a couple of big podcast networks. This is usually a scary thing because it could mean other interests might mess with the quality of the product, but after I listened to an interview with the creator, who is still leading the company, I am actually excited for the future of Pocket Casts. 

Book Review: Reach Out by Molly Beck

I got this book after seeing Zak Slayback show it on an Instagram post. I decided to read it because I wanted to know a bit more about how to create and cultivate relationships.

This book gave me solid advice on effective email etiquette, but perhaps more importantly it made me realize how many opportunities I’ve been leaving on the table by not reaching out regularly. I always felt it should be a rare thing to reach out, especially when it came to people you had no connection with.

I was shocked when I read that Molly advocated reaching out to 5 new people a week! Then I thought about it and realized, “why wouldn’t you?” Why not make it a routine to reach out? I could see nothing but upside if you do that.

Here are some of the benefits if you do it regularly:

  • You will increase your network
  • You will become a killer email composer, and a more effective communicator overall.
  • You will get less hung up if someone doesn’t respond or if you get rejected after making an ask.
  • You will make other people feel good, since every email should include a compliment and a gift. (a gift could be a book recommendation, an invitation to an event, some sort of e-favor etc.)

There are four types of reach outs (or ROs):

  • The Re-RO: Reaching Out to someone you already know from the past or is on the edge of your network. This one has the highest response rate.
  • The Follow-up RO: Reaching Out to someone you have met in passing in real life and want to build a deeper connection to
  • The Borrowed Connection RO: Reaching Out to a friend of a friend who has suggested you two should know each other
  • The Cool RO: Reaching Out to someone who you have no direct connection to at this time, formally known as the cold email. This one has the lowest response rate.

The thought of reaching out is very scary, especially when it comes to meeting someone person-to-person. Looks like it’s about time to face my fear though. Wish me luck.


Favorite Quote:

“You have to reach out to get noticed. You have to volunteer to stand in the spotlight. You have to raise your hand. You have to send the first email. You still might fail to be noticed if you do these things, but you definitely won’t be noticed if you wait for somebody else to reach out to you. So what are you waiting for? Reach out!”

Radical Self-Acceptance

Radical Self-Acceptance

Today I started reading Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach. It crossed my radar because Tim Ferris has strongly recommended it in the past. I gotta say, so far it's looking to be a book that I didn't know I so desperately needed. 

In the beginning, Dr Brach told a story of a woman who was on her deathbed. Before she passed, she was able to reveal this profound and heartbreaking insight to her daughter:

You know, all my life I thought something was wrong with me

For me, this really hit close to home because it's what I believed for so much of my life. It also made me think of how horribly damaging this feeling of unworthiness can be. For example, it can lead to a drug addiction or dependence upon an abusive partner. 

This is not part of the book (at least not that I'm aware of yet) but I think this feeling of unworthiness exists largely because of how we are treated as children. It comes from being told that we are "bad" or "wrong" for expressing ourselves in such a way that an adult doesn't approve of. 

In a more indirect way, it can also come from the belief in original sin.

Evidently, most of us are raised so that our acceptance of ourselves is strongly tethered to how others feel about us. The stronger this connection is made the more fragile we are. And the more fragile we are, the more we suffer. Think of the people who gauge how they feel by the number of "likes" that they get. 

I think a mentally healthy person generally has an opinion of himself which is unmoved by what others think of him. (Of course, this is excluding the close people who he respects). I think this is a path to true happiness. Or at least a path away from suffering. 

I desperately don't want to live the rest of my life feeling unworthy. Luckily I've already made great progress in getting that out of my system. And I have this blogging journey to thank for that. I'm slowly but surely disconnecting what others think of me from what I think of myself. So far, this has done so much for my own happiness.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to learning the insights that Brach's book has to offer.

Featured image by Grant Ritchie on Unsplash

Effortlessly Listen to YouTube Videos in Podcast Form

Effortlessly Listen to YouTube Videos in Podcast Form

Have you ever wanted to listen to an awesome conference talk from YouTube but needed the freedom to leave your computer desk? One obvious solution you have is to play the video on your phone, but then you run into the annoyance of carrying around a phone with the screen turned on - not only do you have to be careful to not accidentally touch the screen, but it also drains your battery life. 

Needless to say, this was a constant problem of mine. For some reason, I'm always drawn to audio-centric YouTube videos. If only such videos were in podcast form - life would be much simpler.

Take Be. Busta for example, a YouTube channel about horror stories that doesn't put the visual aspect to much use. This channel would be better served as a podcast, in my opinion. Well, now I don't have to nag the creator into making it available in podcast form because I've found the perfect solution for myself:

That solution is podsync.net

With this free tool I'm able to turn any YouTube channel or list into a podcast. 

So how does it work?

The way Podsync works is surprisingly simple. All you have to do is copy and paste the page of the YouTube channel of your choice. Make sure it's the page that has all of the uploads, otherwise it wont work. Once you enter the YouTube url, you will get back a different url. Then, in your podcast app, go to where it says "add podcast manually" and paste that url. Click subscribe and that's it! Now every time there's a new upload on the channel, you will recieve it on your podcast app too.

The coolest thing about this tool is the ability to have your own playlist as a podcast. This is done the same way. Once you have that playlist on your podcast app, you can instantly send any video to that app just by adding it to the playlist. Check out the gif below to see how easy it is:

Now, when I stream the "podcast episode" it automatically starts to play the video. In order to play only the audio, I have to click "done" and then the play button. At that point it gives me the playback option of video or audio. Once I click audio, it's just like listening to a podcast. I use a podcast app called Downcast, so I'm not sure how different things are with other apps. I do know that this tool is not supported on Overcast. 

I think this is an awesome little hack. It sure has streamlined my ability to consume content that I care about.

If you find Podsync helpful too, you might want to consider supporting the creator on Patreon


Photo by William Iven on Unsplash

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I have a weekly newsletter called "The Wonderer." It's where I share the cool things (podcasts, articles, software tools, life-hacks etc.) I've discovered plus an in depth look on a particular topic. The topic is usually related to startups and technology!

My Favorite Album (Currently)

Listening to music is something I rarely have done ever since I discovered podcasts. As a result you may find that my music taste is of someone who got stuck in 2012 (the year when I basically stopped listening to new music).

Every once in a while, though, new music slips into my ears, and that is what happened with Maria Mena's album from 2015 called Growing Pains

I discovered this artist through her hit single I Don't Want To See You With Her. Maria's ability to be vulnerable by writing very personal lyrics combined with her voice got me hooked, so I knew I had to hear more.

With all of her insights and wisdom on relationships, listening to this album is almost like therapy. Speaking of which, I wouldn't be surprised if Maria has been through a few sessions herself as her album is filled with honesty and self-awareness. 

Though it's the most simple, my favorite song from the album is Where I Come From. It's a song where she expresses that she doesn't want to repeat her parent's mistakes.

I wish I could find more self-aware artists like Maria Mena.

Listen to the whole incredible album here.

Thoughts On Lady Bird (Movie Review)

Thoughts On Lady Bird (Movie Review)

Yesterday I got the chance to see the movie Lady Bird. Like pretty much everyone else, I loved it. I don't usually watch a movie twice but in this case, I'm sure I'll make an exception. I feel the need to talk about this movie because I'm sure what I got out of it is very different than what most people got out of it.

From the reviews that I saw, most people say that this movie is mainly about a struggling relationship between a mother and a daughter. From my perspective, this movie is about a young girl filled with creativity and passion who's parents, school and society in general tries to undermine her full potential. Of course, like with any great movie, it is more complex than that, but this is what I view as the main point.

Here's the trailer:

It was almost physically painful to watch all of the mistakes that her mom and her school made. Evident by the fact that she gave herself her own weird name, Lady Bird was a radical individualist. Tragically, the world around her was trying to get her to conform. 

Just imagine if this girl was unschooled. If she could pursue her passions and fully experiment with her level of creativity from the beginning without being distracted by years of compulsory schooling and parental coercion, imagine where she'd be at 18!

Lady Bird wanted to blossom and do extraordinary things with her life but she was given a lot of restrictions. Of course, one of those restrictions was lack of money, which is part of reality, but there were many more unnecessary ones. For example, her mom had a habit of imposing limiting beliefs on her by telling her she isn't good enough. That's either because she didn't believe in her daughter or because she didn't want her daughter to move far away from her. I think it was a little bit of both.

One of the more heartbreaking scenes was when her mother said "I want you to be the very best version of yourself that you could be" and she replied, "what if this is the best version?" I know this may not have been what the writer intended, but this exchange of words perfectly shows one of the biggest mistakes that the mother made: she didn't accept her daughter for who she was. She didn't love her unconditionally, something that is crucial for children to flourish. Well maybe she did but she just didn't realize that her actions didn't show it. That makes it all the more tragic.

So yeah, those are some things that I got from the movie.