In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob and Mike talk about the 20 podcasts they listen to. They separate the podcasts into three categories, bootstrapping, startups/business, and off topic/entertainment.
Items mentioned in this episode:
- The Art of Product
- Build Your SaaS
- Bootstrapped Web
- Founder’s Journey
- Hooked on Product
- The Tropical MBA
- Indie Hackers
- This Week in Startups
- Stacking Benjamins
- Money For The Rest Of Us
- Planet Money
- Reply All
- Daily Tech Headlines
- Current Geek
- 99% Invisible
- System Mastery
Rob: In this episode of Startups For the Rest of Us, Mike and I talk about 20 podcasts we like. But first, I have a trivia question for you Mike. What color is Mace Windu’s lightsaber?
Mike: It’s purple isn’t it?
Rob: Nailed it. Nice. You are a Star Wars nerd, sir.
Mike: Thank you.
Rob: This is Startups For the Rest of Us episode 395. Welcome to Startups For the Rest of Us. The podcast that helps developers, designers, and entrepreneurs be awesome at building, launching, and growing software products, whether you’ve built your first product or you’re just thinking about it. I’m Rob.
Mike: And I’m Nerdy Mike.
Rob: And we’re here to share our experiences to help you avoid the same mistakes we’ve made. What’s the word this week, Nerdy Mike?
Mike: I almost got you laugh there. I almost got you to totally screw up.
Rob: You almost – to screw up the intro. The reason I ask that question is because A, I got it wrong when I came up on a trivia thing and both of my kids, my 11-year-old and 7-year-old, got it right. We’ve been watching the—I was going to say the Trilogy, but we’ve been watching Star Wars in machete order. So you go four five, two three, we’re about to hit six. I don’t know when we’re going to do Rogue One because it obviously fits between three and four, but you don’t want to watch it first because it’s not the early stuff.
Anyways, I’ve been immersed with Star Wars with the kids for the past couple of weeks. My 11-year-old is rewatching but the seven’s are basically seeing them for the first time. It’s been cool. It’s always fun to watch Star Wars with someone for the first time when they’re enjoying it. But aside from that, what’s going on with you?
Mike: Not much. I’ve got a couple of announcements to make. The first one is about Microcomp Europe. We’re going to be making some announcements in the next couple of weeks about when MicroConf Europe is going to be coming. If you want to hear more about that, make sure that you’re on the mailing list or you can go over to microconfeurope.com. Enter in your email address into the mailing list and if you’re not already added, you’ll be added into there. When you make the announcements in a couple of weeks, you’ll get the emails and start planning accordingly. We’re hoping to have the final location and dates nailed down hopefully in the next two weeks or so, but it’s just taking a little bit more time than we expected.
Rob: It always depends. It’s hard to find the right hotel in the right country on the right dates that don’t conflict with some major, major other event whether it’s another conference or a national holiday or something.
Mike: The other announcement is for MicroConf 2019, which will be in March of next year from the 24th to the 28th. The 24th, 25th, and 26th, that’s Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, that will be growth edition. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday is going to be starter editions, so the 26th, 27th, and 28th will be starter edition.
Rob: I’m deleting them all. I’m not even reading them. It’s irritating.
Rob: Hey, everybody, look at this. I’m not doing that.
Mike: It’s ridiculous.
Rob: Yes. Now that I’m seeing it, we’ve talked about that on the show a lot from the kind of company perspective, or the owner, the founder perspective. But now I’m seeing from the consumer perspective, and I hate it already. It’s annoying. People check in the box because they got to check the box.
Mike: Which is interesting because I also see emails from people who are talking about GDPR and it’s clear from the emails that they don’t completely understand what it is that they’re supposed to be doing. I’ve seen all these email coming through. There’s a general trend or thread that you can see, and someone is wrong. I’m not saying I’ve done the research to figure out exactly, and in certain situations whether the vast majority of people are right or the vast majority of the people are wrong, but there’s definitely variations between what some people are doing versus others. I don’t know. It’s totally screwed up and there’s no good answer for it.
Rob: Yes, for sure. On a lighter note, I had mentioned my brother was in town last week. When we were kids, we played obviously, the original Nintendo, the NAS. We played the SEGA Genesis System. He bought it when he was in college. This was the one with Sonic, Altered Beast, and some of those early SEGA classics. Once they got ahead of Nintendo if I recall, and this was the console that—they eventually lost the battle. There’s a good book about this. I wasn’t sure I figure out what the name of it is but it tells the inside story of all that.
When MicroConf Vegas is here, we gave away some of these classic consoles where you spend—it’s between $40-$100 and you can get an SNAS, or an NAS, or a SEGA Genesis System, and it comes with the games built in right on some hard drive. I noticed the SEGA Genesis was $40 on Amazon, so I just bought it while he’s in town, and I’m probably going to sell it on Amazon as a used console here in the next few weeks because I don’t really want to keep it. We had a blast, man.
We hung out a couple of the nights he was here. Just drank some whiskey and played Altered Beast and all the old games you remember from that era for hours and hours.
One thing I was disappointed with, the console’s fine. It’s pretty cheaply made. It’s not made by SEGA. It’s made by some third party and they threw on a bunch of games. They say it has 81 games but it’s really like 40 SEGA games and then 40 games that this company made in the past 10 years that are kind of garbage, so you don’t even play those. But what I did notice is that games like Altered Beast, and there’s couple of adventure games you used to be able to on the original SEGA continue forever and that’s how you would win it. You would just keep hitting start and you had infinite credits, but on this classic console, you don’t. You have two or three credits and once you’re done with it, you’re done.
It took all of the fun out of it because we couldn’t win any of the games. It’s pretty hard to do, but be we just aren’t in our peak chops for these games.
Mike: You’re losers.
Rob: I know. It’s funny though to realize that, “Oh, this isn’t,” I’m like tempted to go buy a real console. The old console you see them on eBay for $20 or $30, get the actual cartridge then you know that you’ll get the original experience. It’s just a bummer that they modified the original experience. I guess that’s how I feel. Why would they do that? Why would they change it from the way it was in the 90s.
Mike: I don’t know. It’s funny you’ve mentioned Altered Beast a couple of times, but I remember in college, there was a contest at the arcade at college where you could win the full version or the stand up version of the Altered Beast game, the arcade version. All you had to do is you had to get the highest score in a certain month. I went down there with a couple of dollars and a friend of mine, and ended up getting the high score and won it for—I spent less than $10 trying to win it.
Rob: That’s crazy for you. Few weeks ago, we had a question from a listener asking what podcasts we are listening to, and every so often, we do this. We probably do it once a year but we do it probably once every 18 months to 24 months because this change, I know it changes for me pretty frequently and it depends on the phase of the product I’m in, or the phase of the business. I know once we sold Drip, I just couldn’t listen to all the growth hacks anymore. It kind of killed me because I wasn’t in the midst of that anymore, so I had to just weed myself off of those.
Depending on what phase you’re at, it depends on what you don’t want to listen to. We picked our top 20 podcasts. We just grouped them into three different areas. We have the bootstrapping crew, we have the startups/business area, and we have off topic. We’re just going to run through these 20 and we’ll list them in the show notes as well. These are what I consider the highest quality and most relevant to our listeners.
There’s certainly some podcasts I listen to that are really infrequent and we exclude them from here. I also listen to a bunch of podcasts about tabletop gaming or role-playing games. Well, we could mention those. It’s probably not interesting to the majority of folks listening, so we won’t cover those. In no particular order, because we just went to our podcast feeds and send them in.
The first product is The Art of Product, and this obviously my Drip co-founder, Derrick, and Ben Orenstein who’s been a MicroConf speaker. They put together a really tight show where they just talk through the updates from the other person, what they’ve been doing in the last week and they’ve gone from—Derrick is working at Drip and Ben had a full time job. Ben went out on his own and did info products. Derrick left Drip and Ben got a full time job and they swapped. Then Ben left and he’s now doing a startup and Derrick’s doing his startup. Really interesting conversation from two smart people who are discussing topics that would be highly relevant to you as a listener of Startups For the Rest of Us.
Mike: The next one on the list is Bootstrapped Web from Brian Castle and Jordan Gal. Brian Castle runs Audience Ops. Jordan runs CartHook, and I think you’re an investor in CartHook as well, right?
Mike: Those two have some really interesting stuff that they talk about. For obvious reasons, they don’t talk about everything that’s going on in their businesses, but it is a fascinating look at the stuff that they are working on. I really like hearing them talk about the stuff that they’re doing and the challenges they’ve run into. There’s just some fascinating topics that come up. Sometimes it’s just not even directly relevant to their business, or about technology, or marketing itself. Sometimes it’s just people management. How do you deal with different situations that come up, or how do you negotiate, or how do you solve a particular problem that was not your own like if somebody got dumped on your lap from some other vendor or partner of yours. How do you move forward from that? How do you recover from a fiasco that is largely out of your control.
Both of them are super sharp guys. I really like listening to them and hearing about it, and then just reconnecting with them. I used to work at MicroConf and Brian also runs a big Snowtime in Conf, so I usually see him when I go to that and it’s a winner as well.
Rob: I’ve been a long time listener of their podcast. I’ve been on on a couple of times, two or three times talking about stuff. Really, can’t recommend it enough. Again, heavy overlap in terms of concepts, topics, and really goals of what you and I espouse on this podcast.
Another podcast, I just recently started listening to it actually, is called Build Your SaaS, and it’s Justin Jackson and his co-founder of Transistor.fm, which is a podcast hosting company. It’s cool. It’s early stage stuff. They’re talking about their pricing. They’re talking about funding versus not and just talking about the two sides of it. I think it’s a fun romp. It’s always fun to hear Justin’s energy on their podcast and they do a good job with it.
Mike: Next one the the list id Rogue Startups from Dave Rodenbaugh and Craig Hewitt. Both of these guys have been long time MicroConf attendees. Craig used to headspoke at MicroConf Europe. I believe it was last year. Dave Rodenbaugh has given an attendee talk at MicroConf in Vegas as well. Dave has transitioned over the years from running just a series of WordPress businesses over onto his SaaS called Recapture. Craig Hewitt has been running Podcast Motor for a long time and he’s starting to branch out into other types of products in the podcasting space.
It’s just interesting hearing the journey over time and the different perspectives that they both bring to the table, partly because Craig moved over to Europe. He lives in France at this point. He Brought his family and two young kids over there. Some of the conversations talk about what it’s like to bring them over, and the differences in the school systems, and the challenges associated with going back and forth as a family, and how to integrate into the local culture and essentially run the business as a location independent business.
Rob: I’ve been a long time listener of Rogue Startups as well and a fan. Dave has multiple WordPress plugins, as well as Recapture.io, which is a small SaaS up he acquired. Craig Hewitt is running a couple of things but really past those is what I know he really focuses a lot of his time on which is podcast hosting. It’s kind of fun to hear their trials, tribulations, victories, and defeats, much in line with the stuff we talk about here.
Next podcast that I’ve enjoyed is Founder’s Journey, and this is from Josh Pigford at Baremetrics. He basically reads his blog post which I enjoy because I don’t read many blogs anymore. Really, I don’t read any blogs. I actually like that I’m able to kind of keep up with his thoughts on entrepreneurship and renting a relatively small startup without having to read text. I can do it while I’m running or riding my bike. It’s cool. It doesn’t have a regular publishing schedule but it’s short. When it comes out, it’s like 10 minutes. Since it is packing a blog post into that 10 minutes, it’s very compact. It feels like a 30-minute episode packed into 10 minutes, which is something I enjoy about it.
Mike: Next one on our list is the Tropical MBA from Dan and Ian. This is probably the single podcast I’ve listened to the longest. I’ve started to listen to it very early on when it came out. I’ve been listening to it for seven or eight years at this point. They have actually more episodes than Startups For the Rest of Us.
Rob: That is unfair.
Mike: I know. I think the thing that strikes me as interesting is that it feels to me like they’ve been on a parallel path with us, or we’ve been on a parallel path with them. Only they were aimed mainly at location independent entrepreneurs versus we focus much more on software entrepreneurs. Their ethos, ideas, and approach towards business really feels like it very much aligns with us. I think that’s why I’ve felt like it resonated so much with me. Dan and Ian had spoken at MicroConf in Europe. It was either 2013 or 2014, I forgot. It was in Prague. It was great to have them up there.
It was the only time we’ve ever had two people give a talk at MicroConf and it was fantastic. They fed off of each other really well and it looked like they rehearsed the entire thing. I imagine that they probably didn’t just because they have that natural interaction between each other that works really, really well. I think that’s part of why I like the podcast so much.
Rob: I’m with you. I’ve started listening really early on. I describe Tropical MBA as our sister podcast. I say that all the time. I feel like we’re two siblings, you know, they say sister cities, that kind of feels the same but in different places. It’s very similar in terms of, like you said, the ethos because it’s about building a life that you want and building a business to help you do that.
Their early focus was on location independence. They were in Bali, the Philippines, and other areas of the world, and you and I are on a different situation. We already had wives and kids when we started this podcast, and so we didn’t talk about the travel aspect of it, but we’re all talking about building a business to help you build a better life. I agree. I really can’t recommend Tropical MBA highly enough and as you mentioned, it’s one of the very few podcasts that has more episodes than we do.
Mike: I think they’re also one of the few people who’s taken over the Startups For the Rest of Us podcast as well. Do you remember the episode—it was the April 1st episode. We let them take over Startups For the Rest of Us and we took over the Tropical MBA for that one day. I think the only other time was when we had our wives come on and do the episode instead.
Rob: That’s right. We need to do another one of those at some point.
Mike: Yes, definitely.
Rob: That was fun. Cool. Our next podcast is a newer one. I think they only have 10 or 11 episodes. It’s called Hooked on Products, and it’s from Phil Derksen and John Turner. Also folks we’ve met through MicroConf long time, actually long time Micro Academy FounderCafe members. They’re hustling, they’re WordPress plugins, they’ve both gone independent at this point after a few years of building and acquiring products. It’s fun to listen to their interviews. Their origin stories are pretty cool. They just released how each of them got to where they are, and that is always fun for me to hear folks talk about that, because the founder’s story, it kind of never gets old hearing how founders got to where they are today.
Mike: The last podcast in our bootstrapping category is Indie Hackers which is run by Courtland Allen who does all the speaking and interviews, and then his brother Channing Allen does all the backend stuff for Indie Hackers. I find this fascinating just because he talks to people that are very early stage all the way up to they’ve sold their business and maybe they made millions of dollars from it.
You get this broad spectrum of people who are building profitable businesses, and you hear about the trials, the tribulations, and the things that have gone really well. You also hear about the things that did not go so well and the mistakes made along the way. I just love hearing that. All the different stories and things that people have run into, because if you’re working on your own business, you have this one view of the world and of your own business, but you don’t necessarily get that perspective that other people might have.
Hearing all those different stories gives you that perspective and makes you think about things that you might not otherwise have thought about that relate to your own business. Did you notice, by the way, in our bootstrapping section, every single person on this list who has those podcasts, all of them have been to MicroConf?
Rob: I know. I know, as we were saying this, I was like, “That’s interesting.” I don’t know why that is. I don’t know if it’s because we know them, I’m more interested in listening to their podcast, or if just people who are going to start a podcast in the space are naturally going to gravitate towards our community because it is their people in essence.
Mike: I don’t know. I’d have to think about that a little bit more, but I just find it interesting and looking at the list afterwards like, “Huh, every single person here, I’ve met them at MicroConf.”
Rob: Yes, that’s cool. Our next category is the startups/business category and this is podcasts that are focused on bootstrapping but they are still relevant to folks who listen to Startups For the Rest of Us.
The first is, if you’re not tired of hearing me every week on Startups For the Rest of Us, you should check out ZenFounder. It’s the other podcast that I co-host. I co-host this one with my wife, Dr. Sherry Walling, who is a clinical psychologist, and I think we’ve been doing this I think three, three and a half years now. It’s crazy to hear that it’s that long because I think we’re on episode in the 150, 160 range. It’s some really good stuff. The Founder Origin Stories have been a big hit where we’ve interviewed founders. Sherry doesn’t jus interview them about how they got there in their business but in their life. Like growing up, all the adversity they faced, how they got to where they are, and there are some amazing stories about folks who were in jail, folks who were almost killed, folks who lost parents, and about how that impacted who they are as a founder. ZenFounder.com or ZenFounder on iTunes if you haven’t checked about it. There are some good stuff coming out of there.
Mike: I definitely recommend ZenFounder as well. It’s been three years. I think it came out in 2015 and I still listen to it all the time. It’s one of those other ones that’s kind of made it into the—I use the app called Cast and it’s in the category called My Top Podcasts, which basically those at the front of the list out of all the other ones that I subscribe to.
Rob: Well, that’s cool. Thanks for the endorsement, sir.
Mike: the next one on our list is This Week in Startups. I started listening to this a while ago. This is run by Jason Calcanis. If you’re not familiar with him, he does a lot of angel investing and talks about startups in the Silicon Valley area. I found that I didn’t necessarily resonate with a lot of the things that were said, but I felt like I needed to be at least aware of the things that were going on. It’s not like being in the Valley is something that I’m really particularly interested in. I don’t want to go out and raise millions of dollars, but I also feel that I shouldn’t be completely ignorant of the things that go on and the types of stories that come out of those.
Obviously, funding works for some people and it doesn’t work for others. I can’t say that I would take that swing for the friends’ approach right now just because of the situation that I’m in, but I can certainly appreciate the value of raising a lot of money and doing something where you wouldn’t be able to do that without that funding, but not everybody can take those chances.
Some of the things that they talk about, I don’t necessarily agree with, but Jason’s definitely got a say something of an over the top attitude about—attitude probably is not the right word, but approach, I’ll say towards business. You should definitely do this. I think it’s just more of him being an extrovert than me being uncomfortable being an introvert.
Rob: Sure. Yes, he’s definitely opinionated. He’s a really smart guy and hard working as well. He kind of pulled himself up by his bootstraps from a very working class family. At first when I listened to it years ago, I was so irritated. I thought he was obnoxious and now, I realize he’s a smart dude who worked his ass off his whole life. I’ve come to respect his opinions. I find that I agree with him more often than not now. Not sure that I did the entire time that I listen to it, but when I disagree with him I can at least say, “Yeah, we just disagree and we see things differently,” kind of in my head. He has such a unique take on a lot of topics. That’s what I like to see. He kind of challenges some of my thinking and some of his guests do, as well.
There’s a really good episode, probably my top three episodes of this podcast are when he interviewed David Heinemeier Hansson, and they talked about funding and they go toe-to-toe, because DHH is very adamant one way and Calcanis really was just like, “Here are examples where that just wouldn’t have worked period.” I actually felt like Calcanis won the discussion. He had really good points about it.
The other one, I liked, Joel Spolsky, he’s been on there once or twice which was always fun because I’ve followed Joel for so long. And then, Chris Sacca did a two-part where he talked about all kinds of stuff. That’s what I like because I never would have followed or even been aware of Chris Sacca, but hearing Calcanis interview him made me think about things in a way that I have never done before. It kind of expanded my horizons.
That’s what I look for in This Week in Startups. I agree with you, a lot of the stuff on there. There’ll be interviews with someone doing some drones startup and I skipped those. I delete those because I just don’t have that much interest. But the news roundtable’s keeping me somewhat in touch with a world that, you’re right, is not our world because it’s more of the Silicon Valley startup, but it is tangentially related.
It’s certainly not a sister podcast, but maybe it’s like a second cousin. There’s something out there that I think is important for us to be abreast of given that we’re in technology.
Mike: It’s the long lost Uncle Joe who comes over and gets drunk and causes a raucous. If we’re talking family relationships, that’s probably it. I think your description of him of being opinionated is probably the one that is most in line with what I was thinking. I couldn’t come up with the right word, the right phrase, and also place the right amount of respect on him, it’s opinionated, it’s definitely it.
He does things and says stuff that I wouldn’t necessarily do myself but I can certainly appreciate the value of going through those steps towards building a business or putting your startup out there. I’m not going to say that it’s for me but that’s partly because, like I said, I’m an introvert and it’s just not for me. It’s not that it’s wrong, it’s just I wouldn’t probably approach it that way.
Rob: Right. And when we say opinionated, that’s not a negative thing. It just what it is. He has strong opinions and sometimes it can come off negative, but other times it’s like, “Wow, he’s really taking a stand here.” I appreciate that and respect that. Again. More often than not, I think he’s on the right track with what he’s thinking.
Our next podcast is really purely for entertainment so I debated whether to put it on here, but it’s kind of like you got to give a nod to Alex Blumberg. It’s StartUp and it is on Gimlet Media. It was Alex Blumberg’s podcast, but essentially, he left This American Life to do StartUp. The first season or two were phenomenal. The most recent seasons, two or three seasons have been less so. They’re interesting but they’re just following stories of stuff.
It’s like Planet Money for startups, but I struggle a little bit with the lack of reality. If you think This Week in Startups interviews a lot of people just raising $20 million, $30 million, at least that is actually happening. A lot of stuff Alex was looking at on the first couple of seasons at StartUp were such a beginner view of things which, I hate to say it that way, it sounds pejorative like I’m saying you should never be a beginner. But it sounds like it never examined the possibility of that bootstrapping or a small angel round is a totally viable option for most businesses. Maybe he wasn’t able to do that but it was never brought up.
It was kind of presented as, “Hey, if you want to start a company, you raise funds.” That really has been the message at the entire time. I don’t love that about it, and frankly I should probably write in or send something just to be like, “Hey, this is another take on it,” but all that to say, it’s entertaining and worth listening to, but I don’t think you can take any business lessons away from it.
Mike: I’m with you on that. I’ve felt the same way about it being and again, you used a phrase and you said, I don’t want to be pejorative about calling it very beginner focused or having that beginner view, because everybody’s got to start somewhere, but it felt like there was no research done to say what are the options here? It was just like, “Hey, go raise funding. This is what will make your business successful.” I don’t know. I listened to it for a while. I haven’t listened to the StartUp in quite some time actually, probably at least a year or so.
Rob: I don’t even remember what the prior season was. There’s one coming out right now that’s fine, but the one before it was okay. I don’t think you’re missing that much. Our last podcast for startups/business is Akimbo, it’s Seth Godin’s podcast. He had said for years he wasn’t doing a podcast because he just didn’t have the time. He has to be really choosy about his projects but he’s doing a podcast now. It comes out every week and he talks about a lot of stuff you’ve heard from him in his books and his talks and such, it’s solid. It’s not blowing my mind because I’ve heard a lot of this from him before because I’ve followed him for years.
I often find that he’s talking about a trend or an idea that I don’t know what to do with. All right, so you have a dip. So what? You know, there’s not enough detail or like, “Okay, culture changes and here’s how it is.” And it’s like, “Okay, so then what do I do with that?” That’s always been my struggle, but at the same time, Seth is a genius and Seth, he sees trends that others of us don’t see. He thinks and he talks about things in a way that most of us do not. I like it because it expands my mind and helps me think about things in a new way.
Mike: Bonus podcast here would also be Seth Godin’s Startup School. That’s a 15 episode podcast. He did it in the past. I think back in 2013 or so. It was an interesting look at the journey of entrepreneurship and all the different things that you could and should be thinking about when you’re trying to build a business. I think it was based off of—didn’t they have a group of people that went through, it was kind of a classroom or a little startup school as he put it, where they put people through this program and a lot of the things that come out of that, or clips from Q&A sessions with the people that were in there.
It’s fascinating to hear the types of questions that they come up with and then his off the cuff answers. Obviously, everything is edited, but still as you said, Seth’s a genius. He sees things that other people don’t and a lot of times, it’s stuff that is even just on the fly he sees it. It’s fascinating to kind of watch him work through something and bring you to a logical conclusion that is also correct and astounding that he came up with it on the spot.
Rob: And like you said, it was 15 episodes and it was done. It was back in 2013. It’s still on iTunes and you can listen to it. I should probably listen to it again because it’s been a few years, but I thought that was really well done.
So now we’re going to dive into our off topic podcast and we have a handful of them, seven or eight. These are things that we like to dig in to. The kind of nerdy pursuits or just edification. I listen to a number of personal finance investing podcasts because it’s always been a hobby. One all throughout there is called Stacking Benjamins, comes out three times a week. It’s got a big audience. They make it entertaining and kind of fun to think about. They look at the headlines. They interview somebody, and they have a discussion, and some trivia and stuff. If you’re into that kind of topic, if it’s a hobby, I think you should check it out and even if not, you can probably learn something about saving for retirement and some money tips and such.
Mike: The next one on the list is Planet Money. I got into this, I forgot how I ended up finding this one, but it’s an NPR podcast. They talk about all these different things related to money, whether it’s a class action lawsuits about civil rights cases, or they have one on called The Less Deadly Catch. The podcast traverses a lot of different business types, whether it’s the vodka industry, or Valentine’s Day, or Super Bowl, they look at money topics related to all different types of businesses, and they drill in specifically into particular problems.
Mostly episodes are pretty short. They’re anywhere between 15 and 25 minutes long. Some of them are a little bit longer than that. They talk about issues related to either having money available or how businesses make money, or things that you wouldn’t necessarily think are obvious. And because it’s an NPR podcast, they have the ability to do some investigative journalism and drill in to things that you would not normally learn about. They’ll send a reporter out to do interviews and find out information and they’ll interview people on the podcast.
Essentially, I find it just educational because there’s lots of business types that I’m not aware of. We’re in the SaaS industry or software industry, and you’ll hear about these things that, I think on the last episode they talked a little bit about Tree House Brewery near where I live and it’s a fascinating business model, but had I not been there, I would not have heard about it, but with Planet Money, you get to hear about those types of things.
Rob: Yes, and Planet Money is a spinoff of This American Life. They did that during a financial crisis. They did maybe a two-parter on what happened trying to unravel and explain, and it was so popular they decided to form an entire podcast and that’s when it started.
Mike: Got it. Yes, that must be where I heard it from.
Rob: My next podcast is another investing podcast. It’s called Money For The Rest of Us. Actually, when I stumbled upon it, I was emailed the guy, David Stein. I was like, “Hey, I run a podcast with a similar name.” He’s like, “I had no idea your podcast was out.” Because we were earlier, right? We’ve been since 2010 or 2011, and then I think his is maybe three years old. He’s like, “I’m so sorry. I hope you don’t feel like I took your thing.” He said he just came up with it out of his own head, so no hurt feelings.
If you go into iTunes and search for the rest of us, you’ll see buckets of podcasts with that name, so it’s not like something we own the trademark on it.
Mike: We don’t have a license to it. We did not trademark that.
Mike: That’s like a big mistake.
Rob: Exactly. But J, David Stein was an institutional money manager. He would advise these endowments and he would help them like colleges and universities. I think it was non-profits only and he would help just manage their money and keep the assets allocated. What I like about him is he’s super even keeled. He’s not sensationalist. He’s not saying, “Buy, buy, buy, sell, sell,” It’s all about asset allocation and big buckets. He’s very calculated and looks at a lot of indicators.
He says he invests at the leading edge of the present. He’s like, “I’m not guessing where the economy is going,” but he does move money in and out of these big asset classes based on, he sees that emerging markets are way overvalued and he’s probably going to eke a little money out of that. He’s pulled money out of that asset. He’s not trying to time the market per se, but like he said, he does at the leading edge of the present, so very smart guy.
The main podcast is good. It’s evergreen content. I don’t get a ton of value out of it. It’s just stuff to think about. His Money For The Rest of Us Plus which is the one you pay for, and it’s very inexpensive. I think it’s probably $20 a month or something like that, or $199 a year. It’s in that rance. In my opinion, is one of the most underpriced things that I pay for. I hope he’s not listening to this, but he could multiply the price by five and I would still pay for it because he gives his take on where the economy is. And it’s not just him making things up, he looks at PMI and all these data sources that he used as a professional money manager. It helps me think through, as I’m moving money in and out of things. I don’t necessarily do the exact thing that he’s doing but at least I have the context for it.
To me it’s more valuable than if I were to pay a money manager to actually be managing my money. He’s giving just tons of really solid information. In the financial investing space, he’s one of the people that I respect most.
Mike: You know what he should do is multiply his price by five and then grandfather people in. That should be your advice to him.
Rob: That should be as long as I get grandfathered, totally.
Mike: The next one on our list is The Daily Tech News. There’s also a spinoff of this to which I hadn’t actually been aware of that you had mentioned to me, which is called Daily Tech Headlines, which is a much shortened version of it. The Daily Tech Headlines is just the headlines themselves. The Daily Tech News Show, they go into the detail on each of the different headlines. I find that a lot of the discussions from The Daily Tech News Show very fascinating.
They have different people who come on and Tom Merritt kind of runs the show for the most part, and there’s different people that he brings on to have discussions about different topics on different days of the week. It comes out every single day. It is somewhat difficult to keep up with all the different discussions, but The Daily Tech Headlines is probably a better place if you just want to hear the headlines, and if you want to drill into those and hear a lot more detail about them, then you can go to The Daily Tech News Show.
Rob: The Daily Tech News Show is what, like 20-30 minutes?
Rob: And The Daily Tech Headlines is four or five, and that’s why I switched. It is five days a week. I couldn’t keep up with the full discussion and I just backed off to the headlines and I’ve really enjoyed doing that. I’m the biggest fan of Tom Merritt. I respect the heck out of him as someone who just, he has opinions but he’s willing to have conversations about them. He’s very well-informed. He doesn’t make rash comments or extremist things in either direction. He’s always pretty even keeled and that’s what I respect about him. He worked with Leo Laporte at TWiT and then left to do his own thing with Daily Tech News Show.
Mike: I always liked how he can see both sides of the argument whether it’s talking about self-driving cars, for example, and what are the moral implications of those things. Not just around the classical question of who do you kill if there’s a mother and a baby in front of you and some construction workers to the side. The car is going to have to choose somebody, who do you choose? He can talk to those things but he can also talk about the fact that these self-driving cars are going to be putting people out of work, truck drivers, for example. And what are the implications of that not just on the economy but the moral implications moving forward.
He’s got very broad view. Like you said, I just respect his opinions on it and him being able to listen to those things and talk about them without necessarily coming down very hand-fisted on a particular point of view.
Rob: One of Tom Merritt’s other podcast that I enjoy is called CurrentGeek. It’s a weekly podcast that they used to do every week. We’ll look at the current weekend geek news, movies, and the light tech stuff. They recently, I think it’s every other week they do that, and now they’re watching some movies, some classic movies and talking about them which is still interesting. When I first heard that they were doing that, I was like, “Oh, no.” Tom and his co-hosts are so entertaining to listen to that I listen to those episodes as well, and then we’re going back and watching pilot episodes of things. They did pilot episodes of Lost in Space. They did Lost. They did Breaking Bad, and Seinfeld. It’s funny to hear them talk through. They do research on it and then they talk about the changes, and what went down. They don’t just talk about the show itself but a lot of the behind the scenes which is fun.
Mike: Next one on our off topic list is 99% invisible. I like this one because it doesn’t tell me anything about startups, or business, or anything like that, but it gives you insight on just interesting stories that you would otherwise have no idea that those things existed, or that somebody had even thought of them. One episode that sticks out of my mind is one where they talked about how buildings are made specifically for high rise buildings, hotels, and things like that. Like if you go to the stairwells, for example, they tend to be just like a giant cinder block. It’s almost like a chimney and their stairs metal is very barren. Almost every hotel that you go into, when you fo to the stairway, there’s nothing there. It doesn’t look pretty in any way, shape, or form. The reason is because they use those as fire escapes because they learned year and years ago that when buildings start to burn down, people need to get out. If those areas of the building catch on fire, people can’t get out. There’s building codes in place that they talked about. They just talk specifically about why those buildings are designed that way and structured that way, and it’s to clue you in. It’s just to help those people get out. Those are the last things of the building that will burn up giving people the most time to get out.
And then, there’s other things. There’s stairs that go nowhere that they’ll talk about or statues in a particular city. Again. It’s the things that you would not otherwise have any idea that they existed except for this podcast, goes out and drills into those things and talks about them. It’s just interesting stories. I use it for more entertainment value than anything else. It’s definitely one to check out if you’ve got some time. The episodes are very well done and very well researched.
Rob: Yes, that’s the thing. It’s an NPR podcast and it’s really well done. The title comes from, like you said, it’s things that most of us don’t think about. They’re kind of invisible to us.
Last three podcasts, I’ll run through quickly, really to do with an honorable mention. The first one is another Gimlet Media podcast called Reply All. I just heard an episode after StartUp at one point, recommended it and I’ve been really impressed with the hosts and the production value of it. It’s a podcast about—I cannot compare it to something.
It’s at a production level of a Planet Money or This American Life, but it’s dealing with more Internet, online stuff, online trends, and memes, and that kind of stuff in a pretty cool and interesting way.
The next podcast is Clay Collins’ podcast about cryptocurrency. It’s called The Flippening. He interview big players. He knows a bunch of the people in the space. It’s interesting to hear him talk to people who are pushing that whole space forward. If you’re already hearing about it, then you may want to avoid this one, but I think that Clay really has his finger on the pulse of where crypto is headed and I do believe that it’s around for long term.
The last one I just added, we we’re talking because I realized, the funniest podcast I listen to is called System Mastery. It’s vulgar as all heck. These two guys are cracking jokes. They will, week to week, I think the main feed is them reviewing old and even new roleplaying game manuals. They read through them and they talk about how the roles are good here and how they’re dumb here, but then they have all these feeds that they’ve combined into one. I hear System Mastery, which is them reviewing these role-playing systems. They also talk about, they do Expounded Universe where they read Star Wars expanded universe novels and they make fun of them because a lot of them are poorly written. They watch movies, which I think is called Movie Mastery. What’s funny is, I would say they make fun of them but they do it—when the movie’s good, they don’t just make fun of it. They talk about how much they like it, but they still do it in a humorous way.
For some reason, I have all that in one feed and I don’t know if that’s because I support them via Patreon or not. It’s either going to be your speed or it’s not because they use a lot of foul language but it’s also really funny. It’s funny if you’re a nerd and you get all their references because they make some deep, deep references. I really like what they’re putting together. I think most of it is improve, which is pretty impressive.
Those are our 20 or 21 podcast that we are liking these days.
Mike: I think that about wraps us up for the day. If you have a question for us, you can call it into our voice mail number, 1-888-801-9690, or you can email it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our theme music is an excerpt from “We’re Out of Control by MoOt” used under Creative Commons. Subscribe to us on iTunes by searching for startups, and visit startupsfortherestofus.com for full transcript of each episode. Thanks for listening and we’ll see you next time.
Rob: Before we go, if you have a podcast you feel like should have made our list, please either email it in or post it to the comments of this episode, episode 395.
Mike: Rob, the interesting thing about recording this episode on the top 20 podcasts that we like is that, I actually stopped listening to podcasts about a month and a half ago.
Rob: Did you? You’re just cold turkey, just all of them.
Mike: It was mainly because what I realized was that as I would listen to podcasts when I was mowing the lawn, or when I was driving, or when I was going to the gym, what I realized was that it made me feel for the most part like I was still working. It just extended my workday especially with any of the podcasts that were about business, startups or anything like that. It just made me feel like I was working all the time.
Rob: Yes, because you’re thinking about work all the time. That makes a lot of sense. I’m glad I didn’t title the episode 20 podcasts we listen to. Podcast we like is accurate, right?
Mike: We, as in you.
Rob: Exactly. My guess is you’ll come back to them at some point, but I hear you. I don’t think that’s a bad thing to do for a season. I certainly have gone through spells where I have cut. I used to listen to 55 podcasts, not all of them get on every week, or whatever I called it way down. I was down to 10, and it was stuff like Daily Tech News Show that didn’t make me feel like I was working because it was more about entertainment and news. I had almost nothing in the startup space and then slowly, I kind of worked my way back into doing that. I think there’s a case to be made for both directions. I think you can swing too far with constantly shoving information in your head and not giving yourself space to feel like you can relax.
Mike: I think it’s also the ability to take a step back. I’ve noticed this in certain situations or certain times of the year where I will be heads down working and not really come up and look at the landscape from a broader perspective or a strategic view of things. If you’re always implementing things, you’re always working in the business, then you’re never necessarily doing the planning stages and looking at the big picture. The problem is I felt like I was getting too far into the weez with all the mechanics and the tactics, things like that, but never actually taking that step back to do any strategy and look at the bigger picture.
Rob: I agree. I think that you need quiet time to be able to do that. If you are busy, because you’re busy with your business, you’re helping with your wife’s business, watching the kids, doing all the stuff you have to do, if you don’t have time during the day to sit back and just think, I don’t disagree that dishwashing, mowing the lawn couldn’t be that time.
These days, I have time during my days now to do that. I’m sitting thinking during the day, so when I am doing dishes or mowing the lawn, I don’t want to keep thinking about stuff. I’m already doing some big picture thinking, so I think it’s kind of a phase you’re in.
The other thing too is a lot of podcasts, they aren’t that constructive. They aren’t necessarily pushing your thoughts or your business forward, whereas audiobooks could be. You can listen to fiction to make yourself feel like you’re really not working. Or some folks I know just go away from podcast and go audiobooks only because they an information dense resource.
Mike: That’s a big difference between something like an audiobook versus a podcast, whereas a podcast is much less directed and focused on a particular thing. You can get an idea of what a podcast is about from the title or from the description, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s going to be helpful to you versus a book, where if you buy a book about a very particular topic like sales strategies, or how to use Facebook ads or something like that, it’s going to be very focused on that one thing that you intentionally and deliberately decided that you are going to learn more about versus a podcast, where you might pick up some things and you might not, but it’s probably not going to be terribly actionable versus something like a book or an instruction manual.
Rob: That totally makes sense.
Mike: The other thing is it kind of makes me think about the conversations we had on a podcast about the consumption versus production modes between people. Should we be making things or consuming, it’s hard to do both at the same time. Right now, I’m producing stuff so it’s hard for me to consume stuff at the same time. It just makes my brain go sideways a little bit I guess.
Rob: Big time. I put up a blog post at one point. It was producer versus consumer or something like that. If you Google that, you can find it. There’s a really good comment thread after I published it. It was a good conversation about this. What I proposed there, I don’t think I talked about phases. I said certain people produced a lot of stuff and certain people consume a lot of stuff, and what I’ve realized since then, it’s not people, it’s phases.
That’s what you’re talking about now. What I find is, when I’m done with a hurdle, let’s say I sold a business, or I’m done growing it, or whatever, then I want to consume a bunch of stuff because I’m trying to figure out what to do next and taking a lot of information helps. But as soon as you focus on the goal, because you know exactly what your goals are this year, right? You’re growing Bluetick and you’re doing it this way.
You don’t need a bunch of information. You just need that point in time learning. I’m going to do Facebook ads next week so I got to learn that—Boom, do it, launch it. You don’t want just a bunch of inputs about things that are going to distract you in essence.
Mike: I find that the podcasts in general are distracting because they’re making me think about things that are not nearly as relevant to me as I need them to be. It’s better if I just take that time to think about the business itself and what I’m going to do next versus what other people are doing in their own businesses. As entertaining as it is, it doesn’t actually help me.
Rob: That’s right. Cool, man. We should probably wrap this.
Mike: All right. Well, take it easy. Talk to you next time.
Rob: Peace out.
You better on Apple about using “for the rest of us”
I find the “Startup” podcast to be very naive about startups. I’ve told them they should change to name of the show to “This American Business”
Hey Rob and Mike,
Thanks for sharing your podcast lists. You guys might like “Exponent” by Ben Thompson the creator of the Stratechery blog. It explores the business models and strategies of major tech players like Google, Apple, Uber, Facebook. It is somewhat contrarian but provides a different point of view (more well thought out point of view then a lot of media.)
I’d recommend the “How I built this” podcast hosted by Guy Raz.
Episodes I liked: The one with the Collison brothers (Stripe), the guy from Home Depot (don’t remember the name), and the one with the founders of Ben & Jerry’s.
Odd you didn’t mention Mixergy. Even Rob was a guest on it.