My top five podcasts for turning a dog walk into a business lesson
As a child, I was brought up with the radio always on, news, current affairs and some weird Radio 4 farming soap opera (The Archers), which is the single most British thing in the world.
The reason I mention this is because it stuck with me and became a habit in later life. Washing up? I’d put the radio on. Cooking. Mowing the lawn. Radio on. It became a constant. A mix of background noise, company and education whilst I did those more mundane tasks.
Then when I got my first dog (any excuse for a dog photo), the pattern continued and I listened to the radio whilst wandering about.
(Winston, the Newfoundland)
As I walked my dogs very early, I soon discovered that the radio choice at that time of day wasn’t great. Around this same time, I was reading about podcasts and thought I should give them a try.
After bouncing through a few, bearing in mind that podcast discovery 12 years’ ago was a bit of an unknown and a very different experience to now, I eventually found the following that I still listen to now.
There is no specific order to this list, and what I listen to often depends on how I feel on the day, but I’ve found every one of these podcasts to be a valuable resource:
This Week In Start-ups
Hosted for over 1000 episodes by motormouth entrepreneur and investor Jason Calacanis and more recently long term tech journo and sensible human to Calacanis, Molly Wood.
Calacanis and Wood discuss startups, scale-ups and more. Due to their pervasive work rate, for 5 episodes a week they get to dive into what makes companies work, the news and more. They often have guests, from investors to podcast hosts and business people to share their news and commentary around current events. I’ve listened since episode one and still listen regularly now.
Acquired (and Acquired LP)
Acquired is a (very)long-form book-like podcast where hosts Ben and David (both VC investors) break down the history of iconic companies, where they came from and what makes them tick.
Their pods can span multiple 2-3 hour shows that allow them to dive deep into the history and they also sometimes talk to those involved. These podcasts are perfect for a longer walk, and I often queue one up for a three-hour dog walk early on the weekend.
Acquired have a separate paid-for program, the “LP Show”, which used to include a separate pod. They recently announced that the podcast and its entire history would now be free. This is a more traditional interview-style pod with tech luminaries about how they built their businesses and what worked for them. Well worth a listen and timewise, a more doable 1 hour-ish.
My First Million
Cringeworthy name aside, this is a fab podcast around the available business idea, what might work and what has worked recently. A very chatty show hosted by Shan, Sam and sometimes Ben.
They break down ideas, are often contrary to the current flow and have a younger, more swashbuckling approach to business pods. I don’t agree with all that I hear but the gems far outway the duds. It’s part of Hubspot now but HS doesn’t seem to have meddled in any way and kept its edgy vibe.
The first non-American entry, host, VC and massively clever bloke Benedict Evans and journalist, writer and F1 aficionado Toni Cowan-Brown produce this great, shorter form pod.
It's very sporadic in appearance and it can be months between shows, but well worth catching to hear the discussions around what’s happening in technology and the ways things are moving. Episodes have a theme and I tend to dip in and out depending on the focus.
All in Podcast
If My First Million is millionaires discussing millionaire stuff, All In is billionaires discussing billionaire stuff. (Caveat: I know they aren’t all worth 10 figures). It's a weekly discussion show between 4 “besties”. Jason Calacanis hosts, with:
Chamath Palihapitiya running his own family office after hitting it big with Facebook and then multiplying his cash through investing. Loves a posh jumper.
David Sacks, the founding COO for Paypal, founded yammer and now runs VC Craft Ventures which has invested in Uber, Facebook and Airbnb amongst others.
David Friedberg, ex-Google and now runs and incubates the coolest companies, check out https://www.cana.com/
It's often political and they sometimes fight like children. They are out of touch with the everyman ($4k jumpers, private jets etc). However, they are all super smart and make an interesting pod. It's produced weekly and I listen to pretty much every show.