5 of our favourite podcasts for startups

I’m seriously addicted to podcasts. The exact figures are unknown (frankly I’m a little scared of the truth), but I must listen to an average of 1–2 hours of podcasts per day – probably more on weekends. My strain of podmania is so severe it’s starting to affect my personal relationships. Friends, family, pets, all have felt ignored as I rebuff their company in favour of the latest audio goodness. Maybe I need a pod-tervention.

Until that fateful day, I’ve noticed that the search for my next binge–listen remains deceptively tricky. Beyond what’s top or trending in iTunes, the best way to discover new podcasts is usually through word-of-mouth or referral: asking friends for their handpicked favourites, searching for recommendations, or waiting for end–of–year roundups. It needn’t be this way!

In solidarity with fellow ‘podcats’, the Nifty team has produced its own curated podcast playlist. We’ve kept the categories mostly to our own wheelhouse – sticking to technology, business, and entrepreneurship – but rest assured there’s a whole world of great audio out there. Happy listening!

1. Acquired

What is it?

Two venture capitalists talk about high–profile business acquisitions and grade them. They also say “yup” a lot.

Why’s it great?

Was Disney’s purchase of Marvel a good idea? Why did Microsoft splash out more than $26 billion on LinkedIn? Hosts Ben and David answer these questions and more, breaking down each deal in a tightly structured, methodical way. They move through company histories, dissect themes, and ponder what would’ve happened otherwise. Acquired is a must for anyone with more-than-a-fleeting interest in technology or business (or the technology business).

Which episode should I start with?

Episode 2: Instagram

2. Side Hustle School

What is it?

Bite–sized stories of ordinary people who turn a simple idea into a golden goose.

Why’s it great?

With the average episode clocking in at around five minutes, Side Hustle School offers short, punchy stories of everyday folk who take an idea, any idea, and run with it. Not every ‘side hustle’ results in an early retirement – one man’s fish tank review website only nets him (ha ha get it) a few hundred dollars a month – but it’s a refreshing reminder that there are countless ways to generate a little extra on the side while still keeping your day job. Who knows, maybe one of these ideas will inspire your next big break?

Which episode should I start with?

The January 12 episode, where a woman self–publishes a low carb cookbook online and is (pleasantly) surprised to see it earn thousands of dollars a month.

3. She Did It Her Way

What is it?

One for the ladies - catch a weekly dose of inspiration through interviews with top female entrepreneurs - who are doing it their way!

Why’s it great?

Founder Amanda Boleyn quit her 9-5 job in 2012 and created the podcast as a personal avenue to learn more about female entrepreneurship. The goal of the podcast now is to inspire women to find a more fulfilling life, their way. So if you’re working a day job but dreaming of something more, jump on it! This is also a great podcast for entrepreneurs for support and encouragement (‘cos sometimes you need a pep talk!)

Which episode should I start with?

We love episode 81 - a snack sized 13 minute episode of productivity hacks the podcast founder Amanda uses in her day to day life.

4. Track Changes

What is it?

Two co–founders chat about technology and the web, with whichever high–profile friend they convince to come along that week.

Why’s it great?

Track Changes is one of the best examples of content marketing in podcast form, mixing genuine industry insight and expertise with self-aware self-promotion. Co-hosts Paul and Rich, co-founders of a New York-based digital agency, discuss what’s trending in technology, politics, media and the open web. Often, they convince one of their friends or colleagues to join them, many of whom are technology heavyweights in their own right – like tech activist Anil Dash, or Facebook product designer Jon Lax (for his part, Paul Ford once wrote a 30,000–word article about computer code for Bloomberg).

Which episode should I start with?

Their Year in Review: 2016 episode was phenomenal, recounting the technology themes of the year and what to look out for in the future.

5. The Pitch

What is it?

A Shark Tank and a Dragon’s Den start a podcast together...

Why’s it great?

Now part of the Gimlet Media stable, the company that produces the excellent StartUp and Reply All podcasts, The Pitch places startup founders in front of a panel of venture capitalists so they can – you guessed it – pitch their business idea to potential angel investors. Already a successful TV formula with the aforementioned Shark Tank and Dragon’s Den, The Pitch seamlessly brings the concept to audio, filling in the founder’s backstory and building up a palpable sense of tension when the VCs decide if they’re in or out.

Which episode should I start with?

Episode 1 of the second season: Babyscripts.

6. Future Sandwich

What is it?

An Aussie named Tommy talks technology and the future. Burgers are sometimes involved.

Why’s it great?

Our favourite homegrown pod, Future Sandwich is the brainchild of Melburnian Tommy McCubbin. Always looking for the next technologies and trends that will change everything, Tommy is frequently joined by local talent such as media commentator Nic Hodges and futurist Steve Sammartino. Special mention must go to the production values of Future Sandwich, which are consistently top notch. Nice one, Tommy.

Which episode should I start with?

Episode 4: Skip Ads

Honourable mentions

  • Recode Decode

    Kara Swisher, one of the best interviewers working today, faces off with Silicon Valley founders and executives to ask them the tough questions. Be careful not to listen during breakfast – Kara’s zingers might make you choke on your cornflakes.

  • Internet History Podcast

    One man’s quest to tell the story of the World Wide Web, beginning with the listing of Netscape on the NASDAQ stock exchange. Stick to the chapter entries for an expertly researched – if drily delivered – oral history of the thing we use every day (but rarely think about how it came to be).

  • The Tim Ferriss Show

    From the author of the Four Hour Work Week, Tim Ferriss interviews high achievers to find out what makes them tick, and the productivity hacks that keep them ticking. Don’t miss his interview with Maria Popova, founder of the entirely donation-driven Brain Pickings blog.

As well as being podcast addicts, the Nifty team helps startups and entrepreneurs who might be eligible for the R&D Tax Incentive. Check out our website for more information.