What We’re Listening To: 10 Podcasts to Get You Through the Week

The average person hears between 20,000 and 30,000 words during the course of a 24-hour period, according to research over the past 25 years. People spend between 70 and 80 percent of their day engaged in some form of communication, and about 55 percent of their time is devoted to listening. Perhaps tackling the issue of why we aren’t listening to one another could help solve some of the world’s biggest issues, but that seems a little overwhelming to tackle in a single blog post. Instead, here are some podcasts we recommend you listen to during that 55 percent of your time:

MONDAY

How I Built This (NPR) – Launched on Sept. 12, the podcast is fairly new but hosted by industry veteran and TED Radio Hour host Guy Raz. Guests range from Spanx founder Sara Blakely to Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger (Instagram) to the founder of the largest African American-owned broadcasting company in the United States. Guy interviews founders who tell their stories of successes, failures and lesson learned.

Length: about 30-35 min

Recode Decode – Hosted by tech journalism legend Kara Swisher, the podcast shares in-depth conversations with Silicon Valley’s elite around their history, challenges, lessons learned and visions for the future. Her recent episode with Benchmark Capital’s Bill Gurley uncovered some of the biggest issues facing VCs and startups in today’s hyper competitive market. It’s longer than most of the others on our list, but it’s filled with insights and varied perspectives.

Length: 45-60 min

TUESDAY

The Premise – The podcast is hosted by London-based Parmy Olsen with guests from Forbes’ editorial team. Each episode revolves around the technology and market shifts and challenges impacting companies, industries or portfolios—challenges of controlling the offline world, regulations an autonomous vehicles, data and the future of farming, software making us more productive, Brexit, investments outside the Valley, etc. Episodes include interviews with founders from current tech sensations like Pokemon Go, feature recaps of print stories and invite outside perspectives from industry experts, analysts and others to take a critical look below the hype.

Length: 30-45 min

WEDNESDAY

Modern Love (NPR + NYT) – The podcast showcases the popular New York Times column, with readings by celebrities like Jason Alexander, Alysia Reiner, Cecily Strong, Tony Hale and Constance Wu and updates from the writers themselves. Unlike the others on our list, this isn’t a tech podcast (and I didn’t throw this one in here just for the ladies). Every week is a lesson in exceptional storytelling, which is really what every PR pro strives for.

Length: 20-45 min

THURSDAY

Reply All – This podcast showcases different true life stories that range from healthcare to lost phones to photo storage and military imposters. Seem random? They all have one thing in common: the Internet. Each eloquently told story involves a mix of self-tale and narration that not only teaches us something about the problem solving (or making) internet, but also about storytelling as a whole.

Length: 30-60 min

FRIDAY

Planet Money (NPR) – Hosted by Robert Smith, the podcast tells interesting stories about the economy on Wednesdays and Fridays. Beware, it’s actually really interesting because it tells stories about markets you may have wondered about but never had the guts to ask, including the zoo economy, textbook prices, urbanization, and how oil is produced. It goes beyond a simple explanation of buying and selling goods by explaining how policy comes into play, origination of market drivers, and more. While this isn’t explicitly tech-related, it will surely make you a smarter, better informed citizen of the world.

Length: 15-25 min

Exponent – Ben Thompson and James Allworth host a discussion around tech and society, covering everything from enterprise storage and database infrastructures to Pokemon Go, election hacking and the dark side of Facebook. They bring context and perspective to even the most technical enterprise topics, while also tackling battles between tech and society, Facebook and media, and the way we approach technology vs. the way it influences us.

Length: 60-80 min

SATURDAY & SUNDAY

A16z – Conversations typically feature a portfolio company and are hosted by A16z lead investors. While conversations usually revolve around a single portfolio company, they frequently talk through how industries are changing the opportunity that change presents. It’s not so much about the companies as it is about the market and how it’s being disrupted. Podcasts don’t post on a specific day of the week, so the weekend is the best time to catch up.

Length: 30-35 min

99% Invisible – This podcast is about “all the thought that goes into the things we don’t think about — the unnoticed architecture and design that shape our world.” It covers everything from contemplating the data that makes up “the average person,” fashion trend forecasts, combating hearing loss, urban architecture, separation anxiety, etc. It’s not specifically tech related, but it teaches us about patterns, behaviors, and perhaps some things we should know but don’t.

Length: 20-35 min

Radiolab – Hosted by Jad Abumrad, this podcast details and uncovers curiosities of the world. Everything from interesting stories about personal identity, human development, medical and ethical choices, secrets of the Supreme Court and legal defenses for the worst people. While not tech-centric or PR-focused, it does tech us a thing or two about uncovering a story and telling it well.

Length: 30-60 min

There are about 15 other podcasts on our playlists that didn’t make this list (including seasonal Invisibilia), so feel free to reach out for more recommendations! Happy listening 🎧