This Week in Podcasts

As Bob Dylan once said, “The times, they are a changin’.” Over the past week, this has proved particularly true for the podcasting space: with the launch of Fiat Lux’s Constellation, we have been given a glimpse into a possible future whereby the greatest emphasis falls on the podcast rather than another, ancillary aspect, and this beloved medium has lost the shackles that once kept it relegated to a small, insular sect. At least within this podcasting space, Bob Dylan’s words have never been more appropriate. Perhaps some day soon, your friends and family will sit down to enjoy episodes of these excellent podcasts alongside you.

Pragmatic Episode 020: The Critical Path. For the first episode of Pragmatic on the newly-launched Constellation, John Chidgey and Ben Alexander talked about Gantt and PERT charts, as well as the field so many just love to hate, project management, and how the principles it is based upon can apply to everyday life. Although skeptical at first, I ultimately found this episode very interesting.

The Menu Bar Episode 045: Audio Kool-Aid. This week, in the latest episode of Andrew and Zac’s philosophical podcast The Menu Bar, they had a fascinating discussion on how and why universes, companies, people, and technology evolve. I have no better grasp on the direction this show is heading than its two co-hosts seem to, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t like it.

Roderick on the Line 107: Built for Now. It’s hard to have so few things that actually need done, yet feel as if you nevertheless have so much to do anyway. Thank you, Merlin, for shedding some much-needed light on this tough issue. In all seriousness though, another great episode of Merlin Mann and John Roderick’s fantastic podcast, with some real gems this week. I won’t spoil them here, but I will say that John has finally formed his version of The Avengers and dubbed them “The Roderick Group”. Also, the challenge of developing a brand and fostering loyalty, preparedness, and fashion. Before tuning in, it may help to listen to episode 105, Hippie Clean.

Back to Work Episode 168: It’s Okay for Cats to Wander Around on Planes. Great episode on expectations through the lens of email, and how managing expectations — both your own and those of your co-workers, bosses, family, and friends — might not mean that you are a lazy person. Even though I have never had a serious problem with email, taking Dan and Merlin’s advice pertaining to its management and associated complexities out of context and applying it to other aspects of my life proved both insightful and, most importantly, extremely helpful. Episode 002: Fat as a Service (FAT). I spent quite a bit of time trying to decide whether or not to include this episode, but ultimately chose to more so out of necessity in that I think everyone speculating as to the future of wearables and Apple ought to hear this episode than anything else. Ben Thompson and Jon Nathanson talk about Apple’s culture and how it makes the company especially well-suited — and perhaps uniquely so — to developing a wearable not necessarily as the be-all end-all entrant everyone seems to expect, but rather as the requisite stepping stone on the way to greater things.

Seven Episode 001: The Meteor. Neither Ben nor I can quite agree on just what this show is, but I will say this: it is simultaneously fascinating to hear and remarkably well-done, and thus — especially coming in at a short six and a half minutes — well-worth the negligible amount of time you will have to set aside for it. Haunting, strangely inspirational, and comfortable all come to mind, but none quite capture the gist of what makes this episode so great. Tune in and see for yourself, and then let me know; I’d love to hear your thoughts, and I bet Ben would too.

Designing Creativity Episode 001: Defining Creativity. In another excellent first episode — or re-launch of episode one, as is more accurately the case here — Ben once again flew solo and talked about creativity: where both the term and the notion originated, and how humanity’s struggle with the creative process is not a product of Apple inventing the iPad (my words, not his), but rather a continuation of a long-standing difficulty faced by those wishing to bring into existence new and interesting works. Then, to close out the latter half of a tantalizingly short show, Ben touched briefly on some of his approaches to this process. Fantastic — I look forward to episode two more than I anticipate most other shows, it was just that great. If Ben keeps putting out shows this good, I don’t think I was being melodramatic at all.

a16z Podcast: Apple and the Fate of Tablets. For everyone who either talks about tablets with any regularity or simple wants to better understand both the space and the challenges it faces better, this episode is a must; Benedict Evans shared some great insights.

Technical Difficulties Episode 014: Everything Sucks for Somebody at Some Point. Great, great talk between Gabe Weatherhead and Stephen Hackett on charity and charitable giving. Take a step away from the tech-centric podcasts and tune in to this episode for a while. I promise, you won’t regret it.

The Weekly Briefly: Regret and Focus. They say that at the end of your life, you will regret the things you didn’t do more than the things that you did. However, while great advice and on the whole true, it should not be used as an excuse to procrastinate on the real work you do; you will probably regret not doing that more than you regret not playing another round of Call of Duty.

Technical Difficulties 015: Curiosity And Analytical Thinking With Dr. Drang. Gabe had the elusive Dr. Drang on for a great episode about creativity, software, and what it means to be an engineer. Shows like this make me glad I listen to a podcast’s back catalog before tuning in to its newest episodes.

One final editorial note: whereas in previous weeks I adopted the producer’s naming and numbering convention when linking to podcast episodes in this series, from here on out I will standardize this notation in an effort at increasing clarity and moving towards uniformity. Until next week, then.