My love with audio - Favourite podcasts of 2018
I lived in Bangalore for 10 years and it is a city that I love so much. It was in Bangalore, I made so many friends, bought a house, bonded with my wife and my son was born. Whenever some one mentions about the city, I am in a throwback mode, remembering fondly of my days in Bangalore. But I also dread the traffic of the city and the pain it causes. Three years since, I have moved from Bangalore to Chennai, never have I felt traffic as a pain point in Chennai. Before I let this post meander its way into nostalgia, let me steer towards its original course. Audio.
To beat the traffic and the eventual insanity out of Bangalore, I jumped into listening to many audio content. "Audio content” is something that is not music and that is also not the live radio. So podcasts, audiobooks or short-lectures are all, what I refer as “audio content”.
It was in the year 2014. To commute a distance of 2.5 kilometres, it used to take 45 to 60 mins depending on the traffic. Either I go in scooter or car or walk, the time doesn’t reduce much because the roads are extremely congested. I used to pop-in my earphones and listen to a podcast (either it was Tim Ferriss or Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History or Gimlet’s show). There was a sense of intimacy with the podcasts, than YouTube or Kindle, because of a thing that I am still not able to put my finger and say why. It was weirdly intimate and enjoyable.
When I had started listening to podcasts, the options were very less and the audio boom had just begun. So I used to listen to anything interesting by NPR, Gimlet, Radiotopia. I was in an immersive mode, where I was listening to a huge variety of podcasts. I still remember waiting for the Serial (season 1) episodes and itching to go for a run or office, so that I can listen. Gimlet media has been a huge surprise. I still vividly remember the first episode of Startup, in which Chris Sacca gave a “Pitching your idea to investor 101” class and hugely pumped up to listen. Looking at the way, Gimlet has grown in these years, I am stunned at their astronomical growth. Regarding the popular shows that I really liked and got me on the bandwagon of behavioural economics, huge credits go to Freakanomics. It was a fantastically produced show with great topics and interesting conversations.
Now I cut down my podcasts and I very carefully chose the episodes to listen. I try my best to match the episodes to my mood.
When I am active, I listen to cerebrally interesting and intellectually stimulating topics (during my commute or workouts). When I am tired or had a long day, I settle down to the pop-culture, cinema or fun related podcasts. When I am in between, not very active but don't want to be taxed, I listen to talk shows and discussions based podcasts.
By "absolute favourites" I mean "I try to listen almost all the episodes (80-90% of the episodes) published".
a16z by Sonal (sometimes by Hanne) - Someone joked that a16z is a media company disguising themselves being in VC business. I get a lot of food for my thought from the excellent Sonal Chokshi and variety of guests. Discussions are about books, cutting edge technologies, interesting personalities & growth related challenges. (Interview with W. Brian Arthur and Marc Andreessen was my favorite of 2018)
Recode by Kara Swisher - I absolutely love Kara’s take on anything in Silicon Valley. I love her attitude in tearing down anything that seems like holier-than-thou, her biting sarcasm and the equipoise in talking to guests (Love her episode on talking Zuck in such a calm but critical manner, given that she is extremely critical of him). I get to know more about interesting people, hot new things/happenings in Silicon Valley. This is one my primary source of info about tech and Silicon Valley. (Kevin Systrom's interview was my highlight)
North Star by David Perell - David’s talk show is unique because of the variety of the guests and their expertise. It is always a surprisingly whacky but interesting guest opening their mind and world views. (Devon Zuegel's interview amazingly good)
Pop Culture Happy Hour by NPR - If Kara's Recode is my go-to source of anything Silicon Valley, this show is my source of keeping myself up to date on entertainment. Love the reviews of Hollywood movies, Netflix shows and anything related to Pop Culture.
The Awful and Awesome Entertainment by Newslaundry - This is my source for India related entertainment. Love their critical take on everything related to entertainment. Even though Rajyashree and Abhinandan are really good in hosting it, I really miss Deepanjana Pal. They even review the movie trailers and TV commercials. Its a good one to listen when you are winding down or heading-back-from-office-want-to-listen-something-light-in-commute mode.