If you pop on any social channel, everyone seems to be asking:
“What is the best podcast?"
It’s not about the best new book anymore in this digital age. There’s always Audible, of course, but podcasts have their finger on the pulse. They’re relevant, quick, and usually released on a reliable basis to build a fan following.
You can also listen to a podcast anywhere. Anytime. Download it for later. Save it for that long plane ride.
Only have a 20-minute commute? There’s bound to be one short enough for you to get a golden nugget of information in before work, or maybe listen to one over several days.
What’s great too is that most of them are available on apps like Apple’s Podcasts or Spotify, which many people already have access to and have on their device.
Prefer a comedic approach? Not a problem. Want more serious, information-style episodes? Sure thing.
All listeners are bound to find something that piques their interest, style, and time commitment.
But there’s also another benefit, which is usually frowned upon in the workday but can be OK in other situations:
Drive and podcast.
Clean and podcast.
Workout and podcast.
Essentially you can be “doing” while learning. Aren’t we humans just so efficient?
What digital content is being consumed?
A recent survey found that 74% of listeners are there to learn something new, which means educational content is highly valued and there are no shortages of that to choose from.
The key, though, is to find a good-quality podcast that is relevant to what you value.
With 47 million episodes and 1.96 million podcasts available on Apple Podcasts, it can be hard to know where to start your journey.
Although I haven’t personally listened to all of these, I created a bit of an aggregation of various podcasts that might be of benefit or interest to a leader or someone in the tech industry.
After all, you can only listen to straight business chat for so long and you might just want a bit of weird science-y knowledge and nerd banter to end a long day.
Don’t hold me accountable for all the content as some can be controversial of course, depending on your beliefs and political views on certain matters. When we talk about business, tech, and leadership it can get divisive and opinionated.
But that’s the point of listening to a variety of platforms and hosts. It’s meant to challenge your views and push you to question the world around you, especially when we talk about topics like AI or human resources.
Okay, enough philosophical chat.
Tech and digital podcasts to lend an ear to
Here’s the good stuff: a list of the top podcasts recommended for NZ’s digital leaders.
1. NZ Tech Podcast: News, Views, Updates, Mobile, Blogs
We should really start with this weekly homegrown podcast. Hosted by Paul Spain, the NZ Tech Podcast boasts over 600 episodes! As a long-running show, it’s trusted by many and covers tech news from around the whole world. It breaches hot and sometimes controversial topics.
Runtime is usually between 50-60 minutes.
Recently, Paul covered Twitter Blue, In car Zoom calls, and DoorDash drone delivery among a few other stories all in one episode. Great value for your time!
It’s been reviewed as one of the best podcasts in NZ for tech news.
Nerds, rejoice! With over 500 episodes, Accidental Tech is sure to entertain and inform. They’re the sort of people that like emojis in their episode descriptions and have episodes with titles such as “A Mental Laxative”. Doesn’t it just make you want to listen?
I guarantee you will learn something new and have a laugh. The best part is the descriptions give you a little rundown in case you want to jump around. Each episode is between 2 and 2.5 hours long, giving you plenty to listen to during commutes or travel, or just skip to the good bits.
Basal Cost as it refers to software development in a recent episode – minimum complexity and maintenance required to build a new feature.
Combine your imagination with important topics in tech and add a splash of commentary from senior technologists – voile! You get Thoughtworks Technology Podcast. These minds delve into subjects like technical debt and XR reality but with a lens that allows for real-life application and understanding.
As an example, they cover Basal Cost as it refers to software development in a recent episode. Companies should be considering the minimum complexity and maintenance required to build a new feature before step 1 of any process.
Our very own little IT leadership podcast, how about that? Cathy O’Sullivan, Editor for CIO New Zealand, hosts this leadership, innovation and business strategy podcast. Each episode features different guests working in prominent companies and positions around New Zealand, sharing their ideas on challenges in the digital sector from both the people and tech side.
You can expect good coverage from various industries and an open dialogue with the speakers.
Added bonus, you can watch it instead of listen! All you need is about half an hour, and it’s usually an upbeat and friendly chat.
Their little blurb is pretty simple. They cover “what’s working, what’s not, and what’s next” in technology and business leadership. Love it. That’s sort of how we operate as well when looking at clients in our Discovery Project process. They’re not afraid to cover the nitty gritty and failure stories, as well as of course the successes and triumphs. Well-known cloud computing company VMWare is the sponsor for this one based out of Silicon Valley so it’s a reputable source, too. There are about 40 episodes on Apple Podcasts and a 4.7/5 rating.
Do you like data and numbers? Wonderful! I don’t - but here’s a podcast for you.
The Indicator is a quick download of information for short commutes or waits on a park bench. Their claim is that “in less than it takes you to eat your breakfast” you can gain insight on topics in the news centered around indicators in the larger global economy.
Expect subjects like unemployment, how policy affects a local economy, or maybe how electric vehicles are made from a business view.
Sometimes it can be a little American-centric but as we all know, we live in a global economy. And many of the lessons and news topics are applicable to us in New Zealand such as the COP27 episode. This one might ruffle feathers as they chat about who should pay up for climate change, as the lower-income countries are usually the most affected by the destruction.
The commitment is short – only 9 minutes! OK, maybe I can handle that amount of economics in my day and would actually enjoy learning about it.
This is a daily podcast on weekdays with over 300 episodes so far.
James Wedmore’s show has a 4.8/5 star rating. 1.4k reviews. 550+ episodes (not all are on Apple right now, but you can check out his website). OK – this guy is a machine!
Change of pace here with a mindset podcast. James shares his secrets to success as an online entrepreneur. His listeners rate that the show has changed their lives – many call it “transformative” and are long-time fans which shows the quality of his episodes.
His tagline is “creating success from the inside out” and he’s not afraid to tackle a variety of topics.
Here’s a short sample of recent episodes:
How to Pivot: Evolving, Elevating and Embracing the Unknown in Your Business
The Most Powerful Hack for Making Your Offer More Irresistible (one of his #BizTipFriday episodes)
Why Most People are Talking to the Wrong Audience
Episodes all vary in length so it’s best to focus on looking for a topic that resonates, or maybe start with the shorter #BizTipFriday ones.
For those that want a “give it to me straight” approach, here it is. The HBR IdeaCast ranges in 20-30 minute length episodes and has over 600 to choose from. It’s weekly and reliable.
Different guests are welcomed every week to offer their expert opinions on business and management, but some reports say it can be a bit political or biased of late and episodes could be longer to get more detail on these topics.
Use it maybe as a place to find topics that get you going or learn a bit of surface info, and then do your own independent research on your own if you want to.
This might be a love-it-or-hate-it relationship for you. Give it a try and see what you think.
For something sometimes a little bit saucier and eclectic, head over to the Tim Ferriss Show.
He interviews people from all walks of life whom he considers top performers in order to extract their tactics, tools and routines. It’s everything from recommended books, exercise habits, productivity tips, morning routines and more. Plus, Tim’s won #1 Apple podcast 3 times so far.
A few past guests include Malcolm Gladwell, Mark Zuckerberg, Dr. Jane Goodall and Hugh Jackman. He’s also author of The 4-Hour Workweek, which is an interesting read. I recommend choosing pieces from it that might apply to you rather than trying to adapt the whole book to your life. But anyways – that's a book not a podcast.
Although episodes can be upwards of two hours long, there’s usually multiple guests and you can jump to the part you want to listen to. Topics might include dealmaking and negotiation, mastering the calendar to create more time, and epigenetic reprogramming.
10. AI in Business
Considered one of the best B2B AI podcasts globally, this show boasts over 5 years of interviews and episodes. The audience is usually business and government leaders who need to know critical trends and applications of AI.
Which AI applications are creating true business value, and which are maybe still in the experimental phase?
Learn how you can use AI as a strategy when considering your business planning, and how other top executives are using AI to their benefit.
11. Techmeme Ride Home, the best daily tech news podcast
Uploaded at 5 PM daily, you’ll always be sure to get your tech news fix. The podcast is a short one, only lasting around 15 minutes each episode, but they punch through the stories and get in the good info.
When you don’t have the time to listen to the thought leadership podcasts on this list, or a panel discussion, this is the one for you. Get the lowdown on fresh topics like crypto, the Foxconn factory riot, and Microsoft embracing Linux.
There are... over 1300 episodes (WOW)! Even though they’re short, that’s commendable.
Other interesting listens
And for a few podcast recommendations that are bit off the tech and business field, but still might entice you across other subjects:
Science Vs pits facts against fiction.
I included this one as I can speak to how entertaining it is, and usually lighthearted and friendly in tone. They do cover specific trends in technology at times, medical developments like “Deodorant: Is it Dangerous?”, and current socio-political topics.
They approach tough subjects with an unbiased opinion and look at the facts. I love a good fact.
Fact: this podcast is available on Spotify, releases weekly normally, and is grounded in scientific data and guests.
Dropping twice daily on weekdays and once daily on weekends, this podcast is a hit of news in quick snippets that covers international issues.
The premise is to drop the day’s top stories with just the facts and then move on to the next topic. You still get interviews from different correspondents and people from around the globe, compiled into a neat little 30-minute segment.
I don’t always have the mental capacity to listen to the global news (it can be disheartening some days), but it is perfect for the days I have the space to do so. It’s one of the best daily news podcasts out there.
Keeping up as a digital leader
Technology is changing the world around us and podcasts are bringing that change to your ears. From management and business topics to technology tips, there is a podcast for you. If you're looking for something to listen to as you drive, run or workout, look no further than podcasts.
As an added bonus, all of our picks above are free.
But more than that, these podcasts have the power to help you think bigger, act smarter, and become more accomplished in your work. Just watch out—you may even find yourself working at 4 am!
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