The information technology and the related business today is a fast paced activity. Things change rapidly, there is something new happening every day, and trying to keep up the pace is really challenging. Using our daily commuting time for consuming podcasts may help us with that.
Classic forms of keeping yourself up to date with what's going on, like reading books or going to conferences, have become too slow. Books got replaced by blogs, which enabled us to be at the source of what's going on in some ecosystem. Still, they require dedicated time and a bit of rather peaceful environment to consume the content.
Podcasts are solving that problem by enabling us to listen to it everywhere, providing the audible isolation by itself. With the raise of smartphone devices, it has become incredibly easy to have a collection of favorite podcasts with you everywhere, updated with new episodes automatically.
Let me give you a short overview of the most valuable podcasts I find myself listening to during my daily commuting.
When it comes to business, I'm mostly interested in the world of startups. I find two really great podcasts in this area, both from the "This Week In" series (yes, it's a TV network, but I consume those shows as audio).
The first podcast I got hooked on is This Week in Startups, and I've been following it from the beginning. The show is run by a serial entrepreneur Jason Calacanis (@Jason) who has a decent record of building (and selling) his own businesses.
The show covers a wide range of entrepreneurial topics, from answering questions and providing advices on listeners' startup ideas, through pitching ideas directly on the show, to interviews with the most interesting startup owners today, sharing their experiences. The show gives really great insights in the world of startups, and all the great ideas people are working on.
The other related show is This Week in Venture Capital, hosted by Mark Suster, a former entrepreneur and currently a VC who runs a great blog on entrepreneurship, business, and dealing with VC funding.
Mark runs a series of interviews both with entrepreneurs and investors, talking about their business and background, startup communities, events and startup scene in general. Occasionally, some great summary episodes on creating startups and VC funding can occur, like the "Mark Suster's speech at NYU" episode.
On the technology side, there are much more podcasts out there. I'd like to mention a few that keep me up to date with the technologies I'm interested in.
The most notable podcast on technology around the .Net ecosystem is the Herding Code podcast (RSS). Topics they cover are really broad and aren't tied to the Microsoft's way of thinking. This podcast is a really great way to find out what's going on out there, both inside and outside of the 'safety net' Microsoft is trying to keep around its developers.
The best way to keep track what's going on inside the Microsoft's world is following the great work Scott Hanselman is doing with his Hanselminutes podcast (RSS). It's a combination of promotional activities to keep up with the new Microsoft's technologies, and some really great episodes that talk more openly about the .Net ecosystem and some alternatives.
More general development and web related topics are covered in the Site Point podcast (RSS). More relaxed than the former podcasts, unbound by the specific technologies, this one really varies from some really casual episodes to ones where a lot of interesting things can be learned.
Two technology specific podcasts are The Ruby Show (RSS) which covers news in the Ruby and Rails world each week in a casual tone, and with some involvement in the community needed to understand all of the talk there. On the Mono side of things, an interesting podcast called Monkey Talk (RSS) has been started recently by Dale Ragan covering the Mono ecosystem.
The last one which might be interesting to a broader developers' community is the StackExchange podcast (RSS), a successor of the old StackOverflow series. Topics are related to the StackExchange network of sites, but the recommendation actually goes for the old series which has lots of insights behind the scene of the project, technology choices and decisions being made, how it's supposed to look like and be run.
The new one goes more deeply into some details that are mostly interesting to some hard-core fans, or the managers of the similar community driven sites out there.
General technology and digital culture
Moving away from being directly related to some area of development or technology, there is a great podcast about the life, culture and psychology of a developer. This Developer's Life podcast (RSS) will uncover many interesting insights from the lives of developers, through great stories and brilliantly matching music selection for each episode. This one is a breeze of fresh air in all the podcasts I've been listening to.
The last one on this list is Spark (RSS), a CBC radio show podcast. Spark podcast provides an ongoing conversation about technology and culture, through a series of interviews or talks with the most prominent people in the technology world today. Although it's a general radio show, it goes into rather interesting topics from our world deep enough to keep it interesting for listening.
These are my secret gems of knowledge and sources of information given to you, dear reader. Use them wisely.