Are you a podcast person? Not everyone is. You might prefer reading. Or, if you’re listening to something, it may be music-or-bust. No matter your content of choice, podcasts are on the rise.
In February, Spotify spent almost $500 million acquiring two podcast apps, leading their CEO to the prediction that 20% of all Spotify’s listening will be non-music content in the future.
According to Musicoomph, there are more than 700,000 active podcasts today, up from 550,000 last year. In Silicon Valley, there are a huge number of podcasts dedicated to the world of tech and startups. Ranging from unicorn CEO interviews, to talking about whether or not you should be nice to your smart assistants (sorry for all the times I’ve yelled at you, Siri), themes span an extremely broad range in Silicon Valley alone.
How can you use this form of media to grow your business, your visibility, or your company mission? I’ve included some of my favorites below that can keep you in tune to the who’s, what’s, and how’s of the world’s biggest tech corridor.
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1. Stanford Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders
“Who you are defines how you build.” This motto from Stanford’s eCorner provides the framework for the Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders podcast. Each week during the academic year, the Thought Leaders speaker series offers podcast episodes of each lecture, featuring entrepreneurs and thought leaders from Silicon Valley and beyond.
Guests share lessons they’ve learned and taught while “developing, launching, and scaling disruptive ideas.” Questions include “what have you been working on?” “what does the history of your company look like?” “how did you take your initial idea and turn adopters into customers?” and “how do you gain traction in Silicon Valley?” Interviews from the most recent season of the show include executives from Google, Harvard Business School, 23andMe, Microsoft, MobileIron, and many, many more.
Hosted by Ken Coleman, EntreLeadership is a bi-weekly podcast that provides information, lessons, interviews, and other various things that are going to help grow “you and your business”.
Each episode focuses on a different lesson in advancement, including themes such as “Are you in the right place for growth?” “3 ways to engage your team” and “4 steps to avoid hiring mistakes.” Think of EntreLeadership as a business self–help podcast, with the added element of well-known guests such as Mark Cuban, Seth Godin, and Daymond John. This podcast provides not only lessons in scaling your business, but also in how to establish the best, most productive business environment possible.
3. Why’d You Push That Button?
Converge is a podcast produced by the Verge, and hosted by The Verge’s Ashley Carman and Vox.com’s Kaitlyn Tiffany. This podcast may be my favorite on the list, because it raises questions about how our everyday technology forces us to make strange, difficult, confusing choices. Think of Black Mirror, but in a way less creepy, way more real way.
Each episode poses a specific question, and features guests who have answers and stories that relate to that question. The hosts are young, funny, and interesting, which makes this podcast feel like you’re talking with friends. Be mindful that it’s very millennia-focused, so if you’re trying to build an online brand presence that appeals to young people in a sleek, forward-thinking, hip way, definitely give this a try.
My favorite episode so far is “What makes a place Instagram-worthy?”
I’m currently listening to today’s episode of Exponent: “Game of Phones,” in which the hosts Ben Thompson and James Allworth discuss the WWDC keynote and why it was so important for Apple to move past the iPhone. These episodes usually unpack recent tech announcements, with recent episodes focused on WWDC, Slack’s IPO, Disney+, and the US-China trade war.
What do these announcements mean for the tech universe? What about the everyday non-techie? The companies themselves? These are questions that Exponent hopes to answer.
5. Valley Talks
Valley Talks has, sometimes, the quickest episodes of any of the shows on this list. Ranging from 12 minutes to 45. Episodes of Valley Talks aim to provide lessons in growing a Silicon Valley brand. Each season focuses on a different area of Silicon Valley startup life, the current season of which is startup branding. This season has episodes including influencer marketing, how to pitch your startup to press, and how to use your brand’s full potential.
Equity is Tech Crunch’s venture-capital focused podcast. Hosted by Connie Loizos, Silicon Valley Editor at TechCrunch, and Alex Wilhelm, Editor-in-Chief of Crunchbase News, Equity examines all things M&A, recently-secured funding rounds, and Silicon Valley investing.
This podcast definitely goes deep into the VC world, which is super helpful for people at companies like PAN who have clients approaching IPO and securing new funding. Even if your brand isn’t close to an exit strategy, it’s good to know what the general consensus is about news like Uber’s less-than-ideal IPO, how VC’s feel about industries like cannabis, and how a company should decide between M&A and IPO.
As an avid Pros/Cons list maker, I can’t see many cons to the world of podcasts. As Craig T. Nelson said in his episode of Dax Shepard’s Armchair Expert, podcasts are freeform radio. They feature many people, they span many topics – my personal favorite podcast is Ear Hustle, which covers life in San Quentin prison, so we know there is a podcast for everyone. The six I’ve included above are such a small sliver of this media form, but they are ones that offer valuable advice and ask interesting questions about this tech world that we’ve devoted so much of our time to.