What did you do with your commute this morning? Last year, we asked five highly successful people how they pass the time on their trips to work — and got answers from meditating to catching up on the news. But almost every burgeoning businessman we asked mentioned one shared interest: listening to podcasts.
We’re slap-bang in the centre of a podcast boom — and it’s likely you’ve noticed. You can’t escape the things, and whether they’re delving deep into the dark corners of true crime, reviewing restaurants or just jabbering gibberish, it seems that highly successful entrepreneurs and industrialists also enjoy them. Below, we’ve rounded up seven of the best business podcasts for budding entrepreneurs — so you can learn from others’ mistakes…
How I Built This
The gold standard of business podcasting, host Guy Raz has been talking to innovators, entrepreneurs, and idealists for almost four years. And, boy, has he had some names on the waves. Sir Richard Branson popped in, Sir James Dyson made an appearance and Wikipedia’s Jimmy Wales imparted his wisdom. Raz has interviewed Bobbi Brown of Bobbi Brown, Michael Dell of Dell Computers and even the eponymous Ben & Jerry about their ice cream rise to the top.
Listen for: Inspiration. Most huge entrepreneurs started out with nothing, so if you’re having a tough time, an episode of How I Built This will likely perk you up and help fan the flames of your big ideas.
We’d start with: Episode 116, Bumble, Whitney Wolfe. The dating app founder explains how she moved from being VP of Marketing for Tinder to build her own competitor, and the benefits of guerrilla advertising.
The Tim Ferriss Show
Another top name; another top podcast. Tim Ferriss’ podcast is a good insight into business because it doesn’t simply focus on a stereotypical view of business. Just look at the episode list: he may have interviewed the CEOs of Koch Industries, SoulCycle and Stripe, but his wider guest-list includes the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger, LeBron James, and Jamie Foxx. But you’ll be surprised — there’s much these wildly successful people can teach you about the wider world of business.
Listen for: Alternative ways at looking at things. If your business or idea is stuck in a rut, perhaps you need to look at it from the perspective of, say, Vince Vaughn? It may sound crazy; but it may just work.
We’d start with: Episode 178, Tony Robbins. The second appearance of the famous performance coach dives into investments, quotes to live by and his work with everyone from Leonardo DiCaprio to Oprah.
Masters of Scale
Reid Hoffman, founder of LinkedIn, knows a little something about business. His three-year-old podcast is well worth your time — as every episode focuses on a single theory about scaling a successful business. And it’s backed up by experts; Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Starbucks founder Howard Schultz and Netflix chief Reed Hastings have all been guests. Notably, Hoffman is also a champion of gender equality, so guarantees a 50/50 split between male and female guests every season.
Listen for: Ways to realistically scale up your business. One for those entrepreneurs who already have a successful business on their hands, this is a way to weigh up the pros and cons of proven business paths.
We’d start with: Episode 1, Brian Chesky, AirBnB. Where better to begin than the start? This initial episode explores scaling up by scaling down — and focusing on the importance of a one-to-one customer experience.
Beyond the To-Do List
Erik Fisher’s motivational productivity podcast is a real winner. Speaking to an endless list of helpful guests, this is a listen that will help kick start your ambitions and let you follow in the footsteps of real people who have previously succeeded. It’s a deep dive into the weird and wonderful productivity strategies from the professional and personal lives of such diverse interviewees as army Captain Julie Sheranosher, poet Gregg Krech and university professor Cal Newport.
Listen for: A chance that you’ll find a productivity strategy that works for you. As each individual interviewee attests, different things work for different people — and you’ve got over 300 episodes to find what works for you.
We’d start with: Episode 237, Chris Bailey. The author, and man behind The Productivity Project, defines and delves into terms including hyperfocus and scatterfocus — putting helpful names to all-too-familiar feelings.
Gentleman’s Journal Podcast
Okay, we’re a bit biased here. But it’s well worth sneaking Gentleman’s Journal’s own podcast into your commute or morning routine. With guests as diverse as any other pod on here, you could be listening to the story behind Phones 4u one morning, then discovering why sex sells with Emma Sayle of Killing Kittens the morning after. And that’s before you get to our wider guests, from World Cup winning rugby stars and explorer David de Rothschild to the unstoppable Sir Paul Smith.
Listen for: Unique insights into start-ups and brands, alongside tried and tested advice from conglomerates and corporations that have been around for decades. It’s a real cross-section — and all the more interesting for it.
We’d start with: Episode 27, Jason Fox, Special Forces Operative. With a focus on conquering fear, this episode tackles the thorny issues of facing risks and overcoming monumental odds. Perfect for budding entrepreneurs.
Invest Like The Best
Hosted by Patrick O’Shaughnessy, this investment podcast may sound a little dry — but give it a try and you could soon see returns that’ll have you bingeing every episode he’s ever recorded. This pod recently reached 150 episodes, and each is chock full of stories and advice to help you better invest your time and money, and teach you how to play with boundaries in your own life.
Listen for: The casual, informed style of O’Shaughnessy’s interviews, and how he dips outside the world of portfolio managers and venture capitalists to find guests who bring life and vigour to a potentially less-than-gripping subject.
We’d start with: Episode 27, Peter Attia M.D. It’s a strange choice, but indicative of this podcast’s varied charm that the best episode sees a doctor as the guest. You’ll learn how to invest in yourself; and why improving your lifespan and quality of life is the ultimate investment.
This Week In Startups
Created and hosted by Jason Calacanis, a serial internet entrepreneur and angel investor, This Week in Startups does exactly what it says on its regularly recorded, digitally packaged tin. Each episode takes a look at recent developments in the world of entrepreneurism, with your exceedingly knowledgable host discussing the highs and lows of the expanding, unfolding business world with a rotating group of guest experts. Expect blunt judgement, black humour and lots of ‘what not to do’ when starting a business.
Listen for: Serious advice and guidance disguised as a good time. It’s a fun one to listen to, and a great way to keep abreast of startup news — but is wrapped around a cautionary core of other fledgling brands’ mistakes.
We’d start with: Episode 794, Max Levchin. The co-founder of Paypal and investor in more than 120 startups discusses fighting fraud, mentoring young businesses and when he ‘discovered’ fellow entrepreneur Elon Musk.
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