Early Days – The Cycling Podcast
Podcasts have built a huge piece in my self development through learning repertoire. My first post here told the story of me cutting loose from social media for several reasons, one being the amount of time used up by mindless scrolling through comments and photographs. There are a lot of downsides to social media, the upside I miss was the ability to see fresh as it comes news and then click through. I waded through a lot of crap to get to the good stuff.
Podcasts were already creeping into my daily habit. This has started with me subscribing to the excellent The Cycling Podcast to listen to cycling Grand Tour reporting each day through the Giro D’Italia, Tour de France and Vuelta A Espana. What makes this really work for me is that its core trio of presenters are already established sports journalists and authors: Lionel Birnie, Richard Moore and Daniel Friebe.
They apply the same quality and rigour to the podcast as they do to their writing. It isn’t an amateurish effort by chancers, unlike this blog you’re reading now (in droves, I bet). For three weeks three times a year, I fill my commute with the unfolding story of each of the Grand Tours.
Exploring New Subjects
Before I go any further, let me say Apple AirPods. I tried several headphones, none of them cheap. Nothing comes close to the AirPods in terms of utility and comfort.
From this sport interest related start, I branched out in several directions. I’m curious, so I added the Tim Ferriss Show next. Because of the diverse and quite often edgy interviewees, across a broad range of subjects ranging from wellbeing through biohacking to self development and on into financial discussions. As my library has expanded and my available time to listen to all the content has become the limiting factor, I have dropped Tim. Occasionally a very interesting guest will draw me back. But I find his interviewing style a touch on the obsequious side at times. As if he cares.
Podcasts By Numbers
The statistics here are Edison audience numbers from the first half of 2018. They focus on the US market, as I’m guessing that’s the largest market.
- 44% of Americans have ever listened to a podcast
- 26% listen to a podcast monthly
- One third of Americans aged 25-54 listen to a podcast monthly
- 6 million more people listen in 2018 than in 2017, up to 48 million. The highest rated TV show in America logs 20 million viewers
- Podcast fans listen to 40% more podcasts than last year. (This one resonates with me, I’ll be sleeping with one on before long.)
- 2018 showed social media users declining
I put the last bullet in because I think it’s important. As far as I can tell, podcasts aren’t in the business of tracking you around the airwaves and infiltrating your life. Russian bots aren’t making fake podcast hosts and guests as yet. I’m sure the medium will be dragged into the behaviour modification at some stage, but for now it’s a platform that serious journalists can access another user consumption occasion with.
There were 500,000 – 660,000 podcasts out there a year ago, with 22-28 millions discrete episodes. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it’s all good content. I’m also sure there will be a lot of extremist and damaging material there too. But we aren’t being manipulated by the podcast platform owners on such a large scale as Facebook and Google.
My Top 10 Shows
You don’t want to read a long list of my favourite shows and why I like them though, I wanted to say more about the power of the medium in general. Let me simply list my favourite ten.
- The Cycling Podcast – inside pro cycling delivered by three great journalists
- The Peter King Podcast – the premier NFL journalist, no contest
- How I Built This with Guy Raz – inspirational interviews with notable entrepreneurs
- Big Questions with Cal Fussman – top print journalist with a voice made for podcasting
- Akimbo from Seth Godin – one of the godfathers of the medium and marketing genius
- Recode, Decode – top tech figures grilled by the excellent Kara Swisher
- The New Yorker: Politics and More – exactly what it says, very well done
- The James Altucher Show – eccentric former hedge fund manager and stand up comedian; esoteric, thought provoking, better than Ferriss
- Origins with Andrew James Miller – mini-series on media and sports success stories
- The Move and The Forward by Lance Armstrong – my dirty secret, Lance does sport commentary and interviews well know names equally well
Some of these podcasts are linked to an interest of mine, for example cycling and NFL. I seek new learnings for my business interests from some. They help to keep me up to speed with current affairs. A couple entertain me by taking me into completely new areas, for example the story of the success of Seinfeld.
I’m always information hungry, I believe every day is an opportunity to learn something new. I can’t believe I’ve just written that, it makes me sound like a bush league Tony Robbins. Or just Tony Robbins.
I can listen to something informative and/or entertaining on my commute to the office and the return lap. Hours are filled on long business trips. Training at the gym or on my indoor bike sees me with a podcast on. I can ignore other humans who want to interact with me. of course, it’s an opportunity to develop that didn’t exist previously.
If you don’t listen to podcasts, I would strongly suggest you might want to take a look. There’s nothing to lose and potentially a lot to gain.
Also published on Medium.