What I’ve Been Listening To – September

Here’s what I listened to in September, if you think there are podcasts I’m missing out on please let me know. Before I share the list, I want you to know I use the Downcast podcast app on my iPhone. Downcast has some great bells and whistles, like setting a default playback speed on a podcast series basis. The humor ones I listen to faster while interviews I take in a bit slower. I don’t have to fiddle with it when I’m driving or running because I can customize the default for each series. It’s one of the most expensive apps I’ve ever bought – at a mere $4.99 – but well worth the price.

I’m also a fan of other people’s podcast lists and economist Austin Frakt shared his on Twitter. He also wrote a good post on productivity, which included the first reference to podcasts.

Planet Money did a story about Alibaba, the Amazon.com of supply chains for Chinese goods. It’s more than just an interesting story about Alibaba, in true Planet Money fashion, they found a unique angle; a silicon valley engineer who wanted an automatic chicken coop door. There was also an episode about a how to grow the Japanese economy, 14%. That’s a huge number but not too difficult to get to because they’ve got one low-hanging economic boosters, female workers. If they could get women who have children to return to work after having kids their economy would jump forward. That can’t happening because there aren’t enough day-care slots. There aren’t enough slots because there aren’t incentives to people to begin that job.  For further thoughts on low-hanging fruit read The Great Stagnation by Tyler Cowen.

99pi had an episode on the Port of Dallas. Hmm, I don’t know Texas geography that well, but isn’t Dallas kinda far from the Gulf of Mexico? I asked myself, and yes, yes it is. It’s 300 miles as the crow flies but the river they were trying to widen meandered to a distance of 600 miles. The Trinity river was too narrow and too shallow and the plans for the Port of Dallas were eventually scrapped thanks to the Dallas International Airport.

I’m already a fan of the How Stuff Works podcast and started listening to Stuff You Missed in History Class. I was eating dinner with my wife’s family last week and it came up that at some point, everyone had a favorite teacher who taught history, but often only one. These two podcasts are like those favorite history teachers. History is about telling the story of our past is a way that makes us think about our future.

The TED Radio Hour is a collection of TED talks and interviews meshed into an episode with a single theme. The one on Unstoppable Learning was good, giving me hope to a personalized learning situation for my daugthers. Education is an area ripe for a big jump forward, and one that may look like what this episode suggests.

NPR Fresh Air shared a review for “In The Chair,” a Starz network show about two filmmakers who are given the same script and told to make the movie they want. One contestant is a graduate of NYU film school, the other is Shane Dawson, a YouTube master. I haven’t seen the show, but the review sounded promising.

Peter Thiel was on the James Altucher podcast and the Tim Ferriss podcast. He was much better on the Altucher show because Ferriss was out sick. Thiel’s interviews both included new thinking and each left me thinking in new ways about the future. He also has a new book, Zero to One.

On The Lowe Post, comedy writer Joe Mande joined Zach Lowe to talk about pop culture and NBA team names. I didn’t expect to like this episode but did. Mande was a wonderful interviewee and there was an unexpected great conversation between these two. If you like Parks and Rec – where Mande writes – you should give this one a shot.

Cool Tools is a newish podcast, or at least newly updated, where people talk about the cool tools they use. Like 27GoodThings, which I curate, it’s featured AJ Jacobs and other guests like David Pogue and David McRaney. I hope this podcast continues to publish episodes.

I’m a low consumer of the regular news but this NPR story was an interesting bit of game theory. Some GOP candidates are shifting their view on state level minimum wage hikes. The thinking goes; if  the fall ballot has a minimum wage increase item then it will draw out people in favor of this. Many people in favor of this will tend to be democrats. Therefore many of them will vote for the democrats across the ticket. Republican candidates have couched their remarks to only raise the minimum wage in their state or only with other reforms.

If you have a podcast you like, let me know in the comments or on Twitter, @MikeDariano.




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