2014 was a great year for podcasts. iTunes reported that the number of podcast subscribers passed 1 billion. Sarah Koenig’s Serial proved to be a breakout hit. Podcasting network Radiotopia set a Kickstarter funding record.
Given the fact that more than a quarter of the adult Internet population are now listening to podcasts, it’s no wonder that there’s been a boom in terms of programming. We’ve put together a list of some our favorite podcasts for startup founders and entrepreneurs to enjoy.
Stanford’s Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders lecture series takes place during the academic year. New episodes come out every Wednesday (when class is in session) and feature a noted lecturer from the startup world.
Entrepreneurial Though Leader episodes include:
- Yelp COO Geoff Donaker discussing The Road to IPO
- Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg discussing Scalability
- Nest Founder/VP Engineering Matt Rogers discussing the importance of Tackling Projects Other Don’t Want
Foundation is a video podcast hosted by Digg Founder/Google Ventures Partner Kevin Rose. In each episode, Rose interviews tech and business leaders about what inspired them and what their path to success looked like.
Foundation episodes include interviews with:
- Elon Musk – Founder Tesla, SpaceX, PayPal
- Anthony Casalena – Founder/CEO Squarespace
- Melanie McCloskey – Founder StyleSeat
Back To Work is a hard show to summarize, but listeners usually describe it as being a podcast about productivity, communication and work tools. While this is mainly true, it’s also largely about how to make your work meaningful and enjoyable. Merlin Mann and Dan Benjamin serve as hosts.
Back To Work episodes include:
- Somewhere Between a Habit and a River – Tips for how to get away from your email inbox long enough to be able to actually get things accomplished.
- Failure is ALWAYS an Option – A discussion about defining your job scope and outlining what success looks like.
- Vocational Wheel – Merlin and Dan counsel a listener in the middle of a quarter life crisis about ways to break out of a job he doesn’t like.
Planet Money is a spinoff of This American Life. In 2008, TAL aired an episode called The Giant Pool of Money, which explained the subprime mortgage crisis in a way that a general audience could understand. The episode was so popular that it inspired NPR to create a podcast focused on explaining the world economy in simple terms through a storytelling format.
Planet Money episodes include:
- The Price of Lettuce in Brooklyn – An explanation of how the Consumer Price Index (CPI) works.
- When Women Stopped Coding – The story of why the number of women studying computer science dropped suddenly in the 1980s.
- Why Buying a Car Is So Awful – An explanation about why we buy cars at brand specific lots rather than at a car store.
StartUp is a podcast about what happens when someone who knows nothing about business starts one. Alex Blumberg recently made a career transition from reporter/producer to entrepreneur and has been documenting his experience in this weekly podcast.
StartUp episodes include:
- How Not To Pitch A Billionaire - A look at what happens when Blumberg makes his first investor pitch.
- How To Name Your Startup – Blumberg and his partners go through the process of naming their new business. This episode includes a great interview with the MailChimp founder discussing his company’s name origins.
- We Made a Mistake - Learning how to make sense of setbacks and the importance of owning mistakes and implementing systems/guidelines in a new company.
Justin Jackson’s Product People podcast focuses on how to take a great idea and turn it into a marketable product. The show includes conversations about how great things are created and tips for aspiring entrepreneurs on how to bring their ideas into reality.
Product People episodes include:
- Episode 23 – How Does Growth Happen with a SaaS Startup.
- Episode 60 – How Ryan Hoover Built Product Hunt in 4 Days.
- Episode 69 – Nir Eyal On How To Build Habit Forming Products.
iTunes named The Tim Ferriss Show one of the best podcasts of 2014. Tim Ferriss is best known for writing The 4-Hour Workweek. In his podcast, he interviews successful individuals from a broad range of fields, like investing, chess, comedy, pro sports, and deconstructs their stories into tools, tactics, and tricks that listeners can use in their own lives.
The Tim Ferriss Show episodes include:
- How to Avoid Decision Fatigue
- How to Think Like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos
- Dan Carlin (host of Hardcore History) on Creativity
This Week in Startups (TWIST) episodes come out twice a week and are hosted by tech entrepreneur/angel investor Jason Calacanis. In each episode, Calacanis and a panel of visiting experts discuss that week’s best, worst and most interesting stories from the startup world.
TWIST guest experts have included:
- Paul Graham – Venture Capitalist/Y Combinator co-founder
- Travis Kalanick – Uber CEO
- Chris Sacca – Venture Capitalist
In the Fall of 2014, Y-Combinator President Sam Altman taught a class at Stanford called How to Start a Startup. This podcast features the lectures from that class, which included an impressive list of guest lecturers.
How to Start a Startup episodes include:
- Marc Andreessen (Founder, Andreessen Horowitz), Ron Conway (Founder, SV Angel) and Parker Conrad (Founder, Zenefits) discussing How to Raise Money.
- Reid Hoffman (Founder, LinkedIn) discussing How to be a Great Leader.
- Alfred Linn (Former COO, Zappos) and Brian Chesky (Founder, Airbnb) discussing Culture.
The Moth isn’t a business podcast per se. Rather, it’s a showcase for great storytelling, which is an essential skill in the startup world.
The Moth episodes include:
- The First Elf - Stylist Simon Doonan accidentally stirs up controversy when he’s asked to decorate the White House for the holidays.
- A Time of Hope – A writer travels to Afghanistan in search of that country’s art community.
The Solopreneur Hour‘s host Michael O’Neal likes to say that his podcast is a show for the “proudly unemployable,” i.e. people who work for themselves. Each episode features a conversation with a self-employed individual from a wide array of fields ranging from web designers to writers to musicians to actors.
The Solopreneur Hour episodes include:
- Louis CK and Entrepreneurship
- Mailing List Master Class
- How to Turn Your Favorite Recipe Into a Business
Entrepreneur On Fire is a daily podcast hosted by John Lee Dumas. In each episode, Dumas interviews an inspiring entrepreneur about their professional successes, their failures and their AH-HA moments. iTunes has named it as one of the best podcasts available.
My Wife Quit Her Job is a personal account about what it’s like to start and bootstrap an online business. When host Steve Chou’s wife quit her job to become a full time mother, the couple needed a way to make up for the loss of income. They ended up creating an online store that earned over $100,000 in its first year. In the podcast, Steve talks about his own story and interviews other entrepreneurs who have bootstrapped their businesses.
My Wife Quit Her Job episodes include:
- Steve and his wife’s story
- How Noah Kagan Started AppSumo
- How Polly Liu Created an 8 Figure Business Selling Wedding Favors Online
Do you have a favorite startup podcast that we left off the list? If so, tell us about it on twitter or in the comments below.