Ryan Irelan

is building Mijingo and doing limited consulting.

Things I Like: Podcasts

I have a weird history with podcasts. I was “part of” the first wave of podcasting back in the mid 2000s. I went to the podcast conferences, unconferences, and other gatherings. I co-wrote a book on podcasting, I ran a podcasting website (with very little success!), and I had a couple of my own podcasts. The first one I had was a weird mix of music and stories. Then I did a podcast on ExpressionEngine, with Dan Benjamin as my co-host.

But then I got out of podcasting when my agency work took over and I started writing and recording screencasts.

And now it’s, like, huge.

So, anyway, I like podcasts.

It’s a wonderful medium that is easy to enter as a content producer. It’s only slightly easier to enter today as it was in 2005 but still pretty easy to turn on a mic and talk.

Podcasting highlights voices and ideas that you’d never otherwise hear. It brings attention to topics and opinions you would miss because not everyone has the time or inclination to write it down and post online to share.

Podcasting is great because it captures what we all do best: talking.

As part of my Things I Like series (of which this is the first post), here are my favorite podcasts. I post these to show gratitude to the people who create them, and the stories they cover.

  • Systematic - Brett Terpstra’s weekly show where he talks to interesting people and technology. Brett is routinely giving a platform to people who are outside of the normal Apple/podcasting/tech circles. Listen to the episode with his wife and her animal rescue work, the one sub-zero bartending, or the show with veterinarian who works at a turtle conservancy, or the most recent show (as of this writing) about the challenges of software development for medical devices. They all gravitate to technology at some point but the stories and people are interesting.
  • Serial - From This American Life, it’s a weekly series about a Baltimore murder case. This podcast is addictive and, like This American Life, really well done. It’s becoming a bit of an online sensation.
  • Slate’s Political Gabfest - I don’t listen to any other political podcasts and I prefer not to read a lot on politics. But this podcast is good. Two of the hosts are working journalists with beats and they are calm in their opinions. It’s an enjoyable way to hear about the bullshit that is our American political existence.
  • CodePen Radio - The podcast by the three guys behind CodePen. Each episode is a new topic on their experience building a web app and a business. An honest take on what they’ve learned, what they do and don’t know, and how they work. It’s not pushy “do it like us” business talk. I like that.
  • Slate’s Amicus - I tweeted about this new podcast recently. Dahlia Lithwick has guests on about Supreme Court cases for conversation deep enough to be informative but not so deep that only law geeks would understand. She also edits in recorded audio from the court proceedings so you can hear the justices give their rulings.
  • 99% Invisible - The darling podcast of the last couple years. This is a successful indie spin-off from public radio and always, always a great listen. It is presumably about architecture and design but it appeals to everyone. Interesting fact: Roman Mars said his close mic technique (you can almost hear the saliva smacking around in his mouth) is on purpose to give a more intimate feel to the show.

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There’s more to read in the archive.