Much of my Labor Day weekend will be spent in Scotland. On my journey across the Atlantic I enjoyed two new podcasts by Design Observer and Steve Blank plus one old favorite.
The Design of Business / The Business of Design
While listening to John Maeda's interview on Design Observer I was surprised to discover that John has an MBA, a foreign concept to many in the creative world. I admire the fact that the interviewees span broadly beyond the traditional design world and include the likes of Timothy Geithner, Danny Meyer, and Jay Parkinson. Recorded at the Yale School of Management, the podcast goes deep but stays delightful conversational, and I plan to download several more episodes for my flight home.
Steve Blank Podcast
Steve Blank offers a very different experience with his six to seven minute episodes. This eight-time entrepreneur and business school professor at Stanford, Columbia and Berkeley, shares his hard-won wisdom. Blank pioneers entrepreneurship as a management science, combining customer development, business model design and agile development. He believes startups are simply not small versions of large companies, but temporary organizations designed to search for a scalable and repeatable business model. The episodes are in my opinion too short, and they fail to capture any real sense of rhythm or flow, but the content is strong.
How I Built This by NPR
This podcast is about innovators, entrepreneurs, and idealists, and the stories behind the movements they built is both inspiring and entertaining. Each episode is a narrative journey marked by triumphs, failures, serendipity and insight -- expressed by the founders of some of the world's best known companies and brands. A few of my personal favorites are Barbara Corcoran (Corcoran Group), Herb Kelleher (Southwest Airlines) and Jenn Hyman (Rent the Runway).
If you are traveling with your laptop and seek some productive time to sharpen your creative side, Pixar in a Box by Khan Academy offers a behind-the-scenes look at how Pixar artists do their jobs. You can animate bouncing balls, build a swarm of robots, and make virtual fireworks explode. The subjects you learn in school like math, science, computer science, and humanities are used every day at Pixar. In fact this is great content to watch with your kids (or someone else's).
One last guilt-free form of online distraction is lynda.com. The customer decision journey course is worth the one month free trial. Customer journeys are a time-tested tool for connecting your brand with customers and differentiating your company from the competition. But like all tools, they have evolved with time. Learn how the decision journey has developed, with digital as the catalyst, and why it's more critical than ever to your business. Dina Shapiro walks you through the process of creating buyer personas, defining and mapping customer touch-points, and aligning your marketing message to the customer journey each step of the way.
If that is not enough to keep you occupied, you should consider a quiet walk in the woods and take a digital vacation. I find it challenging to put my devices away, so if you are like me you might as well learn something will you are on holiday. It is Labor Day after all.