Conferences, entrepreneur organizations, mentors, and books are the traditional paths to take but over the past few years, along with many other entrepreneurs, i've become obsessed with podcasts and now they've become my primary source of learning.
Podcasts used to be thought of as a niche type of content for geeks only, and like any form of new technology, that's actually not a bad description of the early days. But then podcasts broke out into the mainstream thanks largely to Apple and a growing number of breakout mainstream successes like Serial.
Nowadays, podcasts are more popular than ever, and a number of 'traditional' celebrities are turning to the format to create an ongoing dialogue with their followers. Meanwhile, 67 million Americans listen to podcasts at least once per month and 42 million listen to them weekly. People are five times more likely to listen to a podcast each week than to visit the cinema each week.
The good news for founders is that podcasts are getting better and more accessible and they're now at the point at which they can add a huge amount of value. From my own personal experience and from talking with other entrepreneurs, here are the top 12 podcasts you should be listening to.
Over three and a half million people are already listening to Nathan Latka's daily podcast where he interviews (and sometimes grills) founders to get straight to the core of what matters most in business: how much money they're making, how they generate revenue, and what advice they can share with listeners looking to grow and build their own businesses.
Perhaps you've heard of a man called Jason Calacanis. This Week in Startups is the brainchild of the veteran investor and its twice weekly episodes typically feature interviews with some of the biggest names in the business. If you want to stay up to date with what other founders are doing and thinking then this is the podcast for you.
This podcast is focused much more on physical products, which makes it a great way for B2C founders to keep an eye on what's new. But it doesn't just focus on the products, but rather on how they're created, marketed and turned into global brands. It also welcomes guests to talk about things like productivity, business management and taking on investment.
This weekly podcast brings in big name entrepreneurs to talk about all aspects of growing a startup, which is where it gets its name from. You can expect everything from product development tips to advice on how to profile, find and convert your customers, making it a great one to listen to whether you're B2B or B2C. We'd all like to build a rocketship!
Mixergy is already well-known as an online educational platform for startups and entrepreneurs, and their podcast is just one of many initiatives in which they share their expertise through quality content. If you start back at the beginning, you'll have over 1,000 interviews to listen to with some of the world's most iconic and successful founders and thought leaders. If you're looking for inspiration then look no further.
The chances are that if you're reading this article then you already know who Tim Ferriss is. The bestselling author and entrepreneur hosts his own show in which he interviews people who are the top of their field, whether they're musicians and athletes or whether they're businessmen and investors. It's not 100%-business focused, but it is fantastic if you like to learn from and emulate the habits of the rich and successful.
This podcast is a little different because it focuses specifically on the software industry, but that doesn't mean that there isn't plenty there for everyone. It's also the podcast that you're most likely to end up sharing around internally because it provides strategies and advice on a macro level that specific employees can put into practice.
#8 Lean Startup
This podcast is accompanied by a blog by Mark Graban that's been up and running for over a decade. Graban specializes in helping startups to be lean by keeping costs and overheads down while delivering great products on time and on budget. There's something there for everyone.
Backed by the Financial Times, World Tech Founders is all about entrepreneurship in emerging markets such as those in Egypt, Tanzania and China. That might not sound too relevant if you're based in the Valley, but there's actually a lot to be learned from these markets and you can take much of the advice and apply it wherever you're based
#10 Built to Sell
Built to Sell is another one of those niche podcasts that's all about helping founders to prepare their startup for an eventual sale. Not all startups are built to sell, of course, but if that's why you're in business then you'd be crazy to miss this one. Even if you're trying to build a global brand of your own, the chances are that you're going to acquire another company along the way, and listening to this can give you an idea of what to expect.
#11 The Pitch
The Pitch is like a grittier version of Apple's Planet of the Apps, a podcast in which startup founders pitch their companies to investors and receive feedback - and, if they're lucky, an investment. The best part about it is that they regularly feature different startups and investors and so if it offers a bunch of different points of view.
In a world in which equality is more important than ever and in which success is determined by the quality of your product and not your gender, She Did it Her Way is doing a great job of giving us a female perspective of the startup landscape. Each week, the podcast welcomes a different female entrepreneur to talk about everything from funding and innovation to work/life balance and more.
Let's face it - as a founder, it's often difficult to find the time we need to consume content and to find inspiration in the actions of others. That's a shame, because it's our knowledge of the market that helps us to outsmart competitors and to outmaneuver massive multinationals.
That's why podcasts can be so useful. You can download them and carry them around with you until you have a chance to catch up. You can listen to them in the shower or on the morning commute, and you can consume them within your existing routine without needing to carve out some extra time.
On top of that, podcasts can be a powerful promotional tool. If you take the time to consume them and to interact with the show, you might even be asked to feature in it yourself. Some of these podcasts have huge listener bases which means two things. The exposure you'd receive if you appeared on one would be phenomenal and if you're not listening to them already, you can bet that your competitors are. Don't get left behind.