The podcast scene is exploding across the world. Every publisher of repute has started to include podcasts in their content strategy. In 2019, Spotify had a war chest of $500 Mn for podcast company acquisitions. In 2020, Amazon invested approximately $300 Mn to acquire the podcast network Wondery.
There’s good reason for all this enthusiasm. Recently, Pricewaterhouse Coopers and the Interactive Advertising Bureau published a report on the podcasting industry, projecting that the estimated revenue from the business would be $4 Bn by 2024.
This is good news for marketers because podcasts are increasingly proving to be a solid channel to reach consumers during moments in their lives where traditional media cannot reach them effectively, like when they take their dogs out for a walk, or when they are driving. Due in part to the storytelling aspect of the medium, good podcasts have high engagement rates as well, with some consumers listening to even hour long podcasts with attention.
We here at WinnerBrands enjoy podcasts too. So we thought of putting together a list of 5 interesting podcasts that we think are worth listening to.
[Surprise] Don’t miss the contest at the end! Keep on reading to find out.
WinnerBrands’ list of 5 podcasts to listen to
1. The Next Big Idea
The Next Big Idea is a weekly series of in-depth discussions with global thought leaders. It is hosted by Rufus Griscom and has 4 curators – Malcolm Gladwell, Adam Grant, Susan Cain, and Daniel Pink, all renowned thought leaders.
The podcast was started as a supplement to The Next Big Idea Club, a service that delivers curated nonfiction books along with exclusive author interviews, reading guides, video insights, and access to private online discussion groups. However, now this podcast has grown to become one of the best podcasts to listen to.
A few of our favourite episodes are those of David Epstein, the author of Range (who talked about how having a broad range of experiences in life is actually the best way to success) and the internationally bestselling author Daniel Pink, who delivered a fictional commencement address urging young graduates to avoid regret in their later lives by being bolder, more responsible, and by experimenting instead of retreating into the false comfort of inaction.
The conversation between David Epstein and Malcolm Gladwell was interesting and instructive – because while Malcolm Gladwell is well known for his famous 10,000-hour rule, which says it takes 10,000 hours of deliberate practice before you can be successful at anything, David says the opposite thing – that having a broad range of experiences in life is actually the best way to success. It was quite instructive to hear these two intellectual giants addressing their differences elegantly.
2. How I built this
On the face of it, this is yet another podcast with an interviewer asking entrepreneurs to share their experiences of building their companies. But what makes “How I built this” different and one of the most interesting podcasts to listen to is the attention to detail and craft that the host Guy Raz adds to the show.
An NPR journalist and radio host, Guy is very skilled at creating safe spaces for the founders to open up about their emotional journeys, weaving those tales in along with the details of the business to create compelling stories of entrepreneurial drive and sacrifice.
Guy and his team do months of research on his subjects prior to the interview and stipulate that the guests should be open to discussing all aspects of their life as it relates to their business, and he puts as much stress on the human behind the brand just as much as on the brand itself.
Guy has collected the wisdom and stories from all these conversations and converted it into a book with the same name as the podcast.
We really loved the interviews of Sal Khan, the founder of Khan Academy (who talked about his journey of social entrepreneurship), and Yvon Chouinard, the founder of the apparel store Patagonia (who talked about how he went from pounding metal in his backyard to how he came face to face with mafia guys when Patagonia was about to be shut down due to lack of funding.) Another famous one worth mentioning is the interview with Melanie Perkins, founder of the graphic design app Canva, currently valued at $40 bn.
Honorary mention: Guy Raz hosts another wonderful podcast called Wisdom from the Top, where he talks to successful and visionary leaders of some of the topmost brands in the world. It is really heartening to see a lot of top Indian business leaders get featured in this podcast (for eg: Ajay Banga of Mastercard, Indra Nooyi of PepsiCo and Leena Nair of Chanel). When you listen to them, you get a sense of why Indian-origin CEOs are so sought after globally.
3. The Knowledge Project
Shane Parrish, the host of The Knowledge Project, is an interesting person because not much is known about him. A Canadian by birth, he states that he worked in the intelligence community, and held several posts there, ending up working in some capacity for the Deputy Minister. With such a mysterious background, it’s no wonder that he commands a lot of awe from his listeners.
Shane Parrish’s bio or at least what’s not redacted from it makes for an interesting read.
The Knowledge Project is a sort of extension to his famous blog, Farnam Street. In this podcast, he interviews renowned thinkers and innovators to uncover their mental models, decision frameworks, and life philosophy.
The podcast’s aim is to expose its listeners to the thinking models and the principles of these thoughtful people, to help them navigate the complexities of life better.
Our favourite picks from The Knowledge Project interviews are those of Dr. Laurie Santos, professor of psychology at Yale University and the host of the popular podcast The Happiness lab (who talked about the factors contributing to happiness), and Marshall Goldsmith, one of the world’s leading executive coaches (who talked about the surprising lessons he has learned coaching some of the best CEOs in the world).
4. Masters of Scale
Unlike Shane Parrish, the host of this podcast, Reid Hoffman, is a very well-known person in the business field. The celebrated co-founder of LinkedIn, Hoffman has a reputation as a public intellectual and thought leader.
Masters of Scale is one of the best podcasts to listen to in order to learn how successful businesses scale. The guest list is diverse, and they are all titans of business, insightful and articulate. The production value is also quite high, which makes for good listening.
Masters of Scale has now expanded beyond a podcast into an intellectual property, with a bestselling book (of the same name), a daily learning app, virtual and live events, and a spin-off podcast.
A few of our favourite interviews are those of Airbnb founder Brian Chesky (who talked about the importance of doing things that don’t scale in the early years of a startup) and Tyra Banks, model, producer and entrepreneur (who talked about the importance of building a personal brand).
5. Business Wars
Hosted by David Brown, the host of NPR’s Peabody award-winning radio program “MarketPlace”, Business Wars examines business rivalries between competing organizations in each episode. It then tries to come to a conclusion about the rivalry in terms of success or failure in that episode or across a few episodes.
A few of our favourite Business Wars episodes are those of Netflix vs Blockbuster, Nintendo vs Sony, and Estee Lauder vs Loreal.
Tastes may differ, and you may have your own choices of great podcasts to listen to.
Comment below and let us know your favourite list of podcasts to listen to. We love podcasts and would love to give your recommendations a listen. If we really love your list, we will send a surprise gift to you!
Until then, have fun listening to these podcasts!
Bonus Section - Podcasts to listen to
Here’s a link to all the podcast episodes we mentioned above:
The Next Big Idea:
David Epstein with Malcolm Gladwell
Daniel Pink How to be a Grown-up
How I Built This:
The Knowledge Project:
Dr. Laurie Santos: The Pursuit of Happiness
Marshall Goldsmith: The Essentials of Leadership
Masters of Scale:
Brian Chesky: Handcrafted
Tyra Banks: Personal Brand Power
Netflix vs Blockbuster
Nintendo vs Sony
Estee Lauder vs Loreal
In the Indian context, I like listening to the below:
1. The Indian Dream: Deep dives into business models, upcoming trends, conversation with founders and a lot more
2. Direct to a Billion Consumers: Founders of D2C companies talk about their journey of building brands
3. Indian Silicon Valley: Conversations with startup founders & investors to decode their secret sauce
Hope you like them!
Thank you for sharing your list, Neil! #2 looks especially promising! Expect a small surprise from us!
#2 is a great listen. Arjun Viadya himself is a D2C founder & investor and is an amazing host.