According to the research conducted by Nielsen and Edison Research, podcasts are now more popular than ever. 64% of US citizens have heard the term ‘podcasting,’ with 44% of people have listened to a podcast, and 6% of people describing themselves as ‘avid podcast listeners.’ In 2018, ‘podcast listeners spend an average of 6 hours and 37 minutes listening to podcasts every week.’
What’s interesting, with the general rise in podcasts listens came the new wave of business podcasts that are aimed at helping wannabe entrepreneurs become proficient at running their own companies.
So, what’s in there for you? In today’s post, I’m listing 11 shows you should catch up on if you’re working in the SaaS industry. You can learn anything from pricing your product and hiring new people, to creating a user acquisition strategy. Let’s dive in!
Top 11 business podcasts
The podcast is already in its third season, but I definitely recommend starting from the very first episode of Season 1. Here’s where ex-This American Life reporter, Alex Blumberg tells the story of starting his own media production company and podcast network called Gimlet.
During this first season, we watch him trying to find a co-founder, arguing with his wife Nazanin Rafsanjani (who later became the Creative Director at Gimlet), and pitching his startup idea to Chris Sacca. What’s interesting about this podcast is how raw and vulnerable the story is, and how it highlights the ups and downs of taking a company off the ground.
‘Startup’ has been recently as a television series called ‘Alex, Inc.’ starring Zach Braff as Alex, Tiya Sircar as Rooni (Nazanin), and Chris Sacca as himself.
2. a16z podcast
If you’ve ever worked for a SaaS company and you’re familiar with the startup world, you’ve also probably heard about a venture capital firm, Andreessen Horowitz (also known as ‘a16z’). What you may not have heard about is their podcast. The weekly episodes are all about tech, culture trends, and how ‘software eats the world’ (as stated in the company’s motto).
The regular contributors include Andrew Chen and Jeff Jordan. The podcast is curated by an ex-WIRED editor, Sonal Chokshi. One of my favorite episodes is ‘Fintech for the People’ where Propel’s Jimmy Chen, Matt Flannery of Branch, and Earnin’s Ram Palaniappan talk with a16z partner Angela Strange about how fintech startups will change the face of the financial industry:
This show is created by the team from a smart news reader, Panda. Hosted by a serial entrepreneur and Panda’s co-founder, William Channer, ‘Dorm Room Tycoon’ aims to ‘inspire those with just an idea to go out and create the change they want to see in the world.’ Some of the guests include Zapier’s Wade Foster talking about how to acquire your first users, Julie Zhou of Facebook in the interview on how to design for maximum impact, and Product Hunt’s Ryan Hoover on the art of launching new companies. The show focuses on setting up a startup 101s and creating a list of lessons that all entrepreneurs can benefit from.
Edit 12⁄09: The next season is out now! You can listen to the first episode here.
You may be surprised that I’ve put Product Hunt Radio on the list as the podcast has been inactive for over 2 years. But, the fact is they’ve recently announced that they’re bringing the show back. This time, it will feature show’s listeners talking about their favorites apps and recommending them to others. The exact release date is yet to be announced, stay tuned for that (no pun intended!). The podcast already has a hefty number of episodes (90, to be exact) with Auren Hoffman talking about how to hire good people, Sarah Tavel detailing her journey at Pinterest, and Chris Sacca on what was it like to experience the early days of Twitter.
Akimbo is hosted by the marketing legend, Seth Godin. Godin is an author and a former CEO of Squidoo. You may also remember his previous podcast called the Startup School. With Akimbo, he aims to go deeper. The show is focused on inspiring listeners to overcome their fears, dream big, and build things. It’s about challenging the culture you’re surrounded with and moving on with what you’ve planned to do. Akimbo is a weekly podcast, each episode lasts around 30 minutes, and there are no regular guests, just Seth Godin’s voice and thoughts.
YCombinator’s show is a must-listen if you’re a budding entrepreneur. The show features founders from all industries and paths of life, including YCombinator alumni. It’s hosted by Craig Cannon who is a Director of Marketing at YCombinator (with occasional co-hosting from Sam Altman). Cannon interviewed tons of SaaS industry insiders, including ‘High Growth’ author Elad Gil, Wayup’s Liz Wessel, and Anne Wojcicki, a CEO and a co-founder at 23andMe.
The show already had over hundred episodes, and some of the regular series include ‘Office Hours’ where entrepreneurs answer questions from the listeners, and ‘How to Build The Future’ with long-form features from Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg.
This podcast is for you if you like to get down to the nitty-gritty of things. It has almost 200 episodes by now, featuring interviews with SaaS entrepreneurs. Some of the guests include Steve Lucas of Marketo, Host Analytics’ Dave Kellogg, and a CEO at Zinc, Stacey Epstein. One of my favorite episodes features Matin Movassate of the online analytics company, Heap, talking about how you should always sell your product before you even start building it:
As the podcast hosts state in the speaker guidelines, all episodes must be built around the idea ‘helping the next generation of founders. No exceptions’. They also don’t accept commercials (to keep guests from just simply advertising their products and not focusing on providing value) and want to avoid creating ‘manels’ (all male panels). With this approach, they have my vote.
‘Accidental Creative’ is a weekly podcast created by an author and a self-proclaimed ‘arms dealer for the creative revolution,’ Todd Henry. He’s a marketing expert and an author. His latest book ‘Herding Tigers’ is all about leading a team of creatives in the most supportive ways.
Unlike almost all previous podcasts mentioned on this list (except ‘Akimbo’), this show is far less about set-in-stone SaaS tips, and more about making small changes to your work process. All of it is presented in the context of approaching things creatively as they come, and the advice is shared by the influential thinkers and makers of the startup world, including the creator of the Getting Things Done methodology David Allen, Seth Godin’s long-time collaborator Wes Kao, and time management expert Laura Vanderkam.
If you’re looking for a podcast that will guide you through the whole process of making your SaaS work, ‘$100 MBA Show’ is for you. Its host, online business expert Omar Zenhom created over 900 episodes with advice on almost every aspect of running your own company, including developing your initial idea, launching a product, hiring great people for your team, and tackling the sales process. On his website, he writes more about the show’s ideal listener’s profile: ‘You thought of getting an MBA but just don’t subscribe to the idea you need to give up a large fortune to receive a piece of paper that says you understand business’.
The podcast is a part of a larger resources hub with the business guide, workbooks, blog posts and access to a free idea validation course. The whole concept is to make something affordable that will help people with no previous startup experience kick off their online businesses. Once again, this is the idea I can get behind.
10. How I Built This
Another great show if you want to know how to build your own business. NPR’s ‘How I Built This’ highlights the professional journeys of startup trailblazers, and shows that making your SaaS work is - in most cases - the sum of luck, loads of failures, and occasional successes. Some of the show’s guests include Michael Dell, the founder of Dell, Stewart Butterfield of the Flickr and Slack fame, and LearnVest’s Alexa von Tobel. The show features live episodes from time to time, recorded with the live audience in various locations around the US.
‘How I Built This’ host, Guy Raz is also the creator of ‘TED Radio Hour’ and interviewed over 6000 people throughout his career as a journalist (including Condoleeza Rice and Al Gore). His questions are always thoughtful, but he’s also not afraid to ask about some of the less glamorous sides of entrepreneurship, so you can be sure that the content he publishes is of real value.
This list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning LiveChat’s own podcast, the ‘Business Sidekick.’ My colleague and marketing pro, Justyna did a great job at interviewing some of the leading SaaS insiders, including WebProfits’ Sujan Patel, a content editor at Shopify Anastasia Philopoulos, and sales expert Shep Hyken. I’ve got a favorite episode here too: it’s the interview with Brian Dean from an SEO-related blog, Backlinko. Brian shares all of his tips on creating a powerful website architecture and on how to build a backlinks’ base. As a marketer myself, I’m always on the lookout for this type of advice! You can listen to this episode below:
Over to you
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Are there any shows that you would add to the list? Leave the links in the comments below or ping me on Twitter.