Ongoing Professional Development - Podcasts

Leveraging this Exceptional Medium to Continue Your Professional Development

I remember when the Discman was technology you had to have. I was a kid when I had one, just like the one below, but I loved it. You could take your CDs and listen to them anywhere. You couldn’t move too quickly or bump your Discman, otherwise it would skip like crazy, but you could still be mobile.

Fast forward to the iPod. No more skipping tracks or bulky CDs. All your music right in your pocket. Of course, you had to connect it and sync it all from your computer, even so, it was great.

And it paved the way for our topic: podcasts. Arguably without the iPod, there would be no podcasts. At least we wouldn’t call them podcasts. Zunecasts perhaps? But we digress.

The first podcasts began around 2004, as we took audio from the internet and pushed it to devices. Apple added podcasts to iTunes in 2005, and the medium grew from there.

I find the history interesting. But we’re not here for the history. We’re here for how to use it. Specifically, for how to use podcasts in our professional development.

Professional Development

It is the time of year to think about professional development for the new year. Though it’s always a good time to think about ongoing training and development. So the next few weeks we’ll be looking at different ways to further your professional development, starting now and for the new year.

Using Podcasts

I’m a big fan of podcasts. You may know that already. If you haven’t listened yet, I have a fortnightly podcast about product management and design called Product by Design. We talk about all topics product and design, and bring in guests to join us as well. It’s a fun listen. I also do a monthly podcast on random topics called Things To Think On.

I’ve used podcasts throughout my career to level up. I think they are one of the easiest and cheapest ways to gain a better understanding of different areas from different people. It amazes me how accessible they are now and how many you can choose from.

It always surprises me when such a great tool goes underutilized by my teams and colleagues. Tons of smart people are giving away their knowledge for free right now, and it’s at the tip of your fingers. And you don’t even have to fumble around with wired headphones or a Discman! So get yourself a suitable set of bluetooth headphones and let’s dive into some podcasts.

Product Management Podcasts

This is Product Management - This is a long-running product podcast that talks to lots of people across product management each week. It’s been a long-time favorite of mine.

Inside Intercom - A good podcast on product, UX, startups and marketing. Another long-running podcast you can get a lot of wisdom from.

The Product Experience - From the folks at Mind the Product comes The Product Experience. It’s another good product podcast with good guests and lots of product talk.

Design Podcasts

UX Podcast - This is one of my go-to podcasts on UX. It is one of the most popular ones, and it has been around for a long time. So you can’t go wrong and will likely find an episode or two that will be very useful to you.

UI Breakfast - Another superb design podcast. Lots of interesting guests and a variety of topics that will be interesting to everyone.

Product by Design - You can’t fault me for plugging our podcast again here, can you? It’s a mix of product management and design, so whether you lean one way or another, it has something for you.

Business and Strategy Podcasts

How I Built This - This podcast from NPR dives into the stories behind companies. I love the stories behind companies. So if you’re like me, you’ll love this as well. As builders, I think it’s important we hear how others have done similar things, from building brands to products to companies.

Masters of Scale - A good podcast with lots of good guests and interesting topics. You may not be building a company, but you can still apply many of the lessons in leadership and culture and strategy.

Interesting and Thought Provoking Podcasts

The Knowledge Project - One of my favorite podcasts because of its breadth and depth, Shane Parrish never disappoints. He has lots of interesting guests and interesting topics. And always pushes you to think about how you’re thinking.

Stuff You Should Know - I’m a big believer in having a range of interests and understanding a variety of different areas. This podcast covers topics from all across the board. Kind of like my other podcast, which may be why I like it.

Econtalk - Conversations for the Curious - This podcast is basically an eclectic list of interviews from all sorts of different guests. Which is why I really like it. It will pull you out of what you know into different topics and genres.

Technology Podcasts

Techmeme Ride Home - If you’re like me, you’re probably not commuting much any more. But that doesn’t mean you can’t take 10 minutes and catch up on the latest tech news. That’s what Ride Home offers (if you listen on 2X speed, which is how I listen to all my podcasts). They do a 20 minute recap of tech news to keep you up-to-date, which is really great, with or without the commute.

Pivot - This is a newer listen to me, and I’ve been enjoying it so far. It’s a longer form take on tech news. About an hour each week, but a deeper dive into some of the latest headlines.

Exponential View - A fascinating podcast that dives deep into technology trends and innovation. A good one to have in your list.


Of course, there are many more podcasts to choose from. These are some of my favorite and go-to podcasts among others. They’ve helped me level-up my product skills through my career by learning to talk the talk and broaden my understanding of product/design/technology/business topics. And they can do the same for you. So get listening!

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