Greg Ferro - Work to Live

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Podcasts I Would Recommend To You - 2016

One the reasons I co-founded Packet Pushers Podcast is that I love listening to podcasts. Around 2008/9, I was commuting by car for roughly three hours a day, a nightmarish amount of unproductive and wasted time and it was podcasts kept me sane. After time I found, arguably, that they made me smarter by having a “big picture” view of the world.

I’m often asked what podcasts that I listen to. This is not that list. My podcast client is constantly in flux with new channels being added and others being deleted. Some aren’t relevant, some are boring, many simply stop publishing after a while as people get other interests.

These podcasts are the ones that are always in my feed and so they are the podcasts that I would recommend to you.

Some general notes on how I judge podcasts:

  • I find it difficult to listen to poor quality audio and will skip to the next show because of it unless the content is especially awesome.
  • Content must be interesting, useful and, in some way, mind expanding.
  • The show hosts must have rapport, banter and good speaking voices. (yes, show mechanics matter)

Every Show

In Our Time With Melvyn Bragg - BBC

Format: Get a bunch of recognised experts around a table at the BBC recording studio to talk about Religion, History, Science, Culture, Philisophy. Lots of preparation, editing and Melvyn Bragg is a good interviewer to keep the content moving.I get an rounded education just listening. Some shows are better than others.

Audio quality and production is excellent, as you would expect from the BBC.



Format: Weekly Podcast of Fantasy Fiction of very high quality that has been running for years. I listen to every show and donate regularly to support the show. A sister podcast

Audio quality and narration is excellent.


Escape Pod

Format: Weekly Podcast of Science Fiction of very high quality. I have listened to every show, sometimes within hours of publishing. One of my top three podcasts.

Audio Quality is high quality. Narration


Far Fetched Fables

Format: Weekly podcast of Fantasy Fiction of high quality run by fans in the District of Wonders network. Host, authors and narrators are unpaid so the quality can sometimes vary but its always worth your time.

Audio Quality is excellent. I listen to every show.



Format: Weekly podcast of Science Fiction of high quality run by fans. Host, authors and narrators are unpaid and fans of the genre. Content format changes over time as the Tony Smith changes things around on a regular basis.

Audio Quality is excellent. I listen to every show.



Format: Two people discussing one or two topics on business and technology for about an hour every week. Ben & James are great to listen to, are well prepared and are able to debate topics. Ben is well researched based on his work at Stratechery and James is an excellent foil.

Audio Quality is excellent. I listen to every show to build a big picture in technology.


Most Shows

Friday Night Comedy from BBC Radio 4

Format: Weekly Comedy podcast that has a couple of different shows in rotation. Content is often based on current events in the UK

Audio Quality is excellent. I listen to nearly every show when I have time or am in the mood some laughs.


Background Briefing

Format: Australia’s public broadcasting service publishes hard hitting journalism about national and international topics. High quality journalism on criticial topics where I often learn something. I especially  listen to shows that interest me on international politics. Note: I grew up in Australia so content may be more relevant to me.

I can highly recomend this show about ISDS/TPP:

Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions that allow foreign investors to sue host governments have become a ticking time bomb inside trade agreements, like the soon to be signed Trans-Pacific Partnership. Some countries are now refusing to agree to the provisions and question their legal legitimacy. Jess Hill investigates.

Audio Quality is excellent.


Some Shows

Peter Day's World of Business

Format: Peter Day is a well known British business journalist that interviews people acorss the world about their corporations, business and people that move the world of business.

I learned from this show that the process of running a business is predictable, fixed and consistent. Every industry, all products, all process are fundamentally the same regardless of location, vertical, people or product. I listen to business people across the world who have the same stories, same problems, same worries, same failures and same answers to put the IT echo chamber into perspective. Technology is no different from any other business.

Audio Quality is very high. Commercial media production levels. I now listen to about 50% of shows because I don’t have the time to listen to more.

Link: Downloads:

Geek Whisperers

Format: Content is currently focussed on interviews with people in IT who talk about their lives and how they got into their career. The show format changes around to keep it fresh. Some shows lose their pacing, poor audio or the content is not my thing - hence why I currently listen to one in five.

Audio Quality is OK. Editing is usually good.


The Cloudcast

The content and audio quality of The Cloudcast tends vary widely so its a hit or miss show for me. The content tends to follow the current “big thing” in Cloud and generally involves chatting with executives about their product. Occasionally there will be real insights and useful information but show guests tend to speak marketing or the hosts don’t control the conversation to keep it useful. Hence I skip a lot of episodes to find the good shows.

Audio Quality is often poor. Little or no editing.  Listen to maybe one in ten.


A16Z Podcast

Andreesen Horowitz is one of the biggest and most successful technology venture capitalist firms around. Podcasts vary widely from being a CEO, business, funding and the future of a wide range of technologies. The podcasts format of “insiders talking to insiders” tends to be boring so I listen selectively.

Audio quality is good. Listen to maybe one in five.


Ted Talks

Format: Video presentations from the TED foundation.  Content varies widely. I really don’t think I need to tell you about them. If you watch too many at once, you can clearly see how heavily speakers have been coached to use the same techniques.

I do not watch every video because some topics are boring, uninteresting or tedious. I have no interest in art, poetry or music for example but I would never have watched something about architecture, social policy and maths. I guess I watch about half or less of the videos.

Quality is  very high, production values are high. I watch them in iTunes on my computer..