// 08.10.2020

9 podcasts every founder has to listen to.

Podcasts are an opportunity to learn wherever you are, whatever you’re doing. Cooking, walking, running, travelling, driving, bathing. It doesn’t matter, they’re all fertile ground for putting on a podcast and enriching your day.

And whilst other media formats decline, podcasts continue to resonate with more and more people. In 2019, more than half of Americans have listened to a podcast, 32% listen monthly (up from 26% in 2018) and there were over 700,000 podcasts (29 million episodes). These statistics are staggering, but not surprising. Podcasts are one of the most accessible forms of learning, they can be weaved into your day without having to stop everything else, they cover an immense range of topics and they’re intimate.

For startup founders, podcasts are a chance to learn from and be inspired by the best. Books, mentorship programmes, seminars and conferences still have their place, but podcasts are invaluable tools for founders that are only getting better. So, here are nine podcasts you should be listening to as a startup founder.

1. Masters of Scale

Co-founder of LinkedIn and partner at Greylock Partners, Reid Hoffman is an iconic entrepreneur and investor. On Masters of Scale, Hoffman talks to the biggest and best to reveal the stories, strategies, ideas and drive behind those who have started businesses and taken them stratospheric. Whilst the likes of Microsoft, Bumble, Spotify, Mailchimp, Airbnb and Slack may seem distant giants, they all epitomise the growth mindset that is so fundamental to startups.

Learn to never underestimate your first idea, how to keep your idea simple whilst scaling big and how to solve an impossible challenge.

2. In Good Company

Founding a startup is hard. It’s even harder if you’re a woman or a person of colour. Hosted by Otegha Uwagba, author of the Sunday Times bestseller Little Black Book: A Toolkit for Working Women and founder of Women Who, In Good Company is brimming with practical tips, interviews with successful women, ideas and stories for female entrepreneurs. The podcast is not only a spring of inspiration for marginalised founders but also an incredible knowledge base. In Good Company, however, isn’t just for those it speaks to directly, but for all founders whom educating themselves is a necessity to lead.

Learn about harnessing ambition and navigating office politics, brands and storytelling, and raising investment.

3. The Growth Show

An appropriate title for founders. Created by Hubspot, The Growth Show is a long-standing podcast all about sustaining growth, with each episode being neatly packed into a manageable length for those tight-on-time days. Ranging across ideas, businesses and movements, the show encapsulates growth in all its forms. It also has an extra enlightening run of episodes titled “The Turnaround”, diving into businesses that almost had to call it quits before making a miraculous return.

Learn about Nintendo’s comeback, why anti-racist training has to start at the top and why the platform revolution is here.

4. The Tim Ferris Show

Surprising: no. Essential: yes. Author, entrepreneur and investor Tim Ferris has become a firm staple in the entrepreneurial world, someone who explores every corner of the world’s most brilliant minds and shares them with us. His exhaustive conversations aren’t the shortest, but they are some of the best. Principles, advice, obsessions, obstacles, strategies, fear, creativity, investing, happiness and more. It’s difficult to convey just how much gold dust is contained within a single show, but the 500+ million episode downloads are one indicator that it really is there.

Listen to productivity guru Dave Allen on how to get things done, Derek Sivers on developing confidence, finding happiness and saying no to millions, and Seth Godin about rules, principles and obsessions.

5. How I Built This

Whilst How I Built This is another podcast filled with founder stories from some of most well known in the world (Airbnb, Ben & Jerry’s, Wikipedia), host Guz Raz also talks to those not quite in the same limelight. Vita Coco, Stonyfield Yoghurt, Dyson, Dave’s Killer Bread and Burt’s Bees to name a few. Humorous, light-hearted but undisturbed by approaching tough topics, How I Built This is a true founders podcast.

Learn how Dave Dahl started his entrepreneurial journey in prison, how a twenty-three year old became the founder of the world’s largest snowboard brand and how driving from London to Australia started the biggest travel guide publisher in the world.

6. Startup Therapy

People have a simplified (sometimes skewed) perception of what founders should be and how they should act; fearless, passionate, positive, adaptable, knowledgeable. There’s some truth in these characteristics, but it belittles other invaluable traits and brushes over the struggles that founders face. Startup Therapy is a relatable, “no BS” dive into the trials of founders on both a personal and professional level. It’s an essential listen to remind founders that they’re not alone in the uphill battle of owning a startup.

Find out how to leave your startup stress at work, how founders should communicate in a crisis and why you should celebrate tiny wins like they were super bowls.

7. Zen Founder

The emotional side of founding a startup isn’t talked about enough, so here’s a podcast to further some of the ideas found in Startup Therapy. Zen Founder is all about the mental challenges that come with startups and how to stay sane whilst growing. From eating well whilst running a business to the importance of family movie nights, Zen Founder’s 250+ episodes offer indispensable insights into how to manage life and work.

Master the courage to be disliked, strategies to manage difficult emotions and growing relationships in the midst of responsibilities.

8. Women in Tech

Women are chronically underrepresented in the tech industry. Whilst changes need to be made at a structural level, it’s also important that women feel empowered and able to start tech companies, and that starts with awareness and education. Awareness that women are making their mark in tech and education through channels such as podcasts. Women in Tech is one of them, featuring inspiring female engineers, founders, investors and designers with the aim of “every listener to walk away feeling 'If She Can Do It So Can I'.

Hear from Krystle Ongjanco, Senior Marketing Strategist at TikTok, the women of Shopify and Dalana Brand, Vice President People Experience and Head of Inclusion and Diversity at Twitter.

9. Rocketship.fm

 Rocketship.fm is a 300+ episode resource for everything to do with startups. Whilst niche podcasts are crucial to broadening your knowledge and keeping up with the issues that matter today, sometimes founders simply need some extra insights into the fundamentals. And that’s what Rocketship.fm does. Using real case studies, it delves into the details on topics such as sales, funding, SEO, product failures, growth and data. If you’re ever in need of good, reliable content that is sure to spark your thinking, this is the one.

Listen to how Airbnb approach SEO, how to create loyal customers and why your meetings don’t have to suck.


Next read: diversity in startups: what are you doing about it?