Podcasts – what are they & which ones you should listen to

There’s a new trend in our office. It’s the “it” of multitasking and learning. You can combine it with waiting for a bus, cooking, walking to the office, writing a blog post like this one, running, anything really. It’s something perfect for the holidays or a break from your work tasks 🙂

Yes, we’ve been charmed by podcasts – media files that can be distributed via the Internet and played on computers and handheld devices. They are audio on demand, like a favourite radio show you can listen to whenever you want to.

New to podcasts? Check out the quick 1,2,3 on how to get started at the end of this post 🙂

Waves of podcasting

The first wave of podcasting hit the market already in 2001 with the popularity of the iPod – see where the name “podcast” has its origins?

After a few hit years it looked like the whole medium disappeared, with seemingly very little happening in the field during years 2008–2013, although in fact the industry was growing steadily. This was largely thanks to smartphones and specifically the iPhone, which made the consumption of podcasts easier. What lacked during that period and caused the illusion of disappearance however, was the lack of “new”.

The third wave of podcasting reached the shore with buckets full of the “new”, as people started to get used to consuming media in transit, the fact that podcasts got better than they used to be and there were more of them , and you could make more money with them.

Future of podcasts

It’s now being said that the next big thing in podcasting is cars. When the internet becomes standard equipment in cars, estimated to happen by 2025, there’s no longer a need for a smartphone or knowing how to download episodes, if you wish to listen to podcasts.

This comes close to the success of radio, linked directly to the drive-time commuter. It will be interesting to see how this behaviour transfers to the world of podcasting. Gleams of this can already be seen as we can play smartphone audio over car speakers, either through Bluetooth connectivity or through a USB or auxiliary plug.

Another upcoming and continuing trend is the sheer amount of podcasts. You can easily find lists like the “20 best podcasts of 2015”or“Podcasts so good you want to binge-listen” among many others. The exact number of podcasts existing, however, proved to be tricky to find as the total number of podcasts is not available from the industry. The only publicly available data comes from one of the largest commercial podcast hosting companies, Libsyn, which indicates a steady rise in both the number of podcasts actively hosted and the number of download requests from 2012 to 2014.

Source: Libsyn internal data and Pew Research analysis through journalism.org

Pixels’ team recommends

After that informative intro, it’s time to dive in to the actual shows. Here’s our favourite dozen for you 🙂

PIXELS team recommends these podcasts

1. 99% invisible

A great show about how design is hidden throughout all aspects of our life. The show is hosted by @romanmars who does a wonderful job at generating excitement for topics otherwise nobody ever thinks of.

Listen to this if you want to understand designers better!


2. StartUp

For some of us, this was the podcast after which there was no going back. Hosted by @abexlumberg and @lisaechow, this show reveals what it’s really like to start your own company told with enjoyable honesty.

Topics vary from following the first moments of Gimlet Media (the company producing this podcast) during the first season, to sharing the story of a dating company run by two women in the male dominant startup world during the second season. Especially the first season touched the hearts of our team with its uncompromising honesty, transparency and familiar topics.

Highly recommended to anyone with entrepreneurial spirit 🙂


3. Tyyppimuunnos

The first great Finnish podcast about technology, work and its future, entrepreneurship and continuous development. Hosted by @anttti, a developer-designer-podcaster (as he describes in his Twitter), and @jarkko, orienteer, man of his own destiny (as in Twitter).

A tip from our Finnish team: if you feel the podcast is too slow, try listening it in x1,5 speed (Finnish language is a lot slower than English).


4. Fanboys

A German podcast by the @codingmonkeys talking about tech news, games and internet society.

It is always interesting hearing what the hosts have to say about different news topics and developments in technology.


PIXELS team recommends these podcasts

5. Freakshow

Another German podcast with similar topics as the aforementioned Fanboys – tech, news, games and the internet society.

A team around @timpritlove talks in epic length about news from the tech scene mixed with hardcore topics loosely related to hacking. This might go from topics such as knitting machines all the way to why Vim might be better than Emacs.

Nerdy, nuff said.


6. Stuff You Should Know

The podcast about everything and anything. It’s impossible to find an interesting topic Josh and Chuck haven’t touched upon. The episodes cover a variety of topics from the fields of science, history, urban legends, and pop culture, with the occasional conspiracy theory thrown in for good measure.

All episodes are packed with comedic value which makes this podcast such an easy listen.


7. Inquisitive

This podcast gives a peek behind the scenes of how the minds of some creative people work. In his interviews the host, @imyke, is exploring how these people do the things they do and what motivates them.

It’s an interesting podcast to check out if you plan on getting into app development as it gives answers to some of the things you might ask yourself.


8. Reply All

Reply All is a show about the internet. This is the second podcast from Gimlet Media, which you might remember from the StartUp podcast mentioned earlier.

PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman take elements of the internet culture that maybe you’ve seen or read about and make them more human.

A must-listen for people who are interested and spend their time on the web – don’t we all?


PIXELS team recommends these podcasts

9. No Such Things as a Fish

In this podcast the researchers of the British tv show QI each present their most interesting fact of the week. While doing so they try to outsmart each other with connected knowledge and facts they could find.

An absolute favourite to avid pub quiz goers and people who generally like trivia knowledge.


10. John Cleese

Unfortunately this podcast has long since ended, but back in the first wave of podcasts, a man, possibly bung hip, started hilariously rambling on about anything and everything.

Gems such as his own version of “The Night Before Christmas” and more serious (depending on your opinion of John Cleese) discussion about the realities of going deaf, encourage you to challenge and laugh at everyday life. Including at some things you perhaps shouldn’t… Just maybe resist the urge to practice your own funny walk… people might look at you strangely.


11. Judge John Hodgman

A fake internet judge @hodgman is inviting people to solve their pressing issues in his fake internet court.

Nothing to add, this is a family friendly podcast that does not need much thinking and is great to listen to while doing something else.


12. The Economist – The week ahead

A perfect 10-15 minute podcast about the most important news of the world that will be discussed in the following week. This is the one to listen to if you wish to stay on track of what’s happening in the world but can’t spend hours doing so.

A tip: If you hear about something that interests you more during this show, check out the rest of the Economist podcasts, such as Babbage, or Money Talks for more detailed information.


Bonus: bits & pieces

A podcast about why work is not a job, friendships and riding unicorns.

This show was started by our founders @saftsaak and @metzelfetz in January 2015 and it gives you the chance to know more about our story and who the amazing two Italian but German speaking dudes are, who decided to start a business in Finland.


1,2,3 of podcasts

Get into the world of podcasts through these easy steps.

1,2,3 of listening to podcasts

  1. Open up your Podcast application on your smartphone OR google for the podcast of your choice and open their website.
  2. Find the podcast of your choice on the app. Hit subscribe to get the newest episodes to your device automatically.
  3. Press play to listen.

Happy listening!