I’m eternally grateful for podcasts. They’ve taught me about an impressive range of subjects: economics, politics, startups, coding, business, design, personal finance, and even Spanish. They’ve kept me up to date on current events, accompanied me on daily walks to and from work, and galvanized me on many a long drive.
One of the first podcasts I followed was Freakonomics. It embedded the word “incentive” into my vocabulary and sparked my interest in behavioral economics, even leading me to consider a potential career change. While I’m ultimately glad I didn’t go the academic route, Freakonomics proved to be the gateway into the world of podcasts.
At one point, I even contemplated starting my own podcast and working on a related side project, a “Goodreads for podcasts” I called TryPod. Just as my friends and I shared book recommendations, I wanted to share podcasts and discuss specific episodes. But as I was doing market research, I came across a startup called Breaker who shared the same vision. That, along with other commitments, squashed my motivation to build, but it’s nice validation (albeit vicarious) that the startup recently got acquired by Twitter.
These days, while my preferred playback speed has gone up 1.5x, my enthusiasm for podcasts has reciprocally gone down 1.5x. While I’ll still fire up a podcast on walks and bus/train rides, I find it increasingly difficult to multi-task and pay attention to a podcast. And don’t get me started on audiobooks. I find it unbearable to pause in the middle of a chapter and have to pick it back up later, or listen to a narrative for more than one hour at a time.
Am I just getting old and tired? Undoubtedly yes, but I like to think that a profound podcast or two is still within reach. The biggest reason is that my brain, now more than ever, needs time to rest and not think about anything at all!