Level Up with Podcasts
Since the start of the year I have been listening to podcasts in order to learn more about the web industry I work in. Listening to podcasts is a great way to keep up to date on the latest news, introduce yourself to some clever people and learn a lot from others experience. The podcasts are free, and I have found them a welcome replacement to listening to music while working. What is great about the podcasts below is they all promote each other, they're not in competition with each other, they're all united giving a community feel to it. The podcasts mentioned in this blog post (that I recommend to you) have all integrated nicely into my weekly schedule and have become essential listening in order to further my knowledge about the web industry.
Shop Talk Show
What I really enjoy about Shop Talk is how relaxed it is. Armed with a humorous sound board the show begins by covering the hot drama from the week providing a great way to keep up to date with the going ons in the web industry. The main focus of the show is questions from listeners that are well answered by Dave, Chris and the guest. The questions aren't quickly answered and onto the next one, the questions fuel discussion which makes for an enjoyable listen. These discussions provide lots of great pieces of advice and tips that can be applied to make you a better designer / developer and improve the standard of the work you produce. If you're thinking you might not be able to follow the discussion then I wouldn't worry because Dave, Chris and the guest are always very good at explaining themselves in a way that is easy to understand.
I highly recommend giving Shop Talk a listen if you haven't already, you won't regret it and hopefully you will become a regular listener like myself. If, like I was, you're waiting for the next episode then go dig through the archives and give the older episodes a listen. I enjoyed listening to episodes where the guest is a name I had heard of from a blog I'd read or someone I follow, it's great way to find out more about who the guest is and what they're like. Also doing the opposite, listening to episodes featuring an unknown guest, is a great way to introduce you to someone new who is doing great things in the web industry.
The East Wing
The East Wing is a weekly podcast hosted by Tim Smith. Tim is joined by a guest who he asks questions that lead to interesting discussions related to the guests and things the guest has done. The podcast has been running for over a year and also has some high profile guests such as Drew Wilson, Trent Walton and Jessica Hische. The guests come from lots of different disciplines of our industry, developers, designers, user experience, freelancers and business owners. With this wide range there is something for everybody, personally I find every episode is worth a listen, it's always great to learn more about areas I know little about. Tim starts the podcast by asking the guest how they got into the work they do, then continues the conversation onto things the guests has been involved in and the experiences they've had.
I came across Tim Smith when he was on a cross over episode on Shop Talk, which made me give The East Wing a listen. By his own admission Tim started the podcast so he could talk to the talented people in our industry, very smart. One thing that is great about Tim's interview style is that it doesn't sound like an interview at all, more like an interesting conversation between two people over a coffee. The East Wing is great for finding out about people in our industry. If you've heard of someone and want to know more about them, and they've been on The East Wing, go listen to that episode because your soon know tonnes about them and feel like you've known them for years. I highly recommend this podcast, Tim is a genuinely nice guy and he has done a great job with The East Wing.
Massive congratulations are also in order, The East Wing has been nominated for the .NET awards for side project of the year, he has got my vote! Great job Tim!
Happy Monday Podcast once again is a weekly podcast this time hosted by Sarah Parmenter and Josh Long. Newer than the previously mentioned podcasts, Happy Monday started in December last year. Sarah & Josh are always joined by a guest for 20 minutes every Monday as a way of starting the week in a positive way. The shows guests aren't limited to people from the web industry, they like to mix it up, having guests who are part of other creative professions, like photography. The podcast focuses on being creative, usually starting by discussing what is inspiring them at the moment. Instead of the hosts asking questions to the guest, the format of Happy Monday is more of a conversation amongst friends, sharing stories of past experiences and what they've been up to recently.
Josh and Sarah are both very creative people themselves, Josh a talented writer and Sarah owns a design studio. Two talented people joined by a creative guest is a the perfect formula for an enjoyable listen. Although I probably haven't learnt as much from this podcast as the others mentioned, this podcast is a great way to start the week to get inspired to be creative, which I believe is the intentions of the show.
Unfinished Business is a show that started this year where Andy Clarke and Anna Debenham discuss the business side of our industry. The discussion usually centres around a topic that has been on interest during the week, so last weeks episode was on working from home amid the recent announcement from Marissa Mayer that Yahoo employees are no longer allowed to work from home. The show discusses all sorts of areas regarding the business such as invoicing, what to charge, getting clients, handling clients and maintaining the best relationship with those clients. Both hosts draw on their experiences to fuel the discussion, Andy owns a small design company and Anna is a talented freelancer. By having a business owner and a freelancer it provides two different perspectives that contribute to interesting discussions.
I don't run my own business and I'm not a freelancer, yet I still find this podcast very insightful. Because of this podcast I have been able to offer suggestions and share talking points from the show with my bosses, the business owners of the company I work for (Moov2). If I ever did choose to start my own business or become a freelancer then I would definitely be utilising tips and advice given by the show. I have already recommended unfinished business to others, who have thanked me for the recommendation as they found the show useful. What is really great about this show is how honest the two hosts are. Sometimes people like to keep their cards close to their chests when it comes to the business side of things, that's not how they do it on unfinished business. Anna & Andy really do share everything, which is one of the many things that makes the show great.
One of the things all these podcasts have in common is the passion of the hosts. The hosts are very passionate about our industry, hence why they are willing to give up their time and put the effort in to make these resourceful shows. That is what they're outputting, invaluable resources that act as a network to interesting people, resources, tools and frameworks. Having listened to these podcasts since the start of the year they have become a consistent part of my weekly routine. By listening to these podcasts I believe I have learnt a lot, not only technically but also expanded my knowledge on the industry and the people in it. That is why I decided to write this blog post, to encourage others to adopt a podcast, even if it isn't ones mentioned above, I am sure there are lots more out there.