- Parker Rex
Hey friends. Welcome back to the blog. Today we're talking about the best podcast for folks interested in entrepreneurship, startups, stock investing, and self-development. I know that's a lot of different topics, so I'll be providing a brief description of each one as well as a snippet that was particularly interesting, and a link to my favorite episode.
If you're new here, hey, I'm Parker. In my previous life, I was a product manager for about seven years. Now I'm a founder of a new startup called Rapture. And on this blog, we explore entrepreneurship, product management and productivity, three of my favorite topics.
1. The Product Podcast
So let's jump right into it. If you want to start a business, you need to have a product or a service to provide for somebody, it probably solves a problem. The first podcast I want to recommend is called the Product Podcast. It's put out by the Product School. So this is an online program that is taught by different product managers in this space ranging from different companies like Amazon, Spotify, Facebook, Twitter, Uber, Netflix, you get the idea.
They pump out amazing content all the time. My favorite recent episode was by a senior product manager at Amazon, where she describes how Amazon thinks about actually writing their requirement documents. So whenever you're coming up with a new product whether it's a piece of hardware or software, there's got to be a decent amount of documentation done before you actually go write the code or build the thing. So that's called a PRD or a product requirement document. This episode covers how they write those documents at Amazon. And if you want to learn more about product management in general, I have a whole playlist that's customized just for product management.
2. This Week in startups
The next show is called This Week In Startups or TWiST. The host is Jason Calacanis. You may know him as the angel investor. He's kind of the GOAT in this space. I think his returns as a single investor are higher than that of anybody else ever. He kind of wrote the book or he did write the book on angel investing. You can check that out.. It's called Angel: How to Invest in Technology Startups — Timeless Advice from an Angel Investor Who Turned $100,000 Into $100,000,000.
That's a crazy SEO-written name. I'm sure he didn't want that to be the name of it, but it makes for a great search results. Anyways, he was an early check-in to Uber, Calm and Robinhood congrats to you, Jason, on the recent Robinhood IPO. The format of the show is he has different founders come onto the show for about 45 to 60 minutes. He also has an update if something crazy goes on in the market like if there's maybe some piece of flashy news, he'll jump on and make a piece of content.
But my favorite show recently, which was just quite comical, to be honest, was when he had the founder of Nikola on. So if you're not familiar, that is an EV startup. I don't even know if you could consider it a startup at this point. It's probably just a failed company, but they've gotten a lot of hot water about lying about the products that they were making. There was a truck that they said was done and it wasn't done. And they're kind of knocking off of Tesla, which is weird. If you know the guy's name, Tesla, Nikola Tesla, he was one of the best inventors of his time.
Jason has him on the show and it was kind of controversial because they were like, "Why are you going to have this con artist onto the show?" But Jason is very knowledgeable in what he does, his skillset as an investor, obviously. But then also as a reporter and an interviewer. He lets the founder of Nikola kind of talk himself into a corner. And it becomes very apparent that this guy doesn't know what he's talking about. Every red flag that could have been thrown up is absolutely thrown up in the air. And that's the one that you should watch if you just want to get a masterclass in interviewing. And also what to look for in someone that's probably committing fraud.
The other episode you should check out is when Jason and the podcast hows from Acquired FM talk about how to start a new venture fund. That's with the folks over at AcquiredFM, which is a show that I'll recommend in a little bit later in the episode. It's all about fund formation, follow-on strategies, how these special purpose vehicles work. So if you're interested in angel investing and how folks think about setting up new funds, definitely, definitely check out that.
Heres my favorite episodes
3. My First Million
The next is called My First Million - kind of a kitschy name. Ignore that and go for the content. The hosts of the podcast are Shaan Puri and Sam Parr. Shaan was known for starting a company. It's like a video game social company called Bebo and it sold to Twitch. I think it was like for like $25 million. It's not confirmed, but that was the linked TechCrunch article. And then Sam Parr, who's the founder of the Hustle, which is a newsletter that recently sold to HubSpot for an undisclosed amount, but it has about a million and a half readers.
I just wanted to give you that context because it's amazing listening to them. They shoot the sh*t about different business ideas. And it's super different in that they don't just come in and talk about like SaaS products every single time. No offense to a lot of the investors and content out there, but B2B SaaS is not always the most interesting thing you want to listen to.
The hosts come to each episode with a fair amount of research of different, interesting content and business ideas that they've come across in that prior week. So it could be anything from how an elevator servicing business works to vending machines. Sam, I know actually talks a lot about how he ran a hot dog stand. It's really interesting. And they have guests on one of which was Brianne Kimmel who's an angel investor and a lot of these different like work from home products. That's my favorite recent episode because they talk about how angel investors actually make their money.
Sam does a really good job of getting people past their normal comfort zone within PR. He kind of breaks them and gets them to say things that are more brash. That's my favorite recent episode. She talks about her calendar as well, which is literally just blocked from 8:00 to midnight. Like every minute of her day is kind of accounted for. It sounds crazy, but it's funny. I actually stole some of that practice and use it today.
4. Starting Greatness with Mike Maples Jr
These are in no particular order of priority. Mike Maples Jr. is a co-founding partner at Floodgate. He's been on the Forbes Midas list eight times in the last decade. That just means he's bad-ass. Floodgate, if you don't know has investments in companies like Okta, Lyft, Twitch, Twitter, Weebly, and a bunch more. Those are just the ones that are the largest.
The podcast basically goes into stories from the super performers before they blew up, before their stuff got big and super successful. Some examples of people that he's had on the show is the founder of Netscape, Marc Andreessen. He also runs a16z. The LinkedIn founder, Reid Hoffman, and the founders of Instagram Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger. It's been particularly helpful for me, a new startup founder learning how to price a product. I've been having trouble with pricing... and I found his podcast because of that. All the advice is very actionable. It's tactical. It's not just theoretical.
The next two shows are actually under the same media company. I believe. It's called Join Colossus, but we'll just run through both of them.
5. Invest like the Best
The first one is Invest Like the Best and it's with Patrick O'Shaughnessy. So he runs Join Colossus. The format of the show is he explores the ideas, methods and stories of people. And it's supposed to help you basically be better with your time and your money. My favorite episode on that show is the Past, the Present and the Future of SaaS and software.
For somebody that works in software and builds software for a living. It's amazing this guest, his name's Eric Vishria... well I'm just going to put a segment from the podcast that I thought was particularly interesting. "So SaaS started with high upfront costs, executive buy-in and maintenance fees. And now it's evolved to something much more affordable, which allows users to get on the platform easily."
He basically goes in and talks about the different generations of SaaS, had it started as SaaS, 1.0 where GUI's needed to exist, and you literally get the thing mailed to you. And then he goes into what he calls gen two SaaS, gen three, SaaS, which is now APIs as a service. So machines talking to machines. Check out that episode.
6. Founders Field Guide
The next is called a Founders Field Guide. And I can't tell what the difference between this and Invest Like the Best is besides the name and the art that goes along with it. But my favorite episode is with the founder of Plaid his name is Zach Perret. He talks about the future of financial services. So if you're not familiar with Plaid, it is doing the financial plumbing that all of these FinTech apps require in order to connect your bank account securely. So whenever you download Venmo or Acorns or Betterment or even AMEX they're using Plaid to securely connect a checking accounts whether that's a business checking account or a personal checking account to an app.
And it's kind of crazy because those banks are always changing, what's going on and they're pretty antiquated. So Plaid's job is basically to make that secure connection. And in this podcast, Zach talks about how you can sell your product directly to developer, which I found a super, super interesting. And the way that they thought of it, it's kind of like what David Sacks talks about, which is bottom up or bottoms up SaaS playbook. Meaning that he would give his tool Plaid to a developer. That developer will go and build what they need to get done with Plaid, and then show it to a product manager or somebody in their org. That person would say, "Whoa, how'd you do that?" And they say, "Oh, I did it with Plaid." Which is a really good way to market your startup.
7. Tim Ferris show
The next is the Tim Ferriss Show. Now you probably have heard of this a million times. Tim is kind of he's the guy when it comes to podcasts. If you hear Joe Rogan, you hear Tim Ferriss. If you don't know about him, he's the author of many bestselling books. One of which is the 4-Hour Workweek, super popular in the tech space. It was known for it kind of coined the term digital nomad. And he is kind of the GOAT of podcasting.
He has amazing guests on that a lot of other people probably cannot land and he's really good at learning how to learn. All that aside, he's a great interviewer. And if you haven't checked it out, you definitely should. My favorite episode was with Bob Iger. He is the chairman at Disney. I mean, that company has just been around forever. Their IP is through the roof. Their transfer from being all about amusement parks to having this Disney+ platform, which is going to outpace Netflix. That is crazy. The way that they handled the pandemic is crazy.
Bob basically 7Xed the stock in his tenure as CEO. He recently stepped down as still the chair. I believe he stepped down. In the podcast, he talks about working with Steve Jobs on Pixar. He talks about negotiations. He talks about some self-development pieces around keeping your mindset right and the importance of exercise throughout your day. I loved that episode.
8. 20 Minute vc
Twenty Minute VC. It sounds like the guy is Harry Potter. It's an amazing show. And it takes you inside the world of venture capital, startups and the pitch. It's supposed to just be 20 minutes. But I think that went out the window after it got some popularity. So Twenty Minute VC is also a great lesson in marketing because the name is just it's catchy. The show is hosted by a guy named Harry Stebbings,who has a thick UK accident, hence the Harry Potter reference.
My favorite episode is with the founder of Slack, Stewart Butterfield. Stewart sent a letter to microsoft on the November 2, 2016 edition of the New York times after they launched a competitor called Teams.. Worth checking out here. A very aggressive move for a founder to make.
His way of explaining product decisions was really relatable. He says that, "Product development is a little bit like cooking. So if you enjoy cooking and you're kind of enthusiastic about it, you start making something and you constantly make adjustments. You're constantly adjusting the temperature, the thickness, the spice, the amount of salt. The kind of sequence of things and then the next time you make it, you incorporate all of the improvements that you made last time."
9. Acquired FM
The next recommendation is called it AcquiredFM. This is good for a long car ride because the format of the show is much longer. I think the episodes can be like an hour to three hours and even certain episodes like what they did with Berkshire Hathaway, there were three parts and each part was like two hours long. They help you learn the playbooks that the greatest have done. So they do these really deep dive on different companies. It's aimed to help founders, investors and operators.
My favorite episode is the one about DoorDash. So in my previous life before I relocated to Texas, I was running the product teams for a company called Delivery Dudes. It was a restaurant delivery service. We got smoked by DoorDash. So I'm super biased. I just want to know what they did. And I want to know what was their playbook such that I can use something similar or maybe there's an insight there that I can apply to my next venture.
The last podcast that you should be listening to is called Decoder. Now this is much newer in my realm. I've only listened to one episode, but it was super interesting so I wanted to throw it in here. It's put out by the Verge, which is a really popular tech publication. And the host is a good job of like pressing the guests. So the CPO or chief product officer of YouTube went on their show and he got questioned a lot about the algorithm. The algorithm is kind of this black box of a product when it comes to the creators on this platform.
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