Podcasts I Listen To or: How I Keep the House so Clean

As my career and life has changed, so have my podcast behaviors. I started out listening to radio shows to keep me in multi-hour heads-down work grooves as a younger designer. As more of my time became spent in meetings or reading, I listened to podcasts on my commute, or riding around town. Today I use them to keep me company while cleaning and fixing stuff around the house, because I effectively have two jobs.

Web Community

The Big Web Show – Everything web that matters. One of the pioneers of the interview format–and podcasting altogether–for the industry. I learned so much from this podcast when I was trying to break into the industry, and it continues to discuss big important topics when many other podcasts aren’t saying much that is new.

The Web Ahead – Jen Simmons isn’t doing this one anymore, but I recommend listening to the back episodes anyway. She’s always advocated for the role of design as a technical skillset in the web community, as well as giving a heads up that it would only grow more relevant in the future.

Internet History Podcast – Started out as a well-researched narrative-based show telling the story behind how the technologies and companies we take for granted today started out. Moved into more of an interview and oral history model.

Design Podcasts

Why only two? Because design doesn’t exist in a vacuum, and there are too many podcasts out there who aren’t really saying anything new.

Wireframe – I’m moving away from interview-based shows, which sometimes suffer from a lack of a point of view and can be more self-promotion than anything. Koi Vinh’s show takes in-depth looks at things in the industry, putting them in the context of the broader world. Isn’t afraid to offer well-deserved critique.

The Observatory – If NPR had a design show this would be it. It is navel-gazing and preaching to the choir at its best. But unlike other podcasts who do this to a nauseating effect, Michael Bierut and Jessica Helfland are sophisticated intellectuals who aren’t talking out of their ass. Luckily, they also have a sense of humor. Listening to this one makes me feel smarter and better than you.

“Non-Design” Podcasts

Designers need to understand the broader industry in which they work. Anyone who calls themselves a [digital] product designer and doesn’t keep tabs on things is not doing their job.

The Dropout – For learning what not do to. And the schadenfreude.

Recode Decode – Because Kara Swisher scares the shit out of me. But she’s one of the few heavy-hitters who brave enough to call out evil, injustice, and wrongdoing in the industry. If it’s boring to you because it’s not always about design, too bad. Required listening.

Distributed – A new one, about exploring the future of work. Interviews only so far, curious to see how this one develops over time.

Music

I’m a long-time electronica devotee. This genre is an acquired taste but I’ve looked forward to new episodes of these every week for over a decade.

A State of Trance – I’ve listened to this show since I was….in seventh grade. It’s one of the reasons I even asked my parents to get internet service. Some years are more bro-ey than others. I prefer Armin van Buuren when he does more melodical stuff. BPM is the classic progerssive trance 138–not for everyone. Today I listen to this one more out of loyalty than anything.

Group Therapy – Weekly radio show by Above & Beyond featuring a shorter guest mix at the end. Happier and less bro-ey than ASOT. Introduced me to some artists that melt my heart and transport me back to specific times and places that I might never get to live again. This one experiments away from trance more than ASOT. BPM tends to be 138-ish but it sometimes goes as slow as 128 in the guest mixes, which are a lovely dessert to a filling meal.

The Anjunadeep Edition – I listen to more of this than trance nowadays because I have to read a lot for work. It’s the deeper sister to Group Therapy, featuring deep house, progressive, and melodic techno. It’s beautiful.

Release Yourself – Roger Sanchez is a house DJ based out of NYC, and you’ll be able to tell. It’s always a treat when he mixes in Latin-American music. BPM sticks to a sultry 128. Weird for starting off a morning but great for finishing up a work week.

The Essential Mix – Who can forget this one?