The most valuable free education available

In a world dominated by social media and video, it seems incredible to me that, separate from direct interactions with people, my greatest daily educational source is recorded audio.  Or more affectionately termed, “Podcasts.”  Think, on-demand radio programming.

Podcasting has been around for years, and in the last year, it became more mainstream with a single podcast called “Serial,” but I’m amazed at how few people know about podcasts and certainly how few people realize how much amazing content is available.  For free.  And for those who don’t know, podcasts are essentially recorded audio files (video in rare cases), that you can download thru iTunes or your smartphone – typically there’s a show host, and the formats can be everything from interviews to stories, the same person speaking to a new speaker each week, business-focused to entertainment.  Even to get going, it requires pretty minimal resources, cost and time.

Especially in a town like LA, where the average commute length is 30 minutes, there is a good amount of downtime that can be better utilized for folks who want to learn something – as opposed to texting while driving, for example.  And of course commuting isn’t exclusive to LA.  Even if you have a 15 minute commute (which I do), that is still plenty of time to get great listening in, and even if a podcast is longer, I just resume on the way home or the next day.

In the business category, many folks I know use podcasting the same way they use their professional Facebook page – it’s just another source of attracting an audience.  The plus for their listeners is that they have to produce really good content to build and maintain their audience.  Because the audience has to listen to a podcast from anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour, the content has to be good to keep people’s attention, as opposed to a social post, where it takes 5 milliseconds to scan a post, but even if it’s no good, there’s another opportunity right afterwards.  Not so with recorded audio.

As for what I listen to, these days I’m heavy on business and marketing-related podcasts.  My favorites include:

  • Russell Brunson’s Marketing in your Car – he literally records these 10-12 minute episodes driving to and from work
  • Ryan Daniel Moran’s Freedom Fastlane – particularly good for Amazon sellers, but he has expanded well beyond Amazon for broader entrepreneurial content
  • Startup – a podcast following a startup trying to build, of all things, a podcasting network
  • The Tim Ferris – focused on top achievers
  • Brad Costanzo’s Bacon Wrapped Business – another solid one, typically of successful business owners

Bottom line, especially if you’ve got your own business, this is the best and cheapest way to get access to some amazing people and to hear their secrets, lessons, etc.  And if you “only” want to listen to comedy, sports or science content, there’s very likely a podcast for you.

One trick I should pass along – just as I do with some online videos, I rarely listen to podcasts at normal speed.  There’s an option to listen at 1.5x to 2.0x.  Which means you can get thru even more than you thought.

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