Carlos Fenollosa

Carlos Fenollosa

Engineer, developer, entrepreneur

Carlos Fenollosa — Blog

Thoughts on science and tips for researchers who use computers

My favorite podcasts

July 09, 2014 — Carlos Fenollosa

Listening to podcasts is a very interesting way to fill your empty time, especially while doing tasks that don't require your full attention, such as cleaning, eating or commuting.

Being a podcaster myself (Dame la voz, El Amuleto de Yendor) I think it is great for the community to share our interests and let us discover new shows that people we listen to recommend.

Of course, this list is tailored to my tastes. It is not a journalistic piece; I am not neutral. For example, you will see that the topics are heavily biased towards tech, startups and self-improvement. Unfortunately, I can't recommend other stuff since this is what I listen to!

I also appreciate concision; there is a lot to listen and little time, so the less rambling and the shortest, the better.

A final disclaimer; if any of the hosts mentioned here were to read this, which I find unlikely, please understand this post as honest opinion, constructive critique, and feel totally free to contact me if you'd like to discuss anything. As mentioned, I'm a podcaster myself and not every opinion I get is positive; however, the fiercest critiques—if respectful—are the best, because they help you improve. The best seasons at El Amuleto de Yendor came after our worst; we sat down, read all the harsh comments, and restructured the show and our attitude. We ended up getting our best critiques ever.

To summarize, if you are on this list, I admire you.

Podcasts I love

What can I say? The content is great; the episodes are well-planned; listening to them is a good investment of my time. I would pay for these, and in some cases, they have helped me earn money or become a better person. Yep, they are that good.

The Tim Ferriss Show

Blog - iTunes

Tim started his podcast just a few months ago, and boy, what had we been missing.

His show is a series of interviews with very interesting people related to the self-improvement topic. But what I like the most is how he spends some minutes getting his interviewee comfortable and then asks the right questions. I can't imagine how much preparation he needs before each episode.

He's the first of this post and for a reason. I can't think of any other podcast that, in so few episodes, has made me go "wow!" as many times.

Even if some of the titles don't seem attractive because of the topic or the interviewee, just go and listen to them for fifteen minutes. You'll be glad you did.


Blog - iTunes

Patrick / patio11 would be your regular programmer and internet commenter if it weren't because he spends an insane amount of time explaining what he has learned from his projects and sharing tips and advice with random strangers on the internet.

If you are planning to make money on the internet, you know, with your business and products or services, then you must listen to Patrick's podcast.

Ramit Sethi


Technically, Ramit does not have a podcast, but you can subscribe to its video feed and even extract the audios from the videos since the images are not that important.

His content is exceptionally great. It is obvious how he makes a living teaching other people to be successful. He knows the "what"s and the "how"s and he's a great speaker and an expert on persuasion.

From getting a raise to convincing customers, he presents a wide range of techniques, and more importantly, which are the psychological principles that govern them. Every video is a gold nugget, if not only for the information it provides, but because it distills small drops of how us people think and react.

Podcasts I like

I listen to every show, enjoy them greatly, and thrive when my podcasts app tells me there's a new episode. The difference between these and the former? I guess that would be quality; you can differentiate between shows on which the hosts spent a lot of hours and talent, and shows that are just enjoyable, useful and funny, but just not five stars.

However, that's not necessarily bad, since not every producer thinks spending a lot of time preparing a podcast is worth it. I'm actually one of those: top quality is not my goal. Thus, I can't blame others for that. Just listen and enjoy.

Accidental Tech Podcast

Blog - iTunes

ATP is my go-to podcast. It is funny, opinionated, has John Siracusa (read below), and a good balance between the three hosts.

Marco is happy and mildly isolated from the business world; Casey is a typical cubicle programmer like most of us, and John has enough experience both in life and computers that he is always spot on and brilliant.

If you only listen to one "computing podcast", and don't mind a high percentage of Apple content, let this be it.

The business of freelancing

Blog - iTunes

Brennan takes the lead of Patrick—actually; I don't know who was first— and teaches startup business.

The thing is that Kalzumeus is published very sporadically while Brennan is more regular. While I still think that Patrick's content is a bit better, The Business of Freelancing is an excellent substitute while we wait for Patrick to publish.

Podcasts I listen selectively

I'd like to listen to every one of these but, unfortunately, my time is limited. Does this mean I don't enjoy them? Absolutely not! Usually, they just cover a wider range of topics than my current interests.

The talk show

Blog - iTunes

Gruber's podcast is great and his analysis, though a bit biased—hey, who isn't?— is usually spot on. He's one of the people I go listen to just after an Apple keynote. While others still sing that "Apple's declining since Jobs passed" mantra, John cuts through the bullshit with data and reasoned opinions.

Other days he talks about baseball or friends I don't know, so well, I just skip those.

Startups for the rest of us

Blog - iTunes

If they didn't publish so often I'd listen to every show. I used to, but right now I just read the summary and select those which apply to my actual business situation. For me, this show is like the Wikipedia of startups: you don't need to read it all, just use it as a reference. And that's what I do. They're the reference of startups tips.

Anything John Siracusa appears on


I just love how John explains stuff. He always knows how to explain anything in order to make properly his point clear. I think his opinions are the most rational, well-founded you can listen to in a show. If he can't get a clear idea, then he has no opinion.

That is just fantastic for the listener, because you can trust his explanations, understand them, and decide for yourself. I can't count how many times I've been able to form my own opinion on a topic by just listening at John's.

Podcasts I used to listen to

"Oh, here come the bad podcasts," you may think. STOP!

I used to love these for some time, but now I don't follow them anymore. Sometimes it's because another more interesting podcast took its place or because they don't apply anymore to my situation.


Blog - iTunes

Quit! is the first freelance-related show I listened to. It planted the freedom seed in me, and help me remove and rationalize some of the fears which are associated to jumping from a 9-5 job into your own business.

The problem is that after some shows and after that seed grew the podcast was no longer attractive for me. It is not a problem of the format, the hosts or the content, just that once you learn the basics—because they taught you, no less—then the show gets boring.

People call in to ask about the same questions, and the answers are always the same. Sometimes even Dan is noticeably bored by the callers. But, what can you do? There are only as many topics to cover, and after a while, they get old; how much money do I need as a cushion; where will I work; is it a good idea to work weekends on side projects.

This podcast is a must for 9-5 people who want to start their own business. Before the "I don't know how" phase, which gets covered with Kalzumeus and Startups for the rest of us, one needs to pass the "I'm not sure if I want to do this" phase. Quit! is for those people.

Dan should not be worried about me anymore.

This Week in Tech

Blog - iTunes Let me start by paying my respects to Leo, the best host I know. I want to be like him. Truth be told, I listened to TWIT every week until ATP started.

ATP is fresh, while TWIT sounds grumpy. ATP is usually positive while TWIT focuses on the negative. TWIT has been on the air for a while, and it's a business, while ATP isn't.

They are two similar shows but very different in most aspects. It so happens that I prefer ATP.

The Vergecast

Blog - iTunes

The Verge is a tech website that, unlike others, has good editors and good content. The podcast is exactly that: tech news and a bit of opinion.

If you like shows which cover current news, this is one of the best. I usually prefer analysis and opinions.

Back to work

Blog - iTunes

Everybody, including me, loves Merlin and Dan, but I just can't understand this show. More than 60% is crazy talk and anecdotes, and every once in a while, they discuss productivity tricks. Regrettably, in many episodes I would get nervous, thinking "is this episode going to be one of these crazy ones?", hoping I wouldn't end an hour and a half later feeling that I hadn't actually learned anything.

It's a bit ironic that a podcast about productivity takes a lot of its listener's time. As a matter of fact, if somebody made a monthly digest of Back to work including only the productivity content, I'd listen to it in a heartbeat.

That's it!

If you are a podcast listener, I hope you give any of these a chance. They are all great shows; listen to a few episodes and decide which is best for you. And please use the comments to recommend me new shows! I'd love that.

Tags: productivity, links

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