The Best Podcasts of 2019 (Last Cast Standing Tourney)

We listened, we took notes, and we waited… The time has finally come. We present…. the BEST PODCAST EPISODES OF 2019 (plus our Key Takeaways), chosen by YOU, our readers. Which cast will outlast? Make sure you’re signed up for our newsletter to get access to the voting. We’ll update this post as the bracket is decided.

At the end of Round 2, here’s what we have:

Onwards to Round 3 – the Final Four!

Matchup #1 | The Sleep Diplomat vs. The Angel Philosopher

Dr. Matthew Walker: Sleep for Enhancing Learning, Creativity, and Immunity – Found My Fitness with Dr. Rhonda Patrick

Dr. Matthew Walker (@sleepdiplomat) has done it again. After his appearance on The Joe Rogan Experience secured our pick for the best podcast of 2018, Matthew joined forced with Dr. Rhonda Patrick (@foundmyfitness) for a discussion that left us all feeling like we could use a solid 8 hours of sleep (in a good way). Go ahead… Try listening to this episode and not getting 8 hours of sleep the following night. You won’t be able to. And we have to say, everybody’s favorite scientist, Dr. Rhonda Patrick, was the PERFECT counterpart to this deep dive on the importance of sleep. Here’s a glimpse of what we took away from their chat:

  • Deep sleep is essential for cementing memories and information
  • REM (rapid eye movement, AKA dream) sleep helps to form connections between recently learned information and our entire back catalog of memories
  • As we age, the amount of deep sleep we get decreases
    • By the time you’re 50, you’re getting about 50% less deep sleep compared to your teens
  • Here’s what happens when you don’t get enough sleep:
    • Your regulation of blood glucose is profoundly impaired
    • Your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease skyrockets
    • Men who are sleeping 5 hours or less a night will have a level of testosterone that of 10 years their senior
    • Anxiety levels shoot through the roof
    • When you’re sleep-deprived, you have a lowered desire for social proximity and social interaction
  • Sleep tips:
    • Aim to get lots of light during the day and lots of darkness at night
    • For you to fall asleep and stay asleep, your body has to drop its core temperature 1 °C (2-3 °F)
    • Know that both alcohol and cannabis suppress REM sleep
    • Avoid caffeine after midday

The Naval Podcast – How to Get Rich: Every Episode

Back in May of 2018, Naval’s (@naval) famous How to Get Rich tweetstorm first graced the internet. It’s an absolute must-read, and it’s popularity led Naval to launch his own podcast, walking listeners through each tweet in a multiple-episode series. This, right here, is the result – all episodes combined into a nearly 3-hour lecture that’s worth more than an MBA. How to to get rich, laid out step by step. How could you ask for more? Innovation at it’s finest, Naval and co-host Babak Nivi (@nivi) blazed a new type of podcast trail, releasing segments of this conversation as short, bite-sized, 2-5 minute episodes. Pay attention, folks. This is something you’re going to see other podcasters mimicking. No fluff, just straight Navalism after Navalism. Here’s just a glimpse of what we learned:

  • Aim to be a kick-ass 100-year-old
    • When you’re 100, you should be able to: Get up off the floor under your own support, walk up and down a flight of stairs carrying groceries, lift ~30 lbs. over your head, and do a 30-pound goblet squat
  • “The more you exercise, and the healthier you are, the less benefit, and potentially more detriment, you could experience from metformin” Peter Attia
  • There are TONS of different fasting regimens, but because we can’t measure autophagy, we have no idea which is most optimal in terms of longevity/lifespan
  • Your negative personality traits are NOT set in stone – with enough work, they can be changed for the better
  • “If you’re really committed to brain health, you want to be exercising every day” Peter Attia
  • Two of the best things you can do to improve your sleep:
    • Go to bed and wake up at the same time every single day
    • Cut out alcohol; it destroys sleep quality

Matchup #2 | Naval on Joe Rogan vs. George McGill on Modern Wisdom

Naval Ravikant on The Joe Rogan Experience #1309

The podcast that shook the industry. The one everyone was waiting for. Late one summer night… it happened, and the internet damn near broke. Naval (@naval) is a perennial favorite for his incredible ability to condense deep and thoughtful topics into the fewest possible words. In this epic conversation, Naval explains how we all can learn to be wealthy, happy, and fit; why desire is suffering; the infinite leverage technology provides; the problems with general AI and universal basic income; and how the best kind of work is what feels like play. Dig into the notes, but trust us – take the time to listen to this one. Here’s what we learned:

  • Don’t read to finish books. Read to satisfy your intellectual curiosity.
  • EVERYBODY on Earth can be wealthy
  • Happiness is a choice
  • “Desire is suffering… every desire you have is an axis where you will suffer. So just don’t focus on more than one desire to time. The universe is rigged in such a way that if you just want one thing, and you focus on that, you’ll get it, but everything else you gotta let go.” – Naval Ravikant
  • If you want to operate at peak performance, you need a calm mind
  • Knowledge workers function like athletes – they train, sprint, then rest and reassess
  • We need a culture of continuous adult education
  • Society will always create new jobs, but it’s impossible to predict what those jobs will be
    • “I do believe that automation, over a long enough period of time, will replace every non-creative job” – Naval Ravikant
  • Naval practices the “art of doing nothing” meditation, here’s how you do it:
    • “Sit down, close your eyes, get in a comfortable position, and whatever happens, happens. If you think, you think. If you don’t think, you don’t think. Don’t put any effort into it.”Naval Ravikant
  • Protect your time like it’s all you have
    • You’ll have to ruthlessly decline meetings if you want to do anything of importance in this world
  • Find the thing that looks like work to others, but feels like play to you, and then go all-in

George MacGill: Mental Models 101 (How To Make Better Decisions) – Modern Wisdom

Wow. That’s all we have to say. Shane Parrish Jr…. ahem… George McGill (@george_mack) linked up with Modern Wisdom host Chris Williamson (@ChrisWillx) for one of the most insight-dense conversations of the year. First, let us say, if you’re not following George on Twitter… start. The man is going places – straight to the top of our list of the best podcasts of 2019. In this episode, George walks us through the list of mental models he utilizes on a daily basis, every one which you can start applying to your life TODAY. How to instantly become happier, taking advantage of asymmetric opportunities, being high-agency… oh yeah. This is one you might want to listen to TWICE. Here’s just a glimpse of what we learned from George.

  • Instead of focusing on how to become successful/happy, just figure out what you need to avoid in order to do so
  • Walking through a hospital makes you realize how lucky you are if you have your health
  • For every opportunity, try to ask yourself- “Will this give me more time or energy?
    • If the answer no for both, don’t proceed
  • It’s essential to be able to hold two opposing views in your head at the same time
    • “You want black and white thinking, It’s the shades of grey where you go to die.” George McGill
  • Consume more content that has stood the test of time and less of what was produced in the last 24 hours
  • “High agency behavior is THE MOST IMPORTANT personality trait out there”George McGill
    • Being high agency = being extremely resourceful
  • Look for asymmetric opportunities in life and business (where the upside is limitless and the downside is almost negligible)
    • One of George’s favorite asymmetric actions – DM’ing people on Twitter
  • Look specifically for situations in life where the first-order consequences are negative, but the second and third-order consequences are positive
  • EMBRACE being weird
    • In order to get anywhere worthwhile in life, you need to stand out
  • Doing > reading about something
    • The fastest way to learn is in the arena

Past Round Participants (in no order)

Dr. David Sinclair – The Joe Rogan Experience #1234

Can we reverse aging? Might we one day be able to live forever? Dr. David Sinclair (@davidasinclair) thinks so. And after listening to his conversation with Joe (@joerogan), we at Podcast Notes are believers. The interview that had everyone Googling for NMN and resveratrol, the interview that started David’s EPIC podcast tour, this was, without a doubt, one of the best health-focused podcasts of the year. Of course, there was actionable advice as well. David discusses his exact longevity-focused weekly routine and supplement regimen. If an anti-aging professor at Harvard is doing it, maybe you should too? Here’s what we learned from David about the fascinating field of anti-aging research:

  • Sirtuins are genes which protect all organisms from deterioration and disease
  • NMN and resveratrol are molecules which mimic the effects of the sirtuin genes
    • “You can think of resveratrol as the accelerator pedal for the sirtuin genes, and NMN as the fuel” – Dr. David Sinclair
    • NMN also boosts NAD+ levels, which sirtuins need to function)
  • “Aging should absolutely be classified as a disease” – Dr. David Sinclair
    • Why isn’t it? – Because it happens to everybody: “It’s only because we all tend to go through this that we think it’s acceptable” – Dr. David Sinclair
  • One of the best things you can do to increase your chances of living longer: Don’t overeat

Ben Greenfield and Kyle Kingsbury on Smart Drugs, Nootropics, Microdosing With Psychedelics, Enhancing Deep Sleep & Much More – Ben Greenfield Fitness

Biohackers, this one’s for you. Nicotine gum, CBD, Alpha GPC, huperzine mixed with acetylcholine, and psychedelics we’ve never heard of, these were just some of the topics Kyle (@kingsbu) and Ben (@bengreenfield) dove deep on. Plus, 2019’s podcast sleep trend continues; Ben & Kyle dished out some of their favorite tips for optimizing shut-eye. “A good night of sleep begins when you wake up.” That line’s going to stick with us for a while. Kyle & Ben, thank you for providing us with one of the best health podcasts of 2019. Here’s are just a few of the biohacks we picked up from this wide-ranging chat:

Marc McCabe: A Deep Dive Into Startup Fundraising – Below the Line with James Beshara

Ever wonder how to go about raising money as a startup? Look no further. This right here, friends, is the ULTIMATE guide. Call it: “The Startup Fundraising Cheat Sheet.” Marc McCabe (@mccabe) could not have made it any simpler. This one is a MUST-listen for any founder. Of course, Marc wasn’t the only one with an A+ episode performance. James Beshara (@jamesbeshara), having battled in the startup trenches himself, knew just the right questions to ask. Honestly, the pair probably should have charged for this episode. There was that much value. Here’s what Marc had to teach us about the four phases of startup fundraising:

  • Phase #1 | Build Your Pitch
    • Knowledge is confidence – In general, know 3x more than you’re going to share
    • EVERY pitch deck needs to answer the following:
      • Why us? Why this? Why now? (at the seed stage)
      • How have we performed? (add for series A, B, and C)
    • Graphs >>> tables
    • Spend 3-4 weeks creating your pitch
    • Practice your pitch on existing investors and other founders in your space (Marc calls this “hardening” the pitch)
    • Have a shorter (3-5 slides) deck you can send to a VC pre-meeting and a longer (12-18 slides) deck you use for your presentation
      • Never send the longer deck pre-meeting
  • Phase #2 | Structure Your Process
    • Line up 40-60 target funds you think might be good candidates in a spreadsheet (ideally include specific partners you want to meet with as well)
    • If you don’t know a specific partner at the fund, start thinking about where your introduction will come from (as Marc Andreessen said in these Podcast Notes, a warm referral >>>> a cold email)
      • The strongest referral source is a well-performing founder within a target fund’s portfolio
    • PACK your first two weeks of pitching with as many meetings as you can (but not more than ~4-5/day)
  • Phase #3 | Navigate the Process
    • Manage your meetings like a project. After each, ask:
      • What do your next steps look like?
      • What do you still need to understand?
      • What’s going to happen next?
      • What are the action items?
      • (All the above facilitate further communication between you and the VC, thus helping you move the process forward)
    • A key point to remember – you want every one of the funds you’re dealing with to be working along a similar timeline
      • Always be managing the pace to try and prevent any particular fund from getting too far ahead in the process
  • Phase #4 | Get the Term Sheet
    • “I always tell founders the same advice… NEVER talk about valuation” – Marc McCabe
      • It should be something the market is going to decide
    • Your priorities as a founder should be:
      • 1) Finding the right partner
      • 2) Getting the right amount of money to scale your business
      • Do NOT start negotiating before you have a term sheet in hand

Jocko Willink on The Peter Attia Drive (Part IPart II)

Meet Jocko (@jockowillink) – podcaster, author, retired United States Navy SEAL, president of the 4:30 AM club, and all-around BADASS. This two-part interview was one for the ages. Jocko and Peter (@PeterAttiaMD) dive deep on problem-solving frameworks, essential leadership traits, lessons learned from war, fasting routines, parenting tips, and the question the podcast world has been DYING to know the answer to: How the hell does Jocko manage to wake up at 4:30 AM EVERY SINGLE DAY? Good news: We FINALLY have the answer. Joco m’ fkin Willink. GET SOME. And with that, here’s what we learned:

  • It’s CRUCIAL that you speak up when you know your leader is making a mistake
  • If you understand the principles of nutrition (how and why we store fat, what excess amounts of seed oils/sugar do, etc.), your food choices take care of themselves
  • The most important characteristic of a leader? – Humility
  • “Lead a family and your kids the same way you’d lead an organization or a team. If you bark orders at your team, they won’t like you, they won’t respect you, and they’re not going to carry out those orders with any sort of commitment.” – Jocko Willink
  • “When you have problems, and you’re caught up in something psychologically, one of the best things you can do is take some kind of action that moves you forward. What you don’t want to do is stay stagnant and dwell on what’s happening.” – Jocko Willink
  • Jocko has quite the insane sleep routine:
    • On a typical night, he goes to bed at 11 PM and wakes up at 4:30 AM
    • How does he do it? – Jocko appears to be one of those very rare humans that just needs less sleep
  • On fasting:
    • Jocko does a 24-hour fast 1-2x a week and a 72-hour fast once per quarter
    • Peter does a 5-7 day fast once per quarter
  • Be smart enough to distinguish between quitting on a plan vs. quitting on a goal
  • Cultivate the ability to detach from what’s going on and look at things from an outside perspective
    • “The better you get at life, the more you’re able to detach from inside your own emotion-filled storm of ego. The more you can get out of your head and take a step back and look at what’s actually occurring, the better decisions you’re going to be able to make.” – Jocko Willink

Michael Pollan: Exploring the Frontiers of Psychedelics – The Tim Ferriss Show

Michael Pollan (@MichaelPollan) is going to change the world. Yes, you read that right. His latest book, How to Change Your Mind, will transform the way society thinks about psychedelics. Psilocybin, ayahuasca, DMT, you name it, even if you’d never even think about partaking, the book is a must-read (and this podcast is a must-listen). The fact is, mental healthcare in the United States is broken. Psychedelic drugs may just fix it; they’ve proven effective at treating opioid addiction, eating disorders, end of life anxiety in cancer patients, and alcoholism, just to name a few. In this chat, Michael and Tim (@tferriss) spoke on the state of psychedelic research and all the exciting science on the horizon. Here’s what we learned:

  • Psychedelics (psilocybin in particular – the psychoactive ingredient in magic mushrooms) are effective at treating the following:
    • End of life anxiety in cancer patients
    • A variety of addictions – OCD, alcoholism, and smoking
  • Current and future studies plan to examine the effectiveness of using psilocybin to treat depression
    • Besides the recent approval of a ketamine nose spray, there haven’t been any new tools approved for the treatment of depression since antidepressants first appeared in the late 1980s
  • What else might psychedelics be medically used for?
    • The treatment of opiate addiction, eating disorders, and demoralization in AIDS patients
    • Helping individuals cope after learning they have certain conditions (like Alzheimer’s Disease, ALS, Parkinson’s Disease, etc.)
  • Mental healthcare in the U.S. (and the rest of the world) is broken
  • Psychedelics decrease activity in a part of the brain known as the default mode network (DMN)
    • If the ego had an address, that’s where it would be
    • When we’re thinking about the future or past, we’re using the DMN
    • Interestingly – very experienced meditators have reduced activity in their DMNs
  • One of the significant challenges that lie ahead is the funding of psychedelic research – trials are costly to run

A Podcast About Podcasting – The a16z Podcast

The podcast industry is booming. Among the U.S. population ages 12 and older, the total number of people who have ever listened to a podcast just passed 50% for the first time. Amazing. That said, several problems still need to be solved. Interactive show notes, monetization, advertising, audio clips, discovery… we still have a long way to go. If you’re a fan of the industry, this is a conversation for you. Sonal Choksi (@smc90) and guest hosts Connie Chan (@conniechan) and Nick Quanh (@nwquah) take a deep dive into the state of podcasts, exploring how far we’ve come, and how far we still have to go. Here’s what we learned.L

  • One-third of Americans have listened to a podcast in the last month
  • From the advertising standpoint, it’s still tough to measure the ROI of sponsoring a podcast
  • We’re in the very early stages of podcast monetization
  • Podcasting Improvements:
    • We need better ways to identify and share the best clips from a podcast episode
      • This is currently a huge problem – creators have no idea which parts of an episode the audience likes the best
      • One of the most significant limitations in podcasting is the lack of a screenshot equivalent
    • We need better ways to consume short bites of a long podcast episode
    • Podcast show notes should be interactive
    • We need better ways of discovering and searching for podcast episodes by topic

Shane Parrish: Using Mental Models to Make Better Decisions – The Art of Manliness

How to Make Better Decisions 101. That’s our alternative title for this episode. This one was PACKED with actionable insights. Shane Parrish (@shaneaparrish) is on a mission to help us all improve the way we think (and we’re on board). He took a break from hosting his own podcast, The Knowledge Project, to join Brett McKay (@brettmckay) for a fascinating chat about all things mental models. Direction over speed, thoughtful opinions held loosely, and owning your actions… Buckle up. You’re guaranteed to learn something new in this one:

  • One of the reasons we don’t get better at making decisions is because we always bring a slightly different approach to the table for how we’re going to decide
    • If we sat down, and we had some sort of repeatable decision-making process, we’d be much better off
  • Shane’s guiding first principles:
    • Direction Over Speed
      • If you’re pointed in the wrong direction, it doesn’t matter how fast you’re traveling
      • If you’re locked into your desired destination, all progress is positive, no matter how small – you’ll reach your goal eventually
    • Thoughtful Opinions Held Loosely
      • “Having your ego attached to the outcome, and not you being right, enables you to see the world much more clearly than other people” – Shane Parrish
    • Own Your Actions
      • By refusing to take ownership of our mistakes, we just protect our ego – this prevents us from learning
  • Mental models describe the way the world works – they shape how we think, how we understand, and how we form beliefs
    • The more models you have, the bigger your mental toolbox, and the more likely you are to have the right model to see reality in a given situation
  • A few of the best things you can do to make better decisions:
    • SLOW DOWN (Don’t rush – you’re way more prone to making decision errors)
    • Actually schedule thinking time

Mike Posner: Making Art, Embracing Growth, and Walking Across America – The Rich Roll Podcast

Rich Roll (@richroll) and Mike Posner (@MikePosner) – could there be a more epic combination? We think not. Recorded just before Mike’s walk across America, this is a MUST-listen. Be prepared for a conversation that just may move you to tears. Some of the best life advice you’ll ever come across, insightful nuggets for creatives, why money won’t make you happier, and why you need to change the way you look at failure…. this one had it all. Thank you, Mike and Rich, for one of our favorite conversations of 2019. Simply put, the world would be a better place if everyone listened to this podcast. Here’s what we learned:

  • “If there’s any scent on the trail, you gotta go” – Mike Posner
    • When you’re chasing a dream, and any opportunity presents itself that might bring that dream closer to a reality – follow the scent
  • “Sometimes failure in the moment is not really a failure, it’s a step on the path to success”- Mike Posner
  • It’s cliche, but success and money won’t make you any happier
  • “You can’t have what’s next until you’re okay with what’s here now”- Mike Posner
  • A lesson learned from Avicii’s passing:
    • “Anytime someone close to us goes, the first thing it does is reminds us that we’re next. His death reframed my life in that I know the time is now. We all have a list of things that we want to do when we’re done doing what we have to do, but you can’t wait. I know one day I will be dead and before that day, I need to live my life. I can’t wait till tomorrow or next week. This is it.”– Mike Posner
  • Advice for creatives:
    • Create the art, but don’t worry about how it’s perceived
    • “What gets in the way the of your creative muse is when you start worrying about what other people will think…even one extra person is too many. All I can do is create the stuff that I want to be created…the stuff I want to exist. It’s a beautiful job – you get to tailor-make beautiful things to your exact preferences, and no one else can do it, except you.”Mike Posner

Joe Rogan: Choose Your Struggle – Aubrey Marcus Podcast

Joe Rogan (@joerogan), ladies and gentlemen. Need we say more. Not only is he one of the best interviewers on the face of the planet, but when the mics are flipped, and he joins forces with Aubrey Marcus (@AubreyMarcus), he also gives one hell of an interview. If you’re struggling, mentally or physically, this one’s for you. As a matter of fact, EVERYONE should listen to this. Don’t feel like getting in today’s workout? Give this episode a listen. We guarantee you’ll change your mind. Creating your own struggle, embracing life’s chaos, using nature as a perspective enhancers… so much wow. One of our 2019 favorites, here’s what Joe had to teach us:

  • Podcasts are one of the most accurate windows into a person
  • Be authentic, stop trying to hide behind an image
  • Life’s hard times allow you to grow, and also make you appreciate the good days
  • EMBRACE the chaos of daily life – LET GO of the need for control
  • Create your own struggles in life (through things likes intense physical exercise) to minimize life’s daily, acute struggles
    • “People need a certain amount of conflict and a certain amount of struggle, and they create that struggle if they don’t get it in some sort of an organic form” – Joe Rogan
  • You are NOT your past
  • Forget psychedelics, you probably just need to spend some time alone in nature – it’s the ultimate perspective enhancer

Peter Attia, MD: The Centenarian Olympics, Exercise, Fasting, Metformin, Meditation, Optimizing Sleep, and More – The Tim Ferriss Show

Peter Attia (@PeterAttiaMD) is training for the Centenarian Olympics…. and he’s gonna win. Centenarian Olympics? That’s right. The competition to be the most kick-ass 100-year-old, consisting of classic events like pulling yourself out of a pool, picking up a child, lifting a 30 lbs. suitcase over your head. You know, everything a kick-ass great-grandpa would do. But that’s not all… When friends like Tim (@tferriss) and Peter link up, you know an epic, wide-ranging chat is about to unfold. Sleep tips, exercising for brain health, fasting regimens, fixing personality flaws… this interview had it all. To add to the long list of everything we’ve learned from Peter, here’s what we took away from this discussion:

  • EVERYONE can be rich
  • You’re not going to get rich renting out your time
  • Aim to have a job, career, or profession where your inputs don’t match your outputs
  • Escape competition through authenticity
  • All the benefits in life come from compound interest, whether it’s in relationships, life, your career, health, or learning
  • Pick people to work with who have high intelligence, high energy, and high integrity – you CANNOT compromise on this
  • Arm yourself with specific knowledge
    • Specific knowledge is the stuff that feels like play to you but looks like work to others. It’s found by pursuing your innate talents, your genuine curiosity, and your passion.
  • Read what you love until you love to read
  • Embrace accountability and take business risks under your own name. Society will reward you with responsibility, equity, and leverage
  • The hierarchy of importance:
    • What you work on
    • Picking the right people to work with
    • How hard you work
  • A busy calendar and a busy mind will destroy your ability to do great things in this world
  • Productize yourself – Create a product out of whatever it is you do naturally and uniquely well

Peter Thiel on The Portal with Eric Weinstein

It’s not often that the first episode of a brand new podcast lands on a list of the year’s best. It’s also not often that two of the brightest minds of today, Peter Thiel (@peterthiel) and Eric Weinstein (@EricRWeinstein), link up for a chat about the state of the world. Most aren’t aware that Peter Thiel (@peterthiel) has a liberal alter ego at Thiel Capital, and that he’s on a mission to open The Portal to the true nature of reality that most of us are missing. And while Eric and Peter work together, they never speak publicly. The result is a one of a kind conversation between two heavyweights that agree on several things – technological stagnation, the oversold effect of automation on jobs, the bigoted nature of Silicon Valley, and mimetic theory. But dig a level deeper, and you’ll come to see how Peter & Eric disagree on potential solutions for the world’s most significant problems. Love him or hate him, Peter tells it like it is. Here’s what we took away from this conversation:

  • Universities are costing more and more every year, but a good degree is still mostly worth it
  • Innovation in science and technology is stagnating, specifically within the world of atoms
    • This quote from Eric sums it up nicely: “Go into a room and subtract off all the screens. How do you then know you’re not in 1973?”
  • Because of slow progress in the realm of university science & technology research, university presidents are forced to lie about the state of affairs (for a variety of reasons)
    • “The bigger the student debt gets, you can sort of think, ‘What does the $1.6 trillion in student debt pay for?’ In a sense, it pays for $1.6 trillion worth of lies about how great the system gets.”- Peter Thiel
  • The automation story has been oversold
    • “In the last 40-50 years, things have been slow, but we’ve been told things are about to accelerate like crazy. That may be true, and I hope it’s true. But if one was simply extrapolating from the last 40-50 years, perhaps the default is that we should be more worried about the lack of automation than excess automation.” – Peter Thiel
  • Peter’s solution to the student debt crisis:
    • He’d make college debt dischargeable in bankruptcy (currently it’s nondischargeable) AND if people went bankrupt, part of the debt would have to be paid for by the university
  • “In a democracy, if 51% of people believe something, it’s probably right. If 70-80% of people believe something, it’s almost more certainly right. But if 99.99% of people believe something, at some point, you shifted from democratic truth to North Korean insanity.” – Peter Thiel
  • “I secretly suspect, to be blunt about it, and this is kind of horrible, that a lot of Silicon Valley is extremely bigoted and misogynistic and it can’t actually make eye contact with the fact that it secretly thinks women aren’t as good programmers.” – Eric Weinstein
  • “I always come back to thinking the problem of political correctness is our biggest political problem. We live in a world where people are uncomfortable saying what they think.” – Peter Thiel
    • Political correctness = the pressure on people to say things they don’t actually believe

A Podcast About Podcasts – Akimbo with Seth Godin

A podcast about podcasts; how meta? In this episode of Akimbo, Seth further explores the world of podcasting, specifically focusing on the realm of advertising. This one was eye-opening, to say the least. Take this fact: In 2019, there will be $515 million spent sponsoring U.S.-based podcasts. But, this is only a third of how much money is spent running ads at the movie theater!! And there’s plenty more where that came from. There’s never been a better time to start a podcast, and it’s undoubtedly still a great idea, but don’t kid yourself – it’s not a good way to make money. Here’s what Seth had to teach us:

  • 25% of the U.S. population listens to at least 1 podcast every week
    • Those listeners spend, on average, 6.5 hours/week listening
  • Podcasts monetize at ONE penny per listener hour (for every hour someone spends listening to a podcast, an advertiser pays a penny)
    • Some comparisons:
      • Radio: 11 cents is spent per listener hour
      • TV: 13 cents is spent per watcher hour
      • Internet: 24 cents is spent per user hour
      • Magazines: 57 cents is spent per reader hour
      • Newspapers: 72 cents is spent per reader hour
    • Some key points:
      • The ROI of advertising a podcast is hard to measure, AND podcasts aren’t scarce
      • Because there’s no scarcity, it’s difficult for even the top podcasts to increase the cost of running an ad
      • “The culture of the people who buy ads runs really deep. That culture says, ‘What do people like us buy when we buy media?’ So far, they buy one of two things: the brand ads their bosses used to buy [TV, newspapers, or magazine ads] or they buy the direct marketing they can prove works [internet ads]. Podcasting is neither one of them.” – Seth Godin
  • “Having a podcast is a great idea. It clarifies your thinking and lets you share your voice, but it is NOT a good way to make money.” – Seth Godin
    • The median podcast has just 124 listeners
  • On the future of podcasts: “I think in the long run we’re ending up with a bookstore model”- Seth Godin
    • “The bookstore model says, ‘No one ever got rich owning a bookstore. Every once in a while an author comes along who does just fine [J.K. Rowling is a billionaire], but in general, you should write a book because you want to write a book, not because you want to get rich.” 
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