8 Insightful Podcasts for Product Managers
It’s no secret, especially for commuters, that – 10 years into their existence – podcasts have become an incredibly valuable and popular source of stories and information. This is especially true for podcasts that are highly targeted to a specific industry’s issues and highlight current approaches for overcoming industry challenges. Professionals in virtually every industry are using podcasts as a way of sharing best practice and learning from each other.
However when Alpha UX, a real-time user insights company I advise, interviewed more than 100 product managers, they found that, due to the inconsistent and complicated nature of the role, product managers actually report a lack of educational content and resources to address their particular challenges.
I’m an avid fan of podcasts, so I was happy to explore what’s out there and relevant for product managers. While there aren’t many podcasts focused on product management, if you listen to this group of eight, you’ll learn a lot of things from a variety of different perspectives.
Product Hunt Radio
Product Hunt Radio is hosted by Ryan Hoover, the Founder of Product Hunt, the community platform where members ‘upvote’ new products they love. In the episodes, he is joined by founders, investors, and product managers to chat about – what else!? – products and technology. The low-key discussions that Ryan has with brilliant guests make this podcast informative and entertaining.
Recommendation: Check out Episode 14 with Alexis Ohanian of Reddit and Amanda Peyton of Grand Street. Also worth a listen is the first episode of their new segment ‘Maker Stories’ with Alex Blumberg and Matt Lieber, co-founders of Gimlet Media (whose podcast StartUp appears in this list).
Global Product Management Talk
Global Product Management Talk includes discussions about the art, craft, and profession of product management. Episodes cover user experience, product innovation, design, development, marketing and scaling.
Recommendation: Try the recent episode with Dan Nguyen, VP Products at Emotient, talking about product management at large vs. smaller companies.
This is Product Management
This is Product Management, created by Alpha UX, is the newest of the group and developed in response to the aforementioned survey of product managers in search of more highly targeted content. Alpha UX have taken a slightly different approach to podcasting. Instead of focusing on the episode’s speaker, they’ve mostly ditched the interview format and instead zero-in on the topic each episode is dedicated to.
Recommendation: Check out the episode with Steven Cohn, founder of Validately, on demand validation and why MVPs should die.
The Rocketship Podcast
Episodes of The Rocketship Podcast are convenient, 20-minute long interviews with successful startup founders sharing their entrepreneurial war stories and the key activities that helped them succeed along the way. Episode topics include prioritising product features and product marketing.
Recommendation: Listen to their recent episode with Cap Watkins, VP of Design at Buzzfeed, on how the team at Buzzfeed is working to bridge communication gaps across departments.
Product People is a podcast focused on great products and the people who make them.
The show interviews entrepreneurs, product managers, developers, and designers who have built successful products. Episodes include building MVPs and making habit-forming products. This one is useful for both startup and enterprise product managers.
Recommendation: Check out Episode 60 with Ryan Hoover on how he built Product Hunt in four days.
StartUp is a podcast series by Alex Blumberg from This American Life and Planet Money. It’s about “what happens when someone who knows nothing about business starts one.” In each episode, Blumberg gives a behind the scenes look at what he’s doing to start his business. This show differs from the common interview format. Instead it is more like a documentary with great storytelling and narration. The team encounter numerous product challenges along the way, and are very transparent with listeners about their efforts to solve them. To get a good idea of the format and style, check out episode 2, ‘Is Podcasting the Future or the Past?’.
Recommendation: You should really listen in sequence as this podcast is a story told across episodes. But if you only have time for one, listen to Episode 13 ‘Fake It ‘Til You Make It,’ which involves mocking up an app and testing it, in person, with a variety of users.
The James Altucher Show
James Altucher is a successful entrepreneur, investor, board member, and the author of 11 books including the recent Wall Street Journal Bestseller, ‘Choose Yourself!’ (foreword by Dick Costolo, CEO of Twitter). He has also lost all his money, made it back, lost it, and made it back again several times and openly discusses how he did it. In his podcasts he interviews people like Mark Cuban, Arianna Huffington, and Seth Godin about business and life.
Recommendation: A great sample episode is Episode 33 with Noah Kagan where he talks about what it’s like to lose out on $100 million after getting fired from Facebook, and how to validate demand for products and features before building them.
Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) is one of the most successful venture capital firms in history. In this podcast, the firm’s partners discuss different industries and business models. Episodes include ‘Building Marketplaces with the Power of Community’, ‘Reinventing Media’, and ‘The Next Phase of 3D Printing’. Few product managers will find all their episodes relevant, but it’s well worth seeking out the ones specifically about your industry.
Recommendation: A great sample episode is ‘Everything You Need to Know About Amazon’, where a16z partner, Benedict Evans dives into the operations and financial strategy of the world’s top e-commerce company.
Did I miss any? What are your favorite podcasts? Let us know in the comments.