As Product Managers, we run busy lives. We spend too much of the day in meetings, then spend many evenings deep in analysis and preparing for the next day’s meetings and releases. Time to read is tough to come by, which is partly why podcasts have become a commuter or runner’s mainstay. With podcasts in every field, you can listen to stories and advice that can inspire and inform.
Perhaps because the job is both complicated and inconsistent, Product Managers may find it tough to find relevant content that informs their day-to-day challenges. While developers and designers searching for podcasts can easily find results like e “42 Podcasts for Developers and Programmers” or “23 Great Web Design Podcasts,” PMs have a smaller set catered to us. Still, if you widen your search far enough, you can find some great podcasts relevant to any product person.
The list of Product Management podcasts below are split into three areas: “Product Management,” “Product-Minded People,” and “The Broader View.”
Product Management Podcasts
This small handful of podcasts directly addresses the science and art of Product Management, from product creation to UX to development and scaling.
Global Product Management Talk’s Cindy F. Solomon hosts this podcast, along with Chad McAllister on the partner podcast The Everyday Innovator. This podcast focuses on all aspects of product management, from customer development, user experience, and product innovation to design, development, and marketing. Interviews are held with a wide range of product people working in large and small businesses. There is even an episode about the differences in Product Management in Large and Small Companies.
GPMT: The Everyday Innovator Ep. 064:
“Help Your Product Team Go Fast Using Lean Startup Practices.”
This Is Product Management is hosted by Mike Fishbein and produced by Alpha UX. Interviews are held with the brightest minds across many disciplines that drive modern product teams. The focus on technology CEOs who are former PMs as well as current Product Managers makes this podcast very relevant to everyday challenges leading a Product team.
Interview with David Cancel, Former Hubspot Chief Product Officer and current Drift CEO:
“Building a Customer-Driven Product Team is Product Management.”
Product People is a podcast hosted by Justin Jackson, former Product Manager at Sprint.ly. Justin interviews fantastic product makers from all areas. Developers, designers, and entrepreneurs all contribute their takes to the discussion on creating great products.
“Interview with Nir Eyal, Author of Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products.”
These podcasts focus on product-minded Founders, Product Managers, and other product creators or thinkers. Topics usually include insightful stories about how product concepts came to be, challenges in bringing them to market, and how to scale and adapt. There are also inspirational stories and insights into finding product ideas in many parts of your life.
Rocketship.fm is one of my favorite podcasts, and has a listenership of tens of thousands of entrepreneurs every week. Founders are the focus, and everything that goes into making a great product is covered, along with some inspiring stories. They have also started a new Podcast Series, where they delve deeper into a specific topic, in addition to their weekly interviews. Upcoming series include “SaaS: A Deeper Look.”
Interview with Leslie Bradshaw, Managing Partner at Made by Many:
“Test Early, Test Often: The Power of Qualitative Data.”
If you aren’t already addicted to checking the latest products and product updates on ProductHunt, I would recommend you hop aboard. Their podcast, Product Hunt Radio, is also fantastic. Interviews include product-creators, from founders to developers, as well as makers and investors, and are always very insightful. Product Managers can learn a lot from the lessons and stories of people who create and launch products Product Hunt has a unique perspective, as thousands of product creators launch through their platform.
Interview with Eric Ries, Author of The Lean Startup:
“The Author of What Has Become the Startup Product Gospel Gives An Update Years After Writing The Lean Startup.”
These podcasts cover insights from VCs, angel investors, and other minds in broader industries and markets. These views can provide some longer-term vision to your company’s product strategy and how you innovate.
This Week In Startups’ host Jason Calacanis is an outspoken angel investor in Uber and Thumbtack, as well as a former founder and one of the more recognizable people in Silicon Valley. Whether or not you agree with everything @jason has to say, he always has very thoughtful interviews with some of the smartest founders and thinkers around, and his no-BS take usually means he asks great questions, with answers that other interviewers might not be able to draw out of the founders.
Always entertaining and incisive, the podcast is a must for Product Managers as the founders interviewed usually reveal their thinking about products and industries, while telling engaging stories of how things got started. You can also watch This Week In Startups on YouTube, which is great when they put up product demos (with Jason’s color commentary, of course). You can dig into the 5+ years of archives and find early interviews with the founders of Uber, Airbnb, and more.
Early 2011 Interview with Travis Kalanick, Uber Co-founder & CEO:
“A Great Look At Travis’ Thinking About Uber Before the Birth of UberX.”
Andreessen Horowitz is considered among the top Venture Capital firms in the world, and the opinionated founders, Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz, often contribute to the a16z podcast with fantastic insights and interviews. The partners at a16z (the short-hand for their long firm name) are some of the brightest people in technology, and Product Managers will be wise to listen to their thoughts on market trends, industry implications, and broader movements that will affect product strategy and innovation in the coming years.
Interview with IT management professor Thomas Davenport and Harvard Business editor Julia Kirby, author of Only Humans Need Apply: Winners and Losers in the Age of Smart Machines:“Automation, Jobs, & The Future of Work (and Income).”
I have often brought up in Product Team meetings the thinking behind inspiring products or experiences that I learned from podcast interviews with creators. Gathering these learnings and challenges will help round out your understanding of product creation and scaling, making you a more prepared and informed PM.
PS: Tips for Cataloging
While listening to these podcasts, whether on your daily commute, your morning jog, or while doing the dishes, it is useful to take note of important concepts, ideas, and even new ways of thinking about products and users. Podcasts are not as searchable as blogs, so making an RSS feed with your favorite podcasts or using tools like Zapier or IFTTT to catalog your episodes can be a good way to keep track of your favorites. Some friends keep a Google Sheet or simply a notepad where they write down important points they learned through the week. It would be great to hear your methods for keeping track, or if you have other podcast suggestions for Product Managers, feel free to post them in the comments below.