Podcasts are a great way to learn about tech, product and design trends.
Non-technical founders are often faced with having to learn about technology at the same time as fundraising, leading a team and working on a product. Podcasts are a good way for these busy people to learn about technology and how their favorite products get made.
There are four areas that non-technical founders need to grasp in order to work with their tech teams effectively: product management, design, development and user feedback. It also helps to learn about how recent successes have come to life.
Masters of Scale
LinkedIn cofounder and venture capitalist Reid Hoffman talks to founders of companies, many of which are household names already, including Reed Hastings of Netflix and Ev Williams of Twitter and Medium. This podcast has a strong Silicon Valley focus, and it is worth remembering that not all regions have the same outlook to funding or investing in growth.
However, it is still a useful look into how companies and products are made from the start. The questions Hoffman asks his guests are understandable to an audience of smart people who grasp business, but do not have a technical background.
The episode with Brian Chesky of Airbnb is particularly useful if you want to understand how to build a great customer experience into a technology product.
Another podcast from Silicon Valley, but this time by venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. This podcast focusses on how new technologies are shaping business and society.
As a venture investor, Andreessen Horowitz has to be interested in whether a product works and can scale, as well as whether it has a genuine business case. This is a useful podcast which brings technology and business together.
On this podcast Chief Information Officers talk about what they do, their career paths and how they see technologies evolving in large companies. Even though the guests all work in Fortune 1000 companies, it is useful for non-technical founders to understand how technology supports and enables businesses, and who is involved.
If your company has a business to business component, it is likely you will negotiate your contract with a CIO, so it is useful to learn how they think. Moreover, CIOs are also often responsible for integration after acquisition, so may become very important when you sell your company.
The episode with Zuora CIO Alvina Antar was particularly insightful on post acquisition integration and how large companies should approach technology acquisitions.
The Product Podcast from The Product School
Product management is the first thing that non-technical founders must familiarize themselves with. The product manager is known as the CEO of the product, and in a startup, the CEO often plays the product manager role. The product manager’s job is to make sure that the products being made are what customers actually want and that they have a viable commercial future.
The Product Podcast interviews product managers about what they do, who they interact with and how they got started in this career. The product management role is evolving quickly, and differs greatly between startups and larger companies. This is a useful podcast to carry on listening to as your company grows, because you can see how the product role evolves as companies scale.
User experience design mixes design, technology and psychology to make useful products people enjoy using. This podcast helps you understand how user experience designers think. Since user experience designers work with product managers and developers, so this podcast series helps complete the learnings from the podcasts above.
Even if you have no intention of becoming a designer, this is a useful show to understand how designers get trained, so you know how to hire them and work with them effectively.
The episode on cross disciplinary collaboration with Becki Hyde, Design Practice Lead at Pivotal, is a good place to start to understand how the work of designers fits into the wider product team.
Tech Talker’s Quick and Dirty Tips to Navigate the Digital World
This podcast is like a dummies’ guide to technology, with episodes explaining basic tech concepts, such as what an internet domain is and why you need one. Each episode is no more than 10 minutes long. Sadly, the podcast has not had any new episodes since 2016, and while that is a long time in the world of technology, if you have no idea at all about how the internet works, this has some good introductory sessions.
Technology and consumer tastes are changing quickly, so the best founders, developers and designers are constantly learning from each other. Podcasts are a good way to supplement your learning and see how the products you use every day get built.
What are your favorite tech podcasts? Please tweet me your suggestions to @sophiamatveeva