My colleague Staxmanade is building a podcast app for XBox. You should check it out, he’s good at what he does.
Based on our conversations I’ve decided to catalog my habits around listening to podcasts. Not to navel gaze for its own sake, more because I’m curious about what YOUR habits are and what the more broader trends are beyond my sample size of 1.
I use Pocket Casts for just about everything because it’s on my phone and I take my phone everywhere (even jogging).
I will occasionally listen in-browser when I either want to test-drive a podcast or listen to a single episode. This happens maybe once or twice a month.
I’m a stop-and-go listener.
It is very rare to listen to a podcast from start to finish without pausing. For example, my son comes to visit my office. I get a refill of coffee. I’m walking to the car. And so on.
Quality does NOT matter but sometimes it does.
When any podcaster I listen to starts down the trail of what mic they use and other details, my eyes glaze over. Content is what drives me to a podcast - if Scott Hanselman is interviewing someone interesting over a skype call and they have an Israeli accent, I will crane my neck and listen because the content is good. With that said, there are shows like This Developers Life which were compelling because of the care and detail put into eachepisode. This was not because they purchased any of the mics podcasters like talking about, it was because of Rob’s post production and editing.
Podcasts I listen to involve multiple people.
It is incredibly hard for a single person to be engaging over any length of time. Conversations work best. A great hybrid is a personal essay that opens each show - Debbie Millman used to do this on Design Matters. More recently Tim Ferris has used this tactic as well. But for show content, conversations work best. There is one notable exception to this: Hardcore History although despite his claims that he doesn’t do much planning Dan Carlin seems to present his content in an effecient, essay-like narrative.
Often I don’t finish. Especially long podcasts going more than 40 minutes.
I work from home so perhaps with a commute this woul be different. But even then, some of the podcasts that stretch into the 2+ hour range almost seem like work in order to finish.
I switch a lot. Even mid-podcast.
To give an idea of how this works, I might be listening to a long podcast like ATP in the morning but when I take a walk (usually 20 minutes) I like to have something I can start and finish so I’ll switch to something shorter.
Despite all the podcasts I subscribe to there are few that I’m religious about listening to.
I’ll drift for a while and then binge through a few episodes.
A few thoughts on podcasts but enough of my own narcisicm. I’m curious about any other habits, tactics, or nuances people might have when it comes to listening to podcasts. If you haven’t already been there, please check out Staxmanade’s podcast app. I’m lobbying for a version that will run in a browser for those of us without Xboxes.