9 Great Podcasts for Product Managers

By BrainStation August 7, 2019
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Lifelong education is a reality for Product Managers – in fact, BrainStation’s 2019 Digital Skills Survey found that more than 66 percent of product professionals participate in workshops, online courses, and in-person courses to stay on top of a profession that keeps changing.

But there’s another potential source of valuable information and inspiration that no product pro should ignore: podcasts.

With that in mind, here are nine great podcasts that all Product Managers should be listening to.

This is Product Management

With an audience of 15,000 weekly listeners and 200-plus episodes in the archive, this informative podcast is perfect for anyone who wants a show that maintains a tight focus on product management.

That doesn’t mean that host Mike Fishbein’s show lacks variety. In fact, interviewees come from all sorts of industries and their discussions – which rarely clock in above the half-hour mark – cover everything including arts, science, user experience, strategy, career tips, design, differentiation, and metrics. 

One of the most popular episodes of the year found Sandra Lin, Senior Product Director for Northwestern Mutual, exploring how the company evolved to offer digital experiences, while another episode found Karen O’Leonard, Head of Innovation at Willis Towers Watson, sharing how she implemented a testing and learning approach with her team.

If you want to sift through the show’s archive, its website helpfully allows you to sort episodes by topic, company size, audience, and industry.

Framework

Hosted by designers Rob Hayes and Tom Creighton, Framework is “a podcast about the process of researching, planning, and building that goes into bringing a product to market.”

The podcast recently interviewed Jason Field, BrainStration’s Founder and CEO. The episode focused on the design and development of Synapse, BrainStation’s unique, data-driven student learning platform. Click here to learn more about Synapse.

Rocketship.fm

Billed as essential listening for entrepreneurs, Product Managers and anyone working in tech, Rocketship.fm is a rare tech podcast to divide its episodes – which now number 300 – into “seasons” as well as small series focused on a single topic.

For instance, the show’s ongoing seventh season featured a series called “Blockland” that took a penetrating look at the movement to remake Cleveland as the blockchain capital of the world. Beyond fascinating episodes focusing on the city specifically – including the surprising role a local car salesman played in Cleveland’s tech transformation – the season also featured an episode on the history of blockchain, an interview with Wikipedia Co-Founder Larry Sanger about Everipedia, and an installment focusing on Blockland’s naysayers.

Other recent interview guests include Homebrew Founder and Partner Hunter Walk, Product Maestro Chief Storyteller Connie Kwan, and UserVoice CEO Richard White.

This Week in Startups

Promising the most interesting, outrageous and illuminating stories from the world of entrepreneurship, this popular show – available in both audio and video formats – is the pod of choice for product professionals who want to keep a finger pressed to the pulse of the wider tech world.

Host Jason Calacanis is an angel investor, an early benefactor from the dot-com boom, and a “podcast pioneer” who has issued nearly 1,000 episodes of this 10-year-old podcast. Given his clout, it’s no surprise Calacanis attracts some heavy-hitting guests. Recently, he’s welcomed co-founders and CEOs of companies including MasterClass, HackerOne, and Canva.

Certainly, there is a lot to dig into here for product professionals. Try a recent episode featuring TripActions Co-Founder and CEO Ariel Cohen discussing the art of finding product-market fit, or dig into a December interview featuring former Brandless CEO and Co-Founder Tina Sharkey sharing how to create products that reflect the values of consumers, not brands.

Product Hunt Radio

If you’re already obsessed with scanning the latest and coolest in tech on Product Hunt, why not check out this podcast co-hosted by the website’s founder, Ryan Hoover, and Abadesi Osunsade?

With guests spanning Journalists, Investors, and Founders, this podcast regularly features deep dives into some pretty big topics. 

Recently, for instance, Osunsade tackled hustle culture and crisis management with Alex Konrad, Senior Associate Editor at Forbes, while Compassionate Coding Founder April Wensel hopped on the week before to discuss how the tech industry can become more compassionate and inclusive.

a16z

It probably goes without saying that the partners at a16z – the short-hand for Andreessen Horowitz, one of the world’s top VC firms – know their stuff, and anyone in tech could benefit from their considerable wisdom.

With multiple installments per week, a rotating cast of hosts – sometimes including Andreessen Horowitz Founders Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz – tackle a broad range of topics based loosely around the thesis that software is “eating the world.”

Product professionals would be well-served by a May episode in which general partner David Ulevitch – Founder of OpenDNS and EveryDNS – shared advice on pricing and packaging and finding a balance between the product visionary and the product manager. Or try a January show featuring MobileIron CEO Bob Tinker, Author of Survival to Thrival, where the group discusses how enterprise B2B companies are challenged by finding the right go-to-market fit. 

How I Built This

Tremendously popular in and outside the world of tech, Guy Raz’s entertaining exploration of the stories behind some of the world’s top companies makes for a podcast you can throw on when you have someone in the car who doesn’t know anything about product management.

Even though it’s accessible, it’s also an incredibly insightful show offering no shortage of lessons into how some of the world’s most ubiquitous products and companies came to be.

In one recent highlight episode, Jen Rubio of Away shared the story of how a broken suitcase led her to create a company now valued at $1.4 billion, while another illuminating installment looked at how Whitney Wolfe Herd’s experience suing Tinder for sexual harassment – and the cyber-bullying that ensued – prompted her to launch Bumble, the dating app where women make the first move. Another popular episode explored how Chip Wilson noticed the rising popularity of yoga in the late 1990s ultimately led to the multimillion-dollar brand lululemon.

The Pitch

Deemed the “best business podcast on startup life” by Fortune Magazine, this show promises to take listeners behind the curtain to hear real entrepreneurs pitch real investors for real money.

Hosted by Josh Muccio, the show offers insight into how investors think, how entrepreneurs successfully sell their product ideas, and how major business deals can blossom from a simple conversation.

Be sure to check out a June episode titled “Does Anyone Really Want Your Product,” in which Dennis Meng pitches four investors on his company User Interviews – a user research system for teams of any size – or an April podcast featuring the Founders of the boxing workout startup, Hykso.

The Everyday Innovator 

Hosted by experienced Product Manager Chad McAllister, PhD, The Everyday Innovator was created in the style of a lesson plan help listeners develop product management skills. Episodes, which are organized into four skill levels, are meant to be instructive in nature, with the goal of turning listeners into “product management masters.”

Past installments have dug into decision-making for Product Managers (with Agustin Lebron, the Author of The Laws of Trading), examples of innovation in well-known brands (with Giles Lury, Author of How Coca-Cola Took Over the World), and how to create product roadmaps (with Bruce McCarthy, the CEO of UpUp Labs, and President of the Boston Product Management Association), among many other product-related topics.

 

Inspired? Find out more about BrainStation’s Product Management Certification Courses.