With the university semester starting next week, now is the perfect time to familiarise yourself with the following business-y essential listening podcasts, which will make your Commerce/Business degree a whole lot more enjoyable for you in 2019!
More than a decade ago I was a fresh-faced first year university student, embarking on a degree in business. And as much as I enjoyed reading case studies and doing assessments on successful entrepreneurs and their businesses, I’m sure if these podcasts were around back in those days, surely studying would have almost felt like pure joy! But while I can sit here and think about ‘what if….’, you my friend can benefit in the here and now from these podcasts!
The Pitch- Gimlet media
To get you started at the ground floor, ‘The Pitch’ is a perfect introduction to the world of business, right at the infancy of something special. I remember fondly to my first semester- Marketing Fundamentals, and one of our first major assessments was a group assignment to first come up with a product idea, build a marketing strategy around it and then pitch our product to our lecturers. If you’re a fan of ‘Dragon’s Den’ or ‘Shark Tank’, you’ll enjoy ‘The Pitch’, as it follows a similar formula to these TV shows. In each episode (approx. 30 mins in duration) you’re introduced to a start-up founder and their product as they pitch to a panel of venture capitalists and angel investors, selling them on their vision and path to financial success. The range of entrepreneurs have covered the entire spectrum of industries and products, from a suit that never crinkles no matter how disrespectfully you shove it into a backpack, to an overly ambitious Aussie rocket scientist who had an idea to develop a space tug which tows satellites into the correct orbit in space. How ‘The Pitch’ differs from Dragons and Sharks, is that the deal placed on the table is less rigid (not asking for $100K for 10% stake in their company), but they’re simply there to ask investors to invest in them for the promise of future returns. Therefore investors have the flexibility to put in as little as $5K or as much as half a Mill, to help the entrepreneur close their current round of investment; and there have been episodes where all investors have put in money and there have been plenty of times where the entrepreneur has walked away with nothing. Hence the show is less about the negotiation, but based on the quality of the product and the entrepreneur’s ability to alleviate the investors’ concerns. And with upwards of half an hour devoted to one entrepreneur, the show is able to dive deeper into the individual’s backstory; the actual pitch; the questioning/grilling; the aftermath when the entrepreneur has left the room and the investors unpack what they just seen/heard; and best of all they conduct a one month follow-up, where the host of the show Josh Muccio catches up with the entrepreneurs to find out how everything panned out after the show (many deals actually fall through after further probing by the investors, and on the off-chance sometimes the investors bring in syndicates and pour even more cash into the business).
To listen and for more information about ‘The Pitch’, click on:
And if this doesn’t already get you motivated about getting stuck into your first semester of a business/commerce degree, check this out! Where things can go if everything breaks right for you! While I have to emphasize that there’s nothing wrong in spending the next 40 years of your working life as a small cog in a multi-national corporation……
How I Built This with Guy Raz- NPR
Why I love ‘How I Built This‘ and why it’s one of the very first podcasts I’ve ever subscribed to, is largely due to the host Guy Raz- as he is one of the best and most natural interviewers you’re ever going to hear! And secondly it’s the level of access Guy has to the most famous and interesting entrepreneurs, each one having a minimum of an 8 figure net worth. Guy’s guests have ranged from the OGs like Sir Richard Branson (Virgin Group), Howard Schultz (Starbucks), and Michael Dell (Dell Computers) just to name a few; to the new kids on the block like John Zimmer (Lyft), Katrina Lake (Stitch Fix), and Michael Dubin (Dollar Shave Club) and the list goes on and on (to date HIBT has released 106 episodes- although some eps have been re-runs). In approx. 45 minutes, Guy has a face-to-face sit down interview (my pet hate are Skype interviews) with each entrepreneur, learning about their lives before starting their respective businesses; the struggles they had to overcome in the early days; the fortunate breaks they received along the way; and fond accounts of when their business started to snowball and gain real traction! And the interesting thing I’ve found is that the vast majority (we’re talking like 95%) of the entrepreneurs are all self-made men and women, not born into wealth but they had a good idea and most times risked it all to follow their dreams! So it proves that anyone can make it, if you have a unique idea, work hard enough at it, and enjoy some luck along the way. And the part I enjoy the most, is the final 5 minutes of the show where an everyday entrepreneur is given their time to shine in ‘How You Built That’. Here up and coming inventors can submit their stories, and have a chance to talk about their real-life product/side hustles, and I’ve obtained some interesting tidbits on some emerging inventions like InstrumentOne- a one-stop digital musical instrument, to the whimsical products like hair-ties for guys who sport man-buns (picture skull motifs on ribbons).
If you want to learn more about ‘How I Built This’, and where you can listen to the podcast, click on:
So now that you’re armed with some group assignment ideas, and have a list of backstories you can tap into if you need to type-up a case study on a business or its founder for a Management course, here is the last business-y podcast I’ll recommend to you for now.
Household Name-Business insider
This last podcast I’ve only been following for the past month, but since in this post I’ve recommended podcasts which follow the natural growth projection of successful businesses, i.e. the start-up to the cash-out phase, now it’s only fitting to close out this post with a podcast that explores those companies that have grown so large that they’ve become a ‘Household name’ – institutions which have been around since the dawn of time (well, at least for as long as you can remember)- businesses like KFC, Disney, Apple etc. They are companies which you believe you’re familiar with, but are you really? Household name’s host Dan Bobkoff and his team of investigative reporters dig and uncover the most obscure but interesting stories about these businesses, for example the first episode I listened to was on KFC and how eating KFC fried chicken on Christmas Day has become the cultural tradition in Japan?! What the? Or the story of the gangs of bedazzled leather jacketed adults who roam the magical streets of Disneyland each weekend. Only in America! I’m still trying to work-out if ‘Household Name’ is going to become a regular pod in my highly organised/rigid weekly listening schedule, but for now if you want some fun facts or conversational starters when you’re next sitting in a business lecture and you want to break-the ice with the cute stranger sitting next to you……. Dig out some fun facts you’ve learnt from ‘Household Name’ and watch their previously disinterested face light up in wonder over your tales!…..you can thank me later….
To listen and for more info on ‘Household Name’, click on:
I think there is no better time than the present to be a student, in the day and age of all these resources which is making learning fun and interactive! I hope that this trio of podcasts (and other similar podcasts you’ll find if you follow the rabbit-warren of ‘You might also like’ recommendations) can both entertain you, and motivate you to enjoy your studies! And for those who are long past the university stage of life, these podcasts can just be a form of guiltless entertainment, they’re business-y but produced/scripted so well that it’s pure entertainment!
Now for you uni students, the only real dilemma which you face is how to reference podcasts in your in-text referencing/bibliography section of your essay! Haaha. Hit us up below and let me know if these podcasts have motivated you in anyway. Yeah? And if you know of anyone who might benefit from these pods, please feel free to share this post with them.