This Symbl for Startups content series separates facts about the founder journey from fiction — with a little help from program mentors and startup experts. For additional information about how early stage businesses can benefit from the Symbl for Startups program, reach out to [email protected].

Books are wonderful learning instruments for entrepreneurs, but the podcast world is also rich with easy-to-digest information from startup gurus and conversation AI industry experts alike.

A singular benefit of listening to podcasts for busy founders is that they can play podcasts while cooking, cleaning, writing, driving, coding, and any number of other activities. It’s almost like education via osmosis! 

If you’re ready to stack up your podcast playlist with our voice intelligence- and startup-centric faves, start multitasking and tune into the binge-worthy podcast series below.

This Week In Voice

Of course we have to kick off the list with the No. 1 voice technology podcast, This Week In Voice. This podcast is hosted by Bradley Metrock, who produces The Project Voice Series (including the Project Voice event, which, if you haven’t heard of it, you certainly should check it out). Lucky for voice AI founders, Metrock also boasts experience in the business development world via his Project Voice: Catalyst program. If you’re searching for a newsy lowdown of movers and shakers in voice technology, as well as updates on consumer and market adoption of conversation intelligence, bookmark This Week In Voice.

The Voicebot Podcast

The Voicebot Podcast is another great option for those of you looking to stay current on voice AI trends and forecasts; this podcast was born out of the Voicebot.ai blog and supplements some of the research published there. Host Bret Kinsella is the CEO and founder of Voicebot.ai and web3 community Niftorian; he brings on founders, developers, and researchers under the conversation intelligence umbrella to discuss advancements in voice AI. Some episodes serve to delve into some of the more impactful news stories (think big shifts in the Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa ecosystems) while others assess progress in specific verticals alongside experts.

Masters of Scale

Now onto some less niche startup podcasts—first up, the uber-popular (for a reason!) Masters of Scale. This podcast shares business strategies straight from the mouths of the masterminds behind today’s most recognizable brands. Bob Safian, former editor in chief of Fast Company, hosts this podcast and covers topics spanning from leadership to fundraising to growth mindsets. We love that Safian doesn’t shy away from revealing his guests’ failures along their entrepreneurial journey. Setbacks and the learnings that arise from them are invaluable, so it’s healthy for you to know that even the folks at the top can empathize with your early stage struggles.

How I Built This

NPR’s Guy Raz hosts How I Built This, a similar podcast to Masters of Scale in that Raz interviews his guests—successful entrepreneurs from all walks of life and across verticals—about their humble beginnings. There is more of a narrative arc to each episode than Masters of Scale, so if you enjoy a good story above all else then How I Built This will keep you captivated. Sundar Pichai, Max Levchin, Joe Gebbia, John Mackey, and pretty much anyone pulling the levers at and fostering outsized growth for innovative businesses has been on this podcast, or at the very least been talked about on it. Not to mention, we love soothing NPR continental accents!

Business Wars

Business Wars says the obvious in its title: Business in today’s world is, at its core, war. Coke vs. Pepsi! Cryptocurrency vs. other forms of cryptocurrency! Google Chrome vs. Internet Explorer! Gucci vs. Louis Vuitton! The prize is consumer dollars or their uninterrupted attention, and the outcomes of these battles affect what all of us eat, wear, connect with our fellow humans and what our day-to-day lives fundamentally end up looking like. David Brown, former anchor of Marketplace, hosts this podcast, which focuses on one major “rivalry” per season. You don’t need to listen to these sequentially, so pick and choose the analyses that are most relevant to your product and study up.  

She Did It Her Way

In She Did It Her Way, host Amanda Bolelyn breaks down starting a six-figure business into easy and intuitive steps. With episode titles including “How to Create Urgency With Your Offers,” “How to Overcome Objections,” “Going All In With No Safety Net,” and “Learning to Stop Managing Other Peoples’ Insecurities and Expectations,” Bolelyn’s podcast series goes deep into some of the more intangible aspects of putting on your founder hat, so to speak. She also emphasizes the inclusion of female entrepreneurs specifically and interviews a bevy of qualified women who may not have the sexiest job titles but are crushing it nonetheless. If you are feeling alone as a female entrepreneur, give this podcast a listen—there are several seasons to parse through even though Bolelyn is currently on a podcasting hiatus.

Mixergy

Mixergy features the founders of such trailblazing companies as YCombinator, Wikipedia, and even Barbara Corcoran of The Corcoran Group makes an appearance! Mixergy’s goal is to introduce audiences to experienced mentors through in-depth interviews and courses in which experts detail how founders can uncover solutions to seemingly crippling issues. We also love that the podcast takes a piecemeal approach to understanding the entrepreneurial journey by offering up the fundamental truth that no one expert or businessperson is going to have all of the answers. The podcast also highlights mission as a key driver for each and every successful entrepreneur, something that is implied but rarely explicitly emphasized across startup-y podcasts. 

Startups For The Rest Of Us

Bootstrapped and mostly bootstrapped tech business owners, listen up, because this one’s for you. Startups For The Rest Of Us shares stories of founders as they attempt to start, acquire, and grow SaaS companies. There’s a little founder psychology mixed into these personal tales of triumphs and failures as well. Startups For The Rest Of Us is currently hosted by Rob Walling, who has built and sold multiple SaaS businesses and also authored a book about how to bootstrap a startup entitled “Start Small, Stay Small.” Walling has invested in more than 55 startups and offers creative approaches to the podcast format, such as the episode during which he explains the ins and outs of SaaS metrics to his child in order to significantly simplify the subject.

This Week In Startups

If you’re looking for a daily podcast that gives you an overview of the most important news across business and tech, include This Week In Startups on your roster. There are interviews with founders, operators, investors, and innovators scattered throughout this series as well, but the focus here is the must-know news du jour squeezed into each 1-hour daily episode. Hosts Jason Calacanis and Molly Wood also go over VC etiquette (very important!) and interview the people in the game who write the big checks so that you can better understand what they want from you. A lot of what they cover also serves to show that even the biggest companies can fumble, and there is always room for innovative new players.

Panic With Friends

Panic With Friends is a weekly podcast that promises its listeners simplicity and directness, and it delivers a dose of humor as well. Financial industry entrepreneur and investor Howard Lindzon talks to a wide variety of guests for 30 minutes to an hour about “the latest trends in technology and the markets.” The podcast began in 2020 as a means to offer support for people struggling during the pandemic by offering historical context and investing stories. Lindzon’s goal is to set investors up in the best possible way for growth in the years to come.

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Kira Hunter
Business Development and Growth Associate, Symbl.ai for Startups