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Are you listening to podcasts?

I first listened to a podcast when I first cooked a meal - over six years ago now. I used to regularly read the blog of Mitch Joel, and he would post an interview with a person in the marketing industry once a week. While still doing my MBA, I found these conversations very informative.

Soon, this became a routine for me. I would listen to an episode of Mitch Joel's podcast every time I cooked a meal. The 40-60 minute episodes were the perfect length of time to overlap with my cooking.

After a few months though, I moved back in with my parents and I stopped cooking. And as a result, I stopped listening to podcasts. Although, in truth, I must say podcast, singular, as I had only listened to many episodes of the same podcast (which, six years later, is still going strong by the way). Nevertheless, the point is that I stopped listening to podcasts.

Several years later, after well over a year in Amsterdam is when I started listening to podcasts again. Although, this time, it wasn't to keep up with Mitch Joel's interviews. The trigger was probably The James Altucher show where James Altucher interviews a broader set of people - from movie directors to bestselling authors to standup comedians to Youtube stars. I regularly read his blog, but used to simply read the short posts on the podcasts rather than actually listen to them. Until I came across his podcast featuring Yuval Noah Harari, right around the time I was reading Sapiens. And then, immediately after, I also listened to Richard Branson on his podcast while reading his 'Finding my Virginity'.

Again, the conversations were really interesting and engaging and got me back on the habit of listening to podcasts regularly. Since then, I have added many more podcasts to my list - Radiolab, Techdirt, Science Vs, and so on.

I read quite a lot (not just books, but also articles). But all the articles I read happen to be in between other things I do throughout the day - pretty much during my breaks or while waiting in the queue at the supermarket counter. Which means I don't always dedicate time to read long articles and bookmark them for later. My rate of revisiting and reading them is quite atrocious.

While the shorter articles (the format I follow myself) are good quick reads that introduce a concept crisply and leave me thinking or inform me about something new, they don't have room to go deeper about what they talk about.

And I have a lot of unoccupied time (mind-wise) while I cook, which is more or less a daily affair. And while I can't read during this time, I can certainly listen to podcasts on these topics that explore them in a deeper way.

And that's what I've been doing. My RSS feed and email subscriptions used to be 99% articles and 1% podcasts that somehow used to slip their way through. But nowadays, the split is a more even 50:50.

So, I wasn't surprised when I came across stats about the rising trends in podcasting. Every major media house has their own podcast on a variety of topics and every popular blogger has their own podcast to go with. In fact, I'm toying with the idea of starting a weekly podcast myself as my year-long project for 2019 (it has been stand-up comedy this year and was publishing a novel last year).

A lot of us have free time (mind-wise) these days - be it while cooking, or driving to and from work, running, working out at the gym, or while doing routine activities like laundry. And more of us seem to be going in the direction of utilizing this time more productively by replacing music with podcasts.

While I'm not surprised that podcasts are on the rise again, I'm curious to know if that time is coming out of the pockets of Spotify and other music streaming services. And I have a strong sense that that is the case as Spotify is investing heavily in building out it's podcast catalog and integrating it on the app.

Irrespective of the trends, I'm personally enjoying listening to several podcasts and recommend you give it a shot as well (if you haven't already!).

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