With the success of “nerd tradition” there was an unlucky homogenization of media. Even one thing as area of interest as podcasts during which folks discuss expertise has been slathered within the inoffensive mayonnaise that’s company branding. Now the concept of being “into tech” or “a nerd” has been floor down to easily imply somebody who owns one of many highest-selling telephones in the marketplace and goes to the highest-grossing motion pictures in human historical past. I’ve returned to the tech podcast trenches to tug from the inky deep six podcasts that embrace essential considering, the tales of minorities in tech, and aren’t afraid to be geeky about precise nerdy matters.
There Are No Ladies on The Web
There Are No Ladies on the Web (in any other case recognized by the superb initialism TaNGotI) captures the spirit of NPR-born tech and internet-focused podcasts. Reply All ex-pats will decide up the acquainted trappings of upbeat plunky music stings getting used to transition between traces of thought as a charismatic host leads them down that episode’s story. Besides, as a substitute of spotlighting tech bros as they mansplain dropshipping to one another, TaNGotI is telling the world tales that have to be heard. Because the official web site completely sums up: “digital activist and veteran podcaster Bridget Todd is chronicling what the web expertise appears like for us, and the neglected methods marginalized voices have been on the coronary heart of expertise and the web from the very starting.”
Episodes round one hour however can even shrink to close half an hour. There’s no formulaic construction demanding every story must run the identical size. Todd provides the folks concerned the time they should inform their story. Whereas a strong speaker in her personal proper, Todd understands the facility of letting her company inform their very own story as a lot as potential.
When you’ve by no means heard of Rocket, congratulations. I’ve simply given you a beautiful reward. Christina Warren, Brienna Wu, Simone de Rochefort. When you have a Twitter account for any substantial time frame you’ve doubtless seen considered one of them in passing. The final time I really helpful Rocket I mentioned its continued existence and backlog of lots of of episodes was a “public service to podcasting.” Lofty phrases, and I nonetheless imagine it. Three girls very a lot embedded in web and tech tradition spend an hour speaking concerning the week’s developments in tech and popular culture.
What units Rocket aside from people-talking-about-stuff chat casts is the hosts’ mixture of business expertise and honesty. A giant downside in tech podcasting is hosts who journey a centrist line, seemingly out of worry of ruining future partnerships or job alternatives. Warren, Wu, and Rochefort inform it like it’s. They’re up for doing goofy chilly opens discussing which Sonic character most closely fits their personalities, however additionally they have a monitor report of discussing the difficult place they’ve on the planet. It’s not straightforward being knowledgeable of among the newest unhealthy information about Apple but in addition nonetheless have the innate urger to get the most recent iPhone for advantage of new-thing-feel-good.
Rocket is humorous, retains to a modest one hour episode size, and tells it like it’s. Tech podcasting can be a greater place if reveals like this had been the established order.
Minority Report Podcast
Minority Report Podcast (to not be confused with The Minority Report, a present that appears just like the hosts say “grindset” unironically) options hosts Erik Requidan and Kerel Cooper interviewing a folks of shade, girls, and LGBTQIA+ on the planet of enterprise and tech.
Reporting on minority members of painfully cis white industries. I’m a sucker for a strong pun title. Fortunately that lead me to this surprising delight of an interview present. The superstructure of the podcast is simple: a bunch introduces a visitor, they discuss, they go dwelling. Enhancing is judicial with the common episode feeling very tight and coming in just below half an hour.
In a surprising twist one wouldn’t usually discover on a easy tech-themed interview podcast: Minority Report is totally transcribed. Not simply copy-pasted out of Otter.ai. Somebody on the workforce is taking the time to manually edit the transcript so as to add in notations for moments like when the visitor laughs.The bar is within the basement so far as transcriptions in nonfiction podcasting however kudos to them for going above and past.
Properly There’s Your Downside
WTYP is a podcast about tech, even when it’s not introduced as one. Every episode hosts Justin Roczniak, Alice Caldwell-Kelly, and Liam Anderson hop round historical past to cowl engineering disasters. As one may count on, the reason for the overwhelming majority of engineering catastrophe deaths could be summed up with “capitalism.” Matters mentioned vary out of your bog-standard railroad disasters introduced on by firms skimping on security to very large almost-diaster moments like Y2K. The hosts could also be two crass Philly dudes and a trans Scottish girl who performs the Soviet nationwide anthem each time communism is talked about, however rattling in the event that they don’t present thorough and attention-grabbing analysis. Their episode on the Titanic is so lengthy it needed to be break up in half purely so Roczniak’s web might deal with importing it.
Episode presentation is comparatively easy for a video podcast. Roczniak information a Google Slides presentation consisting of slides he and/or different hosts have constructed for the subject. The only real cause to observe WTYP as a substitute of listening to their audio-only RSS feed is witnessing Roczniak’s hand-drawn annotations as they seem, affectionately known as “John Madden-ing.” Whereas a deal with to observe him sketch cross-sections of poorly-constructed buildings, sufficient of an effort is made by the hosts to verbally describe the slides to make the audio-only podcast not simply an afterthought.
Brad and Will Made a Tech Pod
An vital a part of a balanced tech podcasting weight loss plan is protection of the business from two dudes who keep in mind life earlier than the web. That’s the place self-identified greybeards Brad Shoemaker and Will Smith are available. Each veteran tech journalists, Shoemaker and Smith have produced a podcast so lean the premise can also be the title. Three episodes a month the 2 hosts talk about matters pertaining to developments within the tech world, from sensible gadgets to GPU prices. The fourth episode is reserved for Q&A, which permits the 2 to essentially go wild.
Two white dudes of their forties may not appear notably wizend in a world the place Wozniak remains to be doing faculty talking engagements, however think about the panorama of tech podcasting. A spot inundated with 20-something white dudes who assume being loud equates being right. Shoemaker and Smith – refreshingly – perceive they’re two cis white guys who’ve had profitable careers writing concerning the latest graphics playing cards and making podcasts with Adam Savage. In the event that they don’t have one thing of value to say on a subject, they gained’t.
They’re additionally large geeks. If left unchecked Shoemaker is wish to start discussing how a bit of tech works right down to the extent of what’s on the PCB inside. One might make a consuming recreation out of each time he mentions utilizing a shell command in his on a regular basis use of Home windows 10. Brad and Will Made a Tech Pod, in addition to its sister present FOSS Pod during which the identical hosts talk about open supply software program, is the proper addition to any tech podcaster’s media weight loss plan.
Whereas not explicitly a podcast that talks about tech each episode, in my coronary heart Trash Future counts in a holistic sense. The tagline on the TF web site sums the present up completely: “a podcast about enterprise success and making your self smarter with the continued psychic trauma of capitalism.” What business is most beset with capitalist brainworms than tech?
Trash Future sports activities a rotating forged of hosts consisting of Riley Quinn, Milo Edwards, Hussein Kesvani, Nate Bethea, and Alice Caldwell-Kelly. Any given episode of TF is akin to taking part in round with the strengths and weaknesses of celebration members in Dragon Age or Mass Impact. Some deliver relative order, some deliver outright chaos. It’s loud, brash, and unapologetically political. They’ve been at it for therefore lengthy there’s an inventory of in-jokes and working bits one has to tease aside and retroactively determine, if not outright ask a fan the place they began.
Each different add is a teaser for a Patreon-exclusive episode. The episode titles are a trainwreck. TF is as lo-fi a presentation as one thing starring hosts with costly mics can get. Very similar to Properly There’s Your Downside, TF doesn’t give a shit when you prefer it or not. When you’re on the identical wavelength because the hosts, you’ll actually just like the present.
Bonus tech podcasts
That is Solely a Check
A remnant from the years when Examined.com was a tech overview outlet moreso than a supply platform for Adam Savage movies, That is Solely a Check is a weekly podcast during which website co-founder Norman Chan and visitor(s) talk about the week’s developments in relation to tech and loosely-tech-adjacent popular culture. A weekly commuter-friendly podcast made by folks brazenly essential of the environmental impression of crypto is more durable to seek out than one may assume, however it exists.
Whereas technically a video-first podcast, I can rely on one hand the quantity of occasions through the years when one thing occurred on the video feed that genuinely left me feeling ignored. If a visible actually is vital, Chan will swoop in with an outline to fill within the audio listeners. Examined has created the podcasting equal of Outdated Dependable. I used to be a weekly listener within the mid 2010s and may verify that – save for co-founder Will Smith’s downgrade from host to occasional visitor – it’s functionally equivalent to this present day. You may belief Examined to be there each week with a information roundup, chat about some popular culture, and discuss tech you’ll need however most likely don’t want.
Tech Gained’t Save Us
In a stroke of excellent private branding, this leftist tech business dialogue podcast is hosted by Paris Marx. Take a wild guess as to Marx’s political leanings. The driest of the entries on this listing, Tech Gained’t Save Us discusses, effectively, how tech isn’t going to save lots of humanity of its personal accord. The darker sides of how expertise is harnessed for inhumane motives is roofed every episode as Marx interviews an professional on a given section of the business. From the inherently right-wing assemble of cryptocurrency to the methods Australia’s robodebt scandal, you’re going to listen to about some gnarly stuff. The place podcasts like Properly There’s Your Downside deliver granular historic information or broad-strokes systemic points, Tech Gained’t Save Us shines by advantage of regularly speaking to individuals who’ve completed little besides analysis a given area of interest subject for functions of writing longform protection of it. It’s additionally a uncommon deal with to stumble throughout a present concerning the business that may plainly title folks within the business they’re speaking about. There’s no subtweeting to be discovered right here, simply miserable realities we’ll doubtless by no means escape.
Queens of the Drone Age
Angharad Yeo, Rae Johnston, Amanda Yeo, and Tegan Jones are 4 Australian tech-focused content material creators who get collectively each week to speak. Think about this the come-down enjoyable entry in an inventory peppered with miserable, sometimes anger-inducing discussions of the horrors of the industries propping up trendy expertise. Whereas Queens of the Drone Age don’t essentially sugarcoat issues, the expertise is much extra chill. Vital airtime of 1 episode is devoted to Johnston and Amanda Yeo geeking out over new vacuums.
Being veterans of the tech sides of Mashable, Gizmodo, and the ABC (swap the A to Australia in that one, Individuals), the 4 deliver a causal experience and entry to new tech that’s thrilling with out veering into dry recitation of spec sheets. Not as prone to drop into uncomfortable business realities as Rocket, however nonetheless much less doubtless to provide company nonsense a free go than the common dudes-talk-about-tech chat present.
An oddity in tech podcast charts primarily dominated by corporate-minded interviews and personality-driven chat reveals, Darknet Diaries stands above the remainder as a hybrid interview and storytelling podcast concerning the “darkish aspect of the web.” Typically every episode includes hacking not directly, form, or kind, although host Jack Rhysider has discovered nice success within the seemingly infinite variations of what could be interpreted as one thing from the web’s “darkish aspect.” From state-funded hacking groups attacking the Olympics to tales of geeks being paid to interrupt into knowledge facilities, he covers each story with equal quantities of pleasure and empathy. Rhysider at occasions reacts to developments of years-old tales with an power akin to a youngsters’s entertainer reacting to developments in a storybook.
The key sauce of Darknet Diaries lies in that empathy. Rhysider has interviewed founders of The Pirate Bay, ex-NSA workers, even the man who guessed Donald Trump’s Twitter password. Whether or not he’s speaking about an inarguably good white-hat hacker or somebody who has dedicated heinous atrocities, he finds a method to withstand any urge to be numb.
Word to Self
Word to Self is concerning the ever-changing world of tech and the way it shapes humanity as a complete. Whether or not it’s discussions on transhumanism or conversations with the one that helped create Fb’s advert algorithm, Word to Self brings a deep degree of reporting and their basic WNYC sheen of professionalism. Host Manoush Zomorodi–the brand new host of the TED Radio Hour–is sensible and affable, making every episode accessible to folks at any degree of tech information.
As a observe, new episodes are presently solely being launched through Luminary, which, effectively . . . however the archive remains to be accessible on different podcatchers, and is effectively value trying out.
Land of the Giants
By way of Recode by Vox, Land of the Giants appears into the largest tech firms that rule the world to determine how they acquired so, effectively, huge. Its first season analyzes how Amazon acquired to the place it’s–keep in mind when Amazon simply bought kinda low-cost books that took some time to ship?–and the way it’s develop into greater than a storefront. Now, it’s probably the most vital tech firms on the planet, and Land of the Giants explains why that isn’t quickly to vary.
One other tech podcast through Recode by Vox, Reset is a twice-weekly breakdown of the week’s tech information. Consider it as a tech-focused model of The Every day, a quick-ish sum-up of every part you must know to remain knowledgeable within the ever-changing world of tech. Whereas normally the dialogue appears on the intersection between tech and politics, there are additionally episodes that concentrate on the developments in tech, apps, and AI alone.
Why’d You Push That Button
Why’d You Push That Button is a expertise podcast about why we make the alternatives we do in tech, and the way that tech shapes these decisions within the first place. Why do iPhone customers work together much less with Android customers, and does it must do with that lime inexperienced shade of their texts? Why do folks wish to be verified on social media websites? Why do folks use unique courting apps? Why’d You Push That Button speaks to individuals who have made decisions in apps and have compelling tales behind why, however usually additionally the specialists behind the design options that information these decisions.
From the CBC, Searching Warhead is one half tech podcast, one half journalism podcast. It’s a contained story about journalists making an attempt to analyze the darkest corners of the web to assist save baby abuse victims. Whereas the subject material is grisly, the CBC is thought for its moral journalism in terms of true crime, and Searching Warhead isn’t any completely different. This podcast isn’t concerning the abuse the victims suffered; it’s concerning the investigation and the darkish internet themselves.
I would really like each reader to replicate on the actual fact I needed to combat tooth and nail to seek out sufficient podcasts with POC hosts to get the ratio to 50% in keeping with inclusion efforts right here at Uncover Pods. Tech podcasting is insufferably, inescapably dominated by white creators. I might compile an inventory so long as this one completely filled with POC-hosted podcasts that would match on this listing in the event that they hadn’t unceremoniously stopped importing months (and even years) in the past. Present lists of “[insert race]-hosted podcasts” invariably are written by no-name enterprise blogs and solely characteristic the identical handful of equivalent reveals during which an entrepreneur uncritically interviews anybody with an LLC who’ll comply with be a visitor. The flexibility to be essential of monopolistic firms is a giant ask in a style that typically favors those that don’t rock the boat, however it shouldn’t be this huge of an ask.
Think about this an open name for future iterations of this listing: when you’re a POC who hosts a tech-focused podcast that would slot in right here, DM me on Twitter: @GavGaddis.