At the beginning of each year I like to reflect on where I’m investing my time - this exercise helps me evaluate whether or not it’s being used in the most valuable, productive and impactful way. In my mind, that’s the best way to set myself up for success.
Indeed, over the past 12 months I’ve been very deliberate about adopting a growth mindset, and building time into my calendar dedicated to personal development. Being mindful and purposeful about growth reinforced that learning doesn’t need to take place in a classroom - I’ve signed up for online courses, been an active member of sales enablement groups and meetups, arranged numerous one-on-one meetings with industry colleagues, attended company trainings and been a voracious reader and listener of podcasts. The key point is that we must all take ownership of our personal growth and carve out time dedicated to it.
Like many, a considerable portion of my time is taken up commuting along the South Dublin coast - a total of 90 minutes each day, which equates to seven and a half hours per week, and some 360 hours a year. I love where I live, so I’m more than happy to make the tradeoff between city centre living and a short walk to work, in exchange for living by the sea, and a longer commute each day. However, just because I commute, that doesn’t mean the time should be idly whiled away - quite the opposite, in fact. I see commuting as an opportunity to grow.
That being said, it’s not an easy thing to do - and let's face it, the typical choices facing commuters are limited. A commute can be spent (or squandered) one of five ways - reading, browsing, watching, listening and learning. While, I do partake in all these activities at some point during the week, where possible I optimise travel for learning, growing and improving.
Let's get down to the detail. Time and time again, I’ve found that one of the most worthwhile ways to spend my commute is by listening to podcasts. I find the medium an effective way to learn, and they’ve become an important and consistent part of my daily routine. I enjoy the semi-structured format and conversational tone of podcasts, which in my mind makes them more engaging and less scripted than webinars.
I subscribe to numerous podcasts that help me learn more about business and marketing, but also those further afield, in the hope that I can apply a learning or glean insight that can be leveraged in my sales enablement role. And while I’m quick to subscribe to new podcasts, I’m also ruthless about pulling the trigger and deleting those which don’t hit the mark. I want to maximise each minute on my commute.
Set Yourself Up for Success with These Podcasts
If you’re looking for new podcasts to brighten up your commute and teach you something in the year ahead, then take a look at this list. Without exception they’re produced by talented people, doing remarkable work at noteworthy companies:
1. How to Start a Startup
Despite this podcast series being published in 2016, I still find myself listening back to a large number of talks each year. The calibre of speakers is first rate and a broad range of crucial startup topics, from product right the way through to recruitment and legal are covered. The quality of each of the 20 episodes and the fact that much of the advice timeless is what keeps me coming back for more.
Recommended episode: Before the Startup - Paul Graham.
2. Inside Intercom
I have a lot of time and respect for Intercom and the work they’re doing to make business personal. The team are a smart bunch, and unsurprisingly, they have a high editorial bar - which just keeps on getting higher. But what I like most about Intercom’s content (not just the podcast) is their readiness to share what they’ve learnt and challenge conventional wisdom. The world needs more content like this.
Recommended episode: Talking trends in product with Intercom’s Paul Adams and Emmet Connolly.
3. Revisionist History
Malcolm Gladwell is rightly heralded as a master communicator and his Revisionist History podcast expertly strikes the delicate balance between research, human interest and insight. Some of the topics may sound obscure to begin with, but by the end of each episode, Gladwell, without fail, manages to weave together a captivating story. He piques the interest and imagination of listeners in equal measure, and episodes are simply a delight to listen to.
Recommended episode: My Little Hundred Million.
Working for HubSpot, I naturally have a deep interest in the software as a service (SaaS) world, so in my view, there’s no better podcast than SaaStr when it comes to discovering latest industry trends, news and insights. The show’s host, Harry Stebbings does an admirable job of asking the right questions - I always feel inspired and brimming with new ideas after each episode.
Recommended episode is: Sales Mistakes That Can Kill Your Startup & How To Avoid Them.
5. Seeking Wisdom
Drift are undoubtedly one of the hottest companies in SaaS right now, and in truth, they’re only getting hotter. The company’s content strategy, a key component of which is the Seeking Wisdom podcast has helped construct a strong and enviable brand, which is driving top of funnel awareness. The podcast content is sharp and varied with a winning blend of business, marketing, startups and growth, plus interviews with industry experts.
Recommended episode: Hiring, Firing, And People Patty McCord.
I greatly admire the companies which produce these podcasts and I continue to learn much from the ideas, stories, successes and failures they share. As an aside, I’m yet to discover a good sales enablement podcast - given the growth of the Sales Enablement Society, this is a big opportunity for a company or individual that wants to build their brand and establish a thought leadership position. But that’s for another day.
Looking to the year ahead, I want to keep learning, get better in my role and continue creating more value for HubSpot. It’s easier said than done, but I’m under no illusion that to accomplish this I’ll need to continually fine tune my approach to growth and crucially, invest in and commit time to the right activities.