Why create a list of podcasts for product managers? Easy. Product managers are busy. But you’re also a highly creative and resourceful bunch. Whatever new tasks and obligations hit your agenda, you find the time and space to take them on.
So, when you want to set aside some time to learn, to come up with new ideas, and maybe to get inspired — but you don’t have hours of free time to read a great book — what can you do?
Our answer: Get creative, as you always do, and find time in the spaces between your daily to-do list.
This is why a great podcast can be among the best learning formats out there. You might not have time to sit down and focus all of your attention on a product management book. The good news is that listening to a podcast doesn’t require much time, or sitting down, or all of your attention.
You commute to and from work, right? You exercise, right? (RIGHT?!) You go for short walks around your office to get some fresh air and give your eyes a break from your monitor. You do the dishes, fold laundry, take out the garbage. All of these provide great opportunities to throw on your headset and tune in to an educational or inspirational podcast.
I’m going to recommend 10 podcasts below, which offer outstanding learning and inspirational content for product managers. As we did with our 10 Must-Read Books for Product Managers blog post, I am including only a few podcasts targeted specifically at PMs. Our thinking here at ProductPlan is that the most successful product managers are the most well-rounded — the ones who expose themselves to the greatest number of relevant disciplines. So, just as we did with our list of books, I’m suggesting podcasts for product managers that offer learning and insights in fields such as entrepreneurship, leadership, and marketing.
“The best product managers are well-rounded — they expose themselves to a number of relevant disciplines.”
One final suggestion before we jump into the list: If your interest was piqued by some of the titles on our 10 books blog, but you haven’t started reading them because you don’t have time, the same benefits of podcasts can apply to audiobooks — specifically that you can listen to them anywhere, anytime, even while you’re doing other things. So check out the audio versions of the books that interest you.
Hosted by entrepreneur Andrew Warner, Mixergy is a long-running podcast focusing on entrepreneurship, running successful businesses and coming up with winning products.
Although the podcast is not aimed directly at product managers, you will find that many of the goals, challenges, workarounds, priorities, successes, and failures of the startup founders interviewed here overlap with those that you and your product team face.
2. Duct Tape Marketing
What’s great about this podcast, hosted by marketing consultant and author John Jantsch, is that it can give a product manager a different vantage point from which to view their products and their markets.
Jantsch and the marketing experts he interviews discuss how and why businesses and brands connect with users (or don’t), how they earn customer loyalty and the role that marketing itself plays in growing a successful company.
It’s easy to become narrowly focused on your responsibilities as a product manager. Stepping back and learning how other key players in your company — such as your marketing team — are devoting their resources to helping your product succeed can provide valuable insights and ideas you might not otherwise find.
3. The Advanced Selling Podcast
Speaking of gaining new product management insights by spending time with other members of your product’s cross-functional team, here is a great podcast about sales.
What’s valuable about The Advanced Selling Podcast, in addition to the fact that the show’s archive boasts nearly 500 episodes, is that it offers a product manager great learnings from the front lines about how users and decision-makers react to products.
Cohosts Bill Caskey and Bryan Neale, experienced B2B sales trainers, offer fresh insights on such important topics as how pricing affects sales and buyer perceptions, how to narrow your field of prospects (read: user personas), etc. For a perceptive product manager, there is real gold here.
Here’s another great sales-themed podcast. Accelerate’s host is Andy Paul, a longtime sales trainer, and in the show’s more than 500 episodes he interviews lots of heavy-hitters in the sales game.
Whereas The Advanced Selling Podcast is useful primarily in that it gives you a window, provided by sales reps, into what your customers might be thinking, the Accelerate podcast is great for other reasons.
First and foremost, this podcast gives you some real insight into the lives of your sales team members — the challenges they face, where they believe other parts of the organization (marketing, product, management) let them down, and what types of support they value most. In other words, this is a great opportunity to listen to your sales reps and learn how you might be able to work with them more effectively.
The podcast also offers great insights — from sales leaders — about how to streamline and otherwise improve a company’s sales strategy and processes. You might discover some helpful tactics and resources here to help your own sales effort.
5. This is Product Management
Here’s the first of two podcasts for product managers that are specifically focused on product management.
Host Mike Fishbein (of software maker Alpha) interviews a wide range of relevant experts and thought leaders: venture capitalists, product executives, entrepreneurs, and of course product managers.
The result is an always-valuable podcast, any episode of which can give you a new insight or idea about your market, how to manage your sprints, how to lead a team, and how to come up with better products.
6. Leadership and Loyalty Tips for Executives
One of the most highly praised podcasts on leadership, this series, hosted by speaker and coach Dov Baron, addresses successful leadership strategies in both business and social settings.
The Leadership and Loyalty podcast delves deeply into such topics as building strong teams by creating loyalty, learning how to focus your team and, of course, what makes a great leader.
This podcast is not aimed specifically at product managers, but the lessons here — one recent episode is titled “The Magnetic Leader” — often provide relevant insights for you and your product team.
7. Beyond the To-Do List
As a product manager, you have to think and act strategically. Because everyone’s strategic thinking and processes always have room for improvement, there’s the Beyond the To-Do List podcast.
In this often funny series, Host Erik Fisher, a productivity expert and author, interviews all sorts of productive folks — entrepreneurs, product execs, successful bloggers, bestselling authors, journalists, you name it.
Some of the advice is directly on point for product managers. In one recent episode, for example, Erik interviews AppSumo founder Noah Kagan on product testing and optimization. At other times, the podcast discusses broader topics such as being present, work-life balance, and getting more done. An older episode, for example, finds Erik talking about strategic productivity with bestselling author Charles Duhigg.
If you believe you could benefit from some expert guidance on strategy and productivity, give Beyond the To-Do List a listen.
8. Product People
Here is the second highly-focused example on our list of podcasts for product managers. If you listen to Product People — which describes itself as “A podcast focused on great products and the people who make them” — and the This is Product Management podcast I listed above, you’ll be off to a great start in terms of finding valuable product management insights on a regular basis.
Product People’s episode archive is loaded with wonderful, insight-rich discussions for product managers. Noteworthy topics include how to build habit-forming products, product validation, promoting your product and productizing your services.
In fact, if you had the time to listen to just one podcast on this list, I’d recommend you start here.
9. Happier with Gretchen Rubin
Goodness! Don’t you ever think about anything but work?
We’ve discussed a lot of PM-related topics in this post. Even the non-product-management podcasts I’ve suggested so far have all been aimed at making you more productive and effective at work. So it’s time for some balance.
A successful product manager is a fresh, relaxed, and mentally-focused product manager. With that in mind, I highly recommend the Happier podcast, hosted by Gretchen Rubin, bestselling author of The Happiness Project.
How is this related to product management? It isn’t, at least not directly. This is just a terrific series offering advice on lightening up, gaining perspective, boosting optimism, and becoming a happier person.
Subscribe here. And be happy, okay?
10. 100 PM
Here’s one more product management-specific podcast to finish off our list. In 100 PM, host Suzanne Abate is on a mission to interview 100 active product managers from companies of all sizes, from startups to enterprises.
Listen to her conversations with product mangers from Expedia, Trunk Club, Sonos and more.
Bonus suggestion: The Everyday Innovator Podcast with Chad McAllister
Do you have any other recommendations for podcasts for product managers? Please share them in the comments section.