In Pod We Trust.
by Josh Price
There came a time in our office where we came in at 8:30, left at 5:30 and had nothing but wall to wall background music as we cracked on with the day ahead. We reached a stage where, though the high value it provides, music left a silence in the office. We were engaging less, communicating less and we needed a solution.
A few months ago we started introducing the odd Podcast in amongst the tunes. Then snuck a couple more in. Then a few more. And more. Now we’re in a position where music isn’t the go-to it once was. Before the work even starts, we have a scour over the PodFeed™ to see what’ll be gracing the speakers or in short, What’s on the PODgenda? (working title, we’re not sure yet tbc).
Anyway, we’ve compiled just a handful of the shows we listen to on a daily basis.
In my days as a freelancer, I pretty much exclusively listened to Radiolab whilst working. Previously, I’d spent a good while working to various comedy podcasts but ultimately became lost in the blocky struture of some of them. Radiolab, though structured, is filled with charm, detail and weave narratives that builds a structure without diverting your attention. Ranging from politics, natural science, human nature to simply querying the world around us, Radiolab is the kind of journalism that presents issues we face today through snapshot stories that become buried in time. In our focus to engage with each other in the office, we seek channels that spark debate and cause us to discuss topics that don’t rise organically and Radiolab is a constant ignition.
STAND OUT EPISODE: Seneca, Nebraska
How I Built This
When thinking about certain individuals, artists or companies there’s always a desire to lift the veil and see a mirror to ourselves. Behind every mask we need to know there’s a real person underneath experiencing the same complexities, struggles and joys in our own lives. It’s easy for us to put a veil on large corporations and assume there’s a faceless identity with no sense of powerlessness or struggle.
Enter How I Built This, the ultimate veil remover. Guy Raz sits down CEOs and business founders and walks them through the key events, roadblocks and emotional difficulties that lead to the vision becoming the success. It’s refreshing to hear the CEO stereotype crumble as individuals bring themselves down to a level on our own horizon and hear an unedited sense of drive, passion and devastation. As designers with big ambitions, it’s engaging to hear companies and CEOs discuss how the initial consumer focus lead to some bold and difficult decisions, whilst also putting aside the stereotype of profit hungry office monsters.
STAND OUT EPISODE: Steve Madden
It seems like everyone’s got a podcast now and not all who venture succeed. Being a personality and having a particular outlook can be engaging occasionally, but a simple concept with character behind it will always transcend into bigger things. Jessie Ware, a notoriously natural and sparky character behind her music who we’re big fans of, teams up with her even sparkier mother Lennie (who we’re even bigger fans of now) to host a dinner for a new guest each week. They cook, they chat and they bring us along.
One of the biggest goals for modern day celebrities or artists is to authentically connect with its audience without pretence and Podcasting has no doubt lent a big hand to that endeavour with social media slowly becoming a reality cloaking tool. At the table we hear big names connecting with their memories through food, but it’s refreshing to hear the hosts themselves bare all, hide nothing from us and invite us into the setting. The table may always be set for three people, but every listen creates a beautiful sense of intimacy that brings us closer to a seat at the table.
STAND OUT EPISODE: Loyle Carner
There’s a rebel in us all somewhere and in the creative industry you don’t have a choice but to take risks every day. We hear tales of companies who took giant leaps, fought the big fight to get to where they are and it is somewhat difficult to envision any Goliath being a David at one point. How I Built This solves that problem, but doesn’t shy away from the fact that these individuals are inherently Goliaths in their field. Creative Rebels, from Graffiti Life founders, is made for the Davids who are growing, seizing the moment and solving problems creatively by understanding their skillset and bolting with it.
Being in similar positions to a lot of the guests, we recognise the mindset of determination and invest ourselves to the steps they’ve made or about to make which will directly inform our own as an agency.
STAND OUT EPISODE: Going Viral on YouTube with Zac Alsop and Jamie Rawsthorne
Comedy podcasts can be a tough one sometimes to venture into. I’m sure everyone’s thought about starting a comedy podcast just chatting with a mate, but that never equates fully to the skill and talent professional comedians are so I tend to roll my eyes at the freshest Com-Pod (working title, unsure).
However, buddies James Acaster and Ed Gamble are pretty funny individually (and as a pair), so with comedy conveniently being their profession I un-rolled my eyes on this one and tucked in. I also failed to realise in advance that the hosts of a food podcast might happen to adore food on a genuinely, terrifyingly deep level. They live it and if they could breath it they probably would.
Each week the pair discuss with an unwitting star their ideal 3-course based on their most sincere food fantasies and memories hosted in a fictional restaurant by Ed and James (who’s opted to act as a genie ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ nobody’s really questioned it yet). We’re a bunch of veggies and vegans, so we can’t relate 100% to all the fried chicken and prawn cocktails. But we do all have one thing in common: we all definitely 100% think James Acaster screaming “POPPODOMSORBREADPOPPODOMSORBREADPOPPODOMSORBREAD” at someone is uncomfortably perfect. I’ve done an accurate representation of how I imagine it going down:
STAND OUT EPISODE: Jack Breyer
As previously mentioned, something crucial we’re always looking for in a podcast is something that, though engaging, doesn’t sidetrack our minds. We generally listen out for something that invites us into an environment rather than relies on us attempting to follow its narrative or a thought process. Private Parts pretty much has no agenda other than that. It’s honest, it’s charming and ultimately human. Of late, Jamie Laing and Francis Boule have used the platform they have to channel a focus on mental health issues, particularly their own, and through inviting guests who’ve faced great determination through great struggles. Huge props to them for unwittingly becoming a brutally raw exploration on how mental health affects people on all spectrums intertwined with jokes about their bits and bobs.
STAND OUT EPISODE: Spencer Matthews
It’s very easy for creatives who have a passion for design to focus solely on our abilities as designers. The transition from a creative ability and desire to a thriving business is not easy and Blind founder and all around creative entrepreneurial giant Chris Do knows that all too well. He’s walked the walk, talked the talk and left a trail of business-saving advice along the way. In his frank discussions with individuals from varied fields, he asks the tough questions to give you the shake you need to evaluate your position and trajectory much clearer. A few episodes in, we were mapping out everything in and out of White Sky and started to become a lot more honest with our actions on a daily basis which, thankfully, has lead to some amazing partnerships in 2019. It also leads us to our catchy new Q we ask all our clients, ‘What Makes You Stand Out?’. It’s not an easy question, but it’s one worth answering honestly.
STAND OUT EPISODE: With Tom Ross
If you’re a podcast with a host of designers attempting to be transparent and offer advice about your experiences climbing up the ladder in your profession, I think Honest Designers is a pretty fitting title. Consisting of 4 entrepreneurs scattered around the globe in varying fields of design, the show is the podcast bible for aspiring creatives who want to propel their passion to a bigger canvas. If you’re concerned about the steps to take or the steps you’ve already taken, we highly recommend listening to this. In the time’s we’ve stressed about our client collaborations, managing our budgets or broadly scaling the business, Honest Designers has been the ‘been there, got the T-shirt’ we needed to push ourselves in a positive direction.
STAND OUT EPISODE: James Lewis
Notable Mention: Peter Crouch
I’ll be honest, as much as I could pretend otherwise, I’m not quite a football follower nor do I 100% understand it. I’m more of invested into my compost at the moment. So naturally I was a bit wary of the prospect of listening to an hour long football podcast every week. Plot twist: about 30 seconds in I was absolutely hooked by Crouchy and his bumbling tales of success through his career. Like most of our podcasts, we’re listening to successful people divert from their persona and chat freely like 3 mates in a pub. Above all, it’s just another prime example of an individual who knew what his goals were (pun) and wanted to score big with them (double pun).
After one episode I was chuckling away as if I knew what was going on, but in putting the sport aside you are listening to 3 lads put aside their positions within the sport and show their passion.
STAND OUT EPISODE: That Confessions
If you’re reading this and you think ‘maybe they would like [INSERT PODCAST HERE]’, get in touch on our socials. We’re all ears.