Recent listening - my podcast picks for this week

30 January 2020
Some of the podcast episodes that have been filling the gap between my ears over the last couple days.

50 Things That Made the Modern Economy

Every episode of this podcast series is an educational gem with great storytelling, humour and useful references. I recently enjoyed the episode about The great Tulip crash of 1637, "the first great financial bubble" - and there are about a hundred other episodes worth working through.

Tim Harford tells the fascinating stories of inventions, ideas and innovations which have helped create the economic world.

The Worst Video Game Ever - 99% Invisible

I remember being about 7 or 8 years old and the joy of the bleeps and blocks of early video games through the TVs of relatives and friends (we had no such thing in our house). The sound effects in this episode transport me back. I don't remember ever seeing or playing the E.T. game. It's a fascinating story.

Deep within the National Museum of American History’s vaults is a battered Atari case containing what’s known as “the worst video game of all time.”

Writers Writing, Readers Reading, Creators Creating | a16z Podcast

A lot of biz buzz hot air, but also some interesting, and even some inspiring perspectives on being an independent creator, and influencer, and generally well-connected and networked professional in this era of self-publishing. Guests include the editor of The Browser and the CEO of Substack - a platform looking to capture the commercial potential of indie writers. It's an interesting time to be creative and willing to test the new platform and engage with it in an entrepreneurial spirit.

A new ecosystem is forming around the direct relationship between consumers, content creators, and the tools and business models to facilitate all that.

BBC Radio 4 - Analysis, Get woke or go broke?

My 7-year-old alerted me to the term 'woke' the other day, asking question about the grammar in headlines he'd picked up looking at the newspaper lying on the kitchen table. This episode explores and challenges the 'woke' business concept.

The Economist's Philip Coggan asks whether businesses are serious about getting woke or whether it's all smoke and mirrors and merely designed to part us with our money.

Running experiments when there are network effects — Linear Digressions

I was listening to this episode on my way home from the school drop this morning when I bumped into a neighbour. I was polite enough to remove my headphones and while we walked home together I tried to explain what I had been listening to. He looked at me like I was crazy. But as far as episodes of Linear Digressions go, this is probably the most accessible I've listened to so far. Usually it's a deep technical dive into something about Machine Learning or Artificial Intelligence, that doesn't shy away from the complexity of the maths, models, and theories behind the science of it all. This episode is easier to understand - and has a great explanation for the effectiveness of vaccination.

Traditional A/B tests assume that whether or not one person got a treatment has no effect on the experiment outcome for another person. But that’s not a safe assumption, especially when there are network effects

BBC Radio 4 - More or Less: Behind the Stats, Netflix and Chill

More or Less from the BBC interrogates the statistics and numbers behind claims and tries to establish some truth. In this episode Tim Harford unpicks some claims around the impact of digital streaming.

We test the claim that watching 30 minutes of Netflix has the same carbon footprint as driving four miles.