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Show HN: The best technology podcast episodes (podnami.com)
340 points by podnami on Jan 12, 2020 | hide | past | favorite | 88 comments

Recently noted down my favorite podcasts I love. It's a bit hard to keep up at times even with 2x/2.5x speeds and smart speed on with Overcast. There's so much good content out there.


That's a great list of favorite episodes you have there!

We'll add the Joe Rogan Experience interview with John Carmack to our list as well - one of the all time classics!

Start playing it at 3x speed.

Solid stuff! Just what I have been looking for!

Your whole site is a rabbit hole! Nicely done.

Check out www.podcastnotes.org

Understand others may have differing opinions but I for one never understood podcasts. They seem a very inefficient way to consume information, with generally a very low signal to noise ratio. I can see an attraction while driving, but I don't do that so don't have that problem. The only one I can remember listening to and enjoying in the past was related to roguelike development, and was essentially more of a well choreographed and researched interview framed as a discussion.

The reason they're so famous is because it is in the form of a conversation (generally). I like to take in information if it is in the form of a dialogue rather than simple one sided text / monologue.

Podcasts aren't meant for you to get upto speed on some high end technical concept. It's a lay person's perspective in most cases. So I'm fine if Joe Rogan interviews a scientist since unlike a lecture from susskind, I don't need to pay full attention and take notes. Similarly with finance podcasts, where I'm a professional, I don't need to find one which discusses a full economics paper. I prefer one where highly technical people get together and have a high level conversation since I know the basics and I can follow their train of thought.

Well explained!

> They seem a very inefficient way to consume information, with generally a very low signal to noise ratio

For a long time, I agreed with this sentiment. But as someone who spends not a small amount of time commuting, jogging, going to the gym and cooking, I've replaced a lot of passive consumption of online resources with podcasts.

I like to stay on top of the open-source and Linux adjacent news, and reading LWN while working out can be tough. I've found a few podcasts from members of those communities and listen to them. I keep short notes on my phone for topics that I want to revisit later, and find the show notes the hosts themselves curate to be treasure troves of content I might otherwise pass by. My signal to noise ratio in passive consumption has definitely gone up.

Podcasts like the Longform podcast and Current Affairs allow me to delve into content I'd otherwise have to read about.

I do not find podcasts to be a good substitute for heavy technical content, in the same way I would find YouTube videos or audiobooks to be frustrating formats to consume O'Reilly books.

Can you share some podcasts that help you keep up with LWN?

If you want to frame it in terms of efficiency, they're actually pretty efficient: A podcast allows you to take in information in situations where you otherwise wouldn't. Digesting something heavy like a textbook while doing household chores requires too much attention, but you can hear about some interesting person's views...

Yeah, exactly. If you cook, do aerobics, walk your dog, commute, do chores, or even run errands, you potentially have time you can enrich with a good podcast.

For example, these days I have trouble reading books because it's so sedentary. I can only do it for 30min before I switch to a podcast or audiobook so I can run or cook or do pushups while I listen.

For me the efficiency is its main perk.

I listen to podcasts, when my eyes or hands are in use somewhere else.

Walking, cooking, commuting, doing chores are the most common examples. Past that, I also listen to podcasts when I am doing boring work or writing some boiler plate code.

Well, some people aren't as focused on achieving optimal efficiency in their information consumption.

Good point, but I would jovially rephrase that "some people don't get bored easily enough".

I don't believe min-maxing efficiency/productivity is a healthy habit for a large portion of people to assume.

Others feel differently, as podcasting is a multi billion dollar industry

Sure, but so are tabloid newspapers, glossy magazines and junk food.

(Edit: These are other examples of billion dollar industries that equate to low quality experiences you can choose to give yourself, but which will have longer term implications.)

How about illegal drugs and human trafficking, if you're going down the rabbit hole of false equivalency?

That's such a BS comparison. What's the negative externality of listening to podcasts?

Consuming information distracts you from producing work. Similar to watching television, reading newspapers, and browsing internet.

This is not remotely true.

First of all, life isn't something that I must squeeze all "productivity" out of possible, humans need rest and downtime. They also need socialization even though that's not "productive."

Secondly, podcasts help one accomplish productive work as they turn boring mundane (yet productive) tasks like cooking, cleaning, working out, gardening, folding laundry, woodworking, etc. into slight entertainment. For example, I feel much more motivated to clean the house when I have a podcasts I want to listen to vs before I started listening to podcasts (I don't really enjoy listening to music much). Almost nobody sits on the couch idly listening to podcasts.

Bullshit, I listen to podcast while working all the time and it doesn't affect my productivity

The power of podcasts is their ability to augment another activity. Driving and exercising are my primary means of consuming podcasts.

Literally, multiplies the value of those activities.

I do podcasts when I’m not consuming information in other ways. Mostly while driving, showering or working out.

Not everything is about optimal efficiency. Podcasts are a conversational and passive way to be entertained or learn new things. If all that mattered was efficiency, the most efficient way to get the dopamine that entertainment provides would be to just do drugs.

Voices. Music. Emotions. Whimsy.

Try this episode of "The Memory Palace": http://thememorypalace.us/2012/12/dreamland/

That's four minutes twenty-five seconds you might find not wasted. And none of the information in it is likely to be useful to you whatsoever.

I listen to podcasts while I'm doing the dishes, cleaning the floor, cooking, tidying the house, sewing patches, reseating the heatsink onto a GPU. No need to be driving.

Pop songs are usually an incredibly inefficient way to consume information too, but I listen to those a lot. I wonder if you do.

When I worked in the service industry, my shift was 90% waiting for customers, 10% responding to them. Podcasts allowed me to keep my eyes up and look available to help, and were something that I could put down without worrying about keeping my place.

The benefit of podcasts is that they work when other forms of media don't work. I agree that they don't make good competitors to books and other more dense mediums.

It's one way to rest your eyes. Being glued all day to blue light screens wrecks sleep patterns and creates a lot of eye strain that makes your eyesight age faster. It can also create a feeling of anxiety and lack of focus.

I agree for some, especially the "two guys talking" format. But there's a huge range of different genres, including long-form ones like Hardcore History [1], where they're effectively audiobooks.

[1] https://www.dancarlin.com/hardcore-history-series/

I listen mostly for entertainment. I also very rarely just sit an listen to a podcast without doing anything else. I am usually walking/biking/driving/sitting in front of a computer for work or play. I also don't really have an interest in scripted podcasts. I pretty much exclusively listen to conversation-based podcasts

Generally I agree. That said, some podcasts have grabbed my attention and I catch myself listening to them more and more often. Lex Fridman's podcasts namely, though his podcasts fall gravitate more towards interviews with astonishingly interesting people. I mean two hours worth of François Chollet's tweets is pure gold.

Me too. Then I got a dog. Now I can't believe it took me so long to get on board.

I totally agree, it seems too much inefficient. I only like to listen to podcast while i taking the metro, which is about half an hour long.

Not everything is about efficiency. A good interview or a more produced podcast is often a more natural way to consume certain types of content than reading. As others have said, it's probably not the best way to adsorb complex/unfamiliar material though. (And, for myself, it is mostly when I'm driving that I listen to podcasts, i.e. what lots of people have historically used radio for.

Please show podcast date; I appreciate you need to bootstrap signups by having Sam Altman on your front page but the product is not just useless but actively wastes my time when I can't tell if this is new content. (The Sam Altman interview is from Nov 2018 and this info is concealed by podnami)

Why this obsession with "newness"? If the podcast is crap because nothing they are talking about is new enough, then maybe you're better of not listening to it. If it's good content and discussions, they'll be timeless.

Because there is a strong chance that if "Sam Altman Interview" is interesting to me, I'd like to know if it's an old Interview I've already heard or a new one I've not yet heard...

And refusing to timestamp things calling them "timeless" reaks of arrogance and hubris.

>good content and discussions, they'll be timeless.

It really depends on the topic.

Something like 99 Percent Invisible is pretty evergreen. An interview about AI research? Something from a few years ago is probably going to be a bit dated unless it's about fundamental principles. A podcast that deals primarily with current news/politics/etc.? I'm probably not going to be interested in something a year old.

Gotcha! Not having creation date displayed was part space limitations, part the idea that we want to drive somewhat older episodes with high longevity.

We will add a “classic” tag shortly for episodes older than x weeks to indicate that it’s not new content.

Thanks for the feedback!

For the german speaking audience, i can recommend the interview mit Marco Börris. It's quite long (>6h) but absolutely worth the time. https://www.zeit.de/gesellschaft/2019-03/marco-boerries-alle...

Love the concept.

All of the descriptions are cut short and end with...

As a user, that leads me to believe I can click on a cut description to see the full description. At least on mobile Safari, clicking on a description does nothing.


That's the result of our somewhat shaky truncation feature which is supposed to stop overly long titles and descriptions to break the layout. We'll look into how a "click to expand" feature could work!

Overuse of truncation sucks. Screw the layout: users can easily scroll down and up. Truncating without a click to expand option is inexcusable. Meanwhile, how about just don't use truncation at all. There's a limit for number of characters in a podcast description. It's in the 2000's I think.

I feel like the truncation is fine, but too short at the moment. On mobile at least, it’s 25 characters, which isn’t enough space for me to figure out what the episode is about half the time

Hello there, congrats on launch

You should really add context by date of release and a link to listen not : Ex for exponent episode : https://www.listennotes.com/podcasts/exponent/episode-152-pl...

Thank you!

We will add a detailed view, alongside a RSS feed for the top list tomorrow.

I highly recommend On the Metal, it's Jess Frazelle, Bryan Cantrill and Steve Tuck, with great interviews. This episode in particular was amazing:


Mmm... Is there an RSS feed so I can add this to my podcast player? :)

+1! First thing I looked for.


Looks great, but please make sure your site has at least basic functionality with JavaScript disabled (right now it loads just an empty page).

This is really important for your users who use screen readers (for the blind), folks with older computers or miniature/underpowered computers.

Also for folks on metered/slow (eg, 2g) connections, and privacy conscious users who don't wish to enable JS for basic functionality.

This is great! Only thing I'd ask is that if you're going to allow direct playing on the site, to enable 1.5-2x speed.

Thank you!

We'll add it in the native player coming soon. Web based audio players have major drawbacks, such as limitations in background playback on mobile devices. That's why we've intentionally left the web player as simple as possible until the native player is launched.

Cool idea. Some points of frustration: * there's no way to get to the "home" of the podcast (so that I can explore episodes not listed on the site) * there's no indication of how long the podcast is * there's no way to interact with the media playback (skip forward, etc.)

I love podcasts and I'm glad for any service that helps me find useful content. That said, I'm not quite getting how I'm supposed to be using this. From a consumer viewpoint, I have a front page recommending episodes and a weekly summary. I get that, cool.

Now if I want to heart episodes to tell other listeners about episodes I particularly enjoy...I go to the website and search/submit the episode...I guess?

Anyway, I'm interested - I just wanted to share my first impression in case it was useful.

Since there is relatively little information on the linked page, I'll put some questions I have here.

1. How does it work? It would appear the list is user curated. New submissions are from users (via submit) and ranking is based on hearts? Is there any future plan to be able to associate # of plays with a given episode (not sure if podcast app apis allow this).

2. In relation to #1 (an asked already by others), how can I subscribe to this in my podcast app?

Why do so many podcast apps or services cut off titles with ellipses. So annoying. Please stop!

Came here to say that. On mobile there is no way to read the full title of an episode. No detail page, no click through to the original post.

Maybe trading usability with athletics just goes a bit over board


I love podcasts but lately I feel I've got too many to listen to. I unsubscribe only to find I missed an episode. That FOMO coupled with an almost obsessive need to reach podcast "inbox zero" is becoming a problem.

This looks like the kinda platform that could curb that with focus on individual episodes rather than the Podcast itself.

I've got some gaming ones I have on rotation all the time, but the rest I tend to dip in and out if I see something in the show notes/title that looks interesting.

Yep, podcasting inbox zero has become quite hard since I started working remotely. No commute is less time for listening to podcasts.

Take up running or biking. :)

One of the biggest life hacks I fell into was to reserve my favorite podcasts or most anticipated episodes for a long run or biking session. I would look forward to that run all day. Often I'll double my distance just to put on another episode.

Much more fulfilling than a commute as well.

Do you sometimes find yourself listening to a podcast episode not because you enjoy the content but because it's part of your completionist streak?

Podnami improves the discovery of great technology podcast episodes. There's an abundance of podcasts out there - but it's hard to figure out which conversations are worth tuning in to.

The best episodes get voted to the top and is your "daily digest" of technology to listen to.

Happy to answer questions about its tech stack or future plans!

Great job! So what's the tech stack :)

Top past week and Top last month have the exact same content, guess it's because the content in the site is new?

Love this, but on the phone the podcast art takes up a lot of real estate and leaves little room for the podcast title.

I’d rather see an even more stripped down UI that leaves more room for the informational content.

Then again, I guess not all podcast episodes have informative and encompassing titles, like articles often do.

I'd really like a link back to the source episode, or at least be able to read the full description

The only problem with this incredibly basic web page is that it isn't listing the best podcasts and is recommending listening to an anti-democratic extremist. No indication where this list came from either.

Who is the anti-democratic extremist?

"I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible…" Peter Thiel.

I'm new-ish to Go and find "Go Time"[1] nice for building context while I continue learning.

1 - https://changelog.com/gotime

Good job! You can use our API to search episodes https://www.listennotes.com/api/

We are using it for our search feature!

You're providing a great service and we'll be rolling over to a Pro plan soon!

How can we download an episode? (I want to put it on my mp3 player)

Awesome content, just noticed this on the main page, maybe add:

{!userSubscribed && showBigFullPageForm}

Also, how do you view details or scrub playback position?

My initial feedback is to increase the truncation threshold for the Episode title. I couldn’t read half of them on my phone.

This is like pop music. The guests are all the people I'm supposed to admire but I don't feel anything.

Unclear how it is best, according to who/what? Nearly all good podcasts I know aren’t there at all.

leetcode by day, joe rogan podcast by night. all day!!

How is this "HN for tech podcasts"? Are there comments somewhere that I can't see? I would love it if there were a way to annotate/comment on specific statements in podcasts, because I think podcasters (and their guests) get away with saying untrue things more than people who write blog posts/articles.

It's super easy to tweet out a quote and evidence that it was false. There is much more friction involved in quoting a podcast, noting the time stamp, and packaging that up with evidence in a tweet. Wish there were an easier way!

I wouldn't go directly for the untrue things but it would be nice to have a place to specifically discuss podcasts with a nice interface to point out to excerpts (with transcripts it would be even more cool.)

One option now is to use the clip sharing tool in Overcast and tweet out the clip, it works really well. But that is just one client.

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