The Listen #13

This is the first issue I’m writing from San Francisco. Still unpacking a bunch of stuff, though I do have a desk. (But no internet, so I’ll need to find a place to connect to actually post this.)

On to the links!

If you make a podcast (and want to improve as an interviewer)… listen to the "How to Start and Grow a Podcast” episode on Venture Stories.

Apple | Spotify

In particular, I really enjoyed Perell’s story about starting his podcast very young and realizing that it was an incredible networking hack. “Hey I’m a stranger, can I pick your brain…” vs. “Hey I have this podcast X and Y people you’ve heard of have been on that reaches N listeners...” Guess which works better! (It’s a modern version of Judd Apatow interviewing comedians in high school by calling and asking for interviews for so and so radio station, not mentioning it was the radio show for his high school.)

Perell gives a nice breakdown of his approach when interviewing people. The key: listen to their other interviews to figure out topics you’re interested in asking about that other people aren’t asking. (aka: do the work)

Okay, so this reminds me of an interview a decade ago. Jacoby (of Jalen & Jacoby fame) interviewed Vinny from Jersey Shore, who I think was doing the rounds for Jersey Shore season 2. And it started with Vinny thinking it was just any other radio show with the exact same questions but then you could hear Jacoby’s actual enthusiasm for the show and Vinny appreciated that.

If you want to learn from one of the best teachers in the world (or are considering a transition from a hedge fund to making math videos)… listen to Salman Khan’s interview on “How I Built This” with Guy Raz.

Apple | Spotify

I was a little bit familiar with the story of Khan Academy but it was cool to more of Khan’s back story, making the first video and then taking the steps to make Khan Academy something that’s helped change education.

I read Robert Rodriguez's Rebel Without a Crew earlier this year. It captures his thoughts as he goes from unknown to the hottest new director in Hollywood. You get to experience what a fast rise in 1990s Hollywood would be like. Khan’s story has similar growth, though maybe not quite as fast. One day he’s helping his cousin learn math over the phone. Soon enough he’s pitching education ideas to Bill Gates. Really enjoyed this episode.

If you’re working super hard day in, day out (and mayyybe forgetting why you’re doing it in the first place).. listen to this episode of My First Million.

Apple | Spotify

Sam Parr (founder of The Hustle) is currently recovering from some health issues and he talks through a couple very bad weeks where things go from a familiar issue (kidney stones) to temporarily not being able to walk. (And on the off chance Sam sees this: get well soon!) I’ve always enjoyed how straightforward Sam and Shaan are on the show, so it was a good reminder that business, revenue, EBITDA, stocks don’t matter at all if your health isn’t in order. (But, of course, money solves money problems—and as Sam points out, health can very much turn into a money problem.)

I haven’t worked out in a few weeks and this episode pushed me to get back on the wagon, so I’m grateful for that.

Closing with some quick notes on what I’ve been reading recently



  • Making It All Work: Winning at the Game of Work and the Business of Lifeby David Allen. This is one of David Allen’s companion books to Getting Things Done. I don’t follow GTD but have in the past. Recently (probably driven by the cross-country move) I've been trying to get organized again. Making it All Work is somewhat abstracted from GTD specifics so it’s been a good refresher.

Back to unpacking… catch you next week!