9 min read

My favorite podcasts 🎧

I listen to a lot of podcasts around tech and startup topics and I usually share relevant episodes with people around me. So I get asked about my favorite podcasts every now and then.

So here is the shortlist along with my most favorite episodes!

Software Engineering Daily

One of the most popular podcasts about Software engineering. I first read about it in a tweet from Nick Schrok, co-creator of GraphQL.

The Facebook engineering series is really awesome and helps understanding what is so special with the "move fast and break things" culture that allowed the invention of Cassandra, RocksDB, React.js, and GraphQL:

  • Facebook Developers with Nick Schrock: listen to this if don't believe me when I tell you that Facebook had 0 unit test in their codebase when Chris joined as engineer 180 🀠
  • Eng. Culture with Raylene Yung: super interesting perspective on the challenges around the newsfeed product and transitioning from individual contributor to manager. Raylene then joined Stripe, and she also wrote a pretty popular Engineering handbook.
  • Data Infrastructure with Dhruba Borthakur: as you can imagine, such a large scale company had many challenges in terms of data engineering. Among other things, they talk about RocksDB, an open source persistent key-value store that was later used in CockroachDB.
  • Open source Eng Management with Tom Occhino: Tom was the manager of the React team at Facebook. You'll hear interesting insights about the Facebook Open Source strategy that started very early on.
  • GraphQL with Lee Byron: Lee Byron co-founded GraphQL and is really good at telling its story: when it started, what problems it solved, how they came up with this GraphQL specification idea, etc.
  • Release engineering with Chuck Rossi: Facebook release management is a giga factory! We learn about how it worked a few years ago, how they transitioned to continuous integration, and the huge pains related to iOS release management ...
  • Eng processes with Kent Beck: Kent Beck is a famous engineer who joined Facebook when he was 50 years old. He is one of the key people around the Test Driven Development approach. He talks about how he approached Facebook's really unique culture. Pretty inspiring episode.
  • Pete Hunt and Nick Schrock interview: two key people from the react.js ecosystem. Pete was a Instagram engineer when it was acquired by Facebook. The have general and interesting discussions about Facebook unique engineering culture, how I initially thought this could not work, how he changed his mind, etc.

After listening to these episodes I dug into other fields and I now check about what's new every day! I listen to roughly 1 episode every week. Here is a few I recommend:

  • Cloud DB workloads with Jon Daniel (Heroku). Quite insightful episode about what's hard with managing a huge PostgreSQL DBaaS at Heroku
  • LinkedIn Kafka with Nacho Solis: interesting info about how Kafka is being developed at LinkedIn and how it is a fundamental piece of infrastrucure there. He also mentions their plan to get rid of Zookeeper. Oh yeah, it's coming!
  • CockroachDB with Peter Mattis: if you want to know more about CockroackDB, the problems it is solving and the challenges they faced, this episode will be time well spent :). My bet is that CockroachDB is going to take over the DB world (especially after their recent massive series E funding)
  • Linkerd Market Strategy with William Morgan: a pretty nice way to learn more about what a Service mesh is and how it can be pretty useful in your Kubernetes cluster.
  • AirBnB moving off of React Native: an episode about how and why AirBnB finally stopped using React Native after initialily investing a lot in it. πŸŒͺ This story created a storm in the React Native community. Surprisingly, the episode is not that hard on React Native, quite the opposite!
  • AWS virtualization with Anthony Liguori: AWS has a long history of using and innovating on virtualization technology. This episode gives a nice overview of the landscape, including the fascinating FireCracker technology that was developped inside AWS.
  • Next.js with Guillermo Rauch: a broad discussion about Next.js and the value it creates. It's pretty interesting to hear Guillermo explain how the vercel dashboard is just a static page which starts loading dynamic data before react even mounts!

The Changelog

Another cool podcast about software engineering. My top episodes are quite old:

  • Leading Gitlab to $100M ARR with Sid Sijbrandij. Gitlab has an amazing story. Going after Github by the simple idea of making it a better version of Github was a huge bet. We also hear about the story behind the very famous Gitlab open source Handbook that drives Gitlab operations in an entirely open way.
  • Redux & React with Dan Abramov. Dan is an amazing engineer who invented Redux before beging hired by Facebook.
  • Shipping work that matters. Interview of Ryan Singer, Product Strategy at Basecamp. He talks about how Shape up methods, the concept of seging foundations of a product as the concrete, and nice introduction to the Jobs to Be Done framework.

20 Minutes VC

Super popular among entrepreneurs and VC. I suspect some episodes are actually served at speed 1.25x or something like this πŸ˜‰.

A few and recent inspiring episodes for me:

  • JC Samuelian from Alan. Intereting stories about the weekly investor updates, Alan culture of distributed ownership, creating delight in product management, etc.
  • Jeff Seibert and Wayne Chang from Digits. After selling Crashlytics to Twitter (it was then acquired by Google), Jeef and Wayne started digits, a Finance management app for entrepreneurs. The story of their remote setup is pretty nice! The 2 founders live in very distant cities, and where orgininally planning to fly to meet each other every few weeks for product meetings. They finally bought iPad pros and used miro.com instead!
  • Rahul Vohra from Superhuman: superhuman is one of the most impressive recent growth stories. Rahul goes pretty deep into product management and talks about how Game Design was applied to Superhuman and how their human based onboarding became such an industry standard in the SaaS world.
  • Tomer London from Gusto: pretty intesting discussion about building product delight, which is the new motto for creating top-notch product.
  • Palmer Luckey from Anduril: Afer founding and selling Oculus to Facebook (for $2.3BN), Palmer launched Anduril, a tech company in the military space (Machine Learning powered drones and radars). According to him, the only 2 successful start-ups in the military space where founded by 2 billionaires: Elon Musk (SpaceX) and Petier Thiel (Palantir), so he thought he ought to do it... Also, he has a pretty interesting approach about how several products add value to each other and how to smartling prioritize one over the other.

πŸ‡«πŸ‡· Generation do it Yourself

This podcast is in French

This is the French equivalent of the Tim ferris show!

The host Mathieu Stefani is the CEO of Cosa Vostra and releases a new 2-hours episode every week. With this very long format, guests tell stories they usually don't have time to talk about in shorter inteviews. I like that!

The best ones I listened to:

  • Pierre-Antoine Dusoulier from IbanFirst: Pierre Antoine has a pretty impressive story and very interesting perspectives on the fintech market.
  • JC Samuelian from Alan: JC walks us through pretty amazing things that have been implemented at Alan, and he mentions a few very interesting books
  • Arthur Waller from PennyLane. I really felt like "Ghosh, I wanna join this company" after listening to that episode. PennyLane launched in January 2020 and the team has done a fantastic job in a very short time. I have no doubt this venture will go pretty far! I joined the team in may 2021 😍.
  • Hugues le Bret from Nickel: pretty deep insight about the French banking sector, including many anecdotes. The Nickel story is super impressive as well.
  • Jean-David Chamboredon from ISAI: one of the most prominent VC in the French tech ecosystem. An interesting perspective on some famous French companies and the French VC world (how to invest to ISAI, why tech companies go to the US for their IPO, etc).
  • Jeremy Charoy from Lalalab. Lalalab went though pretty amazing times and had a quite unique approach to manage customer acquisition as well as logistics.
  • Jonathan Anguelov from AirCall. An inspiring founder about a very succesful company that went through difficult times in the early daus.
  • Firmin Zochetto from Payfit: Payfit is a fantastic company that grew super quickly. Firmin is one of the very rare french founders who dropped out of school (ESCP) to launch his company.

There is 1 amazing episode in English:

I'll try to update this page every few weeks as I listen to new episodes!

πŸ§‘β€πŸ’»Β Β I'm Romain, software engineer, ex co-founder and CTO at Yeeld and Eventmaker.

You may be interested in ways I help or simply want to follow me on Twitter / LinkedIn / Github.