As many of you know, I'm an avid podcast listener. If you've met me in person, you probably noticed the bluetooth stereo headphones around my neck – they're there solely for podcasts. I listen to 15 to 20 shows per day – covering a variety of subjects – innovation, technology, startups, marketing, and personal finances to name a few.
Without a doubt, podcasts have been a major influence in who I am as a person, and have played a key role in shaping in my life. From keeping up to date on the latest geek news, to learning how to manage money and win financially. There's content for every interest.
I hear from people all of the time that they can't listen to podcasts because podcasts require “too much focus.” They can't work and listen – they find themselves focusing on the podcast content rather than their work: “It's too distracting.” Podcasts are often relegated to those times when they can focus on the content – running, in the car, on trips, on the bus, etc. Those are certainly great times, but I think they're missing out on some wonderful content.
My secret, and the reason I'm able to listen to so many shows per day? I've taken the Brad Feld approach to reading and have applied it to listening to podcasts: “Be willing to skim.”
Put another way, I have choices for ambient background noise. I can ignore the random noises and conversations going on around me, I can choose to listen to music to cover them up, or I can intentionally choose put amazing/educational/inspirational content there.
It works really, really well. I find that subconsciously, when something crosses my ears of particular interest, I naturally tilt the focus more toward the podcast. If it's really good, then I'll note it and listen to it in the car – when I can give it more focus. If it's video, then at home on the big screen is more logical.
I believe so much in this listening behavior, that Callisto.fm was born. With it, you choose a channel of content (technology, food, marketing, whatever), and click play. Callisto.fm then plays podcasts related to the channel one after another, much like talk radio. You can even search for a phrase like “iPad News” and play the results.
It has always been the mission of Callisto.fm to help other people experiment with podcasts, to find great content, and to introduce others to my way of listening.
If you're ready to give it a shot – if you're ready to paint the ambient noise canvas with useful, entertaining, and educational content – start today. Start with Callisto.fm's channel browser and let me know what you think.
Can you listen to podcasts if you give yourself permission to focus on work, and allow podcasts to fill your ambient background?