I had been pooh-poohing the whole idea of podcasts for some time. I downloaded a few, listened to them, and decided they were just amateur radio shows, and not very good ones at that. Who needs that? To be perfectly honest, I generally prefer performing music to listening to it, and in my car I usually listen to KCBS or NPR.
A friend pointed me at IT Conversations. At first, I resisted, because I usually don’t like listening to spoken words, like audio books. This may be because I read much faster than I listen, so I get bored and distracted. I get most of my technical knowledge from reading on the web, and couldn’t imagine really learning anything by listening to talks.
However, I saw a session by one of my favorite thinkers, Ray Kurzweil, so I decided to give it a try. Now I’m completely hooked, and I think there are a couple of reasons. One is that these presentations are designed for a listening audience, so the cadence and the style are very different from an audio book. Of course, they sometimes have slides, which I obviously can’t see, but I still get most of the good stuff. Another reason is I can “attend” conferences without actually traveling anywhere, or missing any days of work. I know I’m missing out on all the valuable networking, but some conferences actually have interesting content, and IT Conversations seems to have most of them.
I have since recommended IT Conversations to a number of friends, and all have found valuable sessions there. A few of my favorites:
Conferences include O’Reilly Emerging Technology, Web 2.0, Pop!Tech and OSCON. Worth checking out.