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21 August 2008

Drive-Time Gems… Podcasts

Posted by Kevin Doell

Podcasts are the silver lining of my 35-mile commute. On a good day, they can erase the trip, making me feel as though I got beamed through a transporter. Recently, I listened to “The Real Deal” podcast hosted by Tom Merritt and Rafe Needleman of CNET (check out the full boat of CNET podcasts). “The Real Deal” claims to help listeners master the “confusing world of technology.” I downloaded a topic that covered off on the technology of email, something everyone in business has a real stake in.

For this topic, Merritt and Needleman interviewed Merlin Mann, author of the site 43Folders.com and purveyor of his Inbox Zero concept. I picked his interview because I had seen him speak at the Inman connect conference San Francisco. Smart guy. Super well spoken. I couldn’t believe I had never heard of him before last month though, apparently, thousands have. Over 23,000 follow him on Twitter. OK, make that plus 1.

Last summer Mann gave a “Google Talk” Video on his concept of applying one of five verbs to any email that comes in. According to Mann, when you are “processing” email you should:

1.) Delete

2.) Delegate

3.) Respond (if you can do it in 1-3 minutes)

4.) Defer (until later if your response needs more finessing)

or

5.) Do (as in NOW if you can to get it off your plate).

The Mann interview is just one example of the thousands of podcast gems now online thanks to the revolution in Web content development and production via the masses. The tough part is choosing what to spend your time on. What I find especially helpful in the selection process is the “description” field on iTunes that allows me to see the actual topics discussed in a given podcast episode before downloading. In the case of “The Real Deal,” you can scroll to see which particular technology you are interested in learning more about.

Making these podcast listening sessions work for my commute is my Griffin iTrip adapter that transmits the iPod signal to my car stereo while also keeping the iPod charged. This gizmo turns my car into a literal library (and concert hall) on wheels. If you’re spending time in the car and are looking for that productivity boost, I highly recommend downloading a podcast for the road. You’ll get to where you’re going “faster” and get there a little more enlightened on the way.

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