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On 24 April 2021, @eldsjal tweeted about an interest in buying Arsenal, the professional football club. The tweet was immediately greeted with surprise and curiosity. For those who don’t recognize this twitter handle, it belongs to the billionaire CEO of the audio platform Spotify, Daniel Ek. @eldsjal- wait, what?
Now, here’s a flavoursome little titbit about this choice of the twitter handle. Once when asked about it, Daniel explained that it was a Swedish word “eldsjäl” that translates as a fiery soul and describes someone who is intensely passionate about something. Clearly, it is a defining characteristic for Daniel Ek who has dared to take on the heavyweights in the music and tech industry to create a formidable player in the audio space. This seemingly minor but revealing detail regarding the twitter handle was disclosed by Daniel to Tim Ferriss in a podcast episode of the Tim Ferriss Show, along with other aspects of his life, philosophies and work practices. A listener of this lively chat is likely to experience the sheer joy of stumbling into a new intellectual playground and that makes tuning into the podcast worthwhile.
Accessing content via podcasts has turned mainstream in recent times. The audio material can be consumed while conducting other tasks such as walking, commuting, cooking, etc., and this has added to its appeal. The current surge in the popularity of audio has resulted in increased mergers and acquisitions activity to grab audio assets: for instance, Amazon has acquired Wondery, a podcast network and Spotify has bought The Ringer, which has a podcast catalog in the sports and pop culture space. Further, companies such as Clubhouse, Facebook, Reddit and others are practically falling over each other in the race to unveil a raft of new audio features and products on their platforms.
Given that the audio economy has now arrived, there are a number of interesting podcast shows that could benefit entrepreneurs. The Tim Ferriss Show mentioned earlier is a popular audio series, where the host Tim Ferriss invites top performers and tries to probe their habits and beliefs to glean lessons for the wider audience. Dubbed as the Oprah of Audio, Tim Ferriss has firmly established himself as an engaging host and his show has consistently ranked well on the charts. His guests have included Yuval Harari, Naval Ravikant and Reid Hoffman, among others. Speaking of Reid Hoffman, many of you may know him as the founder of Linkedin but he is also the host to his own podcast series called the Masters of Scale. Hoffman uses this podcast as a vehicle to draw out compelling ideas for scaling companies. Breaking away from the binary interview format, he pulls in a guest or two to weigh in on thoughts and concepts emerging from his conversation with a legend. The result is a high-quality show, complete with sound effects, that delivers useful takeaways for entrepreneurs and business executives. Equally fascinating is the NPR podcast series “How I Built This” hosted by Guy Raz. Here, Guy delves into the origin stories of companies and explores the founder’s journey in building an enterprise from scratch. The talks are inspiring, educational and leave the listener with a hope of i-can-do it-too.
So, dear entrepreneur, what are you waiting for? All you need is a pair of headphones to plug into an internet enabled device to experience some aural thrills. Not only are you guaranteed terrific entertainment, you may just come away with parcels of wise thoughts and actionable insights to improve your own business.