Friday, July 25, 2008 Podcast: Subscribe for Education, Stay for Entertainment

I read Joel. Sure, I disagree with a lot that he says, but he also says some very thought provoking things. So, when he posted that he was going to start doing a podcast I was interested.

I listen to the StackOverflow podcast while I walk to work. During the first 2 episodes there were several times where I thought: you're kidding, right? I was set to post a blog entry about something I heard that I considered absolute stupidity, but I was walking to work. By the time I finished work, I lost all interest in the idea of pointing out how Jeff or Joel were wrong.

I considered unsubscribing, but I haven't found many podcasts I like*, and I walk over an hour a day. I had the time, so I decided to stick with it. As time went on I realized Jeff and Joel usually weren't wrong, they just live in a completely different world. Usually this isn't an issue for me. I have no problem admitting that I know nothing about game programming for example. But, Jeff and Joel appear to live in our enterprise development world. I guess they appear to live in our world because enterprise developers read their blogs, or maybe it's other reasons, who knows. Either way, they don't live in our world, which becomes very apparent if you stay tuned in.

Joel (as you probably already know) runs FogCreek. He has his own small company where they do whatever they want. Jeff (as far as I can tell) makes enough from his blog to support himself. They decided to create a website together and 3 programmers currently work on the codebase. That's not enterprise development. I'm sure they both did enterprise development in the past, but things (as they always do) have changed. That means a lot of what they say applies, and occasionally they mix in some complete nonsense.

Interestingly, the nonsense turns out to be quite entertaining once you realize that it's okay. And, of course, it's easy to criticize something they say unscripted that is probably often an incomplete thought. But, the unscripted and incompleteness is what makes the podcast work. They also come from different backgrounds with (often completely) different approaches -- which also makes for good entertainment.

So, if you're a fan of podcasts like me, give StackOverflow a shot. It's entertaining if nothing else, but you might learn something as well.

* I also subscribe to RailsEnvy and


  1. Yeah, it's a good listen.

    Like you, sometimes think that the things they say seem a little divorced from (my) reality, but I like they fact that they are happy to disagree with each other.

    FLOSS weekly has some interesting episodes if you like techy podcasts.

  2. Anonymous6:05 PM

    I too have a hate/love relationship with the podcast, I've listened to every minute of it so far, cringing when Joel mentions something like "developing web applications in ASP.NET is the Cadillac of web development"

    Jeff's thinking is much closer to mine, and I think if he gave Ruby/Rails a real runthrough he'd be a convert from .NET

  3. I agree; although I've listened to only about 4 of them, there's a few gems in there.

    PS- sorry about the delete, critical error in wording.


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