Sharing some Asia podcast discoveries

I love podcasts, and have been a regular user for about 15 years. I also love audiobooks, which means when I discover a podcast and start going through the backlog, my GoodReads Reading Challenge suffers.

This year I have discovered a number of deep podcast catalogs that I thought I would share (in no particular order).


analyse asia cover art

Topic: Startups in Asia

You probably know who the “unicorns” are here in North America, but do you know what is happening on the Asia side of AsiaPac?

Map of the most well funded started in Asia-Oceania
Credit: CB Insights

Bernard Leong’s AnalyseAsia podcast features interviews with various startup founders, VCs, institutional tech economy people from all over Asia. He is based in Singapore, and there is a good amount of content about Southeast Asia which is what interested me.

For a quick hit, check out this informative interview with Justin Hall on VC in Southeast Asia →

Disrupting Japan

Disrupting Japan cover art

Topic: Startups in Japan

Earlier this year LinkedIn listed Japan’s 20 best startups to work for. On the list is a company I was interested in called Shizen Energy, a utilities startup based in Fukuoka (a place I really want to visit!) that has been building renewable energy

Looking around I found this English-language interview with founder Ken Isono on the Disrupting Japan podcast. This was a fascinating interview as it turns out the podcast host Tim Romero works for TEPCO Ventures. I did my master’s thesis on energy security in Japan, so hearing two energy people discuss how to revolutionize Japan’s (and the world’s) energy mix was brilliant. They discuss all sorts of things, including the decentralization/localization of energy projects, which reminded me of the Citizen Energy project I learned about in Ikoma-shi, Nara.

During the interview Ken Isono uses a very interesting metaphor. He argues that in the future renewables will make energy free — so cheap it won’t be worth metering. He points out that in some areas of Europe the energy price is negative. In thinking about what that future looks like for utilities, he says they will have to shift much like telecom industries after the rise of Skype 20 years ago: “International calls became free. I think the same thing will happen in energy.” That didn’t destroy the phone companies, but they had to shift their business model away from charging for long distance calls to selling other value-added services. The same thing could happen in energy.

Fascinating interview. Give it a listen.

The Meiji at 150 Podcast

UBC Meiji at 150 Podcast cover art

Topic: History of the Meiji period

I love Japanese history, but my focus has always been the Sengoku and Edo periods because of my background in classical Japanese martial arts. I almost minored in Japanese history when I was an undergrad at UBC. This year I have been exploring other parts of Japanese history by reading a few books. Then I discovered the Meiji at 150 history podcast — produced by my alma mater UBC — and well, I have been stacking up the books on my Want To Read shelf all year listening to this thing.

Last year the 1868 Meiji Restoration celebrated its sesquicentennial, and UBC kicked off a lot of projects to explore that period of Japan’s modernization. In the show, Dr. Tristan Grunow interviews academics on various aspects of the Meiji, and I have learned a lot. Just listen to the show on coffee in Japan (I bought the book).

The time I was outed as the reincarnation of L. Ron Hubbard’s bus-driving supervisor from the interstellar Gnarian realm

The most recent episode of the Dead Author’s Podcast has our intrepid host H.G. Wells interviewing Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard in Part 2 of an extended interview which started a few months ago. As is the custom, H.G. asked his guest questions sourced from Twitter, and my question is included. Here’s the clip:

This is a fun podcast I have been listening to for a while and is done in support of the 826LA Time Travel Mart.

Watch some video promos to see if there are any other eps you should listen to. Well, you should listen to all of them, but I particularly recommend Plato, Ayn Rand and my all-time favourite Confucius.

Podcast devolution


This is my current roster of podcasts. It has been pared down severely from what it was a few years ago. It is a mix of Canadian news, tech law and philosophy, actual philosophy, movies and pop culture. I highly recommend them all.

With all the talk about a podcasting renaissance recently, I thought I would try out a few of the old tech podcasts I used to listen to years ago… What inanity! I ranted on Twitter that I am:

No longer interested in how internet-famous people are layering the windows in their workspaces or if their [sp] gonna buy the new iMac…

Nothing had changed! They are still talking about the same stuff they were 3 years ago, and none of it important (to me at least). I thought this was supposed to be a renaissance!

Then I saw this excellent video from Dave Wiskus about having a “podcast intervention.” The money quote:

Two or more white males talk into their microphones for two or more hours sharing their unscripted thoughts about their phones and their computers… sponsored by Squarespace!

Nailed it.

Podcasting is a great medium and there are a lot of innovative and interesting shows out there. Just don’t stray into the “consumer tech fanboy” genre.

LTU in Japan

For the past four months I have been doing periodic interviews with people involved in the tech industry in Vancouver and BC on my podcast Lining Things Up. So far it has been great, and I have learned a lot about local entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship in general. The show (usually) is released every second Thursday.

As I am on an extended stay in Japan, I decided to continue doing the main show but thought it would be interesting to intersperse releases with interviews of tech people based here in Japan. I reached out to a few prominent (English-speaking) members of the tech community and have begun the process. Thus, I am excited to present LTU in Japan.

Lining Things Up in Japan

LTU in Japan will be a short run show and included in the main LTU feed. If you are interested in technology in Japan, have a listen. You will be inspired by the personal stories of the interviewees, and how they got to Japan. You will get some insight on how the tech community works in other parts of the world, and hopefully you will gain some perspective on your own community.

As always, if you have feedback or questions, get in touch via Twitter or email me: chad [at] liningthingsup

A few production notes

For those interested, I have a few comments about producing the new show. First, I conducted the theme music entirely with GarageBand for iPad. It is pretty simple, but amazingly fun. Secondly, the site. I designed the main LTU site to be minimalistic, bright, and mobile friendly. It is a long, single column design that I did in one day. LTUJ is the same but different. Simple, but inverted colors and a wide design. You’ll notice, however, when you resize your browser the interviewee “cards” sort themselves to fit your screen. The ultimate result is that on an iPhone, LTUJ is a long design similar to the regular site. Once again, I whipped this up in a day, by hand using Espresso so forgive any irregularities.

My current podcasts

podcasts 2012

I often talk about all the podcasts I listen to. I thought I would share them for those that are interested.

You can click on the image to enbiggen it. The app I use is Pocket Casts by Shifty Jelly. You can download my OPML file from here.

I grouped all the shows as follows: 5by5 shows; other tech shows; media and geek shows (I still hold out hope for a return); philosophy; “ahem”; football. Within those groups they are somewhat organized by priority. I don’t listen to every single show every week, but the ones at the beginning of each group are a guaranteed listen. I endorse them whole-heartedly.

Altogether I listen to an average of 15-20 hours a week plus or minus what audiobooks I am listening to at the time.

Now that you know what kinds of shows I like, if you have any suggestions let me know!