Exponent

Exponent is a technology and business strategy podcast featuring co-hosts Ben Thompson and James Allworth.  Ben earned an MBA from Northwestern and now lives in Taiwan.  He has worked at Apple, Microsoft and WordPress.  Ben is a prolific writer with a subscription newsletter called Stratechery, which, according to Wikipedia, is a “must read” in Silicon Valley.”  His co-host, James Allworth is an Australian with an MBA from Harvard who co-wrote a book with Professor Clay Christenson and currently lives in San Francisco.  These are two smart guys.  

Ben takes the lead on each episode, offering an opinion on the latest happenings in Silicon Valley based on a concept known as Aggregation Theory which Ben describes as “A framework to understand the impact the Internet on nearly on all industries  The podcasts cover issues at Silicon Valley’s biggest technology companies, including Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google.  Other companies like Disney or Zillow are covered when they have announced major changes such as Disney’s streaming service.  James plays the role of Devil’s advocate to Ben which ensures a reasonably balanced view of any given topic.   

While I don’t pretend to comprehend everything discussed, it’s clear that Ben has a keen understanding of the mindset of these technology companies and their objectives as these organizations navigate mergers, change their business models or get caught up in public scandals like Facebook did with its Cambridge Analytica partnership.  Ben also speaks to the outcries from some individuals to heavily regulate these organizations and offers caution along with solid thinking on how regulations can cause severe unintended consequences.   

You will notice that I categorized this podcast as technology and business Strategy, and I mean to emphasize the latter.  Technology is a fundamental part of any business and in many organizations, it is both the strategy and the business model.  If you are an executive in any industry,  encourage you to listen to this podcast and read the Stratechery blog.   

I will admit, I have a crush on James’ accent and an even bigger crush on Ben’s brain.  Episodes are released sporadically now – and the length of each episode can run well over an hour but if you want to understand the future of any business, take the time to listen to Exponent.  You’ll be a much better thinker as a result of your time investment.