Aboard is a great tool for organizing just about any kind of data, built by people who love the Internet and want to make it better. Hosted by long-time entrepreneurs and commentators Paul Ford and Richard Ziade (also the co-founders of Aboard), this podcast is a frank, transparent look at building a startup, an assessment of the tech industry, and a general take on the tech industry by people who take it seriously but find it hilarious.
Learning From People We Hate
When Paul suggests recording a podcast about public figures they admire, Rich has a counter-offer—why not talk about people they hate instead? But this particular exercise has a catch: They can only discuss things they admire or feel they can learn from said figures, a very tricky exercise with certain politicians! A countdown of five business and political leaders that some large number of people hate—plus listen to the very end to hear exactly how Paul compares himself to Taylor Swift.
Paul Breaks His Foot and Observes Enterprise Healthcare Software
When Paul injures himself and is advised by his wife, Rich, and ChatGPT (seriously) to seek emergency medical attention, he goes to the urgent care and marvels at their utterly Byzantine technological set-up, from parallel, disconnected patient portals to being handed a literal CD-ROM with his X-rays. What can we learn from systems built for the captive user—and how does that apply to enterprise software more broadly?
Selling Software Like Tote Bags
What makes a person pay $120 for a tote bag—or fall in love with your software? Paul and Rich use a recent article about a TikTok influencer’s pricey (and popular!) tote bag to discuss our relationships with the things we buy, from unboxing videos (“commerce translated into emotional satisfaction”) to technologists’ largely incorrect assumption that adding one more feature will fundamentally change the way users feel about their product.
Craft as an Antidote to Crisis
Paul tries to talk about his current obsession—synthesizers—on a hardware and software level, but Rich turns the tables to talk about Paul’s obsession itself. After Rich repeatedly asks Paul, “What are you doing?” they discuss the appeal of minimally online hobbies (and, by extension, software) in an extremely online world.
Men will literally record a podcast about their anxiety rather than go to therapy. How do you run a business when the world is on fire in so many ways? Paul and Rich talk about the state of things—including whether their perceptions of said things are even accurate—and how they should work, what to consider as they grow their company, and when to turn off. Gotta keep going.
Bless This Mess
Our friends find themselves in a new, corporate co-working space, determining that this, finally, is the thing that will push their digital product over the edge. Then, in a typically wide-reaching (cough) conversation, Rich and Paul discuss the current status of free speech discourse, in the context of the drama around Substack, and—well, as Rich puts it—“Who the hell asked technologists to be the arbiters of free speech?” Paul confesses that he dislikes mess, which would deeply shock anyone who saw his office desk.
Rich ziade hates Brooklyn
Otherwise he would support small businesses in the neighborhoods where he buys property