Dan Bricklin writes:
What I like about the ITConversations type of podcasts is the depth, the aiming at a narrow audience who cares about the subject and wants to learn directly from people who know a lot about it. The Gillmor Gang is special in that the “regular” participants are all very knowledgeable in various parts of the field, and in what is going on in it at various companies. They ask probing questions and give opinions and anecdotes that draw out the conversation with the guest(s). Those guests are carefully chosen people who are involved at a high level in topics. They aren’t just spokespeople but often the thinkers who know the subject very deeply from experience and who appreciate the opportunity to speak seriously and at a professional level. I feel that I’m learning, and the long format, with rambling into topics through the probing, and the informal nature of it being a “conversation” among topic insiders unafraid to use jargon and others unafraid to ask for clarification, is very engaging.
I feel that if I were a devotee of almost any other topic, just about all of which have depth (from knitting machines to nuclear safety), this format (as podcasting) would work. Regular broadcast “radio” wouldn’t work for many reasons on many of these topics. The fact that I can back up my MP3 player and listen to a passage again, or stop for a few minutes or days and then start up again a minute or two before where I stopped to help remember context, lends itself to this sometimes information-dense material. The material is often very technical and you need to hear some things said more than once, the material is also thought provoking so my mind wanders, I listen in places that sometimes have distractions, and finally the shows are long and I sometimes need to break up my listening into chunks. Another thing: With podcasts, you know that almost everybody listens from the start, with no dropping in (unless someone else sent them directly to a section knowing it stood on its own).