Things I’ve learned from podcasts (1/2)

Recently I’ve devoted my free time, and my free ears, to listening to podcasts. Many of the makers encouraged listeners to start promoting podcasts to friends and I thought I’d do my part.

I can’t really tell you which one is my favourite, because at this point it’s like asking me to choose a child, but I can tell you about some of the most interesting things I’ve learned from each of them.

The monetary value of unnecessary emails and meetings 

Ravatars-000035121363-ql29di-t500x500educe Organizational Drag HBR Ideacast

When you work in a medium-sized to large organization, being on the receiving end of an unnecessary email or getting included in a useless meeting happens frequently. It may not always feel like the few seconds spent on clicking through the superfluous items in your inbox are a complete waste, but it adds up.

Michael Mankins, Bain & Company partner and head of the firm’s Organization practice, explained that in the United States alone, the estimated annual cost of wasted time is upwards of $3 trillion.

HBR Ideacast features the leaders in business and management, and is run by Harvard Business Review.


The sewage sysem in Metro Manila is less sophisticated than that of Ancient Rome

In Praise of Maintenance Freakonomics Radio  freakonomics.png

In my two years of listening to podcasts I’ve only ever heard the Philippines mentioned twice and both times because of unflattering reasons. This particular episode from Freakonomics Radio focused on how people don’t see the value in maintenance; we like going for what’s new and shiny and think of having to maintain anything as more of an inconvenience than a need.

In the case of Philippines, people don’t like having to clean out septic tanks. This is partially that fault of the architects and engineers who completely lacked foresight because these large vats of human excrement usually sit beneath Filipino homes.

Not so long ago, water companies responsible for sewage were willing to give septic tank cleaning for free. But families pushed back  because cleaning that would mean having to tear up some part of the house to get to it. Not to mention the fact that the smell it would release would probably never come out of the curtains.

The other time the Philippines came up was when I learned that…


People can come to the Philippines to fake their own deaths

ECriminal-iTunes-Logo-1400.jpgpisode 61: Vanish Criminal
Elizabeth Greenwood decided she wanted to know what it would take to convincingly fake her own death. She considered all the ways she could possible “die” and her quest to end her life led her to this tropical archipelago I call home.

For a fee, she said, the police would (1) pick an unclaimed body, (2) cremate the body, (3) write a report identifying the remains as yours, and (4) write your death certificate.



Moral Licensing

imgres.pngThe Lady Vanishes Revisionist History

We all know people who proudly claim to have gay friends but are strongly opposed to equal rights for members of the LGBTQ community. This is an example of moral licensing, the phrase that describes how someone does one thing to give themselves deniability of the rest of their actions.

I have gay friends, so I’m not a homophobe, but I really don’t want to see two men or two women holding hands and getting married.

I voted for Obama, who’s black, so I’m not racist. But let’s be honest, black people are violent and Latin Americans are lazy.

I go to women’s rights rallies, I believe in gender equality. I just hit my wife because I love her and I want her to know her place in the household.

Moral licensing. What people do to convince themselves that they’re not that bad.


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