Scott Hanselman

A New Podcast for Developers - This Developer's Life

September 04, 2010 Comment on this post [12] Posted in Podcast
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My friend Rob and I don't always agree on technology but we do agree that This American Life is one of the best, if not the best podcast in the world.

That podcast is all about storytelling. It's masterfully produced, thoughtfully narrated and generally loved. It's cared for, curated and shepherded. It's nurtured.

Rob's new experiment, This Developer's Life is, on its surface, a straight and unapologetic rip-off of This American Life; but in the flattery is the sincerest form of flattery sense. It's brilliant because it works. The narrative flow works, the "stew on that and think for a second" musical interludes work.

If you love being a developers, then this show will resonate with you. Even more, if you are around developers (and perhaps not one) then this will explain our psychoses.

There's no talk of code, no hand-waving or explanations of architecture diagrams. There's just our stories. I think This Developer's Life has the potential to bring back some emotional context that's been missing in our space. Why DO we choose this job? What drives us and how far will we go?

Perhaps this format will resonate with you, perhaps not, but it is a breath of fresh air (!) in the developer community space.

I had the pleasure of being a part of episode two so check it out.

You can subscribe to this experiment via RSS or subscribe on iTunes. You can also listen to it directly on

I look forward to working with Rob some more on this venture. I think, even after just two episodes, he's got something special and I encourage you to give it a listen.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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September 04, 2010 3:11
Speaking of top of the shelf podcasts, have you checked out the RadioLab podcast? I can't decide whether I like RadioLab or TAL better, but those are definitely my two favorite podcasts.
September 04, 2010 3:11
Is it anything like the teen drama "My So Called Life"?

September 04, 2010 3:13
Now if Rob could only convince Ira Glass of narrating.
September 04, 2010 3:28
Yes, Rob and I discussed RadioLab as another possibly show to emulate. It's wonderful also.

Chad - Um, not even a little. ;)

Maybe Rob can drop his L's?
September 04, 2010 4:14
I just finished listening to both existing podcasts today, and I have to say, it's fantastic.

You nailed it by referring to it being a breath of fresh air. I feel a little less loony now that I hear others expressing the kind of things that go through my head. Not to mention raising some thought provoking questions about my choice of career.
September 05, 2010 7:40

I just listened to this show and was really moved by it. Rob's attempt to cross This American life with our profession was spot on! When it got to the part of you speaking mixed with The Smiths, "How Soon is know", I got chills.

Brilliant mixing & music selection, brilliant sound quality.

By the way, I love watching you present. I did not realize you theater until this podcast, but that makes total sense. You are funny, quick-witted, sharp, and it is a whole lot of fun watching you present.

Totally moving and brilliant..

Eric Ziko
September 07, 2010 0:38
Thanks Scott (and Ron). You should add this to your Podcast list:
September 07, 2010 15:00
I feel urged to subscribe, although I have a quite clear policy against podcasts. But one or two once in a while can't harm :)

September 07, 2010 21:35
I've never understood peoples fascination with Podcasts.

If I'm listening to something, chances are I'm working on something else at the same time. And if I'm working on something, I'm going to be giving that most of my attention. Videos may alleviate that, but chances are if the video's visuals aren't important (i.e. it's just someone talking), I'll switch to a different window and start doing something else, resulting in the same problem as above.

Conversely, if I'm reading something, most of my attention is going to that. Simply put, reading engages the brain, far more than listening does.
September 07, 2010 21:36
Most people, myself included, listen to podcasts while on the train or driving in our cars.
September 23, 2010 3:36
I've been looking for something like this for a while. I just listened to all three existing episodes - I presume there are only three.

At the end of the third, Rob explained that he had basically been ordered to change the title of his blog because of similarities to "This American Life" (which I have no idea what it is). How ridiculous is that? They do not have a copyright on the words "This" or "Life".

Rob - do not change the title of you blog! Tell them to go shove it where the sun doesn't shine!
September 30, 2010 23:14

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.