Business Podcasts to Inform Your Commute


Who said video killed the radio star?

(Okay, some band from the late ’70s sang that phrase in a popular song that many associate with the rise of MTV.)

But the point is, radio never died. It is back and bigger than ever, thanks to a growing industry movement: the podcast.

With the ability to instantly stream or download radio programs on any number of topics, podcasting has invigorated audio listeners and broadcasters alike. Your phone most likely holds enough hours of programming to keep you awake for days bingeing everything from true crime (my personal favorite), to news and politics, health and wellness, music, pop culture, literature and business (and a whole lot more).

If you’re new to the podcast landscape, understand that you can access shows from just about any device that has an internet connection. There are plenty of apps to download to manage your podcast subscriptions, which makes it easier to know where you left off and what you’d like to save for the future.


The Indiana Chamber of Commerce launched the EchoChamber podcast earlier this year, featuring conversations with Indiana leaders in business, education, government and more. New episodes are featured every other Tuesday and you can listen via the web site,, or subscribe wherever you get podcasts.

(If you listen, do us a favor and rate and review us on iTunes! It helps more people discover our content.)

Our most recent episode features Blair Milo, former LaPorte mayor (elected at age 28), Navy veteran and the state’s first Secretary of Career Connections and Talent. She discusses the challenge of aligning current workforce efforts and introducing new ones to tackle workforce issues in Indiana. Listen here.

There are other Indiana-focused business podcasts to tune into as well: Indiana Chamber President Kevin Brinegar has been featured on The ROI Podcast from the Kelley School of Business. And Inside INdiana Business recently launched a podcast of its own, focused on its weekly television show.

If you’re looking outside of Indiana-specific business podcasts, Fast Company recently listed 10 popular business podcasts to check out:

  1. “Startup,” Gimlet Media

No podcast better captures the thrills and struggles of launching a company. Created as a remarkably candid docuseries on the birth of podcasting business Gimlet Media, it now traces the surprising stories of other enterprises.

  1. “Planet Money,” NPR

This show – launched in 2008 to help explain the financial crisis – offers fascinating explorations of the intersection between economics and culture.

  1. “Working,” Panoply

Each installment starts with the same question: “What is your name and what do you do?” Guests then reveal details of their jobs, whether they’re a neurosurgeon, a novelist, a pollster, or a clown.

  1. “Above Avalon,” Above Avalon

A giant bite of Apple. Hosted by analyst and technology writer Neil Cybart, this show goes deep into all things Cupertino, with some of the most informed analysis you’re likely to find.

  1. “Brown Ambition,” Brown Ambition

Journalist Mandi Woodruff and personal-finance expert Tiffany Aliche chat about news, relationships, and other topics, but they’re especially incisive when discussing their successes and failures in the business world.

  1. “How I Built This,” NPR

This series explores backstories of various big businesses, from AOL to 1-800-GOT-JUNK. The storytelling is simple and linear, leaving space for gripping personal tales to emerge.

  1. “Eater Upsell,” Vox Media

Editors from culinary site Eater glean insight from chefs and other industry pros, both famous (Anthony Bourdain) and less so (cookbook photographer Evan Sung).

  1. “Exponent,” Exponent

Tech watchers Ben Thompson and James Allworth tackle topics of the moment – fake news on Facebook, Uber’s scandals – and offer broader discourse on where the digital world is headed.

  1. “I Hate My Boss,” Wondery

Former Nike and Oprah Winfrey Network marketing executive Liz Dolan and executive coach Larry Seal offer advice on your stickiest workplace conundrums.

  1. “Loose Threads,” Loose Threads

Focused on innovation and technology in the fashion industry, this podcast digs into notable developments in manufacturing, design, retail, and other areas.

What’s playing on your drive home? Share your favorite podcasts in the comments!

Credit Downgrade a Non-event Except Contributing to a Wild Week

The following analysis offered by Steve Jones, associate professor of finance at the Kelley School of Business Indianapolis, provides answers to some of the questions generated by the recent stock market volatility.

The roller-coaster ride of the stock market following the brief downgrade of the U.S. credit rating showcases the tenuous nature of investors today. The combination of recession fears, politics, and historical errors may have some investors unsure the safest path to follow in future investing.

Here is a brief rundown of how this event transpired. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by about 5 percent, or 600 points, over the ten contentious days leading up to President Obama’s signing of the bill to raise the U.S. Treasury’s debt ceiling on Tuesday, Aug. 2.  After relatively little response the following day, the Dow tumbled an alarming 500 points on Aug. 4.  By the next evening, after world financial markets had closed for the weekend, Standard & Poor’s downgraded U.S. Treasury debt from its long-time AAA rating, saying the budget deal did not go far enough.  On Aug. 8, the Dow fell over 600 points, in an apparent response to the downgrade, but then made up over 400 of this on Tuesday, only to give that 400 and 100 more back on Wednesday.  The rest of the week saw a recovery of 800 points, back to pre-downgrade levels. 

So what is happening here? 

Conventional wisdom in the broadcast media is that these wild swings are all about the U.S. debt crisis and the S&P downgrade.  But in terms of economic fundamentals, the downgrade means very little.  The other two major security ratings companies, Fitch and Moody’s, both responded to S&P’s downgrade by reaffirming their AAA ratings on U.S. Treasury debt.  And investors responded by driving yields down, and thus prices up, on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury.  In fact, the 10-year U.S. Treasury is now yielding almost one-half percent less than the Euro-denominated debt of the French government, which S&P still rates as AAA.  How can this be?  Why are many large institutional investors willing to pay more for what S&P says is the more risky U.S. debt?  Basically, they are reaffirming a collective belief, as did Fitch and Moody’s, that U.S. Treasury debt is still the world’s safest investment.  And why now are many institutional investors fleeing for the safety of U.S. Treasuries? 

The real underlying fundamentals that have driven the financial markets since mid-July reflect a combination of the European debt crisis and renewed fears of a double-dip recession in the U.S.  This has led many large institutional investors to seek a safe harbor where they can sit out the next few months until the uncertainties surrounding these situations become more tolerable.  The negotiations over raising the U.S. Treasury’s debt ceiling were a secondary actor in this until S&P decided to be the proverbial tail that wags the dog by downgrading U.S. debt.  The result was a week of unusually high volatility as many less-disciplined investors reacted to the downgrade by running for the exits, only to see more disciplined investors take advantage later in the week.        

The real issue now is why did S&P downgrade U.S. debt when large institutional investors along with Fitch and Moody’s so clearly disagree?  Some have suggested politics, but more likely, it reflects S&P’s lingering embarrassment, from several years back, over having rated mortgage-backed debt too high for too long, and thus, contributing in part to the financial crisis of 2008.  In which case, S&P apparently believes it is better to be overly cautious and downgrade now.  Better to be first and maybe even wrong, eventually, then to be late again, apparently.  We see a similar mentality now prevailing in banking and real estate markets, where collateral is being undervalued and, thus, hampering economic recovery just as overly easy credit led us into crisis.  Fortunately, the U.S. Treasury’s cost of and access to debt is ultimately determined by investors in the world financial markets and not by bureaucrats.                    

Where Hoosiers Live to Make More Money

Per capita personal income is not created equally across all 92 Indiana counties. It never has been, but a look at the income impacts of the recession provides some interesting disparities.

The credit for the analysis goes to Rachel Justis of the Indiana Business Research Center at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business. Check out her work here.

When per capita income ranges from nearly $49,000 in Boone County to less than $22,000 in LaGrange County, it’s a subject worthy of a closer look. A map provides information for all counties and charts detail those that experienced the greatest change and show a dramatic drop in counties that equal the U.S. per capita figure.

Innovative Approach Keeps Kelley School Students Engaged When Class is Out

The following is a guest blog by Philip Cochran, associate dean of Indianapolis operations for the Kelley School of Business:

The recent ice storm tested the resolve of businesses all across the Midwest. Some fared better than others when battling the elements to deliver their goods or services without affecting the bottom line.

In higher education, however, the concept of losing nearly a week of class time presents a unique challenge: How do you keep students on track without diminishing the return on the investment for their education?

Thankfully, many students at the Kelley School of Business Indianapolis never had cause for concern. The ongoing commitment by faculty to online education and alternative teaching methods allowed for mostly business as usual, despite the closure of the IUPUI campus for three days.

Faculty members — both at the undergraduate and graduate levels — prepared for the storm by providing students access to software designed for video conferencing, online lectures and other hi-tech teaching tools. Some fought power outages and travel restrictions to keep their classes on schedule and student groups moving ahead as planned.

Kelley Indianapolis caters to many non-traditional students, many with families and child-care concerns during such a weather event. The safety of students became top priority, but fulfilling their professional commitment to these dedicated students rang loudly as well for instructors.

If the early response from students is any indication, they also greatly appreciated the opportunity to make progress using this technology. Many simply didn’t want to miss class.

One student told his instructor, “I actually prefer the online lecture format. I think it’s much more interactive, and I got a lot more out of it.”

Another student referred to the last-minute classroom conferencing as “a handy and workable alternative, and all things considered, a more lively and engaging forum than I expected.”

Faculty members are quick to point out the success of these methods requires a strong commitment to achievement among students — something in heavy supply among Kelley students.

This educational experience would not have been as successful without the talented and driven faculty and students who make up Kelley’s Indianapolis campus. Their diligence and commitment to excellence continue to impress each and every day.

In a time when more and more demands are placed on students and their families, this experience reflects positively on the Kelley school, those who help it earn its reputation and the impressive business minds of tomorrow.

SBA Has New Approach, New Critics

W. Todd Roberson of the Indiana University Kelley School of Business wrote a guest column for our BizVoice magazine analyzing the new look of the Small Business Administration. Here’s a taste, but he explains the reasons some are for and some are against new measures in the full column:

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2008 (the “stimulus bill”) authorizes significant changes in the way the 338 federally sanctioned Small Business Investment Companies (SBICs) can support small enterprises. In a nutshell, firms supported by venture capital (VC) now qualify for SBA guaranteed loans, grants and assistance. In other words, VC firms can now tap into federally guaranteed funds double the base of capital they have to invest in emerging enterprises.

The SBA also has raised the amount that VC firms can invest in any one business to 30% of the total capital under management. For favored small business owners this translates into less time pounding the pavement to find financing – a great advantage in a period of severe credit contraction. Time, after all, even in a new age, is money.

Note the word “favored” above. Herein lies the rub. Critics note that truly “small” firms generally do not interface with venture capital. (The current definition of “small” at the SBA is $18 million or less in net worth.) One direct and immediately observable effect of the SBA’s foray into working with VC firms is the increase in the lobbying outlays by the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA): from $500,000 in 2005 to over $2 million in 2008.

Critics suggest an alternative: simply lower business taxes on the nation’s entrepreneurs. In fact, studies by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation (a think tank associated with American entrepreneurship) find no correlation between long-term job creation and early-stage association with venture capital. The correlation, however, is striking between VC involvement and government and university (read: quasi-government) grants.

Research: Distance Impacts Structure of VC Funding

What do we know about venture capital — other than there isn’t quite as much in play today as in recent years?

In a recently compiled list of the most active VC firms in 2008, 40 were located in the Silicon Valley and San Francisco. Another 18 of the firms doing the most business were in Massachusetts. That distribution is nothing new.

Whether that fact makes it more difficult for Indiana and other Midwest companies to obtain funding is an age-old question. Some say it is a distinct disadvantage for Hoosiers, while others contend good ideas will find the money no matter the location.

Research from Xuan Tian, an assistant professor of finance at IU’s Kelley School of Business, finds that if companies do receive funds, the overall level is not impacted by distance. The structure of the financing, however, is subject to variances based on proximity.

The State Science & Technology Institute summarizes it this way:

Companies located farther from their venture investors receive more frequent rounds of financing with lower cash amounts per round. According to the study, this difference is attributable to the higher cost of monitoring companies that are farther away.

Investee companies that are located near their investors are able to meet with them regularly, minimizing the risk to the investor and the cost of gathering information.

Tian argues that monitoring and the staging of funding rounds are substitutes for each other. With the low-cost monitoring that is possible with nearby firms, venture firms can afford the larger risks associated with large, infrequent cash infusions. The cost of monitoring more distant companies means that venture firms are less willing to take those risks. More frequent funding rounds give investors the option of dropping a company that is not meeting its goals, with fewer losses.