Hi, my name is Neha! I grew up in South Florida and now live in San Francisco, where I’m an Engineering Director at GitHub. I have the privilege of working on products that improve the open source world—and it’s one of the coolest opportunities I’ve ever had. Previously, I was a software engineer at several companies, most recently Pivotal Labs, and served on the board of Write/Speak/Code, helping make the open source world more inclusive for marginalized genders. I cohost The ReadME Podcast, a GitHub podcast that takes a peek behind the curtain at some of the most impactful open source projects and the developers who make them happen.
As a curious introvert, I gravitate towards podcasts that surround me with interesting people and knowledge without requiring energy from me to keep up the conversation. Here are my favorite podcasts that give me that cozy included feeling, satiate my curiosity, and give me bursts of energy and creativity for the day.
I don’t have much time in the morning to listen to news, and often rarely want to, but Niala Boodhoo does an incredible job giving you just enough news in 10 minutes with Axios Today by Pushkin Industries while incorporating experts for one topic each day. It helps me mark the passage of time without getting overinvested first thing in the morning.
I loved the podcast’s Season 2 on Coaching. Against the Rules with Michael Lewis by Pushkin Industries does a great job examining all the different angles and logic behind coaching while still maintaining a level of skepticism that I also have. It really tied together how I think about being a coach myself and applying what coaches do in other industries to my own. My favorite episode that I have replayed at least 4 times is The Coach in Your Head and highly recommend that one if you wanted a sampler.
Radiolab by WNYC Studios is the classic cure for my desire to learn about things I didn’t even think could be fascinating. My favorite kinds of episodes are the ones where there’s a single theme and several stories that explore the theme in different ways -- feels like a museum exhibit for my ears!
Continuing with the music theme, Song Exploder by Hrishikesh Hirway is another favorite podcast of mine because it dives into the origins of a song by hearing from the band, artist, director, producer, or engineer themself! I love hearing about the end-to-end story from concept to final piece -- an episode I go back to repeatedly is Nicholas Britell - Moonlight. I’ve found that sometimes this podcast makes me fall in love with songs just because I understand them better by the end of the episode.
I’ve just started listening to this podcast and, in very little time, I’ve become an immediate fan already. Esther Perel has a knack for conversations and guiding people through critical conversations in their relationships. I find her podcast a masterclass in navigating conversations while maintaining humility and curiosity and I live for the a-ha moments! She’s also got a podcast called How’s Work? which is great for folks who are more curious about hard conversations in the workplace.
There’s a particular episode from the podcast Invest Like the Best that I’ve come back to over and over, at least 6 times in the last two years, and gotten something new out of it every time -- it’s Jane McGonical - How Games Make Life Better (and shout out to my friend Billy who sent me this the first time). Jane breaks down the core tenets of good games, reflects on the effect games have on this -- especially the positive effects, and talks about what the future of games can be. Every time I listen to this podcast I jot down a new idea to explore in my personal life or at work.
Reply All satisfies my desire to be in a room with fun, silly, engaging people who just want to talk about the internet and learn together. Sometimes they explore new concepts, sometimes they go over memes and how they have evolved because of the internet, and sometimes they investigate really interesting stories. My favorite episodes are always the investigating ones with hacking -- like The Snapchat Thief, which I’ve listened to at least 5 times.
The software development space is constantly changing and evolving. And even as someone working in it everyday, it can be a full-time job in and of itself to stay up-to-date. Changelog is a super interesting podcast because it helps you do just that, in one fell swoop. Sometimes I’ll get caught up on the latest in tech and sometimes I’ll tune in just to feel like I’m in the room of a great conversation.
Getting into software development can be intimidating and even frustrating when you’re getting started. I certainly felt that way until I found my path through Python. What I think is great about CodeNewbie is that it provides so much information for those just starting their journey and is equally helpful information for more seasoned programmers. Everyone’s a newbie at something and CodeNewbie humanizes that experience for me.
I have loved joining The ReadME Podcast as a co-host in season 2. In each episode we invite a maintainer or open source developer into the studio to talk about their story into software, the projects they’re working on, and how they’ve overcome challenges along the way. Each episode has made me reflect on my own experiences and given me an even bigger appreciation for the open source community. And I always look forward to hearing their aspirational ideas of what’s next at the end.