What Made Build & Analyze Special

A year ago I joined a gym. I’ve joined gyms before and had sporadically gone but starting last year I was determined to not lose ground in the winter after a fruitful and fit-full summer. The problem is that going to the gym for an hour and working out was an hour I wasn’t working. Frankly, I can’t stand that. So I needed to “work” during my work out. That’s when I found Dan Benjamin’s 5by5 podcast network and Marco Arment’s Build and Analyze podcast, in particular.

Marco, if you are not aware, is formerly of Tumblr and currently of Instapaper and The Magazine fame. Marco did talk about development but mostly Marco talked about running a business in the iOS App Store ecosystem, the profits and costs, the decisions that affected his business everyday. Marco, as one would say, is opinionated. He cares deeply about his products and the people that use them. He also cares deeply about coffee and cars.

Deciding to listen to Build & Analyze each week was a no-brainer decision. Barely a week went by where some insight didn’t help my own business. Deep discussions about servers. Thoughts about using PayPal for subscriptions. In-depth discussions of design decisions. An on-going analysis of his own business and the choices he made. I’ve been doing this a long time now — 15 years plus — and I didn’t agree with everything Marco said and did, but much of it was so thoughtful, the decisions made so deliberately, that I always understood his logic and could decide whether that logic applied to my business or not.

I have listened to more than 50 episodes now, about half the shows run, and still feel like I am eavesdropping into an incredible conversation between two friends. Marco has a special talent for discussing his craft.

Marco is hanging up his Build & Analyze microphone on December 17. My workouts will never be the same again.