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All Ears

Scott Galloway@profgalloway

Published on June 24, 2022

I’ve made my living communicating. The first 20 years of my career, I rented my brain to Fortune 500 CEOs looking for guidance on branding or strategy. Just as a hit television show is a cocktail of production values and storytelling, a good consultant brings the peanut butter and chocolate of data-driven insight and storytelling together. The ideas and data are nothing unless you can articulate them in a compelling manner.

I didn’t hate consulting, but I didn’t love it. That’s fine — “do what you love” is bullshit. I did it because I was good at it. I spent most of my time on the road, unable to form or maintain enduring relationships, and it was fucking exhausting. Yes, it provided economic security for me and my family, which was (and should have been) my goal … full stop. But I spent the better part of two decades helping companies sell people stuff they didn’t need, and it felt increasingly meaningless. Actually, it felt like nothing … like it didn’t happen.

The Relentless Pursuit of Greatness

Within five or six years all I could think about was selling the firms I’d founded that helped other businesses sell stuff. The sales of Prophet and L2 provided economic security and blessed me with a new task — to be great, really great … at something. So I turned to teaching, and in 2002 I joined the faculty of NYU. Since then, more than 6,000 students have taken my courses. It’s been hugely rewarding, and, at the core, I consider myself a teacher. A very good teacher … but not a great one.

Despite clocking Cs in my high school and college English courses, sheer practice has improved my writing. First as a consultant, ghostwriting letters and press releases worth (optimistically) $1,200/hour. Since 2017, I’ve published a book about every 18 months (coming this fall). Good books, but still … real greatness eludes me. TV? Hands down my worst medium. I’m the Covid-19 of the idiot box, infecting and sometimes killing weak networks — Vice, Bloomberg Quicktake and CNN+. What network goes down next? Just look for my face.

The Podmother

The first podcast I listened to I was on. Five years ago, Kara Swisher invited me on Recode to discuss my book The Four. A few weeks later she called and said the episode was the podcast’s most downloaded. She also said that stat was likely a reporting error and asked if I’d come back on the show to validate/nullify her thesis. (The previous sentence sums up our relationship.) So I did and … similar downloads. The rest is podcast history. (Note: Not a historian.) We now get more than 2 million downloads each month, and every episode has more listeners than any CNBC show has viewers. I love podcasting. Like sex, it’s a chance to be who you really are.

We soon expanded to twice a week, and I launched the Prof G Pod, which is more market-focused but also delves into the softer stuff (e.g., how to be a better man). So, another medium, in search of my greatness. Again, I feel as if I could be great here. But I felt this way about consulting, teaching, writing, and TV. We’ll see.

The Medium Is the Message

When I’m out in public, I can tell which media channel is the catalyst for someone approaching me. The bro-approach (i.e., “Yo Dawg”) is made by fans of our videos. Someone who wants to engage in a sober, analytical discussion about the dynamics of streaming or the harms of social media reads the newsletter or my books. But someone who approaches me as if we’re good friends listens to the podcast. It’s similar to running into an old acquaintance you really liked, and who really liked you … but you never had the chance to become good friends. The goodwill is evident. This now happens several times a week.

And. It’s. Wonderful.


Audio is our oldest mass broadcast medium, and it defined popular culture in the first half of the 20th century. By 1938, 4 out of every 5 U.S. homes had a radio, and nearly 700 stations were broadcasting news, music, sports, game shows, drama and comedy stories, variety hours, and more. TV put radio in the corner in the mid-20th century, but audio is registering a second golden age thanks to digital distribution and mobile listening.

When the pandemic shut down driving commutes, analysts predicted podcasts would be a casualty. But the opposite happened. During the loneliest era in our society’s history, people craved the contact only audio can provide. Podcasting became the fastest growing sector of any U.S. media category, with revenue increasing 72% between 2020 and 2021.

Podcasts are attractive to advertisers in part because of the rise of the host-read. When the podcast host moves from the show’s content to reading the ads, it hacks our filters in a way that would require world-class creatives in another medium. Also, podcasting is affordable. The collision of audio, streaming, and mobile offers low costs for creators and consumers — I can record my podcast from anywhere, my guests can call in from anywhere, and you can listen to it … anywhere.

Admittedly, podcasting’s ad revenue growth is off a small base — its $1.4 billion is a rounding error compared to the $78 billion generated by search. But the industry’s ad revenue doesn’t reflect its cultural importance or its growth potential. The low barriers to entry have resulted in a stampede of more than 4 million podcasts (there are fewer than 1 million television shows). Forty-one percent of Americans report listening to a podcast in the past month. And the offering is robust: The breakout star of the NBA Finals wasn’t a player, but a player’s podcast; the highest-paid female podcaster ($60 million) is a former magazine ad sales rep who started her show also having never listened to a podcast; and the 20th-most-popular podcast on Spotify is about neuroscience. Podcasting, unlike other mediums, covers the whole political spectrum, offering a home to all kinds of listeners: Ben Shapiro has a top-10 podcast, and the socialists of Chapo Trap House clear $2 million per year on Patreon.

Podcasting is also a more convenient medium than any visual format. It doesn’t require our full attention, so more of our day is available to podcasters. It’s not as easy to organize or sift through as print, but it’s far easier to access than video. We may be in a golden age of television, but the average household spends more than 7 minutes a day deciding what to watch on their streaming platforms. If someone recommends a TV show, we must find out what platform it’s on, locate the app, track down the password, and then have an uninterrupted hour of screen time. In contrast, a podcast is always a few clicks away. Ease of discovery enables the proliferation of new voices.

Capitalism being what it is, big players have been trying to turn the wide-open podcasting model into a walled garden of unearned margin, but these efforts have borne little fruit. Luminary launched with fanfare in 2018, but its only accomplishment is burning through $100 million in venture funding. Spotify has more money to burn, but so far, its bonfire has produced less heat (value) than most would have expected from a company that already distilled and organized an entire medium. “Exclusive” podcasts from Kim Kardashian, Meghan and Harry, and a slew of other celebrities and content houses have been headfakes.

1 Percenter

Thanks to the good people at Athletic Greens, LinkedIn Jobs, ZipRecruiter, and other advertisers, the Prof G Pod and Pivot are among the 1% of podcasts making good money. And I enjoy it. The most rewarding medium I work in is books, but they’re also by far the most work. (A decent metaphor for life.) Television has been fun and ego-boosting, but it’s cumbersome and feels increasingly like empty calories. Every minute of video we put on the stream at CNN+ took two hours of work from a dozen other people. Also, I’ve got a face for podcasting. Pods aren’t easy, but the ROI is greater.

So … I’m leaning in. We recently launched an audio version of this newsletter, read by my friend George Hahn. Next we’re launching Prof G Markets, a podcast focused on capital markets. That will initially run once a week, but the inherent flexibility of podcasting allows us to evolve quickly; if the listenership is there, the plan is to increase the frequency. Ultimately, I see our competition not as other podcasts, but CNBC. Around 150,000 viewers are tuned into CNBC at any one time, and it’s supposedly the wealthiest viewership cohort in television. Yet the product hasn’t changed in 25 years — it’s still women in sleeveless dresses and guys in boxy suits talking fast while numbers swim past. We’ll see.

Hearing Your Life

We are moving to London. This has been more emotional than I’d anticipated. I’m not worried about leaving friends, the country I love, or a lifestyle that will be impossible to best. The cause of the sad hollowness that made me emotional when discussing higher ed with 250 Charles Schwab execs yesterday? We’re leaving the house my boys grew up in. I have been good about pictures, and better with video, but what I’m really grateful for … is the audio. My kids laughing, arguing with each other (constantly), and the distinct octave they reach when playing with the dogs.

Research shows hearing is the last sense to go as we die. The voice of a loved one initiates brain activity that would otherwise be inoperative during our final moments. Atheism is a huge source of comfort for me, knowing this is “it” and not a dress rehearsal. I know, and am planning, for my end. If that sounds macabre, it’s not. It will be glorious, and I have the people, meds, and media curated. I will be surrounded by emotion and love. I will live my life again, as I will hear it.

Life is so rich,

P.S. Problem-solving is the most important skill you can master at work, but almost no one teaches it. Except us — sign up to learn from Bain partner Jennie Tung this July.



  1. Nicola says:

    Dear Prof G. I am ridiculously delighted we get to host you and your family in London for a while. I really hope we don’t let you down….and apologies in advance for any idiots you encounter…that and the weather. I’d implore you to come visit us ‘up North’ and give Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield and especially the breathtaking Peak District a go. Safe travels to you all.

  2. Bill says:

    One of my regrets is that you weren’t doing, what you are doing now, when I was 20. I would have grown much more self-aware and evolved. Keep doing what you do, there are many 20 year olds you are helping to grow and mature into their best self.


    It reads as the conversations I used to have with my Dad while he was alive.
    I am happy and emotional, but it is a one-sided relationship as you could not possibly ever have a relationship with a fraction of your reader the way that we engage with you.

    If I ever stump into you at an airport or somewhere like that, please ignore the platitudes and kindly accept the retribution.

  4. brett channer says:

    It is a fact that people who are deaf suffer a greater disconnection with others than those who are blind. Sound is the emotional driver of feeling connected. Facebook missed that point. Scott, you took the long away around but you found this out and now you are in your rightful place.

  5. Nina says:

    “Discussing higher ed”; if that’s one motivation for the relocation, well, I’m gobsmacked by your values. I wander around half mad, talking about my state university education from long, long ago, in the sunset of Rooseveltian democracy, the total tuition of which cost $6,000.00 ($20-30K today?) funded by a Pell grant. The professors bore cobwebs, but every bit of what they taught was an encounter with expertise, occasional genius, and if the chemistry took, the opportunity to be a protege. Oh yeah grades…..pffft.
    Now an abrupt shift to “hearing”. I arrived at my dying mother’s bedside armed with a little boom box along with all of her favorite music, “Panis Angelicus” being top of the charts; regularly accompanied by my declarations of love and assurance. If we sound high class or hoity-toity, I can assure you that there was lots of juke joint blues and bluegrass fiddling, but when your trying to relax….
    We’ve lost something since she was born in the 1920s in rural poverty, and I do think hearing everything well without a personal bias or filter was it. Suffice to say, I love podcasts.

  6. Tom says:

    Scott, if you and your family ever find yourself in Brighton for a day trip I would be delighted to show you around, or recommend some great places to eat. The UK is lucky to have you.

  7. Dennis says:

    As an American in London, and an alum of your Digital Marketing class at NYU (by far the most memorable class I took), I’m excited for what you’ll bring to the UK.

  8. Cat says:

    Looking forward to all you create. Big fan of you and Kara. Rejoice in each day with your boys, even on the not so great days. It goes fast. Blink and one will be graduating from grad school or the other will be head of success (a bullshit title) at a start up. Hang in there … cause moving sucks. Peace.

  9. Ezzie says:

    At first I read “We are moving to Lisbon” and I got excited at the prospect of running into you – maybe I still will when you need a weekend infusion of vitamin D. I hope it’s a great move for you and your family. Richmond Park is glorious – the dogs will love it.

  10. Roy Vella says:

    London’s absolutely excellent… we went for a year and stayed for a dozen. Quality of life is unparalleled.

  11. Rippon says:

    Mega kudos for this excellent insightful post Prof G!!! 🙏🏽 ❤️

  12. Mark says:

    I’m obsessed with your podcasts, but I’ve never listened to one ad you read. I just tap through them with the plus 30 seconds button on my watch. Just sayin.

  13. Paula says:

    Your closing paragraph sounds like you have a terminal illness (besides life). Gosh I hope not. You are correct about podcasting I feel like I know you- like you- not just your opinions. I really hope this is a move that signals good things for you and your family not the end of this life for you.

  14. Paula says:

    Dear Scott,
    Your closing paragraph sounds like you have a terminal illness (besides life). Gosh I hope not. You are correct about podcasting I feel like I know you- like you- not just your opinions. I really hope this is a move that signals good things for you and your family not the end of this life for you.

  15. James says:

    So Elon moves to Texas and you move to London. Cheerio. I enjoyed your podcast on Spotify but when you went virtue signaling I chose Spotify instead of you.

  16. Rod Banner says:

    The whole of Britain is thrilled that your giving us a slice of Galloway. We have our own issues – The Economist details them every week. Whatever you’re doing, I’d love to help. Happy to offer a fine lunch. Introductions. Whatever. Can you turn your attention to fixing education? Most of the world’s problems stem from a growing tide of ignorance IMHO

  17. Brian C Germain says:

    move to London, man, who doesn’t LOVE London. The British…….

  18. HOWARD TULLMAN says:


  19. Amy says:

    The timing of this post dismays me. This is day of horrific mourning for millions of people in the country, and a day that reinforces how severely divided a nation we are. Surely waiting a day or two to issue a communication with no allusion to the gravity of the day, regardless of the side your reader take, would have been far more appropriate.

    • Vlad says:

      How would waiting a day or two make any difference to the horror certain government officials inflict on the population? At the time this post was put up the SCOTUS ruling may not even have been in the news. And if we waited for a no-bad-news day to blog, there’d be no new content.

    • Nasir says:

      “This is a day of horrific mourning for millions of people in the country”… I wouldn’t call it horrific mourning. 9/11 was horrific mourning, Pearl Harbor was horrific mourning, and the assassination of JFL and Dr. King was horrific mourning. Overturn of roe v wade is not horrific mourning. It is terrible and ugly for millions of people and a day of celebration for other millions. I am pro-choice (kinda). But this isn’t as bad news as you are making it to be. The supreme court didn’t make it illegal to have an abortion, it just made it a state problem. This means many states will have abortions as California and New York while others ban general abortion rights like Taxes and Oklahoma. We should never be so mad that we don’t see the degree of our problems. If the magnitude of every problem is the same, then we trapped ourselves in a psychological nightmare.

  20. Matt says:

    Welcome to London 🙂

  21. Grant Manheim says:

    Why are you moving to London?

  22. Grant McGuire says:

    Excellent . Thank you

  23. Grant McGuire says:

    Excellent as always. Thank you

  24. Joel says:

    Why are you moving to London?

  25. Kevin says:

    Scott , I love your insights. Hard hitting, thoughtful and inspires learning and curiosity. No one ever argued someone into faith and bigger story of belief in God but the love you feel and experience …especially with the joy and depth you share about your sons and meaningful relationships, not sure how this can be substantiated by pure randomness. My conclusion….imago Dei, grand design. Not from goo to you! Scott keep being you but give some contemplation to a bigger story! No judgement friend! Life is Rich! Stay curious, enjoy the journey! You are blessed!

  26. Lee Gross says:

    Thank you for sharing your perspectives. My most personally satisfying years (daily work improved people’s lives, present for spouse and kids, surrounded by like-minded people who were intellectually curious) were my lowest earning years. My least satisfying years (made lots of money, away from home a lot, surrounded by people focussed on money) were my highest earning years.

    If I had a do-over I would choose to stay in the lower earning job. I’d have less and lower quality “stuff” but I’d go home each day knowing I was part of something bigger than the next earnings call.

  27. Tom Selinske says:

    Scott, I love your insights. Tom

  28. Kamal says:

    if anyone can disprupt cnbc it would be you…. I am all ears. congrats

  29. Jan S says:

    Parliamentary democracy may be better than the USA’s federated system, but as someone older than you, friends and family become the most important thing in living as we age. You are still chasing Mamon and you may regret it. Good luck!

  30. Harold McGruther says:

    Impeccable timing as usual, Prof G. While I was helping my wife recover from minor elective surgery in Beverly Hills yesterday, my Aunt in Florida—Mom’s sister and roommate—called to tell me the old bird flew this mortal coil during her daily nap, no kicking, screaming or misery, only eerie clamp. No panic, remorse, nor regrets from my side, either, for I had just returned from a visit with both old ladies two weeks ago. Everything that could have been done or said we checked off before Mom checked out—as perfect a way to go as there ever will be. Like yourself, this mother and son were and are atheists, so we’ve burned our candles from both ends from the git-go—no regrets. Thanks for closing this week’s rant with some prescient advice about hitting the snooze button one last time with calm, comfort, and class. Dogspeed, sir.

  31. Mark Choate says:

    Not liking the closing tone of this missive. Is there a health issue? I hope not. Why the move to London?

  32. Matthew Erickson says:

    I would visit Prof G Pod and other podcasts if I could figure out how to work my car radio.

  33. Patrick says:

    Reading you Scott fills my blindside. You make me a better man, father and employee. Thank you and all the best in London.

  34. Carlo says:

    @Scott move to Italy after London, after Miami you will not tolerate the weather in the UK. Milan sounds better 🙂

  35. Mary Alex says:

    I’d be one of those podcast fans who’d come up to you on the street and act as if we’d have fun going for a glass of wine with a history that came before us. Podcasting is intimate and the litany of free-floating associations that come out of your mouth at times, amaze me with delight. Ms. Swisher also brings out the best in you!

  36. Kevin says:

    If someone needs to say it, here it is: You are a GREAT communicator. You’re a storyteller which is the BEST communicator. Your insight, vulnerability, and passion for getting your thoughts across makes you both valuable and inspirational.

    Keep sharing…

  37. Robert A Pinkus says:

    Speaking of empty calories, good description of this column.

  38. Jeff says:

    Gil Scott Heron fan?

  39. Rick Spence says:

    And with this sentence, writing greatness is yours.
    “(The previous sentence sums up our relationship.)”
    Massive insight, wickedly funny, just seven words.

  40. Andre says:

    Why the move to London? Pulling the rip cord on the dying husk that is American society? New job opportunity? Definitely not the weather. Also, you’ll need a soccer team to support – COME ON YOU SPURS!!!!!

    • Jimmy says:

      Everyone wants to know why London, Scott. Well, not everyone, but my nosy ass too. And Liverpool FC rules. Thank you. YNWA

  41. Katie says:

    Calling it like it is… Hope I can run into you in London and buy you a pint – it is great over here! I love it.

  42. Jamey says:

    Another fabulous letter. Pleasure to read. Thanks, and all the best on your move across the pond.

  43. Ian Clark says:

    Welcome to the UK – it’s really not all shit! (well, the government’s pretty crap, inflation’s pretty lousy, but it’s still a lovely country) – I hope you’ll have a great time here. We will appreciate having you here.

  44. Rob Miles says:

    So with todays tech why do you need to move to London ?

    • Brian says:

      Perhaps today’s tech is facilitating the move to London. I’m curious to know why as well, though.

  45. Stuart Duncan says:

    Hi Scott, Fantastic you are moving to London!! I assume for work? If you need someone to help you discover the best pubs then let me know, I will be your bevy pal!

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