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Have I finished listening to Design Matters yet?

Whenever anyone asks me for a podcast recommendation, I always suggest Debbie Millman’s Design Matters and its decade’s worth of interviews with designers, writers, artists and other creative types.

I think it’s one of the most inspiring podcasts out there. Not because of the particulars of those people’s struggles and triumphs in their work, but because it’s a constant reminder that everyone encounters the same challenges and fears. Some simply find a way to persevere.

As David Bayles and Ted Orland wrote in Art & Fear:

It won’t help you to know exactly what Van Gogh needed to gain or lose in order to get on with his work. What is worth recognizing is that Van Gogh needed to gain or lose at all, that his work was no more or less inevitable than yours, and that he — like you — had only himself to fall back on.

I wanted to listen to all 287 Design Matters episodes. At the end of my sabbatical in December 2016, I naïvely thought I was most of the way there already, even though I actually had no idea of my progress since I jumped around the episodes in my listening, and used different podcast apps.

So how will I know when I’ve finished? By building a database! The Design Matters site has a page for every episode. You can navigate through it by search or filters, but there’s no single place with the full listing.

I worte a simple webscraper using Beautiful Soup to get the full list, and spent the better part of an afternoon going through the list manually to mark which ones I had already listened to.

The bad news: I’ve actually only listened to 143 out of 287 episodes

The good news: I’ve only already listened to 143 out of 287 episodes

Here’s the full list. I’ve greyed out the ones I’ve listened to.

What to read next: Things I actually want to do during my sabbatical