July 4, 2021

Weekly Emails

Three years behind the podcast mic

Asking for your feedback

Read Time 3 minutes

I remember the exact moment I decided to start a podcast four years ago. I enjoyed a dinner with two friends in New York city so much that I wished I had recorded it. For two hours, over fantastic Persian food, I basically interviewed two brilliant scientists between bites of fesenjan. Although it wasn’t the first time that I wanted to record the insights of other people, that particular conversation spurred me to begin the podcast journey. July 2 marked the three year anniversary of The Drive.    

We started the podcast on a 12-episode test run in late June of 2018, on the cusp of what has become a Cambrian-like explosion of podcasts in circulation today. Admittedly, I started the podcast for selfish reasons. I am always trying to learn things I don’t already know and perpetually have a bunch of questions that I am trying to answer. I also wanted to record meaningful conversations and share them with other people who could listen in. 

Over 165 episodes and three years later, my intention hasn’t changed much, but the podcast operation has definitely evolved, taking on a life of its own. Each podcast episode requires about 40 hours of preparation, give or take, which includes my team working on a document about the podcast guest, the guest’s work, any pertinent background information on the given topic space, and my review thereof. The shortest of these documents was 10 pages (only happened once!); more typically they are 30 to 40 single-spaced pages. The post-production for each episode now includes audio and video, since we started video recording the conversations for our YouTube channel. I even built a mini recording studio in my office where I sit (or Zoom) with guests, trying to make it feel like we are in-person if it is over Zoom. Since a lot of the motivation to produce the podcast comes from wanting to build a knowledge base, I wanted quality in-depth shownotes that accompany each episode, which by my audit, accounts for another 20 to 30 hours of work for each episode. 

We have received some feedback expressing that it can be difficult to get through one new episode every week, due to the technical nature and depth of many of the episodes. Suffice it to say that getting deep in the weeds on a given topic does not necessarily make for a quick listen, especially if you want to thoughtfully sit with the content. (I must admit, I need to go back and listen to about 10 to 15% of the episodes in an effort to reinforce what I learned, which probably says something, given the time I put into preparing and the fact that I’ve already listened once during the actual recording.) Since I want to optimize the most beneficial way of sharing information on this podcast platform, I thought to try an experiment: we are going to take off one new episode release per month during the summer (though the AMA’s will still continue at the regular pace of one per month). I figure this will allow listeners to catch up on longer episodes and go through shownotes, and also allow the opportunity to (re)visit past episodes, which may be new for a lot of you. A complete episode archive can be found here. If you want some help deciding which episodes to listen to, or are curious about a certain topic, have a look at the topics page here

The podcast is one of my favorite extracurricular activities. It is a great privilege to talk across a wide range of topics with people I wouldn’t ordinarily be able to speak with (at least in such length and depth). It is the greatest “forcing function” to drive my learning at a rate I could never keep up organically. And I have also loved how the episodes and shownotes have become a resource for my patients and for the general public alike. I want to make the podcast as beneficial and enjoyable for you as possible, so I welcome your feedback on three things.

First, let us know if you find value in the newly added video content, including shorter clips for each episode released. Second, let us know what you think about one less new episode per month. It is our hope that you are given the opportunity to receive the (sometimes technical) information in a format and cadence that works for you. Third, please suggest people you would like me to interview and topics you would like to see explored in depth. Although we may not be able to respond to your feedback directly, we will be reading it all. Thank you for partaking in our varied experimentations over the years, and I look forward to more exciting endeavors ahead!

Disclaimer: This blog is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute the practice of medicine, nursing or other professional health care services, including the giving of medical advice, and no doctor/patient relationship is formed. The use of information on this blog or materials linked from this blog is at the user's own risk. The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Users should not disregard, or delay in obtaining, medical advice for any medical condition they may have, and should seek the assistance of their health care professionals for any such conditions.


  1. I would prefer if the number of episodes of a month stayed the same. People who can’t keep up can just skip one week and comeback to it later, it seems completely unnecessary to have less episodes. Some of your viewers don’t come from a biology background so they may find it difficult to comprehend all the technical details and minutia after the first listen but many of your viewers like me do come from a biology background and don’t have trouble keeping up.

  2. Fewer episodes is great for me – as a layperson, I require a fair amount of mental concentration / energy to absorb each podcast and generally don’t have time to listen to all of them, which is a shame.
    Re: future content, I’d be interested in hearing more about exceptions to the generally accepted wisdom / research which (I believe) typically revolves around white males (e.g. I remember one of your episodes, on nafld maybe, discussing significant differences conferred by genetics for one population of Latin Americans). I’m English/Chinese and my own experimentation with fasting & keto suggests my body reacts rather differently to what’s commonly reported in the literature.
    Would also love to hear more sports / psychology-related content.
    Keep up the great work!
    Trevor (Long term fan & fellow racing driver 🙂

    • 1. I typically don’t watch the videos unless required for the content, ie Beth Lewis episode.
      2. I’m fine with fewer episodes per month. I typically get behind for weeks at a time, then play catch up randomly when I have more time. I do enjoy more goofy stuff with Peter and Bob and things like you did on Tim Ferris’s podcast.
      3. As a dentist, I’d love to see another dental podcast with some more real life application. I found the previous podcast very heavy and dull and didn’t go very well into the applications toward general health and well-being. Not to mention, could have been way more fun with the root canal talk and some good jokes in there! Someone that was less research focused and more real life application could have brought home a message much better! Feel free to contact me for suggestions, I had sent an email several months ago with some recommendations as well! Other than that, I love the AMAs and anything cardio, dementia, longevity, etc. The exercise and nutrition stuff is always fascinating as well. Great podcast and just a “keep up the good work” from me!

  3. I have been a listener since episode 1. This podcast has changed my life in many ways and it is the only auto-debit on my credit card that I enjoy seeing!

    You give us access to the edge of science like very few. Keep doing you and we will follow. I appreciate your team as well. Kudos to them for the high standards.

    If one piece of feedback, please put it on Spotify so I can access it easily. Happy to do it on your website too.

  4. Peter – Please add K2 which was discovered in 2008 to your topics for future podcasts. A Canadian, Dr Kate Rheume-Bleu, wrote a book about it in 2011 & has done many YouTube interviews. – James Taylor

  5. Peter,
    I greatly enjoy your podcasts.
    I use the videos to briefly “meet” and hear the voice of your guests but then I rely entirely on reading the show notes to experience each episode.
    I’m amazed by your work schedule; I’m glad that I’m here on the “quieter” side of the computer screen.
    Best regards,
    Philip Thackray

  6. Your podcast is my #1 source of zone 2 entertainment, so I’m happy to hear that you plan to continue. I understand its a bit murky, but I would love to get some vetting on popular gut health trends.

  7. Thank you for the shorter clips. I was a paid subscriber but cancelled because of the time required to listen to such a large amount of information. Having a summary with the take-away facts or cliff notes from each interview will allow me to choose those of the most interest and then take a deep dive into those topics.

    I wonder if it would be possible to categorize your archive of past interviews by health condition, making is easier to go back when information is needed.

  8. With so much podcast content available, I find I am not able to keep up with 1/week, especially now that I don’t waste my life on commuting. I end up cherry picking the topics that are of highest interest from all the interesting feeds I follow.

  9. Re Podcast
    1) I’m indifferent about the shorter clips. If I want to listen (not watch) an episode, I download it and listen at leisure. I don’t download them all or even many, just the ones I most want to hear (not watch). I don’t watch any.
    2) I use the model of 40 episodes per year (because there are 40 business weeks in a calendar year), with added sessions, eg, recaps, highlights, specials, compendium episodes to fill out the schedule. You’ve averaged an impressive 55 py over 3 years. Lot a damn work! Lot of excellent results! But is it an optimal production rate? If you do one less a month, I doubt any one will notice.
    3) I’m satisfied with your wide range of guests and the podcast introduces me to more people than I can introduce to you. (In fact, listening to episode with Rob Lustig prompted me to invite him onto our podcast which we’ve since recorded.) But how about Michael Pollan, Dean Ornish (proponents of views quite contrary to my own). Or, pro bodybuilders who are living, breathing examples of living (if temporarily so) humans operating at the extreme and are thus on the vanguard of, well, something.

    Final comment, recent research shows over 2M podcasts available, probably only 500k active and ‘alive’. Point: there are many podcasts but few as good, life-enhancing as yours.
    …Hell, I listen to The Drive more than I listen to my own! (10 Lessons It Took Me 50 Years To Learn- wisdom for career/life,” http://www.10lessons.com).
    Plus I pay to subscribe.
    That says it all: a podcast worth paying for.

    You’ve made (starting in the early, blogging, pre-podcast days) and are making a valuable contribution to my life and the lives of others.
    All I can say is, don’t stop now!
    kind regards

    By the way, did you know that if your new episode gets, within 7 days of its release:
    more than 26 downloads, you’re in the top 50% of podcasts.
    more than 3062 downloads, you’re in the top 1% of podcasts.

  10. Dear Peter and Team – Thank you so much for your podcasts, show notes, and the quality and depth of your information. I enjoy the YouTube format. And I think taking a week off every month is a good idea. I find myself chronically behind in listening. Your content quality is so good that a little less might end up being more, at least for septuagenarians like me. Patrick

  11. Frequency is fine. Having a lot of science in the show is fine, but I would like to see more discussion of actions the listeners can take to improve lifespan and healthspan, that don’t involve illegal substances or prescription-only meds. After all, improving lifespan and healthspan is what The Drive is all about. Maybe this is what you discuss in the AMAs. If so, throw the free listeners a bone once in a while.

    Thank you for doing the podcast.

    • I agree – in addition to educating us about health problems, I’d love detailed, actionable solutions that lay people can take.

  12. Peter and team –

    1. Having listened to every single podcast you’ve done at least once, I still like the weekly format.

    2. Thanks for the background on what it takes to produce a podcast – the time spent in this case yields one of the best produced and information-dense science/health podcasts out there.

    3. Regarding interview podcasts with video. I primarily listen to that format (The Drive, Rogan, Rich Roll), and occasionally dip into a few minutes of video to see some of the interaction between host and guest and to see what the guest looks like. I watch entire video interviews like yours with Beth Lewis when it’s useful to see a demonstration or what they are pointing out.

    I watch most of Rhonda Patrick’s videos from start to end because hers have a ton of background inserted visually at appropriate points during the interview. Your comprehensive show notes are superb and cover that well, so I don’t feel I need to watch most of your video interviews fully.

    4. The clips are great! They are especially useful to forward to people I know who aren’t inclined to watch a full episode.

    Thanks to you and your team!

  13. I love your podcast and I struggle to think of things you might improve so my feedback will be the things I most appreciate.

    I mostly listen but with Beth Lewis, I’m glad to have the videos.

    Two things which I most appreciate have to do with timing. First, I love that you take the time to go over who the person is and how they came to be where they are. Of course I want to know what they have to say about health but including their journey adds value. Second, I appreciate that you give guests the time to give extended answers. It sets your information above the usual “Is more exercise good or bad?” kind of superficial fluff that floods the media.

    I appreciate that you also give your guests the room to disagree with each other and with you. This keeps the podcast from slipping into just a collection of people agreeing with a single view point.

    I will end with a final point though I could go on. I appreciate your courage to show your limitations. When you talk about your decision to quit boxing, I think of my younger foolishness.

    In summary, thank you for your work.
    Tong Ginn

  14. Peter,
    Your work is immensely valuable to my family. I have a pretty deep level of understanding biological sciences having worked as a researcher and later a patent attorney in the field of biotechnology. My husband and I are members and regularly listen to your podcasts involving science, especially life sciences and most particularly health and nutrition. Sports and cars and archery and other macho man topics, I could do without. 😉😁 I certainly hope cutting back doesn’t mean cutting back episodes on health and nutrition. Having said that, I prefer for you and your team to have the necessary time to research a given topic as best as you can. So, if that means fewer episodes, so be it.
    Also, PLEASE tell us how to contact your medical practice for an appointment. We need to see you, man!

  15. I love the episodes (most of them) and although I may disagree with the views of some, knowledge is power. This allows for informed decision making regarding my own 77 year old mind/spirit/body as well as passing it on to my family and friends.
    That said, I have Osteoarthritis (doomsday according to my MD friends/associates) and would like any new information on treating the systemic disease that will eventually keep me from enjoying physical activities like walking. Diet is, of course, important but unassisted motion is key (for me) to living a purposeful life.
    Skipping a few episodes periodically makes sense since I have other venues for information gathering that require attention.

  16. Hi Peter,

    I love your podcast and I have learned a great deal from you and your guests, especially that a lot of the topics you approach are not taught or even discussed in med school. I would love if you could do a podcast with one or more of the following: Jordan Peterson, Julia Ruckildge, Stuart Phillips, Stuart McGill, and maybe another one with Rhonda Patrick.
    Also, I can’t wait for your book to come out !
    Have a great day !

  17. For me, it’s about the technical content. There are many “entertainment” podcasts and not enough with good technical content.

  18. Peter, your content is invaluable, and I would support whatever direction you want to take this. I am fine with one fewer podcast per month (even if you did that indefinitely after the summer). I typically don’t take advantage of the video content at all because I mostly listen to podcasts while out walking, working out, or otherwise moving around, even just doing chores around the house. If it’s a lot of extra work for you and your team to do video, I wouldn’t miss it if it were gone, but others might disagree. Whatever you decide to do, I’m grateful to your work and that of your team, and the effort and dedication to detail, facts, and above all, NON-sensationalism and non-alarmism that you all exhibit. Thank you!

  19. Love the podcast! Listening to your podcast for the past three years has greatly improved the quality of my life (ie: updated science on replacement hormones – yay!, greatly improved sleep quality, and I’m currently wearing a CGM as a non-diabetic to get a better handle on glucose challenges). I’m determined to stay healthy through diet and exercise and your podcast has provided so much useful information to that end. Thank you!

    In answer to your questions:
    1. I listen to podcasts while I drive, and probably won’t watch the videos.
    2. I don’t currently have time to listen to all your podcasts and, as a non-scientist, I often have to listen to the ones I do listen to several times to fully (or mostly) grasp the information presented, so I won’t miss one a month.
    3. I’d love to better understand what detailed information can be gleaned from genetics testing and how to make use of that.
    3. Information on osteoarthritis (and the role, if any, that inflammation plays in osteoarthritis) and how to slow its progression would be very helpful.
    3. A scientific view of gut health science(?), functional medicine(?), IV and Infusion therapies. Are these real, quackery, or somewhere in between?

  20. Fewer episodes work for me, unless it is time sensitive, such as current status of COVID-19, etc. I don’t have time to read the show notes, etc as I am busy with a part-tume job and a 9 month old. Also, I don’t watch any of the podcasts, as I am usually multi-tasking. 😅

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