Welcome to Digital Homesteading.

This collection of resources from 9 Clouds helps you build your business and community.


Carry On and Make the Most of Your Long Commute

The Commuter

There are many ways and places to work, as we’ve written before on this blog. While working from home is a popular option at 9 Clouds, we still maintain an office in Sioux Falls, SD. After all, working together in close proximity builds camaraderie and is great for synergy (and all those other buzzwords.)

To get to the office, some of us can bike to work, which is a great way to combine commuting with exercise. A few of us can even walk. But for those of us not located in Sioux Falls, like Scott Meyer in Minnesota or me an hour north in Brookings, getting there can be inconvenient and time-consuming.

I’m fortunate that I only have to commute two or three days a week, but that time still ads up to more than 200 hours a year. That’s 8-10 days I spend on the road rather than with my family or working on hobbies or maintenance.

Your Commute Is What You Make of It

You can’t get your commute time back, but with a little planning, you can at least make good use of it. Whether you’re taking public transportation or driving yourself, here are some ideas for how to get the most back from your commuting time.

The Best Commute: Take a Train or Bus

Sammy's Windswept at Lunch near UxmalMy favorite story about someone making the best of a long commute is the conception story of one of my most-used web services, NewsBlur:

“During the summer of 2009, Samuel Clay wanted a better way to read the news. So he built the first version of NewsBlur almost entirely underground on the A train in New York City.”

If public transportation is an option for you, take it! This is time that is set aside, blocked out, and all yours. Even if you’re not up to founding the next great startup, there are many other ways to use the time.

Here are some ideas to make your commute time valuable:

No Public Transit? Carpooling Is the Next Best Thing

Work in the car on your commuteIf the train or bus just isn’t an option, you’re going to have to drive.

If you can find a coworker to carpool with, you’ll still be able to do everything a public transit commuter can do on the days you don’t drive. This also cuts down on your fuel costs and emissions, compared to driving yourself.

Carpooling requires access to someone with a similar route and schedule, so it may not be an option for you. If your only choice is to drive yourself, your options are a bit more limited, but don’t lose heart — you can still use the time for more than just driving.

Last Resort: Make the Best of Your Drive

At its most basic, your drive can be a good time to prepare for the day before work and decompress from the day after it. Relax, and treat it as a time of partial meditation. Not loving the isolation? Your commute can be a great time to catch up with friends and family on the phone, if your schedules line up.

While you’re driving, you also have access to a limitless wealth of audio options. From education to entertainment, the best way to take advantage of your time in the car is to listen. Audiobooks are good, but they can get expensive.

Podcasts, on the other hand, are free and cover every topic you can imagine. From digital marketing to replaying old-time radio, from comedy to in-depth financial analysis — no matter who you are, or what your current mood or interests are, you can find podcasts to fill your commuting time.

Here are some podcast recommendations from the 9 Clouds team. Fire up your favorite podcast player (mine is the lovely Pocket Casts), and listen to these 9 Clouds favorites.

WTF with Marc MaronWTF with Marc Maron

For over 20 years, Marc Maron has been writing and performing raw, honest, and thought-provoking comedy. In September 2009, Marc changed the podcast landscape when he started WTF with Marc Maron, featuring Marc’s revelatory conversations with iconic personalities.

“I love Marc Maron’s honesty (he’s just as emotionally unstable as I am!), and he gets celebrities to open up about topics that make PR teams cringe.”Jenny Alvarez

iexploreriexplorer on BuzzFeed

BuzzFeed editors Ryan Broderick and Katie Notopoulos explore the weirdest corners of the Internet, so you don’t have to.

“This podcast is ridiculous. It speaks to the #millennial in me.”Jenny Alvarez

The Growth ShowThe Growth Show

The Growth Show is a business podcast for leaders consumed with driving growth — growing a company, growing a movement, growing an idea, growing a team.

“This is great because it covers all aspects of business and relates it to inbound marketers. They have some great guests and give lots of real-world examples of how businesses reinvent their marketing to reach their core audiences. It’s really ‘clean’ because it’s a HubSpot product, but it’s oddly addicting for me.”John Nelson

Slow HustleThe Slow Hustle

Tactics on work/life integration that could change your life.

“The Slow Hustle is a ‘grassroots’ marketing podcast by a dude from Iowa who also covers business-related things, but this takes a more motiviational/inspirational approach to his message. They’re long episodes but well worth the time. He also has good, relatable guests.”John Nelson

Freakonomics RadioFreakonomics Radio

Have fun discovering the hidden side of everything with host Stephen J. Dubner, co-author of the best-selling Freakonomics books. Each week, hear surprising conversations that explore the riddles of everyday life and the weird wrinkles of human nature — from cheating and crime to parenting and sports.

“I also like Freakonomics Radio; they tell interesting stories about money and the economy.”John Nelson

Song ExploderSong Exploder

A podcast where musicians take apart their songs and, piece by piece, tell the story of how they were made.

“It’s a fascinating show if you’re a music enthusiast who has an extreme interest in how musicians make music. If you’re more of a casual music listener who does not care how it was created, it may not be for you.”Ryan Woodard

Reply AllReply All

Reply All is a show about the Internet, hosted by PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman.

“Look past the entirely uninspired tagline — Reply All isn’t just a podcast about the Internet; it connects the dots between people and technology. (And if you listen closely, our own Matt Stoffel is in the credits for episode 61.)”Allen Day


The show for craft-driven content creators.

“This is a podcast for content marketers that truly focuses on crafting better content, rather than just churning out content. It’s as intimidating as it is inspiring.” –Allen Day

Find What Inspires You

No matter where you’re going or how you get there, we’d love to know what you’re listening to. Follow us on Twitter or Facebook, and let us know what gets you through the drive and inspires you to do great work.